Having A Baby at 40: Risks and Benefits You Need to Know

There is no one perfect time to get pregnant.  Growing numbers of women are becoming moms later in life these days. Many people, though, have often been told that having a baby after you are 35 increases your chances for developing certain high-risk conditions during pregnancy. This might have led you to believe that there are not many mothers who have babies after this point. The truth of the matter is that many women are having babies in their 40s.

If you’re over 40 and you’re having a baby, there’s plenty to look forward to and think about, such as the benefits of being an older mother. Most women over 40 have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. But there is something you need to think about, and you’ll want to be sure to get good antenatal care.

Benefits

Sometimes the benefits of having a baby later in life can outweigh those of having children when you’re in your 20s or 30s. For one, you might have already established your career and can dedicate more time to raising children. Or your financial situation could be more favorable. You may have also had a change in your relationship status and you want to have a baby with your partner.

These are among some of the most common benefits of having a child at age 40. 

  • Reduced cognitive decline 
  • more emotional capacity to raise children
  • A longer life span 
  • A better education outcome in children, such as higher test scores and graduation rates
  • Financial Stability – a home, a college fund, a certain amount in your retirement account.

Risks

  • Difficulty conceiving 
  • Miscarriage
  • Cesarean section
  • Low-birth-weight babies
  • Birth defects
  • Have placenta praevia  
  • Have high blood pressure or gestational diabetes 
  • go into premature labour 
  • Have twins or even triplets

Genetic conditions

Older women are also more likely than others to have a child with a genetic condition such as Down syndrome. Genetic tests are increasingly more common for pregnant women of all ages, but it’s not compulsory, they’re a personal choice. It is worth talking to your doctor or midwife about the chances of problems, and what you would like to do about it. 

Fertility 

One of the biggest barriers to pregnancy in your 40s is your fertility. Certainly, there are women who have no issues getting pregnant well into their 40s. Though statistically speaking, you are less likely to get pregnant and more likely to need the aid of fertility treatments the older you are when you are trying to conceive. About one-third of women over 35 will have fertility issues, and that number increases with age. It is also important to note that the age of your partner does impact the health of your pregnancy. Your chance of getting pregnant without fertility help in your 30s is about 75 percent in any one cycle. That number is about 50 percent in your early 40s and drops to only a percent or two by the time you are 43.

Advancements in fertility technological have been a driving force in the increase in women waiting to have children. Some options available to women include:

  • Infertility treatments, such as IVF
  • Freezing eggs when you’re younger so that you can have them available when you’re older
  • Sperm banks
  • Surrogacy

Increased risk for twins or multiples

Age in and of itself does not increase your risk for multiples. While it may be easy to chalk this up to fertility treatments, there is also a natural increase in the rates of multiple pregnancies, even without using fertility medications or treatments. Having twins also increases the risk that your babies will be more prematurely. This is something to keep in mind as you plan for pregnancy.

Labor and Delivery 

You are more likely to be induced because of pregnancy-related complications or because of concern over the continuing pregnancy. Vaginal delivery may be less likely after the age of 40. This is primarily due to fertility treatments that can increase the risk of premature birth. You may also be at an increased risk of preeclampsia, which may necessitate a cesarean delivery to save both mother and baby. The cesarean birth rate for a woman in her late 20s is about 26 percent, and that number doubles to 52 percent for women over 40.

The number of women who are having babies at this age is increasing. With proper prenatal care, the chances of you having a healthy baby are still great. It is much more common than it used to be, so if you’ve waited to have children until now, you’ll have a lot of company. You’ll want to talk to your doctor about all your individual risk factors before starting a family at this stage in your life.

 

 

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Resources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/having-a-baby-at-40#risks

https://www.parents.com/advice/pregnancy-birth/pregnancy-complications/does-being-older-make-my-pregnancy-high-risk/

https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/being-pregnant-after-40

Tips for a Stylish Pregnancy

Being pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t keep up with the trends and feel fashionable.  The key to dressing modern and sexy during pregnancy is to pick out the trends you like and adapt them to your new body. Learn what styles look great with your growing baby bump and what pieces to invest in for a cute and comfortable pregnancy. You have a stylish nine months ahead!

Check Out Style Rules Every Pregnant Woman Should Know:

  • Show Some Skin

If you’re normally small-chested, pregnancy offers the best chance you’ll ever have to forego the padded bras and flaunt cleavage, so take advantage of this fortuitous occasion and wear scoop-neck T-shirts or sweaters.  If you’ve been blessed with a small frame while pregnant, then a shift dress is your evening wear savior. It skims your bump nicely, and the mini length remains sexy without feeling too exposed.

  • Go Skinny

If you enjoyed wearing skinny jeans before you were an expecting mama, don’t be afraid to do tight-fitting pants now just because you’re pregnant. Many maternity lines are now making stretchy, super-comfy (and chic!) skinny jeans and leather leggings that will fit and flaunt your new curves. This will give your body definition from under your bust and allow the fabric to drape loosely over your bump. Wrap dresses work too, just tie them a little higher up and be sure to choose a length that accommodates your growing belly.

  • Choose Snug over Bulky

Reaching for bigger clothes to hide your size sounds like a good idea, but it only contributes to a bulky look. Instead, slim down your silhouette and emphasize the features that aren’t expanding with snug-sleeved tops, skinnier pants, and button-down shirts or blazers left unbuttoned. Try knits that stretch to fit your form, they’re sexy and feminine. If all else fails, ever heard the phrase “borrowed from the boys” when it comes to styling? That’s your new mantra. Oversized shirting, cashmere sweaters, and quality T-shirts are a great way to avoid buying maternity wear because you’ll always love their loose fits for lazy days – long after you’ve had the baby.

  • Go for Color

Getting dressed when pregnant doesn’t have to mean losing all sense of your personal style. Don’t limit yourself to black and neutral tones, color is an essential part of the modern maternity closet. You’ll feel happier when you’re wearing clothes that aren’t drab. If you’re the type who loves color and print, roll with it.  All-over prints are a really nice option if you want to add some punch to a super simple silhouette, especially when worn with sneakers.

  • Get Decorative

Perk up a staid wardrobe with just a few decorative elements, such as ruffled trims or embroidered or beaded accents. Just be sure to stick with things that you’ll be able to wear more than once without feeling too conspicuous. Try wearing skirts or loose-fitting trousers higher than usual, and balance out the silhouette with fun details on your top half, like ruffles or an interesting neckline.

  • Try Some Trimmings

One of the easiest ways to add dimension and flare to an otherwise simple ensemble is to put on your favorite accessories and jewelry. Try long, dangling earrings and lariat necklaces to de-emphasize fullness in your face. Wear a patterned scarf in your hair, put a jeweled cuff on your wrist, or carry a chic handbag. Better yet, if you’re not going to be on your feet all day, throw on some fun open-toe sandals or sling-backs. Sexy shoes can instantly perk up practically any outfit. 

  • Be Comfortable

The simple slip dress is a great go-to for when you need to dress up. It’s lightweight, loose, and long, plus a sumptuous fabric like satin or velvet will give a luxury feel to your look. For daytime, this dress works layered over a white T-shirt or under a super chunky cardigan. Leggings, hoodies, and your husband’s T-shirts are now wardrobe staples. Give yourself a break, you’re growing a human, after all.

 

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Urinary Tract Infection During Pregnancy

A Urinary tract infection (UTI), also called bladder infection, is a bacterial inflammation in the urinary tract. Pregnant women are at increased risk for UTI’s starting in week 6 through week 24.

A UTI occurs when bacteria from somewhere outside of a woman’s body gets inside her urethra (basically the urinary tract) and causes an infection.

Women are more likely to get UTIs than men. The female anatomy makes it easy for bacteria from the vagina or rectal areas to get in the urinary tract because they are all close together.

Why Are UTIs More Common During Pregnancy?

UTI’s are more common during pregnancy because of changes in the urinary tract. The uterus sits directly on top of the bladder. As the uterus grows, its increased weight can block the drainage of urine from the bladder, causing an infection.

There are also physical changes to consider. As early as six weeks gestation, almost all pregnant women experience ureteral dilation, when the urethra expands and continues to expand until delivery.

To make matters worse, a pregnant woman’s urine gets more concentrated. It also has certain types of hormones and sugar. These can encourage bacterial growth and lower your body’s ability to fight off “bad” bacteria trying to get in.

Symptoms

  • An urgent need to pee, or peeing more often
  • Trouble with peeing
  • A burning sensation or cramps in your lower back or lower belly
  • A burning feeling when you pee
  • Urine that looks cloudy or has an odor
  • Blood or mucus in the urine
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Chills, fever, sweats, leaking of urine (incontinence)
  • When bacteria spreads to the kidneys you may experience back pain, chills, fever, nausea, and vomiting.

Diagnosis

You’ll take a urine test. Your doctor will test it for bacteria and red and white blood cells. A urine culture may also be checked. It shows what kind of bacteria are in the urine.

How will the UTI affect my baby?

Any infection during pregnancy can be extremely dangerous for you and your baby. That’s because infections increase the risk of premature labor.

If the UTI goes untreated, it may lead to a kidney infection. Kidney infections may cause early labor and low birth weight. If your doctor treats a urinary tract infection early and properly, the UTI will not cause harm to your baby.

Treatment

You can help prevent UTIs during your pregnancy by:

  • emptying your bladder frequently, especially before and after sex
  • wearing only cotton underwear
  • nixing underwear at night
  • avoiding douches, perfumes, or sprays
  • drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated
  • avoiding any harsh soaps or body wash in the genital area

Most UTIs during pregnancy is treated with a course of antibiotics. Your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic that is pregnancy-safe but still effective in killing off bacteria in your body.

If your UTI has progressed to a kidney infection, you may need to take a stronger antibiotic or have an intravenous (IV) version administered.

How can I prevent a UTI?

You may do everything right and still experience a urinary tract infection, but you can reduce the likelihood by doing the following:

  • Drink 6-8 glasses of water each day and unsweetened cranberry juice regularly.
  • Eliminate refined foods, fruit juices, caffeine, alcohol, and sugar.
  • Develop a habit of urinating as soon as the need is felt and empty your bladder completely when you urinate.
  • Urinate before and after intercourse.
  • Avoid intercourse while you are being treated for a UTI.
  • After urinating, blot dry (do not rub), and keep your genital area clean. Make sure you wipe from the front toward the back.
  • Avoid using strong soaps, douches, antiseptic creams, feminine hygiene sprays, and powders.
  • Change underwear and pantyhose every day.
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting pants.
  • Wear all cotton or cotton-crotch underwear and pantyhose.
  • Don’t soak in the bathtub longer than 30 minutes or more than twice a day.

Some doctors also advise women who get a lot of UTIs to wear cotton underwear, take showers instead of baths, and avoid tight clothes that can trap bacteria near the urethra. While these are simple enough to do, none of them are supported by scientific data.

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

Resources:
http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/urinary-tract-infections-during-pregnancy/
https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/avoid-uti#1

Pregnancy Stretch Marks

Many things change after you have a baby: schedules, sleep time, and a sense of freedom, to name a few. Along with a changing schedule, there are many physical changes you’ll see. Chief among them is stretch marks. For many women, stretch marks are as much a part of having a baby as diapers and feedings.

Anatomy of a Stretch Mark

Stretch marks happen when your body grows faster than your skin can keep up with. This causes the elastic fibers just under the surface of the skin to break, resulting in stretch marks. You gain about 30 pounds during the 9 months you are pregnant, says Heidi Waldorf, MD. She is an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. Like scars, they’ll fade, but they won’t disappear completely. Stretch marks happen in pregnancy when your skin layers stretch over your fast-growing body. You may have them on your tummy, bottom, thighs, and breasts. Though it won’t get rid of the stretch marks, it will help to tone the area.

What causes stretch marks?

Stretch marks are a result of skin stretching and an increase of cortisone in your system. Cortisone is a hormone naturally produced by your adrenal glands. However, having too much of this hormone can make your skin lose its elasticity.

Stretch marks are common in certain circumstances:

  • Many women experience stretch marks during pregnancy as the skin stretches in numerous ways to make room for the developing baby. This continual tugging and stretching can cause stretch marks.
  • Stretch marks sometimes appear when you rapidly gain or lose weight. Teenagers may also notice stretch marks after a sudden growth spurt.
  • Corticosteroid creams, lotions, and pills can cause stretch marks by decreasing the skin’s ability to stretch.
  • Cushing’s Syndrome, Marfan’s syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and other adrenal gland disorders can cause stretch marks by increasing the amount of cortisone in your body.

Who Gets Stretch Marks?

About 90% of women will get them sometime after their sixth or seventh month of pregnancy, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. If your mother had stretch marks, then you’re more likely to have them too, since genetics plays a role.

What medical treatments are available for stretch marks?

Stretch marks often fade with time. If you don’t want to wait, there are treatments that can improve their appearance. However, no treatment can make stretch marks disappear completely.

There are several ways to improve the appearance of stretch marks:

  • Tretinoin cream (Retin-A, Renova) works by restoring collagen, a fibrous protein that helps give your skin elasticity. It’s best to use this cream on recent stretch marks that are red or pink. This cream may cause skin irritation. If you’re pregnant, you shouldn’t use tretinoin cream.
  • Pulsed dye laser therapy encourages the growth of collagen and elastin. It’s best to use this therapy on newer stretch marks. Darker-skinned individuals may experience skin discoloration.
  • Fractional photothermolysis is similar to pulsed dye laser therapy in that it uses a laser. However, it works by targeting smaller areas of your skin, causing less skin damage.
  • Microdermabrasion involves polishing the skin with tiny crystals to reveal new skin that’s under the more elastic stretch marks. Microdermabrasion can improve the appearance of older stretch marks.
  • The excimer laser stimulates skin color (melanin) production so that stretch marks match the surrounding skin more closely.

Medical procedures and prescription medicines aren’t guaranteed to cure stretch marks, and they can be expensive.

Is it Possible to Prevent Stretch Marks?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent stretch marks but It’s always a good idea to keep your skin hydrated with a rich lotion or cream. The only thing possible is making stretch marks fade.

The good news is that stretch marks may simply disappear on their own after weight loss or childbirth. Over time, stretch marks fade to whitish colored scar and become less noticeable with time. While some stretch marks naturally fade to faint, silvery lines, others remain darker and more showy. The condition is only skin deep and hence easily reversible. According to the University of Maryland medical center, they may disappear completely when the cause of skin stretching goes away.

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Resources:

https://www.webmd.com/baby/features/stretch-marks#1

https://www.healthline.com/health/stretch-marks#medical-treatments

Postpartum Hair Loss

Postpartum hair loss is a normal and temporary, however, not all women experience postpartum hair loss, but it is quite common. Fortunately, this is a totally temporary situation. Typically, it’ll take three to four months for the hair growth phase to cycle through.

During pregnancy, your hormones change dramatically. Hormones are the biggest reason for your pregnancy hair changes and postpartum hair loss.

So after your baby arrives and your hormone levels drop, your hair makes up for the lost time by falling out in much bigger clumps than it normally does. The total volume of your hair loss probably isn’t more than you would have lost over the last nine months, it just seems like it because it’s happening all at once.

Postpartum hair loss can set in any day after your baby arrives, and it sometimes continues as long as a year. It usually peaks around the 4-month mark, so if your baby is a few months old and you’re still losing clumps of hair, that doesn’t mean it’s time to panic!

Causes

While breastfeeding is often blamed for hair loss, there is no evidence to show that breastfeeding causes or increases hair loss in the postpartum period. Unfortunately, this is a symptom that almost all moms will experience. While this condition can become extreme (called Postpartum Alopecia) some hair loss is normal and a natural part of postpartum. Most moms will experience this symptom somewhere around three months postpartum. It can last a few weeks or a few months, depending on how long your hair cycles last. Often moms forget that they are still considered postpartum by this point and don’t think to relate childbirth to this symptom.

Blame it on hormones. During pregnancy, estrogen increases, which typically encourages hair growth and improves texture. But in the postpartum period, estrogen levels drop. Plus, you may have vitamin deficiencies lingering from pregnancy.  All these factors along with the exhaustion that accompanies being a new parent can lead to hair loss.

The other reason is that when you are pregnant your hair goes into a dormant cycle and you lose less hair. This is called the telogen phase. Eventually, your hair will go into the next phase (telogen effluvium) and fall out. Therefore, when you have the baby you start losing all of the hair that you didn’t lose when you were pregnant. The hair loss and regrowth will probably be most apparent in the area above your forehead. If you gained a lot of extra hair when you were pregnant, this can look quite dramatic.

How to Handle Postpartum Shedding

It’s normal for your hair to thin out after pregnancy. If it’s not worrying you, you don’t need to do anything to treat it. And, unfortunately, there is nothing that has been shown to prevent or slow postpartum hair loss. But if your hair loss is bothering you, there are treatments you can try to make your hair appear fuller and healthier.

  • Skip the styling

Heating your hair with a dryer or curling iron may make it look thinner. Try to hold off on fancy styling and let your hair air-dry till the thinning tapers out. Brushing too hard can also cause your hair to fall out in bigger clumps, so be gentle when brushing and don’t brush more than once a day. You can use the extra time to cuddle your baby or catch up on sleep!

  • Consider a haircut

It may sound counterintuitive, says Sheppard, but a short ‘do can disguise thinning hair. If you’re ready for a change, try a bob, lob, or pixie cut, she recommends—with shorter hair, you’ll naturally have more volume because you’ll have removed the weight.

  • Eat right

What you eat can help control hair loss. Aim to get lots of protein, vitamin-rich foods, green leafy vegetables, and eggs and dairy. Taking vitamin D, B-complex vitamins, and omega-3 is recommended to help reduce postpartum hair loss.

  • Switch up your product routine

If your postpartum hair is very different from your pregnancy hair or your pre-pregnancy strands it only makes sense to try different products. Look for options that include the words volumizing or thickening in their name or description. A new shampoo is also a good idea.

  • Take your vitamins

Vitamins shouldn’t be a substitute for a varied diet, especially when you’re a new mom with a baby to take care of. But they may help as a supplement if your diet is not well-balanced. While no specific vitamins have been shown to affect hair loss, they are important for overall health. It is often recommended to continue your prenatal vitamins after your baby is born, especially if you are breastfeeding.

When to Talk to Your Practitioner

Usually, by the time your hair begins to thin, you have already had your postpartum checkup with your doctor or midwife. If your shedding becomes extreme or you are losing large patches of hair, call your practitioner and mention it. Occasionally hair loss is the sign of other postpartum issues, like hypothyroidism. You want to be sure to rule those out. If you are still losing hair around your baby’s first birthday, call your practitioner. Typical hair loss does not usually continue that long into the postpartum period.

 

 

Common Discomforts During Pregnancy

Your body has a great deal to do during pregnancy. Sometimes the changes taking place will cause irritation or discomfort, and on occasions, they may seem quite alarming. There is rarely any need for alarm but you should mention anything that is worrying you to your maternity team. Below you will find some common discomforts that women can have at various stages of their pregnancy including cramps, headaches, stretch marks, swollen ankles, and varicose veins. Common Discomforts During Pregnancy. About half of all pregnant women experience nausea and sometimes vomiting in the first trimester–also called morning sickness because symptoms are most severe in the morning. Some women may have nausea and vomiting throughout the pregnancy.

Morning Sickness 

Morning sickness is a common symptom of early pregnancy that usually goes away by the end of the first three months. Morning sickness or nausea (with or without vomiting) can happen at any time of the day and is caused by changes in hormones during pregnancy. Some food and eating suggestions that may help manage symptoms of morning sickness or nausea. Some food and eating suggestions that may help manage symptoms of morning sickness or nausea. Eat smaller meals more often. Missing meals can make nausea worse. If vomiting, it is important to drink enough fluids. It may be easier to have lots of small drinks than to try and drink a large amount in one go. Try a variety of fluids such as water, fruit juice, lemonade, and clear soups. Sometimes it can be helpful to try crushed ice, slushies, ice blocks, or even suck on frozen fruit such as grapes or orange segments. If you are unable to take in fluids or feel weak, dizzy or unwell, you may be suffering from dehydration and you should seek medical attention urgently.

Backache in Pregnancy  

During pregnancy, the ligaments in your body naturally become softer and stretch to prepare you for labour. This can put a strain on the joints of your lower back and pelvis, which can cause backache. The extra weight of your uterus and the increasing size of the hollow in your lower back can also add to the problem. A firm mattress can also help to prevent and relieve backache. If your mattress is too soft, put a piece of cardboard under it to make it firmer.

Bladder and bowel problems during pregnancy

During pregnancy, many women experience some rather unpleasant conditions like constipation, needing to urinate more frequently, incontinence and hemorrhoids (piles). Maintaining a healthy diet (nutrition) and doing regular exercise (movement) can help make your pregnancy a bit less uncomfortable. You may become constipated very early in pregnancy because of the hormonal changes in your body. Constipation can mean that you are not passing stools (feces) as often as you normally do, you have to strain more than usual or you are unable to completely empty your bowels. Constipation can also cause your stools to be unusually hard, lumpy, large or small.

Frequent urination

The need to frequently urinate (pass water or pee) often starts from early in your pregnancy. Sometimes it continues right through pregnancy. In later pregnancy the need to frequently urinate results from the baby’s head pressing or resting on your bladder.

If you find that you need to get up in the night to urinate, try cutting out drinks in the late evening. But make sure you drink plenty of non-alcoholic, caffeine-free drinks during the day. Later in pregnancy, some women find it helps to rock backward and forwards while they are on the toilet. This lessens the pressure of the womb on the bladder so that you can empty it properly. Then you may not need to pass water again quite so soon.

If you have any burning or stinging while passing urine or you pass any blood in your urine, you may have a urinary tract infection, which will need treatment. Drink plenty of water to dilute your urine and reduce pain.

Dealing with cramps, swelling and varicose veins 

Cramps, swelling, and varicose veins are some of the most common issues women experience during pregnancy. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, doing regular exercise and getting plenty of rest should help to alleviate the symptoms. Cramps are sudden, sharp pain, usually in your calf muscles or feet. It is most common at night. Regular, gentle exercise in pregnancy, particularly ankle and leg movements, may improve your circulation and may help to prevent cramp occurring. Ankles, feet, and hands often swell a little in pregnancy because your body is holding more fluid than usual. Towards the end of the day, especially if the weather is hot or if you have been standing a lot, the extra fluid tends to gather in the lowest parts of the body. The gradual swelling isn’t harmful to you or your baby, but it can be uncomfortable and your shoes can feel tight.

Dealing with fatigue during your pregnancy

Feeling tired and hotter than usual is quite common during pregnancy. Many pregnant women also feel faint and this is due to hormonal changes. Pregnant women often feel faint. This is because of hormonal changes occurring in your body during pregnancy. Fainting happens if your brain is not getting enough blood and therefore not enough oxygen. If your oxygen levels get too low, it may cause you to faint. You are most likely to feel faint if you stand too quickly from a chair, off the toilet or out of a bath, but it can also happen when you are lying on your back.

It’s common to feel tired, or even exhausted, during pregnancy, especially in the first 12 weeks or so. Hormonal changes taking place in your body at this time can make you feel tired, nauseous and emotional. The only answer is to try to rest as much as possible. Make time to sit with your feet up during the day, and accept any offers of help from colleagues and family. Being tired and run-down can make you feel low. Try to look after your physical health by eating a healthy diet and get plenty of rest and sleep. Later on, in pregnancy, you may feel tired because of the extra weight you are carrying. Make sure you get plenty of rest. As your baby gets bigger, it can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep. You might find it uncomfortable lying down or, just when you get comfortable, you have to get up to go to the toilet.

Feeling tired won’t harm you or your baby, but it can make life feel more difficult, especially in the early days before you’ve told people about your pregnancy. Make sure you get as much rest as you can.

Vaginal discharge during pregnancy

During pregnancy, almost all women have more vaginal discharge. This happens because the cervix (neck of the womb) and vaginal walls get softer during pregnancy and discharge increases to help prevent any infections traveling up from the vagina to the womb.

 

All women, whether they’re pregnant or not, have some vaginal discharge starting a year or two before puberty and ending after the menopause. How much discharge you have changed from time to time and it usually gets heavier just before your period. Almost all women have more vaginal discharge in pregnancy. This is quite normal and happens for a few reasons. During pregnancy, the cervix (neck of the womb) and vaginal walls get softer and discharge increases to help prevent any infections traveling up from the vagina to the womb.

Towards the end of pregnancy, the number of discharge increases and can be confused with urine. In the last week or so of pregnancy, your discharge may contain streaks of thick mucus and some blood. This is called a ‘show’ and happens when the mucus that has been present in your cervix during pregnancy comes away. It’s a sign that the body is starting to prepare for birth, and you may have a few small ‘shows’ in the days before you go into labour. If you have any vaginal bleeding in pregnancy, you should contact your midwife or doctor, as it can sometimes be a sign of a more serious problem such as a miscarriage or a problem with the placenta.

 

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

Things Every Partner Should Do for a Mom-To-Be

It’s fair to say that women do most of the work when it comes to pregnancy. After all, your baby has set up camp in your partner’s uterus, so she is the one who will be peeing every twenty minutes, struggling to get comfy at night, and giving birth. Your lack of uterus puts you on the bench, but you can still be a team player when it comes to pregnancy. You are charged with the vital role of providing support, being a shoulder to cry on and, of course, getting the snacks.

“Your partner may be doing the heavy lifting (or carrying) for the next nine months, but she’ll need a lot of support from her partner, too.”

While pregnancy and giving birth is Mom’s job, there are a number of ways that you, as her partner, can share the load, too. And guess what? It’s a lot more fun that way. After all, it took two to start this journey!

Here are some roles for dads these days during pregnancy: 

  • Take over some of the household chores.

As your partner’s bodies adapt to the rigors of pregnancy, some of the household chores get impossible for them. The fumes of cleaning solutions can be nauseating if not toxic, so cleaning toilets and tubs may need to fall to dad. Vacuuming and mopping can be really hard when mom’s body is already tired or the baby bump gets in the way. Offering to take this off our pregnant partner (especially before she has to ask) can help alleviate a lot of stress and anxiety.

  • Prioritize Her

The relationship a pregnant woman has with her partner is very important. A large study in Scandinavia recently identified that the single biggest factor in antenatal anxiety was a woman’s relationship with her partner, and there’s also a big link between mood disorders antenatally and postnatally. Life can get busy sometimes. There are only so many hours in each day, and yet so much to be packed in. There are work demands, social activities, family to see, and a relationship to nurture. It can be pretty exhausting, and you may at times wonder whether you are neglecting certain areas of your life. Make sure that you are prioritizing your relationship throughout the pregnancy. Make time for her, make the effort, and check in to find out how she’s doing.

  • Create Some Memories

You will soon be a family of three, and though you will find that life becomes more wonderful and rich than ever before, it’s true to say that it will never be the same again. The lazy mornings in bed, the carefree nights out, and the impromptu weekends away will be scarce, at least for a few years. Now is the perfect time to create some special memories together. Take a trip away, spend a weekend lounging in bed, and head off into the countryside for walks. Do whatever you want, just make sure you do it together.

  • Learn about the process with her

Many dads find themselves detaching from the pregnancy process, in part because they haven’t taken the time to learn about it. Go with your child’s mom to prenatal classes and doctor’s appointments. Read books or watch videos about the process of pregnancy. Learn about the labor and delivery process and talk with other fathers about their experiences. Getting more involved in becoming educated about the pregnancy process will help be a support to mom through her experience.

  • Support her emotionally.

Hormones you didn’t know existed will begin to manifest themselves in strange ways during pregnancy. Your partner may cry a lot ​or have moments of total exhilaration. Things that used to be simple and routine now are laden with emotions, both positive and negative. Recognize that these are all natural and to be expected, and that, for the most part, they will not last beyond labor and delivery. Patience, understanding, active listening and just holding her when she wants to be held are big things that will sustain her emotional needs during her pregnancy.

  • Listen and Talk

Pregnancy and childbirth can be a lot to handle especially for first-timers. So make sure your partner knows she can vent to you about all those little (and big!) changes going on now, nerves about an upcoming procedure, anxiety about what kind of mom she’ll be, annoyance at her puffy feet. Even if you think her concerns are outsized or illogical, keep the thought to yourself. Don’t tell her to “stop worrying” or “chill out.” Instead, listen to her, offer to help her find information, go to doctor appointments with her, or take an afternoon off to have some fun together. And since you’re a team, don’t hold back on sharing your fears, too. Remember, it’s totally normal if the ride doesn’t feel quite as carefree as usual: Speak up, and things will go a lot more smoothly for both of you.

  • Be There at all times possible

Tell Her She’s Beautiful, Run Her A Bath, Give Massages, Be Understanding. Many women find it difficult to cope with the changes to their body during pregnancy. She may be worried about stretch marks, concerned about weight gain, or just be feeling not much like her old self. Tell her when she looks great, compliment her on her bump, and make sure she knows just how much you love her. It’s important that you reaffirm her. Sometimes, pregnancy sucks. Give her a break. Pregnancy has its fair share of ups and downs, but you can make it much easier by cutting her a little slack.

Long gone are the days when fathers-to-be are left waiting in the wings to hear the announcement of their child’s birth by doctors and nurses. Instead, more men than ever are playing an active role in the birth of their child. They are keen to learn all they can, in order to help their partner during labour.

Here are some roles for dads these days during Labour: 

  • Before The Birth

Prior to your partner going into labour, it’s a good idea to discuss her birth preferences with her if you haven’t sat down and thought it through with her already. It’s important for you to know what she might like you to do for her in labour bearing in mind that her preferences may actually change when it actually happens! A massage, while she is in labour, might sound wonderful now, however during labour, she might not want to be touched at all. So it’s useful to keep this in mind. When your partner is in labour, you can reaffirm her requests with her then.

  • Share the Coaching

Labor can be a long, hard haul for both of you. You may want to have a friend or family member there to assist. This person can help with coaching and stay with your partner when you need to eat or take breaks. An extra person can provide emotional and physical support for both of you.

  • Cheer From the Sidelines

Many couples choose this option. You’re there to hold your partner’s hand and rub her back. You may snap pictures or take videos of your baby’s birth. You may even cut the umbilical cord. But you’re happy to let others do the hands-on work. Jeffrey Kuller, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University Medical Center, says that providing support is actually the most important thing dads can bring to the labor and delivery. “Dads don’t really need to be the coach,” Kuller says. “That’s what we’re supposed to do.”

  • Wait Outside

In some cases, a woman doesn’t want her baby’s father there. If you haven’t been involved in the pregnancy or are estranged from her, there’s a good chance she won’t. Whatever the reason, if your presence in the room makes it stressful for her, it can make labor and delivery more difficult. Then it’s better for you to be elsewhere.

For most dads, though, being with their partner is a good choice. In one study of how new fathers viewed the experience, 81% said it was rewarding and enjoyable. Regardless of how involved you choose to be, witnessing that final push that sends your child into the world can be an experience like no other.

  • Look After Her

After birth, your partner will need time to recover. She will be exhausted, sore and hormonal, and will be relying on you for support. Help with the baby, and do as many nappy changes as you can. If she’s breastfeeding, make sure that she feels supported, and seek help for her if she is struggling. Cook meals, help your partner get some sleep, and make sure she knows just how much you love her.

Pregnancy is challenging at best, but it brings with it a sense of awe and wonder if you work hard at making it a process where you can feel those things. Being supportive physically and emotionally, learning all you can about the process, covering the needed bases and focusing on preparation will help keep your relationship strong and help you have a sweeter experience together as you anticipate expanding your family circle.

 

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Overweight Pregnancy Risks

Being overweight increases the risk of complications for pregnant women and their babies. The higher a woman’s BMI, the higher the risks. The increasing risks are in relation to miscarriage – the overall risk of miscarriage under 12 weeks is one in five (20%); if you have a BMI over 30, the risk is one in four (25%)

The more overweight you are, the more likely you are to have pregnancy complications. But there are things you can do before and during pregnancy to help you have a healthy baby. Being overweight is based on your pre-pregnancy body mass index (also called BMI). Pre-pregnancy means your BMI before you get pregnant.

If you started off your pregnancy carrying too much weight for your height, you’re far from alone. More than half of pregnant women are overweight or obese. You’re considered overweight if your pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) is between 25 and 29.9. (Your BMI reflects the relationship between your height and weight and is an estimate of body fat.) You’re considered obese if your BMI is 30 or greater.

How much weight to gain if you’re pregnant and overweight or obese

How much to gain during pregnancy depends on your BMI:

  • If your BMI is 25 to 29.9: It’s recommended that you gain between 15 and 25 pounds by the end of your pregnancy or approximately 2 to 3 pounds per month in your second and third trimesters.
  • If your BMI is 30 or higher: You’re advised to gain only 11 to 20 pounds during pregnancy.

Obesity during pregnancy puts you at risk of several serious health problems:

  • Gestational diabetes is diabetes that is first diagnosed during pregnancy. This condition can increase the risk of having a cesarean delivery. Women who have had gestational diabetes also have a higher risk of having diabetes in the future, as do their children. Obese women are screened for gestational diabetes early in pregnancy and also may be screened later in pregnancy as well.
  • Preeclampsia is a high blood pressure disorder that can occur during pregnancy or after pregnancy. It is a serious illness that affects a woman’s entire body. The kidneys and liver may fail. Preeclampsia can lead to seizures, a condition called eclampsia. In rare cases, a stroke can occur. Severe cases need emergency treatment to avoid these complications. The baby may need to be delivered early.
  • Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person stops breathing for short periods during sleep. Sleep apnea is associated with obesity. During pregnancy, sleep apnea not only can cause fatigue but also increases the risk of high blood pressure, preeclampsia, eclampsia, and heart and lung disorders.

Obesity increases the risk of the following problems during pregnancy:

  • Pregnancy loss—Obese women have an increased risk of pregnancy loss (miscarriage) compared with women of normal weight.
  • Birth defects—Babies born to obese women have an increased risk of having birth defects, such as heart defects and neural tube defects.
  • Problems with diagnostic tests—Having too much body fat can make it difficult to see certain problems with the baby’s anatomy on an ultrasound exam. Checking the baby’s heart rate during labor also may be more difficult if you are obese.
  • Macrosomia—In this condition, the baby is larger than normal. This can increase the risk of the baby being injured during birth. For example, the baby’s shoulder can become stuck during delivery. Macrosomia also increases the risk of cesarean delivery. Infants born with too much body fat have a greater chance of being obese later in life.
  • Preterm birth—Problems associated with a woman’s obesity, such as preeclampsia, may lead to a medically indicated preterm birth. This means that the baby is delivered early for a medical reason. Preterm babies are not as fully developed as babies who are born after 39 weeks of pregnancy. As a result, they have an increased risk of short-term and long-term health problems.
  • Stillbirth—The higher the woman’s BMI, the greater the risk of stillbirth.

Can I diet to lose weight during pregnancy? 

Pregnancy is definitely not the time to go on a weight-loss diet: Restricting your food intake is potentially hazardous to you and your developing baby. But many plus-size women do lose weight during pregnancy without dieting.

In the first trimester, it’s common to lose weight as a result of morning sickness. Nausea can diminish your appetite, and the vomiting can cause you to miss out on calories. But even so, your baby will get all the necessary calories.

Overweight women have an extra reserve of calories in stored fat, so as your baby grows, it’s not harmful to maintain or even lose a little weight at first. What’s not okay is losing weight because you’re intentionally cutting calories (and, as a result, limiting nutrients).

Can I still have a healthy pregnancy if I am obese?

Despite the risks, you can have a healthy pregnancy if you are obese. It takes careful management of your weight, attention to diet and exercise, regular prenatal care to monitor for complications, and special considerations for your labor and delivery.

How to stay on track with weight gain if you’re overweight or obese?

Exercising and eating healthy food can help you with your weight gain goals, and both can have a positive impact on your pregnancy, reducing your risk of pregnancy problems like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. They’ll also help you feel good during your pregnancy and beyond.

How does obesity affect labor and delivery?

Overweight and obese women have longer labors than women of normal weight. It can be harder to monitor the baby during labor. For these reasons, obesity during pregnancy increases the likelihood of having a cesarean delivery. If a cesarean delivery is needed, the risks of infection, bleeding, and other complications are greater for an obese woman than for a woman of normal weight.

Eat a healthy pregnancy diet and Exercise regularly Some women do lose weight during pregnancy if they make healthy diet and lifestyle changes, so make sure to check in with your doctor if this happens to you.

 

Resources:

https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Obesity-and-Pregnancy

Dental Care and Pregnancy

It’s important for you to take good care of your teeth and gums while pregnant. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that increase the risk of developing gum disease which, in turn, can affect the health of your developing baby.  

Pregnancy and dental work questions are common for expecting moms. Preventive dental cleanings and annual exams during pregnancy are not only safe but are recommended. The rise in hormone levels during pregnancy causes the gums to swell, bleed, and trap food causing increased irritation to your gums.

Does regular dental work during pregnancy safe?

Dental work while pregnant, such as cavity fillings and crowns, should be treated to reduce the chance of infection. If dental work is done during pregnancy, the second trimester is ideal. Once you reach the third trimester, it may be very difficult to lie on your back for an extended period of time.

The safest course of action is to postpone all unnecessary dental work until after the birth.

However, sometimes emergency dental work, such as a root canal or tooth extraction, is necessary. Elective treatments, such as teeth whitening and other cosmetic procedures, should be postponed until after the birth. It is best to avoid this dental work while pregnant and avoid exposing the developing baby to any risks, even if they are minimal.

Dental problems that commonly arise during pregnancy include:

  • Gingivitis. Thanks to hormonal changes that exaggerate your body’s response to bacteria in your mouth, pregnant women are more likely to develop this mild form of gum disease, which can cause irritation, redness, swelling, bad breath and possible bleeding.
  • Cavities. Between the need to up your caloric intake and those intense food cravings, you’re probably doing more snacking these days—which can lead to cavities. If you’re suffering from nausea and vomiting, the increased acidity in your mouth can also lead to tooth decay.
  • Gum tumors. If you develop round, red lumps along your gum line, you can chalk them up to hormonal changes and possibly a buildup of plaque. These pregnancy tumors, as they’re known, are rare, but tend to develop during your second trimester and are completely benign, usually fading away after the baby is born.
  • Enamel erosion. If your morning sickness is causing you to vomit frequently, the acids can begin to erode your tooth enamel, increasing your risk of tooth decay.

Dental Care While Pregnant

  • Tell your dentist (and doctor) if you are pregnant. Routine dental care can be done at any time during pregnancy.  Any urgent procedure can be done, as well. All elective dental procedures, however, should be postponed until after the delivery. Before you have your dental appointment, check with your obstetrician to see if she has any special precautions/instructions for you.
  • Tell your dentist the names and dosages of all drugs you are taking – including medications and prenatal vitamins prescribed by your doctor – as well as any specific medical advice your doctor has given you. Your dentist may need to alter your dental treatment plan based on this information.
  • Dental X-rays can be done during pregnancy. Your dentist will use extreme caution to safeguard you and your babies, such as shielding your abdomen and thyroid.  Advances in technology have made X-rays much safer today than in past decades.
  • Don’t skip your dental checkup appointment simply because you are pregnant. Now more than any other time, regular periodontal (gum) exams are very important because pregnancy causes hormonal changes that put you at increased risk for periodontal disease and for tender gums that bleed easily – a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. Pay particular attention to any changes in your gums during pregnancy. If tenderness, bleeding or gum swelling occurs at any time during your pregnancy, talk with your dentist or periodontist as soon as possible.
  • Follow good oral hygiene practices to prevent and/or reduce oral health problems.

After You’ve Had Your Baby

If you experienced any gum problems during your pregnancy, see your dentist soon after delivery to have your entire mouth examined and periodontal health evaluated.

 

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Resources:

http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/dental-work-and-pregnancy/

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF READING WHILE PREGNANT

Many studies show that reading (particularly from the mother’s relaxing voice) causes a baby’s fetal heart rate to drop. Also, the bond that is experienced between parent and child, later on, can start to occur while Mama or Papa read to the baby prenatally. Participation in reading is also a great way for other family members to connect with the baby.

Reading is one of the most vital talents a child needs in order to be successful in life. Books are one’s best friend and the early we inculcate this habit, it is excellent for the child.  Reading while pregnancy not only increases the knowledge but also helps in making the bond between the mother and the baby stronger. It also triggers better concentration, a good attention span, distressing the mother of her tensions, resulting in a smarter baby.

How Does Reading During Pregnancy Increase Baby’s Intelligence?

A baby’s nerve pathways in the ears and neural system in the brain start developing as early as the twenty-sixth week, which is when the baby will begin responding to sounds and voices regularly. Introducing music and words while your baby is still growing inside of you may increase your baby’s intelligence; many expectant parents can start talking to their babies in the womb, reading to them and playing soothing music to generate a response from their developing brains. Reading provides auditory stimulation for babies’ growing brains and can acclimate children to the sounds of their parents’ voices.

Why is it important to read to your baby?

As stated earlier reading comes with its own pack of benefits for a baby when stories, rhymes, and lullabies are read to her. However, a few points can be taken to notice which help in illustrating the importance of reading to a baby. Given below are few of them:

  • Reading to a baby helps in grasping the rare words thus increasing vocabulary.
  • Reading helps foster good attention span and also in memorizing.
  • Babies can easily understand the meanings of the word.
  • With reading, the closeness between the mother and the baby increases.
  • Babies already get used to reading and this love helps them with their learnings in the future.
  • Reading at an early age helps in brain development and speech improvement.
  • When rhymes and stories are read to a baby in a repetitive manner, it makes the process interactive and full of fun, making it easy for the baby to remember.

When should I start reading to my baby in the womb?

About six months along, a baby is already quite familiar with the sounds of the womb, from the mother’s heartbeat to digestive sounds. From outside the womb, sounds are extremely clear, although about 10 decibels lower. From week 25 forward, a baby’s primary connection and information to the outside world come in the form of sound. By this point, the soothing, rhythmic sounds of a simple story should be quite audible, although the tones and cadences of the voice are more important than enunciation of the actual words.  

Benefits of Reading to a Baby in the Womb?

As per researches, reading to your unborn is loaded with benefits for the mother-child duo. Some of the benefits are discussed as under:

  • Reduction of Maternal Stress and Anxiety- Reading to the baby helps in reducing prenatal stress and worries. A study shows that when a mother reads to a baby in the womb, the heart rate of the baby seems to drop and she calms down and shows less movement stating she is enjoying the read.
  • Improves Bonding Behaviour –The bond between mother and the baby becomes stronger by reading to the unborn baby as the baby starts getting familiar with the mother’s voice and can identify soft and loud tones of music. She feels more relaxed when soft music is played as it helps in resting due to its comforting quality just like a lullaby, whereas if the baby is sleepy and loud music is played, it in turns kicks as it dislikes it. Even the father by just participating in a reading activity, singing or talking to the baby will help in making the bond stronger.
  • Enhanced Concentration and Attention Span- Once the mother starts reading to the baby, they pick up the melody of the song, even though the words do not mean anything to them but they start identifying the voice of the mother. The child also tends to listen to it for a longer time resulting in increased attention span and concentration levels. Repetitive words also get stored in the memory of the unborn and this helps them further when they start their schooling.

Best Types of Books to Read During Pregnancy

Even though your baby can’t understand the real meaning behind the words he hears, he can pick up the rhythm and tone of the sentences and will respond to how the mother responds to whatever she reads. Reading thrillers or horror stories can raise stress levels in the pregnant mother, which can trigger an anxiety response in the baby. Selecting soothing, lighthearted and fun reading material is the best way to entertain your baby during pregnancy, and children’s books are a good resource for short stories that may benefit both the mother and the infant. Since babies typically have short attention spans, dividing reading sessions into small segments hold their attention long enough to derive the full benefit from this experience.

Thus, it can be seen that with an early start of reading to the baby far-reaching results are achieved. So it is best to kick start early for making the mother-baby bond stronger and helping the mother destress from maternal worries and stress. Finally to let the mother enjoy gradually along with the baby, relax, be calm and enjoy the enjoyable moments of parenting leading to strong and firm relationships and a happy, secure and comfortable future that beckons.

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Resources:

https://www.beingtheparent.com/does-reading-books-during-pregnancy-make-the-child-smart/

https://www.modernmom.com/617de90a-48c3-11e3-87f1-bc764e04a41e.html

https://www.greenchildmagazine.com/reading-to-unborn-baby/