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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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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.

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.

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