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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.