Archives for March 2009

Proper oral hygiene can prevent pregnancy complications

The Telegraph reports that bacteria from a woman’s mouth could be transferred to her child through blood and amniotic fluid.  The bacteria could potentially cause serious problems, including premature birth, a low birth weight, and premature contractions, as well as infection in the baby, researchers warn.

The authors of the study insist that simple attention to dental hygiene can help to reduce the risk of many pregnancy complications, which doctors cannot otherwise explain.

The research looked at the stomach contents of newborn babies, and found two types of bacteria that are found mainly in the mouth.  These samples were taken at hospitals as part of the routine care given to babies born from a complicated pregnancy or at risk of serious infection.

The research group is attempting to confirm whether bacteria from the newborn matches the bacteria in the respective mother’s mouth.

Bottom line: Brush and floss daily, and visit your dentist according to schedule.  It’s definitely good for you, and it might even promote health in your baby!

Image from the energy secret

Spring 2009 Maternity Fashion from Fun Mum!

When you’re pregnant (and even when you’re not!), online shopping is the way to go! No tramping around malls, no waiting for dressing rooms, no time spent on your feet at all! Browse maternity sites in the comfort of your own home (and PJ’s). Here’s a fun site called Fun Mum, based in the UK. Deliveries to the US ship within 4 days, and you can exchange or return items you don’t want for a full refund.

Here are some of their beautiful fashions, so you’ll be looking as fresh, fabulous, and fertile as the goddess of spring! And, until March 31, receive 20% off everything on their site! Happy shopping…

Evening Tops:

Pretty Dresses:

Flirty Separates:

Cozy Knits:

Wear to Work:

Casual Weekend:

Infertility and Homeopathy: Treating body, mind, and soul

Infertility is a multifaceted problem. According to LondonHomeopathy, “This means that when treating it we need to look at a variety of issues such as our emotional health, our life style, the food we eat, the alcohol we drink, our smoking habits, as well as all the environmental hazards to which we are exposed, including toxic metal pollution, pesticides and food additives. All of these factors do affect our capacity to conceive!”

According to the Holistic Body & Baby website:

Homeopathy is very effective in treating women’s reproductive problems because it stimulates the body to heal itself rather than inhibit or suppress the body’s attempt to become well. If a woman is planning a pregnancy or having difficulty conceiving, homeopathic treatment can help her body reach a state of wellness. There is no grater gift for a newborn than mom and dad receiving constitutional homeopathic care before conception. Homeopaths know that physical, mental, and complex immunological patterns can be inherited. If these imbalances are addressed prior to conception, there is a much greater likelihood that the baby will be healthier on all levels.

Even women who unsuccessfully tried conventional fertility treatments, have gone on to conecieve with the help of homeopathy. This may be because in addition to medical reasons for difficulty in conceiving a baby, emotions can also play a part.

‘Did you know that it is thought that past hurt, ambivalence regarding parenthood, fear and childhood experiences of rejection and poor bonding can all exist in the subconscious mind and can contribute to conception problems and even infertility?’

– Michele Carelse, Clinical Psychologist. (Natural Eco Organics)

London Homeopathy provides the following list of underlying problems related to fertility:

Emotional blocks to fertility
All aspects of your existence are interconnected, including your mental and emotional states of mind. This can affect your body in a detrimental way, often blocking energy and leading to an illness. Such emotional blocks and negative states of mind can also prevent conception. Perhaps a miscarriage or a bad experience during a previous birth or pregnancy has led you to fear subsequent pregnancy? A stressful life style, which has affected you physically and emotionally, can also cause harm including irregular or painful periods. Homeopathy is invaluable in addressing such blocks to fertility at both the physical and emotional levels.

Balance your hormones
Rather than treating symptoms superficially, homeopathic treatment addresses the causes of symptoms and works on bringing the body back to balance.  Remedies will help to regulate your menstrual cycles, bring back ovulation or improve sperm count and motility.

Treat the underlying pathology
If PCOS, endometriosis, uterine fibroids or polyps are preventing you from conceiving, these be treated effectively and permanently.

Clear the side effects of the contraceptive pill
Homeopathy has proved to be particularly effective in addressing the side effects of the contraceptive pill which may prevent you from conceiving. These include: weight gain, lack of ovulation, irregular menses, candida, benign breast lumps or apathy.

Clear inherited tendencies
As one of the deepest reaching therapies, homeopathy can treat inherited tendencies and patterns affecting your chances of conception. Those may include sub-fertility or a tendency to miscarry.

Feature photo from nomoreallergies: Treat your allergies with homeopathy too!

Obesity, Bariatric Surgery, and Pregnancy

Morbidly obese women are often infertile, according to The Consumer Guide to Bariatric Surgery, but if they are able to become pregnant, they are considered high risk.  These women are more likely to experience pregnancy-related complications, including gestational diabetes, hypertension, preeclampsia (high blood pressure, fluid buildup in the body and protein in the urine during pregnancy) and fetal distress. And they are more likely to require a cesarean or C-section delivery.

So is it safe to become pregnant after weight loss surgery? If so, how long should you wait? What can you do to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery after gastric bypass, gastric banding or other bariatric surgery? While many questions remain, the latest reports suggest that pregnancy after bariatric surgery is actually safer than becoming pregnant while still obese!

According to Science Daily, a recent study published in International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics finds that women who undergo bariatric surgery will reduce the risk of medical and obstetric complications when they become pregnant. The study was conducted by researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s (BGU) Faculty of Health Sciences.

The study indicated that the risk of gestational diabetes alone drops by 60 percent when an obese woman has bariatric surgery before getting pregnant. There were significantly lower rates of hypertensive disorders in general and severe pre-eclampsia in particular, as well as lower rates of diabetes mellitus and anemia following bariatric surgery.

Science Daily reports that the prevalence of people who are overweight or obese has increased dramatically in high-income countries over the past 20 years. In the United States, for example, some two-thirds (65.1%) of Americans aged 20 years or older are considered overweight; one-third (30.4%) are considered obese, and 4.9% are morbidly obese. Between 1999 and 2002, close to one-third of women of childbearing age in the United States were classified as obese.

In response, the incidence of bariatric surgery in the United States increased by 800 percent between 1998 and 2005. The Consumer Guide to Bariatric Surgery asserts that women of reproductive age (18 to 45) accounted for 83 percent of these weight loss surgeries (more than 50,000 women each year).

Wait Before Attempting Pregnancy After Bariatric Surgery

Women of childbearing age who wish to become pregnant after gastric bypass surgery or other malabsorptiove surgeries such as the duodenal switch procedure should wait 18 months, because this is when the rapid weight loss occurs. It can be challenging to meet nutritional needs during this time without the added concerns of pregnancy. Such rapid weight loss may deprive a developing fetus of the nutrients it needs to grow and thrive.

Gastric banding induces more gradual weight loss and does not cause any nutritional issues. Women who get banded should wait about six months before becoming pregnant so they will be at a healthy weight during pregnancy.

Women who are overweight or obese may have difficulty getting pregnant, but weight loss increases fertility. In fact, infertility issues linked to obesity are often resolved as hormones return to more natural levels.  Most surgeons advise women of childbearing age to use reliable contraception during the waiting period.

Will You Need a C-Section?

There is no medical reason that women who have become pregnant after bariatric surgery should require a C-section delivery, but they do seem to be more likely to deliver via C-section. Talk to your obstetrician about your chances of needing a C-section delivery as well as your preferences for delivering your baby. While a C-section is a relatively safe way to deliver a baby, it does carry more risks than vaginal delivery.

Make sure your Nutritional Needs are Met

The Consumer Guide to Bariatric Surgery advises you to make your obstetrician aware of the type of bariatric surgery that you had, and be in contact with your bariatric surgeon during your pregnancy to make sure you and your baby are getting proper nutrition. You may be referred to a registered dietitian to help make sure you are getting proper nutrition during pregnancy. Women who have had gastric banding have the same nutritional requirements as women who have not had gastric banding. Women who have had malabsorptive weight loss surgery such as gastric bypass or biliopancreatic diversion may need regular blood tests to check for nutrient deficiencies during pregnancy.

Prenatal vitamins are an important part of a healthy pregnancy and contain many essential nutrients. Women should start taking prenatal vitamins before they even become pregnant.

Gastric Banding: Special Pregnancy Issues

Gastric banding surgery is adjustable. Some women who are pregnant require deflation of the band due to severe nausea and vomiting, which can occur during pregnancy and as a result of gastric banding. This is typically an individual decision. If you are having severe morning sickness, your bariatric surgeon may deflate the band to help you feel better. Your surgeon can also loosen your band so you can eat more. However, many women don’t have to touch their band at all during pregnancy.

Women who have undergone gastric banding before pregnancy may have trouble tolerating over-sized prenatal vitamins. They may develop heartburn, or the prenatal vitamin may remain in their esophagus, causing ulcers. Talk to your obstetrician about chewable or liquid prenatal vitamins to avoid these complications.

Breastfeeding After Bariatric Surgery

Women who become pregnant after bariatric surgery can still breastfeed, provided there are continued nutritional monitoring and supplementation. Talk to your surgeon, obstetrician, a lactation consultant and/or a registered dietician to make sure you and your baby are getting all the nutrition you need.It’s also important to make sure you are drinking enough water so your milk does not dry up.

Please visit The Consumer Guide to Bariatric Surgery to find out more about weight-loss surgery and pregnancy-related issues.

Is it possible to time your pregnancy?

You can try for a certain season or month, says WebMD, but it’s not that easy to schedule a pregnancy.

Some women try to avoid going through their third trimester in the summer months. An accountant might try to time a birth for after the busy tax season. And a school teacher might find it preferable to give birth at the beginning of school break so she has a few months to be home with the baby before September rolls around.

“The problem is that we have bought into the idea that you can plan a pregnancy, and the fact is that many women wait to have a baby until they are ready to have a baby only to find out it’s just not that easy,” says Donnica Moore, MD, a women’s health expert based in Far Hills, N.J.

She goes on to say that very few women can actually time their pregnancy accurately, and it is unrealistic for women to think that they can – especially the older they get. But that shouldn’t stop a girl from trying, she adds. “It’s fine to say that, ‘Ideally I would like to get pregnant before X month,’ but you have to be aware that for most women that is difficult to orchestrate.”

Mark P. Leondires, MD, medical director of Reproductive Medical Associates of Connecticut in Norwalk, equates trying to time a pregnancy with setting yourself up for disappointment, as it’s very easy to miss the small window of opportunity. He suggests giving yourself 3 months to work with… for example, if you’d like to deliver in March, aim for a birth sometime between February and April, which means you are shooting to get pregnant in May to August.

Interestingly, he points out that “humans are more fertile in the spring for reasons we don’t understand, so a woman may have a better chance for getting pregnant between February to May and aiming for a winter birth anyway,” he says. Regardless of the season you are shooting for, scheduling is stressful. “If there is a relationship between stress and infertility, such planning will increase stress,” he says.

The bottom line when timing a pregnancy is, you can try your best but at the end of the day, it’s not really under your control. When you want a baby, be prepared to enjoy the ride and welcome him whenever he decides to show up!

Read more at WebMD!

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The value of Homeopathy during Pregnancy & Childbirth

Some women choose to live with the discomfort of morning sickness or heartburn, rather than seek treatment, because they are concerned about the possible side effects on their unborn child. But there is another safe alternative. The Society of Homeopaths says that the gentle system of homeopathic medicine is ideal for pregnant women.

Homeopathy is based on treating each person as an individual, with highly diluted substances given in mainly tablet form, which trigger the body’s natural system of healing. Based on your experiences and symptoms, a homeopath will match the most appropriate medicine to you.  Homeopathic medicines are safe for your growing baby (and even your newborn) because only a minute amount of the active ingredient is used in their preparation.

These remedies can help you feel healthy and energetic, which in turn has positive effects on your baby. A mother who is full of vitality and energy provides her baby with the ideal conditions in which to thrive.

Homeopathic medicine during Pregnancy

Physical and emotional changes during pregnancy may cause a variety of health problems. The following list includes some common symptoms that may be helped by professional homeopathic treatment:

  • morning sickness
  • nausea
  • mild urinary problems
  • diarrhoea
  • heartburn
  • anaemia
  • varicose veins
  • backache
  • cramps
  • thrush
  • emotional distress.
  • raised blood pressure

Homeopathic medicine during Labor & After Birth

In addition to the conditions listed about, homeopahty can help you through labor, after-birth healing, breastfeeding, and even before you get pregnant– during the conception stage. Some of these situations include:

  • cervix which is slow to dilate
  • pain
  • excessive bleeding
  • retained placenta
  • labor that is too fast
  • metal and physical exhaustion
  • after-birth shock or exhaustion
  • after-birth pain and soreness
  • post-natal ‘blues’
  • stitches and scars
  • sore, cracked nipples
  • breast infections (mastitis)

Homeopathic medicine for your Baby

Babies tend to respond quickly to homeopathic treatment. There are homeopathic remedies to help relieve mild discomforts as well as more serious problems. Consult a trained homeopathic doctor if want homeopathic treatment for your baby.

  • babies who are bruised from a long labor or a forceps delivery
  • colic
  • teething
  • diaper rash
  • ear infections
  • fever
  • side effects from vaccinations

Remember, it is especially important during pregnancy to take care of your over-all health. Eat well from a wide range of foods, take a vitamin and mineral supplements if needed, avoid smoking and alcohol, get plenty of rest, and exercise regularly.

Click this link to view a detailed list of homeopathic remedies associated with pregnancy & childbirth.

Causes & treaments of dizziness during pregnancy

When you are pregnant, it is not uncommon to feel lightheaded or dizzy occasionally. During pregnancy, your cardiovascular system is working overtime: Your heart rate goes up, your heart pumps more blood per minute, and the amount of blood in your body expands by 40 to 45 percent.  Your blood pressure is also undergoing changes from the norm, gradually decreasing in the beginning, rising again toward the middle, and returning to its regular level by the end of pregnancy.

Occasionally these changes can leave you feeling lightheaded or dizzy. Most of the time, your body is able to adjust to all these changes. If you feel uncontrollably dizzy or actually faint, it could be a sign that something is wrong, and you should call your practitioner.

Lie down as soon as you feel lightheaded or dizzy, so you won’t fall and hurt yourself if you do faint. If cannot lie down, sit and try to put your head between your knees. If you are driving or doing anything else that could cause a safety hazzard, pull over or stop right away.

Lying on your left side will maximize the blood flow to your heart — and thus to your brain. It will likely keep you from actually fainting and may relieve the sensation of lightheadedness altogether.

What is causing my dizziness?

Baby Center provides a list of some of the most common causes of lightheadedness during pregnancy and some advice on how to avoid them:

•  Standing up too fast When you sit, blood pools in your lower extremities (your feet and lower legs). If your body isn’t able to adjust when you stand up, not enough blood returns to your heart from your legs. As a result, your blood pressure drops quickly, which can leave you feeling faint. This can happen to people who aren’t pregnant as well.

To prevent lightheadedness, avoid springing up from your chair or bed. When you’re lying down, sit up slowly and stay sitting for a few minutes with your legs dangling over the side of the bed or couch. Then slowly rise from sitting to standing.

When you need to stand in one place for a long time, move your legs to promote circulation. Wearing support stockings can also help circulation in the lower half of your body.

•  Lying on your back In your second and third trimesters, your growing uterus can slow the circulation in your legs by compressing the inferior vena cava (the large vein that returns blood from the lower half of the body to the heart) and the pelvic veins.

Lying flat on your back can make this problem worse. In fact, about 8 percent of pregnant women in their second and third trimesters develop a condition called supine hypotensive syndrome: When they lie on their back, their heart rate increases, their blood pressure drops, and they feel anxious, lightheaded, and nauseated until they shift their position.

To avoid this problem, lie on your side instead of flat on your back. Either side is better than your back, although the left side is best. A pillow placed behind you or under your hip can help you stay on your side — or at least tilted enough to keep your uterus from compressing the vena cava.

•  Not enough food and drink When you don’t eat enough, you can end up with low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which can make you feel dizzy or faint. This can happen much more easily when you’re pregnant.

Dehydration can have a similar affect. Make sure you stay well hydrated by drinking eight to ten glasses of water a day — more if you’re exercising or if it’s hot.

Try to keep your blood sugar from getting too low by eating small, frequent meals during the day instead of three large ones. Carry healthy snacks so you can eat when you get hungry.

•  Anemia If you’re anemic, you have fewer red blood cells to carry oxygen to your brain and other organs, which can leave you feeling lightheaded. Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia, so be sure to eat an iron-rich diet and take a prenatal vitamin with iron, especially in your second and third trimesters. If you become anemic, your caregiver will probably prescribe a separate iron supplement as well.

•  Getting overheated Spending time in a very hot room or taking a hot bath or shower can cause your blood vessels to dilate, lowering your blood pressure and making you woozy.

If you feel dizzy when you get too hot, avoid stuffy crowded places and dress in layers so you can shed clothes as necessary. Take warm showers or baths instead of hot ones, and try to keep the bathroom cool.

•  Hyperventilation Excessive exercise or anxiety can sometimes cause you to hyperventilate and feel faint. Although exercise can help your circulation, be careful not to overdo it if you’re feeling tired or not well. Start out slowly. If you start to feel lightheaded or dizzy while exercising, stop and lie down.

•  Vasovagal syncope Some people get dizzy when they strain to cough, pee, or have a bowel movement. These actions can prompt a vasovagal response (that is, an effect on your circulatory system by your vagus nerve) — a decrease in blood pressure and heart rate, leading to dizziness and fainting. (The word syncope means fainting.)

Dehydration, anxiety, and pain can also trigger this type of reaction, and pregnant women are more vulnerable to it. Lightheadedness and warning signs such as a feeling of warmth, paleness, sweating, nausea, yawning, and hyperventilation often precede vasovagal syncope. Pay attention to these signs and lie down immediately to help keep yourself from fainting.

When should I call the doctor?

Feeling lightheaded from heat, hunger, or getting up too fast may just be a part of being pregnant. But if the measures discussed above don’t relieve the problem or if you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Be sure to call your healthcare provider in the following situations:

  • You have persistent lightheadedness or frequent bouts of dizziness
  • Your dizziness could be the result of a recent head injury.
  • Dizziness is accompanied by severe headaches, blurred vision, impaired speech, palpitations, numbness, tingling, or bleeding, or if you actually faint. Any of these symptoms could be a sign of a more serious problem that could affect you or your baby.
  • Abdominal pain accompanied by dizziness could be a sign of ectopic pregnancy, which requires immediate attention.

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Toxoplasmosis: A Pregnancy Cat-astrophe!

You can keep your kitty, but pregnant women should avoid changing the kitty litter. Toxoplasmosis is caused by a parasite, and can be a serious problem during pregnancy.

Everyone can be affected by toxoplasmosis, but it is usually not a problem for non-pregnant adults, who will simply feel like they have a mild flu. However, in the immuno-suppressed patient (such as a pregnant woman) or a newborn, it can cause serious illness, prematurity, miscarriage or death.

Cats are the primary host of the Toxoplasma parasite.  Cats then excrete the Toxoplasma pathogen in their feces, which can be transferred to humans through by hand-to-mouth contact. Although the pathogen has been detected on the fur of cats, it has not been found in an infectious form. (Wikipedia)

It is not necessary to get rid of the cat, contrary to what some people think. Many people who have owned cats have already been exposed to toxoplasmosis. There are screenings available to see if you have been exposed and therefore have developed life-long immunity.

Here’s what you can do to prevent toxoplasmosis in pregnancy:

  • Avoid touching the cat litter
  • Always eat your meats fully cooked
  • Wear gloves when handling soil
  • Wash all produce very well

Speak to your health care practitioner as well as your vet for more information. Very few babies ever have this disease, but it’s important to do everything you can to prevent it.

Info from About.come: Pregnancy & Childbirth.  Visit the pregnancy website for more pregnancy info!

Twitter Advice for a First-time Mom

His Boys Can Swim! posed the following question on Twitter: “What’s the best advice you would offer to a 1st time mom?”  She got some great advice and shares the wisdom on her blog for all the other first-time mom’s out there!

It’s a long list, so I picked my fifteen favorites:

  1. @NightNannies – Take each day at a time and enjoy your baby as it goes very quickly.
  2. @jules23 – Do your own thing. EVERYONE will have an opinion on what you should do.
  3. @wellbalancedpup – Get a good babysitter and have time doing things with your partner and dont feel guilty about it.
  4. @sarabanut – Take ANYONE up on their offer to help after you have the baby.
  5. @Elouise82 – Best advice? Don’t listen to other mothers’ advice! They will all drive you insane if you let them.
  6. @jerseybites – Relax. We make our first borns so neurotic by being so neurotic. Don’t make everything have to be a lesson. Just enjoy.
  7. @WayMoreHomemade – From a control freak… realize that it’s not all under your control.
  8. @sueannesjewelry – Trust your own instincts when it comes to the mental and physical health of your child. Nobody knows them like mom.
  9. @tygerbaby – My sister had antibacterial everything…I’m pretty sure there were no living microbes anywhere in the house but…my nephew gets sicker more often than his younger sister, and the illnesses hit hard.
  10. @MomPath – Best advice 4 1st time mom? Laugh more & let the unimportant stuff slide. It’s an amazing adventure.
  11. @cheeriokeeper – Always pack 2-3 outfits in the diaper bag. There’s always bound to be a blow-out when you’re least expecting it.
  12. @latarahamying – Sleep when the baby sleeps and don’t try to be superwoman – it is impossible
  13. @birthinbinsi – Listen to advice, but trust your instincts. You know what is right for you and your baby.
  14. @SideKickBoy – If only my wife believed me when I told her how cute she is all pregnant.

…and I’ll add my own:

15. Use the internet… it’s a great resource (and comfort) for all your pregnancy and baby related questions!

Visit His Boys Can Swim! to see the complete list!

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Burp Armor: Protect yourself!

“Once upon a sleepless night, a dad had an idea…”

I don’t know if it was spit-up all over his PJ’s or just a random middle-of-the night brainstorm, but Mike Barcly had an inspiration. He put his idea into action and designed a plush, absorbent burp cloth that is all natural, soft, ergonomic, and most importantly, has enough traction to stay on your shoulder!

“Made in the USA from 45% organic cotton and 55% sustainable hemp, our burp cloths are prewashed in organic soap and emulate the soft, plush absorbency of cloth diapers. Because the stay-put shape and plush fabrics (two layers of fleece for absorbency and a third layer of corduroy for stay-put traction) keep you and your clothing clean. Simply throw it over your shoulder and you’ll be ready for anything!”

Mom’s and dad’s love them (no more ruined shirts and last-minute changes!) and it also converts to a baby bib! Visit Burp Armor for more info!

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