Preparing Siblings For The New Baby

Preparing Siblings For The New Baby

  • Involve the child in your prenatal care: let them accompany you to a few prenatals, meet the midwife, and better understand the pregnancy process. They can listen to heart tones, touch and feel the mother’s belly, and be a “helper” to you and the midwife. This will demystify the coming of a new baby and help the child connect to the baby.
  • Name the baby, even if it is a nickname, and encourage singing and talking to the baby. Explain that the baby can hear your voice and will recognize its’ brother or sister when it is born.
  • Explain the role of the child when the baby comes: Mother will need help and so will baby. “Now you are a “big brother” and will need to help out and teach the new baby”.
  • Decide if you will have the child present at the birth: this involves another level of preparation, as the child will need to know what to expect at the birth. Mother will be working hard and will be in pain sometimes, she may make loud or unsettling noises and make expressions of anguish or great pleasure. There will be blood, especially during the birth of the placenta, and fluids. All of these situations should be explained according to the age of the child. Books and videos can be extremely helpful with this. A child who is attending a birth should have an adult companion who can leave with the child if necessary and mediate the experience, especially if some emergency should arise. If the child will not be at the birth, plan ahead for childcare to be readily available. Make a plan for transportation, where the child will be, and when you want her to return.
  • Plan something special for the child around the time of the birth. Maybe a very special grandma is coming to visit who can plan special activities for the child and her. Extra attention for the child is always helpful, as the focus can easily rest on the newborn and the sibling feels neglected. A “birthday gift” for the new baby is fun to make, but don’t forget to have a gift for the child that the new baby “gives” to her new sibling!
  • Prepare your child for the logistical aspects of a new baby: maybe they will soon share a room, or the child will have to sleep in a “big bed” to allow the crib for the baby, you could be weaning your first child now (prepare for regression when the older child sees the baby nursing). If you prepare now, there will be less conflict at the time of the baby’s arrival but only do this if it’s time for the older child to wean.
  • Remember that this is the last time you will have an “only child”, so make the most of it. Plan a lot of quality time as a family and you will be so glad you did.

 

Preparing Siblings For The New Baby

When to call in labor?

WHEN TO CALL IN LABOR

We like to know when your labor starts, but also want to protect the sleep of your support team and provider so they can be awake and alert when you really need them, so please wait until the morning to report if you are in early labor only. I even suggest not awaking your partner, doula or rest of your support team in the middle of the night until you really feel it is necessary. Call us anytime for urgent matters as listed below.

For first time moms, when all is going well with you (healthy pregnancy, normal labor sensations, your baby is moving as usual, if your waters have been released, the color is not green/brown, your bleeding nor more than slight bloody show to light period flow), make sure that you get home, if you are not there. We like to be called when you are in mid to active labor. If you have birthed vaginally before, I advise doing this much sooner, like when your labor pattern quickly changes from early to active (the sensations become for frequent every 5-7 minutes, last longer (45-60 seconds) and more intense or you can no longer talk during them) but err on the side of caution and call us to come to the birth setting earlier rather than later as you may be further along in your labor than you thing, and the progression to late active labor and pushing can be much quicker than expected (as compared to first birth)- but this also depends on your past history and distance between you and my team or your place of birth.

Notify us during day or evening (9am -9pm)

When you think you are in early labor, with several hours of mild menstrual like cramps and a pattern of uterine contractions which can range from every 4-20 minutes each lasting 30-45 seconds and you can talk through them.

When you notice bloody show, which can be a glob of mucous mixed with blood or a light period like bleeding

When you think your water breaks and it is clear (this is not just a few tablespoons of water which can make a pancake size stain once, but does not continue; rather it is a few cups of water at once or over a period of time, such that your maxi pad becomes heavy with a few cups of fluid); and make sure to notice that the baby is moving as much as usual afterwards. No need to panic if you do not feel fetal movement immediately, as baby might simply be sleeping. If in doubt, you can wake the baby up by drinking 2 large glasses of juice and if worried, try a cup of coffee, eat a carb meal then after 30 min lie down and make sure that you are getting 10 moves in an hour. Healthy awake babies will make 10 moves usually much sooner than an hour.

During the night (9pm-9am)

When labor becomes stronger and more active and you cannot talk through the more frequent and longer and more intense uterine contractions, but need to deep breath or moan. Everyone is different, but generally for a first time mom, when they are coming every 3-4 minutes lasting 60-90 seconds; and for a mom who has delivered vaginally before, when they are coming every 5-7 minutes lasting 45-60 seconds and you want the midwife to come to your house, taking into the account the distance between you and the midwife.

If you have an unusually strong urge to push or have a bowel movement with these more frequent, stronger and more intense uterine contractions.

If your water breaks and it is clear, but you are not feeling the baby move as usual.

If your water breaks and your GBS status is unknown.

If your water breaks and it looks green or like brown pea soup.

If you’re bleeding becomes heavier.

If your baby is not moving as much as usual even in the hour after you have had the juice and carbs.

If you have any worry or concern.

 

When to call in labor

Waterbirth

Waterbirth can be a wonderful relaxing way to have your baby. We begin our lives in water and when we have our baby’s water can be the most relaxing and gentle experience. Being supported in water is one of the most helpful things that can be offered to a woman in labor. The water helps to sooth and creates a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere. Many women say they actually enjoyed their labors and found that the water allowed them complete freedom of movement and the atmosphere to be able to achieve deep concentration.

When a woman gets into a tub of warm deep water she can relax easier. The water creates an environment where she is weightless, her sensory stimulation is reduced and her body is less apt to create stress related hormones. This allows her body to make endorphins. Noradrenaline and catecholamines, are the hormones that are released during stress. These hormones actually raise the blood pressure and can slow a labor down. A laboring woman who can physically relax, is also able to mentally relax as well. Many women, midwives, and doctors acknowledge the analgesic effect of water. Sometimes a woman gets into the birth pool thinking that she will have the baby in a different place, and has the baby in the pool before she can get out.

Women can attain an amazing comfort level in water that helps to greatly decrease their levels of fear and stress. When a woman is calm her labor can become easier. She can focus on each contraction and let them come one at a time. The water can help some women completely let go and their labors become easier, their fears go away and they totally relax, and their babies are born smoothly.

Another benefit of laboring in the water is that the water has an effect on the way the tissues of the perineum can stretch. It reduces that chance of tears and the severity of them if they do happen. Compresses on the perineum are not needed in the water unless the mother chooses to have them.

The mother and baby are so connected during the birth experience. Waterbirth can make this connection easy, smooth and peaceful. If a mother is having a hard birth and fear and stress are keeping her from relaxing, the baby isn’t relaxed either. The baby can feel what is going on with his/her mother. If mom gets into the tub and relaxes, feels safe, and can let the birth just happen. The baby spends less time in the birth canal, and can safely be in his/her mother’s arms before the mother exhausts.

Waterbirth can be a wonderful experience for a mother and baby. Research has shown that Waterbirth has been around as early as the 1700’s. It seems that humans find the comforts of water for healing and birth all over the world.

 

Waterbirth

Sexuality and Pregnancy

Sexuality and Pregnancy

 

During pregnancy you may feel that so much of pregnancy is about your vagina, and now, to top it off your partner wants to make love.  This handout is a guide to enjoying sexual activity while you are pregnant and a resource for ideas about making the most of your sexuality and during pregnancy.

 

  • Kegel Exercises – Sex is a great time to practice kegel exercises, or a tightening and relaxing of the pelvic floor/perineal muscles. Do these while making love, this way your partner can confirm your ability to tighten and relax these muscles. These are crucial movements for relaxation during birth and for toning the area to promote healthy stretching and recovery from potential tears.

 

  • Preparing the vagina for birth – Intercourse is an excellent way to prepare the birth canal for birth. The movements tone and loosen the pelvis, the vaginal muscles, and the uterus. Orgasms stimulate the production of hormones called prostaglandins and oxytocins that help prepare the body for birth. Orgasms can even bring on labor if the body is ready to give birth. But there should be no worry, having an orgasm will not induce premature labor. Labor and making love are both very much alike. Both involve being swept away by emotion and sensation, letting go, and honoring the body. Let making love be a role model for your birth. The energy that brought the baby in is the energy that brings the baby out!

 

  • Not now, I have a headache – It is normal to have a lack of sexual desire during some stages of pregnancy. Early in pregnancy, nausea and vomiting can make a woman feel like she just wants to be alone. That is o.k. Later in pregnancy the size of your belly and your excess weight gain may make you feel awkward and uncomfortable. It may seem that no position is conducive to making love. You will both have to get creative with finding positions that work around your growing belly and are comfortable and pleasurable for both of you. Your breasts may become so sensitive that they hurt when stimulated or your cervix may be tender. Sex should be comfortable and painless, if it isn’t seek guidance or find new ways to create intimacy.

 

  • Don’t worry Dad – One big concern is possibly hurting the baby. Dads especially worry about hurting mother or baby. The baby is insulated well inside the uterus and further inside the amniotic sac, which acts as a shock absorber and cushion for the baby. This will make intercourse safe. You may experience contractions while making love or soon after. Don’t worry, just rest and relax. If they begin to form a consistent pattern or do not stop after an hour, call your midwife. Nipple stimulation will also increase hormone production that may bring on Braxton-Hicks contractions. These hormonal changes will soften and ripen the cervix, which is excellent preparation for labor. Again, don’t worry; these changes should not induce premature labor.

 

  • Emotional YoYo – Your partner may not see you as sexually desirable if he becomes fixated on your image as mother, and not lover. Talk this over and see if you can find new ways to bring back the passion. As a pregnant woman your hormones are raging…one minute you may be ravenous for sex, the next you may be focused on the baby and be annoyed by you partners advances. Be patient with one another and don’t forget to communicate.

 

  • A Word of Warning – Please don’t make love if your water has broken or you have lost your mucous plug, in order to prevent infection. Also, do not make love if your midwife has asked you not to, for example if you are trying to hold off labor.

 

Sexuality and Pregnancy

Perineal massage

 

What is perineal massage? Perineal massage is a technique that encourages blood flow to the perineum increasing the elasticity of the perineum for birth.

 

What are the benefits of perineal massage?  Perineal massage has numerous benefits which can help to decrease trauma of the area during the birth process.

  • It stimulates the blood supply to the perineum and helps to speed up the healing process after the birth.
  • I can help to get you ready for the feelings of stretching and pressure that will happen as the baby is born.
  • It can help you to learn to relax during a yoni exam or during other sensations that may occur as the baby is being born.

 

How do I do it?  Perineal massage can be started around 4 to 6 weeks before your due date.  It can be done by either you (the pregnant mother) or your partner.

  1. Make sure your hands are washed and clean.
  2. Find a place that you feel comfortable and that will be private. You can sit or lean back in a position you will be comfortable in.  You can use pillows, cushions or blankets to support your legs.
  3. Use a high quality oil such as almond, avocado, vitamin E or coconut that doesn’t have any added sent.
  4. Place your (or your partners) thumb(s) or fingers about 1 inch inside your yoni. Press downward and outward (to the sides) at the same time.  Apply pressure gently and firmly until you feel a tingling sensation.
  5. Hold your fingers at that same point for about 2 minutes until the area starts to become a little numb.
  6. Keep pressure with your thumb(s) or fingers and massage back and forth over the lower half of your yoni for 3-4 minutes. Start with very gentle massage and increase the pressure as sensitivity is reduced.

 

Perineal massage

Normal Newborn Appearance

Normal Newborn Appearance by Rebecca Pugh CPM,RM

Head

  • Molding- Long, narrow, cone shaped head that results from molding to fit through the pelvis. This compression of the head can cause temporary overlap of the suture lines/bony plates of the baby’s head and may hide the fontanel/soft spot.  The head often returns to a normal shape right before your eyes within the first hours after birth, at the latest 24-48 hours.
  • Caput- Swelling on top of the head or throughout the scalp caused by fluid squeezed into the scalp during the birth process, this will clear in a few days.
  • Cephalohematoma- Collection of blood in the outer surface of the skull. It is due to friction between the infant’s skull and the mother’s belvic bones during birth.  The lump is usually confined to one side of the head.  It first appears on the second day of life and may grow larger for up to 5 days.  It may not resolve completely for up to 2-3 months, however thisis unusual.  I recommend paying particular attention to the head in the first days, avoiding direct pressure on the head because it is often sore.  You may need to experiment with new nursing positions that do not put pressure on the bruising.  I also recommend applying topical arnica gel/oil to the site if injury.
  • Anterior Fontanel- The “soft spot” is found in the top part of the skull. It is diamond shaped and covered by a thick fibrous layer.  Touching this area gently is quite safe.  It allows for rapid growth of the brain.  The spot will normally pulsate with each beat of the heart.  It normally closes with bone with the baby is between 9-12 months old.

 

Eyes

  • Swollen Eyelids- The eyes may be puffy because of pressure on the face during delivery. This usually resolves itself within hours after the birth.
  • Subconjunctival Hemorrhage- A flame sheped hemorrhage on the white of the eye is not uncommon. It is caused by pressure on the eyes during birth and is harmless.  The blood will be reabsorbed within 2-3 weeks.
  • Iris color- The iris is usually a very dark shade of one of the common eye colors. The permanent color of the eyes is usually not certain until 6 months.
  • Blocked Tear Duct- If one or borth of the baby’s eyes is continually watery there may be a clogged tear duct. This means that the channel that normally carries tears from the eyes to the nose is blocked.  It is a common condition and more thatn 90% of tear ducts open up byt the time the child is 1 year old.  A blockage is dirrerent than an infection.  An infection is characterized by a yellow/grean build up of discharge and red or irritated eyes.  Uaually putting mothers milk/colostrums directly into the eye/duct is eonguth to rmedey the situation.  Also, apply warm washcloths tho the area.  In cases that do not resolve with home remedies ophthalmic antibiotic ointment usually clears the infection easily.

 

Ears

  • Folded Over- The ears of the newborn are often soft and floppy. Sometimes one of the edges is folded over.  The outer ear will assume the normal shape as the cartilage hardens over the first few weeks.

 

Nose

  • Flattened- The nose can become misshapen during the birth process. It may be flattened or pushed to one side.  It usually relsoves itself within hours-24 hours.

 

Mouth

  • Sucking blister- Some babies are born with a sucking blister in their hand or lip or they may develop such a blister after birth due to constant friction against the lip or hand from sucking. These blisters should not cause concern only reassurance that your baby’s sucking reflex is intact.
  • Tongue Tie- Normally a short tight band of tissue attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth. If this band is too tight it can cause problems with the tongue action involved in sucking and inhibit proper breastfeeding.  This band usually stretches with time, movment and growth.  In some cases this band can be snipped so that the tongue is free to move as needed.  If you experience nipple soreness, poor milk supply, poor latch on, or a fussy baby, you may need the counsel of a lactation sonsultant familiar with breastfeeding problems to diagnose Tongue Tie.
  • Epithelial Pearls- Little cysts that contain clear fluid or shallow white ulcers can occur along the gum line or on the hard palate. These are a reault of blockage of normal mucous glands.  They usually disappear after 1-2 months.  This should be differentiated from thrush, which is characterized by white splotches in the baby’s mouth.  The thrush patches can not be scraped away easily and are a build up of yeast that is flat and will spread.  Thrush should be treated.
  • Teeth- Occasionally a baby is born with extra teeth present without a root structure but most teeth seen at birth are prematurely erupted normal teeth. Both cases are very rare.  The extra tooth must be removed by a dentist and the normal tooth should only be removed if it bocomes loose.  Normally, prematurely erupted teeth do not cause problems.

 

Breast Engorgement in the Newborn

  • Swollen breasts- are present during the first week of life in many male and female babies. They are caused by the passage of female hormones across the mother’s placenta.  Breasts are generally swollen for 4-6 months, but they may stay swollen longer in breast fed and female babies.  One breast may loose its swelling before the other one by a month or more.  Never wqueeze the breast because this may cause an infection.  Signs of infection include redness, streaking or tenderness.

 

Female Genitals

  • Swollen Labia- The labia minora can be quite swollen in newborn girls because of the passage of female hormones across the placenta. The swelling will resolve in 2-4 weeks.
  • Hymenal Tags- The hymen can also be swollen because of maternal estrogen and can have smooth .5 inch projections of pink tissue. The normal tage occur in 10% of newborn girls and slowly shring over 2-4 weeks.
  • Vaginal Dishcarge- As the maternal hormones decline in the baby’s blood, a clear or white discharge can flow from the vagina dirung the latter part of the first week of life. Occasionally the discharge will become proink or blood tinged (false menstruation).  This normal discharge should not recur once it stops.

 

Normal Newborn Appearance by Rebecca Pugh CPM

If you experience any of the following call your Midwife

If you experience any of the following call your Midwife

Vaginal Bleeding-there are varying degrees of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, some are nothing to worry about and some raise concern.  Some breakthrough or implantation bleeding is normal during early pregnancy, the amount and associated symptoms are important – be sure to note the amount and whether it is accompanied by low back pain, contractions, cramping, vaginal pressure, or pain. Miscarriage, fibroids or cysts, or aggressive sexual intercourse are some possible causes.  Call the midwife to determine the cause of the bleeding.

Facial or Hand Edema-generalized swelling could be indicative of preeclampsia.  Notify the midwife.

Sudden and Prolonged Nausea and Vomiting-some nausea and vomiting due to morning sickness in early pregnancy is normal, however if it is severe, sudden, or prolonged, medical attention is necessary.  Dehydration or nutritional deficit could occur for you and/or the baby, this could indicate preeclampsia.  Call the midwife.

Fever or Chills-this could indicate maternal or amniotic sac infection or severe preeclampsia.  It could also be the result of a benign cause such as strenuous exercise, a cold or flu, or overheating.  Let your midwife determine the cause immediately.

Sudden Sharp Continuing Abdominal Pain-inflammation of the gallbladder, appendicitis, or placenta abrupta must be ruled out.  Note the quality, frequency, and severity of the pain as you are calling the midwife and note any other symptoms such as fever, nausea, or bleeding.

Continuing Severe Headache-this could be indicative of preeclampsia, a serious disease of pregnancy that deserves immediate attention.  Most headaches in pregnancy are due to dehydration or hypoglycemia, if this is not your case, call immediately.  Also rule out toxin exposure, lack of sleep, eye strain or tension.  If the headache is continuing and severe, call the midwife.

Visual Changes-this includes blurred vision, dizziness, spots, or flashes of light-these visual disturbances could be indicative of preeclampsia, a dangerous disease of pregnancy, your condition should be checked immediately.  These could also be indicative of very low blood pressure or dehydration.  Regardless the midwife should be called.

Sudden Gush of Fluid from the Vagina-this could mean your amniotic fluid sac has ruptured prematurely the baby’s condition should be checked immediately.  Note the color of the fluid that came out, its amount, and any matter that was expelled at the same time, also note if anything is coming out of your vagina, such as the umbilical cord or a baby limb.  Make these observations while the midwife s being called.

Abnormal Urination-this includes pain upon urination, lack thereof, or a dark brown colored urine-pain, urgency, and burning upon urination or blood in the urine indicates a urinary tract infection which needs to be treated before it moves to the kidneys. A brown color or lack of urination indicates severe dehydration, begin drinking clear fluids as you call the midwife.

 

If you experience any of the following call your midwife

Herbs that are Safe During Pregnancy

Herbs that are Safe During Pregnancy

 Some Tips…

  • Use herbs that are considered food or tonic herbs that may be consumed daily.
  • Avoid herbs that are used during menstruation to stimulate the cycle.
  • Avoid herbs that are high in alkaloids and/or have a strong medicinal action.
  • Always research herbs before using, preferably from multiple sources.

Black Haw (Viburnum prunifolium)-prevents miscarriage, relaxes uterine muscles, and eases the tension that precipitates uterine contractions

Blessed Thistle (Cnicus benedictus)-stimulates blood flow to the mammary glands, increases and enriches milk flow

Burdock Root (Arctium lappa)-high in vitamins and minerals, mild diuretic, liver tonic and strengthening for the uterus

Chamomile (Maricaria chamomilla)-calmitive, digestive aid, high in calcium, reduces inflammation

Cramp Bark (Viburnum opulus)-prevents miscarriage

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)-high in vitamin A, calcium, and iron, aids digestion, liver tonic, boosts energy and acts as a diuretic

Ginger root (Zingiber officinale)-eases morning sickness and digestive problems, tonic for reproductive system

Lady’s Mantle Leaves (Alchemilla vulgaris)-settles digestion, morning sickness and tones uterus

Lemon Balm Leaves (Melissa officinalis)-calms and relaxes nervous system to relieve headaches, depression and insomnia

Nettle Leaf (Urtica dioica)-rich in calcium, iron, vitamins and minerals, provides energy when these deficiencies are present, mild diuretic

Oatstraw (Avena sativa)-rich in calcium and magnesium, calms nervous stress and tension, heals yeast infections

Slippery Elm Bark (Ulmus rubra)-treats colds, infections, vaginal infections and morning sickness

Squaw Vine (Mitchella repens)-tone and nourish uterus

Strawberry Leaf (Fragaria vesica)-uterine tonic, cooling to system

 

The following herbs are to be used for specific purposes during the last days of pregnancy or postpartum:

Angelica (Angelica archangelica)-helps expel the placenta afterbirth

Black cohosh (Cimifuga racemosa)-uterine stimulant and relaxant to be used with blue cohosh during the last week of pregnancy to prepare uterus and during labor to stimulate it

Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)-stimulates uterine contractions, facilitates smooth labor, combine with black cohosh

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)-hastens childbirth that has gone overdue or a labor that is lagging

Pennyroyal Leaf (Hedoma pulegioides)-stimulates contractions and blood flow to the uterus, general birthing aid **only the herb is to be used for these applications, not the oil**

Shepherds Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)-for post-partum hemorrhage and to stimulate contractions

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)-hemostatic when combined with shepherds purse, stimulates contractions

Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis)

  • Natural anti-biotic and infection fighter.
  • Stimulates the vital organ functions of the body, especially the liver, kidneys, lungs and colon.
  • Purifies the blood, acts as a natural anti-biotic, promotes the flow and discharge of bile into the small intestine.
  • Acts as an astringent to stop bleeding.
  • Dries and cleanses the mucus membranes and treats diseases of the liver, such as cirrhosis and hepatitis related inflammation.
  • Use for acid indigestion, gastritis and duodenal ulcers.
  • Tonic for the female reproductive system and menorrhagia.

Some cautions and advice on preparation

  • Use only for short periods of time as this herb can build up in the mucosa and cause irritation and inflammation.
  • Use only wild-crafted goldenseal because this herb is endangered.
  • Use 2-3 x per day for 3 weeks, then stop for 3 weeks and repeat.
  • Use caution during pregnancy and use only in small doses. Some herbalists may contraindicate this herb during pregnancy, but use with caution is acceptable to most. If pregnant and hypertensive or suffering from a deficiency, do not use goldenseal. Large doses can stimulate uterus and cause premature contractions.
  • Try one capsule 3 x per day for morning sickness or to help fight infections or colds. The best usage is through infusion, external use is safer during pregnancy.
  • A salve is very effective when astringent or disinfectant properties are desired.
  • When using in a capsule formulate goldenseal with other less potent herbs to mellow its impact.

 

Herbs that are safe during pregnancy

Environmental Hazards During Pregnancy

There are many chemicals in the air, in homes, and in businesses that could hurt you or your baby’s health during pregnancy. This handout tells how to avoid pesticides, dangerous chemicals, and lead, which may be harmful to you or your baby.

 

How Can I Avoid Pesticides During Pregnancy?

Pesticides are chemicals used to kill bugs. They are found in water, on fruits, vegetables, in gardens and parks, and most places plants grow. Make sure to wash all fruits and vegetables before eating them. It is a good idea to peel them, too. Pregnant women should avoid pesticides and eat organic fruits and vegetables.

 

Are Cleaning Products Dangerous?

There are lots of chemicals used in cleaning products. Make sure to read the labels for warnings for pregnant women. NEVER use anything labeled “toxic.” Do not mix ammonia and chlorine products. The mixture makes a gas that is harmful for anyone. There are many natural products, which can be safer to use during pregnancy. Seventh Generation has lots of products available and many of these can be purchases at your local grocery or health food store.

 

What About Beauty Products During Pregnancy?

Chemicals used in nail salons are very dangerous. They let off fumes that can be very toxic, and you should avoid them while you are pregnant.To be on the safe side, you should not use artificial fingernails while you’re pregnant. Hair products such as dyes, permanents, and straighteners will give off a small amount of the chemical into your body from your scalp.  So try and avoid these types of products while pregnant.

 

How Can I Avoid Lead Exposure?

Lead can be damaging to the nervous system. It has been illegal to use lead in making household products since 1978, but lead could be found in the paint and pipes present in older homes. Other sources of lead include drinking water from old pipes, lead crystal glassware, some ceramic dishes, wicks of scented candles, and the plastic grips on some hand tools. Lead may also be found in some arts and crafts materials, such as oil paints, ceramic glazes, and stained glass supplies.

If you think you have lead paint in your home, you can paint over it with latex paint, or there are ways to have it removed safely. You should not be in or around the house for several hours when this happens. If you think your water may have lead in it, contact your state health department to find out how to get your pipes tested. Many home water filters do not remove lead, so you should read their labels carefully.

Some pregnant women have a desire to eat clay soil or chips of clay pottery. This is called “pica” and can result in lead poisoning. Let your health care provider know if you are eating clay.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS DURING PREGNANCY

Can I Use Over The Counter Drugs While Pregnant?

  • Tylenol-this is the best option for pain relief, but use only when necessary because it taxes the liver which is already under strain during pregnancy.
  • Ibuprofen-this drug severely inhibits the body’s blood clotting abilities which makes it dangerous during pregnancy and especially during labor, delivery and post-partum, it also taxes the kidneys.  If necessary it should be used before the 3rd trimester.
  • Benadryl-is an antihistamine and contains atropine sulfate, a chemical known to cause skeletal deformity in mice, but there is no evidence of this in humans. Another antihistamine, Benedictin has been associated with birth defects and removed from the market.  Often antihistamines are used by physicians as part of a drug regimen to eliminate nausea due to pregnancy.
  • Sudafed-this drug is a decongestant and contains antihistamines (see above) and epinephrine as well as phenylpropanolamine which are associated with a risk of birth defects.  This drug is to be avoided, its studies are incomplete as to potential damage to mother or fetus.
  • Cough Syrup-many of these drugs contain antihistamines and decongestants that are themselves made of many chemicals that have not been proven safe in pregnancy, each chemical component should be checked for safety. Those containing codeine or iodine should certainly be avoided as they can affect the baby’s ability to breathe or affect the fetal thyroid function.
  • Alka Seltzer, Tums, Mylanta-these are all considered antacids which neutralize stomach acids, stopping digestion altogether, which is a poor temporary solution and is problematic for nutrient assimilation in pregnancy. They are considered safe in pregnancy but not considered the best remedy. Try calcium/magnesium, taking a light walk after each meal, smaller meals, and not eating much in the evenings.  The sodium bicarbonate content is absorbed into the bloodstream and adds to your total salt intake.

Can I Use Over The Counter Drugs While Pregnant