Am I Pregnant? 10 Early Signs

In the first few days and weeks of pregnancy, you might not know if you’re pregnant, but your body does! Pay attention for these early pregnancy indicators, even before you head to the doctor or the pharmacy for a pregnancy test!

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image credit: EU Mom

1. Missed menstrual period. Stress and other things can cause you to miss a period, but this is usually a main indication that you may be pregnant!

2. Slight spotting. It is possible that instead of a full-on period, you’re just spotting a bit. Bleeding at the time of implantation or in the early months of pregnancy can be confused with menstruation.

3. Fatigue – Suddenly feeling tired even though you had a full night’s sleep? Dozing off at work?  When you become pregnant, your body needs huge amounts of energy to adapt and nourish this new life.

4. Nausea –  It might be the flu– or it might be morning sickness!  If you’re feeling queasy or horribly nauseous,  vomiting or have dry heaves you may be experiencing Morning Sickness!

5. Aversions to strong smells. Anything at all might make you nauseous, even your own cooking! You could call it a baby-protective mechanism, since things like coffee, alcohol, and cigarette smoke, all things that you should avoid during pregnancy, seem to make you ill.

6. Food cravings. The pickles-and-ice cream jokes are getting old, but once you become pregnant you may crave foods that you hardly ate before. Your tastes may change from sweet to salty or vice versa.

7. Breast changes. Similar to premenstrual sensations, but often more dramatic:  tingling, tenderness, fullness; the areola begins to darken, and tiny glands on the areola enlarge.

8. Cramps. Also similar to the pelvic cramps you feel during menstruation. (Note that a sharp one-sided pain is not normal and your doctor should be notified.)

9. Frequent urination. In the beginning of pregnancy, it’s the hormones that cause you to urinate more often. Later on, there’s the additional pressure on the bladder from your enlarging uterus!

10. Constipation. Pregnancy hormones slow the action of your intestines. The slowing of your intestines plus their competition with the expanding uterus for room to work may leave you feeling constipated.

Get more information on what to expect during the FIRST MONTH at Dr. Sears.com!

Morning Sickness Remedies

My friend Diana is not having an easy time of her first trimester! She’s constantly nauseous, throwing up all the time, and over-all exhausted– the heat isn’t helping things!  Since morning sickness is caused by the hormones that support your pregnancy, she knows that feeling constantly nauseated is actually a good thing… well, her brain knows it but her stomach doesn’t!  Her personal remedy is sucking candies, my other friend Miriam relies on candied ginger. But there’s no one trick that works for everyone, so you may have to try a few different things before you find something that helps settle your stomach. Here are some foods that may help you feel a little less nauseous.

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Crackers: This is an old standby, but crackers were actually one of the things I could tolerate whenever I was hit by morning sickness.  Basically any bland, crunchy food works the same way: bread, toast, rice cakes, even potato chips (not that we recommend subsisting on potato chips throughout your first trimester).

Soft foods: Some women find that the chewing is what triggers nausea, so try some soft, bland foods that are nutritious, gentle on the stomach, and don’t necessitate much chewing.  Applesauce, oatmeal, yogurt, fruit smoothies, etc.
Ginger: Can be found pickled, candied, in a tea bag, or a capsule– whatever the format, ginger is a natural remedy for nausea.

Lemons & Peppermint: Simply take a whiff  to relieve nausea. Try putting a couple drops of peppermint oil in a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam. Some women also find the scent of lavender to be soothing.

Apple cider vinegar: Try taking 2-3 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar (not any other kind) in warm water first thing in the morning. Apple cider vinegar is pH neutral and may help to neutralize excess stomach acid.

Bananas in Coconut Milk: This remedy comes from iVillage:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon flaxseeds

Directions: Peel the bananas and cut each into one-inch segments. Combine the coconut milk, water and maple syrup in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add the sliced bananas to the mixture and simmer for 10 minutes. Finally, add the salt and boil for 20 minutes. Serve topped with flaxseed.

Why it helps: The potassium in the bananas can help alleviate some of your body’s aches and pains. The coconut milk works to build body mass for your baby. The maple syrup is so much better for you than sugar, and flaxseeds are full of essential fatty acids. The flaxseeds also help with that other delightful digestive symptom of pregnancy: constipation.

Alternative therapies: Hypnosis,  acupressure wristbands, and homeopathic remedies have  helped some women cope with nausea.

Give in to your cravings: Satisfying food cravings during pregnancy, whether you’re hankering for pickles or a big, juicy steak, may actually be beneficial. If you have an urge to eat a particular type of food, this may be your body’s way of telling you what it needs.

Other tips:

  • Eat small, frequent meals or snacks, so that your stomach is never empty or too full at one time.
  • Chew food well.
  • Avoid fatty, fried, and spicy foods.
  • Try eating a few whole-grain crackers before getting out of bed in the morning. Low blood sugar early in the morning may contribute to morning sickness (hence the  name). Crackers are also helpful for middle-of-the-night hunger pangs.
  • Try drinking in between meals rather than with meals. It’s important to stay hydrated, especially if you’ve been vomiting a lot.
  • Identify your personal triggers and avoid them. This includes foods, odors, perfumes, and anything else that makes you nauseous.
  • Eat your food cold or room temperature; hot foods have a stronger aroma that may turn you off.
  • Nausea may become worse if you are tired or stressed out. So try to fit in a nap, some relaxation time, on an enjoyable activity.
  • Try taking your prenatal vitamin at night or with food. Also ask your doctor about a supplement that’s low-iron or iron-free at least during your first trimester. Iron can be hard on your digestive system.
  • Increase your intake of Vitamin B6. Ask your caretaker about dosage before taking any extra supplements.

As always, it is wise to consult with your doctor or midwife about any dietary changes, treatments, or supplements.

Pregnancy Warning Signs You Should Never Ignore

Aches and pains, weird skin conditions, fatigue and mood swings are all part of a normal pregnancy. But sometimes you  may experience something that could be a potentially serious warning sign.  Most women don’t want to bother their doctor over every tiny thing, so how do you know what warrants immediate attention and what can wait until your next doctor’s visit?

WebMD consulted the experts, who say you’re always better safe than sorry. If you are concerned that something is not normal, call your doctor. And every pregnant woman should be aware that there are some symptoms during pregnancy that need immediate attention.

WebMD presents the seven top signs of a potentially serious pregnancy complication:

1. Bleeding During Any Trimester

Bleeding during pregnancy is serious and always needs to be evaluated immediately. Call your doctor or go to the emergency room. Some serious causes for bleeding include:

First trimester: Heavy bleeding, severe abdominal pain, menstrual-like cramps, and feeling like you might faint could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. This happens when a fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus, and it can be life-threatening.

First and second trimester: Heavy bleeding with cramping could also be a sign of miscarriage.

Third trimester: Bleeding and abdominal pain may indicate placental abruption, which occurs when the placenta separates from the uterine lining.

2. Severe Nausea and Vomiting

If it gets to the point where you can’t keep anything down, you are at risk of becoming dehydrated and malnourished, which can cause serious complications ranging from birth defects to premature labor.  Proper nutrition is very important for you and your baby.  Your doctors can prescribe safe medications for controlling nausea, and may also advise some dietary changes to help you find food you can keep down.

3. Baby’s Activity Level Decreases Significantly

What does it mean if your previously active baby is not moving as much as it used to?  It is possible that he is not getting enough oxygen and nutrients from the placenta.  To find out if there really is a problem, eat something or take a cold drink. Then lie on your side to see if this gets the baby moving.

You can also count kicks, although “There is no optimal or critical number of movements.” As a general guideline, you should count at least 10 kicks in two hours. Anything less, call your doctor as soon as possible.

4. Early Contractions

Contractions could indicate preterm labor. First-time mothers may be confused by real labor and Braxton-Hicks contractions, which are false labor pains.  Braxton-Hicks are unpredictable and do not increase in intensity. They generally subside in an hour, with activity, or after drinking. On the other hand, regular contractions start off about 10 minutes apart, and over time increase in intensity while becoming closer together.

If you are feeling contractions and don’t know what they are, don’t take a chance! If it is too early for the baby to be born, your doctor has ways to stop labor.

5. Your Water Breaks

Sometimes water breaking is a dramatic gush of liquid, but other times it’s just a subtle trickle.  Then again, it could be urine leakage due to increased pressure on your bladder. One way to tell is to go to the bathroom and empty your bladder. If the fluid keeps coming , then your water has broken… time to call your doctor or go to the hospital!

6. Severe Headache, Abdominal Pain, Visual Disturbances, and Swelling

These are all symptoms of preeclampsia, a serious and potentially fatal condition. Other signs of preeclampsia are high blood pressure and excess protein in your urine. It usually occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy.  You need to call your doctor and get your blood pressure tested. With good prenatal care, you can catch and treat preeclampsia early.

7. Flu Symptoms

Pregnancy puts added stress on the immune system, so pregnant women are more likely to catch the flu when it’s going around. They are also at a higher risk for more serious flu complications.

Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. If you think you’ve got the flu, call your doctor first instead of rushing into his office where you could spread it to other pregnant women.

Something else to be aware of is that a fever greater than 101.4 degrees could indicate an infection. So even if you don’t have the flu, you should call your doctor so he can evaluate your condition.

For more information on health and pregnancy, visit WebMD

feature image from US Moms Today

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.

Morning Sickness Magic: A new cure?

It’s infamously known as morning sickness, but does this condition really mean that you are ill? Emax Health says that according to recent studies reported in The New York Times and Web MD, pregnant moms can stop worrying about morning sickness, the most well-known pregnancy symptom.

The Times study concluded that morning sickness is not an indication of an unhealthy pregnancy, and the WebMD study concluded that the absence of morning sickness is no cause for alarm, either. The nausea experienced by upwards of 85 percent of pregnant women is not a symptom of any irregularity, and those who don’t experience it don’t show any increased incidence of abnormalities, either.

New remedies aimed at relieving morning sickness completely.

Morning sickness affects 70-85% of women, and in severe cases can lead to hospitalization. That’s why it’s best to control morning sickness from the start. Unfortunately, many women think their options are limited to the crackers and ginger ale routine… or prescription drugs. But now, there may be an effective, natural alternative to treat their morning sickness.

It’s called “Morning Sickness Magic,” and it’s developed by Roshan Kaderali, RN, in cooperation with an FDA compliant laboratory. Kaderali has practiced as an obstetrical nurse, midwife, childbirth educator and a doula, and has worked in the medical field more than 40 years. She’s also the founder and CEO of MOM Enterprises and creator of Baby’s Bliss and Mommy’s Bliss (www.mommysbliss.com)a line of all-natural products created exclusively for babies and expectant mothers. Kaderali’s international upbringing and education led her to discover natural remedies that are proven staples in households around the world.

“The issues expectant moms face are universal,” says Kaderali. “They all want to do what’s best for their babies. With morning sickness, many women think they have to just tough it out because they don’t want to take a prescription drug. But toughing it out isn’t good for mom or baby either. Women who are pregnant need folic acid and other essential nutrients. If they’re throwing up or not eating because of morning sickness, that impacts everyone’s health. ”

From her decades of experience working with pregnant women, Kaderali already knew of various natural remedies that would tame the symptoms of morning sickness. But she couldn’t find them in a combined, easy-to-take formulation.

“Vitamin B6 and ginger have both been recommended individually for morning sickness,” says Kaderali. “But they actually work much better together. That’s because ginger, when taken by itself, can take the edge off of nausea in a short period of time, but it’s not long-lasting. On the other hand, B6 levels must be built up and sustained in the bloodstream to be effective.”

Up until recently, obstetricians have had limited for treating morning sickness. That’s why the natural formulation in “Morning Sickness Magic” has been such a hit among expectant moms and their doctors, according to Emax Health.

It’s the first formula to combine B6, ginger, and other anti-nausea ingredients. Becuase it is safe for mothers and their unborn babies, obstetricians across the country are recommending it and distributing it to their patients. “It’s actually been the best selling morning sickness formula in the U.S. for the past 5 years,” says Kaderali. “We’ve received tons of emails from expectant mothers who are so relieved that their morning sickness has disappeared or reduced so that they can function in their daily lives.”

It sounds too good to be true! Have you or anyone you know tried “Morning Sickness Magic”? Did it help you?

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The Flu: What you need to know about protecting and treating your baby

Winter is here with its accompanying illnesses. Just last week my baby and I were sick with the flu, and if there’s anything worse than a sick baby, it’s being sick yourself at the same time! Because Mommy’s just don’t get to take sick days!

WHAT IS THE FLU?

One of the most common winter ailments is the flu. We turn to Dr. Sears for info on where it comes from and what to do about it if it strikes your family!

The flu is a virus (called influenza). It hits between November and March, and is probably responsible for 1/3 to ½ of all sick visits to our office during the winter. Keep in mind, the flu is a VIRUS. It is therefore NOT treatable with antibiotics.

How can you tell if your child (or you!) has the flu? There are two typical forms of the flu:

  1. Fever and one or two other symptoms such as sore throat and headache – some flu illnesses are more simple, and cause just a few symptoms.

  2. Multi-symptom flu – this is the more miserable kind of flu. It can include many or all of the following symptoms:

    • High fever, chills

    • Sore throat

    • Headache

    • Nausea

    • Vomiting

    • Diarrhea

    • Abdominal pain

    • Body and muscle aches

    • Stuffy nose

    • Clear or green runny nose

    • Cough – dry or productive

    • Irritated, red eyes

    WHEN TO VISIT THE DOCTOR

    Most children with the flu don’t even need to see a doctor. Here are some guidelines to help you decide if a doctor’s visit is warranted:

    • Fever more than three days – while this may still be just the flu, it’s best to double check with your doctor.

    • Moderate to severe dehydration – see our site under dehydration here.

    • You have a gut feeling that your child is unusually ill.

    • Severe cough with chest pain AND shortness of breath. This may mean pneumonia is setting in.

    SHOULD YOUR CHILD GET A FLU SHOT?

    Click here to find out the answer.

    Worried about strep throat? Many patients come into our office during the winter because of sore throat of a day or two. Most of these cases are NOT strep, but rather just part of the flu. See our site under sore throat to help you decide if yours may be strep or not.

    Click here for a link to our full discussion on the flu and how to treat it.

    BOOST YOUR CHILD’S IMMUNE SYSTEM THROUGH THE WINTER

    Want to help your kids avoid these illnesses altogether? Here are some ways you can boost their immune system and keep them in school. Take as many of these supplements as you feel is appropriate every day:

    • Echinacea – this natural herb will enhance your own immune system. Many research studies have proven its effectiveness. Click here for dosing information for you and your kids.

    • Vitamin C – this simple vitamin can fight off invading germs. Younger kids up to age 6 will benefit from around 250 mg per day. Older kids and adults can take 500 mg per day. Available as a powder, chewable, or capsule. Click here to read more about vitamins.

    • Fruits and vegetable supplement – the immune-boosting properties of nature’s food is remarkable. If your kids won’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, I recommend Juice Plus fruit and veggie supplements. Click here to learn more.

    • Zinc – this mineral is a safe and effective way to boost the immune system. Children up to age 6 years can take 10 to 20 mg per day. Older kids and adults can take 20 to 40 mg per day.

    • Probiotics – the common name used for this is Acidophillus. These are healthy bacteria that live in our intestines and help with our immune system. The best species of probiotics are lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. Available as liquid, powder, and capsules, children and adults can take as directed.

    • Avoid weakening your own immune system – Click here to read what habits can weaken your own immune system.

    Click here to read a full discussion on how to boost your immune system naturally.

    IF YOU OR YOUR CHILD GET SICK, STARTING ECHINACEA AND VITAMIN C RIGHT AWAY MAY MAKE YOUR ILLNESS SHORTER AND MILDER

    Click here for more info on other winter-time illnesses such as RSV (Respiratory Syncycial Virus), Coughs and Colds, Croup, Rotavirus diarrha,dry skin and chapped cheeks!

    Morning Sickness: What it is & What to do

    Morning sickness is often one of pregnancy’s first symptoms, starting as early as 2 weeks after conception. Despite the name, pregnant women can feel ill at any time of the day. (An empty stomach may be a trigger, so morning is a common time when nausea is experienced.)

    Some lucky women don’t experience morning sickness at all, and some feel only a nausea or queasiness (that’s me!). Then there are those unlucky women who are unbearably sick and unable to keep any food or liquids down. One friend of mine was so ill throughout her pregnancy, that after she gave birth her stomach was actually concave!

    It’s not known exactly what causes it, but changes in hormone levels are one factor. Pregnancy hormones can change the way your digestive system works, which can lead to higher levels of acid.

    A heightened sense of taste and smell while pregnant can bring on nausea as well, especially in the presence of a strong odor.  Fatigue and stress may also contribute to morning sickness

    Often morning sickness dissipates around 14 weeks, as hormone levels in the body stabilize.

    There are lots of things that women claim helps them bear the nausea. Here are some simple things that might help you feel better.

    • As previously mentioned, an empty stomach can be a cause, so snack little and often to keep hunger at bay, and keep some healthy snacks by your bed… you will find yourself waking up ravenous during the night!
    • Suck on an ice cube.
    • Drink something fizzy.
    • Try fresh ginger, which is reputed to calm the stomach. You can make a tea from crushed root ginger. You can buy candied ginger to snack on, I have a friend who swears by it!
    • Remedies for travel sickness can also help, such as magnetic wristbands. Never take any medication without consulting your doctor.

    Morning sickness is a natural part of pregnancy and will not do any lasting harm. In severe cases you may be unable to keep anything down, leading you to become dehydrated, which is very dangerous for you and the baby. If your urine starts to become very dark in color this is a sign that your fluid levels are too low, and you should speak to your midwife or doctor.

    Finally, when you’re dealing with a bout of morning sickness, don’t worry about what you’re eating. Getting enough energy is more important than a balanced diet, so if a donut makes you feel better, go for it! You can always stock up on healthier foods later, when the sickness has abated.

    Read more at Baby University (Article Source: parentingarticlelibrary.com)

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