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Posts tagged ‘Pregnancy’

Resources for an Evidence-Based Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be incredibly overwhelming. How do we sort through the huge amounts of advice - solicited and not - to make evidence-based choices? Who do we trust? Readers offered their suggestions on my Facebook page, and I've compiled them into a handy list for you!

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Can Fetal Movements Predict a Baby’s Sex or Temperament?

I'm pregnant and carrying a fetus that seems really active. Can this tell me anything about the baby's sex or temperament?

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Caffeine Safety in Pregnancy

I look at the science to see what it says about the safety of caffeine in pregnancy so that I could make an informed decision about whether to consume caffeine, and if so, how much.

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I wrote my last blog post before going in for a D&C last Friday. The procedure itself was simple and quick. I “fell asleep” with the warm hand of my OB holding mine and woke up from general anesthesia feeling an inevitable emptiness but some degree of peace. At home, I ate a piece of toast, crawled into my own bed and woke up four hours later. What greeted me were your comments and emails of sympathy, empathy, and heart. There were a lot of them, some from people I have known for decades and some from readers that I had never heard from before, but I read every single one before I got up to face the afternoon.

The resounding message was this: You are not alone.

I was nervous about writing about miscarriage, but once it was out there, I felt nothing but support. It made me wonder why we hesitate to share this kind of hurt. It is personal, and it does seem strange to tell the whole world that I’m grieving. But the world is full of hurt. What’s wonderful is that so many people are willing to share a bit of mine – even the smallest bit – and enough people doing that really does make me feel better. I didn’t anticipate that writing about miscarriage here would be so therapeutic. The writing itself is actually sort of painful, in a good way I guess, but sharing the experience has been healing. Read more

Pregnancy Lost

It has been a hard couple of weeks for me, even with all the warmth and joy of the holidays. On December 21, 10 weeks into pregnancy (as yet unannounced here), we watched as my OB scanned my uterus. We saw the dark gestational sac and a small clump of embryonic tissue. There was no heartbeat, and the embryo measured at about 5 weeks. It hadn’t developed beyond that. This pregnancy would not be ending with a baby.

I’m a very cautious person when it comes to celebrating pregnancy. I didn’t really relax into my pregnancy with Cee until I saw the normal fetus at our 20-week ultrasound. I have had several close friends suffer the loss of miscarriage (and go on to have beautiful, healthy babies, I will add). I know that among clinically recognizable pregnancies (not counting the 30-50% of conceptions that never implant), about 15-20% will not survive. Even as I shared our pregnancy news with our close family and friends, I reminded them of this fact.

Although a part of me was prepared for this outcome, there was really no way that I could prepare myself for how it would feel. I have a profound sense of losing something important. Tiny as it may have been, it was part of me and part of Husband, and it was growing inside of me, if only for a short time. The wonder of pregnancy has been replaced with the vision of that ultrasound: the gestational sac a gaping dark hole, what remains of the embryo little more than a smear. Empty, dead, inevitably transient.

This is the grief of pregnancy loss, something so many of us must face as we try to build our families. What it speaks to, more than anything, is the power of a parent’s love, even for an embryo whose heart never beats. For many parents, it is the struggle to conceive, and after that, it is the fragility of human life. And even as our healthy babies become children and our love grows beyond the bounds of what we thought was possible, we know we are vulnerable to loss. It is the reason that it felt unbearable to be a mother on the day of the Newtown school shooting. This is family. This miscarriage, it is a small loss, but it still sure hurts. Read more

How Fit Is Your Fetus? Exercise During Pregnancy and Fetal Heart Rate

Pregnancy made me tired – really tired. Pregnancy fatigue made me collapse into the couch at the end of the day (or heck, even at the beginning of the day), and it made the thought of getting up off that couch extremely painful. If I didn’t have to pee ALL the time, I might have been tempted to live on the couch full-time.

But then, there was a nagging voice in my head that said I should be exercising during my pregnancy. Yes, the couch was more inviting than the thought of taking my altered centered of gravity for a run in shorts that no longer fit. The trick for me was to fit in the exercise before the couch and I made eye contact. Going straight from work to the yoga studio, the gym, or a walking trail was the only way exercise would happen. And most of the time, the movement felt really good. I felt better about myself and my changing body, and I slept better at night.

Beyond these immediate benefits, women who exercise during pregnancy often have shorter labor and delivery times, fewer pregnancy complications, and faster postpartum recovery. Who isn’t motivated by the thought of those benefits? The CDC and ACOG recommend that healthy pregnant women get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week. That’s about 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week, of walking, jogging, swimming, or whatever floats your boat, within reason.

Exercise is good for a pregnant mom, but what about her fetus? How does the fetus feel about all this jostling about and heavy breathing? Many studies have shown that moderate exercise is safe for the fetus, and a new study indicates that when mom exercises, the fetus actually becomes more fit, too!

In a recent study, Dr. Linda May and colleagues at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences and the University of Kansas have found that more intense exercise during pregnancy is associated with changes in fetal heart rate similar to that found in adults undergoing fitness training [1]. Read more