Category: Pregnancy

Safe Pregnancy-Foods and other things to avoid

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    It is essential that you take care when preparing foods and avoid doing certain things when pregnant. This is due to your baby’s immune system not being sufficiently developed to fight any infection you may pass to it while in the womb. It is also believed that a woman’s immune system may not function at its peak during pregnancy so it is essential that all necessary precautions be taken.

    Pets
    If you have a pet every time you come into contact with them you should wash your hands thoroughly.Pets can pass on harmful bacteria that may be present in their feces. You may inadvertently become infected with this by touching your mouth or other parts of your body and this may in turn infect your unborn child.

    Cats are of particular importance due to toxoplasmosis found within their feces. If you have a cat that uses a litter tray it is important that someone else carries out the task of emptying the litter tray task, if this is not possible then you should wear rubber gloves and a face mask to prevent any bacteria being passed to you. This also applies to gardening when fecal matter can be found in the soil. Again, wear gloves and wash your hands as soon as possible after finishing.

    Listeria

    This is a bacteria which develops into an illness called listeriosis. The symptoms of this are mild flu, aches and pains, sore throat and high temperatures. In the more serious of cases this can cause septicemia and meningitis in unborn babies. This is the worst case scenario. In some cases many people are not aware they have caught the bacteria as they do not show any of the above symptoms. During pregnancy, mothers have to be aware of certain foods where this bacteria may be prevalent.



    Pain relief during labor

    Giving birth is rightly regarded as an extremely uncomfortable and painful experience for many mothers, and while for some women labor goes quickly and relatively easily, for others it can turn into a real ordeal. Where our grandmothers had to go through the pain barrier more or less unaided, there are quite a few options available for today’s pregnant women that can lessen or even completely remove the pain, allowing the joyfulness of giving birth a much greater chance to be appreciated.

    – Birthing Pool

    Being in water during the early stages of labor can greatly relieve the contraction pains in some women, as the buoyancy takes some of the pressure off the muscles of the lower back. Some women prefer to stay in the water right through to the later stages of labor, and some even choose to complete the birth in a birthing pool.

    Birthing pools have become increasingly popular in recent years, as they are seen as a natural way of reducing pain, in line with today’s widespread preference for keeping things simple and as close to nature as possible.

    – TENS

    A TENS machine is a small electronic device which you attach to your lower back with electrode pads. The machine passes a very slight electric current through the pads, which is intended to interfere with the pain signals, reducing the extent of the discomfort. The level of current can usually be increased during contractions, and then lowered back down as the pain subsides again. Some women find TENS machines to be highly effective, while for others the effect is minimal. The devices can usually be hired from the hospital, but are relatively cheap to buy yourself if you want to be sure that one will be available.

    – Gas and Air

    This is also known as entonox, and is a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen that is breathed in via a pipe whenever the mother-to-be feels the need. It is a very light method of pain relief, and is enough on it’s own for some women, especially in straightforward births. The effect is more of a distraction from the pain than an actual reduction, but doesn’t feature the drawbacks of the two more heavy-duty pain relief drugs below.



    Skin care during pregnancy

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    The most common skin change that most pregnant woman experience is stretch marks. Stretch marks are separations of the outer layers of skin caused by the overstretching of underlying layers.The most commonly affected areas are the hips, abdomen, breasts, thighs and buttocks.

    In pregnancy, heredity plays an important role in determining who will have and will not have stretch marks. If your mother has had them, chances are that you will get them too. There is no sure shot remedy for stretch marks as mostly they fade after delivery. The only way to avoid stretch marks is to prevent them. We recommend the following –

    – Massage vitamin E or olive oil on your abdomen after a shower or bath from the start of your pregnancy. In case you skip a shower or bath, clean the area with a wet cloth and then apply the oil.

    – Regular exercise helps to tone your muscles and keep your skin firm.



    Coping with the first trimester of pregnancy

     

    The first 0-12 weeks of a woman’s pregnancy is called the first trimester. It is during this period that a woman’s body experiences drastic changes. To help you cope with it here are a list of the most common changes and discomforts and how to effectively deal with them.

    Morning sickness and Nausea

    The stretching of the uterine muscles and the pressure on the digestive tract due to the baby growing can cause increased stomach acids, the body reacts to this increase by releasing it through vomiting. As such, a woman’s sense of smell is on hyper drive during pregnancy; this can also increase irritability as well as the probability of vomiting.

    Rejoice, for this doesn’t stay for the whole nine months. Usually the vomiting stops after the third month. And do not worry the vomiting doesn’t hurt the baby.

    To help with morning sickness, try not too eat large meals, instead eat small frequent meals so that the stomach doesn’t get “shocked.” Also, studies show that a diet abundant in complex carbohydrates, like bread and other starchy food, and proteins can help alleviate morning sickness. However, try to avoid eating fatty food since these can aggravate the stomach.

    Breast swelling

    The body, in its preparation for the arrival of the baby, releases progesterone and estrogen in higher levels than usual. These hormones send messages to the breast to produce more milk, this is in preparation for feeding the baby when it comes out.



    Morning Sickness Causes and Remedies

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    Morning sickness is often the first sign of pregnancy and it can start as early as two weeks after conception. Despite the name, the sufferer can feel ill at any time of the day, although an empty stomach is thought to be one of the triggers. This means that mornings are a common time for it to appear.

    Not every pregnant woman will experience morning sickness, although most do to some degree, and it can vary from a feeling of mild nausea or queasiness to feeling truly dreadful and unable to keep any food or liquids down. The severity of the effects seems to be greater in women with a history of migraine or travel sickness.

    It’s not known exactly what causes it, but most doctors agree that the changes in hormone levels that pregnancy triggers are a major factor. One of the effects of these hormones is to change in the way your digestive system works, which can lead to higher levels of acid.

    Another possible cause is that many women experience a heightened sense of taste and smell while pregnant, which can make nausea feel worse when unpleasant or strong odors are around.



    Pregnancy Pillows

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    Someone that has not been pregnant will never understand the discomfort it sometimes brings. Because the extra weight your body is carrying areas of your back, hips, legs, and feet often feel incredible pain and discomfort. However, pregnancy pillows can be used to ease the pain and support the extra weight. Pregnancy pillows can be slept with or used during the day to provide the extra comfort needed.

    Basically, pregnancy pillows are specially designed to fit on certain parts of your body and add support. There are several different types made to fit across your lower back, between your knees or thighs, on your neck, or on your stomach.

    As you progress through the stages of pregnancy, it will be more and more difficult to get comfortable. It will likely get to the point that you have a hard time sleeping because every way you lay causes discomfort. As your stomach gets bigger, sleeping on your back will make you feel as though you can not breathe, and, of course, sleeping on your stomach does not work. For these reasons, you will most likely end up on your side. However, the extra weight makes your hips hurt and you are not able to position yourself very well. Luckily, pregnancy pillows provide relief!

    The ideal position is lying on your side with a pregnancy pillow between your knees/thighs and another behind your back. The pillow between your legs offers support and relieves some of the pressure on your hips, while the pillow behind your back allows



    Staying Fit While Pregnant-What You Should Know

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    Pregnant women can and should exercise in moderation unless there are health factors or risks that prevent them from participating in a fitness program. Exercise should last no more than thirty minutes and should be done several days each week. Exercising has been proven to help pregnant women feel and look better, and also helps to minimize the amount of weight gained during pregnancy.

    Keeping fit during pregnancy can help prevent or avoid problems such as gestational diabetes, a common form of diabetes that sometimes develops during pregnancy. It will also help increase stamina, which will be needed for labor delivery and increase your physical and emotional well being before and after delivery. Staying in shape will also help speed up your recovery after the birth of your baby. Always be sure to consult with your physician before beginning any type of fitness program while you are pregnant.

    Fitness programs that are appropriate for pregnant women include walking, swimming, low or no-impact aerobics (done at a mild pace), yoga and Pilates for as long as you are able to complete the required moves. You should always avoid activities that can put you at a high risk for injury. Forms of sports or exercise that may cause you to be hit in the abdomen or are performed lying flat on your back are considered high risk. This is extremely important after the third month. Another sport you will need to avoid during pregnancy is scuba diving. While this may seem completely harmless, especially since being in the water makes you feel lighter and more agile, it can cause dangerous gas bubbles to form in an unborn child’s circulatory system.



    Bradley and Lamaze Childbirth Method

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    The Bradley method of childbirth was developed in the 1940’s by Dr. Robert A. Bradley, an American Obstetrician. It is based on the philosophy of ‘natural childbirth’ (drug free) and pioneered the involvement of fathers during the birthing process.

    The Lamaze technique was also established in the 1940’s by Dr. Fernand Lamaze, a French Obstetrician. Lamaze was influenced by Soviet childbirth practices and he particularly endorsed the role of midwives during labor. His method began to gain popularity in the USA in the late 1950’s and is now the most commonly used childbirth technique.

    While both the Lamaze and Bradley techniques lead to the same outcome, they differ in a variety of ways. The most significant contrast between these birthing methods is the issue of pain management and how parents confront this challenge. But what do these two methods reveal and how do they differ?

    The Bradley Technique

    The Bradley Method is a twelve week course that teaches parents how to control the pain of childbirth. It advocates natural childbirth philosophies and is also called ‘the husband coached’ birthing technique. It encourages parents to use deep breathing and relaxation exercises as a means of coping with labor.

    The Bradley approach rejects the idea of ‘distraction’ as a way of dealing with childbirth and disputes the use of painkillers and cesarean sections unless absolutely necessary.

    However, classes that focus on the Bradley technique do prepare parents for unexpected complications which may result in a cesarean section or other forms of intervention. His methods also include advice on nutrition and diet for the Mother during her pregnancy, which inevitably has a positive effect on the growth and well being of the fetus. The expectant Mother is always encouraged to take reasonable and regular exercise, so that she is properly conditioned to give birth.

    The Bradley Technique also educates parents about the different stages of labor and teaches them how to react to the Mother’s changing body. The Father is assigned the role of ‘Coach’ during the birthing process, keeping the Mother focused on the task at hand, helping with breathing exercises and giving plenty of reassurance.

    The Lamaze Technique

    The Lamaze Technique uses a Pavlovian response to the pain of childbirth. Lamaze believed that giving birth was a physical exercise that requires both energy and concentration. His method focuses on arming the expectant couple with various tools to