Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Pregnant Vitamins: Are Prenatal Vitamins Really Essential For Me?

Prenatal Vitamins: Are they essential?
It doesn't matter whether you are already pregnant or you are ready to take the leap, your Doctor will have prescribed prenatal vitamins. A lot of women feel nervous about this. The experts seem to keep changing their minds. One study results in Doctors recommending something. The next study seems to be about how too much of any given vitamin can be harmful. So what's a Mum-to-be to do?

Are prenatal vitamins really essential for a healthy pregnancy? Are all prenatal vitamins the same - or are some better than others?

Prenatal vitamins are not necessarily essential for the health of your newborn, but they can be a good safety measure to ensure that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs during this especially important time.

Providing that you are eating a well balanced diet then prenatal vitamins may not be essential but they are there to fill in the gaps when you are missing out on any specific vitamin or mineral. Between  the morning sickness, the suddenly very super-sensitive sense of smell (especially for all things nauseating), cravings (usually for all things sweet and unhealthy) and overwhelming bouts of "I'm too tired to cook dinner" it's a wonder any mum-to-be is able to eat at all, let alone maintain a healthy, well balanced diet.

And so the prenatal vitamin can top up your recommended daily intake should you find yourself struggling to keep up with a healthy diet, making sure your baby gets all the vitamins he or she needs to grow and thrive.

Among the benefits of a prenatal vitamin is the fact that it ensures your body gets an adequate amount of iron.

The results are in...studies have proved that the majority of women don't consume enough iron during their pregnancies. Iron deficiency can and sometimes does result in anemia, a condition that can easily be avoided by taking a proper prenatal vitamin. Anemia leaves you feeling tired and unmotivated - not a good combination when the pregnancy itself is starting to take its  toll on you.

Another important component of prenatal vitamins is folic acid. Important in pregnancy, folic acid has been found to reduce the risk of birth defects, namely neural tube defects. In fact, the vast majority of doctors recommend that women who are trying to fall pregnant should begin taking a folic acid supplement or boosting their folic acid consumption at least 1 month before trying to get pregnant.

So how much folic acid do I need each day, you may ask. Great question and one that too many women fail to ask. Providing that there is no history of neural tube defects like spina bifida in the family, then the recommended daily dose of folic acid is 400mcg (micrograms). IF you do have a family history of spina bifida then the recommended does goes all the way up to 5mg (milligrams) each day. To this end, there are different levels of vitamins and minerals in prenatal vitamins - you should discuss your needs with your Doctor.

Although prenatal vitamins are not a necessity, they certainly contain many benefits. With one dose a day, you can rest assured that your baby-to-be is getting all the vitamins and minerals he or she needs, keeping his or her development and growth right on track and increasing your chances of having a healthy newborn.

We would like to take this chance to wish you a swift and trouble free pregnancy. Congratulations!

PLEASE NOTE: This article is to be used for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used as professional medical advice. The information contained herein should not be used in place of, or in conjunction with, a doctor's recommendation. Prior to starting or ceasing ANY medications (including those designed to be taken prenatally), the expectant mother must consult a licensed physician for proper recommendation.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Childbirth: I'm Thinking About Natural Children

Know you natural childbirth options
Natural childbirth is defined as a birth that seeks to minimize the intervention of modern medicine, which also includes using medications and/or surgical procedures.

There are some experts who believe that natural childbirth is beneficial to both the mother and child and they feel that anaesthetics will increase the possibility of complications during birth. They feel that the woman might not be capable of pushing properly during the concluding stages of delivery or could result in complications such as breathing difficulties in the newborn.

The evidence is debatable and it is up to YOU to decide what is best for you and your family in consultation with your doctor. If this is your first pregnancy then I cannot stress upon you enough - babies seldom come as per the birth plan. Things change - your body, the baby, your tolerance to the contractions or frustration.

Be prepared to have a back up plan. Know your pain relief options - even if you don't want to use them now. Nearly 10% of deliveries end in a caeserean section - this is an extreme option however very few Doctors properly prepare their patients for the possibility.

But back to the process of a natural childbirth.

Mothers have been giving birth naturally since the the beginning of time. Birth trends in the Western world seemed to have altered the rules somewhat. A lot of Doctors are prompt to intervene or have zero tolerance towards any sign of fetal distress when  close monitoring of the baby is possibly all that is needed. Its interesting to have discovered that in far flung parts of the world, there are much lower rates of problems like post natal depression - in part due to women being exposed to childbirth through female relatives in addition to being supported by those dearest to them and being in a comfy "homely" environment.

In regions of Australia, the Indigenous Australians are still giving birth to beautiful, healthy children in the outback.

Natural childbirth often promotes a healthier delivery overall because it eliminates the risks associated with caesarean sections and possible side effects from particular medications. Lamaze is a technique that is designed to help women who choose to deliver via natural childbirth and provides instruction in breathing and relaxation. Regular classes are given at local hospitals or clinics by a qualified instructor. The Dad-to-be is welcome to be present for each class in order to provide support for the mother. This is wonderful preparation because in the majority of cases, the father of the child will also be in the delivery room - this is why it is so important that he also be present to help learn how to coach the mother on breathing and relaxation exercises.

Not all physicians believe that natural childbirth is a positive experience, noting the pain involved as being sometimes extremely difficult for the mother. Others believe that it is beneficial as the process of natural childbirth leaves the new mother feeling empowered and also permits her to be alert as the child is brought into the world and placed in her arms.

Depending on the expectant mother's overall health, particular medical intervention may often be required in order to ensure a successful and safe childbirth. In a lot of cases, having access to pain relief reduces the stress that the mother feels and makes for an easier delivery.

Whether or not a natural childbirth is an option will be assessed by the physician and the expectant mother. Unless it is a matter of life and death or extreme concern as to the health of the mother or child, the choice will ultimately be left up to the mother as she will have the final say in the delivery method. Keep in mind that it is your physician who has been through years of schooling and you should make this decision and informed one with his/her assistance.

The biggest concern about a natural childbirth is that when things do go wrong, they can go wrong VERY QUICKLY. Safely is the number one priority.

This article is to be used for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used as professional medical advice. The information contained herein should not be used in place of, or in conjunction with, a doctor's recommendation . Prior to deciding either for or against natural childbirth, the expectant mother must consult a licensed physician for proper diagnosis and a recommendation.

The Pill & Fertility: I'm Ready To Have A Baby

Getting pregnant after the pill - fertility facts
Okay, I think I'm ready to have a baby but I'm still on the pill. Is there anything that I have to know? For the majority of couples, infertility will never be a problem. For other couples, infertility a very real and difficult problem to live with - it affects every aspect of their lives. If you're thinking about getting pregnant after the pill, then there are a few things you need to think about first.

The first thing you should do is make an appointment with you doctor for a pre-conception exam. Providing you are given the go ahead you can start trying to immediately.

There are some things that both partners can do to help improve your fertility and chances of conceiving quickly.

FERTILITY BASICS FOR WOMEN:
If you are currently still on the pill then you will need to stop taking it. You may have heard that its a good idea to wait a 3 months before trying to get pregnant. However as far as your fertility is concerned, you are more like to be more fertile in the first three months after stopping the pill than in the next three months after that.

The best way to improve you fertility is by making sure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs and is not being exposed to huge amounts of junk foods. Your reproductive health may need some care and attention after all this time so pay attention to what you are eating and make sure you get plenty of amino acids, vitamin A, beta-carotene and vitamins B and C. Iron and magnesium are important, so stock up on green vegetables, lean red meat, eggs, nuts, beans and rye. Folic acid reduces birth defects, so eat lots of green leafy vegies.

FERTILITY BASICS FOR MEN:
Don't think you are getting out of it that easy, Dad-to-be! You also play a role in conception and you can help your partner to get pregnant sooner rather than later by wearing cotton boxer shorts and avoiding overheating in jacuzzi's, saunas and hot tubs. Just like Mummy-in-the-making, you should also attempt to minimize stress (ha! If only it was that easy), alcohol & smoking. Antioxidants are also important for improving male fertility chances, so eat foods rich in vitamins C & E. Don't forget zinc and beta-carotene as well. Concentrate on eating fruit, grains, oily fish, and dark green vegetables.

FERTILITY FOR BOTH OF YOU:
If either of you have any dirty little habits...now is the time to stop - specifically, I'm talking about smoking. Detoxifying your body to ensure both you and your baby will be healthy is essential not just for your long term health but also for your reproductive health. Alcohol, caffeine and pre-processed foods - they don't necessarily need to be on your banned substance list at this time but you should know that it is vital that you start minimizing your intake immediately so that when you do conceive, stopping these things will not be an problem for you. Please be aware that they do interfere with fertility so if you have any concerns then you ought to avoid them completely.

Concentrate instead on eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid sugar, salt and orange juice. (You should always talk to your doctor before removing any food from your diet in its entirety.) And don't underestimate drinking plenty of water, preferably
filtered.

Regular exercise is also very important when trying to begin a family. Try walking in the evening together. After all, once your baby is here you won't have that special time together - so take advantage of it!

Remember, conception may take a bit of time. So stay healthy, exercise, eat right and relax. And if you have questions regarding you or your partner's fertility, your physician is just a phone call away.