What To Expect at Your First Ultrasound Appointment

What To Expect at Your First Ultrasound Appointment

As an expectant mother, heading to your first ultrasound can be exciting—but also nerve-wracking. You might have a lot of questions. What is the procedure like? Is it painful? What exactly are the doctors looking for? If you’re wondering what to expect at your first ultrasound appointment, continue reading below for a simple outline of the process.

When Should You Get Your First Ultrasound?

The first ultrasound is generally a component of your first prenatal visit, which occurs between six and eight weeks of pregnancy. Some healthcare providers will reserve this type of ultrasound—an early pregnancy ultrasound—for women presenting symptoms of a high-risk pregnancy.

If you don’t get an ultrasound within the first two months of pregnancy, then the next type of ultrasound occurs between weeks 10 and 13. Dating ultrasounds provide a better look at your developing child than early pregnancy ultrasounds do.

What’s the Procedure Like?

Once you make your appointment, your doctor will give you a general list of pre-ultrasound instructions. To make the process simpler, you’ll likely need to arrive with a full bladder. The sound waves used in ultrasound penetrate better through liquid. Since fetuses are hard to detect in the early stages of pregnancy, a higher-quality scan is necessary.

Wearing a two-piece outfit, preferably with a skirt, is the best option, as it will allow the ultrasound probe or transducer better access to the places it needs to reach. It also means you’re less likely to need to change or strip.

There are two traditional types of ultrasounds designed for pregnancy.

Transvaginal Ultrasound

For your first appointment, you’re probably going to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound. Examining the uterus through the cervix is far easier than attempting to find the pea-sized fetus through bone, skin, and muscle. The procedure isn’t painful, but like with any pelvic exam, you might find it uncomfortable.

Transabdominal Ultrasound

If you’re further along, you’ll have a transabdominal ultrasound instead. This procedure is when your care provider smears cool, clear jelly across your stomach and uses a transducer to form images of your child. Like the transvaginal ultrasound, the procedure is painless—but for some, it’s ticklish.

What Will You Learn About Your Baby?

Ultrasounds can reveal a great deal of information about your unborn baby. If your first ultrasound is an early pregnancy ultrasound, your care provider will be able to determine a due date and whether you’re carrying multiples.

At a dating ultrasound, doctors reveal the same. They’ll also check the fetal heartbeat, determine your baby’s crown-rump length (which helps to identify possible developmental issues), and evaluate the likelihood of birth abnormalities like Down syndrome.

If you’re wondering what else your appointment has the potential to reveal, read up on the accuracy of ultrasound at predicting things like your child’s gender, size, and health.

Knowing what to expect at your first ultrasound appointment can make the experience easier, so head in prepared. If you have questions about your pregnancy, ask your doctor before, during, or upon the conclusion of your exam.

Therapeutic Benefits of Horseback Riding

Therapeutic Benefits of Horseback Riding

Therapeutic horseback riding has numerous benefits for individuals with disabilities. Horseback riding is a great physical and mental stimulant, and it’s a fun and unique form of therapy.

Physical Therapeutic Benefits of Horseback Riding

Improving Motor Skills

The small muscle movements required in horseback riding improve the rider’s fine motor skills and manual dexterity. For example, handling essential horseback riding equipment such as the reins or even using a horse grooming brush can help improve the rider’s hand movements.

While riding a horse, the rider also uses large muscle groups. The act of riding itself helps improve gross motor skills as the rider rises and sits to accommodate the horse’s rhythm and uses the saddle and stirrups to mount and dismount the horse.

Improving Coordination and Balance

Horseback riding requires coordination and balance. For this reason, therapeutic horseback riding typically improves poor balance, which may be a symptom of certain disabilities. As the rider learns to stay on the horse and maintain proper posture, their muscles work together to help them maintain their balance. With time and practice, the rider’s ability to balance will increase during various horseback riding movements.

Social Therapeutic Benefits of Horseback Riding

Improving or Developing Social Skills

For individuals with disabilities that make social interaction difficult, building a bond with a horse during lessons can help them build social skills. A relationship with instructors further improves social skills over time due to the constant communication and trust needed in the learning process.

Psychological Therapeutic Benefits of Horseback riding

Improving Self Confidence

Some people with disabilities gain confidence by mastering a skill that may come more easily to other people. Controlling an animal such as a horse and developing the athletic ability to ride can be a great confidence builder. There are also plenty of opportunities to participate in shows and competitions, which can provide an even greater sense of achievement.

Improving Emotional Control

Horses have a mind of their own, and this free spirit forces riders to practice patience as they attempt to perform skills with their horse. The repetition of basic riding principles also helps an individual develop patience.

Riders quickly learn that emotions play a large role in safe horseback riding. Shouting, crying, and other loud displays of emotion can upset the horse, which may be scary for the rider. These experiences help the rider understand the importance of controlling their emotions.

How To Encourage Children To Give Back

How To Encourage Children To Give Back

Parents want a lot of things for their children. We want them to be healthy, happy, and fulfilled in life. In everything we try to teach to our children, we hope that we are helping them to grow into kind, responsible adults. One of the key traits we would like for our children to have is a generous spirit. As children grow, they realize that the world doesn’t revolve around them, and it’s up to their parents to teach them about how other people matter just as much. Here we will look at how to encourage children to give back.

Lead by Example

When it comes down to it, children often simply mimic what they see their parents doing. One of the easiest ways to foster generosity in your child is to be generous yourself. When you show your child how important giving back is to you, it impresses the idea that giving back is the right thing to do. Remember to explain the reasons behind your generosity and how it makes you feel.

Let Them Choose What To Give

Forcing a task like giving away old things to charity onto children is a quick way to make them resent the idea of doing it. Ask them what they are ready to give up before donating anything. Letting them choose what to give is empowering and makes them more independent, reinforcing the idea that giving back is good.

Start Early

You probably want to wait until they’re at least out of toddlerhood, but starting as early as possible can be a great way to instill generosity in your growing child. Since it is difficult for a very young child to help out at something like a charity event, you’ll want to keep these activities in your home. Have them choose old clothes and toys they no longer like or want, and then arrange for a charitable pickup so that you don’t even have to leave home.

Make It a Game

Nothing gets a kid excited like a fun game. By turning your regular donation gathering into a game, you add a layer of interactivity to the process. You can make it a competition between everyone in your family to see who adds the most things into the donation pile. Try to have a good incentive to participate, but make sure your child knows that the real benefit is that you are helping other people.

Now that you have a few ways to encourage your child to give back, you can rest easy knowing that they will be able to turn your generosity to them back onto the world at large. The world needs givers now more than ever; the more we can help along that path, the better.

Positive Ways To Encourage Your Child’s Good Behavior

Positive Ways To Encourage Your Child’s Good Behavior

Sick of the temper tantrums or attitude that your child is giving you? I completely understand! As a parent, you can be proactive and do what you can to change the environment. Here are a few positive ways to encourage your child’s good behavior.

Be a Positive Role Model

Whether you believe it or not, your child idolizes you. They watch your every move and emotion and they learn from it. If you aren’t actively aware of that, you are going to find yourself not being a positive role model. Being actively aware of the fact that you are a role model and doing your best to stay positive will have a positive influence on your child.

If you are happy and have a smile on your face, it is going to be difficult for your child to not have a smile on their face too!

Pick Your Battles

Not everything has to be a fight or even a learning moment. Pick and choose what scenarios and situations warrant a lesson or a teaching moment, but also pick the moments that could be ignored or passed. By doing this you open the floor for finding more moments to be positive and share encouraging thoughts.

I mean, who likes to yell and punish all the time anyway? Not me, and I’m sure you don’t either. Instead, congratulate your child for doing something well or boost their confidence by telling them they are good at something. Also, consider how exactly you punish your children. Maybe time out isn’t the best way to reinforce good behavior. Trust me, this consideration makes all the difference.

Share and Show Your Emotions

If you share your emotions, your child is going to be more likely to do so as well. If for whatever reason your child is acting out and their behavior is not good – communicate with them. Share your feelings of frustration about how they are acting and see what information they can give back to you. The hope behind this is that you can combat the negative feelings and find ways to focus on the positives to encourage good behavior.

You never want your child to feel like they are not heard. By actively listening to your child and being apparent and present in the conversation, you are creating a positive place for encouragement.

Did You Pinky Promise?

Keep your promises. Breaking these no matter what age can be hurtful and can result in negative or bad behavior. Not only does keeping promises show that your word is good for something, but it also serves as an incentive that can be used to encourage good behavior. Want your child to keep their room clean? Promise them that they will get ice cream over the weekend if they do so.

Not everything has to be a fight when you are a parent. Follow a few of these positive ways to encourage your child’s good behavior to lighten up the mood for everybody!

Baby First-Year Milestones to Remember

Baby First-Year Milestones to Remember

I’ve heard of new Moms so eager to get a photo of their baby’s first moments that they nearly missed them. Every day of a baby’s first year brings something new—so enjoy those baby first-year milestones by experiencing them, even if you miss the photo opp. Remember—you can always write about these memories or save mementos such as a blanket or toy, but you can’t live through that moment with your baby ever again.

First Real Smile

In those first few weeks, it seems like most of a baby’s facial expressions have to do with gas or pooping! There will come a moment, probably around two months, when, in the middle of some ordinary activity, your baby will respond to you with a genuine smile. “That’s my Mom and she’s talking to ME!”

First Bath

When and how you give your baby their first bath is something you’ll prepare for by discussing it with your pediatrician or nurse practitioner. Once you have it all figured out, and you’re confident you can get it done safely, you’ll experience your baby’s response to warm water and gentle sponging. Some baby’s love it, while others are confused and fussy. Whatever the reaction, the first bath is the start of a regular ritual and a special time to share with your baby.


Along with smiling, that first wave “bye-bye” to Grandma is the beginning of real communication. Your baby is showing they have learned that some gestures have meaning and that when they make those gestures, people respond in turn. That back-and-forth is a fundamental skill of conversation.

Saying Their First Word

You want it to be “Mama” or “Dada,” and often, it is. Even if your baby doesn’t say Mama until they are past their first birthday, they may say something else. Babies imitate sounds around them as part of making sense of their environment. You could get a surprise if the TV is playing kids’ shows for part of your baby’s day—I’ve heard of a baby whose first understandable “word” was “PBS!”

Rolling Over, Sitting Up, Cruising, and First Steps

Movement milestones are a lot of fun because the baby will keep doing it, and you’ll finally be able to get that video you’ve been hoping for. They’ll roll over, then progress to pushing up, sitting up, crawling, standing, and cruising, holding on to furniture. Don’t despair if you’re not there when that wobbly first step happens—your baby will love showing off their new skill as soon as you are there to witness it.

Solid Food

This is another baby’s first-year milestone to remember—the first spoonful of solid food. Social media is filled with hilarious reactions. But your baby’s reaction will be unique, and you might want to keep it in the family. One day, you could have a teenager on your hands who is none too pleased about their distant baby days lingering online!

How To Tackle Shift Work Disorder

How To Tackle Shift Work Disorder

Nursing professionals are no strangers to the dreaded 12-hour shift or night shift. Shift work disorder occurs in individuals, such as nurses, who work nontraditional hours like night shifts, early morning shifts, or rotating shifts. It results in excessive sleepiness and drowsiness. Other consequences of the disorder include work-related accidents, poor safety outside of work like driving while drowsy, or poor coping skills and mood swings, which can affect your social life. You should take these symptoms seriously if you want to improve your everyday life and your ability to perform as a nurse. Here’s how to tackle shift work disorder.

Prepare Your Body for Sleep

If you work non-traditional hours, it’s important to make sure you can sleep when there is time. This often means sleeping on a schedule that you may not be used to, like during daylight hours. To do so, try to minimize exposure to sunlight that can set your internal “daytime clock.” Also, follow a usual bedtime routine, and keep a regular sleep schedule, including on days off. When necessary, sleep aids, naps before work, and heightened sun exposure at the beginning of your shift can help you stay more alert.

Work with Your Employer

Most employers will be conscious of the negative effects shift work disorder can play on their employees. Your employer should give you at least 48 hours off between overnight shifts or consecutive long-hour days. This will give your body time to rejuvenate. If you aren’t receiving the necessary amount of time off, talk with your employer. You should also be wary of taking on too many extra shifts or tasks. Breaks and relaxation are a necessity, and giving away your downtime can come back to bite you.

As a nurse being alert and awake is imperative to the safety of your patients. Working unconventional hours can cause shift work disorder, which can drastically affect overall health. Follow these tips for how to tackle shift work disorder to stay active on and off the job.