Category Archives: Advice/Tips
Is your menstrual period late?
Just like the other systems of the body, a woman’s monthly period is controlled by our brain, which hypothalamus gland commands when an egg should be dispensed by the ovary, and send signal to uterus prompting uterus to thicken the walls in the event that conception happens. But in case the woman is not pregnant, the uterine lining and the eggs are consequently shed during her menstrual period.
Most women undergo between eleven and thirteen menstrual periods every year. However, for some reasons or another, there are women who experience more or fewer than these. Usually, menstrual periods come irregular during the first few months after the first menstruation. But unless a woman is pregnant, there are some factors that significantly cause irregular menstrual periods, or oligomenorrhea, such as:
Weight loss or gain. A woman’s menstrual cycle is likely to be affected with sudden weight loss, especially when it is caused by anorexia or anxiety, as it disturbs the hormonal balance in the body. Amenorrhea, or the absence of menstrual period, can also be caused by side effects of certain drugs, like those taken for chemotherapy, birth control, phenothiazines, and busulfan.
Meanwhile, overweight women may experience irregular periods due to overproduction of estrogen, which somehow sends wrong signal to the ovaries that the body is pregnant. Because of this, menstruation stops.
Stress. When our body is under some stress, our body will automatically secretes cortisol, a hormone that decreases the releases of progesterone and estrogen hormone which are responsible for regulating menstrual cycle. Stress can occur in many forms, like: poor nutrition, dangerous situation, relationship issues, difficult tasks, and other external factors.
Illness or physiological imbalance. A sudden but short ailment, as well as longer periods of sickness can be contributing factors for delayed or irregular menstrual period.
Eating disorder. Since a woman suffering from eating disorder has consequently upset her vitamin and nutrient levels, she eventually puts many of her bodily functions and anatomical features on the line, including her menstrual cycle.
Increased exercise. Women endurance athletes are likely to suffer from irregular or missed periods because their hormone levels are significantly affected by intense forms of exercise.
Travel. Travel, particularly long-haul flights, can be stressful due to the frenzy and anticipation that precedes the trip, lack of sleep during flight, dehydration, airplane food, and change of routine. Studies show that flying through different time zones alters the body’s biorhythms.
Medications and illegal drug use. There are some drugs that can cause a woman’s monthly period to stop or skip, like contraceptive pills and other birth control methods. Illegal drug use can also upset her fertility.
Hormone problems. Hormone imbalance caused by many diseases and conditions can greatly affect a woman’s monthly period.
Breast-feeding. Some nursing mothers may have altered periods until they stop breast feeding.
Pelvic organ conditions. Imperforate hymen, polycystic ovary syndrome, or Asherman’s syndrome can also contribute to a woman’s irregular period.
It should be noted, however, that even if a woman is not menstruating, she can still become pregnant. She might just need to restore her emotional and physical balance by relaxing in order to have a regular monthly period. n
The birth of a child is a life changing event. While it is a happy and exciting time, it can also bring nervous feelings for many. Fortunately, there are steps an expectant mother can take to make the transition a little smoother and a lot less worrisome, freeing up time to enjoy the precious new addition to the family.
Before Baby Arrives
1. Baby proofing—There are many household items that could potentially harm a baby and it’s best to take care of them as soon as possible. Practice good habits before the baby begins to explore the home.
2. Stock up—Stock up on things such as diapers and formula before the baby arrives. Don’t forget about things the new mother will need as well, such as food, comfort items and sanitary napkins.
3. Resources—There are many resources available to assist new parents and children. Some, such as Women, Infants, and Children (W.I.C.) not only provide important nutrition education, but also provide valuable vouchers participants can use to purchase a variety of food items.
Leaving the Hospital
1. Ask and Practice—This is the time for new parents to practice things such as diapering and feeding while hospital staff is around to help. Parents should also take advantage of this opportunity to ask any questions they may have, including securing the number of a local hotline they may call in case of future questions or concerns.
2. Safety First—Having a properly installed infant car seat is required before a hospital will discharge baby. Be sure to research brands available to make sure that it is federally approved for safety and be sure to have it installed properly.
Bringing Baby Home
1. Enjoy the baby—This can be a very overwhelming time for a new mother. There are a million things to do, but it’s important to slow down and take time to enjoy the baby.
2. Lighten up—It’s important for a new mother to give themselves permission to slack off a little on housework or other household tasks. While it’s necessary to maintain a clean home for good health, it’s important to strike a balance between chores and family life.
3. Join a group—Joining a mother’s group is an excellent opportunity for socialization as well as an opportunity to learn from other mothers.
Other Things to Consider
1. Documentation is key—Baby’s progress very quickly. Keeping a traditional or virtual baby book, complete with lots of pictures and video, will help document the rapid changes.
2. Cord blood banking—Some parents choose to store or “bank” the baby’s umbilical cord blood. Stem cells from cord blood may be used to help treat certain medical conditions that may arise in the future for the child or possibly a sibling
3. Minimize caregiver fatigue—Mothers must take time to exercise, eat properly and allow at least a small amount of leisure time.
Caring for a newborn is not an easy task, but following the tips listed above can help. Planning ahead, taking advantage of existing resources and taking good care of themselves will help new mothers navigate this rewarding experience.
This article was written by Katie Moore. Katie is an active writer within the blogging community who discusses maternity, motherhood, prenatal health, childbirth and other topics within this niche. If you have any questions or would like to connect with Katie please contact by visiting her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter @moorekm26.
The primary purpose of pregnancy vaccination is to strengthen one’s immune system against serious infectious diseases, as well as to prevent communicable diseases from spreading. Particularly, women who intend to get pregnant should all the more be encouraged to get vaccinated against certain ailments to protect not only themselves but also the fetus they are going to conceive.
There has been no conclusive evidence yet regarding risks to a developing fetus from vaccination – either inactivated virus or live vaccines – of the mother during pregnancy. Rather, its benefits far exceed potential risks. Nevertheless, as precautionary measure, women should avoid getting pregnant for at least 28 days after she receives any of the vaccines.
Measles, mumps, and rubella live virus vaccines, which are usually grouped together as MMR, should only be given at least three months before getting pregnant, and not during pregnancy. This is a standard procedure to ascertain a woman’s immunity to rubella. If in case the initial rubella test indicates that the woman is vulnerable to it, she will then receive the vaccine post-partum.
Measles can greatly affect a pregnant woman, especially if she has not been vaccinated before because it exposes her to the risk of spontaneous abortion or of not carrying the pregnancy to term. In this case, she needs to see her doctor immediately. However, if she had been vaccinated or had experienced measles before, she need not worry at all. Meanwhile, although there is no evidence that mumps virus has been associated with defects in the unborn a pregnant woman who acquires mumps during her first 12 to 16 weeks of pregnancy can be prone to miscarriage. There is also a lingering concern that attenuated rubella vaccine virus might cause abnormalities in the fetus, but experts maintain that this is hypothetical risk only. There have been incidents where rubella vaccine, either monovalent or as MMR, was inadvertently administered to pregnant women, but without harmful effects to the fetus.
On the other hand, varicella vaccine, which is used to prevent chicken pox, should be administered at least one month prior to pregnancy. A pregnant woman who acquires chicken pox is likely to be in greater risk of having severe illness, and her child may be born with congenital varicella syndrome, a very rare disorder where the affected newborn shows distinctive abnormalities like low birth weight, defects of the skin, upper and lower extremities, brain, eyes, and other parts of the body.
Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine. Tetanus, which is frequently called lock-jaw, is a serious condition of the central nervous system caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani. Tetanus, now a rare condition, can be fatal to a newborn, but is preventable if the mother is vaccinated.
Diphtheria, a dangerous respiratory infection, is caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheria, which produces toxin that runs into the bloodstream. It is a communicable and fatal disease that usually attacks the throat, nose, and in serious cases, the heart and nerves.
Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a widespread and potentially life-threatening respiratory infection that has been the culprit of morbidity and mortality in infants less than 6 months old. It has an incubation period of 7 to 20 days.
Hepatitis B, also known as serum hepatitis, is a communicable disease of the liver caused by a DNA virus that can be acquired through a contaminated blood or blood derivatives, sexual contact with an infected individual, or through used and unclean needles and instruments. It has a long incubation period with symptoms that can develop into severe or chronic ailment and even poses a risk to the liver.
All pregnant women must submit to a Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) test during their initial prenatal visit for immunity. If, however, they are vulnerable to it and if there is likelihood for them to be a risk factor, they should be vaccinated immediately. Hepatitis B in pregnant women may cause severe conditions to the mother, the fetus, and the newborn.
Meanwhile, human papilloma virus (HPV) is the most common type of sexually transmitted disease that can cause genital warts and cervical cancer. It is passed on either through genital contact, oral sex, and also between straight and same-sex partners. And, although it is a rare occurrence, a mother may also transmit the disease to her baby during childbirth. The disease can be avoided by an HPV vaccine, but the most effective way to prevent or reduce it from spreading is by safe sex practices and limiting sexual partners.
At least two drug companies have developed and tested HPV vaccine. However, it created controversies among conservative groups, who claim that such vaccine may promote promiscuity. While in another note, some sectors and even medical professionals claim that the HPV virus does not cause cervical cancer, at all. They accuse certain drug companies of disseminating this fallacy in order to promote its product. Remember also to discuss about pregnancy vaccination with your doctor.
Deciding to have a baby is something worth thoroughly discussing about between couples because it involves life and responsibilities. Aside from physical preparations, there are salient points that couples need to be considered in planning for a family.
Physical and mental health
One of the top priorities, if not the first, to consider before getting pregnant, is to determine whether or not both would-be parents are physically fit to have a baby, because this factor has a bearing on the future offspring. It could be that the mother is not fit to be pregnant due to some health conditions. It would also be a futile attempt to forego medical consultation when, in the first place, the man has a problem with his sperm fertility. Likewise, both parents should avoid unnecessary stress because it can affect both their physical and emotional health. Studies also show that women suffering from depression tend to have fertility problems. Besides, a clinically depressed woman is generally unable to take care of herself, so much less can she be expected to look after her baby.
Couples who smoke, drink excessively, and take illegal drugs must decide on quitting these vices if they want to have a baby because these can remarkably lessen the possibility of getting pregnant, and most likely to cause premature birth, miscarriage, and low birth weight babies. Besides, smoking adversely affects the fertility of both male and female. The would-be mother should also minimize her caffeine consumption because her body might not be able to absorb iron needed in pregnancy.
Financial status of the couple
Parents, who already have a child, or children, should consider whether or not they can still afford to have one more addition to the family. Likewise, new couples must answer the question “Are we ready yet?” since it is the parents’ responsibilities to provide for the basic needs of their offspring, such as food, clothing, shelter, and education. In other words, adding a new member to the family involves budget until that member would be capable of living on his own.
Child-rearing and child care
Couples, especially first time parents, should be prepared to enter into the family life. It is natural for them to have different views on child-rearing considering that they, too, have been brought up in different manners; but as a couple, they must agree and maintain a common ground on how to rear their own child. Issues that are necessary to discuss about should include discipline, values, nutrition, and physical activity. Religion is also worth discussing about, especially if the couple come from different faith denominations, because this might become an issue of contention if not yet agreed upon. Moreover, if both parents are working, they should discuss about who will take the full time duty in looking after the baby, and they should arrange for it before the baby comes.
This factor is very essential in building a wholesome family. The couple, especially if both have careers, should make room for quality time with their child and with each other. It is a different story to just leave all childcare to a crèche or a baby sitter because a child needs more than economic comfort.
Since the family is the basic unit of society, it is vital that couples work together at setting a stable and loving environment for their children to produce good and responsible citizens.You may also consider finding out on pregnancy signs in more details.
Pregnancy may be an exciting and important event to a couple, particularly to a woman. But many times, it also brings with it so much ado – from hormonal changes, morning sickness, exercise, to food and dieting. And so is preparation for getting pregnant. It requires tremendous effort to set the body, the food she eats, the mood, and, to a certain extent, including the environment itself, just to prepare for pregnancy. A woman’s nutrition, for example, is a very important factor to consider when one is bent on getting a boost to fertility because it does not only involve the mother, but also the well being of the baby she conceives. Having a healthy diet during pregnancy spells a healthier, happier, and smarter baby.
Experts have identified particular foods that boost fertility and ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Cod liver oil. This is found to be a powerful fertility food that boosts energy, libido, muscle growth, brain power, and general health. It is an abundant source of Vitamins A, B, and D, arachidonic acid, and DHA that are essential to reproduction and for preventing birth defects.
Vitamin A is known to promote healthy fertility in men and women, and an essential micronutrient during pregnancy and also in early childhood because of its role in visual function. It is involved in the cell to cell communication, ensuring that the cells and tissues develop normally as the foetus progresses, and promotes healthy hair and skin. The effective way to get Vitamin A is through animal sources, such as, liver, milk, butter, cheese, and whole eggs. It can also be found in dark green and yellow vegetables, like broccoli, spinach, carrots, squash and others.
Vitamin D, on the other hand, is vital in pregnancy because it promotes growth and development of the baby’s teeth and bones, aid in the absorption of calcium and phosphate, and lowers the risk of preeclampsia, rickets, and other musculoskeletal and health problems, lower bone density, and smaller babies.
Maca. Scientifically known as Lepidium Meyenii, maca is a tuberous perennial plant that can be found in the high altitudes of the Andean Mountains. Its root is found to be a potent food that increases libido and enhances hormonal balance vital in maintaining fertility. Maca is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids; it is also an effective immune system booster.
Royal jelly. This is a thick, very nutritious substance secreted by the hypo-pharyngeal glands of the working bees that serve as food for the young larvae and the larvae that transform into queen bees. It is found to be very rich in proteins and 8 essential amino acids, important fatty acids, sterol, sugars, phosphorous compounds, and acetylcholine.
Studies show that royal jelly contains a complex compound that activates the gland, stabilizes the reproductive systems of men and women, and is an effective supplement for people who want to get pregnant, as it triggers an increase in libido, and maintains the health of sperm and eggs. Besides, royal jelly is a beneficial food supplement to fight against impotency, infertility, chronic fatigue, hormonal imbalance, and other health conditions.
Eggs and Fish Eggs. These are considered fertility foods as they provide superior nutrition and protein. Eggs and wild fish eggs or caviar are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Eating two eggs daily can help in having a healthy placenta, healthy baby, at the same time strengthening the bag of waters around the baby to avoid premature rupture of the membranes. Eggs and fish, like salmon and tuna, are high in calcium, thus ensuring strong bones, especially during pregnancy.
Organ meats, such as liver, heart, and kidney are seen as potent fertility foods that stimulate blood flow to the reproductive organs because of its blood-building power.
Tea. Research has found that women who regularly drink tea have a greater chance of getting pregnant. Green tea and orange pekoe tea enhance fertility because they contain a high level of antioxidants that boost a healthy immune system.
Nevertheless, what is most important is that a couple should maintain a nutrient-packed diet and also fertility foods to have a healthy and successful pregnancy.
For some reasons or another, it is inevitable for many parents to be thrust into situations, either by choice or by circumstances, where they have to raise their children single-handedly. Broken marriages, death of a spouse, and personal choice to remain single parents without entering into the bond of marriage are common reasons for single parenthood. Statistics reveal that the number of single parents worldwide is constantly on the rise. For example, in a census conducted in 2010, Korea showed that over a million of households were run by single parents. While in the United Kingdom, 26 percent of all families are led by people of the same status, and; in the United States, more than 13 million are single parents. Of these single parents, 83 percent are women. Furthermore, statistics show that 80 percent of the single mothers are employed, of whom 50 percent work full-time and 30 percent work part-time.
No matter how one gets into this situation, single parenting, specifically for first timers, is definitely an arduous and physically and emotionally-draining reality. It is no trivial matter to be juggling two major tasks, that of a caring, gentle mother and a providing father, all at the same time. Not only that. It could also take a heavy toll on the single parent’s professional as well as personal life. Going through the situation is most difficult during the first few months or years because of the unprecedented activities and decisions a single parent has to undertake. Since parenting alone can be so demanding and stressful, it is during this period, therefore, that a single mother or single father needs support the most.
Fortunately, there are organizations and fora that are particularly set up for the purpose of providing moral, emotional, financial, psychological, and other forms of support to single parents. These organizations are usually composed of single parents themselves, family members, friends, and supporters who decide to group together, either formally or informally. Support groups play very important role in a single parent’s life because it is where a single mother or single father can obtain encouragement and understanding from members. Group members volunteer to provide baby-sitting service when necessary, share their own experiences for others to learn from, and ultimately help each other get back on their feet again. Besides, these groups open avenues where new single parents may gain or expand their social circles, obtain assistance, or gather vital information in getting government support, employment arrangements, and other services.
It is advisable that new single parents joined any of these particular groups to somehow ease their burden and gain helpful insights about coping up and effective child rearing in a new set-up. Talking with fellow single parents can somehow give them a feeling of assurance that they are not alone; that they can raise their children properly without a partner, and; that they merit respect as parents and as individual persons.
Moreover, joining any of these support groups benefits not only the single parents themselves, but it also allows their children the chance to interact with their peers so that they eventually boost their own morale knowing that they are not alone.
Studies show that around 50 to 90 percent of pregnant women experience discomfort brought about by morning sickness, especially during their first trimester. One in five women, may even carry this discomfort through to her second trimester, and fewer do have it during the entire duration of pregnancy.
Morning sickness, which is alternately referred to as nausea, vomiting, or pregnancy sickness, is a condition that, although no one has yet established its exact cause, is believed to be due to a combination of physical and metabolic factors, such as rapid increase in oestrogen and progesterone levels, alterations in blood pressure, and changes in carbohydrate metabolism. Some experts believe that psychological stress, such as depression and anxiety, loss of appetite and fatigue usually go with morning sickness. Even as morning sickness is typically severe during the early part of the morning, it should not be a cause for alarm as it neither harms the pregnant woman nor her unborn baby because the fetus is properly secured in its sac of amniotic fluid.
However, she should not put up with unrelenting morning sickness, known as hyperemesis gravidarum or HG, because this can considerably affect her daily routine and eventually lead to dehydration and weight loss, and therefore, requires hospitalization and application of intravenous nutrition. Although studies reveal that only a negligible one in every 1,000 pregnant women is affected by hyperemesis gravidarum, it is still best to be vigilant about it since HG can cause electrolyte instability, too much depression and anxiety, malnourishment of the fetus, and even weaken vital organs like the liver, heart, kidneys, and brain.
Pregnant women, who suffer from morning sickness, are therefore, advised to take some measures to cope with such a discomfort, such as:
Eating some dry, salty crackers before getting out of bed in the morning to reduce nausea;
Taking small but frequent meals throughout the day, preferably those which are high in carbohydrates and protein; but she should neither be too full nor empty. She should also refrain from eating fatty and spicy foods;
Eating cold food. Since morning sickness is usually worsened by the strong smell of food emitted by cooking, a pregnant woman may have to refrain from cooking or preparing food and go for cold foods instead, which produce less odour;
Drinking enough fluids throughout the day, especially in between meals rather than during meal time, works for many pregnant women. Ginger – either prepared as ginger ale, adding freshly grated ginger into a cup of hot water, or as gingersnaps – is found to be an effective relief from nausea;
Food supplements. Unless it is prescribed by her physician, a pregnant woman should not take any kind of drugs. Although Vitamin B6 supplements have been found to be effective in reducing morning sickness, taking a dosage of more than 200 milligrams per day may cause adverse effects.
Getting plenty of rest, wearing loose clothes and acupressure wrist bands may also be of help. Studies reveal that an acupressure wrist band activates the acupressure point on the inner portion of the wrist and causes to lessen the degree of nausea.
Nevertheless, if these measures do not alleviate the discomfort of morning sickness, the pregnant woman needs to consult with her physician for other remedies and also the symptoms of pregnancy.
May it be for personal preferences, cultural beliefs, or social pressures, parents always have varied reasons for deciding on their upcoming babies’ gender. Perhaps the most ancient technique to determine a baby’s gender is the Chinese birth calendar.
Ever since, the Chinese culture has always preferred a male gender because he can carry the family’s surname throughout his lifetime, while a girl cannot. When a girl marries, she is considered to be her husband’s family member. Besides, a boy is much stronger and can be expected to work harder than a girl. In the ancient times, it was believed that a boy’s ancestors were hunters. And, because of this particular preference, the ancient Chinese devised a birth calendar or gender prediction chart to guide couples who want to have a baby. The chart works by finding the mother’s age based on the Chinese lunar calendar and the month of her conception; wherever the intersection of these two points fall shows the gender of the baby. The mother’s age is computed as her current age plus one more extra year, which represents the time she was in her own mother’s womb.
This birth calendar was formed after many years of collected data and is said to be a hundred percent accurate. Evidence of such a calendar, which was discovered on a scroll more than seven centuries ago, is now kept at the Beijing Institute of Science. Even up to the present, the Chinese birth calendar is used by many. Not a few non-Chinese couples also use this calendar because some people testified to its accuracy.
Aside from the Chinese gender prediction chart, there are the age-old tales and myths that have been passed on from one generation to the next. One of the prevailing myths says that the baby’s gender depends on the amount of morning sickness a woman suffers during pregnancy. Accuracy of these tales, however, still remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, a couple can do some practical methods of deciding on their baby’s gender by scheduling their sexual intercourse according to the woman’s ovulation period. If they want a boy, it is advisable to engage in sexual intercourse as early as 24 hours before ovulation to no more than 12 hours after ovulation because during this period the Y chromosomes, which are smaller, weaker, but faster, tend to get to the egg first. If the couple, however, decides for a girl, they must have their sexual intercourse three days or more before ovulation because the X chromosomes, which are bigger, stronger, but slower, will now have accumulated when the egg is released, while the Y chromosomes will have died, considering its weak characteristic. Learn more about pregnancy symptoms as well to assist you in the future.
Other possible method that a couple may try is douching the vaginal environment with water and vinegar shortly before intercourse to make it more acidic and kill the weaker Y chromosomes first, leaving a plentiful amount of the X chromosomes, and thus, favoring a baby girl; or, they may douche it with water and baking soda to make the environment more alkaline and favor for a baby boy.
In addition, position in sexual intercourse and depth of penetration matter in determining the baby’s gender. If the couple wants to have a boy, a deep penetration is advisable because it deposits the sperm closer to the egg, allowing the faster chromosomes the advantage of fertilizing the egg first. A shallow penetration favors for a baby girl. Also, a high sperm counts is more likely to favor for a boy.
Having orgasms during sexual intercourse would likely produce a baby boy because the contraction that goes with an orgasm pushes the sperm up and into the cervix, allowing the male chromosomes the advantage of fertilizing the egg first. Besides, orgasms stimulate the body to produce substances that make the vaginal environment more alkaline. No orgasm is likely to produce a baby girl.
On the other hand, couples may also submit themselves to medical tests for safe and surer results. Perhaps there is nothing more accurate than the medical experts’ advice or findings. Ultrasound is seen to be one of the most frequently used, safe, and precise computerized technique that can be done at any stage of pregnancy to find out a baby’s gender. It would be most accurate, however, when the ultrasound is done between the eighteenth and twenty-sixth week of pregnancy.
A couple may also try amniocentesis, a prenatal diagnostic test done on a pregnant woman, particularly on one who is at higher risk of chromosomal abnormalities like Down syndrome. Through the same test, a baby’s gender can also be determined.
Choosing a doctor and a place to give birth are part of the entire preparation process of having a baby. Even as early as the onset of pregnancy when pregnancy symptoms are visible, many women concern themselves on who will attend to them, where to find the appropriate care provider, and on how to obtain the best possible care for themselves and for their upcoming babies. Most often, family members, relatives, and friends may give varied suggestions and recommendations, but the best choice usually depends on what makes the pregnant woman feel most comfortable. A woman may feel at ease and readily opens up to a care provider who respects her wishes, shares the same philosophy, or understands and supports her preference of childbirth and who is ready to help her fulfil such preference. At the same time, the place to give birth matters a lot for most, if not all, expectant women. A woman may prefer a place where she feels safe and comfortable with the quality of service she is given, including her relationship with the care givers; properly informed about the process she has to undertake, and; allowed to participate in the decision-making about care. In order to obtain all these, it is necessary to do some inquiries about both the care provider and the place of birth.
For care providers, she may choose from among an obstetrician/gynaecologist, a family doctor, a certified nurse or midwife, or a doula. All of these professionals, except a doula, are certified to give prenatal care and assistance in giving birth.
A doula may not provide a type of prenatal care, but she is trained in giving non-medical support to pregnant women and their families during pregnancy, childbirth, and even after birth. Because a doula understands all aspects of birth, she can advise the pregnant woman about the intricacies of parenthood and the different aspects of child care. She may even suggest about breastfeeding. Although a doula is not trained to handle women with high risk pregnancies, she is preferred by many women to help them through natural childbirth, home birth, or water birth because of her expertise in the field.
An obstetrician/gynaecologist is professionally trained in the field of prenatal care, high-risk pregnancy, labour, birth, and after childbirth care. He or she is an expert in handling both normal and complicated pregnancies. Besides, an OB/GYN is certified to diagnose and treat gynaecological disorders since he or she has a specialized study in the medical field of obstetrics and gynaecology. An obstetrician normally recommends delivering babies in a hospital where access to medical intervention is immediately accessible.
However, a pregnant woman may not be able to establish a consistent relationship with an OB/GYN because this practitioner normally works with a group, which means she may be seeing different doctors every time she goes in for an appointment. Besides, many of the OB/GYN are male and may not fully understand pregnancy from a woman’s perspective, consequently making her feel uncomfortable about discussing personal circumstances.
On the other hand, a woman may also choose a family physician (FP) to assist in her pregnancy. Since a family physician is already well-acquainted with the medical and health history of the family, he or she must have established a certain personal relationship and gained the confidence of family members. The FP becomes a friend who knows the pregnant woman well, in whom the latter can confide her personal circumstances, and from whom she can expect emotional support. Besides, a pregnant woman can expect her family physician to give her detailed information on her clinical status and care, and assist her in labour and delivery in a hospital since she is trained in this field.
Aside from an OB/GYN and an FP, a woman may opt for the services of a midwife, who is professionally trained to give a thorough care especially for low-risk pregnancies, childbirth, and postpartum. A midwife may perform delivery either in a hospital, at a birthing centre, or at home, depending on the pregnant woman’s preference. Giving birth at home for low-risk pregnancy allows the woman to labour and deliver in a private and comfortable surrounding without the routine interruption of hospital staff.
Home birth, however, is contested by some sectors on the premise that it is not safe because of the lack of facilities that a hospital has.
Group B streptococcus, is also known as group B strep medically. This is a bacteria that brings life-threatening infections in infants. Group B Streptococcus also strikes pregnant women, elderly people, and adults with a weak immune system. This can cause serious illnesses such as bloodstream infections, urinary tract infections, skin infections, and pneumonia. It is also a cause of diabetes, especially to people with health issues.
Symptoms of Strep B
According to some studies, Group B streptococcus (GBS) is found in ten to thirty precent of pregnant women. Most pregnant women who have the bacteria show no symptoms of GBS nor do they exhibit any health problems; however, a few may develop some infection such as urinary tract infection. The most severe consequence of group B strep is when a woman late in her pregnancy and her internal organ is colonized by GBS bacteria. When this occurs, the bacteria will be passed on to her baby and this will cause life-threatening infections to the child.
Effects on newborn
There are two types of Strep B infections in newborns. Both types of infections can lead to serious diseases which can cause death to newborn babies.
The first type is called Early-onset infection. Early-onset infections transpire during the first week of life, commonly within the first twenty four to forty eight hours after the baby is born. These types of infections can happen as the baby moves through the birth canal of the mother who has GBS. Group B Streptococcus usually causes sepsis which is an infection of the blood. It could also cause pneumonia, an infection in the lungs, and other times, meningitis which is an infection of the fluid and lining of the infant’s brain.
The second type of GBS is called late-onset infections. Late-onset infections transpire in the first six days after the baby is born. Late-onset infections may be passed from the mother to the baby during delivery or they may be caused by people, who are colonized by GBS, whom they came in contact with when. Meningitis is generally more common with late-onset GBS than early-onset infections.
If an infant has been infected with GBS and the parent wasn’t aware of it, over the short term period the infant will suffer other problems such as sepsis, pneumonia, shock and meningitis.
Over longer period, the infant might suffer hearing loss, neurological problems, vision loss, mental retardation, lung damage, cerebral palsy or physical problems.
Strep B Treatment
To aid the prevention of early-onset infections or other complications of GBS such as stillbirths and premature births, pregnant women are tested for GBS during the latter part of their pregnancy, usually between weeks 35 and 37. The gynaecologist will take a sample from the woman’s vagina and rectum and sends the sample to the laboratory where it will be grown in a culture. The test will determine whether or not GBS bacteria are present. This procedure may take up to two to three days.
If results show that you are GBS-positive, you’ll begin taking antibiotics as soon as your labour starts or sometimes, 4 hours before you give birth. Antibiotics help eliminate some of the bacteria that can harm the infant during birth. This should be taken only when a woman is in labour or as soon as her water breaks. If the treatment is given earlier in the pregnancy, there is a chance that the bacteria may regrow, affecting and risking the baby’s welfare.