Saturday, December 14, 2013

Is Golfing While Pregnant Safe?

This is a common question for female golfers who end up pregnant. This is a question I asked myself. I am now 28 weeks pregnant and still golf regularly, as I did before. My OB says that since I was a golfer before, there is no reason I cannot continue, provided I make a few adjustments and that I follow proper safety precautions.'s fitness expert, Alex says to a husband asking if his pregnant wife can play golf, "Yes, she can play golf, but with a few conditions."

One of those conditions is that you first talk to your doctor, just like I did. No one else can tell you for certain if golfing during pregnancy is safe for you because no one else will know your personal medical history or potential risks or complications with your current pregnancy. So first you need to talk with your OB and make sure they approve of you golfing during pregnancy.

If the doctor says you are good, here are some additional tips to help you:

Stay hydrated- Proper hydration is essential in golf anyway but when you're pregnant, you are more susceptible to heat-related illness. You will probably need more fluids than you did before. Drink plenty of water before, during and after golfing. If you have any symptoms of dehydration, stop golfing and tend to yourself immediately.

Grab a cart- Even if you were a walking golfer before, you want to opt for the cart now. You will probably find the farther along you get in your pregnancy that you no longer have the stamina to walk 18 holes. You might not even have the stamina to walk nine. Even if you think you can do it, you don't want to get stuck out on the middle of the course and start feeling tired and sick, or worse, have an emergency and cannot get back to the clubhouse. If you're going to golf in pregnancy, especially past your first trimester, go ahead and opt for the cart.

Recognize fatigue-Finally, it's also important to recognize the signs of fatigue and not push yourself if you start feeling tired. You can pull a muscle or cause other complications when you try to push on after your body becomes fatigued. Remember that you are already in the midst of the full-time job of growing a new human life. If you're feeling fatigue, it's OK to say "when".

Relaxin loosens you up- Relaxin is a hormone produced by pregnant women that causes the joints to relax. The purpose of it is to relax the joints in the pelvis and allow for childbirth, however, it also has an effect on other joints in the body. It can come on stronger and earlier with each subsequent pregnancy, too so. While Relaxin is a good thing for the pregnant body, it can also make it easier for you to overstretch or pull something in your swing. Be aware that you are more "loose" than usual and be careful.

When golfing while pregnant, you will notice that as your belly grows bigger, it will be harder to bend over to pick up your ball and it may also affect your swing. You can use a ball-fetcher to help you get your ball easier and avoid bending over a lot. You should be careful of over-correcting your swing for your newly changing body and consult? a golf coach if possible. Sometimes pregnant women try to compensate for their changing body and end up with a stance or swing that contributed to back problems.

4 Practical Tips To Help You Get Pregnant

Getting pregnant isn't always as easy of a task as you would like it to be. It often seems that when you're ready to try getting pregnant, it's harder than getting pregnant by accident. So, there are some practical tips that you can try in order to help yourself get pregnant easier.

1. Relax. Studies have shown that women and men who are relaxed and who are enjoying sex are going to be much more likely to get pregnant. Stressing about which days are perfect and which positions are best are ways to reduce your chances of getting pregnant. Try to be stress free and enjoy having sex with your partner. You'll have a better chance of getting pregnant.

2. Make sure you are healthy. It is also harder to get pregnant if you've got a medical condition - and its not safe to even try with some conditions. So, go to your doctor and have a check up, just to make sure that everything is alright with you. Have your partner go too, just to be sure that he's healthy. You'll find this will also help you have more fun and be less stressed out.

3. Eat well. There are lots of foods that are good for conception, and some foods that aren't. For instance, you can increase your chances of getting pregnant just by switching from regular cooking oil to olive oil. Do a little bit of research on what a healthy pregnancy diet should be, and then get onto it as soon as you can.

4. Exercise. This will help you get in shape for being pregnant, and will also help make sure that you are healthy enough to get pregnant.

Menstruation Disorders - Dysmenorrhea - Acupressure in Tcm Perspective

Girls in Southeast Asia have learnt in their early women life from grandmother wisdoms, that they do not engage in any activity distorting their regular period. Menstrual disorder should be treated immediately, otherwise, it may cause wide range of women diseases, such as infertility, according to Traditional Chinese medicine. In this article, we will discuss how acupressure helps to treat dysmenorrhea.

1. Blood and qi stagnation

a) Blood stagnation

Suggested points for blood stagnation of channels Spleen and stomach are Sp10 (Xuehai), SP6 (Sanyinjiao), SP4 (Gongsun), ST21 (Liangmen) and ST34 (Liangqiu).

b) Qi stagnation

Points of suggestion for qi stagnation of liver, heart and conception vessel channels. LV3 (Taichong), SP6 (Sanyinjiao) PC6 (Neiguan), PC7 (Daling), HT7 (Shenmen) and HT8 (Shenmen).

2. Blood deficiency

Blood deficiency is defined as condition of not enough blood to circulate to the entire body. Points of suggestion for heart, liver and conception channels are BL15 (Xinshu) CV14 (Juque) HT7 (Shennen) LI3 (Taichong).

3. Damp Heat

Suggested points of acupressure for spleen, liver and conception channels are SP3 (Taibai) and SP5 (Shangqiu), SP9 (Yinlingquan), ST36 (Zusanli), and SP6 (Sanyinjiao) CV12 (Zhongwan).

4. Dampness

a) Suggested points of acupressure are SP3 (Taibai) and SP5 (Shangqiu).

b) Wind

Suggested points of acupressure for governing vessel channels are GV14 (Dazhui), GV20 (Baihui), GV16 (Fengfu)

5. Imbalance of Kidney or Liver

a) Suggested points of acupressure for kidney and conception channels are ST36 (Zusanli), (SP6 (Sanyinjiao), GV20 (Baihui), CV4 (Guanyuan) and CV6 (Qihai).

b) Imbalance of liver: Suggested points of acupressure for LV2 (Xingjian), LV3 (taichong), LV14 (Jueyin), GB 34 (Yanglingguan).

The above is only some suggestions and for illustration only, please consult with your acupressure practitioner or acupuncturist before applying.


LV: Liver channel
GB: Gallbladder channel
UB: Bladder channel
CV: Conception vessel channel
SP: Spleen channels LI: Large intestine channel
KD: Kidney channel
GV: Governing vessel channel
TH: Triple heater channel
BL (UB) Bladder
LU: Lung channel
ST: Stomach channel
PC: Pericardium channel
HT: Heart channel
REN (CV): Conception vessel channel

IUI Pregnancy Success Tips

Getting pregnant through IUI might seem like a very difficult task, but if things work out properly, it's almost like getting pregnant naturally. If you're shooting for an IUI pregnancy within the next few months, there are a few things that you can do to prepare your body to undergo the treatment better and to increase your chances of success with IUI. These five tips are pretty easy and natural, so get started on them as soon as you can.

1. Acupuncture Therapy to Help You Conceive with IUI
This might not be the first option your mind jumps to when you think of enhancing your IUI success, but it has been shown to help in many studies and anecdotal cases. Basically, this ancient Chinese medicine regulates the hormones in a way that scientists haven't quite pinned down yet. Women who undergo acupuncture end up with less stress and even with more and higher quality eggs, which makes IUI more likely to be successful.

2. Visualization Techniques of IUI Conception
Many infertility clinics are actually using this type of therapy for their clients now. Basically, when you are going through IUI, you simply visualize what is going to happen with the sperm and the egg in your body. As with acupuncture, scientists haven't pinned down the way that visualization works, but there is evidence to show that the mind has great power over the body.

3. Watch Your Food and Drink for Pregnancy Success
One of the main ways to prepare your body for conception is to eat a healthy diet. This holds true no matter whether you're trying to conceive naturally, through IUI, or through any other ART techniques. The documentation of the link between diet and fertility just keeps building up. You don't have to obsess over every single thing you put in your mouth, but here are a few tips that will keep your body in good shape before IUI:

* Focus on getting enough whole foods, including vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
* Get one or two servings a day of full-fat dairy products through milk, yogurt, or cheese, since this has been linked to increased fertility.
* Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and toxin-free.
* Get a lot of protein from vegetable sources and nuts, but don't be afraid to work lean proteins from meat into your diet, either.
* Take a daily multivitamin that contains folic acid.
* Avoid alcohol, which can reduce overall fertility and increase your risk of miscarriage.

4. De-stress However You Can to Optimize Fertility
There is a lot of evidence that extreme stress - like the kind that comes from trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant - can reduce your chances of getting pregnant and increase your chances of miscarriage. Besides this, the stress that comes with IUI can make your life a nightmare. Instead of simply living with it, find ways to reduce stress before, during, and after IUI. Taking long walks, doing yoga regularly, and joining a support group are all good options.

5. Take an Expectorant to Help You Get Pregnant with IUI
Cough syrup for IUI? That's right. This is a good step to take, especially if you're taking Clomid during an IUI cycle. Clomid - and some natural conditions - can cause cervical mucus to become thick and too hostile to allow sperm to survive. Cough syrup like Robitussin doesn't just thin out mucus in the lungs, but it can also thin out cervical mucus.

The dosage that you should take varies, but you will want to take a little bit of cough syrup with the active ingredient guaifenesin for a couple of days before your insemination is going to occur. Many women with hostile cervical mucus have had excellent luck with this simple fertility-enhancing step.

Health Insurance - Less Premium Always Does Not Guarantee Good Coverage For Your Family

Any sort of insurance policy is purchased by the consumers keeping in mind a lot many factors which basically decides whether the insurance cover is suitable for you or not. In the case of health insurance policy, a Good Health Policy includes care of your health needs,brings you Cashless Access, 24/7 access to health advice whenever you need it. On the whole, a program that manages your medical expenses without you paying for them!

A person should very judiciously choose a health insurance cover as, it is the question of you and your family's health care needs which is in question. Some people mistake less premium in an insurance policy for a good plan; however, in reality if you have a closer look at the plan and facilities included in it, you will find that it is only covering a basic percentage of your needs and leaving out some important details to which you have not paid much heed to.

There are insurance policies which have n number of exclusions in their health insurance policy like the plans which cover maternity benefits have normally a gap of 6 years and a normal waiting period of 6 months. Off late there have been new launches of plans where you need to be enrolled for just 2 years to avail maternity benefit and the extra benefit is that your baby gets insured automatically under the policy. Normally, you have to get your baby insured under the cover until the period lasts for the insurance.

In the current times, as we are all aware it is not really simple to make a choice as we are flooded with so many options and it is really a difficult task to pin down one policy which takes care of all the needs and at the same time also suits your budget. So it would be wrong to judge a insurance cover with its monthly premium. It is good to dive deep into benefits and then decide which is the plan that you would like to go ahead and take up for yourself and your family.

Foods With Folic Acid Help With a Happy Pregnancy and Child Birth

Folate is an important nutrition all of us should have. It is a water soluble vitamin b complex family. It can be taken only from external sources and our body cannot synthesise on its own. It has many health benefits but its importance in pregnancy should be known to all child bearing women. They should know foods with folic acid for a happy pregnancy and child birth.

Folic acid acid is important for cell maintenance and formation. It is very vital whenever there is rapid pace of cell division to ensure formation and maintenance. The fetus in the mother undergoes this transformation and thus during pregnancy this nutrition should be adequately available to her. Not only during pregnancy but also during periphery pregnancy period the woman should take proper dosage of this nutrition. This is because during the first 28 days of conception of the fetus the foundation for spine and the brain is laid. Folate is required else neural defective baby may be the result. This is a disaster.

All men and women should have minimum 400 to 500 mcg of this nutrition. In the case of pregnant woman she should have 600 mcg per day.

What are the foods with folic acid? All citrus fruits have sufficient folate. You can eat orange, pineapple, strawberry etc. In the case of green and leafy vegetables like broccoli, spinach and green turnip sufficient folate is available. Pig liver has a rich source of folate. These are natural foods. When we eat them our body will synthesise folate into folic acid. You can also consume many foods fortified with folic acid like bread and breakfast cereals.

Apart from the above benefits folate deficiency leads to anemia. This nutrition is required for production of red blood cells. Sometimes deficiency leads to heart palpitation, diarrhea, frequent tiredness etc.

While it is better to take only natural foods as mentioned above many times it is advised to take natural nutrition supplement during pregnancy. The challenge is to find the best quality supplement. I know for sure a fantastic natural supplement that has folic acid and all other nutrition. This provides not only synergy but also a holistic nutrition offer. Visit my website to know more about foods with folic acid.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Postnatal Depression - Facts and Symptoms That You Never Knew!

You are probably here either because you heard about postnatal depression but is unsure what postnatal depression is about or you're probably suspecting that you have this illness. Whatever the reason, here are some facts that you should know. First of all, this illness affects one in ten women and usually begins in the first six months after childbirth. However, postnatal depression can begin in pregnancy for some women. Besides, an important thing to note is that postnatal depression can occur at any time within the first year after the birth of a baby and can last for longer than a year if no help is seek and received. Therefore, do seek help before it worsen as untreated postnatal depression can lead to the breakdown of relationships with your partners or children.

Are you being unsure whether you've contracted this illness? Fret not, here are some of the usual symptoms of postnatal depression.

You are anxious and fearful- You may feel very anxious and may even become obsessed with unjustified fears of your baby, yourself or your partner. Besides, you may feel unsafe when no one is by your side and you need someone to be with you all the time. Another postnatal depression symptom also include you having overwhelming fears for example you or your baby dying.

You worry a lot- You have unjustified worries about the things that you normally take for granted. Everyone have worries from time to time, but something is definitely wrong when worrying become more than it would be usual for you. Therefore, you may have postnatal depression. Consult your doctor before it worsens.

You have uncontrollable feelings of panic- Your heart beats faster, your palms of your hands becomes sweaty and you may feel sick, even that you are going to faint. These attacks can happen at any time but are most common in new or stressful situations.

You feel tense- You feel tightness in your neck and shoulders and may be unable to unwind and relax yourself no matter how hard you try. Instead, you feel more tense up the harder you try to relax.

You have more physical aches and pains- This is another symptom of postnatal depression that includes headaches, blurred vision and stomach pains. These are however, signs of tension and that your body is telling you that you are not feeling well.

You are easily irritated- You may find yourself shouting and snapping at your children, baby, partner or other for no good reason at all. In fact, they can't understand the reason of you shouting at them and why they deserve your anger.

You feel sad-There are a different level of sadness that vary from just feeling low, to utter despair which you feel as if your world is an empty space. Besides, you think about negative things that focus on your failures all day long. In worst case, you might even feel that your baby and partner will be living better without you.

If you have any symptoms or similar symptoms, do consult your doctor immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment of postnatal depression will result in a faster recovery. Therefore, don't lose hope too soon!

How To Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy - Remain Scar Free Through Each Trimester

If you're wondering how to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy you have come to the right place. You can actually remain free of scars through the most beautiful period of your life. Keep reading to find out how.

The main reason why stretch marks occur is pregnancy. When you become pregnant you go through so many hormonal changes which also trigger weight gain. You are probably feeling wonderful, sexy, alive as this beautiful human being is growing inside you but at the same time you dread the thought of waking up to those ugly scars all over your body - your breasts, your stomach, you'll size.

Around 80% of women end up with these scars after giving birth. Even though these scars are perfectly harmless and will not cause you any physical difficulty, women become so embarrassed and try to cover up and hide their existence. If you do nothing about preventing they scars chances are high that you will get them. However, there are many treatments and options for pregnant women to start using at any stage of the pregnancy though certain products should be avoided when pregnant.

Prevention is the case. One way that you can do this is by your skin gently from the second trimester onwards and also gently exfoliating your skin. Not only does your baby get nutrition from what you eat but also from what you put on your skin so you should include a topical cream into your daily skin care routine. Your diet should include foods that are high in vitamin E such as leafy vegetables and fresh fruits.

The trick is also maintaining the elasticity of your skin as it continues to expand as you go through the trimesters of your pregnancy. Topical creams have proven to be the most effective. They have been proven to not only prevent stretch mark scarring but also to get rid of any that you already have. The best ones do not contain any chemicals and only have all-natural ingredients.

There are many highly potent stretch mark creams that are not recommended for pregnant women. That is why starting natural is the key.

Can Acupuncture Help You Get Pregnant?

As with any medical condition proper treatment can't start until you know the cause of the problem. Not being able to get pregnant is only one symptom of a condition that must first be diagnosed before treatment can begin.

Both men and women for various reasons can have problems causing infertility. In women, diseases such as endometriosis, ovarian or ovulation disorders and low levels of progesterone can cause infertility. In men, low sperm count and motility, sperm blockage, aging, sexually transmitted diseases are common causes. Sometimes the cause is unknown.  

Is Acupuncture Treatment for Pregnancy Effective?

In some situations alternative techniques such as acupuncture for pregnancy is being applied successfully. Ear acupuncture can be effective in cases of infertility caused by problems with the ovary. Acupuncture along with certain herbs has the potential to improve ovarian and follicular function if this is the problem. While this method may work for some it doesn't work for tubal adhesions, endometriosis or other conditions.

The most effective fertility treatment combines acupuncture, herbal and traditional medicine.  For the purpose of increasing fertility Acupuncture patients receive treatment for several months before an attempt to inseminate either by natural, in vitro or by egg transfer.

Acupuncture has a long history of being used for treatment in infertility; however, it does have its limits. The key is to discover the underlying cause of infertility then you will know if acupuncture is a realistic option. In some cases where the cause is unknown acupuncture may be beneficial because it can increase blood flow to the endometrium. When blood flow increases it helps to promote a thick, rich lining that is conducive to fertility.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Acupuncture has minimal risks when used for infertility however miscarriage can occur if incorrect acupuncture points are used. Anyone undergoing acupuncture treatment for pregnancy should seek an acupuncturist who specializes in fertility disorders in order to limit risk.

The Best Diet Plan For Teenage Pregnancy!

The importance of teenage pregnancy diet plans cannot be underestimated. A number of diet plans are designed especially for teenagers. Whether it's a boy or a girl, teenagers have certain specific nutritional requirements. Few mothers are very strict about what their kids eat. While it is OK to not allow them to eat junk food, but at the same time make sure that they are not missing out on the healthy stuff. Mothers obviously know what is best for their children and teenagers are no exception.

A balanced diet is must for pregnant women. It is important for the mother as well as the baby. The diet should contain all the essential nutrients in the required amount. A good diet decrease the risk of complications associated with child birth. The child is more likely to be healthy and it also has a good effect on mother's health. The mother should understand the importance of a good diet and she should also know about the complications that she and her child might have to face in case she doesn't eat well. She should know the advantages of a nutritious diet. It is important so that it doesn't come as a shock to her at a later stage.

What should you do in case your teenage daughter is expecting a baby? The dietary requirements can be very different here. As a teenager, the mother has to pay attention to her own dietary needs. In addition to that she also needs to take care of her growing baby. Striking a perfect balance between the two is not very easy. Equal importance should be given to both, the child's health and the mother's health.

The easiest option would be to consult a nutritionist. You can come to know about the different diet plans and then choose the one which meets your requirements best. You can talk to your nutritionist when in doubt. That will help you to make the correct decision for the nutritionists specialize in making specific diet plans for people, depending on their situation.

In case a doctor or nutritionist is not available, you can always browse the internet. You can find about various teenage pregnancy diet plans on the net. Teenage pregnancy can be quite troublesome if you do not take proper care. Make sure that your diet is balanced and not too small in quantity.

A good diet is required so keep the mother active and healthy. Lack of nutrition can result in tiredness and weakness. You can get various diet plans on the net but check them with other websites too before you start following them. This is to ensure that they are not misleading.

Your Choices For Maternity Care

Before you should choose a maternity care you should ask yourself:

o Would you prefer to receive most of your ante and postnatal care at your GP's surgery, and go to the hospital just once or twice during your pregnancy, and then to give birth to your baby in the Consultant Unit? (This is called 'shared care')

If you have a GP Unit at your local maternity hospital, your GP may be able to care for you there when your baby is born or you can be looked after by the hospital midwives.

Some GPs are willing to book you for a home birth and to provide all your maternity care before, during and after the birth of your baby. (However, you don't have to have a GP cover you for a home birth. A midwife has the legal right and practical skills to take sole responsibility for your maternity care provided no complications arise.)

o Would you prefer to receive most of your ante and postnatal care from a small team of midwives whom you can get to know and one of whom will help you give birth? (Most areas are now starting to organise midwives into teams so this should be a real option for you.)

o Would you prefer to receive care from a community midwife who will look after you during your pregnancy, go into hospital with you to help you give birth and then accompany you home with your baby a few hours afterwards?

This is called the Domino scheme. It's not available everywhere; you need to ask your midwife or the Director of Maternity Services at your local Maternity Unit about having this kind of care.

There are increasing numbers of hospital-based schemes running now which arrange for each mother to be cared for by just one midwife. Ask if such a scheme is running at your hospital.

o Would you prefer to receive most of your care from the obstetricians at the local maternity hospital and attend antenatal clinics there whilst receiving postnatal care from the community midwives?

o Would you like to employ an independent midwife to care for you throughout your pregnancy and labour until a few weeks after your baby is born?

Car Insurance Claims Horror Stories

The nightmare of contributory negligence... Is this the way YOUR state does things?

We had a young lady insured in our agency. She was driving to work one day, waiting to make a left-hand turn, with her turn-signals on, etc... As approaching traffic cleared, she began her turn... just as the bonehead behind her was passing on her left! There was a grinding collision...!

Obviously, it was the passing driver's fault, and we had our insured file a claim against that driver's car insurance. That is when we found out the other driver was uninsured.

No problem, we thought. The other driver was speeding, driving without a license, driving without car insurance, passing at an intersection... Clearly at fault... This is exactly why we carry "Uninsured Motorist" coverage... to pay for our damages and injuries if we are struck by an at-fault uninsured driver.

So our insured filed a claim under her own policy's UM coverage. Simple solution... But the company denied the claim! The reason? CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE.

This legal doctrine, as it applies to car insurance, simply says that if you are found to have contributed to the loss to any degree, you cannot collect from the other party!!! How did she contribute? The car insurance company said she should have checked her rear-view mirror to see if a speeding, unlicensed, illegally passing bonehead was there before she started her turn..!!! Unbelievable...

Another car insurance claim that went wrong...

Under the "med pay" coverage of your car insurance policy, coverage is provided for injuries to anyone "occupying" a covered auto. If you look in the definitions of the policy, however, you see what they mean by occupying... You are "occupying" the car in you are in it... on it... getting into it... getting out of it... getting onto it... or getting off of it!

This can lead to some very interesting claims...

The most bizarre med pay claim I ever saw went like this: There was a girl and a guy out on a date. After the movie and dinner, they found themselves with too much time and privacy on their hands, one thing led to another, and the girl found herself pregnant.

The family did not anticipate their teenage daughter getting pregnant, and had no maternity coverage on their health insurance. So they filed a claim and under the boy's father's car insurance policy's "med pay" coverage! After all, they said... it was an "injury sustained while occupying a covered auto"!

They received full maternity coverage for pre-natal care and delivery!

And we wonder why our car insurance premiums are so high...

How to Have an Easier Labor - Benefits of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

You may have heard red raspberry leaf recommended numerous times for pregnancy without ever knowing why. This herb has many benefits, making this a great herb for women whether they are pregnant or not.

Red raspberry leaf tones the uterus, which is one of the main reasons women are advised to consume it. Red raspberry leaves contain an alkaloid called fragrine. Fragrine tones the muscles of the pelvic region, including the uterus.

Why should a uterus be toned?

Imagine a bicep that never gets used. It's scrawny and unable to lift much. When you try to lifting more than a few pounds, it has to work harder and becomes easily exerted. It hurts and you feel sore for a while afterwards.

Now, imagine that you begin lifting weights to exercise this bicep and over time it gets stronger. You can steadily increase the amount of weight you can lift because the muscle has made is more adept at doing its job. In short, it's become easier for it to do what it was designed to do.

The uterus is a hollow organ with lots of muscles that stretch and contract. Keeping it well toned makes it easier for it to do its job - with less pain, too.

Preventing miscarriage and hemorrhage - Think of that scrawny arm holding up a weight it is not used to holding. The arm quickly drops because it isn't strong enough. A uterus that isn't toned is too relaxed to perform its main functions - carrying a baby to term and contracting after birth to prevent hemorrhage.

Easier and faster birth - Now imagine those arms pumping iron. They've become used to working out regularly and can now do many reps with ease. During pregnancy and labor, the uterus is constantly contracting. For a uterus that hasn't been properly toned through physical exercise and with herbs like red raspberry leaf, it is difficult to do all of those repetitions, making it less effective and prone to exertion.

Reducing labor and afterbirth pain - Now the baby is delivered and the uterus needs to return to its original size, which is much smaller than it's been for the last several months. It does this by contracting - the same kind of contracting that it did during labor. Yes, this hurts too, just like labor. However, if it's been toned, the contractions are more efficient and don't take as long to return the uterus to the size of a pear.

Drinking plenty of red raspberry leaf tea from the second trimester until after your baby is born will help tone your uterus and prepare it for delivery. It also helps keep postpartum and menstrual cramps under control. So drink up and get toned!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Stress During Pregnancy? Ten Tips to Help You to Be More Relaxed During Pregnancy

Although the nine months of pregnancy is a period that most women hope to experience, there are a myriad of reasons why when the time actually comes, it can be very stressful. Here are some tips to help you refocus away from the aches and the worries, and to transfer some of your pregnancy energy into something positive and beneficial.

o Exercise - While exercise is good for our bodies, the most amazing by- product of it is all those wonderful endorphins that are released in the brain as a result of just a minor workout. These endorphins stimulate happiness and positive feelings and give us further strength and motivation.

o Join a class - any class! Now's the time for you to follow your pursuits - heaven knows you won't have time to follow them later. So if its basket weaving, mosaic frame making or learning a foreign language take the time now to invest in yourself and enjoy every minute!

o Make time for meditation - you don't need to be a Buddha to meditate! Often we get so caught up in our daily routine that one day seems to follow the next without reason or meaning. Try starting your day by closing your eyes and focusing on the blessings that you have in your life. While you are at it, go ahead and ask God, your Higher Power, or Who Ever to continue to bless you with health, wealth, all things good, an easy labor, and a beautiful healthy baby.

o Think about the spiritual aspect of bringing a new person into the world - when you're most caught up in your physical complaints, when you're starting to dread the actual birth, give yourself time to think about the fact that you and your partner have created a new soul, and you are the channel through which it will be coming to this would. If this moves you, or if there is another similar thought that uplifts you then try focus on whenever your mind wanders. Visualize it, and think about using the imagery to help you keep calm while you are in labor.

o Share with a friend - if you have worries about the health of your baby, your parenting abilities, or if you are plagued by horrible dreams (common during pregnancy) know that you are not alone. Don't keep your dark thoughts to yourself - sharing them will help to ease the burden and often just verbalizing your fears helps to melt them down.

o Avoid people who like to tell bad news - if you have friends or family members who like to talk about bad pregnancies and disastrous labors - you do NOT need to listen to them. You can protect yourself from these bearers of bad news. Either avoid them or tell them in a diplomatic but firm way that you are focusing on nice, happy stories during this pregnancy!

o Be kind to yourself - Know your limitations, and give yourself a break when you need it. If it means taking 20 minutes of downtime during your work hours, or telling your husband that you are not up to entertaining this Friday night, or phoning your mother and asking her to look after the kids this afternoon because you need a break - JUST DO IT! There is no need to push yourself beyond your limitations, and you will only reach breakpoint if you do!

o Cranial Sacral Therapy - this is a remarkable treatment which is great for the body, as well as the soul. Find a good Cranial Sacral Therapist who has a healing touch, a listening ear and a caring heart. For more information on the benefits of cranial sacral therapy in pregnancy see

o Keep a journal - pregnancy is a trip that you won't experience too many times in life. During this period your interaction both with the world and with the growing life inside you is enhanced. Commit your thoughts, feelings and emotions to writing; one day it will be interesting to come re-visit this special time.

o Enjoy your body - think about the baby that is growing inside your body, look at yourself in the mirror and enjoy watching your bump grow and develop. Don't be shy to place your hands on your tummy when he/she squirms - even in public - as it is most people are admiring your feminine shape!

Organic Skin Care For Pregnant Women

Pregnancy is a beautiful yet challenging time in a woman's life. For every joyful discovery there is a disappointing development, like skin outbreaks or the shedding of hair.

The modern mother-to-be is lucky however, as manufacturers have begun to acknowledge the special needs of the pregnant body. Indeed, today there are literally hundreds of products on the market that address some of the more common discomforts pregnant women face during their nine month long evolution.

Skincare is one area that manufactures often target, a wise move, since taking care of our body's largest organ is one of the primary concerns of many women who are on the precipice of becoming a mother.

With so many options available, it can be a rather daunting task to locate what will work best for you. Just how does a pregnant lady locate the skincare products that are both safe and effective?

Think Organic

Once upon a time people thought of organic products as something vegetarians and neo-hippies purchased due to paranoid concerns about contaminants. Nowadays, we realize that the neo-hippies were on to something, as the FDA and several health watch organizations have begun to prove that health and beauty items, like lotions and creams, were chock full of toxic substances.

Indeed, a mainstream lotion can contain several carcinogenic chemicals that could potentially damage reproductive health. Using such substances when pregnant could end up being extremely dangerous to both mother and baby.

On the other hand, true organic health and beauty items are free of the things that can cause harm to you and your precious little one.

Below are a few products that a resourceful mother who is interested in organic skin care can investigate to get started on her beauty regimen.

o Stretch mark cream - every mother, whether she is having her first child or her fifth, worries about getting stretch marks. The good news is that manufacturers of organic lotions and creams understand this and have created belly butters and moisturizers filled with pure botanical ingredients that will help your skin glow.

o Body toning oil -- pregnant women are also concerned about sagging skin after childbirth, but the use of toning oils can help prevent this from happening if used faithfully. Producers of organic products make all natural body toning oils with tried and true substances like avocado, pomegranate and jojoba oils which boost collagen production and help the skin retain it elasticity.

o Body cleansing - purchasing organic shampoos, body washes and soaps are another great way to keep your skin baby smooth and free of harsh drying chemicals.

To find organic products you can visit a holistic food store in your neighborhood or look online for organic distributors. Always check the ingredients list as well, since some companies can legally use very little chemical free substances in their formulas and still get an organic rating. To be sure, look for the "certified organic" label. This often means it is 100 percent organic and 100 percent all natural.

You and your baby deserve the best start possible when it comes to the mother child relationship. Taking good care of yourself during your pregnancy with rest and proper skin care is one step in the right direction.

Coping With an Unplanned Pregnancy

After you discover that you are pregnant, you may be frightened and worried about having an unexpected baby. Depending on your situation, you may be unhappy to have a child because of age, finance, social, or emotionally reasons. You may be single and scared to face motherhood alone or at such a young age. You may be married, but do not want any more children. Whatever your situation, an unplanned pregnancy can occur when a condom breaks or birth control pills fail, or for a number of other reasons.

After you discover you are pregnant, try not to panic. Initially it will be quite a shock. Allow yourself to feel these emotions at first. Slowly, the shock will fade and you will be able to think about the decisions that lay ahead. After collecting your thoughts, research your options so you can make an informed decision. You have the options of abortion, keeping the baby, or giving the baby up for adoption. Decide what is best for you and the baby. Although you may have a decision in mind, remember that the male involved also has a role in the decision-making process and has rights and responsibilities to the child as well.

After you have had some time to think and collect your thoughts, you may want to confide in a family member, close friend, or religious clergy member. Find someone that can be supportive of your decision or who can offer you advice without unneeded pressure. Although your boyfriend, husband, or other male involved may be the first you tell, this doesn't always have to be the case.

Ultimately, it is your decision. If you decide to carry the baby to term, but would like to give it up for adoption, you have many resources available to you. Pregnancy clinics and adoption centers can offer support and information to help you make an informed decision. You can also receive pre- and post-natal care, legal assistance, housing, and maternity clothes through pregnancy and adoption services.

Unlike the horror stories of adoptions in the past, today adoptions use a very open process that offer you complete confidentiality. You can choose from a list of hopeful parents. If you desire an open adoption, you can meet with the couple and remain in contact with them after you give up the baby. This gives you the peace of mind that your baby is receiving the best care and love possible. A closed adoption gives you anonymity so you have no contact with the adoptive parents or your child after the adoptive process has been finalized.

Although an unplanned pregnancy may be an unhappy occurrence at first, it can turn into a happy experience for you. If you decide to keep the child, you will be blessed with the baby's happy smile, along with the memories that will last forever. If you give your baby up for adoption, you will be able to give the greatest gift to a hopeful couple who can give your baby the love and attention that every child deserves. Whatever you decide, make an informed decision so you can feel secure and happy about it in the years that follow.

During PMS Hormone Levels Are Fluctuating, But Other Factors Could Be The Cause

Although the exact cause of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is unknown, researchers do know that during PMS, hormone levels are fluctuating, estrogen levels are lower than at any other time of the month. Whether low levels of these hormones circulating in the blood stream causes the "PMS blues" or if chemicals in the brain are to blame is being investigated. As with many medical conditions, we may never know exactly what causes PMS.

"But you know we can't help it... we don't even know the cause...But as soon as this part's over then comes the menopause, " sings Dolly Parton in the song titled PMS blues. And, Dolly's right. We don't know the cause. And, for many of us, menopause is just around the corner accompanied by hot flashes, more mood swings, weight gain and decreased sex drive. Once menopause is over, we have increased health risks unique to post-menopausal women. Is it really any wonder that we're depressed?

According to the Cleveland Clinic Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, women are twice as likely to become depressed as men, due in part to PMS hormone levels and changing hormone levels that occur throughout a woman's life. Around 75% of all women deal with the PMS blues each month. Some sources say this number is around 85%. So, what is different about those lucky 15-25% that do not have PMS symptoms? Once again, no one knows, but it is likely that a number of different factors are involved.

Stress, Diet and Exercise

Researchers have conducted numerous studies about the effects of stress, nutrition, special diets and exercise on PMS symptoms, without arriving at any definite conclusions. The most that anyone can really say is that "sometimes" exercising helps. "Sometimes" dietary changes help and sometimes supplementation with B-vitamins, calcium or vitamin E help. The effect that any of these have on PMS hormone levels is unknown.

Relaxation techniques are recommended for a number of different health conditions. The condition in which it appears to be most effective is PMS, according to a study that evaluated a large number of other studies. Yoga and the relaxation response technique seem to be the most helpful.

Yoga is great, but when a woman's schedule is already full, time may be an issue. Relaxation response is something that any woman, regardless of physical condition, can practice every day or numerous times a day. To achieve maximum levels of relaxation 15-20 minutes of "quiet time" are needed. It is a deep breathing exercise that involves focusing on each muscle group of the body and purposefully relaxing those muscles, followed by breathing in deeply and exhaling completely while you say the word "one".

A complete description can be found in the book The Relaxation Response by Herbert Benson, MD. Focusing on breathing normally as a treatment for the PMS blues is further supported by a study that showed that symptoms similar to PMS are observed in patients with chronic hyperventilation.


If PMS hormone levels are not to blame for the majority of the symptoms, then serotonin, or the lack of it, may be. Serotonin is a compound that helps to transmit signals among nerve endings in the brain and body and is believed to play an important role in the regulation of mood, sleep, sexuality and appetite. Studies have shown that women who suffer from the most severe form of the PMS blues (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) have lower levels of serotonin circulating in the blood stream.

If you visited your doctor, because you were concerned about the way that PMS symptoms were affecting your quality of life, your relationships, your job, etc., he may have recommended or even prescribed an anti-depressant known as a Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor or SSRI. You are probably more familiar with the brand names Celexa, Zoloft, Prozac and Paxil.

Rather than focusing on changing PMS hormone levels, these drugs focus on allowing the body to use serotonin more efficiently. Mostly because numerous unwanted side effects are associated with SSRI usage, researchers have investigated the effects of natural substances used by the body to create serotonin, thus, increasing the levels of serotonin circulating in the blood stream. So far, 5-HTP has yielded the most promising results. Some study participants have seen even better results than they did when using an SSRI.

PMS Hormone Levels: Low Estrogen

Because PMS hormone levels are a possible cause of the PMS blues, many doctors suggest low-dose birth control pills, which contain synthetic forms of the hormones estrogen and/or progesterone, to stabilize hormonal levels, prevent ovulation and thus eliminate most symptoms of PMS. Of course, these are not an option for women who are trying to become pregnant or cannot take birth control pills for other reasons.

Phytoestrogens are considered by many to be a natural substitute for synthetic hormones. Phytoestrogens are simply plant components that have an estrogen-like effect on the body. Found in soy beans, red clover and other plant foods, researchers believe that in women who have less PMS symptoms and a diet high in soy and other vegetables, phytoestrogens are responsible.

Relief from the PMS Blues

Soy isoflavones, red clover and 5-HTP are all available without a prescription. Herbal supplements including black cohosh and sarsaparilla may help to correct hormonal imbalances. If PMS hormone levels are to blame for the PMS blues, then they may help and are also available without a prescription. Researchers have not determined exactly what compounds in black cohosh and sarsaparilla are active and effective, but they have concluded that they relieve symptoms related to changing hormonal levels in the majority of women. For more information about natural products that relieve PMS symptoms, please visit the Menopause and PMS Guide.

Flat Head Syndrome - A Guide to Head Shape Abnormalities in Infants

What kinds of head shape deformities are seen in infants?

Deformational plagiocephaly (Often known as flat head syndrome) is an abnormal shape of a baby's head caused by external forces. The baby's head may appear to be misshapen or asymmetrical immediately after birth, or the abnormal shape may become noticeable n the first few months of life. Parents and carers are often the first ones to notice the unusual shape of the head and usually bring it to the attention of the GP or health visitor during a regular check up. Head shape abnormalities are usually more noticeable at bath time when a baby's hair is wet and in babies with little hair.

Deformational brachycephaly is when the entire back of the baby's head is flat (central flattening) and the head is very wide. The forehead is often bossed or prominent on both sides, and the height of the head is very high. Often, babies with this problem have a history of excessive time in carriers and car seats,or suffer from medical conditions that do not allow the baby to be placed on the tummy. Treatment through orthotic management attempts to correct the disproportion of the head shape and the associated deformities.

Asymmetrical brachycephaly is a common type of brachycephaly where the head is excessively wide and is also asymmetrical. Treatment through orthotic management focuses on improving both symmetry and the proportions of the baby's head.

Deformational scaphocephaly is characterised by a long and narrow head shape, sometimes caused by consistent positioning of the baby on his or her side. Like symmetrical brachycephaly, scaphocephaly is mainly a deformity of proportion, although the elongated shape can also produce abnormal frontal and posterior changes in the head.

Premature babies are particularly prone to scaphocephaly, because a side-lying position is often used in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for easy access to monitors and other equipment. Treatment through orthotic management focuses on normalising the proportion and overall shape of the head.

Craniosynostosis is caused by the suture between the plates of the baby's head fusing together prematurely, and can occur at any of the sutures between the 5 plates of the baby's skull. The area that has fused does not grow at the same rate as the rest of the skull which can cause pressure to the brain. This is a rare condition affecting only 1 in 2500-3000 births. Treatment of craniosynostosis is surgery to remove the section of fused skull and allow normal development. This is usually performed by a neurosurgeon or a craniofacial surgeon.

What causes deformational plagiocephaly?

There are several causes of deformational plagiocephaly, and some of them occur before the baby is born. Restricted space inside the mother's womb can create excessive contact in certain areas of the baby's head. This is often the cause of deformation in babies positioned in a breach position, cramped in utero due to multiple foetuses, or in babies who spend excessive time with the head confined in the birth canal. Suction or vacuum instruments can also create forces that can deform the newborn skull, which is soft and pliable. After birth, the skulls of premature babies are particularly susceptible to deformation because they are thinner and more fragile than those of full term babies.

The skull is made up of several plates with fibrous sutures between them. This allows the skull plates to slide over each other to ease the passage of the baby's head through the birth canal. Usually, the head becomes more symmetrical and better proportioned within 6 weeks of birth if the deforming forces are no longer present. However, the flattened area may not resolve if the baby's head continuously rests in the same position. This is particularly problematic if the baby has neck tightness at birth (torticollis).

Are there other causes of head shape deformities?

Another leading cause of abnormal head shape in young babies is neck tightness caused by congenital muscular torticollis or neck trunk muscle imbalance. Torticollis is usually caused by an imbalance in the sternocleidomastoid and other neck muscles, which prevents the full range of motion in the neck. It is estimated that about 85% of the babies with deformational plagiocephaly also have some kind of neck issue.

Typically, the head of the baby with torticollis is tipped to one side and rotated to the opposite shoulder, causing the head to consistently rest in the same position. This constant pressure to the same side of the head causes flattening. Torticollis can also pull abnormally on the base of the skull and cause the ear on the same side of the flattening to be pushed forward. In severe cases, the forehead can also be pushed forward on the same side, the facial features including the eyes, cheeks, and the jaw may not be symmetrical.

Another postnatal cause of abnormal head shapes occurs when the back of the baby's head rests for prolonged periods of time against a hard surface like a car seat, bouncy chair, swing or push chair.

Before 1996, babies were put to sleep on their tummies, which varied the amount of force on the back of the head. Since the "reduce the risk" advice from the FSID (Foundation for the Study of Infants Death) as an effort to end the sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), babies now spend all night on their backs until they are able to roll and reposition themselves.Unfortunately, the combination of the equipment we use to carry and position our babies during the day and placing them to sleep on their backs all night has led to an increase in head shape deformities. It is very encouraging that the incidence of SIDS has reduced by 40% following the introduction of "back to bed".

The best way to reduce the potential for the head shape problems is to increase the time your baby spends on his or her tummy during the day while awake and supervised.

Group Health Insurance Vs Individual Health Insurance In Florida

If you are a small business Florida with four to fifty full-time employees, your employees might have been pressuring you on getting a term health care insurance that you would have to pay.

While it is always advisable to keep your employees happy, getting term healthcare insurance for your employees as a member of your organization may not always suit their needs and may not be cost effective for your business too.

In order to be accepted in their Florida health insurance programs, most healthcare providers require for a small business to be operating for at least a year in Florida. Eligible business must also have been paying for their quarterly taxes. Small business in this case is a company with four to 50 full-time enrolled employees.

Some health providers allow employers to get a combination of PPO plans and HMO plans - and some employees can be on PPO while others on HMO. Although they offer similar services, PPO plans and HMO plans have some distinct differences. The aim is ultimately to allow people to save on their healthcare costs through their network of physicians and hospitals. However, with a PPO, you may see your favorite doctor or visit your favorite hospital - the insurance company will pay between 70% to 80% of the total cost. HMO plans are known, and in fact, limit you to their list of providers and hospitals. PPO plans are offered in all of Florida's counties.

If You Can't Afford It

If you have less than 25 employees, you are not required to offer healthcare or HMO options to your employees if you go back to the Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973.

If you are such a small organization, then you might want to encourage your employees to get an individual health insurance plan. This type of plan is not issued to individuals as employees, business owners or as self-employed people. They are issued to people individually as breathing and living people with healthcare concerns.

Individual health insurance plans have advantages over group health insurance and vice versa.

Insurance companies usually have guidelines for accepting companies into their program. Your company might not qualify to be accepted into a group health program. However, if it does qualify, the insurance company must accept all individuals regardless of their pre-existing health conditions - they even include maternity benefits. Therefore, premiums under group healthcare can be more expensive than individual plans.

Insurance companies usually offer better, cheaper rates with individual plans since they can accept, rate or decline an application for an individual plan. Maternity benefits can only be had as an option in this case.

Insurance Brokers

If you are looking forward to enrolling in a health insurance program, you should know that even if you go straight direct to the healthcare company or if you choose to find your company, the premiums are still going to be the same. Insurance providers are not allowed to sell their health plans cheaper than what their agents are selling it for.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How to Care For Pregnant Rabbits

Many owners are not ready to handle their pet rabbit's pregnancy. Considering the high mortality rate of newborn bunnies, it is no surprise that many are confused as to what they should do. There are plenty of useful tips that owners can adopt and this starts by gathering the right information from reliable sources.

It is not encouraged to allow your bunny to get pregnant. There is already an overgrown of rabbit population in the world, and if you wanted another one, then you should consider getting them from an animal shelter. Bunnies may be cute but they grow up very fast and in many cases, they are abandoned when they are no longer cute.

However, if your rabbit is pregnant, there are good tips you can follow to care for them and raise the survival chances of its babies. A doe hide her pregnancy quite well. Even experienced vet sometimes made mistakes in their assessment when checking if there is pregnancy.

As a matter of fact, you can hardly notice any change of behaviour in the doe. The easiest way to tell if your female pet rabbit is pregnant is to see if she rejects the advancement of the buck. About two weeks after conceiving, you may be able to feel the foetus inside her womb. It feels marble-like.

The gestation period is between 28 to 31 days. During this time, just provide her with adequate food and water. She may begin her nesting process about one week before delivery. Some pet rabbits only started building her nest as little as three days or one day before delivery.

The doe build its nest by gathering hay and shredding newspaper. She will also pull fur from her own chest. Each rabbit's pregnancy may result in 7 to 13 kits (baby rabbits are called kits). It is not surprising to see the doe immediately leaving its kits after birthing. This may be inherited from their wild cousins to prevent attracting the attention of predator animals.

This may be the right time to check on the bunnies. Unlike other smaller animals, rabbits do not mind human touching their offspring. Check if the babies are warm. If they are not, then you can wrap warm water bottle with towel and place in the nest to help them stay warm.

As the mother rabbit nurse their young ones only twice a day and each nursing takes less than 5 minutes, you may need to play the role of surrogate parents. Suitable formulated milk powder and feeding bottle may be bought from pet store or from a vet.

Pregnancy Due Date Calculations Can Also Help You Become Pregnant

Calculating your pregnancy due date is basically a piece of simple arithmetic based on the date of the first day of your last period and the average length of your menstrual cycle.

On the assumption that you've got this information handy, all that's then required is to add 40 weeks to the first day and, hey presto, you've got your pregnancy due date - well near enough to be within a few days either side in most cases.

Incidentally, a baby born only 3 weeks earlier than the official pregnancy due date is classified as being premature although babies born as little as 24 weeks after conception are still considered to be viable given the full resources of modern medical care available in Western societies.

However, in practice 92% of babies very obligingly arrive within a two to three week window around their predicted pregnancy due date.

So, on the face of it everything seems to be hunky-dory - you've got your pregnancy due date either by calculating it yourself (NOT recommended except for initial guidance) or, much better, by being informed of it by your Doctor after other relevant factors are taken into account.

There are also numerous websites where you can just enter your dates (first day of your last period is the most important) and get an instant calculation of your pregnancy due date.

Then all you have to do (in theory!) is to wait for your baby to politely keep the appointment set for him or her.

The only problem is that not everyone may be well enough organised to know the date when her last period started or the average length of her menstrual cycle.

But not to worry if your dates are a couple of weeks adrift. The prediction of your pregnancy due date may well be wrong when you are first given it but as your pregnancy progresses other signs and symptoms will start to indicate that a different date is more likely.

So pretty soon you will be able to be quite certain that, provided your baby is one of the 92% who arrive more or less on time, you will be giving birth somewhere around the date given.

But these calculations also potentially have a hidden benefit if you are still at the stage of planning your family because you can use simple arithmetic again to predict when during your menstrual cycle you are most likely to conceive.

The same information used to predict the pregnancy due date is also used for this prediction as it is based on the first day of your period together with the average length of your cycle with the well established assumption that you are most likely to ovulate within a time frame of 2 to 3 days either side of the middle of this period of time.

So if your cycle is 28 days and your first day was the first of the month, the best time to have sex would be between the 12th and 16th of the month although there's no need to unnecessarily restrict yourself to just this window of opportunity!

And if you and your partner are both fortunate enough to be in your twenties, you have a 20-25% chance of getting pregnant during each month that you're trying, so 4 or 5 months could easily do the trick!

If you're really confident, you could even draw up a little chart of likely pregnancy due dates, although that may be tempting Providence a bit too far!

Obviously, as people get older, the likelihood of such spectacular early success starts to diminish, but statistics show that eventually 95% of all couples who try to start a family finally succeed even if it seems to take for ever for that all important pregnancy due date to be finally announced!

In fact, on average, one couple in five has failed to conceive after 12 months of trying so don't be too worried if things don't seem to be working out quite as quickly as you may have hoped.

If you want to check your potential pregnancy due date online, it is very simple to do so via a Google search for instance, but please be advised that there is no substitute for proper medical advice. Many of these sites will also allow you to calculate when you are likely to ovulate during your monthly cycle.

What Happens If You Neglect Postpartum Needs?

There are some great things about the confinement phase of life. You get to bond with your new baby and watch as they start to grow from a tiny creature with little hair to a wiggling, demanding baby who looks around and seems to connect with others. This is an amazing time of life for all women, but not everyone receives the care they need and deserve during this time.

This brings the question of what happens if your confinement needs are not cared for and looked after diligently. Not all women are able to afford confinement nurses and some may not have relatives or friends willing and able to look after them after having a baby. Other women may simply believe they are just fine to return to their normal daily duties and neglect to take care of themselves by chance.

Whether it is by choice or necessity, there are some very serious consequences for neglecting your personal needs during the postpartum periods.


Your body is at serious risk of infection after having a baby. If you had a vaginal birth, you have rips, tears and stitches which can become infected if they are not properly cared for and rested. If you have a cesarean section, then you have a wound on your stomach which can easily become infected as well.

These infections can interfere with the healing of these pregnancy related wounds and may spread to other parts of the body if not properly treated. Infections in these sensitive areas of the body can be quite painful and uncomfortable.

Usually, these infections occur when the wounds are not kept clean and sanitary. It can also occur if too much physical activity is carried out too soon after having a baby. Your body needs a lot of rest to allow these wounds to heal properly.

Torn Stitches

If you start moving around, climbing stairs, and lifting heavy objects (other children included) too soon after giving birth, you can actually tear the stitches that are holding your pregnancy wounds together. This is painful and will make your postpartum recover take even longer.

You never get ahead by jumping back into normal daily routines after having a baby! It will be much faster in the long run to allow the body to heal and then start gradually adding daily activities into your life again.

Every woman needs at least six weeks of recovery time after having a baby. If you have a c-section, then chances are you need even more time before you completely out of the postpartum period. This is why it is so important to look after your health needs and take care of yourself after having a baby.

If you don't have family and friends around who can help with other children and household duties while you rest and bond with your baby, it is important to bring a postpartum nurse on board. They will make the confinement period more enjoyable and ensure that all of your health needs are looked after. If you aren't sure if you should be doing something or aren't sure if it's too soon to start moving around more, they can help you decide the safest course of action so you don't get infected or rip out your stitches.
If you have a c-section it is even more important to get this help!

8 Insider Tips on Buying Individual Health Insurance

THE TOP INDIVIDUAL HEALTH INSURANCE POLICY WOULD BE ONE THAT YOU NEVER USED. However, you have to purchase health insurance BEFORE your need it..

1.TIP #1 Having some individual health insurance is better than none at all. Suddenly overcome by an unexpected medical condition can ruin your financial security and environmental living standards. With no rehabilitation benefits, you could lose your job. Then you might have to sell everything valuable you worked hard for. Weakening, frail health may allow meeting the stringent Social Security Disability requirements. Never ever chance it, and never rely on the government.

2. TIP #2 All individual health insurance policies are not created equally. If you are in the same financial position similar to many neighbors, paying deeply for coverage may not be achievable. Don't despair, see how much lower your premiums will be if you opt for a major medical plan with a $1,000, $2,500, or even $5,000 deductible. Next look at your car insurance and home owner policies and get higher deductibles on them. If you encounter no mishaps, you had protection made possible by structuring higher deductibles into your insurance plans.

3. TIP #3 All individual health insurance policies are not Major Medical plans. Some are hospital plans with stripped benefits or are ridiculous outlandish hospital indemnity plans. Always try to purchase Major Medical insurance. Most Major Medical plans pay up to at least $2,000,000 in lifetime benefits. Recently I had neck-spinal fusion surgery, forcing 4 days of hospitalization. Total expenses exceeded $60,000. A regular hospital plan probably leaving $10,000 unpaid could be expected. The idiotic purchase of a hospital indemnity plan would have paid specified amount per day in the hospital. Having a hospital indemnity plan paying $250 daily, it would have paid out $1,000 total.

4. TIP #4 Evaluate your age and see if you need maternity benefits covered. A problem newborn can easily accumulate $200,000 in advanced medical care. Therefore a plan with maternity benefits can shoot up costs. When checking rates, see if the insurer has one rate for all ages, male or female. Some individual health plans base your rates on age, with females getting lower rates at certain ages, and males getting gouged at higher rate bands. Overall, buy the best policy you can afford to keep.

5. TIP #5 Do not inquire about health insurance until you have fully evaluated your present and past medical conditions. An Individual Health Insurance Company may elect not to cover your conditions, plus raise up normal premiums. If you have serious health conditions you might try to see if Blue Cross will insure you (without 180 days of coverage for pre-existing conditions). If you operate a business out of your home, or are an independent contractor, or self employed with a registered name you have one lucky star. Check your local Chamber of Commerce whose many benefits may include eligibility on their large group plan. A unique way to get large group coverage for 1 person,

6. TIP #6 Check out the HMO, health maintenance organizations and PPO, Preferred Provider Organizations. Remember though that an HMO is like your mother saying NO or beg me first. It doesn't take long until you feel like a number, not a patient. Good luck getting a referral approved, either though your doctor insists on it. Plus you select your doctor from their list and only use a certain hospital when necessary. A PPO offers more flexibility of course at a higher price.

7. TIP #7 This one is easy to become a scam victim of. A virtually unknown insurance company enters your area, aggressively fighting for you to sign up. The rate is below all others, and benefits are comparable. The first 3 years the company signs up thousands and thousands of individuals in good health and pays little out in claims. Suddenly people like you have major health problems and start submitting claims. The insurance company doubles their rates. Most of the people in good health go elsewhere, but you are stuck.. The insurance company may again double rates, hack off benefits, cancel policies, or sell out to another carrier. Quicksand where you can't be rescued!

8. TIP #6 Don't have a heart attack if you are left with thousands of dollars in medical expenses. Most hospitals and doctors have already built in a price margin to cover some costs of those who can't pay the entire bill now. Keep you mouth shut, and you hands away from the phone until you bill goes to a collection agency. Remember, these bully meanies do not get a dime unless you pay. Don't give into threats! After 6 weeks of receiving pestering calls, make your move. If you have a $500 bill, offer to pay $250 in 5 days, many collectors jump to settle on this lower amount. Should you have a long range problem go right to the top claims administrator. Offering to pay $100 a month will earn you 6 years to pay off a $5,000 bill, plus keep your credit.

During Labor Risky Drugs and Unnecessary Medical Interventions Have Reached Epidemic Proportions

Are more and more of your friends talking about the medications they used in labor? Have there been more Cesareans (aka "C-section") that you've heard about then say 5, 10, or 20 years ago? Are you pregnant and hearing your provider freely talk about medications that you may be encountering during your labor? Have you asked your provider about his/her Cesarean rate? Or how often he orders Pitocin and Epidurals? It might just be a good idea to ask.

Medical interventions and risky drugs are a huge factor in the increase of the C-section rate to 30.2% (Statistics compiled by CDC in 2005 up from 29.1% in 2004). You have to figure it is much higher now in 2008.

During labor in hospitals today there is an increase use of risky drugs and unnecessary medical interventions. With the use of Epidurals, Pitocin, and unnecessary C-sections many providers are making unsafe decisions for their convenience of shortening the labor. Some providers perform unnecessary C-sections in fear of malpractice if they continue the laboring process naturally and the slim slim chance that something MIGHT go wrong. The Phrase "once a section, always a section" is never truer then right now AND is to the advantage of the provider. If you birth your first baby by C-section than all your other babies can be scheduled and birthed by C-section in 20 minutes of the provider's time. How snappy is that for health care professionals who just want to get the laboring process over with?

As an RN, and midwife I have witnessed the use of risky drugs and unnecessary medical interventions in hospitals in almost epidemic proportions. The hospital I'm currently working at in San Diego has an epidural rate of 98% and a C-section rate before the weekends way over the national average of 30.2%, some Fridays I've seen it as high as 75%. Hey, for the provider, that means no laboring women over the weekends. You might ask why the concern on the use of Epidurals when most of your friends have used and loved it? Epidurals have many more complications then the provider is willing to tell you about.

    For the mother in labor it can:

  • Drop her blood pressure to a dangerous low

  • Cause uncontrollable shivering

  • Allergic reaction like itching to the face and body

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Postpartum backache that can last for years

  • Maternal fever that could result in her baby getting unnecessary lab work

  • Spinal headaches

  • Feeling of emotion detachment

  • Inability to move about freely during labor

  • Stopping labor and needing other medications to resume labor

  • Loss of sensation and sexual function

  • For Your Baby

  • Fetal distress, abnormal fetal heart rate (needing C-section)

  • Drowsiness and poor sucking and breastfeeding

  • Poor muscle strength and muscle tone in the first few hours

  • In Labor

  • Prolonged first and second stage labor

  • Increased incidence of malpresentation of baby's head

  • Increase the need for Pitocin to accelerate labor

  • Decrease the ability to push effectively

  • Increase the likelihood of forceps or vacuum extraction

  • Increase the need for episiotomy

  • Increased the likelihood of C-section

With the use of an Epidural there is a higher chance that an IV drip of Pitocin will be ordered, which is a synthetic form of oxytocin (which causes the uterus to contract). The risk of Pitocin is that it can cause your uterus to contract so hard and so rapidly that it stresses you and your baby to the point that it is safer to perform a C-section then to let you continue labor and birth your baby vaginally.

Some providers during your prenatal visits promise natural childbirth but sing another song when you enter the hospital in labor. They jump at the idea of medical interventions and risky drugs before they suggest the birth ball or shower for increasing your labor. Some L&D nurses don't give you a lot of chances to use the natural methods you were hoping for because, having you on an Epidural sleeping is a lot less work for them then having you in the shower, on the birth ball or walking the halls in labor.

As an RN watching all this, and wishing pregnant couples knew what was happening in hospitals has inspired me to write "Hey! Who's Having This Baby Anyway?"

"Hey! Who's Having This Baby Anyway?" shows the laboring couple that during their pregnancy, they can find the right provider, know about the medications in labor, alternatives to their use, how to create a birth plan that works, about labor management, yoga and other ways to stay in control of their baby's birth.

Also in this book you will find why the increase of C-sections has haunted our hospitals and laboring couples and how easy it is to insure that it can be prevented in your birth.

Navigating New Jersey Maternity Leave Benefits

New Jersey maternity leave benefits are quite rich when compared to most other state. Like any other government benefit, you need to know the different laws, how they work, and where to apply for benefits. NJ has three laws which impact maternity leave for workers in the state: temporary disability insurance, paid family leave, and family medical leave. Women can increase their level of maternity benefit by purchasing short term disability before getting pregnant.

NJ Temporary Disability Insurance

New Jersey temporary disability insurance is the first of three benefit programs you need to understand and utilize. The state disability plan replaces two thirds of your income, up to a weekly cap of $559 in 2011. Pregnancy is covered in the same manner as any other disabling condition. For normal pregnancy benefits are paid for up to four weeks prior to delivery, and six weeks after delivery. Benefits may be paid for a longer period of time if you deliver via c-section, or you experience a specific complication of pregnancy. Contact the state department of labor and workforce development for more information or to file a claim.

New Jersey Paid Family Leave

NJ paid family leave is funded and administered through the temporary disability insurance program. The benefit calculations of two thirds income replacement and a $559 cap apply here as well. You can claim paid family leave benefits to bond with your newborn baby during the first twelve months after the child's birth. A bonding leave must be at least seven days in length.

Keep in mind one very important point: 2/3 income replacement equals a 1/3 cut in pay. If your income exceeds $850 per week or $44,000 per year you hit the weekly cap and your pay cut will be more than one third. Make sure you budget properly.

NJ Family Medical Leave

The New Jersey family medical leave act supplements the federal law (FMLA), and provides an important distinction extremely relevant to maternity leave situations - particularly when pregnancy complications cause an extended leave from work prior to delivery. The federal FMLA applies to your own disability and/or the care of a sick family member and newborn child. The NJ law applies to the care of a sick family member and newborn child exclusively.

Examine a pregnancy complications scenario to understand why this distinction is so important. Let's say you experience complications during your pregnancy and miss twelve weeks of work prior to your delivery. The federal FMLA provides for up to twelve weeks of unpaid job protected leave during this time. Once you deliver your baby, the NJ law then provides an additional twelve weeks of job protected leave to care for your newborn. In this situation the two laws work in harmony to provide twenty four months of job protected leave.

Increase Your Maternity Benefit

Twenty four weeks of job protected leave with partial income replacement is far better than what most states provide. NJ is only one of five states with temporary disability coverage, only one of two states with paid leave to bond with your baby, and one of only ten states with a law supplementing the federal FMLA. But can you go twenty four weeks with at least a one-third pay cut?

If not, purchase short term disability insurance before getting pregnant. It will help increase your level of maternity leave income, and provide added protection in case complications of pregnancy cause you to miss additional time from work.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Which Vitamins Can Help You Get Pregnant Naturally?

If you are one of the over 5 million couples struggling with infertility, you have likely often worn yourself out trying to consider all of your options. Medical treatments and procedures are difficult and costly to go through, but it may start to seem as though that is the only thing that will work. This is simply not true however, and there are many ways you can improve your chances of getting pregnant naturally. Starting with fertility vitamins, you can likely find a balance in food and fertility, and you may discover that consuming the right vitamins for fertility will improve your chances exponentially. There are fertility blends for women and fertility blends for men that can help, but most of these contain the following supplements for fertility that can be found in foods that can easily be consumed daily.

Vitamin C - Vitamin C is a fertility vitamin that is important for both men and women to get appropriate quantities of. For men, 1000mg/day will improve sperm mobility by keeping the sperm from being too sticky and clumping together. For women, 750mg/day is ideal in order to improve fertility. Be careful to not go much higher than this dosage however, as high quantities of Vitamin C have been linked to hostile cervical mucus. Vitamin C is readily found in most citrus fruits, as well as broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

Vitamin E - Vitamin E is another vitamin likely found in many fertility supplements. Couples taking Vitamin E during IVF procedures have a 10% higher success rate. Reduced levels of vitamin E actually thwart the formation of sperm, so having healthy levels is crucial to sperm production. Vitamin E can be readily found in almonds and sunflower seeds.

Folic Acid - Folic Acid is a component in many fertility blends for women due to its benefits on both fertility as well as preventing birth defects. Men, and fertility blends for men, can benefit from Folic Acid as well however, as it has been shown to aid in sperm quality and production. Folic Acid can be found in leafy green vegetables like spinach and broccoli.

Vitamin B - Taking a Vitamin B complex with 50mg/day of B6 and 50mcg/day of B12 will improve sperm count in men and assist in improving fertility for women.

Getting the daily recommended amount of those four vitamins for fertility will improve your chances of conception greatly. Don't forget that your food and fertility are closely linked, and maintaining a healthy diet complete with these fertility vitamins will go a long way in helping you to achieve your pregnancy dreams.

Kangaroo Mother Care Promotes and Supports Breastfeeding

The practice of kangaroo mother care, where there is regular skin to skin contact between mother and child, helps naturally promote breastfeeding. The benefits of nursing are multiple, for both the new mother and her infant. You can increase your likelihood of successful nursing by using the kangaroo mother care technique, and see many other benefits as well.

Breastfeeding is a natural and healthy way to provide the nutrition your baby needs. It provides your newborn with the antibodies needed for a healthier life, and has been shown to reduce the risks of obesity and type II diabetes. Breast milk has been referred to as the perfect food for infants because it is easy to digest and contains the right combinations of nutrients for your baby. Babies who are born prematurely can also tremendously benefit from breast milk, and if natural feeding is not possible then manual expression can allow you to still provide breast milk for your preemie. This natural food source also helps create a loving bond between you and your child, and can even help new moms by reducing their own risks of certain breast and ovarian cancers.

This wonderful and healthy method of feeding your child can sometimes be difficult or awkward to begin, especially for new moms. There are several things that mothers can do to encourage their infants to nurse, and to help themselves feel more relaxed and confident about the choice. Nursing an infant takes patience and practice, and rarely does it happen instantly after birth and continue without issues.

The first step to take is to relax and enjoy the special bond with your newborn. Using the kangaroo mother care approach can help to provide a natural way to do this with your baby and be able to successfully nurse. Even if you are unsure about whether or not you will exclusively breastfeed or formula feed, taking time for skin to skin contact will help create that special connection between you and your child. It may even lead you to nurse when you see the reaction from your newborn.

As soon after birth as possible, have the baby placed on your chest, providing that important skin to skin contact. Your child will be comforted by your heartbeat, your warmth, and even your scent. It will create a natural and cozy environment for nursing. Kangaroo mother care will also help provide ways for you to learn hunger signals from your child, as most will naturally root around looking to suckle when cradled in this loving way.

If breastfeeding does not occur easily, don't give up. Continue to use the kangaroo mother care approach and bond with your baby, frequently placing her on your chest. If you have preemie or baby with a health concern, speak with your doctors and request that you still be allowed to use kangaroo mother care for all of the benefits it provides.

The benefits of breastfeeding are many, for both mother and child. Increase your chances of successfully using this natural feeding option by implanting kangaroo mother care. You and your child will have a healthier, happier connection.

Affordable Health Insurance Options And Alternatives To Meet Everyones Needs

In today's health insurance market, the word affordable may soon have to be taken out of the equation because it is becoming less and less likely that you are going to be able to obtain an affordable health insurance policy that doesn't have numerous benefits carved out of it.

The skyrocketing costs of physician care and hospital care as well as tax paying consumers having to shoulder the extra costs of those who never pay their health care costs has increasingly added to the high rates we have to pay for our health insurance premiums.

Here are some options to obtaining affordable health insurance coverage:

Normally, the best way to obtain affordable health insurance has been historically through your employer and many employers are still able to offer good health insurance coverage.

However, because of the heavy burden of the expense of insuring employees only 60% of the United States employers are able to offer health insurance to their employees. Also, the health insurance benefits offered are being further and further reduced to help lower costs such as much higher deductibles and less coverage for prescriptions, etc. Employers are also requiring those employees who participate to pay a larger and larger portion of the monthly premium.

Individual policies are definitely an option and can at times be better than the health insurance coverage that your employer is offering if in fact he/she is offering health insurance coverage at all.
To help lower the cost of your monthly premium you can choose a higher deductible option. You can also choose a higher copay option or no copay at all and simply meet a specified deductible before your insurance begins covering your healthcare costs.

However, you then run into the problem of maternity care being covered only marginally at an additional cost, waiver of coverage for pre-existing conditions or no coverage at all if you have certain existing medical conditions.

There are also alternatives to health insurance such as discount health plans. These plans are definitely affordable and everyone is accepted regardless of any existing medical conditions. Discount health plans are comprehensive and provide savings for everything from hospitalization and specialists to dental care, prescriptions and alternative medicine.
Some discount health plan providers also offer low cost insured products such as Accident Medical, Hospital Indemnity plans that pay a cash benefit directly to the consumer and Long Term Disability plans. When choosing this type of health plan you should remember to check and see if there are sufficient providers in your area.

Every consumer has unique needs and with careful research and due diligence should yet be able to find the right affordable health insurance plan to meet their needs.

How to Lose Belly Fat After Pregnancy - Simple Tips That Will Help You Lose Weight

Having a baby is one of the greatest experiences in your life but like all good things it comes with a catch. This is because it is generally seen that during pregnancy, your health and fitness tends to suffer. One of most important issues that you can face is that of weight gain during the final months of pregnancy. So you may want to know how to lose weight after having a baby.

Which is why I'm going to share with you some tips on how to lose belly fat after pregnancy.

It is best not to try and emulate celebrities who seem to be in perfect shape just a day after delivery! Instead you can try these tips if you want to know some safe ways of how to lose weight after having a baby.

1. Drink plenty of water every day instead of sodas, colas and high sugar juices.

2. Snack on healthy items such as raisins, wheat crackers etc. Try to eat at least 5 to 7 small meals every day.

3. Nourish yourself with lean meats and whole grains. This will also help you to gain strength.

4. Breastfeeding is a great way for you to lose weight. This is because it helps you burn a lot of calories. So in addition to providing your baby with nourishment, you can look to lose those extra pounds!

5. Start doing light exercises such as regular walks, when you feel up to it. When you feel stronger and more energetic, you can consider doing weight training and taking a fitness class.

Sleep Strategies That Work

There are times in every parent's life when sleep deprivation becomes a problem and it's pretty much accepted that for the first six months or so, it'll be a way of life.

But, babies and toddlers need sleep and you might be surprised how much! The most common problems are when they can't settle themselves to sleep (perhaps it takes hours for them to drift off, or they can only sleep if you're cuddling them, or if they're in your bed), or when they can't sleep through the night without waking.

But bear in mind that your behaviour influences your child's actions and you hold the key to improving sleep behaviour you just need to learn how to use it. It might take a while; I'm often surprised how quickly problems can be turned around, but don't worry if it doesn't happen in a week. Be consistent and you will succeed.

Safe & successful sleep techniques

Try swaddling

Young babies often wake themselves by flinging their arms and legs about, and swaddling them tightly enough so they are comfortable but can't move their limbs too much can help prevent night waking.

Lay a square blanket so the corner points upwards. Fold the corner down and lay your baby so her head is resting on the top edge of the blanket. Bring one of the side corners over her body and tuck it under, then fold the bottom corner up over her feet and legs and then wrap the other side of the blanket over tightly, leaving her room to be comfortable.

The eau de mummy method

The scent of you can help your baby relax into sleep. Putting something like an old T-shirt near (but not actually in) the cot can help her drift off while you're in another room.

Gradual withdrawal

This is a really effective technique for getting your older baby or child to settle herself to sleep. It's especially useful for toddlers who aren't used to sleeping in their own bed, or who need to be physically close to get to sleep.

Every night, tuck her up in her own bed or cot, say good night, but then stay in the room. This doesn't mean you continue to talk, touch or play with her, you just provide a comforting presence. Don't even make eye contact.

As the days continue, gradually move further away from your child, until you're able to move away from the bed and right out of the room altogether.

Rapid return

This is a 'tough love' approach for toddlers but works well when there are chronic sleep problems, especially when these involve aggression or tantrums. It's the night-time equivalent to 'time out', and you need to be really, really strong and clear about what's going to happen. It's hard to implement, but it's worth it. You can start using the gradual withdrawal method if that's easier.

The rapid return technique means you tuck your toddler into her bed, turn out the light, say good night and leave the room. If she gets out of bed, take them back gently and straight away, without speaking and without losing your temper (which is very difficult when it's the 20th time that night). Repeat this process promptly and assertively as often as needed, until she eventually falls asleep.

It can be exhausting, so wherever possible, try to enrol the help of your partner and swap shifts, but make sure you're in complete agreement about what to do, so as to avoid sending confused messages to your little one.

Incentives, praise and reward

However you decide to tackle your child's sleep problem, some bargaining will probably be required in the early stages. It's okay to negotiate a deal that promises a treat the next day, but don't make a habit of it. If your child has met the goal you set, whether that's sleeping through the night or staying in her own bed, lavish her with praise. Then set new goals and this should help her form a link between being good, and being in your good books.

Stickers rarely fail as a means of showing children how well they're doing. If your child is old enough to grasp the concept of a night-time fairy, then tell her that the fairy will be waiting to see how well she goes to sleep, and then the fairy will add a sticker to her chart.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Pregnancy Second Trimester's Tests and Procedures

During the second trimester, you and your spouse should continue to see your doctor for prenatal care. Most pregnant women have monthly office visits with their doctor or midwife until the end of this trimester.

During the second trimester your doctor can use an ultrasound to see if the baby is developing in a healthy way and to find out your baby's sex. You will also be offered screening tests to look for genetic birth defects.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, birth defects result from problems with a baby's genes, inherited factors that are passed down from the mother and the father at conception. Genetic birth defects sometimes occur in people with no family history of that disorder. Women over the age of 35 have the greatest chances of having a baby with birth defects. Some of the diagnostic and screening tests the doctor might suggest in the second trimester include:


According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, this test is performed in pregnancies of at least 16 weeks. It involves your doctor inserting a thin needle through your spouse's abdomen, into her uterus, and into the amniotic sac to take out a small amount of amniotic fluid for testing. The cells from the fluid are grown in a lab to look for problems with chromosomes. The fluid also can be tested for AFP. About 1 in 200 women have a miscarriage as a result of this test.

Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)

This test is performed between 10 and 12 weeks of pregnancy. The doctor inserts a needle through your partner's abdomen or inserts a catheter through her cervix in order to reach the placenta. He then takes a sample of cells from the placenta. These cells are used in a lab to look for problems with chromosomes. This test cannot find out whether your baby has open neural tube defects. About 1 in 200 women have a miscarriage as a result of this test.

Maternal serum screening test

This blood test can be called by many different names including multiple marker screening test, triple test, quad screen, and others. This test is usually given between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. It checks for birth defects such as Down syndrome, trisomy 18, or open neural tube defects. Doctors take a sample of your blood. They check the blood for 3 chemicals: alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) (made by the liver of the fetus), and two pregnancy hormones: estriol and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Sometimes, doctors test for a fourth substance in the blood called inhibin-A. Testing for inhibin-A may improve the ability to detect fetuses with a high risk of Down syndrome.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, higher levels of AFP are linked with open neural tube defects. In women age 35 and over, this test finds about 80% of fetuses with Down syndrome, trisomy 18, or an open neural tube defect. In this age group, there is a false positive rate (having a positive result without actually having a fetus with one of these health problems) of 22%. In women under age 35, this test finds about 65% of fetuses with Down syndrome, and there is a false positive rate of about 5%.

Targeted ultrasound

The best time to get a targeted ultrasound is between 18 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. Most major problems with the way the baby is formed can be seen at this time. Some physical defects such as clubbed feet and heart defects may not be seen.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, your doctor can also use ultrasound on your pregnant wife to see if your baby has any neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. In most cases, if you want to find out the sex of your baby, you can ask your doctor during this test. This is not the most accurate test for Down syndrome. Only 1 in 3 babies with Down syndrome have an abnormal second trimester ultrasound.