How Prepared Are You for a Healthy Pregnancy?

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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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What milestones should I expect after my baby is born?

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The first twelve months of a baby’s life are marked by many “firsts”, including their first smile and first steps. During this time babies typically experience significant mental and physical development. Every few months babies acquire new skills for eating, walking and eventually talking. A baby goes from a complete dependence on others to being very active and quite independent, exploring his/her surroundings without much assistance at all. Right before your eyes, your baby will transform in a few short months. Some of the physical changes that babies undergo include being able to control their head, then rolling over, until soon they begin sitting up unassisted. Beginning in the first two months, babies can lift their heads and  hold it up for short periods of time.  By three months, they can usually hold their heads steady and soon begin playing with their hands and feet.   By six months, babies usually…

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Don’t Blink

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This past week my family took a vacation and it just so happened to be Charlotte’s first birthday.  My baby is 1! Whoa.  Her first year of life went by waaaaay faster than I remember Jack’s going.  I try to look back to when I first brought her home from the hospital, and it all seems to be a blur.  I still look at her and think she’s as little as when she was born.  For some reason when Jack turned 1, I thought he was 5.  He seems so much older and I just want Charlie to stay my baby forever.   I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with strangers that involve how fast their kids grew up and to just enjoy the moment.  When you bring home a new baby, it’s so easy to wish for restful nights, more independence, and “the next stage.”  The truth…

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Heartburn in pregnancy—Easing the pain!

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Heartburn or acid indigestion is perhaps one of the most common pregnancy complications, as 40%-80% of all pregnant women will experience this discomfort.  Heartburn happens when stomach acids build up into the esophagus. In pregnancy, progesterone hormones relax the muscles in the uterus in preparation for delivery. These hormones may also relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the valve that opens and closes to allow food to pass from the esophagus to the stomach. When the LES is relaxed, it can remain open allowing stomach contents to flow backward into the esophagus and throat.  Progesterone also slows the rhythmic contractions of the esophagus and intestines that aid in digestion of food.  As a pregnancy progresses, the growing baby may also put pressure on an expectant mother’s stomach and abdominal cavity, causing the stomach contents to be pushed against the LES and into the esophagus and throat, resulting in the characteristic…

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Preparing for Parenthood: How Can the Father of My Baby Prepare?

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Pregnancy is a time of great changes for the mother-to-be, but there are also changes in store for dads, too. The most noticeable changes during pregnancy are the physical ones that can be seen in the mother as her body grows and changes as it works to sustain a healthy pregnancy. Dads often experience a very different form of change. For all of you somewhat hesitant fathers out there, try these methods for connecting with your baby, and ultimately preparing for fatherhood. Get Real – For expectant fathers pregnancy can be a time when parenthood doesn’t quite yet seem real. A mother feels so many physical changes that it is almost impossible for her to ignore the impending birth. If you are a father-to-be, find a way to connect with the pregnancy and your unborn child. Go to the Appointments – Your partner might be OK attending the appointments by…

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Is Sushi Safe to Eat During Pregnancy?

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Safe Guidelines when Eating for Two If you are either pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, chances are you’ve heard your fair share of warnings and guidelines about what to eat and what not to eat for the health of your baby. Pregnancy is a time in your life when you might have to make changes in your diet and lifestyle in order to support the development of a healthy baby. Fish offers pregnant women a healthy way to add protein and Omega-3 fatty acids – essential for the strong development of your baby’s brain. A healthy diet during pregnancy can include fish, even sushi, as long as you follow safe guidelines for selection and preparation, just as with most protein sources. Is There Such a Thing as Safe Sushi? When it comes to eating sushi during pregnancy, the most important concern is not that the fish is served raw….

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What Is An Ovarian Cyst?

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Cysts are often benign growths of fluid-filled sacs in various locations of the body. Ovarian cysts occur either inside or on the surface of a woman’s ovary. These cysts are common and many women experience them at some point in life, with little or no symptoms. In fact, many women only find out they have ovarian cysts when they are found incidentally during a medical exam for other symptoms. These ovarian cysts usually go away on their own without any kind of intervention or treatments, although it may take several months or longer. Even though most ovarian cysts do not cause severe pain or symptoms, some women do experience more significant side effects. Should I Be Worried About My Ovarian Cyst? If you are concerned that you may have an ovarian cyst, pay attention to the following possible symptoms of this condition, especially significant pain. Irregular menstrual cycles Pain in…

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How can I use my Microwave safely while Pregnant?

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Pregnancy is a busy time for expectant mothers to care for themselves and to prepare for their developing baby. With their increased daily demands, often times pregnant women find themselves rushing to consume meals that are quickly prepared. Such “fast food” is typically cooked or heated in a microwave oven. Microwave ovens work by vibrating water molecules in food and producing heat that cooks the food. Foods with large amounts of water like fresh vegetables cook faster than other foods with less water. Microwave ovens change their energy into heat that is absorbed by the food. The molecular structure of food is not altered, thus microwave cooking does not make food “radioactive” or “contaminated.” As well, there is no evidence that microwave cooking reduces the nutritional value of foods any more than conventional cooking. Quite the contrary, microwave cooking may retain more vitamins and minerals in foods since microwave ovens…

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I’m Pregnant and Exhausted, But I Still Can’t Sleep! What Do I Do?

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Image courtesy of Pinterest. Pregnancy is a time of many changes in a woman’s life. Her outward appearance changes as her body grows to support her developing baby, while inside her body is also undergoing many changes that can’t necessarily be seen by looking at her. One of those changes a pregnant woman faces is increased tiredness and even fatigue. To make it worse, however, this problem is compounded by the fact that sleep is not always as easy or as natural as it once was. At some point, you may be saying to yourself or anyone who will listen, “I’m pregnant and exhausted, but I still can’t sleep!” How Can Pregnant Women Sleep Better and Stay More Energized? The emotional changes your body endures during the first trimester often account for much of the fatigue you might be feeling. The energy it takes to create a life-sustaining placenta is…

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Genital Discomfort

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The clitoris and vagina both become more sensitive during pregnancy.  They are swollen by increased blood flow and fluid stored in the tissues surrounding the birth canal.  It is all part of the body’s preparation for delivery.  The swelling can also come with increased sensitivity to touch.  Sometimes this increased sensitivity is enjoyable, other times women may experience it as painful.  If it is uncomfortable, there’s really not much that can be done until the body reverts to normal after the delivery.  If sex becomes painful during pregnancy, find another way besides intercourse to satisfy your husband or partner, but don’t avoid sex altogether.  The intimacy keeps you bonded, and that bonding is part of the emotional support that you absolutely require during pregnancy.

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Prenatal Yoga

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When Should I Start Prenatal Yoga? Prenatal yoga is not only an effective way to maintain your flexibility and provide your body with the health benefits of this form of exercise, but it can also help to prepare your body for the demands of labor and delivery. The Benefits of Prenatal Yoga The benefits of prenatal yoga are many, including: Stress relief Sleep improvement An increase in overall body strength Increases in flexibility and endurance Improves balance Improves circulation Reduces blood pressure Teaches you breathing techniques you can use during labor and delivery Reduced symptoms from things such as nausea, back and hip pain, headaches, and other common complaints during pregnancy Preparation for the physical stamina you will need during labor and delivery Preparation for the physical stamina you will need for caring for your newborn Before you start any new exercise program, however, it is important to check in…

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How Can A Pregnant Mother Deal For Heartburn?

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Despite its name, heartburn is not related to your heart. Heartburn is a form of indigestion caused by acid regurgitation into the esophagus. Approximately 20% of Americans suffer from a weekly occurrence of uncomfortable heartburn and it’s common among pregnant women. While occasional heartburn isn’t dangerous, chronic heartburn could lead to other issues. It’s important for a pregnant woman to know and understand heartburn. Is It Important To Treat Heartburn In Pregnancy? This is a more complicated question than it may appear.  People can and do live with heartburn so why not just put up with it until the pregnancy is over.  In pregnancy, heartburn is frequently associated with nausea and vomiting and the combination can have a serious impact on the pregnant mother’s quality of life.  Frequently by reducing heartburn, the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy is lessened as well.  This is beneficial for both mother and baby, so treating heartburn is…

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What is a Kegel?

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What is a Kegel? A kegel is actually an exercise that involves the muscles of the pelvis around the vagina, bladder and birth canal.  Women and men want to keep these muscles in shape because it helps prevent urinary incontinence as we age and keeps our sexual organs in good shape while we are young.  During birth the “kegel muscles” are stretched out by the baby’s passage through the birth canal.  By keeping these muscles in good shape they will regain their normal tone much more quickly after delivery. How Do You Do Exercises? The simplest way to explain how to do kegel exercise is to practice stopping urination in midstream.  You will have to contract the muscles surrounding your bladder and vagina in order to cut off the urine flow.  These are the same muscles you exercise during kegels.  You do not have to be urinating to exercise these…

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What Should I Weigh During My Pregnancy?

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Weight is a sensitive topic for many Americans, and causes everyone embarrassment.  You have a portion of the population that is grossly overweight and another half that is obsessed with their body image. Somewhere in the middle is the healthy road to travel when it comes to your weight. When you’re pregnant, you’re going to gain weight. But it’s important to know what a healthy weight is during pregnancy, to ensure that your health isn’t harmed. Why is Obesity Harmful During Pregnancy? Americans have steadily gained weight over the years and unfortunately  so have women entering into pregnancy.  Twenty percent of all pregnant women are now considered obese with a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 25.  The body mass index is a ratio of your weight to height.  A woman who is 5 foot 5 inches would be classified as obese at 150 pounds.  Gaining too much weight either during or…

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40 Weeks and Counting: Why the Length of Your Pregnancy Matters

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How long is a full-term pregnancy? Up until last month, a full-term pregnancy was considered anything from 37 to 42 weeks. This was based on the research that babies born in this timeframe tend to have a high survival rate with few complications. However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has now changed the definition of a full-term pregnancy to only cover two weeks’ time: 39 weeks to 41 weeks. The main reason for the change is to eliminate the percentage of scheduled deliveries that occur before the 39-week mark. The new findings support the theory that weeks and days do matter in a pregnancy, and the time in the womb should not be cut short if unnecessary. However, if your baby is born naturally between 37 and 39 weeks, it still has a high survival rate and you should not worry too much. If your body goes into…

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