by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
"Won't your baby develop abnormally without meat?" "How can a vegetarian diet keep a pregnant woman full?" "Wouldn't that be considered malnutrition?" Those are some of the questions people may be asking you. You may also be concerned about this yourself once pregnant or as you move along in your pregnancy.
Whether you’ve always been a vegetarian or are choosing to become a vegetarian while pregnant, the health of doing so is an important factor. During one of my pregnancies, most meats would upset my stomach, so I mainly ate vegetarian meals. I studied many references, as well as learned a great deal about being a pregnant vegetarian from my ob-gyn.
Is a Vegetarian Diet Safe During Pregnancy?
The short answer is yes. However, keep in mind that it has to be done right in order to be healthy. As long as the diet is balanced, as far as nutrition, and includes all the essential vitamins and nutrients required for pregnancy, it should be safe for a pregnant woman.
There have been concerns about consuming too much soy while pregnant. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, a birth defect in male offspring, known as hypospadia, may occur more frequently when the mother consumes a large amount of soy during pregnancy. Be sure to check with your doctor to determine the right amount for a pregnant woman, and more specifically, your body.
Many pre-packaged vegetarian foods, such as imitation meat products and tofu contain or are made entirely of soy. Because of this, when you are trying to limit soy while pregnant, it is best to prepare your own food from scratch, rather than buy pre-made vegetarian foods.
Proper Nutrition for Pregnant Vegetarians
Each person is different, so it is essential to check with your doctor about your personal nutritional needs while pregnant and how to properly maintain a vegetarian diet during your pregnancy. Your ob-gyn or other qualified pregnancy specialist may also recommend a medical nutritionist. Some vitamins that are important during pregnancy include Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Vitamin D, and Vitamin A.
Vegetarian Weight Gain Concerns
It is often assumed that a pregnant woman cannot gain weight on a vegetarian diet That simply is not true, as long as the diet is a healthy and balanced one. If you are having trouble gaining weight while pregnant, it may or may not be related to your vegetarian diet. Always talk to your doctor throughout your pregnancy to ensure your diet is healthy for a pregnant woman, as well as to find the cause and solution for any weight issues you may have during the pregnancy.
Vegetarian Foods that are Filling
Some people have the false assumption that meat is the only food capable of creating a full stomach. That is not true. There are many foods that can be filling for a pregnant vegetarian. Foods do not have to contain meat to be filling. Here are just some of them.
Adapting Hospital Food to the Vegetarian Diet
Hospital meals are often centered around a diet that involves meat as the main course. If you are a pregnant vegetarian, you may want to check with the hospital before the delivery date. Even if the hospital does not have vegetarian options on their menu, they may still allow you to personalize your meal if you let them know your preferences in advance, while you are pregnant.
Some hospitals have pre-registration forms that you might fill out during the pregnancy. That is a good place to include personal preferences, such as diet and other health information. If you did not have time to check with the hospital while pregnant and you find yourself glancing at an all "meat-eaters" menu, talk to your nurse about your vegetarian diet. The nurse may be able to have the dietary staff prepare you a personalized meal, based on your vegetarian preference.
If not, the hospital cafeteria should have a few vegetarian options, such as salad, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, french fries, cheese pizza, etc. If not, you may need your partner, a family member, or a friend to bring you some food during your hospital stay.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
Miscarriage can be a devastating event. A woman or her partner could be feeling pain from experiencing one. A woman's pain from a miscarriage can be emotional, physical, or both. Some couples might even be hesitant to try to get pregnant again after a miscarriage. Here's what you should know about dealing with miscarriages, common misconceptions, and why you may be able to try to get pregnant again after having one.
Coping With Miscarriages
While the emotional and physical pain of a miscarriage can be debilitating, you don't have to hold onto that pain forever. Stress relief techniques can be very beneficial in this situation.
Having a support network that may include friends and family, as well as doctors and therapists can really help you get through this rough time. Having a small funeral service or planting a garden in memory of the lost child can help as well, as can naming the lost child.
If you are experiencing emotional side effects due to miscarriage, do not be afraid to ask for help. If you have a friend that you trust, talking it out can be a great help.
You can also seek a therapist or psychiatrist. Doing so does not mean you are crazy. It simply means that you need help dealing with your emotions. The professional may suggest counseling, therapy, or prescription relief.
Be sure that you understand which treatment is best in your situation and what side effects, if any, might arise. If you take a medication and still plan on getting pregnant, be sure it has no effects on fertility or reproduction and will not interfere with your unborn child, should you get pregnant while on the medication.
In most cases, the fetus is miscarried by the body because the body recognizes that the fetus would not have developed normally. Certain operations and medically invasive procedures can also cause a miscarriage, as can stress or taking certain drugs and medications. Sometimes your doctor may be able to tell you the possible cause and other times, it isn't possible.
Some people believe it is their fault when they miscarry, which is generally not the case. As mentioned above, most miscarriages are caused by underdevelopment or non-development of the fetus. There is nothing a mother can do about this natural occurrence.
There is also the misconception that if a woman has one miscarriage, then she cannot get pregnant. This is untrue, unless the woman has certain health conditions. In most cases, women who miscarry go on to have another child or even more than one. Miscarrying is not a cause of infertility or inability to have a normal pregnancy.
When To Try Again
There is no specific time recommendation as to the right time to try for conception after a miscarriage. It will differ in each individual case, depending on physical and emotional stability. However, 6 weeks is usually ample time for the body to heal. If you are emotionally and physically ready after 6 weeks, go ahead and try again (as long as your doctor has okayed this). If not, wait until you are.
*Please note that the author is not a licensed medical professional. The information above is based on personal experience. Always speak with a qualified health professional for your medical and health needs.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Exercise Guide for High-Risk Pregnancies: Exercises, Options, Risks, and Warning Signs
by Lyn Lomasi; Co-owner of Brand Shamans & Write W.A.V.E. Media
Exercise during any pregnancy requires extra care. That is especially true in high-risk pregnancies. Having experienced this type of pregnancy condition more than once, I have learned quite a bit about what works, what is risky, and what the doctors may recommend. Along with the info I discovered and experienced, there are certain exercises that were approved by my doctor and worked well for my high-risk pregnancy.
Should Women With High-Risk Pregnancies Exercise?
It is important to remember that each woman's case is different. Your OB-Gyn (or other prenatal care specialist) will be your best source of information for what is right and what is not. There are some precautions all pregnant women should take, especially those who are considered high-risk, due to certain conditions or complications. If you exercised before pregnancy, doctors may recommend that you keep up the same routine, but tone it down to avoid rapid or jerky movements.
Some high-risk pregnancies may require bed rest, which means little to no exercise is allowed. An example of some who may not be allowed much exercise are those at risk of or diagnosed with preterm labor, cardiac disease, seizures, anemia, and other restricting conditions. However, according toNewswise, women with high-risk pregnancies due to pre-eclampsia may benefit greatly from stretching exercises. Always consult a physician before starting any exercise regimen during pregnancy. This is especially true for women at risk.
Exercises for High-Risk Pregnancies
Kegels - Most pregnant women know what kegels are. However, if you do not, kegels are tightening and releasing of the vaginal muscles for a set number of seconds, generally performed in sets. Since kegels do not require very much physical exertion, they are generally safe for high-risk pregnancies. Kegels can help to prepare the body for the birth, as well as prevent tearing during the labor.
Yoga Plank Pose - The Yoga Plank Pose is just like the pose you would get in to begin doing push-ups. This is generally a pretty safe pose, but with high-risk pregnancies, you'll want to be careful not to strain the abdominal muscles during this one. Also, be careful that you balance well. If your arm strength is not good, you may want to avoid this pose, so that you do not accidentally fall onto your stomach.
Yoga Sukhasana (Easy) Pose - The Sukhasana, or Easy Pose, is a seated yoga pose. To create this pose, sit in a cross-legged position, creating a triangle shape in between the thighs and ankles. The ankles should not be tucked close to the sitting bone in this position, as they sometimes are in other yoga positions like this. Place the hands atop the knees with the palms facing up and lengthen the tail bone to the floor, while sitting up tall. This position can be done for most any desired amount of time. In high-risk pregnancies, or any other pregnancy, caution against stretching the abdomen too much.
Yoga Padmasana (Lotus) Pose - The Lotus Pose, or Padmasana, is done quite similar to the Sukhasana Pose above. However, in the lotus pose, the feet should be pulled tighter to the body and placed across the opposite thigh with the soles facing up. As with in the Easy Pose exercise, be careful not to pull the abdominal muscles too tightly.
The Bridge Pose - For this exercise position, you will want to get on the floor (or a yoga mat) on all fours. Arch the back up toward the ceiling slowly. Then, lower it slowly. Repeat several times. Be careful of your abdominal muscles during this one. Normally, you will tighten them a great deal during this pose, but during pregnancy, you may want to do this more loosely.
Leg Stretches - If you are on bed rest during your pregnancy, your legs may not get the movement or exercise required for good circulation. Lie on your side with the legs extended. Slowly lift one leg up toward your head as far as it will go. Slowly release it back down. Repeat this several times. Then do the same with the other side. This exercise will help keep circulation going and help avoid bed sores and varicose veins.
Neck Rolls - Much like the legs, the neck may get sore and stiff and receive poor circulation if you are ordered on bed rest during pregnancy. Even if you are not on bed rest, neck soreness can still occur. You can do a few successions of neck rolls 2 or 3 times per day. This exercise should generally not be a threat to high-risk pregnancies.
Lengthening Stretch - This pose is done while lying flat in the bed. Place the arms over the head, reaching back as far as possible. Normally, you would want to stretch the entire body as hard and far as possible. However, during high-risk pregnancies, you will want to modify this slightly. Still stretch the entire body, but be careful not to pull too hard at the abdominal muscles.
Walking - Good old-fashioned walking is great for pregnancy, sometimes even high-risk pregnancies. Of course, as with all of the exercises, you will need to check with a medical professional familiar with your background, but many times, walking is the best exercise for pregnant women.
Pregnancy Squat - This exercise is good for labor preparation, even in some high risk pregnancies. Your prenatal specialist may suggest that this one is saved for the labor and delivery room. To do this exercise, first get in a standing position. If you cannot balance well, hold onto a chair or other piece of furniture. Turn the knees outward and bend them down until you can no longer go down any further. Stay in that position for several seconds. Then, come back up. Repeat a few more times. Precautions for this position may include induction of preterm labor or abdominal stretching.
Things to Watch for During Exercise in High-Risk Pregnancies
Exercise can go smoothly, but sometimes things can also go wrong. Here are just some of the warning signs to look for. Consult your regular prenatal medical professional for information specific to you.
***Note: The author is not a medical professional, but is simply sharing her personal experience and studies. Always consult with a medical professional before doing any exercises during a high-risk pregnancy and even in general. Each person's body and situation is different.
by Lyn Lomasi; Co-owner of Brand Shamans & Write W.A.V.E. Media
Thousands of women are diagnosed with Cervical Cancer every year. Some may live to tell their stories. Others may not. I dealt with this frightening condition twice and I feel grateful that I was able to move on and remain healthy and alive for my children.
The Struggle Begins
It all started out on a good day that would eventually turn bad. My (then) husband and I were going about our normal weekend routine. He was watching television and I was playing with the kids. All of a sudden I felt this excruciating pain in my lower abdomen. It was so horrible that I could not stand straight.
I was pregnant, so I thought it was related to the pregnancy. Boy, was I in for a shocker. The pain just would not subside after resting and other attempts at relief. It did fade away some, but by nightfall, I realized it wasn't going anywhere, so we headed to the ER, leaving the kids with my mom.
Receiving The News From The ER
At the ER, I explained that I was pregnant, but not too far along. I hadn't even seen an OB/GYN yet because we just found about the pregnancy not even a week earlier. After numerous blood tests, an IV drip (in case I was just dehydrated), and the dreaded pap smear test (an uncomfortable vaginal swab test given to women routinely in detecting abnormalities and STD's), I expected the results to reflect something about the pregnancy. It didn't happen.
The doctors came back to reveal my results and I instantly knew something was wrong. The look on their faces said everything. The male doctor revealed my results to my husband and I. He said that the pap test came back abnormal. "What does that mean?", I asked with concern. Well, basically he told me it meant that some of my blood cells could be either precancerous or cancerous, but further tests would need to be done.
I had to schedule an appointment with my regular physician for that. I asked what this meant for the baby and he gave me a vague answer, only telling me that depending on the outcome of any future tests, my doctor and I would have to discuss it. He wouldn't go any further than that. I had a feeling it wasn't going to be good, but still I pressed on, awaiting the day I saw my doctor.
The Doctor Visit and Colposcopy
During the visit with my doctor, he explained to me about the colposcopy, the procedure they would be doing on me that day. Basically, they use an instrument called the colposcope to look at the cervix and detect any abnormalities. This procedure can cause a miscarriage, being that it is slightly invasive. I went on with the procedure anyway, knowing I needed to have it done.
Unfortunately for me, it didn't take long before they saw it. They commented that the mass of pre-cancerous cells they found was so large and so pronounced that even when they looked at my cervix without the colposcopy magnification, they could see it easily. I was scared to death, but being a mom and a master at holding in feelings to mask them from others (mainly children) in hard times, I did not show my fear.
Instead, I asked the doctor to explain to me everything about the next step to be taken and to be honest with me about the predicted outcome. I told him he didn't have to leave out the medical jargon. I was very interested in hearing it in its entirety. Medicine has always been a subject I studied up on regularly, so I wanted the honest, clear, naked truth, with nothing missing.
The doctor proceeded to tell me that this mass must be removed at the soonest possible appointment availability in the cancer clinic upstairs. If it was not removed, it could spread and become much worse, possibly threatening my life. He put it into much more technical words, as I had requested, and let me know all the risks and why I should have it done.
Of course, I scheduled the appointment that day from my doctor's office. The doctor also told me that the baby I was carrying was at risk of being lost by the procedure and may even have been lost due to the colposcopy procedure, which I had a feeling about from the beginning.
Being the curious person that I am, I had already looked up all this information in my medical books and also on medical websites. I pretty much knew what was coming, but I still felt the need to hear it straight from my doctor. Maybe some part of me had hoped what I read was wrong. It wasn't.
Getting The Pre-Cancerous Mass Removed Via LEEP
Once it got to appointment day to have the mass removed, I thought I was prepared for what awaited me, no matter how horrible it might me. I was more concerned about the baby inside of me, if it was even still there. I had some minor cramps and a small amount of spotting shortly after the colposcopy and hoped it was nothing.
As I walked into the cancer clinic, all I could think about was this poor baby inside of me that had to endure all of this, as well as what my other kids would do without me, should something go wrong and the procedure failed. Something was telling me either my baby wouldn't make it or I wouldn't make it. I'm not sure where the thoughts were coming from. I just knew something was going to happen.
So, fast forward to the procedure, and there I was, lying uncomfortably, with a hospital gown on and three doctors working on burning a pre-cancerous mass out of my cervix.
The procedure was called a LEEP, or Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure. The instrument used is a wire device with a loop at one end that is called a wire loop electrode. It is attached to a generator used for this and other surgical procedures. This causes the wire to transmit an electric current that when placed on the affected area, it cuts quickly to remove the affected tissue. This procedure is very invasive, so there is a high risk of losing a baby if you are pregnant.
The area is numbed beforehand, however, I did feel a sharp pinching on the inside, as it was doing its duty. My affected area was a rather large area, so someone with a smaller affected area may not have such pain, or the pain may be short-lived.
The doctors talked to me throughout the procedure, explaining all the medical terms, as well as discussing other medical-related themes. This is not what they normally do, however, I initiated the medical discussions, as I am highly interested in medical matters.
Anyhow, aside from the pinching, the procedure was not as bad as I expected. It was fairly quick. I seemed to be finished in no time at all. The doctors then, once again, warned me of the things that might occur as a result of the procedure. I might be having some slight bleeding, so I was directed to wear a sanitary pad home, just in case.
Tampons are not allowed after a procedure such as this, due to the risk of infection. Also, my baby might be lost, which would cause abnormally heavy bleeding (heavier than my menstrual cycle). Since the pregnancy was in the early stages, bleeding may be the only symptom I'd experience and I would likely not notice anything else releasing, as the baby might be too small to see at that stage in development.
There were other risks rattled off as well, such as hemorrhaging and a myriad of other complications. I left the clinic with an information packet in hand, should I forget anything they had warned me about more than once. I was relieved that the cancer was likely gone, and that a follow-up appointment would determine that for sure. However, I was overly stressed about my poor baby growing inside me.
The Following Days
Over the next few days (or maybe even a week or so), I experienced heavy cramping and bleeding. The first two days were the worst, as far as the cramps and bleeding went. After those first couple days, I felt somewhat drained inside, energy-wise as well as physically.
To make this horrible part of the story short and less painful, as you might have guessed, I lost my baby. That was likely the cause for the drained feeling. Something (or someone) was no longer there.
I knew somehow that this would happen, however, no matter how much I prepared for this, I still was very upset. It wasn't fair for this poor baby. My follow-up appointment not only determined that my baby was gone, but that the pre-cancerous cells were gone as well.
Moving On To The Happy
There was a positive side to all this. I went on a whole 3 years without any further pre-cancerous or cancerous developments. I got pregnant again and had a happy healthy little girl. One year later, I gave birth to her little brother.
Cervical Cancer Strikes Again
Following her little brother, I felt extremely tired, but chalked it up to having a baby and thought nothing of it. When my youngest son was merely 5 months old, I again found out I had pre-cancerous cells in my cervix. But, the worst part was that I was pregnant again, as well.
I know by now you've got to be thinking that I must have the worst birth control method out there. The truth is, I have tried many different methods (and all good ones) and nothing seems to work for me. The doctors say I'm just extremely fertile - lucky me. Anyhow, here I was in the exact same boat as before, only now it was worse because I knew what to expect.
A Different Method For Destroying The Mass
This time the doctor suggested I go through a different method of ridding the pre-cancerous cells. He was to freeze them, which would kill them off. The basics were about the same as before. I laid onto the gurney in stirrups. The freezing probe was placed onto the affected area.
The difference between this method and the other is that instead of a sharp, pinching pain, I felt a horrible cramping pain. Recovery from this procedure was worse than the last one. The symptoms were the same, but for the first couple of days, I could barely move.
The Outcome and Accompanying Feelings
As you likely predicted, I lost that baby as well. But, I have had no pre-cancerous or cancerous cells since, so I still feel lucky. I do still think of the poor innocent babies, but I feel comfort in knowing that they are at peace and that had the pregnancies come to term, these babies may have suffered health issues or been born too early.
That last bout was about two and one half years ago, so that's two and one half years free of cancerous cells.
My current husband also had a run-in with another form of cancer. Read our story and a little bit about that here:
"Stay Positive - Someone Special is Out There for You"
2017 UPDATE: It has been about twelve years and still no more recurring issues with cervical cancer. I am glad to be here for my children. I've also given birth to another healthy girl (in 2016) and have another on the way. So, for those wondering if kids are possible after cervical cancer, yes they most certainly are.
2018 UPDATE: I'm still free of pre-cancerous and cancerous cells and it has not yet returned and I gave birth to another beautiful girl who was a preemie (but is no longer) in 2017 and one year later, she is thriving, as is our whole family. Though the cause is unknown, we do not think her being a preemie had anything at all to do with the prior run-ins with cervical cancer.
NOTE TO THOSE DEALING WITH CERVICAL CANCER: You are not alone and it is very possible to go on living your life afterward and even to have children afterward. You are strong and you can get through it. Tell cancer that it will not win.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Whole Body Health, Healing, & Medicine Journal
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