Labor and Delivery Recovery (Postpartum Recovery)

You’ve finally put 40 (or so) weeks of pregnancy and long hours of childbirth behind you, and you’re officially a mother. Congratulations! Now comes the transition from pregnancy to postpartum, which brings with it a variety of new symptoms and questions.

Your delivery may have been complicated or easy. You may have had a cesarean birth (C-section) or vaginal delivery. You may have labored for a few hours or a few days. No matter what your delivery looked like, your body has been through a trauma just the same. It is going to need time to recover.

How Long Does It Take to Recover After Giving Birth?

Your postpartum recovery won’t be just a few days. Fully recovering from pregnancy and childbirth can take months. While many women feel mostly recovered by 6-8 weeks, it may take longer than this to feel like yourself again. During this time, you may feel as though your body has turned against you. Try not to get frustrated. Remember that your body is not aware of your timelines and expectations. The best thing you can do for it is rest, eat well, and give yourself a break.

If you’ve had a vaginal birth, you’re probably also wondering how long it will take for the soreness to go away and your perineum to heal. Recovery can take anywhere from three weeks if you didn’t tear to six weeks or more if you had a perineal tear or an episiotomy. Wondering if your vagina will ever be the same after birth? Not exactly, though it will likely be very close.

If you delivered by C-Section, expect to spend the first three to four days postpartum in the hospital recovering; it will take four to six weeks before you’re feeling back to normal. Depending on whether you pushed and for how long, you can also expect to have some perineal pain.

Here is more of what you can expect during your postpartum recovery

Abdominal pain. As your uterus shrinks back into its normal size and shape, you will feel pain in your abdomen (lower belly). These pains are called “afterpains.” Most of these pains will be dull, but some will be sharp. You may feel more of these pains as you breastfeed your baby. That is because breastfeeding stimulates a chemical in your body that causes the uterus to contract (tighten). For many women, applying heat to the area helps control the pain. Consider using a heating pad or hot water bottle. Your abdominal pain should ease up over time. If these pains get worse or don’t let up, you should call your doctor.

Baby blues. You are so excited and happy to bring baby home. The next minute, though, you are sad. It can be confusing, especially to new moms. Know that many women (70-80%) struggle with feeling sad the first few weeks after having a baby. It is commonly called the “baby blues” and is caused by hormone changes. It is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, confiding in a friend of family member can often make you feel better. If these feelings last more than a few weeks or you are not able to function because of them, you could have postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is more serious than baby blues. If you have severe feelings of sadness or hopelessness, you should call your doctor.

Constipation. It is very common to be constipated in the days following childbirth. There are several things that could cause this. If you received any pain-relieving drugs in the hospital, they could slow down your bowels. If you had anesthesia (a pain blocker) for any reason, that also can cause it. Sometimes, postpartum constipation is brought on simply by fear. This is true especially if you have stitches because you had an episiotomy (a surgical cut between the vagina and anus to widen the vaginal opening for childbirth) or tore this area during delivery. You may be afraid of damaging the stitches or be afraid that a bowel movement will cause even more pain in that area. To help ease constipation, drink plenty of water and try to eat foods that offer a lot of fiber. In many cases, you may want to talk to your doctor about prescribing a stool softener (such as Colace or Docusoft). If you haven’t had a bowel movement by four days postpartum, call your doctor.

Hemorrhoids. You may have developed hemorrhoids (painful swelling of a vein in the rectum) during your pregnancy. If not, you may have gotten them from the strain and pushing during delivery. They can cause pain and bleed after a bowel movement. They also itch. You can get some relief from the pain and itching by applying witch hazel to your hemorrhoids. This is especially effective if you keep the witch hazel in the refrigerator. Your hemorrhoids should shrink over time. If not, contact your doctor.

Hormonal shifts. Besides fueling your mood swings (see “Baby blues,” above), hormones are also responsible for other postpartum symptoms. You may be sweating more, especially at night when you sleep. Just make sure that your sweating is not accompanied by a fever. That could be a sign of infection. Hormonal changes also cause hair loss for many new moms. This is only temporary. When your estrogen levels increase, your hair will return to its normal thickness.

Perineum soreness. The perineum is the area between your vagina and anus. Many times, this area will tear during childbirth. Other times, your doctor may have to make a small cut in this area to widen your vagina for childbirth. Even if neither of these things happened during your vaginal birth, you perineum will be sore and possibly swollen postpartum. You may feel discomfort in this area for several weeks. While you recover, sitting on an ice pack several times a day for 10 minutes will help relieve the pain. This is especially good to do after going to the bathroom. During the first week postpartum, also use a squirt bottle to rinse the perineum with warm water after using the toilet. Notify your doctor if your perineum area does not get less sore each day or you have any sign of infection.

Sore nipples and breasts. For achy breasts, try using a warm compress or ice packs and gentle massage. Also be sure to wear a comfortable nursing bra. If you’re breastfeeding, let your breasts air out after every nursing session and apply a lanolin cream to prevent or treat cracked nipples.

Stitches. If you have stitches due to a torn or cut perineum it will take 7-10 days to heal. The stitches will absorb over time. It is important that you keep the stitches from getting infected by gently cleaning them with warm water after each time you use the toilet. Do this by using a squirt bottle to rinse the area and pat it dry. Do not wipe the area with toilet paper or you could irritate the stitched area. No matter how eager you are to check the healing progress, try to keep your hands off the stitches. If the area begins to hurt worse or the stitches seem weepy, contact your doctor. It could be a sign of infection.

If you have stitches from a cesarean birth (C-section), these heal in varying degrees. The stitches in the skin should heal in 5-10 days. The underlying stitches in your muscle layer will take longer to heal. These won’t completely heal for 12 weeks. For the stitches that you can see, make sure to watch for any signs of infection. These signs include if the incision area is red, swollen, or weeping pus; or if you have a fever.

Vaginal bleeding and discharge. After you give birth, postpartum bleeding (this is called lochia) can last for up to six weeks. It will be just like a very heavy period made up of leftover blood, tissue from your uterus and mucus. Bleeding is heaviest for the first three to 10 days, then it will taper off going from red to pink to brown to yellowish-white. If you spot large clots or you’re bleeding through more than one pad every hour, call your doctor right away to rule out postpartum hemorrhage. During this time, tampons are off-limits, so you’ll have to rely on pads.

Water retention. You may be eager for that swelling you noticed during your pregnancy to go away. It won’t, though, for a while longer. Also known as postpartum edema (swelling), your body will continue to hold on to water because of an increase in a hormone called progesterone. You may notice the swelling in your hands, legs, and feet. It shouldn’t last much longer than a week after delivery. If it does or if it seems to get worse over time, be sure to tell your doctor.

Postpartum Recovery Checklist

Here are a few things you’ll want to make your postpartum recovery go as smoothly as possible:

  • Acetaminophen. It can help with perineal pain and overall aches.
  • Maxi pads. You’ll probably need these for at least a couple of weeks until postpartum bleeding lets up.
  • Ice packs. There are lots of ways to ice your perineal area from frozen padsicles to your standard lunchbox ice blocks (wrapped in paper towels, of course, to avoid frostbite).
  • Witch hazel pads. This is often used in combination with ice packs to ease vaginal pain and help with hemorrhoids.
  • Sitz bath. This little tub is designed for you to just sit and soak away the postpartum pain.
  • Peri or squirt bottle. You’ll use this to rinse off your perineal area before/after peeing as the area heals.
  • Cotton underpants. Go for the “granny” or hospital gauze underwear, comfort is much more important for now than looking sexy.
  • Nursing bras. Invest in a few comfy ones that fit you well.
  • Lanolin. The cream works wonders to prevent and treat cracked nipples.
  • Nursing pads. If you’re planning to breastfeed, these will help keep leaky nipples under wraps.
  • Lidocaine spray. It helps ease the pain of postpartum hemorrhoids.
  • Stool softener. In case you get stopped up, this can gently help get things going.
  • Postpartum recovery belt. If you think you might want one, the Belly Bandit or other similar belts can help keep things in place as your belly shrinks back to size.
  • Heating pad. This can help ease aches and pains in your breasts.

Things to consider

Pay attention to your body after giving birth. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.

Just because you’ve made it through delivery, you are not necessarily out of danger for health complications. There are life-threatening problems related to childbirth that can happen days or weeks after delivery.

  • Postpartum hemorrhage is rare but can happen. If your postpartum bleeding is filling more than a pad every hour, you should contact your doctor immediately. Without treatment, postpartum hemorrhage can be fatal.
  • Headaches that are severe and don’t go away can also signal an underlying problem, especially coupled with high blood pressure. You could be in danger of having a stroke.
  • Deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot in a deep vein) is a somewhat uncommon problem (1 in every 1,000 pregnancies) that can occur during or after pregnancy. Symptoms include leg pain or feeling like you have a pulled muscle. Your leg may also be red and hot to the touch. Left untreated, these clots can break away and travel to your lungs. When this happens, it can be life-threatening.
  • Postpartum preeclampsia is rare and can develop within 48 hours after childbirth or as late as six weeks after childbirth. It is similar to preeclampsia (also called toxemia), which can occur while you’re pregnant. Both preeclampsia and postpartum preeclampsia cause your blood vessels to constrict (get smaller). This results in high blood pressure and also distresses your internal organs. Sometimes there are no obvious symptoms unless you are monitoring your blood pressure. When you do have symptoms, they may include a severe headache, swelling of your hands and feet, blurred vision, and sudden weight gain. If you suspect you may have postpartum preeclampsia, call your doctor immediately.

When to see a doctor

You’ll usually visit your doctor about 6 weeks after delivery. She’ll check your vagina, cervix, and uterus as well as your weight and blood pressure. Once you’ve gotten the all-clear from her, it’s usually fine to start having sex again (ask your doctor about birth control first) and to get back to an exercise routine.

Before your checkup, call your doctor right away if you have:

  • Heavy vaginal bleeding that soaks more than one pad per hour or vaginal bleeding that increases each day instead of decreasing
  • Passing large clots (bigger than a quarter)
  • Chills and/or a fever of more than 100.4°F
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Painful urination or difficulty urinating
  • Vaginal discharge with a strong odor
  • Heart palpitations, chest pain or difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • The incision from C-section or episiotomy is red, weepy (with pus), or swollen
  • Abdominal (lower belly) pain that is getting worse or new abdominal pain
  • Sore breasts that are red or feel hot to the touch
  • Pain in your legs with redness or swelling.

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://familydoctor.org/recovering-from-delivery/

https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/recovery-vaginal-delivery#3

The ULTIMATE Hospital Bag Checklist

Have everything ready to go when you’re 8 months pregnant, since you could go into labor at any time in the weeks before your due date. You may want to pack two small bags for the hospital or birth center: one for the items you’ll need during labor, and another for items that you won’t need until after you give birth.

Stay sane on delivery day by preparing your hospital bag ahead of time. Here is our complete list of stuff you won’t want to forget.

LABOR BAG

Smartphone and Charger. A camera or video camera with batteries, charger, and memory card. Someone has to document the big event! Some hospitals don’t allow videotaping of the birth itself, but there’s usually no rule against filming during labor or after the birth. If you plan on using your phone to take photos or video, make sure it’s fully charged and pack your charger. Note: Not all hospitals let you use plugs in the delivery room, so you might want to bring a battery-powered charger or another way to charge your devices that doesn’t require a plug.

Important Documents. Bring copies of your birth plan (if you have one), a picture ID, health insurance information, and hospital registration forms. Even if you’ve already registered at the hospital, some hospitals need to confirm your records before they can admit you.

Your birth plan (if you have one) and your insurance information.

Music. Take your iPod, MP3 player or a CD player and some CDs. Some hospitals provide their own CD players and iPod docks so you may ask what they will have available in your room. 

Hair Care Products. If you have long hair, you may want it tied up since it can get in the way during labor. It’s recommended getting the ones that don’t leave a kink in your hair. That way if you want to take pictures with your hair down after the birth, you won’t have a crease in your hair! (Avoid wearing clips in labor. They can poke you!)

Nursing Bra. Bring a nursing tank or bra (buy them at the end of your pregnancy most women are about that same size (postpartum) that’s comfy enough to sleep in.   

Sleepwear, Robe, and Underwear. A cotton nightie will be much more comfortable than a hospital gown. A robe will be handy for when you want to walk the hallways. Several pairs of undies are a must (briefs, maternity, or disposables like Depends) if you don’t want to wear the mesh underwear the hospital gives you after

Slippers and/or Heavy Socks. Keep your toes toasty and clean, whether you’re in bed or strolling around on the cold tile floor. Bring a pair that’s easily laundered, as they may get a bit dirty.

Birth Ball. These can really help you during labor. A peanut ball is particularly great for women that are preparing to have an epidural. Highly recommended. Just remember to bring a pump so your birth partner can inflate it for you if you didn’t come with it already inflated.

Lip Balm. Your lips can dry out quickly with all of the deep breathing that you will do in labor. Having some chap stick or lip balm will help.

Snacks and Drinks. First, make sure that your doctor/hospital will allow this. Most of the time they will only allow you to have ice chips when you are at the hospital in labor, but they may have sugar-free Popsicle there for you.

Cash and Change. Bring cash and change for snacks, gift-store runs, and any of your miscellaneous cravings. You not want the hospital food.

Relaxation Tools. A homemade hot pack (a sock filled with rice or beans) can bring you instant relief during active labor because it molds to your body and it can easily be warmed up in the hospital’s microwave. Other items to pack include: back massager, stress-relieving squeeze ball, and massage oil or lotion.

Toiletries. Deodorant, body wash, shampoo, facial cleansing wipes, toothpaste, a toothbrush, and moisturizer are necessities.

Extra clothes for Daddy/Partner. Had some Dad’s/partner’s change their clothes even when their partner is still in labor. They may think the room is too cold so they put on a jacket or a long sleeved shirt or they sweat too much because they’re nervous or working hard too so they need new shirts. Having some extra pairs of clean clothes is good to have on hand.

RECOVERY ROOM BAG 

Homecoming Outfit for You. Here’s a hint: You’ll need loose, comfortable clothes to wear while you’re in the hospital and for the journey home. You’ll probably still look about 5 months pregnant, so skip your non-maternity skinny and pack your favorite maternity dress or leggings and a tunic. (Trust us: Not fitting into your going-home outfit is a bummer!)

Toiletries. Pack a few personal items, such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, nursing pads (Bring a couple of packs disposable or washable), deodorant, a brush and comb, makeup, and a hairband or barrettes. Hospitals usually provide soap, shampoo, and lotion, but you might prefer your own.

Snacks. After many hours of labor, you’re likely to be pretty hungry, and you may not want to rely solely on hospital food. So bring your own crackers, fresh or dried fruit, nuts, granola bars, or whatever you think you’ll enjoy. A bottle of non alcoholic champagne might be fun for celebrating, too.

Postpartum underwear or disposable underwear. Don’t bring your nice, cute undies with you. You need big, cotton, breathable underwear. Some people even get Silhouette so they can easily toss them after using them. The hospital will have disposable undies, which some women find handy and others find gross since they are large, stretchy, mesh shorts.

Essentials to pack for your Baby  

Homecoming Outfit for Baby. Pack a newborn-size kimono-style shirt, with footed pants so you don’t have to bring socks. Make sure your baby’s outfit has legs (is not a baby “gown,” for example) so the car seat strap can fit between them. 

Car Seat. You can’t drive your baby home without one! Have a rear-facing car seat properly installed ahead of time and know how to buckle your baby in correctly. 

Blankets. The hospital will provide blankets for swaddling your baby while you’re there, but you may want to bring your own to tuck around your baby in the car seat for the ride home. Make it a heavy one if the weather’s cold. You may include: Burp cloths, Onesies, Baby hat/Bow, Nappies and Pacifier

 

10 Common Pregnancy Myths & Facts

It goes without saying that pregnancy is an exciting and equally confusing time. With just about everyone you know introducing you to new supposed truths about pregnancy, it is common for you to get lost and not know what to believe. While most myths about pregnancy cannot be backed up with facts, a few of them may be worth your consideration.

 

Common Myths about Pregnancy You Should Be Aware of

  • Myth: Pregnant women should not take a bath too often.

Pregnant women are often advised not to bathe regularly.

Fact: This myth has absolutely no foundation at all. Bathing keeps you clean and free of germs that may harm your baby. It is a good hygiene practice and should be followed during pregnancy just as you would follow it on other days.

However, do not take very hot showers as it could raise your body temperature and lead to developmental problems in the baby. As a general rule, avoid bathing in water hot enough to raise your body temperature over 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit. Water temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit is considered safe for pregnant women.

  • Myth: The shape of your belly can predict the gender of your baby. 

It is believed that if your belly is lying low then you will have a boy and you will have a girl if your belly is lying high. It is also said that a fast fetal heart rate indicates a girl and a slow fetal heart rate indicates a boy.

Fact: The elevation of the belly is entirely dependent on various physiological factors of the woman. Actually, stomach muscles stretch with subsequent pregnancies. So, if a woman’s belly is higher up, it probably just means she has strong abdominal muscles or it’s her first pregnancy.

  • Myth: Eat for Two During Pregnancy    

A popular notion present in most societies that you will be eating for two when you get pregnant.

Fact: A pregnant woman only needs to add a portion of extra calories to support the baby and not have meals that are made for two people. The exact quantity of calories depends on the weight, height, level of activity of the women, as well as the trimester of pregnancy. On average, women need to consume about 300 additional calories during pregnancy.

  • Myth: An Occasional Glass of Wine Is Okay During Pregnancy 

Some believe that drinking an occasional glass of wine is harmless during pregnancy and can have no bearing on your baby.

Fact: Alcohol should be avoided at all costs during pregnancy. This is because there has been no study about the quantity of alcohol that is considered safe when you are pregnant. A mother who has consumed alcohol during pregnancy may put her baby at risk of FASD (Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder). Babies of mothers who’ve consumed alcohol also have a higher chance of having congenital disabilities, brain, and cell damage.

  • Myth: You Shouldn’t Have Sex During Pregnancy

It is believed that sex during pregnancy can cause miscarriage or may even induce labour.

Fact: Sex does not induce labour. It is completely safe to engage in intercourse with your partner during pregnancy provided it is done in a position that does not put a lot of pressure on your tummy. Your baby is within an amniotic sac that keeps it well-protected. In addition to this, your cervix also has a mucous plug to help guard your baby against infections. Prostaglandins, substances in semen, plus the contractions that occur during sex, can hasten labor in some cases. Some doctors even prescribe it.

However, doctors may advise you against it if you have complications like placenta praevia, a dilated cervix, cervical insufficiency, ruptured membranes, abnormal discharge, and if you are at the risk of premature labour.

  •  Myth: Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Exercise

Exercising while pregnant can harm the baby and cause miscarriage or induce premature labour.

Fact: Moderate walking or swimming are excellent ways to stay healthy. It may also help you prepare for the delivery. Doctors often advise women to engage in moderate exercises for the same reason. However, it is important not to overwork yourself and seek permission from your doctor before engaging in any exercise.

  • Myth: Eating Spicy Food Can Induce Labour and causes blindness in babies.

It is believed that eating hot and spicy foods can lead to miscarriage and induce labour.

Fact: There is no evidence to support this myth. The only disadvantage of eating spicy food is the heartburn and gas that you may have to suffer through later. If you include a moderate quantity of spicy food in your diet during pregnancy, it will do you no harm. Medical experts agree that spicy foods are safe to consume during pregnancy. Spicy foods will not harm your growing baby and might even help your baby develop a taste for certain spices later in life. Although most spicy dishes are safe to eat during pregnancy, avoid dishes that contain undercooked meat, poultry or seafood; unpasteurized dairy products; and fish with high traces of mercury, including swordfish, shark, and mackerel. If you are eating out, ask the waiter about dishes to ensure your dish does not include these foods, which have been known to cause birth defects.

  • Myth: You Cannot Take Flights While Pregnant

Flying during pregnancy isn’t safe for the baby due to the radiation in the airport scanners and due to the long duration of some flights.

Fact:  It is true that long flights (over 5 hours) may cause problems especially if you are prone to blood clots. Hence, it is best to avoid long flights. However, if you are in good health and have a normal pregnancy, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be flying. Most airlines have restrictions on pregnant women during late pregnancy to prevent labour on the route.    

  • Myth: Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Pet Cats 

Pregnant women as asked to stay away from cats to prevent getting in contact with parasites.

Fact: While you will not have to stay away from cats, this is partially true. Cat feces contain a virus that may cause toxoplasmosis infection. Hence, it is best not to clean your cat’s litter to avoid exposure to the virus.

  • Myth: Your Skin Will Glow During Pregnancy

It is believed that pregnancy makes your skin radiant and gives you an evident natural glow.

Fact: The pregnancy glow myth has some truth to it. During pregnancy, there is increased blood flow in your body, which keeps your skin moisturized and nourished. This, paired with a surge in hormones can contribute to a healthier and brighter looking skin.

However, not every woman is lucky to experience this. Many women also face acne breakouts and other skin problems that may leave their skin looking and feeling worse. The consolation is that most of these conditions rescind after pregnancy.

There’s so much to learn about pregnancy and still many unknowns. If you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant, work with your doctor. They can help you come up with a plan for a healthy pregnancy and delivery and can answer any questions you have about symptoms, complications, and what to expect.

 

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/pregnancy-facts

https://www.webmd.com/baby/pregnancy-myths-dos-donts#2

https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/common-myths-about-pregnancy

 

What is HELLP Syndrome?

HELLP syndrome is a rare but serious condition that can happen when you’re pregnant  or right after you have your baby. There are still many questions about the serious condition of HELLP syndrome. The cause is still unclear to many doctors and often HELLP syndrome is misdiagnosed. It is named for 3 features of the condition:

Hemolysis: This is the breakdown of red blood cells. These cells carry oxygen from your lungs to your body.

Elevated Liver Enzymes: When levels are high, it could mean there’s a problem with your liver.

Low Platelet Count: Platelets help your blood clot.

 

It is often assumed that HELLP Syndrome will always occur in connection with preeclampsia, but there are times when the symptoms of HELLP will occur without a diagnosis of preeclampsia being made. About 4-12% of women with diagnosed preeclampsia will develop HELLP syndrome. Unfortunately since the symptoms of HELLP syndrome may be the first sign of preeclampsia, this is what can often lead to a misdiagnosed. The symptoms of HELLP may cause misdiagnosed of other conditions such as hepatitis, gallbladder disease, or idiopathic/thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), which is a bleeding disorder.

Cause

The cause of HELLP syndrome is unclear. Although it is more common in women who have preeclampsia or pregnancy induced hypertension (high blood pressure during pregnancy), some women develop HELLP syndrome without showing signs of these conditions.                        

The following risk factors may increase a woman’s chance to develop HELLP syndrome:

  • Having a previous pregnancy with HELLP syndrome
  • Having preeclampsia or pregnancy induced hypertension
  • Being over age 25
  • Being Caucasian
  • Multiparous (given birth 2 or more times)

In less than 2 percent of women with HELLP syndrome, the underlying cause appears to be related to LCHAD deficiency in the fetus.

A variety of genetic factors (both in the mother and fetus) have been found to play a role in the development of preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. However, the condition is likely multifactorial. This means that several genetic and environmental factors likely interact to cause HELLP syndrome, and no one gene is thought to be responsible for the condition.   

Some women may have a genetic predisposition to developing preeclampsia and related conditions, such as HELLP syndrome. This means that certain genetic factors increase a woman’s risk to develop HELLP syndrome. However, many women with a genetic predisposition will never develop HELLP syndrome.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of HELLP syndrome include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting that continue to get worse–(This may also feel like a serious case of the flu).
  • Upper right abdominal pain or tenderness
  • Fatigue or malaise
  • Nosebleed
  • Seizures

A woman with HELLP may experience other symptoms that often can be attributed to other things such as normal pregnancy concerns or other pregnancy conditions.

  • Visual disturbances
  • High blood pressure          
  • Protein in urine
  • Edema (swelling)
  • Severe headaches
  • Bleeding that doesn’t stop as quickly as usual    

Diagnosis

If you have symptoms of HELLP syndrome, talk to your doctor. She’ll do a physical exam and tests to check for things like:

  • High Blood pressure                 
  • Pain in the upper right side of your belly
  • Enlarged Liver                             
  • Swollen legs
  • Liver Function                          
  • Blood platelet count
  • Bleeding into your liver

Treatments

The main solution for HELLP syndrome is to give birth as soon as possible. This means your baby may have to be born early. The risks are too serious for you and your baby if you stay pregnant with HELLP syndrome.

Treatment may also include:

  • Corticosteroid medicine to help your baby’s lungs develop more quickly
  • Medicine for high blood pressure
  • Meds to prevent seizures
  • Blood transfusion        

Prevention

There’s no way to prevent HELLP syndrome. Since HELLP syndrome is believed to be related to preeclampsia, staying vigilant about diet, exercise and a healthy blood pressure can only help. The best thing you can do is keep yourself healthy before and during pregnancy and watch for early signs of the condition. The following steps can help:

  • See your doctor regularly for prenatal visits.
  • Tell your doctor if you’ve had any high-risk pregnancies or someone in your family has had HELLP syndrome, preeclampsia, or other blood pressure problems.
  • Know the symptoms and call your doctor ASAP if you have them.   

                     

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://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/8528/hellp-syndrome

https://www.webmd.com/women/what-is-hellp-syndrome#1

 

Preeclampsia: Prevention, Management, and Risks

Preeclampsia is a pregnancy disorder that involves high blood pressure rises higher than 140/90 mm Hg after week 20 of your pregnancy along with other symptoms,You also may be tested for protein in your urine because of stress on your kidneys. Other names for preeclampsia include toxemia, pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH), and gestosis. Preeclampsia is one of four hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and this condition could seriously hurt you and your baby, if you don’t receive treatment, it can harm your brain, kidneys, and liver. You can also develop eclampsia, which can put both your lives at risk.

It may ease your mind to know you can greatly reduce the risk of preeclampsia by going to all your prenatal appointments. In fact, most pregnant women who have preeclampsia have healthy babies.

Learn why you are at risk and what you can do to have the safest pregnancy possible.

Am I at Increased Risk?

Up to 8% of pregnancies are affected by preeclampsia.

Your risk for developing preeclampsia is greater if you have a history of:

  • High blood pressure before pregnancy
  • Preeclampsia or high blood pressure during a past pregnancy
  • Diabetes or kidney disease
  • An autoimmune disorder such as rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, or lupus         

You are also at increased risk if you:

  • Are a teen or older than age 40
  • Obesity
  • First pregnancy
  • Twin/multiple pregnancy
  • Donor egg pregnancies
  • Family history of preeclampsia

How Does Preeclampsia Affect Pregnant Women?

If preeclampsia is not treated quickly and properly, it can lead to serious complications for the mother such as liver or renal failure and future cardiovascular issues.

Because preeclampsia affects many organ systems in the body, increased blood pressure is only one of many symptoms that may be present. Other symptoms of preeclampsia include increased protein in the urine and generalized swelling.

In some women, preeclampsia becomes very severe. Signs that the condition is worsening should be reported to your doctor immediately and include:

  • Reduced urine output
  • Trouble with vision
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Seizures

It may also lead to the following life-threatening conditions:

  • Eclampsia– This is a severe form of preeclampsia that leads to seizures in the mother.
  • HELLP Syndrome (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count)- This is a condition usually occurring late in pregnancy that affects the breakdown of red blood cells, how the blood clots, and liver function for the pregnant woman.

How Does Preeclampsia Affect Babies?

Preeclampsia affects babies primarily by reducing the amount of blood that flows through the placenta. Because the placenta is the fetus’s only source of nourishment, this can cause babies to grow poorly, a condition called intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR).

If a baby is not growing well or if the disease puts the mother’s life in danger, doctors may decide that preterm delivery is the safest approach. If there is time and the baby will be very early, doctors may administer steroids to the mother to speed the baby’s lung development, or magnesium sulfate to prevent eclampsia in the mother and to help prevent cerebral palsy.

The best way to keep you and your baby healthy throughout your pregnancy is to go to all your scheduled prenatal visits so your doctor can check your blood pressure and any other signs and symptoms of preeclampsia.

Most women still can deliver a healthy baby if preeclampsia is detected early and treated with regular prenatal care.

Throughout your pregnancy, your doctor will check:

  • Your blood pressure
  • Your blood   
  • Levels of protein in your urine
  • How your baby is growing and gaining weight

How Is Preeclampsia Treated?

If you develop mild preeclampsia, your doctor may want you to be less active. In certain cases you may need medication, bed rest, or hospitalization, especially if you have severe preeclampsia.

If you have signs of severe or worsening preeclampsia, you may require observation or treatment in a hospital setting. You will be monitored for signs of HELLP syndrome or eclampsia, and your baby’s health and growth will be monitored.

Medical treatments for preeclampsia can only address the symptoms, not the disorder itself, and include medicines to lower blood pressure and magnesium sulfate to prevent seizures. Your doctor may prescribe blood pressure medicine for you to take at home, but magnesium sulfate must be given in the hospital.

Delivery. The only way to stop preeclampsia entirely, though, is to have your baby. Even then, the condition may develop shortly after delivery and/or persist for up to six weeks. To keep you both healthy, your doctor may want to induce labor so you have your baby earlier than your due date. You may need medication to lower your blood pressure when you deliver.

Depending upon how healthy you and your baby are, your doctor may want you to have a cesarean instead of vaginal delivery.

After delivery. Preeclampsia may require that you to stay in the hospital longer after you give birth. Your blood pressure should return to a normal level a few weeks after you deliver. And preeclampsia usually doesn’t increase your risk for high blood pressure in the future.

How Can I Prevent Preeclampsia?

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent 100% of cases of preeclampsia. Studies have shown that calcium supplementation or low-dose aspirin may help some women in specific circumstances, but not enough to recommend them for all pregnant women.

Leading a healthy lifestyle can help you to reduce your risk for preeclampsia.

  • Use little or no added salt in your meals.
  • Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day.
  • Don’t eat a lot of fried foods and junk food.
  • Get enough rest.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Elevate your feet several times during the day.

 

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.verywellfamily.com/faqs-about-preeclampsia-2748465

Gestational Diabetes and Pregnancy: What you need to know

Gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM is one of the most common diet-related complications during pregnancy. It only happens during pregnancy. It means you have high blood sugar levels, but those levels were normal before you were pregnant.

In gestation, the placenta produces hormones that help the baby to grow and develop. These hormones also block the action of the insulin, which is the hormone that helps to keep glucose (or blood sugar) at normal levels. This is called insulin resistance. Because of this insulin resistance, the need for insulin in pregnancy is 2 or 3 times higher than normal. If the body is unable to produce this much insulin, gestational diabetes develops.

 

If you have it, you can still have a healthy baby with help from your doctor and by doing simple things to manage your blood sugar, also called blood glucose.

 

It is most commonly diagnosed around the third trimester (usually around the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy) and in most of the cases goes away once the baby is born. Gestational diabetes makes you more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, but it won’t definitely happen.

WHO ARE AT GREATER RISK?

It affects between 2% and 10% of pregnancies each year. Women who are at greater risk of developing gestational diabetes are:

  • Mothers who are over 25 years of age
  • Having a family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Were overweight before you got pregnant
  • Women from certain ethnic backgrounds including Vietnamese, Chinese, middle eastern, Polynesian or Melanesian.
  • Women who have had gestational diabetes
  • Women who have had large babies or obstetric complications
  • Have given birth to a baby that was stillborn or had certain birth defects            
  • A woman who has had a polycystic ovarian syndrome

Gestational Diabetes Symptoms

Women with gestational diabetes usually have no symptoms. Most learn they have it during routine pregnancy screening tests.

Rarely, especially if the gestational diabetes is out of control, you may notice: 

  • Feeling more thirsty
  • Feeling more hungry and eating more
  • A need to pee more

Gestational Diabetes Treatment

To treat your gestational diabetes, your doctor will ask you to:

  • Check your blood sugar levels four or more times a day.
  • Do urine tests that check for ketones, which mean that your diabetes is not under control
  • A balanced diet is key to properly managing gestational diabetes. In particular, women with gestational diabetes should pay special attention to their carbohydrate, protein, and fat intake.
  • Eat a healthy diet that’s in line with your doctor’s recommendations
  • Make exercise a habit

Your doctor will track how much weight you gain and let you know if you need to take insulin or other medicine for your gestational diabetes.

Why Is Managing Blood Sugar Especially Important for Pregnant Women With Gestational Diabetes?  

Most women who develop diabetes during pregnancy go on to have a healthy baby. Dietary changes and exercise may be enough to keep blood sugar (glucose) levels under control, though sometimes you may also need to take medication.

But untreated gestational diabetes can cause serious problems. If blood sugar levels remain elevated, too much glucose ends up in the baby’s blood. When that happens, the baby’s pancreas needs to produce more insulin to process the extra sugar.

Too much blood sugar and insulin can make a baby put on extra weight, which is stored as fat. This can make the baby grow very large (macrosomia).

Also, high blood sugar levels during pregnancy and labor increase the risk of a baby developing low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) after delivery. That’s because the baby’s body produces extra insulin in response to the mother’s excess glucose. Insulin lowers the amount of sugar in the blood.

The signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia in an infant include:

  • jitteriness
  • weak or high-pitched cry
  • floppiness
  • lethargy or sleepiness
  • breathing problems
  • skin that looks blue
  • trouble feeding
  • eye rolling
  • Seizures

A baby may also be at higher risk for breathing problems at birth, especially if blood sugar levels aren’t well controlled or the baby is delivered early. (If you have gestational diabetes, your baby’s lungs tend to mature a bit later). The risk of newborn jaundice is higher too.

If your blood sugar control is especially poor, the baby’s heart function could be affected as well, which can contribute to breathing problems. Gestational diabetes sometimes thickens a baby’s heart muscle (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy), causing the baby to breathe rapidly and not be able to get enough oxygen from her blood.

Can gestational diabetes be prevented?

It’s not possible to prevent gestational diabetes entirely. However, adopting healthy habits can reduce your chances of developing the condition. If you’re pregnant and have one of the risk factors for gestational diabetes, try to eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise. Even light activity, such as walking, may be beneficial.

If you’re planning to become pregnant in the near future and you’re overweight, one of the best things you can do is work with your doctor to lose weight. Even losing a small amount of weight can help you reduce your risk of gestational diabetes.

 

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.

 

Childbirth Delivery Methods and Types

Every woman’s experience is unique but most mothers would honestly say, yes, childbirth is painful. However, it is short-lived, and there are many types and methods to effectively reduce the intensity of childbirth pain. There are many choices in childbirth. Women can choose the method that makes them most comfortable, and that makes sense for their personal and medical situation.

Medical technology has made childbirth a much safer experience over the past century for both mother and baby. Hospitals have responded to trends in childbirth, such as the need for a more home-like environment in the hospital. Many hospitals now offer comfortable maternity suites that convert into state of the art delivery rooms.

An easy birth and a perfectly executed birth plan are ideal. But we know that even the most carefully planned birth can take twists and turns. In those cases, it’s important to be prepared for alternative delivery methods.

Different Kinds of Childbirth and Delivery Methods

Vaginal Delivery

In a vaginal birth, the baby is born through the birth canal. It’s hard to know when exactly you will go into labor, but most women give birth at around 38-41 weeks of pregnancy.

A vaginal birth without medication benefits both mother and baby. The microbiome, or bacterial environment, is established by birth method. There is some research that suggests the development of the infant microbiome is associated with the likelihood of developing allergic diseases during childhood, but the association isn’t clear.

 

Benefits of vaginal delivery:

  • Infants born vaginally tend to have fewer respiratory problems.
  • Quicker recovery for the mother
  • A lower rate of infection and a shorter hospital stay

Disadvantages of vaginal delivery

  • Tearing of the perineum
  • Sometimes, a vaginal birth may not be recommended for medical reasons.

Cesarean Section (C-Section) 

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 1/3 of births are delivery by C-section, although rates are highly variable by hospital and region. The World Health Organization (WHO) says the rate of Cesarean deliveries should be about 10%-15%; the higher level is because of both elective Cesareans and overuse in the U.S.4 A C-section involves a horizontal incision across the lower abdomen through which the infant is delivered. The typical hospital stay is three days after a Cesarean to ensure the incision is healing. Full recovery can take 8 weeks. One advantage of a C-section is that the delivery date can be planned ahead of time.  In certain circumstances, a C-section is scheduled in advance. In others, it’s done in response to an unforeseen complication.

Events that may require C-Section:

  • Multiples (twins, triplets, etc)
  • A very large baby
  • Previous surgery, C-Sections, or other uterine conditions
  • Baby is in breech (bottom first) or transverse (sideways) position
  • Placenta previa (when the placenta is low in the uterus and covers the cervix)
  • Fibroid or other large obstruction
  • Medical conditions/complications

Water Birth

A water birth means the mother goes through some or all of the stages of childbirth in a portable tub similar to a hot tub. The baby can be delivered underwater or the mother can get out of the water and deliver in a different position. Women chose water births because it can be more relaxing, and less painful to be in the water. Birthing tubs can be brought into the home for a home birth, and they are often found in birthing centers. Some hospitals may have birthing tubs as well.

 

Benefits of Water Birth:

  • It allows the woman to move into a variety of positions that can feel more natural and less painful.
  • The partner can also get into the tub with the mother to support the delivery.

Disadvantages of Water Birth:

  • May increase the risk of infection, but as long as the water is fresh and clean, water births are not any riskier than non-water births.
  • Unless the water birth takes place in a birth center with established tubs, there are logistics involved in setting up the tub and warming the water for a water birth.
  • If the birth plan at home does not progress normally, it may require transport to a hospital.

Lamaze Method 

The Lamaze method is typically known for controlled breathing techniques but it includes a number of comfort strategies that can be used during labor. Breathing techniques increase relaxation and decrease the perception of pain. In addition to breathing, other information about preparing for childbirth is covered. Lamaze is taught in a series of classes attended by both the mother and her partner, when possible. The Lamaze method doesn’t explicitly encourage or discourage medications but seeks to educate women about their options so they can make a birth plan that suits their individual needs.

Benefits of the Lamaze Method:

  • Lamaze training prepares the mother and her partner with a number of tools to use to get through labor and delivery naturally.
  • The breathing and relaxation techniques reduce the perception of pain and keep labor moving smoothly.
  • The Lamaze courses help the couple be prepared with what to expect over the first few days and weeks together.

Disadvantages of the Lamaze Method:

  • Learning the Lamaze method takes time. The couple must plan ahead and attend classes starting in the second trimester of pregnancy.

Vacuum Extraction 

A vacuum extraction is a procedure sometimes done during the course of vaginal childbirth. A vacuum-assisted delivery involves attaching a soft cup to the head of the infant while it is in the birth canal and a hand-held pump is used to create suction to facilitate delivery.

  • The advantage is that this assisted birth option has a lower risk than a C-section of prolonged fetal distress.
  • The risks of this method include minor scalp injuries or more serious trauma or bleeding of the head.

Forceps Delivery

A forceps delivery is a type of operative vaginal delivery. It’s sometimes needed in the course of vaginal childbirth. A forceps-assisted delivery means that curved instruments are used to facilitate the progress of the infant in the birth canal. Forceps cannot be used if the infant is breech, but it can be an option if the mother is too exhausted or if the infant has to be delivered more quickly than is naturally occurring.

 

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.medicinenet.com/7_childbirth_and_delivery_methods/article.htm#what_is_a_water_birth

What You Need to Know When You’re Pregnant with A Rainbow Baby

When you see that second pink line on a pregnancy test, your whole life transforms in the blink of an eye. Having a baby is an experience unlike any other in your lifetime, and you are filled with joy, hope, and expectation. Alongside this joy though, comes the fear of miscarriage, stillbirth, or loss of the baby you’ve dreamed about so fervently.

 

You may have seen beautiful pictures of babies draped in rainbow wraps or mothers proudly displaying rainbow T-shirts, clothing, and other memorabilia, but never really understood what they were talking about. What exactly is a ” rainbow baby?”

 

What is a Rainbow Baby?

A rainbow baby is a baby born shortly after the loss of a previous baby. A pregnancy loss could be a miscarriage or a stillbirth (which is typically defined as a baby that has passed away after 20 weeks). The baby that the parents have after the pregnancy that was a loss is called a rainbow baby. Just like the light of a rainbow only appears after the darkness of a rainy sky, a rainbow baby happens after the pain of a loss.

What to Expect If You Are Expecting a Rainbow Baby

Having a baby soon after losing one brings a slew of emotions, and many rainbow moms will tell you that not all are positive emotions. Many mothers who have weathered the loss and gone on to have another baby feel a tremendous sense of self-doubt and guilt at times. They fear that others will think they have gotten over their previous loss, or that they have moved on or replaced their baby. They fear that having a rainbow baby after stillbirth in some way dishonors their baby who has passed and that the joy of the next baby will prevent the mother from properly grieving.

If you are pregnant with a rainbow baby, you will probably experience a lot of different emotions. Many women will have fear and anxiety during their pregnancies after a loss and worry that they will have another miscarriage or that something may be wrong with the baby.

Talking with a doctor who knows your history and asking for certain accommodations, such as working with an ultrasound tech who will be sensitive to your fears, can be helpful. Some women may choose not to disclose their pregnancies to avoid difficult conversations and other women may want to let her family and friends know early on in her pregnancy for emotional support throughout the journey. Every woman is different and what you tell others about your pregnancy is entirely up to you.

 

The mom’s grief will not necessarily end with the arrival of a rainbow baby.

 

The significance of a rainbow baby

Pregnancy losses can be devastating, but most women go on to mother again. In doing so, they face the complicated emotional journey of mothering after a miscarriage or stillbirth.

How to Support Your Partner

It’s important to maintain an open line of communication throughout her pregnancy. You may not have physically experienced pregnancy, but the loss was still yours and it’s healthy to discuss how the loss of the pregnancy may have affected you and how you are feeling now.

  • Offer unconditional support – Listen without offering advice or suggesting that she feel any one way about her loss or her rainbow pregnancy.
  • Honor her as a mother – Remember that she feels like a mother even though her baby is no longer here. Embracing her motherhood may be important and healing for her. Even for mamas who miscarry early in pregnancy, their identity as a mother cannot be erased after a loss.
  • Know that grief is an ongoing, lifelong process – Don’t expect mamas to stop grieving a pregnancy loss once a rainbow baby arrives. Resist saying things like “you’ll get pregnant again” or “you’ll have another baby” to comfort her.

Navigating grief and remembering the loss

As time passes, it’s important for many parents to honor and certain dates associated with pregnancy loss. Due dates, birth dates, and death anniversaries are especially poignant. Grief knows no timeline. Many families will choose to acknowledge these dates and the existence of their angel baby long after a loss occurs.

 

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.verywellfamily.com/what-to-expect-when-pregnant-with-a-rainbow-baby-4112638

Reasons Why You May Suffer From Low Oxygen Levels

Blood oxygen level is the amount of oxygen circulating in the blood. Most of the oxygen is carried by red blood cells, which collect oxygen from the lungs and deliver it to all parts of the body.

The body closely monitors blood oxygen levels to keep them within a specific range, so that there is enough oxygen for the needs of every cell in the body.


A person’s blood oxygen level is an indicator of how well the body distributes oxygen from the lungs to every cell in your body to allow them to live and function properly.

 

Why Does oxygen Matter?

Oxygen is a very important element because we need it to live. It is a part of the air people breath and the water people drink. Many living things (including humans) need oxygen to live and breathe.

Not enough oxygen makes it to the cells and tissues that make up your body causes a condition called Hypoxia. Lack of oxygen can lead to many serious, sometimes life-threatening complications.

Hypoxia can cause problems with the mitochondria and the brain.

Mitochondria is an organelle found in large numbers in most cells, in which the biochemical processes of respiration and energy production occur and it plays a prominent role which is to produce the energy currency of the cell. Your mitochondria need oxygen.

Mitochondrial problems are at the heart of all chronic diseases.

When your mitochondria are working well, you will build up healthy levels of ATP and NAD+ levels, which are important for energy utilization and metabolism.

ATP converts to a cyclic AMP, which is a critical messenger molecule for so many cellular processes. the cAMP is needed for the regulation of glycogen, sugar, and lipid metabolism.

The following hormones also require adequate cAMP levels to function optimally: FSH, LH, ADH (V2=kidneys), TSH, CRH, hCG, ACTH, MSH, PTH, PTH, GHRH, Glucagon, and Calcitonin.

Your body fights infections with the superoxide that’s created from oxygen.

Your health and energy will in part depend on how much oxygen you have and how well your mitochondria utilize it.

Now there’s obviously more to the story, but you want to make sure the fundamentals are right.

How To Measure Your Oxygen Level?

Pulse Oximeter and Hypoxia

A pulse oximeter is the easiest method to measure blood oxygen, but it’s only a part of the story. 

A pulse oximeter is a small clip that is often put on a finger, although it can also be used on the ear or toe. It measures blood oxygen indirectly by light absorption through a person’s pulse. Although the pulse oximeter test is easier, quicker, and not painful, it is not as accurate as the ABG test. This is because it can be influenced by factors such as dirty fingers, bright lights, nail polish, and poor circulation to the extremities.

For people who wish to purchase a pulse oximeter, there is a range of easy-to-use devices available online http://torontek.com/

Blood Test and Hypoxia

Red blood cells carry hemoglobin, which carries oxygen. The more red blood cells you have, the more you can carry oxygen. Hemoglobin actually carries the oxygen. The more hemoglobin you have, the more oxygen you transport.

Hemoglobin comprises about a third of the total red blood cell volume. This protein is responsible for the transport of more than 98% of the oxygen (the remaining oxygen is carried dissolved in the blood plasma).

Hematocrit is a blood test that measures the percentage of the volume of whole blood that is made up of red blood cells. This measurement depends on the number of red blood cells and the size of red blood cells.

Red blood cells and hemoglobin are all the info you need in your Complete Blood Count to determine your levels of hypoxia.

Low Iron or iron stores can also cause less oxygen utilization because oxygen binds to iron-containing molecules (heme) in your hemoglobin. However, your RBC and hemoglobin will often reflect an iron deficiency.

A low RBC or hemoglobin count indicates that your EPO (Erythropoietin)may be low, all of which are extremely important to oxygenate the blood.  Hemoglobin holds oxygen and RBCs hold hemoglobin. EPO produces both.

EPO is important for mood and memory independent of its effects on RBCs.

Blood Pressure and Hypoxia

You can have good RBCs, hemoglobin, and oxygen saturation, but if your blood isn’t flowing to your brain, it’s meaningless.

Blood pressure is one measure of blood flow.  Higher blood pressure can indicate that the blood is more viscous and thick, which will require more force and pressure to move it.  It can indicate blood vessels that are hardened and not able to relax easily. It can indicate lower nitric oxide.

Low blood pressure means that blood is not flowing with a certain force level to reach the brain in optimal concentrations.

Your doctor won’t think anything of a blood pressure of 90/60, but this means that not enough blood is flowing to the brain for optimal function.  Your blood pressure should be 110-120/70-80.

Why You May Be Suffering from Hypoxia?

Few main reasons why you can have lower oxygen.

  • Nasal problems or Mucus
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea or Low Oxygen During Sleep
  • Living in an Elevated Area
  • Chronic Inflammation
  • Psychological Stress
  • Lower Blood Pressure and Poor Circulation
  • A Lack of Sunlight

How Increase Oxygen

  • Breathing Exerciser
  • Oxygen Concentrator
  • Healthy Fluids
  • Cellular Therapy to Improve Oxygen Levels
  • Be Calm

Some self-care measures can be taken by people to reduce symptoms of shortness of breath and improve general health and quality of life. These include:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoiding passive smoking in places where others smoke
  • Eating a healthful diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Exercising regularly

When To See A Doctor

  • experience severe and sudden shortness of breath
  • experience shortness of breath when at rest
  • have severe shortness of breath that worsens during exercise or physical activity
  • wake suddenly with shortness of breath or a feeling of choking

 

Low oxygen levels in the blood are not necessarily harmful and can occur in people who can recover, or in healthy people when they are at high altitude. These people do not need to monitor their blood oxygen levels regularly.

But people with chronic lung diseases, such as COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, or emphysema, may have blood oxygen levels below the normal because of their illness. These people may require regular blood oxygen monitoring.

People with low blood oxygen can also make lifestyle changes, such as not smoking or improving their diet and exercise habits, as well as being treated with supplemental oxygen.

 

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.selfhacked.com/blog/why-you-may-be-suffering-from-low-oxygen-and-not-realize-it/

 

Why You Should Take a BabyMoon

What is a Babymoon?

A babymoon is essentially a relaxed getaway for expectant mothers and their partners.  It’s the last hurrah before the baby enters your world. Some couples choose to go on a babymoon as their ‘final’ holiday as just a couple before they transition into having a family.

During pregnancy, the relationship you have with your partner goes through a transition. Together, you begin to experience a natural shift between what was and what will be. It’s an exciting, magical and beautiful time that also comes with its share of many sleepless nights, emotional ups and downs and fears and worries.

 

  • Quality Time with Significant Other

Having a child changes the family dynamic and the baby becomes the center of attention from the moment you give birth. This can sometimes put a strain on couples. By investing time and space to be together for your babymoon, you’ll walk into parenthood more connected than ever.

  • Time to Reflect

How will you want to raise your child? How will you nurture this new relationship as well as old relationships? What do you want your legacy to be a mom? These are all great questions to reflect upon as you are on your babymoon. This will help you be an intentional and conscious parent.

  • Timeout

Getting away from the daily grind is so good for us physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. As you approach this life-changing event, it can be even more important to get away from the drains of extra rest and relaxation to recharge you for parenting. On a babymoon, you’ll explore new sights, sounds, tastes, and traditions. These fun, spontaneous, and exciting discoveries will take a backseat when your newborn arrives. You’ll do plenty of discovering but it will be of a more local variety.

  • Rest

Parenting is exhausting. It’s wonderful but tiring. Get as much extra rest and relaxation now before baby arrives. Many of us get our best sleep on vacation and can come back feeling rejuvenated. Taking a babymoon is a wonderful way to “recharge” many areas of your life from romance to sleep to adventure. As you enjoy your time away, you’ll come back ready to do your last trimester and welcome your new baby with open arms.

  • Romance

Once you have kids, your sex life will change particularly those 3 months postpartum. It will eventually return to a very satisfying one but there will be some adjustments. Use your babymoon to “stock up” on love to carry you through some more spartan months.

During pregnancy, sex and physical intimacy are incredibly beneficial. For example, it provides better sleep, a stronger immune system, lower blood pressure, decreased stress levels to boost self-esteem and happiness, and a comfortable labor and delivery. Also, according to a Danish study, frequent sex may help prevent preeclampsia. Researchers believe it’s because of a protein found in sperm that can regulate the body’s immune system.

  • Dream and plan

Have you put off thinking about baby’s name? Or whether you’ll co-sleep? Or do you a dream nursery you want to create? Now is a great time to tackle these topics while you have uninterrupted time with your partner.

 

When is the best time to go for a Babymoon?

To play it safe, I always suggest a babymoon right before the 28-week mark. This period proves to be more enjoyable anyway; because the morning sickness is behind you (hopefully) and the exhaustion from the third trimester hasn’t set in.

Always consult your doctor/midwife and doula before traveling and get the thumbs up. It also helps them to know to be on alert if you need them or have any questions. It’s also smart to ask them advice about medical faculties in the area, just in case. The primary goal is to keep you comfortable, but most importantly—healthy.

Remember that your babymoon is about relaxation—so keep your travel day as stress-free as possible. Think carefully about what it will take to get to your destination and be realistic about the time you can take off from work or your everyday life.  Would you be okay sitting on a flight for 3+ hours? Would you instead jet off somewhere more local? These are the questions to ask yourself and to discuss with your partner.