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Third Trimester: Know what to expect

It’s the final countdown (insert pump up music here)!! The third trimester runs from week 28 through delivery. At this point, we may be totally ready for Baby to get here already, or we may feel completely unprepared and wishing for more time. Either way, our bodies are continuing to change, and of course Baby’s is too. Today we’ll talk through what symptoms to look out for and how our babies’ last developments are coming along so you can be ready for all the changes life will soon bring.

Third Trimester Symptoms

By this point, Baby is about 2.5 pounds and will reach typically between 6 and 9 pounds by delivery. With such a growth spurt, our bodies are likely to feel very pregnant! Here’s what to expect:

Abdominal achiness

To make room for the baby bump, the ligaments in the abdomen will stretch quite a bit, causing some cramps. There isn’t much that can be done to prevent this, but warm baths may help soothe the aches.

Backache

Just as in the second trimester, our growing babies do put extra pressure on our backs. The heavier Baby gets, the more aches we may feel, but maintaining good posture, wearing supportive shoes, and sleeping with a pillow between the legs can continue to alleviate that pressure.

Braxton Hicks contractions

Delivery is coming soon, so our bodies will start practicing with these “false contractions.” These should be less painful than real contractions and occur irregularly, while real contractions will happen close together. If you’re experiencing severe abdominal or back pain with your contractions, talk to your doctor immediately to be sure these are not real contractions.

Clumsiness

Because of our crazy hormones and growing belly to throw us off balance, we may easily drop things, forget things, or have trouble walking straight. Just be cautious, remember your body is going through a lot, and feel free to laugh at yourself a little.

Fatigue

Remember, our bodies are working overtime to take care of another person. We may feel tired and sluggish more easily, but we can maintain our energy by eating well and staying active.

Lack of bladder control

Just like Baby puts pressure on our backs and ligaments, our bladders will get it, too. We should always listen to our bodies and not try to hold it in. Practicing Kegels (pelvic floor exercises) is important in strengthening these muscles, which will also help us in delivery. Ask your doctor at your next appointment to walk you through how to do Kegels if you’ve never done them before.

Leaky breasts

Our uteruses practice Braxton Hicks, so it makes sense that our breasts practice for nursing, too. It shouldn’t be enough to need to change, but you may want some tissues nearby just in case.

Stretch marks

Nobody’s favorite part of pregnancy, stretch marks are tiny tears in the skin due to the skin stretching to its limit. Moisturizers may reduce the appearance, though studies are inconclusive as to how much they actually work. However, the marks should begin to fade after pregnancy.

Weight gain

We should gain about half a pound to one pound a week during the third trimester, and gain between 25 to 35 pounds total throughout our pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about your specific weight goals, as every woman’s body is different.

Wild dreams

Hormones plus the anticipation of delivery could lead some scary/hilarious/downright weird pregnancy dreams. Enjoy sharing the silliness with your friends and family, and talk about any fears plaguing you. Big changes are coming, and it’s important to talk through your feelings with loved ones.

Seek emergency help if…

Seek immediate attention if you experience:

  • Sharp abdominal pain
  • Bleeding
  • Severe dizziness
  • Rapid weight gain or not enough weight gain
  • Pain or burning while urinating

Do not wait until your next checkup to bring up any of these red flag symptoms.

What’s going on with Baby?

Time for Baby to develop the finishing touches before the big debut! All kinds of cool things are happening in there:

  • Bones: Baby’s cartilage will harden into bone around 7 or 8 months. He or she will be snagging calcium from you, so be sure to keep taking your vitamins and eat calcium-rich foods.
  • Brain: The brain grows rapidly in these last weeks, and it’ll start signaling the body to blink, dream, and regulate temperature. The senses continue to develop as well, and by week 31, all five senses will be active.
  • Digestive system: The intestines will start to fill with meconium (Baby’s first poop), which is made up mostly of blood cells, vernix and lanugo.
  • Movement: Baby will likely kick more often and develop a firm grasp. However, he or she will also starting taking up the whole amniotic sack, so space becomes limited!
  • Skin: Up until week 32, Baby’s skin has been see-through, but will now become opaque. Both the lanugo (the downy coat that’s been keeping Baby warm) and the vernix (the waxy stuff that protects against the acidity of the amniotic fluid) will shed around week 36 as fat develops. The skin will eventually become pinky and smooth, as we’d expect it to be as we look at our babies for the first time outside the womb.
  • Turning: To prep for delivery, Baby will begin turning downward around week 34. He or she will go heads-down, bottom’s up, or could stay stuck in breech position. In the case that Baby does not go head-first, the doctor may start to turn Baby manually beginning in week 37.

Labor Signs

Eventually our due dates will come around, or we may go into labor early. Remember that the due date is just an estimate, so don’t freak out if is passes by or Baby comes a little early. Do however take signs of labor seriously, especially as early labor can lead to complications for us or our babies.

If you experience more severe contractions than just Braxton Hicks or a rushing of fluid from the birth canal (water breaking), these are telltale signs that Baby is ready to be born. Seek medical attention immediately and begin whatever your birth plan is.

Want help prepping for Baby? Lifeline’s Earn While You Learn program provides prenatal and parenting education and baby supplies to new and expecting parents at no cost to you. Call today to learn more or make an appointment with our trained nurses.

By Kath Crane

Resources:

https://www.whattoexpect.com/third-trimester-of-pregnancy.aspx
https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/third-trimester-of-pregnancy#1

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/fetal-development/art-20045997
Regan, Lesley. I’m Pregnant! A Week-by-week guide from conception to birth. DK Publishing, Inc. New York, NY. 2005.

First Trimester: Know what to expect

The First Trimester: the beginning of the beginning for your little one! Tons of change is on the way for your body and Baby’s. Let’s talk about what symptoms to expect and how Baby is developing during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy.

First Trimester Symptoms

We could be far into the first trimester before we even realize we’re pregnant. Whether we’re expecting it or not, there are some telltale signs our bodies will give us to let us know something is up. Common symptoms during the first trimester include:

Breast tenderness

Since our hormone levels are out of the ordinary during pregnancy, our bodies react in all kinds of ways, including soreness of the breasts.

Constipation

Due to a rise in progesterone levels, our intestines move a little slower as they push food through the digestive system. This slowness can cause back-up, leading to gas, constipation, and discomfort.

Discharge

We may notice a white, creamy discharge from the vagina known as leukorrhea. This shouldn’t last long, but if you experience any foul-smelling or yellow/green discharge, or a lot of clear discharge, contact your doctor.

Fatigue

With all this change happening, no wonder we feel drained! Naps and getting enough iron can help curb fatigue.

Food cravings and aversions

About 60% of pregnant women experience food cravings, and 50% experience food aversions, so don’t be surprised if your tastebuds start acting up. The only thing to look out for is pica, or cravings for things humans shouldn’t eat like dirt or metal. That would be something to ask the doctor about immediately.

Frequent urination

The uterus is growing and puts extra pressure on the bladder, even in these early stages. This can lead to more trips to the bathroom. It’s important to listen to our bodies and not try to hold it in or drink less. Staying hydrated is super important during pregnancy!

Heartburn

That spike in progesterone also relaxes the muscles in the esophagus that prevents acid from rising out of the stomach, causing heartburn. Eating smaller meals throughout the day and avoiding greasy and acidic foods can keep the burn at bay.

Light bleeding

A quarter of women experience very light bleeding early on in pregnancy. This may be implantation bleeding, a result of the baby implanting into the uterine lining. But if we experience heavier bleeding or cramping, we should contact her doctor ASAP. This could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.

Mood swings

Again, you can blame this on the hormones. Do not feel ashamed if you cry a lot or slide back and forth from giddiness to irritability. Talk to loved ones and your healthcare team about all that you’re feeling, and consider professional counseling if you feel like your emotions are more than you can handle.

Morning sickness

About 85% of pregnant women experience nausea, another result of hormonal changes. Check out our morning sickness survival guide for more info on handling this unpleasant change.

Weight gain

We need about 150 extra calories a day during the first trimester, and should gain three to six pounds during those first 12 weeks. The idea of “eating for two” isn’t the best advice, as it might cause us to overdo it. Listen to your body and ask your doctor about what works for your own body, since some of us may begin pregnancy already under or overweight.

Seek emergency help if…

Seek immediate attention if you experience:

  • Sharp abdominal pain
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Severe dizziness
  • Rapid weight gain or not enough weight gain

Do not wait until your next checkup to bring up any of these red flag symptoms.

What’s going on with Baby?

Throughout these first 12 weeks, Baby goes from a zygote (a single fertilized cell) to an embryo with developing organs and movement. Big milestones include:

  • Bones: arms, legs, hands, and feet are forming by week 6, and fingers and toes by week 10.
  • Hair and nails: from week 5 to 8, skin begins to develop along with nail beds and hair follicles at week 11.
  • Digestive system: Baby’s intestines develop around week 8, and will be working on his or her third set of kidneys (they will have already gone through two sets!).
  • Sense of touch: By week 8, touch receptors form on the face, and around the genitals, palms, and soles of the feet by week 12.
  • Eyesight: Optic nerves form around week 4, and the retina at week 8.
  • Heart: Around week 5, baby’s heart will start beating! This hearbeat gets stronger around week 9 or 10, when it may be heard by an ultrasound machine with a doppler.
  • Brain: Baby’s brain will start signaling Baby’s limbs to move around by week 8.
  • Sense of taste: while your own tastebuds are giving you food cravings and aversions, baby’s taste buds are forming around week 8. When their tastebuds fully develop, they’ll be able to taste the amniotic fluid, which will taste like whatever we eat!

Want to learn more?

Lifeline Pregnancy Help Clinic offers confidential services including pregnancy tests,ultrasounds, prenatal education, counseling, and more at no cost. From the first trimester and beyond, you can get the help you need. Call today or click below to make an appointment with our trained nurses.

By Kath Crane

Resources:

https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-trimester-of-pregnancy.aspx

https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/first-trimester-of-pregnancy#1

https://www.babycenter.com/pregnancy-week-by-week

Busting addiction during pregnancy

When a new life grows inside us, we may start to think more about how our everyday habits affect our minds and bodies, especially when it comes to addictive behaviors. We already owe it to ourselves to bust an addiction, whether that be to cigarettes or alcohol, but a pregnancy gives us even more reason to quit. Let’s address three different addictive behaviors, how they affect pregnancy, and how we can break free from them.

Smoking

We’ve all heard the hazards of smoking. Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, 250 of which are known to be harmful and 69 that can cause cancer. Smoking can lead to health issues like:

  • Cancer (lung, mouth, throat, kidney, blood, and others).
  • Heart and lung disease.
  • Diabetes.
  • Stroke.
  • Gum disease.
  • Eye conditions, including blindness.
Beyond these conditions that harm adults, smoking during pregnancy can increase the risk of:
  • Preterm labor. Babies born premature are more likely to develop health problems than babies born full-term.
  • Ectopic pregnancy. This happens when a baby implants outside of the uterus, where he or she is supposed to grow. A baby cannot survive an ectopic pregnancy, and this is also extremely dangerous to the life and health of the mother. Read our post on ectopic pregnancy to learn more about the warning signs.
  • Placenta issues. The placenta gives the baby oxygen and nutrients during pregnancy. Problems like placental abruption (when the placenta separates from the uterine wall) or placenta previa (when the placenta covers the cervix) could prevent Baby from receiving these vital resources.
  • Birth defects. Common defects associated with smoking during pregnancy include a cleft lip or cleft palate.
  • Miscarriage or stillbirth. According to the American Pregnancy Association, over 1,000 babies die a year because their mothers smoked during pregnancy.
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). This is the unexplained death of an infant, usually during sleep.

E-cigarettes are not a healthy alternative to tobacco. They still contain nicotine, the addictive substance in tobacco cigarettes that can harm both mom and baby. If you smoke tobacco or e-cigarettes, talk to your doctor about how you can quit. Common methods of quitting include patches, gum, and nasal sprays, but discuss these options with your doctor before trying them. We’ll talk more later on how to break an addiction of any kind.

You can sign up for a free text-message reminder from Smokefree.gov designed for pregnant women who want to stop smoking. You can also call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to talk with a smoking counselor. Lifeline’s nurses and counselors are available to talk through your situation and refer you to other addiction recovery resources.

Alcohol

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there is no safe time during pregnancy to drink alcohol, nor a safe amount. Alcohol can cause health issues for an unborn baby during any stage of the pregnancy. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage and stillbirth, as well as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs).

Issues associated with FASDs include:

  • Abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip (this ridge is called the philtrum)
  • Small head size
  • Shorter-than-average height
  • Low body weight
  • Poor coordination
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Difficulty with attention
  • Poor memory
  • Difficulty in school (especially with math)
  • Learning disabilities
  • Speech and language delays
  • Intellectual disability or low IQ
  • Poor reasoning and judgment skills
  • Sleep and sucking problems as a baby
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • Problems with the heart, kidney, or bones

FASDs are completely avoidable by not drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about the risks associated with drinking during pregnancy, and how you can stop. Even if someone has been drinking during pregnancy, it’s never too late to stop and make a healthier choice. The sooner someone starts avoiding alcohol, the healthier their pregnancy can be.

Pornography

Pornography is any sort of visual display or written description of sexual activity or the sexual organs that someone uses to sexually stimulate themselves. Porn could be a photo, a video, or even a story or novel. Someone look at or reads porn to give themselves some sort of sexual or emotional feeling.

Some ask, “What’s the big deal? It’s just between me and my iPhone, right? I’m not hurting anybody.” Actually, porn hurts everybody involved. Fight the New Drug, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about the harmful effects of pornography, tells it like it is: porn hurts the brain, relationships, and the world. It’s never positive and tells us lies about real sex and love.

Why is porn harmful?

  • It’s addictive. Porn affects the brain the same way that drugs like cocaine and heroin do. Viewers can get so hooked that they can’t go a day without it. This addiction can also prevent someone’s body from being able to have sex with a real person because they’re so used to these fake images.
  • It’s fake. Just like any movie, porn is scripted, acted, directed, and edited. It does not show what real sex is like, or how real people want to be treated.
  • It’s violent. Porn contributes to the major sexual violence issues that men, women, and kids experience worldwide. One 2010 study analyzed the 50 most popular porn films, and 88% contained physical violence and 49% contained verbal aggression.
  • It’s anti-love. Half of divorces state that porn was a part of why that marriage fell apart. When someone finds out their partner has been looking at porn, they often feel cheated on because their partner is looking at someone else for sexual pleasure.
  • It’s anti-freedom. Many people filmed or photographed for pornography have been sex-trafficked (a fancy word for slavery).  Men, women, and kids all over the globe are forced or pressured into the porn businesses. They’re they’re abused, drugged, not protected from STDs, and treated like property. There’s no way to know by looking at the photo or video whether or not those actors chose to be there. Any porn, even if it’s of two consenting adults, increases the demand for sexual slavery.

Porn alters our own brains to see others as objects and teaches us unhealthy ideas about sex and relationships. The way we perceive sex and relationships will shape how we teach our kids. We can set an example for them and how they should be treated and treat others by stopping our addictions now. Go to fightthenewdrug.org to learn more about how you can spread the word about real love and fight against addiction, broken relationships, and sexual slavery.

Already hooked on porn?

It’s never too late to make changes! Check out our list of tips on overcoming a porn habit here. Fight the New Drug’s Fortify Program is also a great free app to help anyone who wants freedom from porn addiction.

There are too many awesome resources out there to not get help! Choose freedom today.

How to fight an addiction.

Talk to your doctor about how to quit smoking, drinking, and any other addictive habits. You can also:

  • Choose a quit day. On this day, throw away all your cigarettes and smoking supplies, alcohol, or pornographic materials. Mark a day on your calendar within the next couple weeks that you promise to stick to.
  • Write down your reasons for quitting, and look at the list when you think about your addictive behavior.  
  • Identify your triggers. How do you feel when you want to smoke/drink/watch porn? Are you sad, angry, lonely, stressed? Find healthy ways to manage these emotions like exercise, talking to friends and family, seeking counseling, listening to music, or going to a different location.
  • Tell your loved ones about your plan to quit. Ask for their support and come up with a plan together of specific steps they can take to help you. You might ask them to text or call you once a week to ask about your progress or have them read your reasons for quitting to you.
  • Celebrate progress! Mark your calendar with your first day, week, and month of being addiction-free and tell others about your success.

We’re here to help.

Lifeline Pregnancy Help Clinic offers counseling and prenatal/parenting education at no cost to you. We’d love to help you through your journey of pregnancy and recovery from any addiction and point you toward other great community resources. Make an appointment to meet with our trained nurses and counselors today!

By Kath Crane

Resources:

Aggression And Sexual Behavior In Best Selling Pornography Videos: A Content Analysis Update.

American Pregnancy Association

Center for Disease Control

Fight the New Drug

March of Dimes

SmokeFree.gov

Why Prenatal Vitamins?

What makes prenatal vitamins so special?

You’ve heard it over and over: keep a balanced diet. For sure, this is pivotal in any stage of life, and it’s definitely important to prioritize these during pregnancy. But supplemental vitamins (any pill, capsule, or gummy vitamins) are like nutrition insurance: they cover all the bases. Prenatal vitamins offer extra nutrients that other basic multivitamins may not or don’t contain enough of for pregnancy health.

The VIP nutrients for pregnancy include folic acid, calcium, iron, and iodine. Prenatal vitamins provide higher doses of these than your regular ol’ women’s daily vitamin have, and help our bodies have all the nutritional tools it needs to keep ourselves and baby healthy during pregnancy.

What do these vitamins do?

Folic acid

Everybody talks about how awesome folic acid is for pregnancy, but why? Folic acid guards baby’s brain and spinal cord from neural tube defects. Neural tube defects most often happen within the first month of pregnancy, when we might not even be aware that we’re pregnant. This is why doctors recommend women of any fertile age to get at least 400 mcg of folic acid every day, especially as about half of pregnancies are unplanned.

Foods like leafy greens, nuts, citrus fruits, and beans contain folic acid, but supplementing with a vitamin makes sure our body gets enough.

Calcium

Calcium is already super important for us ladies, as our bones tend to get weaker as we age, but during pregnancy, baby is soaking up some of our calcium intake. To keep our own bones healthy as well as those of our growing kiddos, we can take prenatal vitamins to make up for that loss of calcium.

Calcium and vitamin D often team up in a multivitamin, as vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. Make sure whatever prenatal vitamin you’re using has both for maximum effect.

Iodine

Iodine helps out the thyroid, which is especially important during pregnancy. Our babies rely on our thyroid hormones especially for the first three months of pregnancy. His or her thyroid won’t develop until 12 weeks, and then won’t produce enough thyroid hormones until weeks 18-20. A lack of iodine can stunt baby’s physical growth and lead to mental disabilities, deafness, or even stillbirth and miscarriage.  

Iron

During pregnancy, we need about twice as much iron to make extra blood for Baby. Iron also helps carry oxygen from our lungs to the rest of the body, as well as to baby’s. Too little iron can cause anemia, leaving us feeling extra tired. Anemia can also lead to Baby being born underweight or premature.

Here’s a breakdown of typically recommended nutrients to look for in a prenatal vitamin:

  • 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid.
  • 400 IU of vitamin D.
  • 200 to 300 milligrams (mg) of calcium.
  • 70 mg of vitamin C.
  • 3 mg of thiamine (B1).
  • 2 mg of riboflavin (B2).
  • 20 mg of niacin (B3).
  • 6 mcg of vitamin B12.
  • 10 mg of vitamin E.
  • 15 mg of zinc.
  • 17 mg of iron.
  • 150 micrograms of iodine

Vitamins making you queasy?

Some women feel nauseous while take prenatal vitamins. If that’s you, talk to your doctor. He or she might be able to recommend a different brand that could be a better fit for you. Chewable or gummy vitamins sometimes go down easier. Taking vitamins right before bed or with meals can also help prevent an upset stomach.

Talk to your doc!

Always inform your doctor about any vitamins you’re taking. He or she might even give you a prescription for a certain type of prenatal vitamin, depending on your medical history. Taking too much or too little of a vitamin could be harmful to you and baby, so it’s always best to communicate about your diet and any vitamins or medications with your healthcare team.

Want to know more?

Lifeline Pregnancy Help Clinic offers services like prenatal education classes and ultrasounds at no cost. Our trained nurses help women every week get the info they need to take care of their body and baby during pregnancy and love to talk through any questions you have. Call 660-665-5688 or click below to make an appointment.

By Kath Crane

Resources

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/pregnancy-thyroid-disease

https://www.webmd.com/baby/are-you-getting-enough-iron#1

https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/prenatal-vitamins#2

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/prenatal-vitamins/art-20046945

Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy: not the words anybody wants to hear at a doctor’s appointment. But it’s important that we talk about what exactly an ectopic pregnancy is, who is at risk, tell-tale symptoms, and typical treatment. Ectopic pregnancies are highly dangerous, and need to be taken very seriously. 1 out of 50 pregnancies are ectopic. Knowing the signs and risk factors can save lives.

What is an ectopic pregnancy?

In a normal pregnancy, conception occurs in the fallopian tube, and then the baby will travel to the uterus and implant into a soft, cushiony lining of the uterus called the endometrium. The baby stays inside the uterus until he or she is ready to be born. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fetus attaches outside of the uterus where it’s not supposed to be.

But sometimes instead of journeying on into the uterus where it belongs, the baby will stay inside the fallopian tube and implant there, or move elsewhere and implant in the ovary, in the abdominal cavity, or on the cervix. Most ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tube, and are often referred to as “tubal pregnancies.”

A baby almost never survives an ectopic pregnancy. There have been extremely rare and unusual cases in which a baby has survived, but the odds are 1 to 3 million. These few cases typically happen outside the fallopian tubes in the abdominal cavity where blood supply is rich. Normally, a baby cannot survive because it will not get the space and supplies it needs from the uterus. The mother is at risk as well for damage to the reproductive system, and potentially death if the ectopic pregnancy goes undetected and is not treated.

Symptoms

At first a woman with an ectopic pregnancy may experience normal pregnancy symptoms: nausea, missed period, breast tenderness, mood swings, and other typical signs of pregnancy. If she takes a pregnancy test, the result will most likely be positive, but that pregnancy cannot continue normally.

Symptoms that the pregnancy is ectopic will appear as the baby continues to grow. These symptoms include:

  • Pelvic, neck, abdominal, shoulder, or rectal pain and/or cramps
  • Light or heavy vaginal bleeding
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms, including the urge to have a bowel movement
  • Extreme lightheadedness or fainting
  • Sharp pain that lasts more than a few minutes
  • Abnormally low blood pressure

Seek emergency medical attention if you have any signs of an ectopic pregnancy. If gone untreated, an ectopic pregnancy can lead to a rupture of the fallopian tube or other organs, and the woman could die from blood loss.

Causes and Risk Factors

An ectopic pregnancy can be caused by inflammation or scarring in the reproductive tract. A woman may be born with misshapen fallopian tubes, or have damage from an STD or tubal surgery.

Pregnant women should consider the following risk factors in monitoring for an ectopic pregnancy:

  • Previous ectopic pregnancies
  • Inflammation or irritation of the reproductive system, due to sexually transmitted disease or pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Fertility treatments. Some studies have shown that IVF (in vitro fertilization) can increase the likelihood of an ectopic pregnancy.
  • Tubal surgery. Any sort of surgery on the reproductive system could lead to scarring that in turn could cause an ectopic pregnancy.
  • Intrauterine Devices (IUD). Though it is rare for a woman to get pregnant while an IUD is in place, if she were to get pregnant and IUD could prevent the fetus from implanting inside the uterus.
  • Smoking. Cigarette smoking, especially right before pregnancy, could increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy.
  • Maternal age of 35-44 years
  • Previous pelvic or abdominal surgery
  • Endometriosis (a chronic reproductive disorder in which the uterine lining grows outside of the uterus)

Detecting an ectopic pregnancy

Always consult your doctor if you have concerns about your current or potential pregnancy. Although we can’t diagnose or treat an ectopic pregnancy, our team at Lifeline Pregnancy Help Clinic is ready to support you.

Our licensed nurses are trained in limited obstetric ultrasound, which can determine whether the pregnancy is in or outside the uterus. This no-cost, confidential ultrasound could be the first step in detecting an ectopic pregnancy. We’ll refer you to local doctors who can take it from there.

We also provide emotional support through confidential counseling at no cost to you. All of our staff are prepared to listen and be with you in this time of uncertainty. Whether the pregnancy is typical or complications arise, Lifeline is here for you.

 

Make an Appointment

By Kath Crane

References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ectopic-pregnancy/symptoms-causes/syc-20372088

http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/ectopic-pregnancy/

https://www.verywellfamily.com/can-an-ectopic-pregnancy-be-saved-2371464

https://www.medicoverfertility.com/blog/ectopic-pregnancy

 

How do I tell my family I’m pregnant?

Finding out the results of a pregnancy test can be shocking enough for ourselves…how do we share that news with others? Especially if our families aren’t expecting it, we might imagine the worst. But we don’t have to fear the unknown! We can prepare ourselves well for the big talk. Telling our loved ones about the pregnancy is a vital step to figuring out where to go from here. Let’s break it down into steps so we can approach our families with confidence and ease.

1. Breathe.

Seriously, just take some time to relax. It’s important to enter a potentially tricky conversation with a calm attitude and an open mind. Sit or lie down, close your eyes, and just focus on breathing deeply for a couple of minutes.

2. Decide who you want to bring into the conversation.

Who is important to you to include in this talk? Parents? Siblings? Friends? If the father of the baby wants to be involved, think about whether or not you want him to be a part of this conversation with your family. If it would make you more comfortable to bring a friend or two along for support, that can be a great option as well.

3. Let your parents know you want to talk.

You don’t have to randomly blurt out the news. You can let your family know you want to talk about something, and from there you can both figure out a plan for when and where to talk. They may want to talk right away, or they may want to talk about it later, so be prepared either way.

4. Pick a place to have the conversation.

Choose somewhere you and your family feel comfortable, like the kitchen or your room or in the car on your way somewhere (if you’re traveling, make sure you have enough time to talk). It’s important that you feel safe and at ease during this conversation, so go wherever you need to in order to make that happen. Go to a public place like a park or restaurant if you would feel more comfortable with lots of people around.

4. Be honest.

Feel free to be open about how your emotions regarding this pregnancy. It’s okay to let your parents know you’re nervous/scared/excited/whatever feelings are running through you. You’ve made it this far in the process of setting up this conversation–don’t let fear get in the way of being yourself.

5. Be prepared for a variety of responses.

You probably know your family well, but it’s hard to predict exactly how even the people closest to us will react to this kind of news. They may be surprised, excited, scared, upset, supportive, curious, or a combination of all of these. They may have a lot of questions, like who the father is, how far along you are, if you have any plans. Some questions you may not know the answer to, and that’s okay. You have the right to share as much or as little information with your family as you’d like. Think ahead of time about how you might respond to your family’s emotions and questions. You don’t have to have it all figured out, just prepare yourself to have an open mind.

6. Do something fun afterward.

After you all have said and asked everything you wanted to, let out all that nervous energy by doing something together you enjoy. Maybe the conversation went well, and everyone is on speaking terms: you can bring them along for a fun activity. If it didn’t go as well, take some time to yourself or with some friends. Grab some ice cream, go on a walk, hit the shops, or watch an old favorite movie. Do whatever you need to do to take care of your emotional health.

Hopefully, these tips give you more confidence in your ability to talk with the important people in your life. Everybody’s relationship with their family is different, so do what works well for you and them. Figuring out how to best communicate could take time and be a process, so don’t get discouraged. Just ride out the nerves, face the awkwardness head on, and give yourself and your parents grace along the way. Eventually, the conversation can turn from initial shock to how you all can best support each other during this journey. You’ve got this, just breathe and go from there!


Need to talk more? Our trained nurses and counselor are ready to listen. We’re also happy to provide the resources you need so you can make informed decisions about your pregnancy. Call or click below to make an appointment today!

 

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What is a Safe Haven Law?

No matter how overwhelmed or scared a woman may be, she never has to abandon her baby. All 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico have a Safe Haven Law. This law allows a woman to bring her baby to a certain locations or “safe havens” if she is unable to parent the child. No questions asked. Some examples of safe haven locations include fire departments, police stations, hospitals, and pregnancy resource centers. We’ll go through the details of the Missouri Safe Haven Law. But if you live in a different state, check out this guide to find out your state’s Safe Haven Law.

Missouri Safe Haven Law Details:

 

Baby’s Age

  • A baby 45 days old or younger can be given to a safe haven, no questions asked.

 

Who can give their baby to a safe haven location?

  • Either of the baby’s biological parents can leave him or her with employees at a safe haven.

 

Who can receive the baby?

  • A staff member of any hospital, maternity home, or pregnancy resource center (like Lifeline) in a health-care provider position, or on duty in a non-medical paid or volunteer position
  • A firefighter or emergency medical technician on duty in a paid position or on duty in a volunteer position
  • A law enforcement officer

 

Responsibilities and rights of the safe haven provider

  • If a safe haven provider believes that the baby is 45 days old or younger, and the person delivering the baby is his or her biological parent, the safe haven provider must take physical custody of the baby.
  • If the provider does not work in a hospital, they must immediately make plans to transport the baby to the nearest hospital.
  • A safe haven provider is immune from civil, criminal, and administrative liability for accepting custody of a baby. That immunity won’t apply if they abuse or neglect the baby after accepting him or her.

 

What happens to the baby?

  • The hospital will make sure the baby is safe and healthy.
  • The hospital will also let the Children’s Division and the local officer know about the baby. The juvenile officer will immediately begin protective custody proceedings.
  • The officer will ensure that the baby becomes a ward of the court during the baby’s stay at the hospital.
  • When the baby can leave the hospital, the Children’s Division will take physical custody of him or her.

 

The Relinquishing Parent’s Rights

  • A parent voluntarily relinquishing their baby (giving them to a safe haven) isn’t required to provide any sort of  information about him or herself or about the baby, like names or dates of birth or health information. However, that information about the baby would be really helpful for the new caretakers to know. No one can force you to give any information about yourself or the baby.
  • A parent can’t be prosecuted for child abandonment or endangering the welfare of a child for leaving their baby at a safe haven if:
    • The baby is 45 days old or younger when delivered to the safe haven.
    • The parent delivers the baby safely to the physical custody of any safe haven provider, and lets that provider know that they do not intend to return for their baby.
    • The baby hasn’t been abused or neglected by the parent before the voluntary delivery.
  • Once the parent delivers their baby to the safe haven and states that they do not intend to return for the baby, that parent is giving up their parental rights and responsibilities for the child.

 

The Non-Relinquishing Parent’s Rights

  • If one parent gives custody of his or her child to a safe haven provider, the child’s other biological parent (non-relinquishing parent) can preserve his or her parental rights by working with the Children’s Division and juvenile court. The Children’s Division will make a public notice about the child. After that, the non-relinquishing parent has 30 days to take the steps necessary to establish parentage.
  • If the non-relinquishing parent asks the hospital about their baby, the hospital must refer the parent to the Children’s Division and juvenile court.

Lifeline Pregnancy Help Clinic is a safe haven provider. If a parent leaves his or her child with us, we’ll make sure that baby gets all the care he or she needs. We exist to help anyone facing an unexpected pregnancy, free of judgment and full of compassion. Our hope is that women and men get the help they need before faced with a decision to deliver their baby to a safe haven. We offer confidential pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, education, counseling, and community referrals at no cost. If you have any questions or want to know more about Lifeline, contact us today.

 

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Resources:

Infant Safe Haven Laws

Missouri Safe Haven Law

What To Expect At Your First Lifeline Appointment

You’ve called or made an appointment online. You walk into Lifeline aaaand…then what?

If you’ve never been to a pregnancy clinic like Lifeline before, you might feel a little nervous or unsure. Do I need to drink a ton of water and have a full bladder going in? Will I be judged? Should I bring my insurance card?

Have no fear, we’ll answer all those questions for you! First, know that help is here for you at Lifeline. We’re here to listen, encourage, and support you. From the moment you step inside, we hope you feel like you’re in a safe place where you can just be yourself, ask all your questions, and let us know how we can best help you. All are welcome regardless of their race, religion, socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation.  Everyone needs an extra hand sometimes, and we want to extend ours, free of judgement!

 

WHERE TO GO

  • Lifeline is located at 1515 N New St., Kirksville, MO. If you’re familiar with the Kirksville area, we’re right behind Auto Zone off of Baltimore St./ Business Hwy 63.
  • Park in the Client/Expecting Mom/New Mom spots (VIP parking!).
  • Enter through the front door and you’ll hear a happy chime and see a friendly face at the front desk ready to check you in. Just let our receptionist know your name and she’ll make sure our nurses know you’ve arrived.

 

WHAT TO BRING

  • All new clients will need to bring a photo ID. This could be a driver’s license or permit, a school ID, a passport, or any other official ID that has your photo and legal name. This just helps us make sure our clinic is safe and secure for everybody.
  • If you’re coming for a pregnancy test or an ultrasound, arrive with a full bladder. The pregnancy test requires a urine sample from you, and having a full bladder for an ultrasound allows the nurse to get a better picture of the reproductive system. Don’t worry, we’ll let you relieve yourself as soon as possible!
  • Feel free to bring your significant other, a friend, or family member. We want you to have the support from loved ones that you need! The nurse will ask to talk with you individually at first just to make sure you have the opportunity to ask any questions or share private information that you wouldn’t want to share with your friends and family. But soon your loved ones will be able to join you to learn more about our programs and about your pregnancy situation and ask any questions they might have. We even offer Dadline, a fatherhood mentorship program designed just for expecting/new dads. If you are pregnant or a new mom and the father of your baby wants to learn more about being a dad, our nurse can give him more information on that program.

 

WHAT NOT TO BRING

  • You won’t need to bring any form of payment, because all of our services are offered at no charge (celebrate good times, come on)!
  • Insurance information is not needed for our services.
  • Please leave food and drinks at home or in the car so we can keep our clinic clean for everybody.

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Our receptionist will have you fill out some paperwork when you arrive. Nothing super long, just your name, date of birth, date of your last menstrual period (if that applies to the type of appointment you are here for), and other basic info.
  • Whenever the nurse is ready, she’ll take you back to one of our comfy client rooms. No stark white walls, no obnoxiously bright lights. Just a cozy room with plush chairs, colorful designs, and plenty of privacy for you to talk one-on-one with a registered nurse who wants to help you. She’ll go through some more questions with you about your pregnancy or potential pregnancy, medical history, and what resources are available to further assist you. Your honest answers will allow her to best help you.

 

FOR PREGNANCY TESTS

  • The nurse will show you the private bathroom, and you’ll go in to provide a urine sample in a cup.
  • When you’re finished, the nurse will test your urine for HCG (a pregnancy hormone) with a medical grade pregnancy test.
  • If the test is positive, she’ll discuss your options with you and let you know about all the resources available at our clinic, like our Earn While You Learn program. She’ll also refer you to other helpful community resources.
  • If the test is negative, the nurse will still be happy to share information about our programs or community referrals if you want to know more. And, whatever the test result, whether you want to shout for joy or need time to process the situation, the nurse will be by your side as long as you want.

 

FOR ULTRASOUNDS

  • If you’re in the first or second trimester of pregnancy, you might be eligible for an  ultrasound at Lifeline.
  • Our nurse will take you back to the ultrasound room, and an additional staff person will accompany you and the nurse for extra support.
  • The exam will start with an abdominal ultrasound (on your belly), and if you’re early on in your pregnancy you will also need a transvaginal ultrasound. The vaginal probe allows us to get a clearer picture when the pregnancy is just getting started.
  • The nurse will use either or both probes to measure the gestational age of the baby (how far along you are), the baby’s heart rate, and to make sure the pregnancy is in the uterus where it’s supposed to be. At Lifeline we don’t diagnose any medical issues or determine the baby’s sex. We’ll refer you to your doctor for those questions.
  • After taking some measurements, the nurse will talk you through what’s going on in your body. You’ll be able to see the screen the whole time.
  • Photos of the ultrasound and measurements will also be reviewed by our medical director, a board-certified OB/GYN. The physician will review everything and we will let you know what sort of care he recommends. You’ll even get to take copies of those photos home with you!

 

YOU’RE NOT ALONE.

Hopefully this info gives you a better picture of what to expect from your first appointment at Lifeline. If you have any other questions, please give us a call or send an email or text. We want you to have all the information you need to feel at ease. If you haven’t scheduled your appointment yet, click the button below to book it today!

Remember, help is here for you. No judgment. No pressure. Just compassion, information, and resources to help every step of the way.

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5 Tips to Kick Morning Sickness

Carrying a new life is such a beyond-special gift! But let’s face it, sometimes being pregnant feels very…not fun. If you’re in your first trimester, you may be experiencing that infamous pregnancy symptom: morning sickness.

What’s a girl to do when you’re just lying in bed but your stomach feels like you should be on a fishing boat in the middle of the Atlantic? Read on to find out what this morning sickness thing is all about and what you can do to shut it down.

You’re not alone.

More than 50% of pregnant women experience this nausea and vomiting we call “morning sickness.” The name is deceiving, because as you may have realized, it doesn’t just happen in the morning. Lucky us, it can happen any time of day! (insert sobbing here). But the real good news is that, for most women, it’s pretty mild and goes away about halfway through pregnancy. It’s likely that pregnancy nausea happens because our bodies aren’t used to all those hormones running around. It takes some time to figure out that this hormone level is the new normal, and once the body does realizes this, we should stop feeling sick. And besides being uncomfortable, morning sickness isn’t harmful for us or our baby.

However, if you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor ASAP to make sure you and the little one are safe!:

  • Flu-like symptoms, which may be a sign of illness.
  • Dizziness or lethargy
  • Severe vomiting continuously or several times a day
  • Unable to keep down any fluids or foods
  • Weight loss

 

Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for: tips on dealing with this sucker!

Eat small and frequently. Instead of three big meals a day, snack every couple hours. This will give you the energy you need and also keep your tummy full, but not too full. Nausea often intensifies when your stomach is either super full or super empty.

Stay hydrated. Especially if you’ve been throwing up, your body could easily get dehydrated. Make sure you drink plenty of water to make up for it. If you need the extra motivation, get yourself a cute new reusable water bottle and set a goal to drink the whole thing ___ times per day!

Be a picky eater. Stay away from greasy or spicy foods – these may add more fuel to the nausea fire. Foods that are high in carbs or protein, low in fat, and easy to digest will be the most palatable. Here’s a list of foods that’ll help you get through morning sickness:

  • Cold foods (sandwiches, raw vegetables, salad when properly prepared to prevent listeria)
  • Bland foods (chicken soup, broth, plain baked potato)
  • Plain vegetables or fruits
  • Foods rich in vitamin B6 (examples: meat, eggs, bananas, nuts/seeds, carrots)
  • Lemons (even the smell of lemons can help relieve nausea!)
  • Ginger (ginger tea, ginger jam on toast, ginger snaps)
  • Peppermint tea
  • Crackers
  • Jell-O
  • Flavored popsicles
  • Pretzels

Listen to your nose. Take note of any smells or tastes that make you queasy, and stay the heck away from them (if you can)!

Get outside. If the weather’s nice, open up the windows at home or work and let in some fresh air. Take a walk and enjoy the sunshine.If you think your sickness could be caused by iron in your prenatal vitamin or you want to take anti-nausea meds or other treatments like acupuncture, make sure to ask your doc about it.

You’ve got this!

Morning sickness doesn’t have to ruin the joys of pregnancy for you. Slow down, take care of yourself, and bring on the saltines. If you’re pregnant, want to know more about prenatal health, and live in the Kirksville, MO area, check out our no-cost, confidential services. We’d love to help you. Contact us today!

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Resources:
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/morning-sickness/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20375260

https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/morning-sickness-pregnant

https://www.healthline.com/health/vitamin-b6-foods

Morning Sickness Relief: Treatment & Supplements

Summer Pregnancy? Don’t Sweat It!

Ah, summer! What could be more fun than barbecues, beach balls, and…baby bumps?

If you’re reading this in the later stages of your pregnancy, you might be rolling your eyes. Pregnancy + heat = not fun, you say. We get that. Pregnancy already raises our body temperatures, and our annual friends June, July, and August don’t help. We don’t have to let the humidity drag us down! There are plenty of perks to a summer pregnancy, and plenty of ways to handle the non-perks. Let’s talk through ‘em:

PERKS OF BEING A SUMMERY PREGNANT WONDER WOMAN:

Fresh clothes. Summer’s all about fun patterns, airy material, open-toed shoes that let swelling feet and ankles breathe…and we don’t have to worry about piling on layer upon layer of sweaters and coats over that bump like we would in the winter.

Fresh air. Being (safely) active and breathing fresh air can help keep us and our babies healthy during pregnancy. Even if the afternoons are scorching, summer mornings and evenings are great for a de-stressing stroll!

Fresh produce. Summer provides us a plethora of wonderful fruits and veggies. Whether we grab these from the local farmers market or a chain grocery store, we can help out the pregnancy glow with these vitamin-filled yummy goodnesses that are cheaper and fresher than they’d be in any other season. Plus, we won’t feel so weighed down by the hearty meals of winter.

HOW TO HANDLE THE NON-PERKS:

Swim it up. Take advantage of community pools and lake season to cool off. And wear that swimsuit with pride. There is no need to be ashamed of our bodies during pregnancy. We’re making human beings: what’s more beautiful than that? And if swimming isn’t your thing, carry a spray bottle of water around with you to mist yourself throughout the day.

Wear clothes that breathe. A summer pregnancy wardrobe requires light, sweat-wicking fabrics. Not only will this keep you cool, but also help prevent heat rash. Heat rash commonly happens when skin rubs together, so as the breasts and abdomen grow and sweat starts to collect…you get the picture. Thin, breathable materials will help keep this issue at bay.

Water water water. Stay hydrated! This is always important, but especially during pregnancy. Besides leading to uncomfortable thirst, headaches, and fatigue, dehydration can contribute to preterm labor.

Avoid swelling. Leg-swelling (or physiological edema, if you want to be fancy) can flare up during the summer months, especially for those of us in our second trimester. Try lounging on the couch with your legs elevated, taking a walk a few times a week during the cool hours of the day, and wearing a shoe size up to allow for extra blood-flow.

Seriously, we can do this! Let’s celebrate this season with gusto, ready to relax with our developing kiddos.
Want to learn more about prenatal care or parenting while also earning free baby supplies? Click here to learn more about Lifeline’s Earn While You Learn program. We’re here for you – call us or email us if you need any help!

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Resources:

https://www.webmd.com/baby/features/summer-pregnancy#1

https://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-body/pampering/summer-pregnancy-survival-guide/

Find Us

CONTACT US
Lifeline Pregnancy Help Clinic
1515 N. New St.
Kirksville, MO 63501
Get Directions
Text: 660.851.4350
Call: 660.665.5688
lifelinephc@gmail.com