Friday, April 08, 2005

A warm welcome to the January and February 2006 Boards on Pregnancy Weekly. Congratulations!

C is for Cookie...and Carrots, Cucumbers, Califlower

The Cookie Monster is going on a diet. No actually he's not. He's going on a healthy food kick. From the AP article, "First PBS announced that "Sesame Street" would kick off its 35th season this week with a multiyear story arc about healthy habits. No problem there; childhood obesity rates are soaring. Then I learned of changes that turned my "Sesame Street" world upside-down. My beloved blue, furry monster -- who sang "C is for cookie, that's good enough for me" -- is now advocating eating healthy. There's even a new song -- "A Cookie Is a Sometimes Food," where Cookie Monster learns there are "anytime" foods and "sometimes" foods." For the rest of the article, click here. Now how does this apply to me a pregnant woman? Well eating healthy of course! Indulge in those cravings but also be mindful of what you eat! I don't mean just chomping on some rice cakes. Everything you eat will go to your baby and you want to provide a very healthy environment for them. So take a tip from the Cookie Monster and know that there are "anytime" foods and "sometimes" foods. This post has been brought to you by the number two and the letter C.

Now You Mombo!

Looking for a baby gift? For a friend? For yourself? Need a Mother's Day gift? I read this on Ann's blog this morning about a new CD called NOW YOU MOMbo. From their website: NOW YOU MOMbo is a collection of eight half hour audio programs in a 4-CD set. Each CD is packaged with a companion booklet, filled with descriptions of the shows and performers, written and illustrated by host and producer Nanci Olesen. NOW YOU MOMbo is interviews, commentaries, music and conversation to nurture, humor, and enlighten YOU as you dive into motherhood. In fact Ann is featured on the NOW YOU MOMbo Cd! Interested? Click here.

Pregnancy Quotes

Sometimes it is hard coming up with topics to write about for this blog. Which is silly since there are at least a million billion topics related to pregnancy. But today I'm going to cheat a little bit and rely on what others have already written for today's post. These are some of my favorite quotes related to pregnancy and parenting. I have a bulletin board that is devoted to mainly quotes that I find and enjoy. Here is just a few...
  • If pregnancy were a book they would cut the last two chapters. ~Nora Ephron


  • Life is tough enough without having someone kick you from the inside. ~Rita Rudner


  • Think of stretch marks as pregnancy service stripes. ~Joyce Armor


  • There are three reasons for breast-feeding: the milk is always at the right temperature; it comes in attractive containers; and the cat can't get it. ~Irena Chalmers


  • You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment. ~Dave Barry, Things That It Took Me 50 Years to Learn


  • People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one. ~Leo J. Burke


  • One of the most obvious results of having a baby around the house is to turn two good people into complete idiots who probably wouldn't have been much worse than mere imbeciles without it. ~Georges Courteline, La Philosophie de Georges Courteline


  • You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around - and why his parents will always wave back. ~William D. Tammeus


  • The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. ~Rajneesh


  • When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child. ~Sophia Loren, Women and Beauty


  • It is much easier to become a father than to be one. ~Kent Nerburn, Letters to My Son: Reflections on Becoming a Man


  • There are three stages of a man's life: He believes in Santa Claus, he doesn't believe in Santa Claus, he is Santa Claus. ~Author Unknown


Thursday, April 07, 2005

Flying Baby

Can I fly when I'm pregnant? was a question in my inbox today. A very good question for those traveling women out there. It can be perfectly safe to fly up through your third trimester (up to 36 weeks) but be sure to discuss your plans with your doctor or midwife. If you have any medical complications (diabetes, high blood pressure, carrying multiples, placental abnormalities, risk of preterm labor) your doctor or midwife might advise that you stay home. Try to avoid flying during your last month when you are more likely to go into labor and who knows, you might be giving birth sooner than you think. A lot of airlines will not let you on if you are ready to give birth soon (within 7 to 30 days of the flight) since they don't want you to give birth on the plane. Is there a doctor on board? It's smart to carry a note from your doctor of midwife that explains when your expected due date is so that the airline has proof. Even if you aren't close to your date...you might look like it. A step further would be to call the airline and confirm what their policy is since many airlines have different rules. When you're planning, take into account of when you will be coming home. Pack emergency contact info of names and numbers in case something happens while you are gone along with medical history. Be sure to make yourself comfortable on the airline. A middle seat will give you the smoothest ride and a bulkhead seat will give you the most room. Then again, an aisle seat will be good if you need to walk and frequent the restroom. When in air and the seatbelt sign isn't on, get up and walk around. Pregnant women who are immobile for long periods of time are at an increased risk of developing blood clots. You should also stretch your legs and feet while in your seat to keep the blood flowing. Drink plenty of fluids so you don't get dehydrated. Have a happy and safe flight. Feel free to buy me a souvenir. And thank you for traveling with us. :)

Midwives

Mooshoopork asked about midwives --- so along with doulas, there is also the option of a midwive.

From the German words for "with wife" the midwife has served an important function for hundreds of years. Until about the last 60 years, a vast majority of births took place at home, with the help of neighbors and friends. As childbirth has become more 'medicalized,' it has become for the most part, the domain of doctors and hospitals.

Many expectant couples do not know that midwives still exist and are available in many areas of the U.S. They can manage prenatal care, birth and postpartum, and follow-up care including birth control.There are two types of midwives: the 'lay-midwife' who has learned mostly on the job and typically does home births, and the 'certified nurse-midwife' who has received a great deal of academic training and generally works with physicians doing hospital deliveries, though some do home births.

The philosophy of midwives is that labor and birth are normal processes that require few, if any, interventions such as IVs, episiotomies, continuous fetal monitoring, or food restrictions. Midwives encourage birth plans and feel that prenatal education is extremely important for a woman to have the best birth possible. If complications arise, physician backup is available, however, most births can be handled completely by the midwife.

Midwives often like to be present throughout the labor (as opposed to physicians who generally rely on the labor & delivery nurses to inform them when a woman is far along enough for the physician to arrive in time for the birth), and act as support for the woman and her coach. The midwife will stress breathing, relaxation, visualization and massage techniques in order to decrease or eliminate the need for medication. Movement is encouraged, and laboring in a variety of positions can help to speed labor and increase the mother's comfort. Showers and tubs are great ways to decrease the discomfort of contractions; many women don't want to leave the tub once they have been talked into getting in!

While midwives have been around for a long time, it has only been in the past 25 years that they have been gaining renewed acceptance in the U.S. Most hospitals and many physicians' groups now have midwives in practice, though not all insurance companies will currently reimburse for a midwife's services. In the future it is likely that many more women will decide to have a midwife for their birth attendant, and will benefit from truly personalized care.More information can be obtained from the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) at (240)-485-1800 and the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) at (316)-283-4543. And thanks to Tim Clarke, you can also check out, www.midwife.org

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

If the babies are ready to come out, are YOU ready for them to come out?

Nesting

Around the fifth month of pregnancy, the "nesting" instinct can set in. This is an uncontrollable urge to clean one's house brought on by a desire to prepare a nest for the new baby, to tie up loose ends of old projects and to organize your world. Females of the animal kingdom are all equipped with this same need. It is a primal instinct. Just as you see birds making their nests, mothers-to-be do exactly the same thing. The act of nesting puts you in control and gives a sense of accomplishment toward birth. You may become a homebody and want to retreat into the comfort of home and familiar company, like a brooding hen. The nesting urge can also be seen as a sign of the onset of labor when it occurs close to 40 weeks of pregnancy. Nesting brings about some unique and seemingly irrational behaviors in pregnant women and all of them experience it differently. Women have reported throwing away perfectly good sheets and towels because they felt the strong need to have "brand new, clean" sheets and towels in their home. They have also reported doing things like taking apart the knobs on kitchen cupboards, just so they could disinfect the screws attached to the knobs. Women have discussed taking on cleaning their entire house, armed with a toothbrush. There seems to be no end to the lengths a nesting mother will go to prepare for her upcoming arrival.This unusual burst of energy is responsible for women ironing anything in the house that couldn't out run them. Being preoccupied with ant killing, squishing them one at a time for weeks on end. Packing and unpacking the labor bag 50 times. Cleaning the kitchen cupboards and organizing everything by size to the point that you make sure the silverware patterns match when it's stacked in the cutlery drawer. Sorting the baby's clothes over and over again is a favorite theme. Taking them out of the drawers and re-folding them, putting them away and doing it over and over again. Nesting will provide interesting stories for years to come.When your "nesting" urge hits, try to follow these precautions: When painting: In the final weeks of pregnancy suppress the overwhelming urge to paint the baby's nursery. Perhaps you could do the planning and designing of the room and let someone else do the actual painting. Paint is a substance to avoid for pregnant women. Pregnant women should avoid exposure to oil based paints, old paint that may contain lead and some latex paints that contain mercury. Most water-based paints can be used but always check the label for contents that could be harmful. Painting should always be done in a large, well-ventilated area to minimize breathing fumes. Wear protective clothing and gloves and never eat or drink in the painting work area. When cleaning: There are no real issues with disinfecting your house as long as you know the safety of the chemicals you're using. There is no evidence to suggest that there is any link between the use of household cleaners and birth defects. It's a good idea to avoid oven cleaners and dry cleaning products and be careful never to mix ammonia with chlorine-based products, like bleach or cleanser, as the combination produces toxic fumes. Wear rubber gloves when cleaning and try not to breathe strong fumes. If you have a cat or know that cats are present in your garden: Cat feces can contain a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, a rare but serious blood infection. If this infection is passed on to your baby, it can cause birth defects such as blindness, deafness or mental retardation. Always wear rubber gloves when cleaning the litter box or assign this chore to another family member until after the baby comes. Avoid all yard work or gardening in areas where cats may have contaminated the soil with feces. It's better to avoid these activities than run the risk of infection. Are you feeling any signs of nesting?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

What the Heck is this Line on My Belly?

That my dear friend, is the linea negra. I received this question in my inbox today. You wouldn't believe some of the questions I get in my inbox after starting this blog. The most popular being, What is a blog? :) Back to that line you see running from your belly button to the top of your pubic bone. You might have noticed it before you were pregnant and it would be have been a linea alba since it is the same color of your skin. But due to those wonderful pregnancy hormones which makes everything wacky, your linea alba can become more apparent, then called the linea negra. You can't really prevent it, but do get enough folic acid which may help. Folic acid deficiencies can also result in discoloration. And if it really bothers you, try concealing makeup if you are really bothered. But remember, who's really going to notice? Eventually it will lighten up and go back to being the same color as your skin. And that is that.

Emma's Diary

Meet Emma. Emma is a Londoner and is pregnant. She also has a diary online tracking through her 40 weeks of pregnancy. As the site says, "This is the pregnancy guide that every mum should read! Packed with medical information, useful tips and helpful advice and entertainment, Emma's Diary® covers every aspect of pregnancy, from the first weeks through to the days after the birth." Check out her diary here. It is a fun fairly quick and reminds me of curling up in bed reading a juicy gossipy light chick lit novel. So curl up with your computer and peek into Emma's pregnancy.

Doula

I tried really hard to come up with a clever title for this entry. But the word "doula" is kind of funny by itself. So what is a doula?

Doulas were originally the highest ranking female servant/slaves in ancient Greek households. In such a position, the doula would assist the lady of the house in childbirth. Less ancient usage of the word still refers solely to women who provide physical and emotional support, as well as information about pregnancy and babies to mothers before, during, and following childbirth.

Since the beginning of modern times, in the final stage of pregnancy known as labor and delivery (L&D); an expectant father's or partner's place was in the waiting room with other family members. As expectant parents have gained more control over the childbirth process, expectant fathers/partners have moved to the forefront as labor support to the mother. Fathers are now routinely admitted and often expected to be present for labor and delivery. While some significant others make great labor coaches...some don't. And that's perfectly fine. You don't want a coach that will faint on you in the middle of labor.

So a doula is a like a pinch hitter. A doula is usually a woman and most likely a mother herself. She is in the unique position to stand in the gap between selecting to go with a certified nurse midwife or a traditional hospital setting. In the role of labor support, a doula brings a relaxed, natural approach to labor and delivery, and having her present means that the laboring mother does not have to rely only on their significant for encouragement and help in dealing with pain.

A doula coaches, counsels and supports an expectant mother throughout her entire pregnancy through to her postpartum time. The presence of a doula during labor and delivery may help the process to move quickly and comfortably. The doula's role is also that of an advocate on behalf of the parents. She will convey the parents' needs and wishes to the hospital staff providing the expectant parents the opportunity to focus on labor and delivery. The theory is that mothers attended by doulas produce lower levels of stress hormones than mothers left alone in labor or attended by inexperienced coaches. If you are serious about not using drugs, a doula may be your best ally and even if you think you might want to receive an epidural, a doula can help make the experience less stressful and more satisfying.

Another great benefit of choosing to have a doula during labor and delivery is that since babies don't wait for hospital nursing shift changes to be born, a doula will be with you continuously no matter what is going on elsewhere on the floor. A doula is also a welcomed relief for most nurses since if it's a busy time, chances are they will have several patients at once. Additionally, doulas can provide support for breastfeeding and newborn care.

Doulas are relatively new players in the birthing game. Most health insurance companies do not cover their services so you will probably end up paying for a doula out of your own pocket. The cost of hiring a doula varies from area to area and doula to doula. What you pay for your doula will be based on how much experience she has and the going rate in your area. The basic range is usually $200 - $800. If fees are an issue, many times doulas will set up a sliding scale or payment plans to help those who can't afford the service. In many cases expectant couples find out about good doulas through word of mouth. Other places to look for referral are organizations dealing with childbirth, lactation consultants, childbirth educators, hospitals or birthing centers, your doctor or midwife, or anyone who has recently had a baby or works in the field.

There are three national organizations for the doula profession: Doulas of North America (DONA); National Association of Childbirth Assistants (NACA) which can be reached at (408)225-9167; and the Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators (ALACE).

According to the authors of Mothering the Mother, How a Doula Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier and Healthier Birth, having a doula can give you the following:

  • 50% reduction in c-section rates
  • 25% shorter labor
  • 60% reduction in epidural requests
  • 40% reduction in oxytocin (pitocin) use
  • 30% reduction in analgesia use
  • 40% reduction in forceps delivery

Monday, April 04, 2005


A belated welcome to the December 2005 board at Pregnancy Weekly!

What is that Smell?

I am past the point of where smells make me sick. However I am still channeling some puppy vibes because I can literally smell anything within a 10 mile radius. Or at least that's how I feel right about now. For instance, I can smell bacon somewhere. Someone is either eating bacon at the office or they have bacon breath or they had bacon for breakfast this morning. Many women experience a heightened sense of smell during pregnancy especially during the first trimester. The smell of food will either turn them off or they will be instantly hungry. And it's not just food either. The same can go for soaps, perfumes, flowers, plants, laundry and basically anything that emits a scent. During that first trimester, I felt like those dogs you see at the airports sniffing everyone's luggage with their nose to the ground. If there is a smell that makes you sick, don't be afraid to speak up. "Get that chicken out of my fridge!" or something to that extent. It is better to rid your house of any smell that is making you gag. Have you had any ? Leave a comment and let me know!

What's in your Suitcase?

You're getting ready to deliver. What to pack? What not to pack? If you're like me, you overpack for everything. I have a hard time packing for a weekend vacation let alone for a trip to the delivery room. Some of these recommendations come from girlfriends of mine. My friend Kerry insisted on makeup pointing out that when you take pictures of you and the new baby, you might want to look somewhat decent. Another friend said a robe is great to feel comfy. My friend Laura said to bring along books and magazines and movies (your room might have a TV with VCR) because it could be a long wait -- of course for her, her labor lasted for 22 hours! Here are some items you might want to bring along. -Insurance info and identification - Hospital preregistration information - Lip balm - Hard candies to keep your mouth from getting dry - Favorite music - Socks - Hair ties - An item to focus on - Front-opening nightgowns, nursing bras, underwear, slippers, flip flops, robe - Toiletries, eyeglasses, makeup - Phone/address book and a calling card. Many hospitals don't allow use of cell phones. - Camcorder and camera - Books and magazines - Loose fitting clothing for the ride home - Baby's going home outfit including a receiving blanket and bunting for colder weather -Car Seat for Baby What are you packing in your suitcase?