Friday, April 15, 2005

Pregnancy Weekly Guest Writers!

A new feature to the Pregnancy Weekly blog is the addition of the Guest Writer. I have asked the lovely Pregnancy Weekly subscribers to send their jokes, their stories, their pieces of advice. Each Friday will feature a Guest Writer with their own story to tell. And let me tell you, picking just one guest writer isn't easy! The response has been fantastic. To kick of this Friday Feature, we have an amusing tale from Trinette. Thanks Trinette...and to all you Pregnancy Weekly readers...send me your stories for the blog! ** My name is Trinette and I am currently pregnant with my 5th child. My other 4 children are stair steps 9, 8, 7, and 5 years of age. One day the children and I were sitting at the dinner table and we had been playing games and just enjoying a lot of activities together. My youngest daughter who is now 7 years old looked at me with the biggest smile and brightest eyes as she stated, "Mommy can we take the baby out and play with it. I promise we will put it back when we are done." The other children all cheered in agrrement with her statement. After explaining the baby could not come out until it was time we made a baby calendar that shows how much time is left before the baby is ready to come out. We are counting down these last 12 weeks together.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Quickening - First Movements

Whether you are pregnant for the first time or the fifth time there will be many pregnancy firsts such as the first time you hear your baby's heartbeat, the first time you have morning sickness (ugh), that first twinge of real labor or the first time you look down towards the floor and realize you can no longer see your feet! By far, the most magical and memorable pregnancy first will be feeling and recognizing those first kicks and movements from your baby. The first perception of your baby's kicking and movement is referred to as quickening. Quickening usually appears between 14 to 26 weeks of pregnancy. For a first time pregnant mother the time frame is more like 18 to 22 weeks. Veteran mothers tend to feel their baby's movements earlier than first timers. The reason being that the uterine muscles in second or subsequent pregnancies are not as tight as during a first pregnancy, so this mom may be more sensitive to the soft, fluttery kicks associated with early pregnancy. Plus when a mother already knows the pregnancy drill she can easily tell the difference between baby's kicking and movement versus hunger or gas pains. Another thing that can vary the perception of quickening is that the mother's physical build may have something to do with when first movements are distinguishable.Women with smaller frames tend to feel movement earlier than women who are larger or overweight. No one can tell a first time expectant mother exactly what she will feel because it's different for every mother. With this said, those first movements and kicks may feel like a light, delicate tapping with almost a fluttery feeling. As you get further along the sensations will definitely intensify to being good firm kicks, elbow jabs and a little swishy or sloshy feeling when your baby decides to move it's arms and legs at the same time. You will swear your little one is already trying out for the Olympic team! Always keep in mind, an active baby is a healthy baby, even though you may feel like a personal punching bag from time to time. If you notice a marked absence of movement or slowdown of your baby's movement for more than 24 hours after week 22 and if you've felt fewer than ten movements per hour after week 28, your doctor or midwife may order an ultrasound. It may be that the baby has switched to a different position but it might also be that the baby is in distress. The first kicks you feel and recognize will be few and far between.Your baby may be very active one day and laid back resting the next. By week 28, these reassuring kicks will become stronger and more regular. Many doctors and midwives recommend that after the week 28 an expecting mother should test for fetal movement at least once or twice a day. To test for movement, you will need to time the number of movements you feel until you can count ten kicks, flutters, swishes, or rolls.The ideal is to have ten movements per hour. If you don't feel ten movements within one hour try changing things a little; eat a snack, lie on your side and try counting again. Besides kicks and whole body movement, your baby will probably have several cases of the hiccups before the whole nine months are over. . . yes, hiccups! Hiccups will feel different than kicking or movement. They will feel like little spasms in your belly. Some babies get the hiccups several times a day, everyday, and the same pattern may continue after birth. For some mothers these spasms can be irritating if they last for a prolonged time or come daily. The good thing is that the hiccups don't cause the same discomfort in babies (in or out of the womb) as they do in adults even if they last as long as 10-20 minutes. Once you get comfortable with the hiccup sensation sit back, relax and enjoy the entertainment!

Birth Order of Children

Funny read...Birth Order of Children Your Clothes 1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your OB/GYN confirms your pregnancy. 2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible. 3rd baby: Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes. Preparing for the Birth 1st baby: You practice your breathing religiously. 2nd baby: You don't bother because you remember that last time, breathing didn't do a thing. 3rd baby: You ask for an epidural in your eighth month. The Layette 1st baby: You pre-wash newborn's clothes, color-coordinate them, and fold them neatly in the baby's little bureau. 2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes are clean and discard only the ones with the darkest stains. 3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, can't they? Worries 1st baby: At the first sign of distress--a whimper, a frown--you pick up the baby. 2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake your firstborn. 3rd baby: You teach your three-year-old how to rewind the mechanical swing. Pacifier 1st baby: If the pacifier falls on the floor, you put it away until you can go home and wash and boil it. 2nd baby: When the pacifier falls on the floor, you squirt it off with some juice from the baby's bottle. 3rd baby: You wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in. Diapering 1st baby: You change your baby's diapers every hour, whether they need it or not. 2nd baby: You change their diaper every two to three hours, if needed. 3rd baby: You try to change their diaper before others start to complain about the smell or you see it sagging to their knees. Activities 1st baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics, Baby Swing, and Baby Story Hour. 2nd baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics. 3rd baby: You take your infant to the supermarket and the dry cleaner. Going Out 1st baby: The first time you leave your baby with a sitter, you call home five times. 2nd baby: Just before you walk out the door, you remember to leave a number where you can be reached. 3rd baby: You leave instructions for the sitter to call only if she sees blood. At Home 1st baby: You spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby. 2nd baby: You spend a bit of everyday watching to be sure your older child isn't squeezing, poking, or hitting the baby. 3rd baby: You spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children. Swallowing Coins 1st child: When first child swallows a coin, you rush the child to the hospital and demand x-rays.2 nd child: When second child swallows a coin, you carefully watch for the coin to pass. 3rd child: When third child swallows a coin you deduct it from his allowance!! GRANDCHILDREN...Reward for you allowing your children to live

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Cranberry Juice - Yummy!

Cranberry juice is SO good for you. It can prevent urinary tract infections which are a concern during pregnancy. Along with drinking lots of fluids during your pregnancy, try a glass of cranberry juice as well! It can help prevent E.coli bacteria from ataching to urinary cells which can then lead to infection. Not only that but they are high in fiber, contain a lot of viamin C along with vitamin A, vitamin B, calcium, phosphorus, iron. I fit it a little too bitter so I mix it with some seltzer and throw in a slice of lemon. Look for 100% cranberry juice. Drink up and cheers!

Fetal Dopper Rental

Maybe someone you know has rented or purchased a fetal doppler from one of the online rental companies who offer this service. If so, you may have heard how easy and wonderful it is to be able to listen to your growing unborn baby. The ability to monitor your unborn baby has lent millions of woman welcomed peace of mind during this exciting yet stressful time. Are fetal doppler monitors safe? This is an important question many expecting parents are asking themselves and the answer is yes! For over 50 years ultrasound technology has been used for various purposes in the healthcare industry with no evidence of any ill effect. This holds true to mother and child. The FDA regulates ultrasound technology and has approved the Fetal Doppler for 'continuous use'. This isn't to say you should monitor the heartbeat of your unborn baby 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We feel that with everything in life, moderation is the best policy. Are all fetal doppler monitors created equally? If you've been researching the fetal doppler market you know that it is becoming saturated with many, many different models offering different capabilities and options. The first thing you should be sure of when renting or purchasing a fetal doppler is its FDA approval. Every fetal doppler on the market that uses ultrasound technology (the only kind you want) must be approved by the FDA. First off, with most of the Internet companies that have been around for a while, such as Stork Radio.com and SweetBeats.net, you need not worry and can rely upon their solid reputations. Secondly, be sure the equipment you're renting or buying uses ultrasound technology and is not simply a microphone which will just amplify your digestive sounds and are not recommended for use before 6 months into pregnancy (BeBe Sounds etc.). Lastly, with the ever increasing use of fetal dopplers in the home, many companies have attempted to capitalize by bringing to the market place less expensive models. These dopplers are not medical grade dopplers and may not hold up as well or offer the same overall quality as a medical grade doppler system. Medical grade Fetal Dopplers have historically been used only in medical environments such as hospitals and doctors offices and are still expensive instruments to own. How do I know which fetal doppler is right for me? Another important question to consider before renting a fetal doppler is which one is right for me? For the most part there are two different types of dopplers on the market - regular and digital. A regular is the most basic model available for rent and will allow you to hear your unborn baby's heartbeat (rentals $20-$32 per month). The digital fetal doppler will also give you the audio of the heartbeat but offers the added benefit of a digital display of your baby's heartbeats per minute or BPM (rentals $45-$49 per month). Making the decision between the two is typically purely preference, except in the case of a pregnancy with multiples. In this instance you'd need a digital display to distinguish one baby from another. Selecting the right probe. Fetal dopplers come with either a 2 or 3 MHz probe. It is common knowledge among Obstetricians that 2 MHz (specialty probe) probes are better for overweight patients as the more concentrated ultrasound emission (beam) can pass more easily through the extra layers of fat surrounding the uterus. This more concentrated lower frequency beam also enables the fetal doppler a greater ability to pick up the fetal heartbeat earlier in pregnancy and often enables expecting parents to listen in as early as 8 weeks into pregnancy. What else should I know? Most companies offer free shipping, a free tube of ultrasound gel, tips, battery, and an instruction manual with rentals. You might want to purchase an extra bottle of ultrasound gel ($7-10) with your rental if you plan on keeping your doppler for one or more months. It's imperative for crisp clear sound to use plenty of ultrasound gel when listening. As a consumer, you should always do plenty of research before making a purchase.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Britney Spears is Pregnant

Normally I don't post about celebrities but for this one I couldn't resist. Britney Spears is pregnant. From her official website, "The time has finally come to share our wonderful news that we are expecting our first child together. There are reports that I was in the hospital this weekend, Kevin and I just want everyone to know that all is well." Let's hope she and Kevin will turn out to be great parents. And can you imagine Britney Spears pregnant? Let's hope the pregnancy symptoms are good to her. She can always sing about it though. Baby kicking? "Hit Me Baby One More Time." In all seriousness, we always like to wish any pregnant mother, as much happiness and good cheer. For more, you can read an article here or check out her official website.

Having One? Two? Three? Four? More?

Having a baby is tough work. Having more than one baby? Also tough work. Times two or three or four. Or maybe even more. Having multiples is certainly a tall order. More feeding. More diapers. And you only have two arms! I am in absolute admiration of anyone who has multiples. Here is an excerpt from an article I read on Kids Health. Feeding Feeding will consume a large chunk of each day. Multiples have been both breast- and bottle-fed successfully and each approach has passionate advocates. Breast-feeding offers nutritional and immunological benefits, and is easier on the pocketbook. It works because the lactating breast functions according to the laws of supply and demand. The more your babies nurse, the more milk your body produces. If your babies are born prematurely (as most multiples are), they will benefit from preterm milk, which has more protein and nutrients than full-term milk. If you choose to breast-feed, be sure to seek help from a lactation consultant. It is possible to nurse two babies simultaneously, but it may take some time to master. A lactation consultant can show you basic positions to help you nurse your babies either two at a time or singly. A nursing pillow designed for twins may also be helpful. It may also be helpful to pump and store breast milk, so that Dad or other caregivers can help with the feedings. Mothers who bottle-feed with formula usually mix up large batches each morning to have bottles ready throughout the day. Some mothers use a combination of breast- and bottle-feeding, to keep some of the benefits of nursing while still getting help with the feeding. Whatever way you choose to feed your babies, you may want to track the feeding schedule on a bulletin board to make sure every baby gets adequate feedings. Bathing Bathing multiple babies can be quite a challenge. Some parents bathe their children separately in the interests of both safety and one-on-one time. For higher-order multiples, though, this may be impractical. You might try recruiting help or, after they can sit unassisted, putting each child in a special plastic bathtub seat. A shower massage attachment can be very useful. Either way, prepare to get very wet! Dressing Dressing your babies in the first few months needn't be a big production. Some parents color code wardrobes to see at a glance whose clothes belong to whom. It may make sense to have multiples share some basic items of clothing, such as sleepers. After approximately 6 months, it becomes more important to give your children their own clothes and establish their unique identities early on. Many psychologists believe that to dress twins or other multiples exactly alike reduces the chance for the individual identity of each child to emerge.

Monday, April 11, 2005

The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook

A very witty friend of mine just sent me a book in the mail. The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Parenting. I'm sure you've seen the general one. Tells you how to escape from a car that's submerged in water or to fend yourself from a mountain lion. Well this book on parenting tackles real issues like how to keep a baby quiet on an airplane and how to control a stroller on steep hills (a must here in San Francisco!), how to make an emergency diaper, how to survive a family car trip. It's a fun read and somewhat practical. Now a part of Pregnancy Weekly's book club. :)

Stretching Out for the Sake of Your Lower Back

Feeling some pain? Lower back pain? Ouch. You're not alone. This not-fun symptom is normal but not enjoyable. There are things you can do about it however and one thing is to stretch.

Toning, stretching and strengthening the back and abdominal muscles through a stretching routine and moderate exercise program can usually relieve some pain. In addition to relieving that back pain, the stretching and exercise will pay off tremendously in labor and delivery and during those first postpartum days when you are trying to get your body back to normal (that is once you remember what normal is).

A stretching routine is very good for toning the perineal area, stretching ligaments, strengthening the inner thigh and abdominal muscles and promoting proper body alignment, all of which will help keep lower back pain and sciatica at bay. If you are already suffering, these stretches will offer some relief for this type of pain. A good stretching routine should include the following stretches or something similar.

Squatting Stretch This is just what it sounds like. Balance your body; steady yourself with a counter, table, or piece of furniture and squat for one minute at a time, 10 times a day. This is a great stretch and toner for legs and perineal muscles.

Tailor Sitting Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet crossed (kind of a relaxed cross-legged position). Spend 10 minutes a day at least two or three times a day sitting in this position. It gives the inner thighs a good stretch and takes the pressure off the lower back.

Tailor Stretching Similar to tailor sitting but a little more intense. Sit on the floor with your back against the couch or wall. Bend knees and put your feet together sole to sole. Slowly, see how close to the floor you can get your knees. When done over a period of time this stretch will increase flexibility dramatically.

The Pelvic Tilt This stretch gives expectant mothers a double reward: relief from lower back pain and it helps prepare the body for birth. Lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, exhale while pressing the small of your back against the floor then inhale and relax the spine. Repeat this several times. This stretch can be done in a standing position against the wall. In the standing pelvic tilt position press the small of the back against the wall and then relax. The standing position should always be used after the fourth month of pregnancy.

Dromedary Droop This stretch relieves the pressure of the enlarged uterus on the spine. Get down on hand and knees on the floor. Keeping the head straight and neck relaxed and aligned with the spine. Roll the back to make a hump while tightening the abdomen and buttocks. Allow the head to drop down. Slowly relax the back and bring the head back to the original position. Repeat several times a day for excellent lower back pain relief and relaxation.

Along with these stretches, moderate exercise is another way to alleviate lower back pain and sciatica. It's important to review your exercise plan with your doctor or midwife before you begin. Pregnancy isn't the time to try to lose weight or begin a vigorous exercise routine but you can pursue an exercise regimen at a mild to moderate level and receive tremendous benefits from it. For beginners, exercise three days a week, preferably with a day between workouts, for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.