From the first positive test, pregnant women are inundated with advertising for products to make the pregnancy easier, safer, and more comfortable. Have you ever wondered how some of the newest and coolest pregnancy products work? Read on to learn about the science behind five popular products and see how they can make your pregnancy more pleasant and safe for mother and baby alike.
1. Maternity Compression Clothing
During pregnancy, your blood volume increases by as much as 50%, as your cardiovascular system has to supply oxygen and nutrients to you, your placenta, and your developing baby. In addition, hormones are released that cause your connective tissues to relax. The result can be swelling and fluid retention, especially in your feet and legs. Maternity compression clothing can help. Socks, hosiery, and leggings are crafted to accommodate your growing belly while placing supportive pressure on the legs, encouraging fluid to stay in the vascular system and fight gravity, limiting swelling and fluid retention. This makes you more comfortable and can encourage you to move around, which is healthy for both you and your baby.
2. Body Butters
Body butters are essentially very thick lotions, and as such, the moisturizing ingredients are very concentrated. Choose a body butter rich in cocoa and Shea butters to improve skin elasticity and reduce stretch marks. As your pregnancy progresses, your belly may grow more quickly than your skin is prepared to accommodate, and resulting damage to the dermis results in stretch marks. Cocoa butter and Shea butter contain antioxidants and vitamins A, C, and E, which encourage skin elasticity. Cocoa butter also encourages the skin to produce collagen and elastin, making it more stretchy and resilient.
3. Sea Bands
While Sea Bands aren’t technically pregnancy products, these motion sickness fighting accessories can be a godsend when it comes to treating and preventing pregnancy-associated nausea. Sea Bands place pressure on an acupuncture point on the inner wrist, which has been used in Chinese traditional medicine for centuries to relieve nausea. Sea Bands rely entirely on acupressure to achieve their results, and utilize no drugs that may harm your baby. They are an all-natural and inexpensive option for relieving morning sickness.
4. TENS Machines
TENS stands for “transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation,” which may sound intimidating, but is actually a benign, drug-free method of controlling musculoskeletal pain. This has many applications during pregnancy; pregnant women often experience muscle aches and cramps, and this technique can provide some relief during early labor or Braxton-Hicks contractions. TENS works by producing electrical pulses, which are transmitted to the muscles (usually in the back) by adhesive patches. The pulses provide stimulation to sensory nerves, making them temporarily less responsive to pain signals from cramping muscles.
5. Fetal Doppler
Your doctor may use fetal Doppler to monitor your baby’s health during office visits. You can also rent these machines and use them at home for peace of mind or just for the joy of hearing your baby’s heartbeat. Fetal Doppler works by sending ultrasound signals through your skin and measuring the amount of time it takes for those signals to bounce back to the machine. The motions of your baby’s heart cause changes in the way this ultrasound signal bounces back, which you hear as a heartbeat.
From low tech to high tech, there is a fascinating explanation behind almost every prenatal product on the market. Beyond even the cutest and most cuddly shower gift are the many ways science is making life better for you and your baby until the little one is ready to join the world.