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Monday, May 12th, 2014
Most people follow astrology for fun. I admit it—the horoscope page is one of the first I read in a magazine. But many Chinese people are notoriously superstitious when it comes to the Chinese zodiac. So much so that in China some couples are rushing to get pregnant now—in the Year of the Horse, one thought to be a good luck charm—so their babies won’t be born in 2015, the Year of the Sheep, the Washington Post reports.
In Chinese astrology, those who are Sheep are thought to be passive, natural born followers rather than strong, outspoken leaders. And the bad luck doesn’t stop there: Supposedly they’re unlucky in business as well as relationships, with popular folklore saying that only one out of 10 people born in the Year of the Sheep finds happiness, the Post reports.
Because couples trying to conceive are getting impatient, and they don’t want to risk having a “doomed baby,” fertility specialists say they have seen a huge increase in business in recent months. According to the Chinese lunar calendar, the Year of the Sheep begins February 19, 2015, so the window for conception closes around the end of this month.
Couples are so worried that their babies will be born unlucky, that they are even asking about early delivery via C-Section to guarantee their children are born in the Year of the Horse—whether they’re ready to come out or not!
While I can’t imagine planning my pregnancy around my future child’s horoscope, if you truly believe in the Chinese zodiac, why would you want your child to be destined to a lifetime of unhappiness?! As moms and moms-to-be, we want the absolute best for our children. So while these couples may sound crazy to some, I think it’s actually a super-sweet gesture to try to give their kids the best possible life path—even if that means speeding up their pregnancy plans.
That said, early C-Sections are not a good idea! The March of Dimes believes the best gestation period is at least 39 weeks long in order to have the optimal brain and lung development and to have the highest chance of having no visual or hearing problems. I hope couples considering that make sure that they are allowing their baby to fully develop before making that kind of decision. Because causing a premature birth and all of the complications that go with that—when it can be prevented—is no way to start a child’s life.
TELL US: Would you time your birth around astrology?
Wondering if you’re having a boy or a girl? Check out our Ancient Chinese Birth Chart!
Image of Chinese baby courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Tuesday, April 29th, 2014
There has been an ongoing debate over whether inducing labor really increases or decreases your chance of having a C-section. According to a new study conducted at Queen Mary University in London, forget everything you’ve read about inducing labor (which is when a doctor gives you medicine like pitocin, or other drugs, to artificially start or speed up your contractions) boosting your chances of needing a C-section.
In fact, according to their analysis of 157 studies involving 31,000 births, pregnant women whose labor is induced are 12 percent less likely to need a cesarean delivery than those whose doctors take a “wait-and-see” approach.
According to Health Day, “the 12 percent lower risk of cesarean delivery was seen in term or post-term pregnancies that were induced, but not in preterm births, the authors noted.
Inducing labor lowered the chance of cesarean delivery in both high- and low-risk pregnancies, and it also reduced the risk of fetal death and complications in mothers, the findings showed.
The researchers also found that the widely-used drug prostaglandin E2 was linked to a reduced risk of cesarean delivery. However, use of the hormone oxytocin, and amniotomy (the deliberate rupture of the amniotic sac) did not lower the chance of C-section.
Labor is induced in about 20 percent of deliveries, for myriad reasons—including (but not limited to) being one to two weeks past your due date; having gestational diabetes (and your doctor fears your baby may be getting too big); having too little amniotic fluid, or your baby isn’t growing as it should; if your water breaks but your labor doesn’t start on its own; or if you develop preeclampsia.
In other great induction news, last week the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists debunked a recent study by Duke University’s Medical Center that stated that women who had induced labors were more likely to have newborns on the autism spectrum. ACOG claims there is insufficient evidence to support this theory, and therefor doctors should not change their practice of using inductions when needed. As with all things, speak to your doctor if you’re concerned about your chances of being induced so you have all of the facts about the risks and benefits.
On a personal note, being induced isn’t as scary as it sounds—though I understand being freaked out about it. My ob-gyn induced me at 39 weeks—my water had broken at 4:00 am, and by 8:00 am I was still just dilated one measly centimeter. I also had gestational diabetes, so she worried that I could end up having to have a C-section if all did not go well. Luckily, all did go well. In fact, after getting the pitocin at around 9:00 am, I went to sleep and when I woke up at noon, I was fully dilated. I couldn’t believe I had slept through most of my major contractions! If you have to be induced, I hope things go equally well for you!
When is your due date? Check our due date calculator!
TELL US: Have you ever had to be induced in one of your pregnancies? Share your stories.
Image of woman in labor courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
Hip-hop artist Ciara has always been gorgeous, but she seems to be even more glowing now that she’s pregnant. A big part of her secret? Exercise! The super-fit singer—who recently celebrated her baby shower with besties Kim Kardashian and La La Anthony—hasn’t revealed her due date, but she is reportedly 8 months along with her first child with fiancé rapper-producer Future, and is still doing hour-long workouts with trainer-to-the-stars Gunnar Peterson (as evidenced in a recent Instagram post, which shows her on the Gazelle Glider, pulling ropes, lifting weights and medicine-ball moves).
Ciara does a mix of plyometric movements and weight training to get a good balance of cardio, while still maintaining her muscle tone. But she has had to do some training modifications since becoming pregnant.
“I can’t do crunches or lay on my stomach anymore, but we still do things that are close to what I would do if I wasn’t pregnant,” she told Fitness magazine. “It’s all about still keeping that energy up, still keeping the cardio strong and just having balance in your body overall.”
While doctors do advise against scuba diving, horseback riding, or any contact sport that could cause blunt-force trauma to the abdomen, if you’re having a healthy pregnancy, exercise isn’t going to harm your baby (though you should always ask your doctor before starting a new routine). Exercise will tire you out more quickly than it did pre-pregnancy, though. The amount of blood a woman has increases during pregnancy by about 50 percent, and her heart needs to work harder to push all that blood around—including circulating it through the placenta, an extra organ. So you can work just as hard doing less than you did before you were pregnant and be twice as exhausted!
Exercising through out your pregnancy not only gets you in a better place to drop the pregnancy weight faster post-birth, but it helps with your ability to breathe during labor and gives you the strength to push when you’re body is telling you it’s completely tapped out. Research has also shown that working out while pregnant can help prevent gestational diabetes and C-section births.
Oh, and working out also helps with those sometimes-nasty pregnancy mood swings. Once your endorphins kick in, it’s a natural high that can balance those Debbie Downer feelings that might occasionally creep up thanks to hormone overload. And bonus: according to a recent study, Canadian researchers have found that just 20-minute workouts three times a week while pregnant, leads to excelled brain development in your baby. Yep, a little physical activity for you could make your baby smarter!
Check here for signs you should stop exercising and consult your doctor.
TELL US: What’s your pregnancy workout routine? Do you feel better after exercising?
Plus: Take our quiz to find out what your ideal pregnancy weight is.
Image of Ciara courtesy of S_Bukley/Shutterstock.
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C-section, Celebrity pregnancy, Ciara, Exercise, Gestational Diabetes, Gunnar Peterson, pregnancy, Pregnancy Weight, Pregnancy Weight Gain, Pregnancy Workout, pregnant, Workout | Categories:
Thursday, March 20th, 2014
While you are likely over-the-moon ecstatic to be pregnant, Cynthia Williams of Illinois was not. She and her husband both carry the trait for sickle cell—which causes pain, infections and eventually life-threatening organ damage—so after having three kids, one with sickle cell anemia, Cynthia decided she wanted to get her tubes tied, a permanent birth control operation. Six months after undergoing the procedure, Cynthia found out she was pregnant.
Instead of calling all of her friends to tell them the good news, Cynthia admits to ABCnews.com, “I was livid! I just lost it.” Cynthia’s worst nightmare came to fruition: she gave birth to a baby girl with sickle cell disease, Kennadi, now four. The same year Kennadi was born, Cynthia filed a lawsuit against Dr. Byron Rosner of Reproductive Health Associates in Hazel Crest for “wrongful pregnancy” in hopes of getting money to cover the “extraordinary” medical expenses of raising a child with sickle cell disease as well as personal injury to her, emotional distress, and for lost wages.
A small percentage of women do become pregnant after having tubal ligation (2 to 10 out of every 1,000 procedures), but since Cynthia only had one ovary, the doctor only tied one fallopian tube, and Cynthia believes her doctor tied the wrong one, causing her to still have the ability to get pregnant. It seems she was right. According to medical records obtained by ABC, Dr. Rosner ‘tied,’ ‘excised’ and ‘cauterized’ Williams’ right fallopian tube. However, her right ovary had been removed at age 12 due to a cyst. So he should have been tying the left one.
To make matters worse, Cynthia also suffered from congestive heart failure following the pregnancy she never wanted in the first place. Due to the congestive heart failure, Cynthia was in intensive care for two weeks after her C-section with Kennadi and wasn’t able to work for nine months—that’s why she’s also suing for lost wages.
Though Kennadi is now the love of her life, Cynthia says that raising Kennadi and knowing all the pain she will be suffering is very difficult. So she was delighted to hear that after years in court limbo, an appellate court has finally ruled that her case could go forward despite a move to dismiss it by Dr. Rosner’s attorneys.
TELL US: Do you think Cynthia has the right to sue her doctor?
Silhouette of pregnant woman courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Monday, March 17th, 2014
According to new research by Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland, the results of a 20-year study in the Journal of the American Heart Association show that pregnant women who develop gestational diabetes may be more at risk of developing heart disease later in life.
Nearly 20 percent of pregnant women will develop gestational diabetes—a form of diabetes that only occurs during pregnancy, and that can lead to giving birth to larger babies, which may require a C-section. Heightened hormone levels during pregnancy weaken the effects of insulin, which normally allows cells to absorb glucose from the blood. Glucose screenings to test for gestational diabetes are usually done between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.
With diet and possible prescription medicines, women who develop gestational diabetes are usually able to control their blood sugar without harming their baby’s health. But having gestational diabetes does make women more likely to develop diabetes 5 to 10 years after giving birth (half of all women with gestation diabetes develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years of gestational diabetes), and having gestational diabetes may also raise the risk of ADHD in your child.
If your family has a history of diabetes, you have had an unexplained miscarriage at some point, or are over 25 or were overweight before becoming pregnant, you could be at risk of developing gestational diabetes. You can also have gestational diabetes with one pregnancy and not the next. However, if you’ve had gestational diabetes once, you have a 60 percent chance of developing it again, according to the American Diabetes Association.
The new study—which tracked 898 women between the ages of 18 and 30 for 20 years—found that women who developed gestational diabetes while pregnant also are at risk for developing atherosclerosis (when the arteries around the heart become clogged by fatty substances). As Medical News Today reports, this could eventually lead to heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases.
Diet and exercise are the best ways to manage gestational diabetes, and fend off heart disease. For those who have already been diagnosed with gestational diabetes—like I was—there’s no reason to be depressed. I was over 35, with a family history of diabetes, but by cutting out white flour, refined sugars, and eventually most fruits too, I was able to keep my gestational diabetes in check, and my son was a healthy (but not too large) 7 pounds, 7 ounces. No C-section necessary!
TELL US: Are you at risk for gestational diabetes? How will you adjust your diet and exercise? Did you have gestational diabetes? Share your experiences.
Image of pregnant woman doing yoga courtesy of Shutterstock.
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