3.5

Fetal Growth and Development

by Maxine
Posted July 7 2010 12:03pm

Pregnancy is an exciting time for parents-to-be and their family and friends.

Pregnancy is an exciting time for parents-to-be and their family and friends. It’s also a time when you might have more questions than answers about how your baby is developing. In an effort to help you find the answers you are looking for, we have provided a link to one website we believe offers a clear and concise overview of the different stages of your baby’s development, week by week, trimester by trimester:  Pregnancy.org

As each week of your pregnancy unfolds, Pregnancy.org provides detailed descriptions and pictures of real embryos and fetuses to bring the experience of fetal development to life and help you better understand your baby’s growth.

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What Are Some Common Worries of New Dads?

by Maxine
Posted August 1 2010 06:39pm
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During pregnancy, everyone’s attention tends to focus on the expectant mom. Not everyone remembers that becoming a new parent has an impact on expectant dads, too. As a matter of fact, many dads-to-be have the same worries and fears as moms. Research from Invest in Kids indicates that all parents, no matter their circumstances, feel vulnerable and isolated in their parenting role. Dads, however, are less likely to talk about feelings or share their worries with their partner or friends. So, if you’re a worried dad-to-be, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are answers to 10 common concerns that many expectant fathers have at one time or another during pregnancy.

  1. Will my baby be okay?
  2. Will my partner be okay?
  3. Will I be a good dad?
  4. Will I be able to support my partner and remain calm when it’s time to go to the hospital?
  5. What if I can’t make it through the labour and delivery?
  6. Will my partner ever get back to herself?
  7. Will my partner ever look like she did before she was pregnant?
  8. What about my friends? And going out every Wednesday night?
  9. Will we ever have sex again?
  10. Will we be able to afford our current standard of living?

1. Will my baby be okay?
About 97% of babies are born without any complications and in good health. While that’s pretty high, there is always that worry that something might go wrong. While we may laugh about how moms quickly count a baby’s toes and fingers right after birth, many dads do it too! And when a boy is born, both parents often check out the size of the penis and testicles. It’s all a part of reassuring yourselves that your baby has arrived—safe and sound after all.

2. Will my partner be okay?
Like many events in a person’s life, there are risks and untold benefits; pregnancy, labour and delivery are no exception. Many expectant dads are anxious that something will go terribly wrong—mom’s health could be at risk and she could even die. These are very scary thoughts but many expectant dads have them. Some of you will truly be tested watching what mom goes through. But remember, these days, most women do not experience extraordinary pain. Many moms are very willing to do it again in a few years to have a second baby.

3. Will I be a good dad?
Almost every first-time dad wonders what it will take to be a good dad. Some men worry because they had unsatisfactory relationships with their fathers. Others have high expectations for themselves and worry that they will never measure up. Whatever has you concerned, your first task is to give mom as much support as you can throughout the pregnancy, childbirth and the early days of motherhood. Secondly, you need to connect with your baby through the pregnancy, during the birth and after. This is how you become a good dad.

4. Will I be able to support my partner and remain calm when it’s time to go to the hospital?
Picture it—mom says, “It’s time.” Your heart jumps. You start rushing all over the place. You jump in the car and race to the hospital only to find you forgot mom at home. Okay, that may be an extreme example, but it is an anxious time for both of you. However, when preparing for the event, you may find that a lot of that anxiety will be gone by the time the big day arrives. You’ll know just what to do. You may still be excited, nervous or forgetful, but chances are you'll do fine. Learning about a stressful situation seems to take a lot of the worry out of it. As long as you prepare yourself for mom’s tap on your shoulder in the middle of the night, you’ll do fine.

5. What if I can’t make it through the labour and delivery?
As the due date approaches, you may be wondering if you will do something wrong in the delivery room or worse—faint or throw up? You may find that during the actual labour and delivery, you’re totally absorbed in mom and what she’s going through. Plus, you’ll be impatiently waiting to meet your new son or daughter. If you do happen to faint, throw up or stand in the wrong place, you’ll be just like many other dads. The hospital staff deals with this kind of reaction all the time. Plus, it’ll make a great story for your child.

6. Will my partner ever get back to herself?
Those pregnancy hormones can really take their toll on mom’s emotions. Some women seem to slip into the forbidden world of babies where no men are allowed. This can make the new dad wonder if he’ll ever say the right thing again or if he will ever be seen as anything but the breadwinner. Your life will find more balance, but lifelong changes will be taking place for both of you. Neither of you will ever be the same again, but that is not bad. In fact, it can open a whole new exciting world to both of you. The more the two of you work to maintain a healthy relationship, the more likely you are to enjoy your new life with your new baby.

7. Will my partner ever look like she did before she was pregnant?
The answer to this question is different for every couple. All women lose some weight and body mass after the birth. Most moms worry about this and make weight loss a priority during the first year after birth. Many women get very close to their original weight and size, but generally it takes a number of months. For some breastfeeding moms, this might not happen until breastfeeding ends. A lot of dads also gain some weight during the pregnancy so you may find yourself dealing with the same issues as mom. It is important that you do not intentionally make Mom feel worse because she doesn’t look the same. You could try working on this together. Take an exercise class together, change your eating habits or you could do what many couples do—enjoy your new bodies.

8. What about my friends? And going out every Wednesday night?
Many couples find that once children come along, their circle of friends changes. Many single friends drift away as your common interests change and you stop living so spontaneously. But it is important that you maintain some friends of your own. Who your friends are and how often you see them will depend on your new values, priorities and available time. Some men keep “Wednesday night with the boys” sacred. Always try to negotiate your new social life together. It’s important for you to accept that mom needs to stay connected with some of her friends, too, and you have to stay home with the baby. She must accept that you need this, as well. Believe it or not, giving this social time to each other helps you stay connected as a couple.

9. Will we ever have sex again?
Good question! Important question! The two of you will go through a lot of changes in your sexual intimacy as a result of pregnancy. The answer depends on both of you. Some dads are less attracted to pregnant women and some are more attracted. Sometimes, mom’s hormones increase her sexual interest, but sometimes they decrease it. After the birth, mom goes through a healing process—and the amount of time required is different for every woman. It’s doubtful that sex shortly after birth is going to happen—that would be quite painful for mom. Over the first few months of parenthood, all of mom’s and your energies and interests will probably be directed at the baby. Sometimes, because of the huge physical, social and emotional changes that have taken place, some couples require outside assistance to rekindle a sex life. Not to worry though—almost all couples have sex again, some better than ever.

10. Will we be able to afford our current standard of living?
If you’re like most people, both of you were working full time before the birth of your first child. Soon, you’ll be faced with a decreased income—and that’s a real worry, even if it’s only for a few months. It’s an even bigger concern if you’ve decided that one of you will stay home for a year or more. Not only is there a decrease in income, but there is an increase in your expenses, like diapers, clothing and toys. Some couples find they need a car or larger living quarters which places even more demands on their financial resources. However, unlike most of the previous worries, you can plan for your future financial needs and not get caught short. Check with your bank, a local college or the internet for guidance on budgeting and financial planning for families with young children.

 

Okay dads - did you find this information helpful? Moms - do you have a better understanding of the fears and concerns your partner may have. Share your thoughts and leave a comment below. We'd love to hear what you think! 

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Quickening

by Maxine
Posted August 9 2010 03:23pm
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Quickening is the first time you feel your baby move during your pregnancy. What an exciting moment!

As the baby moves around, the mother can feel it. If you notice movement that feels like bubbling, fluttering or knocking, this is normal.

First time moms will feel their baby move for the first time between the 18th and 20th weeks of pregnancy.

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Exposures at Work

by Maxine
Posted August 10 2010 02:43pm
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Generally, it is quite safe for a pregnant woman to continue working during pregnancy. Most pregnant women can continue their duties at work without increased health risks to themselves and their unborn babies, and without any decrease in overall productivity.

There are, however, certain hazards in the workplace that can contribute to health problems for a pregnant woman and her unborn baby. Many occupations have special hazards, where it is helpful to take precautions during pregnancy. Hazards could be biological, chemical, physical, ergonomic, workplace management and social environment and scheduling.

What Can We Do?

Learning about all these hazards and exposures can be overwhelming! How can you protect yourself and your baby?
Below is a list of some suggested precautions. Click on the type of hazard and check out the suggestions.

Biological Hazards:
Viral, fungal, bacterial, and parasitic infections

Chemical Hazards:
Substances that you inhale, swallow or absorb through the skin

Physical Hazards:
Excessive noise, temperature extremes, vibration or barometric pressure changes

Ergonomic Hazards:
Poor ergonomic design, standing or sitting for long periods of time, and lifting

Workplace management and social environment hazards:
Work-related stress, smoking policies and management style

Scheduling Hazards:
Shift work, long hours or unpredictable work times

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