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 woman being worked on by a chiropractor

Should Pregnant Women Go To A Chiropractor?

Many mothers will agree: back pain is a part of pregnancy. Pregnant women experience many changes to their bodies in the nine months before giving birth. As the baby grows, more pressure is put on the spine and the extra weight can push vertebrae and discs out of place.

The pain associated with pregnancy can be relieved with the right method. Chiropractic care is one way expectant mothers can ease aches and other negative pregnancy symptoms.

Here’s what you need to know about seeing a chiropractor while pregnant:

What is chiropractic?

Chiropractic is the art and science of identifying misaligned joints, called subluxations, and adjusting them so they’re back in place. Chiropractors can adjust joints throughout the body but primarily focus on the spine.

One woman points to a model of a spine while another woman looks on.Chiropractic care can relieve pain in the spine.

The spinal column provides a highway of sorts through which nerves travel and extend to the rest of the body. When vertebrae or discs are out of place, they can cause nerve stress, in addition to joint and back pain, which can negatively impact the rest of the body. By adjusting areas that are out of place, chiropractic keeps the body healthy, the American Pregnancy Association explained.

What should I look for in a chiropractor during pregnancy?

All chiropractors have been trained on how to work with pregnant women. However, there are some who have pursued additional training or who focus on pre- and postnatal care.

Chiropractors who are Webster Certified have learned in-depth about sacral subluxations, which can cause painful pregnancies and labors. They are also experienced in adjusting pregnant women, according to The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association.

Beyond becoming Webster Certified, it’s a good sign if the chiropractor is active with the ICPA and has earned either the Certification by the Academy Council of Chiropractic Pediatrics or the Diplomate in the Academy Council of Chiropractic Pediatrics designation.

What pregnancy symptoms can chiropractic relieve?

Chiropractic care can ease back pain during pregnancy, but that’s not the end of the benefits this practice can provide. In some cases, getting adjusted can help ease nausea, especially if a pinched nerve is contributing to this symptom.

A correctly aligned pelvis can also make labor faster and less painful. On the other hand, a misaligned pelvis can make it harder for the baby to get into position for birth. Babies in the breech or posterior positions often require birth interventions like a Cesarean section; when the pelvis is correctly aligned and the baby can more easily get into position, this possibility becomes less likely.

An article published in the July/August 2002 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported an 82 percent success rate of correcting the breech position through the Webster Technique – which all chiropractors with the Webster Certification are trained on.

Some women even choose to have their chiropractor in the room while they’re giving birth to offer adjustments throughout the process, Modern Alternative Pregnancy noted. This should be discussed with the doctor and/or midwife.

Should I see a chiropractor after giving birth?

Giving birth is hard on the body – both yours and your baby’s. Seeing a chiropractor after giving birth can realign any subluxations you sustained throughout labor and delivery. Chiropractors are trained to adjust newborn infants as well. They can gently find subluxations in the baby’s body and adjust them.

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.

a toddler eating french fries

How To Dine Out With Your Toddler Without The Stress

Going out to a nice restaurant is a luxury you might expect gets pushed to the bottom of your “things you can do” list after you have a baby. Luckily, this couldn’t be further from the truth – while dining out with baby likely won’t be your top priority, there’s no reason moms and dads can’t take their little one out for a nice meal.

Of course, there will be obstacles that make the whole eating out experience a bit more difficult. That said, with a little planning, you can have a pleasant dining experience with your toddler by your side.

Picking a time

Your toddler likely has a schedule that should be followed more or less every day. You know around what time she will get fussy because she’s overtired and when she’ll be hungry. Since you have this privileged information, you can use it to plan your meal out. Choose a time that’s not too close to naptime (or choose a time that’s right after), and plan to eat at around the time she normally eats.

A toddler sits in his mother's lap at a restaurant.Bringing your child to a restaurant doesn’t have to be stressful.

Sometimes, you simply can’t plan around your toddler’s schedule. When this is the case, plan ahead. If it’ll be a longer wait to her meal time than she’s used to, pack a snack that you know she’ll eat.

Additionally, consider common busy periods for the restaurant. Stay away from these. The last thing you want is a meltdown in a packed restaurant where everyone can hear your child’s wails.

Choosing a restaurant

Consider the restaurant’s style, menu choices and general atmosphere. Some restaurants just don’t allow kids, Eater pointed out, so be sure to double-check the policy before you make a reservation.

Some atmospheres won’t be compatible with your child. If your toddler feels anxious in loud, crowded spaces, a restaurant that fits this description isn’t the best idea.

Finally, think about food choice. If your child absolutely hates fish, don’t take him to the new sushi joint. Choose a restaurant that serves food that can easily be reheated, The Dahlia Scene suggested. That way, when your child gets full three bites into the spaghetti, you can take the whole thing home.

Why dine out with your toddler

With all the forethought required before you bring your toddler to a restaurant, parents may wonder, why bother? Why not just hire a sitter and enjoy the meal kid-free?

While a date night sans offspring is fun, there are numerous benefits to including your child in a few outings.

Taking your toddler out provides an excellent opportunity to begin demonstrating manners and socially acceptable behaviors. Your child will need to learn how to handle different situations sooner or later, and starting early on with low-stakes circumstances, like eating at a restaurant, can help to lay a foundation for this.

Additionally, going out to eat can help your child learn to be open-minded about new experiences, flexible routines and new foods. Even if you can’t (or don’t want to) convince your toddler to order something she’s never tried before, she can take a bite of two of your dish, Understood, a resource for parents of children with learning or attention difficulties, pointed out.

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.

a toddler crying

The Many Mood Swings of the Terrible Twos

The life of a two-year-old isn’t always easy.

One minute you might be happily coloring with your new markers, and the next your mom snatches them from your hand and scolds you for drawing on the wallpaper. At the moment, nothing can feel more devastating.

Anyone who’s parented a toddler knows what happens next. The young artist bursts into tears, possibly hits mom, throws the nearest object or runs away. Of course, as soon as she sees another cool, new toy, she’ll settle right down.

It’s perfectly normal to have a moody toddler, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating. Understanding what life is like in the world of a toddler can help you learn how to deal with terrible twos.

What is time?

Your toddler has a very limited concept of time. When he wants something, all he knows is that he wants it now. Not in five minutes, not in an hour (what’s an hour, anyway?). As such, when he doesn’t get his peanut butter and jelly exactly when he’s hungry, he may think he’ll never get his sandwich, even if you’re already in the process of spreading the jelly.

Unhappy Girl Watching Parents Arguing In KitchenAn unhappy toddler might have a change of heart when an alternative option is presented.

In some cases, the tears will stop as soon as you hand your toddler his lunch (or whatever it is he’s asking for). In many other situations, your toddler is making a request you can’t oblige. No, he can’t play with your kitchen knife. No, he can’t have candy before dinner.

Being told “no” isn’t fun, but luckily you can use that limited concept of time to your advantage, Parents explained. You can’t take him to the park right now, but he can play with his dinosaurs or his blocks. A new distraction becomes his new focus, and he’ll be happy once more.

Learning words takes time

Your toddler knows exactly what she wants. Unfortunately, she might not have the vocabulary to dictate that want. Even if she does, it might come out sounding like slurred and garbled nonsense. If parents had a nickel for every time they asked their child “what?,” they’d have very heavy pockets.

Not being able to clearly express their wants and needs is the source behind many toddler meltdowns. When your 18-month-old wants a cup of apple juice, but doesn’t know the word “apple” and can only ask for juice, she feels frustrated when she’s handed a cup of orange. She might yell, cry or throw the juice on the ground.

In time, she’ll learn the word “apple” and know how to ask for what she wants. Until then, be careful to communicate the names of her favorite items whenever possible to help her learn. When you pick up the apple juice, say “This apple juice is yummy” or “Do you want the apple juice?”

Additionally, teaching your child some simple baby signs can help alleviate language frustrations, LiveStrong explained. For example, to sign for “apple,” make your hand into a fist with your index knuckle extended. Touch the knuckle to your cheek and twist.

Emotional intelligence doesn’t come easily

When something has upset your toddler, all he knows is there’s a burning rage inside him. He might not know the words “mad,” “sad” or “frustrated.” He probably doesn’t know how to properly express those emotions, either; he’s only just developed them, after all.

Help your toddler learn about his emotions and how to display them. When his older brother knocks over his block tower, he feels mad. He might pick up his blocks and throw them at his brother. Tell your toddler, “That must have made you feel really mad.” Vocabulary will help your child understand that feeling mad is normal. Teach him that’s it’s OK to feel mad, but not OK to throw blocks.

Help your toddler learn about all his emotions, not just the negative ones. Help him identify when he’s happy, excited, sad, frustrated or mad. In time, he’ll not only learn how to determine his own emotions, but he’ll also start recognizing these in others – the first steps toward developing empathy, Parents noted.

Dealing with tantrums isn’t easy, especially when you’re in public or witnessing the third meltdown of a very tough day. It’s important to let your toddler know that throwing a fit isn’t the way to get what he wants.

Wait for him to calm down, then get to the bottom of the problem. In time, your toddler will develop a bigger vocabulary, a realistic concept of time and the emotional intelligence to stay calm, even when frustrated – it’s all a part of growing up.

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.

Depressed woman in bed watching tv on smartphone

What is Gestational Diabetes? How Does It Affect My Baby?

Many women worry about complications during pregnancy that can have a lasting effect on their babies or their own bodies. For about 18 percent of women, one complication is the development of gestational diabetes, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Most people know what diabetes is: the body’s inability to either produce enough insulin to process blood sugar or it’s a resistance to insulin, leading to unhealthy levels of sugar in the blood. Gestational diabetes regards the same issue, but refers specifically to this problem showing up in pregnant women.

Who can get gestational diabetes?

Any woman can get gestational diabetes, and many times, its symptoms are unrecognizable or nonexistent. However, women are more at risk for developing gestational diabetes if they:

  • Are older than 25.
  • Have a family history of Type 2 diabetes.
  • Had gestational diabetes with a previous pregnancy, or gave birth to a baby 9 pounds or larger.
  • Are obese.
  • Have prediabetes.
  • Have a history of polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • Previously had a stillborn baby.
  • Are African American, Hispanic, Latina, Asian, Native American or Pacific Islander.

Gestational diabetes generally develops or begins to show signs around 24 weeks of pregnancy, according to the American Diabetes Association. Doctors typically begin testing for it between 24 and 28 weeks because it’s at this stage in pregnancy that the placenta begins producing large quantities of hormones, some of which may lower women’s tolerances of insulin or blood sugar, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

How does gestational diabetes affect the baby?

Many women with gestational diabetes give birth to happy, healthy babies. However, having this condition does pose some risks to the baby. The most serious risk is the baby being stillborn or dying shortly after birth, according to MedicineNet.

Close up of male doctor holding document while sitting with pregnant woman in clinic
Gestational diabetes may cause complications with delivery.

The baby is also at higher risk of:

  • Jaundice.
  • Respiratory distress syndrome.
  • Shoulder dystocia (when the baby’s shoulder gets stuck in the birth canal).
  • Spinal development abnormalities or other congenital malformations.
  • Heart disease.
  • Neural tube defects.
  • Having low blood sugar immediately after birth.

The baby is also more prone to having a higher birth weight – as much as 9 pounds or larger – which can complicate delivery even more. Such complications may include needing a Cesarean section, early labor and preeclampsia.

Finally, a baby born to a mother with gestational diabetes is also at a higher risk of becoming overweight or developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.

Are there gestational diabetes symptoms?

Not always. Additionally, some symptoms of gestational diabetes may be brushed aside because they are incredibly similar to symptoms of general pregnancy – like feeling fatigued or a frequent need to pee. However, if these symptoms seem excessive, it may be worth bringing up with your doctor. Additionally, if you experience any of the following, consult your doctor:

  • Blurred vision.
  • Sores that heal slowly.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • Tingling or numbness in your hands and feet.

Many women who develop gestational diabetes will return to a normal ability to process glucose after giving birth, but they are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes in the decade after having their baby.

Is there a gestational diabetes test?

There are two types of gestational diabetes tests doctors can administer. For both, you’ll drink a sweet liquid that may make you nauseated. About an hour later, you’ll have your blood drawn and tested.

The first type of test conducted is a glucose challenge screening test. The lab technician will track your blood sugar levels to determine whether your body is processing the sugary drink normally. If you are, you probably don’t have gestational diabetes.

If your tests show abnormal results, your doctor will likely administer a second test for confirmation: The glucose tolerance test. The process is a bit more involved and will give a more accurate reading.

What is a healthy gestational diabetes diet?

Nutrition and exercise is the best way to prevent and manage gestational diabetes. Mediterranean-inspired diets are often used for preventing gestational diabetes, which include lots of:

  • Lean meats.
  • Whole grains.
  • Plant-based foods.
  • Fresh fruit.
  • Healthy fats, like extra virgin olive oil.
  • Unprocessed foods.

Starting early is best – women who aren’t yet pregnant but are trying to have a baby may want to start making healthy changes in their lifestyles even before they conceive. This will make for both a healthier pregnancy and a less difficult diet change after 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.

Little boy in gift box crying at Christmas.

How to Have a Happy Holiday Without the Toddler Tantrum

The holidays are upon us, which means it’s time to get moving: You’ll need to buy gifts, prepare dishes, arrange travel plans, decorate your home and choose the perfect outfits for you and your toddler to attend the big family holiday celebration.

All this commotion is a lot to wrap your head around – so just consider how overwhelming it may be for your little one. Whether this is your toddler’s first, second or third holiday gathering, it’s still new and exciting and perhaps a bit nerve-wracking, too. Throw in a skipped nap time and a few too many Christmas cookies and you have a recipe from an all-out temper tantrum.

Every parent has been there; the toddler is dressed in an adorable holiday outfit but her emotions don’t quite match the cheery look; the onlookers casting side-long glances at the whole show while they chat.

This situation is best avoided; here are a few tips on how to stop temper tantrums from adding stress to your holiday season:

Minimize overstimulation

One big reason the holiday season tends to bring about more tantrums than usual is the sheer amount of stimulation at every turn, A+ Solutions pointed out. Bright, blinking lights fill the streets, stores and probably your home, too. Large crowds feel scary for a tiny tot, and the noise that comes along with those large gatherings doesn’t help in making it feel more friendly.

Overstimulation during the holidays can lead to temper tantrums.Be sure to fit destressing time into your busy holiday schedule to minimize overwhelming situations for your toddler.

Encourage calmness by trying to space overwhelming situations apart, with breaks in between to settle down. This may mean not going on hours-long shopping sprees or limiting the number of holiday parties or events you bring your child to.

As an adult, it may not seem obvious which situations will be more overwhelming to your toddler. Pay close attention to her body language and the way she’s reacting to everything. If you sense a tantrum is near, take a break from whatever it is you’re doing and find a quieter space to relax in.

Pay attention to diet

Food is often the focal point of many holiday gatherings, featuring decadent roasts or hams, a plethora of sides, endless desserts, and candy literally hanging from trees in your own home. While you may be looking forward to it all, consider your toddler’s palate: Has he ever had ham prepared this way before? Is he familiar with your aunt’s famous green bean casserole?

Toddlers tend to be picky eaters, and new foods don’t always go over so well. Especially when your little one is already overwhelmed by everything going on, she may not be willing to have a taste of something new. Keep this in mind when preparing holiday foods. Even though it’s a good idea to introduce new foods to your toddler, timing is key, Dr. Sears pointed out. Experimenting with new tastes and textures during an already stressful situation may not work out well. Be sure to have one or two items you know she likes within reach. You may even include them in the dinner line-up.

With the sea of new foods to try, you can bet there’s one category your toddler will be drawn to more than the others: the plate of cookies. While the holidays are often a time of indulging in many sweets, it’s important to pay close attention to your toddler’s diet. One too many sugar cookies (or candy canes, pieces of pie or bowls of ice cream) can cause a sugar crash and lead to a temper tantrum.

Introduce your guests

If you’re hosting a holiday celebration, you’re probably frantically making sure every dish is ready, the decorations are up and the home is clean enough for your guests. Between the harried preparations, the ringing of the doorbell and the parade of unfamiliar faces entering what your toddler regards as the safest place he knows, hosting a holiday celebration might seem like a scary situation.

To make the influx of people into your home seem less alarming, take the time to introduce your toddler to each new house guest, Dr. Sears suggested. Explain how you know or are related to each guest.

The holidays are a time of celebration, sharing and caring. But for a young child, they can also be a time of overwhelming situations, noise and rooms full of strangers. Understanding how these elements can trigger a temper tantrum can help you avoid a holiday meltdown.

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.

a family eating together

Is My Toddler Eating Enough?

Toddlers are known for their picky eating habits. It can be hard to convince your little one to eat a full meal, much less one that’s healthy for them.

As a parent, you know the importance of providing your child with the right nutrition to grow into healthy, happy adults. On the other hand, you also know that proper toddler nutrition, portion size and diet will be different than that of a grown adult – but how different?

Here, we’ll walk through the basics of toddler nutrition so you can ensure your child is getting the right vitamins and the right amount of food.

Portion size for toddlers

After your baby was born, he was in full growth mode. Your infant needed between 35 and 50 calories per pound to get enough fuel to power that growth. However, now that the rate of growth is starting to slow down, your pride and joy will need closer to 40 calories per pound to sustain himself, according to Parents Magazine.

This means if your toddler weighs…

  • 25 pounds, feed him 1000 calories per day.
  • 30 pounds, 1200 calories per day.
  • 35 pounds, 1400 calories per day.
  • 40 pounds, 1600 calories per day.

Variety in vitamins and minerals

Nearly every food packaging intended for healthy eating will boast of the number of vitamins and minerals found within. But do you know what vitamins and minerals – and how much – your toddler needs to support physical and mental development?

Toddlers need healthy foods for proper development.It’s important to make sure your toddler is getting the right nutrients to support growth.

According to BabyCenter, the top 10 important nutrients for a young body’s development are:

  • Iron to bring enough oxygen to their muscles.
  • Calcium to support strong bones.
  • Vitamin D to support calcium absorption.
  • Essential fatty acids to build strong immune, nervous and cardiovascular systems.
  • Magnesium for a healthy heart and bones.
  • Potassium to promote healthy blood pressure and water balance.
  • Vitamin A for healthy eyes, hair and nails.
  • Vitamin C to encourage tissue, red blood cell and bone repair.
  • Vitamin E to limit free radical production.
  • Zinc for a healthy metabolism.

Because different foods will have greater amounts of certain key nutrients than others, it’s important to include variety in your toddler’s diet. Pediatrician Dr. Rajiv Chhabra recommended in an article for MyCity4Kids that parents focus on deriving these key nutrients from real foods rather than vitamins or supplements.

However, because this can be challenging when dealing with extremely picky eaters, a nutritional shake mix to blend with milk can have a few advantages, including a delicious flavor your toddler will love and added vitamins and minerals to close any nutritional gaps.

Meal ideas for toddlers

It can be hard to know how many calories, vitamins and minerals are in each meal or snack you offer your child. Here are a few facts to give you a good idea about the nutritional value of these popular toddler foods:

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Just one more bite

Through the struggle of trying to get a toddler to eat all of what’s on her plate, it can be easy to overlook a very natural reason she’s not eating: She may simply be full. If your toddler insists on not finishing a meal, don’t try to force it. This could lead to poor eating habits later on, Parents pointed out. If your toddler complains of being hungry an hour or so later, give her a snack and take note for the next meal time.

Parents additionally advised against using food as a bribe as well as bribing your child to eat more, as these practices also promote an unhealthy relationship with food. While it’s important to ensure your child is eating enough healthy food, it’s best to teach your toddler how to identify the “full” feeling and to teach them to stop eating when they’ve had enough.

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.

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.