labour

Inducing Labour Naturally – What Works, and What Doesn’t.

Many women, when they are in the last stages of their pregnancy, or are past their due date, start looking for ways that they can help Mother Nature along and get labour started. Some methods for inducing labour work, some don’t — some are harmless, and others ways to induce labour can be quite dangerous.

Ways to Induce Labor Naturally

1. Let’s Talk About Sex

Sex has long been thought to help induce labour – does it help or is this a myth that the men made up? While not certain, there is some merit to this theory; Semen contains prostaglandins, and prostaglandins soften the cervix and prepare to open. In addition, the women’s orgasm produces oxytocin, the hormone that causes contractions. So, while there may not be enough of these hormones to make a difference, it may be worth a try to induce labour!

2. Eggplant Parmesan

This labour induction method gained popularity when a news story began circulating about a restaurant named Scalini’s in Georgia. Apparently, in the past 23 years, over 300 women have gone into labour within two days of eating the eggplant parmigiana. It isn’t the eggplant or the parmesan, but rather the oregano and basil that are often in this dish that may have properties that may cause contractions. However, how much is needed, or how much is safe, is not known. So, enjoy your pasta, but do not go overboard or use essential oils of oregano or basil to try to induce labour.

3. Castor Oil

Castor oil causes diarrhea, and the cramps can cause sympathetic cramping in your uterus. However, this method isn’t proven, and it can actually be dangerous for both mom and baby. If the diarrhea is severe, the mom can become dehydrated and weak, and less able to handle the rigors of labour. I’d steer clear of this one.

4. Bumpy Car Rides

I have heard a lot of people say that they are going to riding in their truck on very bumpy roads to try to get labour started. Although believed by many and generally harmless as the baby is well protected in the womb, there isn’t any evidence that this will really work for inducing labor naturally.

5. Herbs and Homeopathics

Things like Blue or Black cohosh, red raspberry leaf tea, and evening of primrose oil are said by some to induce labour. There are various truths and fallacies associated with these (too many to get into here). Suffice it to say, there are some dangers and you should not try any of these without the direct care and supervision of your healthcare provider.

6. Stripping the Membranes

I can speak from experience to this method – it hurts like ^%$#*! My doctor recommended this as my blood pressure was rising and he wanted to move things along without using Pitocin (that I understand is awful) or other clinical means. Basically, the doctor inserts their finger(s) into your cervix pulling the membranes away from the mouth of the cervix thus stretching and irritating your cervix. Sometimes this will start the production of prostaglandins to start labour. I went into labour about 10 hours after having this done, but some women may need to have this done a few times in order for it to work.

Last Tip: Talk to Your Doctor or Midwife

Talk to your health care provider and take caution before using any labour induction technique. The main thing is to remember that, although it can be hard to wait, the baby will come when he or she is ready.

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Natural Labour Induction Methods

There are a lot of natural labour induction methods out there. Which ones work, and which ones are just dangerous? Eggplant Parmesan? Sex? Castor Oil? Herbs? Red Raspberry Tea? Find out – and share your comments below! More on labor and delivery…

Labor Inducing Eggplant Parmesan

One of the methods of self-inducing labor that’s been sweeping the internet in recent years is the myth that eggplant will start labor. This maternity myth started when a news story began circulating about a restaurant in Georgia named Scalini’s. Apparently the mothers of over 300 babies have gone into labor in the past 23 years, within 48 hours of eating the eggplant parmegiana.

The funny part is, it may just be that the dish causes the women to go into labor, but it’s not the eggplant. The herbs Oregano and Basil have properties that may cause contractions, though it is not yet known how or in what quantities. This is why, in aromatherapy circles, these herbs and essential oils are to be avoided whenever possible during pregnancy.

Sex to Induce Labor

Semen contains prostaglandins. Prostaglandins cause the cervix to “ripen”, or soften and prepare to open. While it is debatable whether there are enough prostaglandins in semen to have any real effect, it is not a terrible way to keep hope alive and while away the last weeks of your pregnancy. Another great side effect is the fact that orgasms produce oxytocin, the hormone that causes contractions. So, between the two, there is a pretty good case for the cure for pregnancy.

Be sure to visit our Pregnancy Calendar too!

Evening Primrose Oil and Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Neither will actually induce labor. While some lay midwives will argue that statement about the Evening Primrose, which is the reason it is not recommended until 36 weeks or “full term”, almost all sources with experience agree that it does nothing that the body was not ready to do on its own. I will repeat this at the end of this section, to make sure you understand this, as there is a lot of confusion and misconception surrounding these two substances.

Evening primrose oil is an excellent source of prostaglandins, which we already determined readies your cervix for labor. It can be taken orally as soon as 34 weeks, and can be applied directly to the cervix at full term (36 weeks). The general recommendation is two 500mg capsules per day until week 38, at which time you increase to 3-4 per day. The entire capsule can be inserted vaginally (inserted just before bed, it will dissolve before the first time you wake to use the bathroom), or you can use the oil on your fingers for your perineal massage, then also rub on your cervix (assuming you can reach it). Applying directly to the cervix is optimal, but the beneficial ingredients are absorbed through the external skin or the stomach also.

Red raspberry leaf tea is a uterine tonic used by Native Americans for thousands of years. It tones your uterus by helping to “focus” your Braxton Hicks contractions. Think of its job as helping your uterus do more effective exercising while you are pregnant. It does not “cause” contractions and can be safely used throughout pregnancy. It is contraindicated for those having complications “just in case”, however, by most doctors who do not understand its use. Many women safely use it from the moment they learn they are pregnant at six weeks until months after delivery. (It helps to tone the uterus after delivery as well, shrinking it back to size more quickly and reducing bleeding.)

Again, neither of these actually causes labor to start!  Click for More labour induction methods, such as stripping membranes, herbs, castor oil, nipple stimulation, and acupressure…

Please share your experiences in the comments section below!

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How Far Along Are You? Months, Lunar Months, Weeks, Days, Trimesters

Months? Lunar months? Weeks? Days? Trimesters?
How far along am I anyway?

If you are confused, you’re not alone. While most people talk about pregnancy being 9 months long (divided into three trimesters), most health care providers refer to a pregnancy as being 40 weeks long, starting with your last known menstrual period. You might like to know that this is also equal to 280 days, or 10 Lunar Months. Phew!

OK, so when is my due date?

The traditional way to calculate a due date is to add 9 months from the first day of the LNMP (last normal menstrual period) and then add seven days.

For example:

  1. Your LNMP was Feb 1
  2. Add nine months, bringing you to November 1.
  3. Add seven days, bringing you to your due date of November 8
  4. Thus, your due date becomes November 8!

Some people prefer to do it this way:

  1. Your LNMP was Feb 1
  2. Add 1 day
  3. On your calendar, count forward 40 weeks to determine your due date. Making matters even worse, many women do not have typical 28-day cycles. Practitioners may adjust the EDD to reflect the shorter or longer cycle length.

Remember, calculation of your due date is certainly not precise (after all, women get pregnant in all the months of the calendar, some of which have 28, 29, 30 and 31 days!). Also, all women do not have a ‘typical’ 28 day cycle! This is why your due date is usually referred to as your EDD or Estimated Due Date! Use our Due Date Calculator to estimate your due date.

As if it wasn’t already hard enough, some women may be unable to recall their LNMP or may have very irregular or infrequent cycles. When you visit your care provider, try to give as close an estimate as possible. The closer the estimate, the less likely both you and your practitioner will worry or experience stress if your baby does not come on the EDD. Only about five percent of expecting moms deliver on their EDD anyway!

An experienced practitioner may also rely on physical clues to determine the baby’s due date. Most of these clues are most evident within the first two months of pregnancy. They include:

  • Examination of uterine size
  • Identification of audible fetal heart tones by doppler
  • Ultrasound examination prior to 26 weeks from LNMP

This all sounds fine, but if you calculate the due date from LNMP, aren’t you counting weeks before conception?

Although it may be confusing at first, health care providers begin counting the pregnancy from day one of the LNMP. Yes, before you even conceived!

Months

Measured as nine months on the calendar — starting one week after your LNMP.

Trimesters

Three periods of three months each. Months 1 – 3 are the first trimester, months 4 – 6 are the second trimester, and months 7 – 9 are the third trimester.

Lunar Months

Prenatal development is often measured in lunar months. Each lunar month consists of 28 days, organized into four weeks of seven days each. That means a pregnancy is 10 lunar months long!

Weeks

40 weeks from the start of your LNMP. Gestation is 38 weeks from conception to birth.

Days

280 days from your LNMP. No matter what method is used to determine EDD.

No matter how you measure your pregnancy, even the best estimated due date can be inaccurate. Your baby will be born when he or she is ready!

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When Men Experience Labour Pain

If you had the chance to have your husband or boyfriend experience what it was like to give birth, would you? Sure, many women who have given birth will tell you it is a pain like no other. And, I am sure there are many men who think it can’t be as bad as we make it out to be and that they would endure it better than the women. The screams and cries of a woman in labour have elicited fear and have been the topic of movies,comedy routines, and more.

Well, here are a couple of men who thought women exaggerate the pain. They were up for the challenge – with their wives are by their side.

Me? I think my husband has a solid appreciation for the pain of childbirth, and why would I want to inflict that pain on him (he’s a pretty darn good guy, after all)? What do you think?

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Dieting During Pregnancy

If you find that you are overweight headed into pregnancy, is it safe to go on a diet to avoid pregnancy weight gain or even lose some weight?

Pregnancy is a time of big changes in your body – it is not the time to worry about losing weight. When we go on a diet to lose weight, we consume fewer calories than we use. We are basically living off of our own flesh! Your baby can’t thrive this way – they need regular nourishment at regular intervals. Even if you do not feel hungry, you should eat regular meals throughout the day.

On the other side of this is the old adage that you are “eating for two”. Does that mean you can eat twice as much? No. The second person in this equation is very little and their caloric needs are not as big as yours (roughly about 300 calories a day).

It is a time to consider carefully what you are eating and make the healthiest choices for you and your baby. Make every bite count. Remember, 150 calories from a donut is a lot different than 150 calories from a whole grain cereal with milk or some fruit.

You should also drink lots of water – 8 cups or more a day at least.

We could devote an entire book to the healthy eating recommendations for pregnancy! The big thing to remember, is make healthy choices (fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, etc.) for you and your baby. If in doubt, talk to your doctor or care provider.

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Am I Really Pregnant?

Pregnancy is a time of big changes in your body – after all, you are growing an entirely new person! There are lots of things you can expect early on, however, not all women experience all the signs. Here are some of the typical early pregnancy symptoms:

No Period
This one is pretty obvious, but some women do experience a bit of bleeding from time to time. While it is not always cause for concern, it’s best to get any bleeding checked out. The lack of a period does not always mean pregnancy though! There are other things such as travel, fatigue, stress, illness, and hormonal changes that can also cause an absence of menstruation.

Morning Sickness
Morning sickness usually happens 2 – 8 weeks after conception and can really occur any time of the day. If your morning sickness is severe, you will want to check with your doctor.

Frequent Urination
At about 6 – 8 weeks after conception, you may find your trips to the bathroom are happening a lot more frequently.

Tender or Tingling Breasts
This can be a very early sign – as soon as a few days after conception.

Darkening of the Areola
Sometime in the first trimester, you may notice the area around your nipples darkening

Food Cravings
This is another sign that can start occurring in the first trimester. Some women crave things to eat that are not even food items!

Positive Home Pregnancy Test
These tests are pretty darn accurate. That said, it is possible to get a negative result and later find out that you are indeed pregnant. If you get a positive result, you should still visit your health care practitioner for another pregnancy test for confirmation and an examination.

As always, if you have any concerns, it’s best to call your medical practitioner just to be sure.

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From ‘Jennifer’ To ‘Jennafur’ – The Search For A Unique Baby Name

How many times have you heard an expectant Mom or Dad say something like “we’re trying to come up with a unique baby name – you know, something a little different…”

Many expectant parents, when they’re trying to choose a baby name, start at that very point. But where does “a little different” end, and disaster begin? With Abbygale? Cayllinn? Machenzie? Kal-El? Pilot Inspektor? Little Bigfoot?

You get the picture. Taken to its extreme, which it often is, the search for a “unique baby name” is a slippery road that can end with a name that the teacher can’t spell, friends can’t pronounce, and no-one can understand. When baby gets bigger, he or she is not going to be pleased, being the only kid in the class named after a remote Siberian village, or a brand of shaving cream, or whatever Mom and Dad seized on in desperation some five or six years previously.

What exactly do parents mean by “a unique baby name?” The dictionary defines “unique” as: “the only one, or the sole example; single; solitary in type or characteristics.” In order to be truly unique, a name would have to be the only one of its kind, which leads you to the Moxie Crimefighters (Penn Jillette’s daughter’s name) and the ‘Jennafurs’ of the world. But what most people probably mean, when they say “unique,” is that they’re actually looking for a baby name that is individualistic, a bit different, somewhat unusual, and memorable.

If you really want to make up a baby name, thereby ensuring its uniqueness, there are a number of simple strategies. The most popular method is to use alternative spelling, turning ‘Kaylee’ into ‘Kayleigh’ for example. But in your search for the truly unique, don’t fall into the trap of turning ‘Jennifer’ into ‘Jennafur,’ or some such abomination. A recent news story noted that in 2006, according to statistics from a leading baby names website, there were at least 45 variations of the name Mackenzie, including such strange variants as ‘Machenzie’ and ‘Mackynzi’.

Another trick is to use unique punctuation, turning ‘Maxwell’ into the odd name ‘Max-Well’. Then there is the anagram method, turning a name like ‘James’ into ‘Smeja.’ And finally there is the method that makes traditionalists see red — the combination method, by which parents named Mary and Donald will name their boy or girl ‘Mardon.’ Get it?

The point is, anyone can mangle any word in the dictionary into something else, and call it a name. And sure, it will be ‘unique.’ But will it be desirable? Not if you’re named Gnataleigh. Is there another way to come up with a name that is unusual and individual? There is. Probably the surest method is to look through baby names lists for names that do have some heritage, some history, but have not been used in recent years, and try to find an unusual name that fits your personal tastes and desires.

Baby name websites and baby name books are rich sources of unusual, often forgotten, yet ‘real’ names – names that often have fascinating and beautiful origins and meanings. Here are just a few of the lists or categories you could look at: biblical names, floral names, Victorian names, place names, Royal names, Shakespearean names, mythology names, sports figures names, ethnic names, top names from the 1920s (or any decade you like), early film star names, and so forth. There are literally hundreds of categories of names, and each one can be a good starting place to find an unusual, meaningful name.

The trend towards “made-up” names has really picked up steam in recent years. Judging by the 45 variations on Mackenzie alone, it seems to be getting to the logical conclusion, where you’ll need to come up with some really strange variations to stay “unique.” If you do go down this road, try to avoid being Mackenzie variant number 46.

If you still end up stumped, you can always do what a Michigan couple did a couple of years ago – they named their son ‘Version 2.0.’ There’s no question it’s a unique name.
About The Author:
Neil Street is co-publisher of Baby Names Garden, at http://www.babynamesgarden.com, a website dedicated to helping parents choose the perfect baby name. His work on unique baby names can be found at http://www.babynamesgarden.com/uniquebabynames.aspx

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3 Simple Steps in Searching for a Baby Name

by Joy Oneisis

1) BRAINSTORM
It is a good idea to pick a baby boy, girl, or a unisex baby name, even if the sonogram has already shown you the sex of your baby, after all, surprises do happen. Set aside time with no interruptions to clear your mind and brainstorm names that appeal to you and write them on a piece of paper. You may want to honor an endeared relative, or choose a name with religious meaning. Or perhaps you have heard a name before and said to yourself `Hey, that’s a cool baby name’. If you want the name to have a specific meaning, for example `strong’, do an internet search, or look it up in a book. Check out the most popular baby names list for the last few years. It is surprising how many names you thought were unique are actually very popular. If you want an unusual baby name, skim the dictionary or a favorite book to see what pops out at you. Surf the internet for sites with free or paid baby name wizards, usually you answer a few questions and the wizard suggests possible baby names, for more ideas.

2) ELIMINATE
Hopefully you have a good-sized list of possible baby names by now. Takes a few days break after your brainstorming session to clear your mind. Then, write your names neatly on another sheet of paper,
including all combinations of possible first and middle names with your last name. You may be able to automatically eliminate a few that may have sounded appealing when you were brainstorming, but now you
wonder `what was I thinking?’
Now, eliminate names in which the last letter of either the first or middle name ends with the first letter of the last name, for example Allison Newman, or Allison Ann Newman (makes pronunciation difficult because there is no clear distinction where the last name begins and the first name ends). Eliminate names whose initials spell undesired acronyms, for example Richard Arthur Turner = RAT, unless you want to make it as easy as possible for other children to poke fun at your child in school. Do some internet or book research to find out the meanings of remaining names. You may want to eliminate names with undesired meanings, for example `naïve’, while you may discover others that are definitely keepers, for example `brave’.

3) DECIDE
I know, deciding on a baby name is easier said than done. Give yourself a few days break again, and then reassess your list. You should be able to eliminate a few more. Ask friends and family for their opinions, or post your finalists on an internet poll. You can do this for free on many sites nowadays.
And you also have to decide how you want to spell it! Many people nowadays are creating exotic ways to spell traditional names for example Kaysey or Caisee, and like most things, this has pros and cons. It gives originality and uniqueness to your childs name, however your child will go through life constantly correcting the spelling of his or her name.
And remember, the most important thing is that YOU are happy with whatever baby name you choose. Happy Hunting!

Joy is the webmaster at http://www.babynamesetc.com – home of the free and unique baby name generator.

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Unique and Unusual Baby Names

by Susan Harkavy

Today one of the biggest trends in naming is choosing a unique name. Those of us who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s undoubtedly knew multiple Jennifers, Amys, Michaels and Johns, and many parents want their child to have a more unusual name. Parents have dusted off old classics, combined names and altered spellings in the hopes of saving their child from the fate of being known throughout their school years as “Amy with a Y” or “Michael R, the one with brown hair.”

So how do you find a name that is unique and unusual? Here are some suggestions, along with a few warnings.

1. If you live in the US, look through the top 100 names from the Social Security lists for the past few years to get a sense of what names are currently popular. You may be surprised at just how many children share a name that sounds fresh and unusual to you.

2. Look for unused classics. Literature is a great source of names that were once popular but have since fallen down the charts. Read the names in your family tree or look at Social Security lists from the early 1900’s and you may just fall in love with a forgotten classic.

3. Anticipate the trends. Right now, names from the 1900’s-1930’s are very hot for girls. In another decade, that will probably move forward to names from the 1940’s and 1950’s. Look at those names now and see if any appeal to you.

4. Create your own name by combining two family names or altering a name that you love. Be cautious in this, however, as not all created names sound appealing. You may want to ask family and friends for opinions before committing to an invented name.

And now for the warnings:
1. Keep in mind that names used in popular television series or films are likely to skyrocket in popularity, as are names of celebrity children. For example, the name Ella and its variants have become extremely popular since a few celebrities used it and it appeared as a baby’s name on the show ER.

2. Beware of creative spellings. While it’s true that Keightl’nne looks very different from Caitlin or Katelyn, it is still pronounced the same way and is still ultimately the same name. You may be causing your child a lifetime of confusion as she attempts to spell her name over the phone, while she is still one of five or six Caitlins in her class.

3. Beware of punctuation in names, which could cause problems when filling out computerized forms.

4. Be careful not to take the hunt for creative names too far. Imagine the name as your own, or try the “profession test”. Would you wish to be known forever as Egwene? Can you picture The Honorable Judge Tequila Mad’y’syn being called to the bench?

5. Above all, remember that what really matters is finding a name you love, one that grows well with your child. Even the top names are being given to fewer and fewer children these days, so if you fall in love with Emma or Jacob, don’t let fears of popularity force you to use another name you don’t really care for.

Written by Susan Harkavy for StorkNet.com’s Baby Names Cubby (http://www.storknet.com/babynames ) . . . a one-stop shop for all things baby names including featured names and a babynames database. Visit StorkNet for support and information on all topics related to preconception, pregnancy, and parenting including childbirth, breastfeeding, pregnancy loss and more.

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Should We Have Another Baby?

Deciding whether to expand your family by one more — whether this would be your second child or your sixth — is one of the most significant decisions you will make in your lifetime. There is no crystal ball to show the consequences of your decision in the future. A great number of variables come into play here, and the answer to the question, “How many children?” is vastly different for every family.

The questions to ask yourself
The key to making this decision is to ask the right questions, and to take the time to search your soul and figure out the answers. There are no “right” answers here, because we are all very different human beings.

Why do I want another child?
Reasons may run the gamut from wanting a sibling for your child, to simply loving to raise children. Consider what you know of yourself, your view of family life, your own upbringing & the countless reasons of the heart. If it’s the amazing experiences of pregnancy and childbirth you miss, remember that your commitment only begins with these and continues long after the baby’s arrival. If you’re considering another child due to pressure from your parents, in-laws, other relations or friends, tune their voices out for a bit and listen only to those of yourself and your mate. This decision must come from the two people who know your situation best, and who will have to live the day-to-day realities of another child.

How will another baby change our economic position? Are we willing to make that change? You’ll note that the question is not, “Can we afford another baby?” The issue runs deeper than that, because many families are more than willing to make the necessary financial compromises. You need to be realistic: Adding a child does add expenses. But “economics” addresses resources beyond the strictly financial. You also need to consider your time, your patience, and your attention & all essentials that will have to be divvied up among more than one child. Most people find that there’s plenty to go around because of one related, easily renewable resource: love.

How will life change, and are we ready for that change?
Since you already have a baby, you know how much time a new baby demands in his first few years. A second (or third or ninth) is no different and will tug at your hours along with his siblings. While you shouldn’t base a major life decision on the next 24 months, you do need to remember that one year follows another: each year builds on the one previous. So make a realistic assessment of how this will change your lives both now and in the future that follows.

How will a new baby affect the lives of your other children?
Babies have an effect on the whole house, not just mom and dad. How a new sibling will affect the child you do have isn’t a reason to have (or not have) more children, but the unique characteristics of the child you already have should factor in to your decision.

Are you and your partner on the same page?
The two of you must discuss your thoughts about another baby and come to an agreement, one way or the other, that both can be happy with.

Is this a question of when? Perhaps you know that you want another child, but you’re not certain if now is the right time. Here are some points to consider:

  • The impact of pregnancy. Studies demonstrate that waiting at least 18 months between pregnancies gives you the best odds for a healthy pregnancy, delivery and baby. This isn’t a guarantee, of course, and many women who have babies 10 months apart have normal pregnancies and healthy babies. Generally speaking, however, ample time between pregnancies gives your body a chance to recover fully.
  • §The waiting time for adoption. Depending on the situation under which you adopt, a long period may elapse between when you first make your decision and when your new baby actually joins your family.
  • The age gap issue. How far apart in age should your children be? No perfect answer there either… I’ve experienced both sides of the issue: My first three children are all two years apart, and then there was an eight-year gap before my fourth child arrived. I can clearly see that both situations have advantages. The bottom line is that the personalities of your children and your family patterns will have more to do with their short- and long-term relationships than anything as simple as the number of months or years that separate their birthdays.
  • The biological clock and fertility issues. In today’s world, many couples are starting their families later in life. If pregnancy is your route to your next baby, you’ll certainly want to investigate the factors involved in conception. While women can have babies in their forties (my son Coleton arrived when I was 41), fertility rates drop dramatically after the age of 35. Achieving pregnancy (and finally meeting that new family addition) may take longer than you expect.

What’s in your heart?
If you’ve thoroughly examined all the issues involved in adding another baby to your family, and your heart and soul continue to have an empty spot that craves another child (or conversely, the doubt and fear are overwhelming), then perhaps you already have your answer.

 

This article is a copyrighted excerpt from Gentle Toddler Care by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2006)

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The Gestational Diabetes Fear For Moms

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops in pregnant women in 2-3% of pregnancies. For whatever reason, the blood sugar levels become abnormal during pregnancy due to a mild or sometimes severe carbohydrate intolerance. The potential for fetal and neonatal loss is higher in this category and is therefore an area of great concern. Proper prenatal care allows for many complications to be avoided. Gestational diabetes requires a good amount of medical attention. There may be several doctors involved when dealing with this type of diabetes.

Despite the fact that gestational diabetes will generally clear up in the majority of women after the delivery of the child, it also means that the chance for these women to develop diabetes mellitus within the next 15-20 years increases by 50%.

The risk of complications is high with gestational diabetes. They can include pre-term labor, pregnancy induced hypertension, infections or delivery problems. This makes proper prenatal care a must.

Those at risk for gestational diabetes include women who:

•have had multiple pregnancies
•have had previously unexplained stillbirths
•have given birth to babies 9 lbs or more
•have gained an excessive amount of weight during pregnancy
•come from a high risk ethnic groups such as Hispanic, Native
American or African American
•have a previous history of high blood sugar or previous
pregnancies with gestational diabetes
•have a family history where their mother or sisters had
gestational diabetes

As with other types of diabetes, good control of blood sugar levels are the key to managing gestational diabetes properly. A proper diet and watching weight gain while keeping regular appointments with health care professionals is key to ensuring the baby’s safety during its 9 month gestation period. Most women who actively participate in the proper management of their gestational diabetes go into labor at term and deliver naturally.

That which is affecting the mother during pregnancy will also affect the baby. When blood sugar levels stay above normal, the fetus’ pancreas will in turn put out more of its own insulin to help control its own blood sugar levels. What can happen in these types of incidences is that the insulin will act as a growth hormone and increase the baby’s size. The result is macrosomia, a term that means ‘large body’. This can cause trouble as far as delivery is concerned. These complications can be prevented with proper prenatal care.

Gestational diabetes is a big fear of most pregnant women and it can be less of a problem with the right knowledge. Always keep your weight gain under control and visit your doctor regularly.

About The Author: This content is provided by Dr Pieter de Wet a general practitioner and in practice for 20 years. Get your diabetes, diabetes symptoms and diabetes treatment advice at http://www.thediabetesdoc.com

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Beyond Morning Sickness – Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Typically, 3 out of 4 women will experience some degree of morning sickness with pregnancy. For a small percentage of these women, their “morning sickness” is far from just a normal part of pregnancy. If your morning sickness is severe, you may be one of the unfortunate sufferers of Hyperemesis Gravidarum.

What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?
Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) is a very severe form of morning sickness. It is described as extreme vomiting, dehydration, nutritional deficiencies, and electrolyte imbalances combined with a first trimester weight loss of aproximately 10% of your normal body weight.

Most affected women have numerous episodes of vomiting throughout the day with few if any symptom-free periods, especially during the first three months. This can lead to hospitalization. Although usually resolved by 21 weeks, it often lasts the entire pregnancy.

What Casues HG?
There are numerous theories regarding the etiology of HG, however, none are conclusive as of yet. The most commonly held belief is that the increase in HCG and estrogen hormones in early pregnancy is the cause.

So, if I have extreme morning sickness, I have HG?
Not necessarily. Extreme nausea and vomiting in pregnancy may indicate other potentially serious disorders including:

  • hydatidiform mole, which is an abnormal tumorous growth of the placenta
  • multiple pregnancy (twins, etc.)
  • viral gastroenteritis
  • flu
  • food poisoning
  • hepatitis A
  • hepatitis B
  • hepatitis C
  • urinary tract infection
  • appendicitis
  • cholecystitis, which is an inflammation of the gallbladder
  • ulcers

It is important to visit your doctor for diagnosis.

How is it Diagnosed?
Diagnosis is based on a history of the woman’s symptoms and a physical exam. Lab tests are also done to look for indications of dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Signs may include:

  • low blood pressure
  • rapid pulse
  • ketones, or the breakdown of fat in the urine
  • increased blood count, or hematocrit
  • low potassium level in blood
  • low urine output
  • highly concentrated urine

Tests that may help to rule out other disorders include:

  • serum for hepatitis testing
  • liver function tests
  • ultrasound to look at gallbladder
  • urinalysis and culture to test for bacteria
  • ultrasound to look for twins or a tumorous growth of the placenta

Can it be Prevented?
Unfortunately, there is no known prevention — only treatment.

Will HG harm my baby?
Some studies show that some women who have HG will have low birthweight babies. However, the good news is that most women with HG do have healthy babies.

Proper medical supervision is essential. If HG is left untreated, the mother may become so metabolically imbalanced that abortion is recommended to save the life of the mother. However, it should be considered only a last resort.

What are the long-term effects of the condition?
Properly treated, HG generally does not present serious long-term problems for the mother or infant.

How is it treated?
Treatments vary from diet modification, medicines, vitamins and herbs to homeopathy, accupressure, and chiropractic. Discuss your best options with your doctor.

This article is just a brief overview. If you think you may be suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum, please consult your doctor as soon as possible.

labour

How To Prepare for Labour and Delivery

Although nothing anybody says can ever completely prepare a woman for the day she delivers her first baby, there are some simple suggestions that should help make this amazing experience a little bit easier.

First of all there are three very honest realities about childbirth that your doctor, mother, grandmother, and maybe even your best friend will probably not tell you.

1 – Unless you have an exceptionally carefree attitude about life in general, you will be shocked if and when your water breaks.

2 – Unless you have an extraordinary ability to see into the future, you will be scared to death during the first hour or so of labor.

3 – Unless you have an extremely high tolerance for pain, you will feel excruciating, seemingly unending waves of pain.

These simple facts come from personal experience and are not intended to instill unnecessary fear. Each woman’s experience is different, so not all details will apply to everyone.

But if you take the time to consider options to prepare yourself for that big day, you may benefit by being as ready as anyone can possibly be for the consequences of childbirth.

Believe this much for sure, you will appreciate almost any helpful hints you can remember when you realize you’re going into labor. Most pregnant people will find the following recommendations valuable for reducing stress for you and your labor partner on the day you deliver your first baby.

1 – Pack your bag to take to the hospital at least a month in advance. Nobody can positively predict your exact due date and your baby is actually the person who decides when your delivery will occur.

2 – Make a checklist for what you want to take. You should definitely include: a mirror and your makeup bag (believe it or not when you’re not staring at that little miracle in your arms, you will want to look at yourself especially when the parade of visitors start marching into your hospital room); two or three nightgowns (preferably comfortable ones that provide optimal coverage of your post-pregnancy physique); a hair brush and hair dryer (every hospital has showers, soap, and towels); an outfit to wear home from the hospital (and don’t choose cute little pre-pregnancy clothes because nobody loses the weight they gained in nine months immediately after giving birth and it will only annoy you if you can’t fit into the only outfit you have to go home in).

3 – Have a list of phone numbers of the people you can call any time of the day or night for help. (Don’t even try to handle it alone – YOU WILL NEED AND WANT HELP when this exciting, emotional event begins to occur.)

There’s several signs that labor has started. Warning signals vary from woman to woman. Some people know what it is the second it hits them, while others may not recognize what’s happening for hours. Don’t expect the promises or predictions made by medical professionals or even experienced great-grandmothers to actually come true for you. In most cases some combination of destiny and mother nature determine the details of your long-awaited delivery.
Some simple indicators that you’re going into labor range from a mild backache to piercing stabs of pain and vary from a feeling of general discomfort to an abrupt release of water.

Follow your instincts.

If you don’t feel right, but you’re not screaming in pain, call your doctor. If something suddenly takes your breath away, makes you feel faint, breaks you down to the floor or wakes you in the middle of the night, forget the doctor, stay as calm as possible and call for whomever can come to help you the fastest.If your water does break in the stereotypical way, gushing uncontrollably all over the place, don’t freak out. Maintain your control as much as humanly possible at this point and realize you cannot stop this rushing release running like a river out of your body. You can keep putting towels between your legs to try to soak it up, but your shorts or sweatpants are still going to get wet.

Don’t worry about what other people will think about your dripping drawers when you get to the hospital. You’re about to deliver a baby -you’re not supposed to look calm, classy, elegant or graceful! Just concentrate on getting to the hospital safely. You may feel like you’re in the middle of an earthquake that will surely destroy the entire planet and assume everyone else will realize the urgency of this occasion. But they probably won’t react with any alarm because the reality is your world is the only place that has been hit by this tidal wave of emotional trauma.

What to expect when you get to the hospital…

To wait and wait some more; to fill out forms; to find yourself pacing the halls until they assign you to a room; to see other women in similar situations; to be told your doctor has been delayed; to scream at your labor partner when he forgets what to say and what not to say to try to make you feel better; to forget something on your check list and to deal with the labor pain getting worse before it gets better.

What not to expect when you arrive at the hospital…

Everyone to accommodate you; everything to occur as you planned; any immediate results; everyone to be organized; your labor partner to be perfect; to find friendly faces among the other pregnant people; to hear your doctor tell you to start pushing your little miracle out as soon as he examines you; to get painkillers prescribed in mere minutes; and to be able to remember all the things you learned to try to prepare for this day.

Other Do’s and Don’t’s:

  • Do try to maintain your focus.
  • Do try to preserve your precious energy (You will need it especially if you happen to be one of those poor souls whose pregnancy just won’t end and your labor lasts for longer than a day or two)
  • Don’t hesitate to tell your doctor or nurses exactly how you feel.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask any question that pops into your head.
  • Do listen to what your doctor and nurses tell you.
  • Do listen to what your body is saying.
  • Do listen to what you’re feeling in your heart.
  • Do listen to what your labor partner is commanding you to do.
  • Don’t forget how long you waited for this day to arrive and how special this date will be to you forever.
  • Don’t forget how much you want this little baby to arrive healthy and what a blessing this tiny person will always be to you.
  • And finally trust your gut instincts, your doctor’s words of wisdom, your partner’s suggestions to soothe you and your ears when you hear the sound of your baby’s first cry announcing his official arrival into this world.

The rest of this incredible experience will probably proceed with no major problems, following the same intense, phenomenal pattern of the billions of births that occurred before the day of your delivery.

Believe it or not, no matter how much the pains of labor torture your pregnant body or how many hours the process takes before your first baby actually bounces into this world – you will forget about how much your killer contractions hurt and how time seemed to standstill as your labor lasted and lasted and lasted…

Also believe your life will never be the same from this day on. Your new job as a mommy will be the most rewarding, most exhausting, and most challenging career of your life. Nothing in the universe can begin to compete with the passion, love, and wonder you’ll experience as you watch this tiny person grow and you feel like he’s really your own heart and soul with little arms and legs.

Treasure every moment of the miracle of motherhood.

Danielle Hollister Web Site: Ezine for Writers – BellaOnline

baby6

First Week Home with Baby

The first week of your baby’s life brings big adjustments for both of you. You are adjusting to being a mother and caring for your baby and your baby is adjusting to life outside the womb. It is a time of great joy — and possibly immense fear! Although you’ve been preparing for the birth of your baby for months, now he is here and depending on you for everything which can seem overwhelming. Don’t expect too much of yourself during these first days! If anyone offers you help — take it!

During your baby’s first few weeks of life, he will be concentrating on getting to know you and his surroundings. Your baby needs to be handled so that life outside the womb seems as little different as possible to life inside the womb. Your baby’s needs, while they may seem overwhelming to you, are really simple: food, warmth and comfort from cuddling. Wrap him snugly and warmly, hold him closely, handle him slowly, and feed him when he’s hungry. Your baby will have the routing and sucking reflexes as well as tongue thrust. These are needed to get nourishment from the breast or bottle. You can also use this time to bond with your baby with lots of skin to skin contact.

Whether you decide to breast or bottle feed, feeding in the first few weeks is not an effortless process. Try to have early feeding sessions in a quiet setting with as few distractions as possible. Make sure you are in a comfortable position as it takes new babies a while to eat and you don’t want to end up stiff and sore. Cuddle and caress your baby as feeding time is a wonderful opportunity to show your baby how much he is loved.

If you are breastfeeding, be patient while you and your baby are getting the hang of it! The benefits of breastfeeding are many and in order for it to be successful, it is important to start out right. Keep in mind though it may take several weeks until you both feel comfortable and get a feeding schedule down.

Most new moms feel and experience:

  • Exhaustion!
  • Bloody vaginal discharge for the first week or so
  • Discomfort or pain in the perineal area if you had a vaginal delivery
  • Incision pain or numbness if you had a cesarean delivery
  • Abdominal cramping (afterpains) as the uterus contracts
  • Elation or depression or swings between both
  • Breast discomfort or engorgement
  • Fears about your adequacy as a mother
  • Profuse sweating after the first couple of days

Although it may be tempting to try to be a ‘supermom’, now is not the time. The best advice that I received as an new mom was to accept the help of others, eat regular meals and sleep when the baby sleeps. Now it’s my turn to pass that advice on to you.

Start Growing Healthy Children Before Getting Pregnant

by Margaret Paul, Ph.D.

When I was in my early 20’s, I read Adele Davis’s book, “Let’s Eat Right To Keep fit.” I learned from her that “you are what you eat.” I also learned that our babies are what we eat while we are pregnant, and then are what they eat once they are born. If you nurse your babies, then they continue to be what you eat as long as you are nursing them. My bible during my first pregnancy over 38 years ago was “Let’s Have Healthy Children,” also by Adele Davis. I started to follow her guidelines way before getting pregnant, knowing that my health had a big effect on my baby’s health.

There is much more information about good nutrition available today, and I want to encourage anyone who wants to have healthy children to start early in learning about and implementing a healthy way of eating. Educating yourself regarding good nutrition is a major part of good parenting. However, a good rule of thumb is, if they didn’t eat it 200 years ago, don’t eat it now! This means no fast food, no packaged food – including sodas, cakes and candies – no preservatives, no fruits and vegetables grown with pesticides or artificial fertilizers, or animals grown with hormones and fed food grown with pesticides. It also means no smoking or drinking. It means no caffeine. If you want healthy children, you need to put pure, clean organic food into your body before you get pregnant and continue throughout your pregnancy. Of course, then you want to continue to feed yourself and your family clean food once your children are born.

If you are pregnant or thinking getting pregnant, you have a wonderful opportunity to lay a strong foundation of health for your child. Why not start now feeding yourself well and learning all you can about creating healthy children? You are going to be a parent the whole rest of your life. You can do so much to make your parenting experience a joyful one by taking responsibility for your own physical and emotional health before getting pregnant. If you have not been disciplined enough to eat well before getting pregnant, perhaps the idea of eating well for your child will be enough to motivate you.

It’s not as hard as you might think. It really doesn’t take much more time to eat well than to eat junk. And the payoff is huge. Not only were my three babies healthy, they were calm. They slept well and were happy children, who learned easily and did well in school. The only time they were hyperactive – actually bouncing off walls! – was after returning from birthday parties where they had ice cream, cake and sodas.

In my many years of counseling, I’ve often worked with parents who were struggling with their children’s behavior problems. Of course not all behavior problems are nutritional, but you might be surprised how many problems have their cause in poor nutrition. I’ve often wondered why so many people are careful to put the right octane in their gas tank but put the wrong fuel into their bodies – and then wonder why there is so much illness, learning disabilities, and so on.

Wow, what a lesson!

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author of eight books, including “Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?” She is the co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing process. Learn Inner Bonding now! Visit her web site for a FREE Inner Bonding course: http://www.innerbonding.com or mailto:margaret@innerbonding.com. Phone sessions available.

Natural Labour Induction Methods, Part Two

Castor Oil to Bring on Labor

First let me just say that I do not recommend this method. That is because I used it with my second child and it was just about the most horrible mistake I could have made (other than maybe getting another epidural, anyway).

The theory behind this induction method is that the castor oil causes diarrhea and the diarrheal cramps cause sympathetic cramping in your uterus, another smooth muscle. This is another of the methods that “won’t work if you’re not already ready anyway”, as the sympathetic cramping will be ineffectual if all conditions are not already optimal for labor. In my case, my contractions began 10 minutes after my first dose of oil, hours before the diarrhea began. Therefore, it could not have been the castor oil that brought on labor in my case, and I caused myself all that trouble for nothing.

There has been much debate over whether taking castor oil to induce labor will cause the baby to have its first bowel movement in the womb before birth. This pre-birth bowel movement, called meconium, can be dangerous, because if baby inhales some of it it can cause pneumonia in the lungs. Meconium is also a widely-held signal that the baby is in some sort of distress. Most professionals with any experience with castor oil inductions agree that this is untrue. They have found that there is no increased occurrence of meconium in castor oil induced labors over spontaneous labors.

The real danger lies in the mother when using castor oil for labor induction. With the severity of the diarrhea, a laboring woman can quickly become dehydrated. Especially in a typically highly managed hospital birth where a woman is allowed few fluids. Dehydration makes one tired and less able to endure through physical activity. Plus, not only does this endanger breastfeeding (proper hydration is necessary to make adequate milk), but a dehydrated uterus is an aggravated uterus, and an aggravated uterus causes more pain for the mother. More pain makes a woman less able to handle natural child birth and puts her and the baby at increased risk for a snowball of interventions.

Nipple Stimulation to Self-induce

This is a practice often recommended by midwives when a woman is long past due or when labor is stalled. Nipple stimulation causes the release of oxytocin, the same hormone that causes uterine contractions. Many women report, however, that the contractions produced from this method are much stronger and more painful than natural labor, but are not any more effective. Please note: In order to use this method for induction, you must stimulate the nipples for long periods of time. The usual recommendation is 15 minutes of continual stimulation on each nipple each hour for several hours. So, the amount of stimulation you may experience during intimacy, while nursing an older child, or while pumping your breasts while pregnant will not cause you to go into labor. The general recommendation on these activities is to abstain from them when your condition warrants doctor recommended pelvic rest. Please check with your practitioner before trying this.

Acupressure/Acupuncture for Inducing or Augmenting Labor

There are two points on your body that will cause uterine contractions. They are always warned against during pregnancy, though they are widely believed to be another labor inducing method that will not work if you are not already ready to deliver. These points are about four finger-widths above the inner ankle on your calf, and in the webbing between your thumb and forefinger. You will know when you’ve found the spot because it will be very sore. You rub your calf, or pinch the webbing on your hand, in a circular motion for 30-60 second at a time, taking 1-2 minute breaks in between.

Stripping Membranes

There is a procedure your doctor or midwife can perform called “stripping” or “sweeping” your membranes. The healthcare professional will insert their finger(s) into your cervix and sweep from side to side, pulling the membranes (bag of water) away from the mouth of the cervix and the lower uterus, and in the process stretching and irritating your cervix. Sometimes this will generate local production of prostaglandins and enough of the necessary hormones to start labor. Sometimes it takes 3 or 4 attempts to begin labor. Many women find this to be a very uncomfortable, if not painful, procedure. This is a medical intervention and should be taken as seriously as any medical induction method.

Herbs and Homeopathic Remedies

All substances that would fall in this category, such as Blue and Black Cohosh are general considered to be as unsafe as medical interventions, and if they are to be used must be used only under the recommendation and supervision of your doctor or midwife.

More…

Jessica Hudson is owner of Eva Lillian Maternity & Nursing Boutique. She is not medically trained and is not recommending any of the above. She has compiled this information from many different authoritative sources, and provides the above for informational purposes only. To read more such articles, please visit
http://www.evalillian.com/articles.html

Chinese Gender Prediction Chart

This method of gender prediction is reputed to be based on a chart that was placed in a Royal tomb outside of Peking hundreds of years ago. The original copy of the chart is housed in Peking’s Institute of Science. In theory, the chart allows you not only to predict the gender of your unborn child, but to plan the timing of a pregnancy based on whether you want to have a boy or a girl.

This chart uses the mother’s age at time of conception along with the month the baby was conceived to come up with a prediction. To find your baby’s gender find the mother’s age at the time of conception and follow it across to the month the baby was conceived. We don’t guarantee the accuracy of this chart but it is fun to speculate!

 

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
18 G B G B B B B B B B B B
19 B G B G G B B G B B G G
20 G B G B B B B B B G B B
21 B G G G G G G G G G G G
22 G B B G B G G B G G G G
23 B B B G B B G G G B B G
24 B G G B B G B G B B G B
25 G B G B G B G B G B B B
26 B B B B B G B G G B G G
27 G G B B G B G G B G B B
28 B B B G G B G B G G B G
29 G B G G B G G B G B G G
30 B B G B G B B B B B B B
31 B B B B G G B G B G G G
32 B G G B G B B G B B G B
33 G B B G G B G B G B B G
34 B B G G B G B B G B G G
35 B G B G B G B G B B G B
36 B G B B B G B B G G G G
37 G G B G G G B G G B B B
38 B B G G B G G B G G B G
39 G G B G G G B G B B G B
40 B B B G B G B G B G G B
41 G G B G B B G G B G B G
42 B G G B B B B B G B G B
43 G B G G B B B G G G B B
44 B G G G B G B B G B G B
45 G B G B G G B G B G B G

 

New Baby Needs Checklist

We want to make sure that you are prepared for the arrival of your new baby, so we have put together this list. You probably won’t need to buy all of the things listed, and there may be some items that we missed, but it will give you an idea of what you will need to have before you bring your baby home.
Good Luck!

Nursery
Cradle, Crib, or Bassinet
2 ~ 4 Crib or Cradle Sheets
Crib or Cradle Bedding
Changing Table
Baby Monitor

Layette
6 ~ 8 Coveralls
5 ~ 8 Sleepers
5 ~ 8 Onesies or Undershirts
4 ~ 6 Receiving Blankets
2 ~ 3 Infant Caps
Bibs
Booties or Slippers
Snowsuit or Kokkoon
Jacket or Sweater

Diapering
Diapers ~ Cloth or Disposable
Diaper Covers
Diaper Bag
Diaper Pail
Diaper Rash Ointment
Baby Wipes

Breast Feeding Supplies
Breast Pump & Supplies
Nursing Pillow
Nipple Lotion
Breast Pads
Bibs
Burp Pads
Nursing Bras

Bottle Feeding Supplies
Bottles
Nipples
Sterilizer Kit
Bottle Warmer
Bottle & Nipple Brushes
Bibs
Burp Pads

Travel
Car Seat
Carrier or Sling
Stroller
Portable Crib or Playpen
Diaper Bag
Child View Mirror

Bathing
Infant Bathtub or Bath Seat
5-6 Hooded towels
Washcloths
Baby Shampoo
Baby Lotion
Baby Swabs

Grooming
Baby Brush & Comb
Nail Clippers
Rubbing Alcohol
Safety Scissors

Entertainment
Music
Rattles
Board Books
Crib Mobile
Stuffed Animals
Swing
Jolly Jumper

Pregnancy Week 1

Did you know that a pregnancy is typically 280 days long, starting from the day after the first day of your menstrual period? The first day of your last menstrual period starts ‘lunar month one’ of your pregnancy. It also starts the first of the fourty weeks of pregnancy! Confused about lunar months, calendar months and weeks? Your not alone! Click here to learn more.

Prenatal Care

Your very first — and perhaps most important — job in your new role as mom-to-be is to take excellent care of yourself. Your little one is counting on you!

Stay away from alcohol, cigarettes (even second-hand), drugs, and medications (including herbal ones).

If you aren’t already, start taking prenatal vitamins regularly. They’re chock full of just the nutrition pregnant women need, including folic acid, a vitamin that helps prevent birth defects. Folic acid is also found in green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and juices, enriched breads and cereals, and more. Eat well to ensure 39 more weeks of growing anticipation and great health!

If you haven’t already done so, now is a good time to visit with your doctor or midwife so you can plan and begin your healthy journey through pregnancy.

How You Might Be Feeling

You haven’t yet ovulated this month, but you may be pregnant (well, technically speaking anyways)! The typical pregnancy lasts for 280 days, or 40 weeks (also known as 10 lunar months). Your doctor starts counting that time from the day after the first day of your last known menstrual period. That means you can be considered officially pregnant right now, even though you haven’t yet conceived! Confused? You’re not alone!

Calendar Home

Pregnancy Week 2

Advice for Mom

One week has passed since the start of your last menstrual period. Do you chart your cycles to know when you ovulate? In a few days, your ovaries will open and release an egg! If you are using ovulation prediction kits, this may be when you should start testing. Be sure to read the package insert carefully.

Make sure you are getting enough calcium. Dairy products and leafy green vegetables are good sources. It is very important to stay away from alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, and medications (including herbal ones) if you are trying to conceive. On average, ovulation occurs at this time, but it is different for every woman. Now is the time to ‘babydance’ as the egg gets ready to travel down the fallopian tube.

Calendar Home

Pregnancy Week 3

It is now two weeks from your last menstrual period. Conception may occur today! Well, at least in the previous few or next few days, depending on the length of your cycle. The egg and sperm will meet, creating a single cell organism called a zygote will start to divide. You may want to start preparing for the psychological part of pregnancy now. Around now, if the egg was fertilized, it will drop into your uterus. Now that the fertilized egg (or zygote) is in your uterus, fluid will enter dividing it into two. One will be the placenta, the other will be the baby.

Advice for Mom

If you are pregnant or trying to conceive and haven’t already found a doctor or midwife, you should begin looking now. Make sure you feel a sense of trust and comfort with your health care provider, to have an informative and healthy pregnancy. A blood pregnancy test may show positive as early as today.

Pregnancy Week 4

The cells making up the ovum are beginning to differentiate and specialize in areas of development. Some cells will make up the embryo; others the amniotic sac and placenta etc. The ovum, which has been floating around in your uterus, will implant into the wall of the uterus. Now comes an exciting time of rapid growth! The amniotic sac, amniotic cavity and yolk sac are developing. The placenta is beginning to form now too.

Advice for Mom
Many women do not experience any symptoms this early. But you may start experiencing some early symptoms of pregnancy such as:

  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Frequent Urination
  • Nausea vomiting – Morning Sickness
  • Heartburn Indigestion Flatulence bloating
  • Craving and aversions to certain foods
  • Breast tenderness soreness, and enlargement the areola (pigmented area that surrounds the nipple) will darken

If you are feeling weepy, irrational or have mood swings, take heart — this is perfectly normal!

A home pregnancy test may show positive, but you may want to wait a few days for more accurate results. Some women will wrap a positive test result up as a gift to their partner!

Morning sickness could set in anytime now: you might not know you’re pregnant yet, but your body sure does! To ease the symptoms of this common problem, remember to:

  • Keep crackers, hard candy, or other bland food in your purse for frequent snacking, which may help settle your stomach
  • Avoid nausea-triggering odors.
  • Eat smaller meals and eat frequently throughout the day. An empty stomach often triggers nausea
  • Take your prenatal vitamins with food or before going to bed, rather than in the morning or on an empty stomach when nausea may be worse

Pregnancy Week 5

Even though you may not even know you are pregnant for sure yet, you are starting Lunar month 2. The next month is crucial in the development of the baby’s nervous system and heart. Chorionic villi, the tissue lining the placenta, begins to develop. The ovum is now called an embryo and is about 1/10 of an inch long. The amniotic sac is now visible on an ultrasound and contains only a drop of fluid.

Take good care of your baby by taking good care of yourself. Be sure you are taking your Folic Acid as your baby will need it while his brain and spinal cord are beginning to develop.

Advice for Mom

If you are feeling really tired, it’s normal! Listen to your body and get lots of rest. Exciting things are going on!

If you own a cat, you’d better have someone else take over cleaning out the litter box to avoid toxoplasmosis.

Pregnancy Week 6

The baby’s heart begins to beat. But don’t be discouraged if it cannot be heard yet — this usually happens later.

Peek-a-boo! The baby’s eyes and inner ears are starting to develop. It is about now that your baby’s major organs (heart, lungs liver, spleen, and kidneys) are beginning to develop. Your baby’s digestive system is becoming more refined as the stomach and intestines develop. Remember the Folic Acid you should be taking? Well, since the Neural tube (later known as spinal cord) begins to fuse, folic acid is important in preventing neural tube defects.

Advice for Mom

Some women experience an increase in vaginal discharge. While this is normal, please call your health care provider if it causes burning, itching, or odor. Some other new symptoms you may feel include:

  • Morning Sickness (if your morning sickness is severe, you may have Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) )
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Clothing will feel tighter
  • Slightly enlarged abdomen

Pregnancy Week 7

Welcome to the start of week seven! Your baby is now called an embryo, is at 4 weeks gestation and measures about 1/4 inch. The embryo continues to develop rapidly — the rate of growth is phenomenal really. The embryo resembles a little tadpole now; with a head, arm and leg ‘buds’, a trunk and a tail. He is curled up with his head on his chest.

Advice for Mom

Wearing out a track to the bathroom? You may find you are having to urinate a lot more now.

Mild, infrequent headaches are common throughout pregnancy, but if a headache persists, or is accompanied by blurred vision, dizziness, or fainting, please report it to your doctor immediately.

Smoking during pregnancy is known to be detrimental to your baby’s health and is associated with miscarriage, premature birth, and low birth weight. If you are a smoker and haven’t already quit, there’s no better time to stop.

Pamper yourself a little. relax, put your feet up, and let others help you around the house.

Pregnancy Week 8

This week, your baby is at 5 weeks gestation and measures about 1/3 inch. An ultrasound can usually detect a fetal heartbeat around this time. If you have an ultrasound scheduled, you may want to ask about pictures or a video tape of it!

Your baby’s oral and nasal cavities are forming, the cerebellum and spleen begin to develop and the baby’s facial features are becoming more defined. If you are going for an ultrasound around now, you should get a good view of the baby’s profile!

Your baby’s head to rump is now approximately 9mm. Although all the major organs have formed, they are not fully developed. Your baby’s upper lip is likely formed. Also, the upper limbs bend at elbow and what will be the baby’s fingers are developing.

Advice for Mom

Make sure you are eating properly and getting lots of rest — helping that baby grow is hard work!

Medications (even vitamins or herbal medications & teas) can be harmful. Please check with your doctor before taking anything.

Some cramping can be normal throughout pregnancy as the uterus contacts and enlarges. But please check with your doctor if it becomes painful or severe.

Your hormones may cause moodiness, and you may be noticing changes in your breasts about now.

Pregnancy Week 9

You are starting Lunar Month 3! The baby is at 6 weeks gestation and is about 1/2 inch.

Here’s looking at you kid! The eyelids are beginning to form and pigment has formed in the retina.

Cute little button nose! The tip of your baby’s nose is now distinct.

Boy or girl??? Who knows, but the buds of genitals are beginning to form. Now your baby’s trunk is elongating and straightening out some. Your baby has graduated from being called an embryo and is now called a fetus!

Advice for Mom

Did you know that dental problems can occur during pregnancy? A visit to your dentist may be in order, but make sure you let them know you are pregnant before any ex-rays or medications are given to you.

Pregnancy Week 10

The baby is at 7 weeks gestation and is about 18-20 mm (3/4 inch) long. A Doppler may pick up the baby’s heart beat! But don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear it yet — it’s still early.

The fetus’ upper limbs are growing longer and are bent at the elbows. The fingers are more distinct now too.

Sex?? The fetus’ testes or ovaries are distinguishable now, but you may not be able to tell until the second trimester. Did you know that the baby’s intestines form outside baby first (on the umbilical cord) because they can’t fit inside?

Advice for Mom

Your breasts may be sore, and if you are suffering from “morning sickness” you probably haven’t been able to keep down a decent meal in the past few weeks. You may not be feeling up to doing much, but now is the time, if you haven’t already, to begin an exercise program for pregnancy. Maybe Yoga is for you? Always check with your doctor though before beginning any program.

Pregnancy Week 11

The baby is at 8 weeks gestation and is about 30 mm (1 1/4 inch) long. Your baby is free floating in amniotic fluid now. He is kicking and moving about in your uterus! You are not likely feel a kick until around the 18th week though. The baby’s genitalia now shows male characteristics if your baby is a boy. The placenta and umbilical cord are completely formed and functional.

Advice for Mom

Eating healthy throughout pregnancy is so important. Skim milk, whole grains, soy products and fruits/veggies provide much needed vitamins, calcium and protein. Take Popeye’s advice and eat your spinach!

Heartburn? Try to eat small meals and avoid gassy foods. Or you might want to try this tip — have a glass of buttermilk or some yogurt 1/2 hour before your regular meal. If this doesn’t work, ask your doctor for advice on antacids.

Constipation? Unfortunately it is something many women have at one time or another while pregnant. Drink plenty of fluids and eat high fiber foods. Avoid laxatives of any kind unless prescribed by your doctor.

Pregnancy Week 12

The baby is at 9 weeks gestation and is about 5 cm (almost 2 inches) long. By the end of the first trimester, the fetus really looks like a little baby! Your baby has advanced to the stage that its brain can transmit messages.

Advice for Mom

If you’re pregnant and working, learn your rights now. What maternity benefits are available? Job security? Unfortunately, some employers will still try to take advantage of you.

Make sure you are getting enough rest. Listen to your body and slow down when you are tired. Reduce the risk of bladder infections by getting Vitamin C, urinating frequently, and drinking eight glasses of water daily. Remember, aspirin, prescription medication and even excessive vitamins can be harmful: ask your doctor before taking anything.

Pregnancy Week 13

Your baby is now at 10 weeks gestation and is almost 2 1/2 inches long. If your baby is a girl, the Clitoris and labia major are formed. If it’s a boy, the glands, penis and scrotum are formed. Your baby is forming urine discharging it into the amniotic cavity. Drink lots of liquids. your baby is now swallowing and absorbing fluids. By now, early fingernails are developing. Your baby’s vocal cords have formed in the voice box and the heart is completely developed.

Advice for Mom

Do your Kegels!! They will help with childbirth and after.

If Morning Sickness hasn’t settled already, it may this week. Try eating small frequent meals consisting of whole grains, fruits and vegetables to help with any symptoms you have. If you’re lucky, you will not experience morning sickness at all!

Pregnancy Week 14

Your baby is now at 11 weeks gestation and is about 2 1/2 inches from crown to rump (3 1/2 inches from head to toe) and weighs about 1 ounce.

Remember when we told you about the intestines forming outside the body? Well, they are now contained within the abdomen.

Your baby can smile now!

Advice for Mom

If you haven’t already, you may want to consider buying some maternity clothes for yourself. It will help you feel better about your changing shape while providing style and comfort! You can look good!

Morning Sickness may be settling down this week, although many women do experience it longer than others.

If you’re over 35, your doctor may offer amniocentesis. It is usually scheduled between 14 -18 weeks from the start of your last menstrual period.

Traveling by car? Weather it’s a trip around the block, across town or across the country, always wear your seat belt.

Pregnancy Week 15

It is now 14 weeks from your last menstrual period. Your baby is now at 12 weeks gestation and is about 8.7 cm from crown to rump (11 cm or 4 1/2 inches head to toe) and weighs 45 gm.

Great News! The risk of miscarriage is now reduced substantially.

Lanugo, a soft downy hair, is beginning to grow and cover the baby’s body

Advice for Mom

Pregnancy requires that you take in about 60-80 grams of protein per day. Make sure you are getting enough.

You may want to discuss the ‘Triple Screen Test’ with your doctor. If you decide to have this test, the best time to do it is between 16 and 18 weeks from your last menstrual period.

Pregnancy Week 16

Congratulations — you are in the second trimester! Your baby is now at 13 weeks gestation and is about 4 inches long from crown to rump (5 inches head to toe) and weighs about 1 1/2 ounces.

About now, a small amount of hair is growing on your baby’s head and eyelashes and eyebrows start to emerge.

Your uterus is approximately half way from your pubic bone to the umbilicus.

Advice for Mom

Your uterus may practice contracting about now. These are called Braxton Hicks contractions. They usually just feel like a tightening around your midsection. If you have more than 5 in an hour or experience severe backache or cramping, contact your doctor.

You may have trouble concentrating, you might drop things, forget things. Sometimes you feel “not all there”. If you are feeling angry or emotional, it is normal!

Pregnancy Week 17

Your baby is now at 14 weeks gestation and is about 4 1/2 inches long from crown to rump (5 1/2 inches head to toe) and weighs about 3 ounces. Your baby can now move his or her limbs and the movements become coordinated. From now on, the baby will continue to grow and refine his or her features. The baby has fingernails, toenails and its own unique fingerprints and footprints!

Your baby’s eyes are now more forward rather than to the side of the head. Slow eye movements begin about now. As your baby continues to grow rapidly, he adds blinking to his list of reflexes.

Advice for Mom

Have you heard of cholasma (‘the mask of pregnancy’)? This is where irregular pigment deposits can occur on your face. Avoid sunbathing as this can emphasize this temporary condition.

You may start to feel some swelling in your hands and feet. Combat this by drinking lots of fluids.

Pregnancy Week 18

Your baby is now at 15 weeks gestation and is about 5 inches long from crown to rump (6 1/4 inches head to toe) and weighs about 4 or 5 ounces. Your baby may be sucking his thumb and swallowing small amounts of amniotic fluid about now.

Advice for Mom

You may notice your breasts enlarging — many women have an increase of one or two cup sizes. A good support bra is a wonderful investment now. Keep in mind though that your breasts and rib cage may change even more.

You should be scheduled for an ultrasound within the next few week. Ask if you can bring a video tape to tape it! Imagine showing those home movies!

Now is also good time to take a tour of the birthing center or hospital. Ask about labor routines, visiting restrictions and rooming in.

Pregnancy Week 19

It is now 18 weeks from your last menstrual period Your baby is now at 16 weeks gestation and is almost 5 1/2 inches long from crown to rump (7 inches from head to toe).

A cheesy coating called vernix is beginning to form on your baby to protect his skin from the amniotic fluid. Your baby’s body growth is now catching up to his or her head. Believe it or not, if your baby is a girl, early ovaries contain early follicles with early eggs.

Advice for Mom

Many women have trouble sleeping at night about now.

Even if you were very athletic before your pregnancy, you maybe should avoid activities such as jogging, water-skiing, diving, downhill skiing, bicycling, and contact sports. A nice brisk walk is a better choice now. Talk to your doctor about other options.

Pregnancy Week 20

You’re halfway there now!

It is now 19 weeks from your last menstrual period. Your baby is now at 17 weeks gestation and is almost 6 inches long from crown to rump (8 inches from head to toe) and weighs about 8 ounces.

Did you know that your baby receives his nutrients 1-2 hours after you eat? If you feel gentle rhythmic movements in your abdomen, chances are your baby has the hiccups! This is nothing to be concerned about.

Advice for Mom

You may want to start thinking about how you will feed your baby — which is best for you both — breast or bottle?

Although your libido may lessen with pregnancy, unless your doctor says no (due to bleeding or possible pre-term labor), you can say yes!

If you are experiencing leg cramps at night, try taking a calcium supplement that does not contain phosphorus since it is believed that an excess of phosphorus and a shortage of calcium may be the cause of the leg cramps.

Heartburn is very common now as your stomach is getting compressed. Eating small, frequent meals may help. Please check with your doctor before taking any antacids.

Pregnancy Week 21

It is now 20 weeks from your last menstrual period. Your baby is now at 18 weeks gestation and is almost 6 1/2 inches long from crown to rump (9 1/2 inches from head to toe) and weighs about 10 ounces.

Double trouble? If you are carrying multiples, it has usually be detected by now. Why? Your uterus grows larger than expected, iron levels drop and you feel lots of movement.Two heartbeats may be heard.

If your baby is a girl, the uterus is formed and development of the vagina has begun.

Advice for Mom

You’re halfway there! If you are suffering from hemorrhoids, your not alone, it is very common in and after pregnancy.

It’s not unusual to feel like you have wobbly hips during pregnancy. Hormones cause the ligaments and cartilage to relax and the bones of the pelvis to spread in preparation for delivery.

Remember that there is no safe level of alcohol for use in pregnancy, so it’s best to avoid it all together.

Pregnancy Week 22

It is now 21 weeks from your last menstrual period. Your baby is now at 19 weeks gestation and is almost 7 inches long from crown to rump and weighs about 14 ounces. During the next few weeks, your baby will grow to about 10 inches long and reach half of the length it will have at birth.

Advice for Mom

If you haven’t already, now’s a good time to register for a childbirth education program or a refresher course.

If you have been exercising during your pregnancy, keep it up despite feeling a bit awkward or bulky. Swimming is a wonderful choice!

One of the most common complaints of pregnancy is backaches. A support may do wonders for you! While backaches are common in pregnancy, a dull, low backache, especially if it comes and goes or develops a pattern, may be a sign of pre-term labor. A call to your doctors office is in order.

A body pillow can be your best friend! Many women find that sleeping with a body pillow along side them and between their legs can ease their fatigued body and lead to a more restful nights sleep.

Pregnancy Week 23

It is now 22 weeks from your last menstrual period. Your baby is now at 20 weeks gestation and is almost 7 1/2 inches long from crown to rump (10 1/2 inches from head to toe) and weighs about one pound!

Your baby is starting to develop ‘brown fat’ — this specialized fatty tissue keeps your baby warm. About now, your baby is developing a strong grasp reflex.

Advice for Mom

To avoid hemorrhoids and constipation, increase your fiber intake and drink lots of water.

When women become mothers, it affects the whole family in many ways. Be proud of your transition! As the baby grows bigger and stronger, you may be able to see his or her vigorous kicks as well as feel them!

Itchy belly? Join the club! Pregnant bellies are itchy bellies and they can become increasingly itchier as the skin is stretched across the abdomen. Lotions or “butters” may bring relief. If you are itchy all over, check with your doctor.

Pregnancy Week 24

It is now 23 weeks from your last menstrual period. Your baby is now at 21 weeks gestation and is almost 8 inches long from crown to rump (11inches from head to toe).

Your baby is taking iron and calcium from you. Make sure you are getting enough! Your baby can hear your heartbeat and the rumblings in your tummy now.

Chomp! The buds for baby’s permanent teeth are forming.

Advice for Mom

Although it will be a while before your baby is mobile, it’s not too early to think about child-proofing your home.

Worried about labor and childbirth? That’s very normal! If you prepare your mind and your body now, you should be able to reduce your anxiety some. Prenatal classes are wonderful, as is reading about labour & delivery.

Don’t hold it in! Did you know that making a habit out of not urinating when you feel the need increases the risk that your enflamed bladder may irritate the uterus and set off contractions?

Pregnancy Week 25

It is now 24 weeks from your last menstrual period. Your baby is now at 22 weeks gestation and is almost 8 1/2 inches long from crown to rump (111/2 inches from head to toe).

Baby’s skin is wrinkled, translucent, and pink to red. If you could see your baby, you could see her bones, organs and vessels. Your baby will start to develop tiny air sacs called alveoli in the lungs and will start to make primitive breathing movements. Your care provider may do a cervical check to assess for risk of preterm labor.

Advice for Mom

You might want to give some thoughts now as to whether or not to circumcise your baby if it is a boy. Discuss the pros and cons with your Doctor. Circumcision is not recommended as a routine procedure.

Sciatica (lower back and leg pain) is common in pregnancy. The pain may pass as the baby changes position, or it may linger until you’ve delivered. A support, rest and a heating pad applied locally may help.

In your wildest dreams! Many women have bizarre and vivid dreams during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Week 26

It is now 25 weeks from your last menstrual period. Your baby is now at 23 weeks gestation and is almost 8 3/4 inches long from crown to rump (11 3/4 inches from head to toe).

Sudden noises may cause your baby to startle — responses have been reported when baby hears a loud noise.

Your baby’s bowel now contains some meconium, a dark green tar-like substance that will be excreted during the first few days after birth.

Advice for Mom

Your uterus should measure about 9 1/2 – 10 inches and be about 3 finger-breadths above your belly button. The linea nigra is a black line that might appear from your pubic bone to navel. This is normal and will lighten about 3 months postpartum.

While most women dread stretch marks, you should be proud of them! They’re like a badge of honour and are symbolic of your baby’s road map to life.

To avoid varicose veins, some women try a support, maternity hose and/or frequent walks to increase circulation.

Pregnancy Week 27

It is now 26 weeks from your last menstrual period. Your baby is now at 24 weeks gestation and is almost 9 inches long from crown to rump (12 inches from head to toe) and weighs about 1 pound 12 ounces.

Your baby’s lungs begin to manufacture surfactant, a substance that keeps lung tissue from sticking to itself. Your baby is developing taste buds and they appear on the tongue and inside the baby’s little cheeks. Your baby’s higher brain functions are becoming more sophisticated. Your baby can perceive light, smell and taste now since they eyelids and nostrils have opened.

Advice for Mom

You’re doctor will likely test for gestational diabetes about this time. Although the test can be time consuming, it is easy and important! Take a good book with you to your appointment.

Pregnancy Week 28

It is now 27 weeks from your last menstrual period. Your baby is now at 25 weeks gestation and is almost 9 1/2 inches long from crown to rump (12 1/2 inches from head to toe).

Have someone listen to your belly! Your baby’s heart beat may be detectable against the side where your baby’s back (a firm ridge) can be felt.

Advice for Mom

Remember, this is not the time to diet or cut down on fluid intake. Continue eating balanced meals and drinking 8 glasses of water each day.

Be aware of preterm labor symptoms: menstrual-like cramps if more than 5 per hour, “come and go” low backache, sudden change in vaginal discharge, or leaking of fluid. If in doubt, check with your doctor.

Birth plans are becoming more and more popular. A birth plan may deal with a wide variety of topics depending on the patients, the practitioner, and the hospital involved.

Some women experience leaking of urine during pregnancy. Do kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles of the pubic floor.

Home or hospital birth? Doctor or midwife? There are so many choices — and it seems everyone will give you their opinion on what they think is best! But you are the only one who can decide what is right for you and your baby.

Pregnancy Week 29

You are starting lunar month eight! It is now 28 weeks from your last menstrual period. Your baby is now at 26 weeks gestation and is almost 10 inches long from crown to rump (13 inches from head to toe). Your baby is beginning to shed the lanugo and the downy hair remains only of the back and shoulders.

Advice for Mom

Many women have trouble sleeping during the third trimester because it is hard to get comfortable. Try sleeping on your left side with a pillow between your knees and under your stomach.

Hormonal changes may cause grouchiness — just remember, you’re coming down the home stretch!

Since blood volume has doubled by now, your requirements for iron are high — make sure you are getting enough. If you are Rh negative, now is about the time to get your RhoGAM injection and Rh titer.

You’ll be needing a car seat very soon. A car seat is a very important investment and careful thought should go into buying a safe one. It’s also a good time to start researching other baby needs too, and here’s a handy checklist to help you!

Pregnancy Week 30

It is now 29 weeks from your last menstrual period. Your baby is now at 27 weeks gestation and is almost 10 1/2 inches long from crown to rump (13 1/2 inches from head to toe).

Although your baby’s lungs are developed enough to breathe air fairly efficiently, he or she would tire rapidly. During the next few weeks, your immunities will be transferred to your baby enabling him or her to fight off infections after birth.

Advice for Mom

Some providers recommend perineum massage daily to avoid lacerations and episiotomys. Talk to your doctor to see what he or she recommends.

Notify your doctor of any contractions, backache, visual disturbances, swelling, or headaches.

Discuss the topics of pain relief and anesthesia with your doctor before labour begins. Many women go through childbirth without medication, but relief of pain through medication is an acceptable option, and in some cases, the preferred one. And remember, it’s O.K. to change your mind when you’re in labour — if you’ve talked about the option ahead of time, your better able to make the best choice for you.

The medical community agrees — there is no question but that given normal circumstances, breastfeeding is best. Some women, however, are unable to breastfeed for one reason or another. Be sure to talk to your doctor and find out about lactation consultants etc. in your area.

Pregnancy Week 31

It is now 30 weeks from your last menstrual period. Your baby is now at 28 weeks gestation and is almost 10 3/4 inches long from crown to rump (14 inches from head to toe) and weighs about 3 pounds.

Your baby’s fingernails have now grown out to the tips of the fingers. Most babies need their nails trimmed soon after birth. While some moms use baby nail trimmers, other moms prefer to bite off their baby’s nails.

By using their hands on your belly, your doctor will likely be able to pinpoint the location of your baby’s head, back, and buttocks for you. Ask about this at your next visit.

Your baby’s skin is slightly wrinkled and the eyes are wide open now.

Advice for Mom

Vaginal itching may be a sign of a yeast or other infection. Discuss any symptoms with your doctor as soon as possible. Do not administer any medications without first talking to your doctor.

Absentminded? You are definitely not alone! It’s just one of those normal occurrences in pregnancy.

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Pregnancy Week 32

It is now 31 weeks from your last menstrual period. Your baby is now at 29 weeks gestation and is almost 11 inches long from crown to rump (14 1/2 inches from head to toe).

If your baby was born now, he or she could survive but may face respiratory distress, trouble stabilizing temperature and glucose, and feeding problems.

Many babies will be getting into position for birth, most likely with his or her head down. But if your baby is still head up (or breech), don’t worry, there is still time for him or her to turn.

Advice for Mom

Even if you are planning a home birth, it’s a good idea to make sure that you are pre-registered at the hospital or birthing center near your home. Begin working with your support person to prepare for labor. Relaxation, massage, and focus exercises can be practiced.

If you have gestational diabetes, make sure you are testing your blood sugars and stay with the diet your doctor prescribed.

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