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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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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.

Mar 15, 2017

It is very common for first time expecting moms to be scared of giving birth. This is especially true when you are surrounded by negative birth stories, and facing so many unknowns about what birth will be like and how you will handle it. The good news is that there is a lot you can do to set yourself up for a positive experience and to go into labor without being scared of giving birth. This episode has actionable steps you can start taking right now to set yourself up to go into your labor with confidence and overcome being scared of giving birth.

Mar 12, 2017

The glucose challenge screening has become a standard part of prenatal care in the third trimester. This screening test evaluates how well your body processes sugar to find out if you are at risk for gestational diabetes. If your blood glucose levels are not within a normal range you will be required to take the glucose tolerance test. Pregnancy affects your insulin resistance and your blood glucose levels and 6-7% of pregnancies are impacted by gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs only during your pregnancy, and goes away after the birth of your baby. If it is not treated, this diagnosis comes with risks to both you and your baby. Identifying whether you have this condition and treating it, can make a major difference to your and your baby’s health. This episode dives into what gestational diabetes is, how it affects you and your baby, the methods of testing for gestational diabetes and examines the risks of the tests and potential alternatives.

Mar 8, 2017

The birth of your baby starts the third stage of labor during which you birth your placenta. The expulsion of the placenta and the closing off of blood vessels in your uterus is critical to your health during labor. A retained placenta is a birth complication that affects about 2% of births worldwide. The top risks associated with this are postpartum hemorrhage and infection. These complications have a high mortality rate in underdeveloped countries but typically are managed well in the Unites States and other developed countries. This Q&A is from Lisa who experienced a retained placenta during her last pregnancy and wants to be proactive in preventing it from happening again.

Mar 5, 2017

There are a lot of myths surrounding pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. Many of these false beliefs are perpetuated by movies and television, repeated by news outlets and on social media, and passed on through friends and family. Eventually these untruths come to be assumptions that can mislead expecting moms. Pregnancy myths can give you a negative attitude about your pregnancy, misguide you about your diet, and mislead you about your due date and going into labor.  Myths about birth can limit your options about how you give birth and steer you towards unnecessary interventions. Breastfeeding myths can give you false information about drinking alcohol and breastfeeding and even influence you to stop breastfeeding before your baby is ready to wean. This episode digs into the evidence to debunk 15 common myths about pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding that can have a major impact on you and your baby.

Mar 1, 2017

A uterus is usually pear-shaped and is in a straight vertical position. There are many different abnormalities that can occur in the shape and position of your uterus. Some of these are minor, like a tilted uterus, and don’t have any impact on fertility, pregnancy, and birth. Some abnormalities are more serious and may increase your risks for complications. It is estimated that 4-7% of women have some type of abnormality that occurs when their reproductive system is formed. One of those anomalies is a bicornuate uterus, commonly referred to as a heart shaped uterus. This episode explains a tilted uterus and a heart shaped uterus, and what the risks are for you and your baby.

Feb 26, 2017

Your diet has a huge impact on your health during pregnancy and the health of your growing baby. It can be a challenge to make sure you are getting the right nutrients and avoiding some of the wrong ingredients and foods. Grocery shopping and trying to decode labels and marketing claims brings a whole new layer of complexity to maintaining a healthy diet.  This is especially true when it comes to buying beef, chicken, and pork. There are both risks and benefits to eating meat during your pregnancy. This is not a debate between a diet that includes meat and a vegetarian or vegan diet. This episode is about knowing what is in the meat you are eating to keep both you and your baby healthy during your pregnancy.

Feb 22, 2017

The choroid plexus is a tissue in your baby’s brain that produces cerebrospinal fluid, which surrounds your baby’s brain and spinal cord. In a small number of pregnancies a tiny bit of fluid is pinched off when the choroid plexus is formed and it appears on an ultrasound as a fluid-filled cyst, called a choroid plexus cyst. These cysts could be a concern because they are common in babies who have Edward’s Syndrome. The good news is that in most pregnancies these cysts are harmless and will disappear by week 28. This episode gives a brief overview of choroid plexus cysts, how they are diagnosed, and what they mean for you and your baby.

Feb 19, 2017

Omega 3 fatty acids, especially DHA are vital during pregnancy.  Your body cannot make omega 3s and you must get them from your diet or a supplement.  There is clear evidence that Omega 3s are important both during your pregnancy, and in the postpartum period when you are breastfeeding. Omega 3s, like DHA, are important for the development of your baby’s brain and eyes, improving neurodevelopmental outcomes and IQ, decreasing risk of infant allergies, preventing preterm birth, and lowering your risk for postpartum depression. The issue is that it can be tough to get enough omega 3s from your diet alone, without a supplement. The omega 3 and fish oil supplement industry is $1.2 billion dollar industry, with a ton of marketing claims it can be a real challenge to find the right supplement. This episode breaks down everything you need to know to decide whether an omega 3 supplement is right for you during your pregnancy, and gives you tips to choosing the right one.

 

Show notes: http://pregnancypodcast.com/episode74/

 

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.

Feb 15, 2017

During your pregnancy your doctor or midwife will be measuring your baby based on estimates of their size relative to your due date. These values are monitored over time to see the growth of your baby in the womb. Measuring the size of your baby before they are born is not an exact science, and cannot be done with 100% accuracy. Based on where your baby’s measurements fall within a spectrum they could be deemed small (less than the 10th percentile) or large (greater than the 90th percentile) for gestational age. This episode answers a question about changes in growth percentiles over time.

Feb 12, 2017

One of the best food sources for DHA and omega 3s is fish. DHA is one type of omega 3 that is critical for the development of your baby’s brain and eyes, helps to prevent preterm labor and preeclampsia, increases birth weight, improves infant outcomes like hand-eye coordination, motor skills, and attention span, and decreases your risk for postpartum depression. In addition to omega 3s, fish are high in protein and have essential nutrients like vitamin D and selenium. Along with the benefits there are some risks to consuming fish during pregnancy like mercury content, dioxins, PCBs, and radiation. The big question is, do the benefits of eating fish during pregnancy outweigh the risks? This episode breaks explains which fish to avoid and which are considered safe during pregnancy and examines the evidence to support the risks and benefits of eating fish during pregnancy.

Feb 8, 2017

Your perineum is the area between your vaginal opening and your rectum.  This area stretches during birth and it is possible to have a tear, or if you have an episiotomy, this is the area that is cut during the birth of your baby. Perineal massage is an exercise done by you in the weeks leading up to birth to prevent tearing. The theory behind perineal massage is that by stretching this area leading up to your birth will allow it to stretch more easily, and without tearing when your baby is crowning. There have been studies on perineal massage both during pregnancy and during the second stage of labor. This episode examines these studies to determine whether there is evidence to support this practice.

Feb 5, 2017

A recurring issue I hear about from many expecting moms is that you are getting pushback from your care providers on your prenatal care or birth preferences, feel like you aren't being heard, and feel like you aren't given choices.  I want to help bridge the gap between you and your care provider and I have a guest on today who is really going to help you better navigate your relationship with your care provider.  Our conversation went above and beyond communicating with your care provider to tips on how to find the right doctor or midwife, red flags that you may want to consider a new care provider, and how fear within the medical community can impact your pregnancy and birth.

 

Dr. Stuart Fischbein is an OB/GYN in Southern California and has been practicing for over 3 decades. Throughout his career he has had extensive training and experience in vaginal breech and twin birth at some of the busiest Los Angeles area hospitals.  He has co-authored and contributed to multiple books and hosts Dr. Stu’s Podcast. He has three times been awarded Physician of the Year by the Doulas Association of Southern California, and in 2008 received their first Lifetime Achievement Award. On top of all of that Dr. Stu is LA's only OB/Gyn specializing in natural breech, twin and VBAC birth. One of the many things I really respect about Dr. Stu is that he has a long history of support for Midwives and the alternative to the medical model of birth they provide. He is really an outspoken advocate of your right to informed consent and refusal and the exercise of your free will.

Feb 1, 2017

Prenatal vitamins are an important part of your health during your pregnancy for both you and your baby. Trying to compare brands and ingredients to find the right prenatal vitamin for you can be confusing. The key to finding the right prenatal vitamin is looking past the marketing claims and going right to the ingredients. How to compare prescription and over the counter prenatal vitamins, the main differences, and how to find the right one for you.

 

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

 

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.

Jan 29, 2017

Welcome to the third and last trimester!  The third trimester goes from weeks 28 until your baby’s birth.  Your pregnancy is measured in forty weeks, but some babies like to hang out in your belly a little longer and can go a week or two past their due date.  If you are in your third trimester, congratulations, you are in the home stretch until you get to meet your little guy or girl.  This trimester can be a bit challenging as your belly keeps growing and you have some new symptoms as a result of carrying around more weight and you may also find yourself anxious to have your baby and ready to be done being pregnant.  Your baby is also going through a lot of changes this trimester in preparation for birth and life outside of your womb. Keep in mind, you are almost at the finish line and when you get to meet your baby all of the hoopla that came along with being pregnant is 100% worth it, so hang in there!

Jan 25, 2017

When you are pregnant your immune system is lowered. This sounds like a negative thing but this helps make sure that your body doesn’t reject your baby, as it would a foreign bacteria or virus. With a lower immune system it is harder for your body to fight off a cold or the flu. This is why it is so important to take care of your health when you are expecting.  Basic things like eating well, staying hydrated, and making sure you are getting plenty of rest are crucial. A homeopathic remedy sometimes used for cold and flu symptoms is pelargonium sidoides, which goes by the brand name Umcka. This is an herbal remedy made from the roots of this South African plant. This episode answers a question about whether or not Umcka is safe to take during pregnancy.

Jan 22, 2017

For many expecting moms the second trimester is their favorite period of their pregnancy and the one they enjoy the most. During weeks 13 to 27 of your pregnancy first trimester symptoms like morning sickness should be subsiding. By this point you have adjusted to many of the lifestyle changes to have a healthy pregnancy, your moods and emotions should be evening out, and overall you should feel like you have more energy. After all of the internal changes in the last trimester, the second trimester brings a lot of physical changes. Your belly will start showing and you will be able to feel your baby kicking. Get an overview of everything you can expect during the second trimester of your pregnancy including; all of the physical changes you can expect to see, how your baby is growing, what you can expect at prenatal appointments, and some of the to-do items to tackle this trimester.

Jan 18, 2017

Obstetric cholestasis is a rare complication during pregnancy caused by a reduced flow of bile down the bile ducts in the liver, which causes some bile to leak out into the bloodstream. This build-up of bile acids in the bloodstream can cause a persistent itch in the last trimester of pregnancy, especially in your hands and feet. Like so many things, the symptoms go after you have your baby. Obstetric cholestasis is more common in twin pregnancies, although, we do not know the exact cause. Often when symptoms appear during pregnancy we tend to blame hormones. Oestrogen and progesterone hormones can affect the liver by slowing down the rate of bile passing out along the tiny bile ducts. Learn about some of the risks associated with obstetric cholestasis and some things you can do to relieve itching.

Jan 15, 2017

The first 12 weeks of your pregnancy will probably be the biggest adjustment period as you get used to the idea of being pregnant, make some lifestyle changes, and deal with all of the physical and emotional changes that are going on.  The first trimester is thought of as the most sensitive time during your pregnancy because this is when all of your baby’s organs and structures are being built. You may not see a whole lot going on outside during the first trimester but you will definitely be able to tell there is a whole lot going on internally, and emotionally.  Get an overview of everything you can expect during the first trimester of your pregnancy including; common symptoms like morning sickness, changes in hormones, your baby’s development, and how you can get some relief from some of the not so fun side effects of being pregnant.

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