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Why You Need Folic Acid in Your Pregnancy Diet

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What is Folic Acid? Folic acid is one of the B vitamins that occurs naturally in foods, like legumes, oranges, papayas, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, asparagus, greens, dark lettuce and eggs. Foods high in folic acid are also high in other important vitamins and minerals. Folic acid is necessary for the growth of new cells. What Are the Benefits of Taking Folic Acid During Pregnancy? There are some important advantages that result from taking folic acid: It enhances fertility – In a study released in 2006,  American researchers reported their findings after having followed the progress of 18,500 nurses who planned to become pregnant over an eight-year period in the 1990s. The researchers evaluated the nurses’ diets including whether or not they took vitamin supplements. They found that the nurses taking multivitamins with folic acid six days a week or more had a 40 percent reduced risk of ovulation failure, a…

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My neighbors must think I’m crazy

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Growing up with very curly hair, I learned at a young age how to prevent frizz with chemicals products.  I’ve since come to cherish the extra volume that comes with textured hair and use almost no product – except for the occasional spritz of hairspray on humid days.  Hairspray contains many different chemicals and it is not safe to inhale constantly.  My solution? I wear a mask, only use non-aerosol products, and I do not use it in my house.  Yes, I stand in my front yard with a dentist-like mask on and spray my hair.  I firmly believe that there has to be balance between doing everything said to be “right/healthy/perfect” and doing what makes you feel good and look good.  Other ways to cut down on chemicals in your beauty routine: Try using grape seed oil instead of lotion to prevent stretch marks. It’s all- natural, inexpensive, odorless,…

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Keeping CRP levels low

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Recently, some well-designed studies have pointed out a link between increased maternal inflammation and a negative impact on infant brain development during pregnancy.  We can track inflammation with a blood test called CRP and in Finland a very large study indicated that high CRP blood levels during pregnancy could impair emotional development later in childhood.  How do mothers keep CRP levels low?  The answer is straight forward: Don’t smoke Keep your teeth in good shape, floss and brush regularly Eat lots of fruits and veggies Exercise 40 minutes 5 days a week Avoid deep fried foods These simple good habits will give your child a “head” start.

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Why am I being screened for gestational diabetes?

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Pregnancy can take its toll on your body, and your health care provider may offer you many tests and screenings during the three trimesters of pregnancy. One of the most commonly used tests is the screening for gestational diabetes, which measures how your cells are using sugar supplies. Gestational diabetes that is left undiagnosed or untreated can be medically devastating on both you and your baby. Even if you have no prior history of diabetes, or even any signs or symptoms, your body might be reacting differently because of all of the changes and demands that pregnancy puts on it. A healthy pregnancy relies on the placenta to supply increased levels of certain hormones to help you and your developing baby. However, these hormones don’t always allow your body’s natural insulin levels to work, blocking them from doing their job (regulating your blood sugar). When the blood sugar levels are…

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How Much Does a Baby Cost?

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How Does the Cost for Hospital Delivery Compare with Delivery at a Birth Center? The US government organization, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Healthcare Utilization Project offers the following hospital cost statistics: Vaginal birth no complications – $9,617 to $10,657 Vaginal birth with complications – $12,532 to $13,749 C-section no complication – $15,799 to $17,859 C-section with complications – $21,495 – $23,923 The American Association of Birth Centers claims that the cost for a vaginal delivery at a birth center is $2,777. How much will it cost to raise my child? The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2012 Expenditures on Children by Families reports that parents with an annual household income between $59,410 and $102,870 can expect to spend $295,560 per child born in 2011 until the age of 17; while parents with an annual household income of less than $59,410 can expect to spend $169,080 per…

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Food Cravings

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Over 60% of women during pregnancy experience food cravings.  Some of this can be explained by what you need or the baby needs.  For instance, the baby really needs a lot of glucose so sweets taste especially good and in proper amounts can help nourish your child.  You need increased amounts of sodium and potassium, so salty foods and fruits and vegetables all taste good.  You may also be making up from deficits in food following significant morning sickness and nausea.  Food cravings are rarely harmful as long as you don’t skip eating a regular balanced diet or eat too much.  Satisfying food cravings should be enjoyed.

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Nausea

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Two thirds of women will experience morning sickness during their first trimester, and almost half may have morning sickness even as late as the third trimester.   Morning sickness is clearly related to your hormones.  There is limited safety information on prescription medications during pregnancy to treat this.  You can take pyridoxine or Vitamin B-6.  This is presumed safe and can be effective.  Ginger seems to settle the stomach and is also presumed safe in pregnancy.  You can get crystallized ginger at the grocery store in the spice aisle. If you feel nauseous and do not feel like eating, make sure you stay well hydrated and drink plenty of fluids.  It is not uncommon for women to lose weight during their first trimester.   It is much more important to eat adequate amounts of healthy foods during the second and third trimester.  Do not let yourself get worried if you…

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Choose safe toys for your child.

How Do I Choose the Right Toys for My Child?

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It seems that several times each year there are reports in the news about baby toys that are no longer considered safe and are removed from the market. It can leave parents concerned and confused about how to find safe baby toys, and how to make sure that the toy investment will continue to be safe. There are several factors that you should consider when choosing toys for your baby. They include age guidelines, construction, electronic components, warranties, and educational and developmental value. Age Guidelines Look at the recommended ages on the packaging. These age recommendations, such as Ages 6 Months+, indicate to you the safety level as well. It tells you whether or not this toy is appropriate in skill level and safety for your baby. In general toys for ages birth to 5 months are limited as far as the interaction your child will get from it. During…

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How to Deal With Changing Hormones

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How do Hormones Change During Pregnancy? Levels of pregnancy hormones estrogen and progesterone dramatically increase. The production of estrogen is greater in pregnancy than during any other time in a woman’s life. This permits the uterus and placenta to develop blood vessels and transfer nutrients to the growing baby. Estrogen levels increase significantly during the first trimester and are believed to cause the nausea associated with pregnancy. During the second trimester, estrogen aids in the development of milk ducts. By the third trimester, estrogen level is at its highest. The increase in progesterone allows the ligaments and joints throughout the body to become more flexible preparing the birth canal for delivery. Progesterone is also responsible for enlarging the uterus from the size of a pear to an environment that can stretch to fit the needs of the growing baby. Keep in mind that these changes in hormone levels are typical…

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Pregnancy Mask

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Pregnancy hormones bring many changes to your body, including changes to skin appearance.  A combination of hormonal influences and changes in your body’s immune system can darken certain areas of your skin.  Your breast nipple and the aureola surrounding it become darker.  You can get a line of pigmented skin extending from your belly button to your pubic area that becomes dark.  This is called “linea nigra”.  You can also develop what is termed the “Pregnancy Mask”.   This is almost a butterfly darkening of the skin in your cheeks and across the nose.  We are not sure why this occurs, but some women also experience it on the birth control pill.  So it is clearly related to the hormones.  It is not unattractive, merely a sign of your fertility.  Enjoy your new appearance.

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What If I’m Measuring Small for My Dates?

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Measuring Development During Pregnancy Your outward sign of pregnancy is your growing abdomen, and everyone seems to have their own opinions about whether or not you’re measuring too large or too small. Perfect strangers might offer you opinions on how you are “showing” and what that means for you and your baby. However, the opinion and measurements that matter most will come from your doctor. Typically during the 16th to 20th weeks of gestation your healthcare provider will begin to measure what is called the fundal height. Your fundal height is obtained when your doctor measures the distance from your pubic bone up and over to the top of your uterus (also known as the fundas) when you are lying down on your back. The size of this measurement in centimeters is roughly equal to the number of weeks along you are in your pregnancy. For example, if your fundal…

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Breast Changes – Enlargement, Tenderness and Sensitivity

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Breast changes are virtually universal during pregnancy.  These include, breast enlargement, increased heaviness, tenderness and sensitivity.  These prepare you for breast feeding.  Studies suggest breast feeding your baby for six months after delivery will reduce your risk of breast cancer.  Following pregnancy and breastfeeding, your breasts will change once more as they return to a resting phase when breast milk is no longer being produced.

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Why Does My Baby Move Around A Lot After I Eat?

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Does your baby seems a bit more active after you’ve eaten a large meal or suddenly start to kick after you’ve had a cold glass of lemonade? Developing babies react in the womb to the food and drinks that mothers consume by kicking, moving more rapidly, and in general being more active than just before the meal or snack. Not only do babies move more after you eat or drink something, but the things you eat and drink during pregnancy will contribute to your baby’s taste preferences for food later in life. Which Foods Will Encourage a Moving Baby? Kick Counts A kicking baby is often the sign that parents look to of a healthy baby. There are various times throughout your pregnancy when your doctor might recommend that you perform what are known as “kick counts”. Because there isn’t a window into which you can peek to check on…

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How Do I Know If I’m Having Contractions?

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What are the different types of contractions? The first type of contraction you will experience during your pregnancy is Braxton-Hicks, or what is known as false labor. This type of contraction causes the cervix to become softer and thinner, making it easier for the baby to pass through during delivery. Braxton-Hicks contractions become more frequent in the weeks before your delivery date. You can tell if you are experiencing a Braxton-Hicks contraction if: You feel your uterus muscles becoming tightened at odd times or you get a squeezing feeling in your lower abdomen. The contractions range from a painless tightening to extremely painful. The contractions don’t follow a pattern. They come and go unexpectedly in the afternoon or evening. On the other hand, true labor contractions, which indicate that the birth process had begun, follow a regular pattern, start at the back and move to the lower abdomen, are from…

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