All posts in Pregnancy

Eating for Two. Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy.

Pregnant woman measuring weight“Well, I’m eating for two now, so I should really have just one more serving…” When you’re pregnant, the temptation to splurge on extra servings, or give-in to unusual cravings as your belly expands, can be easy. You’re gaining weight anyway. Who’s to say any one pound should be attributed to your meals and not to baby’s growing size?

The truth, however, is that regulated weight gain from high quality foods and a defined nutrition plan is critical to a healthy pregnancy, and a healthy newborn. Weight gained from sugary, fried, or processed foods, on the other hand, is not, regardless of how comforting they taste, or how easy it is to justify with the phrase, “But I’m eating for two.” Read on to learn how much weight you should gain during your pregnancy, and why it’s important to maintain a healthy weight strategy.

Healthy Weight, Healthy Baby, Healthy Mommy.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), studies show that only 32 percent of women gain their recommended amount of weight during their pregnancy. Nearly half (48 percent) gain too much, and 21 percent don’t gain enough.

Women who do not gain enough weight during pregnancy are at risk of giving birth to an undersized infant. Babies born too small may experience such health complications as difficulty breastfeeding, developmental delays, or they may be at an increased risk of illness. Babies born to underweight women may even be born premature, which can lead to additional health complications. For moms, women who do not gain enough weight during pregnancy are at risk of anemia, or developing osteoporosis later in life.

Women who gain too much weight, also put both themselves and their babies at risk of health complications. Women who gain too much weight are at risk of delivering over-sized babies which may require a cesarean section, or escalate over time into childhood obesity. Babies born of overweight women are also at risk of being born premature.

Women who gain too much weight during pregnancy may face such health complications as gestational diabetes, or preeclampsia. They often also experience difficulty losing the extra weight. As a result, after baby is born they may experience their own health complications related to obesity, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

How Much Weight Should You Gain During Your Pregnancy?

There is no fixed amount of weight that each woman should gain during her pregnancy. Rather, the amount is assessed based on your pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI). Typically, women with an underweight BMI should gain 28 to 40 pounds during pregnancy. Women with a normal BMI should gain 25 – 35 pounds during pregnancy, women with an overweight BMI should gain 15 -25 pounds, and women whose BMI indicates they are obese should only gain 11 – 20 pounds.

How Many Extra Calories Do Pregnant Women Need.

The number of extra calories pregnant women need is less than you’d expect. You only need about 300 extra calories per day for the healthy development of your baby—an amount that is likely much less than that extra serving of ice cream, chips, or your other favorite comfort food.

Not only is the number of extra calories you consume important, so is the source of those calories. Your extra calories should come from lean proteins, fibers, grains, and healthy fats, not sugary carbohydrates or trans fats.

How to Develop a Healthy Weight Gain Plan.

Your OBGYN will work with you to put a healthy nutrition plan in place, based on your individual needs and health history. He or she will also weigh you at every visit to help track your progress and make adjustments to your nutrition strategy throughout your pregnancy if more weight needs to be gained or lost.

If you have questions about your weight or the health of your baby at any point throughout your pregnancy talk to your OBGYN. He or she will help you and your baby create and maintain a healthy plan from months one through nine. And if you are newly pregnant and live in the Western New York area, consider Chouchani, Sayegh and Robinson for all of your prenatal care.  We are currently accepting new patients.

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How to Exercise Safely During Your Pregnancy

Pregnant woman standing next to exercise bikeExercise is just as important during pregnancy as it is before and after. However, there are certain guidelines you should follow. Read on to learn what exercises are safe throughout your pregnancy, and which forms of activity should be avoided, for your health and for baby’s safety.

Baby-Safe Activities
Generally, the following forms of fitness can safely be maintained during your pregnancy, with your doctor’s consent.

Walking
This exercise is easy, free, and it can be done anywhere. All you need is a comfortable pair of sneakers. Brisk walking while pregnant can help raise your heart rate, without putting too much strain on muscles and joints.

Yoga
Yoga is not only an effective activity for building core strength and firming muscles, it helps soothe stress and ease anxiety. What soon-to-be new mom couldn’t benefit from less stress?

Light Strength Training
Not only does light weight training help you to build muscles before baby arrives, it can be part of a healthy post-baby exercise plan. Plus, you’ll need strong arms and legs for carrying your baby. Just be sure not to use excessive weight, and avoid any exercises where you are lying on your back.

Swimming
Swimming can be a comfortable and effective activity for any stage of your pregnancy. Not only will you feel lighter in the water, it’s gentle on joints and can help relieve swollen ankles.

Stationery Cycling
Stationery bike cycling is a safe way to train leg muscles and achieve 30-minutes of cardio without the need for expensive gear, being exposed to the elements, or the risks of oncoming traffic. It’s also easy on joints, which is ideal during pregnancy.

Low-Impact Aerobics
Search for an aerobics class in your area geared toward pregnant women. You’ll want instruction that helps you tone all your muscles, and boost your cardio, without doing any activities that are too straining, especially later in your pregnancy.

Exercises to Avoid While Pregnant
It can be hard to feel like you have to give up activities that you love while pregnant, however for your safety and the health and well-being of your new addition, your doctor is likely to suggest that you avoid the following activities during your pregnancy, especially in your later trimesters:

  • Racket sports, or anything that requires you to quickly pivot, turn, or change directions.
  • Contact sports such as hockey, basketball, and soccer.
  • Activities that put you at risk of falling, such as rollerblading, outdoor cycling, horseback riding, surfing, or skiing.

How Much Exercise is Enough?

Talk to your OBGYN to devise a fitness plan that is right for you, however most pregnant women will still need about 30 minutes of exercise on most days. If on any one day you feel too fatigued to achieve your 30-minute goal in one session, consider 15 minutes in the morning, and 15 minutes later in the day instead. Also, make sure any cardio activity you are participating in that is raising your heart rate isn’t making it too difficult to breathe. You should be able to comfortably carry on a conversation while you’re working out.

Before you begin any exercise regimen while pregnant, talk to your OBGYN. He or she can help you build an ideal fitness plan based on your current fitness levels, and any possible unique risk factors.

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Prenatal Care in the Third Trimester

prenatal care third trimesterWhat to Expect, and Why It’s Important

You’re finally entering your third trimester. That means that baby’s arrival is getting close, and you’re about to begin what may be the most physically challenging time of your pregnancy as your baby reaches its full pre-birth size. You can expect just as much support from your OBGYN as you’ve received in your first and second trimester. He or she will work closely with you to help you prepare for the birth of your baby in these critical final weeks. Here’s what you should expect from weeks 28 through 40.

More Frequent OBGYN Visits
During your last trimester, you’ll be meeting with your OBGYN more frequently. You will have a prenatal visit every two weeks up until week 36, and then you’ll be meeting with your OBGYN weekly. Consider bringing your partner or labor coach with you during your third trimester doctor visits. You can expect regular weight checks, blood pressure checks, and urine checks that will test for protein in the urine. He or she will also continue to monitor baby’s heartbeat and activity, and may also perform pelvic exams to determine if your cervix is beginning to dilate.

Baby’s Movement
Pay attention to how much movement you feel from your baby, and keep your doctor informed if you observe anything concerning or any significant changes. In your third trimester, you should be noticing that baby will have very active periods, and times when he or she is not active at all — both of which are normal and expected. If baby suddenly seems to be less active, eat a snack and then lie down for a few minutes. If you still don’t detect much movement, call your OBGYN to describe what you’ve observed.

Screening Tests, Lab Tests, and Ultrasounds
You will likely receive a screening test during your third trimester for group B streptococcus (GBS), a common bacterium often carried in the intestines or lower genital tract that can cause complications to a newborn if the baby is infected during a vaginal delivery.

Your OBGYN may order additional testing during your last trimester if you:

Pelvic Exam
As you progress through your third trimester, your doctor may complete a pelvic exam to identify any cervical changes. Before baby arrives, your cervix will begin to soften, dilate, and thin (efface), changes that are typically measured in centimeters and percentages. Once you reach 10 centimeters dilated and 100 percent effaced, you’re ready to start pushing, which makes monitoring changes to your cervix important.

Fatigue
Expect to feel tired during your last trimester. Much of your energy is being diverted to help support baby’s final growth spirt. Don’t fight the feelings of fatigue. Make sure you are getting enough rest each day. You may want to think about starting to reduce your number of daily activities, and toward the end of your third trimester, you may want to talk to your doctor about cutting back your work hours if applicable.

Nutrition and Exercise
Even though you’re approaching the end of the finish line, you need to stay the course with the diet and exercise plan you’ve created with your doctor. Be sure to eat foods high in protein, and eat small amounts of vegetables regularly. Also, be sure to get some exercise, such as a short walk, each day.

Baby’s Positioning
Toward the end of your last trimester, your OBGYN will begin estimating your baby’s weight and will work to determine his or her position. Your baby should be positioned head first in the uterus. An ultrasound may be ordered to confirm the baby’s position and to determine the level of amniotic fluid around the baby.

When to Call Your OBGYN
If you experience any of the following, call your OBGYN:

  • You have any bleeding.
  • You are experiencing headaches.
  • You notice increased vaginal discharge with odor.
  • You have a fever, chills, or pain with urination.
  • You experience changes to your eyesight or have blind spots in your vision.

It’s also time to call your OBGYN when your water breaks, or if you begin experiencing regular, painful contractions. When this happens, don’t be alarmed. Baby is just preparing for his or her grand entrance.


Did you miss part 1 and 2 of our prenatal care series? If so, please check out the links below…

Prenatal Care in Your First Trimester
Prenatal Care in Your Second Trimester

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Prenatal Care in the Second Trimester

asian pregnant womanWhat to Expect, and Why It’s Important

You’re a third of the way through your pregnancy and feeling strong and confident. Your first trimester morning sickness pains are behind you, you’re rocking your baby bump, and you’re excited because you’re only a few weeks away from learning the gender of your baby. Keep in mind that prenatal care is just as important in the second trimester as it is in the first and third. You should expect more visits to your OBGYN, more healthy eating and activity, and exciting memories with your baby.

OBGYN Visits

During your second trimester, your doctor will likely want to see you about every four weeks. During your appointments, your OBGYN will continue to monitor your blood pressure and your weight gain. He or she will also be able to measure your baby’s growth during the second trimester.

Starting when you reach the mid-point in your pregnancy, your doctor will begin measuring the distance between your pubic bone and the top of your uterus. This measurement, known as your fundal height, helps estimate your baby’s size and growth rate. From week 20 to week 36, your fundal height, in centimeters, should roughly correspond to how many weeks pregnant you are.

During your second trimester, your doctor will monitor baby’s heartbeat, likely something you’ll hear for the first time around week 12 — one of the most memorable pregnancy moments for moms and dads.

Baby Movement

You’ll first start to feel your baby kicking and moving around within your belly during your second trimester. Be sure to let your OBGYN know when you first notice that fluttery feeling.

Baby’s First Photoshoot

You should expect a fetal ultrasound that will show you images of your baby in the uterus, and may be able to tell you the baby’s gender. Not only is this an emotionally significant moment in your pregnancy, this test is vital to helping your OBGYN identify the risk of any anomalies.

Second Trimester Testing

Just as you experienced during your first trimester, you should expect blood tests during your second trimester. These tests will monitor your blood count and iron levels, identify possible infection, and determine your risk for gestational diabetes. You will also receive additional urine tests to screen for infections, and high protein levels that may be an indication of a urinary tract infection or, if accompanied by high blood pressure, a sign of preeclampsia.

Depending on what screening tests were conducted in the first trimester, you may also have the opportunity to conduct genetic testing, or you may need to be monitored for a negative Rh factor. Also, depending on what previous screening tests or the ultrasound uncovered, your OBGYN may recommend additional diagnostic tests, such as amniocentesis. This test can detect chromosome abnormalities, neural tube defects, and other genetic disorders.

A note about the flu vaccine: If your second trimester spans flu season, your OBGYN will likely speak with you about the benefits of receiving the flu shot during your second trimester.

As always, at any point throughout your pregnancy, your doctor is available to answer any questions or concerns that you may have. Never hesitate to ask a question, or call for an extra appointment.

At Chouchani, Sayegh and Robinson, we are accepting newly pregnant and pregnant patients. Call for an appointment today.

Did you miss last week’s post about what to expect during the first trimester of pregnancy? Read on to find out more.

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Prenatal Care in the First Trimester

First trimester pregnancyWhat to Expect, and Why It’s Important

Your doctor or at home pregnancy test has just confirmed it: you’re pregnant! You may not be showing yet, but the first three months of your pregnancy are some of the most critical for ensuring your baby has a healthy start and that you have a successful, and comfortable pregnancy. A healthy first trimester is heavily dependent on your prenatal care. Read on to learn what to expect in those first three months, and how proper prenatal care can help keep you, and baby, healthy.

Visiting Your OBGYN

You and your OBGYN will have a lot to talk about during your first prenatal appointment, so be sure to allot enough time and bring all of your questions. Your partner may want to attend the first visit as well. Your OBGYN will need to obtain your health history. Be prepared to discuss:

  • Any past pregnancies.
  • Your family, and personal medical history.
  • Your menstrual cycle.
  • Any medication use.
  • Your lifestyle habits, particularly if you use tobacco, alcohol, or caffeine.

Know that your OBGYN will keep your information private, and that full disclosure of even uncomfortable topics, such as your family’s health history, past illicit drug use, or miscarriages, is needed so that your doctor can offer you the best treatment plan.

During your first exam, your OBGYN will also calculate your body mass index (BMI) and help you determine your ideal weight gain throughout your pregnancy. As part of an overall physical exam, he/she will conduct a pelvic exam and measure your blood pressure, breathing rate, and heart rate; and work to determine any possible risk factors that will need to be monitored throughout your pregnancy.

Lab Tests

Be prepared to complete a blood test during your first prenatal exam. The test will be used to identify a variety of factors, including:

  • A complete blood count (CBC). Your blood type will also be determined.
  • Your Rhesus (Rh) status. The Rh factor is a protein that can be present on the surface of red blood cells. The Rh factor is passed down through parents’ genes to their children. The Rh factor can cause pregnancy complications if you are Rh negative and your fetus is Rh positive, so your OBGYN will want to identify this possibility as early as possible.
  • Your hemoglobin levels. Low hemoglobin is a sign of anemia, and will need to be addressed in the first trimester.
  • Your immunity to certain infections. In particular, your OBGYN will need to know your immunity to rubella, and chickenpox.
  • Exposure to sexually transmitted diseases. Your doctor will want to determine if you have been exposed to hepatitis B, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, or HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Screening Tests

During your first trimester, screening tests may be conducted to determine possible fetal abnormalities. Your doctor will also do a Pap smear to look for infections or other risk factors, and will conduct a cystic fibrosis screening test to determine if you may be a carrier for the disease. A urine test will also be conducted to test for sugar or protein in your urine, which could be a sign of gestational diabetes or high blood pressure.

An Ultrasound

Your OBGYN will conduct an ultrasound and attempt to see the baby and listen to his/her heartbeat, though it may not be audible until week six or seven.

Genetic Testing

During your first trimester, you will have the option of speaking with a genetic counselor and or being screened for genetic disorders that could lead to birth defects, such as Down syndrome or brain and spinal column defects. Women who may be at higher risk for giving birth to a baby with a genetic disorder include:

  • Women, age 35 or older.
  • Women who have had a previous fetus with a genetic problem.
  • Women with a family history of inherited birth defects.

Nutrition and Vitamins

Your OBGYN will give you a plan for proper diet and nutrition for both the first trimester, and throughout your pregnancy. It will include how much exercise or physical activity you should receive, optimal nutritional goals, medication use, and the prescription of essential prenatal vitamins with iron for use during your pregnancy.

After your first prenatal exam, expect to meet with your OBGYN monthly as he/she will want to closely monitor your progress and have the opportunity to identify any health risks early.

Your first trimester will be an exciting time for you and your family. Rely on your OBGYN during your first trimester, and throughout your pregnancy, to be your best health advocate and resource for you and your baby. Most importantly, never hesitate to contact your OBGYN if you have any questions or concerns. Early detection of possible risk factors will help keep you and your baby healthy and comfortable throughout your pregnancy.

Are you newly pregnant?

The team at Chouchani, Sayegh and Robinson (previously Bagnarello) are accepting new patients. Just give us a call today to make your first appointment.

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The Dangers of Substance Abuse During Pregnancy

No alcoholOverconsumption of alcohol or drugs can have potentially life-threatening consequences. Taking those risks for yourself is dangerous enough, but taking those risks on behalf of your unborn baby means a threat to both of your lives. Use of alcohol or illegal drugs during pregnancy puts your baby at risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, premature labor, placental abruption, and even death.

You likely know that women are not supposed to drink or consume drugs while pregnant, but it’s time to learn the details. What follows are the risks associated with drinking, smoking tobacco, or using three common illicit drugs, while pregnant.

Alcohol

When women consume alcohol while pregnant, it can negatively affect the growth of the baby’s brain and spinal cord cells. Depending on how much alcohol the baby was exposed to in the womb, he or she may suffer from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Mild to severe FASD health complications may include physical developmental disorders or other birth defects, or learning and behavioral issues. In the most severe cases, heavy alcohol use during pregnancy can lead to preterm labor, miscarriage, or stillbirth.

Tobacco

Tobacco products contain chemicals that are dangerous to you and your baby, including nicotine, carbon monoxide, and tar. According to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these chemicals increase the risk of both miscarriage and stillbirth. Other health risks may include problems with the placenta or slow fetal development, two factors that can also cause a miscarriage or stillbirth.

Marijuana

Like cigarette smoke, marijuana contains toxins that can impede your baby’s ability to get the necessary amount of oxygen needed to develop properly. Marijuana puts your baby at risk of miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, and other developmental or behavioral problems.

Heroin

Heroin is extremely addictive. Babies exposed to heroin while in the womb may develop a dependency on the drug themselves. Upon birth, such babies are born suffering from such withdrawal symptoms as convulsions, fever, irritability, and sleep abnormalities. Babies born to mothers who use heroin are also at greater risk of a preterm birth, low birth weight, low blood sugar, breathing difficulties, bleeding within the brain, and even fetal death.

Cocaine

According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecology (ACOG), pregnant mothers who use cocaine have a 25 percent increased chance of premature labor, and babies born to women who have used cocaine while pregnant have a higher risk of being born with a physical birth defect. Like other drugs consumed during pregnancy, cocaine can cross the placenta and enter your baby’s circulatory system. Your baby won’t be able to process and eliminate cocaine as quickly as you can, which can complicate your baby’s health risks.

If you consume cocaine early in your pregnancy, it may increase the risk of a miscarriage. If your baby is exposed to cocaine later in your pregnancy, your baby could be at risk of being born with a birth defect, or could face placental abruption, a condition that occurs when the placenta peels away, either partially or completely, from the inner wall of the uterus. Placental abruption could lead to severe bleeding, premature birth, or even fetal death.

Babies exposed to cocaine later in pregnancy may also be born with a dependency, and may suffer from withdrawal symptoms such as sleeplessness, muscle spasms, feeding difficulties, and tremors.

Getting Help

Whether you are already pregnant or looking to become pregnant, if you regularly drink or utilize recreational drugs today, know that it’s never too late to quit. Every day that you choose to live drug and alcohol-free is a day you choose a healthier life for you and your baby.

You don’t have to go it alone — please talk with your doctor today.  He or she can help you get on the path to recovery and a healthy life ahead.

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Discover Why Prenatal Vitamins Are Essential to a Healthy Pregnancy

Prenatal vitaminPregnant or Trying to Become Pregnant? 

When you become pregnant, your top priority becomes doing everything possible to keep you and your baby healthy. The fight for good prenatal health starts with a commitment to prenatal vitamins. If you find yourself pregnant unexpectedly, it’s important to start a prenatal vitamin routine immediately. If you are trying to become pregnant, your OBGYN will recommend that you begin taking prenatal vitamins as you work to conceive. Read on to learn how these tiny tools can make a big difference on the health of your baby.

What are Prenatal Vitamins?

Prenatal vitamins help to fill the nutritional gaps that may be in your diet before and during your pregnancy to help you and your baby maintain optimal health, and to prevent certain health complications. An ideal prenatal vital should contain essential vitamins and minerals that you and your baby need, including the following:

Folic Acid – Folic acid can help to prevent neural tube birth defects, which threaten to develop in the first 28 days after conception, making it essential that women begin their prenatal vitamin routine immediately upon finding out their pregnant, or, more ideally, when they decide they want to become pregnant. It’s recommended that women take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily before conception and throughout the first twelve weeks of their pregnancy.

Calcium – Calcium can help protect women from losing important bone density as baby uses calcium for its own growth.

Iodine – Critical for the healthy functioning of your thyroid, iodine should be supplemented during pregnancy to prevent your baby from suffering from stunted growth, deafness, or severe mental disabilities. A lack of iodine, in the most severe cases, can even result in miscarriage or stillbirth.

Iron – Important for mother and baby, iron is essential for carrying oxygen in the blood.

Other important nutrients and minerals that should be included in your prenatal vitamin include:

  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin C
  • Thiamine
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc

An Important Note if Your Prenatal Vitamin Makes You Feel Sick to Your Stomach

Some women report that prenatal vitamins make them nauseas, or that their vitamins exacerbate existing nausea symptoms during their pregnancy. If your prenatal vitamin is making you nauseas, do not make the mistake of simply stopping your vitamin routine. Talk to your OBGYN. He or she can prescribe an alternative for you, which may include a chewable, liquid, or pill to swallow whole, depending on your tolerance.

Talk to Your Doctor

If you’re wondering which prenatal vitamin is right for you, know that you don’t have to decide on your own. Your OBGYN will help you to choose the prenatal vitamin that is right for you and your baby, which will put you in the best position for a healthy, full-term pregnancy. And if you are newly pregnant or trying to become pregnant, and looking for a new doctor, please give our practice a call.  We are accepting new patients.

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Newly Pregnant? Learn Why Prenatal Care is Most Important in the First Trimester.

Pregnant Woman Looking At Ultrasound Scan Of BabyAt the moment your doctor says those three amazing words, “Congratulations, you’re pregnant,” your life is about to change. Most importantly, every decision you make, you make for two people, and for every choice you make, you need to ask yourself what is best for both you and your baby. As you adjust your lifestyle and prepare for being a mom, know that prenatal care is most important during your first trimester.

Studies have found that babies born to mothers who don’t get proper prenatal care are three times more likely to suffer from low birth weight, and are five times more likely to suffer fetal death. Prenatal care includes regular visits to your OBGYN. Such visits are crucial to identifying and treating potential health risks early.

To prepare yourself for welcoming a healthy and happy baby into your life, review our prenatal best practices.

Schedule Routine OBGYN Visits

Plan to see your OBGYN on a regular basis during your pregnancy, starting in the first trimester. Your doctor will monitor such health factors as your weight, blood pressure, heart rate, breathing capacity, and general health along with the health of your baby.

Obtain Necessary Tests

During your first trimester, your OBGYN will want to schedule you for some important tests. This may include a pap test to check for cervical cancer, a Rhesis (Rh) status test, and a hemoglobin test. Your OBGYN will also want to check your immunity to certain infections, which may include a test for rubella and varicella (chickenpox). He or she may also want to test you for other infections, including sexually transmitted diseases. Your baby will receive tests too. Your doctor will likely want to schedule an ultrasound in the first trimester to detect any potential abnormalities or health issues.

Start with Vitamins

Your OBGYN will want you to begin your first trimester with regular prenatal vitamins to make sure you’re getting all the minerals and nutrients that you need for a healthy pregnancy. Even before you’re pregnant, if you’re hoping to conceive, your OBGYN will recommend that you begin regularly taking prenatal vitamins.

Adapt Your Lifestyle

Right from the first trimester you’ll need to commit to a healthier diet, and lifestyle, which means eliminating alcohol, quitting tobacco or any recreational drugs, limiting caffeine, getting plenty of sleep, and exercising regularly as directed by your doctor. Your OBGYN will also want to talk to you about any regular prescription or over-the-counter medications that you are currently taking and what may need to change during your pregnancy.

For more information on what to expect during your first trimester, and how to maintain the best possible prenatal health, talk to your OB-GYN. He or she can tell you what to expect, and can help you build a care plan to keep you and your baby happy and healthy for the next exciting nine months and beyond.

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How Will I Know When I’m in Labor?

Pregnant African WomanYou have been waiting for nine months to meet your new baby. With each day that passes, your anticipation grows until you are wishing every minute of every day for the time to come. When the moment finally does arrive you’ll know, won’t you? You may be surprised to know that there are several signs and symptoms that you should watch for to determine when you have truly gone into labor. Familiarize yourself with the list of labor signs below so that you will be ready to go for the ultimate go time.

Contractions That Occur at Regular Intervals. One of the most accurate ways to tell if you are in labor is to time the sensations you believe to be contractions. In the beginning, the contractions will feel like menstrual cramps. Begin to time the “contractions” from the start of one to the start of the next. If they occur at regular intervals, with about the same amount of time in between, and if they start to appear closer to one another or if the pain increases, you’re likely in labor.

You Lose Your Mucus Plug. The mucus plug prevents bacteria from entering the uterus by blocking the opening to the cervix. Before labor, however, the mucus plug is expelled, ultimately allowing the baby to pass through the cervix during birth.

Bloody Show. When the mucus plug is expelled, you may experience what is known as “bloody show,” which is a mucusy discharge tinged pink or brown by blood. The appearance of the bloody show is a sign that blood vessels in the cervix are rupturing as it begins to dilate.

Your Water Breaks. This is the sign that everyone anticipates as the ultimate signal of labor, but don’t count on it. Breaking water only occurs in less than 15 percent of births. If your water does break, you will experience a trickling or gushing of amniotic fluid. The liquid should be odorless. If you do notice a color, or an odor, call your OBYGN immediately, as it may be a sign that the baby is in distress and has passed meconium, or the earliest infant stool, in the uterus.

Loose Joints. During your pregnancy, your body produces the hormone relaxin, which makes all of your ligaments soften. Before labor, you may feel as if your joints have gone loose. This is your body’s natural way of preparing your pelvis for the birth.

Nesting. Some women experience a biological phenomenon known as nesting in the days and weeks before birth. Nesting during pregnancy is the overwhelming desire to get your home ready for your new baby. When nesting occurs women experience a burst of energy and find themselves motivated to clean, or bake, or in some way prepare the home for their new arrival. Just be careful not to overdo it!

The birth of your baby will be a monumental moment in your lives. Remember to stay calm, and if you have any concerns about the symptoms you are experiencing, contact your OBGYN. Your doctor is prepared to help you bring your newest member of your family into the world as safely as possible.

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Can Pregnant Women Safely Use Insect Repellents?

Pregnant Woman Spraying Mosquito Repellant To Protect Against Zika Virus

Pregnant Woman Spraying Mosquito Repellant To Protect Against Zika Virus

How to Stay Safe from Bugs and Bites this Summer

All eyes are on Rio this summer – both in anticipation of the summer Olympics, and as we hope for a resolution to the recent Zika virus outbreak. The recent virus epidemic has put Americans on high alert of the dangers of mosquitos and mosquito transmitted viruses. While there have been no known instances of mosquito-borne cases of Zika in the United States yet, all Americans, especially women, should protect themselves from the risk of mosquito bites. Before you reach for the bug repellent, understand the safest ways to stay bug bite free this summer.

Are Mosquito Repellents Safe?
Every year, over a million people across the globe die from mosquito-borne illness. Mosquito bites put us at risk for such diseases as West Nile virus, Malaria, Dengue fever, and Encephalitis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the use of insect repellents to safely prevent mosquito-borne diseases. Repellents can be used to prevent bites, skin eruptions, and rashes.

How do Mosquito Repellents Work?
Mosquitos and other blood feeding insects are attracted to the carbon dioxide we release in our breath and to our skin odors. Repellents work at the skin level by masking our sent in a way that makes us unattractive for biting. Repellents do not kill the insects however, so it is still possible to see bugs flying nearby even after repellent spray has been applied. For best results, apply a liberal amount of repellent to exposed skin when you expect to be outside.

Active Ingredients
In most brands of mosquito repellents, the active ingredients include DEET or picaridin. Both of these ingredients are registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use as insect repellents on skin. This means that the EPA has evaluated them for potential side effects and has determined that they are not expected to cause serious adverse effects when used as directed.

Can Pregnant Women Safely use Insect Repellents?
Studies show that mosquitos are more attracted to pregnant women, due to the extra amounts of carbon dioxide they emit while pregnant. Your extra tempting scent means you should be extra careful this summer. The safest way for pregnant women to protect themselves from mosquito bites is still through the application of mosquito repellent. According to the CDC, there are no additional precautions that pregnant women should take when using insect repellents. Both DEET and picaridin have been determined to be safe for pregnant women by the EPA. Stay away from mosquito repellents that include lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 however, as they are not recommended for use during pregnancy.

If you have any questions or concerns talk to your OBGYN. And if you are looking for a top OBGYN practice in Western New York, we are accepting new patients.  Give us a call today.

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