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.

Do You Fear Period Sex?

Do You Fear Period Sex | Dr. Lori Gore-GreenFor some people, the beginning of a menstrual cycle means the end of sexual intercourse until the cycle has passed. This mindset should be reconsidered, however, when all the benefits of sex during your period are taken into consideration.

1. Reduced Risk Of Pregnancy

When you strip away the passion, pleasure, and excitement, sex is ultimately designed for procreation. Any form of vaginal penetration by a penis that results in ejaculation has the chance to cause pregnancy. Due to the nature of a woman’s menstrual cycle, there is a reduced risk of pregnancy from sex, although not an entirely eliminated risk. Sperm can live inside of a woman’s body for up to five days, so if you have sex near the end of your cycle, you can still conceive a child once your menstrual cycle ends. The safest time to enjoy a reduced risk of pregnancy is to have sex near the beginning of your period.

2. Natural Pain Relief

Sex brings an incredible amount of pleasure that, when done properly, results in an orgasm. Orgasms are fun and enjoyable, but they also play a pivotal biological function with regards to the brain. This is especially true in women. The female orgasm causes the brain to release a healthy dose of endorphins which are chemicals that spread through the body to promote a boost in overall mood and help to relieve pain. A 1985 study shows that a woman’s pain tolerance increases drastically after an orgasm. So, having sex can help relieve the pain of menstrual cramps and other pains commonly associated with that time of the month.

3. Sleep Aid

Endorphins aren’t the only biological substances released by the female brain during an orgasm. The hormone known as prolactin is also released during an orgasm. Prolactin is a hormone that helps to calm the body and prepare it for a long, restful sleep. This is why people tend to become lethargic and sleepy after sex that causes an orgasm.

4. Ease Of Penetration

Some women have issues with vaginal dryness that causes difficulties during sex. The benefit of engaging in sex during a period is that this issue is almost entirely alleviated. There is more than enough lubrication present during this time of the month to allow for easy penetration and increased pleasure because of the lubricated sensation.

Lupus & Pregnancy: 8 Important Things To Know

Lupus & Pregnancy- 8 Important Things To Know| Dr. Lori Gore-GreenLupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that isn’t discussed nearly as much as it should be.

This condition is a complication whereby an individual’s immune system attacks your organs and tissues. The joints, skin, blood cells, brain, kidneys, lungs, and heart, are touched by inflammation.

Unfortunately, lupus can be challenging to diagnose. The symptoms and signs can be difficult to distinguish, although there’s a distinctive sign of lupus that isn’t found in all cases, which is a facial rash resembling a sprawled-winged butterfly across each cheek.

Lupus can uniquely impact pregnant women. So, if a woman with lupus happens to become pregnant, there are many precautions that she must take, as there are potential risks to both the mother and child. It’s important to speak with one’s physician early and often, but more than that, it’s important to think about medications, it’s important to chat with an obstetrician, and significant to discuss delivery methods during the early stages of pregnancy or even ahead of pregnancy.

According to Doruk Erkan, MD, MPH of the Barbara Volcker Center for Women and Rheumatic Disease, there are ten points to consider to optimize the outcome for who are pregnant while having lupus. Read on for a paraphrasing of eight of those crucial pointers:

  1. Successful pregnancies are possible when one has lupus. Educating oneself and taking professional advice is essential for lupus patients, who are more likely develop complications than non-lupus patients. Rheumatologists and obstetricians experienced in managing high-risk pregnancies are necessary for discussion. Also, consultation with a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as well as other advanced facilities is essential as a child may require specialized care. It’s also important to lean on the support of family, who may ease impending challenges.
  2. Consider what might be the right time to conceive. Ideally, conception should occur when you’re at peak health, and at least six months after disease activity, particularly that involving kidney disease. Visit with your doctor for blood tests and complete physical examination.
  3. Lupus flares can take place during pregnancy and following delivery. Thankfully, a majority of these flares aren’t life-threatening and can be treated with steroids.
  4. One can identify lupus flares during one’s pregnancy by looking for patchy hair loss, redness across cheeks and the nose, fatigues, body aches, and fever. Pain and swelling in the joints are also generally reported. The retention of fluid usually leads to the swelling of ankles, feet, and hands.
  5. For some patients, complications appear in the form of pre-eclampsia, HELLP syndrome (Hemolysis, Elevated Liver Enzymes, Low Platelets), hypertension, urinary tract infections, diabetes, and renal insufficiency. Frequent urination, headaches, abdominal pain, and blurry vision are additionally experienced. The heightened risk of pregnancy loss should also be acknowledged.
  6. It’s important to note that lupus patients give birth to healthy children, who don’t face an increased risk of mental retardation or congenital disabilities. It’s important to consult your physician about undergoing regular ultrasounds to monitor intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) and low birth weight.
  7. Discuss any medication with your with your doctor to ensure that it won’t worsen your lupus or cause damage to your child. Consult about steroids, blood thinners, anti-inflammatory drugs, and other medications.
  8. Mothers with lupus can breastfeed, and if they find it to be a challenge, they shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted health care professional, who will likely advise against breastfeeding if a mother is on azathioprine, cyclosporine, cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, or mycophenolate mofetil.

Beyond the items listed above, lupus patients should also discuss the possibility of vaginal delivery as an option for delivery ahead of giving birth. Broach vital topics on birth control options, child care, and other necessary 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.

Zika Virus Affecting 234 Women Nationwide, No Treatment Available

7469978464_6ebe7c0c7c_bThe Zika virus has continued to spread, and the World Health Organization has recommended that women and couples living in Zika-infected areas should refrain from becoming pregnant in order to limit the risk of giving birth to children with a congenital brain disorder –known as microcephaly, provoked by the virus.

Recently, the WHO indicated that the Zika virus will affect millions of reproductive-aged people in 46 nations where the virus has spread. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked that pregnant women and those trying to conceive not travel to Zika-plagued areas –although such requests frequently ignore certain realities. Approximately 25 percent of Puerto Rico’s 3.5 million population will likely be infected by Zika virus by the year’s end. With that said, scientists have not expected that outbreak will spread to the continental United States.

Zika virus is commonly spread by mosquitoes of the Aedes genus. This can be transmitted by having sex with another person, and mothers can infect infants, who face high rates of microcephaly, which is a disorder characterized by unusually small heads and severe brain damage. Avoiding pregnancy is nearly impossible for certain women living in Zika-infected areas.

In Caribbean and Latin American countries, 58 percent of pregnancies are unattended. These countries also have some of the most restrictive and harshest reproductive health laws. Contraception is far too pricey in these areas, likewise, clinics are too far and many young people avoid contraception because of stigma regarding promiscuity, which all increases the likelihood of childbirth. Additionally, abortion is restricted and banned in many areas. What must also be considered are the number of young women raped each year in Latin America, an estimated 1.6 million.

Unintentionally, women will become present, so it’s up to the government to educate the public and make essential resources available whenever necessary, making it easier for women to avoid pregnancies. According to the New York Times, the Zika virus has not only spread from Brazil into the Carribean, but women and unborn children in the U.S. also face a threat. There are three essential tests used to detect the virus. If a woman tests positive for Zika, there’s no treatment, but doctors will be able to perform several ultrasounds to detect issues in fetal development.

According to the New York Times, there are now 234 pregnant women in the continental U.S. carry the Zika virus. Beyond that, the problem facing health providers is the fact that many who require testing, large numbers of women, many uninsured or low-income immigrants from the Caribbean and Latin America, are not being screened or tested sufficiently.

Beyond that, data isn’t kept on many women who’ve traveled to Zika areas. Conversely, women from higher-income neighborhoods are far more likely to be tested. Risks are mounting as the summer draws nearer and mosquitos carry the virus to Florida and other states along the Gulf of Mexico, where there will most likely be cases of transmission. All reported cases of the virus in the U.S. have been contracted elsewhere –including the three babies born in the U.S. with the disease, and the recent loss of three babies that occurred due to the virus.

The CDC will publish weekly updates, offering pregnancy outcome data:  www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/pregnancy-outcomes.html.

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.

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.