preconditions

Small Rant, Review, References & Coming Attractions

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Small Rant — Women, their preg­nan­cies, births and moth­er­ing styles are all unique. The big issue in child­bear­ing these days is con­trol. Fear of los­ing con­trol, who con­trols birth (do YOU give birth or are you deliv­ered by oth­ers?), hav­ing the self con­fi­dence and skills to know when to let go of con­trol yet be okay. It’s inter­est­ing to hear what hap­pened to some­one else, but (here’s the rant part) this can often be fright­en­ing because — let’s face it — cat­a­stro­phe gets our atten­tion. What­ev­er you’ve heard, you still have to do it your­self. Preg­nan­cy, birth and par­ent­ing cre­ate a steep learn­ing curve.

Review — Our job at the DTP Blog is to help with the learn­ing curve through evi­dence-based infor­ma­tion. We are mov­ing along a path­way. Here it is, in a small ver­sion (see Feb. 5 for full ver­sion):
pregnancy_pathway

So far, we have dealt with Pre­con­di­tions (the Green items). If you under­stand what you can and can­not con­trol along your Preg­nan­cy Path­way it can help pre­vent you from spin­ning your wheels or wast­ing mon­ey. Some things are worth doing (self care, good food, exer­cise) and some are not (self-indul­gence, tox­ins, stress). Pre­con­di­tions to preg­nan­cy — genet­ics, envi­ron­ment and behav­ior — are worth pay­ing atten­tion to if you are of child­bear­ing age and think or know you are mov­ing along this path­way.

Ref­er­ences - We have used hun­dreds so far and will use many, many more, but only some of you will find the sci­ence some­thing you want to pur­sue, so please go to our DTP web­site (use the Blogroll) for more infor­ma­tion on research in this field. Here are some texts that explain much more: “Women and Exer­cise” in Varney’s Mid­wifery (edi­tions 3, 4 & 5), Jones & Bartlett Pub.; Women’s Fit­ness Pro­gram Devel­op­ment by Ann Cowl­in, Human Kinet­ics Pub.; and Immunol­o­gy of Preg­nan­cy by Gil Mor, Springer Pub.

Com­ing Attrac­tions — next, we talk about con­cep­tion. Yes, this is an excit­ing part, though not per­haps why you think (!). It turns out con­cep­tion is fraught with many twists and turns.

Humor­ous incur­sion:
Q: Why does it take a mil­lion sperm to fer­til­ize just one egg?
A: Because none of them will stop and ask direc­tions.
[Sor­ry, couldn’t resist.]

After that we will like­ly rant and review again, have more humor­ous incur­sions, pro­ceed on to the preg­nan­cy and birth expe­ri­ences, then dis­cuss health out­comes for mom and baby in the short and long term.

Why do we spend our time on this? From a bio­log­i­cal per­spec­tive, humans can do noth­ing more impor­tant than cre­ate healthy off­spring. Wars may be fought, the banks fail or cars become a thing of the past; we might even become post-racial; but, hav­ing babies doesn’t real­ly change. It remains a pri­mal expe­ri­ence. It’s nes­tled in a high tech world, but its still pri­mal. Women have always had guides; we take this role seri­ous­ly.

Stay tuned!!

Pregnancy Pathway, Preconditions

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Please refer to Feb­ru­ary 5 entry for com­plete graph­ic. Today we turn to the ques­tion of pre­con­di­tions to preg­nan­cy and how they might affect mater­nal and off­spring health.

Preconditions

Pre­con­di­tions

Pre-exist­ing fac­tors that can influ­ence health out­comes include genet­ic fac­tors (fam­i­ly risk for heart dis­ease, for exam­ple), envi­ron­men­tal fac­tors (liv­ing in a build­ing with mold, for exam­ple), and behav­ior (eat­ing well and exer­cis­ing, for exam­ple). In each cat­e­go­ry, fac­tors will con­tribute to the health of the moth­er and even­tu­al­ly to off­spring health.

It is impor­tant to under­stand what major genet­ic fac­tors may affect your off­spring and whether the envi­ron­ment or behav­ior can help off­set neg­a­tive fac­tors. For exam­ple, there may be a his­to­ry of preeclamp­sia dur­ing preg­nan­cy in your fam­i­ly, but vig­or­ous aer­o­bic exer­cise in the six months pri­or to preg­nan­cy pro­vides a high degree of pro­tec­tion from this risk. Preeclamp­sia puts both moth­er and off­spring at risk for com­pli­ca­tions.

Oth­er genet­ic fac­tors that may be of con­se­quence include autoim­mune dis­or­ders, aller­gies, and meta­bol­ic syn­dromes. For exam­ple, so-called “thrifty genes” may pre­dis­pose you to a high weight gain in preg­nan­cy. But, you may be able to off­set health prob­lems asso­ci­at­ed with this by stay­ing active and eat­ing well.