It is all but impossible to overestimate the devastation families suffer when a mother dies during pregnancy or childbirth. Some families never get the opportunity to recover and adjust. This is one good reason why we must do everything possible to prevent the death of women during pregnancy and childbirth. To succeed, there is need to provide pregnant women with relevant information about all factors that lead to the death of women during pregnancy and childbirth.
For example, if you are pregnant and suddenly notice you have been bleeding heavily during your pregnancy, or immediately after your new baby is born, make sure you seek urgent help. Your doctor, nurse, and other health workers may help save your life. Also, if you do not have health insurance to attend your check up appointments, please call the nearest welfare office in your community to see what resources are available to help your situation. The check-up appointments provide golden opportunities for you and your doctor, nurse, and other health workers to discuss your concerns and be assisted.
Additionally, it is important you tell your doctor and health care workers about how you felt before you became pregnant. In other words, did you and your husband or partner plan this pregnancy? If not, have you suffered any form of abuse or violence when you got pregnant? Sharing your personal feelings and experiences during the pregnancy with a qualified health worker could help prevent pregnancy related complications and death of your new baby including yourself.
Finally, these deaths matter because pregnancy and childbirth can provide opportunities to identify risks in women and their children and allow health professionals to develop strategies to prevent them. According to the World Health Organization (WHO, 2014), “Every day, approximately 800 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth”. This is why we all need to do something about it.
The arrival of a new member to the family always brings happiness, changes and the inevitable fatigue and doubts of the early days. But ... what happens when they come in pairs? Is it very different having twins and having just one?
First off all get plenty of rest to be ready and alert for the early days. Have everything you need to avoid last minute shopping for when the twins are home and get all the help and support you can from your partner and/or family members.
Once past the initial chaos, the concerns of the parents of twins or twins are very similar to those of the parents of only children (sleep, stimulation, diseases ...), with the difference that the solutions in the case of twins, sometimes they have to be more creative and tailored to your particular situation. Each mother will discover methods to care for their babies as they grow. But it is not worth knowing a few tricks that already exist with other moms of twins:
During the first weeks is better that the mother is always in good companion when going with the babies. You’ll see it nerve wrecking if one starts crying too laud that can awake the other one, or if one wakes the other. It may be easier to travel with someone to divide the work: a baby for each person.
To organize, always carry the stroller and a backpack or sling strap and make sure everything you’ll need is packed and ready in its place. For changing diapers and clothes, you should have everything at hand on a shelf, within reach at your home.
When the twins cry at the same time, you can take one in arms while the other you can maybe rock with a foot on a car seat or a bouncer. Eventually you learn to calm the two simultaneously. The twins may need separate attention: a little time alone with mom and dad, and deserve having their own things and toys, dressing differently and be called by name (and not as "the twins"). They will learn that they are unique people and develop their full identity very quickly.
Twins tend to get sick at the same time. So when one of them becomes ill, observe some general hygiene measures (not sharing spoons ensure they are in separate cribs, etc.). If the illness is not serious, no need to worry excessively.
It's good to carry a pediatrician book (one for each child) with comments and questions you'll point out in between visits. So that you don’t forget to ask any questions such as, the development of each child separately.
Raising twins has its advantages too: they usually go "on pair" in there development. Also they play with each other so there more entertained most of the time, they go to school together and probably be really good friends and partners for the rest of their life. Enjoy your time while they are babies.
Adapted from: http://www.serpadres.es/bebe/0-3-meses/organizarse-gemelos-parto-multiple.html
It’s that time of year in which you cuddle up with your love one and enjoy the holiday season. Yet for other individuals they might not be experiencing that same feeling. Some women who are pregnant or have children live in a world of fear due to living with physical, emotional, sexual or psychological abuse. Many women don’t realize that they are the victim of intimate partner violence. Yet what many women don’t realize they are not alone.
Each year, approximately 1 and a half million women in the United States report a rape or physical assault by an intimate partner. This number includes as many as 324,000 women who are pregnant when violence occurs. These numbers probably underestimate the true magnitude of the problem because we know that most incidents are never reported. Violence during pregnancy may be a more common problem than conditions for which pregnant women are routinely screened. Studies have found possible associations between intimate partner violence and unintended pregnancy, delayed prenatal care, and behavioral risk factors such as smoking and alcohol and drug abuse.
Intimate partner violence can be expressed through many types of violent behavior. Its hallmark is coercive control, which includes actual physical or sexual violence, threats of physical or sexual violence, and psychological or emotional abuse. Often, psychological and emotional abuse occurs along with physical or sexual violence. What is the difference in these types of abuse? Physical violence is defined as the intentional use of force with the potential for causing injury, harm, or death. It includes, but is not limited to, these acts: It also includes coercing other people to commit such acts. Again, violence can be actual or threatened. Sexual violence generally consists of three categories: Actual or threatened use of physical force to compel a person to engage in a sexual act against her/his will. Psychological and emotional violence is defined as harm to the victim caused by acts or threats of acts such as the following: Humiliating, name-calling, using profanity; Embarrassing victim deliberately—especially in public or controlling victim's movement and activities.
Intimate partner violence often is associated with abuse of other household members, particularly children. Research indicates that violence is a learned behavior, and witnessing violence in the home as a child is a strong risk factor for involvement in abusive relationships as an adult. In addition, experiencing abuse as a child has been associated with other risk factors such as depression, substance abuse, poor school performance, and high-risk sexual activity. Fetal health could be affected indirectly through maternal stress, smoking, or alcohol or drug use or abuse—all of which might be responses to the violence itself. These conditions and behaviors are known to be associated with poor outcomes such as low birth weight, intrauterine growth restriction, and fetal alcohol syndrome. Moreover, women in abusive relationships may find it difficult or impossible to fulfill prenatal care recommendations such as frequency of visits, prescribed supplements, nutrition, STD prevention, or substance-abuse recovery programs.
If you or a person you know is going through something similar to what you just read there is help. If you are pregnant you can go to you ob/gyn and inform them of what is occurring and they can provide you referrals to shelters and local hotlines and local authorities to protect you and you r child. To get the help you or your friend needs to take that first step and ask for it.
Story adapted from: http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/violence/intimatepartnerviolence/sld001.htm#1
It’s that time of year, when the leaves fall of the tree and the days become shorter and the nights become longer. Yes we are entering winter. As this season comes upon us, so does the flu and cold and allergies. Now if you’re not pregnant, most likely you go to your local pharmacy and take over the counter medication. Yet if you are pregnant now this is another story. While catching the flu during pregnancy rarely causes birth defects, the flu can be more severe when you are pregnant. There are studies that show that viral illnesses, like the flu and colds, usually last three times longer in pregnant women. Pregnant women with flu are at greater risk of serious illness and death from flu.
To prevent the flu, get vaccinated. The flu vaccine is the number one way to prevent the flu, and if you're pregnant, you should be vaccinated no matter how far along you are in your pregnancy. Even your third trimester is not too late. Fortunately, the fact you're pregnant does not make you more likely to get the flu than women your age who are not pregnant. In addition to protecting you from the flu, a flu shot during pregnancy will protect your infant from getting the flu for 6 months after birth. This is especially important because the flu shot is not safe for infants less than 6 months of age. The flu shot does not contain the live virus and cannot give you the flu. Some women do have fatigue and muscle aches due to their immune system responding to the vaccine. In addition, the flu shot is also safe while breastfeeding. It cannot cause you or your nursing baby to get sick. The shot takes about two weeks to work. The nasal flu vaccine should not be used in pregnant women.
Many flu and cold medications have not been well studied in pregnancy. If you are pregnant and have the flu, call your doctor before taking any over-the-counter or prescription drug. Treatments for cold and flu symptoms that your doctor may suggest during pregnancy include:
· Acetaminophen, the preferred treatment for fever, aches and pains of flu and colds during pregnancy.
· Saline nasal spray or nasal irrigation.
· Pseudoephedrine, the decongestant may be helpful for some people. Avoid pseudoephedrine in the first trimester or if you have hypertension.
These treatments are found commonly among over-the-counter cold and flu remedies. Check labels carefully.
Story Adapted from: http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/flu-guide/fact-sheet-pregnancy-flu
You found out that you’re pregnant. You probably have a millions things running through your mind. You begin to stress out and wonder how this affects your unborn child? Does stress really affect your baby? Is there good stress and bad stress? How can I eliminate the amount of stress in my life?
Some stress during pregnancy is normal, just as it is during other times of life. But if stress becomes constant, the effects on you and your baby could be lasting. When you’re stressed, your body goes into "fight or flight" mode, sending out a burst of cortisol and other stress hormones. These are the same hormones that surge when you are in danger. They prepare you to run by sending a blast of fuel to your muscles and making your heart pump faster. If you can deal with your stress and move on, your stress response will recede and your body will go back into balance. In fact, constant stress could alter your body’s stress management system, causing it to overreact and trigger an inflammatory response. Inflammation, in turn, has been linked to poorer pregnancy health and developmental problems in babies down the road.
So if you are already feeling this here are a couple of suggestions you may do to help elevate that stress. Reach out. Talk to your doctor, family or trusted and supportive friends about what’s causing you to feel stressed. Together you can look for solutions, which might include meditation, prenatal yoga, massage, or talk therapy. Pregnancy appropriate exercise like walking and stretching are excellent stress reducers. Sing a song even if you can’t carry a tune, hum in your head. Music helps control cortisol levels. Last but certainly not least, relax take a warm bath. Have a cup of tea. Curl up with a book. You’ll have precious few chances to pamper yourself once your baby arrives.
Story Adapted from: http://www.webmd.com/baby/features/stress-marks
Adapted from http://www.marchofdimes.org/
November will be Prematurity Awareness Month: A premature or preterm baby is born before completing 36 weeks of pregnancy. An average pregnancy is 40 weeks, so a premature baby is born at least 3 weeks early. Low birth weight (LBW) is defined as the weight of live born infants less than 2,500 grams.
One of the goals for Prematurity Awareness Month is to stress to the public that prematurity is a serious health problem. In Texas, 1 in 6 African American babies is born too small and too soon. Premature births lead to increased risk for newborn health complications, lifelong disabilities, and even death. Lifelong disabilities may include cerebral palsy, mental retardation, learning problems, chronic breathing problems, vision and hearing loss. Other health complications can include low blood sugar, Jaundice, feeding problems, and difficulty maintaining their temperature.
The health of the mother, particularly during the pregnancy is very important. The following risk factors among many others can be treated or avoided to reduce having a premature baby. If you are a mother who is smoking, drinking alcohol, and using illegal drugs then your risks are greater. A few other factors include:
What can I do to reduce my chance of having a premature baby?
It can be difficult to predict which woman will deliver prematurely. However, there are some steps to take to reduce your risk which include:
Every mother worries about their baby. One of the times we worry the most is when they are asleep but you can put your mind at ease by making sure that your baby’s crib, bassinet, play yard or cradle are perfectly safe. Follow these safety tips and you will sleep like a baby too.
1. Bassinets or cradles are a good option for the first few weeks of the baby’s life to keep him/her within arms reach of you. It is perfectly safe through to put a newborn in a full size crib.
2. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when putting together any crib, bassinet, cradle, or play yard. Follow instructions carefully and make sure all nuts and bolts are secure and tight. Check them periodically.
3. Always use a properly fitted mattress. If two adults fingers can fit between the mattress and slats of the crib there is too much space and this is unsafe for your baby.
4. When your baby is finally big enough to pull to a standing position make sure to lower the mattress to the lowest possible position and remove bumper pads or anything that your child can use to climb on in order to escape from the crib.
5. Never put a crib near a window where any blind cords or drapes can be reached. Also make sure no electrical cords are near the crib, be especially careful or the baby monitor cord.
6. Use tightly fitted crib sheets that wrap completely around the mattress.
7. Make sure that bumper pads are fitted tightly and that the straps are not more than 9 inches long.
8. Keep pillows, toys, especially stuffed animals out of the crib while baby is asleep.
9. NEVER put a baby to sleep on a pillow, waterbed, sofa cushion, or in an adult bed. The safest place for your baby is in the crib alone. There are safe ways to co-sleep. (Co-sleeping is when your baby sleeps with you in the bed.) We will talk about co-sleeping soon.
10. Lastly, do not overdress your baby, put baby in comfortable clothing and try swaddling.
Most importantly, is to always put your baby to sleep on baby’s back. This will prevent the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and is recommend by every pediatrician for the safety of your baby.
Diabetes is a disease where your blood glucose levels get too high. Another term for blood glucose is blood sugar. Gestational diabetes is when you get diabetes for the first time when you are pregnant. Having gestational diabetes is not good for the baby and so you both need to be closely monitored by a doctor.
Women usually get tested for gestational diabetes in their 2nd trimester. Women who are at higher risk can get tested earlier. The best way to control gestational diabetes is with meal planning, exercise, frequently testing blood sugar and if necessary, medication.
The good news is, gestational diabetes goes away once the baby is born however having gestational diabetes does increase your risk for having diabetes later.
Welcome to the Baby Blog!
Healthy Families Network hosts this blog, with content provided by the lead organization, San Antonio Healthy Start and other Network members. We are thrilled to bring you news, events and tips on having a healthy, happy pregnancy and a healthy start to the new life you've just created.