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Grow Baby Grow

Week 1

Estimated reading time: 9 min reads

Welcome to your first trimester! This week, preconception, commences your 40-week pregnancy journey beginning with the first day of your last menstrual period. So, technically speaking you are not pregnant the first week or two of your pregnancy. Get ready.

Please speak with your health care team soon about your diet and supplements. You may want to enhance your diet by including more leafy vegetables, less sugars, less processed foods, and eliminating caffeine, deli meats and unpasteurized cheeses such as types of feta and goat.

Take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid as a regular daily supplement. There are some medical conditions that would call for specific types of prenatal vitamins with much higher doses of folic acid. One such medical condition would be a type of blood clotting disorder. Please consult your health care team for the best recommendations for you. Lastly, avoid handling the cat litter box or gardening, as mom can pick up Toxoplasmosis, a neglected parasitic infections, from either activity.

Pre-pregnancy Caffeine

caffeine

A study conducted by the NIH and the Ohio State University recently published in the journal Fertility and Sterility found a worrisome link between caffeine consumption and miscarriage. Quite simply, the data proves that couples who drank more than two caffeinated drinks a day during the weeks prior to conception had a greater risk that the woman would miscarry.

That’s correct – the research found that both Mom’s caffeine and Dad’s caffeine consumption could play a role in miscarriage! This study also confirms previous research showing that women who drink more than two caffeinated beverages each day during the first seven weeks of pregnancy are also more likely to miscarry. On the bright side, this study did show that women who took a daily multivitamin before and after conception appeared to greatly reduce miscarriage risk!

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Folklore, Myths & Old Wives Tales

Call them what you will, but Pregnancy Folklore, Myths and Old Wives Tales have survived the test of time. PAK will now put the record straight on what is fact and what is fable. You’ll find more info on every fact mentioned as you explore our trimesters week by week. We’re giving you a “heads up” with lots of great info before you’re pregnant so you’ll proactively reach your delivery day well informed and confident! Let’s go…

from Katie Smith on Unsplash

#1. Experiencing heartburn during pregnancy means your baby will be born with hair or if you have a lot of heartburn, your baby will be born with a head full of hair.

Oh boy, this myth buster cannot be busted! It’s actually TRUE to some extent. Interestingly enough, folklore comes into being by uncovering a genuine association involving unrelated events that are immortalized through oral tradition. A small study uncovered that women who experienced mild to severe heartburn delivered babies with hair. Researchers believe there is a shared biologic method involving a dual role of pregnancy hormones in both the relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter and the variation of fetal hair growth. That makes sense, right?

So, if you experience heartburn that is more than mild, research shows us that you may deliver a baby with a full head of gorgeous hair! 

#2. Don’t Pet Your Cat During Pregnancy. 

Meow, meow, and meow. This myth can and will be busted! Of course, you can pet your cat during pregnancy but the two things you shouldn’t do are change the litter box and play with your children in their sand box as kitties like to use the sandbox a litter box! But why? 

Toxoplasmosis is an infection that a mom may pick up from something as simple as cleaning a cat litter box or making a hamburger patty. Although usually asymptomatic, symptoms accompanying toxoplasmosis may be similar to those of the flu with swollen lymph glands or muscle aches and pains that last for a month or more.

If you have been recently infected, it is advised you wait six months before becoming pregnant. The great news is that usually, if you have been infected with toxoplasma before you became pregnant, your unborn child is protected by your immunity. Your health care team may advise a blood test be drawn to check for antibodies to toxoplasma if you are pregnant. 

If you become infected during pregnancy, medication is available. You and your baby should be closely monitored during your pregnancy and after your baby is born.

Unfortunately, this infection may possibly result in miscarriage prior to 20 weeks or a stillbirth after 20 weeks. Find out more info on Toxoplasmosis at Week 8!

#3. The size of the placenta cannot be tracked during pregnancy; as long as my baby is growing fine, the placenta is also growing fine.  

Of course, your baby’s placenta can be tracked during pregnancy; BUSTED! 

So why measure the placenta? Did you know that a standard prenatal ultrasound typically measures the baby, internal organs and placenta location – but not placenta size? It’s a scientific fact that a baby can outgrow his or her placenta anytime during pregnancy. A small placenta will not provide the nutrients and oxygen necessary to survive and thrive in utero. It is a risk factor for complications such as Preeclampsia, Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) and Stillbirth.

Estimated Placental Volume (EPV) is a simple, free placental screening tool that’s easily calculated during ultrasounds between Weeks 7 and 40 by your health care team. The potential to save lives by drawing attention and awareness to EPV will help close this alarming gap in prenatal care. Check out Week 7 and say YES to EPV!

#4. Don’t lift your hands above your head or the umbilical cord will get tangled around the baby’s neck and it will choke. 

Let’s call this myth buster ~ Umbilical Cord 101 or The Excellent Eight! Many moms are not familiar with the Umbilical Cord and the major role it plays during pregnancy. So let’s address The Excellent Eight

  1. The umbilical cord develops as the placenta forms during Week 6. By Week 8 the umbilical cord is in place and strong. It’s normally comprised of one vein and two arteries. 
  2. Your Week 20 ultrasound resembles your ultrasound at Week 8 focusing on all things baby! This comprehensive study examines your baby’s anatomy and environment. The umbilical cord and placenta are assessed for insertion, normal development and position. EPV is evaluated. There’s lots to discover; don’t forget to giggle counting ten fingers and ten toes!
  3. Begin blueprinting your baby’s movements around Week 20 with our ME Preg app or in a daily journal. Knowing when your baby is stirring or slumbering is key! Movement counting three times a day is the goal! Once you begin Movement Counting around Week 28, a change in movement can possibly signify a problem with the umbilical cord. Umbilical cord concerns include nuchal cords, true knots, twists, torsion, kinks and long or short cords.
  4. The umbilical cord is part of your baby’s critically essential lifeline creating an optimal environment for your baby to grow and thrive. Umbilical Cord Accidents (UCA) account for 16 percent of the 26,000 yearly stillbirths in the USA. A UCA is not a “rare condition or event” and accounts for 71 losses daily. 
  5. According to Dr. Jason Collins M.D. M.S.C.R., it is typically during Weeks 28–30 when a problem could arise with your baby’s umbilical cord, a risk factor that could compromise your baby. Additional ultrasounds around Weeks 28, 32 and 36 may detect a potential problem making it a useful proactive pregnancy tool. Two ultrasounds are usually covered by your insurance company. Ultrasounds if warranted, meaning that your health care team sees the need for one or you are feeling uneasy or concerned about your baby, may or may not be covered. If not, use your Pregnancy PUR$E. It’s absolutely proactive and a matter of the utmost prudence to set up additional ultrasounds. Closer monitoring is a must if an issue is seen on your baby’s ultrasound with the umbilical cord or the placenta. 
  6. It’s wise to keep an eye on your baby’s umbilical cord and placentaAt Week 30, speak with your health care team about performing two Normal Stress Tests (NST) per week and one Biophysical Profiles (BPP) with a Doppler Ultrasound every other week. These scans could possibly detect any potential problems. 
  7. Dr. Collins advocates a Doppler ultrasound if decreased fetal movements are noted for a day to rule out an umbilical cord problem. Remember, you are looking for anything different from your baby’s usual and normal routine when tracking movements. A change such as speeding up or slowing down, or changes in sleep-wake cycles could be a sign that your baby is not well. Call your doctor, midwife, or health care team with any questions or concerns. If you are unable to reach them go to L&D or the nearest ER to check on your baby. Always trust your instincts.
  8. Empowering your pregnancy with proactivity is the new pregnancy norm! It’s bold and it’s sassy, and it may just save your baby’s life.

#6. Babies’ movements slow down the closer you get to delivery day because the baby has less room.

Absolutely NOT! We have to bust this old wives tale STAT! Yes your baby is growing but your baby’s movements and heart rate will basically stay the same during your last trimester. Your baby’s movements should still be occurring every hour and should not decrease in number. Movements may or may not become less defined as specific punches and kicks; they can feel more like twirls, twists and jiggles. 

#5. Hiccups are a sign your baby has healthy lungs!

Another busted myth! Babies love to hiccup! Light, recurring and sequential patterns are what you will notice at first. Later in your pregnancy, your baby’s hiccups will become robust and recognizable. Although most babies have hiccups and they are harmless, some fetal hiccups may be a reason for concern. According to Obstetrician-Gynecologist Dr. Jason Collins, MD, MSCR, of The Pregnancy Institute, even though your baby’s hiccups can be recurrent, once the Week 32 gestational marker is reached, your baby’s hiccups should lessen and not be present on a daily basis. So, when your baby continues to hiccup every day with hiccups lasting longer than 15 minutes or a series of hiccups 3–4 times with 24 hours, alert your health care team and have your baby evaluated for possible umbilical cord concerns.

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