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Month: November 2017

Surviving a Relationship During Pregnancy

Posted on November 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

Pregnancy. A time of intense hormones, unpredictable moods, rapid bodily changes, and high stress. Not exactly the ideal time to have relationship problems, especially with the future parent of your child. So how do you deal with it? In this article I will explain not only that, but how to keep yourself from falling into the pitfalls and traps of an intense or unhealthy relationship while pregnant.

Ideally, if you are experiencing a “planned pregnancy”, you have discussed and worked on many of your relationship issues already. These could include but aren’t limited to; communication, intimacy, trust, financial, and sexual problems. In this article, I would like to focus on only one, communication.

Obviously, if this issue was present before your pregnancy, it is going to be present and more troublesome during your pregnancy. With that said, how do you deal with this issue while pregnant, even if it is present to a lesser degree?

First of all, there are what I call “predictable” , and “unpredictable” pregnancy symptom triggered behaviors in relationships. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not making excuses by saying that behaviors and actions are “pregnancy symptom” triggered, I am just explaining the facts. When you are pregnant you will generally experience, (although each woman is different), the following; morning sickness, low energy, sore back and joints, variable moods like increased sensitivity, loss of short term memory, increased/decreased sex drive, low self-esteem, strange food cravings, sore breasts, weight gain, irritable bowels, and an increased desire to sleep. These negative symptoms, will obviously effect how you interact and communicate with others. I suppose this was how the “moody” pregnant woman stereotype came into effect.

So, if you know for sure that these symptoms are going to happen, then you can better prepare for their effect on your psyche, and thus how you will choose to project their effects onto others (specifically your partner).

For example; if I feel a loss of energy coming on or like I just want to take a nap, I know for sure that I will not have much patience to make serious decisions. So instead of coming home and telling my husband, “Hey honey I’m ready to discuss the financial part of that remodel that you want in the kitchen.” I say something like; “Honey, I just wanted to let you know that I’m not 100% today, it has been a rough pregnancy day, and I would really appreciate it if I could just go to bed. Could you make yourself something to eat?” What this does is avoid a “predictable” argument that would be the result from my “lack of energy and patience”, during our discussion. Basically, the idea is that you are thinking ahead of the game. Planning for the worse. Sound pessimistic? Let me explain.

What if an “unpredictable” pregnancy symptom like spontaneous crying happens? What am I talking about? Well, sometimes pregnant woman get a sudden unpredictable urge to cry because they feel emotional. It could be triggered by something as stupid as a beer commercial, or as unrelated as a cool breeze. How do we deal with that? What if your partner is sitting on the couch as you start to cry? Let’s say they don’t comfort you at just the right moment, and in response you say something like; “You just aren’t there for me, I have to do everything; carry this child, clean the house, and handle the bills!” Your partner begins to feel rejected and angry and the interaction spirals downward from there.

How could an “unpredictable” and “spontaneous” situation like that be avoided? Well, by doing what I call a mind, body, and soul check in. First of all when you are pregnant you need to take responsibility for your emotions and behaviors by constantly checking in with yourself. Ask yourself where you are at emotionally and psychologically. Rate yourself on a scale of one to ten. One being that you are feeling; tired, emotional, or insecure. Ten being that you feel; energized, happy, or excited about your pregnancy. Since you can go up and down daily in your pregnancy moods, you need to monitor yourself several times throughout the day. This way, when an “unpredictable” pregnancy symptom like constipation creeps up on you, you know that you are not going to be able to handle much on your plate. Your best decision in that instance, would be to avoid over stressing yourself. For example, limit the amount of things you do that day, get extra sleep, and avoid stressful discussions with your spouse.

There are other things in addition to monitoring yourself, in order to decrease your pregnancy symptoms like; exercise, naps, eating nutritional snacks, pampering yourself with a pedicure, or reading yourself positive affirmations.

In addition, it is really important to communicate with your partner and utilize him/her as a support. For example, ask him/her for a foot massage, words of encouragement, or if he/she could do one of your house hold chores for the day. If you don’t ask, you won’t get your needs met. Many pregnant women try to be Super Heroes and do everything themselves. It is just not reality. You are functioning on low gas in your tank, don’t ride on empty it will not benefit you in the end!

Lastly, how you support your partner will make a difference in how you survive your relationship during pregnancy as well. Utilize “I” statements and “reflective listening”. Your partner’s needs will be different then yours during pregnancy. Remember, they don’t “feel” the same as you do during your pregnancy-although people say they do experience some similar pregnancy symptoms. Your partner might be going through a whirl win of different emotions and feelings like; nervousness, uncertainty about being a parent, fear, worry and concern for you, financial stress, insomnia, eating disturbance , weight gain, and loss of previous identity. If you communicate with him/her and find out where he/she is coming from, it might help you support him/her better. This in turn will lessen the overall stress within your relationship and make your pregnancy a more positive experience.

Here is a quick communication exercise to practice with your partner. Sit next to each other and look into each others’ eyes. Now pretend that you have switched bodies and you are the non-pregnant person, and they are the pregnant person. Take about a minute to answer the following questions as “the other person.” Tell me about your pregnancy thus far; how many weeks along you are, how do you feel, what is partner feeling during your pregnancy? You will find this interesting being in the “other person’s shoes”, for a bit. After you complete the exercise, check in with each other. Were you accurate about each other’s feelings and thoughts? If the answer is no, then you know that you have to work more on your communication.

Remember, pregnancy is supposed to be a beautiful time for a couple, but it can put a lot of strain on a a relationship. Working on your communication as a couple before you decide to get pregnant, is your best bet. But if you can’t, start today, heck start yesterday! Good luck and remember, when in doubt and in the middle of what seems impossible argument, laugh! Have a happy and healthy pregnancy.

-by Andrea Guzman, LMFT

Taking Care Of Your Physical and Mental Health During Pregnancy

Posted on November 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

With over 4 million births in the United States and between 128 and 138 million births in the world every year, the need arises for proper care during pregnancy. Here are some tips for taking care of yourself during your pregnancy.

Get Prenatal Care

The number one most important thing you can do to insure you have a healthy baby is to get prenatal care from a reputable doctor. Regular prenatal checkups can detect potential problems early, determine whether a c-section may be needed, determine the sex and just insure things are going smoothly. A prenatal checkup will generally include blood and urine tests to check for bacteria, blood sugar problems, high blood protein levels, iron levels and other typical complications of pregnancy. Your blood pressure and weight will also be checked. Ultrasounds may also be done to check the growth of the baby and its position in the womb.

Eating Right

In addition to prenatal care, it’s essential that you eat right. Balanced meals are crucial, as you are now feeding your baby, as well as yourself. A diet with plenty of whole grains, high quality proteins, fruits and vegetables and dairy is usually recommended for most expectant mothers. It is also recommended that you avoid some items like too much caffeine, artificial sweeteners and any raw or not fully cooked foods like eggs, fish or meat. Also not recommended are soft cheeses and unpasteurized dairy products as these can contain bacteria that could cause an infection. Some types of fish contain higher levels of mercury, which should be avoided, these fish include tuna, shark, swordfish and mackerel. Only two or three servings of fish are recommended for most pregnant women. Above all, drink plenty of fluids, especially water, during your pregnancy.

Vitamins & Supplements

In recent years, studies have found that the B vitamin, folic acid, helps to prevent birth defects when taken during pregnancy. Doctors recommend you take 400 mcg every day. Your doctor may also recommend a multivitamin formulated for pregnant women as well. Many women also take other vitamins and supplements during pregnancy, but be sure to let your doctor know what other supplements you’re taking. Consulting a nutritionist or naturopath can be beneficial and they can customize a supplement plan for your specific health needs.


In general, most pregnant women can do the same types of exercises that they did while they weren’t pregnant. Though some types of weight lifting, very strenuous exercise, as well as certain yoga poses and pilates movements aren’t recommended for pregnant women. You should do your research to make sure you are doing safe exercises for your baby. Generally, swimming and walking are excellent, lower impact exercises for pregnant women and are therefore most recommended.

Dealing With Morning Sickness

Vomiting and nausea are the two most prevalent symptoms of morning sickness in pregnant women. Some ways to alleviate morning sickness include eating more small meals throughout the day instead of 3 larger ones and also eating less greasy or fatty foods.

Prevention Of Complications

Taking care of yourself from the moment you are pregnant can not only protect the health of yourself and your unborn baby, but it can also prevent post birth health complications, including postpartum depression. Postpartum can be prevented by getting proper physical and mental health care during pregnancy, but if after birth, you still come down with a level of postpartum depression, it can be dealt with by using medication or counseling, including an innovative online counseling method, called eCounseling. eCounseling provides effective counseling services by certified counselors, for treating postpartum depression right in your own home.

Remember to take care of yourself during pregnancy, since you’re not just taking care of yourself anymore, but also another living being.

How To Keep Healthy During Pregnancy

Posted on November 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

It has been said that a woman’s disposition during pregnancy will pass on to the baby in her womb. A happy and secure mother cultivates an optimistic attitude that is beneficial to the unborn child. Staying physically healthy with positive attitude will provide for a favorable and normal delivery.

A pregnant woman, in general, can usually carry on with her normal way of life. Although it is advised that everything she does should be in moderation. From her daily routine to the amount of rest she takes, everything should not be done in excess. She should avoid strenuous physical activities like playing basketball, tennis or horse back riding. Lifting heavy objects or even stooping should be avoided.

Engaging in moderate physical exercise is beneficial to her health. Activities like walking and gardening are especially beneficial and may actually contribute to the process of easier childbirth.

During pregnancy, she should dress in comfortable outfits that will not restrict the flow of blood through her veins. She should avoid the use of tight fitting dresses or round garters as these may interfere with the proper blood flow. She should minimize using high-heeled shoes, instead flat shoes are recommended. These will not only relax her feet but will give her proper balance as well.

The skin glands are more active during pregnancy than at any other times, that’s why it is necessary to take a bath daily. Because of the additional weight and the changing physical form, a pregnant woman usually moves awkwardly. For this reason, she should take extra care during showers and in moving around the bathtub. Installing non-slip pads will give the added safety that is necessary in a pregnant woman’s environment. It is also advised that she should take showers in preference to tub baths. In this way, the introduction of germs to the areas that will form the birth canal will be avoided.

Sex during pregnancy is not at all restricted, although as with any other activity, it should always be in moderation. Intimacy between husband and wife should be present, as this will give the woman, security and the needed affection. If possible the husband should accompany his wife on her every visit to the doctor. This will further strengthen their bond as they both anxiously wait for the fruit of their love to come out into the world.

Since there is a reduced mobility for a pregnant woman because of her awkward movements, changing physical form and the fatigue that she usually experiences, it is advisable for her to use the telephone to continue socializing with her friends. This will also safeguard her from contracting communicable diseases especially German measles, colds and flu.

The increase in size and weight is normal for a pregnant woman. This is brought about by an increase in the size of her breasts, uterus and some other muscles, not to mention the growing fetus in her womb. During pregnancy, the woman’s food intake also increases to nourish both herself and the developing fetus. However, there is only an acceptable percentage of weight growth that is considered to be within normal range. Beyond this, childbirth might be difficult because of an overweight baby and some complications might arise. Besides, she may not be able to go back to her regular weight after childbirth. Weight increase is determined by the mother’s food intake and the amount of exercise she engages in. On the other hand, lack of nutrients caused by inadequate diet will also interfere with the normal development of the child. Caution is required in order to avoid these two extremes. Proper diet is therefore necessary to have a healthy pregnancy. Experts and nutritionists advocate that a pregnant woman should nourish herself around the seven food groups. These are protein, whole grain, leafy green vegetables, yellow vegetables, citrus and other fruits, dairy products and oils and fats, although in moderation only.

Smoking is one habit an expectant mother should stop. According to studies, premature births are prevalent among smoking mothers as compared with non-smoking moms. It also shows that birth weight is usually below normal in babies coming from smoking mothers. The vitality of the unborn child is usually reduced with smoking.

Therefore, for an expectant mother, staying healthy in mind and body is essential for a normal and healthy delivery. A happy mother will bear a happy child, although this has not yet been proven clinically but a person’s positive outlook and attitude can influence her state of health. Stay happy, healthy and proudly welcome your child with optimism and joy.