Nov 14, 2012 - Health, Tips    No Comments

Plants and Herbs in Pregnancy

Yesterday was my birthday and definitely my last day of ovulation. Now I have to wait till, at least, 23 November, on Black Friday, to see if I get my period, and then wait another week to do the test. I’m so looking forward to that day!

I surprised myself this weeks. I ate more fruits then I usually do, lots of milk, and I checked everything that could go wrong with my plan. The I’m Expecting App was fun for research but I also checked the internet a lot. I wondered if poppy seeds during pregnancy can affect it but there is no conclusive  info anywhere.  Of course the poppy seeds they make opium with are not good, but there are different kinds of poppy seeds and some, the safe ones I guess, are used in food industry. I decided to avoid any poppy seeds as much as I can, and it will be hard seeing that my favorite breakfast is this:

I also found a cool site for pregnancy that helps you stay healthy and strong. It is called American Pregnancy Association and I found some cool stuff about plants there. I found out that not all plants are good during pregnancy and they have a list you can follow and be safe. For most of the plants I couldn’t get a precise translation to my language but the ones that I was interested in were not that hard to find.

The list of likely unsafe plants are:

  • Saw Palmetto – when used orally, has hormonal activity
  • Goldenseal – when used orally, may cross the placenta
  • Dong Quai – when used orally, due to uterine stimulant and relaxant effects
  • Ephedra – when used orally
  • Yohimbe – when used orally
  • Pay D’ Arco – when used orally in large doses; contraindicated
  • Passion Flower – when used orally
  • Black Cohosh – when used orally in pregnant women who are not at term
  • Blue Cohosh – when used orally; uterine stimulant and can induce labor
  • Roman Chamomile – when used orally in medicinal amounts
  • Pennyroyal – when used orally or topically

Fortunately the list for the safe plants has some popular names so they are easier to find:

  • Red Raspberry Leaf – Rich in iron, this herb has helped tone the uterus, increase milk production, decrease nausea, and ease labor pains. Some studies have even reported that using red raspberry leaf during pregnancy can reduce complications and the use of interventions during birth. You may see pregnancy teas that are made from red raspberry leaf to help promote uterine health during pregnancy. There is some controversy about whether this should be used throughout pregnancy or just in the second and third trimester, so many health care providers remain cautious and only recommend using it after the first trimester.
  • Peppermint Leaf – Helpful in relieving nausea/morning sickness and flatulence
  • Ginger root – Helps relieve nausea and vomiting
  • Slippery Elm Bark – (when the inner bark is used orally in amounts used in foods) Used to help relieve nausea, heartburn, and vaginal irritations
  • Oats & Oat Straw – Rich in calcium and magnesium; helps relieve anxiety, restlessness, and irritated skin
  • Blond Psyllium – when used orally and appropriately
  • Black Psyllium – when used orally with appropriate fluid intake
  • Garlic – when used orally in amounts commonly found in foods
  • Capsicum (Cayenne, hot pepper) – when used topically and appropriately

They also include a list of plants with insufficient reliable information that is best you ask someone with experience in the field:

  • Dandelion – Rich in Vitamin A, calcium, and iron; dandelion root and leaf can also help relieve mild edema and nourish the liver
  • Chamomile (German) – High in calcium and magnesium; also helps with sleeplessness and inflammation of joints
  • Nettles (Stinging Nettles) – High in vitamins A, C, K , calcium, potassium, and iron. Used in many pregnancy teas because it is a great all around pregnancy tonic. Note on the safety of Nettles: Natural Medicines Database gives Nettles a rating of Likely Unsafe, even though it is used in countless pregnancy teas and recommended by most midwives and herbalists. This may be contingent upon which part of the Nettles plant is used (the root or the leaves) and how much is used. According to other sources, the use of Nettles is encouraged during pregnancy because of its health benefits.

Source: American Pregnancy Association – Natural Herbs

Nov 12, 2012 - Health, Tips    No Comments

I’m Expecting App for Android

My husband did a sweet thing for me a few days ago. He installed on his android phone this application I’m Expecting. I started using it this days and it is great. You can see the evolution of your baby and compare it with other moms. You can keep track of your doctors appointments, weight and symptoms.

You can add the day of the conceiving and it will tell you what your symptoms can be during the week you are in. It tells you what is happening to your body, what diet you should follow and it sends you to all this useful sites that can help you understand better the state you are in.

You can ask question and it can help you get a proper answer from appropriate forums. There are other soon to be moms that you can interact and make friends with so that you will have someone who understands what you’re going through to talk too.

Or if you don’t want to interact and you simply have a question you can search for it in the forums. Last night I searched about pain during intercourse in the forums, if maybe someone else asked that question already, and someone did. It seams that it happens when you are ovulating so it explained a lot of pains all this years.

Then I searched if intercourse the day after the ovulation is still helping, and I found out that sperm stays alive 5 days in your body so for me from Nov 7 to Nov 11, excepting the 9th cuz we didn’t feel to good, I have all the sperm I need, if we want a break today, we can have it.

It also has a due date count down for the days till the birth, not the weeks, which seems a loooong way to go. I also didn’t know that I already am in the second week and I can have symptoms already, and the top 3 symptoms for other moms are bloating, fatigue and breast tenderness. I didn’t experienced the last one, but instead I felt the first two along with headache and dizziness.

It’s a very useful application and is fun and easy to use it.

Nov 8, 2012 - Feelings, Health    No Comments

The Days Before Conceiving

So today is my first day of ovulation, according to the calculator on my side bar. I started last night, just in case, but the last few days I spent preparing and making sure everything will be ok during the next days.

Monday I went to a gynecologist consult. She took an ultrasound of my ovaries. She complimented them, which was awkward to say thanks too, she said she doesn’t usually have patients like me, they usually come because they have a problem, not when they are healthy and want to stay that way.

According to her the pills I took to prevent unwanted pregnancy, which was called Logest, can cause breast fibroid, which I have, but is not that big, and my doctor had for the same reason, only hers was 7 cm.

My uterus is a little small, only 4 cm, she would prefer it to be at least 4 and a half, but there are pills to stretch it if necessary. Finally she recommended some tests before pregnancy, even if my doctor said there was no need for any special tests. I already did them and yesterday I got the results.

My RH is positive, which is good and every other test is ok, but it would’ve been better if I tested positive to Toxoplasmosis as well. Testing Negative, as I did, means that I did not had it so I didn’t developed antibodies for this disease that would’ve helped me not to get it when I’m pregnant. So now I really do need to protect myself from the cats, in order to do that we have to tell the mother-in-law that we can’t eat on her tables where the cats walk casually whenever they want.

Which means we have to tell her we are trying, which I don’t want to do cuz I don’t like when she starts giving advices and acts like she knows it all. Don’t get me wrong, yes, she did gave birth to my husbands so she has and advantage, but she also told the story about when she craved a cigar on her way to giving birth and she smoked right before entering the hospital. So how can I listen to any advice from her?

My husband wants me to go to Bucharest, the capital, where my mom lives, to do some more tests and find a good doctor that will help me trough the pregnancy and also giving birth there. I want that too, even if it is going to be hard to travel, the maternity here looks like a horror hospital.

I have to have a back-up here, and I like the gynecologist I went to, even if she is a little young, but I’m too scared to even think of entering that hospitals doors. My plan is to go to Bucharest a month before due date so I will be there in case of anything happens sooner than it has to, but before that month, if it is something that the doctor here can handle I rather stay cuz is expensive to travel back and forth all the time.

I have four more days of ovulation. On 1st of December I will take my first pregnancy test, and I will have to get busy to take my mind off it till then. On 13th November is my birthday so I can fill my time with that for a while. I can’t wait to find out! I keep my fingers crossed. Wish me luck!

Nov 5, 2012 - Health    No Comments

Ovulation Calendar


My ovulation is starting on 7th November and ends on 12th. I already started some changes in my life, I stopped drinking when I went out, which was surprising for me too, and I started to take some minerals to strengthen my body. I also want to go for some more tests with some problems I had in the past, even if my last results were ok, I want to be sure.

The method I use was the one of the calendar and I had a little help from the internet. As I don’t have a regular menstrual cycle it is hard to set an exact date for my ovulation but I tried many calculators and most said the same thing. If you don’t have a 20 days cycle or a 35 days cycle you can find the approximation of your ovulation with any calculator.

You can also try the calculator on this blogs side bar on your right. You just enter your last period and the number of days of your cycle and you will find out your next ovulation. It can be useful if you DON’T want to get pregnant, but I say is better to use protection for that.

There are some other methods, like the body temperature when your body ovulates but to have an exact date of your ovulation you need to keep a diary of your temperature for more then 3 months. You are most fertile with 2 or 3 days before your temperature reaches the highest point. Some say that you can have 12 or 24 hours more after you observe the increasing in your temperature.

You can also use medical tests that can be found in pharmacy and are easy to read. I will stop here with the methods because the other ones are messy and rely on the cervical mucus and your cervix position which you’ll have to check for yourself.

We will find around the end of November if the calculations where accurate if nothing else stayed in my way of conceiving, like stress, or some other causes. Wish me luck!

Nov 2, 2012 - Health    No Comments

Pills and Vitamins in Pregnancy


I found a list of vitamins they recommend during pregnancy and some remedies that don’t harm the baby.

Good Vitamins are: Calcium, Magnesium and Iron, Folic Acid, Vitamin A, but not too much, not more than 3000 mcg per day, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12, and Zinc. Usually this are all in the same pill in prenatal vitamins and you just have to take what the doctor prescribes you.

They say we should stay away from all pills in general, that is more safe this way, only take if really really necessary and only what your doctor prescribes you. If your doctor can’t help you with some tooth pain or head ache, I found some natural remedies that don’t affect the baby.

Head ache

We have some Chinese cream in a very small box that helps you if you massage your forehead with it. You can use it if you have a stuffy nose too, just sniff it a little cuz is minty.

Tooth ache

If you have a swollen tooth you can use some garlic, don’t eat it just crush it a little and keep it there. It is considered to be an natural antibiotic. You can use this if you have a swollen throat too.

For a cold

You can only treat the symptoms of a cold with lots of chamomile tea, vitamin C, maybe from a lemon you put in the tea and you can also eat some chicken soup. If you have a fever you can cool it down with some cold compresses and some alcohol massage on the back and feet. Stay in bed and try to sweat as much as possible, than change your clothes and open some window for fresh air, but don’t get to much if it’s cold air.

Nausea

It’s a very common issue during pregnancy and is often treated with pills that prevent vomiting, like Metoclopramide, but only if the doctor gives his ok, and the nausea threatens to affect the pregnancy or the discomfort is too much to handle.

Bloating and stomach-burn

You can ameliorate all this with charcoal, some homeopath medicine or some adequate diet. St. John’s Wort tea helps with gastric pain and also mint, sage and chamomile teas.

Constipation

This is a frequent problem for pregnant women because of the change in your eating habits. It can be fixed if you balance your diet adding some fibers to your meals and if you drink the right amount of liquids, specially plain water. You can try some exercises from time to time it could start your assimilation process faster. But if this does not help, you could use some glycerin suppositories, but not to often.

Diarrhea

This can appear from time to time due to your diet and it is not considered a problem only if it persist for more days in a row. But if it bothers you and the doctor doesn’t think is a problem that needs to be fixed in a hospital you can try some boiled rice, bananas or mint tea.

Swollen feet

You can easily prevent this by not standing to much on your feet, but do not sit too long either. You can go for a walk to put your blood in motion and your heart, so that the fluids in your body wont end up in your feet. You can avoid too salty food so that the body wont hold on the water. If your feet hurt try to lift them up a bit, they will get better.

Breast pain

Is an easy way to deal with this kind of pain. You can use warm herbal compresses on your breast to soften the pain. It helps with the tension and improves the circulation. Just remember is better to do 5 minutes compresses, 6-7 times a day than just one for 30 minutes.

Yesterday I finished with the dentist. Hopefully no more tooth ache from now on. I am determined to stay away from too hard and too sweet candies so that I wont risk any teeth damage.

This will be useful for me too in a couple of months in case my plan is successful and I get pregnant. I will talk about every step I take and the way that I take it.

Oct 31, 2012 - Feelings    No Comments

The Mother-in-law Stress Factor

I know how important stress is to a pregnancy and I was having doubts about a future baby because of my mother-in-law. She has thyroid problems and sometimes we have huge fights over things that don’t make any sense. And is very hard for me to keep calm and don’t fight back because I don’t want to be like her. Words can hurt and I don’t want to say something I’ll regret later, because we live in the same house and it will be more difficult to see each other from that point.

So she is illogical, I can’t say anything to her and the stress is building inside. I am afraid because there are times when I burst into tears and walk away from her and can’t keep myself together, and if NOW I can’t handle her, how it will be when my hormones will be through the sky and she will be nagging on my head all day?

So I have a strategy. I was thinking I can pretend sick all the time and eat in my room, not with her and the grandmother, like we use to, and if she starts to say something nasty I will walk away excusing myself to the bathroom, you know, bladder problems.

She was the most stressful factor at and before our wedding and she always had something bad to say about anything, like: Why do you need a photographer, everybody has their own camera now and you can take the pictures they are making, don’t waste your money, no one will even watch the photos. Or why do you want a video too, no one will watch that either. Or why do you need decorations on your seats and tablecloths and flowers on the tables, the restaurant is pretty enough. Or why do you need a cake no one stays till the end. Or why do you need a figurine on the cake, no one will notice.

Why do you need DJs when you can put some music from your laptop, you have plenty of songs. Please hurry up with the first course, I can’t wait till 8 o’clock, when people arrive, I haven’t eaten all day, I wanted to save myself. And so on, and so on. Tell me I’m crazy and I’ll leave the poor lady alone.

I hope I’ll be able to ignore her and keep myself away from her evilness and her desire to find bad things in everything, so me and the baby will be ok till the end. I will surround myself with good people, beautiful things and positive energy and it will have a greater impact on the pregnancy than her irritating personality. Wish me luck!

Oct 29, 2012 - Health    No Comments

Sport and Weight Before Pregnancy


I was kind of an athletic in high school. I enjoyed every gym class I took, played all sports I could and had straight As. I learned some Karate and went rowing for a couple of years. I even gained a bronze medal at Junior National Championships. But after high school I laid low, I was lazy to do any sport by my self but didn’t backed down if someone offered some basketball game or swimming or running.

Now on the other hand, I am so tired after work, I just want to relax, watch a movie or stay on internet. I always say to myself  “I should do some exercise” but never do because I’m too lazy tired. I want to have more energy and to do more stuff but I never do.

The fact is that I’m slim even without sport, I know is healthier and good for body and soul, but the fact that I don’t need to loose weight doesn’t motivate me to do sport. I’m 1,75 m and 58 kg, I eat as much as I want but lately I try to avoid chips, fast-food, sweets, soda and I eat cooked meals, but I don’t eat as much fruits as I would want to. I love fruit juice, from the market, but that’s not the same.

I am a little paranoid about weight but I’m too lazy to do anything. When I go over 60 kg I get a little scared that my young days are gone and I’m starting to get fat, so I cut some bad food from my usual diet, but that’s it. My husband wants to lose some weight but he’s not on any diet, only healthy and less food, no fast-food, no chips and less sweets, so I’m just following his lead.

I would not say no to any dancing night, I love dancing, I would like to take some lessons too, but I mostly dance at parties and I do it quite well, and that is exercises, right? So I will put myself some music from now on, at least it will get me in a happier mood, and maybe I will dance alone in the house sometimes. (Suuure I will)

I also take loooong strolls with my husband around town. We walk for one hour or more, fast walking, not slow walking, and is relaxing and active. Seeing as you are not allowed to do difficult sports during pregnancy I think walking is the way I’ll choose for my exercise. I would also like to try Yoga, is that a sport? However, I don’t think we have Yoga instructors in this town, so I will try to learn some exercises from internet. It shouldn’t be so hard, right?

If you have some pointers on any other casual exercises, I wanna know!

Oct 26, 2012 - Health    No Comments

Smoking, Coffee and Alcohol in Pregnancy


I was a smoker for 3 years and quit for 4 years. I am against smoking during pregnancy, also I am prepared to avoid bar without good ventilation, after I get pregnant, because I don’t want to inhale someone else smoke either. I will not allow friends to smoke near me or in my house like I used before. I will be very strict about this because I have to be responsible for the baby’s healthy environment.

I am against coffee during pregnancy also, I heard it is bad, I know some will say is not THAT bad, but a little bad for me is enough to not take any risk. Luckily I don’t drink plain coffee, I only drink a cappuccino from time to time and I can easily give it up. I was wondering if decaf cappuccino has some negative effects so I started research.

I was fond of chicory instant coffee, that only tastes as coffee but is like a decaf, and I liked making cappuccino from this, but now I read that is very bad for pregnancy and it can be found in other coffee products too and has bad side effects. They also say that decaf coffee is not that safe either, even that regular coffee is better when you only drink a little cup a day, but then again, I don’t want to risk anything, so no more coffee or decaf for me after I get pregnant.

No more alcohol! I should stop to that sentence but I read some stuff about some doctors who again say a glass of red wine from time to time is not THAT bad. So why would they say that? Why would they offer the option of not being 100% safe and not drink alcohol? They also say that the wine has some positive effects on the body, so what? You can eat an apple and it will probably be the same thing. All I’m saying is that you can find some replacements, for the good nutrition you can get from the wine, in some aliments that don’t contain alcohol. Is not worth it, really!

They also say you should avoid drinking IF you wanna get pregnant, but that I didn’t wanted to do yet. I’m a social drinker and I know my limits, if I get dizzy I order a bottle of water, and I like red wine very much, but also beer and some strong alcohol too. I am determined to quit my social drinking too, but if I lust for some wine my husband is drinking I will get a sip, like putting my lips to the rim just to have a little taste of it. I will never get more than that, because I will have a bad opinion about myself if I can’t resist only 9 months without alcohol when I have the rest of my life to drink whatever I want, except when I breastfeed.

I make all this plans about what I should do, what I don’t want to do anymore and I’m so curious if I will keep the plans after I get pregnant. I am determined to do them now, but who knows what I will be like then.

Oct 24, 2012 - Health    No Comments

Toxoplasmosis in Pregnancy


My mother-in-law has two cats, I avoid them as much as I can, I rarely pet them, I don’t give them food and I don’t clean up after them, is her job to do that because they are not mine, right?

However the thing I fear the most is Toxoplasmosis, a dangerous disease if it affects me while I’m pregnant and the cats are one of the bearers, as I said in a previous post. So I can protect myself from them, but the problem is that my mother-in-law can not and probably will not.

She’s ok with them wandering around the table we eat on, walking around the kitchen we make our food in, keeping their open food cans in our fridge, next to our food, making their bathroom on the hallway where we keep the fridge and giving them food in their bathroom, but they could do whatever they want in their bathroom, except for the fact that we keep the washing machine there, and it’s used as a table for the cats food.

I don’t know how many times I found cat hair with my freshly washed clothes and even their food in the detergent drawer. The solution should be to poison the cats, no, just joking, it would be easier to move away from the house, which is silly to pay some rent when we have a half of a house just for us. The other solution, the one I’m working on, is to make another kitchen upstairs, with our own table, fridge and maybe even a washing machine. Unfortunately that is too expensive, but I would gladly settle with my own kitchen, at least I can have a clean cat-less table.

I was thinking to make a test for Toxoplasmosis so that I can know if it is dangerous or not to make a baby, but I don’t know if it matters in this stage.

Again the mother-in-law gives me more reason to panic about my future baby, I’m telling you, avoid all mother-in-laws when you’re pregnant. Cats too!

Oct 22, 2012 - Health    No Comments

10 Tips to Get Pregnant


Here are some tips and tricks to help you get; pregnant. Nobody knows the perfect recipe for this but this are some advises that will definitely not harm you if you follow them or just some of them and the chances will surely increase.

1. Stop the contraception

Of course I’m not talking about condoms or diaphragms, I’m talking about the pill. So you should stop taking them, at the end of the film, to prevent irregular bleeding, and a few months before you start trying for a baby.

2. Start taking Folic Acid

It is believed that this little pill helps prevent some possible birth defects. It is good to start a few months before trying and continue taking them after you succeeded at least till you get to the 13th week. You should ask a doctor for the right dosage but usually if the body thinks it’s too much Folic Acid it eliminates it.

If you have a healthy diet you don’t need to much vitamins during the pregnancy, but if the doctor prescribes you some, make sure they don’t contain large amounts of vitamin A. They discovered that too much of this vitamin is toxic for the baby and can cause malformations and complications at birth. But large amounts means over 3000 mcg and the prenatal vitamins usually contain like 750 mcg, so don’t take extras.

3. Avoid infections

Listeriosis: this is an infection that can cause abortion, prolonged pregnancy and diseases to the fetus in case you contact this during pregnancy. This disease was found in some aliments so that is why you should avoid: unpasteurized milk, pate made from meat (even fish) or vegetables, blue cheese, half cooked chicken (and mostly any half cooked food), fast-foods and ready-to-go salads.

Toxoplasmosis: This is caused by a parasite that regularly it doesn’t affect people. Almost 10% of adults can have it without them knowing it. But if this happens during pregnancy it may cause abortion and serious congenital defects. House animals (especially the cat) can carry the toxoplasmosis, but also fresh fruits, vegetables and salad that are not washed properly can be sources for this infection.
Some protection tips: Use gloves when you handle the garden and wash your hands every time. Ask someone else to take care of the cat and carefully wash the fruits and vegetables before eating them.

Smallpox: Can cause problems at the beginning of the pregnancy and you should avoid contaminated people, even if the chances to get it are lower if you already had it when you were a kid. If you have been in the presence of contaminated people you can take a blood test to check your immunity.

4. Avoid alcohol and cigarets

Alcohol can cause fertility problems to both partners. More than one or two glasses a day can cause difficulties in conception. If you are already pregnant, alcohol can cause development issues, malformations, mental handicap and prolonged pregnancy.

Smoking is harmful before and after the pregnancy. Smokers are more expose to abortion or premature birth and the newborns will have less weight at birth. Also second hand smoking damages the baby and can lead to the death of the baby.

5. Do some sport

Sport will help maintain your muscles in shape, a very needed aspect in a pregnancy, but it will also help you relax because the brain releases endorphins, a very useful chemical much needed to combat pain and stress.

During pregnancy you should be more careful with your exercises, be sure you stretch and don’t do any sudden moves, like jumps, and make sure you breath regularly, don’t overburden yourself.

6. Control your weight

Make sure you are at a right weight according to you height. If you are a little curvy, you should lose some kilo and cut some calories. However if you are too thin you should add to your diet some more vitamins that will help you gain some weight.

7. Don’t use any medication

Some toxic medications for the baby are: epilepsy drugs, those that contain vitamin A, antibiotics, chemotherapy medication, and any kind of radiation. Make sure you avoid any drugs before first trimester of pregnancy (up to 10 weeks)

8. Inform your doctor about your genetic diseases

Before you agree to start conceiving you should consult with your doctor about the genetic problems that runs in your family or in your husbands family. You will be informed of the risk you’ll take in making a baby or the solutions that can help you and your future baby.

9. Buy a pregnancy test

It is true that pregnancy tests can show a result very soon but try not to rush it sooner than a week after the time you were supposed to have your period.

10. Stress affects fertility

Is scientifically proven that stress has a negative influence in the quality of sperm and even the catching of the fertilized egg in the uterine wall. When the body is in a very stressful environment is too overwhelmed to assimilate the fertilized egg, eventually getting to a normal menstruation.

Even men can be affected by the stress, even the stress of the desire to have a baby can slimming the chances to impregnate.

So if I have trouble getting pregnant I know who to blame, my mother-in-law, but more on this, later.

So stay healthy and stress-free and you will have better chances at this!