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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Pregnancy Podcast



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Jan 11, 2017

It is really important to try and nail down your date of conception or “due date” as accurately as possible in the beginning of your pregnancy. This isn’t always easy to do, especially if your pregnancy was a surprise. The estimate of your baby’s age has a big impact on your prenatal care and your care provider’s recommends as you get closer to your due date. A big measurement of your baby’s health during your pregnancy is based on estimates of their size relative to your due date. Measuring the size of your baby in the womb is not an exact science. Unfortunately we have no way to measure weight or height with 100% accuracy before a baby is born. The most accurate methods we have usually combine an ultrasound with some calculations to come up with the size of your baby. This episode answers a questions about the accuracy of ultrasound measurements.

Jan 8, 2017

Once you see the positive result on your pregnancy test you are sure to have a crazy mix of emotions. Finding out you are expecting a baby can change your life in an instant. It can be overwhelming to think about the amount of information you need to consume and the things you need to do before your baby arrives. Do not stress out. If you just take it one step at a time and you will be totally prepared when your little one arrives. This episode brings you up to speed on everything you need to know as soon as you find out you are pregnant.

Jan 4, 2017

Preeclampsia is essentially high blood pressure during pregnancy. High blood pressure can damage arteries, which can lead to serious complications. There has been some research on low PAPP-A levels and preeclampsia, and there is also evidence that suggests low dose aspirin during pregnancy can benefit expecting mothers who have preeclampsia. Aspirin is a blood thinner and can lower your blood pressure and low doses are sometimes prescribed for high blood pressure during pregnancy. There is a big difference between the safety of low dose and normal or high dose aspirin. This episode dives into the research on low dose aspirin and preeclampsia and discusses the pros and cons of taking aspirin to reduce the risk of developing preeclampsia.

Jan 1, 2017

Making informed decisions on whether or not to vaccinate your child involves weighing the risks of the disease the vaccine prevents with the risks of the vaccination. As if this isn’t enough of a challenge, there are often multiple manufacturers for each vaccine and each medication varies. This episode breaks down each of the vaccine preventable diseases and looks at the differences in the options for each vaccine. This includes the company that manufacturers each vaccine, when it was approved, and a link to the package insert. The package insert contains everything from the manufacturer, including results from clinical trials, possible side effects and adverse reactions, all ingredients, etc. Since aluminum has been raised as a big concern this episode also notes the aluminum content in each vaccine. This episode will help you to understand each disease targeted by vaccines and get the information you need to compare different brands to make an informed decision.

Dec 21, 2016

Rhinitis is irritation or inflammation of the mucous membrane inside the nose. When this happens during pregnancy it is termed pregnancy rhinitis. The main symptoms are sneezing, nasal congestion or running nose. This is a common ailment during pregnancy and affects between 9-40% of expecting moms. Pregnancy Rhinitis can start in almost any gestational week, but is most common in the third trimester, and disappears shortly after you have your baby. If you are pregnant and suffering from a stuffy nose, you are not alone. This episode discusses the causes of a stuffy nose and pregnancy rhinitis and what you can do to safely treat it during pregnancy.

Dec 18, 2016

Vaccines are recommended from birth up through adulthood. When a vaccine is introduced into your system, you create antibodies against the disease, and if your body is ever exposed to that organism in the future, your body recognizes it and is able to fight it off. There are many different types of vaccines and additional ingredients that are added during processing or to improve the shelf life or safety of the vaccine. As more and more vaccines are recommended for children there has been growing concern over the safety of the vaccines individually and the recommendations for the number and timing of vaccines. Making a decision whether or not to vaccination your child is a complicated one and involves weighing the risks and benefits. This episode is an overview of the recommendations for vaccines from birth to age 2, a look at vaccination schedules, and some of the general concerns about vaccines.

Dec 14, 2016

During pregnancy, the hormone relaxin causes your ligaments to relax and become loose. This is helpful for birth because it increases your range of movement and helps your baby get through your pelvis. For a small percentage of expecting mothers this can lead to the ligaments becoming too loose and their pelvis becoming unstable. The result can be an uncomfortable and painful condition called symphysis pubis dysfunction or pelvic girdle pain. Like many things that occur during pregnancy this tends to disappear shortly after the birth of your baby. This episode answers a few questions about symphysis pubis dysfunction (ad pelvic girdle pain), what the evidence is that it goes away after birth, recommended labor positions for the condition, and whether breastfeeding prolongs SPD.

Dec 11, 2016

Flu is short for influenza, which is an infectious disease caused by the influenza virus. In healthy adults the flu normally isn’t serious and symptoms subside in about a week. If you are very young, elderly, or have a weakened immune system you are at a much higher risk for complications. The inflammatory response your body has to the flu during pregnancy puts you at a higher risk for some complications. It is recommended that pregnant women get the flu vaccine during their pregnancy to protect them and give passive immunity to their baby. There are many flu vaccines available and it can be a challenge to weigh the risks and benefits to decide whether getting the flu vaccine during pregnancy is right for you. This episode dives into all of the pros and cons and considerations to think about to make an informed decision on whether you should get the flu vaccine during your pregnancy.

Dec 7, 2016

Arnica Montana is a flowering plant from Europe and has been used in homeopathic medicine for centuries to treat pain and swelling. Homeopathy, is based on the view that disease symptoms can be treated by minute doses of substances that produce similar symptoms when provided in larger doses to healthy people. There has also been some legislation by the Federal Trade Commission on marketing and labeling of homeopathic products. There are quite a few small studies on Arnica Montana to treat acute conditions like sore muscles and post-operative pain. This episode answers a question on whether there is any research on the use of Arnica Montana for post-partum pain, efficacy, risks or dosing pre or post delivery.

Dec 4, 2016

A vaccine is created by taking a weakened or killed form of a disease causing micro-organism that causes your body to produce antibodies against that organism and provide immunity without actually inducing the disease. Vaccines are a very controversial topic and this episode is an introduction to what vaccines are and gets into specifics on the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy. In addition to different types of vaccines, there are many ingredients that can be included in vaccines to serve a particular function like increasing your immune response or as a byproduct of the processing. Tdap is one of two vaccines recommended during pregnancy that provides immunity for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Get the benefits and risks of getting the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy so you can make an informed decision on whether it is right for you.

Nov 30, 2016

Protein is an important part of your diet during your pregnancy for both you and your baby. It is recommended that you consume about 75 grams of protein every day while you are pregnant. This can be a challenge, especially if you are vegetarian or vegan. An easy source of plant based protein is soy, but there are some reasons you may want to be cautious about what type of soy you are eating, and in what quantities. Another easy source of protein is a protein powder, but is it recommended? This episode answers a couple questions about whether it is safe to consume soy or protein shakes during your pregnancy.

Nov 27, 2016

The first year of your baby’s life goes by so fast and so much of your focus is on sleeping, breastfeeding, eating, and just adjusting to your new role as a parent who is responsible for another human. The transition from baby to toddler happens so quickly and suddenly you have a child who is walking and talking and your focus goes from not just making sure they are well taken care of and healthy, but also, how do you raise them to be smart, respectful, creative, confident, and happy individuals? I recently came across a podcast that is going to help you in your parenting journey. From the first episode I listened to I knew that I had to get in touch with the host and get her on the Pregnancy Podcast. Your Parenting Mojo is an amazing parenting resource for you to listen to and get a head start on parenting!


Featuring Jen Lumanlan who is mom to her two-year old daughter Carris, is working on her Masters in psychology with a focus on child development, and she is the host of the Your Parenting Mojo podcast.  Jen has outstanding research skills and each episode of her podcast is filled with evidence based information you can use on your parenting journey.

Nov 23, 2016

A home Doppler is a device that uses Doppler ultrasound waves to allow you to listen to your baby’s heartbeat during your pregnancy. These products are promoted as a device to help you bond with your baby and give you peace of mind. These can be especially reassuring if you have a high-risk pregnancy or if you previously experienced a miscarriage. The big question is whether a home Doppler is safe to use. While there have been no studies on humans there are some studies performed on animals that give us some insight into the safety of a Doppler ultrasound. This episode answers the question about whether a home Doppler is safe to use during your pregnancy.

Nov 20, 2016

Third trimester starts in week 28 and appointments with your care provider increase to every two weeks. The last month of your pregnancy you will be seeing your doctor or midwife weekly. Vaginal exams can be recommended during your pregnancy in the last few weeks leading up to your birth, and during your labor. The question is, are they really necessary and will you benefit from the results? Vaginal exams have become a routine, but questions about what the results show, the risks involved, and the psychological effects of the results have some expecting moms questioning whether they want to opt in to these procedures. Find out what is involved during a vaginal exam, how the results are interpreted, and what the results mean for you and your baby. This episode presents all of the research and evidence to help you make an informed decision about vaginal exams.

Nov 16, 2016

Ideally your baby is head down and facing your spine when you go into labor. The location of your placenta during pregnancy may have some influence on the position your baby is in at birth. An anterior placenta means that your placenta is on the front side of your uterus by your belly, this is less common that an anterior placenta which is located on the back of the uterus. This episode answers some questions about whether an anterior placenta makes a breech or sunny side up baby more likely, and whether it increases the chances of having back labor. Plus gets tips on how to manage and alleviate some fears about birth during your pregnancy.

Nov 13, 2016

Vitamin D plays a crucial role during your pregnancy. One of the most important things vitamin D does is help with the absorption of other important nutrients like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc. The majority of expecting mothers are deficient in vitamin D. This increases your risk for preeclampsia, negative health outcomes for your child later in life, and may even increase your risk for a cesarean section. Your body gets vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, your diet, and supplements like your prenatal vitamin. Most prenatal vitamins contain far less vitamin D than research is showing is necessary for adequate levels required during pregnancy. Find out what the most current research says about vitamin D during pregnancy and how to make sure you have enough vitamin D to support you and your baby.

Nov 9, 2016

During your pregnancy estrogen, progesterone and prolactin are changing your breasts to prepare your body for producing milk and breastfeeding. One of the biggest changes is the growth of additional breast tissue. It is recommended to examine your breasts and your armpits for lumps just to be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary but chances are when you are pregnant you will have a lot of lumps where you didn’t before. We have been conditioned to associate a lump in our breast to cancer but another possibility during pregnancy is that it could be a lactating adenoma. This is a benign growth that will naturally disappear at the end of your pregnancy or when you have stopped breastfeeding. This episode answers a question about whether you should be worried about finding a lump in your breast during pregnancy.

Nov 6, 2016

In the United States, the average cost of a vaginal birth is $18,329 and the average cost for a cesarean section is $27,866.  Health insurance is important because it will help to cover some of these costs and minimize the amount you will need to spend on medical bills.  The first step is to find the right insurance coverage for pregnancy and birth.  This is going to get you off on the right foot to minimizing your costs and making sure you are covered.  Next, you should know how your insurance works so you aren't surprised by medical bills after your baby arrives.  If you already have health insurance that you are happy with this episode is going to help explain how health insurance works during your pregnancy and birth and how to understand what your cost is going to be. If you do not have health insurance or you are in the process of changing your insurance this episode will help you figure out how to choose the right plan.

Nov 2, 2016

A nuchal hand is one of several compound presentations where an extremity is alongside the presenting part of your baby at birth.  With a vertex baby, the presenting part is their head, and with a breech baby, it is their bottom. A nuchal hand means that their hand is up by their face when they are being born and this is the most common presentation irregularity.  Ideally, your baby retracts their arm and comes out headfirst.  A nuchal hand doesn't automatically mean a C-section, but it does have the possibility to bring up some complications. This episode answers several questions about a nuchal hand, how it affects your birth and whether there is anything you can do during pregnancy or labor to prevent it.

Oct 30, 2016

Circumcision can be a very controversial topic and a very confusing one. Circumcision is the removal of foreskin from a penis, and it is a permanent surgical procedure. The considerations in making a decision to circumcise your baby include your baby’s health, benefits and risks of the procedure, and religious and social considerations. From a medical standpoint, on one side the claimed benefits are decreased risks for sexually transmitted diseases, easier or better hygiene, decrease risks for urinary tract infections and penile cancer.  On the other side proponents against circumcision cite the risks for complications of the procedure and inflicting pain in your baby for an elective procedure. This episode is about the pros and cons, the research available, and all of the considerations to take into account when deciding whether to circumcise your baby. There is a lot of literature available on this topic and a lot of strong opinions on both sides of this debate. After listening to this episode you will have all of the information you need to weigh the risks and benefits and make the decision that is right for you and your baby.

Oct 26, 2016

The process you go through to create your birth plan, which includes educating yourself, and working with your care provider is really important to get the birth experience you want. The final step of creating your birth plan is writing it out. A written birth plan is going to serve as your blueprint for how you want your birth to unfold from start to finish. This episode answers a question about whether it is really necessary to write out a plan and hand a copy to your doctor or midwife.

Oct 23, 2016

No matter what type of birth you have, the most important thing after your baby is born is that you get skin to skin with your baby. Skin to skin means that your baby is not swaddled or clothed and their bare skin is placed belly down against your bare chest. Being skin to skin stabilizes your baby’s heart rate, breathing and temperature, and reduces stress in both you and your baby. It also increases your interactions with your baby and increases the likelihood and length of breastfeeding. The benefits to both you and your baby are well documented.

Oct 19, 2016

It is common to have some discomfort in your vaginal area and perineum after having a baby. This can obviously come along with an episiotomy or a vaginal tear, but even without a tear you will probably be tender. Padsicles are a fantastic tool to help soothe your sore areas and are super quick and easy to make. Padsicles are postpartum healing pads that you can DIY at home. By adding a few ingredients to feminine pads and freezing them before you give birth you can be more comfortable once you are home with your baby. This episode answers a question about what recipe to use and gives you simple step-by-step instructions to make your own postpartum healing pads.

Oct 16, 2016

Choosing a pediatrician can be a stressful event, but it doesn’t have to be. You have two options when it comes to picking a doctor for your baby; a pediatrician or a family physician or general practitioner. The upside to a pediatrician is that they are specially trained in providing care for newborns, babies, and toddlers. A pediatrician is your trusted partner in your baby’s health. Together you ensure your baby is growing and developing on track and if there is any deviation from the norm you work together to figure out what is going on what is going on and how to treat it. A pediatrician will monitor your child’s growth and development and be there in the event your baby’s health is not optimal. This episode gives you tips to choose a pediatrician and lets you know what you can expect from your doctor visits with your new baby.

Oct 12, 2016

It has long been rumored that cabbage leaves are a remedy for breast engorgement and drying up your milk supply. It is thought that the phytoestrogen property of cabbage is what helps to draw the fluids into the cabbage leaf. Engorgement can be so uncomfortable when you are breastfeeding. This episode answers the question of what's up with cabbage leaves? Do they have magical properties or is it simply a popular placebo?


Huge thank you to Lori Isenstadt of the All About Breastfeeding Podcast for contributing to this episode!

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