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Pregnancy Podcast

The Pregnancy Podcast is a podcast all about navigating the crazy awesomeness that is pregnancy, birth, and being a new parent! Vanessa Merten provides info that goes way beyond the typical “pregnancy instruction manual” by sharing perspectives from first-time moms, experienced moms, midwives, doulas, the latest research, and even a physician here and there – all so you decide what the best option is for YOU and feel confident about​ your decisions during your pregnancy and beyond. The Pregnancy Podcast covers everything from pregnancy, prenatal care, labor, natural birth, breast feeding, newborns, and being a new parent. The Pregnancy Podcast is ​a resource to help you make informed decisions about your pregnancy and your baby. Rest assured, you’ll find the real solutions that are in line with your family and your lifestyle.
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Jun 25, 2017

It is extremely important to stay hydrated during your labor and birth, and if you are dehydrated it will affect your labor. You can become lethargic and have a lack of energy, and your uterus is going to have a hard time contracting efficiently, which can slow down or stall your labor. There are three ways you can stay hydrated during your labor, by drinking fluids, receiving fluids from an IV, or a combination of the two. IV is short for intravenous, and IV fluids are delivered via a needle directly into a vein.

In U.S. hospitals it is common practice to routinely use IV fluids during labor, especially if you receive other interventions like an epidural or Pitocin. The benefit of being given IV fluids is that you stay hydrated during labor. This intervention also comes along with risks that can impact you, your baby, and even breastfeeding. Whether or not you plan to receive IV fluids during your birth, it is still a good idea to drink fluids during your labor. There are some tips and guidelines on what fluids are best to drink during labor and how you can ensure you stay hydrated during your labor. This episode covers the benefits of staying hydrated during your labor, how you can stay hydrated by drinking fluids, and the benefits and risks of IV fluids during labor.

 

Show notes: http://pregnancypodcast.com/episode92/

 

Thank you to Aeroflow for sponsoring this episode. Aeroflow is a company that helps you get a breast pump through your health insurance. There can be some hoops to jump through to get a breast pump through your insurance but Aeroflow does all of this for you and makes it so easy. All you need to do is fill out a form that takes just a minute and they will contact your health insurance company and work out all the details, then they will get in touch with you to help you choose the right breast pump. To get started on ordering your pump go to http://pregnancypodcast.com/breastpump/

 

Thank you to Zahler for their support of this episode. Zahler makes a high quality prenatal vitamin that has the active form of folate, that I refer after all of the research I have read on folic acid, plus it has omega 3s and DHA. This is the prenatal vitamin I take and the one I recommend. Zahler was very generous and gave me a promo code I can share with you so you can save 25% off when you buy a month supply on Amazon. To order them today go to http://amzn.to/2nOuFVB and enter the promo code PREPOD25 when you checkout.

Jun 21, 2017

Deciding whether to have your child or children attend the birth of a sibling is a very personal choice. Expecting moms fall all over the spectrum on this from not being able to imagine a birth without their other children present to not even willing to consider the idea. If you do have an older child or older children there are a lot of considerations you can take into account when deciding whether to have them present at your birth. If you ultimately do decide to include siblings there are many things you can do to plan ahead and prepare your child for a positive experience for everyone.

 

Show notes: http://pregnancypodcast.com/sibling/

 

Thank you to Aeroflow for sponsoring this episode. Aeroflow is a company that helps you get a breast pump through your health insurance. There can be some hoops to jump through to get a breast pump through your insurance but Aeroflow does all of this for you and makes it so easy. All you need to do is fill out a form that takes just a minute and they will contact your health insurance company and work out all the details, then they will get in touch with you to help you choose the right breast pump. To get started on ordering your pump go to http://pregnancypodcast.com/breastpump/

 

Thank you to Zahler for their support of this episode. Zahler makes a high quality prenatal vitamin that has the active form of folate, that I refer after all of the research I have read on folic acid, plus it has omega 3s and DHA. This is the prenatal vitamin I take and the one I recommend. Zahler was very generous and gave me a promo code I can share with you so you can save 25% off when you buy a month supply on Amazon. To order them today go to http://amzn.to/2nOuFVB and enter the promo code PREPOD25 when you checkout.

Jun 18, 2017

For the last half century it has been a common rule in hospitals that you could not eat or drink during labor. The main reason women were originally discouraged from eating during labor isn’t as relevant now and a lot of research does not support policies limiting food during labor. In the past few years, this rule has improved to allow drinking clear liquids, but not every doctor is on board with eating during labor. In contrast, women who give birth at a birth center or at home are encouraged to eat during labor. By looking at the energy requirements of your body during labor, and the evidence to support why you should or should not eat, you can decide what is going to be the best course of action for you as you plan your birth. Get evidence based information on eating during labor and tips to fuel your body so you do not run out of energy during your birth.

 

Show notes: http://pregnancypodcast.com/episode91/

 

Thank you to Aeroflow for sponsoring this episode. Aeroflow is a company that helps you get a breast pump through your health insurance. There can be some hoops to jump through to get a breast pump through your insurance but Aeroflow does all of this for you and makes it so easy. All you need to do is fill out a form that takes just a minute and they will contact your health insurance company and work out all the details, then they will get in touch with you to help you choose the right breast pump. To get started on ordering your pump go to http://pregnancypodcast.com/breastpump/

 

Thank you to Zahler for their support of this episode. Zahler makes a high quality prenatal vitamin that has the active form of folate, that I refer after all of the research I have read on folic acid, plus it has omega 3s and DHA. This is the prenatal vitamin I take and the one I recommend. Zahler was very generous and gave me a promo code I can share with you so you can save 25% off when you buy a month supply on Amazon. To order them today go to http://amzn.to/2nOuFVB and enter the promo code PREPOD25 when you checkout.

Jun 14, 2017

Writing your birth plan is an important part of preparing for the birth experience you want and getting really clear on what your preferences are. One of the recommendations when writing your plan is to limit it to one page. There are several reasons to make your birth plan one page, both for you and your care provider. This episode addresses an email from a listener who is having trouble narrowing down her birth plan, explains why your birth plan should be a maximum of one page, and tips to narrow your birth plan down and focus on what is most important for the birth you want.

 

Show notes: http://pregnancypodcast.com/onepagebirthplan/

 

Thank you to Aeroflow for sponsoring this episode. Aeroflow is a company that helps you get a breast pump through your health insurance. There can be some hoops to jump through to get a breast pump through your insurance but Aeroflow does all of this for you and makes it so easy. All you need to do is fill out a form that takes just a minute and they will contact your health insurance company and work out all the details, then they will get in touch with you to help you choose the right breast pump. To get started on ordering your pump go to http://pregnancypodcast.com/breastpump/

Jun 11, 2017

Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, was first used as a labor analgesic in 1881. Today it is commonly used as a labor analgesic in countries like Great Britain, Canada, and Australia. Nitrous oxide is not as common in the United States, and this is changing as it is becoming more widely available in both hospitals and birth centers. A benefit of using nitrous oxide is that it can easily be incorporated in a natural or a low intervention birth. During labor it is administered by breathing a mixture of 50% nitrous oxide and 50% oxygen, which you time with your contractions to manage their intensity. Nitrous oxide induces feelings of euphoria, and creates a disassociation with discomfort of contractions. This episode dives into everything you need to know about nitrous oxide, and the risks and benefits of using it during labor and birth.

 

Show notes: http://pregnancypodcast.com/episode90/

 

Thank you to Aeroflow for sponsoring this episode. Aeroflow is a company that helps you get a breast pump through your health insurance. There can be some hoops to jump through to get a breast pump through your insurance but Aeroflow does all of this for you and makes it so easy. All you need to do is fill out a form that takes just a minute and they will contact your health insurance company and work out all the details, then they will get in touch with you to help you choose the right breast pump. To get started on ordering your pump go to http://pregnancypodcast.com/breastpump/

Jun 7, 2017

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States and I suspect we will see more states jump on the bandwagon and legalize marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use in the future. Of course just because something is legal doesn’t mean it is 100% safe but the more common its use is, and the more accepted it is, the more research will be done on the effects of marijuana use on fertility, pregnancy, and babies. The active component of marijuana is THC, which has been shown to have receptors in both the brain and the testis. This episode talks about the current the research and evidence available on how a father's marijuana use before conception impacts sperm and male fertility.

Show notes: http://pregnancypodcast.com/marijuana

Thank you to Aeroflow for sponsoring this episode. Aeroflow is a company that helps you get a breast pump through your health insurance. There can be some hoops to jump through to get a breast pump through your insurance but Aeroflow does all of this for you and makes it so easy. All you need to do is fill out a form that takes just a minute and they will contact your health insurance company and work out all the details, then they will get in touch with you to help you choose the right breast pump. To get started on ordering your pump go to http://pregnancypodcast.com/breastpump/

Jun 4, 2017

Morning sickness is most often nausea that happens during pregnancy, and can be accompanied by vomiting. This does not just happen in the morning, it can be anytime or even all day. Morning sickness affects 60-80% of expecting mothers. This is most common in the first trimester, can start as early as one to two weeks after conception, and usually goes away after 12 weeks, or about when you are starting the second trimester. Hyperemesis gravidarum is severe morning sickness that can require hospitalization or treatment with IV fluids, and affects .3-2% of all pregnancies. It can be especially tough in the first trimester when you may not be telling everyone you are pregnant, you feel sick, you may be missing work, or missing out on social activities. Overall you are going through a lot of physical and emotional changes and not feeling well can really impact your mental health and quality of life. Everyone is going to be different, what helps relieve nausea for one expecting mom may not work for you. This episode goes through a long list of different treatments to try and find some relief.

Show notes: http://pregnancypodcast.com/episode89/

Thank you to Aeroflow for sponsoring this episode. Aeroflow is a company that helps you get a breast pump through your health insurance. There can be some hoops to jump through to get a breast pump through your insurance but Aeroflow does all of this for you and makes it so easy. All you need to do is fill out a form that takes just a minute and they will contact your health insurance company and work out all the details, then they will get in touch with you to help you choose the right breast pump. To get started on ordering your pump go to http://pregnancypodcast.com/breastpump/

May 31, 2017

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, and makes up about a third of our total protein. These amino acids are used throughout the body and are mostly in your skin, tendons, and ligaments. With the rise in popularity of bone broth, collagen has become a popular supplement to aid in the health of your skin and joints. This episode answers questions on whether collagen helps with stretch marks, if it safe for pregnancy, and whether there any evidence to support the benefits.

 

Show notes: http://pregnancypodcast.com/collagen/

May 28, 2017

One of the first things you do when you find out you are pregnant is figure out when your due date is. This date rules everything about your pregnancy from your prenatal care to the timing of your baby shower. This is also the most common question you will get from friends, family, and strangers. As you get close to your due date there can be a lot of anxiety, especially if your due date comes and goes and you are still pregnant. Your due date is an estimate of when your baby will arrive, it is not an exact science, and it is certainly not a deadline. Only 4% of women have their baby on their estimated due date and only 70% have their baby within 10 days of their due date. The calculation we use today is hundreds of years old and evidence doesn’t 100% agree with the calculation. This episode dives into how your due date is calculated, the accuracy of these calculations, the evidence of how long human pregnancy lasts, and what this means for your pregnancy.

 

Show notes: http://pregnancypodcast.com/episode88/

May 24, 2017

You may enjoy thicker and fuller hair during your pregnancy. But what happens to your hair after you have your baby? Hearing that your hair can fall out post birth is terrifying and thankfully the term postpartum hair loss is a little bit misleading. Once you understand how your hair’s growth cycle works and how hormones affect your hair during and after your pregnancy, it will be a lot less scary. This Q&A answers a question about loosing your hair postpartum and if there is any way to avoid it.

 

Show notes: http://pregnancypodcast.com/postpartumhairloss

May 21, 2017

Pregnancy glow, sounds like your face should be beautiful and glowing during your pregnancy. This “glow” is due to an increased blood volume and extra production of oil, which are supposed to give you a glow during pregnancy. All of the changes your body is going through during pregnancy may give you a beautiful glow, but for many expecting moms this creates some not so fun changes in their skin. Some common skin issues are sensitivity, stretch marks, acne, melisma, linea nigra, spider and varicose veins, and skin tags. This episode dives into each of these issues, what causes them, if or how they can prevented, and how you can treat them.

 

Show notes: http://pregnancypodcast.com/episode87/

May 17, 2017

Most women will see their breasts increase in size beginning in the first trimester of pregnancy. This happens as the ducts and alveoli in the breast multiply rapidly in preparation for breastfeeding. In general most expecting mother’s gain 2-3 cup sizes during pregnancy. Everyone’s breasts are going to differ a bit in how they change and grow during pregnancy. This episode discusses some of the challenges expecting moms with large breasts may encounter during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Show notes: http://pregnancypodcast.com/largebreasts

May 14, 2017

Think about everything you put on your skin and hair from the time you step in the shower to when you step out your front door. We use a ton of products every single day; shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shaving cream, lotions, face wash, toner, moisturizer, deodorant, sunscreen, makeup, hair products, it is an endless list. All of those products you use add up to a very long list of chemicals we are exposing our bodies to. During pregnancy, we want to be even more cautious about what we are putting on our bodies so we can minimize the amount of harmful chemicals we are exposing our baby to. Just because a product is available to buy on a store shelf doesn’t mean that all of the ingredients in it are safe. Unfortunately, there is little regulation from the FDA on hair and skin care products. Knowing which ingredients to avoid will help you choose safer products for both you and your baby. This episode gives you a list of skin care ingredients to avoid during pregnancy and simple tips for finding safer products for your skin and hair when you are expecting.

 

Show notes: http://pregnancypodcast.com/episode86/

May 10, 2017

Most women experience an increase in their breast size early on in their pregnancy. Everyone is different and not everyone ends up with huge boobs by the time they are going into labor. How does the size of your breasts affect your milk supply? Milk supply can be a stressful topic. Low supply is one of the most common reasons mother’s stop breastfeeding. This episode answers questions about how breast size affects milk production, milk supply, and breastfeeding, and what you can do to increase your milk supply.

 

Show notes: http://pregnancypodcast.com/breastsize/

May 7, 2017

Tea first originated in China, and has been around for thousands of years. Traditional teas, like white, green, oolong, and black tea are made from the leaves of the camellia sinensis shrub, and all contain some amount of caffeine. Herbal and rooibos teas are naturally caffeine free because they are made from herbs, berries, fruit, flowers, seeds from other plants. In evaluating the safety of drinking tea during pregnancy, there are both risks and benefits to consider. In addition to paying attention to the amount of caffeine in tea, there are other components like antioxidants, stimulants, fluoride, and heavy metals that could potentially affect you and your baby during pregnancy. There is a lot of confusion around which teas are safe and which should be avoided during pregnancy and this episode dives into some research to give you a clear list of what teas are thought to be the safest.

 

Show notes: http://pregnancypodcast.com/episode85/

May 3, 2017

PUPPS is the most common skin condition in pregnancy and stands for pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy. This shows up as a rash that is bumpy and itchy. It usually first appears in stretch marks on your belly, it can spread on your belly to your arms, thighs, butt, but this doesn’t show up on your navel, or your face. PUPPS affects about 1 in every 160 pregnancies, and is most common in the third trimester, among first time moms, and moms carrying multiples. While there are no known risks to you or your baby, the rash can be very itchy and bothersome. Topical corticosteroids and oral antihistamines are frequently prescribed to alleviate the itching. Hear the theories on what causes PUPPS, the evidence behind the medicines used to treat PUPPS, plus some natural remedies that may help you find some relief.

 

Show notes: http://pregnancypodcast.com/PUPPS/

Apr 30, 2017

Your baby starts building their strong sucking reflex in the womb. This is needed for breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, but it also has a calming effect on your baby. While it may seem like all parents give their babies pacifiers, some parents choose not to. There are benefits to giving your baby a pacifier beyond soothing a fussy baby, like a reduction in the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Along with the pros come some drawbacks to their use, and some precautions about pacifier use and breastfeeding. There is quite a bit of research on pacifiers and things like breastfeeding, dental issues, ear infections, and SIDS. By hearing the evidence both for and against the use of pacifiers you can make an informed decision as to whether you want to give one to your baby. If you do choose to give your baby a pacifier this episode also has recommendations for their use, and tips for shopping for pacifiers.

Apr 26, 2017

Your anatomy scan ultrasound is done between 16-20 weeks and is more in depth and longer than other ultrasounds.  During this ultrasound many measurements and images are captured of your baby, looking at their organs, spine, heart, your placenta, the umbilical cord, the amount of amniotic fluid, etc. Overall the ultrasound technician wants to make sure that your baby is developing just like they are supposed to. It can take some time to look at all of these individual things and depending on how your baby is positioned, it may be difficult to get a great view. This episode answers a listener question about why an ultrasound can be an uncomfortable experience, and how to handle a situation in which you need to speak up and advocate for yourself.

 

Show notes http://pregnancypodcast.com/uncomfortableultrasounds/

Apr 23, 2017

You spend 9 months dreaming about the day you get to meet your baby, you meticulously design your birth, you draft up the perfect birth plan, you over prepare, then you go into labor and nothing goes like it is supposed to. When things do not go as planned, it can be a huge disappointment. There are so many factors that impact your labor and birth, and when the big birth day comes it is possible that some of those things are out of our control and can send your birth experience in a different direction than you planned. You often hear, all that matters is that you have a healthy baby’. That is important, but how you feel about your birth experience is also important, and it also matters. Everyone copes with emotions differently and this episode has some tips and strategies you can apply in the event your birth does not go as planned, and some ways to be more prepared for those unplanned outcomes.

 

Show notes http://pregnancypodcast.com/episode83/

Apr 19, 2017

Glucose is used throughout your body for energy. In order for your body to use glucose, It needs insulin, which is a hormone produced by your pancreas, that helps muscles, fat, and other cells absorb glucose for fuel. When you are pregnant your body naturally becomes more resistant to insulin, which means that more glucose remains in your blood. The Glucose Challenge Screening, is a standard preliminary screening test performed between 24-28 weeks to evaluate how your body processes sugar.  Exercise affects both glucose and insulin levels and this Q&A answers a question about whether working out prior to a glucose test will affect the results.

 

Show notes http://pregnancypodcast.com/exerciseandglucose

Apr 16, 2017

The technical term for your water breaking before labor starts is premature rupture of membranes (PROM). The amniotic sac and amniotic fluid serve a lot of purposes like protecting your baby from infection, cushioning your baby from bumps and injury, and maintaining a constant temperature. The majority of expecting moms will have their water break during labor. For about 1 in 10 it will happen before labor, prior to the onset of contractions. For decades it was a common rule that you had to give birth within 24 hours of your water breaking, even if that meant having a cesarean section. Today we have a lot more research in this arena and are more educated about the risks of employing interventions vs. expectant management. This episode talks about the signs of your water breaking, and the risks, options, and evidence in relation to the time between premature rupture of membranes (PROM) and birth.

 

Show notes: http://pregnancypodcast.com/episode82/

Apr 9, 2017

For most of our entire human history a mother in labor was free to move around and change positions to whatever was most comfortable and suited her best at the time.  It really wasn’t until we made labor and birth a highly medicalized process that women began laboring on their backs in a bed.  There are an infinite number of positions you can try during labor and there is no one size fits all.  Labor will likely start at home and you can utilize many different positions to keep labor progressing and be as comfortable as possible before you even get to the hospital or birth center.  No matter where you are giving birth, what your birth plan is, or what interventions you are electing to have, you have options.  This episode has a lot of different labor positions to try with the pros and cons of each, and what the research says about the best positions for both labor and birth.

 

Show Notes http://pregnancypodcast.com/episode81/

Apr 2, 2017

An intervention is any procedure performed by a care provider, usually a doctor or midwife, that impacts your labor or birth. Interventions include IVs, epidurals, electronic fetal monitoring, assisted delivery (using forceps or a vent house suction cup), episiotomy, induction, augmentation, and cesarean. Every interventions comes with pros and cons and by learning what each procedure entails and when and why it is preformed you will be better able to make sound decisions as to whether or not you need or want it.

Show notes http://pregnancypodcast.com/episode80/

Mar 26, 2017

Unfortunately, sometimes when your skin is stretching during birth it can tear.  It is pretty common for first time mothers to have some tearing during a vaginal delivery and of course there is also the possibility that you could have an episiotomy, which is a surgical incision.  The good news is that there are some things you can do leading up to, and during, your labor and delivery to prevent this.  I know all of this can sound scary but it shouldn’t be.  The benefits of a vaginal delivery far outweigh the downside of a tear or an episiotomy.  Keep in mind some women make it through a vaginal birth without any tearing so it is not unavoidable.  If you do end up with a tear or incision there is a lot you can do to make yourself more comfortable, give yourself some relief, and help your body heal afterwards.

 

Show Notes http://pregnancypodcast.com/episode79/

Mar 19, 2017

A doula is a professional who has been trained in childbirth and who provides emotional, physical, and educational support to a mother and their birth partner.  Having a doula can be an amazing help in creating the birth experience you want, and can drastically decrease your chances of requiring an intervention and a cesarean section.  This episode features Nathalie Saenz of the Dearest Doula podcast.  She has a passion for birth and explains everything you need to know about doulas from what they do to some great questions to ask when finding one that is the right fit for you.

Nathalie Saenz is a birth doula, and the creator and host of the Dearest Doula podcast, a free online resource for new and aspiring birth workers. She currently offers pregnancy and birth support in San Antonio, Texas.

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