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What to Eat Before Glucose Test Pregnancy For Accurate Results

One test pregnant women take around week 28 is the glucose test pregnancy, which is also known as the gestational oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). This test screens patients to see if they are at risk of gestational diabetes. The test is taken between the 6th and 8th months of pregnancy if you haven’t already been diagnosed with diabetes. On the patient's part, there is no preparation before the one hour glucose tolerance test. Your doctor will give you a specific high sugar beverage to drink an hour before the test for your sugar levels to peak. If you're worried about the results, there are dietary changes to help maintain your blood sugar levels before the test. You should start these early in your pregnancy.Gestational diabetes happens when a pregnant woman’s body can’t regulate their glucose levels, resulting in high sugar levels. This happens due to hormones and weight gain from pregnancy. Get Femhealth's Doctor Developed Gestational Diabetes Ebook here (*free to download this month!)You will need to fast about eight hours before going to your doctor’s office. They will draw blood for testing your fasting glucose level, then you will have the sugary drink (75 grams of glucose). They will then draw your blood one hour after drinking. When figuring out what to eat during the days before the test, it's best to stick with nutrient-dense foods with complex carbohydrates and fiber. Here are some examples:There are also certain foods you have to avoid. You should NOT have simple carbohydrates or food high in sugar. This can have your blood sugar levels spike, leading to a false positive. Do not have:Besides what to eat, you can also follow these extra tips when taking your glucose test:Eating these healthy foods won’t guarantee normal levels of blood sugar levels. When your body is already in gestational diabetes, then a change of diet won’t alter the test results. But don't worry, as this is also common since our hormones can change a lot during pregnancy and there are ways to live with the condition. Don't beat yourself up because of it! If the diagnosis is confirmed, then you can work with your doctor to help keep a healthier diet and an active lifestyle to manage it. Furthermore, gestational diabetes usually goes away after childbirth, but people who have had gestational diabetes in pregnancy are at a higher risk for having diabetes later in life. Wrapping It UpDiet is crucial when pregnant. It can help regulate your hormones and maintain optimum health. Lessening food high in carbs and sugar can prevent or manage gestational diabetes, among other benefits.
3 min read
Pregnancy After A Miscarriage

Pregnancy After A Miscarriage

Miscarriages are a devastating and terrible reality for so many people who are trying to get pregnant. 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage. In the aftermath of this, people also wonder when it is safe to become pregnant again. If you miscarried within the first three months of your pregnancy, the body may restore its normal functions more quickly. After an early pregnancy loss, your hormones will return to normal levels within a few weeks. This means that you may ovulate and you could become pregnant sooner than you would if you had lost the pregnancy in the third trimester. If the pregnancy was an ectopic or molar pregnancy, the guidance will be different. In these situations, the interval within which you can try to conceive again will likely be longer than your first missed period.If you experience a complete first trimester pregnancy loss spontaneously, meaning, all tissue and debris passed and no remaining signs of tissue in the uterus, you may be able to conceive as soon as you feel ready. This is because the body is already fully prepared for another pregnancy, the uterine lining has returned to its normal thickness and your hormones will likely have returned back to normal.In 90% of cases, the body will expel the pregnancy naturally, within 6-8 weeks. In rare cases of a spontaneous first trimester miscarriage, there may still be tissue left in your uterus. This remaining tissue has a risk of causing an infection. If you continue to have bleeding or pain following passing tissue, your doctor may order an ultrasound in order to evaluate the contents of your uterus. In these cases, a physician may recommend medication to assist in passing the pregnancy or even surgery to remove the pregnancy from your uterus. The name of the surgery is a dilatation and curettage and its purpose is to remove the remaining tissue to prevent complications in the future. Dilatation and curettage is a safe and effective way to remove the remaining tissue. In addition, this surgery is safe and has an extremely low risk of complications. It has an extremely low risk of affecting your ability to become pregnant in the future.If you experience an incomplete miscarriage as above, and some tissue remains in the uterus, doctors will likely recommend waiting until your next period to attempt another pregnancy.  This gives your body a chance to heal itself and prepare for another pregnancy naturally.After a second trimester loss, it's recommended that you wait at least three months before attempting to get pregnant again. This allows your body time to heal, and your hormone levels to return to normal. It is important to allow your uterine lining to go back to the optimal thickness in order to allow the placenta to implant appropriately the next time you conceive.Getting pregnant again after a third trimester pregnancy loss is very different, as your body has changed significantly. At this stage, a pregnancy loss will most likely need to be delivered, and labor will be induced. A pregnancy loss will likely be delivered vaginally regardless of whether you have had a cesarean section previously. Cesarean section for pregnancy loss is usually reserved for emergency situations. Because you will actually be delivering the fetus, you should follow the same recommendations as someone who did not have a stillbirth, and wait at least 12 months before becoming pregnant again. In addition, close follow-up after delivery of a stillborn baby is recommended. Once you do conceive, it is important to contact your Obstetrician as soon as possible, as you may need additional prenatal care during the pregnancy.For all miscarriages and pregnancy losses, there are some reasons to consider waiting. One reason is that if you have been through an emotionally taxing experience, it may be helpful to take some time to grieve your loss and process your feelings before trying again. Additionally, after any pregnancy loss, you may be able to evaluate the tissue for a cause of miscarriage. This testing could take some time to come back and waiting for these results could help guide you in trying to conceive in the future.If you had a known chromosomal abnormality in the child with whom you lost the pregnancy, this may affect your future pregnancies, so it is important to talk with your care provider about your options and how long you should wait after a loss on a case-by-case basis. Finally, be sure to talk with your health care provider about any questions you may have regarding your mental and emotional well-being after losing a pregnancy.
4 min read
Pregnancy Test Very Faint Line

Pregnancy Test Very Faint Line : What Does It Mean?

A very faint line on a pregnancy test means that there are hormones of pregnancy rising in your body. It is very likely that you are pregnant. It is important to look at the urine pregnancy test and make sure that the control line is also appearing. If the control line does not appear, you should take another test, because it means that the pregnancy test is not valid. If you have a positive urine pregnancy test (a pregnancy test with a very faint line), it is likely that you are pregnant. If you take a second pregnancy test and the positive line is more intense than the faint line on the initial test, this could be an indicator that hCG levels in your body are rising. Human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, is a hormone produced by the placenta when you are pregnant. The hCG hormone is made once the embryo (the egg that has been fertilized by sperm) attaches to the wall of the uterus. In a person with a 28-day menstrual cycle, hCG can be detected in the urine as early as 12 days after ovulation, and the window for early detection of a pregnancy is approximately 12 to 15 days after ovulation.For the most reliable results, test 7 to 14 days after you miss your period. Ideally you should use the first morning urine for the urine pregnancy test. If you are pregnant, it will have more hCG in it than later urines. If you think you are pregnant, but your first test was negative, you can take the test again after a few days. The amount of hCG increases quickly when you are pregnant, so it is more likely to have a positive test 1 to 3 days later. There are some people who have circulating antibodies in their body that interact with the hCG antibody. The most common of these are called heterophilic antibodies. People who may be more likely to have this interaction and have these antibodies are those who have worked as animal laboratory technicians, have spent time in veterinary facilities, or people who were raised on farms. The presence of these antibodies can interfere with pregnancy test results, but the vast majority of people do not have these antibodies. The pregnancy test can only have a positive result once your body starts to produce a hormone HCG, which stands for human chorionic gonadotropin. Fertilization takes place in the fallopian tube, and it is the joining of an egg with a sperm into a single cell. This single cell then divides into multiple cells while it moves from the fallopian tube to the uterus. Around day 6 to day 10 after conception, the cluster of cells implants into the uterine wall and is called an embryo. During implantation, you may have some cramping and even some mild bleeding. This bleeding can occur for a few days or even up to a week.  Significant bleeding is not typical for implantation bleeding. If you have a pregnancy test that you think is positive, the best thing to do is to schedule an appointment with your doctor to have a blood test done. The blood test can provide more specific data on the stage of your pregnancy and it is also something that the doctor will want to monitor. Blood levels of HCG that do not rise as expected could be a sign that something may be wrong. Sources:Cole LA, Rinne KM, Shahabi S, Omrani A. False-positive hCG assay results leading to unnecessary surgery and chemotherapy and needless occurrences of diabetes and coma. Clin Chem 1999;45:313 – 4.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9931066/Rotmensch S, Cole LA. False diagnosis and needless therapy of presumed malignant disease in women with false-positive human chorionic gonadotropin concentrations. Lancet 2000;355:712–5.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10703803/Check JH, Nowroozi K, Chase JS, Lauer C, Elkins B, Wu CH. False-positive human chorionic gonadotropin levels caused by a heterophile antibody with the immunoradiometric assay. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1988;158:99–100.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2447778/https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2002/11/avoiding-inappropriate-clinical-decisions-based-on-false-positive-human-chorionic-gonadotropin-test-resultshttps://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/home-use-tests/pregnancy 
4 min read
Implantation Bleeding Pregnancy

Can Implantation Bleeding Be Heavy ?  

It is unusual for implantation bleeding to be heavy. Heavy bleeding is the type of bleeding that a person would experience on their period. Implantation bleeding is usually a light spotting that caused by the fertilized egg implanting itself into the uterine wall. Spotting or light bleeding is when there are a few drops of blood on your underwear. It is usually not enough blood to require using a panty liner or pad. Implantation can occur anywhere from 6 to 12 days after ovulation, but it usually happens about 7 days after ovulation. The earliest signs of implantation are usually light pink or brown spotting. It is also possible to experience implantation cramping during this time. The bleeding usually lasts for one to three days, but some women experience spotting for up to a week. If you're having any other symptoms including cramping or fatigue, it's best to talk with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications or vitamins.Implantation bleeding is a sign of pregnancy if the bleeding is in fact due to the fertilized egg implanting into the uterine wall. The best way to determine if you are pregnant is to take an at home pregnancy test as well as schedule a visit with your doctor to have a blood test done for pregnancy. Other causes of bleeding include an ectopic pregnancy, a miscarriage, your menstrual period, or breakthrough bleeding. Bleeding from a miscarriage or your menstrual period tends to be heavier and very noticeable. Breakthrough bleeding tends to not be as heavy for most people.  If you experience vaginal bleeding between two weeks before and two weeks after ovulation, it could be implantation bleeding or something more serious, like an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants itself outside of your uterus. This location is usually in the fallopian tubes, but can be elsewhere. Because it is impossible to tell if someone is having an ectopic pregnancy without a medical evaluation involving a doctor, it is important to schedule an in person appointment with an Ob Gyn as soon as you think you may be pregnant. The doctor can draw blood, perform a physical exam, and also do an ultrasound to begin to evaluate the cause of bleeding.Breakthrough bleeding can occur with the use of any hormonal birth control, like birth control pills, a hormonal IUD, a birth control implant, a ring, a patch, or a shot, like Depo-Provera. Out of these birth control methods, breakthrough bleeding is more common with low-dose and ultra-low-dose birth control pills, the implant, which is placed under the skin of the arm, and hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs).After IUD placement, women often have spotting in the first couple months after placement, and it should resolve by 6 months. With the birth control implant, the bleeding can continue beyond the first few months. Implantation bleeding is not heavy bleeding. It is usually light bleeding or spotting. If you are having heavy bleeding, please contact your doctor right away. Sources:https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000614.htmhttps://www.acog.org/womens-health/experts-and-stories/the-latest/what-you-should-know-about-breakthrough-bleeding-with-birth-controlMummert T, Gnugnoli DM. Ectopic Pregnancy. 2021 Dec 9. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan–. PMID: 30969682.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30969682/
3 min read
Insomnia In Pregnancy

Insomnia In Pregnancy

Insomnia in pregnancy is very common. Studies estimate that anywhere from 40% to 97% of women experience sleep challenges during pregnancy, especially during the first and third trimesters. Insomnia is defined by having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. With the variety of emotions that come along with being pregnant, add insomnia into the mix and it can make things even more challenging. Because there’s so much happening emotionally and physically during pregnancy, there are a number of factors that contribute to pregnancy-related insomnia. These include: A couple of disorders that are important to identify as possible causes of insomnia are restless leg syndrome (RLS) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Both of these disorders can occur during pregnancy even if you didn’t have symptoms before, and lead to disturbed sleep and daytime fatigue. Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is also known as Willis-Ekbom disease and is typically related to low iron levels. There’s a higher demand for nutrients like iron during pregnancy, which puts women at risk of developing RLS during this time of life. RLS can cause an urge to move the legs at bedtime or a creepy-crawly sensation and make it hard to fall asleep. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition where breathing stops and starts during sleep. During pregnancy, there can be swelling of the nasal passages and other changes in the airway related to hormonal or fluid shifts that put women at a higher risk of developing OSA. Some of the signs to look out for include snoring, your partner noticing that you stop breathing at night, or feeling excessively drowsy during the day. Non-medication treatments are considered the safest option during pregnancy and are preferred by most women. A good place to start is with lifestyle changes, including: Your sleeping environment is also important. Keep a calm, cool, clean, and comfortable bedroom to help you relax and sleep well. Use pillows to support your body so you can get into a comfortable position. Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is an effective treatment for chronic insomnia, and may also reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and fatigue during pregnancy. This can be done in person or online. Do consider other underlying factors that might be disrupting your sleep like RLS, OSA, or heartburn. Supplementing with iron, folate, magnesium, and increasing your intake of nutrient-dense foods may help with RLS and overall energy. If you suspect OSA, talk to your doctor about getting a sleep study. Sleep issues are highly treatable and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. If you have tried all of the above, have a conversation with your doctor to see what other options might be appropriate for you. Sources:Chaudhry SK, Susser LC. Considerations in Treating Insomnia During Pregnancy: A Literature Review. Psychosomatics. 2018 Jul-Aug;59(4):341-348. doi: 10.1016/j.psym.2018.03.009. Epub 2018 Mar 21. PMID: 29706359.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29706359/Miller MA, Mehta N, Clark-Bilodeau C, Bourjeily G. Sleep Pharmacotherapy for Common Sleep Disorders in Pregnancy and Lactation. Chest. 2020 Jan;157(1):184-197. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2019.09.026. Epub 2019 Oct 14. PMID: 31622589; PMCID: PMC6965691.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31622589/Okun ML, Ebert R, Saini B. A review of sleep-promoting medications used in pregnancy. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Apr;212(4):428-41. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2014.10.1106. Epub 2014 Oct 31. PMID: 25448509.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25448509/Sedov ID, Anderson NJ, Dhillon AK, Tomfohr-Madsen LM. Insomnia symptoms during pregnancy: A meta-analysis. J Sleep Res. 2021 Feb;30(1):e13207. doi: 10.1111/jsr.13207. Epub 2020 Nov 2. PMID: 33140514.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33140514/Sedov ID, Goodman SH, Tomfohr-Madsen LM. Insomnia Treatment Preferences During Pregnancy. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2017 May-Jun;46(3):e95-e104. doi: 10.1016/j.jogn.2017.01.005. Epub 2017 Mar 24. PMID: 28343943.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28343943/
4 min read
Pregnancy Vaccines

Pregnancy Vaccines

There are several vaccines that are safe and important to receive either before or during pregnancy. The TDAP vaccine provides combined protection against the diseases of tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis. Both the CDC and ACOG, which is the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, consider the vaccine to be safe for mothers during pregnancy.Infants under 2 months are too young to receive a vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis. Getting a vaccine would allow the baby to produce their own antibodies. When the pregnant person gets the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy, it allows some of the antibodies produced by the mother to transfer to the baby during pregnancy which protects babies after birth until they are able to receive their own vaccine. Infants can benefit from minimized risk through a Tdap vaccine during pregnancy. Getting a Tdap vaccine during pregnancy between 27 through 36 weeks lowers the risk of whooping cough in babies younger than 2 months old by 78%. (1, 2).Over the last two years, we have seen that pregnant persons are at much greater risk of hospitalization and death if they are unvaccinated and contract Covid-19. Both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) recommend that all pregnant persons be vaccinated against COVID-19 (3). If you have not been vaccinated before becoming pregnant, it is advised that you do so during your pregnancy. You can also choose to become vaccinated before you become pregnant.The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states that the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are preferred over the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for all people who are eligible to receive a vaccine. It is safe for patients to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as other vaccines, such as TDAP vaccine and the flu vaccine. If you are moderately or severely immunocompromised, you should receive an additional dose of the vaccine, so, for the mRNA vaccines, immunocompromised individuals need a 3-dose primary series.The mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) are not live virus vaccines. The vaccines do not enter the nucleus and do not alter human DNA. Thus, mRNA vaccines cannot cause any genetic changes (3,4).In the United States, the influenza season usually lasts from October to May. If you are pregnant, do your best to obtain the flu shot before the end of October, or as soon as it is made available to you. You do not have to get this with your Ob-Gyn. Your primary care doctor can also administer this vaccine for you.The flu can be a serious illness and if it happens during or after pregnancy, there is a higher chance of the pregnant person getting pneumonia, being hospitalized, and having an ICU admission. There is also a risk of poor neonatal outcomes. The CDC and ACOG recommend that all adults receive an annual influenza vaccine and that women who plan to be pregnant during influenza season receive an inactivated influenza vaccine as soon as it is available (5). The TDAP, Covid, and Flu vaccines are all safe to receive during pregnancy. The TDAP vaccine is mainly for the protection of your unborn child, while the Covid vaccine and Flu vaccine can help to prevent hospitalization and death in pregnant persons. Ask your doctor about these vaccines so you can ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy for you and your baby. Sources:
3 min read

Birth Control Pills vs. IUD: Choosing The Right Method

Choosing a birth control method often seems like a difficult task. Women have to consider several factors including effectiveness, safety and side effects while choosing a birth control that is best suited for them. They also need to consider whether they wish to conceive in the near future before choosing any contraceptive. If you are finding yourself at a crossroad, read on to know the differences between the two most common contraceptives - birth control pills and IUD. We will also discuss the benefits and pros and cons of each so that you can take an informed decision about the best contraception suitable for you. If your overall health is good and you suffer from no illness linked to hormonal imbalances, hormonal contraceptives including both birth control pills (also called OC pills) and IUDs would be suitable for you.However, if you suffer from menstrual problems due to PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease), hormonal imbalances, or thyroid disorders, it is best to choose non-hormonal IUDs to reduce the risk of worsening the hormonal imbalances.  You should be aware of the exact way your birth control works when choosing the best contraceptive. Oral Contraceptive (OC) pills work by creating a temporary balance of hormone that is not favorable for pregnancy the same way hormonal IUDs do. However, the hormonal changes caused due to IUDs may last a little longer than the changes caused due to oral pills. Progesterone-only and combined OC pills, as well as IUDs, are considered the best methods of contraception, though IUDs are considered more effective. The lower effectiveness of OC pills could be attributed to the failure of women to adhere to the dosing schedule due to a busy lifestyle or forgetfulness.It is important to choose a contraceptive that is convenient to use and easily available. OC pills, though easily available, have to be taken orally on a daily basis. Not taking the doses regularly might reduce their effectiveness. IUDs do not require any action from your side once it is inserted. IUDs can produce a contraceptive effect for 3 to 10 years. Hence, they are considered more convenient for adult women who are sexually active and wish to avoid pregnancy for several years.Which is the best contraceptive: IUD or birth control pills?Birth control pills are hormonal preparation you need to take orally on a daily basis. There are two types of OC pills including combined OC pills that contain estrogen and progesterone and progestin-only pills containing only progesterone.IUDs or intrauterine devices refer to a T-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus. There are two forms of IUDs called copper IUD and hormonal IUDs. Copper IUDs do not contain hormones and can be used for up to 10 years.Hormonal IUDs contain Levonorgestrel, a form of female sex hormones. Most hormonal IUDs work for 3 to 5 years.ConclusionThere is no one-size-fits-all method of contraception. You can choose the right birth control method suitable for you based on the factors we discussed above. 
4 min read

Gestational Diabetes Symptoms

Gestational diabetes symptoms can be subtle, making it difficult for patients to realize that their blood glucose may be high. Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a high blood glucose condition that happens during pregnancy and occurs in about 6% of pregnancies (1). Many women with gestational diabetes do not experience any symptoms. However, it is possible that you may experience some symptoms of gestational diabetes, and one of these may be increased thirst. You may also sweat more than usual when working out. You may also be hungry throughout the day. Other gestational diabetes symptoms may include abdominal swelling and bloating, frequent urination, or low blood sugar episodes and even depression. Because pregnancy itself has so many changes, it may be difficult to distinguish between normal pregnancy changes and symptoms of gestational diabetes.Gestational diabetes is usually screened for around the 28th week of pregnancy, but it can occur earlier. If you have had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy, your doctor will likely screen you at 14 weeks or maybe even sooner. Unless you have other risk factors, like a previous pregnancy with GDM, there is limited utility to screening before 24 weeks (2). If it's not properly managed, gestational diabetes can have potentially serious health effects for both mother and baby. In general, every pregnancy has some degree of increased insulin resistance. Because placental-produced hormones increase through the second trimester and much of the third trimester, insulin resistance is greatest in the third trimester. The increase in insulin resistance is primarily the result of the effects of several placental hormones, including human chorionic somatomammotropin (human placental lactogen), progesterone, prolactin, placental growth hormone, and cortisol. Therefore, just the placenta alone increases a person’s risk for gestational diabetes. But, the majority of people will not have a pregnancy complicated by GDM.Gestational diabetes is a temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy and affects how your cells use sugar (glucose), one of the main sources of energy. Your body breaks down the carbohydrates you eat into glucose and sends it into your bloodstream. The glucose then travels to your cells with the help of insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas.The pancreas normally makes more insulin when your blood sugar is high, such as after a meal, to keep glucose levels stable. But, if you have gestational diabetes, this process doesn't work properly and leads to high blood sugar levels. Too much glucose in your bloodstream can be harmful to you and your baby. Patients with gestational diabetes can have a high degree of insulin resistance, which makes it harder for the insulin that’s being made to work properly to reduce your blood sugar.About 6- 7% of pregnant persons get gestational diabetes. Some studies report a higher prevalence of around 11% in Asian populations (3). Some of the risk factors for gestational diabetes are advanced age (≥35 yrs.), obesity, excessive gestational weight gain, excessive central body fat deposition, family history of diabetes, short stature (<1.50 m), hypertension or preeclampsia in the current pregnancy, history of recurrent miscarriage, GDM during prior pregnancies and polycystic ovary syndrome. In addition to the most common factors, a sedentary lifestyle may also be a risk factor for GDM.Gestational diabetes in a mother can lead to excessive weight gain in the baby, which can increase the risk of complications during delivery and beyond. Babies whose mothers have had poorly controlled gestational diabetes are themselves at higher risk of developing type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes later in life.  In addition to risks to your baby and your pregnancy, there is also a risk to you. The lifetime risk of going on to develop Type 2 Diabetes in individuals who have had gestational diabetes is an alarming 70%. One to two months after delivering your baby, you should make an appointment to have your blood glucose checked, and you should continue to monitor your blood glucose at regular intervals with your primary care physician.If you think you are experiencing increased thirst or other symptoms of gestational diabetes, schedule a visit with your doctor as soon as possible. The only way to determine if you have GDM is by testing for it. If you do, treating gestational diabetes is extremely important for your baby's health and your health. Sources:
5 min read
Braxton Hicks Vs. Contractions

Braxton Hicks Vs. Contractions In Real Labor

Braxton Hicks contractions happen in almost all pregnancies, but some women may not be aware of them. On the other hand, some people may experience Braxton Hicks contractions very often. Having frequent and powerful Braxton Hicks contractions may lead to pregnant women seeking urgent medical care because they think that they are in labor. While the majority of Braxton Hicks contractions tend to occur in the third trimester, sometimes they can happen as early as the second trimester. Braxton Hicks contractions feel like a tightening but it is not as strong as a true contraction. Additionally, braxton hicks contractions are usually localized to the front part of the belly or the woman's abdomen. Real labor contractions are also felt in a woman's back. Because they tend to be weak, people are often able to talk while they are having a contraction and the braxton hicks contraction does not "take their breath away" as a real contraction might.A true contraction is when the muscles of your uterus tighten and relax during pregnancy. It is these contractions that help to push the baby out of your uterus into the birth canal towards the vaginal opening.A real contraction in labor is associated with a gradual increase in pain. When the pain peaks or reaches its greatest intensity, the person may also sense a hardening of the belly area. Finally, after a predictable interval, the pain tends to fade away. Perhaps one of the most important distinctions is the level of pain associated with a real contraction. In most pregnancies, contractions for labor are very powerful. It is challenging to talk when you are experiencing a real contraction. You may feel winded and the labor contractions will get stronger with time. Braxton Hicks may cause a tightening sensation in the stomach and pelvic area but they are usually not extremely painful. They also don’t become more intense with time. It is unlikely for Braxton Hicks contractions to last for hours. Braxton Hicks may resolve if you drink water, change your body position or go to the bathroom. If you are in true labor and having real contractions, hydrating yourself, changing the way you are sitting, or emptying your bladder will not cause true labor to stop. When a person is in actual labor, the contractions last about 30 to 60 seconds, and occur at evenly spaced intervals, and the time between intervals decreases as true labor progresses. The pattern tends to be more predictable in real contractions than when someone is experiencing Braxton Hicks. For example, you may experience a one minute contraction every 10 minutes that then goes to a one minute contraction every 7 minutes. However, in false labor, Braxton Hicks contractions usually do not have a pattern of occurring at regular intervals and Braxton Hicks contractions do not get closer together. Braxton hicks are more likely to occur earlier in pregnancy whereas real contractions will happen closer to one’s due date. Additionally, false labor is not associated with dilation of the cervix, which does happen in true labor. Sources:(1) Rhoads GG, McNellis DC, Kessel SS. Home monitoring of uterine contractility. Summary of a workshop sponsored by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health and Resources Development, Bethesda, Maryland, March 29 and 30, 1989. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1991 Jul;165(1):2-6. [PubMed](2) MacKinnon K, McIntyre M. From Braxton Hicks to preterm labour: the constitution of risk in pregnancy.Can J Nurs Res.2006 Jun;38(2):56-72.[PubMed](3) Oosterhof H, Dijkstra K, Aarnoudse JG. Fetal Doppler velocimetry in the internal carotid and umbilical artery during Braxton Hicks' contractions. Early Hum Dev. 1992 Aug;30(1):33-40. [PubMed]
4 min read

Stretching For Round Ligament Pain

Stretching for round ligament pain can be very helpful to provide relief in pregnancy. Read below for some simple stretches you can try at home.Round ligament uterus pain occurs because the round ligament is a connection between the uterus and the groin. As your belly grows during pregnancy this can cause pain on either side of the uterus as well as in the groin area. Sudden movements like twisting, coughing, or sneezing can aggravate this area of the body. Thus, exercises for round ligament pain relief focus on the pelvic area and make you able to tolerate movement better.Round ligament pain in pregnancy can be improved by the following yoga exercises which focus on the pelvic area of the body. Start with your hands and knees on the floor with your shoulders directly over your wrists, and your hips directly over your knees. While breathing in, drop your stomach down so that your back arches and your face looks slightly up. This is called the cow position. While breathing out, round your upper back, and allow your head to drop and face your belly. This is called the cat position. You should do this stretch at a slow pace for at least one minute. Then, take a break and then repeat it 2 to 3 times. You can do this exercise after you have done the Cat-Cow stretch since you will already be in the correct starting position. From all fours, extend your right leg back, press your heel back, and then gently lift your leg up. You can hold this position for 5 to 7 seconds and then repeat. Finally, switch sides and perform the same stretch with repetition.Start by lying on your back, and then bend your knees bent but keep your feet flat on theFloor. Inhale deeply and tighten your abdominal muscles. While holding your breath and your abdominal muscles, push the small of your back into the floor. Hold this position while breathing out for 5 to 7 seconds. Repeat this exercise for 1 to 2 minutes.Start by sitting upright on a firm surface. With good posture, place the soles of your feet together. Pulse your legs up and down, like the wings of a butterfly, until you feel a stretch in your inner thighs. For a deeper stretch, you can have a partner place their hands on your knees for resistance. Usually the Savasana pose in yoga practice is done lying on your back. As your pregnancy progresses, lying on your back can not only be uncomfortable, it can potentially cause issues as the growing uterus can put weight on the blood vessels that lead to your heart. For this reason, lying on your side, especially later in pregnancy is a better option. Lying on your left side, tuck your left arm beneath your head to provide a cushion. Place a pillow between your legs and flex your hips. You can also close your eyes if you choose to and breathe deeply to help eliminate any tension from your body. You can lie in this position for several minutes, and repeat this throughout the day. Due to the round ligament pain location, exercises for this discomfort focus on the pelvic area of your body. There are several yoga stretches and poses that you can try to help to relieve round ligament pain. Remember to chat with your doctor if round ligament pain is constant or severe as this could be a symptom of something more serious. 
4 min read
Cord Blood

Cost For Cord Blood Banking

Cord blood banking is something to consider if you are pregnant. Cost for cord blood banking can be a barrier for many patients who are considering doing it at the time of birth. Cord blood transplants have been successful in correcting metabolism, blood, immune diseases amongst others. Over 35000 transplants of cord blood have been performed in both children and adults (1). There are costs that come with the collection, storage and usage of cord blood. Cord blood is the blood that is left in the umbilical cord and placenta after a baby is born. The blood from the umbilical cord has hematopoietic stem cells that give it properties that can treat and potentially cure certain diseases. Hematopoietic stem cells are different from other cells in that they can grow and multiply into different types of cells in the body. Other cells can only make copies of themselves. These cells can either be found in the blood or bone marrow in both children and adults. (2)Cord blood banking is the collection and storage of cord blood at the time of birth so that it may possibly be used later for the treatment of diseases. You will need to coordinate with your doctor as well as the company you will be using for storage of the cord blood to ensure that this happens correctly at the time of birth. Your Ob-Gyn will collect the cord blood after the baby is born when the umbilical cord is cut and clamped. This process takes around 10 minutes. Note that consent must be given before the birth and not all hospitals may provide this service.  If your baby arrives much earlier than expected or your pregnancy is threatened by high risk complications, your doctor will prioritize the health and well being of you and your child over collecting cord blood. It is a good idea to discuss cord blood banking with your Ob early in your pregnancy if it is something you are considering.Cord blood can be used to treat many diseases. According to ACOG The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists over 70 diseases can be treated by cord blood. Whether as a primary treatment or as experimental research treatments they have proved to be beneficial for the treatment of certain diseases. These can include: There are two types of banking to store cord blood: Public cord blood banks: Blood stored in these types of banks are usually used for Allogeneic transplants since the blood can come from any other person. Blood is stored on a donation basis and therefore there is no cost to collecting, processing or storing the blood. While some cases involve a directed donation where you may donate to a family member in need, most of the time the blood can be used by anyone that matches. Cost for Public Cord blood banking: $0Private cord blood banks: Private banks are used for autologous transplants or directed donation. This type of storage requires a yearly fee. Donations for directed use may sometimes be stored free of charge depending on the bank. When storing blood at a private bank, you need to consider the following costs: charges for collecting and processing blood, as well as storage fees Cost for Private Cord blood banking: $575-$1495 along with a $150-$185 cost per year for storage. These numbers reflect the costs indicated by the following private banks:  There are around 30 private banks in the US. Costs vary based on the bank and state. Most banks have offers for storage if you purchase it for a certain number of years of storage (e.g 20 years) or lifetime. Storage fees for most banks start after the first year of storing it. (3, 4, 5)Considering this blood could save someone’s life and public banking has no cost, saving cord blood could be beneficial. Because private banking does have a significant cost associated with it plus a yearly storage fee, going this route requires more consideration. The diseases that cord blood can potentially treat are still limited and the overall likelihood of your child developing one of these conditions is low. Of course, if you are financially able, having cord blood available for your child to possibly use later in life is always a great idea, but it may not be practical for many families. If your child does need to be treated for a disease that cord blood can help with, when compared to bone marrow transplant, cord blood is considered more likely to match as well as less likely to be rejected. Cord blood is also easier to collect with no pain or interference with the birth while bone marrow can be painful and risky to the donor. Cord blood can be used long after being collected as it can be stored, while bone marrow cannot. However when compared to bone marrow, it contains less stem cells, often requiring multiple donations per transplant. It is however possible that not enough cord blood is collected. This is especially true if there are complications during the birth in which case collecting blood becomes second priority to yours and your baby’s health. (2)Sources: 
5 min read
Contractions For Labor What Contractions Feel Like

Contractions For Labor: What Contractions Feel Like

A contraction is when the muscles of your uterus tighten and relax during pregnancy. Real contractions are what’s needed to push the baby out of the uterus into the birth canal. When a person is in real labor, the contractions are painful, last about 30 to 60 seconds, occur at evenly spaced intervals, and the time between intervals decreases as true labor progresses. For example, you may experience a one minute contraction every 10 minutes that then goes to a one minute contraction every 7 minutes. However, in false labor, Braxton Hicks contractions usually do not have a pattern of occurring at regular intervals and Braxton Hicks contractions do not get closer together. Braxton hicks are more likely to occur earlier in pregnancy whereas real contractions will happen closer to one’s due date. Additionally, false labor is not associated with a dilation of the cervix, which does happen in true labor. Perhaps one of the most important distinctions is the level of pain associated with a real contraction. In most pregnancies, contractions for labor are very powerful. It is challenging to talk when you are experiencing a real contraction. You may feel winded and the labor contractions will get stronger with time. Braxton Hicks may cause a tightening sensation in the stomach and pelvic area but they are usually not extremely painful. They also don’t become more intense with time. Finally, Braxton Hicks may resolve if you drink water, change your body position or go to the bathroom. If you are in true labor and having real contractions, hydrating yourself, changing the way you are sitting, or emptying your bladder will not cause true labor to stop. So, what does a labor contraction feel like in someone who is about to have a baby? A real contraction in labor is often described by pregnant persons as a gradual increase in pain, a peak in the pain that is associated with a hardening of the belly area, and then a fading away of the pain. Contractions and early signs of labor can present differently in different people. Some pregnant persons may experience pain in their back or in their pelvic area, and some may even have pain that is similar to menstrual cramping. For some people, the pain of a real contraction can start in the back and then move to the front of the body. In others, the pain can be similar to the cramping you may experience when you are having diarrhea (1). According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, pain in false labor is not usually felt in one’s back. False labor is typically only associated with pain in the front part of the body (2).In true labor, contractions will be evenly spaced, and as the intensity of the contraction increases, the time between each contraction will also get shorter. While occasional braxton hicks can be painful, these are generally not extremely intense and they may go away with positional changes, drinking water, or using the bathroom. Real contractions are also associated with a dilation of the cervix as your body prepares to push the newborn through the birth canal. It is important to time your contractions as well as contact your doctor, or go to the hospital if you suspect that you are in real labor. Sources:
3 min read

Low Back Pain In Pregnancy

As many as two thirds of pregnant people experience low back pain during pregnancy. In fact, it's one of the most common complaints reported to doctors during pregnancy (1).As you gain weight during pregnancy and begin to carry more weight in front, you may compensate by leaning back. Leaning back changes your posture and puts strain on the lower back. This shift in the center of gravity causes more stress on your spine and back muscles. Besides putting strain on your lower back, leaned back posturing makes it difficult to manage intrabdominal pressure and connect to your core muscles, which are the muscles that support and stabilize the spine.  Additionally, the growing baby inside your uterus can put weight and pressure on nerves leading to lower back pain. This nerve compression can also cause hip, thigh or pelvic pain, shooting pains down your legs, or a tingling sensation in your legs.Finally, the body produces a hormone called relaxin during pregnancy, which loosens and relaxes your joints and softens ligaments. This helps prepare your body for labor and delivery. Ligaments in your body support the weight of your uterus as it expands, and they can be stretched by the weight of your growing baby. The stretching of these ligaments may also cause pain.Acetaminophen (the generic name for Tylenol) is generally considered safe to use during pregnancy, although you should consult your doctor before taking it. Aspirin and ibuprofen are not recommended during pregnancy. Acetaminophen is a Category-B drug and is generally considered safe for use during pregnancy, especially during the second and third trimesters. It is important to talk with your doctor regarding how much acetaminophen you can take safely. NSAIDs (Advil, Motrin) are classified as Category D and should not be taken during pregnancy.For severe back pain due to disc herniations and nerve impingement, it may also be possible to get a local injection of steroid to reduce inflammation and help with pain. This should only be done under the advisement and direction of your physician. No matter what, always check with your doctor and Ob before taking medications during pregnancy. Even if they are considered to be safe, there is no substitute for having your doctor advise you on what to put into your body during pregnancy. While having pain in your lower back is common during pregnancy, any type of excessive pain or unusual symptoms should prompt you for a workup for something more serious. Pain that is relieved by changing positions is likely due to the pregnancy. Changing positions, using a support belt, , and getting a massage are all ways to help alleviate low back pain in pregnancy. If the pain is excessive or severe, talk to your doctor about the possibility of taking medications that are safe to use during pregnancy for relief. Sources:1. Liddle SD, Pennick V. Interventions for preventing and treating low-back and pelvic pain during pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Sep 30;2015(9)
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26422811/2. Fontana Carvalho AP, Dufresne SS, Rogerio de Oliveira M, Couto Furlanetto K, Dubois M, Dallaire M, Ngomo S, da Silva RA. Effects of lumbar stabilization and muscular stretching on pain, disabilities, postural control and muscle activation in pregnant woman with low back pain. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2020 Jun;56(3):297-306.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32072792/3. Silva JBG, et al. Acupuncture for low back pain in pregnancy – a prospective, quasi-randomized, controlled study. Acupunct Med. 2004; 22(2):60-67.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15253580/
6 min read

Benefits of Compression Socks During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a special phase in every woman’s life. You might develop glowing skin, thicker hair, and that first kick in the womb is perhaps the loveliest feeling. At the same time, your legs have to withstand a lot during pregnancy due to hormonal changes and growth of the womb. Because your body produces nearly 50% more body fluid when you're pregnant, swelling is a common condition that can lead to pain or discomfort. Compression therapy can be used during pregnancy to prevent tension and heaviness in the legs. Wearing compression socks during pregnancy can help with discomfort and can promote better blood circulation in the legs.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Pregnant women are five times more likely to develop DVT than nonpregnant women. The blood in the pregnant woman is more inclined to clot. This is thought to provide defense against losing too much blood during labor. Leg tension and swelling are signs of a possible deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This serious condition requires immediate medical attention.DVT symptoms include pain, discolored skin, redness, and a feeling of warmth. In this condition, blood clots develop in the legs and pelvis, which break off and reach to lungs, saucing a pulmonary embolism. Wearing compression socks may prevent blood clots by making it easier for the heart to keep the blood flowing. It prevents the development of varicose veins.According to many medical experts, you can start wearing compression socks from the first trimester. Within the first four months, you may notice the signs of blood stagnation, swelling of the ankles, and a pulling sensation in your calves.Further, edema occurs more often in hot weather and late evening. So, you should ideally can put on compression socks in the morning before you get out of bed. Take off the socks upon retiring for the night or any time you would like to put your feet up for a bit. If you face difficulty putting on the stockings during the later stages of pregnancy, you can ask help from your loved ones. Finally, compression stockings are not recommended if they do not feel good on your skin or cause any medical complications or discomfort.Undoubtedly, pregnancy involves some possible unpleasant changes and complications. Compression socks in pregnancy are an easy thing to try for women struggling with painful, swollen legs. There are hundreds of styles and colors, along with different lengths and sizes. When buying a pair, make sure you choose the right type and size that suits your dimensions and needs and always ask your physician which strength of compression you should get.
3 min read
TDap Vaccine For Pregnancy

Tdap Vaccine For Pregnancy: Should You Get The TDAP Vaccine During Pregnancy?

The Tdap vaccine provides combined protection against the diseases of tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis. The following diseases are fatal and infants are at high risk for the infections because newborns don't begin their vaccination series until about 2 months old.Tetanus: Also called Lockjaw, tetanus is a bacterial infection caused by Clostridium tetani that causes painful muscle spasms often in the neck and jaw. If the muscles that are involved in breathing are affected, it can even lead to death. Diphtheria: Diphtheria is also a bacterial infection caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae that are poisonous. Symptoms can include difficulty breathing, heart failure, and paralysis which can be fatal.  Acellular Pertussis: Commonly called whooping cough, acellular pertussis is a respiratory disease caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis. It is extremely contagious and involves severe coughing (1,2).Infants under 2 months are too young to receive a vaccine for these diseases, which would allow them to produce their own antibodies. When the pregnant person gets the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy, it allows some of the antibodies produced by the mother to transfer to the baby which protects babies until they are able to receive their own vaccine. Outbreaks of Pertussis are increasing in the United States. According to the CDC, around 1,000 are hospitalized and around 5-15 die each year due to pertussis.  The CDC tracked around 1800 infants contracting whooping cough. The highest numbers are in infants that are too young to protect themselves. Infants can benefit from minimized risk through a Tdap vaccine during pregnancy. Getting a Tdap vaccine during pregnancy between 27 through 36 weeks lowers the risk of whooping cough in babies younger than 2 months old by 78%. (1, 2).   Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) have not found a Tdap vaccine pregnancy risk, whether it’s pregnancy complications or harm to the mother or harm to the baby. Both the CDC and ACOG, which is the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, consider the vaccine to be safe for mothers during pregnancy.  The side effects of the Tdap vaccine include the common ones of most vaccines; tenderness/swelling at the site of injection, body aches, fever, fatigue. They are mild/moderate and generally resolve by themselves. Severe side effects are rare. If you have any concerns, discuss them with your doctor prior to getting the vaccine (1). The price of getting a Tdap vaccine can range from $75-$180. The baby can also be protected by “Cocooning”. Cocooning refers to vaccinating all those that come in contact with the baby. Unfortunately, this is very difficult to fully implement. This method is also more costly than having the person carrying the child get the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy. It should be noted, however, that getting the maternal Tdap vaccine shot along with cocooning provides the most protection to the baby (3). The Tdap vaccine lasts 10 years which is when a booster shot is recommended. The infant on the other hand should receive a Dtap Vaccine. The Dtap vaccine provides the same purpose for those under the age of 7. The first Dtap vaccine can be administered at the age of 2 months (4). The baby need 3 shots of Dtap which can be taken at the ages:The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as the CDC both recommend getting the Tdap vaccine while pregnant between 27 and 36 weeks (3rd trimester) of each pregnancy. The earlier the mother receives the vaccine, the more time there is for antibody response which increases the transfer to the baby. If the mother receives the Tdap vaccine after the baby is born, the antibodies may be passed on to the baby through breastfeeding. However it takes 2 weeks post vaccination for the mother to have protection against the diseases. This means the mother can still contract the diseases and pass it on to the infant during those two week.  Therefore it is best for the mother to receive the shot during pregnancy (5). Anyone who will be in close contact with the baby should also get a single dose of Tdap 2 weeks prior to being in contact with the baby. Sources:
5 min read
pregnancy and constipation

Constipation During Pregnancy

Yes! Unfortunately, pregnancy and constipation often go hand in hand. But, you are not alone in experience pregnancy constipation pain, and discomfort. Recent statistics show that as many as half of all pregnant women may suffer from constipation during pregnancy.While it may be reassuring to know that constipation in pregnancy is a fairly normal experience to have, it doesn't answer the question of how best to achieve pregnancy constipation relief. Treating constipation in pregnancy looks different than it does when you are not pregnant. Find out what is and isn't recommended to find constipation relief in pregnancy.The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) defines constipation as follows:According to the American Pregnancy Association, there are a number of factors that can cause constipation in pregnancy.Changing hormone levels, and in particular, a spike in progesterone can contribute to a sluggish gut. Progesterone is so important for helping your muscles to relax and expand as your baby gets bigger.But progesterone also has this effect on the gut muscles, which has an unintended side effect: pregnancy constipation. To make matters even more uncomfortable, as one research study explains, when progesterone levels increase, this inhibits motilin, a hormone that stimulates the smooth muscles of the gut to contract. For many pregnant women, morning sickness symptoms and food cravings or aversions can throw off their usual dietary routine. The gastrointestinal system does not like change and may react with constipation and other unpleasant side effects like gas, bloating, cramping and pain.In general, eating a diet low in fiber is one of the main dietary causes of constipation in pregnancy as well as in other times of life. Another main cause is poor hydration.Inadequate intake of dietary fiber combined with too-low intake of water is a reliable recipe for constipation in pregnancy. Make sure to drink enough water to keep your bowels moving.For some women, pregnancy can cause nausea, vomiting, fatigue and other physical symptoms that may lead to inactivity. Inactivity can cause sluggish gut motility that makes pregnancy constipation worse. Because working out during pregnancy can be challenging, even remembering to take regular walks during your day can help pregnancy constipation symptoms.While learning you are pregnant is exciting, it can also be stressful. In fact, all types of stress, both "bad" (distress) and "good" (eustress) impact your body in essentially the same way.Stress, worry, and anxiety are normal and natural during pregnancy but they can also send your body into fight-or-flight mode. The American Psychological Association (APA) notes that stress of any kind can affect how and how rapidly food matter moves through your gut, which can lead to constipation. Being in a relaxing environment can help you to go to the bathroom. As the Mayo Clinic points out, one of the pregnancy supplements most frequently implicated in pregnancy constipation is iron. Because taking prenatal vitamins is essential during pregnancy, remember to keep your water and fiber intake at adequate levels as well.Other medications may also contribute to constipation - always talk with your healthcare provider if you suspect constipation in pregnancy is linked to any medications or supplements you are taking. Always talk with your doctor before adding any new supplements.Pregnancy constipation can and does change as pregnancy itself progresses. This is due both to ongoing hormonal fluctuations at different stages of pregnancy and also because of physical changes.For example, the entire abdominal structure stretches and widens as your baby grows. This can put pressure on existing structures and internal organs, including the intestines, colon, rectum and bladder.The first trimester is when most women experience the set of symptoms commonly referred to as "morning sickness."In this first stage of pregnancy, constipation is more likely to arise because of sheer upset to your system as hormone levels spike and fall and your diet tries to adjust to symptoms like nausea and fatigueAs mentioned here earlier, progesterone spikes reduce gut motility and slow the progress of waste matter through and out of your body.As well, as John Hopkins Medicine explains, constipation naturally arises as your uterus begins to change shape and exert pressure on the intestines and rectum.During the second trimester, your baby really starts to grow. While the majority of morning sickness symptoms will begin to disappear, your growing baby will actually push your uterus up and out of the pelvic cavity, in part relieving the pressure on your intestines and rectum.However, for many women, the second trimester is the time when appetite increases. Increased food intake combined with back aches, body aches and pains and disrupted sleep can in turn cause constipation in the second trimester, according to John Hopkins Medicine.After experiencing constipation in the second trimester, you may feel quite hopeful that it will finally ease up in the third trimester.Unfortunately, according to John Hopkins Medicine, this is unlikely to be the case. The reason is because your baby is now large enough to once again put pressure on both your bladder and bowel, causing leaking in the former and constipation in the latter.The onset of hemorrhoids, another common pregnancy complication, may make constipation symptoms feel more intense.Treating constipation in pregnancy correctly is important both for your baby's health and safety and for your own.First step: try to resolve constipation naturally.The best first step is always to try to resolve the constipation symptoms naturally, as the American Pregnancy Association (APA) explains.As best you are able, try to increase fiber and water intake and daily exercise. The APA recommends aiming for 20 to 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least three times per week. Swimming and walking are excellent choicesHowever, always talk with your doctor before adding anything new to your daily diet or exercise routine.In some cases, it may be possible to switch to a different type of iron supplement or take smaller doses more frequently to ease constipation symptoms.Separating out iron supplements from your other prenatal vitamins can also help ensure you keep taking in appropriate levels of all.If possible, you may be able to work with your provider to take in more dietary iron instead of taking it in supplement form.Here again, never make any changes without talking with your doctor first.There are three general categories of medical remedies that your doctor may recommend for pregnancy constipation that does not respond to other things you have tried: stool softeners, laxatives and bulk-producing agents. The Mayo Clinic states that stool softeners are generally considered to be safe for use during pregnancy.The Cleveland Clinic also publishes a list of constipation remedies considered safe for use while you are pregnant.The American Pregnancy Association reports that Milk of Magnesia is one remedy that is also considered to be safe for use during pregnancy.Thankfully, constipation during pregnancy is considered a highly treatable symptom. Now you know you have multiple options to help your gut acclimate to the widespread changes occurring throughout your body.Always seek a doctor's guidance before treating constipation in pregnancy that does not respond to other natural lifestyle modifications. This is for your baby's safety.
7 min read
dry mouth during pregnancy

Dry Mouth During Pregnancy: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment

Dry mouth during pregnancy is almost always normal. It occurs mainly because your body needs more water than normal, for the development of your baby. Besides, changing hormones in pregnancy also affect your oral health, and can lead to many issues like loose teeth, gingivitis, and dry mouth.   The most common causes of dry mouth in pregnancy are:When your body loses water faster than it intakes, it causes dehydration. Dehydration can be dangerous among pregnant women and may even cause constipation. Dehydration can lead to premature labor.Thus, you need more water during this time than you normally do.  Signs of dehydration are: ●     feeling overheated●     Extreme thirst●     Dizziness●     Dark urine●     Headache  Gestational diabetes can cause high blood sugar. Gestational diabetes occurs when the body fails to make extra insulin needed during pregnancy.This can cause problems for the mother and the baby, but is manageable with proper care, including a healthy diet and exercise and sometimes medications. Some common signs of gestational diabetes are excessive thirst, fatigue, and needing to urinate more often. Thrush refers to the overgrowth of Candida albicans in the mouth. We all have a small amount of Candida in our mouth, but it can outgrow if you have a weak immune system or have imbalances in healthy bacteria. Thrush can lead to a dry and cottony feeling in your mouth and sometimes pain. Other signs of thrush are:●     White, cheese-like lesions on your tongue and mouth●     Bleeding cheeks when scrapped●     Redness in your mouth ●     Loss of tastePregnant women may face sleep difficulties, including snoring and sleep apnea. Snoring is common during the second and third trimesters. It is more common if you smoke, are overweight, or have enlarged tonsils.  Changing hormones can also narrow your nasal and throat passages, causing breathing issues. Snoring makes you breathe with an open mouth while you are asleep. This makes saliva production difficult which can cause drying of your mouth.  You can treat mild dry mouth with home remedies, such as: ●        Staying Hydrated: Experts recommend drinking ten 8oz. cups of water every day during pregnancy to stay well hydrated. If you pass dark yellow urine, it means you should drink more water. Clear yellow urine means you are hydrated. ●        Avoiding Coffee and Soda: Beverages like coffee, soda, and alcohol can dry out the mouth. ●        Trying some Frozen Fruit or Ice: Consuming frozen fruit and sucking on ice chips quite frequently can moisten your mouth while keeping you hydrated.●        Using A Humidifier: At night, use a humidifier to retain moisture in the air, thus preventing dry mouth. Make sure you clean the humidifier always to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Buy a cool-mist humidifier to prevent or decrease the risk of bacteria growth. It works because bacteria grow in warm moist environments.●        Using Chewing Gum or hard candies: Chewing gum stimulates saliva flow and keeps your mouth moistened. Final WordsYou should always see a doctor if you experience other symptoms like tooth pain or decay, thrush, severe dehydration, sleep apnea, and gestational diabetes.  
3 min read
ectopic pregnancy

What Is an Ectopic Pregnancy?

Normally, pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants and develops into an embryo inside the uterus. It attaches to the lining of the uterus. So what is an ectopic pregnancy then? An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg gets implanted outside the uterus, including fallopian tubes, cervix, and even within the abdomen. According to the data of the American Academy of Family Physicians, 1 out of every 50 pregnancies is ectopic.Ectopic pregnancies that occur in the fallopian tube are also known as "tubal pregnancies." The fallopian tubes are the tubes that connect the ovaries to the uterus. Sometimes an egg gets stuck in them and causes danger to a woman's health if the pregnancy continues. This is because the fallopian tubes do not have enough space for a pregnancy to develop and grow. As the fetus grows, the chances of tube being injured or bursting increases.Any woman of childbearing age can be at risk for an ectopic pregnancy. Sometimes, the reason for such pregnancies will never be determined. However, below are a few common causes of ectopic pregnancies.Symptoms and DiagnosisThe common symptoms of uterine pregnancy and ectopic pregnancies are nausea and breast soreness. However, abdominal pain, absence of menstrual periods, and vaginal bleeding raise the concern for a diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy. The doctor usually diagnoses it through a blood hormone test and by doing a pelvic ultrasound. Treatments for an Ectopic Pregnancy·         Medication – your gynecologist can give you an injection of powerful medicine to stop the growth of pregnancy out of the uterus.·         Surgery – the doctor can perform surgery like laparoscopy under the general anesthetic to remove the fetus or fertilized egg from the fallopian tube or other location. PreventionThere is no possible prediction and prevention in this type of pregnancies, but you can reduce it's risk. Follow a healthy diet and maintain good reproductive health to lower the risks of ectopic pregnancy. Also, try to visit your doctor for regular gynecological examinations, especially if you are trying to get pregnant. ConclusionRemember that ectopic pregnancy can happen in any woman and may pose a dangerous risk to her health.  So, if you have any unusual symptoms like abdominal pain and might be pregnant, be sure to see your doctor to rule this out.  
3 min read

Spotting in Pregnancy

While spotting is a relative common occurrence in early pregnancy, it can nevertheless be concerning. According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, approximately 15-25 percent of women experience bleeding in early pregnancy. Spotting in first trimester pregnancies, or the first 12 weeks, is typically lighter in color than what one would experience with a regular menstrual flow. The color may also vary from a pinkish hue to red or even brown. Although it is easy to be worried when experiencing spotting during pregnancy, it’s important not to panic. Most women who experience spotting during pregnancy continue on to have a completely healthy pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby. If you’re wondering how common is bleeding during pregnancy 6 weeks, you should rest assured that it is relatively common. In fact, spotting or light bleeding can occur anytime between one and two weeks after fertilization occurs. This happens when the fertilized egg becomes implanted in the lining of the uterus. At this time, the cervix may be more prone to bleeding as a result of more blood vessels being present. Implantation bleeding may last for a few days and typically occurs before a woman even realizes she’s pregnant. In fact, this type of bleeding is sometimes mistaken for a regular period. There is no need to be worried about implantation bleeding. It should be kept in mind that any time bleeding or spotting occurs after a woman would have expected her period, it’s usually not implantation spotting, but is instead likely associated with early pregnancy instead. Understanding the Difference Between Bleeding and Spotting During PregnancyIn understanding whether to be concerned about spotting in first trimester pregnancies, it’s important to also understand the difference between actual bleeding and spotting. Vaginal bleeding that occurs during early pregnancy involves a discharge of blood that comes from the vagina. This type of bleeding can occur any time from the point of conception all the way through the end of the pregnancy.Spotting is relatively common during the first three months. There is usually no need to be alarmed. This is particularly true if you only notice a few drops of blood. As long as there is not enough blood to fill an entire panty liner, there is no need to be worried. By comparison, bleeding occurs when there is a much heavier blood flow. With actual bleeding, it will be necessary to wear a liner or even a pad in order to prevent blood from soaking through your clothing. Regardless of whether you are spotting or bleeding, it is typically best to get in touch with your healthcare provider and then describe to him or her the symptoms you are experiencing. It should be kept in mind that quite a few changes occur in the cervix during pregnancy. This is due to the high production of hormones that takes place during pregnancy. The presence of such hormones can cause the cervix to become softer. In addition to bleeding at the time of implantation, there can be many other causes for spotting to occur during pregnancy. Among those causes is a cervical polyp, which is a growth on the cervix. During periods of high estrogen levels, such polyps are more likely to bleed. This is particularly true during an exam or sexual intercourse. Cervical polyps are completely harmless. Other common causes of bleeding during early pregnancy include:In some cases, a vaginal infection can also lead to bleeding. When the cause of bleeding is a vaginal infection, it may also be accompanied by vaginal discharge. Certainly, no one ever wants to consider that bleeding might result in a loss of pregnancy, but miscarriage may also be a cause of bleeding that occurs during pregnancy. It’s certainly understandable that bleeding might trigger a concern regarding loss of pregnancy. According to a study; however, only 12 percent of the small number of women who experience bleeding in pregnancy actually had a loss of pregnancy. It should be noted that approximately two-thirds of women who do have a miscarriage experience bleeding. Given this; it’s important not to simply ignore bleeding during pregnancy. A healthcare professional can perform tests to determine a possible cause of bleeding in pregnancy. For instance, an ultrasound can determine whether bleeding stems from pelvic organs, such as an ovarian cyst. Blood tests may also be ordered to measure hCG, the pregnancy hormone. Low levels of this hormone might indicate that a pregnancy is not progressing properly. In some cases, progesterone levels may also be checked, as low levels of progesterone might result in bleeding or could indicate the presence of an abnormal pregnancy. Bleeding in Pregnancy as a Result of Abnormal PregnanciesWhen a pregnancy is not developing correctly, bleeding may be one of the first noticeable symptoms. For instance, if there is a genetic defect related to the embryo, bleeding could indicate an impending miscarriage. Once a miscarriage is in progress, it usually cannot be prevented. Molar pregnancies, also sometimes referred to as gestational trophoblastic disease, refers to a pregnancy in which there is something abnormal about the fertilization. This results in abnormal tissue growing in the uterus. Although the pregnancy is not normal, a woman may experience the same symptoms associated with early pregnancy. Depending on the type of molar pregnancy that has occurred, there may or may not be a fetus present in the uterus. In some cases, there is only tissue and no fetus at all. In other cases, there may be an abnormally formed fetus. When this is the case, the fetus typically has severe birth defects. Molar pregnancies are not able to progress toward the delivery of a normal fetus. One of the early symptoms of a molar pregnancy is bleeding or vaginal spotting. Molar pregnancies are diagnosed with an ultrasound or sonogram. When a fertilized egg does not implant in the uterus as it should, the result is an ectopic pregnancy. The egg may instead implant inside the Fallopian tubes. As the pregnancy progresses, there is a risk of the tube rupturing. Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy may include vaginal bleeding and abdominal pain. A ruptured Fallopian tube can result in a significant amount of blood loss and could be potentially fatal. Emergency surgery and a blood transfusion may be necessary to resolve this life-threatening emergency.Anytime a pregnant woman experiences bleeding in pregnancy, it’s important to speak to a doctor. Although the bleeding or spotting could be completely harmless, it’s still important to determine the cause of the bleeding. While it’s quite likely that the cause of the bleeding is something relatively minor, other more serious causes of spotting or bleeding in pregnancy may include placental abruption, uterine rupture, placenta previa, or preterm labor. The best course of action is to see a healthcare professional as quickly as possible.In order to help manage spotting or bleeding in pregnancy and improve the chances of a healthy pregnancy continuing, a pregnant woman may be advised to stick to bed rest, stay well hydrated, spend time off her feet, limit physical activity, and elevate her feet.
7 min read
Serena Williams pregnancy story

Life or Death: On Being Pregnant and Black

In 2018, tennis star Serena Williams, while recovering in the hospital from delivering her child via C-section, began to experience shortness of breath. Due to her history of pulmonary embolism, she explained to the nurse that she needed a CT scan and possibly IV anticoagulant medication.  The nurse dismissed her concerns, believing that the world class athlete’s pain medications were causing confusion.  Serena did not yield, and hours later, a CT scan revealed small blood clots in her lung, which could have easily ended the new mother’s life. My husband and I have been together for about 5 years and vacillate over whether we want children or not. We discuss the loss of our personal freedoms; the financial expense raising children entails in the United States and how parenthood alters a couple’s dynamic.  However, our worries oftentimes lean to the morbid, as we contemplate whether I would survive a pregnancy.  According to the CDC, Black women in the USA die at a rate of 41 per 100,000 live births.  When comparing maternal mortality rates across the world, the figures are alarming.  White women in the U.S. die at a rate of 13 per 100,000 live births, which is comparable to the maternal mortality rates in the former Soviet bloc countries like Latvia, Hungary and Romania.  Conversely, in Western European countries, the average rate of maternal deaths is between 1.9 to 5 deaths per 100,000 live births.   In other words, although Black women may experience more adverse outcomes during childbirth than White women in the U.S.; compared to women in other Western nations, American White women’s statistics are not good either.Data collected for over five years by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene highlighted that access to prenatal care, and being highly educated did not protect Black women from the inherent biases in the healthcare system.  In one study it revealed that “Black college-educated mothers who gave birth in local hospitals were still more likely to suffer serious pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications compared with women of other races or ethnicities who never graduated from high school.”In 2016, Dr. Shalon Irving, an epidemiologist at the CDC, died from hypertensive complications, three weeks after delivering her first child.  What could be regarded as more than a stroke of irony, Dr. Irving’s work focused on understanding how structural inequality, trauma and violence made people sick.   In a 2017 NPR article, it states that despite “...two master's degrees and dual-subject PhD., her gold-plated insurance and rock-solid support system...”; race alone was the main factor predicting Dr. Irving’s  fatal outcome.Although the majority of my African-American friends have had relatively easy pregnancies with uncomplicated deliveries, the fear that I’ll be the one to succumb to childbirth, remains constantly on my mind.  Despite being a healthy, young woman, I often wonder if bringing life into this world could result in my own physical demise.  Equipped with the frightening statistics and information about societal inequities, how does society begin to change a system that is disproportionately killing Black mothers?During slavery, Black women were likened to mares and expected to produce as many children as possible, to continue the slave based economy.  The denigration of the Black female body has been one of the legacies of slavery manifesting in the current Black maternal health crisis. As Black people continue to fight for basic human rights, it is not surprising that Black women experience increased health risks and negative outcomes, during such a vulnerable period like childbirth.There is a need for the federal and state governments to create public health initiatives that promote and improve the disparities in maternal care.  Practitioners must be educated during medical school and residency about their implicit and explicit biases that are resulting in the deaths of specific demographics.About 5 years ago, a friend who was in her second trimester asked me to accompany her to her prenatal appointment, as her husband was out of town. During the visit, the OB was emphatic as she instructed my friend to train for the delivery, likening labor to a triathlon.  My friend, a surgical resident living in a Miami high rise with amenities like a gym and pool; as well as a husband with above average cooking skills, could adhere to her OB’s recommendations. But what about other Black women, who aren’t as privileged?  Would they be able to prepare for the undue harm and stress pregnancy and delivery might put on their bodies? Due to structural racism, a large segment of women of color typically reside in food deserts without access to healthy fresh food, as well as few safe spaces to exercise.  With minimal activity and poor food options, Black women are often at greater risks of obesity and cardiovascular disease.  Bearing these inequities in mind, some individuals do not have the option of healthy food choices and remaining physically active, during pregnancy.  So, if a woman must train for pregnancy and the delivery like an upcoming sports event, then it must be imperative that all women have the access to resources that will allow them to maintain good health and decrease the risk of maternal mortality and morbidity.According to an article posted on LAIST, “What Pregnant Black Women Need To Know To Have A 'Safe And Sacred Birth', Black women have to be proactive  in their care.  They must:-Find a birth experience that works for their family-Advocate for themselves in the doctor’s office-Find providers who will work to improve birth outcomes-Have the wider Black community support pregnant women Last fall, I made an OB Gyn appointment for a problem visit. Over the past few years, I had noticed that my premenstrual mood swings were intensifying.  My mother told me that in her early 30s she had experienced a similar shift, so I decided to see a specialist. As I sat in the doctor’s office and relayed my symptoms, she barely made eye contact.  She dismissed my claims and seemed squeamish about performing a pelvic exam. I eventually dug in my heels, and pulled the ‘doctor card’. This garnered me a glance and a half smile. However, she quickly stated that I was exaggerating my PMS irritability, and as a psychiatrist, I was overanalyzing, looking for a problem. I left her office feeling gutted. I quickly went to Google reviews and discovered that other professional Black women had experienced similar treatment with this  practitioner.  After the encounter, I began to re-evaluate my already tenuous plans for motherhood.  If concerns about my period could be summarily discredited, then what might happen if I had any concerns during a pregnancy? A month after that experience, I journeyed several miles north to see a Black OB Gyn, who was recommended by a friend. She listened to all of my symptoms, as well as my unspoken concerns. She did a thorough examination and agreed that I was experiencing Premenstrual dysphoric disorder and offered me a variety of treatment options. After careful review, I decided on natural supplementation, which has made a difference in my monthly menses. But beyond that, I felt heard. I felt validated. I felt understood.  The stark difference in the two experiences has shown me that by using my network and seeking out the right practitioner, I can become a mother, without being fearful of death.Dr. Cisse is a board-certified psychiatrist, who provides care for adult patients. She is also passionate about exploring psychopathology at the intersections of race, gender and class, within the African Diaspora.
7 min read
How Early Can You Take a Pregnancy Test

How Early Can You Take a Pregnancy Test? The Real Answers Here!

One of the most anxious moments women go through is taking the pregnancy test. It gets confusing as to when you should take it, and if you can get accurate results as soon as possible! So, how early can you take a pregnancy test, anyway? Read on to learn about the accuracy of pregnancy tests and how early you can take them. How Early Can You Take a Pregnancy Test? Unfortunately, you can’t take a pregnancy test and expect it to be accurate immediately after intercourse.  You are only able to take a pregnancy test and expect accurate results anytime after you experience a late period. This is when they work the best, which is why it’s recommended to take a pregnancy test if you experience a missed period and had sexual intercourse recently.   If you have an irregular period, or can't wait until your next period to find out, then the rule of thumb is to take a pregnancy test two to three weeks after your last sexual intercourse. This is the earliest time you can take a pregnancy test that shows accurate results. Pregnancy tests claim to work even before a missed period, though the results aren’t as accurate. If you come across “easy results” pregnancy tests, this may still be too early for you to get an accurate result, especially since all of our bodies are different and have different menstrual cycles and fertility phases.  If you take it too soon, such as a week after intercourse or before your period is due, then you may get a false negative. You will need to take another test after a week or two if so.  For those who are a bit confused about when to take pregnancy tests, there are online calculators that can help you. Simply put in the day your last period began and your average cycle length, and it will give you the earliest date you can take a pregnancy test. Another thing to take note of is the time of the day you should take the test for accuracy. It's much better to take it first thing in the morning, at least a day after your period is late. Your urine is more concentrated the moment you wake up, giving you more accurate results The Test AccuracyWhen you read and follow the instructions carefully, you get 99% accuracy when doing the pregnancy test on the day you miss your period. However, the 99% accuracy doesn't apply when doing the test early. Furthermore, some of these 99% accuracy claims may not even be true! Research studies have shown that the tests can be between 46-89% accurate. That’s why it’s best to take the pregnancy test when you miss your period and another test for confirmation.  For those who received a positive result, it’s best to check with your doctor for confirmation. This is when you can begin asking for advice and what steps to take. How About a Blood Test?Besides the usual over-the-counter pregnancy test, you can also go for a blood test. There are two types of blood tests to consider, which are: Qualitative tests measure if you have the minimum amount of pregnancy hormones in your blood to indicate you are pregnantQuantitative tests measure the exact amount of pregnancy hormone in the blood, which usually shows the progress of your pregnancy These also do not provide an accurate result when done too early. It is only best to take a blood test if you have gotten negative at-home pregnancy tests but still missed your period by a few days. As always, call your doctor if you are uncertain about any pregnancy test results or if you have any symptoms or issues.
4 min read

Third Trimester Of Pregnancy: Everything You Need To Know!

Many people often wonder, “When does the third trimester begin?” The third trimester begins in week 28. The third trimester lasts from week 28 to the end of pregnancy, usually going not much longer than 40 weeks and 6 days. The third trimester is when you may begin to increase the frequency of your doctor’s visits from once a month to perhaps once in 2 weeks. In the last month of the third trimester, pregnant persons may be seeing your doctor every week. In the beginning of the third trimester, you will also get your TDap vaccine for pregnancy, as well as undergo your glucose tolerance test. The third trimester lasts around 3 months (months 7, 8 and 9) and goes on till you give birth (around week 40). Pregnancy headaches are commonly experienced by many people and are more common in the first and third trimester. They can occur due to changing hormones and a myriad of causes. While mild ones are okay and can be self-treated you should let your healthcare provider know if you're having more severe headaches. Severe headaches during the third trimester headaches can sometimes be caused by Preeclampsia which is a condition of hypertension (high blood pressure).  Mayo clinic deems it abnormal, if your blood pressure is above 140/90 on 2 different occasions at least 4 hours apart. (1)It is recommended to try and relieve mild headaches by natural means. If not, it is important to talk to a healthcare provider about any medications that you may be taking for these headaches.Spotting in pregnancy, during any trimester, should prompt you to call your doctor. You can expect your doctor to check for cervical polyps and ensure that your cervix is closed. The doctor may also do an ultrasound to evaluate the health of the growing fetus and the viability of the pregnancy. (4)According to the Mayo clinic, the best time for pregnancy travel is before 36  weeks. Remember to discuss the details of your travel with your ob-gyn to ensure maximum comfort and care. However, you can expect that it will be more difficult to move around or sit for extended periods during travel. Most airlines allow flying until 36 weeks (well into the third trimester). Radiation exposure at the altitude of air travel is not considered problematic for flying during pregnancy. (2) Remember that there is still a possibility of going into labor between 35 and 36 weeks. If you do choose to travel this late in pregnancy, be sure to choose a destination with adequate medical care available. Make sure to stay hydrated and stretch often! There are some situations in which third trimester travel is not recommended. Pregnant persons experiencing the following 3 P’s are recommended not to travel during pregnancy: 1. Preeclampsia: High blood pressure in pregnant women2. Prelabour rupture of membranes (PROM): rupture of amniotic membranes that generally should not happen before labour. 3. Preterm labor: This usually occurs shortly after PROM False labor (Braxton-Hicks contractions): False labor contractions may start in preparation for childbirth.Difficulty breathing: Some women may experience third trimester shortness of breath. Improvements in posture may help your lungs expand to help your breathing. Pregnancy Swelling Ankles and Feet: During pregnancy swelling feet can happen. Elevating your legs and exercising will help ease the swelling. In some cases, pregnancy swelling can be a sign of something more dangerous like a blood clot. Be sure to show your swelling to your doctor, and if you have pain or swelling that is one-sided, seek medical care immediately.Third Trimester Back Pain: Hormones released during pregnancy cause the connective tissue around your bones to relax which causes back pain in the third trimester. This increases the need for good posture through exercise to strengthen your muscles and with the help of chairs that provide back support. Heartburn: Pregnancy hormones also relax the lower esophageal sphincter (the valve between the stomach and esophagus). This allows for stomach acid to back up into your esophagus. Eating frequent smaller quantity meals and avoiding acidic foods like citrus fruits along with fried or spicy food may prevent heartburn. Heat: At this time, the fetus begins to radiate body heat which can make you feel hotter than normal. Red-purple/swollen veins: There is an increase in blood circulation in your body to keep up with yours as well as the fetus’s needs. This causes red-purple veins to surface on your face neck and arms. It may also cause your veins to swell. High fiber and fluid intake is important. Hair growth: Pregnancy hormones can cause courser and faster growth of hair on your arms legs and face.Frequent urination: Third trimester pregnancy involves the baby moving deeper into the pelvis creating more pressure and the frequent need to urinate. This can also cause leaking. Panty liners may be useful to manage leaking when you laugh, cough or sneeze. Colostrum leaking: The first form of milk begins to leak from your nipples until breastmilk is ready for your baby.Leukorrhea: This is white vaginal discharge that is normal to produce at this time as it contains more mucus. Other Third Trimester Symptoms: Leg cramps, stretch marks, loss of sex drive, skin pigmentation, constipation, hemorrhoids, dry or itchy skin due to stretching of the skin around your abdomen are amongst other changes and symptoms you may experience during this time. (3)Sources: 
6 min read

Is Pregnancy Brain Real? What to Know

You might have heard of the term “pregnancy brain” at least once in your lifetime, and if you’re pregnant, it may cause some worry! Well, not to worry because you aren’t alone, with many pregnant women experiencing the same brain fog, a sort of hallmark of pregnancy.  Some women may forget appointments, what they were supposed to get in groceries, or whether or not they’ve left the television on. Other times, you might have forgotten your phone number! So if you’re wondering, “is pregnancy brain real?”, it definitely is. But what causes it and is it really normal? Read on to learn more. As mentioned, pregnancy brain is real and actually very common, even in the most organized, the master of multitasking, and with great memory!  The good news is: While pregnancy brain is normal, it is temporary. It does get frustrating losing organizational skills and becoming more forgetful, so don’t worry about this being a long-term issue. Your brain will soon come back to normal a few months after giving birth. Pregnancy brain is really just about your hormones having a bit of fun and doing its thing, which is a natural part of pregnancy. Unfortunately, your memory is affected from it.   There are also several reasons why pregnancy brain happens, including lack of quality rest due to discomfort when sleeping. Plus, since you’re usually out of energy carrying a beautiful baby, it can affect your brain function and focus. Again, tiredness during this time is normal! Besides this, all of the huge and exciting changes going on throughout your pregnancy may impact the way you think and focus, causing the pregnancy brain. Furthermore, there has been research proving that a brain does function differently during pregnancy. It increases activity in the side connected with emotional skills! Also, the brain-cell volume decreases in the third trimester of pregnancy.

I'm sure you wouldn't want to just plop down and let the pregnancy brain consume you! There are things you can do to cope up with the pregnancy brain and avoid the fog from negatively impacting your life. Here are some tips you can follow: ·         Don’t be too hard on yourself if you forget things or feel overwhelmed with typical tasks. Take a deep breath and avoid stressing out, as negative feelings can cloud your brain further. Instead, have a good laugh and find the funny part in these moments.·         If you have to remember something, such as purchasing groceries or setting appointments, make sure to write it all down. Take a big note and leave it in obvious places, or a handy notebook in your everyday bag.·         Place reminders on your phone to help stay organized and less forgetful.·         Have support and backup system, delegating jobs to other people, such as your partner, family, and trusted friends.·         Consume choline-rich foods, as well as DHA-rich foods, which can help with your overall memory and brain function. Some supplements can provide these nutrients. Furthermore, avoid consuming ginkgo Biloba supplements, which aren't proven safe to take during pregnancy. Wrapping It UpPregnancy brain is a real thing, but it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world (at least, during your pregnancy). There are things you can do to cope with the brain fog and to have a better quality of life as you carry your little one until delivery. Again, this is only temporary, so let time take its course and enjoy the journey as you begin parenthood!  
3 min read
chemical pregnancy

What Is a Chemical Pregnancy? The Things You Need to Know

Have you gotten a positive pregnancy test only to get your period a week after? It’s probably confusing (and a bit frightening), but this actually happens a lot.This means you might have experienced a chemical pregnancy, which is nothing to be afraid of.A chemical pregnancy is an early pregnancy loss, happening when the egg fertilizes but does not completely implant in your uterus. This usually happens at week four or five of the menstrual cycle. These pregnancies are very common, with experts believing that it accounts for up to 70% of conceptions. In normal pregnancies, the fertilized egg would implant in the uterine wall, a few weeks after your last menstrual period. Cells that become the placenta start producing hCG, the pregnancy hormone. In chemical pregnancies, the implantation wasn’t successful and the cells won’t become an embryo and placenta. As a result, you experience bleeding for a week after your period. Most times, the only indication of this pregnancy loss is a late period. Some women don't even realize they have had a chemical pregnancy unless they took an early pregnancy test after conception.These are signs of a chemical pregnancy: • You had an early positive pregnancy test result • You’re experiencing a late period • Heavy bleeding with menstrual-like crampsHowever, light spotting or bleeding after your positive pregnancy test result doesn’t automatically mean it’s a chemical pregnancy. It may be light implantation bleeding, a sign that you’re pregnant. Regardless, if you experience any form of bleeding after the positive test result, it’s best to visit your doctor for confirmation.One of the most common causes of chemical pregnancies is from chromosomal abnormalities.The sperm or egg has too many or not enough chromosomes, and the abnormality would cause errors, making it hard for the zygote to develop normally. Rather than implanting on the uterine walls, the fertilized egg will be released from your body in the form of your period. This happens randomly and to anyone. This won't affect successful conceptions in the future.While common, there are risk factors that increase the chances of an early pregnancy loss, such as: • Being older than 35 years old • Any untreated clotting or thyroid disorders • Medical conditions, like uncontrolled diabetesrecovering from a chemical pregnancyWhen we see it medically, chemical pregnancies are more of a cycle than a “true” miscarriage, as the pregnancy never happened. But emotionally, this is a different story, with many feeling upset when they have been trying for a child. This is natural, so it’s okay to grieve if you want to. Chemical Pregnancies can happen to anyone and there is nothing that can be done to prevent/reverse one.Furthermore, an early miscarriage doesn't mean you're at risk for another. You can still continue trying to get pregnant after a chemical pregnancy. While chemical pregnancy doesn't need medical intervention, you can consult your doctor for advice on what to do when trying to conceive.Wrapping It UpI hope that this short guide answered your question, “what is a chemical pregnancy?” If you feel like you experienced one, do check with your doctor for advice on how to conceive successfully. For women who need emotional support, reach out to your loved ones, and get in touch with your doctor or organizations who can help you out. 
3 min read
What is VBAC

What is VBAC? All About Vaginal Birth After C-Section

Are you considering having a VBAC? While it shows good rates of success, it may not be for everyone and you may have some concerns about it if you will want to go over with your doctor.  To help you decide, read on as we talk more about VBAC, from its pros and cons down to how you can prepare for it.  VBAC stands for Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. If you have delivered a baby via C-section and are pregnant again, you can choose between a repeat C-section or VBAC, if your obstetrician feels it is safe for you.  Many women have tried labor and a vaginal delivery after cesarean, which is possible and with a success rate of around 70%, in some studies. Many women choose a trial of labor after cesarean (TOLAC), because:             •           It can help prevent risks from multiple cesarean deliveries, like placenta accreta or placenta previa. This is beneficial for women who plan to have more children in the future            •           There are fewer and lower risks of any surgical complications that come with C-section delivery. Successful VBAC procedures are associated with lower rates of infection, blood clotting, and excessive bleeding. It may also decrease risks of requiring a hysterectomy and injury to one’s abdominal organs, like the bowel or bladder            •           There is a shorter recovery time when undergoing a VBAC versus a C-section, meaning a shorter hospital stay and shorter wait time before you can go back to your normal activities            •           It gives you the chance to experience a vaginal delivery  Those who are the best candidates for VBAC are the following:             •           Those pregnant with one baby and has had a history of 1-2 low transverse C-sections without problems that prevent VBAC            •           Those pregnant with one baby and have had a history of one C-section that underwent an unknown uterine incision type without problems that prevent VBAC. *This is unless your doctor suspects you have had a high vertical, or classical, uterine incision            •           Those pregnant with twins and have a history of one low transverse C-section and are a good candidate for twin vaginal delivery Prior vaginal delivery is also a great predictor of a successful VBAC procedure.  However, there are also those who are not candidates for VBAC, such as women having risk factors that decrease the chance of a successful VBAC. It’s best to check with your healthcare provider to see if you are an eligible candidate.  While there are numerous benefits from having a VBAC, there are also risk to consider.  If you experience a failed TOLAC, there may be more complications, such as uterine rupture. Though not to worry, as this is very rare and only happens to less than 1% of those who attempt a TOLAC. A uterine rupture occurs when the cesarean scar on your uterus opens. This risk is life-threatening for both you and the baby, and an emergency C-section is required to prevent any life-threatening complications if this happens. Your doctor may need to remove your uterus and perform a hysterectomy if this occurs. This is another reason why it’s important to weigh the pros and cons, as well as discuss the risks and success rates with your doctor, before choosing to do a VBAC. If you do choose to undergo a VBAC, you can prepare by talking about it with your healthcare provider. Discuss all your concerns and know what you can expect during VBAC. Submit your complete medical history, especially those that include records from your previous C-sections and other uterine procedures that may have been done. The healthcare provider will use your medical history to calculate the success rate of your expected VBAC. As long as you provide complete information and follow your doctors' advice, you can have a successful VBAC with no complications. Good luck!
4 min read
how much weight should you gain during pregnancy

How Much Weight Should You Gain During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy it is expected that the woman will gain weight to properly grow the fetus. However, it can be hard to figure out just how much weight you should ideally gain during your pregnancy. While you might want to excuse yourself from a diet, thinking you need extra food to nourish you and your little one, it’s still best to keep an eye on your weighing scale for both you and your baby’s health. But you may want a better breakdown- just how much weight should you gain during pregnancy?Some people suggest that you gain between 25-35 pounds when pregnant. However, there are several factors to consider before sticking to that range.The 25-35 pounds weight gain range is best for those whose body mass index (BMI) is in the normal weight before they got pregnant. Your BMI is measured with your height and weight, so you’ll need to know this before pregnancy to know how many pounds you should gain healthily when expecting.Refer to this:Besides your BMI, you should also consider if you’re carrying twins. If so, then here is the recommended weight gain:You may also have certain individual conditions that affect how much you should weigh and gain during pregnancy. It’s best that you talk with your doctor about your weight to ensure that you stay healthy and to prepare the body for nursing.Here’s a breakdown for a typical 30-pounds pregnancy weight gain:You should also keep an eye on how much weight you should gain per trimester, as you shouldn’t pack on the pounds immediately and all at once! This is a recommendation from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, made for those with a normal BMI before pregnancy:Gain only 2-4 pounds during your first trimester, as your baby is still small. You may even lose a bit of weight from morning sickness or a lack of appetite, which is fine, as long as you continue gaining weight in the next six months.Gain about 12-14 pounds during your second trimester, when your baby is starting to grow.Gain around 8-10 pounds during the third trimester, which is when the baby starts to weigh more but your weight tapers a bit.Take note that all of these are just averages and not the exact formula to follow. That is why it’s important to communicate with your doctor. While it's crucial to keep an eye on your weight, it will be just as unhealthy if you stress over the weight in itself. As long as your weight during pregnancy is within a healthy range and you gain at a healthy pace, you're right on track. Focus your nutrition on healthy and nutrient-dense foods to keep yourself feeling full and fueled.
3 min read

Round Ligament Pain In Pregnancy

Round ligament pain in pregnancy is common because the round ligament connects the front part of the uterus to your groin. There is one round ligament on each side of your uterus. While early pregnancy round ligament pain can happen, round ligament pain in third trimester is common because the uterus has greatly increased in size. Round ligament pain, sometimes called “lightening crotch”,  is a sharp, sometimes jabbing feeling in the lower belly or groin area on one or both sides. The pain usually lasts a few seconds, but can be longer. Lightning crotch typically affects the right side, but it can happen on both sides. When the round ligaments stretch, they are more susceptible to sudden movements which cause the round ligament to tighten. When the ligament tightens it pulls on the fibers of the nerve which results in pain. Exercise and sudden movements like sneezing, coughing, or even standing up too quickly can cause round ligament pain.Stretching for round ligament pain can be very helpful. One stretch is the cat-cow stretch done in many forms of yoga. Start with your hands and knees on the floor with your shoulders directly over your wrists, and your hips directly over your knees. While breathing in, drop your belly so that your back arches and your face looks slightly up. This is called the cow position. While breathing out, round your upper back, and allow your head to drop and face your belly. This is called the cat position. You should do this stretch at a slow pace for at least one minute, take a break and then repeat it. Additionally, you should consider modifying your natural movements so that you don’t make abrupt positional changes that could trigger the pain. When going from sitting down to standing up or vice versa, do it slower than you usually would.  In general, you will want to avoid sudden movements that could lead to stretching of the ligament and subsequent discomfort. Avoid positions that aggravate the pain and protect yourself from sudden movements by flexing your hips holding your lower belly. This can be especially helpful if you are laughing, coughing, or feel a powerful sneeze coming on.If conservative methods are not working, you may consider using pain relievers that are safe in pregnancy for round ligament pain. Typically, acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be used for pain in pregnancy, but always check with your Ob-gyn first. Additionally, remember that round ligament pain can be experienced for several months so exercising and behavior modification may serve you better than constant medication use. It may also be helpful to use a heating pad in the areas of your discomfort as well as consider taking a warm bath. Remember that the water should not be too hot because sitting in a hot tub, or anything too hot, is advised against during pregnancy. You may need to combine some of the above methods to achieve long term round ligament pain relief. Be certain to discuss your plans with your doctor as well.It is normal to experience round ligament pain during pregnancy. Because the round ligament connects the uterus and the groin, it is common to experience pain as your uterus grows with each trimester of your pregnancy. Round ligament pain usually happens only while someone is pregnant. Uncommonly, round ligament pain can happen in persons who are not pregnant, which could be a sign of endometriosis or another health concern. If you are experiencing any pain or additional symptoms that are concerning to your health, be sure to contact your doctor. For round ligament pain in pregnancy, try to avoid sudden movements that can aggravate round ligament pain. Stretching for round ligament pain can also be very helpful.
4 min read
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