Archives for September 2008

Pregnancy & Baby: Saving Pennies

We’re all looking to save a little money these days.  Your little bundle of joy is sure to cost you a little bundle of cash, but there are ways to save some pennies without depriving yourself or your baby.

I borrowed the following links from Pregnancy & Baby Blog, and hope you’ll find them helpful!

Quickening: Counting kicks and other fetal movements

The first fetal movements are called quickening and are often described as flutters.  Some moms can feel their babies move as early as 13-16 weeks from the start of their last period, although it may be difficult to determine whether this feeling is gas or your baby’s movements. After some time, if you pay attention, you may begin to notice a pattern. Some moms, especially those in their first pregnancy, may not feel movement until 18-20 weeks. Remember that each woman and each pregnancy is different, with the first detection of movement ranging from 13-25 weeks.

Why does my baby move?

Would you like to stay curled up in one position for nine months? Your baby likes to stretch her limbs and c change positions too! As you get further along in your pregnancy, you will begin to feel more obvious movements, such as kicking, punching, and rolling. Your baby may also move as she responds to noise or to your emotions. She may squirm if your position is uncomfortable for her. Certain foods you eat might also cause your baby feel active, and some women even notice a sleeping/waking cycle. And of course some babies like to get moving just as mom is trying to fall asleep (it’s good practice for after birth!)

How often should my baby move?

Some care providers suggest keeping track of how often your baby moves each day. This is easy to do because most of us just sit around all day with a pen and paper waiting for a flutter or a kick, so we can record it on our little chart.  Seriously!! What are they thinking?  Choosing a specific time of the day to count movements is slightly more practical:

Beginning with week 28, it is beneficial to begin counting your baby’s movements. This will help you to identify potential problems and can also be a great bonding experience between you and your baby. Using a kick count chart can be very helpful. When counting your baby’s movements choose the same time each day. It might be easiest to lie on your left side and record how long it takes to feel 10 movements. For further information about recording movements see kick counts.

Sometime in the third trimester you may notice that your baby’s movements are more frequent and vigorous and occur in a regular pattern. Then movements may start to decrease after week 32 as your baby grows bigger and is more restricted in the uterus.

What should I do if I don’t feel my baby moving?

If you have been keeping a chart of your baby’s movements and you notice a significant deviation in the pattern, contact your health care provider. If you do not feel 10 movements within 2 hours, try again later that day. If you still do not feel 10 movements within 2 hours, you should contact your healthcare provider.

Source: American Pregnancy Org.

Tickled Pink: Decorating a nursery for your little princess!

One of the most fun things about preparing for baby is, of course, decorating the nursery… Especially if you know that a little girl is on the way! Although your first thoughts might be quilted in various shades of pink, with plenty of bows and lace, there are actually lots of creative options when it comes to choosing colors and themes for your little princess’s room!

From Hawaiian beaches to garden tea parties, from dragons and unicorns to cowgirls and circuses, your choices are practically unlimited!  Unique Baby Gear has lots of creative ideas under “Girl Room Themes,” like this darling Beatrix Potter decor:

I also like this carousel horse theme:

For a modern, sophisticated look that is still pretty, you can decorate your nursery in pink and brown. Here are a few examples of how it can be done:

While themes like those above are colorful and exciting, some new parents want to keep the nursery decor simple. “For a baby and for new parents, serenity is key,” says designer David Netto on HGTV.com. See his 11 Ways to Create a Modern Nursery for tips on creating a peaceful sanctuary for your little one.  He suggests using subdued colors for the walls, floor and major furniture pieces, and adding bright accents with bedding, wall art, rugs, window coverings and accessories. He also advocates gender-neutral design and adaptable furniture (cribs that turn into toddler beds, basinettes that transform into toy baskets), streamlined peices with built-in storage and double-duty items (like a dresser wtih a chanaging table on top). He also advises keeping your child in mind: “Most of the furniture in the nursery should be scaled down for your child and low to the floor,” David Netto adds. “And hang pictures at her eye level–not yours.

ButterflyCraze.com has some pretty accents that will add interest to your nursery.  Hanging angels, giant daisies, and fluttering butterflies will turn her room into a fairy-tale land.

Browsing wall art for your new arrival is also fun! DistinctiveNurseries.com has lots of posters, prints, and wall hangings in every style and color. The cool thing about them is, if the price tag is too hefty you can get handy and re-create the same look yourself! Here are some that I like:

Well, this post could go on and on, but I’ll leave the rest of the Googling to you! Window dressings, cribs and bassinets, murals, rockers… Let the decorating begin!

Your flu shot can protect your baby from a deadly virus

If you’re pregnant, getting the flu shot might be a good move on two counts: Aside from the obvious benefit (protecting yourself from the flu!) you might also be protecting your baby!

A clinical trial has revealed that a pregnant woman who receives a flu shot can potentially protect her baby from the flu virus up to 6 months after the birth.  This is importnat becuase flu shots are not recommended for babies under six months old, and antiviral drug treatments for the flu are not approved for children under a year old. The study determined that with the flu shot, an infant’s risk of contracting the virus was reduced by at least 63 percent. The risk of respitory infections was also reduced by 29 percent.

“Infants under six months have the highest rates of hospitalization from influenza among children in the U.S.” according to Dr. Steinhoff.  The good news, based on the new study, is that when mothers are vaccinated the odds of infants contracting the flu could be cut in more than half. Dr. Steinhoff stated, “Our study shows that a newborn’s risk of infection can be greatly reduced by vaccinating Mom during pregnancy. It’s a two-for-one benefit.”

It is now being recommended that expectant mothers get their flu shot a few weeks before flu season starts.

Visit www.healthnews.com for more information!

All about Water Births

Water birth is a method of giving birth immersed in a tub of warm water. Proponents believe this method to be safe and provides many benefits for both mother and infant, including pain relief and a less traumatic birth experience for the baby. Women who have chosen water birth describe it as being peaceful, joyous, comforting, and more relaxing than a “land birth.” Critics argue that the procedure introduces unnecessary risks to the infant such as infection and water inhalation.

Benefits for Mother:

  • Water is soothing, comforting, relaxing. Water birth is a form of hydrotherapy which, in studies, has been shown to be an effective form of pain management for a variety of conditions especially lower back pain (a common complaint of women in labor).
  • In the later stages of labor, the water seems to increase the woman’s energy.
  • The buoyancy lessens her body weight, allows free movement and new positioning.
  • Buoyancy promotes more efficient uterine contractions and better blood circulation, resulting in better oxygenation of the uterine muscles, less pain for the mother, and more oxygen for the baby.
  • Immersion in water often helps lower high blood pressure caused by anxiety.
  • Water seems to alleviate stress-related hormones, allowing the mother’s body to produce endorphins, which are pain-inhibitors.
  • Water causes the perineum to become more elastic and relaxed, which reduces the incidence and severity of tearing and the need for an episiotomy and stitches.
  • As the laboring women relaxes physically she is able to relax mentally, concentrating her efforts inward on the birth process.
  • The water provides a sense of privacy, which releases inhibitions, anxiety, and fears.

Benefits for Baby:

  • Provides a similar (warm, watery) environment as the amniotic sac.
  • Eases the stress of the birth, providing reassurance and security.

Risks involved in Water Births:

Although there are no proven disadvantages to birthing in water, it is still a controversial means of delivery.  Critics cite possible risks, including:

  • Water aspiration. If the baby is experiencing stress in the birth canal or the umbilical cord becomes kinked or twisted, the baby may gasp for air, possibly inhaling water into the lungs. This would be rare because babies do not inhale air until they are exposed to air. They receive oxygen through the umbilical cord until they start to breathe on their own or until the cord is cut.
  • The umbilical cord could snap as the baby is brought to the surface of the water. This is preventable by using caution when lifting the baby up to the mother’s chest.
  • Another concern is that the water could increase the risk of infection. However, studies to date do not show increased risk of transferring bacteria from infant to mother or mother to infant.
  • Slowed labor, due to the documented relaxing effects of water, may be seen as a benefit rather than a rsik.  Laboring in water is sometimes associated with a decrease in the intensity of contractions, and is thus thought to slow labor.
  • Maternal blood loss. For care providers who are inexperienced in delivery in water, it may be difficult to assess the amount of maternal blood loss. Although there are well-developed methods of determining maternal blood loss in water, many providers prefer to deliver the placenta out of water for this reason.

Water births may be discouraged in the following situations, and should be discussed with your health care provider:

  • If you have Herpes: Herpes transfers easily in water, so you will want to discuss this thoroughly with your health care provider.
  • If your baby is breech: Though water birth has been done with bottom or feet first presentations you will want to discuss this thoroughly with your health care provider.
  • If you have been diagnosed with excessive bleeding or maternal infection.
  • If you are having multiples: Though water births have been successful with twins around the world, you will want to discuss this thoroughly with your health care provider.
  • If preterm labor is expected: If a baby is two weeks or more prior to due date, water birth is not recommended.
  • If there is severe meconium: Mild to moderate meconium is fairly normal. Since meconium floats to the surface in a tub, your health care provider will watch for it and remove it immediately, or help you out of the tub.
  • If you have toxemia or preeclampsia: You will want to thoroughly discuss this with your health care provider.

For more information, check out:

Wikipedia (includes history and studies associated with water births)

Waterbirth.org

WaterBirthInfo.com

AmericanPregnancy.org,

YourWaterBirth.com (Offers supplies for an at-home water birth, such as pools, hoses, thermometers, protective floor covers, birth kits, and more)

Your pregnancy diet can decrease baby’s risk of obesity

What pregnancy eating style do you think would contribute toward obesity in children? A high fat diet? Too many extra calories? Junk food? Well, none of those are good for your growing baby, but here’s some surprising news: Women who eat too little during pregnancy increase the risk of obesity in their children! Go figure!

Researchers have discovered eating too few calories while pregnant changes the way that a baby’s fat cells behave once they are born.  It causes excessive levels of inflammation which can damage the body’s ability to metabolise food, which leaves the youngsters at risk of putting on excessive weight.

The study is headed by Dr Helen Budge, who reminds us that what a mother eats while pregnant can have a large impact on the health of their baby in later life.  Instead of viewing obesity as entirely the fault of the individual, pregnant women must realize that genetic and environmental factors play a huge part. “What is particularly interesting is that we are not just talking about babies that have been malnourished while in the womb but those that are born within normal weight ranges,” says Dr. Budge.

Over-eating is similarly harmful too. So what is the advice? A healthy, balanced diet, of course!

Baby Mama: A new pregnancy comedy coming soon!

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler star in NBC Universal’s new comedy, ‘Baby Mama,’ opening on April 25, about a business woman in her late 30’s dreams of becoming a mother, only to find out that she’s infertile. So, she “outsources” her pregnancy. Tina Fay says the film speaks to many women today. “I think there are a lot of women in my generation who are frightened about whether they have waited too long to have babies.”

Frightened or  not, there are a lot of funny things surrounding pregnancy and childbirth.  Come on, admit it, you and your girlfriends have had some good laughs over things like perineal massage, horse-sized prenatal vitamins, baby proofing, and birth plans:

“Welcome to the birthing center. In this class we are going to help you new mommies and daddies– and mommies and mommies (*wink wink*)– prepair for that marathon of labor! Quick question before we start: How many of you are planning on doing natural childbirth? That’s a good show of hands; thats so great! You’re all so great! And how many of you are planning on using toxic Western medications to drug your baby for your own selfish comfort? Anyone?”

Watch previews and clips on ivillage.com. Anyone who has been pregnant or has known any pregnant women will be nodding in agreement… and laughing out loud. ‘Baby Mama’ is sure to have women of all ages and stages in stiches– luckily not the episiotomy kind.

Pregnant women should avoid Perfume, risk to baby boy’s fertility

It smells so good, but it could be bad news for the baby in your belly! New research shows that using perfumes or scented body creams can cause unborn boys to suffer infertility or testicular cancer in later life.  The reproductive system of male fetuses can be damaged as early as at eight weeks’ gestation by chemicals such as those found in many cosmetics.

Professor Richard Sharpe, principal investigator at the Medical Research Council’s Human Sciences Unit, says that women who want to protect their babies should stop using body creams and perfumes.  “Although we do not have conclusive evidence that they do harm, there are components about which there are question marks… It might have no consequence, but it’s something positive women can do for their baby.”

It would seem that if you are attempting to conceive, or there is a possiblity that you could become pregnant, you should avoid using perfumes and similar cosmetics, as well!

Read more about perfume and pregnancy here.

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