IMPROVING PREGNANCY OUTCOMES THROUGH PRECONCEPTION CARE

 

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The joy of every woman is to carry her own baby. The emotional trauma and anxiety involved with infertility can be quite disturbing. Infertility is one condition occurring more frequently in Nigeria today. I discovered that women can take steps to improve their fertility and prepare for conception through interventions known as preconception care which is highly recommended by the World Health Organisation. If women are more aware Continue reading “IMPROVING PREGNANCY OUTCOMES THROUGH PRECONCEPTION CARE”

Exclusive breastfeeding and the working mum

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Being a career woman  and juggling motherhood is not quite easy, then you have to couple it up with breastfeeding your baby. Being  a first time mum, it can be quite overwhelming cause it is a new experience and all. During antenatal classes we are being encouraged to breastfeed for six months and taught all the wonderful benefits of breastfeeding by the midwives and it seems all easy but in reality with all the work and having just 3 months for maternity leave , Is it possible to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months? Yes you can, it is very possible, you have to be committed to it. I must tell you it would not be easy and there would be times when you would want to give up. Juggling work and breastfeeding requires good planning and commitment, I have a few tips to help you juggle work and breastfeeding.

 

  • Get support

You need all the support you can get at this time. By support I mean your significant other (husband), family, friends or a nanny to help with the baby. If your significant other has a flexible job schedule (lucky you) he can help with feeding the baby. Before leaving for work nurse your baby and then express adequate milk for baby pending the time you would be away from baby. I knew of a breastfeeding mother who was a student, she takes her mum along with her to school and when it is break time she goes down to nurse her baby or excuses herself to nurse her baby. It can work for some all you need to do is find something that works for you.

  • You should consider expressing your milk

Expressing your milk is another option that you can consider. Once you express you refrigerate and warm up when it is time for baby to feed, if you can get a breast pump invest in one it saves time and even better if it a hands free breast pump. During the period of pumping you can multitask, you can get that presentation done during this time or send those emails you have to send through you phone or laptop.

  • Talk with your boss

Talk to your boss about your plans to breast feed, you might not think it necessary but if want to convince your boss that breastfeeding would not interfere with work you would have to talk to them. What if your boss is a male and he doesn’t understand? You can start by hinting him early about your plans to breastfeed and explain how you can make up for the time that you lost at work to breastfeeding or use your break time to breastfeed.

  • Get a crèche close to work

This can be an option mum’s who don’t have anyone to stay with baby at home. Get a crèche close to work and put your baby there, when you on break at work you can walk down to the crèche and nurse your baby and pump if time permits and you would be back at work in no time or whatever time you can arrange with your boss, you can also arrange with a colleague at work to help cover for you when you would be away.

  • When you are with baby nurse don’t bottle feed : your baby is best at stimulating your milk supply
  • Consider working from home or bringing the baby to work if that is a viable option.

 

Anytime you want to give up remind yourself of all the wonderful benefits of breastfeeding and it would motivate you to keep going.

 

n.b: Next post would be on proper storage of expressed breast milk don’t miss it .

 

​Coping with minor discomforts in pregnancy 


Today is another beautiful Monday for a sequel to last week’s post. The minor discomforts series would last for the whole of July , I started last week with the first six most common discomforts. This week I would be sharing ways to cope with five other discomforts. Some of these discomforts cannot be avoided but you can reduce the discomfort it brings and like I mentioned in the last post different discomforts for different people you don’t necessarily have to experience all the discomforts. Today I would be sharing coping strategies for backache, leg cramps, insomnia, dyspnea(difficulty in breathing) and syncope(faintness). 

BACKACHE

Backache is very common, it is due to the weight of the uterus which causes the your posture to be altered , there is usually an exaggerated curvature of the back to compensate for the increasing uterus. It Is also due to the hormones progesterone and relaxin  which also cause a softening and relaxation of your pelvic ligaments. If you do not maintain proper positioning and posture there will be a strain on the muscles and ligaments and will cause backache. Simple measures to reduce pain include limiting physical activity, wear low-heeled shoes, have adequate rest , use supportive pillows beneath the knees and abdomen. Use of proper posture and good body mechanics such as when picking up objects and bending. 

LEG CRAMPS

Leg cramps are often caused by extension of the foot, other causative factors include inadequate calcium intake, pressure on the pelvic vessels causing impaired circulation. It is more common in the third trimester because of the increased weight of the uterus on the nerves supplying the lower extremities. Relief measures include doing stretching exercises before bedtime , this can help to prevent leg cramps. You can achieve immediate relief of the leg cramps by stretching the muscles, also massage can be used to alleviate the discomfort from the cramps. 

INSOMNIA

Insomnia is caused by back pain, heartburn, frequent urination during the night , anxiety, hormonal changes  and also discomfort due to the increased size of your abdomen. Try new sleeping positions , exercising regularly will help to improve sleep, relaxation techniques, prepare yourself for sleep by taking a warm bath or receiving a nice massage, sleeping with the lights off also works. Pregnancy pillows can also be used as pregnancy pillows help in relieving discomforts such as back pain which would cause insomnia, read my post on relieving sleep discomforts in pregnancy to learn more about pregnancy pillows.

DYSPNEA

Dyspnea which is difficulty in breathing occurs due to the rising uterus in the abdomen, which causes pressure on the diaphragm. Learn to use proper posture when sitting and standing   also ensure you are propped up with pillows for relief if problems occur at night, sleeping in a semi fowler position can  help to expand the chest region and ensure for adequate breathing.
SYNCOPE

Syncope is also known as faintness. It is caused by postural hypotension, sudden change of position causing venous pooling in dependent veins, standing for long periods in warms areas and also by anaemia. Avoid standing for long  hours in warm or stuffy areas. Also ensure you see your midwife or doctor in order to check your hematocrit  and hemoglobin levels in order to rule out anaemia. 

Coping with minor discomforts in pregnancy

This is the first in the series of minor discomforts in pregnancy. I will be sharing remedies and several ways to cope with some of the discomforts in pregnancy. One thing you should note with discomforts is that it varies for different people, different bodies different reactions, you might be experiencing a certain discomfort in which another might not experience. So I will be sharing remedies to nausea and vomiting, heartburn, constipation, urinary frequency, hemorrhoids , and  leukorrhea.

  • Nausea and vomiting: This is one of the commonest discomfort and it is  experienced by most women. The exact cause is not known but it is believed to be due to the increased hormone levels or changes in carbohydrate metabolism. Nausea and vomiting is quite normal but when vomiting becomes excessive and causing you to loose weight it is called hyperemesis gravidarum . see your midwife or doctor for appropriate care. Certain  foods  and odors  trigger nausea and vomiting  avoid such triggers, avoid greasy , oily and highly seasoned foods also. Take cold fluids , eat dry foods like crackers, also minty sweets and gum help to suppress nausea and vomiting. Due to the nausea and vomiting some tend to loose appetite, in such cases try taking fruits and have small frequent meals, small frequent meals ensure that you eat and get all the nutrition and energy you need despite a lack of appetite.
  • Heartburn: heartburn is due to the regurgitation of acid contents of the stomach into the oesophagus which is mainly due to the displacement of the stomach by the growing pregnancy. Heartburn is aggravated by overeating, ingesting fatty and fried foods, and lying down soon after eating. Avoiding these situations listed is the first thing you need to know, drink lots of water , eat smaller and more frequent in order to accommodate the decreased size of your stomach and also avoid spicy foods.
  • Constipation: this occurs due to the increased absorption of sodium and water from the colon thereby resulting in smaller stool with lower water content (hard stools).increase water intake, consume fibre foods such as wheat , also engage in exercise to help in alleviating this problem.
  • Urinary frequency: during pregnancy your visit to the toilet becomes more frequent it is quite normal too. It occurs due to the pressure of the uterus on the bladder, don’t try to hold the urine ensure to void when you feel the urge. Increase fluid intake during the day and decrease only in the evening to decrease frequent urination at night which can disturb sleep, also empty bladder frequently approximately every two hours.
  • Hemorrhoids: this is popularly known as pile (in Yoruba it is called jedi jedi). It is due to both constipation and pressure in the veins below the enlarging uterus. It can be inherited, due to excessive weight gain , increased maternal age or a large fetus. Consume lots of water and fibre rich foods , elevate legs frequently , avoid crossing legs at the knees, standing for too long periods and also avoid constrictive bands such as garters.
  • Leucorrhea: this is known as increased whitish vaginal discharge. During pregnancy there is increased vaginal secretions which is not abnormal and no cause for worry, there is onl a cause for concern when the discharge is any color other than whitish such as yellow or brown and having a malodorous odor e.g fishy smell , report such abnormalities to your midwife or doctor immediately it can be an infection. Hygiene in pregnancy is very important especially the vagina in order to prevent excoriations and vaginal infections. Ensure you bath daily , avoid douching, wear cotton pants(nylon pants and pantyhose retain heat and moisture in the genital area) and always ensure to report any foul odors or change in vaginal discharge to your midwife or doctor immediately it is noticed. you can get more information on vaginal hygiene on my post on  Tips to maintaining a healthy vagina

 

I hope this has been useful please share your own relieve measures for these discomforts I would love to hear from you and like if it was helpful.

21 reasons why to breastfeed.

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1) breast milk provides the perfect nutrition for infants.
2) breastfeeding promotes binding between mother and baby.
3) breast milk contains immunities to diseases and acids in the development of baby’s immune system.
4) breast milk is more digestible than formula.
5) breast milk is always ready and comes in a nicer package than formula.
6) suckling helps mother by helping to shrink the uterus(womb) after birth.
7) breastfeeding helps the mother lose weight after baby is born.
8) not breastfeeding increases the mother’s risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer.
9) breastfeeding decreases maternal chances of osteoporosis later in life .
10) breastfeeding is a natural contraceptive.
11) breastfeeding protects baby from diarrhea.
12) breastfeeding results in less sick day for parents.
13) breastfeeding enhances vaccine effectiveness.
14) breast milk is free and breastfeeding is economical.
15)breastfed babies are healthier overall.
16)formula feeding is associated with lower IQ’s.
17) breast milk is the perfect food for a sick baby.
18) there is more sleep for mum, dad and baby.
19)fresh breast milk is never contaminated with bacteria.
20) better cognitive and social development.
21) and lastly breastfed babies smell fantastic

I could go on but I promised 21 🙂 keep breastfeeding!!

Florence Folami, Lori Fey .101 reasons to breastfeed.St mary’s hospital, Decatur illnois.

Natural baby skin care products

So this day at the clinic, I saw this baby and what attracted me to her was the  reddened peeling skin with rashes, I was quite sad  because that would be very uncomfortable for the child. I later found out that it was as a result of the baby oil the mother used which was fake (can you imagine??). It got me thinking that even if the oil wasn’t fake there are cases similar to this which doesn’t involve fake products. The chemical used for most of the baby products in the market are not mild on their skin. The best products doesn’t have to be the most popular or most expensive ones in  the market but the ones that contain natural and water based ingredients which are Hypoallergenic (that is causing causing few or no allergies).
  There are natural products such as essential oils, Shea butter, coconut oil which can be used for baby’s skin. They are good and have few or no reactions. I recently found a brand with hypoallergenic products for baby skin and I decided guy to share. The brand is Dudu Osun and their products include :
The Moisturizing lotion

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After service one Sunday, I went baby hunting( love babies) and I carried one of  my babies, I perceived a very nice odour went to ask the mum what she used for the baby and I  discovered it was the Dudu Osun moisturizing lotion .
It contain Shea butter, camwood extracts, and coconut oil derived triglycerides. It absorbs easily, non-greasy , smells good a mix of the coconut oil and the shea butter and it also moisturizes the skin which is one of the most important things in baby skin care.

The Shea butter

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This is pure Shea butter no additives , its saves the stress of trying to identify the real or fake Shea butter in the market. Shea butter has a lot of uses such as prevention of skin irritations, I use mine for my natural hair. The best part is mummy and baby can use it.

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The black soap

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The soap is made from pure honey, Shea butter, camwood, aloe vera, lime juice. The natural constituents makes it good for baby’s skin and you have lesser reactions.
These products are very affordable and both baby and mummy can use it.

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15 practical tips to breastfeeding

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Breastfeeding can be very fulfilling and at the same time exhausting. Breastfeeding has a significant impact on the present and future health and well-being of your baby because this is a critical period of growth, it also offers the chance to bond with baby and this is why breastfeeding us strongly encouraged. Here are a few tips to help in breastfeeding.
1) proper positioning is very important. Sit upright with your legs elevated by  using a stool or with the use of nursing pillows.

2) When feeding in the sitting-up position your back should be upright and at a right angle to your lap.

3) The baby should come to the breast not the breast to the baby I.e  the baby is coming up to your breast at the same angle as your breast is coming down to him, this prevents you straining your back.

4) Early feeding is important contributes to the success of breastfeeding but 1st feed should depend on the needs of the baby.

5) The more you breastfeed the better you get, remember practice makes perfect.

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6) Breastfeeding is learned not an instinct, so don’t feel bad the first time if you don’t  get it right.

7) The baby feeds from the breast not the nipple , hence, ensure the mouth covers the whole nipple and areola.

8) Ensure latching is done appropriately to avoid sore nipples or cracked nipples.

9) Appropriate latching determines the quality and quantity of milk your baby gets. The baby would require frequent feedings to get sufficient milk if latching is not appropriately done.

10) Some mothers feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding because they are modest or may feel embarrassed breastfeeding in public, this should not stop you from breastfeeding you can use nursing covers, with nursing covers you get to be modest and breastfeed.

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11) You can break feeds by putting a finger into a corner of the baby’s mouth.

12) If you are leaking milk you can use nursing pads inside your bra(which wet pads should be changed frequently) or you can go for printed tops to camouflage small leaks.

13) Did you know you can condition your nipples? This can be done by expressing a few drops of milk after feeding, massage it gently into the skin of the nipple and areola and allow to air-dry.

14) breastfeeding can be stressful. Take advantage of baby’s sleep time to catch up on sleep. You could also put baby in side-lying position to breastfeed and you can catch some sleep in the process.

15) Breastfeeding should not hurt, if you experience any pain on your nipples or soreness see your midwife.

The fit preggo: eating for two

So today is about eating for two people. I know you are thinking your food quantity would be doubled and you get to eat as much as you want (every girls dream) under the umbrella of “I am pregnant”am sorry but my eating for two is in relation to quality and not quantity.

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Being underweight in pregnancy is bad for you and baby, can lead to low birth weight and being Overweight too is bad for you and baby and can lead to gestational diabetes or cesearean birth.Achieving optimal weight gain in pregnancy is the goal. Am sure you are wondering how can I avoid all these complications, it all starts with you.

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pre-pregnancy weight is very important. If you are not pregnant and you are planning to ensure your weight for height(Body mass index ) is within the range of 18-25, and if you are pregnant already you should still know your pre-pregnancy weight. If your BMI is below 18 (underweight) your diet has to be altered, your caloric intake would be doubled and above 25(overweight) caloric intake may be reduced to avoid adding more weight.
Focus more on the quality of food you are taking not the quantity . you will need to adopt healthy eating habits. Eat lots of leafy vegetables and fruits ensure you eat foods from all classes of food from proteins to carbohydrates to minerals and consume lots of water you will need to be well hydrated.
Engage in physical activity of at least 30 minutes a day , take short walks.
Also ensure you take your supplements being recommended at the antenatal clinic such as folic acid .  The most important thing is to ensure you eat and get all the nutrients you can and avoid dieting this is not the time to diet.
I hope this would be helpful.

Movie Review: DRY by Stephanie Linus

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So I watched the movie DRY by Stephanie Linus(formerly known as Stephanie okereke) a Nigerian actress. The movie I must confess is really good and it depicts so many factors influencing maternal and child mortality in Nigeria most of which are preventable, the struggles and pains of women daily. It depicts factors such as :
– lack of access to good medical care .
– lack of access to education .
– poverty .
-child bride problems such as vesico vaginal fistula .
– The nonavailability of skilled midwives or birth attendants (people would rather use the traditional birth attendants that lack the needed knowledge and skills for safe childbirth).
– the inability of women to take responsibility for their reproductive health. There are cases in which the mother in-law or husband decides the reproductive health for their wives such as family planning .
-also physical abuse to women which is one issue in which there is increasing awareness for .

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Believe it or not these things happen everyday and it is disheartening to know that some of these factors are nor so far fetched among literates (such as child bride) . Nigerians are greatly influenced by culture and religion , but we need to know when to draw the line (such as running to the church to deliver when indicated for cesearean section) , spirituality is highly encouraged in health  cause it helps individuals mentally but we need to draw the line and know when to seek health care the earliar you seek healthcare the better the chances of survival.

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The movie not only shows the health issues but also the social and mental impacts (such as suicidal ideations) of these things and how women suffer. I must confess I cried at some point because I was touched  by the movie and I decided that I would share this with everybody I can reach out to. It is possible to reduce vesico vaginal fistula and maternal and child mortality in Nigeria, we also have our roles to play seek healthcare early. Kudos to Stephanie Linus on this movie.
Please read, share and watch the movie , your opinions count please make a  comment.

10 reasons why you should exercise.

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Like my previous post on the “fit preggo” It was about exercising in pregnancy and basic exercises you could carry out. Today I want to give you reasons why you should exercise in pregnancy . so here are ten reasons why you should exercise during pregnancy:
1) it helps you to maintain a healthy weight .
2) it helps to reduce common disorders of pregnancy.
3) it helps in better glucose utilization by increasing insulin sensitivity  I.e it reduces the risk of gestational diabetes.
4) improved fetal(baby) growth.
5) it can help to shorten labour and delivery  time .
6) it improves body awareness, balance , coordination and posture.
7) it helps to improve blood circulation and reduces diastolic blood pressure, reducing the risk of pregnancy induced hypertension.
8) it also increases endurance and stamina.
9) it helps to prevent slow and unprogressive labour.
10) last but not the least , exercise helps to improve mood.