Baby · Health · Pregnancy

Protecting Yourself: Which Type Of Contraception Should I Choose?

gender-1674893_640Picture from: Pixaby

There are many different types of contraception on the market. Not every style of contraception is suitable for each person, so there is a range of types and brands on offer. The best person to talk about what contraception is right for you is your nurse. This is because a medical family history will need to be taken before you go on a pill or have an injection. But just so you aren’t going in blind, today we are going to look at some of the most popular methods of contraception that may suit your lifestyle.

The Pill

The contraceptive pill is one of the most popular methods of protection. There are two types of pill. There is the mini pill and the combined pill. The combined pill contains artificial oestrogen and progesterone. These prevent your ovaries from releasing an egg, which is what is known as ovulating. If you are not ovulating, you should not get pregnant. When the pill is taken correctly, it is over 99% effective in stopping pregnancy. But pleased do remember that it offers no protection against STDs. If you are concerned about STD’s, always get tested. And if you are sleeping with a new partner, always make sure he uses a condom. The pill can also help with heavy periods and muscle cramps. And sometimes it is prescribed for these things.

The Mini Pill

The combined pill is taken for 21 days and then has a break of seven days before resuming again. However, the mini pill is taken continuously. Its main difference to the combined pill is that it only contains one female hormone, and that is progesterone.  Sometimes is it referred to as POP or progesterone only pill. The mini pill is often given to women who have just had a baby or those who have risk factors from the combined pill. Please talk to your nurse or doctor to see which one is better for you.

Contraceptive Implant

If you don’t mind a very small thin tube inserted under the skin in your upper arm, then the contraceptive implant may be for you. This method of contraception stops the release of your eggs, and it lasts for three years. However, it can be taken out whenever you want it to be. Again, this method is over 99% effective, and it means you do not have to worry about taking a pill at the same time every day. Using the implant can make your periods stop after the first year of implantation. Or they may just become lighter. If you have any side effects, the implant can be removed.

Diaphragm

Possibly the one that scares men the most! The contraceptive diaphragm is known as a barrier method of contraception. It is a large looking cap that you put into your vagina before having sex. You must then leave it there for at least six hours after having sex. It works by covering the cervix so that the sperm can’t get in. But you also need to remember to use a spermicide with it as this kills sperm. This type of contraception is around 92-96% effective. However, it is a good form of contraception if you are concerned about the health risks of taking the pill.

Baby · Family · Health · Pregnancy

Busting Pregnancy Myths

SpatonePregnancy can be an absolute minefield of “advice” coming from a multitude of different sources. If it’s not your Mum, your mother-in-law, your Nan, sisters, friends or extended relatives sharing their collected wisdom about what your pregnancy should be like, it’s random old ladies in the supermarket stopping you to tell you what they did “in their day”! Sometimes, anecdotal advice can be the best thing in the world and there were a few things that my mother in law and sister in law told me when I was carrying Sausage that I still pass on to others because the advice was so sound. However, sometimes, it can all seem a bit much when you’re hearing different things from every person you speak to.

The awesome people at Nelsons, makers of iron supplement Spatone, have been speaking to proper midwives in an effort to bust some of the biggest pregnancy myths around, and we thought we’d share some of them with you:

Myth #1: How you are ‘carrying’ the baby can tell you the sex.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The shape and height of your bump is determined by your muscle tone, uterine tone, and the position the baby is in, not by the sex. The only way to know is via an ultrasound scan or amniocentesis and even then it is not always possible to be completely sure.

Myth #2: You shouldn’t drink coffee while pregnant.

You don’t need to give up caffeine entirely, the current advice for is to limit yourself to (ACOG 2010, FSA 2008, Jahanfar and Jaafar 2013) 200mg of caffeine a day – this equates to drinking approximately two mugs of tea, two mugs of instant coffee or one mug of filer coffee a day (or five cans of coke!). If your habit exceeds these amounts try a de-caf version in the afternoons, it may help you sleep better too!

Myth #3: Heartburn means baby has lots of hair

Heartburn is a common discomfort during pregnancy because your stomach is pushed higher by the growing baby. It is no way an accurate predictor of baby being born with a full head of hair. Lots of women who experience heartburn give birth to bald babies!

Myth #4: You shouldn’t eat smoked salmon when pregnant

Pregnant women can eat smoked fish and not advised to avoid it currently. Fish is good for mothers-to-be because it is a good source of many vitamins and minerals, as well as essential omega-3 fatty acids like DHA. There are some types of fish you should limit to 2 portions a week, this includes oily fish like salmon. There are also fish you should completely avoid like swordfish. The NHS website provides a full ist.

Myth #5: You are eating for two

In the first six months of pregnancy our energy needs do not increase. The average woman of normal weight pre-pregnancy only needs about 200 extra calories per day in her third trimester to promote her baby’s growth. That’s roughly the number of calories in a piece of buttered toast and a banana. Gaining too much weight can result in gestational diabetes and a struggle to lose the weight post birth so think twice before eating a double helping of dessert!

Myth #6 Lying or sleeping on your back will hurt the baby

While you won’t harm your baby if you lie on your back for short periods of time, lying on your back after 16 weeks can be uncomfortable. After 16 weeks it can make you feel faint as the baby presses on major blood vessels. Sleeping on your side might be more comfortable and as your bump gets heavier you might find it better to prop yourself up with pillows so you are almost sitting.

Myth #7: Guinness is a good source of iron

Mums and nans are forever telling us about the daily dose of stout they consumed during pregnancy because it is a good source of iron and a lot of people still believe this old wives tale. In fact Guinness and similar stouts contains no more iron than standard beer and you would need to drink a whopping 35 pints to get your daily intake of iron. But more importantly pregnant women should avoid alcohol altogether as not only does it carry an increased risk of miscarriage but may be harmful for the unborn baby.

Guinness in pregnancy

If your doctor or healthcare practitioner says you may need to supplement your diet with iron, why not try a sachet or two of Spatone, which contains iron rich water sourced from the Welsh mountains of Snowdonia National Park. The iron naturally present in Spatone can help top up your iron levels whilst causing fewer of the unpleasant side effects often experienced with conventional iron food supplements. Generally, iron is a very difficult mineral for the body to absorb. However, the iron naturally present in Spatone has been shown to be easily absorbed, with an average of 40% bioavailability, compared to 5- 20% from food and other iron food supplements#. Always check with your doctor or healthcare practitioner before taking any supplements if you are pregnant.

Spatone is available from Boots priced at £11.49 for 28 sachets (4 weeks supply) and Spatone Apple is priced at £12.49 for 28 sachets.

For more info visit www.spatone.com

Baby · Beauty · Health · Pregnancy

The Realities of Being Fat and Pregnant

A couple of weeks ago, I read a viral Facebook post about a pregnant woman who’d been fat shamed after posting a series of photos online that she’d had taken of her and her bump. The story was then picked up by the Huffington Post after the woman was asked to take part in “The Honest Body Project”, a photo series which gives an honest look at women’s bodies.

The whole story was something which really resonated with me. Brittany Dykstra, the woman in the photos said “I’m 35 weeks pregnant and just last week I had maternity pictures taken to celebrate this horrible, but beautiful pregnancy. For the first time in about 35 weeks I felt beautiful, and was so excited to share this moment with my friends and family.”

She goes on to say “Later that day we got the sneak peak pictures back and I posted them on Facebook thinking my friends and family would think I was beautiful and would love them, however that wasn’t the case. All I received were negative comments about how huge I am, about how unhealthy I am, and about how they think my baby is going to be a 10 to 12 pound baby by the looks of how much I weigh. I literally went in the bathroom and cried for hours. It’s so hard being plus size, pregnant, sick, and getting negative comments about the way I look. If I’m happy and accepting of my body, why can’t everyone else just be happy for me?!”

Before I fell pregnant with Sausage, I wasn’t huge, probably around 12st, so a little overweight for my 5’4″ height, but not horrendously so as I have a large frame and huge boobs which tends to mean even at a ‘healthy’ body shape, I’m a little over what BMI charts say I should be. I gained a lot of weight during that pregnancy; for the first 4 months, I could barely eat anything at all and actually lost weight because of hyperemesis gravidarum. Then I developed gestational diabetes and despite trying to eat a low GI diet, the weight piled on. Once I’d given birth, I was in a cycle of depression and PTSD which meant that I never lost the baby weight and by the time I fell pregnant with Burrito Baby 5 years later, I was pushing 14 and a half stone.

I’d had every intention of losing the weight BEFORE getting pregnant again, especially as I was already diabetic, but I fell pregnant a lot quicker than I thought I would after having my implant removed, which meant dealing with pregnancy with a much higher starting weight than I would have liked. Like Brittany, once I reached a certain point in my pregnancy, I also felt a little more body-confident; my shape was suddenly defined by the life growing inside of me, not the amount of biscuits I ate, and while I wasn’t about to post photos of myself in lingerie on Facebook, I totally understand whet she meant about feeling beautiful for the first time in a long time.

According to the story, Dykstra started receiving abuse from family and friends regarding her weight, although no examples are given and I can’t help but wonder how much of this “abuse” was unwanted but well-meaning concern for her obvious weight problem. Because, while I am against the idea of ‘fat-shaming’ (lets face it, us fatties do tend to KNOW we’re fat, we don’t need to be constantly reminded), I do think it’s deluded to think that being overweight doesn’t cause health problems, especially during pregnancy. Being “happy” with your body is one thing, but being aware of health ramifications is also hugely important.

On a medical level, obesity during pregnancy can increase the risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, infection, problems during labour, increased birth weight, birth defects, babies with a high birth weight and even miscarriage. This isn’t about ‘fat shaming’ or ‘thin privilege’ – these are REAL risks, caused by being overweight.

On a personal level, I definitely found that being overweight during pregnancy adversely affected me. Hauling around a giant bump AND a giant body was genuinely exhausting and I honestly think my SPD and mobility would have been slightly better had I not been putting so much pressure on my pelvis with my excess weight (although and friend of mine, who is very slim, also had SPD, probably worse than my own, so I’m not saying obesity is a cause or necessarily means I suffered more, just that I don’t think it helped at all).

I’m not saying that Brittany Dykstra deserved to be abused for being overweight, nor am I saying that she deserved to feel any less beautiful than other pregnant women who enjoy the glow of carrying a child, but tip-toeing around the issue of obesity isn’t right either. Lots of women get pregnant at a less than ideal time of their lives and I’m sure that, given the choice, women would always choose to be in peak health when conceiving but it doesn’t always happen that way.

The thing is, weight is such a hot-button issue for most people. I know I’ve taken offense, even from medical professionals who’ve tried to talk to me about being overweight. It’s one of those things that people are hugely sensitive about because it’s so closely tied to their self-esteem, so choosing a moment where a mother-to-be is feeling good about herself to give her a lecture isn’t the best timing, not to mention the fact that she probably already KNOWS the issues AND has a team of health professionals telling her the same thing, but that doesn’t alter the fact that being fat and pregnant can be a problem, so it’s not simply a case of whether a person is happy with their weight.

What do you think? Are people overstepping the mark by expressing concern for her? Have you experienced pregnancy as an overweight person? I’d love to hear your opinions and experiences because this whole story has obviously struck a chord with me.

Baby · Parenting · Pregnancy

The Expectant Mum: How to Treat Yourself

You might have that glorious pregnant glow on the outside but now and again that pregnancy feeling can leave you feeling a little icky on the inside.

woman-356141_1280Whilst you’re coping with the morning sickness in the first trimester and heartburn in the second, the delights of the third leaves you with shoes that are too tight and a far too stretched tummy.

So, it’s safe to say you are in need – and truly deserve a bit of pampering every now and again and here is exactly how you should be treating yourself during your nine months of pregnancy.

Show your feet some lovin’

Remember, you are carrying another person around so your feet are taking a bit of a battering these days. Your feet may also be swollen from an increase in fluid around your body, so be sure to get yourself a pedicure every now and then, whilst also placing them in some nice warm water with lavender. This will leave you feeling relaxed with super soft tootsies.

Eat something truly yummy

Yes, whilst we know it’s important to be eating a balanced diet yada yada yada – it’s also important to treat yourself now and again, so head down to your local bakery and pick up the ultimate cupcake.  As long as you’re maintaining a nice, healthy diet most of the time, this will have no impact on your unborn baby.

Treat yourself to some flowers

If no one is going to buy you flowers – buy them for yourself! I mean, you are carrying another human around all the time, you deserve some flowers! So, check out Serenata and take advantage of their deals and discounts and brighten up your home with a lovely bunch of brightly coloured flowers; they’re guaranteed to give your mood a boost.

Wear something pretty

Living in your partners jogging pants and baggy t-shirts is no way to treat yourself during your pregnancy. So, put on a nice dress and go for a walk; if you look great, more often than not you’ll feel great. Remember – just because you’re pregnant that doesn’t mean you should feel fat and frumpy; you’re still a gorgeous woman!

Have a movie night

Arrange a night for you and your partner to sit on the couch and relax in front of a funny film – this is guaranteed to give your mood the boost it needs.

With these small treats, your nine months of pregnancy will fly past!

Baby · Family · Maternity · Maternity Matters · Mental Health · Parenting · Personal · Pregnancy

Maternity Matters Week 4 #maternitymatters

I can’t quite believe this is the fourth Maternity Matters linky already! We really hope you’re enjoying the process of sharing and reading so many great posts as much as we are. Seeing how pregnancy and birth experiences vary so much from person to person is as beautiful as it is informative and that uniqueness is exactly what’s at the core of Maternity Matters.

As usual, we’d love it if you displayed our badge, either on your individual posts or in your sidebar, and we’d also be grateful for anyone who isn’t already to follow the Maternity Matters Facebook and Twitter accounts.



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