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Post Partum Depression And What You Need To Know About It

Postpartum depression is depression that sets in, in relation to pregnancy and childbirth. It is for real but the good part is that it is a temporary condition that can be treated with proper care and counseling. The initial symptoms may manifest as tearfulness, anxiety, trouble sleeping well etc. If you are pregnant or have just delivered a baby and are wondering what PPD is all about, what its signs and symptoms are, this is what you need to know and read:

PPD manifests in different ways for different people and while one may experience 5 of these symptoms, some others may have all of them. If you have any one of them, do consider speaking to your doctor about it and reach out for help.

  • Motherhood seems to overwhelm you and you feel like you have been caught unawares in a vicious cycle that you can’t seem to get out of. You feel you will never be able to do this and being a mother was a wrong decision.
  • You don’t feel attached to your baby. The mother baby bond is simply non-existent. You feel frustrated because this responsibility has been give over to you when you are absolutely not ready for it.
  • Feeling confused with new responsibilities is natural but if you are feeling uncontrolled rage towards your baby or your partner, if you are always puzzled even while carrying out your usual activities, you could speak to your doctor and seek help.
  • You seem to have lost sleep; even if your baby is sleeping, you can’t bring yourself to having a restful sleep because the uncertainties of future keep haunting you.
  • You always feel unattached with everything around. You are disconnected, seem to forget what you are saying mid-way, cannot take a decision, and can’t focus on things.
  • You have had suicidal tendencies.
  • You have felt like leaving the family and escaping.
  • You feel you are losing your mind and people around you have noticed your problems too
  • You have felt like harming the baby and/or have harmed him/her in any way already.
  • You used to be an alcoholic before and your body is craving alcohol yet again but the unavailability is making you insane with rage.

What Can You Do?         

If you feel that you have any one or more than one of the above-mentioned signs and symptoms, you should speak to your doctor right away. If he diagnoses it as ‘baby blues’ then a little support at home and with the baby will be of immense help but if you are diagnosed with PPD, he/she will refer you to a counselor to help solve your problems.

If at any time, you seem to get hallucinations or other disturbing thoughts, let your doctor know about it because this could mean postpartum psychosis1 and needs to be taken care of right away.

In between, you could also join online support groups, speak to mothers who have emerged successfully from PPD and get their help and stay positive through this phase.

Remembering that PPD is a common phenomenon and you will never be judged for it, helps a good deal.

Reference:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postpartum_psychosis

Is Morning Sickness Spoiling Your Mood? Try These Tips!

As controversial as the term is, morning sickness is not restricted to early mornings but continue to haunt pregnant women all day and night. There are some of those lucky few who never have morning sickness and this article is not for them. If you are woken up from bed by that strange queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach that only seems to get better after you puke out, you must try these tips to feel better:

  • What’s That Smell?

If you are pregnant and find yourself asking this question way too often, blame the hormone estrogen for this menace. Your heightened sense of smell is closely related to your nausea and you would do well to stay away from strong odors and not only the unpleasant ones. Strong perfume smells, smell of raw garlic and onions, meat and fish can bring on a fresh bout of nausea. Try and keep these away and always carry a lemon wedge or a sprig of rosemary or lavender in your purse to keep that queasy feeling at bay.

  • Sip On Ginger Ale And Lemonade

Fruit infused drinks can keep morning sickness away. Slice lemons, strawberries, cucumbers etc in a fruit infuser and have the freshly infused water throughout the day. This will help you to stay hydrated even if you are still losing fluids by vomiting.

  • Crackers And Dry Cereal

Your mother, aunt and sister used to swear by crackers in pregnancy and you never quite understood the reason. Now that you are pregnant and need remedies for that nausea, trust the simplest of crackers to keep morning sickness away. A lot of women also find dry cereals helpful and you might as well get some nutrition down your throat before you throw up the next meal.

  • Small And Frequent Meals

You might have to give up on having three meals a day and switch to small and frequent meals all through the day to ease morning sickness. Nausea seems to strike when you are hungry and eating small portions can avoid bloating and that hunger to creep in.

  • Track Your Morning Sickness

After the first week of annoying nausea, you might be able to track the time it strikes. Maintaining a diary to track your nausea will come in handy and you always gear up beforehand with a lemon slice or an orange peel to prevent the vomiting.

  • Don’t Drink During Meal Times

Drinking too much water during meals can only worsen your morning sickness. Reflux might add to all your troubles so try drinking water at other times but always remember to stay hydrated.

If you feel that you seem to be throwing up all day and are not being able to keep down fluids, you should call a doctor right away. There are chances of urinary tract infection and dehydration if you tend to lose a lot of fluids during pregnancy and that might harm your growing fetus. As long as you can keep something down and feel stable, morning sickness is normal.

Reference:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estrogen

How Will You Mentally Prepare Yourself For Labor?

The key to having a comparatively easier labor and childbirth is to minimize your fear and trust your body to do the best. Among all other things like setting up the nursery, running errands before baby arrives, stacking the freezer for late night hunger pangs, mothers to be often forget to relax and mentally prepare themselves for labor. It is all in the mind they say and that is absolutely true. Preparation begins from the mind and then reaches the body. Only when you can completely relax and have confidence in what you are doing, a natural childbirth sans pain medications and medical interventions is possible.

Know How To Prepare Yourself:

Childbirth Classes

There are natural childbirth classes that follow the guidelines of Lamaze1, Bradley and hypnobirthing techniques to educate you about labor that comes in handy. You are taught methods to relax, let go stress and trust your body’s ability to deliver your baby. Breathing techniques are taught to manage pain in a more efficient way and birthing positions are shown that make labor bearable without medicines. These birthing classes equip women with enough information to make informed choices regarding childbirth and this In turn helps them prepare mentally for things to come.

Prenatal Yoga

It is all about knowing the right breathing techniques. This helps immensely with preparing yourself for labor while being effective at the same time. When you know how and when to breathe in and out and when to apply pressure to deliver the baby, you will naturally avoid second and third degree tears and episiotomies. Expecting mothers are mostly tired and need their bodies to feel lighter and more flexible. Pregnancy aches and pains do nothing to help them. Prenatal yoga can help them relax and get rid of the nagging pains while preparing them to be mentally and physically fit for labor.

Reading Natural Birth Stories

Reading in pregnancy is of great help and especially if you are reading natural birth stories. They will empower you, educate you and prepare you mentally to experience labor in its true form. When the anxiety is got rid of, the pain is easier and tolerable. The build-up of apprehension around birth is what makes labor seem so frightening but successful birth stories will encourage you to dispel your fears and look forward to labor.

Hiring A Doula

A doula or a midwife can prove to be a boon if you are looking for mental preparation. Not only will she help you in preparing your birth plan but also be a constant companion in your pregnancy. It is very important to communicate with a person whom you can confide in and a doula will serve the purpose very well. She will help to allay your fears regarding labor and birth and will also assist you in developing a positive attitude towards pregnancy.

It does not require much to feel positive about labor. As mentioned earlier, it’s all in the mind and if you learn to deal with negative feelings, labor is bound to be manageable an childbirth a beautiful experience for you.

Reference:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamaze_technique

How To Get Pregnant? Know The Tricks Of The Trade!

If you thought that this topic does not need your attention because obviously, even a ten year old these days would know how that happens and it’s silly to be reading up about it, think again! As easy and accessible sexuality has become these days, conceiving as soon as you want to is getting more difficult with time. Innumerable couples fail at conceiving within a year of frequent, unprotected sex and our lifestyles are to be blamed for this. If you are planning to have a baby soon, these are some of the things that you could try doing instead of smirking at the title of the article.

Ovulation

A number of factors can affect ovulation for e.g. Stress, increased work load, excessive exercise, etc. Predicting an ovulation can be difficult especially if you have had irregular cycles. There are a few ways in which you can predict ovulation if you haven’t had luck with unprotected sex to begin with:

  • The Calendar Method

Mark Day 1 of your period on the calendar. Ovulation happens on and around Day 14, so look for similar patterns that help you understand the time.

  • Cervical Mucous

Changes in the consistency of your cervical mucus1 will also help to understand the time. When the discharge looks like raw egg whites that is when you should be doing the deed.

  • Ovulation Kit

Most women swear by the efficacy of this method. These kits are highly efficient at detecting the time of ovulation if all the instructions on the leaflet are followed methodically.

What Should You Do Next? 

  • Have sex!

The first and the foremost requirement to have babies is to have frequent and unprotected sex at least two to three times a week so that you might as well hit one fertile period and get the sperm and egg to meet.

  • A Healthy Lifestyle

Lifestyle choices are your own to make and you can always be sure of having a healthy pregnancy if you are active and eat healthy way before you conceive. This kind of pre-pregnancy care really helps in the longer run. Walking regularly, eating healthy, sleeping well and keeping yourself hydrated are essential factors.

  • Quit Addictions

Smoking and drinking on a regular basis can lower your chances of a normal conception. Try quitting these as early as possible. These addictions can also hinder your child’s development while in the womb and even after you deliver.

  • Try Taking It Slow

The thought of a baby harping on your mind all the time can be strenuous. Try and relax while having sex and keep the discussion out of the way. Stress has been found to have an effect on conception so instead of worrying too much about it, just lead a normal conjugal life and keep the ovulation kit at hand.

If it has been more than a year that you have been planning like this or if you are aged over 40, do consult a doctor to rule out health issues. It is most likely that you will conceive normally but there is no harm in keeping a back up!

Reference:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaginal_mucus

Ever Wondered Why Prenatal Vitamins Are So Important?

A pregnant woman is expected to have a well-balanced diet that consists of adequate amounts of protein, vitamins, minerals, iron, calcium and folic acid. This is to ensure that the baby in the womb develops as per the standards and does not have any developmental delays as a fetus or even after birth. For several reasons, even a healthy diet might fail to provide all the necessary nutrients to support the well-being of the mother and fetus.

Listed Below Are The Prenatal Vitamins And Their Importance In Pregnancy:

  • Folic Acid

It is recommended that a woman who plans to get pregnant in the near future starts taking 400 mcg of folic acid every day and continues taking it till Week 12 of the pregnancy, neural tube defects like spina bifida etc happen in the first 28 days of pregnancy and most women are not even aware of their conception if they haven’t been following their cycle closely. Taking folic acid in the form of supplements prevents the occurrence of neural tube defects and hence it is quintessential. Folate can be absorbed by the body from spinach, nuts, citrus fruits and other green leafy vegetables. It is also available in food that is fortified but the best form of absorption takes place from supplements.

  • Iron

Maternal iron stores face continuous depletion because they are drained to support the development of the fetus. Most women complain of light-headedness and dizziness in the second trimester because their iron stores run low leading to a risk of anemia1. Gestational anemia is not something that you would want to experience because along with weakness, it might also lead to problems like having a preterm baby, low baby weight at birth, etc. iron supplements are hence recommended in order to prevent anemia. If you face problems like constipation, nausea and vomiting after taking iron supplements, you can speak to your doctor about changing the type of supplement. Iron can also be absorbed from food like leafy greens, meat, fish, nuts and fortified cereals. Ensure that you are taking food rich in Vitamin C along with these for better absorption by the body.

  • Calcium

Speak to your doctor about recommending a prenatal vitamin that also contains calcium because in pregnancy, your bone density might go down as your body depletes your calcium stores to support the development of the baby’s teeth, bones etc. a lot of prenatal vitamins do not contain enough calcium and you may need natural resources like yoghurt, milk, cheese, fortified eggs etc.

  • Vitamin D

Vitamin D ensures that the levels of calcium and phosphorus are stable and thus is important to rule out rickets and delayed milestones in the baby. Although it is argued that the best form of Vitamin D is the rays of the sun, doctors are of the opinion that the exact time and amount of sun exposure still remains a subject of experimentation. It is thus recommended that Vitamin D supplements are taken to avoid unnecessary troubles.

Reference:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anemia

Date Nights With Spouse In Pregnancy? Know Why They Are So Important!

Being pregnant can be the perfect excuse to not spend quality time with your partner but think again if you have been avoiding going out with him more often than not! It is generally seen that marital pleasure tends to decline once a baby arrives but have you ever thought why? Primarily because as soon as we find out we are pregnant, all our thoughts tend to become baby-centric. We keep planning new things, making new lists, buying new things and in the midst of all this, we stop being husband and wife. We just end up being parents and lose that spark. We should always remember that we are a couple to begin with and intimacy should never be lost, be it in pregnancy or otherwise.

Why Date Nights?

  • Because all you have been doing is thinking of the new arrival and not paying enough attention to the spouse who has obviously taken a backseat.
  • A couple should always remember to care for each other and a date night will help you to open up to one another with all the problems and issues you might be facing.
  • Because dressing up and going out with the one person you love can be extremely invigorating and fill you up with positive feelings.
  • It will give you and your spouse a well-deserved break from your busy schedules and help you two to unwind.
  • Date nights can rejuvenate you and feel better about your changing body1.
  • It is an avenue to talk to each other about how you two feel about the recent changes in life and how you plan to cope with them.

A Wonderful Medium To Communicate

When was the last time you spent an hour talking to your husband without thinking of a million other things? Staying at home and having dinner from a box can fill up your tummies but there are homely matters to discuss and other responsibilities that take over your mind. Going on date nights will help you and your husband unwind and speak to each other without hindrances. Communication is a quintessential aspect of any relationship and does wonders in pregnancy when all you talk to each other is about the baby.

Date Night Ideas

  • Do a dinner and a movie together. Watch a movie that you have been long waiting for and have fun together. It will be some time before you get to do this again after the baby arrives. Order food and enjoy the meal whole-heartedly without looking at the watch.
  • You can try overnight camping if you are the adventurous type. There will be no television and no laptop to interrupt your long conversations and you can hug each other while drifting into slumber.
  • A sunset cruise is beautifully romantic and is the just the thing if you are looking to relax. A dinner after the cruise will help to deal with the hunger pangs before you lose your mind over it.

Reference:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maternal_physiological_changes_in_pregnancy

Birth Affirmations To Help You Have A Smooth And Natural Childbirth

Are you apprehensive of labor? Is the anxiety too much to bear? Have you been secretly wishing for a C-section 1 because pain tolerance is not one of your biggest strengths? Birth affirmations are a way to help you manage labor pains more effectively. You can tell them to yourself while birthing loudly or silently so that birth is not a horror story for you ever again. The trick is to keep complete control on your body, let your mind take over and train yourself to face whatever comes your way. This leads to easier, less painful, shorter and less complicated labors.

Some Of The Birthing Affirmations That You Could Chant To Yourself Are:

  • I trust my body to deliver my baby and nothing else matters.
  • The journey from labor to birth is short and sweet and then you meet your beloved.
  • I have borne this baby and now I will deliver it myself!
  • I will not bow down to contractions; they will bow down to me and I will breathe through them.
  • May my cervix open up like a lotus and may I birth effortlessly.
  • This is what I was born to do and I will do it well.
  • Breathe in and breathe out; make this work.
  • My baby is journeying across my body to meet me; let me do the rest!
  • Nature had intended this to happen and I trust Nature
  • I will co-operate with my body and my baby and will make this birth easy.
  • I am at peace with Nature and doing exactly what I should be doing.
  • I will not rush, my body knows when to give birth.
  • The surges are strong but I am stronger
  • Surrender yourself to your body and relax.
  • My pelvis is good enough for this baby and you had better not doubt it!
  • I deserve a medication-free birth, keep away that needle!
  • I am not fighting this; it is happening naturally
  • I want to hold my baby in my arms and nurse her after birth
  • I am making an informed choice and that is alright.
  • I have not lost control; I will not lose control.
  • A home birth is all I have ever wanted; I will do this.
  • I love my baby and that love will help me conquer.
  • And I will meet you, my love, at the end of the day!

Birthing affirmations can be read along with your partner every night before going to bed so that both of you are prepared for a natural and smooth childbirth. The kind of confidence these affirmations can instill is amazing and reading them on a regular basis can help you prepare for anything that comes your way. You can prepare a list of your own birth affirmations by choosing to include all that makes you stronger and helps you feel better. A natural child birth is not an easy task but you can make it happen if you want to!

Reference:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesarean_section

5 Signs That You Maybe Pregnant

Unlike movies and general belief, pregnancy does not always come with a missed period. You might experience light spotting and normal periods even while you are pregnant so to truly understand whether you are pregnant or not, you will need to look out for a few common symptoms that generally occur in early pregnancy. If you haven’t taken a urine test yet because you are still waiting to miss a period, check out whether you have been having the following symptoms:

1. Sore And Tender Breasts

If your breasts have been feeling fuller, sore and tender to touch, you might be in for good news very soon, especially if you have been planning for a baby already. Pregnancy hormone, progesterone tends to make these changes to your breasts in early pregnancy and a lot of women generally pass this off as PMS1 (Pre-menstrual syndrome). Your body also retains more water in early pregnancy which might also be the cause for swollen breasts

2. Nausea And Food Aversions

Nausea and food aversions can begin as early as three weeks after you have conceived and if you haven’t been planning for a baby, this might seem puzzling to you. Pregnancy hormones are to be blamed yet again for that queasy feeling in your stomach every time you smell your favorite food. You might give up on a lot of favorites due to your heightened sense of smell.

3. Fatigue

If you have been wondering how you could sleep through the second half of your favorite movie, you might be in for a surprise! The extra progesterone in your body makes you feel drowsy and lethargic which explains why you keep feeling tired all the time. The first trimester might not let you feel as energetic as you usually are but the second trimester brings along a boost of energy to help meet your deadlines on time.

4. Irritability

Your cycle has gone for a toss, you are hyngry, sleepy, tired and your body is behaving like an alien. It is but natural to feel irritated with everything around. Mood swings are common in pregnancy, especially in the first trimester when your body is still adjusting to the new changes it is undergoing. Having small and light meals with easily digestible snacks in between, taking naps and resting your body as and when it demands can help with these symptoms to a great extent.

5. Implantation Bleeding

You might experience light spotting, cramping and period like symptoms that often look like a real period but this is in reality implantation bleeding that happens when the fertilized egg is implanting itself on your uterus. This does not happen to every one and a lot of women never get to know that they are pregnant till 6-8 weeks because they consider this to be a real period.

Early signs of pregnancy may be puzzling because irrespective of whether you are planning for a pregnancy or not, it is difficult to come to terms with the reality without finding out through test results. If the symptoms seem to bother you too much, you can always visit a doctor and get your doubts clarified.

Reference:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premenstrual_syndrome

Why Is Prenatal Care So Important?

A healthy pregnancy ensures a safe birth and healthy babies thereafter. It is recommended that as soon as you should get an early preconception consultation with an OBGYN even before you start planning for a baby so that your health history can be discussed and proper measures taken, if necessary. Early intervention ensures that the entire pregnancy and childbirth is healthy and uncomplicated. A lot of people wonder why doctors emphasise on the need for prenatal care. Listed below are the reasons why prenatal care is so important.

What Does Prenatal Care Include?

If your home test kit or the lab urine sample comes back as positive, it’s time to schedule a prenatal visit with your health practitioner or an OBGYN if you have already chosen one. A prenatal visit will include weight checks, blood pressure check-ups, discussion of your health conditions, possible allergies, and blood work and urine samples. The doctor might choose to perform a transvaginal test or an ultrasound depending upon the stage of pregnancy you are in to check the status of foetal development.

Why Is This So Important?

Prenatal care is significant to rule out any complications in the pregnancy and if anything does get detected, it can be identified and treated on time. The parents-to-be can also be informed about possible complications so that they are always aware of what to expect from the pregnancy. What are the other benefits?

1. Keeping The Pregnancy Uncomplicated

If the mother has existing health conditions like Gestational Diabetes or high pressure, these can be detected early and measures can be taken to prevent these from creating unfavourable situations for both mother and child. Your doctor will advise you to follow the right kind of diet, recommend exercises and suggest you to maintain an active lifestyle so that your weight gain is limited and extreme conditions like pre-eclampsia, preterm birth etc can be avoided.

2. What To Avoid

Prenatal care entails suggesting the expecting mum to stay healthy and avoid exposure to harmful substances like lead, radiation etc which might affect the infant’s health and development. If you are a smoker or an alcoholic, you will be explained how smoking and drinking alcohol could cause SIDS1 and affect the baby in the womb. There could be a multitude of other problems like developmental delays, anatomical problems etc that are conveyed. Suggestions are also given to help you quit these addictions in easier ways.

The parents-to-be will also be advised the kind of medication that should be avoided in pregnancy because OTC medicines are commonly taken these days without knowing if they are safe to consume or not.

3. Folic Acid

Consuming 400 gms of folic acid is essential in the first trimester to avoid neural tube defects like spina bifida and a proper prenatal care regime will always start with this.

4. Early Detection

Imaging tests that form an essential part of prenatal care can detect fetal abnormalities early and your doctor can suggest measures to take care of the same before it is beyond treatment or cure.

Reference:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudden_infant_death_syndrome

What Are The Best Books To Be Read In Pregnancy?

One of the best books that you could lay your hands on for understanding the whole concept of breastfeeding; this is a book that you would want to pass down through the generations. Breastfeeding is the most natural and normal way of nourishing your baby till he/she self-weans. In an age of speed and technology, the most natural ways are often forgotten and ignored. This book emphasizes on the significance of breastfeeding and contains a number of nursing advices, like favourable positions to nurse, success stories to motivate new mothers, preparing for breastfeeding during pregnancy, proper latching1 techniques etc. It also encourages an expectant mother to understand how breastfeeding is possible even after C-sections and the ways in which breastfeeding can be made comfortable after a surgery. The various questions that you might have had about breastfeeding will have answers in this book and that will help you prepare well for the beautiful journey ahead.

1. What To Expect When You’re Expecting

Why do my breasts feel sore? Why is my tummy itchy? What is this strange sensation in my legs after I wake up? You will have a hundred questions and more in pregnancy and you need to read a book that assures your well-being and warns you if you need medical assistance. What to expect when you’re expecting is a wonderful guide that will help you throughout your pregnancy by being your best companion. The real life stories and discussions that you will get to read here will make you feel more comfortable about facing new challenges as your pregnancy progresses. There are monthly, weekly and daily checklists for you to keep an eye on, effective techniques to deal with situations that may arise, methods to adopt in case of emergencies etc. This would be your go-to even if you are a second-time mother.

2. In a May’s Guide To Natural Childbirth

In this book, Ina May Gaskin, a popular midwife, will guide you on your way to an un-medicated and natural birth. This book will teach you to keep your mind and body in sync to be able to experience a pleasurable and intervention free birth. Our bodies are capable of birthing babies naturally, without resorting to pain medication. This book will reinforce this belief by taking out the unnecessary fear and anxiety of pain in labour and childbirth and make it as beautiful as you have always wanted it to be.

Apart from these three books, you could take up light reads, shorter ones preferably, so that the monotony can be broken. Reading is always beneficial and more so when you can learn new things from it for your baby to be.

Reference:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breastfeeding