Entries in Pregnancy (146)


Kate Middleton a Fit Role Model for New Moms

Oli Scarff/Getty Images(LONDON) -- We all love Kate Middleton for putting her "mummy tummy" on full display.

But the truth is, she was sleek and fit before she got pregnant with baby George and, if she's like most high-profile moms, she'll be back in fighting shape in no time flat.

Celebrity trainer Sara Haley says it possible for any woman to bounce back after having a baby even if she doesn't have the royal assistance from a stable of chefs and trainers. Haley offers these five tips for new moms who want to return to pre-baby form quickly, but safely and without breaking the bank.

9 Up = 9 Down
It took you nine months to fully expand and Haley says it usually takes about the same amount of time to completely restore your body to its former glory once you've had a baby. Keep in mind that having a baby is a major physical event. Even if you lose weight quickly, it may not be until your baby's nine-month landmark that your body looks the way you want and your pre-pregnancy clothes fit properly again. That timeline will vary by a few months depending on a number of factors, including your age, genetics, how many kids you've had, whether or not you breastfeed and if you've had a C section.

When You Go, Go Hard
Middleton, no doubt, has the luxury of having a nanny to help out with child care if she wants one. Maybe you do, too. But even if that's true, you still won't have as much time as you did before to hit the gym once the baby is born. Haley advises doing 20-minute interval workouts that alternate bursts of high-energy cardio exercise with periods of slower "recovery" cardio. One recent Auburn University study found that this type of training workout burns a whopping 13.5 calories per minute and doubles the speed of your metabolism for at least 30 minutes afterwards so you continue to burn fat and calories at a high rate, even after you've hit the showers.

Hit the Weights
Cardio is great for weight loss, but strength training is what picks everything up and puts it back in place. Pump iron that's heavy enough to make your muscles feel fatigued after 8 to 15 repetitions of an exercise, Haley says, and train every part of your body at least twice a week. That means doing exercises that focus on your chest, back, shoulders, arms, abs, butt and legs. If you have time, add in regular Pilates and yoga sessions to help tighten and tone the waistline, easily the No. 1 postpartum trouble zone for most women.

Watch What You Eat
You're no longer eating for two -- but that's tempting to forget, especially when you're groggy from lack of sleep. You don't have to starve yourself but, Haley advises, don't eat uncontrollably, either. Keep in mind that women who breastfeed need 450 to 500 additional calories per day according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. A turkey sandwich with cheese on whole wheat with a piece of fruit is a good example a high-quality, 500-calorie meal.

Match Expectations to Effort
What you put into your workouts is what you get out of them, Haley says. If you skip a couple weeks of workouts and double up on the ice cream, don't expect any miracles. However, if you are patient and consistent, your hard work will pay off. It may not happen quite as soon as you'd like, but you will be rewarded for sweating it out on a regular basis.

Don't beat yourself up if, unlike the A-list babymakers, your body doesn't slim down instantly after popping one out. True, some celebs are blessed with a body type that snaps back quickly, but they've probably also got a good stylist to help camouflage any extra baby pudge. And they've got another trick up their sleeve you don't: It's called air brushing.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Is Kate Middleton Late? Figuring Out a Due Date

Arthur Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Given the widely held belief that the Duchess of Cambridge has passed her due date, the anxious anticipation for the birth of England’s future monarch has grown.

While Buckingham Palace never released an official due date, only stating that Prince William and Duchess Catherine’s baby was due in “mid-July,” the entire world has been discussing possible due dates, even betting on when the baby will arrive.

For this reason, taking a closer look at the obstetric concept of the due date and what it means is a good idea. Here’s ABC News’ Dr. Jennifer Ashton’s explanation of the term:

Given the fact that only approximately 5 percent of babies arrive on their precise due date, it’s no surprise when a baby is overdue. Full-term pregnancy refers to a five-week period of time between 37 weeks and 42 weeks, although babies born after 40 weeks (which represents the official due date) are considered post-term.

(Fun fact: in Obstetrics, the due date is technically referred to as the EDC, which stands for “estimated date of confinement.” This harkens back to a time when pregnant women would need to remain house-bound to deliver their babies and then recover, thus they were “confined” to home!)

The important issue with projecting an estimated due date has to do with knowledge of dates roughly 10 months prior. This refers to the date of the last menstrual period, and length of a woman’s menstrual cycle. For women who know the precise date of the period that occurred prior to conception, and who have a menstrual cycle that is 28 days long (many have cycles that are less or more than 28 days), and who know when conception occurred, it’s significantly easier to accurately date the pregnancy and thus arrive at a valid due date. However, it’s not only important for a woman to know these dates, but also crucial to have a sonogram in the first trimester of pregnancy, which measures the length of the fetus, the size of the gestational sac and can forecast the EDC.

A sonogram performed in the first trimester is said to be accurate to within a week, when done in the second trimester within two weeks, and within the third trimester within three weeks. Thus, the accuracy of an ultrasound to provide information on the size of the fetus that can project the due date is greatest within the first trimester.

So given the complex interaction between dates of a last menstrual period, measurement of a fetus that is just millimeters in size in the first trimester and the five-week range of time wherein a fetus can be born and be considered full-term, it’s not surprising that many babies pass their projected due dates. When this happens, the fetus is usually monitored a little more closely with sonograms to check the amount of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby and other parameters. Called a Biophysical Profile, this non-invasive test checks the baby’s heart rate in reaction to its body movement, its muscular tone, its breathing movements (fetal lungs and chest expand and make breathing movements in utero) and its body movements.

The fetus can receive a maximum of two points for each of the five parameters, which help to test fetal well-being. A score between eight and 10 out of a maximum of 10 points is considered reassuring, although the Ob literature suggests that this test is really better at identifying a compromised fetus (that needs to be delivered) than it is at assessing a fetus that is “well.” In other words, a low score may be more significant and predictive of an impaired fetus than a high score is of predicting a healthy fetus.

Doctors also recommend the mom monitor fetal movement with “kick counts,” which is a simple way of following how often the baby moves in utero. Though there is less room for a baby to kick at the end of pregnancy, babies in utero should still be moving at least 10 times in two hours. It’s all about watching the clock at this point in pregnancy…watching and waiting.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Connecticut Woman Gives Birth at Home, Alone

Creatas/Thinkstock(SOUTHINGTON, Conn.) -- If Erica Bovino of Southington, Conn., is still trying to recall the exact details of the birth of her second child, daughter, Stella, three weeks ago, it is easy to understand why.

Bovino, 34, delivered Stella at home, in her bathroom, with no one else in the house besides Stella’s older brother, 3-year-old Jack, who slept through the whole thing.

“I didn’t call anyone because I figured I had plenty of time,” Bovino, a speech pathologist, said of the day, May 6, when she realized she was going into labor.

Bovino had been in labor with Jack for 30 hours, so based on the many labor and delivery books she had read, she anticipated at least a 15-hour labor with her second child.

Instead, Bovino felt her water break less than five hours after that first contraction. Her first step was to call her husband, Paul Sulzicki, also 34, and a police officer, to tell him to get home quickly from his overnight shift.

“I realized there was no way I was going to be able to get to a hospital in time,” Bovino said, throwing away the couple’s plan to drive the 30 minutes to Yale-New Haven Hospital and deliver naturally with a midwife, as she had done with Jack.

“All my instincts kicked in,” she said. “I went into a primal mode.”

Luckily for Bovino, a natural birth advocate, she had done her research during her pregnancy on delivering without the aid of medicine or, in her extreme case, without the aid of anyone else.

“I didn’t know what position she was in and I knew I had to get on my hands and knees,” she said.  “Then something told me to go into the bathroom and squat.”

“I remember just trying to squat and I said, ‘Come on baby, come on baby,’” she said. “I put all my effort into opening and getting her out. I was like I have to get her out. It’s life and death.”

At 5:35 a.m., Bovino lifted out of herself a healthy six pound and three ounces baby named Stella Jane Bovino Sulzicki.

When Stella first came out, her eyes were closed, giving Bovino a momentary scare. Then, as soon as Sulzicki made it home and ran into the bathroom, mother and father saw their newborn daughter’s eyes for the first time.

“All of a sudden she opened her big eyes and that’s the moment my husband walked in,” Bovino said. “He calmly took us to the bed and I started nursing immediately and he called 911 and called my midwife.”

Paramedics arrived shortly and after determining that both mom and baby were fine, granted Bovino’s request that she continue nursing her in bed to bond with Stella, and also allow time to introduce Stella to her big brother, who had slept through her entire birth.

“My husband went into his room and said, “Do you want to come into mommy and daddy’s room, mommy’s had the baby,” Bovino said.  “He [Jack] was just all smiles.”

Bovino was then taken to the hospital with Stella for an overnight stay, just as any new mom would do.  She says the doctors there were impressed with what she had accomplished.

“People have babies at home but they don’t do it completely alone,” she said. “It’s very rare. I’m still processing the whole thing. With lack of sleep and everything, it’s hard to remember exactly what happened.”

What Bovino does know for sure is that she wants to use her accidental home birth as a message for other moms.

“I want to be an inspiration to other women to empower them to trust themselves and their instincts,” she said. “Hospitals are there, and they’re wonderful in emergencies, but a lot of times women don’t trust themselves and their bodies that they’re able to do it.”

“I trusted my body and the process,” Bovino said. “I tried to stay as focused and looking inward as I could and not let any fear come over me.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Mother's Obesity Surgery May Break Cycle in Kids

George Doyle/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Children born to mothers who have undergone weight-loss surgery weigh less than their siblings born before the mother's surgery.

According to a study published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, not only were children conceived post-surgery less likely to be obese, they also had fewer risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. Researchers believe that because mothers absorb less fat and fewer calories after their surgery, the nutritional environment in their womb may be altered, training their children's genes to work differently.

While obesity may pass along problems from mother to child, researchers are not yet certain whether the benefits seen by children conceived after weight-loss surgery are permanent.

Additionally, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists points out that a mother's weight when they conceive is not all that matters. While mothers are supposed to gain weight during pregnancy, packing on too many pounds can significantly increase the child's risk of obesity and diabetes.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Study: Light Drinking During Pregnancy Has No Effect on Children

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- A study shows that drinking alcohol lightly during pregnancy may not have a negative effect on children.

The study, which was published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, evaluated over 10,000 children whose mothers were either non-drinkers or light drinkers - fewer than one to two drinks per week - during pregnancy. Researchers tracked the children's development from nine months to 7 years of age.

According to the study, light drinking during pregnancy did not have a significant impact on the children's cognitive or behavioral growth. The research did not differentiate between types of alcohol, or determine whether drinking during a particular portion of the pregnancy were more or less dangerous.

Researchers did point out that because women may handle alcohol differently, avoiding alcohol entirely is more safe.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Drew Barrymore Not Concerned with Losing Baby Weight

(NEW YORK) -- Drew Barrymore gave birth to her first child, Olive, six months ago, but the actress admits she's in no rush to be thin.

"I’d rather kill myself than get into a bikini right now!" Barrymore joked to In Touch Weekly magazine. "I take care of myself. But I’m never going to be the person who talks about diet and exercise -- I would fail that conversation!”

The 38-year-old actress says she experienced some unusual things during her pregnancy. "I got a wonderful little goatee [when I was pregnant] and it was red. I also got hyperpigmentation on my cheeks," she dished to the magazine, saying that a bit of primping with her favorite beauty product fixed those issues. “If I was going off to a desert island, concealer is the one thing I’d want to take. It’s the only product that I couldn’t make it without!"

Barrymore says she's decided to scale back on acting and directing films for the time being and focus on her baby and husband Will Kopelman. Regarding her relationship with Kopelman now that their baby has arrived, Barrymore says, “You have to try to squeeze in the occasional date night. For our last date night, he took me downtown for ramen noodles, which is my favorite!”

Barrymore's full interview is in this week's issue of In Touch Weekly magazine on newsstands now.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Study: Pregnancy Can Take a Toll on Your Feet's Arches

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Attention moms-to-be: you may want to pay more attention to your feet, a new study suggests.

Writing in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, researchers from the University of Iowa report that pregnancy flattens out the arches of the feet, most likely due to the obvious weight increase during pregnancy and an increased looseness in the joints caused by the flood of pregnancy hormones.

Of the 49 pairs of pregnant women’s feet they examined, the researchers found that 60 to 70 percent experienced decreased arch height from early pregnancy to five months after childbirth.  That caused corresponding increases in foot length up to four inches, as well as a collapsing of the arches.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Study Finds Postpartum Anxiety More Common than Depression

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Many mothers are screened for depression after giving birth, but a new study shows that postpartum anxiety is even more common in the days and months following delivery.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, followed 1,132 U.S. women who gave birth between 2006 and 2009. The women were surveyed immediately after birth and followed for six months.

Seventeen percent of mothers had postpartum anxiety, according to the study. Most of the cases of postpartum anxiety discovered in the study were in first-time mothers or mothers who gave birth via Cesarean delivery.

Two weeks after delivery, the study found that anxiety levels dropped drastically. However, postpartum anxiety was linked with reduced duration of breastfeeding and increased use of health care.

While screening for postpartum depression is common, given the higher rate of postpartum anxiety, the study calls for wider screening for the mental impact of delivery on mothers.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Expectant Dads Experience Pregnancy Emotions Too

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The 40 weeks of pregnancy are clearly an exciting time for any pregnant woman, but where is dad in all the action?

“Since it took two people to create the pregnancy, I think it’s only fair to acknowledge some of the issues and feelings facing the other half of the pregnancy equation,” said Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News' senior medical contributor and a practicing OB-GYN.

Emotionally, future dads are often just as stoked as future moms, Ashton said, and they feel the same pride and eager anticipation.  But they may have plenty of fears as well.

“They may stress over the baby’s health, mom’s health, finances, whether or not they will be a good father or the fact they are no longer the center of their wife’s attention,” Ashton said.

One way to ease daddy anxiety is to have him tag along for OB-GYN visits.  There, he’ll get the rundown on his partner’s changing body and the growing baby, as well as some good tips on preparing for labor and birth, Ashton said.

Expectant dads should also consider documenting this special time with a video journal or photo scrap book, Ashton added.  The more involved a dad is in the pregnancy, the more mom will appreciate it.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


False Pregnancy Condition Fools Would-Be Parents and Doctors  

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- More often, cases of the opposite sort make headlines: a woman who doesn't know she's pregnant gives birth. Earlier this month, a 44-year-old Michigan woman arrived at a hospital thinking she had a hernia then delivered a 10-pound-baby later that day.

But doctors also report cases of women who believe they're in late-term pregnancy but aren't.

In classic instances of the rare condition, known as pseudocyesis, these women even have pregnancy symptoms, everything from an elevated presence of pregnancy hormones to enlarged breasts.

"The only ones (not present are) heart tones of the baby, an actual picture of the baby, and delivery," said Dr. Paul Paulman, professor of family medicine at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine. "Everything else has been shown."

But the fact that a woman's beliefs alone could make her body act as if it's pregnant, according to Paulman, makes some sense because the pituitary gland, a pea-sized structure at the base of the brain, helps control menstrual cycles and milk secretion.

"The brain decides to be pregnant," he said. "The good news is as far as physical harm, unless you're having a c-section you probably won't get hurt," Paulman said.

Doctors sometimes do get fooled. Two years ago an emergency c-section was performed on a woman who wasn't pregnant after doctors tried to induce her for two days at a North Carolina hospital. Two physicians were disciplined.

There aren't any reliable statistics that could help explain how commonly women get pseudocyesis, according to Dr. Orit Avni-Barron, a psychiatrist and director of The Fish Center for Women's Health at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Typically the condition occurs in women ages 20 to 39 and it has been observed in women of all races and income levels in this country, said Avni-Barron, who published a report on pseudocyesis in 2010. Research that does exist is based only on case studies -- no randomized trials, Avni-Barron said.

Dr. Paulman agrees. "It's really impossible to track," he said. "The people really don't want to hang around and answer a bunch of questions after they find out they're not pregnant."

Gecsi said women often get embarrassed after finding out the truth. Typically they accept the fact and go home to "normal lives," she said.

Pseudocyesis isn't a recent phenomenon or even one limited to humans. The illness has been observed in other mammals such as dogs. Even medieval writings refer to the condition. Many historians argue that the English queen Mary Tudor, known as "Bloody Mary," suffered from pseudocyesis. Today, shows including Glee and Law and Order have featured characters suffering with false pregnancies.

Pseudocyesis is most common in developing nations where large families are valued and a woman's identity is tightly wrapped up with being a mother, Avni-Barron said.

"It's almost a social disorder," she said. "It's fascinating."

The condition appears to be rarer today in the developed world as family sizes have shrunk and a woman's primary role is no longer only to raise children, she said.

Risk factors include a strong desire to have a baby, low self-esteem, and a tendency to misinterpret things and come to conclusions easily, she said. If depression is present, it can affect neurotransmitters such as serotonin which interact with reproductive hormones to "cause a real change" in a woman's body, Avni-Barron said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio