How Prepared Are You for a Healthy Pregnancy?

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caffeine

Caffeine during pregnancy- Is it safe and how much?

Posted by | LENS, Nutrition, Pregnancy Medicine | No Comments

Whether it’s from coffee, soda, energy drinks, or chocolate, millions of Americans consume caffeine every day. There have long been concerns about the potential effects of caffeine on mothers and unborn children. Given these concerns, women are advised to avoid large amounts of caffeine when they are pregnant. Consuming a moderate amount of caffeine during pregnancy, however, is safe in most cases. Although conflicting information continues to emerge, this article provides some general information regarding pregnancy and caffeine. The (potential) Dangers of Caffeine Estimates suggest that between 75% and 93% of pregnant women consume caffeine on a daily basis (Kaiser & Allen, 2008). Given the prevalence of caffeine intake, it is no surprise that researchers have made a concerted effort to understand the potential effects of caffeine during pregnancy. The results of these studies have been mixed, but here are some potential dangers. Caffeine is a stimulant that increases your…

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Manicures and pedicures during pregnancy— Are they safe?

Posted by | LENS, Lifestyle, Pregnancy Medicine | No Comments

There are many beneficial effects associated with the growing body of a pregnant woman. Many women savor the nail and hair growth that often accompanies pregnancy.  These beauty “enhancements” are due to increased hormone production that supports the growing baby and expectant mother. Additionally, a healthy pregnancy diet and prenatal vitamins such as biotin, a B-complex vitamin has been associated with healthy, thick and firm nails.   Given the exponential growth of the pregnant woman’s nails, regularly she contemplates how to best care for her nails.  As such, many women wonder, “are manicures and pedicures safe during pregnancy?”  By most accounts, the answer to this question is “Yes”, with a few precautions.   Health and safety recommendations for nail care include maintaining nail hygiene, such as keeping nails clean and dry; avoiding biting or picking at nails; applying moisturizer to nails; and gently pushing cuticles back instead of cutting them. …

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Shortness of Breath

Posted by | Symptoms & Remedies | No Comments

Shortness of breath is not uncommon during pregnancy.  While walking up a flight of stair you suddenly feel like you ascended 10 flights instead of just one.  There are multiple reasons for this.   First, you will put on a significant amount of weight during your pregnancy, perhaps as much as 30-40 lbs.  Secondly, you become anemic.  Third, your legs may retain a lot of fluid.  This combination of anemia, extra weight and swollen legs makes it difficult just to move around.  You will find yourself panting doing what before had been a very easy task. Some things you can do to prevent shortness of breath are to stay in reasonable shape, exercise on a regular basis by walking 30 to 40 minutes a day. In your third trimester slow down and shorten your pace. Take your prenatal vitamins, as the iron will help prevent you from getting extremely anemic. …

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Exercise During Pregnancy

Posted by | Exercise, LENS, Pregnancy Health | No Comments

How much you need to exercise during pregnancy depends on many factors, including: Your pre-pregnancy weight The amount of time you are on your feet during the day If you have diabetes or develop gestational diabetes Your age Your gestational age Let’s examine each factor. If you are near ideal weight at the time you become pregnant exercise will be less of an issue. If you are overweight exercise can reduce excessive weight gain. Too much weight gain can increase your risk of gestational diabetes. This can actually program the child in your womb for diabetes as an adult or adolescent. However, too much exercise is not good either. Studies have shown that if you are on your feet during pregnancy more than 5 hours a day, you do not need additional exercise. You can actually overdo it and deliver less nutrition to your baby. Keep that in mind so…

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Lightheadedness

Posted by | Symptoms & Remedies | No Comments

You may experience lightheadedness, dizziness, or just feeling out of sorts while you’re pregnant.  When you stand up from a chair you feel as though you are going to pass out.  If this occurs, please sit back down and ease out of the chair.  Sit on the edge, and then cautiously stand.  The reasons for lightheadedness are multiple.  You may be dehydrated and your blood pressure could be low because your hormones are making your blood vessels relax.  If you have low blood pressure, try eating more salty foods or simply add salt to your foods when appropriate.  Make sure you drink plenty of liquids so you don’t get dehydrated. Not getting enough sleep will result in lightheadedness and dizziness.  Get 8 hours of solid sleep every night, and don’t be afraid to rest in the afternoon.  Do not become a couch potato either, walking helps maintain the tone to…

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Why Does My Baby Move Around A Lot After I Eat?

Posted by | Nutrition, Pregnancy Medicine | No Comments

Does your baby seems a bit more active after you’ve eaten a large meal or suddenly start to kick after you’ve had a cold glass of lemonade? Developing babies react in the womb to the food and drinks that mothers consume by kicking, moving more rapidly, and in general being more active than just before the meal or snack. Not only do babies move more after you eat or drink something, but the things you eat and drink during pregnancy will contribute to your baby’s taste preferences for food later in life. Which Foods Will Encourage a Moving Baby? Kick Counts A kicking baby is often the sign that parents look to of a healthy baby. There are various times throughout your pregnancy when your doctor might recommend that you perform what are known as “kick counts”. Because there isn’t a window into which you can peek to check on…

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Depression

Posted by | Symptoms & Remedies | No Comments

About 10% of pregnant women will have symptoms of depression.  Diet can be a factor.  Diets low in Omega 3 fatty acids seems to make individuals more prone to depression.  Fortunately, most prenatal vitamins contain DHA also known as an omega 3 fatty acids.  Omega 3 fatty acids are also found in seafood.  Eating high quality seafoods that are low in mercury, such as farm-raised trout, or wild Alaskan Salmon, are also excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids.  Vitamin D deficiency can make you feel more depressed.  Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin.  It is formed in your skin from sun exposure.  Make sure you get reasonable sun exposure during pregnancy.  If you cannot get outside regularly during the day, take 2000 units of Vitamin D a day as a pill.  Also to alleviate depression, talk to your friends and family about any issues bothering you.  Get regular exercise…

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Pregnancy Mask

Posted by | Symptoms & Remedies | No Comments

Pregnancy hormones bring many changes to your body, including changes to skin appearance.  A combination of hormonal influences and changes in your body’s immune system can darken certain areas of your skin.  Your breast nipple and the aureola surrounding it become darker.  You can get a line of pigmented skin extending from your belly button to your pubic area that becomes dark.  This is called “linea nigra”.  You can also develop what is termed the “Pregnancy Mask”.   This is almost a butterfly darkening of the skin in your cheeks and across the nose.  We are not sure why this occurs, but some women also experience it on the birth control pill.  So it is clearly related to the hormones.  It is not unattractive, merely a sign of your fertility.  Enjoy your new appearance.

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What Are the Benefits of Eating Vegetables During Pregnancy?

Posted by | LENS, Nutrition, Pregnancy Medicine | No Comments

A healthy diet is an extremely important component to a healthy pregnancy and newborn baby. However, according to research published in the Nutrition & Dietetics Journal, only about half of pregnant women eat the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables that they should for a healthy pregnancy. There are two important reasons why eating healthy is important during pregnancy: the long-term health of the mother and the health of the unborn child. Vegetables During Pregnancy – Healthy Benefits for Baby The 9 months during which a fetus develops is a crucial time for healthy eating by the pregnant mother. Her baby relies completely on her ability to sustain a healthy diet, and vegetables are an integral part of that. There are several benefits for the baby of mothers eating vegetables while pregnant, including healthy birth weights of babies and reduced risks for long-term health complications and diseases. The following are…

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How Can Partners Maintain Healthy Relationships During Pregnancy?

Posted by | LENS, Lifestyle, Pregnancy Medicine, Stress | No Comments

Pregnancy is a time of great change, not only physically, but for the relationships involved with the baby that will soon be born. One of the most important relationships a mother-to-be can have is the one with her partner, with whom she will share her worries and hopes for the future. Her significant other is the person who she wants by her side for the changes and challenges, and upon whom she wants to rely after the birth. While many of the concerns focus on the mom-to-be, there are also issues that the partner faces and experiences, which are just as valid and important to the relationship. Maintaining a healthy relationship between partners not only provides for a healthier and better pregnancy, but is essential for remaining committed partners after the labor and delivery. Tips for Keeping A Healthy Relationship There are many ways to nurture relationships between significant others…

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Can My Fetus Feel?

Posted by | Fetal Development | No Comments

Consider yourself a human rocking chair during pregnancy as your baby is lulled to sleep by your walking, or perhaps roused from sleep by your jostling exercise. Your growing baby experiences many of the same things you do – the foods you eat, the emotions you feel, and the things you hear – just in slightly different ways. Your baby can also feel certain things from outside your abdomen, but rest assured that your general everyday movements do not cause pain and discomfort to your baby as he is safely enclosed in the amniotic fluid. My Baby’s Senses You might ask, “So what can my fetus feel?” By the time your developing baby is 20 weeks of gestational age, many of his senses are developed to a point where he will react to stimuli. His hearing is strong enough to recognize and react to your voice and other auditory stimulation….

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Urine Color and Smell Changes

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Your urine may change in smell and color during pregnancy.  The hormones your body is manufacturing are excreted in your urine thus changing the color and smell.  If you find this unpleasant, increase the amount of water you consume.  It will help dilute the urine and lessen any changes in smell.  Also, changes in color and smell of your urine may indicate a urinary tract infection.  If you have any burning while you urinate, make sure you discuss this with your OB and do not ignore this symptom.

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What Do I Need To Know About Maternity Leave?

Posted by | LENS, Lifestyle, Pregnancy Health | No Comments

The first few weeks/months of a child’s life are a wonderful time. The mother and father finally get to know the baby that the mother has been carrying around for 9 months. You want to spend all the time with your newborn. In order to do so, it’s necessary to understand the rules surrounding maternity leave. How long can you take off? Do you get paid? Can you be fired from you job? These are all questions that someone has asked at some point. Let’s take a look at maternity leave considerations. Maternity leave rules and laws are largely a patchwork of state regulation.  Before 1993 and passage of The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) there were essentially no national rules governing maternity leave.  At that time, during the Clinton Administration, the FMLA finally guaranteed women the right to 12 weeks off of unpaid leave after delivery.   However in order to…

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Can I visit my Dentist?

Posted by | LENS, Lifestyle, Pregnancy Medicine | No Comments

Caring for your teeth and gums is an essential part of a healthy routine.  Dental health is as important as eating a balanced, nutritious meal and participating in moderate exercise. Dental hygiene involves brushing your teeth at least twice a day with an American Dental Association (ADA) approved fluoride toothpaste and a good-quality, soft-bristled toothbrush as well as flossing once a day. In addition, the ADA recommends bi-annual, preventive dental cleanings and exams to safeguard against, readily identify, and establish treatment for any possible oral infections. Maintaining good oral health is particularly important for pregnant women as there is a surge of hormones in pregnancy that have been associated with an increased risk of gum disease. This “pregnancy gingivitis” should be monitored and treated effectively as it has been linked to preterm birth. Care should be taken to maintain good oral health before and during pregnancy to avoid problems of…

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What is an ectopic pregnancy?

What You Need to Know About an Ectopic Pregnancy

Posted by | LENS, Pregnancy Health, Stress | No Comments

What is an ectopic pregnancy? Simply put, an ectopic pregnancy is any pregnancy that occurs outside of your uterus. Once your egg is fertilized, it will find something to attach to. While it usually travels through your fallopian tubes into your uterus, it doesn’t always make it there. Most ectopic pregnancies are when the fertilized egg attached to the fallopian tube, but the egg may also attach to your ovaries, cervix, or another internal part of your abdomen. What are the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy? An ectopic pregnancy will usually still give you traditional pregnancy symptoms, like a missed period, tender breasts, and nausea, early on, but you will find out shortly that something has gone awry. You will probably begin to feel severe pain on one side of your lower abdomen, vaginal bleeding, and even some shoulder pain. You may even have dizzy spells or fainting. Is an…

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