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Hazards of Alcohol Consumption During Pregnancy

 

When getting pregnant for the first time, it can seem like you’re offered with lots of information. Different magazines, books, and websites tell you what you should do, and what not, for the next nine months.

Understandably, it can be tough to know where to head for some trustworthy advice. This is especially true when it comes to finding the right advice about drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Read this article for a clearer perspective.

Not consuming alcohol is the best advice:

The more you drink, the greater the risk. Drinking alcohol at any stage of your pregnancy can be harmful to your baby. This is the reason why the alcohol unit guideline advises pregnant women not to consume alcohol at all during pregnancy.

If you’re pregnant or about to become one, you’re also not advised to drool over alcohol. If you are already pregnant and drank only a little amount of alcohol in the initial stages of pregnancy, the risk of harm to your baby is low. Though, if you still are worried, immediately talk to your GP or midwife.

Advice of NICE on Miscarriage

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is the independent organization accountable for providing essential national guidance on promoting good health as well as preventing and treating ill health.  

NICE advises that the risks of miscarriage in the first trimester of pregnancy mean that it’s particularly essential for women not to consume alcohol at all during this period. However, it is also necessary to understand that alcohol consumption carries serious health risk throughout the whole pregnancy and not only for the first trimester.

Effects of drinking alcohol on your baby’s health during pregnancy:

During pregnancy, the alcohol in your blood quickly goes through the placenta and the umbilical cord to your baby in the womb. The placenta develops in your womb (uterus) and supplies the baby with oxygen and food through the umbilical cord. Thus, drinking any amount of alcohol at any time during pregnancy can cause harm to your baby’s developing brain and other organs. In fact, no amount of alcohol intake has been proven safe during pregnancy.

What could it do to your growing baby?

  • Premature birth. This is when you give birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Premature babies may suffer from serious health problems at birth and later in childhood.

  • Brain damage, complications with growth and development

  • Birth defects, such as hearing problems, heart defects or vision problem. Birth defects can change the shape of one or more body parts. They can complicate your baby’s overall health.

  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (also known as FASDs). Children with FASDs may suffer from a range of problems like intellectual and developmental disabilities. They may also face problems or delays in their physical development.

  • Binge drinking during pregnancy can increase your chance of giving birth to a baby with FASDs.

  • Low birthweight (LBW), when a baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces.  

  • Miscarriage, when a baby dies in the womb before 20-21 weeks of pregnancy.

How to deal with alcohol during pregnancy?

Some helpful tips to help you stop drinking alcohol during pregnancy:

  • Plan to drink other things, like the fruity drink or water.

  • Try staying away from situations or places where you usually drink.

  • Dump all the alcohol out your home.

  • Tell your family and friends that you have stopped drinking during pregnancy, and ask them to help and support you.

If you need help to completely stop drinking, follow these tips:

  • Consult your healthcare provider about alcohol treatment programs.

  • Sign up with an Alcoholics Anonymous support group.

  • Drop a visit to the National Council of Alcoholics.

Conclusion:

If you can resist drinking alcohol during pregnancy, you can’t have FASDs or any other health complications caused by alcohol. Thus, if you’re pregnant or giving it a thought, don’t drink alcohol. Added to this, if you aren’t able to overcome this habit, seek appropriate suggestions as well as help from your healthcare provider.

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Ultrasound And Sonography: What Is The Difference?

 

If you are getting pregnant for the first time, you might wonder if there is any difference between Sonogram and Ultrasound. These diagnostics provide a way to examine a baby’s progress in the development. Also, obstetricians use these techniques to check on the placenta and other areas encircling the baby in the womb. And the best thing about this examination is that it causes no harm to the baby.

 

So, we’ll look at the difference in Ultrasound and Sonogram as well as the purposes both serve.

 

What is an Ultrasound?

 

Medical Ultrasound (also denoted as diagnostic sonography and ultrasonography) is a diagnostic imaging technique that is built on the application of Ultrasound. Ultrasound uses the means through which a Sonogram is obtained.

 

Basically, Ultrasound is sound waves with higher frequencies which bounce off of things and are higher than those audible to humans (>20,000 Hz). These sound waves are adjusted to produce an image which is called the Sonogram. Thus, this innovative technique is called sonography. Sonography comes in use for the following purposes:

 

  • Examining the condition of a baby in utero

  • Examining the causes of pain and swelling in the body

  • Assessing internal organs

  • Scanning heart damage caused by a heart attack

 

For pregnant women, this is an ideal test because:

 

  • It doesn’t cause harm to the mother or baby.

  • There are only sound waves- and does not involve any kind of radiation.  

  • Produces real-time images, means you can catch any sight of movement as it happens.

 

With regard to pregnancy, there are two ways Ultrasound is performed to have a check on the baby:

 

Doppler Mode: To examine the placenta, blood flow, and umbilical cord

Imaging Mode: To display either a 2D or 3D picture on a monitor

 

What’s a Sonogram?

 

The Sonogram is the image that Ultrasound produces. While the terms are used interchangeably, the Ultrasound signifies the process, and the Sonogram is the end result.  It can be the image of a baby in utero. In other situations, it can be the image of an organ. You can even print the image like a photograph or save it to a CD ROM.

 

Aside from the difference between Ultrasound and Sonogram, how do they help?

 

This procedure is known to be quite useful in monitoring the pregnancy. An Ultrasound technician, and a hospital employee of the imaging department perform this procedure. Further, your obstetrician uses the image to examine the following:

 

  • Position of the baby

  • The quantity of amniotic fluid

 

Your doctor will also check for:

 

  • Suspicion of any congenital condition

  • The possibility of twins

  • The changes in cervix

  • The development process of baby

  • The gender (in case if you’d like to know ahead of time)

Better yet, if the option for more advanced Ultrasound is available, your obstetrician may recommend for a 3D Ultrasound which offers a better, detailed image of your baby. WIth this type of Ultrasound, you can even see how your baby looks like!

Wrapping Up:

 

So this was just about everything you’ve been wondering about the difference between Ultrasound and Sonogram. But, most importantly, do enjoy and share this wonderful milestone where you’ll get to see your baby’s first images.

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Post Pregnancy Body Changes : 7 Facts you Must Know

 

Pregnancy is a phase in a woman’s life which brings joy, anticipations and new hopes. Being pregnant is one of the most beautiful things in the world and there is no other soothing picture than seeing a pregnant woman with her cute baby bump.

 

However, there are a lot of things that a woman goes through after her pregnancy. It would be helpful to be aware of the changes your body adapts to after birth.

 

Do not feel frightened at the postpartum body changes you may experience. While some of them are obvious, others could be surprising and you have to deal with them.

 

Following are a few common changes that your body would be going through after birth:

 

Hair Loss:

 

You may start to lose your hair excessively after a few weeks of delivery. An average person loses 50-100 hairs a day, however, you were losing far less than that due to those raging hormones during your pregnancy. Now that you’re done with your pregnancy, your body would compensate and lose extra hair for around first six months after pregnancy. But you don’t have to worry about it- your hair growth will soon return to its normal growth cycle.

 

Breast Changes:

 

A day or two after birth, your breasts will become swollen, flushed, sore and engorged with milk. Once the swelling reduces, in about four to five days, your breast will probably start to sag as a result of the stretched skin. Moreover, even if you don’t breastfeed your baby, you may also have to deal with milk leakage for a few days.

 

Backaches:

 

Severe back pain will be prevalent soon after birth because your stretched abdominal muscles will take some time to become strong again. A new mom could also suffer from a backache due to a poor posture during birth.

 

Generally, these problems clear up by the first six weeks after pregnancy. If they don’t, you may need to see a chiropractor.

 

Incontinence:

 

Since your baby is not pressing on your bladder anymore, you won’t feel an urge to urinate frequently. However, pressure on the urethra during delivery can make urination a postpartum problem. New moms may also face incontinence or a urinary tract infection, which causes burning sensation during urination.

 

Leg swelling and varicose veins:

 

The puffiness and swelling in your legs that you’ve experienced during your pregnancy will be reduced soon after your baby is born. However, some women come experience twitchiness in their legs after delivery. If you also feel this twitchiness, taking short walks can provide you with some relief. Added to this, varicose veins and spider veins will show improvement after postpartum weight loss, but they may never go away completely.

 

Sweating:

 

At nights after birth, you may need to deal with excessive sweating. This is because your body gets rid of all the extra fluid it has accumulated during pregnancy.

 

Belly Changes:

 

Just after birth, your uterus will be hard and round (weigh around 2 ½ pounds) and can be felt by touching the navel. In about six weeks, it will weigh around 2 ounces and you won’t be able to feel it anymore by pressing your abdomen.

 

The mysterious brown line you have had down the center of your abdomen during pregnancy will start to disappear. Unfortunately, the stretch marks won’t go anywhere in the near future. Additionally, even the healthiest women will experience little flabby in the midsection.

 

Sit-ups, yoga, and other abdominal exercises can help you get your stomach as flat as it once was.

 

Wrapping Up:

 

These are some of the certain changes your body will go through after you become a mother. It’s always beneficial to be prepared for the consequences and plan well before you come across them. If any of these seem to be getting more severe, consult your doctor for the best practices require to get rid of them.

 

 

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Uncovering The Most Common Myths About Giving Birth

 

If you are a pregnant woman, you will probably get to hear a lot of stories about labor and birth. While some of them may be useful for you, it’s important to understand that your pregnancy experience will be completely unique for you. Thus, always discuss anything you aren’t sure about with your doctor. This article sheds light on some of the most common myths about giving birth. Take help of this article and see what’s true and what’s not.

 

Myths about post-term pregnancy:

 

A full-term pregnancy is when a birth occurs between 37 and 42 weeks of pregnancy. However, if you are close to 42 weeks and have not given birth yet, your doctor will discuss induction of your labor with you.

 

Many women try alternative methods in order to avoid medical induction. Although there are numerous suggestions to avoid medical induction or bring on the labor naturally, there are no proven ways that guarantee to work. Some of those include:

 

  • nipple stimulation

  • drinking castor oil- this can cause severe nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, which could result in dehydration.  

  • walking

  • acupuncture and hypnosis

  • consuming spicy food

  • having sex

 

Some other common myths about giving birth

 

Myth: Babies stop moving before you enter into labor

 

This is not true. If at any time of conception you feel your baby is not moving as it should, immediately contact your doctor and let him check if everything is fine with the baby.

 

Myth: Once you have undergone a c-section, you can’t give birth naturally

 

This is not right. You can have a vaginal birth, even if you have previously gone through a cesarean section. In fact, it mainly depends on the reasons for your cesarean delivery, and your health condition during this pregnancy.

 

Myth: Having an epidural while giving birth increases the risk of a c-section

 

Certainly, there are risks and side effects linked to having an epidural to help reduce the pain of labor. Epidurals might increase the chances of a vacuum or forceps birth. However, they don’t appear to make a cesarean more likely.

 

Myth: Mums instantly bond with their baby

 

Not every time. Contact between a mother and her baby’s skin soon after the birth can help create a bond, but not every woman instantly feel that bond with her baby.

 

Myth: Childbirth is like what you see on a television

 

Childbirth on TV and in movies is often dramatic, showing that giving birth is risky and painful. Although in some cases, giving birth can be painful, but it can also be normal if you’re properly being taken care of by the doctors. In addition to this, it’s important to gather some accurate information about labor and birth. You can get proper information regarding this by speaking to a maternal child health nurse or your doctor.

 

Myth: You should give birth lying on your back

 

This is false. Lying on your back can be helpful to be upright when giving birth. However, you can choose any position you feel most relaxed with while giving birth.

 

Myth: You will get to know when you are in labor

 

If you are pregnant for the first time, it might get difficult for you to know when you’re in labor. For most healthy pregnant women, there is no need to rush to the hospital when labor starts. Though, you can call your doctor and ask for advice if you think you are in labor.

 

Myth: You should only go to the hospital to give birth

 

This is untrue. There are other options as well that you can choose from. Birth centers and planned home birth in the presence of registered midwives are good options if you are a healthy, full-term pregnant women. While hospitals are the best options for women and babies having certain medical complications or for those who are at a higher risk of facing problems during the birth.

 

Myth: Small babies and good hips make for an easier delivery

 

You might have heard of the expression ‘good childbearing hips’ or that a small baby means an easy delivery. In fact, the size of your baby or your hips won’t tell you much about how hard or easy your birth is likely to happen.

 

A woman’s pelvis isn’t considered as a strong bone. It is formed of ligaments and various bones designed to move and loosen up as she goes through her labor. A baby’s skull bones are also not fused together yet, which allows the baby to fit into and move through the birth canal.

 

It’s also not true that the size of a baby will make birth less or more painful. Often, the position you choose during your labor makes a big difference. Many women feel that squatting or being on all fours makes it more comfortable. The position of a baby as it moves through the birth canal can also affect the labor progress.

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How To Outsmart The Allergies In Your Baby

 

Allergies :

 

Many children find themselves allergic to things like pollen, dust, cigarette smoke and pet dander (fur and dead skins). These substances can trigger symptoms of hay fever (allergic rhinitis) in them which can adversely affect their sleep patterns and behavior. Allergies can also cause eczema and asthma. However, there are a number of effective ways to deal with allergies.

 

Airborne Allergens:

 

Substances in the environment that cause allergies are called allergens. And, airborne allergens are those transmitted by air into the body. They may include:

 

  • House dust, including things like dust mites, dust mite droppings, insect debris and dead skin.

  • Pollen, typically from flowers, grasses, and trees.

  • Animal dander, the particles of dead skin, hair or feathers of a pet.

  • Mold Spores

  • Cigarette smoke

 

Symptoms:

 

When children breathe in, airborne allergens can trigger symptoms in those who are allergic to them. The symptoms that you may find in them are:

 

  • Rhinorrhea or a runny nose

  • Frequent bouts of sneezing

  • Blocked nose

  • Itchy nose, ears, throat, and roof of the mouth

  • Itchy, red, and swollen eyes

  • Headaches

 

Allergies can cause hay fever, and if it’s not treated properly, it can make it harder to control asthma and may lead your child to a sinus infection. In addition to this, it can badly affect your children’s concentration level and cause other abnormalities such as bad breath, husky voice, and eye infections.

 

There are other substances like perfumes and cold air, which make allergy symptoms worse and irritating.

 

Children who face hay fever all year round are often found allergic to animal fur, dust mites and/or mold spores. Though, if they experience allergy symptoms only during the spring, pollen seems to be the probable cause for this.

 

Detecting airborne allergies:

 

Mainly, the cause of allergy symptoms in your child is a pet. But, your doctor still may need to identify other factors causing the allergy.

 

Usually, your doctor will ask you a few questions regarding the allergy. He can ask you about the timings of symptoms, types of plants growing in your area and whether your baby feels better while being away from home.

 

Eventually, he may suggest taking some allergy tests (such as blood tests or skin prick) to identify the causes.

 

How to treat allergies and reduce their symptoms?

 

While allergies may require a proper medical treatment from an allergy specialist, there are things you can do to help reduce the symptoms and provide your baby with some relief.

 

Before you decide to go to an allergy specialist, the best treatment is to find the cause and try to prevent your child’s contact with it or at least minimize it.

 

Some treatments you can try:

 

  • If possible, keep your children indoors in the mornings and avoid taking them to parks (mainly grassy areas) during pollen season.

  • Remove any plants in your home that your child might be sensitive to.

  • Keep your home and car smoke-free.

  • Clean your house thoroughly and regularly to reduce dander and house-dust.

  • Keep your pet outside the house or give it away if the allergy is severe.

  • Remove any sources of mold and dampness.

  • Use dehumidifiers and try keeping the humidity level in the house to a minimum to reduce mold.

 

However, if nothing works, your doctor may also suggest some medicines to help reduce its symptoms. These include;

 

  • Non-sedating antihistamines

  • Nasal sprays (usually used for older children)

 

Another way to deal with severe allergic symptoms is specific allergen immunotherapy. It’s a long-term treatment and you may need your doctor’s advice whether to go with this therapy or not.

 

Summary:

 

Allergy symptoms are common and some of its medications are completely safe to take. However, do consult your physician before taking any allergy medications. There are over the counter medications associated with the negative side effects as well. Thus, don’t take anything unless your doctor knows about it and you’ve discussed the medication safety.

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