G is for Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy (gestation). Like other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects how your cells use sugar (glucose). Gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar that can affect your pregnancy and your baby's health.

Any pregnancy complication is concerning, but there's good news. Expectant women can help control gestational diabetes by eating healthy foods, exercising and, if necessary, taking medication. Controlling blood sugar can prevent a difficult birth and keep you and your baby healthy.

In gestational diabetes, blood sugar usually returns to normal soon after delivery. But if you've had gestational diabetes, you're at risk for type 2 diabetes. You'll continue working with your health care team to monitor and manage your blood sugar.

Glucose screening tests during pregnancy

A glucose screening test is a routine test during pregnancy that checks a pregnant woman's blood glucose (sugar) level.

Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar (diabetes) that starts or is found during pregnancy.

TWO-STEP TESTING

During the first step, you will have a glucose screening test:

  • You DO NOT need to prepare or change your diet in any way.
  • You will be asked to drink a liquid that contains glucose.
  • Your blood will be drawn 1 hour after you drink the glucose solution to check your blood glucose level.

If your blood glucose from the first step is too high, you will need to come back for a 3-hour glucose tolerance test. For this test:

  • DO NOT eat or drink anything (other than sips of water) for 8 to 14 hours before your test. (You also cannot eat during the test.)
  • You will be asked to drink a liquid that contains glucose, 100 grams (g) .
  • You will have blood drawn before you drink the liquid, and again 3 more times every 60 minutes after you drink it. Each time, your blood glucose level will be checked.
  • Allow at least 3 hours for this test.

ONE-STEP TESTING

You need to go to the lab one time for a 2-hour glucose tolerance test. For this test:

  • DO NOT eat or drink anything (other than sips of water) for 8 to 14 hours before your test. (You also cannot eat during the test.)
  • You will be asked to drink a liquid that contains glucose (75 g).
  • You will have blood drawn before you drink the liquid, and again 2 more times every 60 minutes after you drink it. Each time, your blood glucose level will be checked.
  • Allow at least 2 hours for this test.

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https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gestational-diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20355339

 https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007562.htm

F is for Fundal Height

What's the significance of a fundal height measurement?

Fundal height is generally defined as the distance from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus measured in centimeters. After 20 weeks of pregnancy, your fundal height measurement often matches the number of weeks you've been pregnant. For example, if you're 27 weeks pregnant, your health care provider would expect your fundal height to be about 27 centimeters.

A fundal height measurement might be less accurate, however, if you:

-Are obese

-Have a history of fibroids

-Are carrying twins or other multiples

A fundal height that measures smaller or larger than expected — or increases more or less quickly than expected — could indicate conditions such as:

-Slow fetal growth (intrauterine growth restriction)

-A significantly larger than average baby (fetal macrosomia)

-Too little amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios)

-Too much amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios)

Depending on the circumstances, your health care provider might recommend an ultrasound to determine what's causing the unusual measurements or more closely monitor your pregnancy.

But fundal height is only a tool for gauging fetal growth — it's not an exact science. Typically, fundal height measurements offer reassurance of a baby's steady growth. If you're concerned about your fundal height measurements, ask your health care provider for details.

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https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/expert-answers/fundal-height/faq-20057962

E is for Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg attaches itself in a place other than inside the uterus. Almost all ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tube and are thus sometimes called tubal pregnancies. The fallopian tubes are not designed to hold a growing embryo; thus, the fertilized egg in a tubal pregnancy cannot develop properly and must be treated. An ectopic pregnancy happens in 1 out of 50 pregnancies.

What causes an ectopic pregnancy?

Ectopic pregnancies are caused by one or more of the following:

-An infection or inflammation of the fallopian tube can cause it to become partially or entirely blocked.

-Scar tissue from a previous infection or a surgical procedure on the tube may also impede the egg’s movement.

-Previous surgery in the pelvic area or on the tubes can cause adhesions.

-Abnormal growths or a birth defect can result in an abnormality in the tube’s shape.

Who is at risk for having an ectopic pregnancy?

-Maternal age of 35-44 years

-Previous ectopic pregnancy

-Previous pelvic or abdominal surgery

-Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

-Several induced abortions

-Conceiving after having a tubal ligation or while an IUD is in place

-Smoking

-Endometriosis

-Undergoing fertility treatments or are using fertility medications

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http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/ectopic-pregnancy/

D is for Due Dates (Guess Date)

I like to refer to Due Dates as Guess Dates. No one knows exactly when babies are ready to be born. We cannot put an expiration date on when a pregnancy should be done.

What is an estimated due date?

An estimated due date (EDD) is a “best guess” as to when baby might be born based on a conception calculator. However, only 4% of babies are born on their due date! Whereas 80% of babies are born within the window of two weeks before and two weeks after your estimated due date.

How are the weeks of pregnancy calculated?

The pregnancy calculator estimates your due date from the first day of your last menstrual period. If you have a 28 day cycle and discover you are pregnant on the day you should have had your period, you are already considered 4 weeks pregnant. This means that you have completed your 4th week of pregnancy (even though you conceived just two weeks earlier. I know, confusing). The following day, you are considered to be four weeks one day pregnant.

What is a “due month?”

A “due month” is a more accurate timeframe for when you can expect to deliver your baby. Only 4% of babies are born on their due date. Whereas 80% of babies arrive either two weeks before the due date or two weeks after. Hence the term “due month.”

The length of a natural pregnancy can vary by as much as five weeks.

A due month helps some mamas reduce the stress and fear of going past their due date.

To calculate your due month, simply subtract two weeks from your EDD given by your practitioner and also add two weeks to your EDD. Voilà, your due month!

Yet another way to handle this tricky business of calculating your pregnancy calendar is to add two weeks to the end of your EDD and say, “Baby will likely be here before [that date].”

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https://www.mamanatural.com/due-date-calculator/

C is for Colostrum

What is colostrum exactly?

It’s light yellow, gold, or sometimes clear in color, and is a thick, creamy liquid. And wow, is it packed with amazing properties that protect and nourish your baby in his first days of life!

When will I begin to produce colostrum?

It varies from woman to woman. Some moms start producing colostrum as early as the first trimester. More commonly, women start producing it in the third trimester. If you’re later on in your pregnancy, you can squeeze your breast (or express) and watch some liquid gold emerging from your nipple.

But don’t worry if you don’t see any fluid yet. It’s not until after the placenta is expelled that the true hormonal shift signals the breasts to begin lactating—and produce colostrum. And it makes sense, as this enables your baby to start feeding immediately after birth.

How long will I produce colostrum?

For the first 2–5 days after birth, your body will produce only colostrum, later switching over to regular breast milk. While each woman’s body is different, colostrum tends to stick around closer to 5 days.

How is colostrum different than breastmilk?

Colostrum is richer than breast milk and has a different nutritional profile. In regards to composition, colostrum actually has more in common with blood than it does with breast milk since it’s chock-full of white blood cells and immune-boosting properties. This liquid gold is also higher in protein, and lower in sugar and fat, so it’s an easy first food to digest.

Breast milk is designed to sustain your baby, build the immune system, and contribute to development long-term. Colostrum, however, is more like, “hit it hard and fast.” One study even showed that it is much higher than breast milk in cell-defending antioxidants.

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https://www.mamanatural.com/colostrum/

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B is for Braxton-Hicks

You might have heard this funny phrase before you were pregnant, but now you want to know what it means. The term originated in 1872 when an English doctor named John Braxton Hicks  described the contractions that occur before real labor.

Imagine constantly thinking, “This must be it,” only to find out that it wasn’t. Doctors and pregnant women have Dr. Hicks to thank for eliminating the confusion. The following information should be helpful in determining the difference between true labor and Braxton Hicks contractions.

What are Braxton Hicks contractions?

Braxton Hicks contractions can begin as early as the second trimester.  However, they are most commonly experienced in the third trimester. When this happens, the muscles of the uterus tighten for approximately 30 to 60 seconds, and sometimes as long as two minutes.

Braxton Hicks are also called “practice contractions” because they are a preparation for the real event and allow the opportunity to practice the breathing exercises taught in childbirth classes.

Braxton Hicks are described as:

  • Irregular in intensity
  • Infrequent
  • Unpredictable
  • Non-rhythmic
  • More uncomfortable than painful (although for some women Braxton Hicks can feel painful)
  • They do not increase in intensity or frequency
  • They taper off and then disappear altogether

If your contractions are easing up in any way, they are most likely Braxton Hicks.

What causes Braxton Hicks contractions?

There are possible causes of these contractions. Some physicians and midwives believe that they play a part in toning the uterine muscle and promoting the flow of blood to the placenta. They are not thought to have a role in dilating the cervix, but might have some impact on the softening of the cervix.

However, as Braxton Hicks contractions intensify nearer the time of delivery, the contractions are often referred to as false labor. When this occurs, it can help the dilation and effacement process.

What triggers Braxton Hicks contractions?

The following are triggers of Braxton Hicks:

  • When mother or the baby are very active
  • If someone touches the mother’s belly
  • When the bladder is full
  • After sex
  • Dehydration

What can I do to alleviate Braxton Hicks contractions?

  • Change positions. You can lie down if you have been standing or go for a walk if you have been sitting or laying
  • Take a warm bath for 30 minutes or less
  • Because contractions may be brought on by dehydration, drink a couple of glasses of water
  • Drink a warm cup of herbal tea or milk

If none of these steps work, you should contact your health care provider.

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http://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/braxton-hicks/

A is for APGAR

The APGAR was developed in 1952 by obstetric anesthesiologist, Virginia Apgar, and has become a standard tool in assessing newborn babies.

What Is The APGAR Test?

The APGAR is a quick, overall assessment of newborn well-being.

When Is The APGAR Test Used?

The APGAR is used immediately following the delivery of a baby. Test scores are recorded at one minute and five minutes from the time of birth.

Why Is The APGAR Test Necessary?

The one minute APGAR assessment provides information about the baby’s physical health, and helps the physician determine if immediate or future medical treatment will be required. The five minute assessment measures how the baby has responded to previous resuscitation attempts, if such attempts were made.

What Conditions Does The APGAR Test Evaluate?

APGAR measures the baby’s color, heart rate, reflexes, muscle tone and respiratory effort.

What do the APGAR scores mean?

APGAR scores range from zero to two for each condition with a maximum final total score of ten. At the one minute APGAR, scores between seven and ten indicate that the baby will need only routine post delivery care.  Scores between four and six indicate that some assistance for breathing might be required. Scores under four can call for prompt, lifesaving measures.

At the five minute APGAR, a score of seven to ten is normal. If the score falls below seven, the baby will continue to be monitored and retested every five minutes for up to twenty minutes. Lower than normal scores do not mean that there will be permanent health problems with the child.

Heart rate:

0 – No heart rate

1 – Fewer than 100 beats per minute indicates that the baby is not very responsive.

2 – More than 100 beats per minute indicates that the baby is vigorous.

Respiration:

0 – Not breathing

1 – Weak cry–may sound like whimpering or grunting

2 – Good, strong cry

Muscle tone:

0 – Limp

1 – Some flexing (bending) of arms and legs

2 – Active motion

Reflex response:

0 – No response to airways being stimulated

1 – Grimace during stimulation

2 – Grimace and cough or sneeze during stimulation

Color:

0 – The baby’s entire body is blue or pale

1 – Good color in body but with blue hands or feet

2 – Completely pink or good color

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http://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/apgar-test/

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Meet the Doula

Hello! I thought I should take a moment to introduce myself and tell you a little about me and why I decided to become a Doula. 

I am the oldest of three kids. I remember always loving babies, so much so that I became a Candy Stripper at our local hospital when I was only 5 years old. I wanted to be in the room with my mom when she had my baby brother. 

As I got older I had a babysitting business, which I enjoyed doing. I was that teenage girl that  preferred babysitting over going and hanging out with my friends. I was considered to be “the go to babysitter”. This gave me lots of opportunities to take care of babies and young children. 

I also have always found pregnant women to be beautiful and amazing. As a child I remember longing for the day I could be pregnant and have my own babies. I am lucky enough to be blessed with 3 wonderful children of my own. I love being a mother!

When I was in high school I decided that I wanted to work in the medical field in one way or another, however my first priority would be raising my own children. While my husband was attending Notre Dame I met an amazing friend who told me all about being a Doula and I fell in love with the idea of becoming a Doula. This was a prefect mesh between working in the medical field, helping expecting mothers/families during pregnancy, birth, and beyond, and helping with babies, all while being a mother to my own children.  

I have trained with Birth Arts International to become a Birth and Postpartum Doula, Breastfeeding Educator, and Bereavement Specialist. I have also trained with Hypnobabies to become a Hypnobabies Doula. I am a Babywearing Educator. And soon to be trained in Spinning Babies. I enjoy expanding my knowledge in all things that relate to pregnancy, birth, babies, and beyond.  

I love being a Doula and being able to watch families grow!