Archives for February 2012

10 Ways Babies Cause Chronic Back Pain

Toward the end of your pregnancy you may notice increasing back pain. Welcome to motherhood! There are various causes for the pain you may experience and the good news is that most symptoms can be handled through exercise, rest or making some minor changes in how you do things. Listed below are some ways in which your baby may cause you to experience back pain.

  1. Hormonal changes – As you near the end of pregnancy your hormones begin to change to prepare your body for birth. In the pelvic area, your ligaments begin to soften and your joints become looser. This causes you to lose some of the core support you once had in your back and the result is lower back pain.
  2. The growing baby – As the baby gets larger, you experience a change in posture due to a shifting of your center of gravity. The larger you become the more shifting takes place.
  3. Weight gain – Most women gain several pounds during pregnancy. Between the baby growing and your own weight gain the stress on back muscles is building. All the extra weight you are carrying can cause chronic back pain.
  4. Poor posture – One of the main culprits causing back pain is poor posture. If you have poor posture to begin with, you will likely experience more back pain as the size of your baby increases.
  5. Excessive standing – Women who must stand for long periods of time may find that they experience back pain more often in the last month or so of pregnancy. If possible stand for shorter periods of time.
  6. Stress – You may not be aware of the fact that stress tends to migrate toward the weakest part of your body and cause problems. In this case, any stress you may have can settle in your back area as your body prepares for birth. Find ways to relax and ease any stress you may be feeling.
  7. Pregnancy-associated osteoporosis – This is a rare but painful condition that some women may experience. If you have severe chronic back pain consult your doctor about your symptoms.
  8. Poor posture while feeding – Once the baby gets here, some mothers have a tendency to hunch over as they breast feed. The strain put on your neck and upper back when you are looking down at the baby in a bent position can cause some back problems
  9. Carrying the baby on the hip – Many people have a tendency to carry little ones on their hip. While this may be a comfortable way to carry baby, it throws your spine out of alignment and after a while can cause serious back pain. Try using a baby sling or carrying your baby in front.
  10. Bending over to lift baby – If you are in the wrong position when you lift your baby, you can do harm to you back over time. Extending your arms away from your body to lift baby or bending over to pick the baby up can put stress on back muscles and cause pain. It is better to move in close and bend your knees if possible before you pick up the baby.

Knowing that some of the back pain you may experience is normal and going to go away is a relief. Good posture and exercise will do a lot to alleviate a great deal of pain both before and after baby arrives. Take the time to learn how to pick up your baby correctly so that you can avoid injuries. If you experience severe chronic back pain, be sure to have a talk with your doctor.

10 Surprises in the Birthing Room

Giving birth to a child is one of the greatest blessings a woman will go through, but that doesn’t mean everything is a bed of roses. Here are some of the things you need to know to make it through to the final glory – that beautiful baby.

  1. Oh the Pain! I don’t care what you’ve heard or what videos you have watched, NOTHING can prepare you for the pain of childbirth. Yes, there are breathing exercises and mind games you can play but it still can be more painful than anything you’ve ever imagined.
  2. Oh the Anger! Speaking of the pain, you and your husband or whoever will be with you need to talk about the possibility that there will be things said which you would never dream of saying in normal conditions. Plead temporary insanity and try to remember that this whole thing will pass.
  3. I think he’s fainted! There is nothing beautiful about the delivery process. I’m sorry, but all that gushy talk about the baby being so beautiful . . . well, the truth is there’s lots of blood and placenta and the screaming. . . you get the picture. Just be prepared for the worst.
  4. Why is his head shaped like that? Your darling baby is going to come through a tiny little area. In order for that to happen, the head is developed with a flexible skull which enables the head to make the exit. Don’t worry, the deformity won’t last long. A darling little pink or blue hat will cover it up until everything is restored to it’s normal condition.
  5. Hours of labor! I’m really beginning to feel like Eyore here. “Oh dear, I’m afraid it’s going to be a very bad proposition.” The next thing I have to tell you is that more than likely, you’re going to be in labor for a long time. If this is your first baby, it could be 8-24 hrs of contractions AFTER being admitted. Be prepared with card games or music or other forms of entertainment to ease the stress of waiting.
  6. An Episi-what? I think one of the most cruel myths about giving birth is that you aren’t a real woman unless you have the baby without any medication or other interventions by the doctor. An episiotomy is the process of slightly cutting the vaginal wall allowing the baby to make his entrance into world easier on you and the baby. Without this, the force of childbirth can actually tear the wall which is a lot more painful and dangerous. If your doctor thinks it is necessary, go with it!
  7. Inducing labor is not easier or faster! The women in our family produce large babies. I was induced for both of my children and my daughter was induced for all three of hers. Believe us! Inducing is not the easy way to go. True, you might end the waiting at home and the insecurity of not knowing when the baby will come, but it’s a high price to pay. If there is no medical reason (heavy weight of infant etc) which requires inducement, wait for natural courses to take place.
  8. He’s not breathing! Be not alarmed. When a baby first comes into the world, their little nose and lungs and throat are filled with a mucous like substance that has been protecting her while in the womb. The doctor will take measures to remove this fluid and then you’ll hear the cry of life.
  9. You will need to sleep! More than likely, you’re going to want to hold that little one all the time or at least keep him close, but you DO NEED TO SLEEP! Taking care of a newborn is extremely taxing. Take advantage of hospital time. (It will pass quickly enough.) You’ll need all your energy once you get home.
  10. You need to know: The 10 days following birth are the most crucial time for bonding with your baby. Keep him close, talk to him, take time to be skin on skin, be in the water with him, cuddle with him and sing to him. There’s nothing more important for those 10 days. They will be the best investment you’ll ever make.

Happy birthing!

10 Ways Infants Can Hurt Themselves

Infants are naturally curious critters, and find all sorts of ways to get into trouble if left unattended. That’s why they ideally come with two parents, and are the ultimate test of endurance for single parents everywhere. If you doubt their capacity for finding peril, consider these 10 ways that newborns can hurt themselves:

  1. Swallowing small objects. – Children are truly driven by curiosity – in their bodies, their surroundings and those with whom they share it. A natural reaction is to bring an unknown object to the baby’s mouth to taste.
  2. Suffocation – Infants can suffocate from lying face down in soft bedding or small spaces between a mattress and wall, or couch cushions.
  3. Falling – When an infant begins to crawl, she can be hurt by falls from furniture, or down a stairway. At this phase especially, but at any age, it’s vital that an infant be watched at all times.
  4. Electrical Shock – A crawling infant’s curiosity could lead him to explore things like electrical outlets, probing the slots with small objects. Child guards are an absolute must once your child is mobile.
  5. Poisoning – Likewise, an infant can gain access to household products when improperly secured, risking poison ingestion.
  6. Burns – Pain is nature’s way of telling us not to touch a hot surface, among other things. Anything within reach is fair game to a child. Careful what you place within reach.
  7. Scrapes – Crawling can be a dangerous business, especially for a child’s soft skin. Rug burns, rough surfaces and sharp edges can cause scrapes and cuts.
  8. Strangulation – Phone cords, curtain drawstrings, neckties, etc. When playing with such objects, an infant can easily become entangled and risk strangulation.
  9. Falling Objects – Tugging on cords, tablecloths and the like can lead to pulling objects down from high surfaces, potentially causing injury.
  10. Eye Injury – An infant can poke herself in the eye while playing with a toy or other object with a pointed shape or sharp edge.

10 Ways Your Family Can Save Money on Health Care

Most families (with newborns or not) are looking for ways to cut back on spending and reduce overall expenses. As health care costs rise, this is one area where it pays to know what’s out there and how to get the most for your money. Here are some ways your family can save.

  1. Do your homework – Calculate what your health care needs really are then shop around to find the best deal. Let the costs of the last year or two be your guide. Figure in everything including over the counter medications and glasses.
  2. High deductible – If your family is generally healthy, consider getting a high deductible plan. These plans can qualify you for an HSA (Health Savings Account) which can save you even more money. The money in your HSA can also be carried over into the next year.
  3. Prevention – Get regular check-ups. Staying on top of your family’s health can prevent a lot of costly trips to the doctor. Annual physicals and well baby checks are usually inexpensive or fully covered under many insurance plans, so take advantage of that.
  4. Insurance extras – Look for the extra perks your insurance company may offer along with your policy. You may be able to call into a 24 hour nurse line rather than make that trip to urgent care. Many insurances offer discount memberships to the local YMCA or health club, too.
  5. Stay healthy – This may seem like a no brainer, but it is worth repeating. Some insurance companies will offer healthy consumers lower premiums. So stay in shape, keep your weight down, don’t smoke, don’t use alcohol excessively and get plenty of exercise.
  6. Check your bills – Did you know that billing errors account for a high percentage of increased health care costs? Check your bills for errors. Sometimes the wrong billing code can cause problems or even lead to a claim being denied. Make sure you got what you paid for when the bill comes.
  7. Use an FSA – Flexible Spending Accounts are used to pay for health care expenses not covered by insurance or out of pocket medical expenses. They also make nice tax shelters for your money. A word of caution: don’t over fund your FSA as there is a use it or lose it policy with these accounts. Calculate the amount of money you think you will use within the year and put in around 80% of that; otherwise you may end up scrambling to spend down the surplus at the end of the year.
  8. Split costs over 2 years – Sometimes when there is a lot of dental work to be done it is more cost effective to split the cost over 2 plan years rather than doing it all in one year.
  9. Appeal decisions – If your insurance denies you a service you believe you should receive, you have the right to appeal. If you are denied the second time, you can contact the state insurance commission and they will mediate the dispute. If you win the dispute, you could end up saving hundreds of dollars.
  10. Samples – Doctors are always getting free samples from the pharmaceutical companies. Ask your doctor if they have samples of the medication they are prescribing for you. Sometimes your doctor will give you enough samples to cover the span of treatment for the ailment.

Finding ways to trim a little in the health care budget doesn’t have to be painful. The result can be a healthier, happier family and money saved as you look for the best deals around and make a commitment to live an active, healthy life style.