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Monitoring Your Baby’s Well-being during the Lockdown.

Do you remember what it was like the first time you felt your baby kick? It initially feels like flutters or brushes on the inside of your tummy and as baby grows become full on punches, swishes and rolls often visible on your tummy.


The first kicks felt are called “quickening” and mum’s feel this for the first time between 16-24 weeks into their pregnancy.

African_Woman

The well being of your unborn baby can be monitored at home using a fetal kick count chart especially once you are past 28weeks pregnant ( third trimester).

How do you do it?

Timing: Best time is to schedule at the same time every day, preferably in the evening once you are done with your chores and can lie down.

Get a pen and paper, note the time you want to start. Lie down on your left side, and are laying down make a tick each time baby makes a full range of motion and stops. This is 1 kick.

All you really need is a time piece, a pen and a piece of paper

Once you have gotten 10 kicks , stop and note the time again. You expect 10 of these kicks in 12 hours ( this is the Cardiff method).

If you don’t get up to 10, have a glass or two of water and try again in an hour.

Drawing up your fetal kick count chart is pretty easy

Do you need to monitor your baby’s movements?


Mums who have been told they have diabetes, hypertension or have had a difficult pregnancy or classified as high risk need to pay more attention to their baby’s movements.

What to do if you feel kicks are less than usual?

First of all, do not panic.

Call your doctor or midwife as soon as possible . They will interview you to assess how you are doing and if you need to come in for further checks which may include an ultrasound scan, listening for your baby’s heartbeat and so on.
Have you used a fetal kick chart before? It’s easy to create.

References :

WHO recommendation on daily fetal movement counting

RCOG Guideline on reduced fetal movements

Counting Fetal Kicks: Too much info?

See also: Why Your Baby Sleeps The Way They Do

EIGHT (8) THINGS TO BUY WHEN EXPECTING A BABY

Are you expecting a baby? Are you unsure of the things to buy while waiting?

We are here to help!

Expecting a baby

Here, we have listed the all the basic necessities, and some extra stuff, that your newborn will need. Follow the list below to find out what to buy as you expect your baby.

1. A Crib

Nature has already made suitable sleeping arrangements for your baby for the first nine months in your womb. Thus, worrying about where your baby will sleep has never been a problem…until now.

When your baby arrives, he or she will need some place to sleep.

Some mums will swear it was a waste of money but cribs are safer. They have barriers preventing the baby from rolling off the bed and are less likely to have excessive blankets or adult pillows that can suffocate baby or increase the chances of SIDS

So you need to make sure to include this in your plans. A good option for the first few months of life is a bassinet cradle or a three-sided crib.

baby crib

Some cribs do not come with mattresses, so you may have to buy one. It will also be helpful to get waterproof mattress covers and light blankets. If you are using a crib that was handed down from your mum, aunt or sis, be sure to check that they are still safe to use.

2. Diapers

Your newborn baby is going to be pooping…a lot! So get ready for it. You will need a lot of diapers…about 70 to 90 per week to start with. You will also need moistened baby wipes, cotton wash cloths, waterproof sheets, changing pad, safety pins (to secure re-usable diapers), a bin or bucket to dispose the diapers, and last but not least, a diaper rash ointment or cream.

Do I get newborn or size 1 for starters? It depends on you baby’s birth weight. Best to stock up on a few smaller ones then get more of size one up. This was when baby arrives you have covered all you bases.

3. Clothes

It is advised to get as much clothes for your baby as possible in different sizes.

They grow fast. You’d need it.

Most mom’s favourite piece of clothing for their newborns are “onesies” – undershirts and overall that snap at the bottom.

Tip for mums on a budget… get baby clothes that come in sets. It usually ends up being cheaper and you can mix and match. Footless sleep suits are awesome because they don’t restrict your baby as they get longer so you can get more wear out of them.

clothes for newborns

You will also need large blankets, sweaters, pants, caps, scratch mittens, and socks or booties. It’s also helpful to get several sleepers (stretch suits that zip up in the front). In addition, you’d need burp cloths and bibs, especially if you are formula-feeding.

4. Bathing Essentials

You will need some sort of baby tub to bath your newborn. You’d also need to buy bath towels, washcloths, baby soap/shampoo, baby powder and baby oil, brush and combs, e.t.c. Lean towards unscented products and stick to one brand to protect baby’s sensitive skin.

5. Medications

Any medications you get should be with the approval of your health care provider. Ask for their recommendations for your medicine cabinet.

Some things you might include are;

  • A thermometer
  • A bulb syringe or nose aspirator ( to suction excess mucus from the nose and mouth)
  • Eye dropper or medicine spoon
  • Fever medications
  • Cold and Flu medications for
  • Multivitamins and supplements
  • A mist humidifier ( optional)
  • Saline nose drops ( to soften mucus before using a bulb syringe)

Breastfeeding mothers will need:

On the other hand, formula-feeding mothers or those who intend to express breast milk and bottle feed will need:

  • Lots of bibs and burp cloths
  • Bottles and teat brush (for cleaning)
  • Bowls (for sterilizing)
  • Dish washer trays
  • Infant-Formula (ensure you check the expiry date always)
  • Thermal Flask and bottle-carrier

7. A Car-Seat

This is also another essential for safe driving. In a collision anything that isn’t strapped down may become a projectile. Car seats can also serve as a baby carrier. However do no leave baby in a carrier for over an hour when awake.

It’s advisable to buy this when your baby is still on the way.

8. Other Items

The following items are not essential, but convenient and will make parenting so much easier.

  • A baby sling or baby carrier to allow you go hands-free
  • A baby monitor that helps you monitor your baby even when you are in separate rooms
  • Diaper bag, with extra space for snacks, toys, diapers, a change of clothes, e.t.c.
  • A bouncy seat, infant swing or rocky chair
  • Changing tables; for changing and storing diapers, baby wipes, ointment, e.t.c.
  • A CD player and lullabies; will prove really helpful in calming your baby down. They work like magic!
  • Lamp/Light Source; so you can see when feeding or changing diapers at night.
  • A baby stroller
  • Nail clippers or scissors
  • Playpen or playhouse with baby toys
  • Plastic or baby hangers to dry your baby’s clothes
  • Sunshade for car windows
  • Baby pacifiers

The list of things to buy while expecting a baby is inexhaustible. Among these are a few necessities, a lot of other items you may buy are based solely on personal preference. It may be helpful to speak with other experienced mums about things to buy and find out what they recommend.

In Conclusion,

Baby shopping can be hectic and overwhelming, especially for first-time parents.

Therefore, it is best you plan early, and buy all the essential items before your baby’s birth. So when your baby comes, you will be fully prepared.

REFERENCES
  • Gomes, Ana Leticia & Rocha, Cristiane & de Mendonça Henrique, Danielle & Santos, Mirza. (2015). Family knowledge on newborn care. Revista da Rede de Enfermagem do Nordeste. 16. 258-265. 10.15253/2175-6783.2015000200016.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics. AAP Updates recommendations on car seats for children. Updated August 2018.
  • Pexels.com

What Happens During A Caesarean Section

Jennifer never imagined that she’d need to have one. Of course, she had heard about Caesarean Sections and how it is used as an alternative to vaginal birth. However, when the doctor confirmed the need for her to undergo the procedure, she was speechless.

Caesarian sections are offered to pregnant mums for a host of reasons

What Is A C-Section?

A Cesarean section or C-section is a method of delivery via a surgical cut at the lower part of the tummy. This surgical process is necessary when vaginal delivery is no longer a safe option.

During a caesarean section the baby is born through a cut made from the mother’s tummy  into her womb

In most cases, a C-section lasts for about 45 minutes

Why Is A Caesarean Section Necessary?

For women like Jennifer, a C-section may be a safer option when there is a possibility of risk to the child or mother.

The following conditions may prompt the need for a C-section:

  • Prolonged Labour
  • Issues with the placenta
  • To deliver multiple babies safely in some instances
  • To prevent an infection from spreading from mum to baby (eg. Herpes, HIV)
  • Abnormal child positioning ( baby lying across your cervix- transversely)
  • A baby coming out with the feet first
  • When the baby’s head is larger than the birth canal
  • Chronic medical conditions
  • Your baby is in distress.
  • When mum is exhausted from labour and can’t push anymore

How The C- Section Conducted?

Just before a C-section is conducted, your blood pressure, temperature and other vital signs will be taken. These vital signs confirm your fitness level before the procedure.

After that, any hair at the lower part of your tummy and pubic areas will be shaved off. A small tube will be passed into your bladder to your bladder empty and monitor how much urine you are making.

Moving forward, the doctors will administer a medication that stops you from feeling any form of pain all through. You may get pain relief through an injection in your back (called a spinal or epidural block) or you may be made to sleep.

Good news, your doctors will do their best to keep you comfortable during the c-section.

The next step on this journey would be to clean the surgical site and make an incision through your skin to provide access to your womb. After that, another incision would be made in the wall of your womb. This helps the doctor can gain access to the baby and guide your little one into the world.

Once your baby is born and placenta delivery, ghe incisions made during the Caesarean section are stitched closed

Right after that, the umbilical cord is cut and the placenta removed. Finally, the incisions would be closed.

What Happens Next?

After a successful delivery, the doctors would stitch up the womb and close the incision on your tummy.

At the same time, your baby would be cleaned up and placed into your loving arms.

Should You Be Worried?

No.

First, a C-section are usually completely painless. Secondly, it is conducted for your benefit, and that of your baby.

Although you may have to remain in the hospital for a few days to rest, in time you will have all the strength and time in the world to care for your little one. Get tips on surviving the first few days after as a new mum in this article.

How do I prepare for a Caesarean section
The low down on Caesarean Sections part 1
REFERENCES
  • Cesarean Birth (C-section): Procedure Details. Viewed on 29/07/2020 https://my.cleavelandclinic.org/health/treatments/7246-cesarean-birth-c-section/procedure-details
  • Reasons for a C-Section: Medical, Personal, or Other. Viewed on 29/07/2020 https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/c-section-reasons.
  • Shutterstock

HIV IN PREGNANCY: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

HIV…the feared Human Immunodeficiency Virus. In Nigeria, it is associated with so much stigma and fear because most people consider a positive diagnosis to be a death sentence. For women living with HIV in pregnancy, the stakes are even higher due to their relationship with their unborn child.

You can protect your unborn child from HIV  by taking your medication, preactising safe sex and registering early for antenatal care.

However, contrary to popular opinion, a diagnosis of HIV does not automatically mean a woman cannot get pregnant. If you are HIV positive and you plan on having children, here are a few things you need to know about HIV and pregnancy.

What Should I Do Before Getting Pregnant?

Discuss with your doctor early on if you plan to get pregnant. He/she would inform you about the effects of HIV on pregnancy. Your doctor will also guide you on how to best prepare for a healthy pregnancy.

Everyone diagnosed with HIV needs to take their medicines and keep up with their check-ups to remain healthy. This is especially important if you plan to get pregnant. Doing this way before your pregnancy will lower the risk of passing the virus to your baby.

Worried about infecting your partner? There is no need to be!

If your partner is HIV negative, there are still ways you can get pregnant that will greatly reduce the risk of your partner getting infected. These are part of the things you need to discuss with your doctor.

I Am HIV Positive , Can I Transmit It To My Baby?

Yes, it is very possible to transmit HIV to your baby. This can happen during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. Therefore, necessary precautions need to be taken throughout your pregnancy and birth to prevent this from occurring.

The single most important factor in spreading the virus to your baby is your viral load. This is more or less the volume of the HIV detectable in your bloodstream.

I Don’t Have HIV. Why Should I Get Tested During Pregnancy?

Pregnant or not, everybody needs to know their HIV status at regular intervals.

Even if you have never been confirmed positive for the HIV virus, you still need to get tested for HIV if you are pregnant. This is because it is possible to have the virus and not know.

In such a case, early detection will not only protect your baby from also getting an infection, but will also improve your overall health.

What Should I Do If My Partner Is The One With HIV?

Women are more likely to get an HIV infection through vaginal sex than men.

This means that if your male partner is the one with the infection, you have a higher risk of getting HIV while trying to get pregnant. However, it is still possible to get pregnant without getting infected as long as the necessary precautions are taken.

The first thing to do is to talk to your doctor about your options. You may be recommended to be on HIV medicine that would help protect you and your baby from HIV. Your doctor may also suggest you use donor sperm or assisted reproductive technology to get pregnant. However, keep in mind that these options are more expensive.

I Am Already Pregnant. Will My Baby Have HIV?

As a person living with HIV, contact your doctor immediately you get miss a period and have a positive pregnancy test. This would help him/her direct you on the right path to a safe and healthy pregnancy.

We want you to know that you having HIV does not automatically mean your child would have HIV. With recent advances in medicine, it is now possible to lower the risk of mother-child transmission to almost zero!

How Can I Protect My Baby From Getting Infected?

If you have HIV, you can take these steps to reduce the risk of passing it to your baby:

  1. Inform your doctor you want to get pregnant. This is the only way to get professional guidance on how to have a healthy pregnancy and baby.
  2. Get prenatal/antenatal care, and take it seriously. This is the only way your doctor can closely monitor you to ensure you and your baby are fine. It is advisable to choose a hospital or doctor that is specialized or experienced in caring for babies exposed to HIV.
  3. Start HIV treatment. Your doctor would most likely put you on antiretroviral drugs to reduce the risk of you infecting your baby. If you were on medication before pregnancy your meds may be modified slightly to ones that are safe for pregnancy. With HIV treatments, come some side effects that may be especially challenging during pregnancy. Still, you have to take your drugs. Discuss with your doctor about whatever side effects you may experience and how to best manage them.
  4. Stay the course: You will have tests done at regular intervals to monitor your viral load and make sure you and your baby are healthy. Please don’t skip them and if you do try and make arrangements to make up.
  5. Breastfeeding: Breastmilk has so many benefits for your baby. It provides immunity and more. However, a few precautions need to be taken. The virus can be transferred to your baby through breast milk; even if you are on medication. Recommendations vary based on where you live, your financial situation etc. In some countries, formula feeding is recommended. While in others where the risk of not breastfeeding (eg. diarrhoeal diseases, malnutrition) outweigh the benefits, it is recommended that you give your child breastmilk. Please speak to your doctor about your options.
  6. Do not mix feeds: If you are planning on formula feeding, stick to that. Please do not mix breastmilk and formula. Irritations from formula feeding can compromise your baby’s gut and leave them vulnerable to any virus in your milk.

How Will My Care During Pregnancy And Delivery Be Different?

During pregnancy, your doctor would most likely put you on HIV medication. This would reduce the risk of you transferring HIV to your child. You may also need to visit the hospitals more often as your doctor will need to monitor you closely.

It is important to discuss your delivery options with your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor may recommend either a C-section or a vaginal delivery. A C-section is usually recommended for an HIV positive mother that has had no prenatal care nor been on any anti-HIV medication.

What Happens To My Baby After Birth?

Your baby should be given some anti- HIV medication immediately they are born or within 12 hours of birth. This which will be continued. They will then be tested at birth, 2 weeks old, 4 weeks, 6 weeks and so onto monitor their status when the antibodies to HIV would have cleared from their system.

Your doctor will inform you on whatever follow-up tests your baby would need and when they need to be carried out. Discuss with your doctor about whether your baby would need to start HIV treatment immediately. Most doctors will prescribe antiretroviral drugs for your baby for the first 4 weeks after birth to prevent your baby from getting HIV.

What Happens To Me After Birth?

Your doctor may decide to stop or change your anti-HIV drugs after birth. However, do not alter your regimen without approval from your doctor as this could lead to problems.

You would also need to continue with your medical care through routine medical checkups, family planning services, mental health services and HIV specialty care.

Consult with your doctor about which of these services you may need and how to access them.

If you choose not to breastfeed, please inform your doctor so they can prescribe medication to help stop your breastmilk flow and prevent complications such as mastitis, abscesses or discomfort from breast engorgement.

Should I Be Worried?

In today’s world, living with HIV is no longer a death sentence.

People who are diagnosed with an infection do go on to live healthy, normal lives with the option of giving birth to healthy HIV-free babies! So even if you or your partner is HIV positive, there is absolutely no need to worry. Given the current COVID- 19 pandemic please read through the current guidance for pregnant women.

Speak to your doctor, follow all advice given and take your medications and keep up with your screening tests. We assure you that you and your baby would be fine.

Learn about malaria in pregnancy/
REFERENCES

7 (SEVEN) INTERESTING SIGNS OF OVULATION

When you ovulate, an egg is released from one of your ovaries. This is the time she is most likely to get pregnant. Her fertile period. The egg is released, it travels down the uterine tube, where fertilization by a sperm cell can occur. A woman’s ovulatory period lasts for one day in the middle of her menstrual cycle, exactly 14 days before her menstrual flow begins. The timing of ovulation varies for each woman, it may even vary from month to month.

Ovulation
Ovulation can be accompanied with pain in the lower belly
Canva

Women who plan to get pregnant should keep track of their ovulation periods. This is helpful because it provides valid information on the most fertile period in a woman’s cycle.

In addition, the chance of getting pregnant increases when live sperms are present in the falloppian tubes during ovulation.

Women who plan to get pregnant should keep track of their ovulation periods. This is helpful because it provides valid information on the most fertile period in a woman’s cycle.

The Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation

At birth, a female has about 2 million immature eggs called oocytes inside her ovaries. However, only about 400 of these eggs would be released (ovulated) during her reproductive lifetime.

A fresh monthly cycle sets of a chain of events that prepares the mothers’ body for an imminent pregnancy. The cycle is regulated by hormones which are important in maturation and release of the eggs.

During ovulation, the inner walls of the womb (uterus) thickens as it prepares for a fertilized egg. If the egg is not fertilized, the uterine lining is shed about two weeks later, leading to menstrual flow.

However, it is important to note that having a menstrual period does not always mean you are ovulating.

When Does Ovulation Occur?

Most people think ovulation always happens exactly 14 days after a woman’s last period. However, the timing of ovulation varies for each woman and depends on the length of her menstrual cycle.

Normally, menstruation occurs 14 days after ovulation. This knowledge would guide you in calculating your ovulation period

What Are The Signs?

  • Increase In Basal Body Temperature

Your basal body temperature (BBT) is your temperature when you’re at rest. It is essential to know that your body temperature varies slightly throughout the day and month.

 It varies based on your activity level, eating patterns, hormonal composition, sleep habits, and health status.

After ovulation, progesterone levels rise in your body, leading to a slight rise in temperature. Therefore, you can determine your ovulation day if you monitor your BBT closely.

woman hand holds thermometer over calendar basal temperature , Con of fertility, trying to have baby and natural contraception,
  • Breast Tenderness

Women are encouraged to conduct Self ̶ Breast Examinations as often as possible. During a breast examination, it is easy to observe tenderness if it is present.

This change is often regarded as a sign of ovulation. Although breast tenderness isn’t an accurate indicator of ovulation, it can answer basic questions on the progression of your cycle.

You May Also Experience….

  • Mittelschmerz Pain (Ovulation Pain)

Have you ever noticed a sharp, random pain in your lower tummy?

If that pain occurs in the middle of your monthly cycle, you may be experiencing ovulation pain.

Some women get ovulation pain every month. Studies show that mid-cycle pain occurs just before you ovulate. Therefore, this is an efficient sign of ovulation

  • Fertile Quality Cervical Mucus

When you’re approaching ovulation, secretions near the cervix called cervical mucus increase and begin to look like a raw-egg-white.

This fertile quality cervical mucus helps sperm swim up and into your reproductive tract. Sexual intercourse is also easier and more pleasurable.

cervical mucous may become like egg whites
cervical mucous changes to an egg white consistency

Other Signs Are:

  • Increased Sexual Desire

 A woman’s desire for sex increases just before her ovulatory period begins.

In addition to an increased sexual appetite, ovulating women look a lot more sexually appealing as a result of hormonal action.

  • A Positive Result on an Ovulation Predictor Test

An ovulation predictor kit works a lot like an at-home pregnancy test. 

You simply pee on a stick or into a cup and place the stick or test strip into it. When you’re about to ovulate, two obvious lines would appear on the test strip.

If you want to get pregnant, this is the best time to have sex.

  • Fertile Cervical Position

The position of your cervix changes throughout your menstrual cycle. You can track these changes.

Just before the ovulatory period, your cervix moves higher, becomes softer, and opens slightly. In this period, you may have some difficulty in reaching your cervix.

In the other stages of your cycle, the cervix is lower, firmer, and more closed.

What Can You Do?

Every woman should take responsibility for her reproductive health.

This begins with understanding ovulation, its common signs and studying how these play out for you personally . The signs listed above are not exhaustive as you may experience only some or none of these.

You are also advised to report any strange or disturbing feeling to a medical practitioner

References
  • Nierenberg, C. (2018). What is ovulation? Assessed on June 10, 2020 from www.livescience.com/amp/54922-what-is-ovulation.html
  • Tobah, V. (2019). What ovulation signs can I look out for if I’m hoping to conceive? Assessed on June 10, 2020 from pert-answers/ovulation-signs/faq-20058000
  • Gurevich, R. (2020) 8 Signs of Ovulation That Help Detect Your Most Fertile Time. Assessed on June 10, 2020 from https://www.verywellfamily.com/signs-of-ovulation-1960281

Low Blood Pressure In Pregnancy: All You Need To Know.

It is relatively common for pregnant women to have low blood pressure during pregnancy. This is usually not a cause for concern as the blood pressure returns back to normal in most cases. However, if blood pressures get too low during pregnancy, it may be harmful for both mother and child.

Pregnancy in NIgeria, Pregnant, Miscarriage
Pregnancy in Nigeria, Pregnant, Miscarriage

What Is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the measure of force your heart uses to pump blood around your body.

It may fluctuate during the day based on the time, level of activity or emotional state. If you are pregnant, your doctor will likely check your blood pressure at your routine hospital visits. This is because your blood pressure reveals a lot about the health condition of you and your baby.

How Does Pregnancy Affect Blood Pressure?

A lot of changes happen to your body during pregnancy.

One of these changes include changes to your blood pressure. It is common for blood pressure to drop withing the first 24weeks of pregnancy.

What Is Low Blood Pressure?

Normal blood pressure is a blood pressure reading less than 120/80 mm Hg.

Your blood pressure is considered low if it falls below 90/60 mm Hg.

Is Low Blood Pressure During Pregnancy Dangerous?

Low blood pressure during pregnancy is not generally a cause for concern. It only becomes worrisome when you begin to have symptoms; meaning your blood pressure is getting too low.

A blood pressure reading that is too low is very dangerous as it may lead to organ damage or shock. Also, having sharp drops in blood pressure is a cause for concern as it may be an indication of an underlying medical condition.

Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure

It is possible to have a low blood pressure and not know unless your blood pressure readings are taken. Nevertheless, some signs and symptoms you should watch out for include:

dizziness

lightheadedness, especially when standing or sitting up

feeling sick

fainting

general body weakness or fatigue in pregnancy

nausea

tiredness

blurred vision

unusual thirst

clammy, pale, or cold skin

rapid or shallow breathing

lack of concentration or confusion

Some of these symptoms may get noticeably worse when you change into an upright position e.g lying down to sitting or sitting to standing.

Call your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms, especially if you are pregnant.

Diagnosis and Management

Low blood pressure can easily be diagnosed with a simple test. This test can either be done in your doctor’s office or by your self at home. Blood pressure readings are taken with a pressure-measuring gauge with an inflatable cuff that goes around the arm.

Treatment

In most cases. you will not require medications to manage low blood pressure in pregnancy. However, your doctor may want to carry out other tests to rule out the possibility of an underlying condition.

What You Can Do

If your low blood pressure is causing you symptoms like dizziness, here are some helpful tips for you:

  • Get up slowly when trying to sit or stand up.
  • Avoid standing up for too long.
  • Eat more frequently-take small meals throughout the day.
  • Avoid taking very hot baths or showers.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and fluids.
  • Avoid wearing tight clothes. Opt for loose, comfortable clothes instead.
  • Maintain a healthy diet enriched with lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Take all your prenatal vitamins and supplements

After Childbirth

Your blood pressure should return back to normal once you give birth. Your doctor will continue to monitor your blood pressure in the hours and days after you deliver your baby and also at your postnatal appointments.

A Final Note

Most pregnant women will develop low blood pressure during pregnancy. This is normal and should not be a cause for concern. However, if you begin to have bothersome symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately.

REFERENCES

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

Why Do We Keep Track Of Child Development?

Why is child development important?

Observing and taking note of your child’s development is an important tool. It ensures that your child meets their ‘developmental milestones’. Developmental milestones are a ‘loose’ list of skills that are believed to be mastered at roughly the same time period for all children. They act as a useful guideline of ideal growth, maturity, proper functioning. This is in addition to the integration of the functions of organs and systems particularly the musclarand nervous system. These all work together to help your child learn, communicate, take care of themselves independently, survive and so on.

Checking your child’s progress at various ages and marking them against selected time frames, gives you a way to monitor your child’s development.

This ensures that your child is roughly ‘on track’ for their age. Furthermore, this checking of developmental milestones can be helpful in the early detection of any problems in development.

This ‘check’ is usually carried out through various child/mother services. and Pa. Also, the checks are done later through preschool and school term skills assessments.

Common Problems You May Encounter During Child Development

Problems in child development can arise due to:

  • genetics,
  • circumstances surrounding their mum’s pregnancy and childbirth
  • the presence of a specific diagnosis or medical factors
  • a lack of opportunity or exposure to helpful stimuli

Development Problems Fall Into Several Categories.

These categories affect ongoing functional developmental milestones. These milestone categories include:

  • Language skills: How well can your child communicate
  • Cognitive development: How does your child understand the world around them, remember things, think and learn.
  • Social and emotional development: How do they interact with others, express their feelings, react to internal and external stressors or modulate their reactions.
  • Gross motor and fine motor skills: These are skills that play a role in your child’s ability to perform tasks with their hand such as writing, buttoning clothes, running, jumping, skipping.

Most developmental problems over lap and cross over. Therefore, we often observe a combination of issues with attaining several types of developmental milestones or problems within one disorder.

Some common problems during child development that could be encountered include the following:

  • Absence of smiling, in early childhood.
  • Excessively putting objects in rows, in early childhood.
  • Difficulty in finding appropriate ways to express frustration, in later childhood.
  • Inability to know how to use toys, but the child may have an attachment to one object, in early childhood.
  • The child does not respond to his or her name, in early childhood.
  • Inappropriate social outbursts beyond the child’s control, in later childhood.
  • Difficulty paying attention.
  • Impulsivity, acting or talking without thinking first.
  • Constant blaming, resentment or anger.
  • Deliberate attempts to annoy others.
  • Disruptive behaviours

In short, there are a host of other problems that could also be noticed. Anything you notice that seems abnormal or is a source of concern to you should be reported to a doctor immediately. This is because they could be pointers to a disease condition in the child. Sometimes early detection gives us the chance to intervene so as to help the child catch up or have a good quality of life such as in autism.

References

BestStart, 2020. BestStart. [Online]
Available at: https://www.beststart.org/OnTrack_English/1-importance.html
[Accessed 10 June 2020].

CCRC, 2019. CCRC. [Online]
Available at: https://www.ccrcca.org/parents/your-childs-growth-and-development
[Accessed 10 June 2020].

HealthLine, 2019. HealthLine. [Online]
Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/childrens-health/stages-of-child-development
[Accessed 10 June 2020].

Sense, K., 2020. Kid Sense. [Online]
Available at: https://childdevelopment.com.au/areas-of-concern/what-is-child-development/
[Accessed 10 June 2020].

Staff, H. E., 2018. Health Grades. [Online]
Available at: https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/childrens-health/developmental-problems
[Accessed 10 June 2020].

Study.com, 2020. Study.com. [Online]
Available at: https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-child-development-definition-theories-stages.html
[Accessed 10 June 2020].

HOW CAN I TELL IF MY BABY IS GETTING ENOUGH?

“Is my baby getting enough milk? ” New mums all over the world are constantly asking this quetsion. Newborn feeding constantly leads to friction between new mothers and their mother and mothers-in-law in Nigeria.

Is my baby getting enough? is a constant source of arguments

The anxiety this causes tempts us to introduce water or formula in the first few days of life when our actual goal was to breastfeed exclusively.  

Anxiety and fearof starving the baby causes mums to introduce formula

These conflicts stem from:

  • Ignorance of individual and general signs of hunger and feeding patterns in newborns
  • Lack of knowledge of the normal progression of weight gain/ fluctuations
  • Not knowing the signs that a baby is being adequately nourished.
  • Poor infant feeding practices or alternatives when challenges arise

What are the general signs of hunger in newborns?

Babies are usually good communicators.

The trouble is we don’t often pay attention or know what to look out for. The following are common signs that your baby is hungry: 

  • Baby keeps opening the mouth
  • Sticking out the tongue
  • Making sucking movements 
  • Your little one is constantly bringing their hands up to their mouth
  • Moving their limbs as though crawling or cycling in the air
  • Turning their head towards the chest or breast of whoever is carrying them
  • Crying and being irritable. When they cry, it is a late sign of hunger. Some may get so worked up that they won’t want to latch onto your breast or teat of the bottle! Alternatively, they could latch onto your nipple in their haste and annoyance.

This, I assure you, will bring you exquisite pain while breastfeeding

Are Preemies Different?

When preemies are hungry they could lick their lips, become restless, stick out their tongue or flutter their eyes.

Conversely, when they have had enough they relax and their colour changes if they are light-skinned). Some of them may change the rhythm of their nursing and they may touch the breast.

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7 Signs your baby is hungry

A satisfied baby is relaxed with inactive limbs. The baby may turn away from your chest, lets go from breast or bottle feeding and fall asleep.

Baby’s tend to cluster feed at times when they are experiencing rapid growth. Cluster feeding is characterised by showing signs of hunger more frequently than usual.

This is often observed by mothers who schedule their baby feeding times at intervals (as opposed to feeding baby on demand). A baby who usually feeds every 3 hours may demand food every 2 hours for a span of 3 days. For breastfeeding mothers, it’s natures way of increasing your milk supply. Demanding more milk from you in response to your babies next stage of growth characterised by the need for larger quantities of milk. Growth spurts can be observed at 2 days old, 3 months old, and  6- 9 months old

How much milk does my baby need?

Your newborn’s stomach size is really small at first.

At the first to the third day of life, your baby’s tummy is the size of a cherry or 1 grape and can only hold a teaspoon of milk ie. 5-7 mls per meal. By day three to five, it is the size of a table tennis ball or walnut.

From six days old up to 3 weeks old baby’s stomach is the size of an egg and so on.  Knowing this should restrain you from overfeeding your baby which could cause undue discomfort and distract you from the real cause of why our child may be fussy.

All babies lose no more than 10% of their body weight within the first 5-7 days of life before returning to their birth weight by week 2. Baby’s weight should increase by 50% at 6-8 weeks old and double his/her birth weight at 4-5 months old.

This topic, weight gain, is another source of anxiety and potential conflict with loved ones as far as a first-time mum is concerned. Look out for these variations and verify during your first well-baby visit after childbirth. Make sure you use an appropriate infant weighing scale.

Any deviation from this may then prompt investigation of your baby’s nutrition or breastfeeding practices. The weight and length measurements for your baby should be entered in a chart which usually comes with your immunisation card. Each entry is benchmarked against the normal range for baby’s age within our environment which is also indicated on the chart. This forms a more objective view of if your baby is being adequately nourished.

Signs That Your Baby Is Being Adequately Fed

A well fed baby will :

  • Have 4 -6 wet diapers (urine) and 3-4 poopy diapers daily. Note that exclusively breastfed babies can go up to 3 days without passing stool at 3 months old. Also, formula-fed babies can get easily constipated if you fail to follow the instructions for proportions of water to formula while preparing their meal.
  • Gain weight in accordance with the normal range for his/her age and race as entered in the growth monitoring chart mentioned above

Is there a need for vitamin supplements in infants? Formula-fed babies do not need multivites. However, babies being exclusively breastfed are required to get vitamin D drops. There apparently isn’t enough vitamin D in breast milk and babies and mums don’t get as much sunlight as needed.

What Can I do When Challenges Arise

The bedrock of a breastfed newborn getting enough milk from its mother is ensuring your little one is draining the breast adequately. Next mother has to have an adequate supply.

Your infant will drain your breast if he/she latches on properly ie. your nipple and most of the areola complex are in baby’s mouth with the areola in contact with baby’s hard palate and tongue.

If your breast is constantly being drained by the end of each feeding session, the initial increase in milk production and supply which is governed by demand and supply feedback will be activated.

Nigerian food that help increase your supply

Some structural challenges such as tongue-tie in the baby or a mismatch between the size of your their mouth and your nipple-areola complex can hinder adequate feeding. It is important that these are found early and addressed by a trained health professional or lactaction specialist.

As mentioned above, it is important that the exact instructions for preparing a baby’s formula are followed. This prevents them from developing hard stools that are difficult to pass out (constipation). Constipation will come up from a concentrated mix of formula. On the other hand, a formula mix that’s too dilute will result in their not getting enough calories.

What if my baby doesn’t like feeding on a bottle?

This is a question that worries mothers who may need to return to work or leave their baby in the care of others for a few hours. If they refuse to breastfeed or accept a feeding bottle, the following alternatives are viable feeding options:

  • Cup and baby spoon 
  • A small syringe (without the needle)
  • Feeding cup 

Feeding a newborn as a first time mum can seem daunting. It is important to arm yourself with the right information to avoid common mistakes. Furthermore, information gives you the confidence to push back and advocate for yourself and your little one when the need arises. These are tips you should learn during an antenatal visit or birthing and breastfeeding class.

References

Wagner C. Counselling the Breastfeeding Mother. Emedicine. February 2015 Accessed September 9th 2019
https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/979458-overview

How to increase your supply and build a stash of breast milk

Five Online Pregnancy Calculators In Nigeria

You are a pregnant, expecting woman. Perhaps you want to know how far in you are or when you would possibly deliver. Or you are a busy woman who would like to plan her life adequately around her pregnancy period. Maybe you are just not sure or do not even know your due date. Cue in online pregnancy calculators.

These algorithms help you figure out your estimated due date for delivery. They work on various information you will be asked for.

How do pregnancies occur?

As a benefit of this digital and internet powered age, these calculators are now to be easily accessed online. Either via websites or as applications for your android or IOS powered phones.

A lot of us have mobile phones and access to the internet. Therefore, this makes it very convenient for these form of help to be easily gotten.

Online pregnancy calculators include applications and websites such as:

Ovia Pregnancy Tracker (Baby due date countdown)

This application helps you figure out how many weeks you are in your pregnancy. It also gives a countdown to your delivery day. Added benefits of this application are weekly video simulations of what your baby looks like on that day during countdown.

It also provides baby names, pregnancy related daily articles and safety lookup tools. As well as a community for questions and answers and support for its users.

Image from Google Play Store
An online pregnancy calculator with baby names.

Pregnancy +

This application gives you your due date. It also provides an avenue for you to put in various information you might want to monitor during your pregnancy. You can monitor your baby’s kicks via the kick counter, contraction times, weight monitor among other things.  

You can monitor your baby’s kicks via the kick counter, contraction times, weight monitor among other things with pregnancy+.
Image from Google Play Store
An online pregnancy calculator showing week of pregnancy

www.pregnancy.com

An easily remembered site if we might say. This site as with others mentioned, gives you your pregnancy week and possible delivery date. It also gives other probable information based on other data provided. Furthermore, it lets you know of the changes to expect in your body by week and trimester. Information is then provided on how to prepare or get used to them.

If you are not pregnant yet, this site also acts as an ovulation calculator. It helps you monitor when you are likely to ovulate. This increases your chances of getting pregnant.

If you are not pregnant yet, pregnancy.com also acts as an ovulation calculator. It helps you monitor when you are likely to ovulate.
Image from Google Play Store
An online pregnancy calculator showing what baby might look like.

www.whattoexpect.com

This website gives you information on how to make the calculations yourself offline if you want to do that. It also answers other questions you just might have with their frequently posted articles. Furthermore, they also have a phone application – Pregnancy & Baby Tracker.

What to expect" answers other questions you just might have with their frequently posted articles
Image from Google Play Store
An online pregnancy calculator showing baby size
Image from Google Play Store
An online pregnancy calculator explaining body changes

Pregnancy Tracker Week by Week

This application as with the basics already mentioned above comes with other plans. For example, there’s a diet plan that guides you on proper nutrition for during pregnancy. It gives you quizzes to test your knowledge and get you ready for childbirth. There are also great tips for each week of your pregnancy.

"pregnancy tracker week by week gives you quizzes to test your knowledge and get you ready for childbirth
Image from Google Play Store
An online pregnancy calculator showing weight and length of baby

The special features on these websites and applications are all helpful in one way or the other . A guide to knowing what to expect can make pregnancies easier to deal with. Try a bunch of them before deciding which works for you. Don’t forget, they don’t replace the medical advice from you doctor.

References

Calculator.net, 2020. Calculator.net. [Online]
Available at: https://www.calculator.net/pregnancy-calculator.html
[Accessed 1 June 2020].

Daramola, A., 2019. HOWTOTECH. [Online]
Available at: https://howtotechnaija.com/pregnancy-apps-android-ios/
[Accessed 1 June 2020].

expect, W. t., 2020. What to expect. [Online]
Available at: https://www.whattoexpect.com/due-date-calculator/
[Accessed 1 June 2020].

Pregnancy.com, 2020. Pregnancy.com. [Online]
Available at: https://www.pregnancy.com/amp/index.php
[Accessed 1 June 2020].

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