Monday, July 26, 2010

Safe Sipping for Expectant Moms

It's the "dog days" of summer and where I live, near Charlotte, NC, we have been experiencing record heat. As a mom of a pregnant daughter, a doula and childbirth educator I am concerned that expectant mothers get the extra fluids they need to have a safe and healthy pregnancy.Why is hydration so important ? 

Consider your expanding blood volume. In one of the amazing feats of physiology, your body will increase the amount of blood you carry around to accomodate the extra needs of your cells and your developing baby.
Straying well hyrdated affects many important body systems, such as digestion and muscle function. In fact, when you are dehydrated, you are more likely to have uterine contractions before your baby is ready to be born.
In addition, pregnancy nearly doubles the risk of heat stroke which is a life threatening condition that must be treated quickly.The symptoms of heat exhaustion include shortness of breath, dizziness and a feeling of being lightheaded coupled with a body temperature of 105 degrees. Heat stroke refers to an abnormally heightened body temperature, exacerbated by hot weather or heavy physical exertion. For pregnant women, heat stroke is a very relevant concern in summer months. Signs and symptoms of heat stroke include:
• Difficulty breathing
• Rapid pulse
• Flushed skin
• Absence of sweating
• Confusion and disorientation
With any of these symptoms, seek emergency medical help immediately !
So, what's a momma to do ?

Wear light clothing, preferably in natural, breathable fibers and drink plenty of fluids. Stay out of the heat as much as possible, and if you exercise outdoors, do so in the early day or late evening when you are less likely to feel the full effects of the heat. 
Choose beverages that replenish your body, such as fresh clean water with fruit essences, such as HINT Water. Or, make your own refreshing fruit water by cutting up lemons, limes, oranges, berries to a pitcher and adding cold water and chill for several hours. 

Herbal fruit teas are a great choice too, as long as you are careful about how to sweeten them, if you must. Stick to honey, and natural sweeteners and avoid artificial sweeteners. 

What about coffee and caffeinated beverages ? They can be dehydrating, but if you must indulge a teeny bit, here is some information for you to consider.

There is no link between moderate caffeine consumption and miscarriage or
preterm birth, according to a recently-released opinion from
the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The opinion, intended to put an end to mixed messages that
pregnant women have typically received regarding caffeine intake during
pregnancy, is published in the August 2010 edition of the ACOG
Journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. Moderate caffeine consumption is
defined as less than 200 mg per day, the amount contained in
about 12 ounces of coffee. Daily consumption of over 200 mg of caffeine
would be considered a high level of caffeine intake.
ACOG’s Committee on Obstetric Practice also reviewed scientific evidence
regarding the effect of caffeine on fetal growth. No clear evidence was
found to show that caffeine increases the risk of restricting fetal
growth. To review the ACOG Committee Opinion online, go to

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Help Your Unborn Child LearnThrough Sound

There is a new product out called SoundBeginnings that lets parents introduce their unborn babies to music and voices through MP3 files that have been downloaded to a player and then placed in this belt that Mom wears around her belly. Here are a few articles that might be of interest : 

SoundBeginnings is a comfortable nylon/lycra blend band with built in high quality speakers to allow expectant mothers to play music, voice or soothing sounds for their unborn baby using an MP3 player. 

The product comes with some safety guidelines such as not using before the third trimester, limiting use to two hours per day and others, please see the site at for more safety guidelines and info on purchasing and using the product. Always consult with your maternity care provider before using this device.

 *Birthwhisperer has not received any financial compensation for reviewing this product.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pamper Yourself During Pregnancy With A DIY Reflexology Pedicure At Home

Pampering yourself is important during pregnancy. Taking time to care for yourself will go a long way to enhance your health, both physically and emotionally. Have you ever heard the old saying "If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy !"?

Personally speaking, I think there is a lot of truth to that. Just sayin'.

One of the ways that you can care for yourself during pregnancy is by pampering your feet. Many women enjoy pedicures and let's face it. When our feet look cute and feel good, we feel better all over.
But there are several things to consider from a health standpoint regarding getting a pedicure while pregnant, or anytime.

One concern is cleanliness and safety. Many spas are simply not clean. In fact, if you have ever seen one of those health reports on TV about the dangers of some nail salons, you know what I mean. Then there is the issue of noxious fumes in nail salons from women getting chemical processes applied to their nails. Inhaling these fumes during pregnancy could be dangerous and for women who are sensitive to smells and feeling nauseated, this could be torture ! Then there is the issue of cost which, during these tough economic times, may make a pedicure a luxury that many women cannot justify.

So Birthwhisperer would like to share some tips for self pampering, a great alternative to a spa pedicure that you can do at home. Of course if you can get your partner to help you, all the better !
Here is a list of what you will need :

1 common dishpan ( I get mine at the Dollar Tree )
Some smooth marbles or craft style river rocks, enough to cover the bottom of your dish pan ( Also from Dollar Tree )
1 cup Epsom Salts ( Also From Dollar Tree )
5 drops Lavender Essential Oil ( )
2 TBS Sea Salt
1 TBS Olive Oil
1 Candle & Lighter
1 Body & Soul Pure Relaxation CD ( From Dollar Tree, or an ambient CD of your choice )
2 Soft Towels
 1 comfortable chair to sit while you do your pedi.

Here's what I do.
 In a small bowl, pour your salt, the olive oil and two drops of your lavender oil and mix with a spoon. Bring it to the place where you will be sitting to do your pedi. This will serve as an aromatherapy exfoliating scrub for use after you soak your feet.

Dim the lights,  light the candle and start the music in the room where you will sit. Fill the dishpan with your stones or marbles.  Add warm water, about 3 inches worth, the epsom salts and 3 drops of lavender oil to the water. Swish gently with your fingers to mix.  Then, carefully place the prepared foot bath in front of your chair. You may want to place the dishpan on top of one of your towels. Make sure you have your towel and scrub handy to use when you are finished soaking.

Sit comfortably in the chair and slowly dip your feet in the bath. Gently roll your feet on the marbles or feel the smooth texture of the stones in the bottom. Take long, deep breaths and enjoy the serenity of the moment.
You may want to do some progressive relaxation exercises to get you prepared for using them in labor.

Start with breathing in deeply and focusing on your face. As you breathe in, tighten all of the muscles in your face and mouth and as you breathe out, progressively relax them so that by the end of your breath, they are totally relaxed. Rest, and enjoy the relaxation in your face and lips for approximately one minute, breathing normally. Then go to your neck and shoulders and repeat. Proceed throughout your entire body until you reach your feet. Take about 15-20 minutes or as long as you want.

When you are finished, take one foot out of the water and bring it up on the opposite thigh or knee ( if you can ) and apply 1/2 of your foot scrub. Rub it all over your foot to exfoliate. Put that foot back in the water and do the same to the other foot. When both feet have been exfoliated, take them out and dry them off.
Apply your favorite hand or foot cream, just make sure it is paraben free !

If you like, you can give some attention to your nails, always making sure to cut and file straight across and if you use polish, use something like this Polished-mama-pregnancy-safe-nail-polish

Here are the perfect pedi shoes to wear while your toes are drying, or anytime you want to be cool and comfy. They are the MADISON style slide from Oka b

Remember, a pampered momma makes for a happy family. 
You're welcome !