Amy's Corner. our lactation consultant answers your questions about nursing.

Why You Should Stick to Pregnancy Workouts from First Trimester to Last

Olympian Alysia Montano competing at 8 months pregnantWhen it comes to your new pregnancy lifestyle, where do pregnancy workouts fit in? It might seem as though pregnancy restrictions limit many of the routine actions that made up your day pre bun in the oven. While you get used to meals without goat cheese and red wine, how should you effectively change your workout plan? Working out while pregnant provides many health benefits to both mom and baby, so using pregnancy as a time to lay off all exercise is not advised by many healthcare professionals. But it also important to note that pregnancy is not the time to push yourself harder and work out past your established threshold. It is crucial that you stay at your current exercise level and concentrate on maintaining that level of fitness (with adjustments as your pregnancy progresses).

Women who regularly compete at a high fitness level will be able to maintain their strenuous workouts with modification throughout pregnancy. Runners, weight lifters, and even surfers are able to maintain their daily workouts as long as they take safety precautions and pay special attention to their breathing and cardio rates. Exercising and carrying a pregnancy impose similar physiological changes on a woman’s body. The cardiovascular and respiratory systems are the most heavily impacted by pregnancy (aside from the body’s transformation during pregnancy) because of how crucial these systems are to a baby’s development in the womb.

If you plan on continuing the work out while pregnant, be prepared for your first trimester to pose the most strain on your heart and breathing. In your first months of pregnancy, your body’s blood flow is more restricted compared to your last months spent expecting. By your third trimester, your body will have maximized cardiac output with minimal effort working out, but your growing baby bump will have put the brakes on more extreme workouts. So if you were a runner before you became pregnant, use your first and second trimesters to continue your typical workout schedule. You should transition into a gentler workout plan in your third trimester to minimize pain and accidents; swimming, yoga, and walking are all safer pregnancy workouts women close to their due dates.

Staying fit is a great way to boost your chances of conception, so make working out a regular habit before you’re pregnant. If you establish a healthy exercise pattern before you start a family, chances are that you’ll be able to keep up with your workout routine while expecting. Not only will you feel better and have an easier delivery, but your baby also benefits from your dedicated exercise regimen. If you’re unsure about what exercise limits you should establish while pregnant, consult your doctor about safe options that keep you active and healthy.

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The Rh Negative Factor during Pregnancy and Fetal Development

The Rh Negative Factor during Pregnancy and Fetal DevelopmentYou might know what blood type you are, but do you know if you’re Rh positive or Rh negative? While this distinction might not seem meaningful to your everyday health, it’s important knowledge to have when trying to get pregnant. Positive and negative blood types are differentiated by the presence of the Rh factor on a red blood cell’s surface; most moms without the Rh protein are considered negative types.  Because a baby’s health and development is watched carefully from the first trimester onward, expecting mothers submit themselves to a variety of tests and screenings to make sure there are no outstanding health issues for mom or baby.

What are the potential pregnancy complications associated with having a Rh negative blood type? The biggest concern stems from how a mom’s Rh negative blood type will react to carrying a fetus with a positive blood type. With genetics in mind, a fetus has about a 50 percent chance of having a negative or positive blood type and does not necessarily mirror the mother’s blood composition. So, if a mother is Rh negative but her fetus is shown to have a positive blood type, then the mother’s blood might form antibodies to attack the fetus’ Rh positive rich blood. Because the fetus is perceived as an infection by the antibodies, the developing baby is at risk for developmental harm or in some cases miscarriage.

To prevent sensitization from occurring during pregnancy (sensitization is the formal term for what happens when a mom’s antibodies try to attack her pregnancy) your doctor will perform a variety of actions to help prevent any damage to the fetus. You’ll undergo a blood test to see how you and your baby match up; if the difference in blood types suggests there might be issues, your doctor can order an antibody screening to monitor how your blood reacts. Sometimes your blood will not produce antibodies regardless if your baby is Rh-positive or not. You also might receive an Rh Immunoglobulin shot (RhIg) which will help protect against sensitization as well. These factors combined, along with careful fetal monitoring, should keep your pregnancy healthy through your last term.

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Join the World Breastfeeding Week Celebration and Fight Hunger!

World Breastfeeding WeekAre you joining the global breastfeeding celebration? We’re talking about World Breastfeeding Week, an annual week-long event that engages women from every nation with breastfeeding news, support, and community building. This year’s event begins August 1st and wraps up August 7th—an entire week dedicated to sharing the joys and health benefits of breastfeeding your little one. This year’s celebration marks 23 years for the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, the founding group and champions of moms and babies across the globe.

In 1992, The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action founded World Breastfeeding Week to bring awareness to deadly infant diseases, fight world hunger, and overall promote breastfeeding worldwide. The World Health Organization and UNICEF joined as partners with the WABA and together they formed the WBW celebration as way to remind mothers, doctors, and family members that breastfeeding an infant yields the best, most cost-effective nutritional diet available. Mothers receive countless health benefits from breastfeeding as well. In 2007, the CDC reported that only 11.3 percent of new mothers exclusively breastfed their child for the first 6 months. In an effort to raise awareness and extend breastfeeding beyond a week or two, the WABA and partners tirelessly champion breastfeeding support so mothers and babies can benefit from the guidance they need for successful nursing.

What can you do to share in the celebration? La Leche League chapters across the nation are hosting Latch On events and WIC offices are opening their doors to new mothers facing breastfeeding troubles. Look at your local chapters and see how you can volunteer or participate. Leading Lady is donating nursing bras to a WIC offices around the country so nursing moms get the support they need for successful, comfortable breastfeeding. With the rise of social media, more moms than ever are showing their support by sharing breastfeeding photos and stories that remind other moms that it’s ok to struggle with nursing and how to alleviate common nursing problems. Join the conversation on our Facebook page and share with moms just like you!

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Make Nesting Include a Breastfeeding Sanctuary in Your Home

Make nesting include a breastfeeding sanctuary in your homeAn expecting mother’s nesting instinct is a predictable part of last-trimester pregnancy. But while setting up your nursery is an important aspect of getting ready for your baby, don’t forget to carve out a specific nursing nest where you’ll breastfeed majority of the time at home. By setting up your own nursing sanctuary, you’ll feel more prepared to breastfeed and bond with your little one when you come home from the hospital. Setting your intention to breastfeed is an important step for a mom-to-be, and making sure you have the right breastfeeding supplies will help you keep your plan intact.

Before you begin setting up your nursing nest, decide whether or not you’ll want privacy or to be a part of the household bustle majority of the time while breastfeeding. This choice is a matter of preference and how you feel about your breastfeeding time with your little one. If you see this as your opportunity to relax and bond just with your infant, choosing a quiet corner in your home might instill the tranquility you’re missing in your life as a new mom. On the other hand, if you have other children or a stay-at-home husband, you might want to set up camp in a common area where you can interact and stay in the mix while nursing. There’s also no rule that says you can’t make your favorite recliner or couch your nursing spot for a while if you feel the need for more interaction, but make your decision before your due date so you feel more prepared to nurse before baby arrives.

The most important supplies you’ll need for your nursing nest are a comfortable chair and plenty of supportive pillows for you and baby. Many new mothers favor gliders for their superior rocking ability and built-in comfort. Keep in mind that you’ll want a seat with great back and neck support so you don’t strain yourself while nursing. Once you’ve picked out your preferred seat, don’t forget to add a footrest for necessary foot support. You absolutely want to be comfortable sitting in your nursing sanctuary, so make your ease a priority while selecting your chair.

If you plan on using an around-the-waist nursing pillow, you might want to steer clear or chairs with narrow armrests. Keep in mind that you’ll want a pillow for your lower back or neck and that your baby will also need pillow support while nursing. There are a variety of well-loved nursing pillows to choose from on the market, so take your time to decide which size and shape will work best for your breastfeeding.

What else do you want to include in your nursing sanctuary? Candles, books or magazines on hand, and maybe a shelf with extra snacks for you to enjoy while breastfeeding. Anything that relaxes you and helps with breastfeeding should be within reach of your nursing nest. By creating your own breastfeeding space, you’ll be able to feel more relaxed about beginning your breastfeeding journey, especially if you’re a first-time mom. Set yourself up for comfort, support, and a space ideal for bonding with your little one during your nursing sessions.

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New Strides in Public Breastfeeding Laws Online and Outside the Home

Model Natalia Vodianova shares a breastfeeding moment on her personal InstagramHave you heard the good news? Breastfeeding moms can now share their nursing session photos without worry of being in violation of Facebook’s picture sharing policy. New moms are rejoicing because it’s another important step for normalizing breastfeeding in the public eye. Facebook’s former policy prohibited posting photos that showed any part of a woman’s nipple (which is hard to avoid in a breastfeeding photo!). After much protestation from various breastfeeding communities, which rely on Facebook to connect with new mothers in need of breastfeeding advice and assistance, Facebook made the executive change to allow mothers to share their special moments freely on the social site.

Facebook’s not the only platform to welcome public breastfeeding—new legislation aimed at workplaces across the country is gaining attention from various groups. Lawmakers are drafting proposals that would require every workplace to provide nursing mothers with a specific lactation room. As it stands now, new mothers who use breast pumps at work are faced with uncertain pumping conditions that depend solely on the employer. Some women already use specific lactation rooms that are equipped with refrigerators, comfy chairs, and sinks for clean up, while other new moms pump in the bathroom or a supply closet. States like New York are eager to pen legislation that would unilaterally help all nursing moms maintain regular breastfeeding even after returning to work.

Breastfeeding is getting the public recognition it deserves thanks to the efforts of advocates, moms, politicians, and celebrities all committed to exposing the various important health benefits breastfeeding provides for a mom and her baby. Whether a celebrity mom shares a pictures of her nursing her little one or a lawmaker presses forward with anti-discrimination public breastfeeding laws, it’s refreshing to see so many members of society champion breastfeeding. Not only does nursing provide your little one with essential, natural nutrients, but it also protects against infection and obesity later in life. Mom’s benefit from breastfeeding as well; studies show that women who breastfeed are less likely to develop breast or ovarian cancer.

How are you planning on promoting breastfeeding in your community? Let us know in the comments. Happy nursing, moms!

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1 in 10 Pregnant Women Now Diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes

1 in 10 Pregnant Women Now Diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes New research published this month delivers important information for pregnant moms or women planning to conceive. A study conducted by the US government estimates that currently 1 out of 10 pregnant US women will develop Gestational Diabetes. This pregnancy complication occurs when an expecting mom’s blood sugar rises into unsafe, high levels and usually disappears after birth, but not without the possibility of short-term and long-term effects on both mom and baby.

Even though the gestational diabetes is not something shared between mom and baby, a child born to a mother with the affliction can develop diabetes later in life as well as other unhealthy side-effects. Mothers with gestational diabetes run the risk of being more likely to undergo a c-section delivery because the condition can cause your baby to grow abnormally large during pregnancy. In addition to being a more difficult birth, babies have been known to break their shoulders exiting the birth canal because of their large size.

Though gestational diabetes is a temporary condition for many pregnant women, the risk of developing another type of diabetes (often permanently) is greater for women who have had gestational diabetes. There’s no exact answer as to how a woman can develop the pregnancy condition in the first place, but researchers are finding a correlation between obesity and gestational diabetes as studies progress. When a mom’s insulin isn’t able to break down sugars properly her body’s blood sugar levels are compromised and exposed to developing this specific strain of diabetes. There’s also evidence that the placenta’s hormones can block insulin from working correctly as well.

To minimize your risk of developing gestational diabetes while expecting, keep an eye on your sugar intake. Staying away from highly processed foods and snacks will make your late night bowl of ice cream easier for your body to process, so make informed diet choices from first trimester to last. Doctors also recommend keeping up with your exercise routine as a way to avoid developing this condition. Stay fit and healthy for your health and your little one’s by practicing good eating habits and splurging on sweets in small doses.

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Why Should You Wear a Nursing Cami?

Why should you wear a nursing bra?What’s a nursing mom to do? It’s hot outside and the AC is cranking indoors, so keeping cool and comfy during the summer can be tricky. Between breastfeeding sessions and a day full of coordinating other kids and responsibilities, we know that you have a hectic, new-mom schedule. Have you tried a nursing cami as an alternative to a nursing bra during these warmer months? Nursing tanks are just like the tank tops you wore before you were pregnant and have extra accessories built-in to make breastfeeding quick and easy.

If you’re on-the-go and find yourself nursing while out of your home, nursing camis will be a lifesaver. There’s less coordination needed for breastfeeding in a nursing cami, because instead of pulling aside your shirt and unclasping your nursing bra, you just have to unclip your nursing cami strap for baby’s breast access. Nursing camis have built-in shelf bras for extra support and are double-layered for modesty. Our nursing tanks also feature full or side inner slings for your nursing convenience. Made from soft, breathable cotton, nursing camis are the perfect tank tops for all day or all night comfort and wear. Once you try one on, you’ll wonder why you waited so long before. Our nursing camis come in a variety of solid, fun colors and also fashionable square neck styles with stripes, dots, and other stylish details. You can wear a nursing cami as a basic piece or dress up your wardrobe with a cute print and still enjoy the same wonderful breastfeeding support—the best of both worlds!

If you’re looking for comfort, style, and all of the nursing essentials in a tank top, then you should try a Leading Lady nursing cami and experience fuss-free breastfeeding with every wear.

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Why Is Seafood So Important to Your Pregnancy Diet?

Why is seafood so important to your pregnancy diet?Recently the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a big change in the food recommendations made specifically for pregnant and breastfeeding moms and their children. Pregnant women are often discouraged from consuming certain foods (sushi, hot dogs, and goat’s milk cheese are among the many on the “do not eat” list) and seafood has long been a culinary category many expecting moms stay away from. Because some fish carry too-high mercury levels for safe consumption, many pregnant women nix seafood from their diets altogether. A recent FDA analysis shows that one in five US pregnant women eats little to no fish at all. To change the public perception about all fish being unsafe for a pregnant woman’s consumption, the FDA is attempting to raise the recommended minimum serving to eight ounces (two servings) a week for pregnant and breastfeeding moms, as well as children.

Why is seafood so important to a pregnancy diet? Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, play a vital role in positive fetal development, especially concerning brain tissue. Doctors site studies that show that children born to women who dined on fish while pregnant have higher I. Q.s and more advanced behavioral development—plenty of reasons to encourage pregnant women not to forgo fish completely. Fish varieties that are deemed low-mercury and safe for consumption include salmon, shrimp, cod, tilapia and light canned tuna. Albacore tuna has a higher mercury level than light canned tuna and therefore only has a recommendation of six ounces a week.

Though this regulation change is still in its exploratory phase, the FDA hopes to calm some of the anxieties that surround mothers concerned about mercury levels in fish. While Omega-3 supplements are available in most stores and can also be naturally found in walnuts, kale, spinach, and other green vegetables. Scientists warn that not all Omega-3s provide the same health and development benefits though, and that taking a daily dose of fish oil is not the same as eating a salmon filet for dinner. To find out what diet changes are best for you and your children, talk to your doctor about nutrition needs and what kinds of fish you can incorporate into your family’s diet for safe, healthy benefits for all.

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Thrush and Breastfeeding: Symptoms and How to Treat the Common Infection

Thrush-and-Breastfeeding-Symptoms-and-How-to-Treat-the-Common-InfectionBreastfeeding moms, have you noticed white patches on your baby’s mouth or tongue that do not seem to wipe away easily? Or are your nipples red, cracked, itchy, or burning? These are common symptoms of Thrush, a yeast infection that affects both moms and babies. Thrush is not a medically serious condition, but can linger and cause prolonged irritation for both mom and baby. Read through some of our Thrush warning signs so you can be familiar with the symptoms and contact your health care provider if you are worried about your baby’s appetite or if you’d like more advice about treating the infection.

Most cases of Thrush are brought on by antibiotics; if you’re a breastfeeding mom currently taking an antibiotic, make sure to pay special attention to any nipple or breast pain you feel while nursing or if your baby exhibits any of the following signs. Antibiotics naturally clear the good bacteria you carry which keeps your yeast levels in check. Thrush occurs when your bacteria levels are imbalanced and you’re susceptible to a yeast infection. Moms and babies have the ability to pass Thrush back and forth through breastfeeding. Your baby can develop Thrush even if you show no symptoms; some experts say that babies can develop Thrush through bottle and pacifier overuse, but no concrete explanation has been found yet.

Signs to watch for with your baby:

  • White patches on the tongue, inside of cheeks or lips. These patches will not be easily wiped away.
  • Mouth tenderness, fussiness, reluctant to nurse or bottle-feed.
  • Diaper rash

Signs to watch for with yourself:

  • If your nipples are any of the following: red, itchy, cracked, or burning.
  • A vaginal yeast infection
  • Deep, shooting breast pains not commonly associated with latching or positioning.

You and your baby might exhibit none of the above symptoms and still experience Thrush.

Breast and bottle care will be very important when treating Thrush. Make sure to wash your breast and nipples with hot, soapy water between feedings. Some pediatricians will recommend that you let your nipples air dry rather than use a towel. Boil water and submerge all breast pump parts, bottles, and pacifiers that you use for at least twenty minutes. Sterilizing all of your breastfeeding equipment will help fight against the infection. If you are worried about your baby’s appetite or the Thrush lasts beyond a few weeks, contact your health care provider to figure out a new plan of action. There are some treatments a doctor can prescribe that will effectively clear up Thrush.

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Breast Pump Question: Finding the Right Size Flanges for Your Breastfeeding Comfort

Breast pump flange courtesy of MedelaMy breast pump flange doesn’t fit. What do I do?

If your breast pump flange is too big or too small, it may make pumping uncomfortable and also may affect how much breast milk you obtain. A well-fitting flange will enable your nipple to move freely inside the flange without rubbing awkwardly against the edges. It’s also important to wear the right size flange because it will help you collect the largest amount of breast milk you produce.

How can you tell if your breast pump flanges are too small or large? Some signs include if your nipples barely fit in the flange while you are pumping, or if one or both nipples are rubbing against the sides of the flange. These signs indicated that your flanges are too small. If you lose suction while pumping or if your nipple size is smaller than the diameter of a pencil eraser then your flange may be too large. A flange that is too large can cause nipple abrasion and damage. In this case you will want to invest in a smaller flange. It is a good idea to check the flange sizes before you pump for the first time so you can avoid any nipple discomfort or damage.

Most pump companies have several sizes to choose from, so don’t worry if the flanges included with your breast pump are not a perfect fit. All pumps are sold with standard size flanges so you may have to contact the pump company to find out where to purchase the correct flanges separately. Typically the cost of the flanges are about $10 and well worth the investment.

 

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