What is the quad screen?

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If you’re pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, you are probably considering the various medical aspects of this exciting time. Ultrasounds give you an image you can hold as you imagine meeting your baby face to face. Monthly measurements of your expanding abdomen mark the growing anticipation as well. However, some medical procedures and visits with your doctor don’t always give you the reassurance for which you are looking. Tests like the quad screen are optional screening measures that some pregnant women choose to complete during pregnancy, based on risk factors that she and her physician decide might warrant the test. If you are considering the quad screen, there are many things you need to consider. Multiple Marker Screening – What does it look for during pregnancy? The quad screen is also referred to by several other names, including the quadruple marker test, multiple marker screening, AFP plus, Triple screen…

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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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Breastfeeding

How To Tell If Your Baby Is Getting Enough Breast Milk?

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Why is breastfeeding so important for your baby? The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends that infants be given breast milk exclusively for the first six months of their lives and then solid foods and/or formula should be combined with breast milk at least until the child reaches 12 months old. The reason for the emphasis on breastfeeding is because of the benefits it provides to the baby. Breast milk contains all of the vitamins, protein, and fat your infant needs for healthy growth in a form that baby can easily digest. It also provides some important health advantages: • Infants who are given only breast milk for the first four months of their lives have a 74 percent lower risk of being hospitalized for lower respiratory tract infections. • Giving an infant only breast milk for more than three months of their lives lowers their risk for middle ear…

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How can my body change after having a baby?

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Who knew having a baby could change your life in such dramatic ways?  Well, maybe you’ve heard of the emotional “life-changing” feeling of learning to love and care for a new baby, but what about learning to adjust to the physical changes in your own body?  Why are things out of place, drooping or “bigger but not better” than before?  Questions such as these are among those frequently asked at a six-week check-up.  Also, most importantly, women ask, “when will it return to normal?” Well, the good news is most bodily changes are temporary and reversible.  Even so, many postpartum body changes are annoying, frightening and oftentimes, embarrassing.  Some of the many changes women experience include incontinence, bleeding, looseness “down there,” and back and hip pain, amongst others unmentionables. Urinary incontinence is one’s inability to control her urine flow.  For many women, this incontinence begins during labor as their baby’s…

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BPA

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When shopping for baby products you’ll start to notice a lot of packaging says “BPA Free”.  BPA is commonly found in plastics, the lining inside of can foods and formula, and receipt paper.  Pregnant or not, BPA is not safe to ingest. Recently the FDA’s National Toxicology Program reported “recent studies provide reason for some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children”. New results from mouse studies show that prenatal exposure to BPA can result in low birth weight followed by overcompensating growth leading to obesity, which is indirectly related to early onset puberty.  Studies also show a link between BPA exposure and breast cancer in girls.  Even after these studies were presented, the FDA rejected a petition to ban BPA.  Bottom line, avoid plastic and canned food products. Ways to reduce BPA from your house while pregnant…

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Don’t Blink

Posted by | LENS, Lifestyle, Ques and Views | No Comments

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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What Exercises Are Safe During Pregnancy?

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Expecting mothers can typically stay healthy by following a nutritious diet, accompanied by safe exercise during pregnancy. A woman’s body experiences many changes during these nine months and while exercise is a valuable part of staying healthy, there are some precautions to take and restrictions to make during this time. The questions many expectant mothers have during this time include: Is exercise safe during pregnancy? What type of exercise is best during pregnancy? What types of exercise should I avoid during pregnancy? Safe Exercise During Pregnancy Because every woman’s body is different, especially during pregnancy, it is important that the first step you take is to consult with your healthcare provider about the safety of exercising during your pregnancy. Some women with certain health issues, medical histories, and complications during this time might be advised against aspects of physical activity. If you were already a jogger, a swimmer, or an…

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Due In A Week

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Today marks the final week (fingers crossed) of my pregnancy.  I’ve mentioned before that I was past due and induced with both Jack and Charlie; I don’t think I’ll be one of the fortunate ones who gets to deliver even a few days early.  I’m bound to be past due, hot, and swollen until the very end! It’s 92 degrees and humid here.  I’m ready.  I spent the past weekend on Lake Michigan with my family trying to go into labor – eating pineapple, marching up and down stairs, taking walks, and plenty of ankle massages from my husband.  No luck.  I even tried paddle boarding! I’ve previously said that I feel like I’m missing out on the big, theatrical  ‘Honey, it’s time!’ kind of moment, but my OB assured me that’s not really how it happens.  After delivering two other babies by induction, at least I know what to expect…

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What Are Skin Tags?

Posted by | Symptoms & Remedies | No Comments

Your hormones, estrogen and progesterone, increase greatly during pregnancy.  These hormones help the baby grow and help your body change in ways that will nourish the baby and prepare for delivery. Progesterone and estrogen are in effect, growth hormones.  Other things will grow, your breasts, your abdomen, your hair, but unfortunately if you have a small skin tag it will also then grow as well and become a medium size skin tag.  This is because of your skyrocketing levels of progesterone.  You can have skin tags surgically removed at a dermatology office if you like, but most of them will shrink in size after the delivery, so that is probably not necessary.  If they are getting caught underneath a bra strap and making you uncomfortable, consider having it removed.  Short of that, wait until delivery and let it shrink on its own.

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Constipation

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Constipation during pregnancy is common.  Your hormones cause the muscles in your small and large intestines to relax and this slows down passage of food and stool.  Many women who before pregnancy had a daily bowel movement report a reduced frequency with only 3 to 4 bowel movements per week.  There is some evidence that probiotics, beneficial bacteria in yogurt, can increase the frequency of bowel movements during pregnancy.  Look for yogurt with Bifidobacterium, this is seen in the Greek yogurts and some probiotic supplements.  You can also reduce constipation by increasing the fiber in your diet.  Start the morning with a high fiber cereal containing at least 6 grams of fiber per serving.  Be sure to check the cereal box and read the label.

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Is it Normal to Have Cramping in the First 3 Weeks of Pregnancy?

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What are implantation cramps? The cramping you experience during the first three weeks of pregnancy is known as implantation cramping. This is an indication that the fertilized egg is attaching itself to the wall of the uterus. These cramps are usually accompanied by light bleeding, which may make a woman mistake them for menstrual cramps and assume she isn’t pregnant. Is implantation cramping common? Approximately twenty to thirty percent of women will experience implantation cramps during early pregnancy. If you notice very light spotting before your menstrual cycle would typically begin, this may be a sign that you are pregnant. Implantation usually happens from six to12 days after ovulation. The majority of women have only a very few drops of bright red or brown spots to indicate that implantation is taking place. How do you describe what implantation cramps feel like? This kind of cramp is described as a dull…

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The Anti-Craving

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Cravings seem to be a topic people are highly concerned about when talking with pregnant women. I think anyone who hasn’t been pregnant is curious to hear some crazy concoction, and those who have been pregnant want to compare crazy concoctions. As far as specific cravings go, the only thing I can remember that was “weird” was the grilled cheese sandwich I once made with raspberry jam on it; but I don’t even think it was that weird because fruit and cheese are a very common combination. Anyway, it was delicious and Jack liked it too. During my first pregnancy I had a change in preferred tastes. I used to have a huge sweet tooth, but as soon as I got pregnant with Jack, I didn’t care for desserts or sweets anymore. I wanted salty foods, mostly olives, constantly. Then, during my second pregnancy, I only wanted chocolate all day,…

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Can I Still Be a Vegetarian During Pregnancy?

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Dietary concerns are a natural part of pregnancy. It’s not uncommon for women to have specific dietary preferences before pregnancy and have them interrupted by the pregnancy. But it’s not impossible to maintain a diet, close to your pre-pregnancy diet. Specifically, many women ask, “Can I still be a vegetarian during pregnancy?” The short answer is yes, but an expecting mother must pay attention to specific nutrients that may be lacking in her diet due to be a vegetarian. Can a Pregnant Woman Deliver a Healthy Baby If She Is a Vegetarian? There are many good reasons to be a vegetarian.  Vegetarians have lower levels of the bad cholesterol linked to heart disease and tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI). Therefore they less likely to be overweight and develop diabetes.  Vegetarians also have a lower incidence of cancer and their dietary habits result in less pollution and…

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What should I feed my baby? Is he getting enough to eat? Why is she so picky?

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Often questions such as these plague mothers as they try to decide on what to buy, prepare and feed their baby, particularly as their baby grows and his/her eating habits change.  Luckily for adults, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designed a Food Guide Pyramid as a recommendation for the portions and variety of foods that should be consumed to obtain a healthy diet.  In 2010, the Pyramid became My Plate, with the same categories, except a stronger emphasis was placed on having fruits and vegetables make up at least half of the plate.  Although similar recommendations are not specific for babies or children under the age of 2 years, the general recommendations of food groups and portion control are applicable for everyone.  Babies’ and young children’s diets should be made up of a variety of foods from the 4 major food groups, including breast milk &/or formula…

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