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A Shadow Over Your Pregnancy: How Preexisting Health Conditions can Affect You and Your Baby

Preconception planning is an important step for women with preexisting conditions to take when considering the possibility of becoming pregnant. This should be done with the advice of a doctor to ensure that the illness will not adversely affect the development of the unborn child or endanger the lives of both mother and child.

pregnancy

One of the most important things for a woman to ensure while she is pregnant is that she remains healthy throughout the the nine-month period. This is because anything that affects the mother will affect the baby in her womb. With that into consideration, women should be aware that any preexisting condition they might have and/or the medications that they are taking can have a profound effect on their pregnancy and their baby. In some cases, this may increase the risk of babies being born with birth weight problems (either overweight or underweight), developmental problems, preterm labor, premature rupture of membranes, pre-eclampsia, congenital heart block, or deformities. It may even be the cause of death for both mother and child.

Among the preexisting medical conditions that pose a significant health risk for women during pregnancy are anemia, asthma, arthritis, sexually transmitted diseases, heart conditions, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), thyroid disorders, kidney diseases, liver diseases, infections, diabetes, hypertension, eating disorders, epilepsy, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), substance abuse, depression, and other mental illnesses. While these conditions can pose complications during pregnancy, it is possible to manage them with medical assistance.

It is highly recommended that women visit their obstetricians monthly during a normal pregnancy, but for women with preexisting conditions this may occur with more frequency so that their healthcare providers can monitor the progress of the pregnancy, how the woman is managing her preexisting condition and how it is affecting the unborn child.

For women with preexisting conditions who are planning to become pregnant, it is important to consult with a doctor before conception happens. A doctor will be able to explain the risks the condition poses to the pregnancy and help a woman weigh the pros and cons of carrying a child. This is called preconception planning, and when followed by early and on-going prenatal care, it is very helpful in ensuring a safe and healthy pregnancy.

Preconception planning can map out a possible plan for every step during the pregnancy, including counseling for the couple who wishes to have the child, the possibility of changing the medications currently being used to manage the preexisting condition, and of any changes in diet for the mother-to-be. In some cases, such as if a woman has an eating disorder or a predilection for substance abuse, the doctor may suggest going through therapy to eliminate these conditions before becoming pregnant. Both diet and medication have been proven to have an impact on the health of the child, since the baby is effectively sharing whatever the mother ingests.

Chronic conditions don't have to threaten a woman's life or the life of her unborn child. Apart from seeking medical advice about her preexisting conditions, it is also important to have the support of her family and friends around her. There are also groups composed of women in a similar situation that remind the the woman that she is not the only person going through this challenge. There are many women out there have triumphed over their illnesses to carry a child to term. Practicing preconception planning is just one of the steps in giving birth to healthy babies.

 

Burn Baby Burn: Getting Rid Of Your Baby Fat (After Pregnancy)

One of the joys of conceiving becomes quite obvious as the months go by, and that’s showing off your bulging baby bump, a trend being made ever so popular by Hollywood’s hottest expecting leading ladies.

But, unless you're one of the Hollywood hotties, you may not be able to shed that baby bump so quickly after delivery. In fact, if you’re over 25 and certainly over 30, losing the baby weight may seem like a losing battle.

Not only has our body packed on the pounds dur...

pregnancy, dieting, women\'s health

One of the joys of conceiving becomes quite obvious as the months go by, and that’s showing off your bulging baby bump, a trend being made ever so popular by Hollywood’s hottest expecting leading ladies.

But, unless you're one of the Hollywood hotties, you may not be able to shed that baby bump so quickly after delivery. In fact, if you’re over 25 and certainly over 30, losing the baby weight may seem like a losing battle.

Not only has our body packed on the pounds during pregnancy, but along with age, comes a natural tendency to favor fat and gain weight. Once a certain fat level is reached and maintained for an undetermined but specific amount of time, the body accepts this (level) as normal and works at conserving it.

So, as you start to purge those extra pounds, other physiological systems kick and foster Re-gain. Hormones and neurotransmitters that control your activity level, your hunger level and how you metabolize food are also affected in ways that encourage fat to make its way back.

But, experts assert that there is hope, it just may take more time and conscious effort. And, they add, that it should be viewed and treated as a lifestyle change, and not a “temporary” diet plan geared at simply shedding some extra pounds.

Among the key factors to dropping the weight and keeping it off is the amount of exercise you do over the long haul. Experts suggest a few times a week if possible, but even that may not be enough. In fact, the ideal amount would amount to about 30 minutes per day, even if it’s done at intervals, which is also a great way to help you not only maintain a healthy weight, but stay healthy as well.

Furthermore, studies show that losing weight and keeping it off may mean up to 60 to 90 minutes of moderate exercise daily (for most), and they again suggest breaking it into intervals. You can also incorporate exercise into daily activities such as walking instead of driving, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, etc. And, they caution those who are or may be out of shape to start off slow and take it easy and build up gradually.

Overall they suggest sticking within your (daily) calorie and exercise range and finding a program that’s practical and easy for you to commit and stick to. And they suggest making small, achievable goals that will enable you to see results, which will in turn be a motivation for you to continue on your successful path.

 

Baby in the Boardroom : How to Juggle the Demands of Pregnancy and Your Job

As long as a woman is healthy and regularly sees her doctor, there is no reason why she should not continue to work while she is pregnant. This poses little or no risk to the child. But if the health of the mother and the unborn child is threatened, certain changes must be made to accommodate their needs.

pregnancy

Largely because of the huge financial impact of bringing a child into the world, more women are now choosing to work well into the last trimester of their pregnancy. But financial reasons aside, many women place equal importance to their careers as they do their families, believing that they can fulfill the roles of mother, wife and career woman all at the same time. In fact, some women continue working until they actually deliver their baby. This is a departure from the old practice of women resigning immediately after finding out that she is pregnant, which for many years is believed to be one of the reasons why women should not advance as high as their male counterparts do in the workplace hierarchy.

The truth is, its not impossible for a woman to continue working during pregnancy, as long as she remains healthy during this period. However. this can present some challenges especially since pregnancy has its share of aches and pains. Take morning sickness, for example. Its name may be misleading some women into thinking that it only strikes at a particular time of day, but the feeling of nausea may actually threaten to overwhelm a pregnant woman at any given time of the day especially during the first trimester, but it may continue throughout the pregnancy. Women are also more easily tired and uncomfortable as their bodies cope with the increasing demands of carrying the baby, and the stress of being pregnant is often aggravated by job stress. Certain work conditions may also aggravate job stress or be dangerous for both mother and unborn child such as frequent shift changes, strenuous physical tasks, hot or cold working environments, long commutes, prolonged standing, repetitive lifting of heavy objects, heavy vibrations such as from large machines and exposure to harmful substances.

Even if the job doesn't present any obvious threat, there will still be a need to make some changes to a pregnant woman's working conditions. These changes must be made to ensure the continuing good health of both mother and child. Here are some ideas that the pregnant woman may want to follow for a trouble-free pregnancy at work:

l Avoid anything that may trigger an attack of nausea, and drink plenty of fluids. Keep a supply of crackers, bottled water, hard candy, lemon drops, ginger ale, ginger tea and other bland foods handy in the office to help ease the nausea in case it attacks.
l Pregnant women tire easily, with their energy level fluctuating throughout the day. During this time it is extremely important that a woman gets an adequate amount of sleep at night and opportunity to take short, frequent breaks during the day to recharge. This may mean rethinking your work schedule and scaling back on activities both inside and outside the home such as doing chores. It may also help if you have a comfortable chair and enough pillows to support your back, and a place to put your feet up.
l Exercise does wonders during pregnancy, because it greatly improves your overall health and wellbeing. It boosts mood, enhances the quality of sleep, reduces pregnancy aches and pains, and prepares you for childbirth by strengthening muscles and building endurance. This is especially important because during pregnancy and childbirth, a woman's body is subjected to a great deal of stress. Exercise also makes it much easier to get back in shape after your baby's born, and helps ease constipation, backache, fatigue, varicose veins, circulation problems and other health issues related to pregnancy. The most recommended exercises for pregnant women are walking, swimming, yoga, stretching, and low-impact aerobics. Pelvic exercises called Kegel exercises are also beneficial to the expectant mother, helping to strengthen the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor muscles support the uterus, bowel, and bladder; these body parts are put under pressure during pregnancy and childbirth.
l Bending and lifting. Proper form can spare your back, even if you're lifting something light. Bend at your knees, not your waist. Keep the load close to your body, lifting with your legs — not your back. Avoid twisting your body while lifting. If a load is too heavy to handle easily, ask for help.




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