Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring During Labor

What is Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring?

Fetal heart rate monitoring is a procedure used to evaluate the well-being of the fetus by assessing the rate and rhythm and the presence or absence of accelerations (increases) or decelerations (decreases) of the fetal heartbeat. It also checks how much the fetal heart rate changes around the baseline. The average fetal heart rate is between 110 and 160 beats per minute and can vary five to 25 beats per minute. The fetal heart rate may change as the fetus responds to conditions in the uterus. An abnormal fetal heart rate or pattern may mean that the fetus is not getting enough oxygen or there are other problems. An abnormal pattern also may mean that an emergency cesarean delivery is needed. 

How is fetal monitoring performed? 

Using a handheld Doppler (a type of ultrasound) to listen and measure the response of the fetus’s heart rate to contractions of the uterus. This is often used during prenatal visits to count the fetal heart rate or in a pregnancy less than 24 weeks. Electronic fetal monitoring is used in late pregnancy to evaluate the fetus or to check fetal well-being during labor. It provides an ongoing record that can be read. The procedure for monitoring the fetal heart rate is painless, but internal monitoring can be uncomfortable. There are very few risks associated with this procedure, so it’s routinely done on all women in labor and delivery. 

  • The gel is applied to the mother’s abdomen to act as a medium for the ultrasound transducer.
  • The ultrasound transducer is attached to the abdomen with straps and transmits the fetal heartbeat to a recorder. The fetal heart rate is displayed on a screen and printed onto special paper.
  • During contractions, an external tocodynamometer (a monitoring device that is placed over the top of the uterus with a belt) can record the patterns of contractions.
  • Sometimes, internal fetal monitoring is necessary for a more accurate reading of the fetal heart rate. Your bag of waters (amniotic fluid) must be broken and your cervix must be partially dilated to use internal monitoring. Internal fetal monitoring involves inserting an electrode through the dilated cervix and attaching the electrode to the scalp of the fetus, called a fetal scalp electrode.

There are two methods for fetal heart rate monitoring

  • External fetal heart rate monitoring uses a device to listen to or record the fetal heartbeat through the mother’s abdomen. One type of monitor is a hand-held electronic Doppler ultrasound device. This method is often used during prenatal visits to count the fetal heart rate. A Doppler device may also be used to check the fetal heart rate at regular intervals during labor. Continuous electronic fetal heart monitoring may be used during labor and birth. An ultrasound transducer placed on the mother’s abdomen conducts the sounds of the fetal heart to a computer. The rate and pattern of the fetal heart are displayed on the computer screen and printed onto the special graph paper.
  • Internal fetal heart rate monitoring uses an electronic transducer connected directly to the fetal scalp.  A wire called an electrode is used. It is placed on the part of the fetus closest to the cervix, usually the scalp. This type of electrode is sometimes called a spiral or scalp electrode. Internal monitoring provides a more accurate and consistent transmission of the fetal heart rate than external monitoring because factors such as movement do not affect it. Uterine contractions also may be monitored with a special tube called an intrauterine pressure catheter that is inserted through the vagina into your uterus. Internal monitoring can be used only after the membranes of the amniotic sac have ruptured (after “your water breaks” or is broken). Internal monitoring may be used when external monitoring of the fetal heart rate is inadequate, or closer surveillance is needed. After internal fetal heart rate monitoring, the electrode site on the newborn baby will be examined for infection, bruising, or a laceration. The site may be cleansed with an antiseptic.

Risk:

Fetal monitoring is widely used. There are no known risks to using the fetoscope, Doppler, or external monitoring. There may be a slight risk of infection with internal monitoring. The scalp electrode may also cause a mark or small cut on the baby’s head, but this usually heals quickly. An abnormal fetal heart rate pattern does not always mean the fetus is in danger. Electronic fetal monitoring is widely used in the United States. However, studies have found that the use of electronic fetal monitoring is associated with a greater chance for vacuum and forceps use with vaginal deliveries, and for cesarean delivery.

Benefits:

Fetal monitoring may help with a possible recognition of problems in the fetus. Other testing or delivery may be necessary.

Why is fetal heart rate monitoring done during labor and delivery?

Fetal heart rate monitoring may help detect changes in the normal heart rate pattern during labor. If certain changes are detected, steps can be taken to help treat the underlying problem. Fetal heart rate monitoring also can help prevent treatments that are not needed. A normal fetal heart rate can reassure both you and your obstetrician-gynecologist (ob-gyn) or other health care professional that it is safe to continue labor if no other problems are present.

What happens if the fetal heart rate pattern is abnormal?

Abnormal fetal heart rate patterns do not always mean there is a problem. Other tests may be done to get a better idea of what is going on with your fetus.

If there is an abnormal fetal heart rate pattern, your ob-gyn or other health care professional will first try to find the cause. Steps can be taken to help the fetus get more oxygen, such as having you change position. If these procedures do not work, or if further test results suggest your fetus has a problem, your ob-gyn or other health care professional may decide to deliver right away. In this case, the delivery is more likely to be by cesarean birth or with forceps or vacuum-assisted 

There is no special type of care required after external fetal heart rate monitoring. You may resume your normal diet and activity unless your health care provider advises you differently.

Your health care provider may give you additional or alternate instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular situation.

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.

WAYS TO PREPARE FOR BREASTFEEDING BEFORE BABY ARRIVES

Breastfeeding your child is a personal matter that you will need to think about and come to a decision about before your baby is born. Your baby is unique, and the decision is up to you. Getting good advice while you’re pregnant can help you to feel more confident about starting breastfeeding  It’s also one that’s likely to draw strong opinions from friends and family.

Many experts advise to exclusively breastfeed your child for six months. This is because breast milk has everything your baby needs in order to develop into a strong and healthy toddler; it has the ideal mix of protein, vitamins, and fat.

Your first milk is liquid gold. Called liquid gold for its deep yellow color, colostrum (coh-LOSS-trum) is the thick first milk that you make during pregnancy and just after birth. This milk is very rich in nutrients and includes antibodies to protect your baby from infections. Plus, babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, their immune system is strengthened, enabling it to life-threatening illnesses like pneumonia and diarrhea amongst other infections.

Here are some ways to prepare:

Take A Class: Many hospitals and birthing clinics have breastfeeding 101 classes. You will be able to learn everything you need to know about breastfeeding, including hygiene and the different positions you can try to help your baby latch on quickly. Not just that, but you will meet other expectant mothers there that you can probably relate with and will be able to share the ups and downs of the adventure with.

Massage Your Breasts: This is how you prepare breasts for breastfeeding during pregnancy. You may be concerned about how big or small your nipples are, this really has nothing to do with breastfeeding. What you do need to do is to have your nipples checked to see if they are flat or inverted. During the last six weeks of your pregnancy, massage your breasts in order to clear your milk ducts. Keep your breasts well moisturized to prevent any cracking from taking place later on. Breast shells can be used to bring the nipple out in case you have flat or inverted nipples.

Steps you can do right after: You will need nursing bras, pads, ointment for sore nipples and comfortable clothes to nurse in. These are the bare necessities of breastfeeding. You should also consider investing in a good nursing pillow, as it can greatly ease the physical pain mothers experience while breastfeeding, and open up more breastfeeding positions for you to try

Family and Friends: You will want to know who to call should you have a problem. Go to a woman that you trust.  it could be a member of the family, like your mother or aunt or even a close friend who has breastfed before. Most older women are delighted to help the younger generation learn, especially about motherhood. A lot of women face certain difficulties during breastfeeding, and they will be able to shed some light on the area for you and give you tips on how to cope. As they are also already experienced, they will be able to give good support to you if you feel like you need any help or even just for someone to talk to.

Discuss it With Your Doctor: If you are concerned about anything related to breastfeeding, such as if any of the supplements that you take will affect your baby during the nursing period, you can always consult your doctor.  Your doctor will be able to advise you on what you can take that will ensure that your child does not suffer any side effects. Some women may have breast implants or may have undergone breast surgery. In cases like these, you should always ask for your doctor’s advice on whether or not they will have an impact on breastfeeding. If you have had the surgery and don’t remember what type of procedure was done, you can request a copy of your medical records. Your doctor or midwife can help you sort through the records and figure out your best course of action. 

Remember, Babies who are born naturally and with as little medical intervention as possible are more likely to breastfeed well, and those who were born with more medical assistance have lower rates of successful breastfeeding. While there are many exceptions to this, natural births do increase the chances of success during breastfeeding.

SIMPLE GUIDE TO SLEEPING WELL DURING PREGNANCY

During pregnancy, you may find yourself wrestling in bed trying to get comfortable before falling asleep. Unfortunately, your regular sleeping positions may no longer work for you during pregnancy. There are a number of reasons for this new discomfort, but there are some sleeping positions that you can try that may help you get your much-needed rest.

What Are The Best Sleep Positions During Pregnancy?

The best sleep position during pregnancy is “SOS” (sleep on side). Even better is to sleep on your left side. Sleeping on your left side will increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and your baby.

Keep your legs and knees bent, and put a pillow between your legs.

  • If you find that you are having problems with back pain, use the “SOS” position, and try placing a pillow under your abdomen as well.
  • If you are experiencing heartburn during the night, you may want to try propping your upper body with pillows.
  • In late pregnancy, you may experience shortness of breath.  Try lying on your side or propped up with pillows.

These suggestions may not sound completely comfortable, especially if you are used to sleeping on your back or stomach, but try them out.  You may find that they work. Keep in mind that you may not stay in one position all night, and rotating positions is fine.

What Sleep Positions During Pregnancy Should I Avoid?

Sleeping on Your Back. Throughout your pregnancy, you should avoid sleeping on your back. While it may be safe during your first trimester, the biggest no-no with resting this way is that it causes your increasingly heavy abdomen and uterus to press down on the major vein that works to return blood from your lower body to your heart. So lying on your back can make you feel lightheaded and dizzy, and also interfere with the delivery of blood and nutrients to the placenta and your growing baby. Other issues that can arise are backaches, difficulty breathing, digestive system problems, hemorrhoids, low blood pressure, and decreased circulation in you and the baby.

 

Sleeping on Your Stomach. After the fifth month of your pregnancy, it’s apparent that sleeping on your tummy isn’t the most comfortable way to fall asleep, and that’s because of your expanding uterus. It might feel like you’re trying to sleep on a huge watermelon! If you’re afraid that this position may end up hurting the baby, don’t be. Even at nine months, the uterine walls provide enough protection for the little one. In other words, medically speaking, it’s safe to sleep in this position, but it may not be the most comfortable posture for you.

Does Lack Sleep Harm Your Baby?

It will not harm your baby as sleep problems are common during pregnancy. But, you should listen to your body when it asks you to rest or slow down. Less sleep in early pregnancy can increase the risk of pre-eclampsia and high blood pressure in mothers.

Sleeping Aids During Pregnancy: 

Sleep aids help in offering you comfortable and sound sleep, especially during your first and third trimesters, which are tough times of pregnancy.

1. Pillows:

Pillows can help you avoid sleepless nights.

For back and belly support –Tuck one pillow between your bent knees to support your lower back. It will also make your side sleeping position comfortable. You can use a full-body pillow for your back or front. It gives you the right support while lying on your side.

You can try various pillows, either regularly used ones or those available specifically for pregnancy use. You may use body-length, U or C-shaped pillows, or wedge-shaped pillows to support your tummy or chest.

If you are suffering from heartburn – You can keep one extra pillow beneath your head to elevate it while you are sleeping. It helps in keeping the stomach acids in place due to gravity rather than letting them travel back to the esophagus.

If you have hip pain – If you experience body pains or hip pain while lying on the side, a firm mattress will help. An egg-crate foam mattress can be placed on your regular mattress. It will support your torso and limbs, and give you comfortable sleep devoid of aching hips.

2. Food And Drink:

What you eat and drink, and when you take them will also affect your sleep quality. Avoid caffeine and sugar, which are the common sleep snatchers. A glass of warm milk before bedtime is an age-old remedy for good sleep.

For low blood sugar – If headaches, bad dreams, or intense sweating disturb your sleep, you may be suffering from low blood sugar levels. You can take protein-packed snacks such as peanut butter, egg, or turkey, before bedtime to keep blood sugar levels high during sleep.

For Nausea – Nausea can develop because of an empty stomach. Therefore you should have a light snack containing carbohydrates and proteins before bedtime. Good options include a half sandwich with milk, high-protein cereal with milk, or a high protein smoothie. You can eat some bland, dry snacks like pretzels, rice cakes, and crackers if you happen to wake up feeling nauseous.

For heartburn and indigestion – Avoid taking large meals before bedtime or late in the day. Sleeping on a full stomach will worsen the condition.

3. Scheduled Sleep:

Planning your sleep time is also vital during pregnancy. You should try taking naps whenever possible. The best time is between two and four p.m. You can break them into two 30-minute naps rather than one long 2-hour sleep. Do not take excessive fluids after six p.m. as they reduce nocturnal bathroom visits.

Women who have a good night’s sleep early in their pregnancy have better health later on, according to new research. Sleep researchers have found pregnant women who have too little or too much sleep in the first three months of pregnancy have higher blood pressures in the third trimester.

 

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 other qualified healthcare providers 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/sleeping-positions-during-pregnancy/ 

https://sleep.org/articles/best-pregnancy-sleep-position/ 

 

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.