Friday, April 29, 2005

Eviction Notice to my Pregnant Belly

Today we have TWO PregnancyWeekly Guest Writers. One is from a woman who wanted to remain anonymous. She found this and thought it would be funny....especially for those of you who are close to 40 weeks! She writes, "I DID NOT write this, but found it extremely amusing, as will many moms-to-be in the last weeks of pregnancy... It is from a message board on another site, and I thought it was just hilarious....you can insert the "tenant name" of your choice." It is very amusing. Thanks Anonymous for sending this! -- At exactly 30 days from her due date, I'm posting up an eviction notice and attaching it to my belly. [fill in blank], tenant, will then have 30 days in which she can either gather her belongings and promptly vacate the premises, or wait until the final day. After which, she will be physically removed from the property. She's being evicted due to breech of contract and destruction of property. Expansions only to the FRONT of the house, within reasonable limits, were discussed. Not only have these limits been exceeded, but additions to the back of the house were also made. Remodeling and gutting of the home was never approved, nor was changing the initial layout and base structure. And due to property damage, there are now leaks in both the upper and lower levels of the home. Any further problems will result in immediate and forceful removal.

Playing Kickball in my Stomach

Our other guest writer today is Isabel. Thanks Isabel for being a PregnancyWeekly guest writer! Hi! My name is Isabel, age 26, pregnant with my 3rd child. I am writing from Muscatine, Iowa. Any Iowans out there? I have a 4 1/2 yr. old at home. About two years ago, my husband and I lost a 2 year old due to heart complications. I've found out that I'm having a boy and I am thrilled! My son, Sebastian has been fun through out my pregnancy. He's experiencing being able to feel the baby kick and move. Movement started last week, and at one time my son came up close to my belly, and whispered to the baby, "Baby, don't kick, it's not nice. Wait till you come out and we can play kickball." I found it so adorable and cute. He obviously knew that I was uncomfortable and that kicking is not nice!!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Wax On, Wax Off

I got an email this morning from "AR" who is 31 weeks pregnant and wants to know if waxing her stomach is okay. So I'm going to throw this question out there to you readers. Do you think it's okay to wax to get rid of unwanted hair while pregnant? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Is that a Contraction? Nope, just Braxton Hicks.

A good friend of mine is pregnant with her first child. The other day she called to tell me that she was home from work after experiencing some cramping which later was determined as Braxton Hicks. In thinking of her, I thought it would be good to have a post about Braxton Hicks. Braxton Hicks contractions usually start making an appearance towards the middle of pregnancy, somewhere around 20 weeks. These contractions are felt earlier and more intensely if this is a second or subsequent pregnancy. You'll notice the muscle of your uterus tightening for anywhere from 30 to 60 seconds. In actuality, the uterus is flexing it's muscles, getting ready for the real contractions which will help push your baby out at term. These practice contractions will begin at the top of the uterus and gradually spread downward before relaxing. Labor contractions are noticeably longer and more intense than Braxton Hicks. Most first time pregnant women will ask their doctor, "How can I tell the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and true labor?" The answer is almost always the same and somewhat vague, "You'll know real labor when it begins." Braxton Hicks contractions are not intense enough to deliver your baby, however they do serve a purpose other than to keep an expecting mother on her toes; they help to get the pre-birth process of effacement and early dilation started thus putting mom ahead of the game before labor actually begins. Many doctors recommend using Braxton Hicks contractions as the perfect opportunity to practice the breathing exercises learned in childbirth classes. Although considered painless when compared with true labor contractions, Braxton Hicks can be very uncomfortable. You may notice Braxton Hicks come more frequently when doing light physical activity like vacuuming or carrying groceries in from the car. If you feel discomfort, try lying down and relaxing or getting up and walking around. Listen to your body. Changing your position may stop the contraction all together. Some doctors recommend drinking a few glasses of water to help diminish Braxton Hicks contractions as they can sometimes be brought on by dehydration; as a rule, a lack of adequate fluid intake can make the uterus more irritable - another good reason to drink those eight glasses of fluids daily during pregnancy! Braxton Hicks contractions may be difficult to differentiate from pre-term labor activity so it's always wise to err on the side of caution. Call your doctor anytime contractions are: - Accompanied by watery or bloody vaginal discharge - Are very frequent (more than four per hour) - Accompanied by lower back pain - Coming at regular intervals Any or all of these can be signs of premature labor and require immediate medical attention. If you are past 37 weeks gestation and have had no other complications throughout your pregnancy, the call to the doctor can wait until contractions last 60 seconds each and are five minutes apart. In this case, you are going to have a baby, and yes, you'll know how real labor contractions feel very soon!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Sending out birth announcements? Invitations to a shower? Customize the stamps with a picture of the new arrival or your sonogram or perhaps even your pregnant belly. Try Photo Stamps!

Are Leg Cramps "Cramping" Your Style?

Leg cramps are fairly common, especially with pregnancy. For many sufferers, leg cramps occur at night, during sleep. Sometimes the cramps occur during or after exercise, even with gentle everyday activities, like walking.Leg cramps generally occur in the calves. There are many reasons why leg cramps occur even in healthy, active women. Among the numerous possible causes of leg cramping are: Pregnancy - because of the added fluids in the body and weight pressure

Mineral deficiencies or imbalances (potassium and calcium)

Muscle fatigue from too much exercise or other overuse

Failure to stretch adequately before or after exercising

Dehydration

Certain Medications

Heat Exposure

A thyroid condition may be a contributing factor

To relieve the pain during a cramp, stretch the leg and flex the foot, pointing or pulling the toes upward. Massaging the area is helpful as is applying heat or a cold pack that will help relax the cramping muscle.For prevention, if you exercise regularly, make sure to stretch before and after your workout and to allow time for warming up and cooling down. Be sure to eat a healthy and varied diet that is rich in potassium and calcium. Those are the minerals that are most frequently deficient when leg cramping occurs. You may want to take calcium or vitamin E supplements to ensure that you're getting enough in your diet. Other prevention techniques that may help include: - Drinking at least six to eight glasses of water each day, especially before, during and after exercise - Sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees to keep nerves from being pinched - Stretching your legs for a few minutes before going to bed If leg cramps continue to plague you, talk to your doctor. Finding the source of the cramping is the quickest way to stopping them altogether.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

So Many Loose Ends, So Little Time

As you're winding down towards your due date, it's a perfect time to make sure you have everything organized. Here are a few things to keep in mind: - Make sure you know the quickest route to the hospital and also a back-up route in case of traffic or bad weather. - Have one or two back-ups who can give you a ride to the hospital. - Make sure you are pre-registered at the hospital. - Find out about which entrance to use if you go into labor in the middle of the night, visiting hours, parking, waiting areas for family, who's allowed in the delivery room. - Make sure arrangements for childcare and/or pet care are finalized. - Buy enough food to last for the first two weeks and/or make sure you have help with preparing or picking up meals. - Make sure you know how to install and work the car seat. - If there are any siblings, wrap a small present for them from the new baby. - Have hospital bags and cord blood collection kit (if you decide to do this) packed and ready to go. - Make sure everything is ready for the baby's arrival. Am I missing anything?

Rh? Positive, Negative? Rhogram? What?!

Rh+, Rh-, and Rhogam When I became pregnant with my kiddo#1, I had no idea what Rh+, Rh-, Rhogram was. Of course my many pregnancy books explained all the technical terms. But here, I have tried to explain it as simply as possible. Once the pregnancy test comes back positive, most expectant mothers are anxious to go in for their first prenatal appointment. This doctor appointment will be considerable in length. You will receive a thorough medical exam. Your doctor or midwife will order various tests such as urine analysis, a PAP smear and blood work. The blood test will determine your blood type (A, B, AB, or O) and your Rh status. The blood will also be screened for Rh antibodies. Rh status describes whether or not you have the Rh factor, a protein on the surface of red blood cells. If you don't have the Rh factor, you are considered Rh-negative; if you have it, you are Rh-positive. Most people (about 85 percent) are Rh-positive.This number is higher for certain ethnic populations; 90-95 percent of African Americans are Rh-positive, and for Asians, the figure is 98 to 99 percent. Rh status matters only when you're pregnant and only if you are Rh-negative and the baby's father is Rh-positive. If this is the case there is a chance the baby will have the Rh factor (be Rh-positive). It isn't usually dangerous during a first pregnancy because the immune response isn't as strong.The response will get stronger however, with each future pregnancy. In subsequent pregnancies, if your baby is Rh-positive, your antibodies can cross the placenta and begin to attack your baby's red blood cells. This is known as Rh disease. At one time Rh disease caused problems ranging from severe jaundice and the need for blood transfusions at birth to miscarriages and stillbirths.With the treatments available today, complications from being Rh-negative and carrying an Rh-positive baby pose very little threat. If you are Rh-negative, you will be given an injection of Rh-immune globulin (RhoGAM) between weeks 28 and 29 of your pregnancy. After delivery, if your baby is Rh-positive, you'll be given another shot within 72 hours. These shots almost always prevent the mother from producing antibodies against Rh-positive cells, protecting you for future pregnancies. Consider yourself Rh+/-, Rhogram informed.

Baby Shower Games

I somehow lost this post from the blog --- sorry to those who commented...I lost your comments too! But luckily Haloscan saves them...so I'll just put them in myself. :) Now the jury is still out on baby shower games. Some enjoy games...some don't. But if you are having a shower or throwing a shower, here are some ideas for shower games. Anyone else have more ideas? Clothespin Game - As guests arrive give them a clothespin to pin on their clothes. Throughout the party everyone needs to keep an eye out for anyone who crosses their legs, arms or feet. If someone is caught they have to hand their clothespin over to the person who caught them. At the end of the party whoever has the most clothespins wins. Baby Word Jumble - On a piece of paper scramble up a bunch of words that have to do with a baby (i.e. bottle, crib, diaper etc.) and make copies. Pass one out to guests and have them try to unscramble the words. Make sure you time everyone about one to two minutes depending on how many words you have. Whoever finishes or unscrambles the most words first wins. Baby Word Search - Create a word search with hidden words that have to do with a baby (i.e. bottle, crib, diaper etc.) and make copies. Pass them out to each guest and have them try to find the words. You should time everyone about one to two minutes depending how many words there are. Whoever finishes or finds the most words wins. Name Baby Items - This is an easy game. Pass out a blank sheet of paper to each guest and give them about a minute to write down all the things they can that have to do with a certain subject, such as what should be in a diaper bag, the nursery, etc., or just write down items that have to do with a baby. Whoever has the most items written down wins. Guess the Size of Mom - Have the mom-to-be stand where everyone can take a good look at her belly. Using either toilet paper, ribbon, or string let everyone try and guess how big she is. When everyone is finished measure each piece around her belly. Whoever gets the closest to going all the way around perfectly wins. Guess Who's Baby Pictures - Ask each guest to bring a baby picture of themselves to the party. Mix them up and put them on a piece of cardboard and then have everyone take a look and try and figure out who's who. Without telling each other have them write down their answers. Whoever gets the most correct wins. Drawing a Baby - Give each guest a piece of paper and a felt pen. Have them put the sheet of paper on their head and give them one minute to try and draw a picture of a baby. Whoever drew the picture that looks like the closest thing to a baby wins. Bottle Race - Buy some 4 ounce baby bottles and fill them with juice or soda or water and have your guests try and drink them as fast as they can. Whoever finishes first wins. This is a good game for the guys to play also. Dress the Baby - Get a few baby dolls and some baby clothes. Undress the dolls and have your guests try and dress them as fast as they can in a minute or two. Whoever finishes first or has the most clothes on the doll in the appropriate places when the time is up wins. Find the Safety Pins - Fill a bowl with uncooked rice and mix in some safety pins. Blindfold each guest and have them fish as many safety pins out as they can in one minute. Whoever gets out the most wins. Grab a Handful of Clothespins - Hang clothespins from a hanger or string and have each guest try and grab as many as they can off using only one hand and one try. Whoever grabs the most off the hanger wins. Spoon the Cotton Balls - Play this game one at a time. Give each guest an empty bowl and a tablespoon, have them kneel/sit on the floor and blindfold them. Throw some cotton balls on the floor around them and have them try and pick up as many as they can in one minute. Everyone else can guide them as they're doing it. Whoever picks up the most wins. Guess How Many - Fill a baby bottle with safety pins or candy (i.e. mints, jelly beans, M&M's) and have each guest guess how many are in the bottle. Whoever guesses closest wins. Who Knows the Mother-to-Be Best - Give everyone a blank sheet of paper. Ask a few questions about the mom-to-be (i.e. age, height, shoe size, birthday, children's names). Whoever gets the most right wins. Pregnancy Brain - Put a few things that have to do with a baby on a tray (i.e. bottle, pacifier, baby powder, and diaper). Let everyone look at it for about 30 seconds and then cover the tray. Have them try to write down everything that they saw. Whoever remembers most of the things on the tray wins. Polaroid Keepsakes - You have to have a Polaroid and blank cards. You go around the room and "number" each guest (1,2,3, etc). Each guest then makes a birthday card for the baby for that number birthday and you enclose a pic of the mom and the guest. Nice keepsake for the mom.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Bed Rest

Women in labor often go for walks down hospital corridors because the movement is supposed to help their uterus contract and their cervix dilate. The purpose of bed rest is to do the opposite: to reduce your normal daily activity so that your uterus will be less likely to contract and there will be less pressure on your cervix. Bed rest is something many women are prescribed when their doctors feel it will promote the health of their pregnancies. It is often recommended for preterm labor contractions; multiple gestation (carrying twins, triplets, etc.); placenta previa; cervical incompetence; interuterine growth retardation (IUGR); and a variety of conditions that can make a pregnancy more challenging. To what extent you need to curtail your activities depends on what your doctor thinks is called for by your condition and your baby's. Bed rest may mean an extra hour a day in bed or full time bed rest with no bathroom privileges. You may be on it for a brief period of time, or an extended one. You might be allowed to go to work or you may be advised to work in your home. You may or may not be able to do household chores and errands. You may be able to stand and walk around quite a bit, or not at all. Your doctor will recommend positions and locations to rest in, and any pillows or other aids to your rest that might be helpful. Your doctor will also let you know just how restrictive your bed rest routine will be. If you are put on extended bed rest, you should get a referral from your doctor for a good physical therapist. Extended bed rest can cause muscle pain and weakness, fatigue, backaches, joint pain, dizziness, or insomnia. Physical therapy or a customized exercise plan designed by a physical therapist can soothe and strengthen those muscles, improve your circulation, and increase your joint flexibility. Your doctor might also recommend a massage therapist to reduce muscle pain, spasms, and inflammation if you suffer from any of these as your pregnancy progresses. Bed rest is not necessarily fun. Tips to pass the time? Enlist a relative or friend to keep you company. If you have a laptop, have someone buy an extra long cord to reach you in bed or invest in wifi. Movies, books, magazines, books on tape can all serve as distractions. Friends I know on bedrest have scrapbooked, knitted, ran up the phone bills on the telephone. Start a blog!

Those First Few Days of Baby

I know many readers are reaching their due date soon, so this post is especially dedicated to you. Labor is intense and a true test of your physical and mental strength. But being a parent is also a test of those strengths. Those first few days after birth can be incredibly overwhelming. Your body is recovering. You are exhausted. And your brain is running through every emotion. And there is this tiny baby that is now breathing and living and completely dependent on you. Whew. It is a lot to deal with, but it is manageable. -Make sure you have some outside help. Caregiver, nurses, friends, family, neighbors. Have a list handy with phone numbers. - When holding your baby, use the palm of your hand to support their neck and back and cradle their head with your fingers. The neck is still weak to hold up its head. - Babies need comfort along with feeding and changing and burping. Cuddling with them, talking quietly or singing can calm them and reassure them. - Avoid any jolting noises, sudden movements or abrupt changes in their environment and over stimulation. - You can sponge bathe your baby once every couple of days. Always watch them and be sure to bathe them in a warm and draft free area as babies lose heat quickly. - Change your baby's diaper before and after naps, after meals and often, to avoid diaper rash. Clean all the creases and folds and tuck your baby's diaper below the umbilical cord stump. Keep that cord stump clean and dry. - When they sleep, you should sleep as well. As much as you might want to watch them...you need your rest as well and this is the perfect time! - Fall in love. This is your most important job in your baby's first days. You and your baby will both be trying to get to know each other, to learn each other's cues, preferences, smells and sounds. Enjoy your mother-child courtship. You're building a relationship that will last the rest of your life and longer. For those of you who have already gone through the joys of those first few days, what pieces of advice do you have to give?