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6 Ways To Prevent Premature Birth

Every pregnant woman desires to carry her baby to full term. However certain unplanned events or complications could make the baby arrive earlier than 37 weeks. Although there are certain established causes of premature birth, its exact cause for about 50% of pregnancies has remained unknown. Sometimes, premature birth can cause problems to the baby, mother or even both of them. It is therefore of the utmost importance for pregnant women to do their best to carry their babies to full term. There are certain risk factors of preterm labor but these 6 tips can help pregnant women carry their baby to full term;

 

1) Consult with your doctor as early as possible

One of the tips of carrying a pregnancy till the full term is to see your doctor as soon as you find out you are pregnant. When you see your doctor early, he will conduct elaborate tests on you to ensure that you are totally healthy to carry your baby. If you are found with certain conditions or infections, you will be treated so that both you and your baby can stay healthy. It is also imperative to honor all your prenatal appointments so that you and the baby are keenly monitored for all existing and potential problems.

2) Prevent infections

Throughout the 40 weeks of pregnancy, you have to do your best to avoid any infections, especially sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other contagious diseases that may be transmitted to your baby. To this effect, it is advisable to practice certain precautions like using condoms during sex, washing your hands as often as possible, as well as avoiding raw meat/fish.

3) Be physically active

Another tip to carry your baby until the full term is to be physically active during your pregnancy. This assertion can be explained by the fact that when you are physically active, you are simultaneously boosting your overall wellbeing, thereby reducing the risk of certain conditions like high blood pressure, preeclampsia and diabetes, which are all associated with premature birth. A pro tip to staying active is to indulge in exercises like walking, swimming, group dance and indoor cycling, etc.

4) Avoid stress

Stress and pregnancy are not compatible at all. According to shreds of evidence from research, women who are stressed or depressed are at a higher risk of having a miscarriage or premature birth. However, staying stress-free will boost your overall wellbeing and make it possible for you to carry your baby until full term. So instead of worrying, spend your time doing the things you love. Besides, you should consult with a therapist whenever you are feeling stressed during pregnancy.

5) Quit smoking, alcohol and illicit drugs

Alcohol, cigarettes and illicit drugs are harmful to the body as they are associated with several life-threatening medical conditions. These substances are forbidden during pregnancy as they can affect the child’s brain and also cause premature birth. You should therefore avoid these substances as soon as you find out you are pregnant.

6) Avoid self-medicating during pregnancy

Pregnancy is a complicated and delicate state, so it’s advisable to not take drugs that have not been prescribed by your doctor. Even the slightest pain killers are not recommended during pregnancy as they could harm you and your baby. Thus, before taking any drug during pregnancy, you must first consult with your doctor. If you are on medications for a long-term condition, you must also inform your doctor, who is expected to make the best decision for your safety and that of your unborn child.

Fever During Pregnancy

It is not uncommon for women to experience fevers during pregnancy. Running a fever during pregnancy does not necessarily mean your unborn baby is in danger, but it’s often a symptom of an underlying condition that could harm your growing fetus. A fever is the body’s approach to fighting off an infection.

 

Fevers typically occur when the body’s temperatures rise beyond a certain limit. The body’s average temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius), so if your body temperature rises above these numbers, you should seek medical attention immediately to protect yourself and your baby from harm.

 

Some pregnant women may find it hard to distinguish if they are running a fever or just a little bit hot. This is because hot flashes associated with hormonal swings are common during pregnancy. Besides, your growing unborn baby also radiates heat that causes your body temperatures to rise.

 

When it comes to fevers, the number of your temperatures often reflects their severity. This is why you should start bringing down your temperatures right away with over the counter medications before calling and meeting your doctor.

 

The major symptom of fever during pregnancy is a body temperature that exceeds 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.5 degrees Celsius), but other signs and symptoms may include fatigue, dizziness, nausea, chills, back pain, shortness of breath, sweating as well as alternating between feeling cold and feeling hot.

 

Fevers could be caused by many things but some of the most common potential causes of fevers during pregnancy include the flu, Covid-19, cold, kidney infections, urinary tract infections, genital infections and ear/respiratory infections.

 

Fevers can be treated during pregnancy but the treatment method will largely depend on the cause of the fever. Doctors typically prescribe antibiotics to treat fevers caused by bacteria infections, whereas antiviral medications are used to treat fevers caused by viruses such as flu. That said, fevers can sometimes resolve on their own, without any treatment, but this should not stop you from reporting it to your doctor for further investigations, because it could be a sign of a serious condition.

 

It should be noted that fevers during pregnancy rarely result in pregnancy loss, but could be harmful to your unborn baby. Research has revealed that fevers in pregnant women could result in other complications, including congenital irregularities and autism.

 

It is not easy to prevent fevers, but you can always prevent getting infected by viruses and bacteria that cause them by getting your flu shot, avoiding close contact with sick people, washing your hands frequently and putting on your face mask.

Signs of Preterm Labor

Preterm labor, also known as premature labor occurs when the body starts getting ready for birth before the 37th week of pregnancy. This kind of labor occurs when the uterus tightens, and the cervix begins to open, which may result in premature birth. Babies born before week 37 of pregnancy may not be fully developed; hence they can have life-threatening health problems such as cerebral palsy. Some of the risk factors for preterm labor include a short cervix, short time between pregnancies, pregnancy complications, and lifestyle factors like smoking and overweight.

The following are signs of preterm labor:

• Lower back ache – A dull ache on the lower back is one of the most common warning signs for preterm labour. The pain may be constant or may come and go. More often, it doesn’t go away even if you change positions.
• Flu-like symptoms like vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea, especially after drinking liquids are an indication of preterm labour. If you notice any flu-like symptoms, you must see your doctor immediately.
• Cramps in your lower abdomen that feel like period pain and sometimes may come with diarrhea.
• Frequent contractions of your womb every 10 minutes or more often. These contractions may be painful or painless and may get stronger and more frequent.
• Increased pressure in your pelvis, like your baby is pushing down. Usually, the pressure comes and goes.
• A sudden increase in vaginal discharge or a change in the type of vaginal discharge. It can be watery, mucus, or bloody.
• A gush of fluid from the vagina, which may happen due to ruptured membranes.
• Eyesight problems like blurred or double vision.
• Vaginal spotting or light bleeding.
• A frequent urge to urinate which is primarily caused by pressure on the bladder.
• When the mucous plug at the cervix comes away and out of the vagina.
• Sudden breaking of the waters.
• Swelling of your hands, feet, or face.
• Baby stops moving or moves less

If you experience these signs before the 37th week of your pregnancy, you should see a doctor as quickly as possible. Preterm labor is diagnosed by conducting a cervical exam that entails checking the cervix for changes or a transvaginal ultrasound exam that measures the length of your cervix. A healthcare professional may also test your amniotic fluid to determine whether it’s broken or not.

6 Tips to Manage Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs only in pregnant women. This condition happens when a woman cannot produce enough insulin resulting in high blood sugar levels. Gestational diabetes affects between 2 and 10 percent of all pregnancies, which means there are more than 130,000 cases each year. Having elevated blood sugar levels during pregnancy can lead to serious complications for both the mother and the fetus. Like other types of diabetes, the key to managing gestational diabetes is keeping your blood sugar levels under control.

1. Eat healthily
Eating healthy food will help you control your blood sugar levels. Make sure you eat the right amount of proteins, healthy starch, fruits, vegetables, and fats. Cut down on sugary drinks and processed food like ice cream, cakes, and biscuits. Instead of zero-calorie food, choose healthier alternatives such as whole food, fruits, and seeds. You are also encouraged to eat at least three meals a day and control your portion sizes to avoid gaining weight. Do not skip meals as it may prompt the body to crave for unhealthy diet choices.

2. Exercise regularly
Another effective way to manage gestational diabetes is to engage in regular physical activity. Exercise helps the body to use insulin more effectively, which results in lower blood sugar levels. It’s advisable to do mild to moderate exercises such as swimming, walking, jogging, or prenatal aerobics or yoga for at least 30 minutes every day.

3. Maintain a healthy weight
Overweight women are at a higher risk of having gestational diabetes. Moreover, overweight women with gestational diabetes tend to experience more complications as compared to those with a healthy weight. That’s why it’s important to eat low glycemic foodand exercise more to maintain a healthy weight. However, it’s not advisable to embark on a weight loss program during pregnancy. Just stick to moderate exercises and proper nutrition.

4. Test your blood sugar level
To control your blood sugar levels, you’ll need to test it regularly. Usually, doctors advise that you check your blood sugar levels four or five times a day, particularly in the morning and after meals. This will help you determine if your sugar levels are within the healthy range. Besides, testing your blood sugar level regularly will help you get a grasp on how certain food affect your blood sugar and adjust them appropriately.

5. Monitor your pregnancy
Gestational diabetes can increase the risk of both the mother and the baby developing complications. Therefore, you need to have more antenatal appointments so that the baby can be monitored.

6. Take medication if necessary
If your blood sugar level remains high despite making the necessary lifestyle changes, you may need insulin injections or diabetes pills to keep your blood sugar under control and protect your baby.

If you manage gestational diabetes with the tips mentioned above, you’ll deliver a healthy baby without complications.

Consuming Milk During Pregnancy

The main goal of pregnancy is to give birth to a healthy child, and the chances for that to happen will be significantly lower if you don’t get proper nutrition. During pregnancy, you should consume healthy food and beverages that provide the required nourishment for you and your unborn baby.

According to studies, consuming milk has been proven to be beneficial to pregnant women, but the exact benefits of milk have always been a topic of dispute. In this article, we’ll look at some of the nutrients present in milk, and how they can be beneficial to you during pregnancy. You’ll also learn how some of these nutrients can be detrimental to your health, and when you should avoid them.

Here are some of the nutrients present in milk and how they can help or impact you or your baby’s health during pregnancy.

1. Calcium and Vitamin D
One of the major benefits of consuming milk is it is a rich source of calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin D is very beneficial to your baby’s health since it helps in preventing future allergy attacks.

Consuming milk can also help you keep up with your daily calcium requirements. When pregnant, you will need to maintain a healthy calcium intake of around 1000mg to 1300mg to help in stabilizing your health, and that of your baby. Milk is one of the few calcium-rich foods that will help you realize this daily requirement without causing a whole lot of problems as a side effect.

2. Proteins, Iodine, and Amino Acids
Proteins and amino acids that are all present in milk in significant quantities are important for the growth and wellbeing of your baby throughout your pregnancy.

Adding milk into your daily diet helps in building your baby’s bones (thanks to the calcium) and it will also help maintain a decent oxygen circulation to your baby.

Milk also contains iodine which is very important for brain development and contributes to a higher IQ in your baby. Taking enough milk during pregnancy will greatly reduce your baby’s chances of suffering a developmental delay in early life.

If you fancy tall kids, you may also want to drink more milk during pregnancy. Studies show consuming milk during pregnancy has also been linked to making kids grow taller than average.

There aren’t too many pregnancy-specific disadvantages of consuming milk during pregnancy, but you can also suffer indigestion and bloating when you drink too much milk.

Also, consuming milk is strongly linked with iron deficiency, especially if you don’t consume enough iron-rich foods to compensate. When you consume milk during pregnancy, it’s also important to complement it with iron-rich foods to prevent iron deficiency in your child.

What Is Subchorionic Bleeding?

A subchorionic bleed also known as subchorionic hematoma, which is the blood that has accumulated between the uterine lining and the chorion, located the outer fetal membrane next to the uterus. When this happens, it can result in light to heavy spotting or bleeding. In other words, a subchorionic bleed could also occur when the placenta detaches itself from the original implantation site, thereby affecting the chorionic membrane and causing it to lift apart to form another sac between the placenta and the uterus. This movement and resulting clots usually cause light or somewhat heavy bleeding.

Most subchorionic bleeds often resolve on their own and don’t pose any risks to the mother or baby. Most Women who experience subchorionic bleeding still go on to have perfectly healthy pregnancies. However, in rare cases, since it can cause the placenta to separate form the uterine lining, it thereby increases the risk of miscarriage or preterm labor. That explains why it is important for women with this condition to be closely monitored by their healthcare providers.

That said, subchorionic bleeds are rare as only an estimated 1% of all pregnancies have them.1 It also tends to be more prevalent among women who get pregnant through in vitro fertilization (IVF). Sometimes, it’s hard to differentiate subchorionic bleeding and hematomas because they have similar symptoms. But of course, spotting and bleeding may be a sign, especially in the first trimester. Most causes of subchorionic bleeds are actually detected during a routine ultrasound since they are sometimes without noticeable symptoms.

Even though most subchorionic bleeds resolve on their own, in rare cases, they could cause the placenta to separate from the uterine lining, thereby increasing the risk of a miscarriage or preterm labor. That explains why it is important for women with this condition to be closely monitored by their healthcare providers.

Like already mentioned, subchorionic bleeding can be hard to diagnose as many women confuse it for spotting. However, if you are pregnant and notice vaginal bleeding at any point, the logical thing to do is to let your doctor know. He will likely do an ultrasound to know the root cause of the bleeding. You will therefore be treated according to how large the subchorionic hematoma is and where it is located. You may be put on bed rest or even asked to avoid sex until the condition resolves.

If you are experiencing symptoms of subchorionic hematoma, do speak to your doctor as soon as possible for immediate medical care.

Reference:
1) First Trimester Bleeding Tied to Greater Retained Placenta Risk. MedpageToday Website. https://www.medpagetoday.com/meetingcoverage/acog/72600. Last accessed April 22, 2021.

What You Need To Know About Depression During Pregnancy

Many women are aware of postpartum depression but have no idea they could also fall into depression during pregnancy. Depression is a condition that is characterized by a mood disorder that results in a persistent feeling of sadness. People who are depressed usually lose interest in the things they normally love and care in the past. Women are generally more susceptible to depression, especially during their reproductive years. According to research, depressive episodes occur more frequently in the first and the last trimesters of pregnancy.

Sometimes, it’s not easy for pregnant women to realize they are depressed since the symptoms are similar to those of pregnancy. Even a healthcare provider can easily attribute the symptoms of depression to pregnancy. Some women may also not feel comfortable talking to their health care providers about their symptoms because of the stigma associated with depression. Moreover, most health care providers turn to focus so much on the physical health of pregnant women while neglecting their mental state.

The symptoms of depression during pregnancy are the same as those in any other depressed person. Nevertheless, there are some additional clues that may suggest depression during pregnancy. These clues include:
• Low self-esteem and feeling inadequate about parenthood
• Severe anxiety about the unborn baby
• Poor response to reassurance
• Not being able to enjoy all those activities you would normally love
• Suicidal thoughts
• Developing certain habits such as smoking, consuming illicit drugs or drinking alcohol
• Fluctuations in weight such as excessive weight gain or severe weight loss

Some women are more vulnerable to becoming depressed during pregnancy than others. They include:
• Women who have a lot of stress caused by issues like poverty
• Women who do not have enough social support
• Women suffering from anxiety
• Women who didn’t plan to become pregnant
• And women suffering from intimate partner violence

Untreated depression in pregnancy can pose a series of problems that may be harmful to the unborn baby. For instance, a depressed pregnant woman will hardly have the energy to care for herself the right way. She might neglect her diet and eat unhealthy food. Besides, she might not seek optimal prenatal care, thereby putting herself and her baby in harm’s way.

However, the treatment for depression in pregnant women often depends on how severe the symptoms are. The treatment options most likely include psychotherapy and antidepressants. Seek intervention from your healthcare provider as soon as you are experiencing the signs of depression.

Week 27

With the beginning of the 27th week, you are about to end up the second trimester with just two weeks remaining to enter the third trimester. It feels like a big milestone for you and the baby. You are about to enter the final stage of pregnancy. Start resting a lot in order to stay super healthy and active.

Is Exercise Safe During Pregnancy?

Whether you are a fitness enthusiast or not before pregnancy, as soon as you saw the two lines on the pregnancy test stick, you immediately became cautious in every move, fearing any wrong movement would harm the precious little cargo in your womb. Indeed, healthcare providers discourage exercises for the first trimester.

10 Things About 2nd Trimester

After passing the first trimester of pregnancy you have finally survived the most difficult period of pregnancy with morning sickness, nausea, vomiting, mood swings and many other symptoms repeatedly. Let’s have a look at 10 things about the second trimester of pregnancy:

Physical Changes During Pregnancy

Your body goes through enormous physical changes during pregnancy. Some of these physical changes may cause aches and pains as well as discomforts. Luckily there are a few tips and tricks that can hopefully make going through such physical changes easier.