Kicks Count! The Importance of Monitoring Your Baby’s Movement in Pregnancy

Baby kickingIf you’ve ever been pregnant, you know how special it is to feel baby’s first movement. I remember my experience well: I had just gotten situated on the table in my doctor’s office when I felt a semi-ambiguous flutter under my navel that I sensed was the start of many somersaults to come in my pregnancy. It’s totally surreal!

But feeling those kicks and movements are far from just fun thrills for mom—they’re also a super important way to monitor (and protect) your developing baby.

To that end, the nonprofit First Candle (which has the aim to support healthy pregnancies and help babies thrive) and product company Boppy have partnered together to promote overall pregnancy health—and, specifically, the importance of fetal movement monitoring—by way of a new “Pregnant and Empowered” website, brochure, and other helpful info.

These tools help promote the organization’s Kicks Count! campaign, meant to be a proactive strategy that can educate expectant moms about how they can play a role in monitoring their baby’s health by being vigilant about fetal movement; that awareness can help prevent stillbirth.

Among the tools available is a downloadable counting chart that helps you easily check the box that corresponds with the number of minutes it takes for you to feel 10 kicks. Use it every day beginning at week 28, and share it with your doctor on each visit.

These new tools can help you make sure you continue to feel baby’s important (and yes, exciting, too!) kicks and movements—and help ensure that you both progress toward a safe, healthy delivery day.

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Alesandra Dubin is a new twin mom. She’s also a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of lifestyle blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.

Fetal Movement During Pregnancy: When to Worry
Fetal Movement During Pregnancy: When to Worry
Fetal Movement During Pregnancy: When to Worry

Photo: Shutterstock

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Jennifer Love Hewitt: How Pregnancy Is Different the Second Time Around

Jennifer Love HewittAs Jennifer Love Hewitt gets closer to delivery day with her second baby, the Criminal Minds actress is feeling just as great as she did during her first and second trimesters. She’s spending her last days of pregnancy doing what she normally does: cleaning, working out, spending time with young daughter Autumn—and shooting a commercial for Palmer’s. Parents got a chance to catch up with American Baby’s May mom of the moment and soon-to-be second time mama.

Parents.com: How has this pregnancy differed from your pregnancy with Autumn?

JLH: This time I’m chasing around a 17-month-old rather than [enjoying] the relaxing spa appointments during my first. And there’s a different human in there than the first time.

Parents.com: Is Autumn excited about the idea of a little brother or sister?

JLH: She’s excited that I have a matching belly with her. She has her little baby gut and I have my little gut. But I don’t think she really has any idea what is going on.

Parents.com: Are there any specific moments—good, bad, or ugly—during this pregnancy that have stuck out to you?

JLH: All of it has really been great. It’s amazing how much you forget after [your first pregnancy is] over, then it feels like this familiar thing when you’re back in it. You forget about the other stuff and then it just happens again.

Parents.com: Do you feel more confident about what to expect when it comes to labor this time around?

JLH: No, because I keep hearing that they’re all different. It may be even a little more daunting this time. The first time, you tell yourself it’s probably going to hurt worse than anything you’ve ever felt before, and this time, I know what it actually feels like. You get through it though, and what you get on the other side makes it so worth it.

Parents.com: What is the best—or worst—parenting advice you’ve ever gotten?

JLH: A lot of people choose not to give advice. I was surprised, because I had this list of interview-style questions ready to ask any parent and so many of them said, “You know what, you’ll figure it out on your own—your kid will be your kid, your experience will be your experience.” Now, being a parent, I know why they didn’t give me advice—every experience is so unique. There are no rules. Some babies are colicky, some aren’t. Some parents sleep with ease, others are up all night worrying. [Parents] are so lucky, so enjoy it and have a blast. You’ll write your own book with your own parenting advice.

Parents.com: How are you taking care of your skin during pregnancy? Do you have any pregnancy skin care tips to share with other moms-to-be?

JLH: I really love Palmer’s Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks and Skin Therapy Oil. It makes me feel like I have a little control over something that you really have no control over. I decided if I made it a routine to use their products in the morning and night, I would probably have great results—and I did. I didn’t get stretch marks and I felt really confident my whole first pregnancy, I wore a bikini—and this time around I felt confident enough to bare my belly too.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Jennifer Love Hewitt: 5 Pregnancy Questions
Jennifer Love Hewitt: 5 Pregnancy Questions
Jennifer Love Hewitt: 5 Pregnancy Questions

Image courtesy of Casey Rodgers/Invision for Palmer’s/AP Images

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Gestational Diabetes and Your Baby’s Gender: Is There a Link?

Gender and pregnancyWhen it comes to your risk for developing gestational diabetes, it might matter if you’re carrying a baby boy versus a baby girl.

According to a new study published Wednesday in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, an expecting mom’s risk for gestational diabetes during pregnancy as well as type 2 diabetes later is connected to whether she’s carrying a son or daughter. And it turns out that women in the study who carried boy babies were more likely get diabetes in pregnancy than those who were carrying baby girls.

The research comes from close to 643,000 Canadian women who had their first child in the first decade of the millennium. However, while the study did determine a link between baby’s gender and mom’s risk, it didn’t prove cause and effect (nor was it designed to).

“It is thought that gestational diabetes occurs because of a combination of underlying metabolic abnormalities in the mother and temporary metabolic changes that take place during pregnancy,” said the study’s author, Baiju Shah, of the University of Toronto, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto, in a press release. “Our findings suggest a male fetus leads to greater pregnancy-associated metabolic changes than a female fetus does.”

In other findings from the research, it turned out that women who got gestational diabetes during their pregnancies with girl babies also had a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes afterward. This suggested, however, that those women had other underlying health issues.

Close to one in 10 women will get gestational diabetes during their pregnancies, so many expecting moms will be curious about these new findings.

I glugged down that syrupy glucose mix during my second trimester, and the screening test revealed I did not have gestational diabetes—so that was a huge relief. But I rarely see myself reflected in studies about gender predicting certain pregnancy outcomes—given I carried one son and one daughter at the same time during my twin pregnancy!

Sign up for our pregnancy newsletters to keep up with the latest pregnancy news.

Alesandra Dubin is a new twin mom. She’s also a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of lifestyle blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.

Photo: Shutterstock

The Importance of Glucose Testing
The Importance of Glucose Testing
The Importance of Glucose Testing

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Do Pregnant Women Really Need to Worry About Acetaminophen?

Painkillers and pregnancy

We’ve long heard that acetaminophen is a reasonably safe painkiller to take during pregnancy. But a new study out now says that taking too much of the stuff may be harmful for developing baby boys.

The research, published in Science Translational Medicine, demonstrated that extended use of acetaminophen by expecting moms lowered the production of testosterone in incubating male babies.

The study didn’t use humans, but rather mice that carried grafts of human tissue. (That procedure isn’t unusual, particularly in obstetrical studies for which using humans could be unethical—but it’s not the gold standard of research, either.) After one day, there was no effect on testosterone production in the animals exposed to the drug. But after a full week, the amount of the hormone went down almost by half—a noteworthy finding because reduced testosterone has been linked to adverse outcomes like higher chances of infertility and testicular cancer.

This isn’t the first time that the painkiller has been implicated in studies that seem to suggest potentially bad health outcomes. Another recent report suggested links to autism and ADHD.

Nathaniel G. DeNicola, M.D., an ob-gyn affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania, says that he’s not alarmed by the most recent study. “There’s really no definitive risk. In absolute terms, the risk is still very low,” he told Parents.com. “We look for a preponderance of evidence, or a meta-analysis of many studies. It’s important to continue the research, but from where the evidence stands right now, it’s not enough to say, ‘This is a dangerous medication.’”

This new research doesn’t suggest that pregnant women shouldn’t take acetaminophen at all, he said, adding, “It can be very useful for pain management and to reduce fevers. As long as we take it judiciously, it’s still something that is recommended in pregnancy.”

And because of that, he’s not recommending any change at all—regardless of whether a pregnant women is expecting a baby boy or a baby girl.

In fact, the bigger danger, he says, would be for expecting moms to respond to this study by ditching the drug out of fear and opting instead for an NSAID like Motrin, which is not recommended in pregnancy. “As classes of medications go, [acetaminophen] is still one of the preferred options,” he says

In general, doctors feel more comfortable with pregnant patients taking medication after the vulnerable first trimester. But if you’re still concerned about taking any kind of medication for pain, Dr. DeNicola suggests nonmedical options that can provide relief as well, including massage therapy and prenatal yoga classes, as well as wearing a pelvic girdle, which can be useful in relieving some of the pain caused by pressure from the uterus late in the third trimester.

But the bottom line regarding acetaminophen and pregnany—at this point, anyway—is the same as it has long been, he says. “The classic line we often use in medicine is, ‘It’s not enough to change what we do.’ We keep the same recommendation: lowest dose, shortest amount of time.”

I took Tylenol sparingly in my own twin pregnancy, and I’m reassured—though not surprised—to hear a professional respond without alarm to this latest study.

But does the latest research change the way you view painkillers in pregnancy?

Sign up for our pregnancy newsletters to keep up with the latest pregnancy news.

Alesandra Dubin is a new twin mom. She’s also a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of lifestyle blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.

Photo: Shutterstock

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Is It Ever Too Early to Share Your Baby’s Name?

Kimberly Caldwell pregnantThere were several reasons why I didn’t share—or even settle on!—my babies’ names early in my pregnancy. For one, I come from a superstitious family. In Jewish tradition, naming the baby before it is born is a no-no. (I didn’t even feel comfortable referring to my incubating babies by nicknames!)

Beyond that, we hadn’t really even agreed on names until we neared my third trimester.

And to be honest, I just find it a little strange to throw around the names of unborn babies—a weird feeling I can’t put my finger on—though of course people do it all the time.

Among those people is American Idol alum Kimberly Caldwell, who confirmed to People that she’s expecting her first child with soccer player hubby Jordan Harvey, and is now feeling good at 18 weeks along. In the interview, she also shared the baby’s full name: Harlow Monroe Harvey.

Caldwell actually revealed her growing baby girl’s name even earlier: On her Instagram page, she posted a photo at 16 weeks along, a selfie in which she holds her baby bump, styled in a black and white dress with turquoise statement necklace. She captioned the photo, “First day to rock my bump! #herewego #babyharlow #16weeks.”

Sharing a name at 16 weeks seems jarringly early to me, but this of course is just one among the many super-personal choices expecting parents make during pregnancy.

I’d love to hear from you: How early did you start calling your baby by name?

Alesandra Dubin is a new twin mom. She’s also a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of lifestyle blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.

Photo: Instagram/_KimCaldwell

 

Baby Names: How to Pick a Great Name
Baby Names: How to Pick a Great Name
Baby Names: How to Pick a Great Name

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