Good Questions: Informed Consent Questions To Keep With You

informed consentWhen I was pregnant with my first, we took a Lamaze class — and I got a great list of “informed consent” questions.  The idea is that, particularly with labor and delivery, a lot of things happen quickly, and frequently you’re only half giving informed consent because you’re so exhausted, in pain, and more.  I didn’t end up asking any of these with my first delivery (although I wish I had!); but we did take a printout of this list with us to the birth of our second son — I made sure my husband and I both knew where it was, and it calmed us both down a bit. (Had we gone with a doula for either pregnancy I might not have felt the need, and trusted she would know enough about the situation, the hospital, alternatives, and more — but every hospital I delivered at only allowed two people in the delivery room with you, and I always wanted my husband and mother with me!)

I still keep the list in my iPhone, to be honest — if ever anyone I know were to be in a health emergency it feels like a list I’d want to have.

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Plus-Size Maternity Clothes for Work

plus size maternity clothes for work2017 Update: We’ve updated links below to reflect some new options for plus-size maternity clothes for work. You may also want to sign up for CorporettePlus, our newsletter featuring plus size work fashion

It can be tough to find professional and stylish plus-size maternity clothes for work , so we’ve rounded up a bunch of tips that CorporetteMoms readers shared about plus-size maternity workwear.  Ladies who are (or have been) plus size during a pregnancy, where did you shop for work-appropriate maternity plus sizes?  Which were your favorite work outfits?

Brand Recommendations / Stores That Carry Plus-Size Maternity Clothes for Work

  • Old Navy/GapReader quote: “Old Navy maternity is BIG. I did just fine in Old Navy XXL Maternity sizes for almost everything — especially yoga pants, tops, etc.” (Pictured above: reddish sweater knit maternity dress, available up to size XXL.)
  • Motherhood Maternity/Destination MaternityReader quote: “I had a few pairs of pants from Motherhood Maternity. They were not fabric I enjoyed, but they looked OK.” (Update: Destination Maternity now has an entire plus-size line!)
  • JCPenneyReader quote: “JCPenney carries good work clothes for plus size maternity. I was really happy with their stuff. (God bless JCPenney!) Their pants are way better than Destination Maternity pants.” (Pictured above: black maternity dress in sizes 1X-3X.)
  • Target: Reader quote: “I’m surprised by how generous a lot of the XL and XXL maternity clothes are from Target & Old Navy/Gap.”
  • PinkBlush Maternity: Many of the plus-size offerings from PinkBlush are too casual for work, but there are some styles that are office-friendly — and budget-friendly, too — like a $67 wrap dress. Sizes go up to 3X, and shipping within the U.S. is free.
  • Nordstrom: It doesn’t carry a lot, but it does carry a few plus-size jeans.
  • Mommylicious Maternity: It looks like this little shop also carries a lot of plus-size maternity clothes for work.

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When Your Labor Experience Leaves You Angry (and Other Birth Trauma Stories)

when your labor experience leaves you angry (and other birth trauma)A friend somehow stumbled on Jack’s birth story a week or so ago and remarked how births are surprisingly traumatic for a lot of mothers, and how we should discuss it here — particularly how to deal when your labor experience leaves you angry. I agree — as I noted in that (extraordinarily long) post, Jack and I both came out fine in the end, but not without a few harrowing first days for me, in large part due to the feeling that the hospital kind of forgot about me. We couldn’t get a doctor to stay in the room for his birth, and then they stuck us in an isolated room and didn’t visit us for hours afterwards. I nearly passed out the first time I tried to go to the bathroom by myself because I didn’t know I was supposed to ring for the nurse; no one even mentioned that I should try to feed the baby every 90 minutes to establish a supply. Heck, I didn’t even speak to my up-to-that-point beloved OB/GYN — or anyone from her office — after the initial phone call of “Yup, sounds like labor, come to the hospital!”

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Dealing with SPD Pain During Pregnancy

How to Manage SPD Pain in Pregnancy | CorporetteMomsWhen I was pregnant with my first child, I began experiencing pelvic pain at 28 weeks that seemed to defy Googling, so I thought I’d write up a bit about the pelvic pain (sometimes called PGP pain or SPD pain or even PPGP pain) I experienced, in case it’s of help to other women pregnant women. With my first son it got really bad because I didn’t do anything to treat it — I remember the SPD pain more than the labor pains with my first son.  With my second son, the pain was FAR more manageable because I was very proactive about managing the pain early on.

Note that I am not a doctor or an expert — this is just one mother’s experience.

Mystery Pelvic Pain With My First Pregnancy:

When I was pregnant with my eldest son, around week 28, I started to experience something that felt like I’d been kicked in the groin… hard.  I started Googling things like “kicked in the groin pregnant” and “groin pain pregnant” and so forth, finding nothing on point.  My doctor (who turned out to stink in general) was none too helpful. The best way I could describe the pain was that it was pretty “deep” in me — definitely not a pulled thigh muscle or whatnot.  I finally found the term “SPD pain,” for symphysis pubis dysfunction — also sometimes called “pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain or PPGP,” and that rang the bell — here’s an excerpt from WebMD:

There are several bones and joints that make up your pelvic girdle – the bony arched structure in your hip area that supports your legs – including the symphysis pubis joint, hip joint, coccyx, sacrum and sacroiliac joint. Pain can occur when there is a mechanical problem within these joints – often one joint becomes stiff, causing irritation in the other joints. Discomfort in the pelvic girdle usually occurs in the front or back of the pelvis. This is known as pelvic girdle pain or PGP. It was formerly referred to as symphysis pubis dysfunction or SPD. Because PGP often occurs during pregnancy, it is also referred to as pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain or PPGP.

My doctor told me she had never heard of it, and didn’t offer any suggestions for treatment.

The pain, which started out as a dull, omnipresent ache, started to get worse.  By week 36, it had different tiers on the pain scale (of 1-10, 10 being the worst) depending on what I was doing:

  • 4 if I was doing nothing
  • 6 if I had walked or done anything active the day before
  • 8 for any physical exercise like swimming or walking
  • and it shot up to an 11 whenever I had to stand up, roll over in bed, or do other simple things like trying to dress myself.

My doctor, again, was no help — I was already at week 36, she explained.  The baby could come at any minute, and it would take us at least a week or two to get an appointment with a physical therapist.  So we did nothing.  I tried to “be gentle with myself” and stopped walking for exercise, getting to a swimming pool about once a week.

My son arrived at week 42, and fortunately, the SPD pain went away immediately.  My legs, however, felt like jelly — those few last weeks of inactivity had really been a bad idea.  I didn’t trust myself to go out walking with him (either wearing him or in a stroller) — what if I fell, or fainted?  It took me months before I felt like myself again.

SPD Pain with My Second Pregnancy

I had heard that the pain would start earlier with baby number two, and so, around week 20 when I started to feel that dull ache, I started to freak out.  It felt like a pain cliff was lurking in my not-too-distant future.  I had switched doctors, and my new one didn’t know too much about SPD pain either, but a) at least I knew what the ailment was called this time, and b) I knew I wanted to be really proactive with it.  After a lot of Googling, as well as seeing an MD who specialized in pregnancy rehab issues (usually postpartum, but she agreed to see me while pregnant), and seeing physical therapists every two weeks, this is what I wound up doing:

  • Wear belts — I wore two:
    • I wore one belt to help distribute the weight of the baby more evenly, such as the Gabrialla belt
    • I wore a second belt to stabilize my hips — the MD suggested the Serola belt, which stabilizes your hips. I wore BOTH belts on long walks from week 30 on, and both on a daily basis as the pregnancy got farther along. (I tried wearing it at night but it didn’t make that big of a difference for me.) I think the Gabrialla belt may have caused some back pain issues with me (the PTs said something about my sacrum?) but in the end it was worth it
  • See a physical therapist.  I knew I would be going often, so decided to go with a PT who was very local to me — but I learned that PTs who specialize in pregnancy do exist.  The PTs suggested some basic posture/alignment improvements, as well as exercises for me to do as “homework.” They also helped me to review some of the exercises and suggestions I found online and in the book Relieving Pelvic Pain During and After Pregnancy: How Women Can Heal Chronic Pelvic Instability (below), which I appreciated.
  • Get this book and discuss it with your doctor or physical therapist.  The author has a lot of helpful illustrations on how to move better (such as how to pick up a child, or how to stand up from a sitting position) — she also suggests exercises.  I wouldn’t recommend doing the exercises without talking to your physical therapist about them and how they might work with your particular situation.  My PTs went through the book and put stickers next to the ones they thought were good.
  • Personal body improvements/adjustments:
    • Keep your knees together when doing things like rolling over at night, getting out of cars, etc…
    • STOP CROSSING YOUR LEGS. I’m really bad about sitting without my legs crossed (or folded beneath me) — if you are as well, just quit it now.
    • Get a pillow to sleep with between your legs at night to keep your hips level. I got the Boppy pillow but if space had allowed I’d have gotten one of those full body pillows (such as this one).
    • If you do swim avoid the breast stroke — the frog kick isn’t best for SPD.
    • Wear shoes everywhere. I’m not proud of it, but Crocs became my house slippers during the pregnancy. (Rec’d by my podiatrist, not, obvs, chosen for style.)
    • If you can, stop carrying a shoulder bag or diaper bag — switch to a backpack instead to better position the weight. Lighten the load as much as possible. I really got into my Mosey backpack during my pregnancy.
  • Ergonomic improvements around the house:
    • Put a banker’s box (filled with books or papers — or something fancier, but that height) under your feet at your desk. Something about the height helped and it also helped me keep my legs uncrossed.
    • If you have a choice of seating choose the one that puts you at a 90 degree angle or less, not more than that.  I stopped sitting on my couch and switched instead to a chair that felt better.

With all of these changes, my pain never got above a 4 during my second pregnancy. It probably also helped that I gained much less weight with this pregnancy than with my first (20 pounds versus 35 pounds). (There was the exception of one awful weekend where we traveled to my parents’ house — I blame the fact that I didn’t have any of the ergonomic improvements, wasn’t wearing shoes in their house, was getting into and out of their SUV, and didn’t have the best choice of seating in general.)  Something got out of alignment and was tortuously painful the entire weekend.  I tried sleeping in my belts , but it felt like it was preserving the misalignment.  Fortunately, things popped back into place when I got back home.  The specialist I saw also said that a good PT would be able to work with me if it popped out of alignment again — something about pushing and pulling my legs to help the pubic bone pop back into place.)

Whatever your pain level, try to walk for exercise as long as possible — at the end, my PTs suggested I break them up into smaller but more frequent walks (10-20 minute) if that was all I could do.

I’m glad this is a rare condition, because pregnancy is hard enough without all the extra SPD pain — but on the off chance my story could help some people I thought I’d write out my experience and my tips.

SPD Pain: You probably haven't heard of this if you haven't been pregnant! When I was about 25 weeks with my first, I suddenly felt like I'd been kicked in the groin. Googling failed me, so I wrote a whole post about it if you're pregnant and feeling like you were kicked in the crotch (but weren't). These are the best tips I learned about managing SPD pain -- and how I handled my second pregnancy knowing I'd been in so much SPD pain with my first! The symptom is also known as symphsis pubis dysfunction, pelvic girdle pain, PGP, and PPGP.

Getting Your Accounts in Order… Before You Go Into Labor

accounts-in-order-for-laborDid you feel the need to get your accounts in order before you gave birth? For example, if you’re the primary money manager in your relationship, did you do anything special before labor to prepare your partner should he or she need to take over the money management? (Sorry for your dark thought for the day! Of course death or incapacitation related to pregnancy is still really rare, but pregnancy is certainly a big deal, healthwise. Although Scientific American did just look into why U.S. maternal mortality rates have doubled, and quoted a CDC official who classified it as “almost certainly not a real increase,” just a result of better data.) I pondered this a lot while I was pregnant, and didn’t see too much else on this topic, so I thought it might be interesting to discuss.

(Pictured: Kate Spade New York ‘Cedar Street – Floral Lacey’ Zip Around Wallet, was $178, now $120 as part of the big Nordstrom Clearance sale.)

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Hiding a Baby Bump — The Second Time Around

hiding-baby-bump

2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on how to hide a baby bump the second time round— links have also been updated below.

What clothes best hide a baby bump — particularly if it’s your second child and you feel like you’re showing earlier?  We’ve talked here about how to work through your first trimester — and over at Corporette we’ve talked about ways to hide a baby bump — but it’s been far too long in either place since we’ve talked about work outfits for the first trimester. Kat’s picked a few pieces particularly for the early days of pregnancy (for example here, here, here, here) — but what are YOUR favorite pieces?  We’ve rounded up a few tips that readers have shared in the past — what are your best tips for how to hide a baby bump?

(Pictured: Tahari A-Line seamed dress — non-binding at the waist, with pockets to boot! It’s available for $128 from Nordstrom.)

 

 

 

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