All posts by Molly Ploe

molly.mom365@gmail.com'

About Molly Ploe

Molly Ploe comes from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and enjoys hiking, baking and reading. Her favorite Saturday is rainy with bread in the oven and a new book.

A pregnant ethnic mother is doing yoga with her young toddler girl

Indoor Pregnancy Workouts To Try This Winter

When you have a baby on the way, it’s important to stay as healthy as you can. One aspect of this is exercising regularly. However, some moms-to-be worry that the motion of a good run or the intensity of lifting weights may be too much for the little one growing inside.

These concerns can be pushed aside for the most part; generally speaking, working out while pregnant is not only acceptable but encouraged. According to the American Pregnancy Association, pregnancy workouts can benefit soon-to-be mothers by:

  • Reducing back aches and swelling.
  • Preventing gestational diabetes.
  • Increasing energy and improving mood.
  • Encouraging better sleep.

Exercising while pregnant may also tone the muscles needed during delivery, promoting an easier labor, though not every mom’s experience is the same.

While the benefits of working out sound great, for the woman going through pregnancy during the winter, it can be hard to know what you can do. With the bitter cold and icy sidewalks, walking or jogging outside may not sound all that appealing. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to maintain fitness indoors.

Core workouts

There may have never been a better reason to strengthen your core muscles than pregnancy. These will support your baby throughout the term and are key to labor and delivery. Additionally, engaging your core muscles in your pregnancy workout plan can help avoid diastasis recti – a condition many mothers experience, which pulls the ab muscles to the sides so that even when their abs are toned, there’s still a bulge over their belly, BabyCenter pointed out.

When doing ab exercises (in general, and especially while pregnant), it’s important to make sure you’re engaging your core muscles correctly. In the case of a diastasis, doing traditional crunches and improper core workouts can actually worsen the problem.

Exercising can promote a healthy pregnancy and delivery.Soon-to-be moms can encourage a healthy pregnancy and delivery by working out.

Here are a few exercises that Fit Pregnancy reports will strengthen your core and are appropriate for the pregnant body:

Leg lifts

Lie on your side with your head supported by your forearm. Bend your bottom leg to a 45-degree angle and straighten your top leg. Stabilize yourself with your other arm. Lift your top leg to about hip height, then slowly lower it. Repeat for the number of reps you’re comfortable with, then switch to the other side.

Plank

First, get into position: put your hands and knees on the floor, your back straight. Lift your knees so you’re supported by your forearms and toes. Don’t let your butt lift or your belly sag; hold for one to two breaths. Work up to being able to hold the pose for up to five breaths.

Improve your balance

As your body changes, you may start to notice your balance is a little off. This is normal; your body is growing in size and weight every day! A few indoor exercises incorporated into your pregnancy workout routine can help you regain a sound awareness of your center of gravity.

Plié

Anyone who has taken a dance class remembers this one. Using a chair, table or barre for support, stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Turn your toes and knees out 45 degrees. Slowly bend your knees, lowering yourself as much as you comfortably and safely can, then slowly rise back to standing position. Keep your core engaged and your back straight during the entire plié. Repeat for the number of reps you feel comfortable with.

Single-limb stance

Dignity Health pointed out that balancing on one leg can help you become balanced in your changing body. With a table or chair for support just in case you waver, lift one foot off the ground and hold your balance for any length of time you prefer. Repeat on the other leg.

During pregnancy, your body will be in constant change. Your little one is growing and developing inside, and within nine months’ time, he or she will be ready to greet the world. Until then, your body is your baby’s sanctuary. Staying fit is one way to encourage a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

molly.mom365@gmail.com'

Molly Ploe comes from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and enjoys hiking, baking and reading. Her favorite Saturday is rainy with bread in the oven and a new book.

Very upset hispanic or middle eastern man driving his car

Car Births Happen: Here’s How To Prepare For An Unexpected Delivery

When Detroit Red Wings centerman Darren Helms’ girlfriend went into labor in 2015, the professional hockey player began driving as fast as he could to get to the hospital, but he wasn’t fast enough. Soon the couple was facing an unusual and scary situation: Baby girl Rylee was quick to come, born in Helms’ car on the side of I-96 on a March morning at 2:15 just five minutes away from the hospital, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Helms recalled the events just prior to delivery. He’d gone to bed early after his team won against St. Louis earlier in the day, and his girlfriend Devon came to him in the middle of the night.

“She kind of woke me up and said things were happening real fast,” Helm said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “It came on so quick, we thought we’d have some time to get to the hospital, and things just took turn. The baby was ready to come out and say hello, and that’s what she did.”

Have an emergency birth kit

What Helms, Devon and Rylee experienced is unusual, but not unheard of. As such, it’s important that pregnant women and their partners talk about what they would do if they find themselves in a similar situation.

To prepare for the unexpected, make sure you have all the necessary supplies in reach as you get further along in your pregnancy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests putting together an emergency birth kit that includes essential supplies such as:

  • Clean towels and sheets.
  • Clean scissors.
  • Sterile gloves and sanitary pads.
  • Diapers.
  • Instructions for infant-rescue breathing procedures.

Having these items on hand can help make the birthing process a little bit easier.

Know the early signs of labor

Every woman experiences labor differently. If you’re a first-time mom, you may not know how your body or baby will respond to labor, but if this isn’t your first go-round you might be able to draw insight from your past childbirth experiences. However, that’s not to say you should assume your labor with Baby No. 2 will be the same as it was with Baby No. 1. Additionally, it’s common for first labors to take longer than subsequent deliveries, so if you already have one or two children in tow, keep in mind that a quicker labor is possible.

Here are a few signs that it’s close to delivery time, according to What To Expect:

  • You have labor contractions that are three to four minutes apart.
  • Your water has broken.
  • You feel an overwhelming urge to push.

This last point is crucial. Baby Center pointed out that in less than 1 percent of pregnancies, women don’t have many contractions or other labor symptoms before the urge to push. If you get this urge on your way to the hospital, try to hold off. Use breathing techniques to keep calm and collected, and try lying on your side. However, you’ll still want to get prepared by disrobing from the waist down, and call your doctor or emergency services for advice.

Having a baby is an incredibly emotional experience in the best of circumstances. But when it happens in an unanticipated way, it can quickly become nerve-wracking or scary. Being prepared can help you welcome your little one to the world as best as you can.

molly.mom365@gmail.com'

Molly Ploe comes from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and enjoys hiking, baking and reading. Her favorite Saturday is rainy with bread in the oven and a new book.

Happy pregnant couple hugging in nature

What Women Need to Know About Geriatric Pregnancies

The term “geriatric pregnancy” may conjure images of pregnant grandmothers, but this isn’t necessarily the case. In reality, any pregnancy where the woman is 35 years old or older is considered geriatric.

After age 32, fertility begins to wind down in women, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. It decreases even faster after age 37. Although they’re considered to be a more high risk pregnancy, many women in their 30’s carry their baby to full term without a problem.

Here’s what you need to know about geriatric pregnancies today:

The term is becoming less common

The term “geriatric pregnancy” is starting to be used less often, perhaps stemming from a negative reaction from women who are told they have a geriatric pregnancy or from a growing trend toward more women opting to have children later in life. If you’re having a baby and are in this age group, you may have heard the term “advanced maternal age” instead. This means the same thing and is associated with the same risks and myths as geriatric pregnancies.

Women over 35 can have a healthy pregnancy

First and foremost, it’s important to dispel the myth that women can’t have a healthy pregnancy when they’re 35 years old or older. In reality, many women in their 30s or later have children with no complications. In fact, there have been accounts of women well past age 40 who have children – CBS News reported that one woman who was at least 70 years old gave birth to a healthy baby girl on April 19, 2016.

However, HealthLine pointed out that the misconception that all or most pregnancies among women at these ages are risky can create stress among women who fall into this category. This, in turn, can be harmful to mom and baby; it’s best to stay informed and lower stress for a healthy pregnancy.

A common misunderstanding is that babies born to older women are more likely to have chromosome abnormalities. In reality, the chances of birth defects are small. According to the ACOG, the probability of having a child born with birth defects due to extra, missing or damaged chromosomes is:

  • 1 in 525 when the mother is 20 years old.
  • 1 in 385 when the mother is 30.
  • 1 in 200 when the mother is 35.
  • 1 in 65 when the mother is 40.

As you can see, the likelihood does increase with age, but even at age 40, there remains just a 1.54 percent chance of irregular chromosomes in the baby.

Another concern among older women is infertility. The number of eggs a female has throughout her life is finite. Eggs are already in your ovaries at birth and no new ones are formed. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean older women will be infertile. Sterility is present in women of all ages, Northwestern University pointed out. About 10 percent of 20-year-old women are infertile, though that number increases to 85 percent for 40-year-olds.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infertility is defined as an inability to conceive after one year of unprotected sex for women under age 35, and doctors often treat for infertility after 6 months of unprotected sex for women age 35 or older.

Many women choose to have children later in life.Many women choose to have children later in life.

There are benefits to having children later

Though there are some added risks of having children later, there are also plenty of positive aspects of waiting to start a family. Older women tend to be more prepared to raise a child, having potentially spent decades obtaining an education and building a career.

But there are some pregnancy risks, too

While many women have healthy pregnancies in their 30s or later, there are some risks that women should know. One of the biggest concerns for older women having children is preexisting health conditions. Things like high blood pressure or diabetes are more likely to occur in older women than younger women. These can make pregnancies more challenging, regardless of age.

The ACOG also pointed out that older women have a higher chance of having a multiple pregnancy, where they have twins or triplets instead of a single baby. This is true of women age 35 or older who have a natural pregnancy as well as of those who receive fertility treatments, which is also more common in older women.

Fertility treatments may help

Some women turn to fertility treatments to help increase the chances of conception. Assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization have improved over the years. According to the CDC, about 1.6 percent of infants born in the U.S. in any year were conceived using ART. However, using ART to have a baby is a big decision. These treatments aren’t cheap and they’re not guaranteed to be successful. It’s best to discuss this route with your doctor.

There are labor and delivery risks

Every woman’s birthing experience is different, but for older women, there could be a higher risk of complications. It’s more common for older mothers to have preterm labor and delivery, and premature infants are more prone to health problems. Older women more often require a cesarean section than younger women, which naturally introduces greater risk to the mother because it’s a major surgery.

There are things you can do to reduce pregnancy risks

While these risks sound scary, they shouldn’t necessarily deter a women from starting a family. HealthLine noted that simple steps like exercising regularly, eating well, taking prenatal vitamins and avoiding alcohol and other drugs can lend to an overall healthy pregnancy.

With any pregnancy, it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor to make sure you and your baby are progressing well and are on track for a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Your doctor will be able to make more specific recommendations for how to approach your “geriatric pregnancy.”

molly.mom365@gmail.com'

Molly Ploe comes from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and enjoys hiking, baking and reading. Her favorite Saturday is rainy with bread in the oven and a new book.

Baby holding smart phone on back

Toddlers and Touch Screens: Tips and Advice

Imagine yourself standing in line at the grocery store after a long day with a fussy 2-year-old. All you want to do is get through the checkout and back home to make dinner, but all your ornery toddler wants is to play that one game with the bright colors and shapes on your smartphone.

What do you do?

It’s easy to relent and hand over your phone. You know it’ll be effective – your little one loves that thing – and it’s so easy (your phone is probably in your hand or pocket already). But is it the right thing to do?

It’s best to limit early childhood screen time

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children 18 months old or younger not use any media devices whatsoever. The only exception to this rule is use for video-chatting with family.

For those parents who want to begin introducing screen time early, the AAP suggests at least making sure the content is high-quality. Additionally, the AAP recommends that parents watch or use the device with their little one and interact with both the child and the medium so baby or toddler can gain a greater understanding of what it is they’re watching or doing.

It's generally a good idea to limit smart device use among young children.Toddlers tend to love touch screens, but it’s best to limit their exposure to mobile devices early on.

For children ages 2-5 years old, an hour of screen time per day is acceptable, the AAP explained. Still, it’s a good idea to use the media along with the child to facilitate deeper understanding. Kids older than this may begin using media more frequently, though it’s beneficial to set hard limits, such as no screens at the dinner table or during family time. Further, it’s critical that screen time is not replacing sleep time, meal time or play time.

One recent study found a correlation between minutes per day on a mobile device and delayed speech development, CNN reported. The topic has only briefly been studied, and researchers note that deeper exploration is necessary to truly understanding the effects screen time has on young minds. But the study, which spanned 900 children, found that for every 30 minutes per day using a screen, there was a 49 percent increased risk of expressive speech delay (using sounds and words).

Screen limits in an ultra-connected world

While notions of a tech-free toddler might sound nice, to the busy parent, they might also seem unrealistic. The truth is, screens will always be around your little one. You likely use them on a regular basis to communicate with your spouse, family, co-workers, friends, your favorite stores, your bank and the list goes on.

Your child learns from you: Screens aren’t just OK; they’re essential. And there will be times when the simplest move really is to hand your fussy little guy your smartphone with his favorite game preloaded.

So, when that time comes, here are a few tips:

  • Interact with your toddler while playing on the device whenever possible.
  • Take note of when you’re giving him the device so you know when to take it back or turn it off.
  • Choose several high-quality, educational apps or videos to load.

Not sure which selections in the App or Google Play Store are best? Parents Magazine suggested giving these apps for toddlers a try:

Toddler Flashcards

This app is exactly what it sounds like: flashcards for basic words like animals, foods or letters for your child to learn. This is especially handy for bilingual children, as the settings can be swapped between 13 different languages.

Quizzing Toddler Preschool

This interactive app will help your child learn her shapes, colors, letters and numbers.

Duckie Deck Collection

This app has six games that promote imaginative thinking, problem-solving and healthy habits.

Limiting screen time is generally a good idea for young ones, but sometimes this is easier said than done. However, making smart choices about when and how to let your children use mobile devices can encourage a healthier relationship between your little one and technology.

molly.mom365@gmail.com'

Molly Ploe comes from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and enjoys hiking, baking and reading. Her favorite Saturday is rainy with bread in the oven and a new book.