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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.
320 Episodes
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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.
Baby Shower Etiquette

Baby Shower Etiquette

2020-09-2727:57

When baby showers first became popular over 50 years ago, we didn't have the internet or baby registries. Gender roles and rules have changed quite a bit, and the etiquette practiced by our mothers and grandmothers has evolved. Even though we are living in a different time, there is value in looking at the traditional etiquette rules for baby showers and how you can modify your baby shower to celebrate in a way that fits with your lifestyle and values. COVID-19 has undoubtedly created challenges for celebrating in-person events. With recommendations to practice social distancing and everyone weighing their risks with COVID-19, you may decide that an in-person baby shower is not the best choice right now. Learn about the alternatives to an in-person shower and the pros and cons of each option. Ultimately, how you celebrate is entirely up to you. I hope you find your own unique way to celebrate.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by visiting http://pregnancypodcast.com/shower/   For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website at http://pregnancypodcast.com
There is a lot of research that examines the relationship between newborns and parents. Most of the more recent research builds on the widely accepted concept that a parent’s emotional involvement with their baby influences their parenting. The question is whether you can bond with your baby during pregnancy and get a head start on building that connection early. Every parent experiences pregnancy differently and how you feel about your baby right now is okay and normal. This article examines the research on bonding with your baby during pregnancy and tips on how you and your partner can start building a connection with your baby now.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by visiting http://pregnancypodcast.com/bonding/   For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website at http://pregnancypodcast.com
This podcast covers a lot about preparing for the birth experience you want. If you listen to this podcast, you are educated about labor and birth. You are learning what your options are, and you know what is evidence-based. You got this! The more you prepare, the better likelihood that you get the birth experience you want, or pretty close to it. I wish I could tell you that everything will go as planned, and it will be magical and perfect. I genuinely hope it does. There will always be unknowns. Many factors can impact your labor and birth, and many of those are out of your control. Should you still plan for the birth you want? Absolutely. Should you also have a backup plan? Yes! This episode covers why you should have a backup plan for your labor and birth, how to prepare for unknowns, and what your backup plan should include.   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.
Ideally, during your birth, nothing is inhibiting your oxytocin production and the fewer stress hormones that are released, the better your labor will be able to progress. The goal is to set up your birth room environment to be a calming, safe environment for you to be in during labor and birth. No matter where you are having your baby you can make adjustments to your surroundings to create the environment that works best for you. This episode dives into the evidence on how your environment impacts your labor and birth, and tips to improve your birth room at home, a birth center, or in a hospital.   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 your skin is stretching during birth, it can tear. It is common for first-time mothers to have some tearing during vaginal birth, and there is also the possibility that you could have an episiotomy, which is a surgical incision. The good news is that there are some things you can do leading up to, and during, your labor and birth to prevent this. I know all of this can sound scary, but it shouldn't be.  The benefits of a vaginal delivery far outweigh the downside of a tear or an episiotomy. Keep in mind some women make it through a vaginal birth without any tearing, so it is not unavoidable. If you do end up with a tear or incision, there is a lot you can do to make yourself more comfortable, give yourself some relief, and help your body heal afterward.    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.
Skin to Skin Contact

Skin to Skin Contact

2020-08-2325:531

No matter what type of birth you have, the most important thing after your baby is born is that you get skin to skin with your baby. Skin to skin means that your baby is not swaddled or clothed, and their bare skin is placed belly down against your bare chest. Being skin to skin stabilizes your baby's heart rate, breathing, and temperature, and reduces stress in both you and your baby. It also increases your interactions with your baby and increases the likelihood and length of breastfeeding. This episode dives into the evidence on skin to skin contact with your baby after birth, the logistics of how it works with any birth, and tips for your partner.   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 are a lot of rumors about things you can do or food to eat to induce labor naturally. Some of these methods have science behind them. Others are old wives' tales that you can probably skip. This episode examines the evidence behind the methods thought to induce labor naturally. Methods included are exercise, baths, nipple stimulation, sex, acupuncture, acupressure, castor oil, evening primrose oil, red raspberry leaf, spicy foods, pineapple, basil, oregano, and dates.   Hello, and thank you for tuning into the Pregnancy Podcast. You can find the full article and resources that accompany this episode at http://pregnancypodcast.com/inducinglabornaturally/   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.
Inducing Labor

Inducing Labor

2020-08-0244:15

In a perfect world everything works like it is supposed to, your body is ready, your baby is fully mature and ready to make their entrance into the world, and you naturally go into labor.  As you probably know, everything doesn’t always go the way we plan and many women end up getting an induction to jump start labor.  The key is knowing when an induction may be medically necessary, and when it may be better to wait it out.  There are many reasons your doctor or midwife may suggest an induction and this episode really dives deep into the reasons an induction may be necessary, as well as some reasons it may be better to wait.  There are many ways your labor can be induced and we go through each method, how it works, what risks are involved, and what the benefits of each method are.  We get into the details on stripping and sweeping membranes, misoprostol (Cytotec), dinoprostone (Cervidil & Prepidil), synthetic oxytocin (Pitocin), using a laminaria or balloon cathedar, and breaking your water.  You will definitely want to listen to this episode to get all the information you need to determine whether induction is right for you, when is the best time to do it, and what methods you want to use.   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.
For a long time, it has been a common rule in hospitals that you could not eat or drink during labor. The main reason women were initially discouraged from eating during labor is not as relevant now, and a lot of research does not support policies limiting food or drinks during labor. In the past few years, this rule has improved to allow drinking clear liquids, but not every doctor is on board with eating during labor. In contrast, women who give birth at a birth center or home are encouraged to eat and drink during labor. This article examines the energy and hydration requirements of your body during labor, and the evidence to support why you should or should not eat and drink. Plus, if you decide that you want to have food or drinks at your birth, this episode covers the right things to bring, and how to navigate current hospital policies.   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.
During your labor and birth, your doctor or midwife will be monitoring your baby's heart rate to assess their well-being during labor and birth. The goal of using electronic fetal monitoring is to recognize babies who are short on oxygen and identify what the underlying cause is to correct it. Monitoring heart rate can also alert a doctor or midwife in the event an emergency arises in which a baby needs to be born immediately via cesarean section or through an assisted birth. Electronic fetal monitoring may sound uninteresting, but it can have a significant impact on your labor and birth. You have some choices about monitoring, depending on your risk level and how you and your little one are doing during labor.   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 are over 100 herpesviruses, and of those 8 affect humans. The two that are most common are the herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2. HSV-1 and HSV-2 are common skin conditions. If you have HSV-1 or HSV-2, you should not be ashamed or embarrassed. The truth is that this virus affects a considerable portion of the population, and one in five women. Neonatal herpes is a serious condition that can have detrimental effects. The good news is that transmission rates during pregnancy and birth are low. Learn about how the herpes simplex virus can affect you and your baby during pregnancy, what medications are safe to use, and how to prevent transmission to 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.
Prioritizing what is important is focusing your attention on the bigger things and spending less energy on the smaller things. Whether something is big or important is completely subjective. You have to decide what is important to you and your partner. Prioritizing what is important will keep you out of feeling overwhelmed. It is easy to burn yourself out trying to learn about every aspect of pregnancy, birth, and parenting. Learn how to decide what is important and get tips to keep from getting sidetracked and overwhelmed with too many decisions.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by visiting http://pregnancypodcast.com/important/   For more evidence-based information visit the Pregnancy Podcast website at http://pregnancypodcast.com
Autonomy

Autonomy

2020-06-2832:56

Autonomy may not be the first thing you think about when you think of pregnancy or birth. Taking agency and ownership of your body can have a profound impact on your confidence and your satisfaction with your pregnancy and birth experience. This episode explores autonomy as it relates to many aspects of your pregnancy and parenting journey. We cover working with your care provider and participating in the discussion. How autonomy can help you navigate current restrictive policies due to COVID-19. Plus, the value in trusting your intuition.    Thank you to Deb Flashenberg for sharing so much valuable information 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.
You have a vision of what you imagine your labor going like. There is always the possibility that your birth does not go as planned due to circumstances out of your control. It can cause anxiety for your birth to go another route you were not expecting. One possibility is precipitous labor and birth. This is when your baby is born within three hours of your labor starting. You can think of this episode as some emergency planning just in case you end up with very short and fast labor and birth. Learn about precipitous labor, get some tips if you do find yourself in this scenario, and how to process your birth experience afterward.   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.
Prodromal Labor

Prodromal Labor

2020-06-1420:28

You spend nine months preparing for your labor and birth, and suddenly it is here, and you are having contractions. Are you sure this is it? It could be prodromal labor. It can be tricky to tell the difference between prodromal labor and actual labor because contractions can have a somewhat regular pattern. They can start and stop at about the same time each day, and this can last for days or weeks before your labor starts. Learn about prodromal labor, how you can cope with it, and how to know when it is a fire drill or the big day you will be meeting 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.
COVID-19 has caused a lot of changes to birth plans over the past few months and we can expect many of these changes to last for the foreseeable future. In this episode, I talk with Heather Delaney, of Maryland State Doulas, about how you can prepare, and what to expect if you are pregnant now. Heather is a wealth of information about how hospitals, birth centers, and home birth midwives are navigating this new environment. Learn what questions you should be asking your doctor or midwife, what to expect when you arrive at your birth venue, and what you may experience in labor and postpartum. Plus, the value a virtual doula can bring to your pregnancy and birth, and the logistics of how virtual support can be a lifesaver.   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 (12)

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
Reply

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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