dry mouth 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: Dehydration When your body loses water faster than it intakes, it causes dehydration, which can be dangerous among pregnant women. 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 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 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 taste Sleeping Troubles  Pregnant 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. How to treat dry mouth during pregnancy 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 Words You 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

What to Eat Before Glucose Test Pregnancy For Accurate Results

There are a lot of doctor’s visits and tests you’ll need to have done to ensure that both you and your little one are healthy. One of these tests is the glucose test pregnancy, which is also known as the gestational oral glucose tolerance test. This test would screen you to see if you are at risk of gestational diabetes. It’s taken between your 6th or 8th month of pregnancy if you haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes.  There is no preparation before the test, though your doctor will give you something 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. 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. (https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007562.htm) 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. (https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/gestational/tests-diagnosis) 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:Besides what to eat, 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:I recommend that you still follow this list even after the glucose test, as this can manage your blood sugar levels to avoid such conditions.  Besides what to eat, you can also follow these extra tips when taking your glucose test:What If I’m Still Positive?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 are crazy 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, so you can sigh in relief! Wrapping It UpDiet is crucial when pregnant, which 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. So start referring to this list on what to eat and avoid to make the proper dietary changes now.
3 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
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

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
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
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

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
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
is constipation a symptom of pregnancy

Constipation in Pregnancy

Expecting a baby is a joyful occurrence in life. Constipation in pregnancy is not. Recent statistics as many as half of all pregnant women may suffer from constipation at some point during pregnancy.Other sources report that bowel disorders during pregnancy are so common they may affect up to three-quarters of women.While it may be reassuring to know constipation is a fairly normal experience to have when you are pregnant, it doesn't answer the question of how best to find 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 during 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: 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.For some women, pregnancy can cause nausea, vomiting, fatigue and other physical symptoms that may lead to inactivity. Inactivity can in turn lean to sluggish gut motility that causes constipation.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 is normal and natural during pregnancy but it 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.As the Mayo Clinic points out, one of the pregnancy supplements most frequently implicated in constipation is iron.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.
6 min read
Birth Control Pills vs. IUD

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
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