Sunday, August 9, 2015

Becoming a Mother, Part 1

There are so many questions around pregnancy and then there are even more questions once the baby comes.  I started thinking about this subject a few months ago when I started receiving questions from my sister, who is pregnant with her first baby.  There is so much information thrown at pregnant women these days from information given at the doctor's office to information found (or should I say stumbled upon) on the internet to unsolicited advice from seasoned mothers.  How does one sift through it all and know what is true?  

I was going through papers I came across while unpacking boxes in our new house and found some information packets given to me when I was pregnant with my second baby.  Because it was my second, and I was too busy chasing around my 2 year old and traveling around the world, I didn't actually read the information.  I had decided I would send some of it on to my sister who would appreciate good information.  But as I read it, I realized that a lot of the information was either a little off or completely wrong.  They were just information sheets the Japanese nurse had typed up to hand out to all the obstetrics patients seeing her at the Navy base clinic where I was being seen the first half of my pregnancy.  

I decided then and there that I would type up my own information based on my experience and on my research on the subject.  I typed up some basic information for the first sheet to send to my sister, and then decided that I should make up a whole packet and share it on the internet.  I am not sure if I am just adding to the problem of information overload for these women, but I want to make sure there is good information out there for those who would trust a registered nurse with two babies of her own.  This is the latest information and research I could find, and there really is ongoing research and new information coming out all the time. 

40 Weeks of Pregnancy: General Guidelines to Get Started

Normal Discomforts 
  • Constipation
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Urinary frequency
  • Stretch marks
  • Varicose veins
  • Strenuous breathing
  • Backaches
  • Swelling in lower extremities 
 Over-the-counter Medications to Avoid (unless approved by your doctor) 
  • Aspirin
  • Motrin/ibuprofen
  • Aleve/naproxen
  • Dayquil/phenylephrine
  • Nyquil/doxylamine
  • Pepto-Bismol/bismuth subsalicylate
Over-the-counter Medications that are Safe (unless contraindicated by your doctor):
  • Tylenol/acetaminophen  
  • Sudafed/pseudoephedrine
  • Robitussin DM/dextromethorphan and guaifenesin
  • Mylanta/aluminum and magnesium antacid 
  • Tums/calcium carbinate
*If unsure, ask your doctor for approval of medications.
  • Try to minimize caffeine consumption to 1-2 servings a day (up to 1 cup of coffee).
  • Avoid x-rays unless your doctor finds it absolutely necessary.
  • Normal weight gain during pregnancy is 25-25 lbs.
  • Regular exercise is recommended.  Do not lift more than 20-25 lbs.  Brisk walking, swimming, and stationary bicycling are recommended forms of exercise.  You may continue whatever form of exercise prior to pregnancy.
Contact Your Doctor If:
  • You have vaginal bleeding that looks like a period.
  • You have severe abdominal pain or cramping.
  • You have a fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit not lowered by Tylenol/acetaminophen.

*This is just the very first and basic information pregnant women should receive.  Please use this information as a reference.  Stay tuned for part 2 with more pregnancy information and some advice from a friend who has 4 children and lots of good experience.

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