Friday, November 8, 2013

Caffeine and Pregnancy

What is a 'safe' amount of caffeine during pregnancy? It depends upon which health organization you ask. Caffeine is a drug. It's a stimulant, and as such, it does not come without risks. Caffeine readily crosses the placenta and is found in the urine and blood of your unborn baby. To confound the problem, an unborn baby has a lower level of the enzymes used to metabolize caffeine. In a healthy woman, it takes 2.5 - 4.5 hours for the body to metabolize and eliminate half the caffeine consumed (half-life). During the second and third trimesters this increases to 10.5 hours.

Most organizations recommend limiting caffeine intake to less than 300mg per day. An 8 ounce cup of coffee contains 179 mg. Please remember that very few coffee mugs or Starbucks cups are only 8 ounces. Caffeine is also found in tea, chocolate, and some sodas.

Since caffeine offers no nutritional value, we suggest replacing caffeinated beverages with herbal teas, hot cocoa, or warm almond milk. If the average life expectancy of a person is approximately 76 years, 9 months is a very short period of time (to make the change to avoid caffeine) that will benefit your baby for a lifetime.

To learn more about how caffeine can affect you and your pregnancy, visit our references:

Monti, Davorka: Is caffeine in pregnancy giving you the jitters?, International Journal of Childbirth Education, Vol. 22 Issue 1, p16-17, March 2007.

Written by Alisa Copeland

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Nutrition & Exercise While Pregnant

Maintaining a balanced diet is always important, but when you are carrying a baby, not only are you responsible for the nutrition for your body, you are responsible for the nutrition of your child as he or she develops. Eating a balanced diet is more important now than ever. “Eating for two” does not mean eating twice as much, but you will need to increase your protein, iron, calcium, folic acid and calories. A woman who is not pregnant needs about 2,100 calories a day, a pregnant woman needs about 2,500 and a breastfeeding woman needs up to 3,000 calories per day. These should not be empty calories, but good nutrition packed calories; empty calories include soda, candy, and most other deserts. Remember that the protein you eat now is being used to develop your baby’s brain and muscles; Calcium is developing his or her teeth and bones. A diet deficient in certain vitamins or minerals can have a life-time of negative effects for you little one, such as spina bifida or other neural tube defects. Pica, or a desire to eat non-food items such as clay, dirt or chalk can be a sign of a nutritional deficit.

Exercise is also important, keeping a fitness routine throughout pregnancy can help improve sleep and prevent or alleviate aches and pains of pregnancy including constipation, varicose veins, and backaches. If you are new to keeping a fitness routine, keep your exercise at a moderate level and enjoyable. You should be able to talk during any point of your work out, if not, you may be overdoing it. If you maintain an active lifestyle outside of pregnancy, you may continue your normal workout routine, but avoid activities that can involve your stomach being hit such as kickboxing, soccer, or basketball and try to stay away from activities that involve the risk of falling such as horseback riding and gymnastics. Yoga and belly dancing are excellent forms of exercise during the child bearing year and have many therapeutic effects on the maternal body.

Remember, your baby depends on you to maintain a healthy attitude when it comes to nutrition and exercise, and that begins right now!

Written by Olivia Jones

Friday, March 15, 2013

Choosing a Pediatrician

Whether you are a first time parent or an old pro when it comes to kids, choosing a pediatrician is an important step in preparing for the arrival of a little one. A few questions to keep in mind when making such an important decision are: does he/she check height and weight at every visit? Is he/she Midwife friendly? What is his/her stance on vaccinations? Some pediatricians will refuse care if you do not comply with all recommended vaccinations. What is his/her view of circumcisions? What is yours? Are there other Doctors on call? Is there an after hours clinic? And which hospital do they refer to? Before you can make an informed choice about your pediatrician you must be informed yourself. By knowing what issues are most important to you, you will be able to make the best choice on who will be providing care for your child.

Monday, March 4, 2013

A few Benefits of Natural Pregnancy and Child Birth

Pregnancy and birth are natural parts of a woman’s life, and her body is well built for such experiences. Natural pregnancy and childbirth is the idea of taking care of the mother’s body in a way that is most mindful of both mother and child. This includes diet, exercise and knowledge of the body’s instinctive preparations for a baby. With the help of a midwife and the proper care, unnecessary medical intervention can be avoided. Several advantages of natural childbirth are that the birth and coping mechanisms are non-invasive, there is no loss of sensation or alertness, and less potential side effects for mom and baby. When taking pain medications such as those found in an Epidural, which alters sensation to the lower half of a body, a woman can also risk making the birthing process longer by not being able to feel her contractions and therefore not knowing when to push. Instead of relying on her body, a woman has to rely on a doctor to tell her when to push. In a hospital setting, the longer labor time frequently results in a woman being given Pitocin to increase the contractions. Because of how the drug works in the body, contraction duration is longer and the contractions themselves are stronger, resulting in less oxygen going to the baby. Without the use of drugs during labor, recovery time for a mother is much shorter and she is able to get up, hold her baby, and shower shortly after delivery. Every person and every birth is different, and some women may find that an OBGYN assisted birth is best for them, but many women who have experienced a natural childbirth have found the experience empowering.