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October 12, 2015

Tips for Announcing Your Decision to Become a Surrogate

Even though you’re excited to become a surrogate, announcing your decision to the world can be nerve-wracking. Never before has the phrase “Keep calm and carry on,” ever been more true. Take a deep breath, and follow these tips to make your announcement easier.

  1. Discuss Your Intentions to Become a Surrogate Before You Commit

Pregnancy is exhilarating though it can be exhausting as well. You’ll need to have those closest to you on board with your decision to become a surrogate before you commit. This way, you’ll have all the expected questions out of the way, and you can go forward without surprising anyone. Obviously, it’s a good idea to speak candidly with your immediate family ahead of time, but you may also wish to mention it to those in your social circle or employers that you’re considering surrogacy.

  1. Establish a Support Network

It’s a good idea to “rally the troops,” so to speak, before you make a major announcement. Talk one-on-one to those closest to you, so they can act as your support network. It’s quite likely that your friends and family will be fielding questions when you make the big announcement, and it’s a good idea to set expectations in advance about what you’re comfortable with them saying and what you’d rather keep private.

  1. Be Honest and Sincere

Sadly, not everyone is going to support your decision, but much of this stems from misinformation and misunderstandings about the process. When you discuss your decision to become a surrogate, be truthful, but tailor the information to your audience. For instance, your own children will want to know and understand why the baby won’t be coming home with you after, and it’s a good idea to explain the situation honestly while providing information that’s suitable for their ages. Bear in mind that it takes some people a while to warm up to the idea, and others, especially young children, may need constant affirmation.

  1. Expect a Lot of Questions

Nothing spurs questions quicker than a pregnancy, and it becomes even more intense when it’s a surrogacy. Now strangers on the sidewalk won’t just ask to touch your baby bump, they’ll be quizzing you about your emotions and what the intended parents are like. Be aware that you’ll probably get a lot of questions, and perhaps even some bizarre ones, but remember that they usually come from misinformation or misunderstandings. In the eyes of your peers, you will immediately become a surrogate expert. Take some time to consider how you’ll respond in advance.

  1. Have Fun with It

You’re doing an amazing thing, and you should be proud of your decision. Tell people the oven is yours, but the bun is not, or whatever zany phrases pop into your head. Enjoy the moment, because this time will be over before you know it.

Even though not everyone you talk to will understand your motivations, that’s ok. Keep your support group close and be proud of yourself. The decision to become a surrogate is huge, and you’re giving a loving couple an amazing gift.

September 29, 2015

How Long Does the Surrogacy Process Take?

One of the biggest questions people have is how long the surrogacy process will take. It generally lasts somewhere between 15 and 18 months from the moment an application is submitted until the intended parents are holding their newborn. However, there are no firm answers, as everyone’s situation is a little different and there are many variables. The following is a brief breakdown or timeline of the surrogacy process, so you can get a general idea of what to expect.

Preliminary Assessments: 1-2 months

The initial intake process can take anywhere from one to two months. It begins with an application, which is then reviewed to verify the potential surrogate is a good candidate. Cristie Montgomery also visits the candidate at home and generates a profile of her, which includes health, lifestyle, and personality information. After this, the potential surrogate meets with a psychologist, who performs an evaluation to ensure she’s able to handle the duties associated with the surrogacy process.

Matching: 1-4 Months

SPS serves as a matchmaker, and analyzes which surrogates and intended parents might make a good team. The individuals are given profiles of their ideal matches, and can then choose to schedule a meeting with whomever they agree is a good fit. At the meeting, everyone has the chance to get to know one another, and SPS helps guide the discussion, to ensure all the important topics are brought up. Sometimes, matching can occur almost instantly, though other times it can take a few months before the right people have the opportunity to meet.

Doctor and Attorney Visits: 2 months

Once the potential surrogate and the intended parents have all agreed to move forward, the surrogate visits the intended parent’s doctor, to ensure she’s medically capable of carrying the child. She also visits an attorney to verify all the documents are in order, and that her rights are adequately protected. Between drawing up the documents and the appointments, another two months typically passes.

Medical/IVF Visits: 2-3 Months

After all the preliminary steps are taken, the team finally begins to start the actual baby-making portion of the surrogacy process. One cycle of IVF typically takes four to six weeks. During this phase, the gestational surrogate receives hormones to control her cycle and to prepare her body to accept the embryo. The biological mother’s cycle may also be synced at this time if no embryos have been prepared in advance. It takes two weeks to find out if the embryos have implanted. The average success rate on the first try varies based on many factors, and your doctor will have to discuss the specifics of your case with you. If a viable pregnancy does not occur right away, subsequent IVF treatments may be completed.

Pregnancy: 9 Months

As most people know, a normal pregnancy lasts 40 weeks from the start of the cycle. However, a healthy baby may arrive anywhere from seven to eight months after finding out that IVF was successful.

There are other milestones in the surrogacy process, and these are simply some of the larger steps along the way to give you an idea of what it’s like. Because every pregnancy is different, there’s no way to predict exactly how much time will pass from start to finish. Generally speaking, 15 to 18 months is a fairly good guideline to keep in mind as you begin the surrogacy process.

September 16, 2015

Your Top 4 Surrogacy Questions Answered

Surrogacy has come a long way in the past couple of decades, and the Internet is full of misinformation. Whether you’re looking into surrogacy as a parent-to-be or as a potential surrogate mother, it’s important to know the real facts from a reputable source before you make any decisions. This page contains answers to four of the most commonly-asked questions, to help you better understand what surrogacy is about.

  1. Will I Get to Choose Who I Work With?

Nowadays, surrogacy is about finding the right match. Intended parents want to be involved during the pregnancy, and surrogate mothers want the comfort of knowing their values are in line with the intended parents. Therefore, great care is taken to match up the right intended parents with the ideal surrogate mother for their circumstances. Everyone gets to meet in advance, and they have time to carefully consider candidates before going forward.

  1. What Happens if I Have a Disagreement with the Other Party?

Disagreements are incredibly rare when the right people are matched with each other. With the help of an agency, everyone is brought together as a team to discuss all the potential issues before anything begins. That way, there’s a custom-made roadmap ahead of time that everyone agrees upon. The plan includes numerous scenarios so that nothing is left to chance.

  1. Does the Surrogate Mother Have Rights to the Child?

Modern surrogacy is generally referred to as gestational surrogacy. The woman who carries the child has no biological relationship to him or her. Because of this, she also has no legal rights to the baby one he or she is born.

  1. What Happens After the Baby is Born?

Most of the time intended parents and surrogates form a bond throughout the pregnancy. They’ve gone through nine or more months working as a team to have a healthy pregnancy and create a life. The intended parents often attend doctor visits and meet with the surrogate mother repeatedly over that period of time, and the relationship that blossoms is both beautiful and strong. Though there is no legal requirement to continue contact after the baby is born, most people do. Some people intertwine their lives while others simply exchange cards or letters once a year. The relationship afterwards is different in every situation and is as unique as the parties involved.

There are a lot of questions that can and should be answered before going down this path. This is why it’s important to work with an agency that has experience and knows how to cover all the bases. A good agency will take the time to answer any questions you may have, and will preemptively answer the ones you have not yet thought of. It will also act as a matchmaker and mediator, to ensure the process goes as smooth as possible for all parties involved. If you’re considering becoming a surrogate mother, or you’d like to complete your family, be sure to seek the advice of a reputable agency before entering into any agreements.  

September 10, 2015

5 Best Foods to Eat During Your Surrogate Pregnancy

During your surrogate pregnancy, eating the right foods is crucial. First, everything you take in impacts the baby, and as the little one develops, having essential nutrients available can set him or her up for a lifetime of optimal health. It’s also important for your health, because eating wholesome foods will help you feel good during pregnancy, and will enable you bounce back quicker after the baby is born. However, there is a lot of conflicting information available about what foods are best to eat during a surrogate pregnancy. These are the top five choices to integrate into your diet today.

  1. Lean Meat

Meat contains many things that you and the baby need in one package, which is why it tops the list. The obvious benefit is protein, which gives you energy and helps build muscle. It’s also a good source of iron, which can boost your energy as well, and of amino acids, commonly referred to as “the building blocks of life.” Beef and pork are sources of choline, too, which is an essential nutrient that benefits everything from the brain to muscles and nerves. Experts suggest that you should target meats that are between 95 and 98 percent fat-free, and avoid things like hot dogs and deli meats, which sometimes have listeria and other unhealthy bacteria.

  1. Salmon

Even though fish have been debated because of potential mercury contamination, salmon poses a particularly low risk, and is an excellent choice if you limit yourself to 12 ounces per week. It’s a good source of B-vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, like DHA. This is especially important to have as the baby’s brain and eyes develop.

  1. Berries

Generally-speaking, the more naturally vibrant colors you can work into your diet, the better. Blueberries are a prime example, and are one of the most well-known super foods. Blackberries and raspberries also provide health benefits, and they’re all easy to include, whether you snack on them alone, add them to a smoothie, or top cereal and yogurt with them. Blueberries, in particular, are loaded with antioxidants, Vitamins K and C, and manganese, plus are an excellent source of fiber.

  1. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens, particularly dark green ones, like kale, spinach, and Swiss chard, contain lots of things you need during a surrogate pregnancy. The most notable is folate, which benefits the baby’s brain and nervous system, but they also pack a fair amount of Vitamins A, C, and K. Kale tends to be a favorite nowadays, as it’s readily available and can be added to a berry smoothie for surprisingly delicious results.

  1. Beans and Lentils

Most people take advantage lentils and beans, like navy beans, pinto beans, black beans, chickpeas, because they provide protein and fiber. Eating plenty of fiber can help your digestive system immensely, and may prevent constipation and hemorrhoids. Moreover, you’ll also receive folate, iron, calcium, and zinc, which is good for you and the baby.

Maintaining a wholesome diet during your surrogate pregnancy is simple, and these five foods will make it even easier to help you get the nutrients you need. Although water technically isn’t a “food,” it provides a lot of benefits, like aiding in digestion, and helping you absorb all these wonderful nutrients. Be sure to drink plenty of it, so you can have a healthy surrogate pregnancy.

August 24, 2015

Becoming a Surrogate Mother: Birth Myths Revealed

Becoming a surrogate mother, just like becoming a traditional mother, can be very emotional towards the end of pregnancy. After waiting for nine excruciating, hormone filled, long months, the time has almost arrived—however, some things still irk you. You should be feeling complete joy at this most special stage in your life, but because of the myths, wives’ tales and misconceptions surrounding the birthing process, you may feel some slight uneasiness.

Here are some you’ve probably heard before, and the reality behind them:

Myth #1: The way your water breaks probably won’t be as dramatic as in the movies.

Only 10 percent of women experience their water breaking on its own. The doctor usually breaks the water with a specialized instrument once you are admitted to the hospital—and it’s more of a trickle than waterfall.

Myth #2: C-sections are much less painful than vaginal births.

You can pay me now, or pay me later. That’s a good way to describe the two kinds of deliveries: vaginal and C-section—and both are very painful in their own right. The ‘pay me now’ is the vaginal birth; the ‘pay me later’ is the C-section, with all of its post-surgical discomfort. You may hear many women say they do after a C-section, but keep in mind that it is surgery—and a major abdominal one at that. There may be complications, with some pain.

Myth #3: “Good birthing hips” aren’t going to bail you out.

You may think that becoming a surrogate mother will be easy for you, because of your luscious curves. Love your em’ all you want, but really, your size has nothing to with the ease of your baby’s exit. The only one who is qualified enough to make that call is her obstetrician.

Myth #4: Castor oil, spicy food, and bumpy car rides are useless.

There is absolutely no good evidence that any of these actually gets labor moving… so sorry if you’re reading this past your due date. In reality, the most you will probably get is really bad heartburn or a stomach ache. Your baby will not be coaxed out with the promise of Texas Pete.

Myth #5: Your way or the highway is never the best birth strategy.

We know that you’ve planning becoming a surrogate for a while and you probably have every push and exhale marked on your daytime planner, but the truth is, birth just doesn’t work that way. Of course doctors and nurses will try their hardest to respect your wishes, but birth is unpredictable. When you enter the hospital you may not want an epidural, but by the time labor hits, your tune may change pretty quickly. Just remember that at the end of the day, all that matters is delivering a healthy baby.

Myth #6: You may not know you’re in labor.

This is another myth perpetuated by movies and television. Labor will be so undeniably intense, the woman will instinctively know to run to the nearest hospital. Well, not always. There is a chance you may not even notice when it started, because sometimes the contractions are so mild, they can’t be felt for hours or even days.

Myth #7: Doctors are not obsessed with episiotomies.

Episiotomies are small cuts made in the vaginal opening to reduce damage from excessive tearing—and they are by no means routine anymore.  Today doctors usually wait until the baby is crowning to decide whether one is needed or not. Just in case, you may want to talk to your doctor ahead of time to make sure you both agree.

Myth #8: Practice does not make perfect—at least in this situation.

Your second and subsequent childbirths may be somewhat quicker, but as to whether they will be easier is up in the air. It really depends on the health of the baby, and yourself. Again, each pregnancy is different, and your second delivery could be harder than your first.

If you would like to schedule an appointment or have questions about our surrogacy program, please call Surrogate Parenting Services at (949) 363-9525.

August 10, 2015

Epidurals: Facts, After-Effects and Alternatives for Your California Surrogacy

If you are considering a California surrogacy with Surrogate Parenting Services, whether or not you get an epidural may have crossed your mind. Some gestational surrogates pledge to have an epidural upon arrival at the hospital, while others hope to experience labor and birth without using this method of pain relief. Regardless of which camp you’re in, it’s worth knowing that while the epidural can be a useful tool, it does have a downside, too. Arming yourself with the facts will help you make an informed decision when labor unfolds.

Epidural anesthesia is very effective at reducing or eliminating pain during childbirth, allowing a woman to get through an exhausting labor. It is also of the most common types of pain relief for childbirth, with almost 80 percent of all vaginal deliveries involving the drug; however, along with the benefits, epidural anesthesia also has some major drawbacks.

So how do you decide if an epidural is right for your California surrogacy? Please consider both the positives and negatives:

The Pros

Creating a little wiggle room. Using an epidural to relax the muscles of the vagina and perineum will allow a “sunny-side up baby” (a baby facing your belly button instead of your backbone) to rotate and descend.

Giving you some well-deserved R&R. Sometimes birth contractions can keep a surrogate awake for a very long time. An epidural may allow you to nap, thus giving you to catch your second wind to finish the delivery.

Less stress equals a better delivery. If you have a prolonged labor, it may be due to the fact that excessive anxiety slows down contractions—which is caused by an increase in the surrogates’s stress hormones (epinephrine and norepinephrine). An epidural will decrease a gestational surrogate’s stress level by allowing her to rest without pain.

Safely drops your blood pressure. During delivery, your blood pressure can spike when pushing, posing many dangers including stroke. Epidurals are believed by many doctors to drop blood pressure and reduce these risks.

A helper’s helper. In the off-chance that your baby needs the assistance of forceps or a vacuum, an epidural can prevent discomfort for your baby enough to help in exiting.

Less chance of a non-emergency C-section. The speed of general anesthesia is only needed in very urgent situations (which account for a small minority of C-sections) and usually don’t allow surrogate to be conscious. If you are already sufficiently numbed through an epidural, there is no need to be anesthetized, and you can stay awake.

The Cons

Creates limited mobility. Epidurals keep you fairly immobile, though there are certain kinds of epidurals (offered at a few hospitals) that are mild enough to allow for some leg movement; however in most centers you won’t be able to get up and walk around in the halls because you will be hooked up to an IV or fetal monitor.

A less effective labor. Since your entire body is numbed, an epidural also affects your ability to push. In this case, you will have a 38 percent greater likelihood of needing a vacuum delivery or forceps. In addition to that, women who get epidurals will also require the hormone oxytocin to increase and strengthen stalled contractions—all of which carries its own risks.

Doubling the odds of a C-section. In many studies, epidurals are conclusively shown to increase the likelihood of having a C-section. The good news, however, is that it is possible to reduce, or possibly eliminate these occurrences. How? A skilled doctor will know to hold off on using the medication until you are four or five centimeters dilated.

Dangers in a drop in blood pressure. An epidural can cause the baby’s heart beat rate to slow down—and, if IV fluids and drugs don’t work in bringing back to a normal rate, it could lead to a C-section.

Difficulty urinating. After having an epidural, you will not be able to feel when your bladder is full because the epidural affects the surrounding nerves. If you get an epidural there is probably a chance you will need to have a catheter inserted into you bladder.

Excessive headaches. Only about one percent of women who get an epidural develop headaches—but if you do, they can be very severe and it can linger for days, and sometimes weeks.

An increase in fevers. Though their occurrence isn’t completely understood by medical scientists, the odds of developing a fever during an epidural increases significantly. Your temperature could be 100.4F or greater, compared to those who didn’t receive an epidural.

Sometimes it may not even work. If an epidural does not work, it may be because of many factors, such as the catheter falling out or the anesthesia not spreading around evenly. If that happens, your anesthetist may offer you a different kind of medication or even perform the procedure a second time.

Before deciding to have an epidural, you should discuss the procedure with your anesthetist. They can provide further information and advice on the risks of developing complications such as those described above.

If you have a question about epidurals or would like to schedule a consultation with our agency for your California surrogacy, please call Surrogate Parenting Services at (949) 363-9525.

July 27, 2015

Having Your Surrogacy in California with SPS? Surprising Things About Your Newborn You May Not Know

Thinking about having your surrogacy in California? Surrogacy is a wonderful, life-changing experience—thanks to the amazing process of birth. Babies play no small part in that process, and, if you think about it, babies just don’t get enough credit. Even though they depend completely on someone else for food, shelter and safety, it may surprise you to find out how much newborns know and can do—even just minutes out of the womb!

Here are some amazing things about newborns Intended Parents probably don’t know:

Instinctive Rooters. Almost immediately after birth, newborns begin instinctively looking for food. New moms will notice the baby turning her head to the side, opening their mouths wide, and even sucking on their own hands.

Little Movers and Shakers. You may already be aware that newborns are capable of lifting their heads and chest up when laying on their tummies, but did you also know that some newborns can even “crawl” around—although not in the same way as older babies.

No Need for Fiber! Newborn babies, on average, poop several times a day, with the fourth day after birth peaking at 6-10 times per day! This is because breastfed babies digest milk so easily. Their breastfed diet is also the reason for their squishy, soft bowl movements.

A Lack of Eye Coordination. Newborns’ eyes are not coordinated in the slightest and it is very normal for babies to cross their eyes, mainly because their eye muscles are still in an early stage of development. Talk to your child’s healthcare provider if this goes on for an extended period of time.

No, They Don’t Have Rickets. The feet and legs of newborns are often bowed and turned in, because their bones are softer than an adult’s. After all, they have spent the last few months before birth in a very tight space, folded and tucked in the womb. Don’t worry though, your baby’s feet will straighten out in the weeks and months after birth.

A Face Only a Mother Could Love. Newborns aren’t always cute, as their features sometimes appear either over or under proportioned. Your child might not be a looker at birth, but give it a few days and you’ll see their looks change almost daily.

Heavy Weights. Babies, in a sense, are caterpillars who do nothing but drink milk, get fat, poop freakish amounts, and grow at an alarming rate—almost doubling in size in just five months after birth.

Superhuman Tasting Abilities. Babies are born with taste buds on the roof, back, and sides of their mouths—much more than adults do. They also have a high sensitivity to sweet and bitter tastes, but do not react towards salty foods until about 5 months. This near super human ability eventually fades with age, though.

Big Eyes. Babies’ are born with eyes that are about 75% the size of their adult eyes. Just take a good look at your baby, and see how overly proportioned their eyes are compared to their heads.

If you would like to schedule a consultation with Surrogate Parenting Services, or have questions about surrogacy in California, please call us at (949) 363-9525.

July 13, 2015

The Gestational Surrogacy Process: What Carriers Should Expect

Surrogacy can seem complex and confusing at first glance, but if and when you decide to work with Surrogate Parenting Services, you’ll learn a great deal more about the gestational surrogacy process, and the range of medical information available. In the meantime, however, here are just a few “up front” items that you should be aware of, if you’re not already. With any particular medical aspect of the surrogacy process, it should be understood that there is no such thing as a 100% “typical” case, and you should always expect the unexpected.

This particular article is written with a gestational carrier in mind, meaning that the surrogate mother’s eggs are not used, but instead come from either the intended mother or a third-party egg donor. These are the typical stages in a surrogacy, and, again, it’s important to remember that every journey is different and these steps are only a representative example.

Routine tests
Once the surrogate mother has been matched with her intended parents, she will undergo a full medical examination with a fertility doctor. At the fertility center, the surrogate will most likely be asked to have a vaginal ultrasound called a sonohysterogram, which allows the physician to examine her uterus. This will allow the doctor to evaluate the capability of her uterus to carry a pregnancy to term. If the doctor finds cysts, fibroids or endometriosis in her uterus, the process with that particular surrogate may be delayed or cancelled.
In rare cases, she may also be asked to have a hysteroscopy — in which a tiny camera painlessly examines her uterus — or other procedure to determine the general health of her uterus. Routine blood tests will be given to evaluate hormone levels and rule out the presence of infectious diseases, such as AIDS, herpes, and hepatitis. She will also be asked to provide an up-to-date pap smear, and might be requested to have a mammogram done.

The Gestational Surrogate’s Preparation
After all of the results have been assessed and they have met the required standards, the In Vitro Fertilization process can begin. The gestational surrogate mother and intended parent will consult with a fertility doctor, who will guide them through this process.
The intended mother and the gestational surrogate will receive medications – some oral, some injected – that will synchronize their menstrual cycles, stimulate the intended mother’s eggs and prepare the surrogate’s uterine lining to receive the embryos. These medications may include standard birth control pills. The surrogate will then be given estrogen at about the time the intended mother or the egg donor is being induced to ovulate if the embryo transfer cycle is a coordinated or “fresh,” one.

In Vitro Fertilization or IVF
Just before the intended mother’s eggs are harvested, the gestational surrogate will take the hormone progesterone to further prepare for implantation, and will continue to take hormones (usually by injection) even if the embryo has already been created and are frozen for future use by the intended parents.
The eggs are conveyed from the intended mother in a procedure called ‘egg retrieval.’ She’s usually sedated for about an hour while the eggs are harvested via aspiration guided by ultrasound. Then the eggs are taken to an embryologist, who combines them with 50,000 to 1,000,000 of the intended father’s sperm and are left to incubate in a laboratory for three to five days.
Fertilization occurs, and when the timing is right, the resulting embryos are transferred into the uterus of the gestational surrogate by using a very fine catheter. The procedure is not considered painful, and the surrogate is fully awake for the entire time. Medications that the surrogate has taken will cause the lining of her uterus to thicken, in order to accept the transferred embryos. The doctor will use ultrasound to help with placement of embryos, and afterward the surrogate will be instructed to remain lying-down for a period of time.

After the Transferring of the Embryos
The surrogate mother may be advised to rest for approximately 24-72 hours following the embryo transfer, in order to ensure the best opportunity for the embryos to implant in her uterine lining. Ten days after the embryos have been transferred, the gestational surrogate will have a simple blood test to determine whether pregnancy has been achieved. If the test is positive, the surrogate will be advised about what further medication or hormone support she’ll need – usually estrogen and progesterone. Blood tests will be done on a regular basis to monitor the fetus’ development.
Once the fertility doctor considers the pregnancy stable – usually after 12 weeks – the surrogate will be referred to her preferred obstetrician for monitoring for the remainder of the pregnancy and the birth. She’ll undergo regular hormone monitoring and ultrasounds during the surrogacy process to check on the status of the pregnancy and the intended parents’ baby.

If you would like to learn more about the surrogacy process or if you would like to become a surrogate, please call Surrogate Parenting Services at (949) 363-9525.

July 13, 2015

The Gestational Surrogacy Guide: Preparing For a C-Section

Sometimes in gestational surrogacy, a carrier may face the prospect of having to get a cesarean section. The procedure is actually more common than you think. After steeply increasing over more than a decade, the number of women who get a C-section leveled off at 33%, as polled in 2010 and 2011 (rising nearly 60 percent since 1996.) For many carriers on the journey of gestational surrogacy, a cesarean section may become a very viable or necessary option for delivering a baby, but what are they and why would someone want to get one, as opposed to a vaginal birth?

A cesarean section, or C-section, is the delivery of a baby through a surgical incision in the mother’s abdomen and uterus. In certain circumstances, a C-section is scheduled in advance, like if you’ve had a previous cesarean with a “classical” vertical uterine incision, more than one previous C-section, or have had some other kind of invasive uterine surgery, such as myomectomy. These significantly increase the risk that your uterus will rupture during a vaginal delivery.

In other circumstance, it’s done in response to an unforeseen complication as a result of the baby, or babies. Many mother’s carrying more than one baby require a C-section. Sometimes if your baby is to be very large (a condition known as macrosomia), or if your baby is in a breech (bottom first) or transverse (sideways), or if the baby has a known malformation or abnormality that would make a vaginal birth risky, a C-section become a necessary part of the delivery process.

Ultimately, the goal of a C-section is the safety and well-being of the baby and the mother. In saying that, preparing for a C-section delivery is very important, and there are some essential steps to include in the preparation process, including:

Mental preparation. Begin to break down any fear you have about a C-section by watching a video of an actual C-section. It may cause you some mental stress at first, but wouldn’t you rather know what you are in for?

Internal preparation. Many doctors recommend that you start taking stool softeners a little less than a week before the delivery. You should also increase your iron about 2-3 weeks before because, as with having any major surgery, you will lose blood. Being anemic and recovering from a C-section is not a pleasant experience.

Ask any and all questions. Don’t worry about how silly they may sound! There are no dumb questions when preparing for a C-section. You have the right to know each and every detail about your upcoming surgery, so talk with your provider/doctor about the expectations of a C-section delivery. Start by asking questions about the process, the medications you will probably be prescribed, and the roundabout timeline for recovery.

Talk with your support system. Once you obtain information from your provider, you can should share this information with your support system. Many carriers and mothers-to-be like to discuss the process with their partner or children to be prepared. After all, some younger family members may not fully understand what a C-section entails.

Eating and drinking. You should ask your doctor to clarify exactly how many hours before you need to stop eating for your surgery. Even though hospitals tend to throw out an arbitrary time because of the unpredictable nature of childbirth, it may not apply to you depending on your C-section time. Many doctors ask that you do not eat after midnight, regardless of whether or not your surgery is at 7am or 5pm. Though it may seem less important, planning you dietary schedule is a must. After all, no one wants a hungry pregnant woman.

Your life plan. Plan to be at least 2-3 days away from home. You should make a logistical plan ahead of time and discuss any work arrangement, childcare arrangements, pet care considerations, and other any other logistical considerations. Everyone in your support system needs to be on the same page concerning the dates surrounding the delivery, so share this plan with them.

Your hospital plan. Before delivery, you should find out who can be in the operating room, which includes when they can enter and when they have to leave. Don’t assume your OB makes this decision. When asking, try and be generally nice and open about who you want and why you want them present, and they may be open to more than just one.

Post-birth plan. Planning for the days following birth is almost as important as planning for the actual delivery. Remember that a C-section is considered major surgery, and as such there are recovery-related considerations that need to be made. Many C-sections have a longer recovery time, meaning there is a good chance you will not be able to drive for a while or perform other duties because of your prescription pain medication, so prepare for this period of time in terms of household tasks (i.e., grocery shopping, driving kids to school or daycare, etc.). You should also carve out that time for yourself and your family to ensure a safe and healthy recovery. Most mothers have a tendency to want to jump right back into the flow of life, but keep in mind your body needs ample time to recover.

Don’t forget the intended parents. Ask your IPs what their expectations of the delivery are. Do they want to be in the operating room? What is the plan for post-delivery? This is a personal decision between you and the IPs that needs to be decided upon before you step foot in the operating room.

If you would like to learn more about C-sections in gestational surrogacy or if you have other questions relating to the process of surrogacy or would like to become a surrogate, please call Surrogate Parenting Services at (949) 363-9525.

May 18, 2015

Can a Gestational Surrogate Prevent Birth Defects?

The qualifications to become a gestational surrogate are somewhat rigorous. Besides being financially secure and having already gave birth, certain physical attributes are a must: age, BMI, being completely free of STDs, and all around general good health are all common requirements. These restrictions are intended to protect the health and well-being of both the surrogate mother and the child. After all, gestational surrogates and agencies are being trusted to take care of someone else’s child. Intended parents basically want to make sure their gestational surrogate is taking care of the pregnancy like they would if it was their own child they were carrying. There are, however, certain factors which are out of the both the surrogate’s and the agencies’ hands, such as birth defects.

How birth defects occur

A birth defect is a complication that changes the way the human body appears, functions, or both. Birth defects usually occur during the first trimester. Doctors can detect some birth defects at any time over the course of child’s life: during gestation, at birth, or at any period after birth, ranging in severity from moderate to severe. Some birth defects may even cause death. Though this is a terrible reality for any intended parent, there are actually steps a surrogate can take to increase the chances of giving birth to a healthy and happy baby.

Plan for the baby’s arrival.

Becoming a surrogate is a big undertaking and doesn’t happen immediately. This allows the surrogate enough time to break bad habits, such as drinking and smoking, in addition to physically and mentally preparing herself.

Visit the doctor regularly.

Proper medical care is one of the most important things a surrogate can to ensure a healthy bay. Prenatal care assures that the gestational surrogate’s health is maintained, while safeguarding the health of the fetus. If the surrogate mother sees a doctor regularly, some birth defects can be treated during the pregnancy, or even prevented.

Maintain a healthy body.

Surrogates should take care of the child by following a sensible, wholesome diet program, consisting of the five basic food groups: grain products, vegetables of all kinds (especially dark green), fruits (though not fruit juice), meat and protein rich foods, and milk and dairy products. Oils found in fish, nuts and through vegetable sources can also be nutritious in small amounts. The rule of thumb is low fat and high fiber.

Exercise regularly.

Surrogates should be cleared by a doctor before engaging in any exercise routine. Light to moderate exercises, such as walking, swimming, and riding a stationary bike, are usually recommended and can help improve posture and maintain a healthy pregnancy weight.

Get plenty of rest.

Surrogate mothers should take naps frequently and get at least 8 uninterrupted hours of sleep each night. When sleeping or resting, surrogate mothers should lay on their side as often as possible, especially on the left side. Resting or sleeping on the left side of the body improves the circulation to your baby and helps decrease any swelling that may occur.

Take iron and folic acid.

Prenatal vitamins are vital during a surrogate pregnancy. Taking folic acid daily has been shown to reduce the occurrence of birth defects in the baby’s brain and spine. Likewise, taking iron daily can reduce the risk of anemia later in pregnancy.

Drink plenty of fluids.

Gestational surrogate mothers should drink at least 6-8 glasses of water, fruit juice, or milk daily. One of the best ways in determining whether adequate fluid intake is by urine coloring: nearly-clear colored urine is fine but anything darker than very light yellow is a sign of dehydration.

Relax.

While pregnant, it’s best to stay away from emotionally stressful situations, because too much can inadvertently have negative impact on the development of the baby. Incorporate stress relief methods such as mediation, if necessary.

If you have any questions about becoming a surrogate, call Surrogate Parenting Services today at (949) 363-9525.