November 29, 2011

What You Need to Know for Losing Weight During Pregnancy

weightqWhen you get pregnant, it is expected that you will gain some weight. In fact, doctors will caution some women from trying to control their weight as it is healthy to gain at least some weight. The norms for weight gain while you are pregnant will depend on your body type going into the pregnancy and other factors. Generally, the average sized woman will gain between 25 and 35 pounds. If you are underweight, you will gain slightly more. If you are overweight you will gain slightly less. Expect to gain around 2 to 4 pounds in the first three months and a pound week thereafter.

Those who are gaining way more weight, and are not having twins, will need to look at methods for losing weight during pregnancy. If done correctly, you will not pose any problems for the baby and you will be able to get down to a normal pregnancy weight which will help you to have a healthier pregnancy. It is always a good idea to work with your health care provider to make sure that you are staying safe for your sake as well as for the baby’s sake.

Maintaining moderate exercise
Exercise is one of the best ways to make sure that you are losing weight during pregnancy. You do not have to go overboard with aerobics or running. Just some walking will help you to stay in shape. The good news is that the walking will also help to get your body ready for labor. It will make sure that you are ready to pass your baby from your system in a natural way. Make sure that you are not walking for extended periods of time as this can actually induce labor. Instead, a nice 5 minute walk after meals will help you to burn off a few extra calories.

Do not restrict calories
Many women will try to abstain from eating so that they can start losing weight during pregnancy. The problem with this is all of the nutrition you bring into your system is being used by the baby. Instead of reducing calories, make sure that the calories you eat are smarter. This means trying to reduce the amount of empty calories like candy and soda in your diet. Instead, eat meals with substance to them. This will help you to get the protein, calcium and vitamins to your baby so that there will be healthy development.

Increase the number of times you eat
If losing weight during pregnancy is important to you, you can simply increase the amount that you are eating each day as well as making sure that the meals you eat are smaller. Eating 6 small meals a day will help you to increase your metabolism as well as making sure that your baby is getting a steady stream of food. This is also known as grazing by doctors because instead of sitting down to 3 heavy meals, you are eating light, yet substantial meals twice as often.

Pregnancy and Depression

pregnancy-depressionThe relationship between pregnancy and depression is not uncommon, as it can affect up to twenty percent of women. There are many feelings that can arise through pregnancy which can worsen the symptoms that are often associated with depression.

With the increase in hormones in the body that come with pregnancy, there are often associations with deeper aspects of the feelings and therefore women are often torn between feelings of overwhelming job, stress about how they are going to care for the child and fear of the unknown if this is their first child.

There are certain complications that can arise from the medications which are used to treat depression, through pregnancy and therefore many women are forced to stop the medications through the pregnancy and therefore it can be even more difficult to manage the symptoms that are associated with the diagnosis of depression. Unfortunately, because of this reason, medication is not always an option during pregnancy and therefore the woman must manage other treatments which can include therapy, behavior therapy and other related options. Although these sometimes are not as effective in managing the depression, they are sometimes the only route to ensure that medications that may harm the unborn child are avoided.

What are some of the symptoms that are associated with depression and pregnancy? Some of the symptoms that are associated with depression through pregnancy include sleeping too much, or sleeping too little throughout the duration of the pregnancy, as well as having a loss of appetite through the pregnancy or consuming too much food throughout the duration of the pregnancy. Finding that you have a loss of interest through activities that you have enjoyed in the past, as well as a persistent sadness or thoughts of hurting yourself or suicide.

There are many triggers that can cause the depression to worsen through pregnancy. The fear of raising the child or fear that there may be complications that can develop through the pregnancy can often contribute to the triggers of depression in expectant mothers. Using a close knit support system, through the close friends and family members, or even through the use of support groups or groups which can be found on the internet are effective ways to deal with the triggers of depression and even the symptoms of depression throughout the pregnancy.

Although it is important to have a close knit support group to rely on, there are many alternative therapies that can be used throughout pregnancy that provide an alternative to traditional medical treatment. Some of these therapies include light therapy to increase the mood or treatments which are natural and can reduce the symptoms that are associated with depression.

In some cases, medication must be used to fight the symptoms of depression in the mother to allow for a healthy pregnancy. There are some medications that have been developed that doctors prescribe for pregnant women, and speaking with your health care professional can lead you in the right direction to finding treatment for depression through pregnancy to ensure that you are able to have a safe and happy pregnancy.

Fever While Pregnant – Can it Harm Your Baby

fever while pregnantFever is considered when the temperature goes beyond 99 degree Fahrenheit (37 degree Celsius). The normal temperature of our body is 98.4 degree Fahrenheit (36.8 degree Celsius). There are several mechanisms in our body that helps us to maintain this level. But fever is a condition where there is release of different chemicals that increase the temperature. Certain hormones are also released that augments this mechanism.

During the first three months of pregnancy, the rate of growth for the baby is maximum. It is this period; a woman needs much calorie intake also. Slight increase in temperature will not have any bad impact over the baby, but any temperature crossing 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.4 degree Celsius) will hamper the fetal development. Even miscarriage has been reported from pregnant mothers having high grade of fever.

Different types of proteins are generated during the fetal development. Temperature is a determining factor during synthesis of protein. If the temperature is increased, there may be altered synthesis and congenital fetal anomaly may be there.

During the last trimester (last three months), when the development of the baby is almost completed (there is increase of the size of the fetus only), fever may not have any bad impact to the fetal growth. But intrauterine infection has to be ruled out at this period. In any case, if the mother suffers from fever at any point of pregnancy, she must consult her doctor.

Each and every medication has to be chosen carefully during pregnancy. There are several medicines that adversely affect the fetal development. As for example, Paracetamol is safe during pregnancy, but using Ibuprofen, Aspirin and Nimesulide has to be avoided. These drugs block the action of prostaglandin, an important hormone that is essentially required in pregnancy. Hypertensive mothers, who used to take aspirin, should consult their doctor. There are other drugs that can be prescribed at this time.

First Response Pregnancy Test – Accurately Know Whether You are Pregnant

pregnancy testAny pregnancy test is formulated to diagnose whether a woman is pregnant or not. Most of the pregnancy tests including first response pregnancy test uses beta compartment of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) – a hormone specifically increased when a woman is pregnant. hCG is released by placents, after the fertilized ovum is implanted in the uterus. It is a qualitative test, only to measure the presence of the hormone. The concentration where the result will be positive depends upon the brand. Many first response pregnancy test kit can detect as low as 1 mIU/ml of urine, others will be positive with 20 mIU/ml to 100 mIU/ml.

The next question that can come to our mind is that how you can check your pregnancy. Well, as it was said earlier, the first response pregnancy test measures the presence of hCG in urine. All these tests are card based tests and you have to put required amount of urine in the right slot. There is a test area and if you are pregnant, there will be two vertical bands over the test area. If your urine does not contain hCG, there will be only one band. Mid stream urine sample has to be used. To get this, you have to discard the first flow of urine, and then collect the middle part of urine flow in a clean glass pot and let the last part of urine flow again. First morning sample of urine is ideal as the hCG concentration is maximum in this time.

The accuracy of first response pregnancy test depends upon the time when you are performing the test. Most of the test kits available in the market can detect your hCG when you first miss your period. Almost 90% test results are positive at this period. The maximum positivity (almost 97%) can be achieved when you do the test seven days after you miss your period. Some modern kit can detect the hCG even 4 days before you expect your menstruation. If you assume that you can be pregnant, you can do this test.

Is It Safe Dying Hair While Pregnant?

dying hairDying your hair is one of the well accepted practices. It makes you younger looking, fashionable and charming. For a lady, it may be one of the beauty secrets that she likes most. But one thing usually asked that is it safe dying your hair while you are pregnant? Let us find the answer.

When you become pregnant, many things change and you become more cautious in every little step you are taking. Dyeing your hair is an occasion you become most hesitant. But it is not essentially to become frightened in dyeing. Although hair dye contains bleach and other aniline and ammonium containing products (paraphenylenediamine), experiments have not proven any teratogenicity (chances of delivering a baby having cancer of any organ). It is true that dye can penetrate the scalp and absorbed in our body, but the amount absorbed is so low that it cannot do any harm to the unborn baby in the womb.

Even then, doctors are somewhat skeptical in advocating dyeing of your hair during pregnancy. It is only because they want to play it safe and there is nothing wrong doing so. The neurological development of the baby is maximum during the first trimester (first three months) and it is said that permanent coloring should be avoided during this period. Dyeing can be carried on again after the first three months.

If you consider dyeing your hair in this time, always ensure a well ventilated room and always wear plastic gloves during application. Do a standard check first by applying a diluted solution over the back of the ear. If there is irritation, you should avoid using that dye. After coloring, leave the dye for least possible time and wash thoroughly with water. Consider using ‘hair mascara or herbal dye instead of using chemical dye’.

All together, dyeing hair while you are pregnant is safe, considering you are taking proper precautions.

Breastfeeding with Low Milk Supply – How to Deal?

breastAccording to World Health Organization guideline, a baby should take breast milk during the first four months of his life and nothing else has to be given to the baby. In case you are producing less amount of milk, baby will not get enough nutrition for his proper physical development. But how you can be sure that you are having low milk supply?

Your baby will seek for breastfeeding frequently and the time of nursing may be increased. He may want more formula milk even after you have given a considerable time in breastfeeding. Another important symptom is that there is little or no leaking of milk from your breast and you never feel a left-down sensation after nursing. These are the major symptoms of low milk supply.

The first thing you should consider that whether you are really having low milk supply? Sometimes we become so much anxious to care our baby that we consider the wrong thing first. So you should be doubly sure that you are producing less milk. Consulting a lactation expert should be the possible solution. He will assess the condition of your milk supply and the suckling capacity of your baby and advise properly.

Your breastfeeding position should be ideal. In most of the occasions, it is seen that due to poor positioning of the bay, he is unable to suck properly.

Frequent feeding increases milk production. The suckling action of your baby will stimulate the neurological and hormonal system of your breast and in turn milk supply will be increased.

Take a nursing break. A weekend break will increase the volume of milk in your breast and as the baby will suck the milk, there will be increased production.

Taking a hot compression over the breasts 10 minutes before nursing will make the temperature of your breast ideal for suckling. It will soften the breast also to produce enough milk.

Using an electronic pump to express breast milk can be done when you are not sure about the volume of the milk.

16 Weeks Pregnant – What You Should Expect

It’s really funny that a lady who has never being pregnant thinks about the changes in her body as ever week is passing by.

16 weeks of pregnancy comes under second trimester of the pregnancy period. The belly may not be much obvious, more so in slender women. Women love this period of their pregnancy as they are just flabby so as to look pregnant but not so that they look awkward. The most exciting feature a pregnant woman can notice is the movement of the baby. Depending on several factors, first movement of baby occurs at 16 to 20 weeks of pregnancy. Medically it is termed as quickening and is felt as light flickering over the abdomen.

You may need some maternity clothes at this time. Although there is not much growth of the baby and you may not actually need them for a couple of weeks more, but getting used to clothing that helps the room to grow your body is accepted by many pregnant mothers.

You should do some blood tests at this period after consultation with your doctor. The most important test is AFP (Alfafetoprotein) test and Triple test. These tests are conducted to measure the congenital abnormality, if any, to your baby. If there is increased level of AFP in your blood, there is considerable chance of delivering a baby with Down syndrome (mental retardation, lanky stature and congenital organ abnormality). The chance of termination of pregnancy can be thought of.

Amniocentesis is another test that is also conducted at this time. It detects any chromosomal problem in your baby. A thin needle is passed through your abdomen to draw a little amount of amniotic fluid under radiological guidance (ultrasonography).

At 16 weeks, your baby is almost 4.5 inches long and weighs about 3 Oz. At this time, the baby can hold the head straighter inside the womb and starts moving.

The Best Age to Get Pregnant

The best age to get pregnant; well, that’s a difficult question altogether. This is because life is different for every women and so the time of pregnancy. You must have heard from your friends, family members, colleagues that the best age to get pregnant is the younger age. But that may not be acceptable for every woman. You may be busy building your career at this time, looking after your aging parents or simply you have not reached your soul mate yet. So many factors come into play in deciding the best age.

If you take a look around your circle, you will find that many women are having their first baby at the tender age of 20-25 years. Many of them will have their second or third baby when they reach 40 years. So you see that there is no such problem that you may not have your baby at the late hours of your life. Science has taken a big leap since the invention of ‘test-tube baby’ and it is possible to get a child even for a single mother.

Biologically, the best age to get pregnant is 22-25 years for the first baby. At this age, all the parameters remain normal to deliver a healthy child. The body can produce enough hormones that help to carry on the pregnancy. A woman can get pregnant as soon as she starts menstruating. It can be as earlier as 12 years of age. The ovaries start ovulation and a single sperm can fertilize the ovum. But the body constitution at this age does not help to grow a healthy baby inside womb. Many a times, miscarriage occurs due to poor formation of placental gonadotropin. As the age goes beyond 30 years, there is chance of first time mother to deliver a child having multiple congenital defects. Low IQ, congenital malformation, low birth weight baby, intrauterine growth retardation – all these can be evident in a baby if the mother delivers at this age.

“The best age to get pregnant”? You decide.

Drinking and Pregnancy – How They are Related

drinking during pregnancyWomen need to mark their line during pregnancy. It is this time when she requires utmost personal care. Drinking alcohol is as bad as smoking during this tender time of your life. It may leave several ill-effects to your unborn child.

The first thing is fetal alcohol syndrome. Alcohol can pass the placenta and can be detected in the fetal blood. Women who go on impulsive drinking will deliver a baby with this dangerous congenital anomaly and the babies may require support for lifetime for several ailments. The fetal development will be sluggish, the spine may become curved and there may be congenital dislocation of large joints (knees, hips). There may be facial abnormality in the form of cleft lip or cleft palate, dropping eyelid and slender upper lip. Poor eyesight and lazy eye are also evident in these babies. There is congenital holes in the heart (ASD/VSD), developmental anomalies in the kidney and the spinal cord. Usually the baby dies during the first five years with fetal alcohol syndrome. If the baby survives in the first decade, the issues of learning problem, attention deficit disorder and poor coordination with friends and family members can be observed.

The alcoholic mother will deliver a premature baby (before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy) and the rate of miscarriage is also 10 times higher than the non-alcoholic mother. A study conducted in Denmark also confirmed that women on binge drinking are having 56% more chance of stillbirths than non-alcoholic one.

The blood alcohol level should be zero during the entire period of pregnancy. That means that you must not drink even a drop of alcohol. The chance of fetal alcohol syndrome is greatest with women who use to take seven or more drinks per week. But it does not suggest that you can take a drink once on a while. Every drop of alcohol can pass the placenta and can cause harm to your baby.

Signs of Pregnancy

pregnancyPregnancy is perhaps the most happening period of a woman’s entire lifetime. Every woman can ‘feel’ that she is pregnant. It comes from sheer nature of motherhood. However, one should know some probable and some definitive signs of pregnancy. It will help them across their path. Understanding the signs of pregnancy is vital because some of them may reciprocate some other diseases.

One of the earliest signs of pregnancy is a delayed or missed cycle of menstruation. Any woman who is having a regular menstrual period and her due date is over for 5-7 days can expect pregnancy, if she had unprotected sex.

Spotting of blood is also another early sign. About 5-10 days after conception, some women can notice a little amount of blood along with cramping pain. This occurs as the embryo implants itself with the uterine wall. So, it is also called ‘implantation bleeding’.

Tenderness or pain in both the breasts is common for a lady who has conceived 1-2 weeks before. It occurs due to increase in the hormonal level in blood.

The size of the areola is increased in a pregnant lady. The color of the areola also darkens from the non-pregnant state. ‘Montgomery’s tubercle’ is a goose bump like projection in the areola. Appearance of such tubercles are very much common.

A pregnant lady always feels nauseating in the morning hours. It is again more prominent in the ladies conceiving for the first time. This is also called ‘Morning Sickness’.

The size of the breast enlarges. The fatty tissues and the milk glands proliferate in order to produce milk. But due to increased level of hormone (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin – HCG) in blood, milk is not produced.

HCG is also responsible for frequent urination in a pregnant lady.

High level of Progesterone can be a cause of easy fatigue. It is more obvious in primi patients (ladies conceiving for the first time).

There is marked reduction in libido. A sexually active lady will not find it more exciting.

Increase in the frequency of urination is also noticed. HCG is again the main reason for this increase frequency.

Another distinguishable characteristic of early pregnancy is altered sense of taste. Some may complain of intense metallic taste while taking any kind of food. It is also noticed that there is craving for unusual food like earthen pots and old foods. This nature is termed as ‘Pica’.

Skin color and texture is changed from the original state in a pregnant lady. Skin shows more glow than ever before. Stretch marks start appearing over the lower part of the abdomen. In the later stages of pregnancy, a linear dark line appears from umbilicus to the perineum, called ‘Linea Nigra’. The size of abdomen starts increasing. Although there is no apparent bulging in the lower part of abdomen till 12 week of pregnancy.

First time mothers sometimes feel intense headache and heartburn. This is again due to alteration in the hormonal level.

One can feel the movement of the growing baby during the later days of pregnancy. A white colored discharge (colostrums) from the breast is also very common.