Pregnancy and Sex – 5 Ways Sex During Pregnancy Can Support the Healthy Development of Your Baby

Posted on December 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

Your baby’s relationship with her sexuality begins during pregnancy and is influenced by the beliefs and experiences around sex and intimacy to which she is exposed in the womb.

Sex in Pregnancy and Your Baby’s Development

Armed with this knowledge you can help your baby move in the direction of an empowering, positive experience of her sexuality and a very healthy attitude towards sex.

  • For example, tell her when you are exploring yourself or making love….reminding her that we were given wonderful bodies to enjoy ourselves and each other.
  • Bring her attention to how good it feels to be with somebody with whom you share a mutual love and respect. Model to her the joy of receiving love and enjoying your body.
  • When a request is made by either of you in love-making, bring that too to her attention, letting her know that it is always OK to ask for what you want.
  • If either you or your partner are not in the mood, honour that by expressing it… thereby demonstrating to your baby that it is safe to communicate your feelings -that you are not responsible for meeting the needs of your partner (or visa versa).
  • Before orgasm, prepare your baby. Tell her that she will feel contractions in the womb but that it is not yet time to be born. Suggest to her that she enjoy the sensations and the feelings of love.

These comments will support your baby in being comfortable in her own sexuality and expression of same. It will also prepare you both for very healthy conversations about sexuality when she is older.

7 Myths About Women Living With HIV/AIDS During Pregnancy

Posted on December 3, 2017 in Uncategorized

With the various developments in HIV/AIDS research such as effective modern HIV test kit and better disease understanding, a number of previously documented impossibilities are already deemed myths at present. Presented below are some scientifically contradicted myths that everyone, especially HIV-positive pregnant women must know.

1. HIV-positive women will definitely give birth to HIV-positive babies.

That statement is certainly false, although shared blood circulation of baby and mother is one of the infamous means of HIV transmission. It is definitely excellent news for HIV-positive women who currently are pregnant or who desire to conceive that present HIV medication put the maximum possibility of mother-baby transmission at 2 percent. This encouraging phenomenon is starting to materialize globally. To be certain, the infants must undergo an HIV home test a few weeks after being born.

2. HIV-positive males cannot become biological fathers of HIV-free children.

Although this appears more believable than the first myth, this is false. Men who tested positive to HIV test can now fail in passing the disease to their female sex partners and remarkably to the conceived children. There are several means for this to happen. For example, there’s already available FDA-approved prophylactic drug that HIV-negative mothers can take to prevent the acquisition of the disease and subsequent passing of infection to the offspring. As long as the viral load remains at an acceptable level, HIV-positive males can safely become parents just like their HIV-negative counterparts. Before engaging in sex, positive males must undergo HIV test to verify minimal risk. Likewise, HIV test kit must be purchased for the female partner and the future baby to verify absence of transmission.

3. Women who are pregnant need to eat twice compared to normal.

This broad-reaching myth does not get the backing of reputable studies. Although pregnant women have increased appetite because of the needs of the developing baby, this doesn’t translate to eating two adult-sized meals every single day of pregnancy. This truth applies to most women regardless of their HIV test result.

4. Under US medical insurance guidelines, HIV is deemed a pre-existing condition.

Actually this still remains a truth and this will only become invalid next year. By virtue of the US Affordable Care Act, HIV and other pre-existing conditions cannot be used by the government to discriminate the afflicted victims in terms of health coverage. Currently, there exist some services enabled by the said US act that pregnant women may utilize.

5. Cesarean section is a must for HIV-positive moms to ensure their children will be HIV-negative.

This no longer holds true. As a matter of fact, vaginal birth is the most recommended means of birth for HIV-positive mothers in the US. Previously, Cesarean birth was the recommended kind of delivery since this reduces the newborn baby’s contact with HIV-containing blood and other infected parts. Improvements in AIDS research now allow the mother to have very low amounts of viral particles- so low that they can no longer be sensed by the standard HIV test kit. Even outside a hospital, safe vaginal birth is definitely possible as long as the mother has a relatively harmless viral load. The HIV home test is ideally done on the mother before delivery. HIV home test or clinical test must also be performed on the newborn child.

6. Potent HIV medications definitely have adverse side effects on the unborn and newborn babies.

Research conducted by the Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry has demonstrated that children born from HIV-positive mothers exhibited lack of long-term deleterious effects even when the mothers remained loyal to their antiretroviral treatments. A contributing factor to this fact is the lower toxicity levels of current HIV medicines compared to their predecessors.

7. The phenomenon of HIV-positive women giving birth to HIV-free babies is a very rare one.

This is only apparently true for those who are unaware of the wonderful relationship between modern HIV treatments and aspiring parents. By the year 2000, there are already around 7000 HIV-positive women who gave birth in the US alone. After more than a decade and with best medical practices, this figure is expected to significantly improve at present.


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