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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.
248 Episodes
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Your perineum is the area between your vaginal opening and your rectum. This area stretches during birth and it is possible to have a tear. If you have an episiotomy, this is the area that is cut during the birth of your baby. Perineal massage is an exercise done by you in the weeks leading up to birth to prevent tearing. The theory behind perineal massage is that by stretching this area leading up to your birth will allow it to stretch more easily, and without tearing when your baby is crowning. There have been studies on perineal massage both during pregnancy and during the second stage of labor. This episode examines these studies to determine whether there is evidence to support this practice.   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 questions about when to announce your pregnancy. Some expecting parents are comfortable telling everyone as soon as they have a positive test. Others prefer to wait until they are further along in their pregnancy. Some of the factors that can influence this are how private you are with sharing information, the particulars of your pregnancy, and your specific work situation. Learn why some parents choose to wait for certain milestones and the pros and cons of announcing early and later on. The right timing of when to announce your pregnancy will be different for everyone. This episode breaks down the considerations so you can decide when the right time is for 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.
Self-Care

Self-Care

2020-01-0500:28:00

Self-care may seem like a random topic to be tackling but if there is any time during your life in which self-care is crucial, it is during your pregnancy. In the nine months, you are pregnant your body is going through more changes than it ever will in such a short time frame. Your life is changing in a major way. No one will make caring for you a priority like you can. This is the perfect time in your life to make self-care a priority for two main reasons. First, you have more free time now than you will in the future, which should make it easier. Secondly, making this a habit now will make it easier to continue and build on your practice of self-care later, when you are a parent. This episode explains how to make self-care a habit during your pregnancy to build a healthy practice of taking care of your physical and mental health for your life as a parent.   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.
Picture the moment your baby is born. The umbilical cord is still connected on one end to your baby, and on the other end to your placenta, which is still attached to your uterine wall. Essentially, your baby is limited in how far they can go from your vagina because they are tethered by the umbilical cord. You want to delay clamping of the cord, but, you want to get skin-to-skin right away. This episode breaks down the logistics and timing of how immediate skin-to-skin contact and delayed cord clamping can work together.   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.
Traveling During Pregnancy

Traveling During Pregnancy

2019-12-1500:24:08

Traveling can be a big part of our lives from taking a trip for work, visiting family, or taking vacations. With a few exceptions traveling during pregnancy is no different than traveling when you are not expecting. The key is planning ahead. Whether you are hopping in a car for a road trip, getting on a train, or flying to another country this episode goes through some tips to stay healthy and be as comfortable as possible while traveling when you are expecting.   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.
Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree. They are a small oval fruit, about one to three inches long, or three to seven centimeters, and they have a pit in the middle of them. Dates are high in sugar and contain nutrients like fiber, potassium, magnesium, iron, and vitamin B6. Dates are rumored to naturally induce labor and make for a shorter labor. Sounds pretty great right? Thankfully there are several studies available to examine these claims and evaluate the evidence for eating dates late in your pregnancy. This episode breaks down the claims that dates will help your labor, and the science and studies behind them.   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 an infinite number of decisions you and your partner have to make. Some examples are what prenatal tests to take, how to decorate the nursery, what to name your baby, who should be at the birth, and what procedures are done to your baby after they are born. It is a never-ending list, and even after all of these decisions are made the two of you are going to constantly make decisions throughout your child’s life. Some decisions are more trivial than others, but even working on coming to an agreement you are both comfortable with on little things can help you work out the big things. This episode goes through a lot of strategies you can put to use when you and your partner disagree to try and get on the same page.    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 an infinite number of decisions you and your partner have to make like prenatal testing, how to decorate the nursery, what to name your baby, who should be at the birth, and what procedures are done to your baby after they are born. It is a never-ending list, and even after all of these decisions are made the two of you are going to constantly making decisions throughout your child’s life. Some decisions are more trivial than others, but even working on coming to an agreement you are both comfortable with on little things can help you work out the big things. This episode goes through a lot of ideas you can put to use when you and your partner disagree to try and get on the same page.   Show notes: http://pregnancypodcast.com/episode110/   Thank you to Mommy Steps for their support of this episode. Mommy Steps makes insoles specifically for pregnancy. They have insoles for athletic shoes and ones for flats or boots. You can even heat them in your oven and mold them to your own foot to make you more comfortable and to prevent foot issues during pregnancy. Mommy Steps is offering an exclusive discount for listeners of the Pregnancy Podcast. To check them out go to http://pregnancypodcast.com/feet/ and enter the promo code FEET to save 20% off.   Thank you to Zahler for their support of this episode. Zahler makes a high quality prenatal vitamin that has the active form of folate, that I refer after all of the research I have read on folic acid, plus it has omega 3s and DHA. This is the prenatal vitamin I take and the one I recommend. Zahler was very generous and gave me a promo code I can share with you so you can save 25% off when you buy a month supply on Amazon. To order them today go to http://pregnancypodcast.com/vitamin to learn how to save 25% off when you buy a one month supply.
The traditional model of medical care faces increasing challenges. Factors like increasing health care costs, limitations of provider availability, issues like dissatisfaction with wait times, and the minimal opportunity for education and support associated with the individual care model have given rise to interest in alternative models of prenatal care. Centering started in the 90s when nurse-midwife Sharon Rising started bringing expecting mothers together for group prenatal appointments. Put in the simplest terms, Centering Pregnancy means that your prenatal care is in a group setting. This episode dives into the research on how this model of group care can impact your pregnancy 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.
This episode we are talking about using your brain. In this case we are talking about your brain as being an acronym for some good questions you can run through when deciding if any intervention or procedure is right for you during pregnancy, birth, or with your newborn. You will come across a lot of opportunities to opt-in or out of interventions during your pregnancy or birth, or even with your newborn baby. In a perfect world, every procedure comes along with informed consent and you have all of the information you need to make an educated decision you can be confident in. In the real world, constraints like limited time available for appointments make true informed consent a challenge. This episode has 5 simple questions you can ask to help determine whether any procedure or intervention is right for 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.
Health Insurance

Health Insurance

2019-11-1000:30:421

In the United States, the average cost of a vaginal birth is over $9,000 and the average cost for a cesarean section is almost $13,000. Health insurance is important because it will help to cover some of these costs and minimize the amount you will need to spend on medical bills. The first step is to find the right insurance coverage for pregnancy and birth. This episode is going to get you off on the right foot to minimizing your costs and making sure you are covered. You should know how your insurance works so you aren't surprised by medical bills after your baby arrives. If you already have health insurance that you are happy with this episode is going to help explain how health insurance works during your pregnancy and birth and how to understand what your cost is going to be. If you do not have health insurance or you are in the process of changing your insurance this episode will help you figure out how to choose the right plan.   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.
Q&A: Unsolicited Advice

Q&A: Unsolicited Advice

2019-10-2700:15:121

People give advice because they want to help. They think they have some information that you need to hear. It doesn't matter if they are educated about pregnancy or birth. Everyone has an opinion or advice and a lot of people feel compelled to share it with you. Even when you do not ask for it. People who give unsolicited advice are coming from a good place. It would be great if you could just speak your mind and tell people that you are not interested in their opinions. We also have relationships we want to uphold and feelings we do not want to hurt. This is the challenge. Get tips and tactics to deal with unsolicited advice 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.
Ultrasounds

Ultrasounds

2019-10-2000:34:25

You can expect to have at least one, or likely multiple ultrasounds during your pregnancy. This technology does more than give you a sonogram picture for your baby book. The information from an ultrasound can confirm your baby is healthy and diagnose potential issues. While these exams can be helpful when medically indicated, many expecting mothers may be getting additional ultrasounds that are unnecessary. There are a lot of studies on ultrasounds and this episode breaks down the evidence on ultrasounds in each trimester and the research on their safety. This episode is a must-listen if you are considering a 3D or 4D ultrasound of 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.
Colds & Flu During Pregnancy

Colds & Flu During Pregnancy

2019-10-1300:30:461

Being sick is never fun, but especially not when you are pregnant. There are some additional challenges to the common cold during pregnancy. You are more susceptible to getting sick when you are pregnant because your immune system is lower. You may take longer to recover from being ill and to get over a cold. Pregnancy limits what types of medications you can safely take. 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 catch a cold. 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.   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 vaccine is created by taking a weakened or killed form of a disease causing micro-organism that causes your body to produce antibodies. This provides immunity without actually inducing the disease. Vaccines are a very controversial topic. This episode is an introduction to what vaccines are and gets into specifics on the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy. In addition to different types of vaccines, there are many ingredients that can be included in vaccines. These ingredients serve a particular function like increasing your immune response or as a byproduct of the processing. Tdap is one of two vaccines recommended during pregnancy that provides immunity for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Get the benefits and risks of getting the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy so you can make an informed decision on whether it is right for 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.
Flu Vaccine During Pregnancy

Flu Vaccine During Pregnancy

2019-09-2900:37:132

Flu is short for influenza, which is an infectious disease caused by the influenza virus. In healthy adults the flu normally isn’t serious 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. It is recommended that pregnant women get the flu vaccine during their pregnancy to protect them and give passive immunity to their baby. There are many flu vaccines available and it can be a challenge 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 pros and cons and considerations to think about 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.
Alcohol During Pregnancy

Alcohol During Pregnancy

2019-09-2200:27:04

Alcohol is one of the very first things to go once you see that positive pregnancy test. Trying to figure out guidelines for alcohol and pregnancy can be so confusing. Can you drink any alcohol during your pregnancy? Does it affect your baby? How much is okay? These are questions you may have asked your doctor or midwife and you usually get one of two answers. You hear, absolutely no alcohol, in any quantity, or, it’s okay to enjoy a glass of wine from time to time with a meal. You already know that drinking high amounts of alcohol is a bad idea. What about an occasional drink? This episode is going to get into all of the details on alcohol and pregnancy, how it affects your baby, and what the research says about drinking 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.
Caffeine During Pregnancy

Caffeine During Pregnancy

2019-09-1500:21:481

Caffeine is considered a psychoactive drug, meaning that it changes brain function and results in alterations in perception, mood, or consciousness. It is the most widely consumed drug in the world and is most commonly found in coffee, tea, and chocolate. Caffeine is one of the very first things to be cautious with once you see that positive pregnancy test.  Trying to figure out whether you can have caffeine when you are pregnant can be confusing. Understanding how caffeine effects your body, and how it is processed will be help you to determine whether you are comfortable enjoying some caffeine when you are expecting.  Some common questions are: Can you consume caffeine during your pregnancy? Does caffeine affect your baby?  How much caffeine is okay when you are pregnant? This episode answers these questions, dives into all of the details on caffeine and pregnancy, and talks about what the research says about caffeine consumption 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.
Cord Blood Banking

Cord Blood Banking

2019-08-2500:27:092

Cord blood banking is definitely a confusing topic and this episode summarizes the information you need to understand cord blood banking and make an informed. Learn how cord blood stem cells are used, what conditions they treat, and how it is stored at a cord blood bank. When considering all of the pros and cons of cord blood banking, perhaps the biggest consideration is how it fits in with delayed cord clamping. This episode breaks down the evidence on cord blood banking so you can decide if it is right for you and your baby.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by visiting http://pregnancypodcast.com/cordbloodbanking/   For more evidence based information visit the Pregnancy Podcast website at http://pregnancypodcast.com
There are a lot of products you can wear postpartum that are marketed as a way to return to your pre-pregnancy body faster with claims that they promote healing and weight loss. This ranges from Bengkung belly binding to mass produced garments that go by a lot of different names like pregnancy shape wear, belly wraps, belly binders, postpartum girdles, or support belts.  Brands vary and there are a lot of different styles, but overall the idea behind all of these is the same. The big question is, do they really work? This episode digs into all of the marketing claims and talks about the evidence, or lack of evidence, to back up these claims. If you do decide you would like to try a postpartum girdle there are tips for finding the right one and an evaluation of the top selling products available.   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 (9)

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
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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
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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
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