Pregnancy Article

Top 5 Prenatal Vitamins

To help ensure a successful pregnancy and healthy baby, doctors and midwives typically recommend that women take a daily prenatal vitamin, beginning as early as possible in the pregnancy. HealthNews expert Constance Rock prefers food-based prenatal vitamins, taken as early as preconception (for those who are actively planning or trying to have a baby).

Food-based prenatal vitamins contain folic acid and the nutrients that are in a form bioavailable to the cells in your body. The absorption is high compared to a synthetic vitamin and you will most likely not get digestive upset or nausea from it. (Something to think about as the six-week mark nears, the time in which most women who get morning sickness remark that it starts.) It is also good to ensure that the vitamins have sufficient iodine, which is critical to the developing fetus.

Dr. Elizabeth Pearce, an assistant professor medicine at Boston University Medical Center, says, “Iodine nutrition is critically important in pregnancy. Women who are deficient in pregnancy have children often with lower IQs or neurocognitive delays. Iodine deficiency is the leading cause of preventable mental retardation in the world.”

Also of importance is folic acid, which reduces the risk of neural tube defects, iron, and calcium—good for your bones and that of the developing fetus. So what brands are tops in food-based prenatal vitamins? Here is a list of 5 stypically recommended supplements:

Rainbow Light Complete Prenatal System (60 tablets, $14.99)

New Chapter Organics Perfect Prenatal (48, 96, 192 or 270 tablets, prices vary by size)

Garden of Life Raw Vegan Prenatal (90 $29.99)

Simply One Prenatal Vegetarian (90 tablets $28.99)

Healthy Belly Essentials Prenatal Health (500 capsules $79.95)

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How To Prevent Pregnancy Using the Calendar Method

If you are sexually active, you must take precautions to guard against unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. For unmarried women who engage in multiple partners, it is still best to use a barrier method. However, for women who are in long term monogamous relationships, there are other [null|birth control] methods available.

Prevent pregnancy

There are natural and artificial methods available for women today. If you want a natural birth control method, using the calendar method or the rhythm method is an effective way to guard against

Here’s how to use the calendar method.

1. To use the calendar method, you must have a regular cycle. It will only work if you have a regular 28-30 day cycle. If you have irregular periods, it’s best to opt for artificial methods such as taking oral contraceptives or using a barrier method. Also, you may not use the calendar method of your period cycle lasts less than 28 days.

unplanned pregnancies.

2. It’s best to have a calendar you can write on. Once you calculate the days, just pencil it in your calendar so you know when you have your safe days and when you don’t. This will make it easier for your to track your fertile and infertile days at a quick glance instead of having to manually calculate and remember what days you can engage in unprotected intercourse.

3. Understand the difference between a safe and unsafe day. Safe days mean you can have sex and the likelihood of getting pregnant is very low. If will be safe for your man to have his sperm inside you. Unsafe days mean that the chances of conception are very high so sexual contact should be avoided. The unsafe days are the five days prior and after ovulation.

4. Track your period of at least eight to twelve months to establish a pattern. Note the start and end date of your period. If you have a basic pattern set, you may use the rhythm method. Circle the first day of your period on the calendar and count the days till you get your next period.

5. The safe days are the first 8 days starting on the first day of your period. Days 9-18 are the least safe because ovulation occurs at this time (about 2 weeks after the first day of your period). Avoid sexual intercourse during this time.

6. Keep in mind that the calendar method will not prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Also, any time you engage in intercourse, there is always the possibility of conception. The only fool proof way of preventing an unplanned pregnancy is to abstain from sexual intercourse. Also, the rhythm method may not be reliable especially during times of high stress, wherein stress levels can affect a woman’s monthly cycle. If your cycle changes, use a barrier method or other methods of birth control and wait until your cycle reestablishes a more stable pattern again.

Talk to your gynecologist or your doctor if you have other reproductive concerns. Find out if the calendar method will work for you.

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Early Signs Of Pregnancy And The First Week After Conception

The first week after conception is a really important time for any woman. Very few mums-to-be recognise the fact that they’ve conceived and are about to embark on the most phenomenal journey of their lives but that isn’t to say the signs aren’t there. The first week after conception is usually the period of time that the first signs of pregnancy emerge. They are noticeable if you know what you’re looking for but then are easy to mistake for something else.

Below is a little more information about the early signs of pregnancy that may start within the first week and also what they’re commonly mistaken for to give you a fighting chance!

1. Cramping And Spotting – It’s common for a woman to experience a little implantation bleeding and cramping during the very first week or pregnancy. This is when the fertilised egg is implanted into the uterus wall. The small spots of blood are obviously a result of this as some of the wall would be loosened. However, it’s usually mistaken for an actual period, a result of sex the night before or some sort of minor infection.

2. A Missed Period – This is one of the more obvious signs of becoming pregnant, even if this does occur after the first week. It is important to note that not every pregnant woman will miss her first period though. Instead, if you’re one of those women then you might find that it’s lighter than normal or it doesn’t last as long. The routine things that this is mistakenly blamed on are stress, weight gain or loss, coming off the contraceptive pill and tiredness.

3. Swollen Breasts – This is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy, with some women experiencing it a few days after conception. However, they needn’t be swollen. It could just be that they feel tender or slightly sore, which can be attributed to breast feeding, the contraceptive pill, the onset of a period or even just taking a slight knock.

4. Tiredness – We all feel tired from time to time, but this is also one of the signs of pregnancy. This is also one of the earliest signs as it can start within a matter of days of conception. Stress, a lack of sleep and another illness like a cold can be blamed for this, which may be why many women don’t pick up on it.

5. Morning Sickness – Not every expectant mother has to deal with morning sickness, but those that do may experience it from the second week on. Nausea and vomiting are common problems but can easily be mistaken for a stomach bug, food poisoning, stress or hunger (depending on the level of queasiness of course!).

6. Backache – This is one of the little noticed pregnancy signs because it could be a lot of things and many people suffer with backache on a daily basis. A dull ache can be attributed to stress, menstruation, strain and other new or existing back problems.

7. Headache – A headache during pregnancy can occur from day one as a result of suddenly elevated hormone levels. However, headaches are often dismissed as signs of stress, dehydration, eye strain, tiredness or any number of other things.

8. Darkening Of The Areolas – A darkening of the skin around your nipples is common during pregnancy but very few women notice until after their pregnancies are confirmed. Colouring can be slight or extreme, but if it is noticeable then it can be attributed to a previous pregnancy or a slight hormone imbalance.

Food cravings and frequent urination are also signs of pregnancy but they aren’t the earliest signs. They come later on in the pregnancy and can last the duration of your pregnancy. If any of the above signs are present though, you might want to take a test.

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Diabetes in pregnancy

This factsheet is for women who have diabetes that develops in pregnancy (gestational diabetes), or who would like information about it. It doesn't give advice for women who already have diabetes and would like to become pregnant.

Diabetes can develop during pregnancy in women who haven't previously had the condition. This is called gestational diabetes, and it affects around two to seven out of 100 pregnant women. It can lead to problems for the mother and baby if it isn't properly controlled.

About diabetes in pregnancy

Diabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar (glucose) level is high because there isn't enough insulin in your blood, or your body isn't responding to insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that allows your body to break down sugar in your blood to be used as energy.

During pregnancy, various hormones block the usual action of insulin. This helps to make sure your growing baby gets enough sugar. Your body needs to produce more insulin to cope with these changes. Gestational diabetes develops when your body can't meet the extra insulin demands of the pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes usually begins in the second half of pregnancy, and goes away after your baby is born. If gestational diabetes doesn't go away after your baby is born, it's possible that you already had a slowly developing form of what is known as type 1 diabetes, and that it was picked up by chance during your pregnancy. The other form of diabetes is called type 2 diabetes and both type 1 and 2 are lifelong conditions.

Symptoms of diabetes in pregnancy

Gestational diabetes doesn't usually cause any symptoms. Sometimes you may have symptoms of high blood sugar, including:

• increased thirst

• needing to urinate often

• feeling tired

However, these are also common symptoms of a normal pregnancy.

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How soon can i have a pregnancy test?

That depends on whether you're using a urine test (the most common kind) or a blood test. All pregnancy tests measure the amount of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), the pregnancy hormone, in your body. But the two types of tests differ in how (and when) they detect it.

[null|Home pregnancy tests] are urine tests. They detect the amount of hCG in your urine, but only when it reaches a certain level. Some home pregnancy tests are more sensitive than others. More sensitive tests may be able to detect low levels of hCG a few days before your period is due.

However, whether you use an ordinary or a more sensitive home pregnancy test, if you use it too early in pregnancy the amount of hCG in your urine may not be high enough for a positive result. Almost all urine pregnancy tests will give you accurate results if you test at around the time your period would normally be due; about two weeks after you ovulate.

A test may be negative for several reasons: you may not be pregnant, or you may have ovulated later than you thought (and so not be far enough along for the test to detect your hCG). In a small number of women, hCG levels can be very low and this may also affect the outcome of pregnancy tests.

The blood test for [null|pregnancy] measures the amount of hCG in your bloodstream, not your urine. Blood tests can measure much smaller amounts of the hormone, and so can detect pregnancy earlier than urine tests, usually about six to eight days after ovulation. However, these are only available through your doctor who is unlikely to offer one unless you have pressing medical reasons to know quickly whether or not you are pregnant.

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