BabiesOnline Articles

How to Identify and Treat a Candida Diaper Rash Infection

April 19, 2013

DiaperRashNobody likes to see a baby suffering from diaper rash, but many babies do experience the itch and burn of this common condition at some time. When it happens, parents and other caretakers want to soothe and treat the rash and make their baby feel better as quickly as possible. The first step in the process is to discover what kind of diaper rash it is.

3 Types of Diaper Rash

There are three varieties of diaper rash: contact rash, ammonia burn, and candida yeast rash. Let’s take a look at each of them.

Contact Diaper Rash– Contact diaper rash may appear in the area around the waist, the legs, or on the bottom. It may look like welts, hives, or tiny red bumps like heat rash. This type of rash is usually caused by one of two reasons: chafing or material allergies.  If it concentrates in the waist and leg area, chafing is the likely culprit. If it is spread across the buttocks, suspect a material allergy.

Chafing can be alleviated by getting a better fitting diaper, particularly if the baby has chubby thighs. If a material allergy, it’s usually to synthetics, so you may have to choose to buy diapers made of natural fibers or that have all natural liners.

Ammonia Burn – This type rash is flat and resembles a carpet burn. Normally found on the bottom cheeks, it usually looks like a red, round splotch, varying in size. It is often sensitive to touch. Baby’s outer genitalia may appear bright red as well.

This form of diaper rash is usually caused by either moisture sensitivity or detergent buildup. Naturally, detergent buildup is only a problem in cloth diapers and can usually be alleviated by using an all-natural cloth diaper friendly detergent. Moisture sensitivity diaper rash means your baby is super sensitive to moistness against its skin and you may have to change the diaper more frequently. Barrier creams will also help keep the moisture from irritating the skin.

Candida Yeast Diaper Rash – This rash is easily recognizable. It resembles acne with little bumps and pustules that may appear like fluid-filled blisters or open chicken pox. It normally starts at the genitals and works its way outward and may spread to the thighs, abdomen, waist, and into genital creases. It is sometimes accompanied by oral thrush, another yeast infection. The cause is almost always dietary.

The first two types of diaper rash can normally be cleared up with the use of a good ointment and some changes in diaper products and habits. The candida diaper rash, however, may require some extra effort to eradicate.

What Causes Candida Diaper Rash?

Yeast diaper rash is the only form of diaper rash caused by a skin infection. It normally originates from either the upper or lower gastrointestinal tract or a breastfeeding mother who has candida. The culprit is candida albicans, a tiny yeast-like fungus that lives in the intestinal tract.

The risk for yeast diaper rash is increased when antibiotics have been taken by the baby or the mother that is breastfeeding. Medicines like amoxicillin, a common antibiotic given to infants, kill helpful bacteria in the digestive system and encourage the overpopulation of candida. That’s when babies become particularly susceptible to yeast infections.

Yeast loves to grow in warm, damp, dark places so under a diaper is the perfect home for the bacteria. They also thrive on a food supply of sugars and yeast foods

Treating Yeast Diaper Rash

The first step in getting rid of a candida diaper rash is to keep the area as clean as possible. Wash the affected area at every diaper change using a mild soap, like goat’s milk soap. Do not rub the area when washing or drying because the skin will be sensitive and rubbing will irritate it further and may cause the rash to spread. Use unscented, low-allergy wipes or a soft cotton cloth to wash the area. Pat or air-dry completely.

Change the diaper frequently. The dryer the area is kept the less the bacteria will like it. You will also be removing a significant source of irritation by limiting the contact of urine and feces with the baby’s sensitive skin.

Whenever possible, let the baby go bare bottomed.  Contact with air and light will slow the bacterial growth. Exposure to early morning or late afternoon sunlight will also help the healing process.

Treat the area with an antifungal ointment that is all-natural and 100% free of chemicals. Make sure diapers are big enough that they do not chafe and irritate the area. You may also need to change brands of diapers and wipes.

Be careful about adding sugars to the baby’s diet, including sweet juices and fruits. If the baby’s old enough, make yogurt a part of its diet. If you are breastfeeding, learn more about what foods you should avoid to prevent or cure yeast infections.

Do not use baby powders that contain corn starch. This is a food source for candida and will only make matters worse.

Although candida yeast diaper infections are common, your baby won’t have to suffer from one if you follow these guidelines.

About the Author: Dr. Eric Bakker, ND is a naturopathic physician from New Zealand. He has spent the past 25 years focused on the study of Candida and offers regular articles and advice at yeastinfection.org.


5 Common Mistakes New Parents Make

March 6, 2012

It’s okay. You are going to make mistakes as a parent, no matter how little or how much you know. The best thing to do to prepare for a new baby is acknowledge the mistakes that other parents have made and learn from them. Here are a five that you can avoid:

Crowded Public Places

Your baby is tiny and brand new. You may have obligations and events you want to attend but it’s not worth the risk, you don’t want a sick newborn. Stay home with your newborn for the first few weeks until your baby builds up his immune system. Avoid things like kid birthdays or crowded malls.

Sleeping Through the Night

Some parents get excited when their new born sleeps through the night, this isn’t a good thing at such a young age. A newborn may sleep through the night but you need to wake the child to feed them. Newborns need their nutrients about every 4 hours. If you let your baby sleep through the night it could cause her to develop jaundice and become sluggish making it harder for her to wake  up when she is hungry and need to bed fed. Check with your personal pediatrician to see when it is okay for them to sleep through the night.

Trust Your Instincts

You may not be an experienced parent and you may doubt yourself, but don’t deny your feelings. If you get a gut feeling that something needs to be done or something isn’t right, go with it. Investigate the feeling. Even if you end up being wrong it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Ask for Help

If you are uncomfortable or not sure about something it is okay to ask for help. You are not supposed to know everything. Rely on someone in your family like your mother for advice and have your doctor on speed dial. Both of these two sources will expect phone calls and it’s perfectly normal and okay to do so.

Keeping Your Baby Indoors

The opposite of taking your newborn into a crowded place is keeping them indoors at all times. It is okay to venture out with your newborn. Just avoid crowds if you can. Try taking a small stroll around the block or stepping into a small and slow restaurant for a bite to eat. Going outside is good for the mother and aids in the prevention of potential post-partum depression.

Being a new parent is an amazing blessing to experience! It can be scary and rewarding at the same time. Don’t beat yourself up if you make a mistake and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Good luck and congratulations!

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Author Bio
Sara is an active nanny as well as an active freelance writer. She is a frequent contributor of nanny services. Learn more about her here.

 


Safety Tips For Choosing a Crib

April 4, 2011

Your baby will in all probability spend more time in its crib than anywhere else, so it stands to reason, therefore, the crib should be both safe and secure. Wanting a safe and secure crib, and actually choosing one are two very different things. Are you aware of the criteria your crib should be meeting to be deemed safe? Did you know, for example, that drop side cribs have been banned in the U.S (the ones where one side can lower with the release of a latch)? Starting June 2011 it will be illegal to manufacture, sell or resell these items in the country? The reason being, of course, the very sad spate of baby deaths attributed to these drop side cribs (32 since 2001).

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in the United States has specific guidelines which you can follow when it comes to buying one of these cribs for babies. Although it must be stressed that most modern cribs are now constructed to stringent crib safety standards, these guidelines will more than come into their own if, for example, you are looking to purchase a second-hand crib for your baby.

These guidelines range from the blindingly obvious, to the not so obvious but, guidelines they are and they’re there for a reason. Let’s take a brief look at these guidelines in terms of buying the crib, starting with the blindingly obvious and working our way down to the not so apparent:

  • All parts of the crib should fit firmly together and the wood must be smooth and free of splinters.
  • All surfaces of the crib must be painted with lead-free paint and generally safe for use on baby furniture. You must also check for any signs of cracked or peeling paint.
  • Any hardware that comes with the crib must be present and be part of the original structure. Never replace original components with parts purchased from the local hardware store because these in all likelihood will not fit properly.
  • Follow all instructions that came with the crib properly (including setup, maintenance and safety).
  • Ensure that the mattress is the right fit for the crib so that baby can’t trap any part of their body down the sides. As a general rule of thumb, if you are able to fit more than your two fingers in the space between the side of baby’s crib and the mattress, this mattress and crib shouldn’t be used in conjunction with each other.
  • The crib’s slats should be two-and-three-eighths inches or less apart from each other as any wider than this increases the chances of baby falling through, or the body or head getting stuck.
  • The two end panels (the “headboard” and “footboard” ends) should only be of solid construction and should not have any kind of decorative cut-outs. Cut-outs have been known to trap a baby’s head.
  • The four corner posts must be flush with both end panels; if not flush then they should be very tall (like posts found on a canopy type bed). The reason for this is to prevent any garments of clothing from catching and possibly resulting in strangulation.
  • Ensure the baby crib has Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) certification. This will leave you in no doubt that the crib has been tested for safety and quality.

The Importance of Teaching Children to Love Reading

March 3, 2011

by Paula Wilson

Alot of children today are not developing a love of reading that will help them be successful adults. As parents, our fundamental duty is to prepare our children for adulthood. We give them our love and our time, and by doing this we are preparing them to face the world. Teaching them to read and to love reading will also help prepare them to face the world with confidence and to be successful. Let us not forget what our job is as we continue to help our children grow into healthy and happy adults.

One of my favorite pictures of me was taken when I was about 11/2 years old. I was sitting in a little red rocking chair made by my grandfather reading a book to a big orange a white cat who was sitting in my lap. I am 28 years old now and two of my greatest loves are reading and cats. Ok, maybe my love for cats has not made me successful, but I know that my love for reading has helped me become the person I am today. I am so grateful to my parents for instilling in me a love for reading and education. I don’t remember sitting in that little red chair reading that book, but I do have very fond memories of my mom and dad reading to me, helping me learn to read, and later on helping me with my homework. Because of that healthy respect I have for education, I was able to succeed in college and graduate school. I have a 11/2 year old son now, and I know how important it is to teach him to have a love for reading. I hope that all parents will realize this and will get their children involved in reading at an early age.

About The Author
Paula Wilson is the mother of a 1 year old son. She has developed the WAHM website http://www.wahmresourceplace.com. She is an Independent Consultant for Usborne Books, and her website can be found here: http://www.ubah.com/x1367


Things to Consider When Designing Your Nursery

August 27, 2010

Preparing for the arrival of a new baby is challenging, and that is never more clear than when you are decorating and supplying the nursery. You probably already have an idea or two in mind for the decor, but the furniture and baby care items, as well as the paint and other products you use to decorate, will require some research. After all, your nursery should not only be comfortable and stylish but safe as well. Here are some do’s and don’ts to consider when planning your new nursery.

Develop a Design Plan
The newest trend in nurseries is to use neutral colors and simple decor that harmonizes with the rest of the house. Take a walk through your house and consider it with fresh eyes. How might you incorporate elements of your design style into the nursery? Once you’ve picked complementary colors and decor you’ll have a clean, simple canvas to which you can add some fun elements like mobiles and stuffed animals. The main benefit of this approach is the versatility. It is much easier to change details- swapping a mobile or painting, for instance- than it is to repaint a room.

Don’t Crowd Your Nursery With Too Much Furniture.
The last thing you need at four in the morning is to stumble through a crowded nursery. Invest in quality pieces that will last. A convertible wooden crib that can later become a toddler bed, a comfortable glider chair, a sturdy changing table and a small dresser are essential. If you can find a bed or changing table that includes built-in storage you can skip the dresser and save yourself even more space.

Choose a Paint With Low or No VOCs
(volatile organic compounds). These types of paints are now readily available at home improvement stores, and can be custom mixed to suit your design. A chemical-free nursery ensures that your baby (and you) will have a healthy environment that’s free of toxic fumes. Painting the lower half of the wall a different color than the top is a current trend for nurseries, and can be quite elegant when the colors are divided by a chair rail. Be sure to paint the nursery well in advance of your due date, so that any fumes that do exist will have dissipated before baby comes home.

Don’t Buy a Cheap Chair
Quality baby glider rockers can be found at all price levels, but remember that you will be spending many, many hours in this chair. When you’re feeding the baby at four in the morning, after many weeks of inadequate sleep, you will not be patting yourself on the back for saving money by getting the cheapest chair. You will be lamenting the poor support, barely-there cushioning and lack of useful features. Do yourself a favor and invest in a quality glider rocker that will continue to be comfortable for years to come, whether in your living room or in your next baby’s nursery.

Invest in Organic Linens
Your baby deserves a healthy, non-toxic environment, and you can start them off on the right foot by purchasing unbleached cotton bedding that has been produced without chemical pesticides. You (and your baby) will breathe a little easier knowing you’ve done the right thing not only for your baby’s environment, but for everyone else’s as well.

Don’t Forget the Basics
Those first few days and weeks can be overwhelming. Having all of the necessary supplies on hand will ensure that the transition from hospital to home goes as smoothly as possible, and that you won’t have to make any emergency trips. Here are some items you will want to have on hand before baby comes home.

Ask a Friend or Family Member for Advice
Your sister, the new grandma, or a good friend can give the finished nursery a final check for potential hazards you might have missed. Your safety audit should include: removing blinds or curtains with cords, covering electric outlets and ensuring that lamp cords are inaccessible. Consider the room from a babies-eye-view and take steps to remove those things that will pose a risk once baby begins to crawl and reach for things. It may seem a long way off, but your baby will be mobile before you know it and you’ll be better prepared if you check for these things now. Go here for more baby-proofing tips.

The Most Important Tip for Creating a Great Nursery
Get started now. Pregnancy can be exhausting, and your regular life doesn’t stop while you’re preparing for a new baby. It can be hard to get all of the things done that need to be done with so few hours in the day. Start planning early and take time to work on your nursery- even if it’s only half an hour per day- and when it comes time to bring baby home you’ll glad you put in the effort to create a space you can feel good about.

About the Author: Kimberly Aardal writes about rocker gliders for nurseries and swivel glider chairs for EveryDayRockingChairs.com. She spends her free time exploring the mountains in Southwest Colorado with her husband and her yellow lab, Ginger.


Signs of Miscarriage

April 29, 2010

Miscarriage is a painful experience that many women have to go through in their lifetime. Painful physically as well as emotionally. The most common medical term used for miscarriage is spontaneous abortion. The term “abortion”, however has very negative connotations so we prefer to use the term miscarriage, referring to the fact that the woman failed to carry the fetus to full term and results in delivery of a baby too young to be able to survive outside the uterus.

When is a Miscarriage More Likely to Occur?

Miscarriage can happen very early or a bit later during the pregnancy period. Clinical guidelines define miscarriage as loss of a fetus aged 20 weeks to 22 weeks, weighing about 500 g or less. Most miscarriages, however, occur at the first trimester before the 13th week. An estimated 50% of pregnancies result in miscarriages due to a wide range of causes but only about 15% to 20% are detected as such.
Miscarriage is a life-and-death event, yet it is not a simple yes-or-no occurrence. It can manifest in many different forms. It does not happen in a single instant but consists of a series of events that culminate in the loss of the fetus and termination of the pregnancy.

Most miscarriages occur at a very early stage, sometimes even before a woman even realizes she is pregnant, and the embryo hasn’t even had the chance to implant in the uterus aka chemical pregnancy. About 15% of pregnancies result in early miscarriage during week 1 or 2. In such cases, the woman is blissfully unaware of what happened.

What’s an Embryonic Pregnancy?

A blighted ovum aka embryonic pregnancy will inevitably end up in a miscarriage which occurs a bit later, when the woman is usually aware of her condition. What she is not aware of is that although there is a sac in her uterus, there is no embryo inside. The body eventually passes the empty sac, usually before the 8th week of pregnancy.

As the fetus grows older, the chances of miscarriage decrease. However, the emotional pain that comes with miscarriage increases with increasing fetal age.

A threatened miscarriage is actually a potential tragedy thwarted. The most common sign of a threatened miscarriage is vaginal bleeding or commonly known as “spotting”. In such cases, the doctor usually prescribes bed rest as well as medications that can prevent contractions. Many threatened miscarriages have a happy ending, resulting in a healthy baby.

What Are the Signs of Miscarriage?

  • Vaginal bleeding, which may be mild or profuse. The bleeding is due to the passing of the embryonic/fetal and placental tissue out of the body, the so-called conception products. Miscarriage is complete if all products are expelled, characterized by profuse bleeding. Miscarriage is incomplete if the body cannot get rid of all products. In such cases, bleeding may be mild. Take note, however, that vaginal bleeding or spotting does not necessarily mean miscarriage. Some women with viable pregnancy can occasionally have some light spotting.
  • Pain in the lower back, which has been described as a persistent, dull but also sharp pain.
  • Abdominal cramps and pain, which can be mild or severe. Some women describe the sensation as being similar to menstrual cramps. The cramps may actually be real contractions wherein the body is trying to expel the conception products.

The intensity, timing, and duration of the symptoms vary from woman to woman.

In the doctor’s clinic, impending, threatened, or complete miscarriage is confirmed by several tests that include manual examination, pelvic ultrasound, and blood test to check for levels of human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) hormone.

Manual examination checks the state of the cervix (dilation is a bad sign) and presence of other structural abnormalities such as tenderness and pain.

An ultrasound can check the status of the fetus, usually in terms of its size and heartbeat. The ultrasound can also detect abnormalities such as ectopic pregnancy.

The levels of HCG in the blood can indicate whether the pregnancy is proceeding normally or not.


Basic Guide to Photography for Parents and Parents-to-be

October 22, 2009

Basic Guide to Photography for Parents and Parents-to-beAs parent or parent-to-be, there exist a multitude of gifts you’ll be able to give your child to ensure that he or she grows up to be the fine young people you wish them to be. Yes, we’re talking about patience, kindness as well as the occasional toy. But, there exists yet another gift you can give that will ensure that the best parts of your child’s life remain immortalized.

Photographs help us appreciate our young lives, especially when we’re older. They remind us of the good moments, the bad and also where we come from.

Below we’ll acquaint you with a couple of essential photography tips and techniques that will help you, as proud parent, to capture all these moments that will, one day, help your child realize just how much you love him or her.

What To Expect

If you’re about to pick up your camera, just hold on, mom, dad. Take some time to think about photography in general: what is it that makes a good picture? Is it great technical ability? Perhaps the intuition needed to recognize a great shot when it presents itself. Or, maybe both?

In our opinion, photography is about a combination of technical skill and composition. You’ll have to learn to use your camera to its fullest extent while, at the same time, know which elements present in the frame will and won’t work.

We’ll give you a bit of advice on both to best prepare you for your photographic journey to come.

Technical Skills

Remember mom, dad: photography is all about light. And if you learn to manipulate the light entering though your camera’s lens, then you’ll be able to weave photographic magic! So let’s look at a couple of basic concepts.

A Little More About Light…

To best understand the motivation behind the fact that some types of light are good, in terms of photography, while others are less so, we have to understand what is meant by the ‘dynamic range’ of a camera.

The dynamic range refers to the differences in light or tone that can be accommodated before some aspects of the image in front of us loses detail. Our eyes have a dynamic range of about 2000:1, while the average camera only has a dynamic range of about 8:1. What this means in terms of lighting is that, when ‘wrong’ types of light are used to illuminate the subject of our photography, it will cast deep shadows that will appear black on film, even though we can make out the detail with the naked eye.

In practical terms, this means that, if you are planning on a bit of outdoor photography, you’ll do well to take your pictures either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Cloudy days are also suitable and will provide you with the necessary soft light to bring out your child’s beautiful skin tone.

The Exposure Triangle

Your camera will provide you with a host of settings that will allow you to manipulate light as it enters through the lens. The most prominent among these represent the elements of the ‘Exposure Triangle’ and include ISO, aperture and shutter speed. Let’s take a brief look at each of these separately.

ISO

At this stage we’d like to encourage parents of all very young babies to switch off the flash. Not only will the sudden bright bursts of light startle your child, but it can also be potentially damaging to his or her developing vision.

However, that doesn’t mean you should put your camera down. On the contrary, learn to use the ISO setting of your camera efficiently.

ISO is a term that is used rather loosely and refers to the film speed standard for color-negative film as maintained by the International Standards Organization. Those parents who would like a bit more information can search for ISO 5000:1987 (though be warned: you’ll be greeted with a lot of technical information).

Now while most cameras nowadays don’t use film any more, the standards still apply and is more commonly referred to as the camera’s sensitivity to light.

If you are intent on taking a picture of your baby in a low-light environment, then you’ll want to ensure that you are using a high ISO number, like 800. In a bright environment, the reverse is true: a low ISO number will suffice. Acquaint yourself with this feature of your camera by experimenting.

Aperture

The aperture of your camera is defined as the amount of light that gets admitted onto the sensor and works very much like the pupil of the human eye. We measure the diameter of the aperture in f-stop and indicate it as follows: Fn, F:n or F-n, where n is the aperture size. The higher the f-stop the smaller the aperture.

Shutter Speed

The last element of the ‘Exposure Triangle’ refers to shutter speed, which is measured in fractions of a second and seconds. As the name implies, this function determines how fast the shutter opens and closes.

Shutter speeds between 1/60 (a sixtieth of a second) and 1/000 (a thousandth of a second) and faster will allow you to hold the camera in your hand. Shutter speeds of 1/30 (one thirtieth of a second) and slower will require the use of a tripod to avoid camera shake. However, take note: certain shutter speeds can last second, minutes or even longer and will capture more light as well as movement (that’s the cool trailing effect visible on photographs of highways).

Composition

In terms of composition, there are a lot of things that can be said and a lot of rules to be expelled. But in the end, good photographic composition is a skill mastered only by practice, practice and then some more, practice.

All we’ll be able to do is to give you a couple of pointers of things to look out for that will help you recognize certain elements that will help you on the journey to photographic excellence.

Texture & Lines

Take a look around you. What do you see? All physical objects have a texture, and they have lines, too.

The edges of said objects, if not the patterns on them, will fill each photograph you take with a variety of shapes. To excel in your photographic journey, you’ll have to train yourself to pay attention to these lines, shapes and textures. Have a look at your child (if he or she has already been born) and carefully study them for the aforementioned characteristics.

When its time for another photography spell, try to employ the following guidelines:

  • - Converging lines will supply your picture with a sense of depth and distance
  • - Curved lines or swirls will convey a sense of calm
  • - Slanting lines, on the other hand, can imply direction or action

That being said, we’d also like you to pay attention to the various colors that fill the frame of your camera. Photography 101 states that colors that belong to the same tonal range will make for a better photograph than those that seem out of odds with one another.

An Interesting Angle

Last but not least in our mini parent photography course is something present in all brilliant photographs: a good angle. Whether you take a picture over your baby’s shoulder to show what he or she was looking at the time, or whether you find it fitting to show them in a special type of light or way, it’s often the unique angle that draws us to a picture.

Remember: all photographs should tell a story that’s what sets them apart from mere pictures.

About The Author: Betty A. Muscott is an accomplished child photographer who provides tips on how to photograph children outdoors to create beautiful images and some personalized photo gift hints. She provides a review of a great Canon starter digital camera, ideas on how to create amazing babies photos onto canvas and personalized photo gift ideas..


Home Birth vs. Hospital Birth

October 13, 2009

Home Birth vs. Hospital BirthIt is strange how medical practices vary when it comes to childbirth. Many developed countries favor hospital delivery but in a few countries like the Netherlands for example delivery at home attended by a registered midwife or nurse has been the norm for quite a while. In Germany, the idea of home birth is catching on although other alternatives such as “maternity houses” are also becoming popular. A friend of mine had a hospital birth with her first born but opted for a home birth the second time round. Her first born made up her mind for her when the little girl asked with the unerring logic of a 4-year old. “Why do you have to go to the hospital, Mommy? You and the baby aren’t sick, are you?”

Indeed, we associate hospitals with illness and even death so that many people would rather celebrate the joy of childbirth outside the hospital walls. But there are still questions

Is Home Birth Safe?

The debate about the safety of home birth vs hospital birth has been going on for decades and is not likely to be settled anytime soon.

A recent study by Canadian researchers compared the outcomes of home birth vs. hospital birth in British Columbia. The study consisted of:

  • 2889 home births attended by certified midwives
  • 4752 planned hospital births attended by the same midwives
  • 5331 hospital births attended by doctors

The researchers reported that women who planned a home birth had less maternity-related interventions but also less adverse outcomes. The interventions associated with hospital childbirth are induction of, electronic fetal monitoring, epidural anesthesia, assisted vaginal delivery, and cesarean section. The adverse outcomes reported were infection and hemorrhage. The risk of newborn mortality was similar for both home and hospital births.

So why are there fewer complications in home birth than in hospital birth? The researchers think it might have something to do with self-selection.

Caveat: this is just one study in one country. More data are needed to confirm these findings.

When is Home Birth Not Safe?

I delivered my twins in Frankfurt, Germany. I loved the idea of a home birth but I knew almost right from the beginning that it might not an option for me, mainly due to my advanced maternal age and multiple pregnancies. Even my choice of a hospital was rather limited. Whereas other moms had fun looking around which hospital or clinic they could go to, I had no choice but to opt for the only one in town with a neonatal clinic.

There are many reasons why a home birth may not be ideal for you, and your family, friends, even your midwife may have something to say about this. But are these reasons valid? Let us look at some of these reasons:

  • First Delivery. The first time is said to be always difficult and slow. Truth or myth? We don’t know. At any rate, there’s no scientific evidence that supports any objection to home births for first-time moms.
  • Maternal Age. People would say “you’re too young” or “you’re too old” for home birth. But what is the right age for home birth? No one can say. I think it’s something to do more with health status rather than age.
  • Previous Delivery Complications. Those who had previous complications have a good reason to be wary of giving birth away from the hospital. However, not all complications would necessarily occur the next time around. Assisted delivery (e.g. forceps delivery) and episiotomy (tear) are less common in home births, according to Homebirth UK. There are life threatening complications, however, like preeclampsia and postpartum bleeding that may warrant more medical monitoring than what a home birth can provide.
  • Underlying Medical Conditions. Women with underlying condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or obesity are usually advised against home birth.
  • Breech delivery. Breech births are very tricky. Unless your midwife is highly experienced in breech delivery, a hospital birth might be the best option for you and your baby.
  • Multiple Pregnancy. Having multiples is one very good reason to play it safe and opt for a hospital birth. I did. This doesn’t mean it’s not possible. It is simply too risky.
  • Premature Labor. Premature delivery is usually unplanned but does not preclude home delivery if pregnancy has reached the 37th week. Very premature delivery, however, requires immediate medical attention and being close to a neonatal intensive care unit is advisable. This was foreseen in my case and I was glad of my decision to deliver in a hospital.
  • Overdue Delivery. Many women who are overdue are referred to a hospital to induce labor. Health officials are divided when induction becomes a “must” and can range from 6 days to 2 weeks after the due date. Midwives, however, can also induce labor at home.
  • Baby Problems. If it is known beforehand that the baby might have some health or genetic problems, a hospital birth is usually recommended.

But Who Makes the Decision? Please take note that the items in the abovementioned list are only my opinion. According to Homebirth UK, the decision between a home birth and a hospital birth lies on the woman alone. Her doctor or her midwife can only give recommendations. Nobody can force her to deliver in a specific location against her will unless nature takes the decision out of her hands. It is best, though, that she discusses the issue with her partner and together they make an informed decision.

Author: Science-mom


How an Abortion Affects Subsequent Pregnancies

September 28, 2009

How An Abortion Affects Subsequent PregnanciesAbortions are nothing new and have been practiced for centuries. In recent times there has been a belief that if properly done, an abortion will not negatively impact subsequent pregnancies. This belief is being reconsidered by recent research.

The Risks Caused by Abortion

The research which was done to investigate the causes of low birth weight babies came up with some surprising results. It was discovered that women who aborted a pregnancy had a greater chance of having babies that were below the normal birth weight. The review of past studies on abortions was conducted by Dr. Prakesh Shah of Canada’s Paediatrics Department at the Mount Sinai Hospital. The results of the research were published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in September.

Low Birth Weight

There was a 35 percent risk of having a low birth weight baby if an abortion was done in the first or second trimester of a previous pregnancy. In fact, having more than one abortion increased the risk of having a low birth weight baby even more. Women who fall into this category had a 72% chance of giving birth to a baby that was below average weight.

A low birth weight baby is generally viewed as an infant weighing less than 5.5 pounds at birth regardless of what gestational period the birth occurs. Most low birth weight babies are also premature and tend to be at an increased risk for certain health problems throughout their lives. Fortunately most infants go on to live healthy lives given today’s technology.

Premature Birth

According to Dr. Shah, having an abortion in the first or second trimester increased the risk of premature birth by 36%. Premature birth refers to deliveries that occur by the 37th week of pregnancy. Dr. Shah’s findings are not the first to suggest this link. In 2007, a research team suggested that abortion can result in extreme pre-term birth and cerebral palsy in subsequent pregnancies.

Dr. Shah made his findings on the abortion link between premature birth and low birth weight after reviewing 37 studies published between 1965 and 2001. He concludes that the increased risk of premature birth and low birth weight may be due in part to damage to the cervix during the abortion. This damage Dr. Shah contends was more likely from older methods of performing the abortions. He recommends that women considering ahving an abortion be told about the possible risk to future pregnancies.

Written by: Jessdel27


Inducing Labor

August 31, 2009

Inducing LaborSometimes, due to health or other concerns, labor must be induced, or artificially started. Labor inducement can be a long process and induced labor is slightly different than “regular” labor.

Labor can be induced using a variety of methods. Check with your provider to determine which method they prefer to use. Some practitioners prefer to begin the process in the evening, with the hopes that you can sleep through most of the night. Other practitioners prefer to begin in the morning with labor inducements.

How to Induce Labor

The process can take anywhere from 1-3 days depending upon a variety of factors including your health and the overall well being of the baby. Because of the risks, most women who are induced will need to be regularly monitored. This may mean that you are confined to bed for the majority of the process. For some women, this can be bothersome.

I’ve found that contractions are different during inducements. During naturally occurring labor, I found that I was able to work with the contractions. During my inducements, I felt that the contractions were much more powerful and intense. They were also very close together which made me feel very overwhelmed. I ended up asking for pain medication for some of the inducements; with others I was able to get through the process without pain medication. During one of my inducements, it went so quickly that there simply wasn’t time for pain medicine.

Get Support

Getting support during the process is important. It’s also important that your labor support person is aware that this is an inducement and that he or she is aware of the possible complications which could occur during the process. During my most recent inducement, my husband became so discouraged when I “stalled out” at 3 cm for 6 hours. I found myself encouraging him instead of concentrating on the labor!

Be prepared to be flexible. After 18 hours of labor, it appeared that I would need a c-section to complete the delivery because I just wasn’t progressing in my labor stages. I have to say, I was slightly discouraged. By the time the midwife left to make some final arrangements and came back a short time later to discuss options with my husband and I, I had fully dilated. Our son was delivered shortly thereafter.

My grandmother gave me some sage grandparenting advice 16 years ago before the birth of my first child. When I asked her how she handled the demands of childbirth, she simply replied: I kept my eyes on the prize. I find that “keeping my eyes on the prize” is essential to handling an inducement. Hopefully this advice will help you too!


Have Perfect Vision During Your Pregnancy

August 14, 2009

Have Perfect Vision during Your PregnancyDuring the nine months of your pregnancy, your body will go through many changes. Some will be immediately noticeable, such as an increased body mass index (BMI), but others will not be equally visible, such as the swelling of the eyes. All of these changes are usually part of a normal pregnancy, as your body adapts itself to nourishing the unborn baby.

Swelling During Pregnancy

This affects your eyes too! The fact that your eyes, more specifically the cornea, might thicken, could lead to discomfort for people wearing contact lenses. The reason why your eyes can swell is the same as the reason why your feet and hands might swell too. Hormonal spikes can cause fluctuations in blood and body fluid pressures. You cannot actually predict whether this will happen or not, but usually falls with in the range of normal pregnancy symptoms. However, if you regularly wear contact lenses, you may experience dry and itchy eyes, blurry vision, or slight discomfort when wearing your contacts, to the point where they are so ill-fitting that they may even fall out.

It is recommended that you visit an eye doctor at least two or three times during your pregnancy as he or she can run vision tests to see if the shape of your eyes have changed, and, if so, by how much. After the examination you will get a prescription for new contact lenses that will be of the right optical strength and size.

After you have given birth, your eyes will most likely go back to their original shape, meaning that your old prescription and contact lenses are applicable again.

Here’s what you can do if your eyes have changed shape during your pregnancy.

Get a New Prescription

Simply get a new prescription for contact lenses that you can wear while you are pregnant. Book an appointment at a local eye clinic where they can determine how much your vision has changed and prescribe you lenses that will be custom-fitted. Because it will take some time after pregnancy before your eyes return to normal, you can wear these lenses for quite some time.

Switch to Glasses

The second alternative that you will have is switching to regular glasses. It is important that you visit an eye clinic as the glasses need to have the correct optical power, which, due to the thickening of the cornea, has probably changed as well. If you wish, you could always go back to wearing lenses again after you have given birth as the swelling will most likely go down.

Sources:
Chris O. Imafidon. (1992). Contact Lenses in Pregnancy. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 99, 865¬-868
Park SB et al. (1992). The Effect of Pregnancy on Corneal Curvature, The CLAO Journal, Oct; 18(4), 256-259


Male Infertility Treatment

July 17, 2009

Male Infertility TreatmentSome of the treatments for male infertility actually mirror the treatments for female infertility. For instance, in vitro fertilization can be used to weed out the stronger sperm, fertilize the woman’s eggs in an external environment, and then implant them. In vitro fertilization remains the best medical treatment for a couple trying to conceive when male infertility is an issue.

IUI fertilization

Intrauterine insemination, too, is sometimes used for men with poor sperm quality. By implanting “washed” sperm directly into the woman during her ovulation period, IUI has an average pregnancy success rate of between 6 and 25%. Success rates at or above the higher end of this range occur when the sperm count is between 20 to 30 million per ejaculation and are reduced significantly when the count falls below 5 to 10 million.

IUI is typically not successful in cases of:

  • Low sperm count
  • Low sperm motility

Clomid

In April 2009, the journal Fertility and Sterility published a study that found that men who took Clomiphene citrate (Clomid) along with vitamin E for six months showed an increase in both sperm count and motility. The men in the study had a 37% success rate of impregnating their partners versus men who took a placebo. Those in the placebo group had a 13% success rate. A study by the World Health Organization several years ago did not show a great increase in fertility in men taking Clomid vs a control group taking a placebo, so it appears that the combination of vitamin E and the Clomid hormone makes the difference.

Natural Fertility Treatments

In many cases, natural fertility treatments can be performed at home such as changes in diet, exercise routines and general health will increase a man’s sperm count and motility.

Decrease temperature of sperm

Sperm do not thrive in constant, overly warm temperatures. Therefore, a man trying to conceive should avoid hot tubs, prolonged warm temperatures and heated blankets. Also, avoid sitting with a laptop on your lap for long periods. (Purchasing a cooling fan that fits under the laptop and runs on power from the PC will protect your sperm count and your computer.)

Many medical professionals say the “boxers or briefs” choice makes little difference, but like many natural treatments, switching to boxers while TTC couldn’t hurt.

Lifestyle changes

In general, any lifestyle changes that positively impact a man’s health can also impact his sperm production. Quitting smoking, limiting alcohol, avoiding illegal drugs, keeping your weight in check, and engaging in moderate exercise can all help increase sperm production and energy levels.

Excessive bicycling – for more than three hours a week – on a narrow bicycle seat can lead to reproductive problems. Avid cyclists need not give up their habit, though, as cycling is a healthy lifestyle choice. Simply invest in a wider, cushioned seat, and stand frequently to shift your weight.

Vitamins
Certain vitamin deficiencies can lead to low sperm count and motility. For improved reproductive health, men should take vitamin supplements and eat a diet rich in the following nutrients:

  • Zinc
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B12
  • Selenium
  • Flaxseed oil

You may find a blend of these vitamins in natural fertility supplements designed for men.

Herbs can increase sperm production

As herbal remedies grow in popularity, more reputable companies are introducing herbal supplements. However, herbs have no FDA regulation, and you can’t always determine the potency or reliability of an herbal supplement. Do your research to insure you’re purchasing from a reputable source and you’re not just wasting your money on what are, essentially, sugar pills.

Additionally, take herbs with caution, following the manufacturer’s recommended dosage. As with any medicine or supplement, do not take more than the recommended dose. Pay close attention to your body and stop taking the supplement if you experience any unusual side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about any interactions between herbs or with any prescription drugs.

Popular herbs to improve fertility in men include:

  • Ginseng or Panax Ginseng
  • Astralagus
  • Saw palmetto

Stress Reduction

Coping with infertility can lead to additional stress on top of life’s everyday stressors. A couple trying to conceive can learn methods to cope with stress together. If you recently experienced a major, life-changing event that causes stress, such as a death in your family, job loss, purchasing a home or moving, you may want to cut back on the TTC efforts for a while. In other words, “stop trying,” have sex regularly and only when you feel like it for fun, and wait until the emotional ordeal passes to renew your efforts.

Author: Dawn Allcot


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