The Importance of Prenatal Care

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    Whether you are pregnant with your first or fifth child, your prenatal health is essential to the best birth and long term health for you and your baby. Prenatal care helps to reduce the risk of disease and promotes health and safety for the best possible outcome.

    With so many medical tests and information a mother receives during her pregnancy, it is hard to determine what tests are necessary. Blood pressure checks, urine tests, and blood tests are considered routine in most medical offices, where as, amniocentesis, glucose tolerance tests, and cordocentesis are more invasive and potentially harmful to the baby. The risks and benefits of these tests must be carefully considered. One of the best ways to assess your risks is to educated yourself about the procedure your doctor is wanting to perform. Read about it, ask questions to your health care provider, talk to others that have had the same procedure, become as informed as possible!

    The American Pregnancy Association has some great information on pregnancy and an entire section about prenatal tests that your doctor may want to perform, if he or she feels that there is cause for concern. Being informed is essential before proceeding with any medical tests or interventions during your pregnancy, labor, or birth!

     

Staying Healthy During Pregnancy

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Please click on the links below for some great articles on staying healthy during pregnancy.

How to Stay Healthy While You Are Pregnant 

Planning Your Healthiest Pregnancy by Age

Stress During Pregnancy Affects Fetal Development

Extreme Morning Sickness

9 Tips to Prevent Flu During Pregnancy

Dental Care and Pregnancy Tips

Battling Pain During Pregnancy

Pregnancy Should Not Be an Excuse to Stop Exercising

Women Trying to Conceive or in First 3 Months of Pregnancy, Should Not Drink Alcohol; New Guidelines Recommend

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3 Benefits of Aqua Aerobics During Pregnancy–Guest Post

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Guest Blogger, Kaitlin Gardner from An Apple Per Day, has written an excellent article on exercise and aqua aerobics during pregnancy!  Enjoy!

3 Benefits of Aqua Aerobics During Pregnancy

I learned a lot with my first pregnancy, which is precisely why I handled my second pregnancy a little differently: namely, I moved. In fact, I kept moving for the entire pregnancy and guess what happened? I was able to shed the pregnancy weight significantly faster after my second baby than after my first one. Why? I exercised throughout my entire second pregnancy. Now, I didn’t run marathons (although some have done this!), and I didn’t lift weights. I simply had fun—in the pool!

Don’t get the wrong idea: aqua aerobics is not just for water babies, or people who have enjoyed a lifetime affinity for the water. It’s easy enough that anyone can do it, and you don’t even need to know how to swim! Staying in the shallow end gives you plenty of choices for engaging exercises that challenge muscles as much or as little as you would like to. Check out the many ways to approach aqua aerobics here:

My Ultimate Guide to Aqua Aerobics

Water Aerobics and Water Fitness Exercises

Water Aerobics During Pregnancy

Let me back up a little. During my first pregnancy, I probably behaved like many first-time moms: I was careful. I also didn’t ask enough questions. If I had, I would have found out that exercising during pregnancy is not only possible, it’s encouraged! I know the title of this article is “3 Benefits of Aqua Aerobics During Pregnancy,” but there are so many more! Here are just a few, and then I’ll expand on a few of them.

Studies show that regular exercise during pregnancy has multitude of benefits, including:

Keeping weight under control
● Reducing the chances of gestational diabetes
● Reducing tension and stress
● Reducing an expectant mom’s blood pressure
● Improving mood
● Improving sleep
Weight Control

Let’s face it: At the end of the day, pregnant or not, you must burn calories to maintain a healthy weight. A 130-lb. person will burn about 470 calories per hour aqua jogging. Make your calories count and give the baby what it needs by making healthy choices: lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, plenty of lean protein (beans, chicken, and turkey) and complex carbohydrates such as brown rice and whole grains. Keep processed foods and sugar to an absolute minimum in order to give your body the best reward it can receive from aqua aerobics.

Reduced Tension/Stress

Aqua aerobics feels good. Whether it’s winter and you are easing yourself into a heated outdoor or indoor pool, or it’s summer, and the cool water is a welcome relief from the heat, aqua aerobics takes place in a soothing environment. With water’s natural buoyancy properties, you’ll feel the weight literally lifted away. And who wouldn’t like to feel “light as a feather” when she is pregnant?

Improved Sleep

Next to proper nutrition, or perhaps even more important when you are pregnant, is getting enough sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation, as little as 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous activity can provide a 65% increase in sleep quality. When you exercise during the day, and give yourself the whole-body workout that aqua aerobics provides, your muscles will have been challenged from head to toe—which means they will need sleep as much as you do.

Not only did I feel better during my second pregnancy, according to my friends and family, I looked better! More sleep at night helped me have a refreshed look in the morning. The outdoor activity kept my skin color glowing. My blood pressure remained normal and my weight gain stayed right within the range that my doctor wanted me to target.

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Kaitlin Gardner started An Apple Per Day to explore her passion for a green living lifestyle, and healthy family living. She and her husband have just moved to rural Pennsylvania, where they enjoy exploring the countryside and discovering interesting and out of the way places. She is also learning how to paint with watercolors.

Breastfeeding: Cognitive and Health Benefits, Pointers for Moms, and BF Rates on the Rise

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Breastfeeding Boosts Smarts as Babies Grow, Study Finds

Breastfeeding Linked to IQ

How Breastfeeding Benefits Babies’ Brains, By Researcher’s

Breast-Feeding Brings Cognitive Benefits, Study Suggests

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Breast Feeding Pointers

Diet Tips for Breastfeeding Moms

Overcome Common Breastfeeding Problems with These Tips

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Breastfeeding Moms Can Ward Off Depression

Stopping Breastfeeding Can Lead to Depression

Breastfeeding Helps Prevent ADHD

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Breastfeeding, Not Just a Bonding Experience, A Life Saver

Breastfeeding Offers Benefits for Babies, Moms

Drs. Oz and Roizen: Breastfeeding- Good For Mom, Baby and All Of Us

Breastfeeding, Good for Moms and Babies, is On the Rise

Breastfeed Newborns with Colostrum, Mothers Urged

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WHO: Breast-Feeding Can Save Infants’ Lives

Breastfeeding: Only 1 in 5 countries fully implement WHO’s infant formula Code

The Breastfeeding vs. Formula Debate

Breastfeeding Rates Rise to Include 91 Percent of CA Moms

Breastfeeding Advocates Hope to Reach New Mothers Through Donations Made to Local Libraries

Hormones, Sleep, and The Unexpected Side of Pregnancy

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Pregnancy Hormone For Traumatic Brain Injury

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Pregnancy and Abuse –

How to Stay Safe for Your 9 Months

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Couple Makes Creative Stop Motion Time-Lapse Pregnancy Video

Article Link

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Anything But Bliss – The Unexpected Side of Pregnancy

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Poor Sleep in Pregnancy Can Disrupt Immune System

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Crisis Pregnancy Centers Should Level With Women

Article Link

Pregnancy and Midwifery

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Eating Fish During Pregnancy Tied to Lower Anxiety

Article Link

Taking Texas-Sized Steps to End Teen Pregnancy

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Improved Pregnancy Test Exposes Birth Defect Much Earlier

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Pregnancy Date May Influence Baby’s Health

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Women Who Smoke During Pregnancy Are More Likely to Have Sons With a Low Sperm Count

Article Link

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7 Facts About Delivering With a Midwife

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Things Your Midwife Wants You to Know – The OB Edition

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California Midwives Push to Scrap Doctor-Supervision Requirement for Home Births

Article Link

Understanding Congenital Hip Dysplasia

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It might be difficult to understand how a young child or newborn baby can experience the condition known as congenital hip dysplasia but it does occur quite often. It is when the hip develops in a way that allows the thigh bone to become dislodged from its normal position in the pelvis. It can be detected at birth or in the days after, and is known to occur in 1.5 percent of all births.

    Why it happens is not precisely known, but theories include:

  • A crossing over of the hormones that cause a pregnant woman’s ligaments to loosen in order to facilitate birth into her unborn child. This results in their ligaments loosening too, and this leads to the easy slippage of the femur from the pelvis;

  • Breech birth or cesarean section can cause a dislocation; or

  • Abnormal growth that allows the leg to be dislocated and shortened prior to birth.

Because physicians know to check for this relatively frequent and recognizable issue there are some immediate remedies available for children born with it. The initial goal is to be sure that the bone is realigned with the pelvis, which is done by putting gentle but constant pressure on the joint. The use of "Pavlik" harness is the most common approach, and so too is the "von Rosen" splint. These, however, are only safe for children who are six months or less.

There are also times when a child must be put into a cast in order to create the appropriate amount of pressure. If they have exceeded the age of six months they might also need to have a surgical repositioning of the leg and joint, or a total joint replacement altogether.

Obviously, this is an issue that is best treated in an "as soon as possible" manner. Thus, it is the children who are dealt with immediately after birth that get the best results from standard splinting or swaddling. When left untreated a child is going to show difficulty in learning to walk and will experience lifelong difficulty in movement of any kind. And this means that it is imperative to deal with the treatment as soon as possible. Almost all children who receive the braces, splints, or casts will grow up normally and enjoy completely natural hip and leg function. Delaying any intervention means putting the child at risk for surgery later in life.

Preventative Measures

Is there any way that this issue can be prevented? Actually, modern prenatal care can identify risks and can eliminate delivery methods that would lead to the hip dysplasia. For example, breech births are a common cause of this issue, and even mild cases of dysplasia can be made worse by prolonged bouts of swaddling with the legs in the wrong position. Knowing in advance that a child’s hip ligaments show laxity will help the delivering physician and the parents to understand the best tactics to use after delivery.

Something that many parents should also know is that their child’s splinting and bracing can be supplemented by specific exercise and therapy programs. There are also orthotics that can help to improve matters and working with a physical therapist is also a very advisable alternative form of treatment. In fact, it is highly recommended that physical therapy be an automatic treatment because it is going to help with the strengthening of the appropriate muscle groups and enhance range of motion.

One thing to consider is that pain control is something to take into consideration, and it can be challenging in a young child. You will want to discuss this with a physician as soon as the condition is discovered. Physicians will have the safest solutions that can help a child to remain comfortable even as they use their legs and heal.

Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.

 

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