Expires: Fri, 15 Nov 1996 00:00:00 GMT
See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
These are mostly things which I saved off the net - if it is mine, it will say so unless I happened to be one parent answering a question... I will keep pulling what seem to be thorough articles off the net, and I will also take submissions on any general pregnancy topic if people will send them! Send me all that great stuff you saved because you thought it would make a good FAQ! -Sabrina (ps. Those who took the time to compile answers to a question or type in info from a book will get credit unless they ask for their personal onfo to be deleted; answers to posted questions will have their personal info deleted unless they ask for it to be included... This is for brevity!) -------------------------- Index -------------------------- Twins and More - Resources Perineal Massage Instructions Sling Patterns Natural Ways to Bring On Labor Pre-Eclampsia and Toxemia Prevention Exercise In Pregnancy Exercise Video Reviews Help! How Do I Sleep Comfortably? Sciatica - Pain in Back or Down Legs Drugs During Pregnancy ------------------------------------------------ Twins and More - Resources ------------------------------------------------ From: Jezebel <firstname.lastname@example.org> Twins mailing list - To subscribe to the list, send e-mail to email@example.com. In the body of the message, write subscribe twins <yourname@address> The list is also available in digest form. Among other net resources, there is a newsgroup called alt.parenting.twins-triplets. America Online users can participate in scheduled "live chats" for parents of multiples. For information on these, contact TWINMOM212@aol.com. These are the books I have found most useful. Each of them includes an extensive list of resources available to parents of multiples (the lists in _Having Twins_ and _Mothering Twins_ even include a number of international organizations). _Having Twins_ by Elizabeth Noble (some call it the "bible" of multiple pregnancy) _Mothering Twins_ by Linda Albi, et al. _Multiple Blessings_ by Betty Rothbart If you have trouble finding any of these books, they can be ordered from a support organization called Twin Services, which offers many other publications, along with a counseling hotline and referrals. Twin Services PO Box 10066 Berkeley, CA 94709 Twinline: 510/524-0863 Other good support organizations: Triplet Connection PO Box 99571 Stockton, CA 95209 209/474-3073 or 474-0885 MOST (Mothers of Supertwins) PO Box 951 Brentwood, NY 11717-0627 516/434-MOST National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs 12404 Princess Jeane NE Albuquerque, NM 87112-4640 505/275-0955 ----------------- From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Pascale Louvet) Try the Twins and Supertwins mailing list : (see above for address...) Topics of Discussion: -------------------- This list is intended for discussion of *all* aspects of twins and supertwins (triplets, quadruplets,...). Though a lot of the day-to-day discussion revolves around survival strategies and equipment purchases for new parents of twins and more, discussion of other topics is very welcome. If there is a topic pertaining to multiples that you'd like to discuss here, please feel free to start a thread if there is not one currently going on. In particular, this list is also intended for adult twins and supertwins to discuss issues about being a multiple -- there *are* other adult twins and triplets on the list, they just don't pipe in all that often. Feel free to introduce yourself and start a discussion of topics of interest to you. (The new parents really appreciate being able to see things from the perspective of those of you who survived your childhoods as multiples relatively intact!) Ftp Archive: ----------- An ftp accessible archive of Twins list traffic is being maintained. To gain ftp access, E-mail Bob Forde at email@example.com. To obtain a Who's Who on the list, use ftp and get the twins list directory (long) or the twins list index (shorter). To add your entry, send it to the list with the subject "Roll Call" and you will be added. If you do not have ftp access, mail to Bob Forde at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will send you whichever you request. Bob has also added an archive of threads starting from April or May 1994. These may be found in D:\public\twins\threads. If you have a question you suspect has been discussed here a million times before, you may want to try there first. However, in Bob's words: "I do NOT intend to replace the folks on the list or squash new thoughts, just create a rough FAQ library to start discussions." Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): -------------------------------- Jean Dickey maintains and distributes a twins FAQ (list of frequently asked questions, with answers). It is available from her by email at email@example.com, or from the ftp site described above. ---------------------------------------- Perineal Massage Instructions ---------------------------------------- From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Sabrina Cuddy) >: Could someone please e-mail me the method for perineal massage? We are >: expecting in April and my wife had episiotomies with our first two. Can >: we please get some advise so she can perhaps avoid being cut this time? Well, all these requests must mean nobody is sending anything, so I'll try... I have here an excellent 2-page pamphlet with pictures. If you really want to learn to do this, I suggest finding something similar so you can really SEE it! This one is from ICEA (International Childbirth Education Association) by Elise Fleming. Write for copies to: ICEA, PO BOX 20048, Minneapolis, MN 55420-0048, USA. I also hate to be a pessimist, because perineal massage does help, as do Kegel exercises and squatting during pregnancy, but once you have had an episiotomy the scar tissue is more likely to tear than either intact skin or scar tissue from a previous tear. Anyway, here are the basics from this pamphlet: Cautions: Avoid the urinary opening to prevent UTI, and if you have active herpes lesions, wait until they heal to avoid spreading the virus. General Hints: Use a mirror to find the vagina and perineum at first. If you feel tense, take a warm bath or use a warm compress 5-10 min on your perineum. If you had an episiotomy before, concentrate part of the time on the scar area to help it stretch. Remember that upright positions for delivery (sitting, standing, squatting), or side-lying reduce strain on the perineum. Lying on your back with feet in stirrups is most likely to get you an episiotomy. After birth, do Kegel exercises to tone up the muscles which have stretched. Directions: Wash your hands. Sit or lean back in a comfortable position. Put a lubricant such as KY jelly, cocoa butter, vitamin E oil, or vegetable oil on your thumbs and around your perineum. If your body produces enough natural lubricant, you can use that, too. Place your thumbs 1-1 1/2 inches (3-4cm) inside your vagina (your fingers fall against your buttocks). Press downwards (towards your anus) and to the sides at the same time. Gently but firmly keep stretching until you feel a slight burning, tingling, or stinging sensation. Hold the pressure steady at that point with your thumbs for about 2 minutes until the area becomes a little numb and you don't feel the tingling as much. Keep pressing with your thumbs. Slowly and gently massage back and forth over the lower half of your vagina, working lubricant into the tissues. Keep this up for 3-4 minutes. As you massage, gently pull outwards on the lower part of the vagina with your thumbs hooked inside. This stretches the skin as the baby's head will during birth. Do this every day after the 34th week, and after a week you should notice an increase in flexibility and stretchiness. If you can't reach or are uncomfortable doing this, your partner can do it for you - using thumbs or index fingers, and being sensitive to your feelings as well as your directions for more or less pressure. ------------------ From: email@example.com (Cynthia Hardie) I couldn't find the instructions my midwife gave me for Perineal Massage. I did find instructions in the Birth Partner by Penny Simkin. We did the massage about 5 weeks before my due date. I couldn't really do this myself so had to depend on my hubby. My friend said that they were able to use her thumb pushing down and doing a u pattern. These are only guidelines, once you start you will get a pattern that works for you. We tried to do this every day. Perineal Massage ------------------ To start you will need vegetable oil, or water-soluble jelly. Baby oil or mineral oil is very drying to the tissue. We poured the veggie oil in a bowl and slightly warmed it. Either partner can do the massage. Be sure to start with short fingernails, and clean hands. Get in a semi-sitting position, with legs bent and relaxed. Rub the enough oil into the perineum (area between vagina and anus) to allow your fingers to move easily over the tissue and lower vaginal wall. Use your index fingers. Start with one and progress to two. Place your fingers well inside the expectant mother's vagina (up to the second knuckle);Rotate them in opposite directions upward along the sides and lower boarder while pulling outward gently. Do this for three minutes. This movement will stretch the vaginal tissue,the muscles surrounding the vagina, and the skin of the perineum. Finish the massage by rubbing the skin of the perineum between the thumb and forefinger (thumb on outside,finger on inside) for about 1 minute. In the beginning, the tissue feels tight, but with time an repeated massages it relaxes and stretches. The massage takes four to five minutes. Tell the expectant mother to concentrate on relaxing the perineum as she feels the pressure. As she becomes more comfortable with the massage, increase the pressure just enough to make the perineum begin to sting from the stretching. This same stinging sensation will occur as the baby's head is being born. Ask your midwife or OB if they have instructions. They may have tips or suggestions. If this is you second <or more> baby, you need to give extra attention to any scars from episotomies or tears. This isn't something that you must do in order to avoid an episotomy but it helps. Some people find that this massage isn't something they want to do. My sister tried it but hated it, hopefully YMMV. ---------------------- Sling Patterns ---------------------- From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Vasudha Govindan) Subject: Patterns for slings Here are sling related posts I saved from misc.kids long time ago. Hope you find them useful. There were other posts in this thread, but I didnt save them all. I have removed the names and addresses of the posters (not sure what the proper nettiquite is). -Vasudha -------------------------------------------------------------------- These are instructions for making a "tube sling." Use 36" wide material. Measure the diagonal distance from the point where your left shoulder meets the arm, to the top of your right hip bone (on the side of your body). Multiply this by two, and add a seam allowance (or more if you like carrying your baby low) and sew it together. Some people have tried tying a knot too, but that can be less comfortable. If you're creative, you could also figure out how to use metal rings and make it adjustable, like the store-bought kind. Remember also, this is a YMMV thing. Try basting the seam first to see if it's the right fit before sewing it together. Or use a folded bedsheet pinned together to determine how much fabric you need before going out and buying it. By the way, this idea comes from a booklet called "Outside Wombs" by Christina Otterstrom-Cedar. She also has instructions for making other wrap-around slings, and diagrams and photos for how to use the slings in a wide variety of positions. You can order the booklet by sending $5.00 (US or Cdn) to Box 82, Eagle Bay, BC, Canada, V0E 1T0. (I have no connection to this person, nor do I stand to benefit from telling you about this. I just bought the book when I saw someone wearing a home-made sling that looked so comfortable and un-bulky, with such a happy baby inside :)) ---------------------------------- I bought a pattern for a baby sling, but haven't had time to sew it yet. In the meantime, my husband and I have been using a piece a 45" wide fabric tied with a square knot. That works reasonably well for us, but we look forward to the shoulder padding of the "real" sling, and being able to adjust it, too. (Not to mention getting rid of that knot in the middle of our backs.) I got the pattern through the mail from: ASA inspirations P.O. Box 11683 Champaign, IL 61826. It cost $6.95 (p/h included). ----------------------------------- Natural Ways to Bring On Labor ----------------------------------- From: email@example.com (Tracy Cramer) I know how you feel because I was overdue with the newest boss of the house just 8 short weeks ago. 12 LONG days overdue! I also posted a plea for suggestions.... * Castor oil isn't generally a good idea, so avoid it if you can. * Raspberry Leaf Tea tones the uterus & may help * I took Black Cohosh capsules which were recommended in a book I found at the local health food store. * Accupressure - on right foot between the inside ankle bone & achilles tendon. * Spicy food I took the Black Cohosh capsules for 3 days before Austin was born. I did the accupressure several times a day. I also listened to classical music while talking to my belly - I told the baby it was time to be born because we were ready for him while rubbing my belly. (I know it sounds dumb, but I was pretty desperate!) The evening I had him, I had Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner. With the chicken I had fries that I dumped hot sauce on. I told my husband I was going to make the kid so miserable in there, he'd want to leave. I don't know what worked but I think actively trying to stimulate labor also works psychologically. Because you are doing something "constructive" rather than sitting around worrying about labor starting, your mind thinks "hey, she's really serious! Maybe it's time!" This is just a theory though :) ---------------------- From: LEJL36B@prodigy.com (Sheryl Angeloni) Please be careful with your efforts to induce labor. Nipple stim produces oxytocin which is the natural form of pitocin used medically to induce labor. Ideally you should be monitored to be sure you aren't stressing your baby with too much oxytocin. Just be patient. Let you baby decide when he (or she) is ready to join the world. Sheryl, OB nurse and been there 5 times myself ---------------------------------- Pre-Eclampsia/Toxemia ---------------------------------- From: Linda Franz <firstname.lastname@example.org> The following information about pre-eclampsia (whose symptoms include protein in the urine), is taken from information found in my ALACE (formerly Informed Birth and Parenting) Childbirth Education manual. Pre-eclampsia (also called toxemia and eclampsia and the newest moniker, PIH, or pregnancy induced hypertension) can be a serious complication of pregnancy, but often contradictory things are said about it. Doctors still don't really know what causes this complication of pregnancy characterized by extreme swelling of the limbs, protein in the urine, and elevated blood pressure. Dr. Tom Brewer, working very pragmatically with inner-city women in Richmond, CA, found that by increasing their protein intake, he was able to lower the toxemia rate from something like 17% to .5%. He then tried to develop an explanation for why this was successful. His idea is that metabolic toxemia of late pregnancy (MTLP) is the manifestation of a liver malfunction caused by malnutrition. The increased blood volume needed for a healthy pregnancy requires extra albumen, a protein that also keeps water in circulation in the blood. Without an adequate diet, the liver cannot make enough albumen and water leaks into the tissues, the blood volume falls, and the placenta function decreases. The woman appears puffy and has a sudden weight gain with this extra fluid. Blood pressure rises to try to maintain adequate blood flow and the woman may develop headaches, dizziness, or fainting. The kidneys try to absorb fluid, and shut down completely if the blood volume is critcally low. Protein appears in the urine because the tissues in the body begin metabolizing themselves since the liver has been overstressed in many of its functions, such as making protein. Some of the protein that the tissues use when they break down to provide for the woman'sprotein needs is excreted in the urine. PREVENTATIVE TREATMENT, therefore, involves good nutrition counseling, and insuring that pregnant women receive ADEQUATE PROTEIN (75-100 gms/day) and ESSENTIAL VITAMINS AND MINERALS FROM THEIR DIET. If toxemia does develop, the pregnant mother should EAT A HIGH PROTEIN DIET (120 gms a day), SALT HER FOOD TO TASTE, REMAIN ACTIVE, and take antibiotics to reduce the load on her liver. In severe cases, she should be given human serum albumen in the hospital. Many of the symptoms of MTLP are also associated with other problems in pregnancy and health, so a careful diagnosis should be done to determine if a woman with these symptoms actually does have toxemia. For more information, read "What Every Pregnant Woman Should Know: The Truth About Diet and Drugs in Pregnancy" by Gail Brewer and Tom Brewer, MD (NY: Random House). I'm not sure if Brewer's work is being recognized by the medical establishment, or not. Perhaps suggesting this book to your OB/midwife would be helpful if You find the information in this book useful. Some midwives have taken up the practical aspects of his work, and not only prevent toxemia, but have seen beginning symptoms turn around dramatically when they are caught early enough. I can also e-mail to anyone who's interested a specific set of recommendations for anyone noting one or more of the warning signs of PIH. The regimen was developed by a midwife, who's seen dramatic results with women who have followed it, often within three days. ---------------------------------------- Exercise in Pregnancy (including Kegels) ---------------------------------------- From: email@example.com (Lisa Stone) 1. Listen to your body. If something feels uncomfortable or painful, don't do it. 2. Avoid any exercise while lying on the back after the first trimester. This position can cause the growing uterus to restrict blood return through the vena cava which lies directly behind the abdomen. 3. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise. You need to stay well-hydrated to regulate both your body temperature and your growing baby's. 4. Exercise in a well-ventilated area and wear loose-fitting, breathable clothing to prevent over-heating. 5. Be aware of your changing center of gravity. Avoid any activity that involves sudden directional changes or that risks even mild abdominal trauma such as downhill skiing, rollerblading, horseback riding, etc. 6. Exercise regularly, preferably 20-30 minutes a day at least 3 times per week. Regular exercise will reduce the chance of injury and will help keep you in shape for "Labor Day." 7. Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to exercise the Kegel or pelvic floor muscle daily to prevent urinary incontinence and uterine prolapse, and to enhance sexual pleasure. Practice this exercise by stopping and starting the flow of urine. Once you have the hang of it, do not continue to perform the Kegel exercise while urinating, but rather perform the exercise while driving in the car or talking on the phone. Try to do at least 100 every day. 8. Pelvic Rocking is very good for the back and belly muscles - make sure to do these in a slow and controlled manner to avoid injury, and they can be valuable! Carefully let your belly sag towards the floor by tilting your pelvis forward - do not do this very far down, just a small tilt, then back to neutral, pulling the abdominal muscles in as you pull your back up. Do 20-40 at a session 4 times a day, and work up to 80 at bedtime. These exercises help keep baby from being in a posterior position and improve circulation to the lower body. The circulation benefit will be enhanced by lying down for at least 10 minutes after exercising. (this paragraph added by Sabrina after consulting with Lisa!) --------------------------------------------------- Exercise Videos In Pregnancy - Reviews From The Net (more reviews are always welcome!) --------------------------------------------------- >Does anyone have recommendations for a workout video for my wife? She >Does anyone have recommendations for a workout video for my wife? She >is 5.5 months along, feels great, and is looking for something to >replace her former workout routine (which had some high-impact in it). > >Someone mentioned the Kathy Smith tape... has anyone tried this or any >others? I am an exercise video addict and I loved the Kathy Smith pregnancy video. It was a little easy on days that you're feeling full of energy and not too big. On those days I would sometimes go back and do some of my regular low impact/step tapes. I also had a pregnancy step video that I liked a lot - something like Steppin thru Pregnancy. I believe there is also a fitness consultant who posts here who has a pregnancy step video - I'm going to look for that one this time around. ----------------- I did the Kathy Smith tape at the end of my pregnancy as until about 7 months its was too mild. Even then its a little mild, depending on the level you are used to . I used a lot of my old high impact tapes for step and regular aerobics and just toned them down to meet my energy levels. Brisk walks were good too. -------------- I have been using the Kathy Smith Pregnancy Workout video since I was 3 months and find it quite beneficial. I was never an exercise fanatic, but find doing it three times a week makes me sleep better, and I believe has curbed my weight gain(not that I'm obsessing about weight during pregnancy). Exercise is always a good thing! ------------ I like the Fit For 2 video. I found it more challenging than the Kathy Smith tape, but not as strenuous as my non-pregnancy tapes. It also talks about the guidelines for exercise during pregnancy, so when I go to a class at the gym, I can modify it to make it safe for me (a great thing since the instructors at the club don't seem to know what to do with a pregnant woman!). I especially like the ab workout and the relaxation part at the end. Lisa Stone (the instructor) is so energetic and the music is very upbeat (great after a long day at work) and the choreography is straightforward and fun. I know Lisa Stone posts here pretty regularly, so maybe you can find out from her how to get the tape. --------------- Hi all! I've been commissioned to conduct an informal survey on pregnancy workout videos so that Sabrina Cuddy can put the info into a FAQ. Please rate the following tapes on intensity of the workout, music, choreography, the instructor, other info contained on the tape, etc. You can post to the group or email me directly, and I'll forward everything to Sabrina. Thanks in advance! BTW, please be candid in your reviews, including the Fit For 2 video, because Sabrina wants to put together a non-biased FAQ for you. I won't take it too personally! 1. Kathy Smith's Pregnancy Program 2. Denise Austin's Pregnancy Plus 3. Jane Fonda's Pregnancy Workout 4. Pre & Postnatal Yoga 5. Stepping Through Pregnancy 6. Marie Osmond's Pregnancy Workout 7. Dr. Debra Levinson's Workout For Pregnancy and Recovery 8. ACOG's Pregnancy Workout 9. Buns of Steel 8: Pregnancy Workout 10. Fit For 2 Step Aerobic Workout For Pregnancy 11. Any others that I inadvertantly omitted Lisa :) -- ACE-certified pre- & post-natal fitness specialist Founder, Fit For 2 Pre- & Post-Natal Fitness (Atlanta, GA) Producer, Fit For 2 Step Aerobic Workout For Pregnancy video (http://www.nav.com/mainstreet/fitfor2.htm) ------------------------- 1. Kathy Smith's Pregnancy Program Do you have a year that this was produced? I tried using a Kathy Smith pregnancy tape when I was last pregnant in 1993, and it was ridiculous. The low impact workout was not long enough or intense enough to accomplish anything, and the leg work was done standing up, leaning on a chair. This is a ridiculous position for anyone who is very pregnant--you can accomplish a lot of the same stuff lying on the floor on your side, without risk of falling over (and leg exercises are a MUST for me because I have a tendency to get cramps if I don't keep them up.) I also tried the Jane Fonda tape and wasn't very impressed with that either. I ended up using my Homestretch tapes (she does explain modifications for pregnancy on some of them.) ------------------------- I have only done the Kathy Smith Pregnancy Video. It was an OK pick-me-up, especially on the days that I was really tired but it was not what I would call a real "workout". I was used to doing 30 minutes on the stairmaaster and 30 minutes on the treadmill then nautilus and free weights- or STEP. The music was pretty silly and I got so bored that I never made it through the toning exercises. I was a little surprised because I have both of her STEP tapes and really like them compared to other STEP tapes on the market. ------------------------- I like the Kathy Smith tape. I was a low-impacter pre-pregnancy, so I didn't have to modify much of the routine to fit my comfort level. Granted, I don't find it REAL challenging compared to what I did before, but at least it gets me up and going and revitalized enough to get through the rest of the evening. I don't find the legwork any problem yet (at 24 weeks). I like the abs workout. The upper-body work is not very challenging, even when I modify it with light weights and more reps. The stretching is pretty good and the relaxation section is educational for those who have never learned to do it. I haven't even looked at the post-preg exercises yet. The beginning part on the virtues of exercise is a waste of time, but the starting-out tips were helpful and I still review them occasionally. Overall, I'd say it's pretty good and gets me more motivated to exercise than trying to walk an hour in 90-degree weather (in Tucson, Ariz. and that's at 5:30 p.m.!) I haven't looked at the other tapes. ----------------------------- Don't know if this will help or not, but in the Spring 1995 issue of Shape Magazines "Fit Pregnancy", 9 videos were rated by the editors (?, I assume). Here they are... Rating ***** (best) to (*) worst. I will type in some (but probably not all of the comments they included in the rating). If anyone wants more info about a particular video, let me know. Buns and Abs of Steel 9: Post Pregnancy Workout ***** Recovering from childbirth herself, Madeleine Lewis gives new mothers a winning workout. A gently-yet-effective program for returning to pre-pregnancy shape, this video contains three progressive, 10-minute routines. You can start the first one almost immediately after delivery, even if you've had a C-section. Buns of Steel * - Pregnancy Workout ****1/2 Madeleine Lewis, one of the best choreographers in the business, lives up to her reputation with this solid aerobics workout. Excellent cuing, easy-to-follow moves and signature Buns of Steel lower-body toning make this a first-rate video. Denise Austin's Prepregnancy Plus Workout **** Austin is as effervescent and energetic as ever, and she presents good information on pregnancy from medical experts. The first 30 minutes of this video show low-impact aerobics and abdominal work adapted for expectant moms. Then there are 20 minutes of a more intense postnatal workout. Easy-to-follow, simple dance style. Dr. Debra Levinson's Exercises for Pregnancy and Recovery ** Debra Levinson, D.C., demonstrates stretching, breathing and variations of simple yoga poses. The exercises are not difficult, but modifications for pregnancy are not shown and some exercises, unless adapted, may stress a pregnant woman's back and neck. Fit for 2 Step Aerobic Workout for Pregnancy * Even seasoned exercisers need to be wary of the speed and intensity of this tape. It's a high-intensity workout for the very active. Choreographer Lisa Stone should review the pregnancy exercise guidelines that she states so well at the beginning. Stone, not pregnant herself, enthusiastically leads the workout, but the expectant women behind her are having a tough time keeping up. She reminds everyone to "hold their abs in tight," a difficult feat for those in their second or third trimesters. Stone teaches without consideration for the pregnant viewer. Kathy Smith's Pregnancy Workout ***** Filmed in 1989 during Smith's first pregnancy, this is still the best pre- and psotnatal tape on the market. An excellent total-body workout with lots of modifications; includes low-impact aerobics and toning. Graphics are explicit, the pace perfect. Includes informational insert. Miracle of Life Pregnancy Workout *** This creative, moderate-intensity, Latin-flavored, low-impact workout includes upper-and lower-body toning and relaxation. Gloria Quinlan cues the moves but gives little information and few modifications during the workout. Those accustomed to low-impact workouts shouldn't hae a problem with the lack of instruction. Available in Spanish. MomJam ****1/2 Former National Aerobics Champ Tyla Reich was expecting when she led this lively, simple-to-follow 84-minute tape. Her perkiness is matched by that of her pregnant co-stars, actresses Mimi Rogers, Cassandra ("Elvira") Peterson and Sheryl Lee Ralph. They may have been forced to mouth saccharine-cute lines, but his is no wimpy workout. The aerobics session uses some complicated arm-and-leg combos, and the groans during the strength training (with Dynabands) are genuine enough. The workout ends with a soothing guided relaxation and stretch. Steppin' Babies * If you can follow this tape - een without a baby in your arms - you are WOnderWoman. Instructor Laura J.S. Brown is convinced that holding baby while you step your way back to fitness is better than leaving the infant with a sitter, but she demonstrates poor stepping technique and gives inadequate instruction. You'll find it difficult to follow the video and adjust your newborn without tripping - especially since the camera angles don't always give a good view of the moves. Choreography is typical of a step class at the high-intermediate level, not what you would expect for exercisers recovering from childbirth. The pivots, lunges, repeaters and quick changes are inappropiate while holding a baby in your arms. Finally, done - gotta get back to work!! I did type the entire article in after all as it seems to have a lot of good information. Once again, this was a rating done in the Shape magazine Fit Pregnancy, Spring 1995. Hope it helps... Kirsten (firstname.lastname@example.org) PS The opinions are Shape Magazines, the typos are mine! -------------------------------- >Don't know if this will help or not, but in the Spring 1995 issue of Shape >Magazines "Fit Pregnancy", 9 videos were rated by the editors (?, I assume). >Rating ***** (best) to (*) worst. > >Fit for 2 Step Aerobic Workout for Pregnancy * I guess this review is going to continue to haunt me for a while :( If anyone is basing their video choices on this review, please email me and give me the opportunity to state my case (thanks to those of you who already have!). There are always at least 2 sides to every issue, after all! BTW, the Fit For 2 video was one of only 2 featured on NBC's Today Show in a segment on exercise during pregnancy. Lisa :) (email@example.com) P.S. The Shape review was written by one woman (not an editor) who just so happens to have been involved in the production of 3 of the videos which received top honors (the two Buns of Steel tapes and the MomJam tape). Unbiased? You decide! ------------------------------- The Fit for 2 Step Aerobic Workout for Pregnancy video is the best I have seen. Lisa is enthusiastic, knowledgable and supportive. I use it at home without a step and still get a great workout. It is nice to learn about the ACOG guidelines and realize that Lisa is following the most recent information they provide. It helped get back into shape after our son was born also. ------------------------------- I belong to a health club that I use for aerobics and weights. I have also used quite a few of Kathy Smith's videos over the years so when I became pregnant, I bought hers. I am very disappointed. The intensity is light (with no tips to increase it.) The choreography is choppy and below par what I expect from a KS video. The transitions between steps are akward. I especially hate the break in the KS video where the women put on sunglasses and stand around singing a rap song. I didn't think it was "cute" the first time I saw it. I can't FF fast enough every time! Sorry to unload, I was expecting to get a good workout and feel disappointed. (Maybe it will be just right immediately post- partum.) ------------------------------- I also have the Fit for 2 video and like it. I've never done any of the other pregnancy tapes, but if the review says Fit for 2 is too intense, I definetely wouldn't buy any of the others! I really don't think it's too intense and I have no trouble doing it. ------------------------------- I used #10, the Buns of Steel 8: Pregnancy Workout. It was OK, in my opinion. It certainly got my heart rate up, but it was actually kind of boring. I attributed it to the instructor's enthusiasm and the low level of difficulty of the exercises. Also, the instructor was kind of awkward, like she hadn't had much experience doing exercise videos. The music was alright, and other info supplied by the instructor was good but not news to me. I used #1, Kathy Smith's pregnancy workout a few times. I checked it out from a local library. I liked it a lot - it flowed better than the Buns of Steel video, and the instructor kept me interested. Music was a bit peppier too, and choreography was more professionally done. That's about all I can remember - it's been about 8 months since I used either video! --------------------------------- Help! How do I Sleep Comfortably? --------------------------------- This is a common question because we have all heard that it is best to sleep on our left sides. The reason is that the vena cava, a large vein which returns blood from the legs to the uterus, runs along the right side of the spine. Blood flow may be improved by staying off the back or lying on the left side. Low blood pressure symptoms, such as dizziness and nausea may result from lying on your back after the first trimester. If they don't, you are probably fine! Back pain may also result from sleeping on your back, because of the weight of your uterus. Here are some suggestions from the net: > I almost always sleep on my back. My doctor said not to worry about > it because if I were compressing an artery, there would be symptoms > (like legs getting numb) that would warn me to roll over. I do, > however, sleep propped up on pillows because I usually read myself to > sleep in a semi-sitting position, so I'm not really flat on my back. I sleep on my back and both sides as well. I haven't gained that much weight and am at 21 weeks, so I figure the back-sleeping position is still OK, and I would feel something bad if it wasn't. I have heard that the left side is "best," so I try to use that as much as possible - with a pillow between my knees. However, now I've been getting a cramp in my left leg which makes it uncomfortable to sleep on that side! I say, doing whatever is most comfortable for you is probably best. ------------------- >Are there any other back sleepers out there? >I have always preferred to sleep on my back, and I can't >seem to get comfortable on my side. I have beend sleeping >with a pillow between my legs, and it helps somewhat, but >my shoulder always feels like it's in the way. Hi! I was a back & side-sleeper before getting pregnant. I now try to limit myself to largely sleeping on my left side, as suggested as being the good thing to do for my baby & my body. I do miss sleeping on my back but have found that sleeping on my left side with the aid of a body pillow has really helped me to sleep comfortably. I'd recommend that you try a body pillow. I bought mind from a bed/bath speciality shop. They carried both down-filled and polyester-filled pillows. I thought I'd prefer the down but the poly pillow was actually softer and squishier so I opted for it. BTW, it was around $20 and came with a pillow case. -------------------- The answer is pillows! Prop her up. I sleep with one leg hooked over a pillow, a pillow cushioning my belly and a pillow behind my back, supporting it. also, a pillow under my head. It all gets a little annoying when you have to get up four times in the night to go to the bathroom, but it's worth it, and I've slept pretty comfortably. These are big, firm King-sized pillows bought especially for this purpose. Good luck! --------------------- > Are there any other back sleepers out there? > I have always preferred to sleep on my back, and I can't > seem to get comfortable on my side. I have beend sleeping > with a pillow between my legs, and it helps somewhat, but > my shoulder always feels like it's in the way. > Any suggestions? Please! :) One easy one for the shoulder thing, try putting your regular pillow on between your shoulder and your head; it makes the shoulder less noticable. I have seen, but have not ordered, a pillow in the Speigel catalog called the prega-puff that is really two pillows (fairly small) velcroed (so theyr'e adjustable together, you sleep between the two and they support you from both sides. ------------------------------------------- Sciatica - Nerve Pain in Back or Down Legs -------------------------------------------- From: "Corrine R. Johnson" <JohnsonC@calvertgroup.com> The book I grabbed "Your Pregnancy Week-by-Week -- by Glade B. Curtis" -- had this to say about: Sciatic-Nerve Pain Many women experience an occasional excruciating pain in their buttocks and down the back or side of their legs as pregnancy progresses. This is called sciatic-nerve pain because the sciatic nerve runs behind the uterus in the pelvis to the legs. Pain is believed to be caused by pressure on the nerve from the growing and expanding uterus. The best treatment for the pain is to lie on your opposite side. This helps relieve the pressure on the nerve. ---------------------------------------------- Drugs and Pregnancy (includes smoking/alcohol) ---------------------------------------------- From: "Corrine R. Johnson" <JohnsonC@calvertgroup.com> WHAT CAN I TAKE? by Bruce D. Shephard, M.D. Baby Talk, America's First Baby Magazine August 1995 >From Antacids to Tranquilizers, and everything in between, here's what does and doesn't mix with pregnancy. When you're pregnant, you worry about everything, from the foods you eat to the medications you take. When it comes to using drugs -- prescription or over-the-counter medications, even alcohol and cigarettes -- doctors urge pregnant women to use extreme caution. With good reason. In the 1950s. the drug thalidomide, used widely as a sedative, was found to cause serious limb deformities in thousands of babies -- approximately one-third of the babies exposed to it during early pregnancy. As a result of this tragedy, Congress in 1962 passed new laws requiring all drugs to be proven safe for anyone -- including pregnant women. Despite the thalidomide lesson, however, many pregnant women still exhibit a certain casualness about taking medications during pregnancy. Many feel that because a drug is readily available, either through prescription or over the counter, it must be safe for them to use. But using any drug while you're pregnant requires careful consideration -- and discussion with your doctor. Many drugs can be subtle in their effects, causing minor anomalies instead of a major defect. Other drugs' effects may be long-term, causing problems in an child that don't develop until adolescence or even later. The truth is that most birth defects have no single identifiable cause, but instead are linked to a combination of genetic or environmental factors. But the use -- or misuse -- of drugs in pregnancy is one contributing factor that can be easily be avoided. The Danger Period In earlier days, doctors believed that the placenta acted as a "barrier" to dangerous agents, protecting the fetus from anything its mother was exposed to. Now we know that most drugs easily cross the placenta and reach the fetus. Drugs or other agents that pass through the placenta to affect the fetal environment are called environmental factors. And environmental factors that have been lined definitively to birth defects are called teratogens. Besides drugs, other known teratogens are heavy metals (like lead) and certain chemicals to which a pregnant woman may inadvertently expose herself ad her unborn baby. Most fetal organ formation occurs during the first three months of pregnancy, thus making the first trimester the most dangerous time for exposing an unborn baby to teratogens. The teratogenic period -- the time when birth defects caused by environmental factors are most likely to occur -- is the period from two to eight weeks of fetal development. (If an embryo is exposed to a teratogen in the first two weeks of the first trimester, it usually causes an "all or none" effect -- meaning the pregnancy will end in miscarriage or the fetus will be unaffected.) But fetal development continues beyond the first trimester, and the developing baby remains vulnerable. The female genital system, for instance, does not completely form until well into the fifth month, and the brain continues its development throughout pregnancy. Therefore, damage tot he fetus's biochemistry and physiology may occur in the second half of pregnancy. For example, the antibiotic tetracycline may impair bone development when exposure occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy. And the drug Coumadin, which acts as a blood thinner in the adult, may cause internal bleeding in the fetus in the last half of pregnancy -- and can linger to cause this in the baby after birth. Likewise, tranquilizers and other drugs affecting the central nervous system may cause lethargy or decreased sucking in a newborn, or may have a more delayed impact in the form of subtle behavioral changes that appear later on in childhood. The risk to a fetus from exposure to drugs is especially high during the period between conception and the time a woman realizes she's pregnant. During those weeks, a woman may take over-the-counter and even recreational drugs without knowing she's putting her baby in danger. Many pregnant women may think of over-the-counter drugs as harmless because these medications are available with a prescription. Even after pregnancy is diagnosed, most western countries tend to support the concept of using these medications to alleviate pregnancy discomforts and symptoms as a relatively harmless practice. However, some over-the-counter drugs can cause problems for an unborn baby. (For a list of over--the-counter drugs that are generally considered safe for pregnant women, see attachment at the end of article.) A Rational Approach How do you decide which drugs -- if any -- are safe to use while you're pregnant? We know a limited amount about the effects of drugs on unborn babies, so it only makes sense to take the most cautious approach. The following points may help you make an informed decision about using prescription and non prescription drugs, both before and during pregnancy: o Avoid using any drugs (prescription, non prescription or recreational drugs, including alcohol) when you're trying to conceive. o Don't use any medication when you're pregnant, especially in the first three months, unless it has been prescribed by your doctor specifically for use during pregnancy. If you're having pregnancy-related discomforts, use non drug remedies. For example, morning sickness may be relived by changing your diet, reducing stress or limiting your activity. Ask your doctor for suggestions. o If you and your doctor determine that you must use a medication, choose its least potent form when ever possible. For example, when you need a decongestant, choose one in an inhaler form, which delivers less medication than a tablet. o Get information about any drug that you take. Know the drug's benefits and risks, as well as alternatives you can use. Ask your doctor thorough questions, read all leaflets that come with the medication, and look for a Teratogen Information Service (TIS) in your community (many are affiliated with a hospital or university). A TIS tracks available information on a variety of environmental factors, including drugs. o Be open with your health care provider. This is imperative, both for your health and your baby's. Talking to your doctor will not only help her spot any potential trouble, but the information she provides can give you peace of mind. For example, many women who become pregnant while taking oral contraceptives worry about possible birth defects. However, recent studies have disputed any link between birth control pills and birth defects, a reassuring fact for the hundreds of young women who conceive on the Pill every year. Your doctor can help you assess you own situation. Substance Abuse Substance abuse is never healthy for you, and when you're pregnant, it can have devastating effects on your baby. During pregnancy, dangerous drugs can include things that, while not exactly healthy, might be considered acceptable in many circles: cigarettes, alcoholic beverages or even illegal drugs. Most of these agents can be harmful to the woman who uses them -- and they also readily cross the placenta and reach the fetus, where they can cause serious problems. For example, alcohol consumption while pregnant can produce fetal alcohol syndrome, perhaps the most well-known syndrome of birth defects associated with drug abuse (see The Dangers of Drinking below). In other cases, many of these substances cause nutritional deficiencies and fetal growth problems, rather than outright birth defects. Here is a list of some of the more common illicit drugs -- and their effects on an unborn baby: o Marijuana has been linked to birth defects in studies on animals. Many babies born to women who smoked marijuana while they were pregnant exhibit problems such as impaired fetal growth. o Narcotics like heroin can cause preterm labor, growth problems and a fetal syndrome of narcotic withdrawal following birth. The incidence of sudden infant syndrome (SIDS) is ten times greater among infants whose mothers used narcotics while they were pregnant. o Cocaine use is associated with contractions of the uterus, which may lead to preterm labor or bleeding complications. The drug has been linked to birth defects (with incidence rates as high as one in ten among babies whose mothers used the drug), as well as miscarriage, stillbirth and growth retardation. o Amphetamines have been linked to heart defects in babies born to women who used them. Not just a street drug, amphetamines are the main ingredient in many over-the-counter diet pills. o Some tranquilizers, such as Valium, have been associated with birth defects. Also, heavy use in pregnancy has been linked to an infant withdrawal syndrome after birth, which has symptoms including low muscle tone, irritability and an impaired ability to regulate body temperature. The Dangers of Drinking Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a distinct pattern of physical and mental abnormalities that shows up in infants born to women who drank during their pregnancies. Its symptoms include some or all of the following: low birth weight, poor coordination, facial deformities, heart defects, hyperactivity and mental retardation. The complete syndrome occurs in roughly one or two out of every 1,000 births. FAS ranks with Down syndrome and spina bifida as a major cause of mental retardation. Because a fetus can't metabolize alcohol as quickly as an adult can, alcohol remains in a unborn baby's system longer than it does in the mother's. Doctors don't know how much alcohol it takes to cause any of the FAS symptoms, so we recommend that women abstain from alcohol throughout pregnancy. In addition, women trying to conceive are advised to avoid drinking alcohol. Mothers who breastfeed also should avoid alcohol, as a woman's body passes along the same level of alcohol in her milk as she has in her own system. Smoking & Pregnancy While it may not generally be considered a drug, cigarette smoke contains several chemicals, as well as the drug nicotine. Smoking has been described as the most common "known harmful exposure" in pregnancy, and it imposes serious risks to both mother and baby. Fetal and infant mortality rates are increased by over 50 percent in first-time mothers who smoke more than one pack per day during pregnancy. Cigarette smoking can slow fetal growth and increase the risk of low birth weight, stillbirth and a host of maternal complications. Smoking reduces a fetus's oxygen supply by as much as 50 percent, because the carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke displaces oxygen in the mother's bloodstream. Babies born to smoking mothers also have highest rates of SIDS and pneumonia. But cigarettes can be dangerous for a fetus even if the mother is not a smoker -- some studies have found evidence of nicotine in babies born to women who were exposed to passive cigarette smoke while they were pregnant. The relationship between smoking and birth defects is unclear. Some studies show an increased risk of neural tube defects (like spina bifida), cleft palate and heart defects. While you're pregnant, your blood carries nutrients -- as well as any other substances to which you've been exposed -- to the developing fetus. Taking the cautious approach about any over-the-counter or prescription medications, and avoid during drugs like nicotine and alcohol, will help you protect your baby from the immediate danger of birth defects and from the legacy of health problems that exposure to these substances can bring. *** Over-The-Counter Drugs Considered Safe During Pregnancy *** SYMPTOM DRUG Pain (such as a headache) Acetaminophen (Tylenol) Diarrhea Kaolin and Pectin (Kaopectate) Constipation Mild laxatives (like Milk of Magnesia) Heartburn Antacids Itching Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) Allergies, sinus congestion Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) ***This list is not intended to replace a doctor's advice. If you're pregnant, talk with your doctor before taking any medications, and be sure to alert any health care professional who might prescribe drugs for you that your are pregnant. **** *** Prescription Drugs To Avoid During Pregnancy *** These drugs have been linked to birth defects and should not be taken by pregnant women: Accutane (an anti-acne drug) Lithium (an anti-depressant) Tegison (used to treat psoriasis) Coumadin (an anti-coagulant) Chloramphenicol, Nitrofurantoin & Tetracycline (antibiotics) ***This list is not intended to replace a doctor's advice. If you're pregnant, talk with your doctor before taking any medications, and be sure to alert any health care professional who might prescribe drugs for you that your are pregnant. **** Bruce Shephard, M.D., is an obstetrician and gynecologist in Tampa, Fla., and a member of Baby Talk's advisory board. This article was adapted from one the appeared in The 1995 Medical and Health Annual.