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Pregnancy Podcast
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Pregnancy Podcast

Author: Vanessa Merten

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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 beyond. The show covers everything from pregnancy to caring for a newborn. Topics include prenatal care, labor, natural birth, hospital birth, cesarean birth, preparing for your baby, breastfeeding, postpartum, and caring for a new baby. This is your​ evidence-based resource to help you make informed decisions about your pregnancy and your baby.
336 Episodes
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Epidural

Epidural

2021-02-2826:09

In this episode, we are talking about epidurals. There are three separate procedures that can be done that are often lumped under the umbrella term, “epidural”. The three procedures are epidurals, spinals, and the combined spinal-epidural. These medications and methods of delivery are the best solutions we have to minimize pain during labor with the least risk. Like any intervention, there are risks and benefits. This article examines the evidence on epidurals so you have the information you need to decide whether this is something you want to include in your birth. Learn about your epidural options, benefits, risks, what is involved in the procedure, and how it may impact your labor and birth.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here.   For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.
Birth Center

Birth Center

2021-02-2130:05

A birth center is a middle ground between home birth and a hospital. You get the benefit of natural or non-medicated birth in a home-like setting, with some of the safety nets that you would have in a hospital. Birth centers generally feature midwife-led care, focused on prenatal and postpartum care for low-risk women. The majority of birth centers are freestanding entities. More are popping up in hospitals with the same focus of natural birth with integration into the hospital system in the event resources or care from the hospital are needed. This episode covers what a birth center is, what you can expect during your prenatal care, labor, birth, and the evidence on birth centers' safety.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here.   For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.
Hospital Birth

Hospital Birth

2021-02-1430:45

About 98% of all births in the United States are in hospitals. Even if you plan for a birth center or home birth, knowing about your backup option is smart. Birth is not an all or nothing decision where you are either having a baby in a hospital with tons of interventions or having a baby at home with no interventions and incense burning in the background. There is an infinite number of options available to you to prepare for and craft the birth you want. The key to getting the birth experience you want is education. Whether you plan a cesarean section or have a natural labor, you could do either in a hospital setting. This episode will help you get more familiar with what you expect in a hospital birth from the moment you arrive, through your labor and birth, until you are discharged and headed home with your new baby.    You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here.   For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.
When you have made it through most of your pregnancy and are in the final stretch, you enter the waiting game of waiting to go into labor. This can be nerve-racking for two reasons. First, you do not know when you will go into labor, and second, you do not know how to tell that you genuinely have started labor and it isn’t just a false alarm. This episode explains the signs that labor will begin soon and the signs that you are in labor. You will not experience all of these signs, and some of these signs may happen to you but go unnoticed. After listening to this episode, you will have a better idea of what to look out to know when labor is starting, when to call your doctor or midwife, and when to go to the hospital or birth center.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here.   For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.
Third Trimester Overview

Third Trimester Overview

2021-01-2428:581

The third trimester goes from weeks 28 until your baby’s birth, around 40 weeks. If you are in your third trimester, congratulations, you are in the home stretch until you get to meet your baby. This trimester can be challenging as your belly keeps growing, and you have some new symptoms as a result of carrying around more weight. You may also find yourself anxious to have your baby and ready to be done being pregnant. Your baby is also going through many changes this trimester in preparation for life outside of your womb. You are almost at the finish line. This episode covers everything you need to know about the third trimester to navigate the last few months of pregnancy and go into your birth with confidence.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here.   For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.
The second trimester tends to be the favorite period for many expecting moms. During weeks 13 to 27 of your pregnancy, symptoms like morning sickness should be subsiding. By this point, you have adjusted to many of the lifestyle changes to have a healthy pregnancy. Your moods and emotions should be evening out, and overall you should feel like you have more energy. After all of the last trimester's internal changes, the second trimester brings many physical changes. Your belly will start showing, and you will be able to feel your baby kicking. Get an overview of everything you can expect during the second trimester of your pregnancy. Learn about the physical changes you can expect, how your baby is growing, what you can expect at prenatal appointments, and some of the to-do items to tackle this trimester.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here.   For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.
First Trimester Overview

First Trimester Overview

2021-01-1021:281

The first 12 weeks of your pregnancy will probably be the most significant adjustment period. You get used to the idea of being pregnant, make some lifestyle changes, and deal with all of the physical and emotional changes. The first trimester is thought of as the most sensitive time during your pregnancy. This is when your baby is building organs and structures. You may not see a whole lot going on outside during the first trimester. You will be able to tell many changes are going on internally. Get an overview of everything you can expect during the first trimester of your pregnancy. This episode covers common symptoms like morning sickness, changes in hormones, your baby's development, and how you can get some relief from some of the not so fun side effects of being pregnant.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here.   For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.
Taking a high-quality prenatal vitamin is one of the easiest things you can do to ensure you have all of the vitamins and nutrients you need. You have an increased need for specific nutrients during pregnancy, and it is challenging to meet these requirements with your diet alone. There are a lot of choices when it comes to selecting the right prenatal vitamin. How do you know which ones are high-quality? What should you look for on the ingredient label? What ingredients should you avoid? All of these questions, and more, are answered in this episode.   This episode features Kenn Israel, who is a formulator and an expert resource on prenatal vitamins. He brings decades of expertise and talks about what to look for in a prenatal vitamin and why it is crucial to make sure you get all of the vitamins and minerals you need during pregnancy.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here.   For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.
Pregnancy Loss

Pregnancy Loss

2020-12-2748:18

In this episode, I have a special guest, Erica McAfee, a grief specialist and doula, who really puts grief and loss and recovery into perspective. This is the perfect episode to end the 2020 year. You will hear Erica talk about how we have all lost something in 2020. We all lost the expectation of what 2020 would have been. She has some excellent tips that you can use in any stage of your life to cope with challenges and find your path forward.   I have not given enough attention to miscarriage and pregnancy loss on the podcast. Miscarriage and stillbirth can be a scary topic, especially if you are currently pregnant. The truth is that miscarriage and stillbirth are more common than you would think. The chances are that if you've never experienced this, that somebody close to you has, even if they haven't shared that with you. If you are listening to this episode and you experienced a miscarriage or a stillbirth, or any type of loss this year my heart goes out to you.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here.   For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.
In this episode, we discuss how your breasts change during pregnancy and after you have your baby. Female breasts have a particular function, and that is to produce milk for your baby. Your breasts and nipples are also an erogenous zone. They can play a part in arousal, and nipple stimulation can even induce labor. Breasts are much more complicated than we give them credit for and play a critical role for newborns. I know you are dealing with a lot of physical and emotional changes during your pregnancy. It can be overwhelming. Hopefully, understanding why these changes are taking place can help you have some compassion for your body's hard work in preparing for your baby.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here.   For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.
You know that you will experience a lot of physical changes when you get pregnant. Some of those changes will affect how your clothes fit or don't fit. It can be so frustrating to feel like you don't fit into anything in your closet. Thankfully, there are maternity clothes made just for pregnancy. On top of your emotions and feelings about your changing body, you may love shopping and have an unlimited budget, or you may not like going to the mall and not have much, if anything, to spend on maternity clothes.  The good news is that we cover all the basic things you need to know about maternity clothes to feel comfortable and stylish no matter how you think about fashion and regardless of your budget. In this episode, we will get into how you can raid your closet for pieces you can wear throughout your pregnancy, what are some must-haves, where to shop for great deals, and how you can feel both comfortable and stylish.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here.   For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.
Culturally in the United States, we don't talk about the fact that you recover from birth and pregnancy. There are a lot of things that are normal and expected after you have a baby that no one tells you about. The good news is that this episode will not only give you a heads up about what is in your future but also help prepare you for life postpartum. Learn what to really expect and what is normal. Find out what products are must-haves, and what you can skip. Plus, some of the best advice to get you through those first days, weeks, and months of being a new parent.   Thank you to Tovah Haim of Bodily for sharing her passion for helping parents navigate life postpartum in this episode.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here.   For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.
The statistics on the disparities women of color face in pregnancy, birth, and postpartum highlight some of our current healthcare system problems. I encourage you to listen to this episode, even if that may not apply to you. This episode features registered nurse Layo George of Wolomi. We discuss the challenges women of color face, owning your pregnancy, advocating for yourself, and the importance of building community.   Thank you to Layo George of Wolomi for sharing their expertise for this episode. Layo George is a registered nurse and an entrepreneur who focuses on population health in response to the nationwide maternal health crisis facing black women. Layo founded Wolomi, which provides resources and guidance to improve Black women's experiences and outcomes during their perinatal periods.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here.   For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.
It can be scary to be a parent and be responsible for a baby's health, safety, and well-being, especially during a global pandemic. Weighing your baby's risks of exposer to COVID-19 against the benefits of social interaction can be challenging. You may decide the best course of action is to be isolated right now. Or you could decide that you need to be surrounded by friends and family. Let's examine the risks of COVID-19 for newborns so you can better determine what level of precautions you want to take.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here.   For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.
There is a lot of evidence on the benefits of babies and kids growing up with a dog. There is no research on what the best methods are to prepare your dog for a new addition to the family and how to ensure everything goes smoothly once your baby arrives. To tackle these topics, I talk to John and Jaime Caponetta. They are experts in dog behavior and have many years of experience training dogs from all backgrounds for many different families. Listen to this episode to learn how to prepare your dog for your baby, introduce them, and navigate growing your family with your pet.   Thank you to John and Jaime Caponetta of Pawsome University for sharing their expertise for this episode.   Jaime has her certification as a K9 trainer from the Animal Behavior College in California and earned the title of Associate Certified K9 Behavior Consultant by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. John Caponetta is a former humane law enforcement officer and has seven years of experience working in animal welfare. He is planning to become a certified instructor in pet first aid & CPR. Both John and Jamie are on boards or support multiple non-profit organizations that provide dog training to families facing financial hardship or support fostering dogs and keeping them out of shelters or euthanized due to a lack of services. Together these two run Pawsome University, which offers one on one in-home professional dog training using only positive and fear-free training methods. Plus, they have a podcast called Pawsome University. John and Jamie welcomed a baby about seven months ago. They are experts in dog behavior. They are the perfect resource to help guide you through preparing your dog for your new baby and ensuring that everything goes smoothly after your baby arrives.   You can read the full transcript and see all of the resources that accompany this episode by clicking here.   For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.
Midwives and OBGYNs are experts in prenatal care, pregnancy, and birth. They are trained to identify risks, and their goal is to keep you and your baby healthy. In total, you can expect to have around 14 appointments with your midwife or OBGYN leading up to your labor. Some of those appointments can be as short as 15 minutes or less. This episode has five tips to make the most out of the limited time you in every prenatal appointment with your doctor or midwife.  You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here. For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.
The immune system is complex, and there is a lot of research on how different nutrients impact it. Before you buy any supplements, please make sure you are already making it a priority to cover the basics, including eating healthy, sleep, hydration, and exercise. No amount of immune-boosting supplements or superfoods will make up for the basics you need to keep your immune system running effectively. If you have these basics in place, you may want to consider additional supplements to boost your immune system.   There could easily be an entire episode on each of the immune-boosting supplements covered here, including folate and folic acid, vitamins A, C, D, E, zinc, selenium, antioxidants, glutathione, PQQ, herbal immune support, echinacea, elderberry, probiotics, mushrooms, and choline. This episode is an overview of the risks, benefits, safety, and evidence available on these supplements' ability to boost your immune system during pregnancy.   As always, please talk to your doctor or midwife about any supplements you are considering taking. That includes any herbs or over-the-counter vitamins or supplements.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here.   For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.
Your immune system is what keeps you healthy and helps to fight off infection. The classic perspective is that pregnancy suppresses your immune system. Advancements in our understanding of the immune system during pregnancy paint a more colorful picture. We now see the placenta as an immune regulatory organ. An intricate symphony is going on in your immune system to protect both you and your baby during pregnancy. A more accurate way to describe it would be that pregnancy suppresses some aspects of your immune system and enhances others. Listen to this episode to learn how you can support your immune system when you are pregnant.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here.   For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.
It is so important to take care of your health when you are expecting. Unfortunately, even when you do take good care of your health, it is possible to get sick. You will likely be coping with some kind of illness during your pregnancy. There are some additional challenges to colds and flu when you are pregnant. Plus, we also have COVID-19 going around right now. Pregnancy limits what types of medications you can safely take. Find out what over-the-counter medications you should avoid and how to treat the symptoms of the common cold and flu during pregnancy to get healthier faster.   This podcast is not intended as medical advice. You should be running any symptoms you experience or any medications you are taking by your doctor or midwife; this also goes for over-the-counter medicines.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by visiting http://pregnancypodcast.com/sick/   For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website at http://pregnancypodcast.com
Flu is an infectious disease caused by the influenza virus. In healthy adults, the flu typically isn't severe, and symptoms usually subside in about a week. When you are pregnant, the inflammatory response your body has to the flu during pregnancy puts you at a higher risk for some complications. The medical community recommends pregnant women get the flu vaccine during their pregnancy to protect them and give passive immunity to their baby. The COVID-19 pandemic is also bringing some additional changes and challenges to the current flu season. There are many flu vaccines available, and it can be challenging to weigh the risks and benefits to decide whether getting the flu vaccine during pregnancy is right for you. This episode dives into all of the evidence and considerations to make an informed decision on whether you should get the flu vaccine during your pregnancy.    You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here.   For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.
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Comments (13)

Bianca Marques

Awesome podcast, thank you!! About the zahler prenatal vitamins, I'm not pregnant yet, when did I need start? Do I need any other supplement besides Zahler? Thank you very much I really appreciate.

Feb 15th
Reply

Emma Webster

Helpful Podcast. Would be better if it was inclusive of lesbian couples and single women though. We are a pair of married Mums going through fertility assistance with a donor. No Dads anywhere in sight!

Jun 30th
Reply

Annemarie Mayo

Loved the ending... I was nearly turned away from a candlelit yin class because I had just found out I was 5 weeks pregnant 😂

Jun 28th
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ebony e

What if you sleep on your back but sitting up? My left hip goes numb and uncomfortable.

Mar 11th
Reply

Chelsea Dollar

I don’t see episodes 3,4 or 5 it’s goes straight from 2-6

Nov 30th
Reply (2)

cycle2wod_becky

so many inaccurate things in this episode. If you can give me 10 reasons to breastfeed instead of pump I'd love to hear it because none are noted in the episode.

Jun 28th
Reply

Megan Simpkins

hi I was wondering if you could do an episode on vaginal grazing. I experianced this while delivering my first child and I'm pregnant again. and I'm terrified that it can happen again.

Jun 24th
Reply

Klaas Braga

very nice! thanks for this podcast, it has been very helpful!

Apr 22nd
Reply

vee Julmice

Hi, I love your podcast. Any information on vaginal birth after exploratory laparotomy fibroid removal. Do you have to have a c-section. Depending on how deep they cut into the uterus, must you have a c section.

Feb 6th
Reply

Maya Salem

An extremely useful and helpful Podcast! The episodes are very informative; the content delivered by Vanessa is backed by evidence-based medicine! Highly recommended.

Jan 17th
Reply

Kimberly Chesanek

Vaccine

May 9th
Reply
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