All Articles Tagged "prenatal care"
My head hurts just thinking about all of the decisions my husband and I will have to make once our child comes – let alone things that happen before. I kinda knew that motherhood was work but geez, my child’s not even here yet! I swear if I get one more “what are you going to do about this” question, I will lose it. As much as I am tired of thinking (don’t we all get that way), there is one decision that is extremely important to make sooner than later.
Should we go with a doctor or midwife?
As a default, I naturally went with my OB/GYN for my prenatal care without hesitation. Aside from being quite funny and personable, she knows my body from prior “womanly” visits so I thought it would be a wise choice for my pregnancy. And honestly speaking, it has been great though it feels like I pay her a visit more often than not for routine sonograms and check-ups (I have a low-risk pregnancy but homegirl is super cautious). Even with this, I can’t help but think about other alternatives that could be both more personal and cost effective.
The thought of using a midwife or CNM (certified nurse midwife) has crossed my mind as I am hearing all of these wonderful stories about women delivering their child or children in a more relaxed and natural atmosphere which is something I want for myself.
There are more reports surfacing that women feel happier and healthier with the assistance of a midwife. In fact, there are even rumblings that women who opt for a midwife are less likely to be induced, undergo a C-section and even have higher rates of survival. The pure thought of trying to convince my husband (an engineer) to consider this as an option may be an uphill battle since we, like many, assumed doctors are the sole way to go, but I have decided it’s good to be informed about the pros and possible cons of each.
To Use a Doctor or Midwife?
Click through to learn which may be best for you!
It sounds like it was straight off of TLC’s “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant”…. Florida mom Maxxzandra Ford got quite the surprise recently. After putting on some weight — a lot of weight, apparently — her husband prompted her to take a pregnancy test, which turned out to be positive. But it wasn’t until she made a visit to her doctor that a sonogram revealed that she was actually 35 weeks pregnant with a baby that was estimated to be about ten pounds.
“When I felt his head come out, I knew he was bigger than 10 pounds,” Ford told WFTS-TV. And she was right. Her newborn baby boy, Avery, weighed in at 14.1 pounds. Yes, a 14 lb baby; the heaviest infant ever to be born at St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida– and probably a few other hospitals, too.
So far, the only reports about the health of Maxxzandra Ford and baby Avery have been positive. Thankfully. But who’s to say that things couldn’t have been better if Ford had sought prenatal care throughout her entire pregnancy? Would Avery have had a healthier birth weight?
Ford’s case isn’t exactly unheard of. And although he’s not the smallest bundle of joy, baby Avery isn’t the biggest either. According to the Guinness World Records, Ann Bates of Canada gave birth to a 23 lb. 12 oz. newborn back in 1879. (Ouch!)
Many women go on for weeks and months, mistaking the signs and symptoms of pregnancy for other conditions, or just not noticing them at all. (How else would they have so many episodes of “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant”?) Fatigue, headaches, frequent urination, back pain, mild cramping…. In many instances; especially when you’re not actively trying to get pregnant, the symptoms aren’t quite as noticeable and can be easily brushed off or mistaken for something else. Even a missed period…or two…or three.
Every woman’s body is different and therefore every woman’s body reacts to pregnancy differently. That said, every pregnancy is different, too. The first 35 weeks of Ford’s pregnancy may have been a complete contrast to her first and second pregnancies with her other children.
That’s one of the many reasons that it’s important to know your body. Know what level of cramping or bleeding is normal for you. Know the ins and outs of your menstrual cycle. Be able to tell if something’s just not right, and if it’s possible that there’s cause for concern….and a call to the ob/gyn.
And when you make that call, be OPEN and HONEST with your physician. Your doctor’s office should be a judgment free zone, and if you feel like it’s not, it’s time to pound the pavement for a new one. You should feel comfortable enough to talk to your doctor about your sexual history (your real sexual history– not the cover story you usually give), your drug and alcohol use, birth control, any abortions or miscarriages that you may have had…. It’s with this information that your doctor can work with you to make sure you’re getting the best treatment possible — before, during, and after your pregnancy. So there aren’t any surprise pregnancies at 35 weeks…and 14 lb babies.
Hey mamas! How long was it before you found out that you were pregnant?
Hey moms over 35, are you afraid of having a baby this late in the game? The reason I ask – my last doctor’s visit was a bummer. I inquired about having another baby at 38 years old, and by the look on my gynecologists’ face, it didn’t appear to be a good idea. She didn’t rule out getting pregnant. She just told me that I had to think long and hard about the journey, and what that could entail.
Her views were tied to the fact that I had a high-risk pregnancy before, so facing the gun and trying to have another would not only increase my risks of having another preemie, but the pregnancy would be a health risk to myself as well. If you search internet forums, you will find many moms who had children well into their 30’s and 40’s. Wait! Some had children in their 50’s. And during those age ranges, many babies came out fine. So what’s all this hype about the dangers of late pregnancies? True, there are very real risks such as preclampsia, diabetes, high-blood pressure and very real birth defects. But if you follow the careful instructions noted by your doctor, such as monitoring your weight, taking prenatal pills, and sticking to all of your baby check up visits, chances are you are good to go.
If you are like me, and you are thinking about having another baby, a little later than most, WebMD suggests:
Get early and regular prenatal care. The first eight weeks of your pregnancy are very important to your baby’s development. Early and regular prenatal care can increase your chances of having a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby. Prenatal care includes screenings, regular exams, pregnancy and childbirth education, and counseling and support.
Getting prenatal care also helps provide extra protection for women over 35. It allows your doctor to stay ahead of health conditions that are more common in women who are older when they get pregnant. For instance, your age may increase your risk for gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, a condition that causes high blood pressure along with protein in the urine. During prenatal visits, your doctor will check your blood pressure, test your urine for protein and sugar, and test your blood glucose levels. That way, any potential problems can be caught and treated early.
Consider optional prenatal tests for women over 35. Your doctor may offer you special prenatal tests that are particularly applicable for older moms. These tests help determine the risk of having a baby with a birth defect. Ask your doctor about these tests so you can learn the risks and benefits and decide what’s right for you.
Take prenatal vitamins. All women of childbearing age should take a daily prenatal vitamin containing at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. Getting enough folic acid every day before and during the first three months of pregnancy can help prevent defects involving a baby’s brain and spinal cord. Taking folic acid adds an important level of protection for older women, who have a higher risk of having a baby with birth defects.Some prenatal vitamins have 800-1000mcg(1mg)folic acid. This is still safe in pregnancy. As a matter of fact, some women need more that the 400mcg for protection against birth defects. Do not take more than 1000-mcg(1mg) folic acid.
If you don’t have any significant health issues, taking the steps towards preparing your body for the joy that pregnancy brings could be a breeze.
Should You Do It?: Babies After 35 Are Considered High-Risk Pregnancies
Image: Pregnancy Test/Shutterstock
Being a first time mother, there are no words to describe the excitement of having your first child. My husband and I were overjoyed when our at-home pregnancy test was positive! But once the cheers and hugs stopped, I knew it was time to get down to business and begin the search for a doctor.
If you have a great relationship with your current OB/GYN then count your blessings as most can provide care throughout your pregnancy. There are, however, times when a gynecologist chooses not to practice obstetrics thus making you look elsewhere for a doctor. This happened to me which made me quite nervous; I had to go out and trust someone brand new.
Making the choice on an obstetrician, or pregnancy doctor as I like to call them, should never be taken lightly. After all, this is the person who is going to monitor the development of your child, his or her health and hopefully be the one who delivers your baby (unless an emergency arises where they are unavailable). The last thing you want to do is scan the Yellow Pages or just randomly choose one that happens to be in your insurance network.
As I am a planner at heart (okay, over planner at times, but whatever), I did serious research in attempts to narrow down my list of candidates. After reading review after review and asking around, I finally decided on two who fit the bill. If you have come to this point then you’re at the halfway mark. You’ll then need to almost do a pseudo-interview to make sure they are the right person for the job. Hey, I know this may sound a little silly to some, but questioning a potential doctor is really smart because you never know how you will gel with them or their practices–and the last thing you need to worry about while pregnant is feeling you chose the wrong person.
Trust me when I say they know your worries and possible hesitation on blindly jumping into a relationship. After all, we are talking about your child, which is one of the most precious things you will ever receive in life. And hey, if they show signs of getting impatient real quick, that might be the writing on the wall that this person is not for you.
Here are some questions to ask before choosing a pregnancy doctor. Remember, you’ll never know until you ask!
- What’s your philosophy on birth? This is a pretty important question to ask as most doctors are divided into two categories. Some may be pro-medical advances using medical technology, procedures and even medications in most to all cases. Others however may choose to focus on the natural route, only using medications and certain procedures when absolutely necessary. Though you may not have an opinion on this (yet), it’s always good to know.
- Are there other doctors within your practice? While you can do all the planning in the world, sometimes things just happen unexpectedly. In the event that your doctor is unavailable to perform your delivery, it’s good to know who is next in queue. Should your doctor work with others, it might be a good idea to meet them as well.
- Where do you deliver?
- How much power do you think mothers should have in the decision-making process? Some answers are shocking.
- What is your C-section rate? If this is high, mothers who seek a natural birth might want to look elsewhere for care.
- Do you induce labor with drugs, or allow (when possible) for things to happen naturally? What is your induction rate?
- What are your thoughts on using different positions in labor?
- What are your recommendations for pains in labor?
- What is your episiotomy rate?
Pregnancy can be a joyous time. But it can also be costly. It is best to prepare before the baby arrives. Here are nine expenses to expect when you are expecting.
While there’s a plethora of products geared to the millions of women who get pregnant every year, there’s a surprisingly low number of items created with a holistic approach. Latham Thomas founded Mama Glow to fill that void. A holistic lifestyle hub for women to explore their creativity, Thomas released a new book last month, also called Mama Glow, on pregnancy and wellness.
Alicia Keys, Tonya Lewis Lee, Veronica Webb, Rebecca Walker, and Karyn Parsons have all endorsed the book, which includes tips to help reduce stress, covers birth plans, labor coaches, and midwives, has recipes for homemade pampering treats like coffee sugar scrub, and even includes a postpartum wellness plan. Maybe the Duchess of Cambridge could use a copy?
We talked to Thomas about how every pregnant woman can get her Mama Glow on.
Madame Noire: What made you want to launch Mama Glow?
Latham Thomas: Mama Glow is a movement born out of necessity. I saw a gap in hip holistic lifestyle and pregnancy market and I wanted to put the “hot mama glow” back into women’s health. I wanted to offer women a safe haven to explore nutrition, yoga, and birth doula services all under one roof, and create a platform for maternal advocacy while doing so. Mama Glow was born. I was pregnant with my son and wanted to provide services that I thought should have been readily available to me during that precious time.
MN: How did you fund the startup?
LT: I started Mama Glow with my own money. I don’t wait for anything. I am a single mother and know a lot of moms probably feel daunted by finding the resources to fund their dreams. But the truth is when you really commit to that mission, the connections, resources, money, and angels come in to help facilitate your goals. Keep the faith; God is my business partner.
MN: What were some of the obstacles you faced with starting Mama Glow?
LT: My biggest challenge is time management, still. I want to do it all and there are a mere 24 hours in a day. I have support luckily.
MN: Tell us about the book?
LT: Mama Glow is a comprehensive go-to guide for a balanced lifestyle that will have you looking and feeling your most radiant for the next nine months and beyond. It’s divided into sections — In the Kitchen, On The Mat, and In Your Life — that address food, movement, and self-care practices to get your glow on.
MN: Do you feel African-American moms are overlooked as a market?
LT: I think we collectively have not claimed our health as a priority. Statistically black women suffer disproportionately from cancers [like] breast and ovarian, diabetes, heart disease, [and] obesity. The market caters to what people decide is of relevance. If we don’t spend our money on health-related products and services they won’t be directly marketed towards us.
MN: What do you think are some of the major concerns for African-American moms?
LT: I think health concerns are a risk for our community and what I typically see across the board are fibroid tumors, which I address in Mama Glow. I offer a cleanse program to get your body baby-ready. This is something we need to think about. Stress and poor diet are major factors for reproductive challenges.
MN: Any new developments for Mama Glow?
LT: We have a new partnership with Morgan Stanley so will be launching two exciting new iterations of our Mama Glow initiatives — The Mama Glow Icon Gala and The Mama Glow Film Festival — for 2013. I will launch a consumer products division and develop some TV opportunities.
MN: What is your favorite thing about being an African-American mom?
LT: I am born of a legacy of strong women. We all are. I love being Fulano’s mama. When my son climbs into bed to cuddle in the middle of the night, I’m reminded that even though he’s 4 foot 6” tall, he is still a little boy and will always be my little angel.
And for more on the topic of maternal health and pregnancy, check out a recent story Madame Noire Business published here.