1. Enroll your dog in an obedience class so he’ll be on his best behavior when the baby comes home.
2. Avoid major renovations if you’re living in an older home with layers of paint or varnish that could release harmful lead dust. (This is true throughout your pregnancy.)
3. Nix hot tubs and saunas; high temperatures can affect your baby’s development during the early months.
4. Get a dental checkup (gum disease is linked to premature delivery), but skip the X-rays.
The words “easy labor” may seem like an oxymoron, but there are steps you can take, both throughout pregnancy and during labor, to make your experience less stressful and more comfortable, less clinical and more joyful. And although the following tips won’t guarantee you’ll have a sweat-free, pang-free birth, they can help make your labor and delivery more manageable.
Maite emailed and asked: Will perineal massage help me avoid a tear during delivery? Will the doctor do an episiotomy even if I don’t want one? Let me start with reassurance: While episiotomies are still performed, they’re not done routinely anymore.
What’s better: a tear or an episiotomy? The best choice is neither. Back in the olden days routine episiotomies were considered safer, cleaner and easier to repair. Nowadays, we know better.
They call it “momnesia”: those times you put the milk in the cupboard instead of the refrigerator; or you walk into a room, only to forget why you’re there. But “mommy brain” is more than a punch line, says Shoshana Bennett, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in San Ramon, Calif., who specializes in prenatal and postpartum counseling. Experts say it’s a very real neurological issue resulting from powerful endocrine and brain chemistry changes. Fortunately, Bennett says, you can take steps to minimize the impact of mommy brain:
I was e-chatting with Sarah, a colleague of mine who works for CARE. I’m preparing to go the National CARE Convention in Washington DC next week, where I’ll be moderating a panel discussion on global maternal health issues. We had a laundry list of details to discuss. All we really wanted to talk about though was “doulas.”
So many experts…so many opinions. Yet, women are individuals and every pregnancy is unique. So many women write in with concerns that their bodies are doing something the experts say they're not supposed to yet or ought to happen later. Women feel what they feel. Who says those flutters you feel at 12 weeks can’t be baby kicks yet? Oh right, experts. How about those cravings? Experts say there’s nothing to them, they’re just excuses to overeat. Yeah, right. Tell that to any pregnant woman who knows she’ll just die if she doesn’t have a Haagen Dazs Bar.
The following is a summary of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ guidelines for exercising while pregnant:
1. In the absence of contraindications (see below), pregnant women are encouraged to engage in 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise a day on most, if not all, days of the week. (See “Don’t Exercise If ...” below.) As always, check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
I've spent the last several days scouring the internet for various ways to get labor started. I can't help it. I want this baby out. I don't recall feeling quite so impatient with the girls. This time around, however, I'm driving myself a bit insane obsessing over ways to get labor started.
Yahoo! An email from a man. I know you guys are out there and I know you read your wife/partner's Fit Pregnancy magazine or log on to the website when she's not looking but not many of you email me. Thanks Richard. Richard's fiancé can't get out of bed. She's heading into her final month of pregnancy and their baby is riding high in the ribcage. She's gotten so uncomfortable that rolling over and standing up in the morning is a big ordeal. Eventually, her baby wiggles down a bit and she hoists herself out but she's struggling. I'll bet. I remember it well.
It's the end of the summer and the beginning of the holiday season. It's Labor Day. I'll bet those of you due in August or September and still pregnant are saying, "Bring it on, baby. Let's get this party started." Here's the problem, though. Labor Day's a holiday (a national tribute to all of us worker-bees out here who keep the world running) and very few hospitals are going to schedule non-medically indicated inductions on a holiday. That means you're going to have to go into labor on your own if you're going to make Labor Day your baby's birthday. Good luck, Ladies.
I've gotten some great questions this week. Readers want to know the nitty gritty about this whole labor and pregnancy thing. I love it. Brooke wants to know the difference between normal discharge and amniotic fluid. Bo wants to know if tearing or episiotomy is better and whether women should shave or wax for exams and "the big event." Danielle had no idea how important her labor nurse would be in providing emotional and medical support in labor and now that she's expecting baby number two, wants to know how to thank the nurses.
So, when's that baby due? How many months along are you? Why did your ultrasound pick a different date? When is the baby old enough for induction? Are some women really pregnant for 10 months? These aren't always easy questions to answer. Readers want clarification on nailing down the due date, which is especially important when scheduling inductions.