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All You Need To Know About A Contraction Stress Test

All You Need To Know About A Contraction Stress Test
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If you are pregnant you may be considering having a contraction stress test. If so, you may be asking yourself questions such as what the procedure is like and how it feels? Well, we have you covered. Continue to read on for the answers.

What Is A Contraction Stress Test?

One of the most important points to remember about the test is that it is conducted to simulate labor and the contractions you have where the oxygen levels will decrease for your baby. This is the only way to test whether or not the unborn baby will be able to deal with the stress of “proper” labor, when contractions will be coming on a regular basis. You’re probably dreading this part the most, but bear in mind the end results – your baby in your arms.

If you are 34 or more weeks pregnant, it may have been suggested that you have a contraction stress test. The test monitors the heartbeat of your unborn baby externally.

fetal heart monitor
    image source: Healthwise, Incorporated

    During contractions, the oxygen and blood supply that is going to your unborn baby drops. However, in most circumstances there is generally no cause to be alarmed. For the majority of babies, this isn’t going to be an issue. On the other hand in, a small portion of babies, the rate of the heartbeat can slow down. This is where it is picked up by the monitor as it can become an issue in labor.

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    The test may last for as little as 10 minutes, but this may depend on your doctor and individual circumstances.

    How to Prepare

    Before you are due to take the contraction stress test you will be asked to prepare for it.

    Here is what you should do:

    • Avoid eating and drinking for between 4 to 8 hours.
    • If you are a smoker, you will be asked not to have a cigarette at least 2 hours before you are due to have the test.
    • You will have to sign a consent form stating that you know the risks of having the test done and you agree to those risks.

    What Is the Procedure Like?

    The procedure can be a bit of a worry to most women. However, it really shouldn’t be since the test is pain free and it is for the benefit of your baby.

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    Throughout the test you will be asked to lie down with your back raised up and tilted slightly to the left. This may be a bit uncomfortable, but you will just have to try and grin and bear it. Plus, it won’t last long.

    An injection of the hormone Oxytocin will be given and you will have contractions. Strange, as it seems you may also be asked to massage one of your nipples since this will also start off the contractions.

    Two belts will then be placed around your belly, with one of them holding down the sensor to record the heartbeat of your unborn baby, while the second measures contractions. The sensors are plugged into the recording unit, monitoring the heartbeat of the baby for about 10 minutes.

    heart monitoring
      image source: medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary

      Why You May Need a Contraction Stress Test

      Not everyone may be offered a contraction stress test. It is only conducted after 34 weeks of pregnancy. You may be offered the test if any of the following applies:

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      • If you have had a non-stress test that appears abnormal.
      • You have had a biophysical profile that was abnormal.
      • You may also be advised to have more than one test throughout the duration of your pregnancy, depending on your circumstances.

      What Do The Results Mean?

      Once you have gone through the discomfort of the test, what do the results of the test mean?

      If the test is normal then it will be classed as being negative. This means that the heart rate of your unborn baby didn’t slow down or remained slowed after the contraction. This is a good thing, of course.

      If the test should be abnormal it is classed as a positive result. This means that the heartbeat of the baby slowed down and generally remained slow after the contraction stopped. Generally, this will occur on over half of the contractions you have when being monitored.

      If the heartbeat remains slow after the contractions it may result in the unborn baby suffering issues in normal labor.

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      What Might Affect The Test Results?

      As with any medical tests you have there are certain factors that might have an effect on the results of the test, or in some cases may mean you cannot have the test, these generally include:

      • Any issues in past pregnancies, including caesarean section where the cut was vertical.
      • Placenta Previa or placenta abruption.
      • If you are having twins or triplets.
      • If you have an incompetent cervix.
      • There is a risk of premature rupture of your membranes.
      • You have undergone uterine surgery.
      • If you are a heavy smoker or have used cocaine.
      • If you are classed as being overweight.

      Are There Any Risks?

      Before undergoing the contraction stress test your physician will explain any risks involved. You should also be aware that monitoring the baby’s heartbeat cannot detect all problems.

      There are some risks in taking Oxytocin. They are:

      • It may bring on early labor and premature birth of the baby.
      • The contractions may become prolonged and may cause problems for your baby.
      • In the extreme event of the contractions not stopping when they stop the Oxytocin, the doctor may recommend that the baby is delivered.

      Featured photo credit: Flikr via flickr.com

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      Published on July 22, 2021

      20 Healthy and Tasty Family Meals Ideas to Try This Week

      20 Healthy and Tasty Family Meals Ideas to Try This Week
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      It’s 5 p.m., and you’re exhausted. The kids are hungry, but no one knows what they want to eat for dinner. With very little energy, you force yourself into the kitchen and look through every cabinet, hoping for a spark of inspiration. Eventually, you toss a few ingredients together and hope for the best. It won’t win any prizes and falls short of what you consider “healthy,” but it fills everyone’s stomachs.

      Feeding a family can be stressful, even tiresome. It’s hard to find the energy and creativity needed to cook healthy but simple family meals. It’s easy to fall into the “anything goes” mentality. When you’ve got a busy lifestyle, meals become more about survival and less about nutrition.

      Here are 20 quick and healthy—but tasty—recipes followed by tips on making these family meals more nutritious. These recipes can help you have a healthy family meal on the table in an hour or less. Remember, swap ingredients out if someone in your family has dietary restrictions or if you avoid certain foods.

      1. Mini Meatloaves With Green Beans and Potatoes

        These miniature meatloaves come together quickly and cook faster, too. You can have a family favorite on the table, paired with seasoned potatoes and fresh green beans, in just 40 minutes.

        Get the recipe here.

        2. One-Pan Chicken Parmesan Pasta

          This classic will taste like you spent hours cooking, but the preparation and clean-up couldn’t be quicker. One-pot cooking makes this dish practical, while fresh basil, parmesan, and garlic add a special touch.

          To try this recipe, go here.

          3. Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas

            Skip the restaurant and make fajitas at home. The ingredients go on one sheet pan, meaning you won’t spend all night cleaning. Zesty chicken, bell peppers, and warm tortillas can be on the table in 40 minutes. Add sour cream, salsa, guacamole, lettuce, diced tomato, and any other favorite toppings.

            Check out the recipe here.

            4. Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

              Lose the carbs but keep the cheesesteak flavors with this quick family meal. Kids will love the pepper “bowls,” and you’ll love giving them a meal full of veggies and protein to keep them healthy.

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              Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

              5. Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl

                This veggie-packed meal adds an extra boost by using the superfood quinoa instead of rice. Flavorful yet simple, this meal makes an excellent packable lunch or dinner for your whole family.

                Find the recipe here.

                6. Spinach and Chicken Skillet With Lemon and Parmesan

                  The complex flavors of lemon and parmesan come together nicely in this gourmet-like dish, but you don’t have to exert the effort or spend as much as a gourmet meal.

                  Get the recipe for this dish here.

                  7. Oven-Fried Fish and Chips

                    Fish and chips can also sometimes be healthy as evident in this oven-fried version. You won’t miss the calories with this favorite family meal.

                    You can find the recipe here.

                    8. Pineapple-Teriyaki Chicken

                      Tangy pineapple and sweet teriyaki will have everyone coming back for seconds. Frozen vegetables make this simple family dish even easier to make and enjoy.

                      Find the recipe here.

                      9. Mozzarella, Basil, and Zucchini Frittata

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                        This egg dish is usually served for breakfast, but a frittata can make a fantastic dinner, too. High in protein, packed with zucchini, and delicious, there’s no reason to wait until morning.

                        Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                        10. Chicken and Sweet Potato Grill Packets

                          Skip the pans and throw everything into foil with this fun family recipe. Kids will love loading ingredients into their pack, and you’ll love its versatility and simplicity.

                          The recipe for this meal can be found here.

                          11. Chicken and Spanish “Rice”

                            Cauliflower takes the place of rice in this low-carb family meal, but it’s so flavorful and filling, no one will miss it.

                            Find the recipe here.

                            12. Honey Chicken Stir Fry

                              This honey chicken stir fry is the healthier version of a restaurant favorite that can be served up quicker than you can order it.

                              Find the recipe here.

                              13. Chicken Skewers With Tzatziki

                                Greek chicken and tzatziki sauce will have you yearning for the Mediterranean, but you can make this recipe at home for your family to enjoy.

                                This easy recipe can be found here.

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                                14. Healthy Walking Tacos

                                  Traditional walking tacos are a party favorite, but they’re not usually healthy. However, this recipe keeps it fun while making it more nutritious.

                                  Find out how to make it here.

                                  15. Slow-Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

                                    This classic comfort meal can be ready when you walk in the door. All you have to do is add noodles, and it’s ready to serve.

                                    The recipe can be found here.

                                    16. Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

                                      This usually takes a little over an hour, but the preparation time is only 30 minutes. You’ll love how easy it is, and the cheesy rice is sure to please.

                                      Find the recipe here.

                                      17. Crockpot Rotisserie-Style Chicken

                                        Skip the checkout line and have a rotisserie-style chicken ready at home. A staple in many quick meals, you might find this family meal recipe among your most-used.

                                        Get the recipe for this flavorful chicken here.

                                        18. Santa Monica Street Tacos

                                          Named after a simple taco found on the streets of California, you’ll be surprised that something with only a few ingredients can be so flavorful. Your kids will surely enjoy them.

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                                          Find the recipe here.

                                          19. Pizza Pasta Salad

                                            Enjoy the flavor of pizza without the hassle of making a crust. Use a fun pasta shape to make this even more appealing to your family, especially kids.

                                            Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                                            20. Slow-Cooker Lasagna Soup

                                              Everyone loves lasagna, but it can be time-consuming and messy to make. However, this soup version has the taste you want but with the ease of a crockpot.

                                              Get the recipe here.

                                              Bonus: 3 Simple Ways to Make Meals Healthier

                                              Eating healthy doesn’t have to take a lot of money, time, or thought. Any improvements are a big step in the right direction.

                                              Here are three easy ways you can make meals healthier for your family.

                                              1. Lose the Sugar

                                              Are you looking to improve your health? Cut processed sugars from your diet—the more, the better, and that includes artificial sweeteners.[1] Why? Studies show that sugar increases the risks for weight gain, heart disease, acne, type-2 diabetes, depression, cancer, fatty liver disease, cellular aging, and low energy levels.[2]

                                              2. Avoid Highly Processed Foods

                                              Many processed foods are fine to eat. Even fresh fruit and vegetables go through some processing to stay fresh longer. However, highly processed foods have added salt, sweeteners, saturated fats, preservatives, and artificial colors. These types of food have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.[3]

                                              3. Replace Simple Carbs for Complex Carbs

                                              Lowering daily carbs can do wonders for your health. Studies show that low-carb diets lead to lower insulin levels, lower bad cholesterol levels, visceral fat loss, weight loss, reduced appetite, and can be therapeutic for many brain disorders.[4]

                                              When eating carbs, choose complex carbs over simple carbs. Simple carbs, such as white flour, rice, and degermed cornmeal, lack nutrients and spike blood sugar levels. Complex carbs, such as sweet potato, brown rice, and oats, are usually more nutritious and aren’t digested as quickly, giving more sustained energy and less of an insulin spike.[5]

                                              Enjoy Family Meals With Less Stress!

                                              Dinner can be enjoyable again now that you’re armed with simple and nutritious recipes for your family. These healthy and tasty family meal recipes can help you feel even better about what you serve. Best of all, you’ll have the extra time and energy you saved from cooking and spend more time with your family.

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                                              More Healthy Eating Tips

                                              Featured photo credit: Jimmy Dean via unsplash.com

                                              Reference

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