Friday, June 10, 2005
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
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
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!
Monday, June 06, 2005
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.