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Round Ligament Pain

Round-Ligament-Pain

Some pregnant women experience round ligament pain, especially during or after the second trimester. What is it, why does it happen, and how can you ease the pain?

What is it?

Round ligaments are ligaments (bands of tissue) that connect the front of your uterus to your groin. The pain itself can be an achy, crampy, or sharp and sudden feeling in your lower abdomen - sometimes even in your groin. Some women experience it on only one side, and others experience it on both.

Why does it happen?

Round ligaments stretch and tighten during pregnancy. The pain is caused when the ligaments quickly contract, so you might feel round ligament pain when you change positions too quickly, move suddenly, or even when you cough or sneeze. All of those sudden movements force the round ligaments to contract faster than normal, and that can make you feel very uncomfortable. 

How can you ease the pain?

Thankfully, there are some quick and easy things you can do to help you work through round ligament pain. Gentle stretching and slowly changing positions are the most common ways to relieve the pain. Especially when you do things like get out of bed or stand up from the couch, move slowly to prevent the pain from occurring. If you have gotten approval from your doctor to continue exercising, be gentle with your body and careful with your movements. If you often experience round ligament pain while exercising, you should adjust your routine.

Tip: Many women feel relief after taking a warm bath. A bath can soothe and relax your body.

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Being Uncertain About Your Options

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"How did this happen?"

"I don't know what to do." 

"I'm not ready to be a mother."

"I don't know how I feel."

"I'm scared."

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Who Needs Licensed Professional Counseling? (Part 1)

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In a world filled with excess noise, constant stimulation, social media, packed schedules, overwhelming responsibilities and just plain old stress, taking time to process and pay attention to our internal worlds has never been more important.

It is easy to allow intense human emotions such as guilt, anxiety, panic, shame, fear, anger, etc. to sit within us and remain unacknowledged and unaddressed. Nothing is worse for our mental health...and our physical health too, since both are closely tied (check out this study on the relationship between our mental and physical health for more info). These days, our culture places a high value on our physical well-being: eating well, exercising often, getting enough rest, avoiding certain foods, and on and on. Since we are both mind and body, doesn’t it make sense to care for our mental well-being just as passionately as our physical well-being?

Here is where seeking out licensed professional counseling with a licensed therapist can be an instrumental tool to improve your sense of fulfillment and empowerment. The counseling process can be challenging because it presents you with the opportunity to address things that might be easier to keep swept under the rug, right where they are. Counseling offers the chance to face the ways of thinking and behaving that keep us stuck in unhealthy habits and patterns that make life difficult. This can be frightening, but when we are willing to be uncomfortable, that’s right where real, lasting change and peace can begin to grow. It’s all in your hands to decide whether you want to start on this adventure. You are the single-most powerful agent of change in your life!

If you are hesitant about starting the process of seeing a licensed professional counselor (a therapist), stay tuned for part 2 of this series, where we will address some common myths about the counseling process and hopefully encourage you to take the brave step of flexing those mental health muscles within the therapeutic setting.

If you are ready to take the first step and meet with a counselor, Birth Choice can help. Click here or call us at 214-631-2402 for more information, and a Birth Choice staff member will help you begin the process confidentially. 

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Eating for Two

Eating-for-Two

Being pregnant and "eating for two" can be a great excuse to eat a second helping of french fries or a second piece of birthday cake! While we are all for indulging your cravings here and there, it's also important to keep in mind that you are the only provider of nutrients to your baby. Your baby's nutrition plays an important role in his/her development. The more you take care of yourself during pregnancy, the healthier you baby will be! Be mindful of the types of foods you are eating, how much you are eating, and how often you are eating.

What types of foods should I eat more of?

It's good to eat a wide variety of foods so that you and your baby are getting different kinds of nutrients. Make sure to eat plenty of foods rich in protein, folic acid, iron, and calcium. Fully-cooked meat and fish, yogurt, eggs, vegetables, fruit, breads, cereals - these are all great foods to help you and your baby get the nutrition you need for a healthy pregnancy. View more suggestions here

Tip: If you like to snack, nuts make for a great protein-rich snack!

Don't forget that there are some foods that are unsafe to eat during pregnancy, like soft cheeses, under-cooked meat, unpasteurized milk, and raw fish/fish high in mercury. For a full list of foods to stay away from, check out this article

How often and how much should I eat?

There are no real "rules" for how often you should eat while pregnant. What's more important is that you are taking in the extra calories your body needs, which is usually 300 additional calories in your second and third trimesters. Many pregnant women find that eating smaller meals more frequently is most helpful, especially if you experience morning sickness. And later in pregnancy, as the baby grows, you may get full quicker.

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How Can Birth Choice Help the Father of the Baby?

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Many times when a woman finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, the father of the baby can feel afraid and isolated. So many questions may be running through the father's head: What is my role? What is my responsibility? How can I support her? Am I ready to be a father?

If you are the father of a baby in an unexpected pregnancy, we want to remind you that you are not alone in this situation. 

We offer many free services for the mother of the baby at Birth Choice. But we also offer support for the father of the baby. At Birth Choice, we are here for both of you. 

An unplanned pregnancy can be intimidating, overwhelming, and scary - for both the mother and the father. When scheduling an appointment with Birth Choice, we always encourage the father of the baby to come with the mother. We have trained male counselors on staff that can meet with the father one-on-one, hear his thoughts, and talk about the three options of the pregnancy: adoption, parenting, and abortion. In unplanned pregnancies, it's sometimes difficult to communicate with one another, because there are so many emotions at play. Having the chance to talk through your feelings and reactions separately can create the confidence you need to come back to your partner and communicate more openly, honestly, and effectively. It's so important for the two of you to be on the same page as you consider your options and how to move forward. We can help you do just that.

If you are the father of the baby, here are some other ways Birth Choice can help you:

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All About Morning Sickness

morning-sickness

If you're pregnant, you may experience symptoms of morning sickness (like nausea and vomiting), especially during your first trimester. In fact, more than 50% of pregnant women deal with morning sickness between 6-12 weeks of pregnancy. Morning sickness can be so frustrating - and it's not limited to the morning! You are already exhausted, and now you have an upset stomach, too. Maybe you don't even have an appetite. Luckily, morning sickness is just your body's response to the increase in some pregnancy hormones (see our notes about severe morning sickness at the end of this post).

To help you get through this phase of pregnancy (most symptoms subside by week 12), here are some practical tips on how to ease your morning sickness:

1. Stay hydrated.

Drinking lots of water is especially important if you experience vomiting. You need to make sure you're putting plenty of fluids back in your body!

2. Eat simple, bland foods throughout the day.

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Why Your LMP Matters

LMP

Most doctors and nurses that you will talk to throughout your pregnancy will want to know the date of your last menstrual period, or LMP.

What's so important about your LMP?

Well, most pregnant women aren't sure of the actual date of conception (when the egg was fertilized). Unless you are charting your cycle each month, it can be very difficult to pinpoint the specific date. But if you know the date of your LMP, that can give a ballpark range of when you likely conceived. Why? The typical menstrual cycle (from period to period) lasts about 28 days, and ovulation usually occurs around day 14. So if you know the date of your LMP, then the doctor can reasonably estimate the date you conceived, which then helps determine your due date.

You may have some questions about your LMP:

1. What if I have irregular cycles (shorter/longer than 28 days)?

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What is our Earn While You Learn Program?

Education-Program

When you enroll as a client at Birth Choice, you have the opportunity to participate in our Earn While You Learn Program. This is an  education program that equips you with skills and knowledge relating to pregnancy, parenting, and general life skills, all while earning Baby Bucks to use in our Baby Boutique. 

What will you learn?

Our free classes cover a variety of topics designed to help you feel equipped to take on parenthood with confidence. Here are some examples of our classes: Parenting Basics: Self-Care for Moms, Preparing for the Interview, Doctor Dad: The Well Child/Sick Child, How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Kids, Positive Partnerships for Women, Potty Training, and Understanding Your Newborn. There are many, many more topics covered that may be of interest to you. View our full calendar of September classes here.

On the second Saturday of every month, we also offer a free 8-hour Childbirth Class taught by a midwife. This class helps you prepare for labor and delivery. Note that sign-up for this class is separate from our normal class schedule. If you want to know more, call us at 214-631-2402.

So how does it work?

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How Do Pregnancy Tests Work?

How-Do-Pregnancy-Tests-Work

Before (or even after) you take a pregnancy test, you may be wondering how they even work. There are two types of pregnancy tests: urine tests (like your over-the-counter/at-home tests) or blood tests (done at a doctor's office). Both tests detect the presence of the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone in your urine or blood. The hCG hormone is produced after the fertilized egg implants into the uterine wall, which is why it is often called the "pregnancy hormone."

Once pregnant, the hCG hormone rises very quickly, even doubling every few days. Implantation typically happens about six days after fertilization, but in some women, implantation won't happen until the  first day of your missed period. This is why it is generally recommended to wait until after your missed period to take an at-home pregnancy test: The test has a better chance of detecting the hCG hormone. If you think you are pregnant but get a negative result from a pregnancy test, you can wait about a week to take another one, or you can schedule an appointment at Birth Choice to get a free medical-grade pregnancy test.

The blood pregnancy test is used at some doctor's offices if the test needs to be done very early. There are two types of blood tests, one of which simply detects the presence of the hCG hormone (similar to a urine test, but with the ability to detect the hormone earlier on), the other of which can actually measure the amount of hCG in the body. Doctors will often order this second type of blood test if the pregnancy is high-risk.

Is my at-home pregnancy test accurate?

At-home pregnancy tests are around 97% accurate, though  there is room for error based on a number of factors such as: 

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How to Keep Cool in the Texas Heat

How to Keep Cool

When you are pregnant, your body temperature will naturally be elevated due to an increase in metabolism and other factors.  Therefore, it is most important to keep yourself cool in the summer months when the temperature is increased (especially in Texas!), to minimize your discomfort.  Here are some tips on keeping cool:

 

1. Stay hydrated.

The most common advice given to pregnant women is to drink lots of water.  This is ever so crucial in the summer months when the mercury is unusually high.  When you are well hydrated, it is easier for the body to release heat through the process of sweating.  It is recommended for pregnant women to drink between 8-10 glasses of water each day

Tip: Add a slice of lemon and mint leaves, cucumber, or your favorite slices of fruit in the water to give it a refreshing taste.  

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What Does an Appointment at Birth Choice Look Like?

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Scheduling an appointment with a clinic like Birth Choice may be uncharted territory for you. We want to make sure you feel as comfortable and prepared as possible when you come for your appointment, so here is a rundown of what you can expect

First and foremost, we want you to know that you will find privacy, respect, and accurate information at Birth Choice. Everything you share with us will be completely confidential, because we respect your privacy. You will also be served by a caring, compassionate, and respectful staff that genuinely wants to meet your needs - whatever they might be. Finally, we provide you with accurate information regarding your pregnancy and options. 

In terms of our process, when you come in for your initial appointment, it's typically to confirm a pregnancy and discuss your options. Once you arrive, our receptionist will greet you and walk you through our initial intake form on an iPad. When you're done filling out your medical information, you will then meet with one of our trained client advocates who will review your information and be with you throughout the rest of the appointment. Eventually, you will take one of our free, medical-grade pregnancy tests. This test will also be confirmed by medical staff who can give you the documentation you need to apply for Medicaid or CHIP. When the pregnancy is confirmed, you and your client advocate will talk through how you're feeling about your pregnancy, your particular circumstances, and your three options: adoption, abortion, and parenting. You can read more about these options here. You will have the opportunity to ask as many questions as you want. We want to make sure you have all of the information you need to feel peaceful about your situation. We will also schedule a free ultrasound appointment for you (your ultrasound may be on the same day as your initial appointment). An ultrasound will help us determine how far along you are and ensure that everything is okay with the pregnancy thus far.

Finally, we can talk with you about our free education program and material assistance and show you our classroom and Baby Boutique. Through this program, you can receive practical skills regarding pregnancy and parenting, and you can also receive important items like diapers, wipes, bottles, and clothes for your baby. Stay tuned for another blog post all about our Earn While  You Learn Program. 

Here are some other services that may be applicable to you:

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How to Find a Doctor for Your Pregnancy

How to Find a Doctor for Your Pow to Find a Doctor for Your Pregnancyregnancy

You have confirmed that you are pregnant and you’re ready to make sure you and your baby are as healthy as possible throughout these next 9 months. How do you find a doctor to for your pregnancy? Getting yourself set up with an obstetrician (OB-GYN) is an important step to take early in your pregnancy, ideally in your first trimester.  An OB-GYN has expertise in female reproductive health, childbirth and pregnancy. If your pregnancy is healthy and not high-risk, here is the recommended schedule of prenatal visits:

Weeks 4 to 28: 1 prenatal visit a month

Weeks 28 to 36: 1 prenatal visit every 2 weeks

Weeks 36 to 40: 1 prenatal visit every week 

Here are some simple steps to help you work through finding the right doctor for your pregnancy:

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Early Signs of Pregnancy

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Wondering if you are pregnant but haven't taken a pregnancy test to confirm yet? Here are some early signs of pregnancy:

 

  • Late period - If you have a regular menstrual cycle and are late for your next period, that can be due to pregnancy. Many times, this is what first clues women into their pregnancy and leads them to take an at-home pregnancy test.
  • Nausea - Many women experience nausea during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. A common name for this is "morning sickness," though the nausea doesn't happen exclusively in the morning - you can experience it throughout the day. Nausea during pregnancy is mainly due to the presence of pregnancy hormones, so if you suddenly feel nauseous consistently, that could be because you're pregnant.
  • Fatigue - Major fatigue can also be an indication of a pregnancy. Many women begin feeling extra tired when pregnant, because your body is working hard to help the baby grow. High levels of progesterone are also at work. 
  • Shortness of breath - Running out of breath can also start happening if you are pregnant, because your body is trying to take in more oxygen for the baby. If you exercise regularly, you may start needing more breaks than normal. 
  • Sensitive breasts - Your breasts may begin to feel extra tender, almost like they do during your period. This can happen in the earlier weeks of pregnancy as your body is getting used to being pregnant and dealing with the new hormones.
  • Food aversions or cravings - This is the pickles-and-ice-cream sign. Out of nowhere, you may start craving certain foods and feeling disgusted with others. Some women also experience sensitivity to smells. These cravings and aversions are brought on by the hormonal changes and can come and go throughout your pregnancy.

 

There are many early signs of pregnancy that may have you wondering if you might be pregnant. It's important to remember, though, that every woman's pregnancy is different. You may experience all of these symptoms, none of these symptoms, or some combination of them. And just because you experience some, it doesn't automatically mean you are pregnant. 

 

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My Friend is Pregnant - What Can I Do to Help Her?

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Your friend just took a home pregnancy test. She calls you, her trusted friend, in a state of panic over her positive result. Your mind races, flooded with emotions, unsure of what to say next. You want to say the right things, and you want your friend to do the right thing for her life.

It's important to:

  • Listen to your friend
  • Support her
  • Offer her help

The first and very best thing you can do for your friend in this moment is listen to her. Find somewhere safe and private where your friend can open up and confide in you. She is sharing sensitive news, so be attentive and try to gently reflect back what she is telling you so that she feels heard and understood. Do your best to avoid interrupting her, judging her, or interjecting your opinions without permission. 

Support is the next step. Your friend will need to make decisions about her pregnancy, and she may be feeling afraid and alone. Do your best to stay positive, encourage her, and let her know that you are here for her every step of the way. 

Finally, offer to help her find the resources she may need. Tell her about Birth Choice, and let her know she can talk to someone at our clinic who can confidentially confirm her pregnancy through a free medical-grade pregnancy test. She can also get a free sonogram to determine how far along she is. Our compassionate client advocates are here to listen and talk through your friend's situation, providing accurate answers and information along the way. We will discuss all of her options and help her navigate the road ahead. We also have an extensive range of resources and referrals that can help her move forward with confidence and peace of mind

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I'm Pregnant...Now What?!

I'm Pregnant...Now What?!

You saw the double lines appear on your pregnancy test and now you’re unsure what to do...or think...or who to turn to. 

First, take a deep breath. Your feelings are so normal and they are filled with wisdom to lead you to what you need. Maybe you’re feeling: 

1. TERROR that you aren’t ready for this life change

2. FEAR that your situation may not be met with the support you need

3. ALONE in this foreign situation 

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The Three Options of an Unplanned Pregnancy

3-options

Finding out you are pregnant unexpectedly can be overwhelming. It can be hard enough to process the news, let alone make a decision about how to move forward. First of all, know that it's important to give yourself time. Finding out you are pregnant is big news, and you want to make sure you give yourself the time and grace you need to process that news before you make a decision. 

That's where Birth Choice comes in. When you make an appointment, we talk with you about your circumstances and how you are feeling, and we walk you through every option to make sure you have all of the information you need. We'll talk with you about the 3 basic options you have with an unplanned pregnancy:

 

Parenting

The first option (and sometimes the scariest option) is parenting. You may be facing a situation that makes parenting seem impossible for you, but thankfully, there are so many programs and resources available that can help. At Birth Choice, we can talk with you about your specific situation and see what sorts of things would be most helpful to you. We also offer an education program to help you feel as prepared as possible to parent, and we have a Baby Boutique at our clinic to help get you started on all of the material necessities. 

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Why Is an Ultrasound Required Before Having an Abortion?

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Before scheduling an abortion, it is important to have an ultrasound. In fact, in Texas, it is required. It is also required to have verbal explanation of the ultrasound (a physical description of the fetus, the presence of the heartbeat, and the possible presence of organs, etc.) at least 24 hours before having an abortion. 

 

Birth Choice has trained sonographers that are eager to help you. But why do you have to get an ultrasound in the first place? Here are the main reasons: 

 

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RU486 - THE ABORTION PILL

 

We know that finding out you're pregnant can be scary. You may be looking into the "abortion pill." Because this is a serious medical decision, it is crucial to have accurate information and to understand the risks associated with the abortion pill. This will help you to make an informed decision. At Birth Choice, we want to help.

We want to ensure that you have all the information you need to make the best decision for you. Schedule an appointment by phone (214-631-2402) or online with one of our counselors to look at all of your options.

 

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What Does Having an Unplanned Baby Look Like?

 

You never expected this to happen. You weren’t trying to have a baby, and now here you are, staring at a positive pregnancy test. Maybe you are happy – excited even. But you might also be feeling nervous, scared, uncertain, unprepared. Maybe you even feel trapped.

An unplanned pregnancy seems scary, but thankfully, it doesn’t have to be. There are so many resources available that can help you along your pregnancy and parenting journeys.

At Birth Choice of Dallas, we can talk with you about all of your options – from parenting to abortion to adoption. We can help you make an informed choice with confidence through our free counseling services.

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