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Why Walking is Important for Pregnant Women?

Pregnant women are very sensitive especially at the early stages of their pregnancy. They can do some task but it must not be heavy because it may be dangerous for the mother and to the baby. Most doctor advice their patients to eat healthy foods and to do some exercise each day. When they say exercise often it doesn’t mean to run or carry heavy tools. They are referring to a light exercise only.
Walking is what they most advice for pregnant women because of its benefits. When a mother starts to do her walking exercise will make her body stay healthy and fit. Losing weight will never be a problem if you walk everyday. You can do this even at the comfort of your home using a treadmill but you must set the pace in a moderate level only. This exercise will help you to easily lose your weight after you have given birth.
Most of the doctors recommend this type of exercise because it won’t cause any harmful effect to the baby as well as the mother. Aside from keeping your body fit it will also improve the structure of your body. If you are not fond off doing this you will experience problems when you deliver the child because walking will help you to shorten your labor. Some of the pregnant women who are not doing their walking exercise each day are having troubles when they are sleeping. It can also help to tone your muscles and increases your energy.
Walking does a lot of benefits to those who are pregnant. Start a mild walking exercise and feel good. However, if you experience any problem when you are doing this exercise it is best to seek for your doctor’s help. Once you decided to have a walk everyday make sure to wear a comfortable clothe and a support bra. It is also necessary to wear footwear that is comfortable to your feet. If you could bring your husband to go with you in your walking exercise that will be great so that in case you’ll experience problem you have someone to help you.
The most important way that you could do before doing your walking exercise is to consult your doctor if you can do it often because it can be dangerous. Most of the women that have done their walking exercise easily recover to their normal size. Walking will not just benefit you but also the baby but it is not enough when you don’t eat healthy foods.

HIV/AIDs And Pregnancy

Also find out what it means if you are pregnant and are a carrier of the HIV/AIDs virus and learn about the many anti-AIDs drugs that you can take to protect your unborn child. Medical advancements have now made it possible for your baby to be born without contracting HIV/AIDs. Read more now.

By arming yourself with knowledge about all of these conditions you can best protect and care for your body and the child you are now carrying.

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Early pregnancy bleeding

You should be reaching the time when the incidence of pregnancy loss falls considerably. Bleeding, as you already can see, does not mean imminent miscarriage, and as long as the ultrasound shows appropriate fetal and placental maturation, I would try not to worry.

Blood does accumulate within the uterus because of the further development of the mucus plug. There would be no problems for the baby unless the bleeding is rapid or extensive, distending the uterus or forcing the blood into the uterine muscle. This might cause preterm labor and would certainly compromise the blood flow to the baby.

If you are Rh negative, make sure you discuss RhoGAM with your provider. Also, you should note the position of the placenta with each ultrasound to make sure it is migrating up and out of the way of the cervix. Ask the ultrasound technician to locate the placenta and be aware of any accumulation of blood near it or under it as in the case of an abruption. An abruption is like a clot and if large enough could interfere with blood flow.

I'm sure you will be followed with serial ultrasounds and if the baby is appropriate for gestational age, you should feel reassured.

I wish for you a term pregnancy and a healthy baby.

pregnancy problems

Spotting during early pregnancy can be very normal. Sometimes it is accompanied by low back pain and cramping in the lower abdomen.

The endometrium builds up a thick bed of blood vessels and as the "blastocyst" implants, some blood is released from the uterine wall. Of course, this is typically how miscarriage begins as well, so it is a good idea to notify your care provider and monitor the spotting. For example, does it increase after exercise, sex, a busy day? If it does, it is best to limit such activities until the spotting goes away.

Bleeding in the second and third trimesters is much more ominous, but first trimester bleeding is very common. Some authors say it happens frequently when the next menses would have been due.

Three Stages of Labor

3 Stages of Labor First Stage of Labor
This is the longest of the stages of childbirth, lasting anywhere from several hours up to days, especially for first-timers. It begins with the cervix dilating, and ends when the cervix is fully dilated at 10 centimeters. Throughout the first stage of labor, contractions will go from being painless and infrequent to much closer and harder.

The first stage of labor is broken down into segments, the first one is early labor and is typically spent at home, where you will be most comfortable. Early labor is the part of labor where the cervix goes from 0-3 centimeters dilated. It can last between 8-12 hours, and contractions will be approximately 15 minutes apart and last around a minute to a minute and a half, until at the end of early labor when contractions will be closer to 5 minutes apart.

During early labor, you may go about normal life as much as possible. Go for a walk, to a movie, eat light meals, and continue to keep hydrated. You probably will not be too uncomfortable, and may not need your support person too much yet. You should make sure your bag is packed, and let people know things are underway, but don’t grab the car keys for awhile yet!
The next phase in early labor is the Active Phase. This phase encompasses the time your cervix dilates from 4-7 centimeters, and your contractions will be about 3 minutes apart, and around 45 seconds in duration. There will most likely be increased bloody show, (blood tinged mucus from the cervix) and more pressure and back discomfort. You probably won’t be so talkative, and will become focused on the birth more now. Your support person will be greatly needed now, to keep you comfortable, and coping with labor. This is when you’ll probably be heading to the hospital. Once you arrive there, expect to put on a gown, give urine and blood specimens and possibly get an IV started. You will probably be on a fetal monitor for a bit as well.

Your support person can help you by reminding you, and helping you into, different positions. Walking the hallways with you can help labor progress, as well. You might take warm baths or showers or try sitting in a rocking chair or using a birthing ball. Your support person can bring you ice chips, drinks if allowed, cool washcloths for your forehead, and massage your back or rub your legs if it’s helpful. Also, just reminding you to use the bathroom regularly can be helpful. Timing contractions, helping you with your breathing and relaxation will keep your birth partner busy now, too.

The last phase of the First Stage of Labor is transition. This is an intense part of labor, but thankfully the shortest, usually only 15 minutes to 2 hours in duration. During transition, your cervix will go from 8-10 centimeters dilated. The contractions will only be a couple minutes apart and may seem nonstop. Chills, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and forgetfulness are common. Your support person will be vital to keep your spirits up, and your motivation supplied. You will need frequent encouragement and reminders that this is the shortest part of labor. Ice chips, cool cloths, massages, short simple commands are what you need most from your helper now. Make sure they know your wishes as communicating with doctors and nurses now will be difficult for you. They need to keep you comfortable, as you may not be able to make simple requests while your body is so incredibly busy gearing up for the delivery. It’s not unusual for your bag of waters to break by this time, and once that happens, the contractions intensify. Your partner can remind you just how close you are getting to holding that precious baby now!

Second Stage of Labor
This is the delivery stage of labor, and begins when you are fully dilated at 10 centimeters and ends with the birth of your baby. It typically lasts around two hours, although every labor is different, and first timers and those who have had epidurals can expect to be on the longer side. The contractions during the second stage of labor often are about 2-5 minutes apart and last about 60-90 seconds. They most likely will feel less intense/painful than those earlier contractions, but will involve an urge to push and more pressure. You will be told when to push, and when to breathe through your contractions. Your partner will need to maintain eye contact and give you clear directions now. Changing positions for pushing, especially those that utilize gravity to aid you, is advisable. Make sure you rest between pushes, as your energy will be tapped and possibly lagging now. As this stage progresses, you will feel a great deal of pressure at rectum and you might have a small movement, but don’t worry. It’s normal and will be cleaned up. You’ll have more and more bloody discharge as well. As the baby crowns, you’ll feel a stinging sensation then numbness. Watch in the mirror to see your progress. Don’t feel bad if baby seems to slip back. That’s normal. At some points in this stage, you’ll be instructed to pant through the contractions, because the vaginal/perineum region is not quite ready and you don’t want it to tear, you want it to stretch, so listen to your support people. Your partner will continue to keep you on track, help you maintain breathing/relaxation and keep your comfortable.

Third Stage of Labor
After your baby is born, the third stage of labor begins. It ends when the placenta separates from the uterus and is pushed through the vagina. It only takes about 15 minutes or less, and you’ll be so distracted by the baby you will hardly notice the process. During this period, any repairs to your vaginal area will be done under local anethesia. It’s normal for you to become chilled and to tremble. You will be watched to make sure the uterus is contracting as it should, and that bleeding is not profuse. Should there be any concern, you’ll be given a medication to help increase the contracting process and stop the bleeding. Nursing also helps naturally with the process, and your baby is probably put to your breast at this point as well. You’ll be so busy enjoying your new little one, and exhausted, that this final stage of labor will be a blip on the screen for you.

Birth Centers for Labor & Delivery

Pregnancy Birth Center OptionsFor those longing for a more family-focused, homey atmosphere for their birth experience, birth centers may be a great option. A birth center emphasizes one-on-one care with limited medical interventions and a staff dedicated to your birth experience being a positive one that you direct.

In a typical birth center, licensed midwives and nurses attend to you throughout your labor. You will birth in a room that is more like a home than a hospital, most even have kitchen facilities. You can be comfortable, move around, labor in a tub, or sit in a rocking chair or on a birthing ball. Whatever makes you feel at ease is encouraged. The setting will usually be quite familiar to you, as you will have had all your prenatal care at the center as well. This eliminates some anxiety for expectant moms.

A birth center birth requires a shorter stay. You can expect to go home within several hours of the birth if you and baby are ready. You will not go home unprepared, however. You will be given plenty of instruction and be checked out thoroughly prior to your discharge. Most likely, a practitioner from the center will check on the baby and you in a couple days. You will get help with any breastfeeding issues, and new baby care questions. And since these are people you’ve been dealing with throughout your pregnancy, you’ll feel at ease in asking questions and getting assistance from them. They won’t be strangers who showed up at the birth and disappeared soon afterwards.
Privacy is also a plus at a birth centers. They don’t have patients crammed into shared or adjoining rooms. You will enjoy a suite that’s more like a hotel than hospital. Every center is a little different. Some birth centers are freestanding establishments, while others are attached to hospitals. A true birth center isn’t just a series of hospital rooms outfitted with rocking chairs and pretty curtains. It’s more about the philosophy of what a birth should be like for a family.

Usually a birth center avoids all unnecessary medical intrusion, including prep prior to birth. There are no enemas, IVs, shaving or fetal monitors that tether you to a bed. Instead, you will wear something comfy, and eat and drink as you feel comfortable doing depending on your stage of labor, and your baby will be monitored by handheld dopplers so you can move around freely. Episiotomies, which are done in nearly 90% of hospital births, typically only occur in 12% of birth center births.

However, the birth center experience isn’t for everyone. You must have a low risk pregnancy. Those with chronic conditions like hypertension, HIV, or diabetes must have a hospital birth. Likewise those carrying twins, breech babies, or women who are obese, cannot have their babies at a birthing center. If prenatal testing indicates that your baby will need special care once born, a birthing center will not be an option for you, either.

Of course, complications can crop up later in pregnancy, or even during labor. Every birth center has a standard plan for transporting patients to a medical facility. However, only about 2% of women from birth centers are transported to a hospital as an emergency.

Most birth centers accept major insurance companies. The staff at a birth center can help you figure out how the costs would be covered in your individual case. Sometimes even with out of network insurance rates, you’ll save money over a hospital birth because of the fewer expensive medical interventions at a center.

When choosing a birth center, start by asking around, talk to friends who’ve recently given birth, and do an internet search. When you’ve found potential centers, set up a time for a tour and or orientation. Most centers have a regular schedule of these to introduce you to their facilities and staff. While there, look at the set up.
  • Do the rooms look nice and comfortable?
  • Is there a place to labor in water?
  • How much privacy will you have during the labor and birth?
  • What kind of staff do they have; midwifes, nurses, and/or doulas?
  • Are they licensed?
  • How many staff members are there?
  • Is the center accredited?
  • What kinds of transportation options exist for emergencies?
  • What kind of prenatal care is offered?
  • How often are women transported to hospitals?
  • What kind of newborn care is available?
  • What type of follow up care is given after the birth?
  • What kind of insurance is accepted?
  • How are financial arrangements handled?

Understanding Routine Tests During Pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, you go to the doctor a lot. You’re poked and prodded and your stomach is measured. You’re weighed at every visit (unfortunately!) and your blood pressure is closely monitored. As the weeks go on, you’ll undergo several tests. Hopefully you have a doctor that will thoroughly explain the reasons for each test and what the results may tell you but if you don’t, here is some information to help you on your pregnancy journey:

Blood Tests

If your health-care provider doesn’t already know the details about your blood, he or she will draw some blood early in the pregnancy. The blood will be taken from a vein on the inside bend of your elbow. This blood will tell a lot about…

  • Your blood group: A, B, or O. This information is important in case a blood transfusion is ever necessary.
  • Your rhesus (Rh) blood group: Your Rh factor may be negative or positive. The difference means nothing unless you are negative and the baby’s father is positive. In this case, your baby may be incompatible with your rhesus blood group, which can cause problems with future pregnancies. Knowing your blood type in advance lets your doctor prevent any trouble from occurring.
  • Hemoglobin levels. Hemoglobin keeps red cells filled with oxygen. Hemoglobin levels often fall during pregnancy, causing anemia; your doctor will want to make sure your levels don’t go too low.
  • Your immunity to rubella (German measles): If you have not built up an immunity to this disease, you will be cautioned to avoid exposure, especially during the first trimester.
  • STDs: Because sexually transmitted diseases can cause many problems for the developing fetus and newborn, your blood will be tested for hepatitis B, HIV, and syphilis.

Glucose Screening

Most expectant moms are given a glucose-screening test between Weeks 24 and 28 of the pregnancy to check for gestational diabetes.

You are at risk for developing gestational diabetes if you fit into any of these categories:

  • You have had gestational diabetes during an earlier pregnancy.
  • You have previously delivered a very large baby.
  • You are greatly overweight (approximately 20 percent over ideal body weight).
  • You are over 35.
  • You have high blood pressure.
  • You have a parent or sibling who is a diabetic.

The test for gestational diabetes is not painful. It is long, however. To take the glucose screening test you will drink a sugar solution (which tastes like a thick, flat cola—I’m not saying it’s delicious, but it’s not all that awful either). An hour later, a blood sample will be taken and the blood sugar level will be checked. If the reading is abnormal (which occurs about 20 percent of the time) you’ll go home and come back at a later date for a diagnostic exam, called a three-hour glucose tolerance test, to verify the results. If you get a high sugar reading on the first test, don’t get too worried. Approximately 85 percent of those with a positive result on this screening test show normal blood sugar levels in the glucose tolerance test.

If you have gestational diabetes, it’s good to find out early. Your doctor can then help you create a diet and exercise program that will keep the problem in check and safeguard the health of your baby. He may also prescribe insulin if necessary. Finding out that you have diabetes is certainly upsetting, but it’s not cause for great alarm. Most women who develop diabetes during pregnancy go on to have normal, healthy babies. Be aware, however, that although gestational diabetes will probably disappear after the birth of the baby, some women ultimately develop full-fledged diabetes within the next 20 years. This is something you’ll have to watch out for at yearly follow—up tests.

Alpha-Fetoprotein Screening Test

Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is a type of protein produced only by a fetus—you do not produce it on your own. Sometime between Weeks 16 and 18, your doctor will take a blood sample from you to check the level of this protein, which can give an indication of the risk of certain birth defects. A high level of AFP might mean trouble; a low level might mean another kind of trouble.

High levels of AFP indicate the possibility of various things: It could mean twins, or that you have been pregnant longer than you thought. It could also mean that the baby has a neural tube defect, such as spina bifida (a deformity of the spinal column) or anencephaly (the absence of all or part of the brain).

Low levels of AFP mean you might be earlier in your pregnancy than you thought, or it can mean that the baby has a birth defect called Down’s syndrome.

The AFP test is just like any other blood test and it is not risky at all—it will not hurt or harm you or your baby. The real risk associated with this test is the same one you’ll find with all screening tests—the results are not absolute and can cause a lot of needless worry. If your test results are low, for example, there is a very, very slim (some say minute) chance that your baby may have Down’s syndrome. To find out for sure, you will need to have further diagnostic testing done, such as amniocentesis. This test is a bit risky and has been known to cause miscarriages in a percentage of cases. A low or high result on an AFP test can put the fear of birth defects in your heart. The risks involved in taking the diagnostic tests add to the fear of miscarriage, as well. If the results come back either too high or too low, deciding what to do next is the most difficult part of the AFP test. The decision is ultimately what to do with a defective fetus. Do you abort it or do you want to know early on what the challenges are that you’ll be facing at birth? There are other choices, such as adoption for Down’s syndrome infants. Parents need to think, before they take an AFP, what they’ll do with the results. You may be advised to take the screening test again, seek a second opinion, and/or meet with a genetic counselor. Whatever your choice, you must always keep in mind that most women who get abnormal screening test results give birth to normal babies.

Sleep Tips for Expecting (pregnant) Moms

If you’re pregnant, you’ve probably found yourself struggling to find a comfortable sleeping position at night. Have you discovered that you cannot sleep in the same position you did before you were pregnant? Why is getting to sleep so difficult now? There are several reasons such as back pain, heart burn, increased belly size and shortness of breath.

The best sleeping positions for pregnant women are called “SOS” which stands for “sleep on side”. The left side is the preferred side to sleep on because blood flow and nutrients from the placenta will travel more easily to the baby when you lay on your left side.

If your problem is back pain, try “SOS” on the left side and place a pillow under your tummy. It should help to relieve the pull on your lower back muscles. If heartburn is bugging you, prop up your upper body with pillows so the acid in your stomach has to fight gravity to make it up your esophagus. Talk to your doctor about which antacid is the best for pregnant women. Propping up your upper body with pillows should also help if you’re short of breath. A lot of women like to use a specially designed maternity pillow to sleep. It cradles the belly and you can prop up a leg on it to alleviate hip pain.

Some of these sleep positions might sound comfortable, but keep in mind that you can move around and switch positions until you find what works for you.

Avoid sleeping on your back. Sleeping on your back can bring on shortness of breath, heartburn, low blood pressure and even hemorrhoids. It also decreases blood flow to the baby because the abdomen puts pressure on your major blood vessels. You also don’t want to try and sleep on your stomach because your stomach won’t permit it! The farther along you are, the more your stomach gets in the way. It can also put a ton of pressure on your back.

If you’re finding that you just cannot get to sleep at night, look at your diet. Are you getting more caffeine than you should be? Avoid acidic foods or greasy foods that cause your body to work harder to digest. Nap during the day. It’s important that you get some good sleep, whether it’s at night or during the day.

Some say that the sleep struggles you have during pregnancy are to prepare you for when your newborn arrives and is up all night. As the mother for a child that woke up every 45 minutes for the first three months, I strongly urge you to try to get as much sleep as you can before baby arrives!

Stressing During Pregnancy may Negatively affect your Newborn

Hey mom's! Take a breather... It might be good for your child.

A recent study issued in the August print issue of the American Journal of Public Health has shown that stress amongst soon-to-be mom's can have an effect on the developing fetus. Mothers who work long, stressful hours at work before going on maternity leave increase the risk of their baby having a low birth weight.

The survey was completed by 8,266 pregnant women concerning their stress levels, and working conditions. It was found that women who work 32 hours a week or more and have high stress levels while in their first trimester have the greatest risk of birth-weight reduction and delivering a small-for-gestational-age baby, or having developmental and behavioral problems with their baby.

The researchers of this study wrote that "Although pregnant women typically reduce their working hours or workloads at the end of the pregnancy, our results suggest that reducing job strain and working hours in the initial stages of pregnancy may be beneficial among women with stressful full-time jobs,". In addition, anxiety and depression can also have this affect on newborns.

So if you are a pregnant working woman relax and take some time off whenever you begin to feel overwhelmed in the workplace. Try attending some prenatal yoga classes to help you relax, or take a warm bubble bath to wash the stress away.
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