more Pregnancy faq

Can taking castor oil to induce labor harm my baby?

There is a debate over whether or not taking castor oil to bring on labor increases the risk of the baby having it’s first bowel movement before or during birth. A baby’s first stool is called meconium and if the baby inhales some, it can be very dangerous and can cause the baby to develop pneumonia. There is no clear evidence to support this theory as of now. A more common side effect is severe diarrhea, painful intestinal cramping (similar to food poisoning) and possibly nausea and vomiting in the mother, which can lead to dehydration. Castor oil has long been used as a strong laxative, which stimulates the bowels and bowel contractions are believed by some to help stimulate uterine contractions as well. In addition, castor oil is thought to stimulate production of prostaglandins, which induce labor. The safeness, as well as the effectiveness of castor oil to encourage the onset of labor is questionable. If you are overdue, your doctor or midwife can advise you on safer, gentler alternatives, if necessary. Effective induction methods include cervical prostaglandin suppositories or gel and rupturing the membranes.

My shoes don’t fit now that I’m in my third trimester. Should I be concerned?

It’s very common for women’s feet to get larger during pregnancy and for their shoe size to change. Besides not being able to fit into any of your pre-pregnancy clothes, your shoes are likely to feel snug now due partly to edema (swelling), caused by fluid retention, which tends to increase during the third trimester. Another reason for your foot expansion is after the second trimester, your body starts producing a hormone called relaxin, to prepare your body for delivery by loosening and softening up the ligaments in your pelvis to help accommodate passage of your baby through the birth canal. Relaxin loosens up other joints throughout your body as well, including your feet, which are particularly affected, causing them to slightly lose their arch and spread. In most cases, your feet will return to normal after the birth of your baby, although some women notice a half size difference. Even though this is a natural part of pregnancy, you need to take care of your feet by elevating them whenever possible and drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day to reduce edema. Orthopedic shoe inserts may be necessary to help support your falling arch. To be more comfortable, wear slip-on shoes that aren’t too tight and if you go shoe shopping, go later in the day, because feet tend to swell more as the day goes on, so the same shoes that feel comfortable in the morning, may be too tight in the evening.

Can you tell me what “nesting instincts” are?

Nesting instincts refer to the burst of energy that typically happens sometime during the ninth month of pregnancy and sometimes during the onset of labor. You may feel the uncontrollable need to rush around and take care of any unfinished business in preparation for your baby’s arrival. A day of preparing for your baby’s birth gives you the sense of accomplishment as well as a healthy diversion from the boredom that commonly is associated with the endless final weeks of pregnancy. Good projects include washing and folding baby clothes, sewing something for baby, setting up the nursery and shopping for baby items, although don’t overdo it to the point where you become exhausted.

Menstrual Periods, Drinking and Hair Dye
Cats, Ultrasounds and First Movements
Fish, Exercising and Sleep
Sex, Cesarean and Back Labor
Tanning Beds, Weight Gain and Areola Changes
Castor Oil, Smaller Shoes and Nesting Instincts
First Prenatal Visit

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