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Is Your Pregnancy Putting You At Risk For Diabetes?

Are you pregnant? Yes? Then you may be at risk for diabetes!

How does this happen?

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that appears only during pregnancy. As strange as it may sound, studies show that 6-7% of pregnant women will develop this form of diabetes during the course of their pregnancy.

What causes gestational diabetes? Are the symptoms obvious? Is it possible to keep you and your baby healthy after a diagnosis?

Read on to find out!

What Causes Gestational Diabetes?

Our body releases a hormone called Insulin every time we have a meal.

This hormone helps to break down fats and carbohydrates, turning the sugar from our food into energy. At times, hormones from the placenta can prevent the production of insulin and sugar cannot be broken down properly.

Therefore, excess sugar remains in the blood and causes gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes usually starts around the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy.

If not managed properly, this sustained rise in blood sugar can cause damage to the nerves, blood vessels and organs in your body.

Risk Factors For Gestational Diabetes

Although it is not certain why some women get gestational diabetes while others do not, there are some factors that places anyone at risk of this condition:

  • Obesity
  • High levels of tummy fat
  • Age (Women older than 35 years)
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Personal history of Gestational Diabetes
  • History of delivering large babies (more than 9pounds/4.1kilograms)
  • Sendentry Lifestyle
  • Race: Sadly, being black places you at a higher risk of this condition.

Symptoms Of Gestational Diabetes

Many women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy may not notice any symptoms. Most women find out after they have been tested for the condition.

However, some signs you should watch out for are:

  • Incessant thirst.
  • Frequent urination and in large amounts
  • Persistent Fatigue
  • Sugar in the urine during a dipstick test
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Recurrent vaginal, bladder and skin infections

Your doctor will test you for gestational diabetes during your routine antenatal check ups. This is done between 24-28 weeks if you have never had it before or at your first visit if you had it in your previous pregnancy. This test is called an OGTT (oral glucose tolerance test).

How Does Gestational Diabetes Affect You and Your Baby?

If left unchecked, gestational diabetes could put you at risk for:

  • Preeclampsia
  • Miscarriages and pregnancy loss
  • Increased risk of having a baby by caesarean section.
  • Stillbirth

On the other hand, it puts your baby at risk for:

.Jaundice ( yellowing of the eyes and skin)

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Macrosomia; a condition where a baby is too large and the head too big for a vaginal delivery.
  • Low blood sugar levels
  • Low calcium levels
  • Issues with the formation of organs such as the heart
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes later in life

However, mothers who follow their obstetrician’s advice and recommendations for either medication or dietary changes do not have to worry about these risks.

Gestational diabetes can be adequately managed with diet and exercise
Gestational diabetes can be adequately managed with diet and exercise

Gestational diabetes can be adequately managed with proper diet and exercise. In some cases, supplementary insulin as injections may be recommended. Other times oral tablets are given to help control your blood sugar through other mechanisms .

A diagnosis of gestational diabetes can be overwhelming. However, there is no need to despair as it can be easily controlled so that you have a safe and healthy delivery.

Your pregnancy will need to be monitored more closely eg. more frequent antenatal visits. Follow your doctors advice at all times. Maintain a healthy diet, and remain physically active. Be consistent with your medications if you have any.

As long as you follow the guidelines above, you and your baby will be fine.

References

All You Need To Know About Gestational Diabetes

A medical condition affecting about a hundred thousand women yearly. Gestational diabetes (GDM) is a condition that does not receive the attention it deserves. In this article, we would walk through what gestational diabetes is, risk factors for GDM, symptoms, how it is diagnosed, complications and how to prevent it.

What is GDM?

First, a quick background. Insulin is a hormone produces by the body in the pancreas that regulates energy levels by helping convert blood sugar into energy. GDM occurs when hormones produced in pregnancy (e.g. progesterone, human placenta lactogen, cortisol) affect the normal functioning of insulin, leading to an increased level of blood sugar (or hyperglycemia) in pregnant women.

GDM is usually only seen during pregnancy and usually clears up after the baby is born. It usually arises between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy.

What are the risk factors for developing GDM?

All women are at risk of developing GDM. However, some factors may put you at increased risk. These include:

  • Being of Black, Asian or Middle eastern background.
  • Having a Body Mass Index of >30 [This can be calculated by Weight(kg)/Height2(m2)]
  • Having a previous baby with a birth weight greater than 4 kg
  • A family relative diagnosed with diabetes
  • A previous pregnancy with GDM.

What are the symptoms of GDM?

Most women with GDM would not present with any symptoms. However, some women may have:

  • Sugar in urine. A test done by the nurses at the clinic would diagnose this.
  • Frequent urination, but in large quantities.
  • Increased thirst
  • Tiredness
  • A dry mouth
Being black and overweight puts you at risk of gestational diabetes
Being black and overweight puts you at risk of gestational diabetes

How is it diagnosed?

During your routine antenatal visits, the doctor would assess your risk of having GDM. He would ask you questions about your medical background, run a couple of tests around 24 weeks to ascertain your blood sugar levels. The oral glucose tolerance test. The routine urine test during your antenatal visit is also a way of screening for GDM.

What are the possible complications?

While most women with GDM have normal pregnancies, some women may have some of the following complications:

  • Accumulation of excessive amounts of the fluid (amniotic fluid) around the baby. This is a potential cause of premature labour.
  • GDM can lead to heart abnormalities in the baby.
  • There is a risk of infertility, pregnancy loss, or stillbirth.
  • Premature labour (these are contractions coming in before you are 36-37 weeks)
  • Large babies: The Birth Weight of the baby may be greater than 4 kg.
  • Large babies run the risk of injuries during birth.
  • If not properly managed, GDM can evolve into Type II Diabetes.
  • It can also reoccur in future pregnancies.

Is there any way to treat it?

The fundamental ways include monitoring and control of your blood sugar level and eating a special diet as prescribed by a dietician. You also need to loose weight if you are obese. Medication may be offerred if these fail to control your blood sugar.

Diabetes can be managed with exercise and healthy eating

Can GDM be prevented?

If you are planning on getting pregnant and you have any of the risk factors above, it is also very important to watch your weight and plan your pregnancies with your doctor.

References

American Diabetes Association; 24/06/2020; https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/gestational-diabetes

Thomas R. Moore; 24/06/2020; https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/127547-overview

Loosing weight after childbrth require commitment

7 Healthy Foods To Eat During Pregnancy

Do you know that eating a lot of vegetables during pregnancy helps to reduce risk of low birth weight and preeclampsia?

During pregnancy, the best foods to eat are meals that are high in iron, protein, folic acid, calcium, vitamin D and iodine. These foods play important roles in helping your baby grow and develop properly and also reduce the risk of birth defects.

In this post, you’d find various foods and fruits that are healthy for you and your baby during pregnancy.

1. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene, a plant compound that is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A helps your baby develop properly, especially in the first trimester when organ formation occurs.

However, you need to tread with caution as excess intake of vitamin A increases the risk of birth defects.

2. Eggs

Eggs constitute a valuable part of your diet as it contains almost every nutrient you need while pregnant. It is a great source of calories, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals.

Eggs also contain choline, an important nutrient during pregnancy which helps the baby’s brain to develop normally and prevent abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord. A single whole egg provides you with about 147mg of choline out of the 450mg recommended daily dose during pregnancy.

Eggs are also rich in vitamin D which helps calcium to build strong bones and teeth for your baby. In addition, it keep the immune system active and fighting, reduces risk for gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and low birth weight.

3. Dairy products

Dairy products include milk, yoghurt, and cheese. They are rich sources of calcium and protein which helps your growing baby develop strong bones while maintaining your nerve and muscle functions.

Asides from calcium and protein, dairy also provides high amount of magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and vitamin B. Yoghurt contains some probiotic bacteria which supports the digestive system by preventing stomach upset and yeast infections.

4. Legumes

They are plant-based source of protein, iron, folate and fiber. Folate is one of the most essential B vitamins (B9) and it is very important in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Legumes, through folate, helps in your baby’s brain development by preventing any form of birth defect. In fact, every pregnant woman needs to consume at least 600 micrograms (mcg) daily.

5. Whole grains

Whole grains are rich sources of fiber and vitamins. They include oats, wheat, barley, white rice, brown rice, etc. Oats would leave you satisfied for long and also relieve constipation while pregnant.

6. Vegetables

Green leafy vegetables provide the body with great nutritional benefits including fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C, calcium, folate and potassium. They also prevent constipation due to the high fiber content.

Carrots serve as a rich source of beta carotene which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for developing your baby’s eyes, skin and organs. Red peppers are also excellent sources of vitamin A and C and fiber. It would interest you to note that keeping a vegetable rich diet has been found to reduce risk of preeclampsia in most women.

7. Meat

Lean chicken, beef, pork are great sources of protein. The amino acids in protein are the building block for every cell in your body and that of your baby’s. Lean meats (meats that are low in fat such as chicken and turkey) are rich in iron which is vital to the development of red blood cell supply and also helps your body from developing anemia.

Furthermore, Iron plays an important part in the development of your baby’s brain. Low levels of iron during pregnancy results in iron deficient anemia which increases the risks of low birth weight.

You Can Also Try These Fruits During Pregnancy:

During pregnancy, the role of fruits can never be overemphasized. These fruits provide vitamins and minerals, potassium, fiber and other nutrients that are essential for a safe and healthy pregnancy.

As usual, we’re here to help you out with a number of them:

  • Apples

Apples contain large amount of fiber which helps regulate digestion. This juicy and delicious fruits also prevents hemorrhoids in pregnant women.

  • Watermelon

Watermelon contains vitamins A, B6 and C which are needed during pregnancy. In addition, it contains potassium which helps to relieve cramps and magnesium which relaxes your muscles and prevent early contraction during pregnancy. As an addendum, it prevents dehydration and reduces the symptoms of morning sickness.

  • Avocados

Avocados contains a lot of fatty acids that helps the body absorb many vitamins found in fruits and vegetables. These fats also help your developing baby build a healthy skin, brain and tissues. They’re also rich in fiber, vitamins B (especially folate and B6), C, K and E, potassium and copper.

Potassium helps relieve leg cramps which is common in some women during pregnancy. Folate and vitamin B6 helps to promote healthy tissue and brain growth for your baby and helps to ease morning sickness.

  • Citrus

These are fruits that are rich in Vitamin C such as oranges, tangerines, and lemons. They help your developing baby’s bone grow properly while providing fiber which aids digestion.

  • Bananas

Bananas are rich in potassium; a mineral which maintains healthy blood pressure and prevents leg cramping in the later stage of pregnancy by regulating body fluid and blood pressure.

Finally,

As you enjoy the nutrients and strength your diet gives you, make sure you maintain proper hygiene. Especially during the preparation and serving of every meal, including the fruits. In fact, you have to wash all fruits thoroughly before eating. Also, stay hydrated.

Take a lot of water, it helps to prevent constipation.

References
  • Symington, E.A., Baumgartner, J., Malan, L., Zandberg, L., Ricci, C., and Smuts, C. M. (2018). Nutrition during pregnancy and early development (NuPED) in urban South Africa: a study protocol for a prospective cohort. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. Accessed on 7th December, 2020 from https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-018-1943-6
  • H. Danielewicz, H., Myszczyszyn, G., Dębińska, A., Myszkal, A., Boznański, A., and Hirnle, L. (2017). Diet in pregnancy—more than food. European Journal of Pediatrics. Accessed on 7th December 2020 from https://doi.10.1007/s00431-017-3026-5
  • Murphy M, Stettler N, Smith K, Reiss R (2014). Associations of consumption of fruits and vegetables during pregnancy with infant birth weight or small for gestational age births: a systematic review of the literature. International Journal of Women’s Health. Accessed on 7th December, 2020 from https://doi.org/10.2147/IJWH.S67130
  • Sun Eun Lee, Sameera Talegawkar, Mario Merialdi and Laura E Caulfield (2011). What Are African Women Eating During Pregnancy? Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Accessed on 7th December, 2020 from https://doi.org/10.1096/fasebj.25.1_supplement.592.3

Handling Frequent Urination During Pregnancy

Are you pregnant? Do you feel like your bathroom breaks are getting a little too frequent? Well, when you have to pee, you have to pee (even if that is becoming all the time).

Frequent urination is one symptom of pregnancy that many women do not enjoy. In addition to interrupting your much-needed sleep, clean bathrooms can be really hard to find in public.

As annoying as it may be, frequent urination during pregnancy is something you shouldn’t really worry about.

Nevertheless, what causes it? Would it ever go away? How do you manage it?

Read on to find out!

Causes of Frequent Urination During Pregnancy

Having to pee all the time during pregnancy is definitely annoying.

As usual, we can blame it on one thing-hormones. During pregnancy, a hormone called HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) causes an increase in the amount of blood in your body, especially the blood flow to your pelvic area and also your kidneys.

Expecting a baby

Therefore, your body needs to produce more fluids and get rid of waste faster, and not just for you, but for your baby too. This means that your kidneys have to work harder and more efficiently; leading to an increase in urination.

Your growing womb is another reason why you’d spend more time inside the bathroom than out of it during pregnancy. This is because your womb sits directly on your bladder and puts more pressure on it as it grows. Therefore, your bladder has less room to store urine and you’d to spend more time in the bathroom letting all that urine go.

Also, as you approach the end of your pregnancy, your baby will begin to prepare for childbirth and attain the birthing position. This usually means that his head will “drop” down into the pelvis-directly on top of your bladder. You already guessed it-this means you will have to go more than ever before!

When Does Frequent Urination During Pregnancy Start?

Frequent urination is an early pregnancy symptom, although, when it starts differs from woman to woman. However, most women begin to feel that incessant urge to pee from around weeks 6-8 of pregnancy, and sometimes, as early as week 4!

How Frequent is Frequent Urination?

Well, there is definitely no absolute standard. Just do not hold it in. When you’ve got to pee, you’ve got to pee Mama!

Will it Ever Stop?

Frequent urination may ease up for a while once you enter your second trimester. Sadly, it will most probably return (with a blast) later on in your pregnancy.

This is because your baby puts more pressure on your bladder as she grows, and adds more pressure when she “drops” into your pelvis just before birth.

Cephalic presentation

Thankfully, you can say good-bye to this problem once your baby is born!

Managing Frequent Urination During Pregnancy

Unfortunately, this symptom of pregnancy is one you cannot run from.

You really shouldn’t want to.

This is because your frequent urination is actually a good sign; that you are drinking enough fluids, well-hydrated and healthy.

This does not make it any less annoying though, so we have some tips to help make your life a little bit easier:

  • You need to properly empty your bladder each time you pee to reduce the amount of times you will have to pee. A tip to do this is to lean forward when you pee. This ensures that you get most of it out.
  • Avoid drinking too much water at night or just before bed. This will help minimize the number of times you will have to pee at night.
  • Caffeine will make you pee a lot, so stay away from foods and drinks containing caffeine.
  • Get yourself familiar with pelvic exercises and practice them. Kegel exercises are a good place to start and it will help to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. This will prevent leaking of pee when you cough, sneeze, or even laugh while pregnant or after childbirth.
  • If you do find yourself leaking when you cough or sneeze, use a panty liner.
  • Always make sure you pee beforehand if you are going out or have a long meeting. And when you do leave your house, locating the closest bathroom should be the first thing on your list (to avoid embarrassing situations).

Can Frequent Urination During Pregnancy Indicate A Problem?

Frequent urination during pregnancy is usually not something to bother yourself about as it is normal. Nevertheless, it can sometimes be an indication of a medical condition.

Some of these conditions include:

1. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

If you have a UTI, frequent urination will be accompanied with ;

  • Fever
  • Cloudy urine
  • Blood in your urine
  • Feeling a strong urge to pee, but only a few drops coming out
  • A burning (pepperish) sensation as your pee passes from your bladder to the exterior

If you notice any of these symptoms or you think that you may have a UTI, consult your doctor immediately.

2. Gestational Diabetes

This is a type of poorly controlled blood sugar that affects some expectant mothers. It is serious and can cause complications for you and your baby if not managed properly. Thankfully, it usually resolves after childbirth. Frequent urination is one of the symptoms of gestational diabetes.

Other symptoms include:

  • Persistent thirst
  • Nausea
  • Insatiable hunger
  • Fatigue

Your doctor will most likely test you for gestational diabetes during the 24th and 28th weeks of your pregnancy.

In addition, you should note that reduced urination and dark/orange coloured urine may be a sign if dehydration. Dehydration is not good for anyone, most especially pregnant women.

If this happens, try to take in more fluid (lots of water will do) till you notice your urine return back to a normal pale, yellow colour.

A Final Note

Look on the bright side; frequent urination is a sign that you are well hydrated and healthy, even though you would be spending more time in the bathroom than you would like.

Don’t worry, your increased urge to pee will disappear once your baby is born.

REFERENCES
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Problems of the Digestive System, January 2014.
  • Bastian LA, et al. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of early pregnancy. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed May 19, 2016.
  • Pexels.com

Symptoms Of Yeast Infection During Pregnancy

Do you know that three in four women will have a yeast infection at least once in their lives? In fact, susceptibility to this infection increases during pregnancy.

For most expectant mums, this period is marked by gladness and preparation. However, the increased risk and susceptibility to certain infections can make this wait quite delicate.

How will you know if you have a yeast infection?

In this article, you’d find the symptoms of yeast infections during pregnancy, possible causes and how to prevent it.

First, What Is A Yeast Infection?

Yeast is a type of fungus. Yeast infections are also known as candidiasis. Vulvovaginal candidiasis, (or moniliasis), is a yeast infection that affects the vagina and vulva.

These infections are caused by a kind of yeast known as Candida albicans. However, other types of yeast, including Candida glabrata and Candida tropicalis, can also cause yeast infections.

Yeast infections are common in pregnant women due to increased estrogen levels. This increase causes an imbalance between the yeast and bacteria population in the vagina.

Most times, this imbalance results in an overgrowth of yeast. Although they are usually unpleasant, yeast infections don’t harm your baby.

What Causes a Yeast Infection During Pregnancy?

Yeast infection during pregnancy results from a number of factors. Some of them include:

  • Vaginal pH Variations: During pregnancy, the hormone levels change the pH (acidity/alkalinity) balance in the vagina. As a result of this, the vagina environment becomes more favourable for yeast growth.
  • Underlying health problems which aren’t properly managed e.g. diabetes, HIV.
  • Medications such as antibiotics may upset the yeast composition of the vagina, leading to a yeast infection.
  • Yeast infection can also be transferred to you from your sexual partner during sexual intercourse.

Symptoms of a Yeast Infection During Pregnancy

When you have a yeast infection during pregnancy, you may notice any of these:

  • Itchy Vagina: When you have to scratch your vagina consistently, watch it, it may be a yeast infection.
  • Pain or soreness in the vagina or vulva.
  • Burning Sensation: A burning sensation in your genital (especially when you urinate), may be because of a yeast infection.
  • Vaginal Discharge. The presence of a yeast infection may cause you to have a thick, white, odorless vaginal discharge.
  • Rash on the vagina and the skin around it. This rash may extend to the thigh sometimes.
  • Swelling or redness in the area outside your vagina.
vaginal discharge

How to Prevent A Yeast Infection During Pregnancy

  • Keep your vaginal area dry by wearing a cotton underwear and a pantyhose with a cotton crotch.
  • Avoid tight pants and underwear.
  • Always clean your vagina after each visit to the toilet. Remember to wipe from front to back to prevent passage of infection into the vagina.
  • Don’t wear a wet swimsuit for long. This helps to keep the genital area dry.
  • Avoid scented sanitary pads, tissue paper, bubble bath, and feminine hygiene sprays.
  • Avoid douching. Douching can upset your vagina and even cause your water to break in late pregnancy.
  • If you have diabetes, watch your sugar level and keep it under control.
Side Effect

Conclusion

Yeast infections can make pregnancy really stressful. Nevertheless, you don’t need to worry, because it doesn’t harm you or your baby. Although, it can be transferred to your baby at birth.

Avoid self-medication during pregnancy. See your doctor and use only prescribed drugs.

REFRENECES

Toilet Infections In Pregnancy

Itching…? Smelly vagina…? Nasty discharge…?  Yikes. Unfortunately, women have to deal with a variety of toilet infections occasionally. However, some expectant mothers wonder if they can still get an infection even while pregnant.

We would love to tell you that the answer to that question is no.

Sadly, you can get toilet infections even in pregnancy.

What are the most common infections in pregnancy? What are their symptoms? How do you treat them? How can you protect yourself?

Read on to find out!

Common Toilet Infections In Pregnancy

1) Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

The vagina has its own bacteria that lives in it naturally.

Bacterial Vaginosis occurs when these bacteria begin to overgrow and multiply more than normal. Sadly, the hormonal changes in pregnancy can influence this overgrowth.

This condition needs to be managed properly to avoid future complications that may affect fertility. In pregnant women, untreated bacterial vaginosis can cause preterm labour, premature birth and low birth weight babies.

Symptoms

  • Large amount of thin, grayish-white discharge
  • Painful urination
  • Irritation/ Itching/ Pain in the vagina or vulva
  • Fishy vaginal odor that gets worse after sex

Treatment

If you are pregnant, your doctor would be in the best place to recommend an antibiotic treatment for you.

Furthermore, if you are still early on in your pregnancy, he/she may advice you to wait till second semester before starting treatment.

Prevention

Here are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of you getting an infection;

  • Choose comfortable cotton underwear that will allow your vagina to breath and reduce your risk of infection.
  • Skip the underwear at night to allow your vagina more room to breath.
  • Avoid sitting in wet bathing suits or sweaty panties after swimming or working out. Not only are they uncomfortable, they also make your vagina a perfect bacteria breeding zone.
  • Wipe front to back and never back to front after using the toilet. This prevents you spreading bacteria from your anus to your vagina.
  • Limit your use of bath oils because they can trap bacteria.

2) Yeast Infection

This is also caused by an overgrowth of a fungus that naturally lives in the vagina.

The hormonal changes during pregnancy creates a suitable environment for the fungus to thrive.

Anything which changes the natural pH (degree of acidity/alkalinity) of the vagina can cause a yeast infection, like taking some antibiotics or having sexual intercourse. 

Symptoms

  • Painful itching around the vagina or vulva
  • Pain or burning in or around the vagina
  • Red and swollen vagina
  • Thick, whitish-yellow, cottage cheese-like discharge
  • An vaginal odor similar to that of bread or beer
  • Painful or burning during sex
  • Painful urination

Treatment

Yeast infections can be treated with over the counter antifungal medicine. However, pregnant women need to consult with their doctor or midwife before using these medications.

Prevention

  • Wear comfortable cotton underwear.
  • Sleep without underwear as often as possible
  • Drink enough water; at least 8 glasses per day.
  • Do not hold your pee. Frequent urination helps eliminate bacteria that can cause infection.
  • Reduce the amount of refined sugars you consume.
  • Enrich your diet with more yogurt. Yogurt has been proven to enhance digestion and decrease the risk of vaginal infections.

3. Group B Streptococcal Infection (GBS)

Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a bacteria that is commonly found in the body, especially in the vagina and rectum (a part of the intestines).

They are usually harmless and cause no symptoms, except in women with chronic conditions like diabetes or liver disease.

However, caution needs to be taken if you are pregnant as it can be transferred from mother to child. When this happens, GBS could prove harmful and even fatal in a newborn.

Symptoms

This infection may have no symptoms at all, or may be expressed as a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in some people.

Common symptoms of a UTI include;

  • Painful urination
  • Cloudy urine
  • Sudden impulse to urinate.

Treatment

Pregnant women are usually tested for GBS in their last trimester (36 to 37 weeks).

If you test positive, your doctor will administer IV antibiotics during childbirth to prevent you from passing the infection to your baby.

Prevention

Unfortunately, there is no known way of preventing GBS.

However, administration of antibiotics during labour has been shown to reduce the risk of mother-child transmission.

4) Trichomoniasis

This is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. Thankfully, it is also one of the most curable.

Although it is transmitted mainly through sex, it can also be gotten from damp or moist towels, clothing or toilet seat that get in contact with the genital area.

Recent research has shown that it can be gotten even from swimming pools!

Symptoms

  • Greenish-yellow discharge
  • Foamy, foul-smelling discharge
  • Itching and burning vagina
  • Pain or irritation during sex

Treatment of Toilet Infections

Your doctor will prescribe oral antibiotics to deal with this infection. In addition, it is important to avoid over-the-counter drugs.

Prevention

  • Practice safe sex
  • Maintain good toilet hygiene
  • Avoid sharing towels, under wears or other personal items.
  • Frequent testing of you and your partner

How Will These Infections Affect My Baby?

A lot of maternal infections can affect a growing baby in three ways;

  1. Infections may harm or weaken the mother, making it more difficult for her body to nurture and nourish her child. Also, drugs used in treatment may prove harmful to the baby.
  2. These infections could not only harm the mother but also directly affect the baby. In severe cases, it can lead to some birth abnormalities.
  3. Maternal infections can lead to premature labour or a miscarriage.

Therefore, following all the preventive measures above would reduce the risk of you getting an infection or transmitting it to your baby.

In Conclusion,

Your body undergoes a lot of changes during pregnancy, and increased vaginal discharge is one of them.

Although this is normal, sometimes it can be a sign of a toilet infection during pregnancy. If this happens to you, do not be scared.

Most women who get an infection during pregnancy do not have any serious complications.  They are easy to treat once diagnosed. To sum it up, if you experience any unusual symptoms while pregnant, speak to your doctor or midwife.

References

CAUSES OF A MISCARRIAGE IN THE 1ST TRIMESTER

Loss is painful. In the same vein, losing a child, having a miscarriage in the first trimester can be devastating. It’s really sad to have celebrated the news of the coming of a baby only for it to end in tears. A number of factors can cause miscarriage in the first three months of pregnancy. This article was designed to help you answer basic questions about losses in the first 90 days of pregnancy.

Some bleeding after childbirth is expected
Some bleeding after childbirth is expected

What’s A Miscarriage?

A miscarriage is also called spontaneous abortion.

It is the spontaneous loss of pregnancy before the 20th week of gestation (i.e. the first 20 weeks of pregnancy).

This experience is really painful, both physically and emotionally.

What Are The Risk Factors?

Risk factors are characteristics that increase a person’s chance of having a particular disease. Similarly, risk factors for a miscarriage are traits that increases a woman’s chances of having a miscarriage.

They include:

1. Maternal Age:

The chances of having a miscarriage increases with increasing age. Consequently, women above 35 face a higher risk of miscarriage in the first trimester.

2. Underlying health conditions

Certain associated health conditions increase the possibility of a miscarriage. Later in this article, some of these conditions would be discussed.

3. A Previous Miscarriage

A woman with a history of miscarriages also faces a higher risk of having another miscarriage. Sadly, this is caused by a number of factors that will be discussed subsequently.

What Are The Causes Of Miscarriages In The First Trimester?

1. Chromosomal Abnormalities.

This is the leading cause of miscarriage in most women.

Chromosomes are blocks of DNA which carry genes. These genes determine a person’s physical attributes like height, complexion and eye color. Importantly, most chromosomal abnormalities occur by chance and do not have anything to do with you or your husband’s health.

2. Exposure to Harmful Agents

Radiation, toxic chemicals and other harmful agents harm developing babies greatly.

When a pregnant woman is exposed to high levels of radiation, the baby’s development is affected and most babies do not survive it.

If a pregnant woman is exposed to high levels of radiation, the baby's development is affected and most babies do not survive it. This can cause miscarriages in the first trimester.

In addition, the ones who survive are at risk of developing cancer later in life

3. Hormonal Imbalance

Pregnancy is really dependent on hormones. From start to finish.

In situations where the womb does not develop properly for fetal development due to insufficient hormone production, a miscarriage can occur.

Furthermore, increased production of a reproductive hormone called prolactin impairs fetal growth.

4. Underlying Health Conditions

Underlying health conditions such as diabetes, sickle cell disease, hypertension, fibroid, thyroid disease, kidney disease, among others can cause miscarriage.

Underlying health conditions can lead to miscarriages in the first trimester.

Fibroids are non-cancerous growths which grow into the womb and take over the space that the baby is supposed to grow in. This leads to the impaired growth of the baby and ultimately its expulsion.

5. An Ectopic pregnancy Can Lead To A MIscarriage.

An ectopic pregnancy is one that develops outside the uterus.

When the baby is not properly situated in the womb, a miscarriage can occur. This occurs because the womb is the only location in a woman’s body that can support fetal development.

6. Early Cervical Dilatation

The cervix, or birth canal is the passageway for the baby to come out.

If the cervix opens too early, as it occurs in an incompetent cervix, the baby can be pushed out. An incompetent cervix occurs as a result of weakened muscles in the abdominal region.

At a point in time, a weakened cervix can no longer support the baby’s weight, leading to miscarriage.

7. Severe Malnutrition Causes Misicarriages.

A pregnant woman can lose her pregnancy if she is suffering from severe malnutrition. In addition, deficiency in some minerals such as selenium and vitamins like vitamin D have been linked to the incidence of pregnancy loss and preterm delivery.

Malnutrition occurs when a person takes in less energy than they give out. There is increased demand of energy by a pregnant woman and if she is not able to provide this amount of energy, her baby may not develop properly.

Good nutrition and exercise during pregnancy lowers the chances of having a miscarriage.

What Does NOT Cause Miscarriage?

1. Regular exercise

Exercise does not lead to miscarriage in the first trimester.

In fact, medical experts believe that exercise during pregnancy lowers the chances of having a miscarriage. This is because exercise helps to relieve pain and reduce stress. In addition, it lowers the risk of gestational diabetes. We’ve discussed how much exercise is safe during pregnancy and conditions where exercise should be avoided.

2. Sexual Intercourse

Having sex during pregnancy does not also lead to miscarriage in the first trimester

. In other words, it has been proven that there is no relationship between sex and miscarriage.

Therefore, feel free to enjoy sex with your partner while you’re pregnant.

Having sex during pregnancy does not also leads to miscarriage in the first trimester.

3. Going To Work:

Working while pregnant does not lead to miscarriage.

Nevertheless, remember to avoid or at least manage stress. Sometimes stress can worsen certain medical conditions which in turn affect pregnancy. Structural issues with your womb may make your doctor suggest you remain on strict bed rest for a time as a precaution. Please speak with your doctor if you have an underlying health condition.

As long as you’re remain protected from radiation or harmful chemicals, there is no cause for alarm.

Stress can worsen certain medical conditions which in turn affect pregnancy.

Nevertheless, remember to avoid stress at all times

In Conclusion

No one really plans for a miscarriage. Thankfully, it is not the end of motherhood.

The fact that you’ve had one does not mean that it will keep happening. We have put together 6 tips on what to do after a miscarriage. Remember to consult with your doctor to know the best time to be pregnant again after a miscarriage.

REFERENCES
  • Cleveland Clinic (2019). Miscarriage. Accessed on 19th August, 2020 from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9688-miscarriage
  • Mayo Clinic Staff (2019). Miscarriage. Accessed on 19th August, 2020 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pregnancy-loss-miscarriage/symptoms-causes/syc-20354298
  • Lauren Gelman (2015). Here’s What Does – and Doesn’t – Cause Miscarriage. Accessed on 22nd August, 2020 from https://www.parents.com/pregnancy/complications/miscarriage/what-does-and-doesnt-cause-miscarriage/

Is Exercising Safe In Pregnancy?

Do you remember a few years ago when a obviously pregnant athlete got in the news because she ran a race with while being pregnant ? Opinions were divided as to whether what she was doing was safe.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Exercising in pregnancy has benefits such as helping to prepare your body for labour and preventing excessive weight gain which in turn helps to manage chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Exercise is an absolute no no in the following situations:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

  • With ruptured membranes (ie. when your water breaks) or if your womb begins to contract before 37 weeks (ie. falling into premature labour)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • Vaginal bleeding ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • If you develop a condition called Pre-eclampsia where you develop high blood pressure with evidence of organ damage. (Such as liver and kidney mal-function)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • If there are issues with the neck of your womb which is called the cervix (issue such as an incompetent cervix)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • If you’ve been told your baby isn’t growing well ( Intrauterine growth restriction)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • If you are expecting twins or more especially after about the 7th month into your pregnancy ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • If you have uncontrolled diabetes (high blood sugar) , hypertension ( high blood pressure) or thyroid disease⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • If you have other serious medical conditions ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀


All these are medical diagnoses indicating you more or less need to get the information from your doctor to know that whether you have them or not.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Other situations where you COULD exercise but will need to get the go ahead from your physician before starting include:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

  • If you’ve had recurrent pregnancy loss ( 3 consecutive ones). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • Have had previous preterm delivery ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • You have hypertension in pregnancy ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • You are anaemic ( the capacity for your blood cells to carry oxygen around your body is reduced) and you are showing symptoms ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • You are malnourished ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • So if you are having an uneventful pregnancy, your doctor may most likely clear you for exercise.

Did you exercise throughout pregnancy? What was it like for you? Learn how much exercise is safe for pregnancy women .

There modifications to your regular exercise routine that are safe in pregnancy
How much exercise is safe for pregnant mums?
Image: Shutterstock

Uncommon Signs Of Pregnancy Before A Missed Period

A missed period is an obvious sign of pregnancy. However, it is not the only sign of pregnancy. In fact, there are other uncommon signs of pregnancy that you may experience before a missed period.

Nausea

Although a pregnancy test is the most effective way to confirm a pregnancy, a number of other uncommon signs can also be used to detect pregnancy. Nevertheless, most mums-to-be fail to recognize these signs.

What are these uncommon signs of pregnancy? How can you identify them?

Read on to find out!

The Uncommon Pregnancy Symptoms

1. Nausea

Nausea is a very common symptom of pregnancy, which is often called morning sickness. Most women begin to feel nauseous a few days after conception.

Excessive vomiting in pregnancy can take it's toll

Furthermore, studies show that this uneasy symptom is due to rising estrogen and progesterone (pregnancy hormone) levels.

2. Tender Breasts & Darkened Areolas

The areaola is the darker skin surrounding the base of your nipple. Tender, heavy and sore breasts and darkened areolas are noticeable about a week before the missed period. Due to the rising estrogen levels, some women feel sore in their breast. Their nipples begin to look darker, feel tingly, itchy or prickly.

In some cases, this symptom remains long after a missed period.

3. Food Cravings & Aversions

Another telltale sign of pregnancy is food cravings or weird food aversions. Imagine waking up at 2am and desperately wanting a bowl of hot pounded yam and egusi soup.

Weird right?

Well, you just might be pregnant. In fact, some women lose their appetites completely or become strangely selective in food options.

4. Mood Swings

An hormonal imbalance can affect the neural signaling process in the brain, leading to sudden and enhanced emotional outbursts. Interestingly, this can be an early symptom of pregnancy for most women.

If you don’t feel normal, take some time out to relax, speak to a friend. Experience some self-love; it’d help you respond properly to stressful situations. Please remember that more serious challenges with your mood in pregnancy need more attention. Please don’t ignore it.

5. Dizziness

Feeling dizzy and light headed is also one of the symptoms of early pregnancy before a missed period. This is because of the stretching of blood vessels which causes a reduction in blood pressure.

This symptom persists during the first trimester and gradually decrease in the remaining trimesters.

6. Metallic Taste in the Mouth

This is also known as dysgeusia. It is an awkward and strange taste in the mouth during pregnancy. This can be an early symptom of pregnancy which may persist all through pregnancy in some women.

7. Elevated Basal Body Temperature

The body basal temperature increases during ovulation and then returns back to normal. But in early pregnancy, it stays elevated.

This is due to the high hormone levels during pregnancy. If your basal body temperature remains high for 18-20 days after ovulation, then, you’re probably pregnant.

8. Fatigue & Exhaustion

Changes in hormonal levels can make one feel tired and exhausted.

This makes most women sleep more in the early days of pregnancy. In addition, its normal to feel tired and sleepy after doing a few chores while pregnant.

You can relieve fatigue and exhaustion by eating a healthy diet rich in minerals, iron, vitamin and plenty fluid. Read more about tips for fatigue during pregnancy here.

9. Increased Urge To Pee

This is also an obvious sign of pregnancy before a missed period and it increases as pregnancy progresses. The changing hormones and extra blood being produced results in an increased frequency of urination.

10. Sensitivity To Smell

There is an increased sensitivity to smell in early pregnancy due to increased level of oestrogen. It occurs in the weeks following conception.

When Do These Symptoms Start?

Everything varies from woman to woman.

In most cases, some of these symptoms begin to surface on the 7th to 10th day after conception. On the other hand, some of the other symptoms may take weeks to turn up.

Finally

Regardless of these telltale signs, a pregnancy test is the best way to confirm the possibility of a pregnancy. Whenever you think you’re pregnant, there are a number of easy and reliable ways to get tested.

References
  • Sapra, K.J., Buck Louis, G.M., Sundaram, R., Joseph, K.S., Bates, L.M., Galea, S., Ananth, C.V. (2016). “Signs and symptoms associated with early pregnancy loss: findings from a population-based preconception cohort.” Human Reproduction. Accessed on 19th October, 2020 from  https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/31/4/887/2380064
  • Katherine J Sapra, Germaine M Buck Louis, Rajeshwari Sundaram, Joseph, K.S., Lisa M Bates, Sando Galea, and Cande V Ananth (2018). “Time-varying effects of signs and symptoms on pregnancy loss <20 weeks: Findings from a preconception prospective cohort study.” Paediatric and perinatal epidemiology. Accessed on 19th October, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5772892/#__ffn_sectitle
  • Guannan Bai, Ida J. Korfage, Esther Hafkamp-de Groen, Vincent W. V. Jaddoe, Eva Mautner, Hein Raat (2016). “Associations between Nausea, Vomiting, Fatigue and Health-Related Quality of Life of Women in Early Pregnancy: The Generation R Study.” Plos One. Accessed on 19th October, 2020 from https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0166133

Handling Fatigue In Pregnancy

Fatigue is one of the first signs of pregnancy. This is no surprise because a growing baby can take a serious toll on the body. It’s almost as if a spell of constant tiredness and sleepiness was cast on you the day your pregnancy test came back positive!

All you really want is some extra hours of sleep.

This is absolutely normal and should be expected. Most women say they experience the most fatigue during their first and third trimesters.

pain

Why are you so tired? How long is this fatigue going to last? And How can you deal with it?

Read on to find out.

[Read more…] about Handling Fatigue In Pregnancy
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