The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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Saturday night date night has most likely taken on a new form during pregnancy. Skip the trip to the theater and watch these great birth flicks in the comfort of your own home, where it’s totally acceptable to wear those super stretchy and oh-so-comfy pajama pants and the kicks you feel aren’t on the back of your seat, but from that tiny little guy or gal in your belly!
Having a doula is like having a personal trainer. You’re familiar with the equipment at the gym, but a trainer gives you the support you need to finish your workout. Your OB-GYN is usually there in the active part of labor and, obviously, during the delivery, but a doula will come to your home when labor starts and support you there as long as possible. Studies show that the more time a woman stays at home, the less chance of interventions.
It’s reader email week and I’ve picked my favorite. I’m not going to name my e-mailer because I think she speaks for a lot of women. Here’s what she wrote:
No matter what type of birth you’re planning (and hoping) for, you shouldn’t rule out the possibility of a Cesarean section. While the C-section delivery rate recently declined for the first time in 14 years—from 32.9 percent in 2009 to 32.8 percent in 2010—the number of women delivering via C-section in the United states is still approaching 1 in 3, and about 61 percent of those are first-time surgeries, mainly C-sections performed when problems arise during labor.
Once upon a time, the hallmark of Lamaze childbirth education was “breathing” (hee, hoo, hee, hoo). Over the years, Lamaze has evolved into a comprehensive approach to childbirth, part of which are comfort measures for labor; breathing is one of the suggested comfort measures. So what does it mean to “breathe?” Here’s a little on what you should know:
Jackie is 38 weeks pregnant and has a couple of questions: one that I get a lot and one I’ve never had a reader ask before in all the years I’ve written this blog.
The frequently asked question:
Preparing for childbirth doesn’t just mean hiring a doula and packing your hospital bag; it also means getting ready for what might be the most challenging physical task you’ve ever faced. Improve your odds of having an easier, shorter labor by incorporating these healthy habits during your third trimester:
It was heartburn that got me in the end. I could take the swelling, the back pain, the constant trips to the bathroom, the itchy skin, the fatigue, the sweating, the sleeplessness and even the psychological shock of seeing the scale tip 200 pounds. But the constant, searing pain of heartburn made the miracle of pregnancy seem more like a curse—by the middle of my third trimester, my mantra had changed from "Please, let him be healthy!" to "Just get him OUT!"
From the minute you have a positive pregnancy test, you’re counting the days until you meet your baby. All the while, there’s a lot happening behind the scenes. This timeline will provide you with a week-by-week look at what’s going on with you and your baby, as well as reminders about what you can do at every stage to have the healthiest pregnancy possible.
First things first
Unfortunately, once you've delivered, some pregnancy discomforts may continue, especially where your back is concerned.
During pregnancy, the body relaxes the joints and ligaments in the pelvis to make it easier for the baby to pass through the birth canal; these levels remain elevated for three to four months after delivery. This instability increases the risk of inflammation and joint misalignment, which can cause back pain.
You may be surprised to discover the variations in childbirth classes—some are months long while others last a day; some take place in a hospital and others are conducted in the educator’s home.
The first days and weeks of breastfeeding often boil down to sheer survival: getting your baby to latch onto (and stay on!) your breast; functioning on what often feels like mere minutes of sleep; and willing yourself to keep going if you’re having problems.
Her job description is pretty clear-cut: She’s a registered nurse who cares for the mother and baby throughout labor, birth and recovery. But besides monitoring the mom’s contractions and the baby’s heart rate, she cleans up all manner of messes; adjusts for quirks, temperaments and family dramas; coaches dads and pampers siblings; translates medical-speak; and serves as cheerleader, drill sergeant and best friend du jour. Your labor nurse has heard and seen everything and knows a lot; here’s what she wants you to know.