Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Prenatal Depression: Getting Depressed During Pregnancy

Did you know that aside from postpartum depression, there is also a case called prenatal depression? Yes! Psychiatrists at Bristol University assessed 14, 500 pregnant women in the early 1990's whose due dates fall between April 1, 1991 and December 31, 1992. They used a questionnaire called the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale to detect signs of depression either during or after pregnancy. They concentrated specifically on emotional and psychological effects of depression. Each of them participated in answering the questionnaire at 18 weeks and 32 weeks and were also given the same questionnaire 8 weeks and 8 months after their babies were born. The result of the study is stated below.
The results showed that there were at least as many women who were depressed at the end of their pregnancy as during the months following the birth. Even more surprising was the psychological condition of some of the expectant mothers improved after the birth. Of the 9028 participants who completed all four questionnaires, the percentage of women suffering from symptoms of depression was as follows at different points during the study:
11.8% at 18 weeks
13.5% at 32 weeks
9.1% 8 weeks after the birth
8.1% 8 months after the birth
Only 1.6% of the women (a total of 146) showed signs of depression during all four stages of the study.
With the result above, it disagrees to the common conception that women are at high risk of depression after giving birth. Personally, I would agree to the result of the study. Although each pregnancy is different, more women have prenatal issues to deal with that is similar to having postpartum issues. Behind the scenes of being pregnant, women worry about how they look, how they feel, or how they adapt. A lot of apprehensions certainly happen when one is pregnant. Women are ecstatic on having a baby but not everyone feels 'glowing' when pregnant. Some may feel bloated, undesirable, insecure, confused, anxious, stressed out, or depressed. All these mixed emotions can lead to prenatal depression. If you have been experiencing some of the symptoms found below that last two weeks or longer, you may be suffering from prenatal depression.

Warning Signs and Symptoms of Depression:

  • Feeling very sad, anxious or cranky
  • Frequent crying
  • Not feeling up to doing daily tasks
  • Not feeling hungry, or eating when not hungry Not wanting to take care of yourself (dress, shower, fix hair)
  • Trouble sleeping when tired, or sleeping too much
  • Things don’t seem fun or interesting anymore
  • Trouble concentrating Feeling hopeless
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Worrying too much about the baby or not caring about the baby
  • Fear of harming or being alone with the baby
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
Depression, regardless during or after pregnancy, can happen to any pregnant woman. It does not rely on a woman's age, education, culture or socioeconomic status. If you feel any symptom of prenatal depression, seek help from your healthcare provider. The earlier it is addressed the better it is for you and your baby.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Pregnancy Talks: From Pregnancy Skin Care to Pospartum Depression

Each pregnancy is different. For some women, pregnancy can be hard for them. They are happy with the baby inside them but they may not like the effects of pregnancy on them. Some may feel it can be the most uncomfortable and most awful feeling time. This can be caused by severe morning sickness, weight gain, swelling feet, or skin problems. I found this video which talks about pregnancy skin care and pregnancy issues that are wonderfully addressed.

Pregnancy Skin Care and Pregnancy Talks

When you feel having discomforts in your pregnancy, talking to somebody or expressing what you feel to someone close to you can help you understand and adjust to what you are going through. Even the simplest issue on what to use for your pregnancy skin care to minimize or avoid stretch marks can completely make a difference on how you handle your pregnancy. As your body changes, there are discomforts that can be scary and can be confusing sometimes. Talking to your doctor about these aspects will eventually help you along your journey.

Below are the most common discomforts of pregnancy and some tips to handle them.
Morning sickness. Nausea or vomiting may strike anytime during the day (or night). Try eating frequent, small meals and avoid greasy foods. Keep crackers by your bed to eat before getting up.
Talk to your doctor if morning sickness lasts past the first 3 months of pregnancy or causes you to lose weight.
Tiredness. Sometimes tiredness in pregnancy is caused by anemia, so tell your doctor. Get enough rest. Take a daytime nap if possible.
Leg cramps. Gently stretch the calf of your leg by curling your toes upward, toward your knee.
Constipation. Drink plenty of fluids. Eat foods with lots of fiber, such as fruits, vegetables and bran cereal. Don't take laxatives without talking to your doctor first. Stool softeners may be safer than laxatives.
Hemorrhoids. Don't strain during bowel movements. Try to avoid becoming constipated. Clean yourself well after a bowel movement (wet wipes may be less irritating than toilet paper). Take several warm soaks (sitz baths) a day if necessary.
Urinating more often. You may need to urinate more often as your baby grows because he or she will put pressure on your bladder. This can't be helped.
Varicose veins. Avoid clothing that fits tightly around your legs or waist. Rest and put your feet up as much as you can. Move around if you must stand for long periods. Ask your doctor about support or compression hose, which may help ease or prevent varicose veins.
Moodiness. Your hormones are on a roller coaster ride during pregnancy. Plus, your life is undergoing a big change. Don't be too hard on yourself. If you feel very sad or think about suicide, talk to your doctor.
Heartburn. Eat frequent, small meals. Avoid spicy or greasy foods. Don't lie down right after eating. Ask your doctor about taking antacids.
Yeast infections. The amount of discharge from the vagina increases during pregnancy. Yeast infections, which can also cause discharge, are more common during pregnancy. It's a good idea to talk with your doctor about any unusual discharge.
Bleeding gums. Brush and floss regularly, and see your dentist for cleanings. Don't put off dental visits because you're pregnant, but be sure to tell your dentist you're pregnant.
Stuffy nose. This is related to changes in the levels of the female hormone estrogen. You may also have nosebleeds.
Edema (retaining fluid). Rest with your legs up. Lie on your left side while sleeping so blood flows from your legs back to your heart better. Don't use diuretics (water pills). If you're thinking about cutting down on salt to reduce swelling, talk with your doctor first. Your body needs enough salt to maintain the balance of fluid and cutting back on salt may not be the best way to manage your swelling.
Skin changes. Stretch marks appear as red marks on your skin. Lotion with shea butter can help keep your skin moist and may help reduce the itchiness of dry skin. Stretch marks often can't be prevented, but they often fade after pregnancy.
Other skin changes may include darkening of the skin on your face and around your nipples, and a dark line below your belly button. Staying out of the sun or using a sunscreen may help lessen these marks. Most marks will probably fade after pregnancy.
Call your doctor if you have:
  • Blood or fluid coming from your vagina
  • Sudden or extreme swelling of your face or fingers
  • Headaches that are severe or won't go away
  • Nausea and vomiting that won't go away
  • Dizziness
  • Dim or blurry vision
  • Pain or cramps in your lower abdomen
  • Chills or fever
  • A change in your baby's movements
  • Less urine or burning when you urinate
  • Any illness or infection
  • Anything that bothers you
Truthfully, pregnancy is a time where there are lots of aspects to address and mixed emotions are high. Things like pregnancy diet, prenatal fitness, postpartum care, prenatal skin care, mother and baby wellness are just some of the many aspects that require special attention. You may not have all the answers to your questions or the solutions to your problems relating to your pregnancy. But bear in mind that being pregnant is not permanent. It is normal to feel scared, to feel uneasy or to not know what to do.  Always remember, take things one step at a time. If its needed that you vent out what you feel, then do it. Having a clear head while pregnant helps you have an easier pregnancy journey. Lastly, when in doubt, seek your doctor's help. You can never go wrong with your healthcare provider assisting you in your pregnancy journey.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Ways to Ensure Newborn Skin Care

A newborn baby's skin is very fragile that it is not advisable to apply conventional soaps and lotions that may irritate the skin. Newborn skin care is a necessity. If possible, parents need to avoid chemical-based products that can harm the baby's skin. A newborn baby's skin is sensitive and if ever it gets irritated, rashes, crusting, and bumps can appear out of nowhere. Find out how to take care of your baby's skin below.

Newborn Skin Care

Image via Flickr

The basic rules of neonatal skincare, Püttgen says, are “less is more” and “bland and simple.”

•    Less is more. Babies don’t need an elaborate skin care regimen and barely any products. Keep bathing to a minimum to avoid stripping the skin of its protective natural oils. A bath twice or three times a week is sufficient.

•    Bland and simple. Baby skin is highly absorbent so it’s critical to use fragrance-free, hypo-allergenic products. Avoid perfumes and dyes, which can seriously irritate newborn skin.

Extra-fragile preemie skin warrants special attention. Premature skin does not hold moisture well, which makes it thinner, drier and breakage-prone, Püttgen says. She recommends applying petroleum jelly daily to lock in moisture and strengthen the skin’s barrier function.

Sun protection is another topic that causes a lot of confusion, Püttgen says. “Parents know that sun protection is critical, yet many are hesitant to use sunscreens,” she says.

Avoiding sun exposure is the best protection, Püttgen says. Use physical barriers like clothing, hats and stroller covers anytime you take baby outside. Sunscreens, though generally harmless, should be avoided when possible because the Food and Drug Administration has not studied their safety in infants under 6 months of age. If sun exposure cannot be avoided, opt for fragrance-free, hypo-allergenic sunscreens that list zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as active ingredients. Known as physical sunscreens, these two ingredients block UV rays. By contrast, chemical sunscreens with active ingredients like octylcrylene, avobenzone, octinoxate, mexoryl and octisalate, tend to absorb and “disarm” UV rays before they can damage the skin.

More on:

Image via Flickr

With the following simple and easy-to-do tips on taking care of your baby's skin, you can make sure that your little tyke will always have soft and blemish-free skin. Lastly, to ensure newborn skin care is met, make sure the skin products you buy for your newborn is safe and hypo-allergenic.