Friday, June 19, 2009

Announcing Your Pregnancy

A Primer on Bradley vs. Lamaze Childbirth Methods

The Bradley method of childbirth was developed in the 1940's by Dr. Robert A. Bradley, an American Obstetrician. It is based on the philosophy of 'natural childbirth' (drug free) and was pioneering in the involvement of fathers during the birthing process.

The Lamaze technique was also established in the 1940's by Dr. Fernand Lamaze, a French Obstetrician. Lamaze was influenced by Soviet childbirth practices and he particularly endorsed the role of Midwives during labor. His method began to gain popularity in the USA in the late 1950's and is now the most commonly used childbirth technique.

While both the Lamaze and Bradley techniques lead to the same outcome, they differ in a variety of ways. The most significant contrast between these birthing methods is the issue of pain management and how parents confront this challenge. But what do these two methods reveal and how do they differ?

The Bradley Technique

The Bradley Method is a twelve week course that teaches parents how to control the pain of childbirth. It advocates natural childbirth philosophies and is also called 'the husband coached' birthing technique. It encourages parents to use deep breathing and relaxation exercises as a means of coping with labor.

The Bradley approach rejects the idea of 'distraction' as a way of dealing with childbirth and disputes the use of painkillers and cesarean sections unless absolutely necessary.

However, classes that focus on the Bradley technique do prepare parents for unexpected complications which may result in a cesarean section or other forms of intervention. His methods also include advice on nutrition and diet for the Mother during her pregnancy, which inevitably has a positive effect on the growth and wellbeing of the fetus. The expectant Mother is always encouraged to take reasonable and regular exercise, so that she is properly conditioned to give birth.

The Bradley Technique also educates parents about the different stages of labor and teaches them how to react to the Mother's changing body. The Father is assigned the role of 'Coach' during the birthing process, keeping the Mother focused on the task at hand, helping with breathing exercises and giving plenty of reassurance. Different forms of massage can also be used.

The Lamaze Technique

The Lamaze Technique uses a Pavlovian response to the pain of childbirth. Lamaze believed that giving birth was a physical exercise that requires both energy and concentration. His method focuses on arming the expectant couple with various tools to ease discomfort and conserve energy in order to control pain as it occurs.

The Lamaze Technique encourages the couple to use deep breathing exercises and various 'distraction' techniques, which can include concentrating on pleasant memories, as a way of distracting the woman from the pain of labor.

Lamaze childbirth classes often recommend the benefits associated with changing positions during the birth, as well as the use of hot and cold packs and 'birthing balls' to ease contractions.

The Lamaze Philosophy is not as regimented as the Bradley Method. It gives parents all the facts, yet allows the couple leverage to use the information in ways that work for them. It's more liberal approach offers a neutral position with regards to pain medication along with other medical and surgical options. This is left for the couple to decide.


There are many subtle differences and similarities between the Bradley and Lamaze birthing techniques. The primary difference is that the Bradley method instructs women to focus on controlling their pain. While according to the Lamaze technique, they are taught to distract from it. Similarities include the use of deep breathing techniques, the encouragement of appropriate exercise for the Mother during her pregnancy, and the involvement of both parents in the birthing process.

For expectant families the best option is to gather as much information as possible from either their Obstetrician or Midwife, before making a firm decision on which childbirth class to attend. It is always preferable to choose the birthing method that most appeals to each, individual couple, as it will allow them to feel in control and therefore experience the form of childbirth which best suits their needs.

Announcing Your Pregnancy

When a woman finds out that she is pregnant it becomes difficult to think of something else. This results in the woman being anxious to announce the exciting news with other people specially the partner. There has been a lot of controversy on the best time to make an announcement about pregnancy. While choosing how and when to make an announcement of pregnancy it is necessary to know the advantages and disadvantages of proper timing. Moreover one can choose creative ways to reveal the secret.

Sharing news early

If one shares the news early the main advantage is that there is a lot of support from near and dear ones. One can share ones joy with others. While making decisions a lot of people comes foreword to help the pregnant mother. A lot of time is available for advice and choose the best medical professional. There is overwhelming support in case of miscarriage.
The main disadvantage of breaking the news early is that there may be overwhelming advice. A lot of explanation needs to be done in case of miscarriage. The news of miscarriage may reach friends and other family members before even reaching the mother.

Announcement decisions

It is the decision of the mother to whom else to announce the big news apart from spouse, parents and siblings. One should be careful of whom one tells. Telling ones partner is the first brings a sense of belonging and a bond with the child. After the spouse the other people who should know are the parents. They can help in future planning, offer advice and rejoice like no other person.

Choosing the way one shares the news matters a lot. It is fun to share the good news in a more creative and memorable way. Arranging for a romantic dinner is the best way to surprise and make the news memorable. Even in case of the delicacies baby food can be served. Another way is to go out for a movie and watch a baby movie like Nine month and Junior. The good news can be written in a piece of paper and inserted in the DVD. A t-shirt with Daddy written can be provided apart from a baby keychain, baby book and other baby items.

Telling family and friends

The good news can be sent in a card with a name chosen and a sonogram. This depends on how close the friends are. Another way of showing is a photograph of the woman and the husband without showing the belly.

Are maternity clothes necessary in order to look good during pregnancy?

I remember my mother telling me about the times when she was pregnant. She was wearing nothing more than my father’s jeans and his working shirts throughout her pregnancy. No maternity clothes for her because she was too poor to buy them at that time. Remember, in her time, which was about 30 years back, maternity clothes used to cost a bomb.

And yet, if you walk along any shopping center these days, you’ll notice at least three or four maternity clothes fashion houses catering to the specifically ‘large’ needs of a pregnant mother. And since the web and the Internet is such a magnanimous thing these days, what about online maternity stores? I’d safely say there are just about half a million legitimate maternity stores right now flailing around the Internet wires for business.

And the amazing thing is that…YES, they make money! And why, I was wondering.

Because of one simple thing….even though my mother (like your mother) and my grandmother (and your grandmother) didn’t need maternity clothes when they were pregnant, the modern generation of pregnant women really, truly DO need maternity clothes. We’re living in an era that is completely different from their time and we cannot compare our pregnancy needs with their needs. The same rules no longer apply.

If you’re pregnant right now and am sitting around here wondering if you should get yourself a whole new wardrobe of maternity clothes, you’re in luck. I have some tips about buying maternity clothes for you.

Buy good-looking maternity clothes that can last at least 3 pregnancies

Like I said, maternity clothes are not cheap these days and maternity clothes are only wearable for the nine months that you’re pregnant and maybe another month or two after that. And when you get back in shape, you’re going to have to shelve those expensive maternity clothes or put the maternity clothes in sad boxes with the edges stuck together with cellophane tape.

So, buy only maternity clothes that are classy and of exceptional quality. You wear maternity clothes only when you plan to go out. For casual outings and at home, stick to your extra large clothes or perhaps, you can buy some large sweaters, t-shirts, overalls, or raglan to wear when you’re not required to look all-that-presentable. It works!

You won’t need CASUAL maternity clothes. In my books, that’s an oxymoron.

Maternity clothes that can double up as breastfeeding clothes later on would be good too

If you intend to breastfeed your baby after the whole pregnancy is over, you would have to think about buying MORE clothes…breastfeeding/nursing clothes. Now, as with maternity clothes, nursing clothes don’t come cheap either. And do we NEED nursing clothes as much as we need maternity clothes? Yes, sometimes we do. I have quite a few fashionable looking nursing clothes that I wear whenever I go out shopping or meeting up with friends. Other times, I wear my t-shirts with holes cut out for easy access to the breast! Yeah, it’s funny, but at home, who’s going to care?

And if you can get your hands on some good maternity clothes that can double up as nursing clothes later on, GO FOR IT! You will get your money’s worth that way.

Style of maternity clothes
Many maternity clothes designers are asleep when they’re designing maternity clothes – the selection is bad. Most of them are nothing but flower after flower, spiral after spiral, safety pins or perhaps some form of teddy bear or another. Forget about them! If you were to buy maternity clothes, invest one that makes you look good. If the maternity clothes are plain, that’s fine, it’s better than making you look like Bozo – most of them do, by the way.

The point is that you want to look CLASSY and DIGNIFIED even though you’re sort of….BIG. and wearing maternity clothes with large orange and yellow flower prints is NOT going to help you do that!

That’s just my opinion, of course, and you’re entitled to have your own opinion about maternity clothes that looks good.

Good luck!

Are You Looking for Signs of Infertility?

Trying to conceive is a difficult process for many people. The reason is that there are many factors involved in conception. You cannot tell if you or your partner is infertile unless you visit a doctor. There are a number of medical tests that your doctor can perform to detect infertility. There are also methods and products that the doctor can prescribe to help in conceiving a child.

One procedure a doctor can perform is to test the cervical mucus. Cervical mucus plays an essential role in conception, as it enables the sperm to make it all the way to the egg. The sperm are unable to do this if there is little or no cervical mucus present. Another factor involving cervical mucus is that it could be too acidic. It is necessary for the mucus to be alkaline. If it is acidic, it will kill the sperm before they reach the egg.

When a doctor checks the cervical mucus, he/she will look at the whether it is clear or curdled. If it is curdled, there is little to no chance of conception. If the mucus is clear and somewhat sticky, chances of conception are good.

Before you start to think about the possibility that you or your partner might be infertile, make sure that you have been having unprotected (natural method) sex over a number of months, or up to a year. Conception can take a long time, even for couples who have no troubles with infertility. Often, a couple may have unprotected sex for 8 or 10 months before conception takes place.

Once you have given yourselves this waiting period, if conception still has not occurred, visit your doctor for what steps you should take next. Try not to worry - focus on the many tests and procedures available to help you and your partner become parents of a beautiful baby.

Bathing A Newborn Baby

Do you want your baby handed to you immediately after the birth or should he be cleaned first? In recent years most babies were wiped down with a towel immediately after birth before mum or dad got a chance to hold them. Nowadays choice is the keyword! It's your decision.

Research shows that the greasy film covering your baby, vernix, is a wonderful source of moisture for your baby's delicate skin. And if you don't wipe it off, it is reabsorbed. So your baby will be less likely to develop dry skin patches. Pre-term babies have much more of this protective layer than full-term babies.

In the womb your baby is submerged in amniotic fluid, so vernix is absolutely necessary for providing waterproof protection. After birth, however, mother nature may need a helping hand!

Returning home can be daunting for new parents. Giving baby his first bath can be terrifying!

Your baby does not need a special bath although many parents are well tooled up for the new arrival. A clean sink or the big bath will suffice!

Probably the main worry for parents is getting the water temperature correct. After ensuring you have all baby's bits and bobs at hand, such as a changing mat, towel, fresh nappy, vest and clean clothes, place the baby in a safe place.

Run cold water into the bath first.

Top it up with hot water. Swirl the water around to avoid hot spots.

Dip your elbow into the water to check the temperature. It should be lukewarm. As the skin on your elbow is very sensitive it is a reliable way to test the water.

If you like you can add a little moisturising, hypoallergenic, baby bubble bath. Swirl it around with your fingers. Young babies do not need bubbles to play with!

Undress and wrap baby in a warm towel. Holding him over the bath, cup some bath water in your free hand and gently run it over his head. Shampoo is not necessary for very tiny babies as it can irritate their scalp.

Dry the baby's head thoroughly. Babies lose a lot of heat through their heads. Wet heads lose more heat.

Placing baby's neck in the crook of your elbow, and your hand holding the back of one of his legs, gently lower him into the water. (TIP If you are right-handed it is easier to place babies neck in the crook of your left elbow. Holding his left leg with your left hand, wash him with your right hand. The reverse is the case if you are left-handed.)

Some babies hate being bathed but many really enjoy it. He may become so relaxed that he falls asleep!

Cupping some water in your free hand gently trickle it over his body. Your do not need to rub or scrub as babies do not get dirty. They just need to be freshened up!

Be careful as he will get very slippery once he is wet!

Only keep baby in the bath for a short time as he will get cold quickly and never leave your baby unattended in the bath for even the shortest space of time.

Lift him out and wrap him up in his warm towel.

Quickly dry him and place a fresh nappy on him before he has any little accidents!

Finally, give him a big cuddle and dress him quickly...

And there you have it - baby's first bath!

Best Tips On Getting Pregnant

The best tips on getting pregnant include understanding your reproductive cycle, understanding conception positions and paying attention to your overall health. Getting pregnant and pregnancy is a wonderful event that is complex, satisfying and exciting. Here are seven best tips on getting pregnant:

1. Know your most fertile time - generally, ovulation occurs about 14 days before your next period begins. So if your cycle is a 28-day one, that could make day #14 your most fertile (day #1 is the first day that your last period began). If yours is a 30-day cycle, day #16 could be the time to go for it.

2. Track your basal body temperature - you'll need an inexpensive basal thermometer to chart the slight elevations in your body temperature upon awakening each day that signal your fertile time.

3. Watch for cervical mucus - this can be one of the best tips on getting pregnant since ovulation causes a change in the appearance and consistency of cervical mucus. By checking yourself each day, you'll be able to see the 'egg-white-like' vaginal discharge that indicates ovulation and fertile time.

4. Have sex using the missionary position - the time-proven 'man-on-top' position works with gravity to encourage semen flow toward the uterus to maximize the chance of a sperm uniting with the egg and causing conception. One of the related best tips on getting pregnant is -- after ejaculation, the woman can remain on her back with her legs bent a few minutes to further maximize semen flow toward the uterus.

5. Eliminate smoking and alcohol - not only will doing so benefit your health, when you do become pregnant, you'll not expose the developing fetus to the harmful effects of smoking and alcohol.

6. Take the best vitamin/mineral/nutritional supplement you can find - taking one of the cheap one-a-day vitamins is probably a waste of time and money. Vitamins and minerals are just the beginning. Taking a high-quality, broad-spectrum nutritional supplement helps fill in the dietary gaps that everyone will have. The body needs and will use nutrients such as amino acids, antioxidants, bioflavanoids, neuronutrients, enzymes and other nutrients such as L-Carnosine, alpha lipoic acid, acetyl L-Carnitine and so on.

7. Adopt a healthy lifestyle - this is one of the most important best tips on getting pregnant. Healthy living includes having a sensible diet with nutritional supplements, adequate quality sleep, managing stress, reasonable exercise and weight management.

And finally, just relax and enjoy your partner. Trying too hard is not one of the recommended best tips on getting pregnant.

Your desire to become pregnant and having that special child will have even more significance to you if it means you'll be taking better care of yourself and your partner. Not only does that mean a more healthy you, it also means you'll increase the chances of having a healthier baby.

Birth Defects Deliver More Reasons to Quit Smoking

Recently, a cashier with a round, pregnant belly raced back to her post after a smoke break and explained to her customer that she was sneaking cigarettes when the baby's father would not notice. She seemed oblivious to the harm her addiction could be causing the child.

But now there is a new way for mothers to gently break the cigarette habit, and it comes at a time when medical experts are finding increasingly alarming reasons for pregnant women to wean themselves from nicotine and tobacco.

The cigarette cessation product called Bravo provides a placebo smoke that contains no nicotine or tobacco, allowing the mother to cease taking in these harmful and addictive products, while avoiding the extra stress of not holding a cigarette or lighting up.

Just as a child finds comfort in a favorite blanket or toy, many smokers find their empty hands terribly hard to deal with. The Bravo smoke fills this void and allows the mother to focus on reshaping a healthier lifestyle for herself and her child.

The child may be the biggest beneficiary in this. The medical journal "Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery" reported that smoking leads to an increased risk of having babies with webbed fingers and toes, and missing or extra fingers and toes. The study concluded that smoking half a pack a day increased the risk of having a baby with digit abnormalities by 29 percent. The study, which looked at live births in the United States in 2001 and 2002, recorded 5,171 infants with such defects.

Additional cigarettes bring even more alarming results, increasing the child's risk by as much as 78 percent. These defects can lead to surgery and other unwanted complications for the infant.

Digits are formed in the earliest part of pregnancy, so damage could be done before a woman knows she is pregnant. This possibility, coupled with the overwhelming scientific evidence that all cigarette smokers and their families are harmed by the addiction, provides a sound argument to begin a cessation program.

Created by pharmacist Puzant Torigian, chairman and founder of Safer Smokes Inc., the Bravo smoke replaces the usual, toxic cigarette with a non-addictive alternative made from enzyme-treated lettuce leaves. It is the only clinically tested, non-nicotine smoking product available, Torigian said.

Brooke Shields Opens Up About Her Struggle With Infertility. Actress Encourages Women To Get Informed

In an effort to create awareness about infertility, Brooke Shields has teamed up with Fertility LifeLines™, a free and confidential educational service for people with concerns about fertility, encouraging women to know their options and take action early if they are having trouble conceiving.

Here Ms. Shields shares her personal struggle with infertility, including advice for others who may find themselves in a similar situation.

Q: What has your experience been with facing infertility and trying to get pregnant?

SHIELDS: When my husband and I decided to start a family, we never imagined we would have to go through any of this. The idea that I would have any sort of problem getting pregnant was a shock-I just assumed everything would go as planned.

Q: How many years did you try to conceive?

SHIELDS: Prior to starting the fertility treatments, there was about a year and a half where we tried on our own. When I finally recognized there was a problem, it took about two years of fertility treatments to have a successful pregnancy.

Q: Where would you recommend that a woman go for help and support?

SHIELDS: It's important for women not to wait too long before talking to their doctor, and it's always good for women to reach out to those closest to them. In addition, Fertility LifeLines (1-866-LETS-TRY) is a great free resource that can help women understand their options for having a family. It can also help women find a fertility specialist near them.

Q: How can Fertility LifeLines help a caller?

SHIELDS: Fertility LifeLines offers access to both information and support. I definitely needed support, but I also needed practical information from someone that had gone through infertility or had helped others through the journey.

Q: What advice would you give to a woman who's having trouble getting pregnant right now?

SHIELDS: Don't wait another minute! Get information, get educated, and take action! Talk to your doctor, call Fertility LifeLines and find out the best way to start the process based on your situation.

Fertility LifeLines is a free and confidential educational service offering information and support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Trained staff including fertility nurses are on call to help answer questions and provide emotional support through compassionate listening.

Childbirth and the Athletic Woman

Athletic women come in all sizes and enjoy different sports or fitness programs. Athletic women enjoy being toned and fit. Through personal fitness, many women have developed determination, commitment to their task, and an ability to hit the wall and go beyond. Often they consider themselves tough and rigorous. Women who enjoy fitness as a way of Life rather than being ‘athletic’ also admire their shape, sense of being in ‘tone’, flexibility and strength. So why would an athletic woman (including women who just stay fit) need to know anything about childbirth? Isn’t the goal of preparing for childbirth about ‘getting in shape?’

One famous woman athlete made a public comment that if she had gone through labour before her competitive event she would have done better in the competitions. Obviously, childbirth gave her insights that would have improved her performance. Many athletic women may not know that you are more likely to have a caesarean than most women. We’ve all heard stories that dancers and horsewomen are more likely to have a caesarean; however, it’s true for many athletic women. Yet, somehow this seems paradoxical. How can being in shape lead to more medically assisted births?

Childbirth at it’s simplest is an exercise in plumbing.

An object (baby) has to come out of a container (woman). In order to do that the object must come through a tube (pelvis), open a diaphragm (cervix) and aperture (vagina). The container has a Mind and if the process of the object coming through is perceived of as painful, then the Mind can respond to those sensations by tensing up the body. Tension in the body can interfere with the need of the container to relax and open in order for the object to come out. Being ‘toned’ is a form of tension. This means that there is entirely different preparation for giving birth than staying in shape or being in training. One husband of an athletic woman said after her caesarean: ‘I thought childbirth was about muscles pushing a baby out. Now I understand it’s about creating space so the baby can move through her body.’

Each sport or fitness program uses different muscles, yet it is not just the muscles that can produce tension. Connective tissue or fascia can hold tension as well. In our plumbing analogy, the tube (pelvis) is surrounded by connective tissue which is part of our body’s soft tissue. Soft tissue is anything other than bone. For example, tension in the connections between the bones in the pelvic girdle (tube) can prevent the bones from being mobile. Our baby’s bones in their head are designed to mold and over lap; however, we can create more space inside this tube when we know how to keep our pelvis mobile. In childbirth, the sacrum is the bone that needs the most mobility. It’s also the bone that is used to stabilize our bodies as we weight bear and tends to being immobile. We can also reduce ‘back labour’ by learning how to create sacral mobility. One ice skater said after 3 caesareans: ‘Once I learned to mobilize my sacrum in labour, I had no trouble giving birth to my fourth child naturally. No one told me I had to do that. No one told me I had to do the Internal Work (birth canal or aperture) either.

The soft tissue in our birth canal may also be quite tight. Many women are told to do ‘pelvic floor’ exercises. These certainly are good to strengthen our insides; however, they are not appropriate birth preparation exercises. Instead pregnant women need to learn how to relax inside the pelvis and the muscles of the birth canal.

For many athletic, relaxing is not in alignment with their personal self perception.

One competitive cyclist said: ‘I considered myself very, very tough and I was. I had developed skills and management skills for my chosen event; however, without a whole new set of skills for the event of giving birth I didn’t have a clue and ended up with a caesarean and sense of personal failure. When I discovered The Pink Kit Method for birthing better™ I learned the necessary birthing skills and my husband learned how to coach me.’

The Pelvic Clock exercise from The Pink Kit is one of the many you can teach yourself at home to prepare for childbirth. When used in labour, the Pelvic Clock technique helps you to focus on relaxing where your cervix attaches inside the pelvis. This assists in dilating the cervix. You can use the same concept to mentally relax around the cervix directly which also assists cervical dilation. NOTE: If you are pregnant now, you can do the Pelvic Clock exercise below, but only do the cervical relaxation the last two weeks of your pregnancy as specific preparation for birth and then feel free to do it throughout labour.

1) Do this exercise in a number of positions: standing, sitting, lying down or partially kneeling. As you know, different postures engage different muscles and aspects of the connective tissue.
3) Draw a line around your body, starting midway down your pubic bone, around to the top of where your legs meet your hips and then to your sacrum. This will be about 1 ½ inches above where the little bumps are, at the beginning of your bottom crack. You have drawn a circle around your pelvis. Inside this circle, inside the pelvis is approximately where the top of your vagina (the soft tissue around the cervix) meets the inside of your pelvis. In labour the contractions draw this tissue into the pelvis, opening the cervix which is in the middle of the tissue. Where the tissue meets the pelvis is like the rim of a clock face and the cervix is like the area where the hands of the clock join. Uterine contractions open the cervix so that there is no longer a clock face, rather a large opening for your baby to come down and into your birth canal. The tugging open of the cervix is what is ‘painful’ in labour.

4) Give your clock face names. Name the pubic bone 12:00, one hip 3:00, the sacrum 6:00 and the other hip 9:00. Now go around the clock and soften (inside) at each o’clock (you can always include 1:30 etc). It’s helpful to say to yourself while you lightly touch that place: ‘Soften inside my pubic bone.’ Pause before you go on to the next place in order to let your mind find that place in your body and for your body to respond. This is yoking your mind to your body.

5) After you have gone around the outside of the Pelvic Clock and if you are two weeks away from your due date, then you can do the same softening around the cervix which is in closed and in the center. The cervix is made up of 50% muscle cells and the rest connective tissue, so it does respond to intentional relaxation.

6) Doing both of these things in labour between contractions and even during contractions has been one of the great focus tools that women who have prepared with The Pink Kit have used. It’s an ideal tool for husbands/partners to know. They can feel it in their own bodies and can remind us to ‘relax at 6:00’ if we have back labour, for example.

Notice this difference, just tense up inside, hold the tension while you go around the clock again. You can feel the difference.

Over the past 30 years, The Pink Kit Method for birthing better™ has helped many women athletes to have a positive birth. The information originated in the United States in the 1970s and came to New Zealand with the founder of the Trust, Common Knowledge, in 1995. Since then the multi-media kit The Pink Kit: Essential Preparations for your birthing body through the website.

A number of New Zealand athletic women have used The Pink Kit and found it incredibly helpful. They have been body builders, aerobic competitors, rowers, horsewomen, dancers etc. Each has a different experience and different story of their birth. Some found that their sport had prepared them for the challenge of labour while others were surprised at how challenged they were by labour.

Often athletic women have athletic partners.

When both expectant parents have prepared for birth using The Pink Kit, having a skilled partner as birth coach has been wonderful for the woman. Men do have the same bodies and can feel inner tension in the same manner than women can. When these women found labour challenging, they relied on their partners to help them work through each contractions with the common knowledge skills they had taught themselves. One woman athlete said: ‘when labour got intense, my husband reminded me that I had put in the effort to my sport and that I could do this. He inspired me to keep going instead of using pain relief and he was there every contraction, doing the work with me.’

With the new skills, you can find in The Pink Kit, athletic women and their partners can meet the challenge, achieving a positive birth experience in all situations. Learning new skills become fascinating rather than conflictive. In fact, you’ll get back into shape sooner after birth when you have learned to relax to give birth. There will be less trauma for you and your baby.

Conjoined Twins

Twins are a kind of multiple births, i.e., when a woman gives birth to more than one baby at the same time. Twins occur when more than one egg is fertilized or when the same egg is fertilized more than once by one or two sperm, leading to formation of more than one fetus.

Conjoined twins are identical twins who are joined together somewhere in the body. Conjoined twins are monozygotic twins, in the sense that they share the same zygote. Sometimes, they also share some vital internal organs. Formation of conjoined twins is believed to be the result of late twinning. When the twinning occurs more than twelve days after fertilization of the egg, it may lead to formation of conjoined twins because the embryo may not split completely. This may be due to genetic or environmental factors.

Conjoined twins are also known as Siamese twins, named after the famous conjoined twins, Eng and Chang Bunker from Siam. Conjoined twin births are very rare, amounting to around one birth in every 1,00,000 births. Mary and Eliza Chulkhurst, famously referred to as the biddenden maids, are one of the earliest known set of conjoined twins. The ratio of male and female sets of conjoined twins was found to be three to one, and they are found more in certain countries like India or Africa.

Conjoined twins rarely survive because of the complexity of the bodies. Most of them are stillborn or die within twenty-four hours after birth. Conjoined twins can be separated surgically if none of the vital organs are involved. There are different kinds of conjoined twins, depending on the part of the body where they are joined. These are cephalopagus, craniopagus, craniothoracopagus, dicephalus, iscopagus, omphalopagus, parapagus, pygopagus and thoracopagus. There are also some rare kinds of conjoined twins, such as parasitic twins (where one twin is not completely formed and depends on the other twin to sustain life), and fetus in fetu (where one twin’s fetus is present inside the body of the other twin).

Some people consider separation of conjoined twins as unethical if it involves death or disability of one of the twins. Conjoined twins, if they survive, can lead healthy lives. There are instances where conjoined twins have even married and become parents. The famous Siamese twins, Chang and Eng Bunker, fathered twenty-one children in thirty-one years.

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