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All You Need To Know About A Contraction Stress Test

All You Need To Know About A Contraction Stress Test

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 November 7, 2018

      How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

      How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

      In 2016, it was estimated that 1.7 million children were being homeschooled in the U.S, roughly 3.3% of all school-aged children.[1] Although this may not sound like a big portion of the population, the growth rate of homeschooling has been 7 to15% per year for the last two decades.

      The burgeoning numbers are not a coincidence. There are tremendous benefits to homeschooling, including one-on-one teaching, adaptability to individual needs and learning styles, a safe learning environment, encouraging learning for knowledge rather than grades, and tailoring a curriculum to the child’s interests.

      Is homeschooling something that you have been considering for your family? With all of the tools and resources available for homeschoolers in the 21st century, it may be easier than you think.

      How to Homeschool (Getting Started)

      After thinking it through, you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right step for you and your family. Now what? Here are the first things you should do to get your homeschooling journey started on the right track.

      Figure Out the Laws

      Homeschooling is regulated by the state, not the federal government. The first step is to find the current and accurate legal requirements mandated by your state in order to educate your child legally.[2]

      The regulations can vary widely, from strict guidelines to no guidelines at all. However, don’t be overwhelmed by the legal jargon. There are many resources and local communities for homeschooling families that can help you figure out the logistics.

      Decide on an Approach

      Every child’s needs are different. This is your chance to choose the homeschooling style or combination of styles that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. A brief description of seven different homeschooling methods are listed below.

      Supplies/Resources

      Often times, purchasing a homeschooling curriculum is done too early in the planning process, resulting in buyer’s remorse.

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      A curriculum is not always needed for homeschooling, and other types of free or less structured resources are readily available.

      Find a Community

      Getting connected with a community of homeschoolers is one of the most important parts of building a successful and thriving homeschool environment for your kids.

      Look for communities online for virtual support or a local group that you and your kids can interact with. Partnering with others fosters better socialization skills for the students and provides opportunities for field trips, classes, and outings that wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of the homeschooling experience.

      7 Different Homeschooling Methods

      1. School-At-Home

      Also known as Traditional homeschool, School-At-Home uses essentially the same curriculum as the local private or public school but at home.

      The lessons can be completed independently, but more commonly, they are administered by a parent or a teacher-facilitated online school.

      • Benefits: formal standards, wide selection of curricula, same pace as peers, short-term friendly
      • Drawbacks: expensive, inflexible, time consuming, parent can get easily burnt out
      • Resources: K12, Time4Learning, Abeka

      2. Classical

      One of the most popular homeschooling methods used, it borrows educational practices from Ancient Greece and Rome. Subject areas are studied chronologically so that students can understand the consequence of ideas over time.

      Socratic dialogue fosters effective discussions and debate to achieve beyond mere comprehension. There is often a strong emphasis on Great Books[3] as well as Greek and Latin.

      3. Unit Studies

      Rather than breaking up education into subjects, unit studies approach each topic as a whole, studying it from the perspective of each subject area.

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      For example, a unit study about animals could include reading books about animals, learning about the classification of animals, figuring out which animals live on which continents, etc. This method is often used as a technique in other more comprehensive educational methodologies.

      • Benefits: promotes thinking about concepts as a whole, not monotonous or redundant, student-directed, bolsters weaker subject areas, beneficial for teaching multi-age students
      • Drawbacks: incomplete, knowledge gaps, curriculum-dependent
      • Resources: Unit Study, Unit Studies, Unit Studies Made Easy, Konos

      4. Charlotte Mason

      This Christian homeschooling style utilizes shorts periods of study (15-20 minute max for elementary, 45 minute max for high school), along with nature walks and history portfolios.

      Students are encouraged to practice observation, memorization, and narration often. With a focus on “living books” (stories with heroes, life lessons, socio-ethical implications), reading plays a big role in this student-paced teaching style.

      5. Montessori

      Maria Montessori developed this method through working with special needs children in the early 20th century.

      With a primary focus on the student setting the pace and indirect instruction from the teacher, this approach includes free movement, large unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, and individualized learning plans based on interests.

      6. Unschooling

      Unschooling is a learning model largely based on the work of John Holt.[4] The teaching style focuses mainly on the students’ interests, putting priority on experiential, activity-based, and learn as you go approaches.

      For basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, a systematic technique is employed, but testing and evaluations are typically not utilized. Teachers, in general, play more of a facilitator role.

      7. Eclectic/Relaxed

      As the most popular method of homeschool, eclectic homeschooling is child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based.

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      Parents can sample any combination of homeschooling methods and styles or resources. One growing sector of eclectic homeschooling combines part homeschooling with part traditional schooling.

      How to Facilitate Homeschooling with Technology

      One of the reasons homeschooling is more feasible than ever before is due to the accessibility of tools and resources to enhance the learning process.

      Email

      Email is a tool that has really stood the test of time. Invented in 1972, it is still used today as a primary means of communicating on the Internet.

      It is a great way to share assignments, links, and videos between parent and student.

      Google Drive/Calendar

      Google Drive offers a multitude of essential programs that can come in handy for homeschoolers, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.

      With its sharing capabilities, easy accessibility, and auto-save ability, it’s easier than ever to organize and complete assignments. It will improve students’ writing and typing skills, as well as eliminate the need for paper.

      Google Calendar is an excellent tool for tracking assignment due dates, planning field trips and activities, and developing time management skills.

      Ebooks

      Rather than invest in physical copies of books, ebooks are a wonderful option for saving money and space. There are plenty of places that offer a free or paid subscription to a wide selection of ebooks:

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      E-Courses

      When a structured curriculum is necessary for teaching a certain topic, an e-course is the way to go.

      From watercolors to calculus, there are e-courses available about almost everything. Including different teaching styles that vary from the parents will encourage students to learn in different ways.

      The visual and auditory stimulation will also be beneficial in helping students understand and retain the concepts being taught.

      Some recommendations:

      Youtube

      Youtube is not just a platform for music videos and cats doing funny things. There are a number of Youtube channels that produce quality educational videos, free of charge.

      Creating a playlist of videos for various topics is a great way to supplement a homeschool education.

      Some recommendations:

      Final Thoughts

      Homeschooling in the current age looks much different than it did ten years ago. There are more options and more flexibility when it comes to educating kids at home.

      Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling your children if it could make a positive impact on your family.

      Featured photo credit: Hal Gatewood via unsplash.com

      Reference

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