8 Must-Have Items for Your Hospital Bag

Planning is a big part of getting ready for your baby’s arrival. You’ll probably spend considerable time reviewing baby names, decorating the nursery and babyproofing your home. But one thing that you shouldn’t forget is packing your bag for the hospital.

Experts recommend having your bag packed and ready to go by 34 weeks. Before you pack anything, review the following list of recommended items:

  1. Important documents. Create a simple, concise birth plan that outlines your wishes regarding labor inducement, pain relief, surgery and breastfeeding. Also, be sure to pack your ID, insurance card and hospital paperwork.
  2. Clothing and shoes. Pack a nightgown and/or robe if you want to avoid the famously unflattering hospital gown. Bring maternity underwear, flip flops (for the hospital shower) a sports bra and/or nursing bra and warm, nonslip socks. Pack a homecoming outfit that’s designed for five months of pregnancy. TIP: Don’t wear anything you truly care about during labor and delivery since it will likely get ruined in the process.
  3. Toiletries and personal care items. Don’t forget the essentials like lip balm, deodorant, nipple cream, a toothbrush and toothpaste. Headbands or hair ties will keep your hair out of your face during labor. Pack some dry shampoo, a hairbrush and facial cleansing cloths to use to freshen up before candid newborn pictures.
  4. Nonperishable snacks. Take your favorite snacks to replenish your energy and share with your partner. Sugarless candy, lollipops and lozenges help keep your mouth moist during heavy breathing. Crackers are easy on your stomach.
  5. Essential electronics. Bring your cell phone or tablet to take pictures and keep your loved ones updated on your progress. (If cell phones are prohibited in the hospital, bring a list of phone numbers to call.) Load your favorite tunes on your phone or iPod, including a mix of motivating and calming music. TIP: Don’t forget to pack a charger for any electronic device you bring.
  6. Relaxation and diversion tools. In addition to music, you may want to bring massage oil, a massager or a tennis ball to promote relaxation during labor. Bring your own comfortable pillow with a patterned pillowcase so it doesn’t get mistaken for a hospital pillow. Magazines, books, crossword puzzles and movies can help take your mind off labor pains.
  7. Extra bags. You’ll want to bring an empty bag or two to take home hospital freebies or gifts you receive from visitors.
  8. Cash. Keep some cash on hand for incidentals like snacks from the vending machine or items from the gift shop.

In addition to your own hospital bag, be sure to pack the essentials your baby will need to come home. These items include a rear-facing infant car seat, seasonally appropriate clothing and warm blankets.

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To learn more about women’s health and wellness, call Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com.

Breast Cancer Awareness: Your Guide to Detection and Prevention

Have you done a self-exam lately? When was your last mammogram?

According to breastcancer.org, about 1 in 8 women in the U.S. (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer. The same organization reported that about 40,450 women in the U.S. are expected to die from breast cancer this year.

Fortunately, catching breast cancer early still saves lives—according to a recent study led by Sepideh Saadatmand of the Erasmus University Medical Center. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so it’s a great time to review your breast health and cancer prevention plan.

Tips for Detection: Mammograms and Self-Exams

According to breastcancer.org, if you’re over age 40 or at a high risk for breast cancer, you should have an annual mammogram and a physical exam by a healthcare provider. A mammogram can identify breast changes that could be cancer years before physical symptoms develop.

When it comes to breast cancer, early detection leads to better patient outcomes. In fact, the American Cancer Society reveals that women who have regular mammograms are more likely to have breast cancer detected early, less likely to require aggressive treatment and more likely to be cured. Since mammograms may miss some cancers, additional tests may be needed if an area of concern is identified by a mammogram.

Like mammograms, self-exams can help you find breast cancer earlier and increase your chances of survival. The National Breast Cancer Foundation recommends that adult women perform monthly self-exams in a variety of positions to check for lumps, changes in the contour, dimpling of the skin or changes in the nipples. Alert your physician of any changes you notice.

Keep in mind that the younger you do the self-exam, the higher the false positive result rate. Unfortunately, a lump may cause a lot of anxiety and turn out to be nothing. Your healthcare provider can help you develop a care plan that minimizes anxiety and maximizes your health.

Tips for Prevention: Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Several lifestyle choices may impact your risk of developing breast cancer. Here are some of the most common recommendations from today’s health experts:

  • Avoid smoking. Smoking increases your breast cancer risk, especially if you’re in premenopause.
  • Limit alcohol. The more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer. Health experts recommend limiting yourself to less than one drink per day to minimize your risk.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of breast cancer. This is especially true if obesity occurs after menopause when fat tissue produces the majority of a woman’s estrogen—instead of the ovaries. Estrogen can stimulate cell overgrowth and breast cancer.
  • Stay physically active. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, which helps prevent breast cancer. Each week, most adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. Also, it’s beneficial to do strength training at least twice a week.
  • Choose a balanced, nutritious diet. Eat an abundance of fruits and veggies each day and limit processed and red meats. Harvard researchers found that women with high levels of carotenoids, which are found in leafy greens, carrots and red peppers, had a lower risk of developing breast cancer. Consuming phytonutrients including sulforaphane (found in cruciferous vegetables) and lycopene may also protect against breast cancer.

Read more:

To learn more about breast cancer detection and prevention, call Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com.