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A resource to support expecting moms (and partners, too!) with evidence-based information to navigate the awesome adventure of pregnancy, birth, and being a new parent. Vanessa Merten provides evidence based info that goes way beyond the typical “pregnancy instruction manual”. Every episode is designed to give you all of the evidence, research, pros, cons, risks, and benefits – all so you decide what the best option is for YOU and feel confident about your decisions during your pregnancy and ...
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40 Weeks Pregnancy Podcast

Vanessa Merten of the Pregnancy Podcast

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Congratulations on your pregnancy! Whether you just found out you are pregnant, or you are almost at the finish line, you are in the right place to learn valuable information on what is going on each week. 40 Weeks has an episode for each week of your pregnancy. You can get a quick explanation of how big your baby is, what is going on with your baby's development, what is happening in your body, and what to expect in your prenatal care. Plus, each episode ends with a tip for dads and partner ...
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Caffeine is a psychoactive drug because it changes brain function and results in alterations in perception, mood, or consciousness. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant found naturally in the seeds, nuts, and leaves of over 60 species of plants. This stimulant is commonly in coffee, tea, and energy drinks and is the most widely consumed d…
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You may be completely regular as far as going to the bathroom before getting pregnant, and then suddenly, you are stopped up and have issues when you need to go #2. If you are constipated, you have difficult or infrequent bowel movements, your stools are hard, and you may have pain or discomfort in your stomach. The prevalence of constipation is 40…
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A birth plan is much more than a piece of paper you hand to your care provider. A birth plan is a process you go through to prepare for the birth experience you want. This process will lay the foundation for you to be prepared for the scenario in which everything goes as intended and for what should happen if things do not go as planned. While pare…
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Most aspects of having a baby rest solely on the mother. One of the biggest things I hear from partners during pregnancy, labor, and after their baby arrives is that they don't know what to do. They feel useless and like they can't help. Or they feel like there is nothing for them to do. There are many things partners and dads can do to support mom…
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With warmer weather comes more insects and the potential for bug bites. As with any topic, pregnancy adds an additional layer of concern about bug bites. When you are pregnant, increased skin sensitivity can make itchy or painful bug bites more bothersome. Some illnesses spread by insects, like the Zika virus, pose additional dangers during pregnan…
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All expectant mothers experience some level of anxiety or fear about the unpredictability of labor. Not only can it be stressful to have anxiety about giving birth, but research shows fear of birth can negatively impact your birth experience. There will always be unknowns about how your labor will unfold. The good news is that there are many strate…
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A pediatrician is the primary care provider for your child from birth through early adulthood. They offer crucial support in monitoring growth, administering immunizations, and diagnosing illnesses. A pediatrician also provides guidance on health and development and will assist you in navigating caring for your child. There are many factors to cons…
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Fifty years ago, you went to the doctor, and whatever they told you was the correct answer. They were the experts and the gatekeepers of information. Today, doctors are still experts, but access to information is widely available to patients. There has been a major shift in patients being informed, especially concerning pregnancy and birth. Ideally…
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Happy Mother’s Day! Whether you are expecting your first baby, already have kids, or listen to this podcast because you help support new moms, I hope you feel celebrated today. I want to thank you for being a part of this podcast and for the honor of allowing me to be with you on your journey to motherhood. To celebrate Mother’s Day, you can get 50…
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You see a midwife or OBGYN because they are the experts in prenatal care, pregnancy, and birth. They are trained to identify risks, ensure you and your baby are healthy, and assist you in navigating pregnancy and childbirth. In the nine months you are pregnant, you can expect to have around 14 prenatal appointments. Each appointment allows your car…
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Your care provider is the cornerstone of your prenatal care and birth experience. You will work with this expert resource throughout pregnancy to make critical decisions. Choosing your care provider is more nuanced than having a midwife for a home birth or an OB/GYN for a birth at a hospital. Your comfort and trust in your care provider is more imp…
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A birth plan is a document that outlines your preferences for labor and what happens directly following the birth of your baby. A birth plan is much more than a piece of paper you hand to your care provider. It is the process you go through to prepare for your desired birth experience. This process will lay the foundation for preparing you for the …
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Administering erythromycin eye ointment to newborns is a standard procedure in the United States to prevent ophthalmia neonatorum. Ophthalmia neonatorum is a newborn eye infection that affects 1-2% of newborns in the United States. This infection can be caused by sexually transmitted infections, viruses, and bacteria. As with any intervention, ther…
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Newborns naturally have low levels of vitamin K at birth. The danger of low vitamin K levels is the risk of vitamin K deficiency bleeding. This is a rare but severe complication. You can decrease the risk of vitamin K deficiency bleeding by giving your baby a vitamin K shot shortly after birth. Administering vitamin K to newborns is standard in the…
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In the United States, one in three babies is born via cesarean. Every expecting mother should be knowledgeable about cesarean birth, even if that is not your primary birth plan. As cesarean births have become more common, options have expanded to make the procedure more mom- and baby-friendly. In recent years, the idea of a gentle cesarean has emer…
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A cesarean section, also known as a C-section, is a surgical procedure to deliver a baby through incisions in the mother's abdomen and uterus. You and your doctor may plan a cesarean birth if you have a complication that would make a vaginal delivery difficult. Every expecting mother should be knowledgeable about cesarean birth, even if that is not…
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For most of human history, a mother in labor was free to move around and change positions at will, with the most common positions being upright. In the mid-1600s, obstetricians started putting mothers on their backs. Thankfully, in recent years, more evidence has supported allowing a mother to choose the positions in which she labors. How your body…
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The third stage of labor starts after your baby is born and ends with birthing the placenta. Even after your beautiful baby is born your uterus will continue to contract. These contractions are generally more mild than the contractions you experience during birth. As your uterus begins to contract and shrink, your placenta will detach from your ute…
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Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree. While dates are high in sugar, they also contain nutrients like fiber, potassium, magnesium, iron, and vitamin B6. There are many claims about the health benefits of eating dates. Among the many claims is that dates can naturally induce labor and make labor shorter. Sounds pretty great, right? Thankfully, …
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Many studies demonstrate the benefits of yoga during pregnancy, from reducing time in labor to improving newborn outcomes. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that modified yoga is one of the safest exercises for pregnant women. ACOG also cautions against specific poses and hot yoga. As with examining any activity, there …
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Research has firmly established that strength and resistance training benefits physical and mental health. Lifting weights may be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about strength training. This can include resistance bands, kettlebells, and body-weight exercises like pushups, pull-ups, or squats. Even activities like plyometrics and …
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Cardio is any workout in which you elevate your heart rate. Many exercises fall under the umbrella of cardio. This includes walking, hiking, running, biking, rowing or elliptical machines, dancing, playing sports, or HIIT (high-intensity interval training). Activities like jumping jacks, burpees, and jumping rope are also cardio workouts. A large b…
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Regular exercise during pregnancy can decrease your risk of complications like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean birth and promote a healthy weight gain. Working out can also ease common pregnancy symptoms like constipation and back pain. In addition, living an active lifestyle will improve your physical and mental health in the shor…
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The most significant adjustment period is the first three months after your baby is born. In reality, recovering from birth takes longer for many new parents. You are healing and navigating how to care for yourself and a tiny human. This is a big transition from pregnancy and an even more significant transition from pre-pregnancy. Your baby is tran…
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During pregnancy, you focus on your health, baby, and planning for birth. Many expecting moms often overlook what happens after birth and what they may experience postpartum. Your body needs time to recover after nine months of pregnancy, giving birth, and establishing breastfeeding. Many things happen after you have your baby that no one talks to …
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