First Time Pregnancy: Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

Having a child is the most precious, amazing, and scariest thing ever. The basic logic here is to be healthy and stay healthy for you and your baby. Here are some tips for you for a first-time pregnancy. These will help you get through your first time being pregnant with little worrying. Let’s face it, we’re women and we worry but don’t get so worked up, it will upset the baby. Good luck and congratulations.

Take Care of Yourself

The basic premise here is to be healthy and stay healthy for you and your baby.  Don’t smoke or be around secondhand smoking or be around heavy smokers. You should not drink either.  You should sleep and rest as much as possible because you will NEED it! If you’re not, start taking prenatal vitamins, with folic acid.  When you buy these, always make sure they contain folic acid. It is vital to your pregnancy. Taking care of yourself will ensure that you have a healthy baby growing inside of you.  Your baby’s neural cord turns into the brain and spinal cord, developing in the 1st month you’re pregnant. Therefore, essential vitamins and minerals are very important from day one.

Exercise 

Having a baby is rough both physically and mentally. Staying active is important for your general health and can help you reduce stress, control your weight, improve circulation, boost your mood, and sleep better. Low impact exercise can help ease back pain, increase circulation, and improve your mood. It will also strengthen your muscles and ligaments in preparation for labor. Take pregnancy exercise or walk at least 15-20 minutes every day at a moderate pace, in cool, shaded areas or indoors in order to prevent overheating. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Listen to your body, though, and don’t overdo it.

Take a Prenatal Vitamin

Even when you’re still trying to conceive, it’s smart to start taking prenatal vitamins. Within the first month of pregnancy, your baby’s neural cord, which becomes the brain and spinal cord, develops, so it’s important you get essential nutrients, like folic acid, calcium, and iron from the very start.

Eating Healthy

If you’re pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, you need to start taking care of yourself. Don’t smoke or be around secondhand smoke, don’t drink, and get your rest. You may drink 8-10 glasses of water each day, you should eat five or six well-balanced meals with plenty of folate-rich foods like fortified cereals, asparagus, lentils, wheat germ, oranges, and orange juice. Limit your caffeine during pregnancy since it can have harmful effects on you and the baby. Add fish to your diet since fish is high in omega 3s, a nutrient critical to brain development. There’s just one catch: Some kinds of fish contain mercury, which can be toxic to both babies and adults.

To be safe, the FDA recommends that pregnant women eat no more than 12 ounces of fish per week. Stick with canned light tuna, shrimp, salmon, pollack, or catfish. Avoid swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish, which are all high in mercury.

Track Your Weight Gain

During your pregnancy, it’s okay to gain weight, you’re eating for two, however, gaining too much weight can be unhealthy for you. If you don’t gain enough weight, your baby’s birth weight and health could be in jeopardy. You’re eating for two. But packing on too many extra pounds may make them hard to lose later.  

Here’s what the IOM recommends, based on a woman’s BMI (body mass index) before becoming pregnant with one baby:

– Underweight: Gain 28-40 pounds

– Normal weight: Gain 25-35 pounds

– Overweight: Gain 15-25 pounds

– Obese: Gain 11-20 pounds

Check-in with your doctor frequently to make sure you’re gaining at a healthy rate.

Eliminate Toxins

Avoid tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs, and even solvents such as paint thinners and nail polish remover while pregnant because they are linked to birth defects, miscarriage, and other problems. Smoking cigarettes, for example, decreases oxygen flow to your baby; it’s linked to preterm birth and other complications. A doctor can offer advice and support, as well as refer you to a program that helps pregnant women stop smoking.

Make a Birth Plan

Being a mother begins during the birth of your baby. You want to make this moment special and safe. That is why making a birthing plan is essential. Do your own research online about your options before taking any advice from friends and family. This is your decision so you should have an unbiased view of the ways to give birth.

While a hospital birth is traditional, a rise in the use of midwives and even home births is occurring. The decisions to use an epidural, have a water birth, or a delayed cord clamping are just a few more.

Since it’s your first time being pregnant, it’s scary. As you progress in your pregnancy, more questions will pop up daily. To find more tips for first-time pregnancies visit online forums and mom’s groups to get anecdotal advice from moms who have been in your shoes.

If you don’t know what your pains are, call the doctor or talk to a  nurse in the office and ask them about the pains.  Enjoy your pregnancy!

Disclaimer

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://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-body/pregnancy-health/healthy-pregnancy-tips/

https://ferny.com/life-style/tips-for-first-time-pregnancies/

Importance of Pulse Oximeter During COVID-19

The whole world is greatly affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic caused due to emerging novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) which specifically attacks the respiratory system and reduces the oxygen-carrying capacity to develop hypoxia.

Many people with COVID-19 have low levels of oxygen in their blood, even when they feel well. Low oxygen levels can be an early warning sign that medical care is needed. The severely affected COVID-19 patients require ventilators to survive and to fulfill the need for oxygen. However, the number of ventilators is much less than that of the actual number of COVID-19 patients. 

What is a pulse oximeter and what does it measure?

A pulse oximeter is a small non-invasive device that is used to determine hypoxia in patients. The main function of the pulse oximeter is to determine the amount of oxygen saturation (SpO2), which indicates the amount of oxygen in the blood. This can give you valuable information about your health.

Can a pulse oximeter tell if someone has COVID-19?

You may be wondering if an oximeter can help detect COVID-19 early? 

Pulse oximeters are not recommended as a way to tell if someone has COVID-19.  Not everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will develop low oxygen levels. There are people who may have a very uncomfortable fever, muscle aches, and GI upset at home, but never demonstrate low oxygen levels. Get tested if you have signs of COVID-19 or if you have been in close contact with someone who has it. The pulse oximeter can be used in primary clinical care to determine oxygen saturation. Furthermore, pulse oximeters have become a game-changer in the COVID-19 pandemic to detect the oxygen requirement in patients. However, there are several factors affecting the sensitivity of pulse oximeters that need to be understood to get an accurate reading. 

Can a pulse oximeter be a helpful tool for monitoring COVID-19 at home?

An oximeter can be a helpful tool for monitoring oxygen levels so that low oxygen levels can be detected early if a person has a mild case of COVID-19 and is self-treating at home. If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and are concerned about any developing symptoms, check immediately with your healthcare provider. If you are experiencing severe chest pain, uncontrollable coughing, or dusky lips or fingers, it’s time to go to the ER.

The pulse oximeter gives only primary judgment about oxygen saturation and it is not at all a substitute for the ABG analysis. Moreover, the pulse oximeter cannot be relied on as a sole monitor to check the various events such as cardiac complications/arrests, respiratory tract-related problems, oesophageal intubation, or failure of oxygen supply.

Disclaimer

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://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00194506.2020.1845988

https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2020/aug/can-an-oximeter-help-detect-covid-19-at-home/

https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/pulseoximeter.html

Getting Pregnant During COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 is still a new disease that we are learning more about each day. We know this has been a scary time for most people globally. Many people are living through their first pandemic, and even just getting household essentials has been a challenge some days.

During this time of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, people have questions about whether or not they should get pregnant. If you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, you’re likely concerned about how the pandemic will impact your pregnancy. We still have relatively little information about how this virus affects pregnant people and their pregnancies. It’s common to feel alarmed and stressed throughout this time, as starting or expanding a family brings up new questions. 

Are pregnant people at higher risk for COVID-19?

The overall risk of COVID-19 to pregnant women is low. However, the physiologic changes of pregnancy make pregnant people appear more likely to develop respiratory complications requiring intensive care than women who aren’t pregnant. Pregnant people who have other medical conditions might be at further increased risk for severe illness. More research is needed to know specifically how this virus impacts pregnant people since this virus COVID-19 is new.

Labor and delivery risks to the mother’s and the baby’s health?

If you have COVID-19 and are pregnant, your treatment will be aimed at relieving symptoms and may include getting plenty of fluids and rest, as well as using medication to reduce fever. If you’re very ill, you may need to be treated in the hospital. There is no definite evidence that the COVID-19 virus can be passed from the pregnant parent to the fetus through the placenta, called vertical transmission. If you give birth while you are positive for COVID-19, you do not need to have a cesarean section, or c-section, unless otherwise medically indicated. However, some research suggests that pregnant women with COVID-19 are also more likely to have a premature birth and cesarean delivery, and their babies are more likely to be admitted to a neonatal unit. 

If you are healthy as you approach the end of pregnancy, some aspects of your labor and delivery might proceed as usual. But be prepared to be flexible. You might be screened again before entering the labor and delivery unit to protect the health of you and your baby, definitely the facilities will limit the number of people you can have in the room during labor and delivery.

Preterm birth is the most common side effect on the fetus of a pregnant parent positive for COVID-19.

Postpartum Considerations

This is a stressful time, pay attention to your mental health. Reach out to family and friends for support while taking precautions to reduce your risk of infection with the COVID-19 virus. Access to early prenatal care is important and should be accessible during this time. However, public health experts are recommending avoiding unnecessary medical visits.  Talk to your health care provider about virtual visit options for checking in after delivery, as well as your need for an office visit. However, It’s recommended that postpartum care after childbirth be an ongoing process.

Disclaimer

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 other qualified healthcare providers 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://www.mayoclinic.org/

https://helloclue.com/articles/pregnancy-birth-and-postpartum/is-it-safe-to-get-pregnant-during-coronavirus

Symptoms and Spread of Covid-19

Over the past few months, our world has been flipped upside down. Schools have shut down until further notice. Coffee shops and restaurants have followed suit, only offering takeout options. Offices have told their workers to work from home. The streets and outdoor areas are quiet too. It’s as if our lives are on pause, waiting until we can return back to normal again. Covid-19 is the pandemic that has made people all across the globe feel like they’re in a science fiction movie. It’s important to be aware of what the symptoms of Covid-19 are and how it’s spread. By having this useful information, the right steps can be taken in preventing more cases from appearing.

What is Covid-19?

Covid-19 is a disease developed by a type of virus that falls under the umbrella of Corona virus. Coronaviruses are a big family of viruses. They’re named coronavirus because, under a microscope, the virus is covered with pointed structures, making it appear crown-like. They can cause mild diseases like cold or more severe diseases like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Some diseases are more easily transmitted than others. This new strain of coronavirus causing COVID-19  is the latest corona virus that has been discovered. It’s also seen as the most dangerous due to how easily it spreads. What started as a controllable outbreak quickly took over the world, causing countries to close their borders and halt their economies. In comparison to SARS, Covid-19 has led to more fatalities and a quicker spread. Consequently, it makes it difficult to contain.

Symptoms of Covid-19

Anyone can become infected with Covid-19. Researchers say that symptoms of Covid-19 are quite mild because they’re similar to a cold. You may not even know you have Covid-19 because it feels like any other typical cold. Some symptoms include cough, fever, difficulty breathing, the new loss of taste or smell, chills, and muscle pain. In more serious cases, you may experience persistent pressure in the chest, trouble breathing, and bluish lips. That’s when it’s important to seek medical attention.  In severe cases, being infected by Covid-19 can lead to death. However, a large percentage of Covid-19 deaths was because individuals had complications like heart problems or weak immune systems.

Covid-19 symptoms may take up to fourteen days to appear after exposure. Furthermore, evidence has shown that you can be infected by someone who is infected, but not showing symptoms. Hence, it’s important to make sure all safety guidelines are being followed when going out and cleanliness is being maintained. As of right now, the only way to be sure you have Covid-19 is to get tested. If you are coming back from a trip or have been on a recent flight, it’s important you self-isolate. Make sure you get in touch with a doctor so your symptoms can be monitored closely. Under no circumstance should you be leaving your house for anything?

Spread of Covid-19

When the world first became aware of Covid-19, the biggest challenge was to slow down and stop the spread. China went into lockdown, but then Italy’s cases started climbing up. Shortly after, the United States began going into a state of emergency. All of these occurrences happened within weeks of each other. Flights were being canceled and borders were shutting down. Yet, Covid-19 still managed to make many countries go into a state of emergency. Well, all it takes is one person and a sneeze.

Though there is still research being done, it is believed that that Covid-19 is very likely spread through droplet contact. Droplet contact is when illnesses can be transferred by infected droplets contacting the surfaces of the eyes, nose, or mouth. These droplets are quite large and can even be visible to the eye. For example, you may see these droplets when a person sneezes. Moreover, because these droplets are quite big, they typically only spread one to two meters. They don’t stay in the air for very long but can still make a huge impact. As a result, it’s important to respect the social distancing rules put in place. More space between people means less spread and infections happening.

Covid-19 threw most of our lives out of the loop. Face masks are our newest accessories and we need to stay in line at stores if there are too many people. Social distancing rules are still intact so you shouldn’t be seeing anyone outside your household. It can get lonely sometimes, but we have to keep in mind this is for the greater good. By distancing now, we can prevent further spread in the future. Stay home and stop the spread, you never know how many lives you can save.

Source:

www.Salinetherapy.com



Understanding Stillbirth

What Is Stillbirth?

Stillbirth is the death of a fetus after the 20th week of pregnancy, but before the baby can be delivered.  A stillbirth occurs in about 1 in 160 pregnancies. The majority of stillbirths happen hours before labor, whereas rarely, the fetus may die during labor and delivery.

Major Causes of Stillbirth

  • Placental Problems: The placenta is an organ that lines the uterus of pregnant women. The placenta separates too soon from the uterine wall. Women with placenta abruption or a pregnancy-related form of high blood pressure called preeclampsia or pregnancy-induced hypertension, have twice the risk of abruption or stillbirth as unaffected women. The fetus gets its blood, oxygen, and nutrients through the placenta and umbilical cord, so problems in either will affect the growth of the fetus. Sometimes insufficient oxygen and nutrients can also contribute to a baby’s death.
  • Birth defects: Chromosomal disorders account for 15-20% of all stillborn babies. In more than 1 of every 10 stillbirths, the fetus had a genetic or structural birth defect that probably or possibly caused the death. 
  • Medical complications in the mother. Problems with the mother’s health such as Diabetes, High blood pressure, Lupus, Heart or thyroid disease were considered a probable or possible cause in fewer than 1 in 10 of stillbirths.
  • Mother’s lifestyle choices. Smoking, drinking alcohol, and using certain recreational drugs during pregnancy are linked with higher rates of stillbirth.
  • Severe lack of nutrition

Am I at Risk for Stillbirth

  • A previous stillbirth
  • Women 35 years old or older
  • Malnutrition
  • Inadequate prenatal care
  • Obesity

How is a stillbirth diagnosis made?

Most women usually notice that their baby isn’t very active and become worried about what this could mean. An ultrasound can confirm that the baby has died and in some cases determine the reason why.

Stillbirth can be prevented with improvements in medicine have decreased the number of stillbirths. Today women with high-risk pregnancies are carefully monitored through routine ultrasounds and/or fetal heart rate monitoring. Fetal heart rate monitoring can be done  by the use of a Fetal Doppler/Fetal heart rate monitor, you may check https://babysound.ca/ for good quality of fetal dopplers. If potential problems are identified, early delivery may be necessary.

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.

Fetal Movement During Pregnancy

One of the most exciting moments in your pregnancy is when you feel those first little flutters of your baby kicking. These tiny movements reassure you that your baby is developing and help you feel closer to the little life inside of you.

Feeling your baby kick, twist, wriggle, punch and hiccup is simply one of pregnancy biggest thrills (and it sure beats heartburn, puffy feet, an aching back and other hallmarks of these nine months), and will vary throughout your pregnancy. 

In the beginning, your baby’s movement will be erratic, so don’t sweat it if you go for long stretches without remembering there’s a little person-to-be doing flips inside you.

Fetal movement during pregnancy can also drive a mom-to-be batty with questions and doubts. Although every baby is different when it comes to fetal movement and there’s a wide range of what’s normal, it helps to take a peek into your baby’s world to understand what’s going on in there, and what to expect when.

What does baby movement feel like?

They’re almost as hard to describe as they are to recognize. Pregnant women usually describe the baby’s first movements as flutters, and they can be so subtle that you might mistake them for gas bubbles. “Initially they feel like a butterfly,” Dr. Artal says. “Later on it feels like kicking.” Between 24 and 28 weeks, the movements become strong enough that your partner may be able to feel them by placing a hand on your growing belly. By your second and third trimesters, the movements should be more distinct, and you’ll be able to feel your baby’s kicks, jabs, and elbows. Eventually, you may even see the shape of the elbow or foot that’s nudging you.

What’s my baby doing when I feel her move?

The first thing a baby does is big body movements, such as flexing and extending the arms and legs,” Dr. Keller says. Hiccups begin around 11 weeks, as the neurological system develops, but you won’t feel the rhythmic, recurring jerks that signal them until much later. Some women may be able to perceive big movements, such as when the baby switches positions. If you’ve been feeling pain in your rib cage and then suddenly it’s gone, it’s likely your baby was in a breech position with her head sticking into your ribs and she did turn 180 degrees to get ready for delivery.

How Often Should I Feel My Baby Moving?

There isn’t really a normal pattern of movements for all babies. Every baby is different. Some are more active than others and even at different times. The key is to get to know what’s normal for your baby, so you can tell if there are any changes to his daily habits. Early in your pregnancy, you may just feel a few movements every now and then. But as your baby grows usually by the end of the second trimester the kicks should grow stronger and more frequent. Studies show that by the third trimester, the baby moves about 30 times each hour.

Some babies kick like crazy after dinner, others go nuts at bedtime. With time, you’ll get to know the baby’s usual patterns of movement. And it usually goes like this. Baby will have active periods followed by periods with very little movement. Babies tend to move more at certain times of the day as they alternate between alertness and sleep. They are usually most active between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m., right as you’re trying to get to sleep. This surge in activity is due to your changing blood sugar levels. Babies also can respond to sounds or touch, and may even kick your partner in the back if you snuggle too close in bed.

Should I Monitor My Baby’s Kicking?

To ensure that everything is progressing as expected, your doctor will want you to “count kicks,” or fetal movements, starting in week 28 through the end of your pregnancy. 

How often: Set aside some quiet time twice a day to count kicks, once in the morning, when fetal kicks and punches tend to be less frequent, and once in the more active evening hours when there’s usually an increase in baby’s movement.

What to do: Check the clock and start counting. Count movements of any kind (fetal kicks, flutters, swishes, rolls). Stop counting when you reach 10, and note the time.

Look for: 10 movements of any kind in an hour or less is normal, though sometimes it will take longer. If you don’t feel your baby move 10 times by the end of two hours, try again later in the day. Then if you still can’t feel 10 movements in two hours, or your baby is much less active than normal, call your healthcare provider, who can check your baby’s heart rate and movements.

Timeline of Baby Movement

Here is a guide to your baby’s possible movements.
Week 12: Your baby should start to move, but you probably won’t be able to feel anything, because the baby is still so small.
Week 16: Some pregnant women will start to feel tiny butterfly-like flutters. The feeling might just be gas, or it might be the baby moving.
Week 20: By this point in your baby’s development, you may start to really feel your baby’s first movements, called “quickening.”
Week 24: The baby’s movements are starting to become more established. You might also begin to feel slight twitches as your baby hiccups.
Week 28: Your baby is moving often now. Some of the kicks and jabs may take your breath away.
Week 36: Your uterus is getting crowded as the baby grows, and movements should slow down a bit. However, alert your healthcare provider if you notice significant changes in your baby’s usual activity. You should feel consistent movement throughout the day.


5 Common Pregnancy Fears And How To Get Over Them

Having a Miscarriage

One in four women is likely to have a miscarriage, and very often this can happen with the first pregnancy. Many women live in fear for the first 13 weeks of their pregnancy. When a miscarriage occurs, it is the body flushing out a fetus that might have been growing improperly. Unfortunately there is nothing anyone can do to stop it, and it can be devastating to lose a pregnancy. But there’s no reason not to remain optimistic. After all, three out of four pregnancies do not result in miscarriage.

Down’s Syndrome

There are many tests pregnant women can take today to check for Down’s syndrome while the baby is still in its very early stages of development. Many women also have to undergo several follow-up tests. Keep in mind that this is usually just a precaution and that most babies will be fine.

Premature Labour

Many women worry about going into premature labour and the implications that might have for their child. But the fact is that after 24 weeks, a fetus is viable outside the womb, with plenty of help, of course. It’s not ideal, but should your baby be born earlier than expected, don’t fear the worst. Many babies are born at 32 weeks (especially multiples, which are usually born quite early) and go on to grow big and strong and lead full and healthy lives.

Birth Defects

It might comfort you to know that nearly every mother-to-be fears or even dreams about her baby being born with some horrible birth defect. You’re not the only one, and this isn’t a sign of things to come. It’s a common fear because mothers obviously want so much for their children to be well. Just remember that Mother Nature works hard to ensure proper development and that most babies are born perfectly healthy.

Alcohol consumption in very early pregnancy

It’s not uncommon for women to find out they are pregnant as far as six weeks into their pregnancies — after a weekend of partying, perhaps. If you’ve consumed alcohol during the first six weeks, rest assured your baby is fine. The fetus is unaffected by toxins at this stage. To be safe, bring the subject up with your doctor, but don’t fret too much.

It’s only natural to worry a bit throughout your pregnancy — after all, this whole baby thing is new, nail-bitingly unpredictable, and you just want so badly for it to go perfectly. Relax! they’re not as scary as you think.

Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring During Labor

What is Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring?

Fetal heart rate monitoring is a procedure used to evaluate the well-being of the fetus by assessing the rate and rhythm and the presence or absence of accelerations (increases) or decelerations (decreases) of the fetal heartbeat. It also checks how much the fetal heart rate changes around the baseline. The average fetal heart rate is between 110 and 160 beats per minute and can vary five to 25 beats per minute. The fetal heart rate may change as the fetus responds to conditions in the uterus. An abnormal fetal heart rate or pattern may mean that the fetus is not getting enough oxygen or there are other problems. An abnormal pattern also may mean that an emergency cesarean delivery is needed. 

How is fetal monitoring performed? 

Using a handheld Doppler (a type of ultrasound) to listen and measure the response of the fetus’s heart rate to contractions of the uterus. This is often used during prenatal visits to count the fetal heart rate or in a pregnancy less than 24 weeks. Electronic fetal monitoring is used in late pregnancy to evaluate the fetus or to check fetal well-being during labor. It provides an ongoing record that can be read. The procedure for monitoring the fetal heart rate is painless, but internal monitoring can be uncomfortable. There are very few risks associated with this procedure, so it’s routinely done on all women in labor and delivery. 

  • The gel is applied to the mother’s abdomen to act as a medium for the ultrasound transducer.
  • The ultrasound transducer is attached to the abdomen with straps and transmits the fetal heartbeat to a recorder. The fetal heart rate is displayed on a screen and printed onto special paper.
  • During contractions, an external tocodynamometer (a monitoring device that is placed over the top of the uterus with a belt) can record the patterns of contractions.
  • Sometimes, internal fetal monitoring is necessary for a more accurate reading of the fetal heart rate. Your bag of waters (amniotic fluid) must be broken and your cervix must be partially dilated to use internal monitoring. Internal fetal monitoring involves inserting an electrode through the dilated cervix and attaching the electrode to the scalp of the fetus, called a fetal scalp electrode.

There are two methods for fetal heart rate monitoring

  • External fetal heart rate monitoring uses a device to listen to or record the fetal heartbeat through the mother’s abdomen. One type of monitor is a hand-held electronic Doppler ultrasound device. This method is often used during prenatal visits to count the fetal heart rate. A Doppler device may also be used to check the fetal heart rate at regular intervals during labor. Continuous electronic fetal heart monitoring may be used during labor and birth. An ultrasound transducer placed on the mother’s abdomen conducts the sounds of the fetal heart to a computer. The rate and pattern of the fetal heart are displayed on the computer screen and printed onto the special graph paper.
  • Internal fetal heart rate monitoring uses an electronic transducer connected directly to the fetal scalp.  A wire called an electrode is used. It is placed on the part of the fetus closest to the cervix, usually the scalp. This type of electrode is sometimes called a spiral or scalp electrode. Internal monitoring provides a more accurate and consistent transmission of the fetal heart rate than external monitoring because factors such as movement do not affect it. Uterine contractions also may be monitored with a special tube called an intrauterine pressure catheter that is inserted through the vagina into your uterus. Internal monitoring can be used only after the membranes of the amniotic sac have ruptured (after “your water breaks” or is broken). Internal monitoring may be used when external monitoring of the fetal heart rate is inadequate, or closer surveillance is needed. After internal fetal heart rate monitoring, the electrode site on the newborn baby will be examined for infection, bruising, or a laceration. The site may be cleansed with an antiseptic.

Risk:

Fetal monitoring is widely used. There are no known risks to using the fetoscope, Doppler, or external monitoring. There may be a slight risk of infection with internal monitoring. The scalp electrode may also cause a mark or small cut on the baby’s head, but this usually heals quickly. An abnormal fetal heart rate pattern does not always mean the fetus is in danger. Electronic fetal monitoring is widely used in the United States. However, studies have found that the use of electronic fetal monitoring is associated with a greater chance for vacuum and forceps use with vaginal deliveries, and for cesarean delivery.

Benefits:

Fetal monitoring may help with a possible recognition of problems in the fetus. Other testing or delivery may be necessary.

Why is fetal heart rate monitoring done during labor and delivery?

Fetal heart rate monitoring may help detect changes in the normal heart rate pattern during labor. If certain changes are detected, steps can be taken to help treat the underlying problem. Fetal heart rate monitoring also can help prevent treatments that are not needed. A normal fetal heart rate can reassure both you and your obstetrician-gynecologist (ob-gyn) or other health care professional that it is safe to continue labor if no other problems are present.

What happens if the fetal heart rate pattern is abnormal?

Abnormal fetal heart rate patterns do not always mean there is a problem. Other tests may be done to get a better idea of what is going on with your fetus.

If there is an abnormal fetal heart rate pattern, your ob-gyn or other health care professional will first try to find the cause. Steps can be taken to help the fetus get more oxygen, such as having you change position. If these procedures do not work, or if further test results suggest your fetus has a problem, your ob-gyn or other health care professional may decide to deliver right away. In this case, the delivery is more likely to be by cesarean birth or with forceps or vacuum-assisted 

There is no special type of care required after external fetal heart rate monitoring. You may resume your normal diet and activity unless your health care provider advises you differently.

Your health care provider may give you additional or alternate instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular situation.

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.

WAYS TO PREPARE FOR BREASTFEEDING BEFORE BABY ARRIVES

Breastfeeding your child is a personal matter that you will need to think about and come to a decision about before your baby is born. Your baby is unique, and the decision is up to you. Getting good advice while you’re pregnant can help you to feel more confident about starting breastfeeding  It’s also one that’s likely to draw strong opinions from friends and family.

Many experts advise to exclusively breastfeed your child for six months. This is because breast milk has everything your baby needs in order to develop into a strong and healthy toddler; it has the ideal mix of protein, vitamins, and fat.

Your first milk is liquid gold. Called liquid gold for its deep yellow color, colostrum (coh-LOSS-trum) is the thick first milk that you make during pregnancy and just after birth. This milk is very rich in nutrients and includes antibodies to protect your baby from infections. Plus, babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, their immune system is strengthened, enabling it to life-threatening illnesses like pneumonia and diarrhea amongst other infections.

Here are some ways to prepare:

Take A Class: Many hospitals and birthing clinics have breastfeeding 101 classes. You will be able to learn everything you need to know about breastfeeding, including hygiene and the different positions you can try to help your baby latch on quickly. Not just that, but you will meet other expectant mothers there that you can probably relate with and will be able to share the ups and downs of the adventure with.

Massage Your Breasts: This is how you prepare breasts for breastfeeding during pregnancy. You may be concerned about how big or small your nipples are, this really has nothing to do with breastfeeding. What you do need to do is to have your nipples checked to see if they are flat or inverted. During the last six weeks of your pregnancy, massage your breasts in order to clear your milk ducts. Keep your breasts well moisturized to prevent any cracking from taking place later on. Breast shells can be used to bring the nipple out in case you have flat or inverted nipples.

Steps you can do right after: You will need nursing bras, pads, ointment for sore nipples and comfortable clothes to nurse in. These are the bare necessities of breastfeeding. You should also consider investing in a good nursing pillow, as it can greatly ease the physical pain mothers experience while breastfeeding, and open up more breastfeeding positions for you to try

Family and Friends: You will want to know who to call should you have a problem. Go to a woman that you trust.  it could be a member of the family, like your mother or aunt or even a close friend who has breastfed before. Most older women are delighted to help the younger generation learn, especially about motherhood. A lot of women face certain difficulties during breastfeeding, and they will be able to shed some light on the area for you and give you tips on how to cope. As they are also already experienced, they will be able to give good support to you if you feel like you need any help or even just for someone to talk to.

Discuss it With Your Doctor: If you are concerned about anything related to breastfeeding, such as if any of the supplements that you take will affect your baby during the nursing period, you can always consult your doctor.  Your doctor will be able to advise you on what you can take that will ensure that your child does not suffer any side effects. Some women may have breast implants or may have undergone breast surgery. In cases like these, you should always ask for your doctor’s advice on whether or not they will have an impact on breastfeeding. If you have had the surgery and don’t remember what type of procedure was done, you can request a copy of your medical records. Your doctor or midwife can help you sort through the records and figure out your best course of action. 

Remember, Babies who are born naturally and with as little medical intervention as possible are more likely to breastfeed well, and those who were born with more medical assistance have lower rates of successful breastfeeding. While there are many exceptions to this, natural births do increase the chances of success during breastfeeding.

SIMPLE GUIDE TO SLEEPING WELL DURING PREGNANCY

During pregnancy, you may find yourself wrestling in bed trying to get comfortable before falling asleep. Unfortunately, your regular sleeping positions may no longer work for you during pregnancy. There are a number of reasons for this new discomfort, but there are some sleeping positions that you can try that may help you get your much-needed rest.

What Are The Best Sleep Positions During Pregnancy?

The best sleep position during pregnancy is “SOS” (sleep on side). Even better is to sleep on your left side. Sleeping on your left side will increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and your baby.

Keep your legs and knees bent, and put a pillow between your legs.

  • If you find that you are having problems with back pain, use the “SOS” position, and try placing a pillow under your abdomen as well.
  • If you are experiencing heartburn during the night, you may want to try propping your upper body with pillows.
  • In late pregnancy, you may experience shortness of breath.  Try lying on your side or propped up with pillows.

These suggestions may not sound completely comfortable, especially if you are used to sleeping on your back or stomach, but try them out.  You may find that they work. Keep in mind that you may not stay in one position all night, and rotating positions is fine.

What Sleep Positions During Pregnancy Should I Avoid?

Sleeping on Your Back. Throughout your pregnancy, you should avoid sleeping on your back. While it may be safe during your first trimester, the biggest no-no with resting this way is that it causes your increasingly heavy abdomen and uterus to press down on the major vein that works to return blood from your lower body to your heart. So lying on your back can make you feel lightheaded and dizzy, and also interfere with the delivery of blood and nutrients to the placenta and your growing baby. Other issues that can arise are backaches, difficulty breathing, digestive system problems, hemorrhoids, low blood pressure, and decreased circulation in you and the baby.

 

Sleeping on Your Stomach. After the fifth month of your pregnancy, it’s apparent that sleeping on your tummy isn’t the most comfortable way to fall asleep, and that’s because of your expanding uterus. It might feel like you’re trying to sleep on a huge watermelon! If you’re afraid that this position may end up hurting the baby, don’t be. Even at nine months, the uterine walls provide enough protection for the little one. In other words, medically speaking, it’s safe to sleep in this position, but it may not be the most comfortable posture for you.

Does Lack Sleep Harm Your Baby?

It will not harm your baby as sleep problems are common during pregnancy. But, you should listen to your body when it asks you to rest or slow down. Less sleep in early pregnancy can increase the risk of pre-eclampsia and high blood pressure in mothers.

Sleeping Aids During Pregnancy: 

Sleep aids help in offering you comfortable and sound sleep, especially during your first and third trimesters, which are tough times of pregnancy.

1. Pillows:

Pillows can help you avoid sleepless nights.

For back and belly support –Tuck one pillow between your bent knees to support your lower back. It will also make your side sleeping position comfortable. You can use a full-body pillow for your back or front. It gives you the right support while lying on your side.

You can try various pillows, either regularly used ones or those available specifically for pregnancy use. You may use body-length, U or C-shaped pillows, or wedge-shaped pillows to support your tummy or chest.

If you are suffering from heartburn – You can keep one extra pillow beneath your head to elevate it while you are sleeping. It helps in keeping the stomach acids in place due to gravity rather than letting them travel back to the esophagus.

If you have hip pain – If you experience body pains or hip pain while lying on the side, a firm mattress will help. An egg-crate foam mattress can be placed on your regular mattress. It will support your torso and limbs, and give you comfortable sleep devoid of aching hips.

2. Food And Drink:

What you eat and drink, and when you take them will also affect your sleep quality. Avoid caffeine and sugar, which are the common sleep snatchers. A glass of warm milk before bedtime is an age-old remedy for good sleep.

For low blood sugar – If headaches, bad dreams, or intense sweating disturb your sleep, you may be suffering from low blood sugar levels. You can take protein-packed snacks such as peanut butter, egg, or turkey, before bedtime to keep blood sugar levels high during sleep.

For Nausea – Nausea can develop because of an empty stomach. Therefore you should have a light snack containing carbohydrates and proteins before bedtime. Good options include a half sandwich with milk, high-protein cereal with milk, or a high protein smoothie. You can eat some bland, dry snacks like pretzels, rice cakes, and crackers if you happen to wake up feeling nauseous.

For heartburn and indigestion – Avoid taking large meals before bedtime or late in the day. Sleeping on a full stomach will worsen the condition.

3. Scheduled Sleep:

Planning your sleep time is also vital during pregnancy. You should try taking naps whenever possible. The best time is between two and four p.m. You can break them into two 30-minute naps rather than one long 2-hour sleep. Do not take excessive fluids after six p.m. as they reduce nocturnal bathroom visits.

Women who have a good night’s sleep early in their pregnancy have better health later on, according to new research. Sleep researchers have found pregnant women who have too little or too much sleep in the first three months of pregnancy have higher blood pressures in the third trimester.

 

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 other qualified healthcare providers 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/sleeping-positions-during-pregnancy/ 

https://sleep.org/articles/best-pregnancy-sleep-position/