healthy pregnancyIf plans to grow your family are in your future, you don't have to wait until a positive pregnancy test to get healthy for that baby. Prenatal care begins when pregnancy starts, but there are things you can do now to help prepare for the healthiest pregnancy possible.

1. Eat Healthy Foods
It's easier to eat healthy foods when you plan your meals and snacks ahead of time and have the food on hand. This way, you'll be less likely to make unhealthy eating choices that can lead to being overweight.

2. Be Active
Set aside time for physical activity and aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day. You can break this up into several 10-minute sessions. Being active with a friend can also help you reach your activity goal.

3. Take Folic Acid
Take a vitamin with folic acid every day unless you're eating a breakfast cereal that has 400 micrograms of folic acid in every serving. Make it easy and place the vitamins by your toothbrush so you'll remember to take them each day.

4. Get Your Vaccinations
Vaccinations are your best defense against many diseases that can harm your health and cause serious problems during pregnancy. Make sure all of your shots are up-to-date and remember to get a flu shot every year to protect you and your baby.

5. Reduce Alcohol Intake
Drinking during pregnancy can cause serious health problems for you and your baby. It's easier to stop drinking during pregnancy if you start cutting back now to less than seven alcoholic drinks per week and not more than one per day.

6. Stop Smoking
Smoking is not healthy for you and can make it difficult to become pregnant and have a healthy baby. Don't smoke and avoid being around people who do smoke so there's no second hand exposure.

7. Talk With Us
We can help you prepare for a healthy pregnancy when you're ready for it. Make an appointment at our Brownstown or Southgate, Michigan office to talk with us about family planning that's right for you from Northline Women's Health Center.


smiling kidsIt's the mid-point of summer vacation and moms all across southeast Michigan are looking for ways to help their children enjoy the rest of the season. Here are a handful of suggestions for summer fun with the kids that are easy on the wallet.

Listen To The Music
Enjoy “Jazz On The Avenue” in Dearborn on Wednesday evenings that includes kid’s activities like face painting and balloon twisters.

Catch a Wave (Pool)
The Lake Erie Metropark Wave Pool in Brownstown has man-made three-foot breakers that you can splash in and a three-story tall inflatable water slide that's 175 feet of wet fun.

Get “Wild” At The Zoo
The Detroit Zoo is open on Wednesdays from 5 to 8 p.m. through August for “Wild Summer Nights” featuring kid-friendly music and a chance to see animals when they're more active in the early evening.

Go “Hands On” Every Thursday
The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum offers an interactive, engaging environment for kids of all ages to learn about the world around them and discover the wonder of science, technology, engineering, art, and math.  On Thursday evenings from 5 to 8 p.m. admission is just $5 per person (babies under 2 are free).

Head To The Library For Summer Savings
The Michigan Activity Pass is a partnership between Michigan libraries and hundreds of state parks, campgrounds, museums, trails, and arts and cultural destinations that offer free or discounted admissions when you use the pass that you can checkout for free from your local library. The Dearborn Public Library  and Veteran's Memorial Library in Southgate are among those that participate in this program.


pregnancy symptoms smAnswering the question, “Am I pregnant?” may be as easy as stopping at the drugstore to pick up a home pregnancy test. But store-bought tests aren't always accurate in the earliest stages of pregnancy, and sometimes you just have a feeling that makes you wonder if this is the time. Most of the following symptoms could have nothing to do with pregnancy, but you might be pregnant if…

standing on scaleSo, you've turned the corner at age 40 – or maybe you're closer to 50 – and perimenopause is here. That's the 5-to-10-year period (no pun intended) when your body begins to transition toward menopause. Those fluctuating hormones during perimenopause can result in weight gain, but this new season of life doesn't have to come with excess pounds.  Now is the time to develop some good habits that will pay off when you step on the scale and for your overall health.

First, don't go on a strict diet to avoid gaining weight. A very-low-calorie diet sends starvation signals to your body and can lower your metabolic rate that's under fire from those see-sawing hormones. A lower metabolic rate makes it harder to lose pounds, and you'll lose more muscle mass.

If you want an eating plan that will help you keep those pounds off, try the Mediterranean diet that focuses on healthy fats, more vegetables and smaller amounts of lean meat. It's a dietary program that can help you lose weight and it's one that you can live with for the rest of your life.

A specific diet plan isn't necessary – just remember it's important to know what you eat and how you eat it. Try to have protein at every meal. It's absorbed by the body more slowly and makes you feel full longer. Adding protein can be as easy as putting a handful of beans in your salad or enjoying a cup of yogurt for dessert.

Avoid mindless eating – the kind that happens when you're eating while doing something else, like watching TV. Think about what you're eating and ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?” Slow down and take more time between bites of food and you're likely to eat less, enjoy your food more, and feel full before you finish what’s on your plate.

Weightlifting can also be a great help or just use a set of resistance bands. Studies have shown that resistance exercise with more repetitions can build muscle mass and reduce abdominal fat in older women. Include aerobic exercise like jogging, spinning, jumping rope or rowing and you'll help preserve muscle while you lose those excess pounds.

Managing your weight is a job that can happen even when you're sleeping. Not enough shuteye can affect the balance of hormones that trigger hunger and indicate fullness. Prepare for a good night's sleep with meditation, deep breathing, or a warm bath. Listen to soothing music or use a white noise machine. Keep your bedroom in complete darkness and turn off your computer, TV, and cell phone.


sleepless womanThere are plenty of things that can keep you up at night when you're pregnant, but you won't need to lose so much sleep if you follow these tips.

Avoid fluids two hours before bedtime and try to empty your bladder completely before going to sleep. This will help prevent the need to wake up to use the bathroom overnight.

They call it “morning sickness” but it can strike at night, too.  Unlike that empty bladder, you should always try to keep something in your stomach to avoid nausea. Have some crackers at your bedside or try drinking ginger tea to soothe nausea.

Back pain caused by a growing baby can interrupt your sleep. Try using a pillow between your legs to support your abdomen and sleep on your left side. This allows maximum blood flow and could reduce swelling in the legs.

Restless Leg Syndrome strikes about one out of five pregnant women who are expecting and is a major cause of sleep deprivation in the latter stages of pregnancy. You can help prevent this by taking folate and iron supplements, avoiding caffeine and with more exercise like walking.

Severe leg cramps can also interrupt your sleep. This can be caused by low calcium and magnesium levels, so talk with your obstetrician about whether you need calcium supplements. Foods high in magnesium such as almonds, cashews, legumes, and dairy products may be helpful.

About 40 percent of women snore during pregnancy. This could be a sign of sleep apnea, when your airway collapses and you stop breathing momentarily. Sleep apnea can contribute to high blood pressure and if your snoring is loud enough to wake your partner, talk with your obstetrician about it.

If the problem is getting to sleep in the first place, develop a calming routine before bedtime. That means no computers, cell phones, or television before bed. You can also try relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, abdominal breathing, and guided imagery.


Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax