Pregnancy Danger Signs to Report Immediately

Call your caregiver or birth center immediately if you have any of the following:

  • Bright red vaginal bleeding with or without pain.
  • Signs of preterm labor (labor before 37 weeks of pregnancy).
  • Signs of high blood pressure in pregnancy (sometimes called pre-eclampsia or toxemia).

These include:

  • sudden or severe swelling of you face, hands or feet
  • sudden weight gain of 1 kg (2.2 lb) over a period of a week or less
  • dizziness, headaches, changes in your vision (such as blurring or seeing spots)
  • sudden and severe vomiting
  • Any change or absence of fetal movement. Once you begin to feel your baby’s movements regularly (at about 28 weeks) you should feel movement throughout the day, everyday. Decrease in movement may be the first warning that your baby’s not well or having trouble.

Note: If you notice a decrease in your baby’s activity, here’s what to do:

  • Lie on your left side for 1 hour. Feel for your baby’s movements by placing your hands on your abdomen. You should feel a series of movements that last 5 to 10 minutes.
  • If you do not feel your baby move within 1 hour, call your caregiver or birth center

A decrease in movement does not occur before labor starts. Even when you’re in labor, you should still feel your baby move.

  • A decrease or absence of fetal movement for 8 hours.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • A gush or trickle of fluid from your vagina. This could mean that your membranes (bag of waters) have broken. The amniotic fluid is enclosed in a sac that surrounds and protects your baby. Once this sac has broken, your baby faces an increased risk for infection.
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge. (Vaginal discharge causing itchiness and irritation should be reported within 24 hours.)
  • Frequent passing of urine with a burning sensation should be reported within 24 hours.
  • Any illness causing fever.
  • An injury or accident, such as a fall or a motor vehicle accident.
  • Persistent negative feelings about your pregnancy or overwhelming feelings of anxiety.

Trust your instincts. You know your body and your baby best. Don’t hesitate to call your caregiver or birth center at any time.

In a medical emergency such as convulsions or cord prolapse, call 911

Could I Be .. Pregnant?

Wondering if you’re pregnant can be stressful whether or not you are planning a family. While every woman is different, the most common sign of pregnancy is a missed period, and this is the way most women realize that they are pregnant. Some women seem to know that they’re pregnant even before they miss a period. Signs can include the ones listed on this page..

 Could I be pregnant?

Within several weeks of conception (the fertilization of an egg with a sperm), many pregnant women will begin to notice some physical signs or clues that tell them they are pregnant.

Early physical signs of pregnancy may include:

  • nausea and vomiting (especially in the morning)
  • breast swelling and tenderness
  • increased frequency of urination
  • unusual fatigue
  • a missed period – It is normal for some women to miss a period occasionally, especially during times of physical or emotional stress, when breastfeeding, while taking birth control pills or if they have an eating disorder. If you have been sexually active, however, a missed period can be an indication that you are pregnant. NOTE: On the other hand, some women have ‘breakthrough bleeding’ at the time of their period even when they are pregnant.

Pregnancy Tests

If you suspect that you might be pregnant, a pregnancy test can be done to confirm or deny your suspicions. Pregnancy tests measure the amount of a certain hormone in your body. This hormone is called ‘human chorionic gonadotropin’ (or HCG). HCG is produced by the placenta. The placenta is the place where the growing baby is connected to the inside of the uterus. Urine testing is the type of pregnancy test done most often. While blood tests for pregnancy can be done, they are generally not ordered by a doctor unless there are special circumstances.

To get a pregnancy test done, you can:

  • have a pregnancy test arranged for you by your doctor or by one of your Health Care Providers.

OR

  • buy a home pregnancy test kit at a drug store without a prescription. If you plan to do your own pregnancy test:
    • be aware that the pregnancy test kits now available in Canada or the U.S. are very reliable when used correctly. No home pregnancy test kit is 100% accurate, however.
    • choose a pregnancy test kit that has easy to follow instructions and follow them exactly.
    • ask your pharmacist if you have questions about the use of a pregnancy test kit — your pharmacist is the health care professional who is most familiar with the use of the various self testing products.
    • check the pregnancy testing kit carefully for an expiration date before you buy it to ensure that the kit is not outdated (an outdated kit will not give you accurate results).
    • be aware that, if you test too soon, the pregnancy test may indicate that you are not pregnant when you really are. Some pregnancy test kits can give you a reliable result about 14 days after conception. Each product is different, however, so read the information on the test kit carefully or ask your pharmacist how soon you can use a pregnancy test kit to get reliable results.

 

8 Things Adoptive Parents Should Know About Birth Parents

As an adoptive parent it is easy to get caught up in the process of finding a child and the adoption journey. It is very natural to think about the life ahead of you with your new family member. However, you should also consider the perspective of the birth parents when you are moving forward with your plans for adoption. The following 8 things were polled from birth parents as subjects they wanted adoptive parents to know and understand.

  • We all share the journey – even if you do not know the birth mother or you’re adopting from an international agency you are sharing the journey with the birth mother. A birth mother will be a part of this journey from the beginning of pregnancy whether she’s aware of it at that time or not. It is a choice of doing what is best for the unborn baby she is carrying, to have a new, different or better life. Though circumstances may be different for all it is from this same starting point that every birth mother comes from.
  • Adoption begins with love – the decision to give a child up for adoption is rooted in love. It is love that places a child’s needs before those of the birth parent and that often why birth parents choose adoption as an option for their pregnancy.
  • Adopted children aren’t “unwanted” – It is actually quite the opposite, a birth parent chose to carry their child to term because they wanted the best for him/her, not because that child wasn’t wanted at all. To go through with an adoption means a child is cared for, not abandoned.
  • The choice affected more than just the birth parents – A birth parent’s immediate family and the birth father is also affected, the choice to adopt isn’t just about “me” as a birth mother.
  • Birth parents go through loss & grief – giving away a child for adoption can result in grief similar to those experienced when a person dies. Many birth mothers will mourn the loss of their child throughout their lifetime and sometime with varying intensity.
  • A birth mother will always think about her child – there will never be a moment that passes that when a birth mother doesn’t think about the child that was given away. This could be as simple as thinking about what they look like to wondering if they are happy.
  • The effect of adoption can last for a lifetime – placing a baby up for adoption can affect the birth parents for a lifetime, while many adoptions are pursued with the best of intentions sometimes residual guilt and shame can be attached to the pregnancy. Post-adoption depression, anxiety and guilt can lead to issues in the birth parent’s life and even impact their existing relationships. Being a birth parent doesn’t mean that it’s over once the adoption is complete.
  • Choose open or closed adoption options carefully – always consider the birth parents when opting for a closed or open adoption, if you can speak with the birth parents and find out if they truly want to be a part of the adopted child’s life. It has been shown that open adoptions can be beneficial to both parties involved.

As an adoptive parent or as someone considering adoption please also remember the others who are on the journey with you. There are common misconceptions about adoptions and the parents who opt for adoption that are in no way reflective of the majority. Ultimately the journey is one that involves many people for a variety of reasons. The common thread that we all share is the love of a child.

Are You Ready To Adopt? Answer These 7 Questions

The decision to adopt is a major one, it is a choice that impacts your life as well as the potential child you plan to welcome into your family. It is a highly personal and emotional journey that can take months or even years to see to fruition. With that in mind it is important that you are prepared for the steps that are involved in adoption. You must be aware of the process, the time and the investment that will be involved.

When starting the process it is important to do some introspection, asking yourself some very simple questions will help solidify the process in your own mind as well as your heart to see if you’re truly ready for the journey that is adoption.

If you’re ready to adopt you should ask yourself these questions:

  1. What are the details and legalities of adoption in my state? The process of adoption can be one that is not only legal but costly. If you’re not aware of the steps involved in adoption you should research, research and then research some more.
  2. Am I financially stable to provide in the long term for another member of the family? Consult with a financial advisor, you will want to discuss not only the upfront costs associated with adoption but you’ll also want to prepare a strategy for long term financial stability.
  3. Am I ready to provide a loving, lifelong home to a child in need? Adoption is a lifelong commitment to a needy child, their welfare should be of your first and foremost concern
  4. What sort of child am I willing to adopt? Are you looking for an infant? Would you be willing to take in an older child or a child of a different race? Would you be willing to provide for a special needs child?
  5. Do I want to go through an adoption agency or a private individual? There are benefits and cons to each method, with an agency you will be matched to a child that fits your household, agencies are designed to work for the child. Private adoptions mean that you will have to locate a birth mother on your own. This could work in your favor if you already know someone who is pregnant and willing to adopt.
  6. Do you want a closed or open adoption? A closed adoption is one where the parent’s birth records are sealed or the information is confidential, there may be many reasons for closed adoption. Open adoptions allow for information and contact between the birth and adoptive parents.
  7. Am I mentally prepared for the formal adoption process? Once you’ve decided to apply for the formal adoption process you must be mentally prepared for everything that follows. This includes background checks, checks into your financial and medical histories, home study or home visitations by a social worker and much more.

These questions, while simple, are important to assessing where you are in terms of the adoption process. Yes, the thought of wading through the regulations and legalities can be overwhelming however the reward of welcoming a child into your home far outweighs any of the potential negatives. If you’re considering adoption you’re doing right by asking yourself if you’re ready but the journey will be worth it in the end.

9 Steps In LGBT Adoption

Adoption can be a complicated process even when you’re a “traditional” couple but for members of the LGBT community the process can be even more difficult to navigate. Some of the difficulty arises from the relatively new practice of adoption within the LGBT community. For those looking to adopt however it is important to research and become familiar with the steps.

  1. Think about the decision to adopt, it is essential that you remember this is a choice that will impact your life and the life of child and one that will last a lifetime.
  1. Get to know the laws within your state in regards to LGBT adoption. Each state will have varying regulations, rules and laws as they pertain to LGBT adoptions. Good research is an important step in the adoption journey, research will also help you narrow down adoption professionals and agencies that you’ll be using later on in your search.
  1. Network or discuss adoption with other LGBT couples. Finding someone who has gone through the same process can be invaluable, having gone through the adoption process they will better understand the potential roadblocks and information you’ll need to guide the process along.
  1. Once you find an agency that you want to work with be open about your sexual orientation. Being up front to an agency is a good way to see how willing they are to work for you and with you. If an agency seems hesitant move onto another, you want the adoption agency that will understand your needs.
  1. Be open and upfront in the interview, this is important in establishing a relationship with the agency you will be working with, remember, this process can be a long one and you want to be as comfortable as possible with the agency or social worker you have chosen.
  2. Fill out a matching profile or questionnaire. This process may involve a questionnaire or other form of survey that will narrow down not only what you are looking for in an adoption but it also gives the birth parents a chance to match you to their child. In the case of an agency a matching criteria can help place you with a child that fits your household.
  3. Be prepared to wait! Adoption can be a lengthy process full of ups and downs. Be prepared for these changes and waiting for the perfect match from your agency.
  4. Finalize the adoption. You will want to consult with an attorney who has experience in adoptions and possibly one who is versed in LGBT adoptions. Requirements will vary by state and in some you’ll need to file a petition for adoption. In the case of a petition there will also be a court hearing and a judge will make the final determination on whether the adoption will be legally recognized.
  5. Use post adoption services. Once your adoption is finalized be sure to take advantage of the post-adoption services offered by most adoption agencies. These services can provide valuable networking and information to newly adopted children and families.

As a LGBT couple looking to adopt you must accept the process and actually this is true of any parent who is looking to adopt. The hurdles are the same whether you’re a same sex parent of a traditional couple. The most important thing to remember is that this decision is a life changing one, not only for you and your partner but for the child you wish to bring into your family. With some patience, research and a good adoption agency the desire to bring a child into your family can be fulfilled.

How To Throw A Baby Shower For An Adopted Child

A shower for an adopted baby can be a great way to celebrate your family and the fact that is it growing! It can also be a way to break the announcement to those in your life who may not have been aware you were pursuing adoption.

Depending on your comfort level you can hold it anytime from your acceptance as an active family, your referral to a birth mother or even once the entire process has been finalized. For those looking to expand their family adoption can be just as exciting as a normal birth. Celebrating adoption with a baby shower should be with the same attention as a regular baby shower.

Some details that should be understood when planning an adoption baby shower include:

  • Timing – if you’re planning a baby shower for an adopted child it is important to understand that there can always be delays in the adoption journey. With that being said it is probably best to wait until after the adoption is finalized. This avoids a lot of complications and potential hurt feeling should something not go as planned or the adoption is delayed.Also, it may also be worth considering giving the adoptive parents some time to get to know their new child. If you’re outside the family and planning the shower, talk to the family, find out what is best for them!
  • Invitations – it may be a good idea to include the age of the child in the invitations since an adopted baby shower may not always involve a “traditional” infant. It may be thoughtful to include the child’s birth date or name as well. Depending on the adoptive mother you may want to be choosy with the announcements, avoid any invitations that mention labor or pregnancy. If a couple is infertile these may be sensitive issues.
  • Choose a Theme – themes for adoption baby showers can be the same as any other baby shower. If you’re adopting internationally you can even choose a cultural baby theme to accompany the new family member. You can also discuss themes or colors with the adoptive mother, perhaps there have already been colors chosen for a nursery or if the child is older, perhaps they know the favorite color.Alternatively if the adoption is of an older child you can always opt for a “Welcome Home” or “Welcome to the Family” part instead of a traditional shower.  If you need more ideas for a baby shower, you can visit our friends at Baby Ideas.
  • Games – games can be a fun and exciting part of any baby shower.
  • Snacks & Food – snacks and food should be age appropriate if the child is eating solid food, these snack can also follow the overall theme of the shower itself, if you’re celebrating an international adoption you may want to introduce some food from the culture you’ve adopted from.
  • Gifts – remember, baby showers are as much for the parents as they are for the new family member. Gifts tailored to the parents can go a long way in showing your support for their adoption. Gifts should also be age appropriate and depending on the child, whether he/she is a baby or infant those supplies will vary as well.

Ultimately the addition of a child is a wonderful event no matter by birth or adoption, it is a meaningful time for both the child and parents and should be recognized as a celebration. A baby shower is the perfect way to show your support as well as welcome the new family member!

How To Adopt A Child In The United States

In the United States there are several steps you must take before you can finally bring a child into your home to become a part of your family. The decision to adopt is a highly personal one and one that also carries many complex emotions with it.

For those considering adoption you must fully understand the process and what it means to both your family and the potential child who will be involved.

  • Decide on the type of adoption – as a family you have to decide the specifics of your adoption including the child you are looking for. Details such as age (infant, toddler, etc), sex and race will all be factors when you adopt.
  • Private or adoption agency – agencies will try to find a child that matches your request as well as one that will be a good fit for your household. Private adoptions mean the prospective adopters will locate a birth mother themselves.
  • Closed or open adoption – a closed adoption is one where the records of the birth parents are often confidential and sometimes even sealed, an open adoption allows for contact between the birth parents and the adoptive parents.

Once you have thought over the process and the details you’ll want to start researching adoption agencies and professionals. You’ll also want to look into the fees and costs associated with each agency as well as professional adoption services. Across the U.S. there are many locally based and even national agencies or adoption professionals who will help facilitate the process.   Consulting a lawyer who specializes in adoption is also recommended.

A key component to adoption is the home study element. In every type of adoption home study is required. The concept of home study is that it is an in-depth look at your daily life, home study is there to make sure you are capable of being a fit parent to the potential child you adopt. During this process a social worker will perform background checks. Background checks will be at both the state and federal level, the social worker will also examine your medical history and financial statements. Consider it to be an interview process for your child.

Some agencies will ask you to put together a profile of you as a family, these may include pictures or videos. These profiles are designed to show prospective birth mothers what your family is like and how your family will welcome her child into the home. They are designed to make it easy for her to picture what life would be like for the child, should the adoption go through.

Once this is completed you will then be in the “waiting period”, this means that you are actively looking for the right fit, the right opportunity of birth mother or child who meets your adoption criteria. Sometimes this process can be difficult due to the uncertainty, you will need to understand that it is not the same for everyone and that sometimes it may take a while to find the right child that fits your family. Agencies suggest to maintain a “life as usual” approach when in the waiting period. Do what you would normally do, try not to hyper focus on the process but rather when the call happens, it happens.

Once the criteria is met, you’ve found a birth mother or a child then the process can be formally finalized. During this time all the legalities are tied up and the adoption is then legal, the child is now officially part of your family!