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.

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.

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.

Pregnancy Test

pregnancy testPregnancy tests are formulated to confirm that whether a lady is pregnant or otherwise. Tests for pregnancy have been in practice since early human civilizations. Previously pregnancy tests were mostly depending upon the different signs of pregnancy. But the modern pregnancy tests are based upon different chemical markers that start rising up when a lady is pregnant. These pregnancy markers can be found both in blood and urine. But due to patient’s convenience, modern pregnancy kit tests use urine as a sample.

The most common sought after chemical marker in pregnancy is Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. It is secreted by the HCG producing cells present in the placental wall. Although detecting HCG in urine is a confirmatory test for pregnancy, the level of HCG can raise in some rare tumors of the ovary, chronic diseases of liver, cancer of the liver and in some other disease conditions. In a pregnant woman, the level of HCG initially rises slowly and the pregnancy tests will give positive results only after 6 days of conception. Otherwise there is a fair chance of detecting a false negative case. False positive result can be seen in a lady taking HCG injections for infertility or for any other reason. Modern test kit is supplied with a paper strip impregnated with a chemical solution for detecting HCG. The kit also has a place to pour some urine sample. Usually the first morning sample is preferred. Positive test will show two bands in the examination area. And if the urine does not contain HCG, then there will be only one control band. The test will not take more than a few minutes and it is highly accurate (gives confirmatory result in 99% of cases). It is better to take less amount of water at night prior to the test, so the concentration of HCG will be higher in morning urine.
In the laboratory, urine sample is analyzed for presence of HCG. The test is called Beta-Gravindex tests. Although the technique is mostly similar, the test at the laboratory is done with some machines.
Blood samples are also analyzed in the laboratory to quantify the amount of HCG present in the sample. This is called Beta-HCG test. As little amount of HCG can also be demonstrated by this method (1mIU/ml), Beta-HCG test can give positive result as early as 6 days after conception.

For all practical purposes, detection of planned pregnancy can wait up to seven days of a missed conception. But academically pregnancy test can give positive results even after 48 hours of fertilization. The chemical marker for this test is called Early Pregnancy Factor (EPF). A test called RIA (Rosette Inhibition Assay) is done to detect the EPF. Although the test is very much accurate (99.5%), it takes about 3-4 hours for a single test and it is quite expensive. Therefore, use of this test is limited to some unprecedented conditions like sexual assault and when the victim feels that she can become pregnant (depending the date of menstruation).
Visualizing the uterus for presence of fetal sac by Ultrasonography (USG) can be done 2 weeks after conception using a transvaginal probe. After 5 weeks the fetus is visualized and the fetal measurements can be obtained. Fetal heart beat can be measured by USG only after 7 weeks of gestation.

Pregnancy Symptoms

 

Pregnancy in and of itself is a difficult topic to talk about for most people because there are a number of different complications that can result from the overall process which itself is one of the most complicated natural biological sequences that is known to exist in the world today. That having been said, discussing symptoms of pregnancy is even harder to do because pregnancy symptoms can often be misleading. There are many pregnancy symptoms that are common to many other conditions that women can also have and for that reason a lot of the symptoms are not particularly accurate all of the time.

The only symptom that can be described as accurate most of the time would be a delay in the menstrual cycle. A woman periodically (on approximately a monthly basis) goes through the menstrual cycle as a method of purging the ovaries of some of the excess eggs that might be contained within. However, if an egg has implanted itself inside the uterus and has started the process of pregnancy, such a cycle can be delayed as a result of the egg having left the ovary already. For this reason, the most telling symptom of a woman being pregnant is a delayed menstrual cycle and if a woman in otherwise normal health experiences such a symptom, it is a good idea to visit the doctor in order to see if pregnancy has occurred.

Once the pregnancy process has actually started, you will find that there are a number of different symptoms that are associated with it. One such symptom includes a condition known as morning sickness. Morning sickness results in nausea and in some cases a large amount of vomiting as well, although individual experiences of morning sickness range from the very mild to the very intense depending on the particular biological factors involved. Morning sickness manifests itself within the first trimester (i.e. the first three months) of the pregnancy and usually ends up disappearing for the most part after that period of time has passed.

Another frequent symptom of pregnancy that most women suffer from is backaches. This is not really something that happens because of biological changes that cause you to have more backaches, but rather is a result of the increased amount of weight that a woman has to carry around during pregnancy. Just as people suffering from weight problems and obesity tend to have back problems as well, a woman that is carrying an entire person inside her during the period of pregnancy will also usually end up suffering from backaches through the entire process.

These are just three examples of the large number of symptoms that can result from the process of pregnancy. They are by no means an exhaustive list, but are sufficient to illustrate the point that a number of symptoms, both as warning signs of pregnancy and as actual pregnancy process side effects, can occur because of pregnancy taking place. For more information about specifics in your case, it is best to visit your doctor.
 

Nutrition during Pregnancy

Nutrition is an interesting subject on its own, but during the pregnancy process it is especially interesting. Many women look at pregnancy as a time when they have to forego eating some of their favorite foods in order to make sure that the baby is getting all of the nutrition it needs. This is an understandable attitude, but many women look upon their pregnancy as an opportunity. The opportunity is there for them to spend nine months away from some of their worst vices and for that reason the opportunity exists for them to use their pregnancy as a period of time to transition from a bad nutrition diet to a good nutrition diet and maintain such a diet even after their child is born. Both ways of looking at it are valid from the point of view of the pregnant woman, so it is really an individual choice that must be made.

Either way, when you are pregnant, there are a number of foods that you should avoid. These are foods (or substances) that in one way or another will have a negative impact on the baby. These include things like caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, artificial sweeteners, fish and milk. This is not an exhaustive list and some of these items (such as caffeine) can be consumed in small amounts. However, the best policy would be to stay away from them entirely as they therefore will not have any impact whatsoever on the baby during the pregnancy period. For more information on establishing a diet that works for you while at the same time avoids these items, it never hurts to pay your family doctor a visit.

It is not always easy to figure out which foods to avoid during pregnancy however, as many of the substances above can be found in places where you might least expect them. For example, you might be able to avoid alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, artificial sweeteners and milk by making sure that you do not drink any coffee, tea, beer, wine or spirits during your pregnancy, but what happens if you end up visiting a baby shower and eating a slice of cake?  If it is a normal slice of cake, chances are very good that it will contain milk and caffeine and depending on the type of cake it is, it might also contain alcohol in small amounts as well as some artificial sweeteners. In the modern age there are cakes that can be made without milk or eggs and with sugar and for this reason eating cake is fine so long as you know beforehand what ingredients went into actually making it. This is just one example of one of the pitfalls that can catch an otherwise well-meaning person during pregnancy, so make sure that you are on your toes when it comes to this particular issue during your pregnancy period.

The main thrust of your focus on nutrition during pregnancy should be in avoiding bad foods that can potentially negatively affect the development of your baby. Beyond that, utilization of general nutritional principles when it comes to designing a good diet is usually good enough.