Category: Maternity

Giving Up Caffeine for Your Baby

Posted on Jul 21, 2014 by 1 Comment

Contradicting information surrounds caffeine and pregnancy. Do you have to give it up or not? Actually that’s between you and your doctor.

My doctor suggested limiting my intake. In the UK, the NHS recommends limiting caffeine intake to 200mg a day which is about the equivalent to two mugs of instant coffee or 2-3 cups of tea. However, a study of 1,000 women in their first trimester showed a doubling of miscarriage when drinking that amount of caffeine per day.

Another study in BMC Medicine linked caffeine to lower birth weights; babies who are at a higher risk of both short- and long-term health problems. So what’s a mom-to-be to do? After looking at all the conflicting information, I decided to play it safe and give it up.

When I decided to cut caffeine, no one warned me about the symptoms like the headache that was so bad it sent me to the bathroom vomiting. A friend told me to sip a half cup of coffee and the headache went away. Instead of quitting cold turkey, I cut back a little each day. I started with a half a cup in the morning. When I felt a hint of the headache, I had another half cup.

I gradually reduced my half cups to quarter cups and eventually quit drinking coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages all together. I also became aware of the caffeine in painkillers, ice cream, chocolate, and other products.

If you plan to breastfeed, I’d say you might as well wean yourself off caffeine totally before the baby is born because babies don’t excrete caffeine at the same rate as adults, and too much caffeine can make the baby cranky and keep it awake.

In my book, anything that lessens the chance of a fussy, sleepless baby is worth trying and once you’re done breastfeeding, you can always enjoy a cup of coffee again.

Photo credits: Joanna Bourne

Baby Girl Survives Miscarriage of Twin and Abortion Pills

Posted on Jul 16, 2014 by No Comments

Little Megan Hui is a miracle baby. She was born last February and is now a healthy 18-week-old little girl.

She’s a miracle, because her mother suffered a miscarriage six weeks into the pregnancy. Then following the miscarriage, she was given abortion drugs to help clear out her uterus and as a precautionary method to avoid infection. Then 10 days later she went back to the hospital to have a surgical procedure to clear remaining blot clots that could be life threatening.

According to Megan’s 31-year-old mom, Michelle, the doctor said, “You are not going to believe it, we’ve got a heartbeat.” Can you imagine the roller coaster of emotions to she went through from losing her baby, to finding out she was still pregnant?

It turns out the Megan was a twin. Her mom had lost a baby after six weeks of pregnancy, and didn’t know that she was actually carrying two babies. She even underwent 5 different scans that confirmed she had lost the baby, and yet for some reason, little Megan survived the abortion drugs. I count that a miracle!

Michelle Hui went in to have the surgical procedure to have the potentially dangerous blood clots in her uterus removed. It was at this time that a scan picked up a faint heartbeat.

The medical team decided that since the baby had survived so much already that Michelle should continue her pregnancy. They think that perhaps the blood clots caused shadows that hid the surviving fetus, but however it happened, the result is that a healthy baby girl who weighed six pounds at birth.

She joins her older sister Mya, who is four, and her brother, Noah, who is two.

It turns out that I’m not the only one who thinks Megan is a miracle. Her story is considered extraordinary enough to be written up in medical journals and the doctors said it was a “blessing.” I agree!

Photo credits: Twitter

Returning to Work After Maternity Leave

Posted on Jul 9, 2014 by No Comments

One of the hardest things for new moms to do after giving birth, aside from learning to keep the tiny person in their life alive, is going back to work after maternity leave. Most women find themselves torn because, while they might love their career, many of us are completely overwhelmed and blindsided by our attachment to our newborn babies.

I thought for sure I’d go back to work and leave my baby in the onsite daycare at the university but once I held her, it was all over.

I realized pretty quickly that I couldn’t leave my girls when they were newborns and luckily my husband’s job allowed me that luxury. I also knew I needed to work, so when they were newborns, I found work from home tutoring college students online.

I was lucky. But sometimes there is no choice and you have to go back to work, whether you want to or not. If you’re going to return to work after maternity leave or after taking time off to stay home, why not go back like a boss?

The first thing you’ll need to do is secure childcare that you feel completely comfortable with. That will be your biggest hurdle to returning to working outside the home.

Next, you will need to get a non-spit up covered wardrobe put together. Believe me, my girls are 8 and 6-years-old and I still have to do a foreign body fluid check of my clothes to make sure it’s public worthy. It’s not easy switching gears from cooing at a newborn all day to having actual conversations with co-workers. You need to mentally shift gears.

It will be hard in the beginning to separate Mommy you from corporate you. Obviously. You are always mommy first but when you are in the office, try to stay focused on your work and career goals.

Sure your baby is still the cutest baby ever, but try not boring your co-workers with a constant barrage of photos of your baby in the tub or spitting up. Soon, they will all be running the other way when they see you coming in their direction.

Use work as a chance to get some “me” time, meaning focus on you the person instead of just you the mom. Use all that time at work to focus on your projects and show your boss that motherhood has only increased your multi-tasking skills.

Be professional when you are at work. It will be hard those first few mornings to leave your precious little baby, but once you get to work, get into work mode. You can’t spend every moment obsessing over the webcam in your baby’s nursery.

Set aside certain times to check in on your baby, let your caregiver know that you cannot have constant phone calls and emails when you are at work unless it is an emergency. If not, you will run the risk of looking unprofessional and possibly losing your job.

Keep a schedule. Sure, as a mom, there will be situations that you will have to make allowances for like running a sick baby into the pediatrician’s office, or if your caregiver gets sick or doesn’t show up. You can’t prepare for these things but plan well visits around your work schedule and if you must be late or miss a day, make it up by working through lunch or putting in hours from home.

Prove your dedication to your job to your boss. It’s not an easy situation to get a handle on but with time, it will get easier to balance the two.

What’s your best tip for going back to work after having a baby?

photo credit: Ray_from_LA via photopin cc

8.5 Months Pregnant Runner Completes 800-Meter Race

Posted on Jul 8, 2014 by No Comments

The crowd at the US Track and Field Championships gave Alysia Montano a standing ovation as she crossed the finish line in the 800-meter race. She came in just 35 seconds more than her personal best, but what made the crowd applaud her performance is the fact that Montano, 28, ran the race while being 8.5 months pregnant.

Montano is a five time national champion, and she had been running regularly throughout her pregnancy. She got the okay from her midwife and doctor to run in the race 800 meter race.

At 34 weeks pregnant, she knew she could run a decent time, but didn’t really have an exact time in mind. In fact, her goal was to be lapped and she accomplished that.

“More than anything, I wanted to be here and feeling that fire and desire to be on the track and to race.” – Alysia Montano

This is Montano’s first pregnancy, and she says her midwife and doctors were so encouraging that she knew as a professional runner that she could do this. And as she looked into whether or not she should run while pregnant, she learned that exercise during pregnancy is good for the mom and the baby.

When she finished the race, she didn’t even realize she was given a standing ovation, but she said that she felt so supported and even a little choked up about it.

It really had her fired up to be back at the Championships, though she admits, she wasn’t out there competing to make it to the next round. She had qualified to be there and looked at it more as a celebration. She was celebrating where she was at, that she had made it 34 weeks, and that this is what it looks like to be a professional woman athlete starting a family.

Photo credits: Letsrundotcom

Unexpected Benefit for Older Maternal Age at Birth

Posted on Jul 4, 2014 by No Comments

My father was born when my grandmother was 49. She lived to be 91 and got to see her youngest child go on to be a success, have a family of his own, and even got to meet his first two grandchildren.

He was her surprise baby. She thought she had gone through the change and so her periods had stopped, then she learned baby number 5 was on the way.

Today, it’s not unusual for women to have children in their 40s but doctors often discourage delaying childbirth. However, a new Long Life Family Study shows that there may be an unexpected benefit to having children when we are over 33 and even over 40.

The study, which was published in the journal Menopause, suggests that late motherhood may lead to a longer life expectancy.

The objective of this study was to investigate the “association between maternal age at birth of last child and likelihood of survival to advanced age.” Researchers at Boston University and Boston Medical Center looked at women who lived to the age of 95 or older and compared them with 151 women who had died at younger ages.

Their findings showed that women who gave birth naturally (no IVF or other fertility assistance) were twice as likely to live to the age of 95, and women who had their last child after the age of 40 were four times more likely to live to the age of 100.

Lead researcher Thomas Perls, MD, says, “We believe the ability to have kids at an older age is a sign that a woman’s reproductive system is aging slowly, which is a marker that her entire body is aging slowly.”

He even pointed to Halle Berry as an example. She became pregnant at 46, without any fertility treatments, and looks young and healthy.

While all this may be true, part of me also thinks about how that could also lead to more people finding themselves raising kids and taking care of elderly parents at the same time. However, the longevity results, according to this study, extended to the children who were conceived later in life. They ran half the risk of diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer so they’ll be more likely to be healthy enough to handle it.

Photo credits: wikipedia

Orgasmic Foods for Couples Trying to Conceive

Posted on Jul 2, 2014 by No Comments

If there were foods that could insure that you had a better, stronger, longer, more frequent orgasm, would you eat those foods? Of course you would; everybody would. Who doesn’t want better, stronger, longer and more frequent orgasms? I think most of us would eat them if there were just the slightest chance that it worked.

Well, believe it or not there are certain foods that are believed that simply by eating them they will get the blood flowing to all the important parts. Here is a list, just in case you want to make a meal that will give you a night to remember.

Here is the list of some of the most o-inducing foods you can eat:

Peppers

The hotter the pepper, the more hot and bothered you will find yourself. Peppers increase metabolism and get blood flowing to all the body parts, even the good ones. So next time you find yourself all hot and bothered, make the most of it.

Oysters

Not only are oysters an aphrodisiac; they’re also rich in zinc, which helps with the production of testosterone. So while the oysters get your motor revved up, they can also help get your partner’s sperm count up, which could be beneficial if you are trying to conceive.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate, like oysters, is a known aphrodisiac. I know that a good piece of chocolate can change my entire mood. That’s because it helps release mood-altering serotonin in the brain. So next time you are in the mood for a little ecstasy, have a piece of dark chocolate and see where the night takes you.

Oranges

Vitamin C keeps sexual organs satisfied. If you eat an orange or grab a glass of OJ, you can help keep yourself sex healthy.

Asparagus

Asparagus is my favorite vegetable anyways but apparently, this yummy green veggie is also rich in folate, which regulates the production of histamine. Histamine is the chemical released during orgasm. Eat some asparagus and get a jumpstart on your sexual appetite.

Watermelon

Watermelon is natural Viagra. Who knew? So if your man is having trouble getting an erection, skip the little blue pill feed him a big bowl of sweet, juicy watermelon. It’s definitely cheaper than Viagra and no pesky side effects like a 4-hour erection to contend with.

Have you ever tried any of these foods? Did they work? Just imagine the possibilities if you made a meal of all these foods at one sitting?

Photo Source: Chocolate Reviews

Surviving a Summer Pregnancy

Posted on Jul 1, 2014 by No Comments

Out of my eight children, three were born in July. So, if you are spending your days feeling like a whale in a sauna I just want you to know that I can identify. I have been where you are. I am sympatico.

Summer in Texas is hot and there is nothing that will make you feel huge and uncomfortable like being 44 weeks pregnant when it is 115 degrees.

Keep in mind that you are almost there, you’re growing a baby, and there is nothing wrong with spending these last few weeks in a chair with your feet up and the air conditioner set on frigid. Barring that, here are some ways you can stay cool while you are waiting for Junior to show up.

Drink Water by the Gallon

When you are dehydrated you are going to feel even worse. I don’t know about you, but I had to go to the bathroom so often by those last weeks that I think I purposely cut back on liquids so I wouldn’t have to take that long waddle to the bathroom.

Don’t do it. Your body needs to be able to flush out toxins for two. Drinking icy cold drinks not only keeps you hydrated, it cools your body temperature.

I don’t suggest this, but one summer I was so anemic that I craved ice to chew constantly. I went through two and a half pounds a day. The takeaway is this — I wore sweaters all summer long because my core temperature was low from all of that ice. Don’t chew ice but put lots of it in your drinks.

Yeah. You probably want to arrange your comfy chair close to the bathroom.

Keep You Feet Up and Cool

This might sound crazy but you will feel much better and have less swelling if you keep your feet up. It’s even better if you can keep them cool while they are up. Prop your feet up on a pillow with a towel covered ice pack on it. It sounds totally crazy but it works like a charm.

Lose the Salt

Salt will make you retain water. Even though you may be craving potato chips and pretzels, get your crunch from natural diuretics like celery. Copious amounts of water keep it flushed out as well.

Take Off Rings and Tight Clothing

Don’t wear anything that interferes with your circulation. Take off your rings — trust me  you are not going to get a lot of guys hitting on you at the mall these days — and do away with elastic. The rule of thumb is that if it is uncomfortable then take it off. Wearing loose dresses is amazingly freeing and you’ll feel so much cooler.

Freezer Food

You can make popsicles out of almost any kind of juice you like. Don’t use the corn syrup, artificially flavored ones but freeze juice and juice combinations.

Snow cones and slushes are also really good ways to cool down. You can make a slush by freezing juice in ice cube trays and then putting it in the blender. Add some fresh fruit if you want.

photo credit: Victoria Z

Woman’s Ovary Removal Turns into C-Section

Posted on Jun 24, 2014 by No Comments

When I hear stories of women who don’t know they are pregnant, it just amazes me, but this one is more astounding than most.

New Zealand doctors had run multiple tests on 25-year-old Rebecca Oldham to see if they could find the cause of her painful cramping. But after running multiple tests on the mother of one, they had no conclusive answer. As a matter of deduction, they decided to remove her ovaries in November, figuring they were the most likely cause of the problem.

She was wheeled into surgery knowing she wouldn’t be able to have any more children. Little did anyone know the course that trip to the OR would take.

What was scheduled as surgery for removal of her ovaries turned into an emergency Cesarean section as the doctors delivered a 9 pound baby boy! Rebecca was 32 weeks pregnant! Instead of having her ovaries removed, she brought home a healthy baby boy they named James.

I’m stunned. Not only did the mom not know she was pregnant with a nine-pound baby, but she was undergoing tests and the doctors didn’t pick up on that fact either! According to Rebecca Oldham, I’m not the only one left with questions. Rebecca told Newser that “People say ‘how could you not know?’ But I really didn’t.”

Doctors are puzzled over how they didn’t detect the advanced pregnancy after completing three scans, two blood tests, and six pregnancy tests. Now in hindsight, they have told Oldham that her cramps were likely caused by the baby being so tightly lodged along her back.

“I was facing not being able to have any more children because they thought there were problems with my ovaries and all of a sudden we had a son.” – Oldham via the New Zealand Herald.

It took a while for her to wrap her head around the idea. She said when James cried at night, she’d wake up and say “Ssshhh Hayley,” and then remember it wasn’t her daughter crying but her newborn son.

Oldham is awaiting findings from the hospital’s investigation and hopes it will give her some of the answers she’s looking for. If I were here, one of the big questions would be, “Can this happen to me again?”

Photo credits: wikipedia

Moms Using Hypnobirth to Avoid Drugs and Pain During Childbirth

Posted on Jun 23, 2014 by 1 Comment

Can childbirth really be a pain- and drug-free experience? For those who have tried hypnobirthing, the answer is yes.

Hypnobirthing allows women to give birth calmly and in many cases without pain or drugs. It removes the drama often associated with getting to the hospital, and eliminates things like screaming and yelling. Instead, it transforms giving birth into a quiet, loving experience.

When it comes to hypnosis, if you think of someone waving a pocket watch in front of your face telling you “you’re getting sleepy” you’re not alone, but the techniques used during hypnobirthing are nothing like that.

It’s not like moms-to-be are under a spell. Instead, couples are taught techniques of hypnosis to help them relax and focus. It’s not a form of sleep or something you won’t remember. Couples are focused and fully aware of what is happening.

hypnobirthing
How does it work? Couples learn hypnosis techniques in class and practice them at home. These hypnobirthing techniques help couples release endorphins (the hormones that allow us to experience pleasure) and to block catecholamines which are hormones released when a person is under physical or emotional stress.

When the body goes into labor, these catecholamines naturally kick in as the mind alerts the body of a life-threatening situation. Blocking the catecholamines allows women to relax and stay calm during the birthing process, and the endorphins work as natural pain killers.

When the time comes to give birth, hypnobirthing is not always 100 percent pain free, but many mothers using this technique say they feel pressure but no pain. They are able to go through the delivery without the use of drugs, and deliveries are often quick, too.

For people who don’t want to put chemicals in their bodies and who want to take a more natural approach to having a baby, hypnobirthing offers ‘training’ to help control or eliminate the pain. It uses visual imagery and other techniques to help keep the body completely relaxed during labor.

To find a practitioner near you, check the hypnobirthing website.

Photo credits: salimfadhley, Amazon

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