Posts Tagged ‘ Back Pain ’

Prescribing Narcotics to Pregnant Women: Is it Safe?

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Pregnant women are being prescribed opioid painkillers—a narcotic!—even though the risks to the developing fetus are still pretty unclear. Findings from two different studies show that as many as 23 percent of pregnant women may be taking opioids (most commonly for back or abdominal pain). Meanwhile, pregnancy is a time when women tend to be super-cautious in pretty much every other area of their pregnant lives, giving up alcoholcaffeine, sushi, soft cheeses and cold cuts. Um, which sounds like a bigger health risk to baby: a heavy-duty narcotic or a piece of fish?

As reported in the New York Times, “in both studies, the opioids most prescribed during pregnancy were codeine and hydrocodone. Women usually took the drugs for a week or less; however, just over 2 percent of women in both studies took them for longer periods.” Some doctors and scientists are now speaking up because they are seeing a connection between first trimester use of opioids and neural tube defects. According to the Times article:

“Mothers of children with neural tube defects reported more early opioid use—3.9 percent—than mothers of children without such congenital defects—1.6 percent.”

“Opioid use in very early pregnancy is associated with an approximate doubling the risk of neural tube defects,” said Martha M. Werler, the senior author and a professor of epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health. “About half of pregnancies are not planned, so that’s a big chunk of women who may not be thinking about possible risks associated with their behavior.”

Particularly at the end of pregnancy, prolonged use of opioids can also lead to addiction in infants, a problem known as “neonatal abstinence syndrome.” A 2012 study in JAMA suggested the incidence of babies born addicted is on the rise.

It sounds like doctors are just blindly overprescribing to me. In the past 30 years, the use of prescription medicine by pregnant women in their first trimester has increased more than 60 percent, while the use of four or more medications has more than tripled, according to a 2011 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

I don’t mean to sound insensitive to those in real and chronic pain, but women have been having babies since the beginning of time and general pregnancy pains likely haven’t gotten any worse. So do so many moms-to-be really need to be taking these super-strong painkillers? I would rather live with the annoying back pain—a short-term problem—than know that something I took while pregnant contributed to a life-long health problem for my child. But according to research, that may just be me.

TELL US: Do you think doctors should be prescribing narcotics to pregnant women?

Image of pregnant woman courtesy of Shutterstock.

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“I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant—Till Labor!”

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

“A woman feels a little ill. Not knowing why she’s queasy or has excruciating stomach pains, she calls for an ambulance. Shortly after it arrives, she gives birth — to a baby she never knew she was pregnant with,” reports the Connecticut Post.

These stories come up every now and then where women all over the world have no idea they are pregnant for three whole trimesters until to their surprise out comes a baby! I cannot understand at all how that is humanly possible. I know some women’s pregnancy symptoms aren’t as substantial as others, but I put on 20 pounds and looked like I swallowed a basketball—and padded my butt, and not in a bootylicious Kim Kardashian way. I had severe headaches, abdominal cramps, back pain, foot swelling, heartburn, morning sickness, bouts of alternating constipation, diarrhea and gas. I don’t know about you, but those symptoms weren’t an every day occurrence for me before getting pregnant. So if any of those things suddenly happened to me—and I hadn’t had a period in ages—I think I would have thought, “Hmm…something must be up. Time to get a pregnancy test!”

But that’s not at all what happened to Connecticut native Jennifer Scolin, who gave birth to her second child in an ambulance in her driveway. That’s right—her second child. After giving birth to her daughter Kelsey four years ago, Jennifer knew what it felt like to be pregnant. But she says this time around it was totally different. Her period was still regular until last month, and she felt totally fine until the day of her son Cole’s birth, when she woke up with sharp stomach pains. She called her husband to come home from work because she was feeling ill. Moments later, her water broke—that’s when the couple realized she was pregnant and called 911. She barely made it into the ambulance in time. In fact, two pushes and her 9 pound, 3 ounce son was out! Can you imagine? Most of us have pretty excruciating birth stories with hours and hours of labor involved. Two pushes and you have a baby? Unbelievable! And he was no little thing! Over nine pounds, and you didn’t realize you were pregnant? All I can say is wow!

The most shocking thing, though, is that this is the second story like this, this week! Across the pond in England, 20-year-old Sophie Aldridge went to the hospital complaining about back pain she chalked up to severe period cramps. According to The Daily Mail, the doctors sent her home with a dose of painkillers. Hours later she was back in the hospital—giving birth!

After the pains became increasingly strong, Sophie’s mom called an ambulance to take her back to the hospital. In the ambulance, her water broke and the medics realized she was pregnant. Sophie says her period kept coming, she didn’t put on any weight, and never had morning sickness so she was surprised (to say the least!) to give birth to a 5 pound, 8 ounce son, Thomas, just 30 minutes after entering the hospital the second time.

According to studies, undiagnosed pregnancies aren’t as rare as you’d think. One in 600 mothers-to-be report they didn’t realize they were pregnant until going into labor.

TELL US: Can you believe someone wouldn’t know they were pregnant until they went into labor? Has this happened to you or someone you know? Share the details!

Think you may be pregnant? Take our quiz to find out so you don’t get an unexpected surprise in nine months!

Birth Stories:
Birth Stories:
Birth Stories: "I Was Sent Home Three Times"


Image of woman courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Pregnant Women: Emma Watson REALLY Respects You!

Monday, March 31st, 2014

They say if you want to know what someone’s going through, you have to walk a mile in their shoes.  Well, if you want to know what a pregnant woman is going through, you have to walk just a few steps in her bump. At least that’s what method actor Emma Watson recently learned while filming the box office hit, Noah.

Emma, who plays Ila—a woman expecting twins—in the biblical drama, recently told David Letterman that she wanted to look and feel like she was pregnant with twins to help her get into character, so she asked the wardrobe department to make her a pregnancy suit that weighed as much as it would if she had two babies onboard.

“I came out the next day and I was like, ‘You can’t be serious … I’m exhausted … this is crazy!’” she exclaimed. “And then [wardrobe] turned to me and said, ‘Yeah, that’s just the weight of one child.’”

She couldn’t believe it! But when Emma spoke to her own mom, exhausted after day one of filming, she found no sympathy. “You don’t get to complain, you only faked it,” said wise Mama Watson. Emma went on to tell David, “I have a whole newfound respect for women and motherhood.”

As she should! Of course having a little one inside you is amazing, but you have no idea—or at least I didn’t!—how taxing being pregnant can be until you’re actually carrying a child.The overwhelming feeling of nausea is your new normal (at least for 70 percent of you who will have morning sickness, the other 30 percent are off the hook—and you have won the mommy lottery as far as I’m concerned!). Pregnancy also brings with it the trifecta of discomfort: heartburnconstipation and/or diarrhea, and flatulence. Let’s not forget back pain, foot swelling, and uncontrollable sweating too!

Being pregnant is not easy (by a stretch!), and there will be days when you can’t wait for your baby to arrive just so you don’t have to suffer anymore. But keep your eye on the prize: that beautiful baby of yours! As hard as pregnancy can be, it’s nothing compared to the lifetime of happiness you’ll have with your child.

TELL US: Were you surprised how hard it is to be pregnant, or has pregnancy been a breeze for you so far?

Is a baby in your immediate future? Take our quiz and find out if you could be expecting.

Morning Sickness During Pregnancy: When to Worry
Morning Sickness During Pregnancy: When to Worry
Morning Sickness During Pregnancy: When to Worry

Image of Emma Watson courtesy of Helga Esteb/Shutterstock.

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What if Your Pregnancy was All in Your Head?

Friday, December 20th, 2013

A 37-year-old woman, who claimed to be 41-weeks pregnant and in pain, was given an emergency C-section in Brazil—then doctors discovered she was never actually pregnant! She had what’s called a phantom or false pregnancy, where women have all of the symptoms of being preggers, including an enlarged abdomen, loss of menstruation, nausea, fatigue and even engorged breasts. So when doctors couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat, they immediately went into baby-saving mode, hence the C-section.

Phantom pregnancies are quite rare only occurring between one to six times out of every 22,000 reported pregnancies. According to the Guardian Express, “For some women, a medical condition unrelated to pregnancy may be to blame for the signs and symptoms associated with a phantom pregnancy. Ovarian tumors can account for some of the symptoms associated with pregnancy as can severe depression in rare cases.

For most women with a phantom pregnancy, however, the cause is strictly psychological. Women who have suffered previous miscarriages and infertility are much more likely to have phantom pregnancies, as are women in their thirties and forties who have been unable to have children and may perceive that time is running out for them to do so.”

Talk about mind over matter—it is thought for many of these women, that they want to be pregnant so badly that their minds actually trick their bodies into believing they are, and the pregnancy symptoms kick in. The really sad part is that the woman’s husband reportedly told doctors that this was her second false pregnancy within a year.  The only thing that got me through the intense morning sickness, foot swelling, back pain, and heartburn was knowing that in the end, I’d have a beautiful baby to make all of it worth it. I can’t even imagine how difficult it would be to go through nine months of pregnancy symptoms only to be told that there never was a pregnancy at all. If you didn’t have psychological issues before that, you certainly would in the end! I hope this woman gets the treatment she needs.

TELL US: Have you ever thought you were pregnant only to find out you weren’t? Can you imagine that feeling on this grand of a scale?

Image of pregnant woman courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Do Stilettos & 9 Months Pregnancy Mix?

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Celebrities and sky-high heels go together like chocolate and peanut butter (yum!). But when you’re in the late stages of pregnancy, should you be wearing the same six-inch pumps you worshipped pre-pregnancy? Stylist to the stars Rachel Zoe certainly does. But even heelaholics like Kim Kardashian, Jessica Simpson and Fergie wore flats on occasion while preggers.

At nine months pregnant, Rachel was recently spotted wearing stiletto over-the-knee boots. This is nothing new for her, of course, with her first pregnancy with son Skyler, she tweeted: “Who said one can’t rock 6 inch high leopard booties by Brian Atwood at 38 weeks pregnant!!”

Yes, she’s looked fabulous with both pregnancies, but isn’t rocking massive heels while so pregnant down-right dangerous? As your belly gets bigger, your center of gravity can get wonky, leaving you less steady and more likely to trip over your own feet, starting at around the 25-week mark.

Most doctors suggest wearing under a 2-inch heel with good arch support once you enter the third trimesters, because of fear of falls as well as the fact that you can make existing back pain and leg cramps even worse when you’re in heels for extended periods of time. The best solution: if you really have to wear high heels, Women’s Health recommends alternating them with flatter ones through out the week, and as silly as it sounds, doing some calf stretches before wearing them, so not to cause cramping.

My feet were completely swollen my entire third trimester, so I couldn’t have squeezed into heels even if I tried (thank God I delivered during flip-flop weather)! But who can blame a fashionista for wanting to look and feel like her fierce pre-pregnancy self? After all, many women may not be able to wear their favorite footwear post-baby. That’s right, I hate to break it to you, but pregnancy can make your feet wider and increase your feet by up to a full shoe size by the time you deliver (mine are definitely wider and a half-size bigger!). So enjoy your favorite heels while you still can, ladies!

TELL US: Will you be wearing your stilettos till the very end of your pregnancy? Or at what point in your pregnancy do you think you should switch to flats and kitten heels?

Image of Rachel Zoe and husband Rodger Berman courtesy of s_bukley/ Shutterstock.

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