Monday, September 26, 2011

How to Prepare to Go to the Hospital

pregnant and going to the hospital
 When you are pregnant, going to the hospital to have your baby can feel like it can't come soon enough! Preparing to go to the hospital involves a few important tasks that should be interesting and enjoyable to accomplish. First, plan to take a tour of the maternity ward where you will be delivering your baby. Most hospitals offer tours to expectant parents several times each month. During a tour you can have questions answered by hospital staff. Many women ask about pain management during labor, others are curious about the nursery where their babies will get their first baths. Still other women wonder about the comfort measures that may be available to them during a natural childbirth, such as access to a bathtub or a birthing ball.

During the tour, you will hear about where to park your car and where to enter the hospital during regular hours and during the middle of the night, should you need to arrive then. The tour guide will also explain how to register for your baby's birth. Many hospitals now offer registration services online, and others will have your pre-register over the phone, even if you do not know the exact date that you will be visiting the hospital.
Preparing a birth plan is another important task to accomplish before going to the hospital. Of course, every labor and birth is different, and even the best laid plans may be tossed out the window once your labor has begun. It is a good idea, however, to think through some of the typical decisions ahead of time that laboring women need to make during the course of labor. It will be useful to decide if you would like to get an epidural or another form of pain medication, or if you prefer to have a natural childbirth. You may also desire to avoid certain interventions like continuous electronic fetal monitoring and having and IV during labor. You may want to consider giving your partner the role of cutting the umbilical cord and announcing the baby's sex to the world.

Packing your hospital bag is a big step in preparing to go to the hospital. Aside from clothing for you and the baby to wear home from the hospital, you may also want to pack some of your favorite maternity lounge wear to wear during your stay. Some women prefer to give birth in their own nightgowns, rather than in hospital gowns. Many couples enjoy listening to their own music during labor, and some women even read a good book! Obviously you will want to bring a camera to take pictures and your cell phone to share the good news.

Finally, depending on where you live, it is a good idea to determine the best route to the hospital from your home. If you live in a busy area with lots of traffic during certain times of the day, your route to the hospital may be different during these times versus low-traffic times. Having this information will give you piece of mind about your transportation when the big day arrives!  And until then, enjoy the anticipation of waiting for your little angel to join your family.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Exercise During Pregnancy

Gone are the days when women were advised to put up their feet and take it easy during pregnancy. Experts agree that a healthy pregnancy requires a moderate amount of regular exercise. If you have high-risk pregnancy, talk to doctor before beginning an exercise program. If your pregnancy is low-risk, then exercise should be part of your daily routine.

Exercise during pregnancy can be challenging, but it can also be a great way to improve or maintain a healthy body image. Many women opt for walking as their main form of exercise. Walking is accessible to almost everyone, making it the most popular form of exercise. Swimming is another excellent form of exercise that strengthens the cardiovascular system. Swimming can also alleviate some of the discomforts of pregnancy, especially during the last trimester. Pregnant women often love the water because of its anti-gravity effects: women can find relief from their heavy bellies in the water. Prenatal yoga is another popular choice for pregnant women. Women who were runners prior to becoming pregnant can continue to run during pregnancies, too. Higher intensity exercise, like running, needs to be taken on with a bit more caution than lighter intensity exercise, like walking. Because pregnancy causes the ligaments and tendons of the body to relax, pregnant women may  be at a higher risk for certain injuries. Generally, pregnant women should never exercise to the point of exhaustion and should avoid sprinting and anything else that causes breathlessness. Feeling like you are able to carry on a conversation while you exercise is a good way to ensure that you are not

During the first trimester, exercise has the potential to alleviate nausea. As you enter the second trimester, your center of gravity may begin to change. From this period on, paying special attention to your balance during exercise will help safeguard you against injuries. During the third trimester you may find yourself slowing down, no matter what activity you have chosen as exercise. This is normal, and despite feeling very heavy and perhaps tired, you should try your best to continue your exercise regimen.

Exercise during pregnancy can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. Sometimes you feel sick, other times tired. Though regular exercise during pregnancy may be challenging, the benefits you and your baby will reap are many. Exercise can help you manage weight gain, and perhaps more importantly, regular exercise definitely improves your body image as your pregnancy progresses. Despite the many changes that you will experience as a pregnant woman, a fit, active nine months will have you reveling in the many amazing things your body can do.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Avoiding Pregnancy Weight Gain

Many women worry about what pregnancy will do to their bodies. Women are advised to gain between 25-35 pounds during pregnancy, and sometimes underweight women need to gain more than 35 pounds during pregnancy. The opposite is true for overweight women; they may be advised by their doctors to gain less than the average recommended amount. Gaining weight is an important part of a healthy pregnancy; your growing baby needs nourishment for both body and brain. On the other hand, gaining too much weight can cause challenges for the mother, both during pregnancy and afterward.

Avoiding gaining too much weight during pregnancy can be difficult for many women, especially with the discomforts of the first trimester. Many women struggle with nausea, and typically frequent meals can regulate this ill feeling in many women. It is very easy to overeat during this time. Sometimes women allow themselves to overindulge in favorite foods when they are pregnant, but in reality, pregnant women only need an additional 300 calories during the first trimester and up to 500 additional calories each day during the third trimester. For reference, a glass of milk and a whole grain bagel with peanut butter is about 400-500 calories. Just as important as the amount you eat are the types of foods you choose to eat during pregnancy. Pregnant women, like all adults, should be eating a variety of healthy, fresh foods. Pregnant women often enjoy fruit more during the second and third trimesters, and they can and should give in to such a healthy craving. Some women are averse to eating strongly flavored vegetables, like broccoli or spinach, during the first trimester. When this happens, be patient with yourself. Eat as well as you can, and slowly build those nausea-inducing vegetables back into your diet as you feel ready for them. Lean meats and moderate amounts of healthy fish are also highly recommended for pregnant women. Check with your doctor for a list of fish that is safe during pregnancy. Dairy is also a good source of protein and calcium during pregnancy, both of which are essential for maintaining even energy levels and strong bones.

Exercise is also an important tool for pregnant women. Childbirth requires strength and endurance. Pregnant women can improve their fitness during pregnancy even if they have not been regular exercisers in the past.  During pregnancy, a woman's heart works harder to pump her increased blood volume throughout her body. This increased effort often leaves a pregnant woman feeling winded, but that is normal. Do not let that feeling keep you from moderate exercise, but, at the same time, do not exercise to the point of exhaustion. Daily walking or swimming is an excellent way to build your endurance. If you are a runner or a competitive athlete, pregnancy does not have to completely sideline you from the activities you love. Many women run through their entire pregnancies! As long as you have your doctor's approval and you listen to your body for signs to take it easier, there is no reason why you can not continue to run or enjoy another higher intensity workout  while pregnant. Exercise also enhances and regulates mood. Emotional ups and downs are normal for pregnant women, and exercise can help ease some of those highs and lows. At a time when you may feel like your body is not your own, exercise can help you feel comfortable with the many changes you are experiencing. Regular exercise during pregnancy will prepare your body not only for childbirth, but for the work of motherhood as well.

Finally, aiming to gain pregnancy weight slowly and evenly will help to prevent stretch marks on your skin. Though some women can do nothing to avoid them, maintaining an even weight gain will allow your skin to accommodate your growing belly in smaller increments, resulting in fewer stretch marks.

Enjoying your pregnancy all the time can be challenging, especially when your body is going through such rapid changes! But gaining the recommended amount of weight for your situation will help ease some of the worry you may have about taking the weight off after the birth of your little one. Sticking to a healthy diet as much as possible will give you more energy, better health, and prepare you for caring for your baby, too!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lochia - Postpartum Bleeding

Your baby has arrived and you are probably waiting for your body to begin to go back to normal. Well, your body is on its way, but it may take some time to achieve. For the first few weeks you will have to deal with postpartum bleeding.
Postpartum bleeding is a completely normal part of the postpartum period and goes away on its own.


Lochia is the name given to postpartum bleeding. It is the way in which your body expels excess mucus, placental tissue, and blood after giving birth.

Lochia is very similar to the bleeding you experience during your menstrual period, however, it is much heavier. It typically begins in the hours immediately following birth and usually continues for two or three weeks. However, in some women lochia can last for up to six weeks.

Symptoms of Lochia

Lochia usually begins as a bright red discharge from the vagina. This blood typically continues to be bright red in color for between four and ten days. After ten days, your lochia will become a pink color, eventually changing to a yellowish-white color. This blood flow may be constant and even, or it may be expelled in intermittent gushes. Lochia may also be accompanied by numerous small blood clots, about a size of a grape.

Dealing with Lochia

Postpartum bleeding can sometimes be annoying to contend with, however, there are some ways to make the going easier:
·         Rest as much as you can, and avoid excess standing and walking (this will exacerbate the blood flow)
·         Use heavy duty maxi pads to soak up the blood.
·         Do not use tampons for at least six weeks after pregnancy. Tampons can introduce bacteria in to the vagina and uterus, causing infection.
·         Wear your Bellefit Girdle or Corset to get the compression you need, which is great for lymphatic drainage, decreases the risks of fluid collection, and gives you  access to the groin with convenient flap with hooks to easily change your pads without taking off your girdle.