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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.
299 Episodes
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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

2020-02-2327:28

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.
Your care provider is the cornerstone of your prenatal care and birth experience. This is your expert resource that you will be working with throughout your pregnancy to make some very important decisions and you need to be comfortable with and trust your care provider. That is more important than their qualifications, where they went to school, and how many babies they have delivered. You need to see them as an integral member of your team, and most importantly you need to trust them and be comfortable with them. This article breaks down some considerations for choosing the right care provider. We will cover the difference between a midwife and an OB/GYN. We will discuss changing your care provider if you are not happy with your current one. Plus, this article includes a list of questions you can ask to find the right doctor or midwife for the prenatal and birth experience you want. 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 will spend about one third of your life sleeping. Sleep is so vital to your health and the health of your baby. Especially early and later in your pregnancy when you are more prone to fatigue, you will be spending a lot of hours sleeping. The big question is whether there is an ideal position to be sleeping in. In recent years there have been studies making headlines that sleeping on your back is dangerous for you and your baby. This has led to many expecting mothers waking up on their backs and panicking. I want to keep you from having to experience that. This article digs into the pros and cons of different sleeping positions, examines the research on which position is ideal, and digs into the statistics on your risks.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by visiting http://pregnancypodcast.com/sleepingposition/   For more evidence-based information visit the Pregnancy Podcast website at http://pregnancypodcast.com
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

2020-01-0528:001

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 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

2019-11-1030:421

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.
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Comments (10)

ebony e

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

Mar 11th
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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
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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
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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
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