Pregnant sleeping sideways on bed

Good Sleep Tips For Pregnant Moms

Sleep does not come easily to the pregnant woman. It is understandably quite difficult to assume the fetal position with a fetus inside you. Hormonal changes and discomfort associated with pregnancy can affect a pregnant woman’s quality of sleep, and pregnant women need all the sleep they can get – it may be their last chance for a while. The National Sleep Foundation knows that each trimester of pregnancy brings with it a new set of challenges. Here is some of their advice for handling them.

First Trimester Of Pregnancy
In the first trimester of pregnancy, there are a number of challenges to a good night’s sleep you’ll need to be prepared for. Pregnant moms wake up frequently in need of the bathroom and emotional and physical stress may cause sleep disruptions and increased daytime sleepiness.

Second Trimester Of Pregnancy
The second trimester of pregnancy may be considered the metaphorical “calm before the storm.” Nighttime urination will become less of an issue because the fetus moves above the bladder, reducing the amount of pressure on it. However, sleep may still be interrupted by the growth of the child and the emotional stress.

Third Trimester Of Pregnancy
This one’s the doozy. In the third trimester of pregnancy, not only can you expect to feel discomfort as a result of your expanding belly, you may also experience, effects heartburn, leg cramps, and sinus congestion, all keeping you from a good night’s sleep. In addition, you’ll find the nighttime urination increasing in frequency again as the baby’s position puts pressure on your bladder once more.

Tips For A Good Sleep
Extra Pillows: Get some extra pillows to pad the tummy and back. A pillow positioned between the legs can help to give support to the lower back to make sleeping on your side more comfortable. Consider the wedge shaped pillow or the full-length body pillow for best results.

Nutrition: A nice glass of warm milk is always a good remedy for sleeplessness. Also, foods rich in carbohydrates, such as crackers and bread can help bring on sleep, and a high protein snack can keep levels of blood sugar from falling and prevent headaches, bad dreams, and hot flashes.

Relaxation: Relaxation is also another great way to induce sleep, soothing your muscles, while calming your mind. Stretching, massage, yoga, and deep breathing are all effective relaxation techniques, and a warm bath and shower before bed may also prove quite soothing.

Exercise: Not only is regular exercise important during pregnancy to promote physical and mental health, it can also help you to sleep more deeply. However, keep in mind that stimulating exercise within four hours of bedtime is more like affect your sleep adversely than positively.

Medications: While most medications should be kept out of the equation when one is pregnant, there may be some herbal and dietary supplements that can help you sleep better. Make sure to discuss taking any type of drug, OTC, or prescription with a doctor before purchasing them.

If you have any good tips for sleeping while pregnant, we would love to hear them. Let us know!

Grilled cod fish and vegetables

Updated Advice For Eating Fish While Pregnant

Fans of Lucille Ball may remember episodes of “I Love Lucy” in which Lucy was pregnant with “Little Ricky.” One such episode played on the stereotypical craving of the pregnant women, with Lucy sending Ricky out in the middle of the night to find a store that makes a papaya milkshake, sardines to mix in and a pickle to dip in the concoction. The episode ends with Lucy switching the recipe to sardines with pistachio ice cream and hot fudge. (Take that, Ben and Jerry.) Apparently, Lucille Ball never ate sardines again.

Over the years, there has been a lot of debate about the sagacity of eating fish while pregnant. Recently the Federal government has issued new advice that may have made Lucy think twice before she gave up on the sardines.

New Findings
You may be familiar with the guidelines issued by the FDA recommending maximum amounts of fish that pregnant and breastfeeding women should consume, but you may not be aware, that the groups are now promoting a minimum amount as well. Apparently, new scientific findings uncovered evidence that the importance of pregnant and breastfeeding women and young children eating appropriate amounts of fish needs to be underscored.

According to Stephen Ostroff, MD, and acting chief scientist for the FDA, “Emerging science now tells us that limiting or avoiding fish during pregnancy and early childhood can mean missing out on important nutrients that can have a positive impact on growth and development as well as on our general health.”

Woman on sofa

How Much Is Enough?
An FDA analysis of over 1,000 women revealed that 21% ate no fish in the previous month and that those who did ate far less than is recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The updated draft recommends that pregnant women eat between 8-12 ounces per week of a variety of low-mercury fish for healthy fetal development.

Nancy Stoner, the EPA’s acting administrator for the Office of Water says, “Eating fish with lower levels of mercury provides numerous health and dietary benefits. This updated advice will help pregnant women and mothers make informed decisions about the right amount and right kinds of fish to eat during important times in their lives and their children’s lives.”

What Kind Of Fish Is Best? Worst?
Included in the draft is advice cautioning breastfeeding and pregnant women against fish known to contain high mercury levels. Such fish include swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico. The women are also advised to limit consumption of white tuna to 6 ounces a week. Less mercurial and recommended options include pollock, salmon, shrimp, canned light tuna, catfish, cod, and tialpia. Women are also instructed to follow fish advisories from local authorities, if available. If such information is not available, women are advised to limit intake of fish to 6 ounces a week for themselves and 1 to 3 ounces for children.

What do you think about the new guidelines? Let us know! Do you know something we don’t?

Pregnant woman in a park

Stop Aging by Having More Children

To slow down the aging process, you are told to eat well, exercise often, get enough sleep and eliminate as much stress as possible, so it may seem completely counterintuitive that if you want to stop the clock on aging, you should have more kids. Children, particularly in the first few months of life, deplete your energy, have you skimping on sleep and they seem to infinitely increase your stress level, so how can having a larger family possible keep you young? New research from Canadian researchers at Simon Fraser University suggests that the number of children a woman births has a positive impact on her body’s aging rate.

The Study
Researchers embarked on a 13-year long study that observed telomere lengths in 75 women. The 75 Kaqchikel Mayan women that the study tracked were all from two neighboring communities located in the southwest highlands of Guatemala who had their telomere length taken from their saliva at the beginning of the study in 2000. At the end of the study in 2013, the same 75 women had their telomere length measured through a buccal swab and the results showed that women who had more surviving children over the course of 13 years had longer telomeres than women who had fewer surviving children in the same period of time. Each additional child born was linked to 0.059 more telomere units.

The Science
Telomeres are important pieces of a cell that influence how the cells age and are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA. These caps are so important because they protect chromosomes – the threadlike structures containing all of your genetic information – from damage. Every time a cell replicates, your telomeres become shorter and eventually reach such a short length that they are no longer able to protect your chromosomes. When your chromosomes become vulnerable, cells age and stop functioning effectively. In the findings for this 13 year study, Prof. Pablo Nepomnaschy and Cindy Barha state that “our analyses show that increased offspring number across 13 years of observation attenuated telomere shortening, suggesting that, in our study population, having more children may slow the pace of cellular aging.”

When it comes to the “why” of the study, Prof. Nepomnaschy has some theories, one of which involves the increase of the hormone estrogen during pregnancy. “Estrogen functions as a potent antioxidant that protects cells against telomere shortening,” hypothesizes Nepomnaschy. Additionally, the social environment surrounding women with more children may positively impact their rate of aging because mothers with more children receive more support from both family and friends. “Greater support leads to an increase in the amount of metabolic energy that can be allocated to tissue maintenance, thereby slowing down the process of aging,” says Nepomnaschy.

In the never-ending quest for youth, researchers have discovered that having more children may indeed lead to delayed aging process. The surge of estrogen and the social support structure that results from being pregnant and having children are two factors that the researchers believe to be influential. Having more children may indeed keep you young, and children will always bring you incredible love and joy, which make your life, longer or not, more satisfying.