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Premature Birth Breakthrough PreTRM blood test

Premature Birth Blood Test: One Less Pregnancy Stress

Hey Mamas,

Pregnancy is the stressful, pre-game to being a juggle-as-much-as-you-can, without dropping ANY ball, mom.

Who Should Worry About Premature Birth?

Ball 1 – Your Health

Ball 2 – The Fetus’ Health

Ball 3 – Your Looks

Ball 4 – Home Prep

Ball 5 – Work

Ball 6 – Your Fitness Routine

Ball 7 – Your Nutrition

Ball 8 – What’s the New Norm? What’s the Happy Formula?

…. And so on.

Who Should Worry About Premature Birth?

With regards to Ball 1 and Ball 2 – i.e. the health of mommy and baby – there’s a new blood test called PreTRM that aims to relieve stress in the health department.

PreTRM is a prenatal blood test a woman can take during the 19th or 20th week of pregnancy, that determines her individualized risk for delivering a baby prematurely.

Having gone through two pregnancies, I truly never considered myself at risk of delivering prematurely, which is defined as delivery before 37 weeks. Boy, was I naïve.

PREMATURE BIRTH SHOCKING FACTS

The March of Dimes estimates that the preterm birth rate in the U.S. is approximately 1 in 10 pregnancies, one of the highest rates in the developing world.

50% of women who go on to have a premature birth, have no risk factors

The best predictor of preterm birth is a previous spontaneous preterm birth. However, 40% of women who have a premature birth are first time moms.

Premature babies are at an increased risk of developing serious and sometimes long-term health issues including: neurological, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, vision and dental problems, and behavioral issues such as ADHD and anxiety.

PREMATURE BIRTH BLOOD TEST

As mentioned already, the PreTRM test is a breakthrough in helping reduce the problem of premature birth by simply taking a prenatal blood test at your doctor’s office. Your doctor shares your individualized risk assessment and determines the next steps for your pregnancy management.

The goal is to identify women, who are carrying one baby, show no signs of delivering prematurely, but still test at a higher risk of having a preterm birth, according to the blood results from the PreTRM test. Essentially, the PreTRM blood test now let’s doctors create the best plan so the mom-to-be is less likely to delivery before 37-weeks. The test doesn’t prevent preterm delivery, but it’s an awesome tool for your health care provider to do his/her job and hopefully keep the bun in the oven for a longer period of time. #StillCooking

PreTRM blood test deliver baby prematurely

PREMATURE BIRTH BLOOD TEST PreTRM LEARN MORE

Mamas, if you’re currently cooking a bun, or plan on getting pregnant, check out PreTRM.com. You’ll learn all about their clinically validated studies, as well as other useful peer-reviewed medical journal reports.

Since PreTRM is a new, first-of-its-kind test, your insurance may not cover the hefty $945 price tag. However, years ago, the genetic testing that today is covered by most insurance companies, was also not covered. Once the insurance companies understand the financial benefit of having less premature babies to take care of (sad but it always comes down to their numbers!) PreTRM will probably be covered. That, of course, is my hope!

If I’m blessed to have another baby, I certainly am going to ask my doctor to perform this test. I’d rather downgrade the cost of clothing and fancy strollers, for the peace-of-mind of a potentially healthier pregnancy and healthier baby.

Premature Birth PreTRM Blood Test

Pregnant Girls Cocktail, Plus Repurposing Glass Bottles

I’m indulging in a Pregnant Girls Cocktail.

Fine, no alcohol. But, I want a fabulous glass for my drink!

Ingredients:
– Pretty Glass
– Water
– Slice of fresh squeezed lime
– Dash of sparking pomegranate spritz (for added flavor and color)

Sometimes, you just need to have a pretty drink in a pretty glass to kick off the day. 

FYI This glass actually used to contain preserve. I love turning glass containers into unique cups an vases. This particular one contained Braswell’s All Natural Chocolate Raspberry Preserve. Yes, it tasted as good as it sounds! I got it at HomeGoods for about $4. 

Here are some other products that come in glass containers you can repurpose.  

Make the most of your food/beverage purchases, by giving them new life.

Reuse glass jars for drinking, making your own preserve with custom labels (here’s a fun idea from craft store MIchael’s), pencil holders or other office organizing, vases, etc. With the later, I love the idea of bunching mismatched glass containers and placing low cut flowers in them. Place three or four, with flowers, on a mirrored tray for added glamour in your bedroom or office. The littlest details can make the brightest impact on your day. Have a wonderful Wednesday! 

Bump Nest Body Pillow Cures Pregnancy Sleeping Woes

When I was pregnant with Ilana, last year, I slept with four to six different pillows. One pillow went under my belly, one or two went behind my back, and the rest were placed under my feet. I refused to get a body pillow because everything I saw was ugly and didn’t prevent me from rolling onto my back. This year, as I await the birth of my son, mama found a better way to sleep

Bump Nest body pillow in Peacock Blue.
Scraps caps from each pillow are made into soft baby beanies,
donated to The Hope Venture and Stitches From The Heart. 

Bump Nest is a body pillow I can actually mold and wrap around my body, so I no longer have to bug my husband to be my wall. The machine-washable case is very soft, which was a concern given that I’m obsessed with sleeping on my uber-lux, Sferra pillow cases. (Beauty sleep is so important; a gal needs all the help she can get to preserve her skin!) In the week since I’ve started using this pillow, I’ve had much better sleep and far less complaints about restless legs. Also, my husband, Steve, is VERY happy about being off of pile-on-the-pillows duty.

PS I thought this was also a great time to share my bedroom decor. More details to come later in the week including how you can replicate what I refer to as “modern, soothing, spa style” for the home. 

Lux Labor & Delivery Bag Essentials, Live from The Couch WLNY

Returning back to The Couch and shooting style segments, felt like the first day of school, today. In case you missed it, here’s today’s segment on Lux Labor Bag Essentials … because even when you’re huffing and puffing you can do it in style! Remember ladies, Never Surrender and Always Be Your Best You.

During Delivery
·         Jolie, bedazzled headband – keep your main in beautifully coiffed check
·         IT Cosmetics, Buy Buy Under Eye, Lip/Cheek Stain, Hello Lashes, – put it on, on the way to the hospital and believe you me, even if you are in labor for 24 hours (eekks!) your makeup will not give you away
·        BG Birthing Gown – because why should you be stuck with a boring hospital gown? (Disclaimer – I didn’t wash mine in time, so, alas, my gown waits for its debut with baby #2 … no I have no announcements, yet.)
·         Pinch Provisions, Labor & Delivery Kit from a stop watch to a back massager, this little kit has a lot of goodies for your partner (yes, put them to work!!) to help ease your stress
·         Jurlique, Rose Water Mist – instead of moist towelettes, you deserve to be mystified. Ask your hubby to spray you between pushes!
·         Noodle & Boo, Room Spray – create some ambiance with a light scent to sooth your senses and your nerves. Ah, another task for the husband.  
After Delivery
·         Only Hearts, robe – for those long walks down the hospital corridors  
·         Naturopathica, Vitamin K Brightening Eye Serum and PlantStem Cell Serum – get into the habit of pampering your face with a quick 2 minute mommy spa moment each night. These products have helped me combat puffiness, dark circles and wrangle wrinkles caused by, well, just being a new mom! Let the hubby know you need this time if he wants you to maintain your pretty face and happy attitude.  
·        Belly Wrap – tighten that tummy asap. Wear it day and night for two months and you’ll see results. I’m STILL wearing mine around the house.
·         Noodle & Boo,  Afterglow Gel – tighten that skin even more
·         Mustela, Stretch marks Intensive Action –this brand saved my body from stretch marks. I’m almost completely stretch mark free! Again this needs to be part of your nightlight 5 minute spa routine. You must find time for yourself, and it starts from day one in the hospital*.
·         If nursing – nursing bra, nursing pads and nipple cream
·         GOGO by Therafirm, gradient compression leggings – helps with leg swelling, which happened to me after giving birth … wear them in the hospital as a preventative measure)
·         Hair Iron – pictures galore. Need I say more?
Reality check: you won’t find time to do all of your beauty routine, every day, but you must try. Skipping pampering/beauty time can be an exception, not the norm. Again, make sure your partner knows how important it is for your happiness and thus the happiness of your union and your family, for you to have zen moments in order to be your stylish, glowing self!
And for Dad  
·         Clothing: 3 Pack of Hanes t-shirts and track suit doubles as pjs; undies; socks
·         basic toiletries – toothpaste/brush, deodorant; etc.
·         Healthy, nonperishable snacks from Bestowed.com handpicked monthly by nutritionist Heather Bauer … get dad and mom on the right track and makes it easy. Easy is the magic word these days
·         Magazines/book
·         Camera
·         Smart phone charger
·         iPad for Skyping with family/friends
 

Pregnancy Exercise Tips & Preventing Leg Swelling with Fitness Expert Leah Keller

I’ve been extremely MIA on this blog, in the third trimester of my pregnancy. Once I wobbled into month six, the fatigue hit me like a ton of bricks. Now, with about twenty days left to go, a serge of energy has washed over my body. If you haven’t been following me on twitter (one of the few things I have managed to maintain), then we have a LOT of catching up to do.

Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being introduced to Leah Keller, an expert in pre- and postnatal fitness with a proven track record of restoring clients to fitness levels that surpass their pre-baby shape. “Sign me up,” I told my friend Anna, who handles Leah’s PR. If you’re not in NYC, have no fear. This Mother’s Day, Leah is launching The Dia Method(tm), a home exercise system that equips every mom to embrace the best body of her life.
Leah Keller, Pre- and Postnatal Fitness Expert

With access to such a wonderful fitness guru, I had to pick her brain on what we belly bump babes can do to maintain our sexy figures during pregnancy. You’ll notice, many questions revolve around my personal pet peeve – leg cramps and swelling!

Pamela Pekerman: My motto is Never Surrender, so I’ve been very conscious to avoid swelling by eating plenty of potassium rich foods and also staying active. What exercises tips do you preach for pregnant women to help prevent leg swelling?
Leah Keller: Moderate cardio is essential. It can be as simple as a brisk, 30-minute walk six days a week. If you have access to a pool, alternate brisk walking days with 30-minutes of swimming. Frequent, moderate cardiovascular exercise does wonders for circulation and blood flow. **

PP:How about all-over body water retention?

LK:Water retention during pregnancy is usually a sign of inadequate protein and, as counter-intuitive as this sounds, inadequate consumption of salts and water. This all relates to albumin synthesis in the liver and how it changes during pregnancy. If a pregnant woman is retaining water, I recommend consuming 80-120 grams of protein per day, adding one cup of salty (not low-sodium) soup broth to the daily diet, and drinking more water. **

If pregnant, but not retaining water, continue to salt food to taste (trust your body to tell you how much salt it needs and monitor your protein consumption for a few days. If you’re consistently eating under 80 grams, add a little more protein to the diet as a preventative measure. And, continue drinking plenty of water. **

PP:Is there exercise we can do in the last month?

LK:During the final month of pregnancy, many of my clients feel great continuing with the workouts we performed together all along. This typically includes resistance training, moderate cardio, and light stretching. However, every pregnancy is different, so please listen to your body, consult your doctor, and adjust accordingly. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. **

PP:What exercise should women avoid, especially in the third trimester?

LK:I’m not a fan of jogging during pregnancy because of hormone-induced joint laxity, which increases the risk of a sudden fall, but also because it strains the uterine ligaments. The impact of running or jumping combined with the weight of the uterus (during 3rd trimester, estimate 13 lbs. for baby + placenta + amniotic fluid, etc.) will easily overstretch the uterine ligaments. This dramatically increases your risk of uterine prolapse, a condition I would do everything in my power to avoid.

PP:Any other tips to help with pesky pregnancy issues woman may encounter?

LK:Elevating the legs for 10 minutes a day is helpful, especially after work or after a lot of standing. For severe leg swelling, compression tights help dramatically. **

PP:I’ve actually tested those out, myself. Preggers by Theraform is a great option to help with swelling and improve circulation. What else?
LK:Well, many of my clients also notice improvement when they soak in a warm (not hot) bath with Epsom salt for 10 minutes about twice a week. Magnesium from the Epsom salt absorbs through the skin to relax leg muscles and banish those excruciating calf cramps. **
PP:Please share your top exercises every pregnant woman should be doing to help stay fit and sexy throughout her pregnancy.
LK:First, Core Compressions, which is a foundational exercise of The Dia Method. Sit upright, either on the floor with your legs crossed or on a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Keep the spine lengthened and perfectly still. Rest both hands on your belly, upper and lower.
The Dia Method, by Leah Keller

Exhale as you tighten your abdominal muscles toward the spine. Repeatedly pulse the abdominal muscles tight to tighter, tight to tighter, exhaling with each slow and controlled squeeze. Close your eyes, and envision hugging your baby to the spine with each exhalation. This is a deep, subtle movement – yet powerfully effective. Start with 5 minutes a day. After one week, work up to 10 minutes a day (either 10 minutes all at once or 5 minutes twice a day). You are powerfully strengthening your core to keep you and your baby safe during pregnancy, labor with strength and bounce back fast. My second recommendation is Kegels. Work that pelvic floor! Lastly, do moderate cardio.**

PP: What are some great Kegel exercises to keep it right downstairs?

LK:During pregnancy, the muscle release is as important as the squeeze when it comes to Kegels. Always be sure that you’re completely opening and relaxing the pelvic floor between each muscle contraction. I recommend my clients perform 2-3 minutes a day of each kind of Kegel:

  • Elevator KegelsSlowly draw your entire pelvic floor up and in, holding it as high and tight as you can (feels like you’re trying not to pee your pants) for 10 seconds. Then slowly release and relax completely. Imagine yourself opening like a flower. Then repeat, squeezing your pelvic floor closed and up, up, up inside you. Hold for 10 seconds. Then soften, release, lower and open completely. Perform 10 elevator Kegels daily (about 2-3 minutes) to strengthen the endurance muscle fibers.
  • Sprint KegelsThese are power moves, working the fast-twitch muscle fibers in your pelvic floor. Squeeze as hard as you can, drawing quickly up and in. Then release completely. (Note: never bulge your pelvic floor forcefully downward.) Always draw ‘up & in’ when engaging the muscle and then simply allow it to relax and fall open between squeezes. Aim for 50 sprint Kegels (2-3 minutes) each day. **

PP:How can exercise aid in sleep disorders during pregnancy? And, what specifically would you recommend?

LK:No matter what you do, sleep can be frustratingly elusive during pregnancy, especially towards the end, as it’s virtually impossible to find a truly comfortable position and you’re getting up several times a night to empty your bladder. That said healthy activity during the day improves sleep quality. Exercise can help your body settle into biorhythms that help you fall asleep more easily and rest more deeply. I recommend working out early in the day, anytime up until about 4:00 pm. A very light workout can be fine later in the day, but avoid vigorous workouts that rev up your energy as bedtime draws near. Incorporating the following into your weekly routine: moderate cardiovascular exercise, resistance training that targets the postural imbalances of pregnancy, and light stretching. Perform core compressions and Kegels daily. **
** Consult your doctor before starting any exercises. The above is not meant to substitute instructions from your doctor/obg-yn.