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Preeclampsia

Melinda was a beautiful, 37 year-old woman who was pregnant with her second baby. After divorcing her first partner, she decided to try IVF with her new partner as she was getting older. Unfortunately, she died in childbirth as a complication of a medical condition called preeclampsia.

So what is preeclampsia, you may ask?

Preeclampsia is a condition seen in pregnant women and it shows the following characteristics:

  • High blood pressure
  • Presence of proteins in the urine
  • Swelling of the legs and hand due to accumulation of fluid in the body.
High blood pressure is one of the symptoms of preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is usually seen at after the 20th week of pregnancy, although it can occur before that.

Some women may also complain of other symptoms like severe headaches, nausea and vomiting, a dramatic weight gain due to increase in body fluid, belly pain and dizziness.

Signs of pre-eclampsia

What are the causes of preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia develops only as a complication of pregnancy. Some studies attribute it to issues with the way the placenta implants to the mother’s womb. There has been no certified reason. However, risk factors include:

Age. If you are quite young (less than 18 years) or older than 35, you have a higher chance of getting it.

Obesity. The risk of preeclampsia is higher if you’re overweight or obese.

Multiple pregnancy. Women carrying more than one baby (twins or more) are at a higher risk of developing preeclampsia.

Interval between pregnancies. If you have less than two years’ interval between your children, or there are are more than 10 years between them, you might be at higher risk.

History of certain conditions. Women with a previous history of diabetes, chronic hypertension are also at higher risk.

New paternity. Like Melinda, each pregnancy with a new partner increases the risk.

First pregnancy. The risk is highest during your first pregnancy.

Race. Black women have been shown to be at higher risk of developing preeclampsia.

History of preeclampsia. If anyone in your family has had pre-eclempsia, there is a chance it might occur again.

Complications

Some complications of preeclampsia include:

  • Fetal growth restriction. Preeclampsia may affect the arteries carrying blood to the placenta. This would lead to a reduction in nutrients reaching the baby and thus, stunted growth of the baby.
  • Preterm birth. Severe preeclampsia is a medical emergency and can lead to preterm. Prematurity can lead to breathing and other problems for your baby.
  • Eclampsia. In severe cases, the woman might progress to eclampsia, which is characterised by seizures
  • Organ damage. Preeclampsia may result in damage to organs like the kidneys, liver, lung, heart, or eyes. It can also cause a stroke or other brain injury. The extent of the damage depends on how severe the preeclampsia.

The earlier it occurs in pregnancy, the greater the risks for mother and child.

Prevention

There is no clear-cut way that has been proven to treat this condition. However, some studies have reported an association between vitamin D deficiency and increased risk of preeclampsia.

Before you become pregnant, it is quite important to be in your best state of health. Also, using your Body Mass Index (BMI), try to attain your optimal weight and make sure other conditions, such as diabetes, are well-managed. Last but not the least, please visit your antenatal clinic as regularly as possible.

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

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

5 Reasons Why I Need Calcium In Pregnancy

Pregnancy comes with a lot of demands. For Cynthia, these demands met her unprepared. In the 7th month of her pregnancy, she started experiencing lightheadedness and severe fatigue. At the next hospital visit, the doctor calmly encouraged her to increase the calcium in her diet.

Some women get bad headaches with pre eclampsia

How important is this mineral in pregnancy?

In addition to promoting your baby’s growth, it also maintains your own bones and keeps you in good shape all through this journey.

In this post, we’d walk you through five exciting reasons why you should take enough of this essential mineral as a mum-to-be.

1. Calcium Strengthens Your Baby’s Developing Bones & Teeth.

This essential nutrient helps your baby grow strong bones before birth. Strong bones are crucial for survival outside the womb and we all know that a cute baby smile is incomplete without some of those white teeth.

Calcium helps in bone formation for you baby in the 3rd trimester

If you don’t take enough calcium during pregnancy, you’d deprive your baby of what he/she really needs.

Inadequate intake of this nutrient during pregnancy exposes a woman to the risk of certain bone related diseases later in life

A classic example is Osteoporosis, which is the reduction in bone size and presence of soft bones as a result of calcium deficiency. This condition arises because inadequate calcium consumption during pregnancy will result in a further depletion of the mother’s reserves (in her bones) to meet the baby’s requirements.

Low calcium levels increase the risk of osteoporosis characterized by cramps, and bone pain

Low levels of calcium in the bones will result in brittle bones.

3. Calcium Reduces The Risk Of Preeclampsia.

In plain terms, preeclampsia is the increase in blood pressure that occurs during pregnancy.

Reduced calcium intake during pregnancy may stimulate certain hormonal systems which alter blood pressure and lead to preeclampsia.

Studies show that pregnant women can reduce the risk of preeclampsia by consuming extra 1000mg of calcium per day. This is a safe and relatively cheap way of reducing the risk of preeclampsia in pregnancy.

4. It Also Helps Prevent Preterm Delivery.

Calcium supplements have been shown to reduce the risk of preterm delivery to a large extent.

Calcium supplements have been shown to reduce the risk of preterm delivery

How does this work?

Increased levels impair the release of a certain hormone, thereby reducing smooth muscle contraction (including the womb muscles). As a result, the possibility of preterm labour and delivery is greatly reduced.

5. It Reduces The Risk Of Postpartum Haemorrhage.

Postpartum haemorrhage is one of the leading causes of maternal death in the world at large.  

It is defined as the loss of blood more than 500mls during a Caesarean section and 1000mls during vaginal delivery. The first line of treatment for postpartum haemorrhage is oxytocin, and calcium is really important for this treatment to function properly.

When there is not enough calcium in the body during delivery, oxytocin may not get enough calcium to bind to, and postpartum haemorrhage occurs.

However, adequate levels in the body allow for smooth movements and effective functioning of hormones.

Finally,

Get enough calcium during pregnancy, it is really important for your baby’s development and your own well-being too.

The good news is, you can get it easily through your diet or certain drug supplements prescribed by your doctor.

Best sources of calcium
REFERENCES

Dealing With Sickle Cell Disease In Pregnancy

Sharon has dealt with the pain all her life. In fact, she still had a sickle cell crisis a few weeks before the pregnancy test results came in positive.

Women like Sharon often wonder how to deal with pregnancy due to the risks associated with their genotype. Thankfully, due to the major advancements in medicine, it has become possible for women with Sickle Cell Disease to triumph through pregnancy and delivery process.

What Is Sickle Cell Disease?

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited genetic condition in which the body produces abnormally shaped red blood cells under stressful conditions. These abnormal red blood cells can be C-shaped or sickle-shaped. They have a high tendency to stick to each other. They also aren’t as flexible as the normal shaped cells making it difficult to navigate tight corners in tiny or branching blood vessels and so on. These cause blockages cutting off blood supply to areas where the vesses were orignally headed. This is the cause of the excruciating pain and damage to tissues and organs that have their oxygen supply cut off. Such events are the cause of strokes bone infections and and so on.

abnormal red blood cells can be C-shaped or sickle-shaped
A normal red blood cell versus a sickle shaped red blood cell.

Effects of SCD on Pregnancy

 Sickled cells aren't as flexible as the normal shaped cells making it difficult to navigate tight corners in tiny or branching blood vessels causing blockages.
  1. Sickle Cell Crisis. This is also known as painful episodes. It occurs when a sickle-shaped or C-shaped red blood cell block blood vessels that supply blood to the bones. This crisis can last several hours to several days. And it varies in severity depending on the person and the crisis. The crisis can occur in pregnancy due to the increased physical stress the mother is passing through.
  2. Anaemia. Anaemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. This results in a reduced supply of oxygen to the various organs of the body. Pregnant women with SCD are at a higher risk of experiencing anaemia during pregnancy that at other times.
  3. High Blood Pressure. Women with SCD are at risk of developing high blood pressure and preeclampsia (a pregnancy complication characterised by high blood pressure and organ injury ) during pregnancy.
  4. Women with SCD are at risk of some pregnancy complications. These complications include miscarriages, low birth weight, and pre-term delivery.
  5. Women with SCD are more likely to deliver through a caesarean section rather than a vaginal birth due to the increased complications associated.

I have Sickle Cell Disease…..What should I do?

Living with sickle cell disease means that you will need special care and attention during your months of pregnancy. You will also need to maintain a good diet and stay hydrated in order to stay healthy. When you are ready, your pregnancy needs to be planned for. You should be managed at a specialised center by a team of health personnel such as – blood specialists (haematologists), obstetricians etc.

A few tips…

  1. Some of the medication you were on before pregnancy such as hydroxy urea or ACE inhibitors may not be compatible with pregnancy. Please inform your doctor 3 months before you plan on getting pregnant so adjustments can be made.
  2. Your antenatal check-ups may be more frequent than other pregnant women without SCD. This is because of the nature of your health and the need to stay ahead of any complication that is likely to occur.
  3. Apart from your routine pregnancy medication, you may be prescribed with some medication ( tablets and/or injections) to be taken throughout pregnancy. These are to prevent crises, and conditions such as pre- eclampsia.
  4. Be careful of the medication you use. Don’t use any drug without informing your doctor. This is because not all drugs are safe during pregnancy. Therefore, ensure to take only prescribed medication.
  5. There may need to receive one or more blood transfusion during pregnancy. This can serve as a prophylactic measure (prevention) to prevent complications.
  6. Because of the nature of the disease, people with SCD usually have excess iron stored in their blood – even when they’re anaemic. Pregnant women in this condition may need to take prenatal vitamins that do not contain iron.

Conclusion

You can have a healthy pregnancy and a safe delivery even with SCD.

Follow your doctor’s guide and instructions. Be sure to be in close and frequent communication with your doctor while pregnant. This will help in close monitoring of your health and early detection of any complication that may want to arise.

Sickle cell disease in pregnancy
REFERENCES
  • Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists (2017). Management of Sickle Cell Disease in Pregnancy. Accessed on 28th August, 2020 from https://www.google.com/url sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1324/&ved=2ahUKEwiwyj–rXrAhXXiVwKHXLjCwoQFjASegQIBAB&usg=AOvVaw1Ud_P6KdVyexkOy44esNL7

All You Need To Know About Carrying Multiple Pregnancy (Twins)

In Nigeria they are fondly called ‘Ejima’ in Igbo , ‘Ibeji’ in Yoruba, ‘Dan tagwaye’ in Hausa. Everybody loves twins.

Twins in matching outfits

Seeing them in those beautiful matching outfits definitely triggers those ‘feel good’ hormones in all of us. This article contains everything you need to know about Twins and Multiple Pregnancies.

What Is A Multiple Pregnancy?

A multiple pregnancy is one with more than one baby growing in the mother’s womb.

How Does A Multiple Pregnancy Happen ?

There are two main types of twins; Identical and Non-identical (fraternal) twins.

During a woman’s menstrual cycle, an egg is usually released.

Identical twins arise when a fertilized egg divides into two in the early stages of pregnancy. Conversely, non-identical twins are formed when more than one egg is released during a cycle. Seperate sperms then fertilise each egg is then fertilized by seperate sperm.

Most times, identical twins are have the exact same copies of genes. However, fraternal twins are not genetically identical.

 Identical twins arise when a fertilized egg divides into two in the early stages of pregnancy. On the other hand, Non-identical twins are formed when more than one egg is released during a cycle and each is fertilized by seperate sperm.

What Causes This?

  1. Fertility Drugs: The use of fertility drugs to induce ovulation. This can result in more than one egg released from the ovaries leading to their fertilisation.
  2. Assisted Reproduction/In-vitro fertilisation (IVF).: This results in multiple pregnancy when more than one egg is transferred to the womb.
  3. Maternal Age: Women above 35 are more likely to give birth to twins. This happens because women of this age often release more than one egg in a single menstrual cycle.
  4. Maternal Height and Weight: Taller and heavier women tend to give birth to twins more often.
  5. Genes: This relates more the woman’s genes; a woman is likely to have twins if she is a twin or has siblings/cousins who are twins.

How Can You Stay Healthy During A Multiple Pregnancy?

  1. Eat Nutritious Food: As an expecting mum of two or more, you need to eat more protein and stay hydrated. Also, you will also need to eat some extra calories so that your babies will feed well .
  2. Exercise: Consult your doctor to know which exercise is good for you at each stage of your pregnancy. Nonetheless, you need to avoid strenuous activities.
  3. Rest : Do so much as you can. This will require support from family snd friends
  4. Attend Clinics Attend these regularly as directed by your doctor so that your well being and that of the babies can beclosely monitored.
 As an expecting mum of two or more, you need to eat more protein and stay hydrated

What Are The Risks?

  1. Early Labour and Preterm Babies: Sadly, this is quite common in multiple pregnancy. Most pregnancies last for about 37 weeks. The duration for multiple pregnancies is about 35 weeks.
  2. Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG): This is excessive vomitting in pregnancy . It can throw the fluid and electrolyte balance of a mother off requiring hospital admission.
  3. Diabetes: Gestational diabetes is more likely to develop in women with multiple pregnancies. Unfortunately, this may cause respiratory distress in growing babies.
  4. Preeclampsia: This refers to high blood pressure (hypertension) that occurs in pregnancy. Preeclampsia is more common in multiple pregnancies than single pregnancies.
  5. Delivery: The choice of delivery depends on the number, size, position, and health status of the babies. Often times, a Caesarean section is advised for women with multiple pregnancies.
  6. Placenta Abruption: Most times, multiple pregnancy affects placenta function. A placenta abruption occurs when the placenta becomes separated from the inner wall o the womb before delivery.
Most times, identical twins are have the exact same copies of genes, while fraternal twins are not genetically identical.

How Will They Be Delivered?

Most twins in recent times are born by a pre-planned caesarian section. Depending on their size. health status of (mum and babies) and position, they can be delivered vaginally.

How Do I Feed Them?

It is perfectly possible to feed twins exclusively on breats milk with the right support and positioning. Most twins are nursed in tandem using a rugby position. Here mum positions babies with their heads infront beside her breast and legs pointing backwards under her armpits. This mimics how one carries a purse or rugby ball. You will need nourishing food , hydration, and good social support. Don’t hesitate to request for what you need. Get a good breast pump so others can help with feeding. It is not uncommon for families to supplement with formula.

In Conclusion,

Having twin babies is a delightful experience although it comes with its own pecularities.

While expecting multiple babies, it is advisable to attend clinics regularly. This allows your doctor monitor the health of you and your babies effectively.

Finally, the complications of multiples can be reduced and managed better when you visit your physician regularly.

REFERENCES

What should you know about weight gain in pregnancy?

Many factors play a role in determining the appropriate weight gain in pregnancy. Some of these factors include:

  • Pre-pregnancy weight
  • Body Mass Index. This can be calculated by dividing your weight (in Kg) with the square of your height (in metres). BMI = weight(kg)/Height2 (m)
  • Your state of health.
  • Your baby’s state of health.

However, please remember that you should carry your doctor along in whatever steps you plan on taking.

Where does the weight I gain in pregnancy go?

All the weight you gain does not just go to the baby. The whole distribution is as follows:

  • Baby: 3 to 3.6 kg
  • Breasts: 0.5 to 1.4 kg
  • Uterus: 0.9 kg
  • Placenta: 0.7 kg
  • Increased blood: 1.4to 1.8 kg
  • Increased body fluid: 0.9 to 1.4kg
  • Fat stores: 2.7 to 3.6 kg

What are the approved guidelines for weight gain in pregnancy?

Appropriate weight gain for single pregnancies is different from a mother with multiple pregnancies.

For mothers with a single-mother pregnancy

Pre-pregnancy weight                                          Recommended weight gain

Underweight (BMI<15)                                                  13 to 18 kg

Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9)                              11 to 16 kg

Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9)                                        7 to 11kg

Obesity (BMI>30)                                                             5 to 9 kg

Source: Institute of Medicine and National Research Council

Weight gain for a mother with more than one baby is higher than a mother with one baby.

For mothers carrying twins or more

Pre-pregnancy weight                                      Recommended weight gain

Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9)                              17 to 25 kg

Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9)                                        14 to 23 kg

Obesity (BMI>30)                                                             11 to 19 kg

Source: Institute of Medicine and National Research Council

Being underweight before/during pregnancy increases the chance of your baby also being underweight. Being overweight before/during pregnancy increases the chance of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and a bigger-than-average baby (macrosomia). You might also need a Caesarian section to deliver the baby.

Finally,

As your pregnancy progresses, your doctor would closely monitoring the baby’s growth, your weight and may recommend measures as appropriate. If needed, please also consult a dietitian for the best combination of meals that would suit you and the baby.

Also, after the pregnancy, see a dietician to help you with the right strategies to lose your baby weight.

References

Colleen De Bellefonds; 26/06/2020; https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/weight-gain/

How Will My Antenatal Visit Go?

Antenatal care is the attention others receive during pregnancy. It ensures you and your baby are in the best state of health. Over the period of pregnancy, the doctor follows up on you and your baby’s health to ensure your pregnancy goes as smoothly as possible.

Attending your antenatal appointments is quite important. Any potential risks to the baby can be identified and prevented or reduced. Antenatal care is important in the prevention of several pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia.

Antenatal clinics serve as good avenues to learn more about the baby’s growth per trimester. This is a chance for the doctors and midwives to educate you on any important changes in lifestyle you may need to make.

Some hospitals have classes just before the clinics begin. Others have these on special days. Here, you will get information that will prepare you for childbirth, care of your baby such as bathing, diapering, breastfeeding.

What happens during the antenatal clinic?

Your doctor would obtain an account of your medical history and lifestyle from you to determine any risks you may have

The antenatal care you get throughout your pregnancy depends on:

  • your health and any risks you or your baby may have
  • the stage of pregnancy you are at, and
  • any problems you may experience.

The doctors would ask some questions like:

  • when you had your last period, tell you when the baby is due, what trimester you are in and what this means for you and your baby
  • finding out about your medical history, general health, and how any previous pregnancies were
  • the ethnic origins of you and your partner to find out whether your baby may be at risk of certain genetic inherited conditions
  • what medication you may be taking
  • ensuring you’ve had a recent pap smear (to assess the risk of cervical cancer)
  • making sure your mental health is OK, and supporting you if you have depression or anxiety
  • checking your blood pressure and weight and testing your urine
  • providing advice on a healthy diet
  • feeling and measuring your tummy to find out how many babies you are carrying
  • estimate the baby’s position and size, and listening to the baby’s heartbeat
  • advise you on care for your baby after pregnancy

How many antenatal visits will I have?

The frequency of your antenatal visits is determined by the doctor’s assessments. Pregnancies with possible complications would come with more antenatal visits, for example, if a mother has gestational diabetes or sickle cell disease, the doctor needs to monitor the pregnancy more closely than others.

In most hospitals in Nigeria, they schedule you to have one visit per month until the pregnancy is about 22 weeks. Then one visit every two weeks till about 32 weeks and once a week till birth.

What assessments would I undergo?

Image: Shutterstock

You would have ultrasound pregnancy tests done between 8 to 14 weeks to check for any abnormalities in the baby’s organs. These are repeated based on need.

Also, you would have blood tests to check for your blood group and genotype, HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis and other infections that can affect your pregnancy or be passed on to your baby. Every visit, your doctor would also examine your pregnancy to check the baby’s heartbeats and movements.

Antenatal visits can seem very stressful and time-consuming. However, it is still in the best interest for you and your baby. To get the best out of your visit, be sure to write down beforehand questions or concerns you have. Always ask questions and make notes of the responses your doctor gives you.

Antenatal care has been shown to improve pregnancy outcomes

Good luck!

References

NHS; 30/6/2020; https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/antenatal-midwife-care-pregnant/

https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/antenatal-care

6 (Six) Things That Could Be Making Breastfeeding Painful For You

The beginning of a breastfeeding journey for a new mum can be uncomfortable and slightly painful. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t quite right. Common causes of pain during breastfeeding are:⠀

1. Excessively sensitive nipples

Some mothers do have really sensitive nipples in the early stages if pregnancy. However, this tends to reduce over weeks say 3-4weeks, so do worry.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

2. Wrong latching technique

Baby is most likely chomping on your nipple. It will deform your nipple, cause injury, baby won’t be able to drain your breast/ get enough milk and your breastmilk supply may eventually suffer. If you feel pain, disengage from baby, and try to latch again . ⠀⠀⠀⠀

3. Nipple cracks and sores

These are caused by wrong latching. They can also get infected . If you develop cracks always wash your hands before touching your boobs, allow the area to air dry after each feed. Nipple creams provide alot of relief in between breastfeeding sessions . Soft and highly absorbent nursing pads eg.biamo designs, lansinoh and medela keep you dry and protect sore nipples from friction with your clothes/nursing bra. Please do not apply breast milk on OPEN SORES.

This can cause an infection. It’s important you keep draining by expressing your breastmilk from the affected breast to prevent a condition known as mastitis. Mastitis causes pain, swelling and redness on the breasts. Some mums have fever and chills. Hand expression; using the the right sized breast pump; or a nipple shield for direct breastfeeding will go a long way if you develop sores.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

4. Nipple thrush

This is caused by “germs” called fungi. Fungi love moist, warm, sugary environments. Breastfeeding mum’s nipples and baby’s mouth are the perfect breeding grounds for them. Thrush is common in new borns. A mum’s nipples may feel raw, itchy, and look pink . Taking a look in your baby’s mouth may show hard to remove white patches on the inside cheek and roof of the mouth. This will explain why your baby may have become cranky of late as it could cause a bit of discomfort. Baby may also have a diaper rash caused by the same germ. No amount of nipple cream can provide relief here. Changing your nursing pads regularly whenever they are soaked can go a long way. A doctor can prescribe safe antifungals for mummy and baby. Some people ignore this nipple thrush and it till it clears on its own .

5. Nerve pain or vasospasm

Have you ever felt a shooting pain from your breast to your arm pit or before or after nursing? It’s probably from a nerve or blood vessel. This can clear on its own but if it’s unbearable your doctor can write a prescription for pain relief and other safe medication you can take.

6. Medication

Labetalol, a drug used to treat pre eclampsia (high blood pressure in pregnancy) also causes painful spasm of the blood vessels around the nipple.

Soft but highly absorbent nursing pads and nipple cream are must haves for new mums who are breastfeeding

Pain during breastfeeding isn’t necessarily normal and mothers shouldn’t feel compelled to bear it. Listen to your body. There are solutions available

Talk to us today.

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