Friday, June 19, 2009

How To Care For Your Body During Pregnancy

How Pregnancy Pillows Can Save Your Back!

Someone that has not been pregnant will never understand the discomfort it sometimes brings. Because the extra weight your body is carrying and the disproportionate manner it is situated, areas of your back, hips, legs, and feet often feel incredible pain and discomfort. However, pregnancy pillows can be used to ease the pain and support the extra weight. Pregnancy pillows can be used to sleep with or during the day to provide extra comfort needed.

Basically, pregnancy pillows are specially designed to fit on certain parts of your body and add support. There are several different types made to fit on your lower back, between your knees or thighs, on your neck, or on your stomach.

As you progress through the stages of pregnancy, it will be more and more difficult to get comfortable. It will likely get to the point that you have a hard time sleeping because every way you lay causes discomfort. As your stomach gets bigger, sleeping on your back will make you feel as though you can not breathe, and, of course, sleeping on your stomach does not work. For these reasons, you will most likely end up on your side. However, the extra weight makes your hips hurt and you are not able to reposition very well. Luckily, pregnancy pillows provide relief!

The ideal position is lying on your side with a pregnancy pillow between your knees/thighs and another behind your back. The pillow between your legs offers support and relieves some of the pressure on your hips, while the pillow behind your back allows you to lie back slightly when you want to reposition. This gives you a range of motion and also gives your back a break. This way, you have the option to lie at almost any angle on each side, instead of being restricted.

Sitting for long periods of time also makes your joints ache when you are pregnant. A pregnancy pillow behind the back will also help this, as well as propping the feet up periodically. Some women feel relief from placing a pillow in their laps to support the extra weight of their stomachs. These techniques can also be used when driving to prevent stiffness and discomfort.

There are many models of pregnancy pillows available. Some are made of regular pillow materials, such as cotton or down, and other, more expensive models, are made of memory foam. Take your time and try out the different kinds to pick the most comfortable for you.

How To Care For Your Body During Pregnancy

Being pregnant means following a healthy lifestyle is more important than ever. It’s crucial to understand what steps you can take to keep you and your baby in good health.

Prenatal care is one of the vital factors that ensure a smooth pregnancy. The first checkup should occur during the first 6 to 8 weeks of your pregnancy, when your menstrual period is approximately 2 to 4 weeks late. For women who are relatively healthy and have no complicating risk factors, you will probably see your health care provider every 4 weeks until the 28th week of pregnancy, and then every 2 weeks until 36 weeks of pregnancy. After that you will have an appointment every week until you give birth through inducing labor or otherwise.


Proper nutrition is one of the best ways to enjoy a happy pregnancy. Because you’re eating for two, it’s doubly important to consume healthy foods and stay away from things that may harm your baby as it develops. When you’re pregnant, dieting and cutting calories is not a good thing - you will need to take in about 300 more calories a day to ensure you and your baby are properly nourished, especially as your pregnancy progresses. Caloric intake, however, can vary from woman to woman. For thin women, and women carrying twins, you may be required to consume more than 300 extra calories. Or, if you are currently verweight you might need less. No matter what, you’ll need to contact your healthcare provider to determine what’s best for you.

Of course, pure calorie consumption is not the only goal - you need to make sure that what you eat is nutritionally sound. Nutritious foods contain the essential vitamins and minerals that contribute to a baby’s growth and development.

Although a healthy diet is fundamental to caring for your body during pregnancy, it’s actually quite simple to integrate healthy living into your daily life. Maintain a well-balanced diet by following basic dietary guidelines. Lean meats, fruit, vegetables, whole grain breads and low-fat dairy products are all essential to maintaining good health.

Real, healthy food will provide your body with much-needed nutrients. At the same time, during pregnancy certain essential nutrients are required in higher-than-normal amounts. For example, calcium, iron, and folic acid are especially essential in the diet of a pregnant woman. Although your doctor may prescribe vitamin supplements, your diet still needs to contain nutritious food to provide your body with most of its nourishment.

On a normal basis, women need 1,000 mg of calcium per day, but during pregnancy, calcium consumption should rise in order to keep up with calcium loss in your bones. You can get calcium from a wide range of food products, including low-fat dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt; orange juice, soy milk, and cereals that are fortified with calcium; dark green veggies such as spinach, kale, and broccoli; as well as tofu, dried beans, and almonds.

A pregnant woman requires 27 to 30 mg of iron per day because iron is used by the body to make hemoglobin, which is what helps red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. A lack of iron leads to a dearth of red blood cells, meaning the body’s tissues and organs don’t receive enough oxygen. With a baby on board, women need to pay extra attention to their iron intake.

Iron is found in both plant and animal matter, but the body absorbs it more easily from meat sources. The following are some foods that contain a good amount of iron: red meat, dark poultry, salmon, eggs, tofu, enriched grains, dried beans and peas, dried fruit, leafy green vegetables, blackstrap molasses, and iron-fortified breakfast cereals.

Many people have already heard about how important folate (folic acid) is for a pregnant woman. For pregnant woman, or those planning on becoming pregnant, it is recommended that you take 0.4 milligrams of folic acid every day. Many women choose to supplement their diet with vitamins in addition to any folic acid intake they receive from food.

It has been found that consuming folic acid 1 month before and during the first 3 months of pregnancy reduces the risk of neural tube defects by 70%, which is why it’s considered so critical. The neural tube is formed during the first 28 days of pregnancy, which is usually before a woman even realizes she’s pregnant, and it eventually develops into the baby’s brain and spinal cord. Lack of sufficient nutrition, particularly a lack of folic acid, may result in a neural tube defect such as spina bifida.

To remain healthy while pregnant, it’s also key to drink plenty of fluids. During pregnancy your blood volume increases, so drinking plenty of water is the best way to avoid dehydration and constipation.

Exercise is a great way to feel great throughout an entire pregnancy. There’s no reason to stop physical activity once you become pregnant; in fact, dietary guidelines suggest that you take 30 minutes or more each day to work out at a moderate pace.

During pregnancy, regular exercise prevents excessive weight gain, reduces problems such as back pain, swelling, and constipation, improves sleep, increases energy, promotes a positive attitude, prepares your body for labor and lessens recovery time after labor.

Proper sleep is another factor in maintaining health and comfort during pregnancy. Pregnancy can take its toll, and after a long day you will feel more tired than usual. As the baby grows bigger, it will be more difficult to sleep, but try to sleep as best you can - it will do wonders for how you feel!

Once you are ready to give birth and are considering inducing labor it is wise to consider all the advantages and disadvantages. ( ) Indeed, several authorities recommend you give informed consent before labor is induced. Of course, the baby is an important concern when considering induction of labor, especially the baby's ability to breathe once delivered.

Following a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, exercising, and drinking plenty of fluids are all important to your overall well-being during pregnancy. If you strive to eat nutritious food and maintain a positive attitude during the course of your pregnancy, the good moments will definitely outshine the difficult ones.

How to Get Pregnant

It seems that almost everyone has some advice to offer the couple who are having trouble getting pregnant. Many women simply conceive more easily than others, and there’s no doubt that that some of that “good advice” can be helpful.
Relax is probably one of the more common pieces of advice and it’s probably good advice. Studies have shown that stress can hamper efforts to get pregnant and some couples find that pregnancy occurs naturally once they stop worrying so much about what they are doing wrong.

But all that good advice should eventually give way to a trip to the doctor, if the couple are serious about having a child. But should you consult a doctor if you don’t intend to go through the heroic measures sometimes required to conceive? Absolutely. Many couples find that there are some simple answers to their problems and that solving those problems will allow them to get pregnant quickly.

Some people have found that a minor infection or illness was the culprit. In many cases, the person hoping to conceive may not have even known they were ill. A virus can send signals to the female body that pregnancy is not a good idea. A round of antibiotics or some other simple cure to a seemingly unrelated illness may be all it takes to get pregnant.

There are also many treatments and procedures that are relatively inexpensive, easy and non-invasive that allow couples to conceive, even if getting pregnant naturally isn’t an option. Not all fertility issues are serious, time-consuming and expensive. And if you’re serious about becoming pregnant, one trip to the doctor may be all it takes.

By all means, take a little time to let nature run its course. But if you’ve been trying to become pregnant and it just hasn’t happened, it may be time to seek out some medical help.

How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Pregnant

For countless women, becoming pregnant is relatively easy. For others, it can be far more complicated. Many women feel helpless if they do not conceive quickly, and they begin to think there may be a serious fertility problem. There are many things women can do to increase their fertility levels and therefore, improve their chances of having a baby.

Keep a Positive Attitude

Research has shown that physical health is not the only issue, where conception is concerned. Having a positive mental attitude can make an enormous difference. Negative thoughts will often hinder your chances of conceiving. As stress level rise, fertility levels can fall. Try not to worry too much about getting pregnant quickly. Take time out of your busy schedule to unwind. Everyone has different methods of relaxing, so think about what you can do to achieve this.

For some, it can be as simple as taking a warm, candlelit bath. Others may need more help. Aromatherapy massages and reflexology are wonderfully calming and can make a huge difference to your state of mind. Aromatherapy may also be used to regulate menstrual cycles. Certified aroma therapists can be found on the internet or in your local business directory.

Just spending some quality time with your partner can help. Try to do activities together in your spare time and make sure that you both enjoy them. This alone can heighten the emotional aspects of your relationship and remove some of the stress that so easily builds up when you are trying for a baby.


Acupuncture has been known to have a very positive affect on fertility, when used in conjunction with IVF. Research in to its effects on fertility alone, are incomplete. Though, smaller studies have shown that it can be beneficial.

Acupuncture has been used by Chinese medics for around 5,000 years and is renowned for having amazing effects on a variety of ailments. However, its benefits have only been recognised by American medics for the past few decades.

If you are interested in trying out acupuncture, always find a reputable, certified acupuncturist. The National Institutes of Health and The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture are reliable sources for finding licensed acupuncturists.


Your chances of becoming pregnant greatly depend on your menstrual cycle and its regularity. Ovulation usually occurs between the twelfth and eighteenth day of your cycle. During this time, you are at your most fertile and your chances of falling pregnant are maximized.

It is thought that ovulation is most likely to happen on day fourteen (this is based on a regular, twenty-eight day cycle.) A way of predicting your most likely day of ovulation is to subtract fourteen from the total length of your own menstrual cycle. For example, if your cycle is twenty-eight days, subtract fourteen to arrive at your optimum date of fertility, (in this is case, it would be day fourteen.) Nevertheless, women’s menstrual cycles do vary greatly; consequently, your day of ovulation may either be before or after day fourteen.

Ovulation predictor tests can also be bought from a pharmacy or drugstore. Having sexual intercourse when you are ovulating will obviously increase your chances of getting pregnant. Although, couples should try to have sex at least three times per week if they are trying for a baby. The human body is a miraculous thing and ovulation does not always occur when it should take place. Regular sex not only strengthens a relationship, it is a way of making sure that no opportunities are missed.

After you have had intercourse, try not to get up or move around for at least twenty minutes, this will help to keep your partner’s sperm inside your body, again, increasing the likelihood of falling pregnant.

Nutrition and Diet

Having good nutrition and eating a sensible, healthy diet plays a hugely important role. Try to eat a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, lean protein and wholegrain, fiber-rich foods, such as brown bread, rice and pasta.
The vitamins and nutrients that are found in certain foods can also help you become pregnant. Here are some examples:

Leafy, green vegetables, such as cabbage, kale, broccoli, lettuce and spinach, are high in folic acid, a vitamin which is incredibly important for both mother and child. Folic acid supports the development of a fetus and can prevent debilitating defects, including spina bifida. It is also essential for the reproductive and general health of a woman. Folic acid can also be found in bread and cereals and taken as a vitamin supplement.

Lean meat or beans and pulses are very rich in protein and iron. These important nutrients help to keep iron levels high in the body. A blood count low in iron, can affect the general health of the ovaries, and may interfere with ovulation.

healthy eggs and can be found in nuts and seeds, dairy products, yeast, wholegrain foods, lean meat and shellfish.

Dairy products are rich in calcium, which everyone needs to maintain healthy bones and teeth. If you are trying to get pregnant, make sure that you consume enough calcium, in order for your body to support a developing fetus

If you have been trying to get pregnant for more than one year, or you are feeling very unhappy. It is best to make an appointment, to discuss any issues you may have, with your doctor. If your doctor thinks there is a genuine complication, they will arrange for you to see a fertility specialist as soon as possible.

How to prevent bleeding during pregnancy?

After the bleeding on my 13th week gestation, I had 3 times light spotting of bleeding. This Tuesday it happened again! The bleeding is always painless, sometimes bright red. And to me, it always happened during the early morning.

What causes placenta previa? Is there any treament besides just wait and see? How to prevent the bleeding? With all these questions in mind, I went to online today to search for information.

According to the information online, The exact cause of placenta previa is unknown. It may be caused by multiple pregnancy, an abnormally shaped uterus, older age of the mother, a previous cesarean birth or induced abortion. Bed rest, avoiding intercourse, limit traveling and avoiding pelvic exams are the treatment suggested by online resources. Overall, it seems there is not too much I can do besides being careful with myself and taking more rest.

However, to my surprise, there are a lot of worried mothers-to-be seeking for concrete advice on how to prevent or limit bleeding related to placenta previa.

Recalling the last 2 months, I summarized the following tips from my personal experience:

1. Be careful with contipation. The push of the bowel musles can easily cause the bleeding. Eat more vegetables, fruits and drink more water to prevent contipation.

2. No heavy lifting. Don’t lift staff heavier than 5 pounds. Seek for others’ help when you need to move something.

3. Bend at the knees to pick up something. Don’t lift abruptly. Bend at the knees slowly and stand up slowly too.

4. Lie down/get up slowly. Don’t jump onto/out of the bed. A good way is before going to bed, go to the edge of the bed, lie down slowly with your side and then turn onto your back. Similarly, when you want to get out of the bed, turn to your side and get up slowly.

5. Don’t wear high-heeled shoes. Wear soft and flat bottom shoes.

6. Always hold on something when you climb stairs, especially downwards.

7. Be careful with doing exercise. Avoid those fast-paced exercises.

8. The last but not the least is, being relaxed and happy. You don’t need to always keep it in mind!

How To Use A Pregnancy Test

The question of whether or not you are pregnant is often one of the most exciting, anxious, and stressful queries that affect not only your health, but your life. There are different types of pregnancy tests on the market or available through your primary health care provider. Typically, the actual steps for using a pregnancy test are quite easy and can be performed in the comfort of your own home. However, the results of a home pregnancy test should always be confirmed with a blood test performed by your primary health care provider.

By far, the most commonly used method of pregnancy test is those that use urine to detect the hormone associated with pregnancy. This hormone is triggered when an embryo implants in the uterine wall, but it can also be produced if an embryo mistakenly implants in the Fallopian tubes, which is known as an ectopic tubal pregnancy. There are two different types of pregnancy tests. The first type can produce more accurate results, but may prove to be too messy. A cup is provided to catch urine, after which the urine is collected and a special stick or other device is inserted in the urine. Sometimes, the stick or device is dipped directly into the urine filled cup for a certain amount of time. Other times, a small eye dropper is provided to perform a more accurate version of the same test.

Although this method of urine testing may be more accurate, the devices meant to collect urine in mid stream are the most popular. These sticks are usually found over the counter in your local drug store or grocery store and can be completed within seconds. Instead of a more scientific project, this type of urine based pregnancy test is preferred by women because of the lack of steps. Simply hold the stick in a stream of urine for a specific amount of time—usually a few seconds—and then wait for the results. As opposed to sticks that are more difficult to read, there are a couple companies that now have models on the market that have a digital read out system. Also, there are models available that allow you to determine whether or not you are pregnant much sooner than traditional home based tests.

For a more accurate test that can detect whether or not you are pregnant before a urine based test. This test must be performed in your physician’s office and will require a few vials of blood drawn. After the blood is drawn, tests are performed to detect the presence and the amount of the hormone associated with pregnancy. Keep in mind that you should always have a blood test performed after you have received a positive reading for a home pregnancy urine based test.

Identical Twins

Twins are two people who have shared the same womb at the same time. They may also have come from the same egg. Twin births are becoming more and more common due to several factors such as increasing use of fertility treatments, child births at an older age, and even genetic factors. Women who are slightly above-average in build are also likely to have multiple births or twins. Certain ethnic groups are also found to have a greater twin population. One in every 250 births in the world could be an identical twin birth.

Identical twins are also known as monozygotic twins. They are from a single egg that forms a single zygote that splits into two embryos. Two fetuses emerge from the two embryos in the same womb. The exact reason for this splitting hasn’t been identified yet. Sometimes, identical twins also share the same amniotic fluid, making them monoamniotic. Otherwise, they are diamniotic. Twins sharing the same placenta are monochorionic. Those who don’t are dichorionic. This happens only in the case of identical twins. All monoamniotic twins are also monochorionic. This depends on the stage at which the zygote divides. Twinning at the earliest stages would result in diamniotic and dichorionic twins. Twinning that occurs four to eight days after fertilization and eight to twelve days after fertilization results in monochorionic-diamniotic and monochorionic-monoamniotic, respectively. Twinning twelve days post-fertilization may result in conjoined twins. Conjoined twins are attached to each other at some place. They may be more dependent on each other physically.

Since identical twins share the same sac, amniotic fluid, and placenta, there could be some complications in pregnancy. These could be a result of the entanglement of the umbilical cords or twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome because of the shared placenta. This may cause one or both the babies to be underdeveloped.

Identical twins are generally of the same sex. They have identical DNA and shared genes. They may be very similar to each other, almost like mirror images. Some twins can be told apart only by their fingerprints, teeth, handwriting, or any other intricate observations. However, they have individually different personalities and character traits. Twins are generally emotionally attached to each other and are also believed to live longer because of this attachment. Some people even believe that identical twins have their own language through which only the two of them can communicate. Some identical twins are also mirror twins—they are exact mirror images of each other. About one-fourth of all identical twins are mirror twins. Sometimes, one mirror twin may have a condition where some or all the internal body organs will be on the opposite side of the body. However, these are considered to be birth defects and are extremely rare.

Induced Abortion

Induced abortion is the deliberate termination of pregnancy in a manner that ensures that the embryo or fetus will not survive. Attitudes of society toward elective abortion have undergone marked changes in the past few decades. In some situations the need for abortion is accepted by most people, but political and medical attitudes regarding induced abortion have continued to lag behind changing philosophies. Some religious concepts remain unchanged, resulting in personal, medical, and political conflicts.

About one-third of the world’s population lives in nations with nonrestrictive laws governing abortion. Another third live in countries with moderately restrictive abortion laws, ie, where unwanted pregnancies may not be terminated as a matter of right or personal decision but only on broadly interpreted medical, psychologic, and sociologic indications. The remainder live in countries where abortion is illegal without qualification or is allowed only when the woman’s life or health would be severely threatened if the pregnancy were allowed to continue.

An estimated 1 out of every 4 pregnancies in the world is terminated by induced abortion, making it perhaps the most common method of reproduction limitation. In the U.S., estimates of the number of criminal abortions performed prior to legalization of the procedure ranged from 0.25-1.25 million per year. The number of legal abortions now being performed in this country approximates 1 abortion per 4 live births. In 1997, there were 1.33 million induced abortions compared to 3.88 million live births.

Legal Aspects of Induced Abortion in the United States

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 1973 (1) that the restrictive abortion laws in the U.S. were invalid, largely because these laws invaded the individual’s right to privacy, and (2) that an abortion could not be denied to a woman in the first 3 months of pregnancy. The Court indicated that after 3 months a state may “regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health” and that after the fetus reaches the stage of viability (about 24 weeks) the states may refuse the right to terminate the pregnancy except when necessary for the preservation of the life or health of the mother. Still, much opposition is raised by various “right-to-life” groups and religious groups. In spite of this opposition, over 1 million procedures are still performed annually in the United States, with about one-third being performed on teenaged women. This dramatically emphasizes the inadequacy of sex education and the need for greater availability of adequate contraceptive methods in order to avoid such pregnancy wastage.

Evaluation of Patients Requesting Induced Abortion

Patients give varied reasons for requesting abortion. Since in some cases the request is made at the urging of the woman’s parents or in-laws, husband, or peers, every effort should be made to ascertain that the patient herself desires abortion for her own reasons. In addition, one should be certain that she knows she is free to choose among other methods of solving the problem of unplanned pregnancy, eg, adoption or single-parent rearing.

Although the majority of abortions are performed as elective procedures, ie, because of social or economic reasons as opposed to medical reasons, some women still request such services for medical or surgical indications. For example, for women with certain medical conditions, such as Eisenmenger’s complex and cystic fibrosis, continuation of pregnancy may pose a threat to the life of the mother. Other indications are pregnancy resulting from a rape or pregnancy with a fetus affected with a major disorder, eg, trisomy 13. In any event, the ultimate decision rests with the pregnant woman.

Invitro Fertilization - The Male Point Of View

For many couples, the introduction of children into a relationship is the ultimate fulfillment and goal of the relationship. Unfortunately for some of the couples, medical conditions may exist that will prevent natural fertilization. In those cases, the affected couple may opt to conceive via Invitro Fertilization. For those couples of decide to pursue Invitro fertilization, the time leading up to the fertilization will be very process orientated - there will be consultations, evaluations, forms, literature and a lot of listening. At times it may seem overwhelming and frightening.

As the male participant in the process, your involvement will be largely in a support role, as most of the work that will need to be done will be with the female partner. To help make the process as easy for her, there are a number of facts to keep in mind and a number of actions you can take to help keep your partner's spirits up and to help her in the necessary steps to achieve a successful fertilization.

- You and your partner may struggle with the fact that you are unable to conceive by natural means. However, keep in mind - although it may not be a natural form of conception, the end result and the end goal of the process is the same - a healthy child. The two of you are merely trying to maximize the possibility of a healthy & successful pregnancy. Talk through this point and be open to her feelings.

- There will be a lot of absorb about the process, so take notes and do your research.

- Some of the medications required for the process will need to be administered via injection. Offer to administer the shots if your partner is not comfortable doing so, and keep in mind that she will most likely be very sore in the injection spots because of repeated shots. A little tender loving care will help keep her confident and comfortable. Also, a heating pad may help during periods where her abdomen is very tender.

- Your partner will be asked to take very specific medications, at very specific times and she will

need to consult with the doctor on a somewhat frequent basis, often times on very short notice. Make sure to keep your schedule as free as possible so you can assist in transportation and medicine administration as needed.

- Your partner may experience emotional mood swing because of some of the meds. One minute she might be sitting at the table reading the newspaper, the next she is crying about something unrelated. Be prepared, be supportive and remember that her mood will return to normal in time.

- Always remember - you have the easy part of the process!

Invitro is not an easy process, especially compared to natural fertilization. But with care, cooperation and a willingness to help out where needed, you can be active and helpful throughout the fertilization period.

The information in this article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or medical services. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your doctor promptly.

Is Pregnancy Ultrasound Risky?

No one knows the long-term effects of ultrasound use. Many practitioners feel that the technology is perfectly safe since studies of babies and their mothers have not determined any effects. Other practitioners are not so convinced of ultrasound safety and feel that judicious use is advised.

It should be remembered that x-rays were in use for 50 years before the public became aware of detrimental effects. DES and thalidomide alsso were deemed safe and were later found to be the cause of cancer, sterility and anomalies.Possibly the greatest risk of overuse of ultrasound technology is that if an ultrasound raises a question of fetal well-being, invasive and high risk procedures and technologies may be instituted which do have clear risks to the mother or her baby.


Non-diagnostic ultrasound has demonstrated b8iological effects such as cell heating or thermal effects and cavitational activities using plants and animals. These experiments have had various outcomes and are difficult to equate with human outcomes. Also, diagnostic ultrasound uses far lower intensities. The current epidemiologic data finds no adverse outcomes from ultrasound use. Many researchers believe that the benefits of diagnostic ultrasound outweigh the risks. Human studies have not documented negative outcomes except for one study which shoed increased fetal activity for the majority of exposed babies when scanned with the Doppler.


Some consumer groups have questioned the need for ultrasound equipment in doctor offices. They claim that in order to pay for the equipment, physicians will order unnecessary ultrasounds. Not only does this increase the exposure of unnecessary technology, but it also raises the total cost of care and may lead to additional unnecessary and costly interventions. They claim that in order to pay for the equipment, physicians will order unnecessary ultrasounds. Not only does this increase the exposure of unnecessary technology, but it also raises the total cost of care and may lead to additional unnecessary and costly interventions.

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