Friday, June 10, 2005

Get This Baby Out of Me, Please

Feeling ready to give birth? Like really really ready? Wanting to be pregnant no more? There are some natural methods which "work" for some women. I put that in quotes because it is not guaranteed to work for everyone and 100% of the time. If anything, speak with your doctor of midwive before trying any of these. 1. Enemas- this causes the bowels to contract and could cause the uterus to contract, which will open and efface the cervix. 2. Exercise- Walking, swinging in a swing and general exercise contracts the uterus. 3. Herbs- Black and Blue cohosh, borage oil, castor oil, evening primrose oil, goldenseal, mugwort, and yarrow are uterine stimulants. Evening primrose oil placed directly on the cervix will aid in dilation and effacement. 4. Intercourse- Having sex helps to induce labor because semen contains prostaglandins which helps to dilate and efface the cervix. Orgasm also causes the uterus to contract. 5. Nipple Stimulation- This causes the uterus to contract much the same way an IV Pitocin drip would. Stimulating the nipples causes the release of oxytocin which contracts the uterus. This can be done by someone sucking on the nipple much the way a baby would while nursing or by placing the nipple between the thumb and forefinger and “rolling” it for 10 to 20 minutes at a time every couple of hours. 6. Spicy Food- There are no proven statistics on this one. I would probably just get heartburn. 7. Pineapple- I don't know why. But it's worth a shot!

Men Giving Birth?

This was on the news wires today --- PARIS — Almost 40 per cent of French men told a recent survey that they would like to, science permitting, become pregnant. The poll — conducted by Ipsos and published in the current issue of Children Magazine (Enfants Magazine)— showed that 38 per cent of the more than 500 fathers of children up to seven interviewed by phone said they would like, or would have liked, to be the one to carry their offspring to term. A slightly higher percentage of women respondents liked the idea of their spouses taking on the nine-month job. — AFP There is this crazy website http://malepregnancy.com/ which you should check out. And be amazed and somewhat confused. I almost thought this was real until I checked out Snopes and confirmed it is in fact, not real. But imagine if men could give birth... There are some other neat urban legends related to pregnancy. If you're feeling bored, check it out.

Meet Hannah

Meet Hannah! PregnancyWeekly has a new expectant mother and her name is Hannah! This interactive pregnancy diary follows Hannah through her 40 weeks. Check back each week to read Hannah's diary and don't forget to vote and voice your opinion!

Emily Drinks Ensure

A while ago, I wrote about Ensure shakes. A good friend of mine, Emily, is also pregnant. Being the daring one, I had her send off for the shakes and write a review of them. * Prior to my pregnancy, my husband and I have always enjoyed the high protein Ensure shakes as meal replacements when we're too busy or on the go. So needless to say when someone asked if I wanted to try samples of Ensure Healthy Mom, I jumped at the opportunity. What better way to satisfy my chocolate cravings than with a healthy shake designed with the pregnant mom in mind? Samples of the chocolate and vanilla flavor were mailed to me and I immediately stuck them in the refrigerator to chill. The first thing I noticed about the shakes was the packaging. Ensure Healthy Mom came in nice plastic bottles with an easy twist cap. This was a nice unexpected feature as I was used to the Ensure shakes coming in cans. I also noticed that the shakes were lactose and gluten free. My heart leapt with joy. Being pregnant and lactose intolerant made it challenging for me to get my required daily dose of calcium. I've had to resort to choking down large green calcium tablets in addition to my prenatal vitamin to ensure that both baby and I had the calcium needed to build and maintain strong bones. After cooling in the refrigerator for about an hour, I pulled out the chocolate shake and took a big healthy gulp. Immediately, my chocolate craving for that day was satiated. Yummy. The shake had a very nice and creamy mouth-feel, much like a nice chocolate milk shake from a restaurant. The chocolate flavor was rich and full-bodied and not too sweet. It was overall very very good and refreshing. Finally a chocolate snack that's healthy for the baby but at the same time healthy and satisfying for me. Great flavor with none of the guilt. Returning to the packaging of the shakes, what made the twist cap design nice was the fact that I was able to drink half the shake and save the rest in the refrigerator for another time. I also think that because of the plastic bottle packaging, there was none of the metallic or mineral taste that I had experienced with the canned Ensure shakes. I tried the vanilla flavor the next day. To be very honest, I was a little skeptical. I twisted off the cap and took a sip. As I suspected, it was too sweet. A sticky lingering sweet. It didn't taste like a vanilla milk shake, instead it tasted more like a bad pina colada. It was not as creamy tasting as the chocolate flavor either. After that one sip, I stuck it back in the refrigerator. I couldn't finish it. Later that evening, I pulled it out again to give it a second try. Second time around, I was still overwhelmed by the sweetness. Were they trying to mask something in the drink? I felt like I was drinking melted marshmallows. Overall, I really look forward to seeing the chocolate Ensure Healthy Mom on the supermarket shelves. I'm very sure that I will be drinking them throughout the rest of my pregnancy and while I'm breast feeding. With only 200 calories per bottle, calcium, and other "good-for-you" vitamins, what a better and healthier alternative to other chocolate snacks!

Myths, Dos and Don'ts of Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an interesting cycle. And I don't mean the 9 months of which you are pregnant. But when you work in the world of babies and pregnancy, women continue to get pregnant. And as a matter of history repeating itself, they continue to ask the same questions. I check my stats of this blog every morning and I like to see how people got here. Often, there are questions about hair dying, sushi, cheese, coffee, soda, drinking, smoking --- all questions that have an impact on pregnancy. Can I dye my hair, eat cheese, eat sushi, drink soda and alcohol with a cigarette coming out of my mouth while pregnant? I'm not a doctor. I'm really good at putting bandaids on and giving get well kisses, but there's no certificate on my wall. WebMD has a good article covering all the essential questions about pregnancy. Their Myths, Dos and Dont's During Pregnancy should cover some of the important questions you might have. And I trust WebMD because I know their articles pass through an editorial board and is strongly supported by actual doctors. Happy Friday.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

To Breastfeed or Not To? Lactivists Protest.

By now I'm sure many of you have heard of the story with Barbara Walters stating on "The View" that women who breastfeed in public make her uncomfortable. This in turn, angered many breastfeeding moms who protested this with the idea that it's their right to breastfeed in public. It's funny because the other weekend, I was downtown shopping and I noticed a woman was sitting on a bench breastfeeding her baby. Of course I didn't think anything of it and simply went back to my shoe shopping. But there are some people who take more offense or are more sensitive to this kind of behavior. I'm curious to you readers out there, what do YOU think? Do breastfeeding moms in public make you uncomfortable?

Unique Baby Names

I read this on the BabyNameCenter about unique baby names for your baby: If you do not want to use a popular or traditional name, there are many ways to come up with your own unique name. Some techniques you can use to come up with a unique or unusual name is to use an ethnic or foreign variation of a popular name (Emilia, an Italian form of Emily), using a place name (although there are some popular ones like Dallas or Dakota), using an occupation as a name (Sailor), using a last name or surname as a first name (Kennedy), or using names from nature (Summer, River, Forest, etc). You can also create your own name by adding a diminutive ending to a popular name (-ina, -ette, -ita), adding a prefix before a name (Da-, La-, Ta-, etc), spelling a common name differently, or combining or blending other names. The danger of using a unique name, especially if it is very unusual, is that while it may make your child stand out from the crowd, he may stand out too much and can lead to teasing. I don't know about you, but I'm not sure this could work. If I were to name my child after myself for example, would "Katina" or "Katette" or "Katita" really work? Do you know anyone named after a city (besides Paris Hilton) or after something in nature?

In Case of Emergency

With baby on the way, it doesn't hurt to carry extra medical information with you, just in case. You probably already have your health insurance card; here are a few other things you should add to your purse: -Your doctor's contact information, including any after-hours or emergency numbers -Your hospital's name and address -Social security numbers for you and your partner -Phone numbers of your partner, family members, or friends -A copy of your prenatal blood work, including any special tests before you deliver -A list of any special health alerts (diabetes, high blood pressure, medical allergies, etc.) -Power of attorney information. In case you become incapacitated, be sure you give permission or have a legal counselor who will act on your behalf to make any decisions regarding your health or the health of your child. This is especially important if there is an accident and your immediate family is unavailable to give consent for treatment.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Welcome to the March and April 2006 boards!

I can't believe how belated this is...but a huge and warm welcome to the 2006 (wow!) March and April boards on PregnancyWeekly. Congrats on your pregnancy!

The Stork is Coming to Town

For centuries the stork has been a symbol representing an upcoming birth, and children were told that babies arrive carried by a stork. If you have ever wondered why a white stork was chosen for this honor, here is how the story came about. Storks are family-oriented birds who, in addition to being very gentle with their young, are conscientious homemakers, and they return in pairs to the same nesting spot, year after year. The story states that when a stork flies south for the winter, it visits the watery swamps of Egypt where the souls of unborn children live. Upon returning, it would carry a child back. The regular absence of the stork during migration made it a likely target of this myth.

Baby Lore

According to the following baby lore predictions, some little things can make a big difference in the type of person your baby will become. -Children born with hairy arms will be prosperous. -A navel that sticks out is a sign of luck in life. -Bald-headed babies are destined to be good students. -A child born with a dimpled chin will be wealthy. -If a baby has large ears, it will be a loving and giving person; small ears mean it will be stingy. -Some Arabic cultures believe that an unusually long umbilical cord indicates the child will have an unusually high intellect. -An American superstition says that older parents bear more intelligent children. -A child born with open hands will be generous. Do you know of any baby lore predictions?

The Miracle of Birth

Today in the papers is the amazing story of a woman who gave birth to a beautiful daughter. Sounds like the usual right? Only Stephanie Yarber wasn't able to conceive until receiving an ovary from her twin sister. This is the first sucessful ovary transplant in the United States. In thinking about it --- modern medicine is amazing. The things they are able to do is pretty significant. Woman who are unable to have children have a lot more options now than ever before. Adoption, IVF, Surrogacy and now having reproductive organs transplanted. When it comes to pregnancy and having children, science continues to amaze us. Ultrasounds, newborn screening, cord blood banking. Be thankful that you live in the modern day era. Things can only get better right?

Tums, Rolaids -- Yummy!

I am keeping the antacids industry in business. As a pregnant woman, I chomp on these things like they're candy. Except they don't taste like candy. But you know the phrase, Rolaids spells R-e-l-i-e-f? Yup, I'd agree with that.

Before that first case of pregnancy heartburn hits, make sure you've discussed the options of using over-the-counter antacids with your doctor or midwife. Antacids are the cornerstone of heartburn management and relief and they aim at reducing the acid level in the stomach. They're rated in terms of the ANC (acid neutralizing capacity). And these medications can be very effective in relieving heartburn and acid indigestion during pregnancy.

Most doctors and midwives will instruct their patients to use a non-systemic (not absorbed by the body) antacid to provide relief of symptoms. Non-systemic antacids include over-the-counter medications such as Tums, Rolaids, Maalox and Phillips Milk of Magnesia. These antacids contain magnesium, aluminum or a combination of both.Antacid suspensions (liquid form) usually perform better than powders or tablets. If tablets are your form of choice however, remember to chew them thoroughly to increase their effectiveness.

Another way to increase the effectiveness of any antacid is to take it one hour after meals. If taken on an empty stomach, the gastric emptying time is faster, thus allowing the antacid to stay around for only 20-40 minutes. By taking an antacid one hour after a meal, the effects may last three hours due to a slower gastric emptying time.

Remember, talk to your OB or midwife about which antacid might be appropriate for you during pregnancy. Antacids can have drug interactions and other health implications, so talk to your doctor and get the ok to use them during pregnancy.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Where does the name "Ultrasound" come from anyway?

The secret to getting a great first baby picture is having a full bladder, dim light in a cool room and an experienced ultrasound technician! When talking about the first baby picture we really mean the first picture.

An ultrasound is a prenatal exam done in your doctor, or midwife's office or a hospital, using high frequency sound waves. These sound waves are transmitted through the uterus and bounced off the baby. A computer then translates the echoing sounds into video images that reveal the baby's shape, position and movements.

The television monitor images are called a sonogram. Most parents really look forward to the ultrasound because it gives them a first glimpse at their baby. At the same time, doctors and midwives use the ultrasound to gather a wealth of information about your baby and your pregnancy such as:

  • Dating a pregnancy by checking the baby's size
  • Detecting more than one baby, such as twins or triplets
  • Locating the placenta
  • Measuring the baby's growth
  • Checking for the baby's heartbeat
  • Assessing the amount of amniotic fluid in the uterus
  • Using the results as a guide in the performance of other diagnostic tests such as amniocentesis

Diagnosing certain birth defects An ultrasound can be performed at anytime during pregnancy and there are no specific guidelines for the number of ultrasounds a mother should have during pregnancy. A healthy mother in her 20s might not need any, whereas a mother with gestational diabetes will need regular scans to monitor the size of her baby.

Most doctors and midwives advise having an ultrasound exam between 15 and 22 weeks. This standard second trimester scan will take about 20 minutes. The technician will smear a special conductive jelly on the mother's abdomen and as soon as they place the transducer on her skin, an image of her baby will appear on the screen.

If the ultrasound shows a problem, don't panic. This is easier said than done, but in most cases the mother will be referred to a specialist in diagnostic fetal medicine for a more detailed exam. This more detailed exam may be done with a brand-new type of scan which is a three-dimensional scan. With the three-dimensional scan, a computer rapidly stores a series of images to create a lifelike picture of the baby, and doctors are able to see a cross-section of any part of the body.

Most often the follow-up test shows that the suspicious ultrasound was no cause for concern. If a health problem were to be confirmed, it's important to consider all the options to obtain the best outcome for mother and baby.Is it a boy or a girl? Once the technician verifies ten fingers, ten toes, two arms and two legs for expectant parents, the sex of the baby is often a request.

When an ultrasound is performed between 20-22, weeks there is a 95-99% chance of accuracy in determining the baby's sex. Before the 20-22 week mark, the genitals are too small to identify, and later in pregnancy, the baby is usually too big to get a good shot between the legs. Technicians are instructed not to tell their patients the baby's sex automatically; but if you don't want to know, it's best to let the technician know right away. Try not to draw any conclusion from whether the technician refers to the baby as a he or she. The technician will call the baby one or the other as opposed to using the pronoun "it."

Ultrasound technology has been used for over three decades and the medical community has found no harmful side effects from its use. Make sure to take a blank video tape because many ultrasound machines will make a video of the exam for you to share with family and friends. Don't be surprised if that crazy uncle on your husband's side starts taking friendly wagers of who the baby will look like, just make sure he cuts you in on his winnings!

Healthful Snacks for the Chip-and-Dip Crowd

Any nutritionist worth her salt will recommend eating an apple for carrot sticks if you want a healthy, nutritious snack. But can you imagine serving crudites, tofu kabobs, and rice cakes when "the gang" comes over to watch the big game on television? Even the most health-conscious among us have to admit that there are times when only cookies, chips, crackers, dips, and spreads will do. "Snack foods are a big issue with my clients," admits Connie Diekman, a St. Louis-based registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "They want to know: 'Can I still eat them?' 'How much can I eat?' and 'What else do I have to give up?'" Of course, if you choose to snack on fruit or low-fat yogurt you'll get fiber, calcium and other important nutrients your body needs. "My advice is to reach for these types of foods first and then to munch on your favorite snack food," says Diekman. Naomi Kulakow, coordinator of food labeling education in the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, points out that the new food label gives consumers options to find variety, balance and moderation--the cornerstone of a healthy diet-- in their snack food choices. "Consumers now have the information they need to make informed choices among the foods they like--they now have a tool to help them control portion sizes, and make dietary tradeoffs or substitutes," she says.Another option is products containing olestra, a fat-based substitute for conventional fats." "When choosing snack foods, I advise my clients to figure out what is more important to them--eating a larger portion of the reduced-fat version or eating a smaller amount of the full-fat version," Diekman says. "For instance, if a serving of potato chips is 1 ounce (28 grams), there maybe 16 chips per serving for the full-fat version and 30 for the fat-free version." Diekman adds that many of her clients incorporate their favorite snacks into their diets by giving up other things, such as not putting dressing on their salads. She finds that "most people are interested in a particular product attribute--the number of calories or sodium content--and may base their snack food choices on the one factor." Being Upfront About NutrientsMany well-known brands of snack foods are now available in reduced-fat or reduced-sodium versions so you can steer clear of nutritional land mines without being a party pooper. However, the trick is to find lower calorie, fat or salt versions of your favorite snacks, and to compare the amount that makes up a portion with the amount you normally eat so you can incorporate snack foods into your diet without overdosing on fat and salt. How many tortilla chips make a serving? Which has less sodium per serving, salsa or bean dip? Does a half cup of "party mix" contain more fat than an equal amount of mixed nuts? Thanks to the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990, the answers to such questions can be easily found on virtually all packaged and processed foods. Redesigned in 1994 in accordance with regulations developed jointly by FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the food label now provides more consistent and reliable information about: nutrient claims, such as "reduced sodium" or "low fat" serving size and number of servings in the package or container %Daily Values, which show how much of certain nutrients a serving contributes to your daily diet overall all ingredients, including additives, artificial colors and natural and artificial flavors. "A quick, easy way to spot healthier varieties of cookies, chips and other snack foods, is to be on the lookout for products that carry the nutrient claims 'fat free,' 'low fat,' 'light,' 'low sodium,' 'lightly' salted, or 'reduced' calorie, fat or sodium on the front of the package," suggests Kulakow. "You can trust these claims because they are among a number of descriptive terms that the government has created precise definitions for, and all foods making such nutrient claims must meet stringent criteria," she adds. Real-Life Serving Sizes"Before the new food label regulations went into effect, a serving size was whatever the manufacturer said it was--and many packages did not even list this information," Diekman says. "For instance, people used to assume that a small bag of potato chips contained a single serving. That wasn't always true before, but it's true now. The label also alerts consumers that a bag containing more than 2 ounces (60 g) of chips contains more than one serving." Knowing the number of servings in a package is important because the amount of fat, sodium or calories listed on the label is based on serving size, she adds.You can find the serving sizes and number of servings per package on the Nutrition Facts panel. Serving sizes are listed in both household and metric units--for example, 14 chips (28 g)--and are more uniform across product lines to enable you to compare the nutrient profiles of, say, baked potato chips and fried potato chips. In addition, serving sizes must be based on values from government food consumption surveys, so they bear a closer resemblance to amounts that people typically eat. "But keep in mind that if you eat more or less of a snack food than the serving size listed on the label, you'll have to adjust the fat, sodium and caloric content accordingly," Diekman cautions. That means if the serving size is 14 potato chips and you eat 28, you'll have to take into account that you've munched and crunched twice as much fat, sodium and calories as the amounts listed on the label. Although it seems counterintuitive, keeping track of portion size may be especially important when a food is low- or no-fat. Two recent studies indicated that people who know a food is low in fat tend to either eat more of it, or to eat more throughout the day to compensate."Fat-free is not calorie-free," warns Diekman. "For some reason, people seem to think they can eat as much as they want of a food that is low in fat or fat-free." She points out that if you cut out every ounce of fat from your diet, but consume three times the calories, you will gain weight. Kulakow agrees, and points out that fat-free or low-fat versions of snack foods often contain high amounts of added sugars or sodium to compensate for the loss of flavor that occurs when fat is removed. So she cautions consumers to examine the amounts of these nutrients on fat-free and low-fat products, and to pay close attention to the calories in a single serving to avoid concluding that fat-free is synonymous with low in calories. Some Valuable Information If you zero in on the Amount Per Serving section of the Nutrition Facts panel, you'll be able to tell at a glance whether a snack food is high in calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. "The top part of the food label makes it easy to compare chip A to chip B," says Diekman.The first line lists the number of calories in the food, and the number of calories from fat. For instance, when choosing a dip, the number of calories from fat is a clue that salsa is much lower in fat than sour cream-and-onion. If you need to watch your sodium intake, you can also compare the sodium content of a serving of baked tortilla chips and baked potato chips before deciding which one to toss into your shopping cart. In addition to listing the amounts of fat and other nutrients by weight, the Nutrition Facts panel also gives this information as a percentage of the Daily Value. The %Daily Value is based in part on the government's Dietary Guidelines and is meant to show how a serving of a food fits in with current recommendations for a healthful diet. "Many people only look at the number of grams of fat in an individual food, but have no sense of how it fits into the daily diet. The %Daily Value quickly lets you know this as well as whether a food is high or low in a nutrient, such as fat," says Kulakow.Thus, the %Daily Value enables consumers to go beyond making individual food choices to determine how a particular food affects the overall diet. "For example, if you want a low- or fat-free snack, pretzels are a great choice. But if you eat two servings, you can get as much as 54 percent of the recommended daily sodium intake. Although you're avoiding fat, you're getting a double whammy of salt," Kulakow explains. Diekman comments, "If you've tried baked tortilla chips and find that you don't like them, you may decide instead to limit the amount of fat you get by dipping your fried tortilla chips into salsa instead of guacamole. The %Daily Value portion of the food label allows you to make choices that meet your dietary needs while still eating the foods you enjoy."At the bottom of the Nutrition Facts panel, you'll see that %Daily Values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Even if you eat more or less than 2,000 calories, the %Daily Value can serve as a useful reference to determine whether a food is high or low in a particular nutrient. "People know they should limit the amount of fat in their diets, but they don't always remember the recommendation to keep fat below 30 percent of caloric intake for the day or, if they do remember, don't know how to calculate the amount of fat they should eat in a day to stay within this limit. With the %Daily Value, however, the label does the math for you," Kulakow says.The %Daily Value can also help you distinguish between two similar products, particularly when it involves a comparative nutritional claim, such as reduced fat. "You don't need to know the precise definition of 'low' or 'reduced.' Just look at the %Daily Value and see which is higher or lower in the nutrient you are interested in," Kulakow advises. "You don't have to go to extremes--cutting out all snack foods from your diet or eating only products that are fat-free," she says. "The new food label helps you to eat what you like and still meet nutritional recommendations if you balance your food choices. The key is to use the label to help you make informed choices that fit into your total daily diet. That way education, not deprivation, can help you achieve your dietary goals."Ruth Papazian is a writer in New York City.Smart and EasyToday, it's easier than ever to find a version of your favorite brand or type of snack food that is lower in fat or sodium--or both--than the "regular" version. With a bit of comparison shopping, you'll find snack foods you can enjoy even if you are on a restricted diet because of high blood pressure or another medical problem. These are some of the descriptors to look for on the front of the package: fat-free: less than 0.5 grams (g) of fat per serving low-fat: 3 g or less per serving (if the serving size is 30 g or less or 2 tablespoons or less, no more than 3 g of fat per 50 g of the food) light: one-third fewer calories or half the fat of the "regular" version low-sodium: 140 milligrams (mg) or less per serving (if the serving size is 30 g or less or 2 tablespoons or less, no more than 140 mg of sodium per 50 g of the food) lightly salted: at least 50 percent less sodium per serving than the "regular" version reduced: when describing fat, sodium or calorie content, the food must have at least 25 percent less of these nutrients than the "regular" version.

Eating Well When You're Expecting

Many of you are probably familiar with the book, What to Expect While You're Expecting. Now whether you're a fan of the book or not, this book is one of the most popular and best selling pregnancy books for expectant mothers. Author, Heidi Murkoff has written a new spinoff, Eating Well While You're Expecting. Part book on eating well, it also includes 150 recipes to eat well and fix those pregnancy cravings. While I haven't checked out the book yet, I did catch an interview with Heidi which you can read here. Eating well is important during pregnancy and so I can guess this might be a good buy if you are concerned about gaining weight or eating healthy.

Think You Know About Babies?

Take this quiz on baby animals. I got 9 out of 15. Not bad.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Pregnancy Drano Test

I was looking over my stats on the blog and the search "Is the drano test for predicting the baby's sex right?" This made me laugh because if you think about it, it has a 50/50 chance of being right. Girl or boy. When it comes to tests like those, I wouldn't put much faith in them. Total fun, of course, but with that kind of match up, either they will be totally wrong or right on the money!

Hold the Sugar! Gestational Diabetes and the Glucose Tolerance Test (Glucose Tolerance Test)

Only between 2 and 5% of expectant mothers will develop gestational diabetes, however it is the most common pregnancy complication. The condition will affect expectant mothers who were diabetic before they got pregnant as well as those with no history of diabetes.

Most expectant mothers are routinely given a gestational diabetes screen between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy to check for gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is characterized as a high blood sugar condition that some women get during pregnancy. Unlike other types of diabetes, it usually goes away once the baby is born. This form of diabetes develops when the body can't efficiently produce or process insulin, which is a hormone, made in the pancreas. During pregnancy, your body must produce additional insulin to meet your baby's growing energy needs especially from mid pregnancy on. When the mother's body can't process that additional insulin efficiently, she will most likely develop gestational diabetes.

Just as too much insulin in the mother's system is harmful for the mother, the same goes for baby. The baby needs glucose to grow, but too much can make for an exceptionally large baby. A big baby will obviously make labor and delivery more difficult and it also increases the risk of having to deliver by cesarean section.

The gestational diabetes screen will be performed by your doctor or midwife right in the office. The mother will drink a special sugary liquid called Glucola. It tastes like an extra sweet cola or fruit drink. An hour later, your doctor will take a blood sample and check your blood sugar level. The test comes back reading abnormal about 20% of the time.

If yours comes back as abnormal you will be given a longer but more telling test call the glucose tolerance test (GTT) on another day. The longer GTT test will require that you fast overnight before you drink another sugary drink, and blood tests will be performed several times over the course of the three-hour test time.

Is there any way to determine early on if a mother is at risk? The women who are considered high risk are those who are already diabetic when they become pregnant, or who were diagnosed and treated for gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy or those who may have had larger babies with previous pregnancies. Any expectant mother who falls into a high-risk category will be screened earlier than the 24th week of pregnancy.

Mothers who are at higher risk: - Obese women - Mothers who have had other problems in pregnancy such as previous miscarriages or preeclampsia - Older mothers (the tendency to develop diabetes increases with age) - Women who were large babies when they were born (nine pounds or more) - Women who have a history of diabetes in their family - Women who have recurrent or persistent bladder infections or vaginal yeast infections

Most expectant mothers who develop gestational diabetes will manage it with diet and exercise. Some may have to take a finger prick test several times a day to monitor their blood sugar levels in conjunction with their diet and exercise regime. Most of these mothers will go on to deliver normal, healthy babies. The down side is about 50% of women who develop gestational diabetes will develop full blown diabetes within the next 20 years.

Now, let's talk gestational diabetes management. Good nutrition is an important part of any pregnancy and that is even more critical if you have developed gestational diabetes. Diet and exercise have a direct impact on how your body handles the excess sugar in your system. A well-balanced diet combined with a regimen of moderate exercise will make your pregnancy much easier, and you may end up in better physical shape. The best route to diet management is for your doctor or midwife to refer you to a registered dietician who can create a diet plan for you. The dietician will determine for you the amount of carbohydrates your body and baby will need on a daily basis. The dietician will teach you how to count carbohydrates and distribute them in a manner to promote good nutrition and to keep your energy level up.

Eating tips to control elevated blood sugar: - Eat a variety of foods, distributing the calories and carbohydrates evenly throughout the day. - Don't skip meals!! Even if you're feeling bloated or nausea, eat something. The goal here is to keep your blood sugar at an even keel throughout the day. - High-fiber foods are used more slowly than carbohydrates and this keeps blood sugar levels from going too high after meals. High-fiber foods include whole grain breads and pastas, cereals, dried peas, and beans.

Gestational diabetes is a scary prospect during pregnancy but certainly manageable to where mother and baby will make it through to delivery without any complications whatsoever.

Peeing On A Stick Isn't Always Fun

Home pregnancy tests can be confusing to figure out. And when you are unsure, and stressed, it can be torture to have to read the directions and to wait. But have no fear because home pregnancy tests have become a lot more easier to figure out. Home pregnancy tests detect the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is present in large amounts during pregnancy. This hormone is detected in the blood before it can be detected in the urine—a blood test can even confirm a pregnancy before a missed period. Although signs of pregnancy are usually detected just by changes in a woman’s body, a home pregnancy test can be used to confirm that a woman is pregnant after a missed menstrual period. Although most home pregnancy tests can be done right after a missed period, it is advised to wait a few more days for more accurate results. Even if you get a negative result, it is advised to test again after a week for more precise results. First morning samples usually provide the most accurate results since the urine has been in the bladder overnight. Before beginning prenatal care, a second test is usually done by health professionals in their laboratories. Early verification of pregnancy can be valuable for a number of reasons. It can allow you to start prenatal care early, helping to reduce harm to the fetus in its most vulnerable period. A false-negative result indicates you are not pregnant when you really are. This can be caused by dilute urine or testing during early pregnancy. A false-positive result may be affected by a number of factors, including soap residue in the collection cup; reading the results too early; exposure of the test to heat, light, or vibration; having excess protein or blood in the urine; or having hCG present for other reasons, such as ovarian or placental cancer. Following the directions on the package is always the best method for the most accurate results. This includes using a clock for timing and not skipping any steps. Also, read the directions ahead of time to watch out for any foods or activities to avoid before doing the test.