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What is a water birth?

waterbirth

You already know that a warm bath can soothe sore muscles and help you relax. It makes sense, then, that for many moms a water birth—when your labor, delivery or both are done in a birth tub filled with warm water—makes the birthing experience less painful and more soothing.

You may not be an ideal candidate for water birth if:

  • You are having a multiple birth
  • You have experienced complications such as preeclampsia or premature labor
  • You have existing medical conditions
  • Are considered a high-risk pregnancy
  • Your baby is premature (less than 37 weeks)
  • Your baby is in the breech position
  • Your baby has first bowel movement while still inside (meconium stained fluid)

However, if your pregnancy has been healthy and your baby is well positioned, there are many benefits of water birthing.

While epidural and intrathecal pain control methods cannot be used during a water birth, you may not miss them. Studies have shown that having all or part of your labor in water reduces pain, in part by decreasing adrenaline production, allowing for a shorter labor, and by decreasing the pressure on your abdomen, which means better blood circulation and more oxygen to both you and your baby.

The water also helps reduce the incidence and severity of tearing, and the buoyancy makes it easier for you to move and find a position that is comfortable. The more relaxed and comfortable you are, the more you will be able to focus on the process of birth as it’s happening. Continue Reading »

Baby’s First Foods (Infographic)

As a mother of a nine-month old, I understand the feelings parents may have when introducing first foods to your baby. It is exciting, but also nerve-wracking. Starting pureed solids is a slow and gradual process. Keep in mind that early on, most of your baby’s nutrition is coming from breastmilk or formula. Here are some tips and answers to help you get started.
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Connection specialist, patient and new mom

newmom

In 2012 I started my job as a connection specialist, which allows me the opportunity to help our community get properly matched with great health care. I was able to use my job skills to match myself with excellent health care in 2014 when I became pregnant!

I’ll never forget the moment I found out I was pregnant. I had visited my OBGYN with complaints of hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. I thought I was starting early menopause, and I laughed when the nurse asked if I was pregnant. But sure enough, the pregnancy test came back positive. I couldn’t believe that at 40 I could be pregnant again!

It took a little bit to let everything soak in. All of the questions of the pregnancy process began to swim around in my mind: who would I choose as an OB and what were the steps I needed to take to make sure both baby and I stayed healthy? Finding out you’re pregnant is an exciting time but very overwhelming time, no matter what your age. Thankfully, Affinity has a whole team of experts to guide moms-to-be, partners and your baby along the journey.

This is where I, as a connection specialist, became a patient again. Only you can decide what the most important considerations are for you. Before you choose a provider, your connection specialist will ask the following questions about: Continue Reading »

Signs and symptoms of menopause

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Menopause can be an uncomfortable time, and for some an uncomfortable topic, but this normal, natural process is just one more phase of women’s lives. While it does mean the end of fertility, it certainly does not mean the end of an active, healthy lifestyle as a woman. Signs, which are mainly related to lowered levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, can be both physical and mental.

Menopause begins 12 months after a woman’s final menstrual period, which typically happens during a woman’s 40s or 50s. However, women can begin experiencing signs of menopause while still menstruating; this is called perimenopause and occurs in the months or years before menstruation ends. Signs include:

Irregular periods. Leading up to the end of menstruation, most women do not have a period on a regular monthly schedule, and the periods they do have may be heavier or lighter than usual, with occasional spotting. Since pregnancy is still possible during perimenopause, it is important to test for pregnancy if you are unsure if you’re transitioning into menopause. A missed period without pregnancy may be an indicator of perimenopause, but can also occur with physical or emotional stress, thyroid dysfunction, etc.
Vaginal dryness and more urinary tract infections (UTIs). Signs of vaginal dryness include stinging or burning, itching around the vulva and pain or light bleeding during sexual activity. It can occur at any age, but in perimenopause it is related to the lowered levels of estrogen and progesterone that signal menopause. This dryness can be soothed with a water-based lubricant or physician-approved vaginal moisturizer. Decreased estrogen and progesterone also account for more instances of UTIs due to a lack of hormonal influence on the urethral lining and may be characterized by a persistent urge to urinate or a burning sensation when urinating. Continue Reading »

What to expect at your first pregnancy appointment

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Congratulations on your pregnancy! If you’re a first time mom-to-be, you’ll likely be filled of both questions and excitement. After you’ve celebrated your good news, your next to-do item is a trip to your obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) or Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM). It’s a good idea to meet with your provider regularly throughout your pregnancy, and it’s best if your first appointment takes place soon after you suspect you’re pregnant or take an at-home pregnancy test.

At your first appointment, your health care provider will confirm your pregnancy and then do an examination, much like your typical physical, to assess your general health. Your weight and blood pressure will be recorded, and your provider will check your heart, lungs, belly and breasts. You’ll also receive a pelvic exam, which includes a Pap smear to screen for cervical cancer and vaginal cultures to screen for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Your provider will then manually determine the size of your uterus and pelvis while simultaneously checking for any abnormalities of your uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. Everyday factors that could affect your pregnancy, such as high blood pressure or infections, should be identified right away and addressed immediately.

At your first visit, they will also go over your health history and your family’s medical history to determine if there are any risk factors that could affect your pregnancy. These risk factors could include your age, any existing or previous health conditions you may have and any genetic illnesses that may be present in your family. Your provider will also ask about any previous surgeries or exposure to contagious diseases, and they will ask about any medications—prescription or over-the-counter—that you take or have taken in the past. Continue Reading »

Disclaimer: The information found on Affinity's blog is a general educational aid. Do not rely on this information or treat it as a substitute for personal medical or health care advice, or for diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your physician or other qualified health care provider as soon as possible about any medical or health-related question and do not wait for a response from our experts before such consultation. If you have a medical emergency, seek medical attention immediately.

The Affinity Health System blog contains opinions and views created by community members. Affinity does endorse the contributions of community members. You should not assume the information posted by community members is accurate and you should never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this site.