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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.
304 Episodes
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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.
Pregnancy tends to be a time when you examine your diet and make healthy changes. For many expecting mothers, this means cutting back on sugar, which often means increasing the use of sugar substitutes. Throughout evolution, humans have learned to tie sweetness to calorie-rich foods. Now we have access to alternatives that taste very sweet but have zero nutritional value and no calories. Plus, in recent years concerns have been raised over the safety of artificial sweeteners, especially during pregnancy. This episode examines the evidence on natural and artificial sweeteners and their safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding.   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.
Sugar

Sugar

2020-05-1727:17

Sugar is a broad term for a lot of different molecules that make foods and drinks sweet. Today, sugar is in just about every food and drink we consume. How your body processes different types of sugar varies. Plus, during pregnancy, there are changes to the way your body reacts to and processes glucose. This article explains walks you from understanding sugar and its effects on you and your baby to monitoring your sugar intake and keeping your consumption within recommended levels.   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.
Prenatal Testing Basics

Prenatal Testing Basics

2020-05-1017:481

Your pregnancy journey starts with a positive pregnancy test. That is the first of many tests offered throughout your prenatal care. Some tests diagnose conditions you may have during pregnancy. Others look for genetic abnormalities in your baby. Some tests, like a Group B Strep test, may impact your birth. Tests are useful tools, but they can also create anxiety and stress during your pregnancy. Learn the basics of testing, so you have a better idea of how to make an informed choice when opting into any type of prenatal test.   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.
Humans have a long history and connection to nature and the outdoors. That has changed significantly over the years, and today we spend close to 90% of our time indoors. Gardening is an activity you can enjoy that gets your outside and in nature, right in your backyard. While gardening has many benefits, when you are pregnant, there are also a few risks. Learn how to mitigate the risks to you and your baby while gardening. If you don't have a garden or yard, you can still enjoy plants inside your home. As a bonus, plants are supposed to improve the air quality in your house. This episode examines the evidence on this claim. Learn what hazards in your home diminish air quality and what you can do to improve it.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by visiting http://pregnancypodcast.com/garden/   For more evidence-based information visit the Pregnancy Podcast website at http://pregnancypodcast.com
COVID-19 can bring new challenges to breastfeeding. Don’t panic, plan. Get the evidence and guidelines on how COVID-19 can affect breastfeeding, and what precautions you should be taking to protect yourself and your baby. The COVID-19 pandemic is an ever-evolving situation, and this episode is the most recent info and data available as of April 25, 2020.   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.
Swelling & Edema

Swelling & Edema

2020-04-1918:38

The technical term for swelling during pregnancy is edema. This happens in about 80% of all pregnancies. While swelling in your legs and feet is common and usually not an issue, it can also be a sign of a more serious condition, like preeclampsia. Learn why swelling happens, how to prevent and treat it, and when you should call 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.
In this episode, we are talking about the coronavirus and trying to conceive. Of all the questions I have received on COVID-19, I get the most from people asking if this is not the ideal time to try and get pregnant. Deciding when to have a baby is a very personal decision with a lot of factors. This article includes some considerations when deciding if now is the right time to try and conceive. This is an ever-evolving situation, and this episode is the most recent info and data available as of April 12th, 2020.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by visiting http://pregnancypodcast.com/coronavirusttc/   For more evidence-based information visit the Pregnancy Podcast website at http://pregnancypodcast.com
You know that your drink of choice during pregnancy should be water. Learn the importance of staying hydrated during your pregnancy, and how much water you should drink every day. In reality, you get the fluids you need from your diet and all the beverages you consume throughout the day. This episode dives deeper than merely telling you to avoid coffee and alcohol. Learn about the risks and safety of popular beverages, including soda, juice, tea, and kombucha.   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.
More research has been released in the last week about SARS-CoV-2 and pregnancy and birth. This article is focused on the new evidence that is out and how you can protect yourself and your baby. Get tips on how to stay healthy and support your immune system. Learn what the experts are saying about how to keep your home safe and what you should be doing when you get groceries or takeout. This is an ever-evolving situation and this episode is the most recent info and data available as of March 29th, 2020.   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.
A lot has happened over the last week since we first discussed the coronavirus on the podcast. Hear the updates on how this pandemic can affect you during pregnancy, whether or not you get exposed to this virus. You will see changes to your access to prenatal care and changes in your birth plan as a result of this pandemic. This is an ever-evolving situation and this episode is the most recent info and data available as of March 22nd, 2020.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here.   View all of the resources on the coronavirus by visiting this page.   For more evidence-based information visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.
A big challenge of covering the topic of the coronavirus is to find a balance among taking precautions, getting accurate information, being safe and prepared, and not inducing hysteria and fear. That has been part of the reason I have waited to cover this in an episode. I am very cautious about my sources of information, as you should be. There is a lot of alarming information about the coronavirus and there are a lot of unknowns. This is my attempt to synthesize all of the data and information I have been taking in, along with professional guidelines, and the actionable steps you should be taking right now to protect yourself. There are many ways in which this pandemic can affect you during pregnancy, whether or not you get exposed to this virus. You may see changes to your access to prenatal care and changes in your birth plan as a result of this pandemic. This is an ever-evolving situation and this article is the most recent info and data available as of March 15th, 2020.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by visiting http://pregnancypodcast.com/coronavirus/   For more evidence-based information visit the Pregnancy Podcast website at http://pregnancypodcast.com
It is easy to pull up a list online of foods to avoid during pregnancy. It may not be so easy to cut these items out of your diet. Especially if there is something on this list that you consume regularly, or really enjoy. It is not enough information for me to know I should avoid something. I want to know why I should avoid it. The truth is that during pregnancy you will eat something, likely more than once, on the do not eat list. I want to arm you with knowledge about the foods you are eating and the potential risks so you can make an informed decision about what you are comfortable eating. 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.
Ages ago our last daily exposure to blue light came with the sunset. After dark, the light we were exposed to was mainly from campfires that contain mostly red light. Today, we are constantly exposed to artificial light that contains blue light that impacts our sleep, circadian rhythms, and hormone production. There is a lot of evidence on how blue light can affect fertility in both men and women, how it can affect your sleep, your hormone production during pregnancy, and even your breastmilk and your baby’s circadian rhythms. This episode features Andy Mant, who is well versed in the evidence and research on blue light exposure. Learn about the risks of blue light exposure and how to easily clean up your light hygiene. Plus, why apps like night shift and Flux do not do enough to protect you. This episode gives you simple hacks you can do to reduce your blue light exposure after dark, reset your circadian clock, protect your baby’s sleep, and stack the odds in your favor for fertility.   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 Due Date

Your Due Date

2020-02-2327:281

One of the first things you do when you find out you are pregnant determine your due date. This date rules everything about your pregnancy from your prenatal care to the timing of your baby shower. This is also the most common question you will get from friends, family, and strangers. As you get close to your due date there can be a lot of anxiety, especially if your due date comes and goes and you are still pregnant. This date is an estimate of when your baby will arrive, it is not an exact science, and it is certainly not a deadline. The calculation we use today is hundreds of years old and the evidence doesn’t 100% agree with the calculation. This episode dives into how your due date is calculated, the accuracy of these calculations, the evidence of how long pregnancy lasts, and what this means for 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.
Whatever you want to call it, everyone goes #2, poops, or has a bowel movement. Spoiler alert, yes, it is true that this could happen during labor. Let me spare you having to Google this and sift through message boards of expecting moms horrified at this thought. This is the truth about pooping during labor. This episode discusses the possibility of pooping during labor, if it happens to everyone, and whether you can avoid it.   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 the last month of your pregnancy, you will be seeing your doctor or midwife weekly. Vaginal exams take place during your pregnancy in the last few weeks leading up to your birth and during your labor. The question is, are they really necessary and will you benefit from the results? Vaginal exams have become a routine, but questions about what the results show, the risks involved, and the psychological effects of the results have some expecting moms questioning whether they want to opt into these procedures. Learn what is involved during a vaginal exam, how the results are interpreted, and what the results mean for you and your baby. This episode presents all of the considerations, research and evidence to help you make an informed decision about vaginal exams.   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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