Archive | August 2012

Four household chores to avoid during pregnancy | BabyCenter

One common side effect of pregnancy is an uncontrollable urge to destroy dust and conquer clutter. While your nesting instinct may be going into overdrive as your due date approaches, it’s also important to take it easy while you’re pregnant. And there are some household chores that just aren’t safe for expecting moms. From finally organizing those closets to getting the nursery just so, find out which tasks are okay and which ones you should skip.

Video

Inside pregnancy: Weeks 21 to 27

A 3D animated look at a baby in the second trimester of pregnancy.

Here are four household chores to avoid during pregnancy:

Why moving furniture isn’t a good idea now

Reasons to have someone else change the cat’s litter box

Why you should avoid using ant or roach spray

Reasons to hold off on refinishing furniture

Also, find out whether it’s safe to:

Use cleaning products during pregnancy

Paint or be around paint fumes

via Four household chores to avoid during pregnancy | BabyCenter.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum : American Pregnancy Association

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

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Hyperemesis gravidarum is a condition characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and electrolyte disturbance. Mild cases are treated with dietary changes, rest and antacids. More severe cases often require a stay in the hospital so that the mother can receive fluid and nutrition through an intravenous line (IV). DO NOT take any medications to solve this problem without first consulting your health care provider.

Why is this happening to me?

The majority of pregnant women experience some type of morning sickness (70 – 80%). Recent studies show that at least 60,000 cases of extreme morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) are reported by those who treated in a hospital but the numbers are expected to be much higher than this since many women are treated at home or by out patient care with their health care provider. It is believed that this severe nausea is caused by a rise in hormone levels; however, the absolute cause is still unknown. They symptoms of HG usually appear between 4-6 weeks of pregnancy and may peak between 9-13 weeks. Most women receive some relief between weeks 14-20, although up to 20% of women may require care for hyperemesis throughout the rest of their pregnancy. There is no known prevention of Hyperemesis gravidarum but you can take comfort in knowing that there are ways to manage it.

Distinguishing between morning sickness and hyperemesis gravidarum:

Morning Sickness: Hyperemesis Gravidarum:

Nausea sometimes accompanied by vomiting Nausea accompanied by severe vomiting

Nausea that subsides at 12 weeks or soon after Nausea that does not subside

Vomiting that does not cause severe dehydration Vomiting that causes severe dehydration

Vomiting that allows you to keep some food down Vomiting that does not allow you to keep any food down

Signs and symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum:

Severe nausea and vomiting

Food aversions

Weight loss of 5% or more of pre-pregnancy weight

Decrease in urination

Dehydration

Headaches

Confusion

Fainting

Jaundice

Extreme fatigue

Low blood pressure

Rapid heart rate

Loss of skin elasticity

Secondary anxiety/depression

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What are the treatments for hyperemesis gravidarum?

In some cases hyperemesis gravidarum is so severe that hospitalization may be required. Hospital treatment may include some or all of the following:

Intravenous fluids (IV) – to restore hydration, electrolytes, vitamins, and nutrients

Tube feeding:

Nasogastric – restores nutrients through a tube passing through the nose and to the stomach

Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy – restores nutrients through a tube passing through the abdomen and to the stomach; requires a surgical procedure

Medications – metoclopramide, antihistamines, and antireflux medications*

Other treatments may include:

Bed Rest –This may provide comfort, but be cautious and aware of the effects of muscle and weight loss due to too much bed rest.

Acupressure – The pressure point to reduce nausea is located at the middle of the inner wrist, three finger lengths away from the crease of the wrist, and between the two tendons. Locate and press firmly, one wrist at a time for three minutes. Sea bands also help with acupressure and can be found at your local drug store.

Herbs – ginger or peppermint

Homeopathic remedies are a non-toxic system of medicines. Do not try to self medicate with homeopathic methods; have a doctor prescribe the proper remedy and dose.

Hypnosis

* When it comes to medications, it is very important that you weigh the risks and the benefits. Some drugs may have adverse effects on you or the development of your baby. Discuss the risks and side effects of each drug with your health care provider.

Where can I get more help?

To get more information on hyperemesis gravidarum you can go to the HER (Hyperemesis Education & Research) Foundation.

GOOD LUCK AND HANG IN THERE, MOMS!

via Hyperemesis Gravidarum : American Pregnancy Association.

Why you might need to say no to pregnancy sex | BabyCenter

Is it okay to have sex during pregnancy?

In most cases, yes. Assuming that you don’t have certain complications, having sex shouldn’t pose a risk to you or your baby. Your baby is surrounded and cushioned by amniotic fluid, and protected by your uterus and a layer of muscles.

Video

Inside pregnancy: Weeks 28 to 37

A 3D animated look at a baby in the third trimester of pregnancy.

In addition, the mucus plug inside your cervix helps guard against infection. (It’s not impenetrable, though, so if you or your partner has sex with other people, you need to use condoms to protect yourself – and your baby – from sexually transmitted infections.)

However, in certain circumstances, you may have to modify your activity or abstain from sex altogether for part or all of your pregnancy.

When would I need to say no to sex?

Your caregiver will tell you to abstain from sex if you have:

Placenta previa

Premature labor in this pregnancy (even if it has stopped)

Unexplained vaginal bleeding or abnormal discharge

Abdominal cramping

Cervical insufficiency

A dilated cervix

Ruptured membranes (your water has broken)

An outbreak of genital herpes or feel one coming on – in you or your partner. If your partner has a history of genital herpes (and you don’t), you’ll need to avoid intercourse and other genital contact for the entire third trimester, even if he has no sores or symptoms. The same applies to receiving oral sex if he has oral herpes (cold sores).

Other sexually transmitted infections (unless you and your partner have been treated and follow-up testing was negative)

There are other situations in which your healthcare practitioner may advise you to not to have sex. For example, if you had a spontaneous preterm birth in a previous pregnancy, she will probably advise you to stop having sex at some point during the second or third trimester and to remain abstinent until you reach 37 weeks.

Whatever your situation, don’t be shy about talking about sex with your practitioner. If she has advised you not to have sex, be sure you understand whether she’s talking specifically about intercourse, or about putting anything in your vagina, or about any activity that may bring you to orgasm. (Orgasm can cause mild uterine contractions, as can nipple stimulation and the prostaglandins in semen.)

And, of course, if you notice any unusual symptoms during or following intercourse, such as pain or discharge, be sure to let your practitioner know. If you can’t have sex, explore other ways of expressing your love: Cuddle, kiss, give each other long massages, and share your feelings for each other.

via Why you might need to say no to pregnancy sex | BabyCenter.

Weaning | Ask Dr. Sears®

Weaning

WEANING: WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Weaning is not a negative term, nor is it something that you do to a child. Weaning is a journey from one relationship to another. The Hebrew word for wean is gamal, meaning “to ripen.” In ancient times, when children were breastfed until two or three years of age, it was a joyous occasion when a child weaned. It meant the child was filled with the basic tools of the earlier stages of development and secure and ready to enter the next stage of development. A child who is weaned before his time may show anger, aggression, habitual tantrum-like behavior, anxious attachment to caregivers, and an inability to form deep and intimate relationships. We call these traits diseases of premature weaning.

While we advocate extended breastfeeding that comes to a natural end when the child is ready, we realize this ideal is not always attainable in every family situation. Breastfeeding is meant to be a pleasurable experience. When one or both members of the mother-infant pair aren’t enjoying it anymore, it’s time to wean. After all, all good things must come to a timely end.

WHEN TO WEAN

In many cultures a baby is breastfed for two or three years. Our western culture is accustomed to viewing breastfeeding in terms of months. This is not the norm the world over. While weaning is a personal decision, nutritionists and physicians advise breastfeeding for at least one year because by that time most infants have outgrown most of their food allergies and will thrive on alternative nourishment. We urge mothers to think in terms of years, not months, when contemplating how long to nurse. Breastfeeding is a long-term investment in your child. You want to give your baby the best emotional, physical, and mental start. Extended breastfeeding is nature’s way of filling your baby’s need for intimacy and appropriate dependency on other people. If these needs are met early on, your child will grow up to be a sensitive and independent adult. We have noticed that children not weaned before their time are:

more independent and self-confident

Gravitate to people rather than things

Are easier to discipline

Experience less anger

Radiate trust

Former Surgeon General, Dr. Antonia Novello, proclaimed: “It’s the lucky baby, I feel, who continues to nurse until he’s two.” A baby’s sucking need lessens sometime between nine months and three years. The age at which this need lessens is individual, yet very few babies are emotionally filled and ready to wean before a year. Have confidence in your intuition. While this beautiful breastfeeding relationship may seem like it will never end, you are laying a solid foundation for the person your child will later become. Cutting corners now will only create problems in the future.

HOW TO WEAN

The key to healthy weaning is doing it gradually. Remember, you are helping your child into a new stage of development, not forcing him into it. This is not the time for you and your husband to go on a week-long vacation to the Bahamas. Weaning by desertion is traumatic and may backfire. The following are suggestions for gradually weaning your child:

Start by skipping a least favorite feeding, such as in the middle of the day. Instead, engage in a fun activity together, such as reading a book or playing a game. Nap and night nursings are favorite feedings and will probably be the last to go.

Minimize situations that induce breastfeeding, such as sitting in a rocking chair or cradling baby. If you put baby in a familiar breastfeeding setting, he will want to breastfeed.

Use the “don’t offer, don’t refuse” method. Don’t go out of your way to remind her to nurse. However, if your child persists, or her behavior deteriorates, this may indicate that breastfeeding is still a need rather than a want. Watch your child and trust your intuition.

Become a moving target. Don’t sit down in one place for any

via Weaning | Ask Dr. Sears®.

Vaginal spotting or bleeding in pregnancy

What is spotting and is it normal?

Spotting is light bleeding from your vagina. It is similar to, but lighter than, a period. The blood varies in colour from red to brown.

It’s only natural to be concerned if you notice a little spotting or bleeding. However, rest assured that in the early weeks of pregnancy it’s common. A quarter of mums-to-be have some sort of bleeding in the first trimester.

You’re a little more likely to have spotting if you’ve had IVF, or similar treatment, to help you conceive. This may be because of the way your babies were conceived. Two embryos may be put into your uterus (womb) and may implant, but then one may not go on to develop. This is called a vanishing twin, and it can trigger some bleeding.

In many pregnancies spotting turns out to be “just one of those things”. However, it can be a sign of something more serious, including miscarriage. This is why it’s always best to take any bleeding seriously and get it checked out.

What’s the most likely cause of bleeding?

In early pregnancy, spotting and bleeding is usually harmless and caused by:

Hormones that control your menstrual cycle triggering bleeding when your period would have been due. This is called breakthrough bleeding. You may have this more than once, around the times you would have had a period if you weren’t pregnant.

The fertilised egg embedding into your uterus lining, causing bleeding. This is called implantation bleeding. This type of light bleeding usually lasts a day or two.

What else can cause bleeding?

There may be other things going on inside your body that are causing some bleeding:

The opening to your uterus (your cervix) may be irritated. Pregnancy hormones can change the surface of the cervix, making it more likely to bleed. You may notice a bit of blood after sex, for instance.

You may have fibroids. These are growths in the lining of your uterus. Don’t worry, they’re not cancerous. Sometimes, the placenta embeds where there is a fibroid.

You may have a small growth on your cervix. This is called a cervical polyp and is harmless.

You may have a cervical or vaginal infection.

You may have an inherited disorder, such as Von Willebrand Disease, which makes it more difficult for your blood to clot.

Unfortunately, there are other causes of bleeding in early pregnancy that have an unhappier outcome. These are miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. Tummy pain and cramps tend to go with both these types of bleeding.

Early miscarriage usually happens when a baby is not developing properly. Bleeding from a miscarriage becomes steadily heavier. Early miscarriage is a heartbreaking event, but sadly, it’s fairly common. Some women even have a miscarriage before they realise they’re pregnant, and assume they’re having a period.

An ectopic pregnancy happens when the fertilised egg implants outside of your uterus. If you have an ectopic pregnancy, the bleeding may keep going and be dark and watery, a bit like prune juice. An ectopic pregnancy can make you seriously ill, so it has to be removed quickly.

A much rarer cause of bleeding is a molar pregnancy. It’s very unlikely that your bleeding is caused by this. It affects only about one in 1,000 pregnancies. A molar pregnancy happens when the embryo doesn’t develop properly, but some of the cells that form the placenta continue to grow and multiply. To protect your health, a molar pregnancy has to be removed as soon as possible.

All these causes of bleeding are to do with what’s going on inside your body. But it is possible for a blow to the outside of your tummy to trigger bleeding. It can be set off by a fall, a car accident, or as the result of a blow to your belly. (Find out more about the issues around domestic violence.)

What should I do if I notice bleeding?

Call your doctor, midwife or hospital for advice, even if the bleeding eventually stops. You may need to go to hospital to see a doctor to find out more about why you’ve had some bleeding.

Your doctor may gently examine inside your vagina to see that all is well or advise you to have an ultrasound scan. A scan can check that your baby’s safely tucked up inside your uterus and rule out an ectopic pregnancy. A vaginal examination and scan are quite safe for you to have. You don’t need to worry about them affecting your pregnancy.

Your doctor may want to do a few routine tests. Your blood or urine may be tested to see what your pregnancy hormone levels are like. A test to check your blood group and rhesus status may also be done.

Most people have blood that is rhesus-positive. If turns out that you are rhesus-negative, you’ll be offered an injection of anti-D immunoglobin. This will stop your body reacting if your baby is rhesus-positive and your bloods mingle at any stage.

Will my baby be safe?

Your baby is likely to be fine, because spotting or light bleeding is generally harmless. It’s only natural for you to worry about it, but rest assured that many pregnancies carry on despite early bleeding problems.

Although bleeding can sometimes be an early sign of miscarriage, you’d develop tummy cramps as well, and the bleeding would get heavier. Spotting or light bleeding often stops on its own. It’s thought that about half of mums-to-be who ask for medical help because of early bleeding go on to have their baby without any problems.

If you have spotting or bleeding in pregnancy, always talk to your doctor or midwife, even if it stops. Try to keep positive. Spotting or bleeding often turns out to be nothing more than a harmless mystery.

via Vaginal spotting or bleeding in pregnancy.

Is it safe to eat deli meats when I’m pregnant? | BabyCenter

Larry Pickering

infectious disease specialist

It’s not safe to eat precooked meats such as deli meats, hot dogs, and pâté when you’re pregnant unless they’re heated until steaming hot. Pregnant women are about 20 times more likely than other healthy adults to get listeriosis, and newborns – not moms – suffer the most serious effects of infection during pregnancy.

Listeria can cross the placental barrier or, more commonly, be transmitted in the birth canal, and it can be devastating for the baby. Every year or so, an outbreak occurs in which miscarriage, preterm delivery, or death occurs because pregnant women ate deli meat or hot dogs contaminated with listeria.

Contamination may result from improper handling, or the bacteria may already be present in the meat. But whatever the reason, unlike other bacteria, listeria grows well at refrigerator temperatures. So while we think we’re being safe by putting cold cuts in the refrigerator, this germ outsmarts us.

You should avoid getting fluid from packages of hot dogs and other meats on other foods, utensils, or food preparation areas, and be sure to wash your hands after handling hot dogs or deli meats. Listeria is also a problem in unpasteurized milk, soft cheeses, and uncooked poultry. While you’re pregnant, you should stay away from cheese made from unpasteurized milk.

via Is it safe to eat deli meats when I’m pregnant? | BabyCenter.

Is it safe to eat cured or smoked foods while I’m pregnant? | BabyCenter

Colette La Salle

R.D.

Smoked or cured meats such as bacon, hot dogs, or ham may be contaminated during processing with bacteria and other organisms, which are destroyed by heat. So while you’re pregnant, it’s advisable to eat them only if they’ve been heated until steaming hot.

You’re more vulnerable to illness when you’re pregnant, because your immune system isn’t as strong is it usually is. In addition, microorganisms can cross the placental barrier, and your baby’s immune system might not be sufficiently mature to fight them off.

Eating properly prepared smoked or cured meats isn’t likely to harm you, but these foods are high in fat and sodium and low in essential nutrients, so it’s wise not to eat too much of them.

John Larsen

ob-gyn, genetics

Smoked and cured foods could be contaminated with dangerous bacteria, so avoid them. Some of the bacteria, especially Listeria and E. coli, can cross the placenta and seriously harm your baby.

via Is it safe to eat cured or smoked foods while I’m pregnant? | BabyCenter.