Overweight Pregnancy Risks

Being overweight increases the risk of complications for pregnant women and their babies. The higher a woman’s BMI, the higher the risks. The increasing risks are in relation to miscarriage – the overall risk of miscarriage under 12 weeks is one in five (20%); if you have a BMI over 30, the risk is one in four (25%)

The more overweight you are, the more likely you are to have pregnancy complications. But there are things you can do before and during pregnancy to help you have a healthy baby. Being overweight is based on your pre-pregnancy body mass index (also called BMI). Pre-pregnancy means your BMI before you get pregnant.

If you started off your pregnancy carrying too much weight for your height, you’re far from alone. More than half of pregnant women are overweight or obese. You’re considered overweight if your pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) is between 25 and 29.9. (Your BMI reflects the relationship between your height and weight and is an estimate of body fat.) You’re considered obese if your BMI is 30 or greater.

How much weight to gain if you’re pregnant and overweight or obese

How much to gain during pregnancy depends on your BMI:

  • If your BMI is 25 to 29.9: It’s recommended that you gain between 15 and 25 pounds by the end of your pregnancy or approximately 2 to 3 pounds per month in your second and third trimesters.
  • If your BMI is 30 or higher: You’re advised to gain only 11 to 20 pounds during pregnancy.

Obesity during pregnancy puts you at risk of several serious health problems:

  • Gestational diabetes is diabetes that is first diagnosed during pregnancy. This condition can increase the risk of having a cesarean delivery. Women who have had gestational diabetes also have a higher risk of having diabetes in the future, as do their children. Obese women are screened for gestational diabetes early in pregnancy and also may be screened later in pregnancy as well.
  • Preeclampsia is a high blood pressure disorder that can occur during pregnancy or after pregnancy. It is a serious illness that affects a woman’s entire body. The kidneys and liver may fail. Preeclampsia can lead to seizures, a condition called eclampsia. In rare cases, a stroke can occur. Severe cases need emergency treatment to avoid these complications. The baby may need to be delivered early.
  • Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person stops breathing for short periods during sleep. Sleep apnea is associated with obesity. During pregnancy, sleep apnea not only can cause fatigue but also increases the risk of high blood pressure, preeclampsia, eclampsia, and heart and lung disorders.

Obesity increases the risk of the following problems during pregnancy:

  • Pregnancy loss—Obese women have an increased risk of pregnancy loss (miscarriage) compared with women of normal weight.
  • Birth defects—Babies born to obese women have an increased risk of having birth defects, such as heart defects and neural tube defects.
  • Problems with diagnostic tests—Having too much body fat can make it difficult to see certain problems with the baby’s anatomy on an ultrasound exam. Checking the baby’s heart rate during labor also may be more difficult if you are obese.
  • Macrosomia—In this condition, the baby is larger than normal. This can increase the risk of the baby being injured during birth. For example, the baby’s shoulder can become stuck during delivery. Macrosomia also increases the risk of cesarean delivery. Infants born with too much body fat have a greater chance of being obese later in life.
  • Preterm birth—Problems associated with a woman’s obesity, such as preeclampsia, may lead to a medically indicated preterm birth. This means that the baby is delivered early for a medical reason. Preterm babies are not as fully developed as babies who are born after 39 weeks of pregnancy. As a result, they have an increased risk of short-term and long-term health problems.
  • Stillbirth—The higher the woman’s BMI, the greater the risk of stillbirth.

Can I diet to lose weight during pregnancy? 

Pregnancy is definitely not the time to go on a weight-loss diet: Restricting your food intake is potentially hazardous to you and your developing baby. But many plus-size women do lose weight during pregnancy without dieting.

In the first trimester, it’s common to lose weight as a result of morning sickness. Nausea can diminish your appetite, and the vomiting can cause you to miss out on calories. But even so, your baby will get all the necessary calories.

Overweight women have an extra reserve of calories in stored fat, so as your baby grows, it’s not harmful to maintain or even lose a little weight at first. What’s not okay is losing weight because you’re intentionally cutting calories (and, as a result, limiting nutrients).

Can I still have a healthy pregnancy if I am obese?

Despite the risks, you can have a healthy pregnancy if you are obese. It takes careful management of your weight, attention to diet and exercise, regular prenatal care to monitor for complications, and special considerations for your labor and delivery.

How to stay on track with weight gain if you’re overweight or obese?

Exercising and eating healthy food can help you with your weight gain goals, and both can have a positive impact on your pregnancy, reducing your risk of pregnancy problems like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. They’ll also help you feel good during your pregnancy and beyond.

How does obesity affect labor and delivery?

Overweight and obese women have longer labors than women of normal weight. It can be harder to monitor the baby during labor. For these reasons, obesity during pregnancy increases the likelihood of having a cesarean delivery. If a cesarean delivery is needed, the risks of infection, bleeding, and other complications are greater for an obese woman than for a woman of normal weight.

Eat a healthy pregnancy diet and Exercise regularly Some women do lose weight during pregnancy if they make healthy diet and lifestyle changes, so make sure to check in with your doctor if this happens to you.

 

Resources:

https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Obesity-and-Pregnancy

Dental Care and Pregnancy

It’s important for you to take good care of your teeth and gums while pregnant. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that increase the risk of developing gum disease which, in turn, can affect the health of your developing baby.  

Pregnancy and dental work questions are common for expecting moms. Preventive dental cleanings and annual exams during pregnancy are not only safe but are recommended. The rise in hormone levels during pregnancy causes the gums to swell, bleed, and trap food causing increased irritation to your gums.

Does regular dental work during pregnancy safe?

Dental work while pregnant, such as cavity fillings and crowns, should be treated to reduce the chance of infection. If dental work is done during pregnancy, the second trimester is ideal. Once you reach the third trimester, it may be very difficult to lie on your back for an extended period of time.

The safest course of action is to postpone all unnecessary dental work until after the birth.

However, sometimes emergency dental work, such as a root canal or tooth extraction, is necessary. Elective treatments, such as teeth whitening and other cosmetic procedures, should be postponed until after the birth. It is best to avoid this dental work while pregnant and avoid exposing the developing baby to any risks, even if they are minimal.

Dental problems that commonly arise during pregnancy include:

  • Gingivitis. Thanks to hormonal changes that exaggerate your body’s response to bacteria in your mouth, pregnant women are more likely to develop this mild form of gum disease, which can cause irritation, redness, swelling, bad breath and possible bleeding.
  • Cavities. Between the need to up your caloric intake and those intense food cravings, you’re probably doing more snacking these days—which can lead to cavities. If you’re suffering from nausea and vomiting, the increased acidity in your mouth can also lead to tooth decay.
  • Gum tumors. If you develop round, red lumps along your gum line, you can chalk them up to hormonal changes and possibly a buildup of plaque. These pregnancy tumors, as they’re known, are rare, but tend to develop during your second trimester and are completely benign, usually fading away after the baby is born.
  • Enamel erosion. If your morning sickness is causing you to vomit frequently, the acids can begin to erode your tooth enamel, increasing your risk of tooth decay.

Dental Care While Pregnant

  • Tell your dentist (and doctor) if you are pregnant. Routine dental care can be done at any time during pregnancy.  Any urgent procedure can be done, as well. All elective dental procedures, however, should be postponed until after the delivery. Before you have your dental appointment, check with your obstetrician to see if she has any special precautions/instructions for you.
  • Tell your dentist the names and dosages of all drugs you are taking – including medications and prenatal vitamins prescribed by your doctor – as well as any specific medical advice your doctor has given you. Your dentist may need to alter your dental treatment plan based on this information.
  • Dental X-rays can be done during pregnancy. Your dentist will use extreme caution to safeguard you and your babies, such as shielding your abdomen and thyroid.  Advances in technology have made X-rays much safer today than in past decades.
  • Don’t skip your dental checkup appointment simply because you are pregnant. Now more than any other time, regular periodontal (gum) exams are very important because pregnancy causes hormonal changes that put you at increased risk for periodontal disease and for tender gums that bleed easily – a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. Pay particular attention to any changes in your gums during pregnancy. If tenderness, bleeding or gum swelling occurs at any time during your pregnancy, talk with your dentist or periodontist as soon as possible.
  • Follow good oral hygiene practices to prevent and/or reduce oral health problems.

After You’ve Had Your Baby

If you experienced any gum problems during your pregnancy, see your dentist soon after delivery to have your entire mouth examined and periodontal health evaluated.

 

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Resources:

http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/dental-work-and-pregnancy/

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF READING WHILE PREGNANT

Many studies show that reading (particularly from the mother’s relaxing voice) causes a baby’s fetal heart rate to drop. Also, the bond that is experienced between parent and child, later on, can start to occur while Mama or Papa read to the baby prenatally. Participation in reading is also a great way for other family members to connect with the baby.

Reading is one of the most vital talents a child needs in order to be successful in life. Books are one’s best friend and the early we inculcate this habit, it is excellent for the child.  Reading while pregnancy not only increases the knowledge but also helps in making the bond between the mother and the baby stronger. It also triggers better concentration, a good attention span, distressing the mother of her tensions, resulting in a smarter baby.

How Does Reading During Pregnancy Increase Baby’s Intelligence?

A baby’s nerve pathways in the ears and neural system in the brain start developing as early as the twenty-sixth week, which is when the baby will begin responding to sounds and voices regularly. Introducing music and words while your baby is still growing inside of you may increase your baby’s intelligence; many expectant parents can start talking to their babies in the womb, reading to them and playing soothing music to generate a response from their developing brains. Reading provides auditory stimulation for babies’ growing brains and can acclimate children to the sounds of their parents’ voices.

Why is it important to read to your baby?

As stated earlier reading comes with its own pack of benefits for a baby when stories, rhymes, and lullabies are read to her. However, a few points can be taken to notice which help in illustrating the importance of reading to a baby. Given below are few of them:

  • Reading to a baby helps in grasping the rare words thus increasing vocabulary.
  • Reading helps foster good attention span and also in memorizing.
  • Babies can easily understand the meanings of the word.
  • With reading, the closeness between the mother and the baby increases.
  • Babies already get used to reading and this love helps them with their learnings in the future.
  • Reading at an early age helps in brain development and speech improvement.
  • When rhymes and stories are read to a baby in a repetitive manner, it makes the process interactive and full of fun, making it easy for the baby to remember.

When should I start reading to my baby in the womb?

About six months along, a baby is already quite familiar with the sounds of the womb, from the mother’s heartbeat to digestive sounds. From outside the womb, sounds are extremely clear, although about 10 decibels lower. From week 25 forward, a baby’s primary connection and information to the outside world come in the form of sound. By this point, the soothing, rhythmic sounds of a simple story should be quite audible, although the tones and cadences of the voice are more important than enunciation of the actual words.  

Benefits of Reading to a Baby in the Womb?

As per researches, reading to your unborn is loaded with benefits for the mother-child duo. Some of the benefits are discussed as under:

  • Reduction of Maternal Stress and Anxiety- Reading to the baby helps in reducing prenatal stress and worries. A study shows that when a mother reads to a baby in the womb, the heart rate of the baby seems to drop and she calms down and shows less movement stating she is enjoying the read.
  • Improves Bonding Behaviour –The bond between mother and the baby becomes stronger by reading to the unborn baby as the baby starts getting familiar with the mother’s voice and can identify soft and loud tones of music. She feels more relaxed when soft music is played as it helps in resting due to its comforting quality just like a lullaby, whereas if the baby is sleepy and loud music is played, it in turns kicks as it dislikes it. Even the father by just participating in a reading activity, singing or talking to the baby will help in making the bond stronger.
  • Enhanced Concentration and Attention Span- Once the mother starts reading to the baby, they pick up the melody of the song, even though the words do not mean anything to them but they start identifying the voice of the mother. The child also tends to listen to it for a longer time resulting in increased attention span and concentration levels. Repetitive words also get stored in the memory of the unborn and this helps them further when they start their schooling.

Best Types of Books to Read During Pregnancy

Even though your baby can’t understand the real meaning behind the words he hears, he can pick up the rhythm and tone of the sentences and will respond to how the mother responds to whatever she reads. Reading thrillers or horror stories can raise stress levels in the pregnant mother, which can trigger an anxiety response in the baby. Selecting soothing, lighthearted and fun reading material is the best way to entertain your baby during pregnancy, and children’s books are a good resource for short stories that may benefit both the mother and the infant. Since babies typically have short attention spans, dividing reading sessions into small segments hold their attention long enough to derive the full benefit from this experience.

Thus, it can be seen that with an early start of reading to the baby far-reaching results are achieved. So it is best to kick start early for making the mother-baby bond stronger and helping the mother destress from maternal worries and stress. Finally to let the mother enjoy gradually along with the baby, relax, be calm and enjoy the enjoyable moments of parenting leading to strong and firm relationships and a happy, secure and comfortable future that beckons.

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Resources:

https://www.beingtheparent.com/does-reading-books-during-pregnancy-make-the-child-smart/

https://www.modernmom.com/617de90a-48c3-11e3-87f1-bc764e04a41e.html

https://www.greenchildmagazine.com/reading-to-unborn-baby/

How to Prepare For a Cesarean Section

A Cesarean section, or C-section, is a procedure during which a baby is surgically delivered. This procedure is carried out when a vaginal birth isn’t possible when vaginal birth will put the mother’s or baby’s life at risk, A C-section is a form of surgery during which a doctor cuts through your belly and uterus to enable your baby to be born. In some circumstances, a c-section is scheduled in advance. In others, the surgery is needed due to an unforeseen complication. If you or your baby is in imminent danger, you’ll have an emergency c-section. Otherwise, it’s called an unplanned section.

The Preparation

If you are planning for a scheduled C-section or want to prepare yourself in the event an emergency C-section is necessary, you should be aware of the details of the procedure, get the necessary testing done, and create a hospital plan with your doctor. In most cases, a scheduled C-section will be done under a local anesthetic, so you will be awake during the operation. An epidural is administered in the spine to numb any feeling.

 

Why would I have an emergency c-section?

You may need to have an emergency c-section if problems arise that make continuing labor dangerous to you or your baby. These include the following:

  • Your baby’s heart rate gives your practitioner cause for concern, and she decides that your baby can’t withstand continued labor or induction.
  • The umbilical cord slips through your cervix (a prolapsed cord). If that happens, your baby needs to be delivered immediately because a prolapsed cord can cut off his oxygen supply.
  • Your placenta starts to separate from your uterine wall (placental abruption), which means your baby won’t get enough oxygen unless he’s delivered right away.
  • You’re attempting vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) and there’s concern about a uterine rupture at the site of your previous c-section incision.

 Why would I have a scheduled c-section?

In some cases, your doctor will recommend a c-section instead of a vaginal delivery. For example, you may require a planned c-section if:

  • You’ve had a previous cesarean with a “classical” vertical uterine incision (this is relatively rare) or more than one previous c-section. Both of these significantly increase the risk that your uterus will rupture during a vaginal delivery.
  • NOTE: If you’ve had only one previous c-section, with a horizontal uterine incision, you may be a good candidate for vaginal birth after cesarean or VBAC. (Note that the type of scar on your belly may not match the one on your uterus.) Or you may choose to have an elective c-section.
  • You’ve had some other kind of invasive uterine surgery, such as a myomectomy (the surgical removal of fibroids), which increases the risk that your uterus will rupture during a vaginal delivery.
  • You’re carrying more than one baby. (You might be able to deliver twins vaginally, or you may need a cesarean, depending on factors like how far along in the pregnancy you are when delivering and the positions of the twins.) The more babies you are carrying the more likely it is you’ll need a c-section.
  • Your baby is expected to be very large (a condition known as macrosomia). Your doctor is particularly likely to recommend a c-section in this case if you’re diabetic or you had a previous baby who suffered serious trauma during vaginal birth.
  • Your baby is in a breech or transverse position. (In some cases, such as a twin pregnancy in which the first baby is head down but the second baby is breech, the breech baby may be delivered vaginally.)
  • You’re near full-term and have placenta previa (when the placenta is so low in the uterus that it covers the cervix).
  • You have an obstruction, such as a large fibroid, that would make vaginal delivery difficult or impossible.
  • The baby has a known malformation or abnormality that would make a vaginal birth risky, such as some cases of open neural tube defects.
  • You’re HIV-positive, and blood tests done near the end of pregnancy show that you have a high viral load.

Should you be worried about a scheduled C-section?

Doctors will only advise a Caesarean section as a way to minimize the risks to you or your baby, which could arise from natural birth. A C-section is usually a more quick and controlled way of your baby being born.

If you are advised to have a scheduled C-section, it is likely because your doctor sees it as the safest way for your little one to be born. However, as with all major surgeries, it does carry some risks. You are more prone to bleeding and you can experience the side effects of an epidural, which your doctor will discuss with you.

If you have already made a birth plan before the decision to have a C-section was made, then it is still a good idea to take it with you to the hospital. Surgery can be a very scary thing but knowledge is power. If you know what is going to happen, you’ll feel much more confident about it.

What to pack for a scheduled C-section

Take note that you’ll be staying in the hospital a little longer after a scheduled C-section — most likely 2-3 days — and baby will be staying with you.

You’ll want to bring comfortable clothing and slippers. Go for items that are easy to maneuver if you are breastfeeding.

Also, remember that you won’t be able to get out of bed for the first 8-12 hours after surgery, while the epidural wears off. So make sure that the clothes you’ll bring are easy to put on and take off, for easier changing when needed.

Don’t worry too much about what to bring though, as you can always ask your partner or family members to bring anything you forget!

 What are the risks of having a c-section?

A c-section is major abdominal surgery, so it’s riskier than a vaginal delivery. Moms who have c-sections are more likely to have an infection, excessive bleeding, blood clots, more postpartum pain, a longer hospital stay, and a significantly longer recovery. Injuries to the bladder or bowel, although very rare, are also more common. It’s also possible that you’ll have a reaction to the medications or to the anesthesia.

Studies have found that babies born by elective c-section before 39 weeks are more likely to have breathing problems than babies who are delivered vaginally or by emergency c-section.

Not all c-sections can – or should – be prevented. In some situations, a c-section is necessary for the well-being of the mother, the baby, or both. Ask your practitioner exactly why he is recommending a c-section. Talk about the possible risks and advantages for you and your baby in your particular situation.

If you’re due to give birth to your little one by a scheduled C-section, don’t panic. Relax and think positive thoughts — you and your baby can do it!

 

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Resources:

https://www.wikihow.com/Prepare-for-a-Cesarean-Section

https://sg.theasianparent.com/how-to-plan-for-a-scheduled-c-section/

Sleep Apnea linked to Alzheimer’s Disease

A new study has demonstrated at the upcoming American Academy of Neurology’s 71st Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, reveals a connection between sleep apnea and increased levels of a toxic brain protein commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease. This is because they exhibit higher levels of amyloid beta, the chief component of the amyloid plaques that characterize the disease.

Sleep apnea is very common among the elderly, and many aren’t aware they have it,” said senior researcher Dr. Ricardo Osorio. An estimated 30 percent to 80 percent of the elderly suffer from sleep apnea, depending on how it’s defined.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when you have shallow breaths during sleep due to a collapse of the airway. This may cause the sleeper to wake up repeatedly during the night whenever breathing becomes difficult, resulting in disturbed sleep patterns. Several studies have suggested that sleep disturbances might contribute to amyloid deposits and accelerate cognitive decline in those at risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a fatal condition in which memory deteriorates over time. Alzheimer’s affects some 5 million older Americans, and as the millions of baby boomers age, that number will only grow.

Mental deterioration accompanying sleep apnea has been noted frequently. Because sleep apnea increases with age, such deficits raise the possibility that dementia in the elderly could be related to sleep apnea. This chronic lack of deep sleep could, over many years, increase a person’s risk for developing Alzheimer’s due to the brain’s inability to effectively wash out all the toxic proteins. We hypothesized that higher levels of sleep apnea would be present in AD patients. Our results indicated no significant differences between AD patients and controls but those few AD patients who desaturated during sleep experienced morning confusion. The findings imply that AD and sleep apnea are two separate conditions which may still interact in the aged.

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

References:

https://newatlas.com/sleep-apnea-alzheimers-dementia/58707/ https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320024.php

Water Birth: Benefits and Risks

Water birth is the process of giving birth in a tub of warm water. Some women choose to labor in the water and get out for delivery. Other women decide to stay in the water for the delivery as well. It is believed that water birth results in a more relaxed, less painful experience for mothers.

During a water birth, you’ll be submerged in water, usually in a stationary or inflatable tub, and you’ll birth your baby in the water. This may be a good option if you want the benefits of hydrotherapy, along with the benefits of delivering in a hospital. The theory behind water birth is that since the baby has already been in the amniotic fluid sac for nine months, birthing in a similar environment is gentler for the baby and less stressful for the mother. Ask your hospital beforehand if they allow women to labor in water.

It can take place in a hospital, a birthing center, or at home. A doctor or midwife helps you through it. Beyond location, more and more women are choosing water births as the way their babies enter the world.

What are the benefits of water births?

Benefits for Mother:

  • Warm water is soothing, comforting, relaxing.
  • may help shorten the duration of labor.
  • Speed up your labor
  • Laboring in water may also decrease your need for epidurals or other spinal pain relief and more oxygen for the baby.
  • Labor in water may also have a lower cesarean section rate
  • The water seems to reduce stress-related hormones, allowing the mother’s body to produce endorphins which serve as pain-inhibitors.
  • As the laboring woman relaxes physically, she is able to relax mentally with a greater ability to focus on the birth process.
  • Water provides a greater sense of privacy, it can reduce inhibitions, anxiety, and fears.
  • Floating in water helps you move around more easily than in bed.

Benefits for Baby:

  • Provides an environment similar to the amniotic sac.
  • Eases the stress of birth, thus increasing reassurance and sense of security.

What are the risks to the mother and baby?

  • You or your baby could get an infection.
  • chance of umbilical cord damage
  • trouble regulating the baby’s body temperature
  • Your baby could breathe in bath water.
  • Your baby could have seizures or not be able to breathe.
  • respiratory distress for baby

Water birthing may not be recommended if you have any of the following complications or symptoms:

  • maternal blood or skin infection
  • fever of 100.4 F (38°C) or higher
  • excessive vaginal bleeding
  • Difficulty tracking fetal heartbeat, or need for continuous tracing
  • history of shoulder dystocia
  • Sedation
  • carrying multiples

What situations are not ideal for water birth?

  • If your baby is breech: Although water birth has been done with bottom or feet first presentations, you should discuss this risk thoroughly with your healthcare provider.
  • If you are having multiples: Although water births have been successful around the world with twin births, you should discuss this risk thoroughly with your doctor.
  • If preterm labor is expected: If a baby is preterm (two weeks or more prior to due date), water birth is not recommended.
  • If there is severe meconium: Mild to moderate meconium is fairly normal. Since meconium floats to the surface in a tub, your health care provider will watch for it and remove it immediately, or help you out of the tub. Meconium usually washes off the face of the baby and even comes out of the nose and mouth while the baby is still under water. If the water is stained and birth is imminent, the woman can lift her pelvis out of the water to birth the infant.
  • If you have toxemia or preeclampsia: You should thoroughly discuss this risk with your healthcare provider.

Some science suggests that the water may lower chances of severe vaginal tearing. And it may improve blood flow to the uterus. But study results about these points aren’t clear.

You may also reach out to friends or family who has had previous water births to learn more about their experiences. What’s most important is choosing a birthing plan that’s right for you and your baby.

If you’re planning a water birth, it’s also a good idea to come up with a backup plan in case you have complications as your pregnancy progresses, or during labor.

There isn’t enough formal evidence to support the benefits or risks of labor and delivery while submerged in water. Much of what you will read is anecdotal. More research is needed to assess the benefits for both mother and baby.

 

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Prolonged Labor Management

What is Prolonged Labor?

Prolonged labor is also referred to as “failure to progress.” It occurs when labor goes on for about 18 to 24 hours after regular contractions begin. For twins, a labor that goes on for 16 hours is considered prolonged. New mothers, having their first baby, are expected to be in labor for a longer period of time, so prolonged labor may not be declared until 22 to 24 hours, whereas for the second- or third-time mothers may be considered prolonged after 16 to 18 hours. A prolonged latent phase happens during the first stage of labor. It can be exhausting and emotionally draining, but rarely leads to complications.

What Causes Prolonged Labor?

There are many potential causes of experiencing prolonged labor. During the latent phase, slow effacement of the cervix can cause labor time to increase. A baby that is very large may cause labor to take longer because it cannot move through the birth canal. The birthing canal is too small, or the woman’s pelvis is too small, delivery can take longer or fail to progress.

A breech position with the baby’s feet or bottom positioned to emerge first may also cause prolonged labor. Carrying multiples may also lead to prolonged labor, as might weak uterine contractions, or an incorrect position of the baby. Research has also linked prolonged labor or failure to progress to psychological factors, such as worry, stress, or fear. Additionally, certain pain medications can slow or weaken your contractions.

Treating Prolonged Labor

If labor is taking an unusually long time, a woman’s doctor or nurses will monitor her carefully for the timing of contractions and their strength. They will also monitor the fetal heart rate and the mother’s vital signs. If the prolonged labor continues, contractions seem too weak, or the health of the mother or baby is at risk, there are steps that can be taken to speed delivery.

If the baby is already in the birth canal, the doctor or midwife may use special tools called forceps or a vacuum device to help pull the baby out through the vagina.  If the baby has not progressed that far, the mother may need to take a medication, called Pitocin, to speed up and strengthen contractions. This medicine speeds up contractions and makes them stronger. If after your doctor feels like you are contracting enough and the labor is still stalled, you may need a C-section or if the baby is too big, or the medicine does not speed up delivery, you will also need a C-section. The Cesarean section may be the answer to several of the issues that cause prolonged labor. Nearly a third of C-sections are performed due to failure to progress. A Cesarean birth might be the best choice to avoid further complications.

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Pregnancy After 35: Things You Need to Know

Age matters in pregnancy. The older you are, the more challenges you may face. Many women over 35 have normal pregnancies and normal deliveries, but statistics show that more problems arise when you’re an older mother.

Older mothers are usually offered more tests during pregnancy, including amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling. Age makes a difference in the delivery room too. Cesarean delivery rates go up in the over-35 set for a variety of reasons.

Getting Pregnant After 35 Is Not Impossible

Age ain’t nothing but a number. But whenever the topic of conceiving after 35 comes up, having a healthy pregnancy, it can matter. It can’t be that difficult.  No expert claims it’s impossible. It’s just more likely you may have trouble conceiving. But rest assured, most healthy women who get pregnant after age 35 and even into their 40s have healthy babies.

Your Partner’s Age Matters More if You’re Older Than 35

If your partner is five years older than you, and you’re over 35, your odds for conception are lower. In that same study cited above, the one that looked at conception rates on a woman’s most fertile days, women ages 35 to 39 with similarly aged partners had a conception rate of 29 percent. But, if their male partner was five years older, their success rate dropped to 18 percent.

Again, these rates don’t take into consideration miscarriage rates, and miscarriage and birth defect rates do increase with male and female age. Male age does matter.

If You Don’t Get Pregnant Within Six Months

If you have not conceived after 6 months, contact your health care provider to discuss the possibility of fertility testing. You may decide to consult a fertility specialist at this time.

It’s better to get fertility testing done after just six months of trying if you’re 35 or older. If there is a fertility problem found, you will be more likely to have success in treating it sooner than later. If there are no obvious fertility problems, your doctor may suggest you continue trying to conceive naturally for another few months and come back if you still don’t succeed. Consider a supplement containing myo-inositol to help improve egg quality.

Healthy Living Can Help Boost Your Odds of Conception

Though tempting, don’t assume your age is the only reason you’re not conceiving quickly. When you’re over 35, you already have your age possibly working against you. It just makes good sense to be sure the factors you can control are working for you.

Eating healthier, dropping fertility-busting habits, and maintaining a healthy weight may not only help you conceive faster than someone who doesn’t live a healthy lifestyle but can also boost your odds for fertility treatment success if you do need treatments.

Don’t forget about mind-body therapies as well. While research hasn’t yet found a strong link between mind-body therapies like yoga and fertility, there’s a possibility these stress-reducing activities may help.

This applies to men and women, by the way. It takes two to make a baby. And yes, diet and lifestyle habits can impact male and female fertility.

How Can I Increase My Chances of Having a Healthy Baby?

  • Preconception checkups and counseling. You and your health care provider can review your medical history, current medications and overall lifestyle. This gives you the opportunity to address any concerns about trying to conceive after age 35.
  • Get early and regular prenatal care. The first 8 weeks of your pregnancy are very important to your baby’s development. Early and regular prenatal care can increase your chances of having a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby. Prenatal care includes screenings, regular exams, pregnancy and childbirth education, and counseling and support.
  • Take prenatal vitamins. All women of childbearing age should take a daily prenatal vitamin containing at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. Getting enough folic acid every day before and during the first 3 months of pregnancy can help prevent defects involving a baby’s brain and spinal cord. Taking folic acid adds an important level of protection for older women, who have a higher risk of having a baby with birth defects. Some prenatal vitamins have 800-1,000 mcg of folic acid. This is still safe in pregnancy. As a matter of fact, some women need more than 400 mcg for protection against birth defects. Do not take more than 1,000 mcg (1 milligram) of folic acid without asking your doctor. Women with a history of a child with neural tube defects need 4000 mcg.
  • Physically, mentally and emotionally healthy. Alcohol, smoking, and caffeine can negatively affect fertility. Being overweight or underweight can also affect fertility by interfering with hormone function. Manage to have a healthy lifestyle before and during pregnancy.

How Can I Lower My Risk for Pregnancy Problems?

  • Keep up with other doctor appointments. Managing your condition before you get pregnant will keep both you and your baby healthy.
  • Maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet. Eating a variety of foods will help you get all the nutrients you need.
  • Gain the recommended amount of weight. Talk with your doctor about how much weight you should gain.
  • Exercise regularly. Regular exercise will help you stay at a healthy pregnancy weight, keep your strength up, and ease stress. Just be sure you review your exercise program with your doctor.

Finally, older mothers are more likely than younger mothers to have conceived with the help of assisted reproductive technology because fertility rates fall as women age. These pregnancies are more likely to require close monitoring and cesarean delivery than naturally conceived babies.

This gray cloud does have a silver lining, however. Mothers over 35 have accumulated more life experience and are often more financially secure than younger women, both of which come in handy when you’re raising a child.

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Importance and Benefits of Folic Acid before and during Pregnancy

Taking a folic acid supplement is one of the most important things a woman can do during the early stages of her pregnancy because it can help prevent birth defects of your baby’s brain and spinal cord.

Folic Acid is a pregnancy superhero!

What is folic acid?

Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, a type of B-vitamin also sometimes referred to as B9.  Red blood cells carry oxygen to all the parts of your body. If your body does not make enough red blood cells, you can develop anemia. Anemia happens when your blood cannot carry enough oxygen to your body, which makes you pale, tired, or weak. Also, if you do not get enough folic acid, you could develop a type of anemia called folate-deficiency anemia

For pregnant women, Folate plays an important role in the production of red blood cells and plays a crucial role in the healthy development of the neural tube, brain and spinal cord of the fetus.

The best food sources of folic acid are from vitamins and fortified foods, such as bread, pasta and cereals. Folate is found naturally in foods such as leafy green vegetables, oranges, and beans.

How much folic acid do pregnant women need?

The general recommended dose for a normal, low-risk pregnancy is 400 micrograms (MCGs) a day for pregnant women. However, some women may want or need to take more.  It’s a water-soluble vitamin, so there’s usually no harm in taking extra.

All women need 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. Women who can get pregnant should get 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid from a vitamin or from food that has added folic acid, such as breakfast cereal. This is in addition to the folate you get naturally from food.

Here’s how much folic acid is recommended each day in terms of pregnancy:

  • While you’re trying to conceive: 400 mcg
  • For the first three months of pregnancy: 400 mcg
  • For months four to nine of pregnancy: 600 mcg
  • While breastfeeding: 500 mcg

Reasons, why some women may need to take higher doses of folic acid, include:

  • If either parent has a medical history of neural tube defects
  • If the mother already has a child with a neural tube defect
  • If the mother is on certain medications, such as anticonvulsants
  • If the mother has diabetes
  • If the mother has impaired gastrointestinal absorption, such as with Celiac disease

When Should I Start Taking Folic Acid?

Ideally, a woman should be taking folic acid about a month prior to conception and at least through the first trimester of pregnancy. Birth defects occur within the first 3-4 weeks of pregnancy. So it’s important to have folate in your system during those early stages when your baby’s brain and spinal cord are developing.

All women who can get pregnant need to take 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid every. You need to take folic acid every day because it is a water-soluble B-vitamin. Water soluble means that it does not stay in the body for a long time. Your body metabolizes (uses) folic acid quickly, so your body needs folic acid each day to work properly.

If you do not get enough folic acid before and during pregnancy, your baby is at higher risk for neural tube defects. Neural tube defects are serious birth defects that affect the spine, spinal cord, or brain and may cause death.

These include:

  • Spina bifida. This condition happens when an unborn baby’s spinal column does not fully close during development in the womb, leaving the spinal cord exposed. As a result, the nerves that control the legs and other organs do not work. Children with spina bifida often have lifelong disabilities. They may also need many surgeries.
  • Anencephaly. This means that most or all of the brain and skull does not develop in the womb. Almost all babies with this condition die before or soon after birth.

Babies with anencephaly usually do not live long, and those with spina bifida may be permanently disabled. These are scary problems, to say the least. But the good news is that getting enough folic acid may protect your baby from neural tube defects by at least 50%. If you’ve already had a baby with a neural tube defect, getting enough folic acid may reduce your risk of having another child with a neural tube defect by as much as 70%. If you have had a previous child with a neural tube defect, it is recommended that you increase your daily amount of folic acid to 4000 mcg (same as 4 mg) each day. Check with your doctor about how much you should take.

When taken before and during pregnancy, folic acid may also protect your baby against:

  • Cleft lip and palate
  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight                                   
  • Miscarriage                                          
  • Poor growth in the womb

 

What Happens to Your Body After Giving Birth

Many things are happening in your body right after you have a baby. During pregnancy, your body changed a lot. It worked hard to keep your baby safe and healthy. Now that your baby is here, your body is changing again. Some of these changes are physical, like your breasts getting full of milk. Others are emotional, like feeling extra stress.

Things that happen to your body after birth:

Afterbirth pains:

Afterbirth pains are belly cramps you feel as your uterus (womb) shrinks back to its regular size after pregnancy. The cramps should go away in a few days. Right after you give birth, your uterus is round and hard and weighs about 2½ pounds. By about 6 weeks after birth, it weighs only 2 ounces.

Some women have pains for a few days after birth. After-birth pains can feel like labour pains or mild to moderate period pain. This pain comes from your uterus contracting towards its pre-pregnancy size. They are more common in women who have had other babies than in women who have just had their first baby.

You may also experience Shivering or getting the shakes. This can happen right after delivery and it can also happen during the transition stage of labour.

What you can do about this is ask your provider about over-the-counter-medicine you can take for pain. Over-the-counter medicine is the medicine you can buy without a prescription from your provider.

Perineum soreness:

The perineum is the area between your vagina and rectum. It stretches and may tear during labor and vaginal birth. It’s often sore after giving birth, and it may get even sore if you have an episiotomy. This is a cut made at the opening of the vagina to help let your baby out.

What you can do:

  • Do Kegel exercises. These exercises strengthen the muscles in the pelvic area. To do Kegel exercises, squeeze the muscles that you use to stop yourself from passing urine (peeing). Hold the muscles tight for 10 seconds and then release. Try to do this at least 10 times in a row, three times a day.
  • Put a Swelling on ice. Put a cold pack on your perineum. Use ice wrapped in a towel. Or you can buy cold packs that you freeze in your freezer.
  • Sit on a pillow or a donut-shaped cushion.
  • Soak your Bottom. Just fill the tub with a few inches of tepid water and hang out there for about 20 minutes, three to four times a day. It decreases swelling, cleans the area so there’s less risk of infection and generally soothes discomfort,
  • Wipe from front to back after going to the bathroom. This can help prevent infection as your episiotomy heals.
  • Witch Hazel up. Another way to find sweet relief from uncomfortable hemorrhoids? Witch hazel, an herbal remedy with tannins and oils that can help reduce inflammation.

Vaginal discharge:

After your baby is born, your body gets rid of the blood and tissue that was inside your uterus. In the week or so after birth, you’ll bleed from your vagina. The blood is called ‘lochia’. It is bright red and heavy and might have clots. This is normal, but if you pass a clot bigger than a 50 cent piece or notice a bad smell, tell your midwife. You can expect to see lochia for 4 to 6 weeks. Over time, the flow gets less and lighter in color. You may have discharge for a few weeks or even for a month or more.

Breast engorgement:

This is when your breasts swell and are painfully overfull of milk. It usually happens a few days after giving birth. Your breasts may feel tender and sore. The discomfort usually goes away once you start breastfeeding regularly. If you’re not breastfeeding, it may last until your breasts stop making milk, usually within a few days.

Breast engorgement usually occurs when a mother makes more milk than her baby uses. Your breasts may become firm and swollen, which can make it hard for your baby to breastfeed. When your baby suddenly starts breastfeeding less than usual.

Nipple pain:

If you’re breastfeeding, you may have nipple pain during the first few days, especially if your nipples crack. During pregnancy, nipple pain is generally caused by hormones. Although nipple pain in the early days (usually peaking at 3-7 days postpartum) is common, it is not necessarily normal. A common problem leading to sore nipples is an ineffective latch.

Urinary problems can happen after giving birth:

In the first few days after giving birth, you may feel pain or burning when you urinate (pee). Or you may try to urinate but find that you can’t. Sometimes you may not be able to stop urinating. This is called incontinence. It usually goes away as your pelvic muscles become stronger again.

Urine may leak out of the bladder when there is additional pressure exerted, for example, when a pregnant woman coughs or sneezes. After pregnancy, incontinence problems may continue, because childbirth weakens the pelvic floor muscles, which can cause an overactive bladder.

Emotional changes:

You might find that you go up and down a lot, from being happy to feeling very down. That’s normal.

Your baby didn’t come with a set of instructions. You may feel overwhelmed trying to take care of her. Taking care of a baby is a lot to think about.

Many women feel teary, irritable or more emotionally sensitive than usual a few days after giving birth. These feelings are known as the baby blues, and they’re normal, too. It’s a physically and emotionally challenging time. Most women feel better a few days after birth with support and understanding from those around them. If you don’t feel better after 2 weeks, please seek help.

You might find a lot of people want to come to see you, and especially to see your baby. That’s great, but it can be tiring for you both. It’s up to you how many visitors you have, and when. If you’re feeling exhausted, you can always avoid visitors for a while so that you can rest.

“Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers — strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength.”

—Barbara Katz Rothman

 

 

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.