Monthly Archives: February 2013

Fetal and Maternal Health: Pregnancy Questions and Answers

There is nothing we desire for ourselves and for our baby but a healthy pregnancy and a healthy fetus. We will do almost anything for them. Therefore, it is always a good idea to become familiar with the right information so that we understand what really constitutes a healthy lifestyle. This helps us clarify the things that are supposed to be done and prevent those that are just purely myths. We need specific instructions and answers to all the questions in our mind. Questions such as if we need extra rest, what types of specific exercises should be started, and which ones can be continued; as well as if all the changes we are going through are normal are all questions we are asking. Enjoy yourself as you read this article about pregnancy questions and answers.

The focus of pregnancy questions and answers will be mainly on self-care needs since it is the most important thing during pregnancy.

1. Are tub baths a total no-no during pregnancy?
Tub baths and showers are highly recommended daily. This is because pregnancy increases sweat production due to your own waste excretion and vaginal discharge. However, as your pregnancy advances, you may have difficulty maintaining your balance in a tub. It may be better as your stomach enlarges that you try to stick with showers or sponge baths.

2. What is a good resting or sleeping position?
The best sleeping position is the “modified Sims’ position” (side lying) with your top leg positioned forward. The weight of the fetus is on the mattress and not on you which allows for good circulation in your lower legs.

3. Is it normal for my breasts to secrete fluid?
The fluid is called colostrum which begins during the 16th week. To remove it simply wash your breast with tap water (no soap which causes drying) to remove it. This will also prevent risk of infection. Always maintain dryness and if the leaking is profuse, place gauze squares inside your bra.

4. Is jogging okay?
Jogging is still under question due to the strain the extra weight of pregnancy put on your knees. Plus, pelvic pain from a relaxed symphysis pubis can be a result during late pregnancy. Go for walking instead which is still considered the best exercise. A daily walk is encouraged.

5. What types of clothing modifications are needed?
Avoid any garment that could impede circulation to your lower legs such as garters, above the knee stockings and firm girdles with panty legs. Also, wear flat heeled shoes to minimize backache and pelvic tilt.

Folic Acid and Pregnancy: B-vitamin for Your Bump’s Protection

Watching your bump from the outside environment is quite easy. But watching it from the inside is a different story and it is certainly not that easy. You need something that can protect it inside and out and this is done by the foods that you consume. What you need is Folic Acid; a B-Vitamin for your Bump’s protection, thus this article is all about folic acid and pregnancy. The 3 Bs (vitamins) can provide bump protection and help prevent birth defects.

B-Vitamin

Folic Acid is a B vitamin that aids the body in getting or the making energy from the foods you ingest. It assists the body in generating new cells and facilitates the forming of red blood cells. So folic acid and pregnancy go hand in hand because of its importance during this period of rapid cell division and development. Here is the list of the foods that contain folic acid.

• Green leafy vegetables
• Citrus fruits
• Beans, breads, cereals, rice, pastas

Bump’s Protection and Birth Defect Prevention

Having this extra bump means extra attention as well as extra blood necessary for your body during pregnancy. This is the time when Folic Acid is in high demand with a minimum requirement of 400mcg or 4mg a day for the normal growth and development of fetus’ neural tube. Thus, it is very well known for helping to develop the neural tube that later will form into the brain and spinal cord. Without it, the neural tube might not accomplish its complete closure that may result to spina bifida or anencephaly. In the first trimester it is much needed because the neural tube begins to develop 3 weeks after conception. Hence, some recommend at least 600 mcg folic acid once you know you are pregnant. Below are some evidences, reports and studies about folic acid and pregnancy.

• According to CDC, about 70% of neural tube defects can be reduced with folic acid.
• Child bearers having a healthy diet which includes folic acid and multivitamins lowers their risk of bearing a child with a cleft palette.
• Folic acid taken in the second trimester reduces the risk of developing pregnancy-induced hypertension.
• A year of folic acid intake before pregnancy has a 50% or more chance of preventing premature birth.
• Other protections offered by taking folic acid: miscarriage, low birth weight, poor fetus growth

How to Relieve Back Pain During Pregnancy

It is very common to experience back pain during pregnancy. It makes sense that there would be some discomfort in this area with the weight gain causing you to walk differently. Hormones also work in the body to help relax muscles and ligaments and when they are changing while expecting, it can mean discomfort. However, there are some ways to alleviate back pain during pregnancy. Here are seven of ways you may find some relief.

The first way to help you get rid of this discomfort is to always practice good posture. As you are gaining weight, your body shifts by moving the center of gravity forward. This can cause a lot of strain on the lower portions of the back which can cause discomfort. Using good posture means that you will stand up tall, and straight. Keep your chest held high and hold your shoulders back, but keep them relaxed. Remember to not lock your knees in place while standing still. Good posture also includes sitting properly. Make sure to select a chair that will add some support to your back. Placing a small pillow behind you may also help. Try to keep your spine and neck comfortable, but straight. You may feel better if you prop your feet up on a small stool.

The second way to relieve this discomfort is to wear the right clothes. Shoes with real low heels are best as long as they also have a good arch support. Wearing maternity clothes are more comfortable but make sure that the waistband is low and supportive. If it is more comfortable, try wearing a maternity support belt.

The third way to help yourself out is to be careful how you lift objects. When you need to pick up a small object make sure to squat down and then lift yourself back up with your legs. Do not bend at the waist and do not lift with your torso. It is best to ask for help as you should have limits on what you can lift.

The fourth way to help alleviate discomfort is to sleep on your side. Do not try to sleep on your back. Sleep on your side and keep both of your knees bent. Some find it very comfortable to place a small pillow between the knees. You may opt to purchase a full length body pillow as well.

The number five way to help with discomfort is to try a massage. Heat – cold therapy may work as well. Use a heating pad on low to heat the painful area. You may try alternating heat and ice to alleviate discomfort too. Ask someone to rub the area for you and if you can afford it, got for a professional massage.

Tip six is to stay active. The torso area can be strengthened by regular activity. Walking or swimming can be very beneficial while you are pregnant. Ask your doctor for some stretches that can help relieve back pain during pregnancy.

And lastly, think about alternative therapies. Acupuncture and chiropractic treatments have long been thought to bring relief and comfort. Make sure you discuss these options with your physician before beginning any of these therapies.

Do not ignore back pain during pregnancy, even though it is a common ailment. Always discuss it with your doctor to make sure there are no other underlying problems.

Depression and Pregnancy

Being a mother is the essence of being a woman. We are the only species on earth wherein pregnancy is something we can be proud of. Even the prominent belly is something that is a point of pride for the woman. But sometimes we do come to a point of confusion between pride and shame because of seeing others who are suffering depression during pregnancy. We then, ask ourselves how could this be possible – depression during pregnancy?

• Heredity – It is genetic so even if you have not experienced any major depression yet, you are a candidate for it.

• Complicated Relationship – Whatever the source of the pregnancy, you need to settle your relationship. Go for counseling and never assume that the baby can be a hero who saves the day and your relationship.

• Pregnancy status – Having a history of miscarriage, high-risk pregnancy or previous fertility problems can be a triggering factor giving you the fear of the unknown.

Depression at times can be mistakenly viewed as a normal change during pregnancy because of frequent mood swings or sudden emotional changes. But how can we exactly know if we are suffering depression; what are the early symptoms of depression?

• Not able to think clearly

• Numbness to fun and enjoyable events or feelings of emptiness, blue most of the day

• Altered sleep pattern

• Either craving for more food or nothing at all

• Unsuitable feelings of powerlessness, hopelessness or intense disturbance and anxiety

We can experience these symptoms of early pregnancy in our normal daily lives but we should take note of depression during pregnancy. Pregnancy is a very sensitive situation for most women, and even simple feelings of sadness can easily go to the next level of depression. So, how can we actually prevent this?

• Don’t take things too seriously – The feeling of a soon-to-be-mother is sometimes the reason why some will want to do many chores to prepare for the coming of the baby. If you think that you have to get it all done, do not worry about it. Just take it easy!

• Spend time with your partner – Lessen the times of being alone, you might end up thinking of things that you are troubling. Spend your time with other people as much as you can.

• Say it out loud – Hidden fears, guilt, anger and etc. if accumulated within us can just suddenly burst into depression. Don’t hold it in – let it out!

Alcohol and Pregnancy

We always heard “moderate drinking” mostly rather than quitting it since alcohol in minimal amounts has also its own way of helping our body. However, in the case of alcohol and pregnancy, the two are heterogeneous and just simply cannot be mixed and until now, no one still can tell as to the amount that is safe or too much for the baby. So might as well, pregnant women at least abstain from drinking alcohol completely. It is better to play safe than see the hard results in the end.

Here are some information from CDC (Center for Disease Control) about alcohol and pregnancy:

• No exact amount is known to be harmless and safe when drank during pregnancy.
• Any drink that has alcohol even the littlest percentage can damage the fetus.
• One drink of beer is the same as a 12 oz of beer, a 5 oz glass of wine and a 1 oz shot of liquor.
• There is no secure or safe point for both alcohol and pregnancy.
• Any time alcohol is harmful for the fetus in any way during pregnancy.
• Women should be cautious in drinking alcohol especially those who are planning to have a baby because she can’t tell whether she is pregnant or not during her first weeks of pregnancy.
• In the case of those who are already pregnant but is unaware of it and has drank alcohol is advised to discontinue immediately due to the fact that almost half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintentional or unplanned.
• A doctor’s visit is always important for women of childbearing age to know ways in preventing alcohol-exposed pregnancy.
• Women of childbearing age are the most vulnerable group who needs the help of Health professionals regarding alcohol and pregnancy, its risks if taken during pregnancy and the importance of abstinence the moment they are pregnant or still trying to be one.
• The most important point pregnant women should remember is that when a they drink alcohol, so does their unborn baby.

Alcohol and Pregnancy: the many risks

In addition, alcohol is considered as a teratogen which truly damages the fetus at all stages of pregnancy. The placenta, on the other hand is where the exchange of nutrients of the mother and fetus happens. Unfortunately, having no barrier at all allows alcohol to enter causing damage to the different organs structurally, organically and physically.