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pregnant

No matter how I say it, it feels like I’ve hit a big milestone in this pregnancy.  Each change of trimesters feels big.  You say goodbye to the worries of the 1st trimester and welcome everyone’s favorite and usually quite comfortable 2nd trimester.  Then all of a sudden you’re saying goodbye to the ease of the 2nd trimester for the unknowns and eventual arrival of a little baby of the 3rd trimester.  It feels big.  When I look in the mirror and see my growing belly it feels amazing to me that I’m already in the home stretch.

5-5-11 28 week belly side view [640x480]

Earlier this week I entered my 28th week of pregnancy.  I’m now 7 months pregnant.  Now that we’re into the month of May, July feels like it is right around the corner.  My mind is whirling with to-do lists, things I have to get done before this little sweet pea decides to make our family of 3 a family of 4.  The list sometimes feels daunting, especially when I can’t even get started on most of it until after June 2nd when I arrived back home from Australia.  I’m a planner, an organizer. I like when things get done before they need to be done.  I don’t like procrastinating.  The fact that I am 28 weeks and still have so much to do is really stressing me out.  I try not to think about it too much.

I have been lucky in both of my pregnancies.  The 2nd trimester treated me just as well this time around as it did when I was pregnant with Maya.  The 3rd trimester was also very kind to me when I was pregnant with Maya, so I’m hoping for more of the same this time too.  Reading back about my pregnancy with Maya it is amazing to me how similar the two pregnancies have been.

I had my 28 week doctor’s appointment yesterday, the last of the monthly appointments.  I’m now onto bi-weekly appointments.  That feels like a big milestone too!  Everything looks great with our little girl.  Her heart rate was strong, she is moving up a storm and my belly size is right on target.  I managed to gain a couple of pounds this past month putting my total weight gain at about 10lbs total.  Aussie Doc was good with that since my belly is growing at a normal rate.  My blood pressure was good.  Only one problem came up.  A couple of weeks ago I had my glucose tolerance test done along with some other blood work.  I passed the glucose test (yippie!!) and most of my other numbers looked great.  The only issue was that my iron levels were low.  Not low enough to be considered anemic (yet), but still low.  I left the office with strict orders to increase my iron intake.  The hope is that between the iron in my prenatal vitamin and a diet rich in iron I’ll be able to avoid anemia and the need for an additional iron supplement.  Lorne is under strict orders from Aussie Doc to take me out for a nice steak dinner :) My doctor back in the US will likely test my levels again when I return to see if any progress has been made and to determine if additional supplements are needed.

5-5-11 Close up of the 28 week belly [640x480]

All in all things are going well.  I’ve had a bit of nausea return (wasn’t at all happy to see that symptom rear it’s ugly head again) and I’ve been feeling dizzy every so often.  My doctor figured they are both likely caused by the low iron levels.   So, hopefully, if I can get my iron numbers up they will both go away.  The only other annoying symptom I’ve had lately is a back pain.  After a busy day, especially a day with a lot of walking, I’ll have back pain in the evening.  I had the same thing around this stage with Maya too.  It isn’t unmanageable and hasn’t hindered our adventures at all.

We’re in the home stretch now.  Before long Baby Girl 2.0 will be making her appearance.  We are all getting very excited to meet her, especially Maya.  Until then I’ll enjoy having her all to myself, nestled in my womb, kicking up a storm and hiccuping away getting big and strong enough to be cuddled by her big sister.

Many pregnant women don’t think about their dental health.  The focus is on the growing the baby and the physical symptoms being experienced.  Your teeth probably aren’t front and center in your mind.  However, keeping on top of your dental hygiene during pregnancy is very important.  Many of the changes in your body that are causing the symptoms you are experiencing are also causing some problems and changes in your mouth as well.  Those pregnancy hormones are responsible for a whole lot of crazy things during pregnancy.

The hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy cause pregnant women to become more susceptible to the gum disease gingivitis and increase tooth sensitivity.  Those rage hormones can also cause your gums to bleed more easily, your teeth to become slightly loose and increase acidity in your mouth which causes tooth decay.  As a result of these changes taking place in your mouth it is important to take good care of your teeth during pregnancy.

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft bristled tooth brush.  Ideally you should brush after each meal if possible.
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day. You may need to take extra care when flossing as your gums may bleed more easily.
  • Rinse with a fluoride mouthwash twice a day.
  • If you vomit as a result of morning sickness during pregnancy be sure to rinse your mouth very well afterwards as the increased acidity in the mouth can lead to tooth decay.
  • Visit your dentist regularly during pregnancy.
  • If you develop any dental issues or problems discuss them with your prenatal care provider and your dentist.

If you have questions about dental health during pregnancy be sure to discuss them with your dentist and your prenatal care provider.

Ovulation predictor kits are a great way for women to determine exactly when, during their cycle, they are ovulating helping to take some of the guess work out of determining when they are most likely to conceive.  The kits are also a good way for doctors and patients to determine if a woman is not ovulating resulting in a potential fertility problem.

For women planning a pregnancy and trying to conceive one of the big challenges is timing, knowing exactly when that little egg drops.  There are several ways to go about determining when you will ovulate including taking your basal body temperature and determining the consistency of your cervical mucus, however, those often still leave room for error, still leave questions.  Ovulation predictor kits take a lot of the guess work out of it and provide women with an easy method to figuring out when they are ovulating.  If a couple is having difficulty conceiving their doctor will often recommend the use of an ovulation predictor kit as the first step in determining if there are any fertility issues preventing pregnancy.

Ovulation predictor kits are easy to use and are very similar to the home pregnancy tests available on the market.  In fact, many of the same companies that produce home pregnancy tests also produce home ovulation predictor kits as well.  The kits use urine to test for LH hormones (luteinizing hormone) in your system.  LH hormones are released within 24-48 hours of ovulation.  If you get a positive result on an ovulation predictor then it is safe to assume you will be ovulating some time in the next 24 to 48 hours.  Those 24-48 hours before ovulation is the most fertile time in your cycle and the time when conception is most likely to occur.

Each ovulation predictor kit will come with its own set of instructions and since each test may vary slightly be sure to read through the directions carefully before taking the test.  If you are unsure on how to use an ovulation predictor kit or if one would be useful to you as you are trying to conceive be sure to talk to your doctor.

During pregnancy there are, of course, the obvious things you need to avoid, like drugs and alcohol.  For the most part though, things in your life can stay fairly normal.  You can carry on like usual eating the foods you love, exercising, etc.  That being said, there are a few other things that are big no-no’s for pregnant women.  Things that need to be avoiding during pregnancy for your safety as well as the safety of the little person growing inside of you.

Things to avoid when pregnant:

  • Contact Sports –  You can continue exercising during pregnancy (unless advised not to by your doctor) but that doesn’t mean you can still do everything you could before you got pregnant.  If you partake in contact sports like kickboxing, martial arts, skiing, football, soccer, etc you should stop during you pregnancy.  The risk of injury to yourself and your fetus is too great with these activities.  Talk to your doctor about what sports are considered safe for you during pregnancy.
  • Hot tubs and Saunas – Water activities are great for pregnant women.  Swimming and water aerobics are great ways to get your exercise without feeling the extra weight and pressure from the pregnancy.  However, it is not safe to use the hot tub and sauna at your local pool (or any where for that matter).  The high temperatures are unsafe.  A rise in your core body temperature can lead to fetal abnormalities.
  • Raw Seafood, Sushi – Seafood, if cook and eaten in moderation, is considered safe during pregnancy.  However, sushi is not.  Raw seafood can carry parasites which could cause you to become ill or affect the fetus.  So if you have a hankering for seafood go for the cooked variety and skip the sushi.

For the most part the list of things you need to avoid is usually short.  There are more things you can continue doing versus those you need to avoid.  Be sure to talk at length with your doctor early in your pregnancy to determine what is considered safe and what you should avoid.  Be prepared for things to change during your pregnancy.  If complications arise your doctor may add a few things to that list of things to avoid.

dental health

Taking good care of your teeth during pregnancy is very important.  The hormonal changes caused by pregnancy increase your risk of developing gum disease.  As your hormones change during your pregnancy your can lead to additional swelling and bleeding of your gums.  Gum disease has been linked to an increased risk of premature labor and birth.

It is, of course, always important to practice good oral hygiene, but, given the risk that gum disease poses to your pregnancy it is even more important during pregnancy.  Making sure you brush and floss regularly, visit your dentist for regularly scheduled cleanings and check ups and avoiding sugary snacks and carbonated sodas that can lead to tooth decay are all ways that you can maintain good oral health.

Many women are concerned about visiting the dentist during pregnancy.  Regular dental care, such as regular check ups and cleanings, cavity fillings, etc are all safe during pregnancy.  It is safest to get dental work done during your second trimester due to comfort levels for you, as well as decreasing any potential risk on the growing fetus.

During the first trimester many women experience the ugly pregnancy symptom know commonly as morning sickness.  This feeling of nausea and sometimes vomiting make you want to avoid brushing your teeth, especially since the taste of toothpaste can often trigger the nausea and vomiting.  However, it is important to still continue brushing your teeth regularly, especially after vomiting as the acid in vomit can lead to tooth decay.  There are bland tasting toothpastes on the market that may making the deed of brushing your teeth during the early months of pregnancy that much easier.

Good oral hygiene and regular dental check ups during pregnancy are vital, however, there are a few things you should avoid during pregnancy.  They include: routine oral x-rays (unless necessary to deal with a dental emergency), dental procedures like fillings should be avoided during the first trimester and later half of the third trimester, although oral anesthesia is safe you should avoid high doses of the anesthesia so be sure to talk to your doctor and your dentist before having any dental treatments done that require anesthesia.

So, the bottom line is, brush, floss, check in with your dentist on your regular schedule and take care of those teeth.

If you are concerned about whether something is safe or not be sure to discuss it with your doctor and your dentist before proceeding.