3 Tips for Running a Business While Pregnant

Being pregnant comes with lots of challenges: swollen feet, morning sickness, the inability to engage in certain physical activities, and the fact that you’re literally growing another human being. That’s no easy task, and running a business on top of that physical stress makes it even harder.

 

Thankfully, in today’s day and age, women can often do both throughout the term of their pregnancies. Here are a few ways that might help:

 

Bring pregnancy into the conversation.

Often, talking about pregnancy and maternity is considered a no-no in a corporate setting. Women who are pregnant are not acknowledged as such; it’s just not as important in comparison to team-building exercises or the latest numbers in a report. However, given how taxing a pregnancy often is, even at its best, make pregnancy and maternity talk part of the conversation. Introduce the topic and don’t look back.

 

This will also help make it easier for colleagues who become pregnant in the future. Pregnancy doesn’t have to be and, more to the point, shouldn’t be a taboo.

 

Review parental leave policies thoroughly.

Start-ups, in particular, are not known for their generous time off for new mothers, but they are often known for wanting to implement considerate policies for both new mothers and fathers alike. If your company doesn’t have a formal policy in place yet because it’s so young, get those details squared away now rather than waiting until your third trimester.

 

Keep in mind the transition back to work, too, as new parents move back into the workforce. It’s an adjustment going from full-time parent to a full-time employee, and allowing for that period of time will only be to your benefit and your employees’.

 

Remind yourself that you can’t do everything.

No one likes doing this. We all want to be the one who can do it all, but the truth is, we can’t, and it’s better to recognize that now. Being pregnant will require flexibility in your expectations of yourself and of your work routine. Working twelve hours a day is a lot to ask, so be upfront and honest with your team about your limitations. Doing so will keep you healthier in the process because you will be taking care of yourself and your baby, rather than stressing yourself out trying to finish one last report. Prioritizing your daily tasks will make your life so much easier.

 

The bottom line: your body is going to need certain things to successfully grow a baby, and your job is to listen to it, especially if you’re running a business at the same time.

 

Disclaimer: As always, make sure to speak with your medical practitioner about the best practices for you.

Top 3 Questions You’re Embarrassed to Ask Your OB-GYN

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For first-time and veteran mothers alike, pregnancy can bring up a variety of questions that might feel a little awkward asking out loud. The good news is that most women have had those same questions at some point and that there are answers from trained professionals.

 

Here are some questions about pregnancy you may have wanted to ask but felt too nervous to do so:

 

How Likely Is a Bowel Movement During Delivery?

This fear comes up frequently with new mothers, to the point where they can become so fixated on not having a bowel movement that it inhibits their ability to push.

 

It’s actually extremely common to have a bowel movement during labor, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. There’s a simple reason why it happens: the same muscles a woman uses to push a baby out of her uterus are the same ones she uses when having a bowel movement. With the added weight on her colon and rectum as the baby moves through the birth canal, it’s a very natural bodily reaction.

 

While it may seem embarrassing, keep in mind that childbirth is a very private affair. Doctors are not only undaunted by this, but generally expect it. They’re trained professionals and their primary concern is making sure the mother and baby are healthy throughout the entire pregnancy and delivery.

 

Will My Vagina Be Stretched After I Give Birth?

Not really. Believe it or not, vaginas have muscle memory. The vagina is also made to accommodate childbirth; in other words, it stretches during childbirth and then contracts to its normal size. If a woman wants to strengthen her pelvic floor muscles, there are Kegel exercises, though make sure to check with a doctor first before trying them.

 

Why Does Sex Hurt After Birth?

Having a baby is hard work! With childbirth comes natural trauma to the vaginal area, and it needs time to heal. It’s natural for the sex drive to decrease, given how exhausting caring for a newborn can be. On top of that, if mothers choose to breastfeed, that can change her hormone levels as well, particularly her estrogen levels. This can lead to problems with lubrication. One potential solution is to use a lubricant, as well as giving the body time to adjust postpartum.

 

If the pain continues to exist months after birth, however, it’s best to speak to a doctor to make sure there aren’t any lasting issues.

10 Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

Dr. Lori Gore-GreenFor many women, one of the most exciting times is becoming pregnant and getting ready for the arrival of the baby. Many women prepare by setting up a nursery or planning a baby shower. To ensure that your child is strong and healthy, there are a few important tips to follow for the next nine months.

  1. Take a Multivitamin

Taking a multivitamin will ensure that both you and your baby are getting enough nutrients during the pregnancy with vitamins that may not be in your diet. Folic acid, calcium, and iron are also essential to develop the neural cord, which becomes the brain and spinal cord.

  1. Monitor Your Weight

Purchase a scale and weigh yourself each week to avoid putting your baby at risk of a low weight if you gain too much. A normal weight gain is between 25 to 30 pounds.

  1. Prepare for Delivery

Educate yourself and prepare for delivery by taking a childbirth class where you’ll learn what to expect after you go into labor. This will allow you to practice breathing exercises and even report birth defects that have occurred in your family history.

  1. Stay Active

Although it may be easy to slow down after becoming pregnant, it’s important to exercise three to five times a week to maintain your weight and increase your blood circulation. Opt for workouts that include pilates, yoga, or swimming and attempt to work out for 30 minutes each day.

  1. Wear Comfortable Shoes

Wear shoes that have proper support on your feet and don’t put you at risk of falling as you begin to carry the baby.

  1. Sleep on Your Side

Avoid putting excess pressure on your baby as you sleep at night by avoiding sleeping on your back or stomach. Opt for sleeping on your left side, which will allow more nutrients and blood to reach the placenta.

  1. Practice Kegels

Strengthen your pelvic floor muscles by performing Kegels each day to support your uterus, bladder, and bowels. This will help you during the pushing process after you go into labor.

  1. Eat Foods That Contain Folate

To increase your health during your pregnancy, opt for consuming foods that are rich in folate, which will allow the neural tube to develop correctly and covers the spinal cord. Consume foods that include asparagus, orange juice, cereal, and lentils.

  1. Consume Less Caffeine

Instead of relying on coffee to get energy during your pregnancy, you can maintain your health by reaching for fruit instead. The natural sugars that are available in the food will allow you to recharge without consuming caffeine, which is considered to be a psychoactive drug.

  1. Pay Attention to Pain

Know when to call the doctor by paying close attention to any pain that you may be experiencing. Contractions at 20-minute intervals and strong cramps can be a cause of concern and should be evaluated by a medical professional.

Contraception, Reproductive Health Are Economic Issues

Opened_Oral_Birth_ControlFor parents within the United States, particularly women, reproductive health is an economic issue. Both mothers and fathers are quick to describe parenthood as a life-changing feat, an adventure, or the most fulfilling commitment you’ll ever have, but they rarely readily address the countless expenses attached to parenthood.

From birth until adulthood, children can cost parents approximately $245,340 (or $304,480, adjusted for projected inflation) for middle-income, husband-wife families, according to the latest annual “Cost of Raising A Child” report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Expensive, particularly during the time of economic instability, children can add to financial struggle. That’s in addition to the emotional investment that’s tied to the decision to start a family and put parenthood planning into action. The ability to decide and plan for a family drives major economic conversations, which is why the decision of politicians and policymakers pointedly affects women, impacting personal freedom and contraception access, which is directly tied to economic security.

Economic security is fundamental for survival, whether one is choosing to have a family or not, particularly for contraception-users who are sexually active and of childbearing age. Nonetheless, state legislation sometimes misses the importance of access to reproductive care, including birth control and abortion. Of course, this shrugs off the fact that health care and birth control is very important to many American women, who want control over their reproductive health.

American women have face challenges in this regard, dealing with restricted access to healthcare, the defunding of Planned Parenthood, and stripping public funded health programs –which is an affront to the basic economic realities. Approximately 70 percent of voters recognize that true economic security lies with access to affordable reproductive healthcare, as well as equal pay, paid time off to care for families, and affordable childcare.

Across political parties and races, constituents feelings about abortion care, but there’s a recognizable understanding that the ability to plan is piped directly to Millennial’s core economic values and the needs of multicultural communities. Also, approximately 76 percent of all voters believe that access is necessary for basic economic survival. Likely because there’s an involved connection, linking reproductive care and major economic discussion.

Beyond conversations around reproduction health care, women are breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, and HIV tests, and reduction in funding for women’s reproductive care hit multicultural communities hardest. Reproduction care is more than a woman’s issue and social issues, it’s a freedom issue, a family issue, a values issue, and an economic issue.

New Prenatal Test Warn Expectant Moms About Risk Factors Just Nine Weeks Into Pregnancy

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With all of the concerns about how various activities and foods will impact the baby, pregnant women have a lot to worry about. While every pregnant woman wishes to have a perfect pregnancy, this is not always possible. And if something does go wrong, it’s best to know as soon as possible. “As soon as possible” has just become a lot sooner thanks to a revolutionary new test called Panorama.

This new prenatal test and can now find abnormalities as early as nine weeks into the pregnancy. Taking this test will take some of the weight off of the shoulders of expecting mothers if there are no abnormalities. If there are some abnormalities, the family will have time to prepare.

So how exactly does it work? Blood is drawn from expectant moms in order to get genetic material from the baby’s placenta. This test can spot defects that can result in Down’s syndrome or other trisomies. It can also find defects that lead to sex chromosome abnormalities and microdeletions, which are the cause of conditions like Angelman and Prader-Willi.

If the results of the test show that there is a high risk for some abnormalities in your baby, there is more that needs to be done. The next step is more testing, such as amniocentesis or the CVS, chorionic villus sampling. If the results show a low risk, the expectant mother may be able to void amniocentesis or other invasive tests.

While it will, of course, be unsettling for an expectant mother to learn that she is high risk, it is ultimately crucial that she find out early, so she can better prepare. If an expectant mother gets back a high-risk result, the mother and her doctor should monitor the pregnancy differently. They will also want to ensure that that the mother is at the best possible location to deliver her baby. This means that she should be near the best specialist and the best NICU possible. This way, her delivery can go as smoothly as possible and the baby can be as healthy as possible.

While the most important aspect of Panorama is, of course, the ability to detect risk factors, it also has a number of other interesting features. For example, parents can detect their baby’s gender early on. It is astounding that a non-invasive surgery that is done with a simple blood test can show this.

One of several cell-free DNA tests on the market, Panorama may give a false positive result. However, out of all prenatal screening tests available, Panorama has the lowest false positive rate for the commonly screened chromosomal abnormalities, trisomies 13, 18 and 21.

Panorama is typically used alongside other routine screening tests such as ultrasounds, and it is typically covered by insurance. With Panorama, expectant mothers who do not have high-risk factors can instead focus on other matters. And those who are at high risk can adjust so that their babies can be as healthy as possible. Panorama is bound to make an incredible difference in the lives of many expectant families.

Speak with your doctor about Panorama and allow your doctor to communicate if this prenatal screening is right for you.

Study: Mashed Potatoes, Potato Chips Contribute to a Higher Risk of Gestational Diabetes Among Pregnant Women

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Enjoying a potato-rich diet, involving the consumption of potatoes and potato by-products (ex. scallop potatoes, au gratin potatoes, mashed potatoes, potato chips, tater tots, hash browns and french fries), could be bad for you if you’re pregnant, according to new research published by The National Institutes of Health. The report asserts that potato-rich diets contribute to a higher risk of gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes generally develops during the 24th week of pregnancy, and it’s associated with high blood sugar and high glycemic index food. The British Medical Journal published the study, and it concluded that consuming potatoes more than five times a week increased the likelihood of developing gestational diabetes by 50 percent. The 10-year study examined the health records of 15,632 women between 1991 and 2001. The researchers proceeded to track and evaluate the subject’s consumption of potatoes and other foods, checking in every four years. They tracked incidences of diabetes, verified by medical records and reported by patients. That lengthy study yielded interesting results.

The research authors found that pre-pregnancy consumption of potatoes fundamentally contributes to the increased risk of gestational diabetes, regardless of adjustments to other major risk factors (weight, age, and diet). When following up, it was discovered that 854 women developed pregnancy diabetes. Women who consumed two to four 3.5-ounce servings of potatoes per week were 27 percent more likely to develop pregnancy diabetes, and those who ate five servings of starchy vegetables each week were 50 percent more likely to face a greater risk of developing the condition.

Women who eat fewer potatoes, and consume legumes, whole grains, and other vegetables instead, are 12 percent less likely to develop gestational diabetes.  The study was the first to examine the impact of potatoes on pregnancy.

It’s important to recognize that correlation doesn’t not necessarily equal causation.  Eating potatoes in moderation is fine, but what’s most important is maintaining a balanced diet. It’s the absolute best way to have a happy and healthy pregnancy.

5 Ways to Prepare for your Due Date

dr. lori gore-greenImpending parenthood is often a time fraught with a unique blend of excitement, anxiety and a whole host of other emotions. And while many claim that no one is ever fully prepared for parenthood, there are some concrete steps that expectant mothers and their partners can take in the days leading up to delivery. Below are some of the easiest ways to relieve stress related to the delivery process, simply through preparation.

Make a Go Bag

While this may seem fairly obvious, make a point to pack a bag that includes comfortable clothes that are easy to get into (think zip up hoodies, yoga pants, a warm shawl or fleece that you can wrap yourself in) without much movement or effort. I wouldn’t suggest bringing much in the way of jewelry or makeup. Instead pack simple, fragrance free products. The most important thing to include in your to go bag are any medications that you are currently taking or may need to take. Also, don’t forget to include your folder of important documents (outlined below) and extra pairs of underwear . 

Contingency plans

Whether you are having an induced labor or going the natural route, it’s important to have a plan in place for getting to the hospital, but it’s equally important to have a backup plan, and to have a plan for your other responsibilities. If you have another child or other children, make sure that they also have a go bag so that they can stay with a trusted babysitter or relative while you are in labor and recovering. Discuss the time frame for your expected delivery and make sure that this works with the guardian for your child. Create a document with all relevant information for your child, and for you. Do this well in advance so that you don’t have to worry about it when you are focusing on the delivery, and make a point to email a copy and give this guardian a printed copy. 

Automate Bill Pay

A month or two before your expected delivery date, make a point to automate or take care of any bills coming up in the next few months. While automated bill pay is a convenience that you may already take advantage of, if you haven’t started, now is a great time to try it. This way, you won’t have to worry about bills getting paid on time while your focus is elsewhere. You can always change this option once you are home, but the more things that you can automate while you are focusing on this birth, the better. Also, consider sharing your bill pay or “errand” calendar with your partner or a trusted confidante if you don’t have time to finish these tasks prior to delivery.

Important Documents

While this may seem like the last thing on your mind as you approach your labor day, this is something that will reduce paper-work related-stress, and will serve you well even after the birth of your child. Early on, I recommend that you create a folder that includes copies of all important documents including a copy of your government-issued ID, a copy of your Health Insurance Card(s), a sheet that lists all of your current doctors and medications that you are taking – as well as any allergies. Additionally print out a sheet that includes your emergency contacts and their information. Also keep an updated copy of your will and any pertinent instructions regarding end of life care. Keep this information in a folder in your go bag, and leave a copy at home or in your safety deposit box and/or with your partner or family member(s). Make sure your partner or hospital companion keeps an eye on this folder once you arrive. While this may seem like a somewhat somber set of documents to procure in the midst of your pregnancy, it is all a part of being responsible for both your health and the health of your child. Talk to your doctor and ask if there is any other information that would be relevant to have on hand, or if there is any way to share this information beforehand (to cut back on the number of items you bring with you).

Be Kind to Your Body

Although this means different things to different people, there are certain things that you should do for yourself throughout your pregnancy. Finding ways to exercise regularly (from yoga, to walking to more aerobic workouts, always make sure you consult with your doctor and listen to your body). Make a point to meditate. Drink lots of water and eat healthy whole foods. Visit your doctor regularly, and never be afraid to ask any questions. And most importantly, find ways to de-stress your daily life.

There are a number of other ways that you can prepare for your child’s arrival. Preparing your home before you go to the hospital or birthing center is also a huge component of preparing for the birth. For more information on how to prepare, do your research and talk to your doctor.

How to Shed Those Post-Pregnancy Pounds

Dr. Lori Gore Gore-Green PregnantCongratulations! Your new baby is here and now you’re impatient to return to your pre-pregnancy weight. Following a smart plan will help you shed the extra pounds, but these things take time you’ll need to do it in a way that is healthy for your body.

Follow these 6 steps to healthily shedding your post-pregnancy pounds:

  • Stay Hydrated: The recommendations for your suggested daily water intake vary from place to place, but most doctors nevertheless agree that staying hydrated is key for maintaining a healthy weight. Use your urine color as a gauge for your hydration level — if your urine is relatively clear, you know that you’re probably drinking enough fluids. (Note: Some medications and pills, such as B vitamins, can cause your urine to turn bright yellow, regardless of your hydration level).
  • Don’t Diet: Dieting can be the wrong mindset for new mothers, especially if they are breastfeeding their babies. Instead of putting an exclusive focus on cutting calories, put the focus back on eating healthy foods in a well-balanced variety. Eat lots and lots of vegetables, have a portion of healthy grains and lean protein at each meal, and keep small, healthy snacks available for noshing in between.
  • Choose Nutrient-Dense Foods: Your body needs all the nutrition it can get while it’s recovering from a delivery. This is particularly true if you’re breastfeeding your baby. Routinely add superfoods to your diet, such as salmon, quinoa, milk, greek yogurt, spinach, and avocados, in moderation.
  • Breastfeed: The jury is still out on whether breastfeeding can actually help mothers lose weight — some studies suggest it can help you return to your pre-pregnancy weight faster while others find no difference. Either way, breastfeeding is worth pursuing because it gives your baby a number of health benefits, including a boosted immunity. You can add 200-300 extra calories to your diet if you exclusively breastfeed, but just make sure to keep those calories in line with the rest of your weight loss plan.
  • Start Burning Calories: Your weight loss starts in the kitchen, but it ends with your exercising routine. Make sure to include both strength training and aerobic training exercises into your weekly regimen to help you de-stress, achieve better sleep, avoid depression, and keep off the extra pounds.
  • Catch Up On Sleep: Getting a good night’s sleep with a new baby around may sound impossible but getting those 8 hours of sleep is one of the most effective ways to keep off the extra weight. When you’re well rested, you’ll have more motivation to exercise and you’ll reduce the weight-gain effects of stress hormones like cortisol. Make it a priority to sleep when your baby sleeps and try to take naps during the day to catch up on lost sleep. You’ll have to go to bed earlier, but you’ll be thankful that you did.