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Pregnancy Podcast

A resource to support expecting moms (and partners, too!) with evidence-based information to navigate the awesome adventure of pregnancy, birth, and being a new parent. Vanessa Merten provides evidence based info that goes way beyond the typical “pregnancy instruction manual”. Every episode is designed to give you all of the evidence, research, pros, cons, risks, and benefits – all so you decide what the best option is for YOU and feel confident about your decisions during your pregnancy and beyond. The show covers everything from pregnancy to caring for a newborn. Topics include prenatal care, labor, natural birth, hospital birth, cesarean birth, preparing for your baby, breastfeeding, postpartum, and caring for a new baby. This is your​ evidence-based resource to help you make informed decisions about your pregnancy and your baby.

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Five Questions You Should Be Asking

You will have many opportunities to opt-in or out of interventions in your pregnancy, birth, or with your newborn. In a perfect world, every procedure comes along with informed consent, and you have all of the information you need to make an informed decision confidently. In the real world, constraints like limited time available for appointments make proper informed consent a challenge. One of the most versatile tools that you can apply to anything is your brain. Not the three-pound organ in your head, the acronym BRAIN. This episode has five simple questions you can ask to help determine whether any procedure or intervention is right for you during pregnancy or birth. You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here. Join Pregnancy Podcast Premium to access the entire back catalog, listen to all episodes ad-free, and more.  For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.

20mins

5 Dec 2021

Rank #1

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Using a Rebozo for Pregnancy and Birth

A rebozo is a long rectangular shawl that originated in Mexico. Like many non-western traditions, the art of rebozo is more than a tool. The use of a rebozo has grown in the midwife and doula communities because of the teachings from traditional Mexican midwives. This is a practice that has been passed through generations of midwives and birth workers over centuries. In addition to the cultural and traditional significance, a rebozo can be utilized during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. This episode covers the history of the rebozo, how it can be used for relaxation, support, and pain relief, and how to find a practitioner who is experienced in the art of rebozo. You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here. Join Pregnancy Podcast Premium to access the entire back catalog, listen to all episodes ad-free, and more.  For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.

19mins

28 Nov 2021

Rank #2

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Placenta Variations and Abnormalities

The placenta is an organ with a highly specialized purpose, and that is to support the normal growth and development of your baby. Before the widespread use of ultrasounds, few expecting mothers knew what position their placenta was in or if it was considered “normal.” When you have your anatomy scan ultrasound, usually between weeks 18-22, the ultrasound technician will examine your placenta. There are many variations in size and placement. Some of these abnormalities are simply variations that have no impact on your baby, and others can signal potential complications your care provider will want to monitor. This episode includes information on low-lying placenta, placenta previa, placenta accreta spectrum, bilobed placenta, succenturiate placenta, circumvallate placenta, circummarginate placenta, placenta membranacea, ring-shaped placenta, placenta fenestrata, and abnormal cord insertion. You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here. Join Pregnancy Podcast Premium to access the entire back catalog, listen to all episodes ad-free, and more. For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.

26mins

21 Nov 2021

Rank #3

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The Cost of Birth, Understanding Insurance, and Tax-Advantaged Accounts

In the United States, the average cost of vaginal birth is over $9,000, and the average price for a cesarean section is almost $13,000. There are tools and strategies you can use to save money on your medical bills. Insurance can help cover the cost of prenatal care and birth. Tax-advantaged accounts like a flexible spending account or a health savings account can save you money on the expenses you have to pay. This episode will get you off on the right foot to minimize your costs and make sure you are covered. If you already have health insurance, this episode will help explain how health insurance works during your pregnancy and birth. If you do not have health insurance or are in the process of changing your insurance, this episode will help you figure out how to choose the right plan. Plus, get an overview of tax-advantaged accounts you can use to pay qualified medical expenses. If you are not in a financial position to obtain insurance or utilize tax-advantaged accounts, this episode also has tips for understanding the costs and how you can get assistance with coverage. This episode is not intended to be used as tax advice. Please consult your CPA, accountant, or tax professional for questions and more information. You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here. Join Pregnancy Podcast Premium to access the entire back catalog, listen to all episodes ad-free, and more. For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.

36mins

14 Nov 2021

Rank #4

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Fever During Pregnancy

A fever is part of your body’s immune response as a natural defense to infection. The risks and benefits of fever during pregnancy are different than those of someone who is not pregnant. Running a fever during your pregnancy can be scary. Studies have linked maternal fevers to complications like autism, neural tube defects, oral clefts, and congenital heart defects. The best way to alleviate any fears or unknowns is to educate yourself about what temperature constitutes a fever, when to call your doctor or midwife, and what to do if you get a fever during your pregnancy. It is common to take over-the-counter medicine to reduce a fever. Over the years, attitudes towards the use of medications like acetaminophen have evolved. While doctors have long considered this safe, more recent research raises questions about taking this over-the-counter medication during pregnancy.  You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here. Join Pregnancy Podcast Premium to access the entire back catalog, listen to all episodes ad-free, and more. For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.

27mins

7 Nov 2021

Rank #5

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COVID-19 Vaccine During Pregnancy

The severity and spread of COVID-19 drove demand to create vaccines and get them to the public in record time. In the United States, the FDA has approved three vaccines; two of them are still under an emergency use authorization. We know from real-world data that pregnancy can increase your risks for severe illness from COVID-19. Despite pregnancy increasing COVID-19 risks, clinical trials did not include pregnant participants. Studies are beginning to focus on these vaccines in pregnancy, and researchers are releasing more data on vaccinated pregnant women. While we lack long-term data, ACOG and the CDC recommend that pregnant women get vaccinated for COVID-19. This episode dives into the available evidence on the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy so you can make an informed decision on whether to get the vaccine. You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here. Join Pregnancy Podcast Premium to access the entire back catalog, listen to all episodes ad-free, and more. For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.

1hr 6mins

24 Oct 2021

Rank #6

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Flu Vaccine During Pregnancy (2021-2022 Flu Season)

Flu is an infectious disease caused by the influenza virus. The flu typically isn't severe in healthy adults, and symptoms usually subside in about a week. When you are pregnant, your body's inflammatory response to the flu during pregnancy puts you at a higher risk for some complications. The medical community recommends that pregnant women get the flu vaccine to protect them and give their babies passive immunity. The COVID-19 pandemic is also bringing some additional changes and challenges to the current flu season. There are many flu vaccines available, and it can be challenging to weigh the risks and benefits to decide whether getting the flu vaccine during pregnancy is right for you. This episode dives into all of the evidence and considerations to make an informed decision on whether you should get the flu vaccine during your pregnancy.   You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here. Join Pregnancy Podcast Premium to access the entire back catalog, listen to all episodes ad-free, and more. For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.

39mins

17 Oct 2021

Rank #7

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Tdap Vaccine During Pregnancy

A vaccine contains a weakened or killed form of a disease-causing micro-organism that causes your body to produce antibodies. This provides immunity without actually inducing the disease. Vaccines are a very controversial topic. This episode introduces what vaccines are and gets into specifics on the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy. In addition to different types of vaccines, they contain many ingredients. These ingredients serve a particular function like increasing your immune response or as a byproduct of the processing. Tdap provides immunity for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough) and is recommended during pregnancy. Get the evidence-based risks and benefits of getting the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy so you can make an informed decision on whether it is right for you.  You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here. Join Pregnancy Podcast Premium to access the entire back catalog, listen to all episodes ad-free, and more. For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.

32mins

10 Oct 2021

Rank #8

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Erythromycin Eye Ointment

Ophthalmia neonatorum is a newborn eye infection and in the United States occurs in 1-2% of newborns. This infection can be caused by sexually transmitted infections, viruses, and bacteria. Administering erythromycin eye ointment to newborns is standard procedure in the United States to prevent ophthalmia neonatorum. As with any intervention, there are pros and cons to consider. This article examines the evidence on the efficacy and safety of erythromycin eye ointment so you can make an informed choice for your baby. You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here. Join Pregnancy Podcast Premium to access the entire back catalog, listen to all episodes ad-free, and more. For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.

19mins

3 Oct 2021

Rank #9

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Vitamin K Shot

At birth, babies naturally have low levels of vitamin K. The danger in having low levels of vitamin K is the risk of vitamin K deficiency bleeding. This is a rare but serious complication. You can decrease the risk for vitamin k deficiency bleeding with the vitamin K shot. Administering the vitamin K shot to newborns is standard procedure in the United States and many other countries. As with any intervention, there are pros and cons to consider. This episode examines the evidence on the efficacy and safety of the vitamin K shot so you can make an informed choice for your baby. You can read the full article and resources that accompany this episode by clicking here. For more evidence-based information, visit the Pregnancy Podcast website.

25mins

26 Sep 2021

Rank #10