Friday, February 28, 2014

Keep It Down!

I want to discuss pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH).  It is something that is not necessarily a main concern initially when you are going through your prenatal visits.  It becomes a greater issue typically in the third trimester.  Questions I have been asked recently because of my experience are, “What is gestational hypertension?” “What is pregnancy induced hypertension?” What is preeclampsia?” “How do you get it?” “How can I prevent it?” “How will I know if I have it?”  I am going to answer all these questions and then some.

Hypertension is high blood pressure.  Blood pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against blood vessel walls.  When the force of the blood is above normal (120/80) this is considered high blood pressure.  Pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH) is high blood pressure accompanied by headaches, swelling in the face, feet and hands and protein in your urine.  PIH is also called preeclampsia, and toxemia.

There are certain factors that make you more at risk for PIH.  Being under the age of 20 or over the age of 35, being underweight or overweight, a history of hypertension, a history of PIH, a mother, sister, aunt or grandmother with a history of PIH or hypertension, kidney disease, immune disorder, and expecting multiples are all reasons you may be at higher risk.

If you experience any of the following immediately call your doctor or midwife:
-Swelling in the face, feet and/or hands
-Severe headaches accompanied by spots, dizziness and changes in vision
-Reduced urination or blood in the urine
-Flank or abdominal pain
-Vomiting and nausea
-Decreased fetal movement
These are all symptoms of PIH.

When you go to your prenatal visits your doctor or midwife will most likely take a urine sample and be testing routinely to see if there is any protein in your urine.  At every visit they also will check your blood pressure and weight.  If you have rapid weight gain, a high blood pressure and protein in the urine your doctor will order further testing for you and the baby.  There is question of high blood pressure when the systolic (above number) is between 120 and 139 and the diastolic (below number) is between 80 and 89, this is considered prehypertension.  Sometimes “office anxiety” kicks in and you temporarily have a higher read so in some cases it is best to ask your doctor to do another reading.  I had to get mine read at the beginning and end of my doctor appointments.

If PIH begins to get worse the only cure is to deliver the baby.  I remember being admitted to the hospital at 34 weeks and I was given magnesium to prevent any seizures and medication for the blood pressure.  At this point doctors and midwives need to look and see if the benefits outweigh the risk of using medication.  Make sure you do not hesitate to call your doctor or midwife if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sweet Dreams!

I found that for majority of my pregnancy I did not get much sleep.  Whether I was running to pee in the middle of the night or puke, or just uncomfortable I got maybe 3 hours of sleep a day.  When preparing for such a huge task your body should certainly be well rested.  I remember asking my doctor why I was unable to sleep, if there was an actual reason hormonally.  She told me that it was my bodies way of preparing me for what it would be like when the baby sleep.  Though partially true, also partially false.  You don’t know what your baby will be like once they are here.  For me, I was fortunate enough to have a good sleeper, he has slept great since the day we brought him home from the hospital.  Since the baby is sleeping 12 hours a night and 2 naps during the day, why would I need to be prepared for no sleep?
          I later learned through my studies that the hormonal changes in your body are the biggest reason for the lack of sleep.  The little dickens estrogen is the culprit, along with many other factors like the bulging human in your belly.  Any hormonal shift will cause insomnia.  Along with the hormonal changes, there are many physical changes taking place that are causing quite a bit of discomfort.  Some pregnant women experience leg cramps, difficulty breathing due to the baby’s positioning, frequent urination, constant vomiting, back pain, vivid dreaming (nightmares), anxiety about delivery, and a baby who decides it is time to play in the middle of the night.  These are all super normal with pregnancy but does make getting sleep a bit more difficult.  Not to mention, your partner is probably sleeping like a baby and snoring away, also keeping you awake.
          Some ways of coping with this insomnia are: 
  • Exercise if possible.  If you and your doctor or midwife feel all is well and you are able to continue your daily routine, exercise is a great tool to help you sleep.  Exercise is great to relax you if you are dealing with any anxiety.
  • Try not to nap a whole lot during the day.  I know how difficult this is because of the pregnancy fatigue but you will sleep much better if you avoid that mid day nap.
  • Sleep where it is most comfortable for you.  Some women prefer the couch to their bed.  Whatever makes you most comfortable is key.
  • Invest in a body pillow.  They are sold at at Wal-Mart, Target, most baby stores.  Shop around.  It will truly be a life saver.  It is so hard to get comfy at times and a body pillow will help relieve some aches and discomfort.
  • Do your best to steer clear of caffeine.  I know for you coffee drinkers this one may be difficult, but do your best.
  • Avoid drinking large amounts of liquid a few hours before bed.  Pregnancy is known for making you do laps to the bathroom so you want to do your best to limit what you have so you don’t need to go as much in the middle of the night.
  • Find soothing sounds that you can play for you and your baby.  If nothing else is will help you relax and give your baby something nice to listen to for a bit.
          Hopefully some of these things will help you find some relief and understand why you aren’t sleeping.  Your baby will not be affected by your lack of sleep.  The baby sleeps independent of you.  It is totally normal but if you are feeling unsettles about it contact your doctor or midwife.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Rest Up Momma!

          There are many women that experience bed rest during pregnancy whether for a week or 3 months.  I was one of the “lucky ducklings” that was put on bed rest.  I had a few mommas e-mail me questions about my experience and if I found bed rest really helped.  I am going to start off by telling you that though I was prescribed bed rest, I did take occasional breaks.  Majority of the time I was not up and about, whether laying or sitting I was resting, but I would go for ride in the car just to get out and get some fresh air.  Research has not shown enough evidence that bed rest is beneficial for you and your baby; however, there isn’t research enough to prove that is isn’t.  Due to my experience with bed rest and my medical background, I just want to educate you a bit on bed rest.  I know so many expecting moms are faced with this and my hope is to let you know some pros, cons, risks, and benefits.

          Bed rest may be prescribed for the following reasons:
Pregnancy Induced Hypertension/Preeclampsia/Toxemia - For these conditions the only real cure is delivery.  I experience preeclampsia myself and thankfully had reached 37 weeks and was able to deliver.  If you have not reached the 37 week mark a doctor or midwife may prescribe bedrest so they can keep close watch on you.
Placenta Complications:
Placenta Previa - When a woman has placenta previa this means the placenta has blocked the cervix not allowing the baby to exit.  Placenta previa can correct itself in some cases, but women may be put on bed rest to keep the pressure off the placenta and cervix.
-Placenta Abruption - This is when the placenta begins to separate form the uterine wall prior to delivery.
Cervical Insufficiency -  Cervical insufficiency means your cervix has begun dilating and effacing before your baby is full term and ready for delivery. With this condition there are no normally no symptoms.  Bed rest takes the pressure of your growing baby off the cervix.
Preterm Labor - If you are in preterm labor your body is ready to deliver the baby before the baby has reached full term.  There are many factors that can increase your risk of preterm labor such as:
-Alcohol Abuse
-Drug Abuse
-Health Conditions
- preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, infections, blood clotting disorders
-History of preterm labor
-Having twins or multiple babies
-In vitro pregnancy
If you begin to experience contractions that are 10 minutes apart consistently, backache, increased vaginal pressure, cramping, gush of fluid, or any bleeding call your doctor or midwife because these are possible signs of preterm labor.
          By reducing activity and being put on bed rest there is a hope that the risk of preterm delivery or pregnancy complications will be reduced.  There are risks that can develop while on bed rest such as: blood clots, depression, anxiety, decreased birth-weight of your baby, difficulty delivering due to weakened bones and muscles, and slower recovery after birth.
          If you are prescribed bed rest you want to make sure you are getting a full explanation of what bed rest means to your doctor.  There are different degrees of bed rest so make sure you are asking the appropriate questions to be sure you are getting the proper information.  To keep yourself in the know here are some good questions you could ask your doctor or midwife.  What reasons are you recommending bed rest?  What degree of bed rest is appropriate?  What are the benefits for my baby and me? Do the benefits outweigh the risks?  What are some potential issues from bed rest for my baby and for me?  How long will I be on bed rest?  Can I do normal household chores? Can I take care of my other kids?  Is it best to lie on one side over the other?  Is it alright to continue sexual activity? If so, are certain positions safer than others?  If you don’t feel your questions have been answered to your satisfaction or feel uneasy it can not hurt to get a second opinion.
          Some research has shown that resuming your everyday activity to a lesser degree would be more beneficial for you than strict bed rest.  As I said before there are different degrees of bed rest.  Bed rest for a few hours a day while still resuming other activities to a lesser degree, bed rest which confines you to only activity in the home, and bed rest which means you are in bed only.  It is up to you and your doctor or midwife but make sure you feel comfortable with the decisions made.
           If you are prescribed bedrest and are limited to little or no activity it can be extremely difficult mentally.  It is important to give yourself some ways to pass the time productively, otherwise you will go insane.  I found myself going nuts throughout the day because I was alone and unable to drive or do anything.  Thank God for candy crush!  Have some friends come over and keep you company, even if just for an hour to watch a movie, it will make a big difference.  Use the time to bond with your baby, play music for him or her and talk to your baby, he or she can hear everything and is getting to know you.  Take the time to learn a new hobby like knitting.  Keep a journal of all your experiences, when the baby moves, how the baby reacts to certain things.
In my own experience I found bed rest to be both helpful but also not.  As I said before it is what you and your doctor or midwife decide and what is best for you and your baby.  I hope this helped educate you a bit about bed rest.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Rise Above It

          About two weeks ago I was on Facebook and my husband and I are both friends with people from our childhood.  I stumbled upon a nasty status about pregnancy from someone who was thought to be a friend of ours.  Following this, I went on twitter, to see the same.  Nasty tweets about pregnancy from people who were thought to be our friends.  Every single day I get negativity directed at me because I am only 21 and have a baby.  If I had a nickel for how many times a day I see statuses posted about young mothers and how “wrong” it is, I would be a millionaire.  Not only is there negativity out in the world, but also in the home where it is supposed to be safe.  Families can be the most judgmental and cruel when needed the most.
           I want to write about this because I know how it feels to constantly have negativity thrown your way while trying to find the positives in a situation.  It is a taboo but the reality is, not everyone is thrilled when they find out they are pregnant because it is marred by all the negativity out there, even in families.  I can only speak about my own situation to let you know you are not alone.
When my husband and I found out we were pregnant the first time we were 19.  Naturally, it was not ideal.  In telling our families, mine was a bit upset at first.  Not because we were having a baby, but because good parents know how much having a baby changes your life.  They knew that our lives would be changed forever and they knew all the sacrifice and struggle it would take initially for us to get on your feet.  When we told his family, the response we got was very surface and followed by the statement, “I hope you can do it.”  By the time my family came around to us having a baby, we had a miscarriage.
Six months after our miscarriage, we found out we were pregnant again.  The history behind me and getting pregnant is, well, I should not have been able to, according to 7 different doctors.  After my miscarriage I was told I would not be able to have children and if I did it would be through a painful invasive process.  They were incredibly wrong because not only was I pregnant twice in one year, but somehow managed to rise above those things we like to call birth control.
Naturally we were nervous to tell our families because we had been down this road once before and some of the reactions we got were unsupportive, judgmental, and inconsiderate.  My family was incredibly helpful and supported us no matter what happened.  We weren’t so lucky to have the same from some of his family.  We went to a family party for his family where we were greeted with the statement, “You guys are going to have a big family because you don’t know how to use birth control.”  Not to get into details but such an unnecessary comment when you have no idea what you are talking about.  Birth control doesn’t always work...but I digress.  It was this kind of negativity that lasted through my pregnancy and still continues.
            I am telling you this because I found it so hard to move passed this negativity when even the family was a part of it.  People say to me all the time, “You are throwing your life away.”  At first I would actually question myself, and during the pregnancy I actually felt embarrassed about being seen because I am so young and felt like I had to justify myself.  For any other momma who feels this way you must know that what people say does not matter.  The biggest accomplishment in life is birthing a baby.  I look at it as an honor that I got to bring this gorgeous baby into the world and am blessed with the task of raising him.  
            Every baby is a blessing, no matter what the circumstances from the minute that baby’s heart starts beating you are blessed with caring for this little human.  It is truly one of the most remarkable things in this world.  We have enough things that are negative in this world.  You must take the positives and hold onto them.  No one can take this away from you.  Hold your head strong and be the best mom you can be for your little one.  I find when the negativity comes your way, silence is best because what those people have to say does not matter and you are doing something far greater than they can ever know.  If you were “fortunate” enough to have in-laws like I do, the best advice I can give, is rise above it.  Your family becomes you, your partner, and your new baby.  You owe no response to anyone, including family. 
           As a good friend of mine in a similar situation said, “You will learn, in time, that you don't need to defend yourself or justify your decisions to anyone. Just focus on your baby and make a life for yourself. People will always have something to say. Ignore them, unless their opinion is of value to you. I felt like I had to prove myself to everyone. Turns out the only one I needed to prove anything to was myself. All moms, regardless of their age, are just doing the best they can. There isn't any one "right" way to do things...including the order in which you go to school/get married/have babies. That being said, it doesn’t hurt to go big and prove everyone wrong anyway.”  She could not be more right.  Live your own life and enjoy your beautiful family.

Monday, February 24, 2014

What About Prenatal Depression?

        Morning y’all! I want to talk about something that seems to be swept under the rug, prenatal depression.  Prenatal depression was never mentioned to me through my pregnancy by any doctor or midwife.  I went to the doctor the day my son was born because I hadn’t felt any fetal movement for almost 24 hours, naturally I was a little anxious.  Being sick for 9 months with hyperemisis, little to no sleep and other health issues, 3 weeks away from my due date, you could say I was a little on edge.  I had huge dark circles under my eyes, I was a nervous wreck because no movement was far form the norm for my baby boy, and let’s not forget I had been throwing up everything I ate for 9 months.  I was on the table with my mom in the room getting an exam to see how far dilated I was, and my doctor asks me...”are you depressed?”  Now!? You ask me now when I am 3 weeks away from my due date and have been going through this for 9 months!  Mind you I was high risk so since 16 weeks gestation I had been at the doctor every 2 weeks for my prenatal visits.  Needless to say, I was not happy.  She followed that statement with...”I just want to make sure I am not missing anything.” Depressed I was not, ready for the pregnancy to be over, I was.  I am telling you this because it absolutely floored me that 3 weeks away from my due date after seeing me every 2 weeks for 9 months suffer I was asked this.  I was not upset that I was being asked if I was depressed, I was upset and shocked that I was being asked this so late in the game.  If the doctor wanted to make sure she wasn’t missing anything, she would have asked at the first signs of me seeming off to what she was normally used to, rather than letting it go for 9 months.
I feel it is so important that you be your own advocate and pay close attention to your body.  Talking to your partner about any changes you may be having is really helpful also because an outside perspective can always see things that perhaps you can’t.  There are a few reasons you may be at higher risk for prenatal depression.  It doesn’t necessarily mean you will experience it but some reasons it is a possibility are:
  • complicated pregnancy
-genetic testing
-prior health issue
  • history of depression or anxiety
  • prior miscarriage
  • financial and job concerns
  • relationship problems
  • unplanned pregnancy
If you fit any of the above, you are at risk for prenatal depression.  That is not to say that  you can’t have prenatal depression if these things haven’t happened to you  Also, just because these may describe you doesn’t mean you will have prenatal depression.  Some symptoms to look out for may be:
  • emptiness or sadness
  • irritability
  • lack of sleep
  • too much sleep
  • lack of concentration
  • guilt
  • panic attacks
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms contact your doctor or midwife.  Make sure you talk to them about how you are feeling.  Emotional health is equally as important as your physical health during pregnancy.  Be your own advocate and make sure you express to your doctor or midwife exactly what is going on and how you are feeling.  Depression can be environmental in some cases.  Most of the time it is a biochemical condition so it can be difficult to avoid.  In those instances that the depression is environmental, there are a few ways you can help in preventing prenatal depression, such as:
  • Spend time with your partner
  • Talk to your partner or counselor about any fears or anxiety you may be having
  • Yoga classes or some form of meditation
  • Have a healthy and nutritious diet
  • Try your best to get out of the house
  • Pamper yourself
For women who do have prenatal depression, know you are absolutely not alone.  Make sure you speak to your doctor or midwife right away to work on some ways you can deal with this.  I hope this helps in letting you know it can happen and does for one in eight women.  Stay informed and keep yourself in the loop with what is going on with your own body.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Gender Prediction: Fact Or Fiction!?

As soon as us women find out we are pregnant, the impatience begins.  What am I having? What will he or she look like?  What color eyes will the baby have? What should we name him or her? What will the nursery look like? Can we go shop for baby clothes! I had all of these questions and was too impatient to wait until week 20 to find out the baby’s gender!  Though nothing is 100% until there is a birthday, it is so fun to do some in home gender prediction for you and your partner to pass the time until you have the anatomy ultrasound and can whip out the pink or blue.  There is a 50/50 chance for all those old wives’ tales, but if you are anything like me, the waiting is too much!  I did so much research on all the myths and old wives’ tales that could possibly give me a hint as to what my husband and I would be expecting.  It is fun to try them all out and see how they compare when you finally do find out!  I must be honest, according to all but one of these gender predictors, I would have had a girl, but my baby boy was born on October 30.  Here are some of the gender predictors a few of my girlfriends and I tried out when we were expecting.  Try them out with your partner! Let me know how it goes!
Linea Nigra
Some women get something called the Linea Nigra, which is a dark line that goes from you belly button to your pubic bone.  It is said that if your line reaches towards your ribcage from your pubic bone then you may be having a boy.  If it reaches from belly button to pubic bone, you may be expecting a girl.
If you have heartburn, some say you will be likely to have a baby with a full head of hair, and it is more likely to be a girl.
Fast Or Slow
Some say that if your baby’s heart rate is greater than 140 you can hope for a girl and if it is less than 140 you can hope for a boy.
High Or Low
If your baby bump is low, then you are more likely to be having a boy. If your baby bump is high, then you are more likely to be having a girl.
Looking Good?
How is your hair looking? Dull and thin? Then you could be having a girl.  Is it thicker and vivacious? You could be expecting a boy.  How is your skin? Feeling like you are back in middle school with a face full of zits?  Could be a girl!  Glowing? Never looked better?  Could be a boy! It is said that girl babies suck your beauty out and take it for themselves. HMMM?
Sick Morning, Noon and night?
Hope for a girl if you can’t stop hacking.  According to myth, women who don’t get morning sickness are having a boy. There is a slight truth to this because women who are pregnant with girls seem to produce more Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin hormone Hcg, which is a factor in pregnancy nausea.  Although, my pregnancy experience goes against this 100%.  I had hyperemisis, sick more than morning, noon and night, and I had a baby boy.

Sweet or Salty?
If you’re craving sweets and sugars, hope for a girl!  Salty predicts boy!
Swing the ring!
Get a ring or a needle, thread it about 6 inches long.  Tap it between the index and thumb of your left hand and hold it over the palm of your hand.  It is said to predict the gender by go in a circle or a line.  If the ring or needle start to circle over your palm, this is predicting a girl, if it swings back and forth in a straight line, it is predicting a boy!  I find it is best to have someone else hold the threaded item so that you are not subconsciously making it go in the direction that favors one gender over the other.  You can also hold this threaded ring or needle over your bump and see what way it swings!
Has hubby gained some weight?
If you find your partner has gained your pregnancy weight, it could be a baby girl!
how’s the nose?
If you feel like your nose has decided to take up most of your face, hope for a baby boy.  If you feel that your whole face has altered, hope for a baby girl!
It SEEMS that women who are carrying boys get more headaches than those who are pregnant with girls. Hope for a boy!
grab the key!
If you pick up a key by its long end then this says baby boy is on his way.  If you get it by the short end then this says a girl is coming. 
MAD Blog Awards

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Daddy Dearest...Part 2

I want to continue my post from yesterday.  I was thinking last night and talking to my husband, he read my post and form the daddy stand point thought it was very honest and heart felt.  He suggested I post a gift I made him for his birthday which was 2 weeks prior to our son being born.  I made him a survival kit and survival guide that goes with it.  We read through it and after having the baby can’t believe how funny and true it actually is.  Here is a Daddy Survival Guide for all you dads and how to deal with your partners through the pregnancy/labor/delivery and first few months home.  Disclaimer ** Sense of humor is key.**

During Pregnancy:
  • Food will become her best friend.  If you fail to give her what she wants, be prepared for the consequences.  After you have gone on the hunt to find the best clams zuppa in town, in a snow storm, at 10 o’clock at not even dare to ask her if you can have a bite.  The only bite that will happen is her biting off your finger.
  • Expect to have high stress levels.  Picture yourself working for a car dealership where you must meet a quota and have all the paperwork correct while have 4 different boss’s watching your every move and telling you every single thing you are doing wrong, meanwhile you must make the sale.  Multiply that by 10 and this is the stress you will be feeling during the pregnancy.  This will cause you to eat more and gain weight. So...under no circumstance do you ever and I mean EVER mention how big your partner is getting..even if she looks like a beached whale. 
  • You can absolutely 100% take sex off the table.  It will not happen and the only chance you have of it happening is if she gets so desperate to get the baby out that the only method of induction is to use you.  I assure you, you will not get out of the pregnancy the same way you got in, but since this is probably all you will get...take advantage.  
  • If you thought your partner was a bed hog you no longer have a spot on the bed.  It has been overthrown by the giant body pillow she will be snuggled up to rather than you.  Don’t be offended, this too shall pass.
  • Finally, if you so much as muttered an “owch” you will wish you were in hell because it will be much nicer than the response you will get from your partner.  I don’t care what the situation, do not complain to your partner.  It will not end well...I promise.

During labor and delivery:
  • Take a flask to the hospital, and a Klonopin. 
  • When the doc asks “do you want an epidural?” the doc is not talking to you.
  • If your partner wants drugs during childbirth, go get the doctor. Don’t ask, “Are you sure?”
  • The most surprising thing to come out of your partner during delivery will be the curse words directed at you…don’t take it personal.
  • Always agree with her.

Home from the hospital:

  • During the first week home from the hospital, you will learn to love pasta.
  • Yes, you’re holding the baby wrong. Do it her way.
  • After a day of changing diapers, it will be second nature.
  • Be careful about using the word we. For instance, never say, “We did so good in labor!” She will hurt you…
  • When your mother pulls you aside and tells you that breastfeeding will ruin her breasts, babies need to eat every hour and that if you pick up the baby every time baby cries then baby will never be independent enough to go to sleep away camp, don’t believe her.
  • During the second week home from the hospital, you will learn to love pasta.
  • You’ll be surprised and amazed how well you can function on so little sleep.
  • No one knows why babies need so many clothes, especially since they don’t get out much. It’s one of those things you’ll try figuring out for the rest of your life.  Be prepared to do laundry 10 to 12 times a day..of just baby clothes.
  • It’s perfectly normal to stare at your sleeping baby for two hours. It’s even normal to take a video of your sleeping baby for two hours.
  • Never get ready for work then grab the baby, you will get thrown up on.
  • Things you thought would make you sick but won’t:  baby poop, baby pee, baby puke — and having all of them on your shirt.
  • During the third month home — yup. pasta.
  • Your partner will probably eat more than a sumo wrestler. Don’t try to compete.
  • Sometime after the birth, we will go on a “date.” Once you get in the car, she will start missing the baby. Don’t worry; this doesn’t last forever.
  • Now you know why your friends use really great condoms.
  • After a slew of family visits, you will learn to appreciate the show “Everybody Loves Raymond.” 
  • The only weight you can control is your own, don’t start subtle hints about losing the baby weight…4 years after the baby is born.  
  • Now you’ll know why all those dads at the mall walk around in those ridiculous cotton sweats…it’s all they can afford and all they can muster enough energy to put on.
  • Within six months, you’ll resume some semblance of a sex life. With any luck, it will be with your partner.
  • Of course it changes everything. That’s the whole point, isn’t it?

I say all of this with the upmost respect for dad’s.  After looking back, I can’t believe the torture I put my poor husband through.  Unfortunately, you will find at least half of this to be true.  Be comforted to know it will eventually pass.  I can’t stress enough to keep the lines of communication open between you and your partner, but be diplomatic about it.  Wording is key when dealing with a pregnant woman.  I have gained an appreciation for you dads for dealing with us moms.  I know it isn’t easy, but be thankful that you don’t have to birth the child.  My final word of advice to all you daddy’s:
Enjoy every second of everyday whether it be the pregnancy, delivery, or the first months of having you son or daughter home.  It goes too fast and every moment, no matter how traumatic, is a blessing and will be incredibly worth it in the end.
MAD Blog Awards

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Daddy Dearest!

Today I am going to talk to all you expecting daddies.  It seems that in the midst of all the physical and mental changes your ladies are going through, you are easily forgotten.  Mommas get to feel all the aches, pains, nausea, leg cramps, flutters, kicks, and growth of the baby, this makes it physically real to women.  For men, it doesn’t work that way; however, men do go through changes during the pregnancy whether they realize or not.  There is something I am sure you have heard called “sympathy pains” that dads-to-be experience.  Some of the these sympathy pains dads experience are: anxiety, nausea, mood swings, weight gain, toothaches, backaches, headaches, and leg cramps.
The first sympathy pain I want to talk about it is weight gain.  I am sure your partner may be experiencing those pregnancy naturally you have to eat along side her during those midnight snacks; however, there is a bigger reason for the weight gain you daddies may be experiencing.  Men become very stressed when expecting a baby, whether conscious or subconscious.  Your life is about to change completely and unfortunately men were not blessed with the gift of being able to feel that change physically.  Due to the high stress levels happening to your body, a hormone called cortisol is released.  Cortisol is the “stress hormone”.  It is a tricky little devil because it is what regulates insulin and blood sugar levels in your body.  It is the deviant that causes the weight gain you might be experiencing.  Cortisol increases your appetite and sugar cravings, thus, cause you weight gain.  It binds to receptors in the brain (hypothalamus) and causes you to eat food in high fat and sugar content leading you directly to a bigger size pant.  Know that if this is something you are experiencing, you are not alone.  To counter this, exercise in is the best medicine.  Release those endorphins, reducing your stress, bringing you back to your normal pant size.
If you are feeling extra moody this can also be from the weight gain.  When you gain weight, your body creates more fat tissue, leading your testosterone to become estrogen.  This is the culprit behind and mood swings and nausea you may be having.  Isn’t pregnancy great?
For all those aches and pains you may be having during the pregnancy, be comforted to know that according to studies, they are most likely in your head.  Because of the feelings your partner is having, you physically want to feel this too.  The mind is a very fun thing and can actually trick you into having similar pains as described by your partner.  For women during pregnancy, let’s face it...we are not the most sympathetic to whatever aches and pains your man may think he’s having.  To add to that, men don’t feel needed during the pregnancy...”woe is me” you may be finding yourself in competition (subconsciously) with your partner.
As I said before, exercise is the best thing to get your spirits up.  It would be really nice if you and your partner could come up with a workout plan together, even if it is just taking a simple walk together, it will make a huge difference.  Also, keep the lines of communication open.  If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed talk to your partner about it.  Though us women can be unapproachable at time while pregnant, be sure to express how you are feeling.  I must warn you though, never start with “I don’t feel well” or “My *insert body part here* hurts!” Because you will get your head ripped off.  On that note, it is crucial you tell your partner about the fears and anxiety you may be feeling throughout the pregnancy.  It is totally normal to feel this way! Put the baby clothes, nursery paint chips and infant gear aside and go have a date night.  Do your best to make it about each other.
Hope this helps you mommas deal with your partners while they go through their pregnancy changes, and I hope this helps all you daddies to be on your journey to fatherhood!
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Monday, February 17, 2014

Online Magazine!!

Here it is! My March 2014 magazine! Check it out and subscribe to see what's next!

What to Expect When It Isn't Expected: Helping Mommies Everywhere! March 2014

Nutrition Is The Key!

While pregnant it is so important to get in all the nutrition and vitamins you can. You will see RDA with each, this stands for recommended daily allowance.  Here is a list of all the nutrients and vitamins to keep you and your baby happy and healthy during your pregnancy.

1.) Potassium:
This will help keep your blood pressure on track and help with fluid balance.  The RDA for pregnancy is 4,700 mg.  The best foods that contain potassium are: 

  • spinach
  • lentils
  • sweet potatoes
  • yogurt
  • banana
  • cantaloupe
  • broccoli

2.) Riboflavin:
This will help with your energy levels! Most women get that fatigue which happens within the first and last trimester of pregnancy.  This will help your body use the protein gathered from food and produce energy.  The RDA for pregnant women is 1.4mg.  The best food that contain riboflavin are:

  • Raisin Bran Cereal
  • Yogurt
  • Mushrooms
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Milk(1%)

3.) Vitamin B6:
This is an immune system booster.  It will help produce protein for new cells and help for red blood cells.  The RDA is 1.9 mg.  The bests foods that contain Vitamin B6 are:

  • Beef
  • Chicken Breast
  • Pork Tenderloin
  • Halibut

4.) Vitamin B12:
Another energy booster! This will help your body use fats and carbohydrates productively for energy.  It also helps produce red blood cells. The RDA for pregnancy is 2.6 mcg.  The best foods that contain vitamin B12 are:

  • Salmon
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Tuna (Be careful about mercury)
5.) Vitamin C:
This is a dynamite vitamin. It helps your body ease the absorption of iron, helps in the growth of bones and teeth, and is an immunity kicker.  It also keeps your red blood cells healthy.  The RDA for pregnancy is 85 mg, be careful not to exceed 2,000 mg.  The best foods that contain vitamin C are:
  • Strawberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Broccoli
  • Oranges
  • Tomato

6.) Vitamin D:
This will help you and your baby immensely.  It helps your baby use the calcium to have healthy strong bones and teeth.  It also helps your body absorb calcium to strengthen your bones and teeth.  The RDA for pregnancy is 600 IU (international units), be careful not to exceed 4,000 IU.  Some people are vitamin D deficient, if this is the case it is determined by a blood test and your doctor or mid wife will deal accordingly by putting you on a temporary added dose of vitamin D.  The best ways to get vitamin D are:

  • Sun exposure
  • The yolk of eggs
  • Milk
  • Fortified Orange juice

7.) Calcium:
This will help build your baby’s bones and teeth.  Due to the fact that your baby is taking everything necessary from you, you will need to replenish your body with added calcium to keep your bones and teeth healthy.  It could also help with the prevention of high blood pressure when pregnant.  There is something called gestational hypertension which you need to look out for in pregnancy. The RDA for calcium is 1,000 mg, be careful not to exceed 2,500 mg.  The best ways to get calcium are:
  • Yogurt
  • Milk
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Tofu
  • Cottage cheese
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Okra
  • Soy beans

8.) Choline:
This will benefit both you and your baby.  It helps your baby’s brain development and spinal cord development.  It can help in the prevention of problems with the brain and spinal cord like neural tube defect.  Choline will also help you have strong bones and is another way to help keep the blood pressure down.  The RDA for pregnancy is 450 mg, be careful not to exceed 3,500 mg.  Some foods that include choline are:
  • Eggs
  • Pork tenderloin
  • Ground beef
  • Salmon
  • Chicken
  • Broccoli or cauliflower
9.) Docosahexaenoic Acid
Docosahexaenoic acid you find in most prenatal vitamins, it is known as DHA.  DHA is important to the brain and vision development.  Also, DHA will help you in the future.  It could reduce your risk of heart disease.  The RDA for pregnancy is 300 mg.  Some great foods that contain DHA are:
  • Coho salmon
  • Blue crab
  • Canned tuna
  • Fortified eggs -- 85 mg to 200 mg
**Just a note about eating fish, you want to be careful about the mercury in fish.  Be sure if you are going to eat it, it is fresh.**

10.) Folic Acid
This is what helps prevent miscarriage and premature delivery.  It also helps protect your baby against any spinal cord birth defects during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Some of the most common are, encephalocele, when there is an abnormal in the skull pushing the brain tissue to the skin, anencephaly, underdevelopment of the brain, and spina bifida, an incomplete closure of the spine. It is also great in the prevention of anemia. The RDA for folic acid is 600 mcg.  Some yummy ways to get folic acid into your diet are:
  • Lentils
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Cantaloupe
**If you are planning to get pregnant it would benefit you greatly to consume 400 mcg daily prior to becoming pregnant.**
10.) Iron:
This will help prevent premature delivery and anemia while pregnant.  The RDA for pregnancy is 27 mg.  Be very careful not to exceed 45 mg, you can overdose on iron.  Make sure you are getting iron levels checked with your doctor or midwife.  The best foods that contain iron are:
  • Cheerios
  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • White meat chicken

11.) Zinc
This helps with brain development in your baby.  It will also help you with that awful fatigue you have while pregnant! It is crucial to grow and repair cells and produce energy.  The RDA for pregnancy is 11 mg, be careful not to exceed 40 mg.  The best ways to get zinc into your diet are:

  • Beef
  • Crab
  • Pork
  • White beans
  • Yogurt

These are just some nutrition tips to get in all your vitamins necessary to have a happy and healthy pregnancy.  It is important to keep up on taking your prenatal vitamins because they do contain all of these at a proper amount to guide your baby in his or her growth.
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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Pink Or Blue...Which Team Are You!?

Hey mommas! I have a girlfriend who was talking about ways she can present the sex of the baby to her partner.  I ha so many ideas because for my husband and I, I knew the gender and he didn’t.  I had a big reveal planned for him, until we decided to wait until the birth.  Today I received a message with an awesome story about a couple who had the gender mailed in a seal envelope to (for all you Rhode Islanders) Allie’s Donuts to make a gender reveal cake.  No one knew the gender, not even the momma and daddy!  The cake was made in secret in the back so only the people who made the cake knew what the baby’s gender was.  Such an adorable story and a super fun way to share your baby’s gender!  There are so many ways to share with your partner, family, and children (if you already have) to make the experience of finding out that much more fun and memorable!

To reveal to your family-

  • Make a cake that shares blue or pink once it is cut into.
  • Have blue or pink jello shots to whatever the gender is passed around.
  • Make photo copies of your ultrasound pictures.  You can have everyone color in blue or pink or you could have everyone tape a blue tie or a pink bow to the baby’s ultrasound picture. Once it is all done you can have a blown picture of the ultrasound with the tie or bow on it to reveal.
  • If you decide to have an intimate dinner party for just close family you can hide homemade scratch tickets under the plates.  When the time is right have everyone scratch to reveal the gender.
  • You could have a move night that features 2 movies that have “pink” or “blue” in the title.  For example, invite everyone over and say you will be showing either “Blues Brothers” or “Pretty In Pink”.  When the movie is shown it will reveal the gender to your loved ones.

To reveal to your partner--

  • If you are getting a maternity photoshoot done, you can wrap a blue or pink bow around your baby bump, frame the picture in light blue or light pink and wrap it in white paper and on the front write “He Or She Open To See!”
    If you already have kids and want to include them in the reveal, at your photoshoot you can have them dip their hands in blue or pink paint and put handprints on your baby bump.  When you show the pictures you can have the pictures of your kid(s) dipping in the paint and putting prints on in black and white.  The final picture black and white with just the handprints in color. You can make a little book out of it depending on how many photos were taken.
  • Gift baskets are one of my favorite things to do! Very simple and to the point.  You can make a gift basket including onesies, bibs, a baby blanket, baby bath towels, and anything else you can think of that would be useful for you and your baby and is gender specific.  Stuffing basket with pink or blue shredded tissue is also a good addition.
  • If you are one of those mommas that wants to be surprised and you let your partner know the gender, your partner could send you pink tulips or pink roses or blue hydrangeas or blue carnations.
  • Scavenger hunts are also a very fun way to reveal the gender. You can lead your partner through some of your favorite spots or past dates leaving little clues where the final destination is.  When your partner reaches the final destination you can be waiting with a box decorated with pink and blue and a saying on the outside. When you open the box you can have helium filled balloons, pink or blue, that come out revealing the gender.

To reveal to your child or children-

  • One of my favorite things as a kid was silly string.  You can get pink or blue silly string and have a silly string war with your kids.
  • Another childhood favorite was bubbles, I must admit, I still enjoy playing with bubbles.  They sell colored bubbles and pink or blue are both offered. If it is nice out, you can take the kiddies to the park and play with the bubbles!
  • I find children enjoy helping out mommy and daddy, and the best place to help is in the kitchen! You can bake pink or blue sugar cookies or even just make pink or blue jello!

Just a few things to share your baby’s gender.  For those mommas who decide not to find out that is amazing! I wish I weren’t so curious and a bit more patient.  For those who lack the patience, as I do, I hope this helps!!

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I Didn't Know That!

Hey ya'll! I was reflecting on my pregnancy and answering some questions when I realized there was more that I didn’t know could happen during pregnancy than I did.  Some say “ignorance is bliss” when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth, but if you are anything like me, you need to know everything there is to know.  Mind you, just because something is on here does not mean it will happen to you! In fact, most of what is on the list won’t; however, it is important to educate yourself so it isn’t a complete shock if it does happen to you.  That being said, this is the beautiful and ugly truth about pregnancy.

There are tons of myths out there, pregnant women should avoid exercise, pregnant women can’t eat seafood, all women get a pregnant glow, the list goes on and on about half truths out there about pregnancy.  That’s not to say that what I have to offer is the gospel truth but this will give you an non-sugarcoated glimpse into the pregnant world.  As I said before, and I can’t stress enough, just because there is something written here does not guarantee you will experience it.  Some women have wonderful, beautiful pregnancies without a hiccup.  For those of you that don’t, this is for you.

  • You Might Experience Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy
I had no idea there was even a possibility to get hemorrhoids during pregnancy.  I just always assumed when hearing women say they had them it was from the pushing in delivery.  I was wrong.  You can in fact get hemorrhoids during pregnancy.  It doesn’t happen to all women.  I was fortunate enough to avoid this all together, Thank God! 
For those of you out there, like myself, who don’t even know what hemorrhoids are...they are veins in an around your bum that can swell and protrude.  Doesn’t that sound lovely?
Usually hemorrhoids are due to the increase blood flow and growing uterus putting pressure on the bum.  They can also be caused by constipation, which some women experience because of the prenatal vitamins and iron pills.
The best things you can do to deal with this situation if it were to happen to you is by laying on your side to alleviate the pressure and doing a sitzbath for about 15 minutes everyday.  Using witch hazel wipes and putting it in the water for the sitzbath are also incredibly helpful and soothing.

  • You May Get Acne Or A Body Rash
Due to the change in hormones your sebaceous glands are stimulated which can lead to acne.  Unfortunately, there is not too much you can do because you need to be caeful about what products you use during pregnancy.  Washing your face with a non-abrasive face wash to keep the oils down may be the best route.  Also, estrogen and the skin stretching can lead to itchy skin which is very common in pregnancy.  Using unscented lotions will be good for this and cocoa butter to help with the elasticity of the skin. You should mention this to your doctor or midwife, especially if you feet and palms start to get really itchy because this may be cause to check out the liver.

  • You Might Find A Change To Your Skin Color
With all of the hormones in your body your melanin cells have boosted in production.  Melanin cells are responsible for your skin pigment.  This causes the skin to appear darker.  Your freckles become darker, even your nipples and areolas can darken.  Melanin is also the little dickens that causes the line known as “linea nigra” or the black line.  I did not have a clue this was going to happen, until one day I looked down and saw a dark line on my belly.  This eventually will go away.  Four months after my son was born it is just about disappeared.  Be aware that it can also cause you to have some dark spots called Chloasma.

  • Pregnancy “Glow” Can Also Come With Sweaty Pits! 
The pregnancy “glow” caused by the boost in metabolism and hormones also boost your blood flow.  This can cause an increase in the amount you sweat.

  • You May Get Leg Cramps of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
Leg cramps and RLS are not harmful to your baby in any way.  They may just keep you up at night.  There isn’t too much reasoning for them out there, but they can happen.  The possible reasons are compressed blood vessels and pressure from the weight of your baby. Some suggested ways to counter this would be by stretching, soaking your legs in warm water and massage.  If you are uncomfortable you should mention this to your doctor or midwife, they may want to check and see if the cause is from an iron deficiency.  If you do experience this, the best way to alleviate the pain is by stretching your leg out straight and flexing your foot.

  • Possible Heartburn And Acid Reflux Could Happen
The wonderful hormone progesterone that allows the uterus to relax also causes other muscles like the lower esophageal sphincter to relax causes that lovely called heartburn.  The relaxation of the muscle can cause a back up of acid into your esophagus.  If this does happen to you in your pregnancy be thankful to know if will subside after you have given birth. 

  • You May Experience Constipation Or The Flip Side
Along with the glorious “morning sickness” some mommas experience there is also constipation or going a super amount!  The constipation is caused from the muscles becoming lazy from the extra progesterone flowing.  Most people think if the muscles that cause you to have a bowel movement are relaxed then you will go more.  Quite the contrary, the more relaxed the muscle the less you will be going.  To counter this you can drink a whole bunch of water! If you think you had enough...drink more! You can also increase the fiber in your diet.
On the flip side, some moms experience going more than normal.  This can be due to the position of the baby.  If the baby presses on the muscles necessary for a bowel movement, towards the end as the baby weighs more it will cause you to go more.

  • You Could Experience Something Called “Hyperemisis”
I am sure you have heard of that wonderful thing called “morning sickness” which can happen in the first and sometimes second trimester.  For women, like myself, who don’t seem to be getting any better this could be Hyperemisis.  During my pregnancy, I had “morning sickness” which was swept under the rug in my first trimester because according to my doctor it was a typical pregnancy symptom.  When the “morning sickness” lasted morning, noon, and night and did not seem to get better after the first 5 months we had to take another look.  I was constantly dehydrated and being sent to the hospital for fluids and IV nausea medication.
The best advice I can give from personal experience about this is that you truly know your body best.  When the sickness goes from just a little “morning sickness” to never ending nausea and vomiting do not let your doctor or midwife overlook it.  I wish I had known about this in particular because I was not aware this could be so severe.  
Thankfully for women who do experience this there are some way to help you through.
In home IV’s are wonderful because you get your hydration right from home and don’t have to worry about going to the hospital and waiting in the ER for hours on end just to get some hydration.  They also infuse your IV bag with vitamins that you aren’t able to get, anti-nausea medication and any other medication necessary.

  • Wetting Yourself Is A Definite Possibility
If you find yourself in a fit of laughter, coughing, sneezing or just standing up from sitting down you could wet your pants.  The location of the bladder is conveniently under the uterus.  As the baby grows the pressure is added to the bladder causing some leakage.

  • You Could Have Gas
You could possibly find yourself letting it rip worse than your older brother and his friends.  Yet again we have our lovely and dear friends progesterone and relaxin.  They have relaxed the muscles including the GI muscles causing the digestion to decrease and the gas to increase.  Clear the room boys!

Here are just a few things that POTENTIALLY can happen in your pregnancy.  I hope this helps any questions that you may  have relating to some unknown things! When in doubt contact your doctor or midwife! As I said before, you know your body best and if something doesn’t seem right contact them immediately and make sure you get a thorough explanation!

Remember that everything you endure is in it's own way beautiful.  There is nothing like holding that gorgeous baby in your arms an dyou quickly forget all the things you had to suffer through. It's all for your peanut.

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