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Blog posts tagged with 'Pregnancy Childbirth and the Newborn'

Predicting When Labor Will Begin

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et al

Q: Will a vaginal exam tell me when I can expect labor to begin?

A: While a vaginal exam can provide information about the present state of your cervix, it can’t predict when you’ll go into labor or how long your labor will last. If you have a very ripe, effaced cervix, you may go into labor right away or in several weeks. The same is true if you have a thick, firm cervix.

Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, Fourth Edition

© copyright 2010 by Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

How to Decrease Your Risk of Preterm Labor

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et al.

Although you might not be able to avoid all the risk factors, here are steps you can take to reduce your risk of preterm labor.

  1. Attend all prenatal appointments and carefully consider your caregiver’s suggestions. Continue treatment for chronic conditions.
  2. Eat well during pregnancy and take any prescribed supplements. Try to reach your suggested weight before becoming pregnant and avoid excessive weight gain during pregnancy.
  3. Get screened for infections. If any are detected, have them treated.
  4. Avoid smoking, secondhand smoke, alcohol, and hazardous substances.
  5. Limit strenuous activities and ask others for help when necessary.
  6. Decrease job or life stresses as much as possible. Report any abuse and increase your emotional support from trusted friends and family.

Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, Fourth Edition

© copyright 2010 by Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

Preterm Labor Signs

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et al

Because some women without any risk factors deliver their babies early, all pregnant women should know the signs of preterm labor. These signs are common and similar to normal pregnancy sensations, so watch for slight differences or changes. While it’s important to be aware of these signs, remember that only about 12 percent of women have preterm labor.

If you have two or more of these symptoms, call your caregiver immediately to help you decide whether you’re in preterm labor.

  • Uterine contractions that occur every ten minutes, or six contractions in one hour (Contractions come in waves as your uterus alternately tightens and softens; they don’t have to be painful. See page 136 to learn how to detect contractions.)
  • Continuous or intermittent menstrual-like cramps or pressure in your lower abdomen and thighs (pelvic heaviness)
  • Dull ache in your lower back that doesn’t go away when you change position
  • Intestinal cramping with or without diarrhea or loose stools
  • Sudden increase or change in vaginal discharge (watery, blood tinged, or with more thin mucus).
  • General feeling that something isn’t right

When checking for preterm contractions, think about your typical uterine activity and remember that contractions of irregular length and frequency are normal in pregnancy. Having persistent, fairly regular contractions for two hours (along with other signs) indicates labor.

Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, Fourth Edition

© copyright 2010 by Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

Q & A: How to Have a Smoke-free Pregnancy

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et al

Q: I know I shouldn’t smoke during pregnancy, but what can I do to quit?

A: Ask your caregiver for information about quitting. He or she may also provide a list of local smoking cessation programs. In addition, you can visit http://www.cancer.org for helpful tips, as well as other web sites of organizations that help people stop smoking. One thing not to do is use smoking substitutes (nicotine patch, gum, or nasal spray) during the first trimester. They can increase the risk of malformations in your baby if used when his organs and structures are forming.

Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, Fourth Edition

© copyright 2010 by Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

Q & A: How to Avoid Miscarriage

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et a

Q: My last pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. What can I do to increase my chances of carrying my next baby to term?

A: To improve your chances of a healthy pregnancy after a previous miscarriage, try to do the following:
• Have a well-balanced diet.
• Take prenatal vitamins.
• Avoid environmental toxins and infections.
• Don’t smoke or use recreational drugs.
• Avoid extremely stressful relationships as much as possible before and during pregnancy.
• Make arrangements for emotional support and medical monitoring, starting early in pregnancy.

Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, Fourth Edition

© copyright 2010 by Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

How To Relieve Severe Back Pain During Pregnancy

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et a

If you have severe back pain, ask your caregiver to refer you to a physical therapist or chiropractor who specializes in perinatal issues. This expert can provide treatment that may include ice packs, heat, hydrotherapy, massage, techniques to mobilize joints, and an exercise regimen designed to address your specific problem. Your caregiver may recommend that you wear a special garment or belt to support your abdomen and lower back.

Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, Fourth Edition

© copyright 2010 by Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

Beat the Baby Blues this Winter

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et a

Caring for a newborn is challenging, especially when the weather keeps you cooped up inside. The occasional stroll outside can calm both you and your baby, making the transition easier. When the weather prohibits the occasional walk outside, a visit to a friend’s house or even a trip to the mall, the hours inside with a baby can feel like weeks.

“Baby Blues" affects about 80 percent of all new mothers. Symptoms can include crying easily, feeling overwhelmed, feeling a loss of control, feeling exhausted, anxious or sad, and feeling a lack of confidence about being a parent.

Try these suggestions for ways to ease the baby blues when you can’t get outside:
•    Eating well
•    Avoiding alcohol, caffeine and over-the-counter sleep medications
•    Getting regular exercise such as walking on a treadmill
•    Being in sunlight or its equivalent long enough to make you feel good
•    Having time for yourself with a break from responsibility
•    Getting adequate rest and sleep

These tips can help make the time you spend with your newborn this winter not only bearable, but also enjoyable.

© copyright 2010 by Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

Are Non-medical Uses of Ultrasound Completely Safe?

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et al.

Fact or Fiction? Non-medical uses of ultrasound, such as at-home Doppler heartbeat monitors and ultrasound videos or photos, are completely safe.

Fiction. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine acknowledge that ultrasound poses no known risks to babies, it can affect the body and the long-term effects of extensive exposure are also unknown. To be safe, health care experts recommend that ultrasound be performed only by a trained provider and only when medically indicated.

Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, Fourth Edition

© copyright 2010 by Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

Books for Expectant Partners

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et al.

The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions by Penny Simkin (2008). Skillfully explains what’s involved in the support role during late pregnancy, birth, and afterward.

The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips, and Advice for Dads-to-Be by Armin A. Brott (2001). Information packed guide to the emotional, financial, and physical changes the father-to-be may experience during the course ofhis partner’s pregnancy.

Father’s First Steps: 25 Things Every New Dad Should Know by Robert W. Sears and James M. Sears (2006). Discusses labor support, new fatherhood, bonding with baby, understanding baby talk, and being a good partner and father.

The New Dad’s Survival Guide: Man-to-Man Advice for First-Time Fathers by Scott Mactavish (2005). Humorous guide to basic parenting skills, from birth through three months. Its military references might not appeal to some readers.

Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, Fourth Edition

© copyright 2010 by Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

Do the Chances of Conceiving Multiples Run in Families?

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et al.

Fact or Fiction? The only chance a woman has of conceiving multiples is if multiples run in her family or the baby’s father’s family.

Fiction. A woman also increases the likelihood of becoming pregnant with multiples if she:

• Is large and tall.

• Is older than thirty-five.

• Is Caucasian or African-American. (Multiples are less common in Asian and Hispanic women.)

• Had at least one other pregnancy.

• Used fertility drugs that increase the number of eggs released during ovulation.

• Had more than one egg implanted during procedures, such as in vitro fertilization.

Most of these factors affect only the rate of fraternal twins, triplets, or higher-order multiples, because the occurrence of identical siblings is an unpredictable and random event.

Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, Fourth Edition

© copyright 2010 by Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

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