Being pregnant and giving birth can be both emotional and overwhelming. We are told the excitement of becoming a mum for the first time (or again) is meant to be one of the happiest days of our lives – but for some, due to all sorts of reasons such as a traumatic birth or a sleepless baby, it isn’t always the case. It is normal to get a dose of the baby blues a few days after giving birth – but for some women negative feelings and sadness do not go away and can lead to postnatal depression, which if left untreated can be very serious. Baby Blues Approximately 8 in 10 new mothers will have a case of the baby blues soon after giving birth which is a result of hormone levels fluctuating. Feeling sad for no reason and completely overwhelmed are common traits of the baby blues, but within a few days this normally settles down. If these feelings do not subside and they get worse then it could mean the development of postnatal depression. Some of the common postnatal depression symptoms include: inability to cope guilt low self esteem lack of appetite frequent crying feelings of anxiety suicidal thoughts Treatment If you are experiencing symptoms of postnatal depression speak to your family and share how you feel, and tell your Obstetrician as they will be able to get you help and get it properly diagnosed as quickly and effectively as possible. Remember regardless of what you may read, postnatal depression is real. It is a condition and it does not mean you are not a good mother. If you’d like to discuss postnatal depression in more detail with an experienced obstetrician, please feel free to contact us for a consultation.
Cervical cancer is a malignant tumour of the cervix, and is the third most commonly diagnosed gynaecological cancer in Australian Women. A staggering 80% of diagnoses occur in women who have never been screened or don’t have regular pap smears. Since the creation of the National Cervical Screening Program in 1991, rates of Cervical cancer have halved. The Program has been renewed and will be implemented on 1st December 2017 along with a number of changes, which recognise the introduction of a vaccine against specific strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV) which is the main cause of most cervical cancers, as well as improved scientific evidence and technology. What is different under the Renewed Cervical Cancer Screening Program? It is a current recommendation that all women aged between 18 and 69 that have been sexually active have regular pap smears every two years. Once the National Cervical Screening Program is implemented in December 2017 this will change to a human papillomavirus (HPV) test every five years for women aged 25-74. The first Cervical Screening Test will be due two years after the previous Pap test. Read here for more detailed information about the changes. HPV is the first stage in developing Cervical cancer, so the new Screening Test will test for any abnormal cell changes which normally takes a long time before it evolves into cancer, often more than 10 years. Before December 2017 you should continue to go ahead with having a Pap smear if it is due before the changeover. What Happens with Abnormal HPV Results under the Renewed Cervical Cancer Screening Program? When the HPV test is positive, then a cervical smear will be processes in the laboratory using the Thin Prep specimen that was collected for the initial HPV screening. A second sample or examination is not required. If this cervical smear shows an abnormality, then you will be referred to a gynaecologist for a more detailed examination of the cervix. This involves colposcopy which is an examination that uses a colposcope (essentially a microscope) to provide a magnified view of the cervix (the neck […]
There are so many things to prepare for whilst waiting for your baby to arrive. Thinking about whether to keep your baby’s umbilical cord blood or tissue is probably not high on your priority list – but it is well worth looking into and considering. The umbilical cord in the past was always immediately discarded after birth, but it actually contains a rich source of blood and tissue stem cells which can potentially be used for a variety of medical purposes. There are two good reasons why you might decide to have your baby’s cord blood and tissue banked: The stem cells from the cord blood and tissue could be used in the future should your baby or a family member need stem cells as part of treatment against a life threatening disease such as leukaemia, other blood disorders, autoimmune diseases, cerebral palsy and brain injury. The stem cells can be donated and used for medical research. Worldwide, cord blood has been used in over 30,000 transplants in the treatment of over 80 conditions. How is the cord collected? If you decide that you would like to bank your baby’s cord and tissue, it has to be done at the birth. The cord is collected as the umbilical cord is cut, and instead of being thrown away, it is collected, frozen and stored with no harm to you or your baby. How much does it cost? Depending on the company that you use, prices may differ. You can obtain detailed information directly from Cell Care, Australia’s largest and most experienced cord blood and tissue bank. Their pricing is based on the number of years you wish to keep the cord for, or you can pay annually. You can also choose to store just the cord blood, or both the cord blood and tissue. Find out more about Cellcare on the GSOG website. How to find out more Chat to Dr Law when you have your next appointment and he will be able to provide you with further information should you need it.
Choosing a baby name is an exciting part of preparing for your new arrival. It’s the identity of your new child, and something he or she will keep forever. It can be fairly simple to decide on a name if you have already got ideas, or if you know that you want to name your baby after someone; but it can also be stressful if you are not sure where to start. Each year there are numerous reports that highlight the most popular baby names for the year which gives parents a starting point. Demographers McCrindle found in their 2017 Top 100 Baby Names report that the most popular baby names in Australia were Oliver for a boy, and Charlotte for a girl. They also found that one in ten of Australia’s 300,000 babies born in the last year were given one of the top ten baby names, with 2,145 boys named Oliver and 1,817 girls names Charlotte. So the latest statistics are showing that traditional names maintain the top two spots for boys and girls names with William coming in second for boys, and Olivia for girls. The third and fourth names for both boys and girls were a little bit more contemporary with Jack and Noah for boys, and Mia and Ava for girls. Some new names have appeared in this years top 100 – Sonny, Vincent and Parker for boys, and Bonnie, Thea, Quinn, Florence and Brooklyn for girls – so quite a mix of traditional and more contemporary throughout the list. Read the full report here. Still not sure of inspiration for names? Have a read of a previous post I wrote where I gave some great ways to get started on deciding a name for your baby.
Whooping cough (pertussis) is a contagious and very serious respiratory infection that causes a long coughing illness. In babies and elderly people it can lead to pneumonia and can also be life threatening. There has been much debate around the whooping cough vaccine, and the best time to administer it – in order give the best protection to newborns. Currently newborns do not receive their first vaccine until they are six weeks old – therefore the best time to start protecting them is in pregnancy. Whooping cough vaccination in third trimester of pregnancy The whooping cough vaccine (dTpa) has been used in pregnant women in the UK and US since 2012, and careful monitoring of this practice (in over 40,000 women) confirms that the vaccine is safe for pregnant women and their unborn babies. Newborn babies are not able to receive their first vaccination for whooping cough until they are six weeks of age, so maternal vaccination during the pregnancy helps to protect them until they can receive their own. Recent studies have in fact shown that the whooping cough vaccination is most effective when it is given to the pregnant mother in the third trimester at around 28 weeks as it takes two weeks to pass the antibodies to the unborn baby. There is no need to be concerned about having the vaccination when pregnant, and side effects are minimal. Possible side effects include redness, swelling, pain and tenderness. More severe reactions can be severe swelling, pain, and redness in the arm where the injection was given – but these rarely occur. What to do to prepare for your baby being born and whooping cough The Whooping Cough is covered by Medicare if it is given by your GP. Unfortunately Medicare does not provide the free vaccine to Obstetricians. Talk to your GP about booking in for a free whooping cough vaccine once you reach 28 weeks. The Whooping Cough vaccine is effective for 5 years, but all pregnant women are recommended to have a Whooping Cough vaccine at around 28 weeks during the pregnancy, in order to allow the transfer of passive […]
Think you might be pregnant or trying for a baby? Here are 5 signs that you might be pregnant: Skipped period The most common sign of pregnancy is missing a period. If you are a person that has a regular period and you miss one then it is a good idea to do a pregnancy test, especially if trying for a baby. Sickness They call it morning sickness but often sickness can be any time of the day and can occur very early in pregnancy. Eat small meals frequently, or drink ginger tea to begin with – and if it turns out you are pregnant, have a chat to your Obstetrician if you have severe sickness and they will be able to give suggestions as well as medication if needed. Tender breasts One early sign of pregnancy is tender breasts, including the nipple area – this is caused by increased blood flowing to your chest area. It is perfectly normal and many women experience it. The need to go to the toilet often After the embryo has implanted itself into the uterus, the body produces hCG hormone which releases progesterone and oestrogen into the body. All of this makes you feel the need to go the the toilet more frequently. This again is fairly common in early pregnancy – of course as your pregnancy progresses the need to go to the toilet increases! Extreme Tiredness Extreme fatigue is a common side affect of the first trimester. This occurs because of the body basically working hard to ensure that your baby is on track to fully develop over the next 9 months.
Preparing for your new baby arrival is a fun time, and some pregnant women go into their ‘nesting’ phase getting everything ready before baby arrives. Depending on your personal preference, it might be a very simple set up you want to go with, or if you are a bit more extravagant – it can be a real quest to create the “perfect nursery”. Below are some ideas/tips that you might want to consider: Change table A change table and equipment to change your baby, as well as get rid of things such as nappies, are important to have on hand when setting up your baby nursery. If that is where you are going to be changing your baby then this needs to be in your nursery. Change tables can be bought very cheaply from stores such as Target and Big W or specialist baby shops, and often have shelves underneath the table where you can store all your essentials such as wipes, nappies and nappy rash cream, etc. Nappy bin If you are using disposable nappies then it is really handy to have a bin to put them in near to your change table. The pedestal ones can work a treat. There are more sophisticated nappy disposal systems if you want to spend more money. Black out curtain Once your baby is in their own room it may take a little while for them to settle, and being in a bright room can keep them awake, so consider investing in a black-out curtain or buying some material that when put over the curtain makes the room completely dark. Electric candles/light Sounds silly but having a dimmed light/candle is a really useful thing when needing to check on your baby in a dark room but not wanting to disturb them. The electric candles such as the Enjoy Candles brand are great as they are low light but give you enough to see and not disturb your baby, or alternatively a small portable LED light would do the same. Feeding chair A nice comfortable chair is a great idea for the nursery […]
Each and every woman is different when it comes to pregnancy and giving birth. When it comes to thinking about pain relief options some women have very firm views on what they want i.e. an epidural, pethidine etc. Whereas other women prefer not to have a labour that involves involves drugs. If you are considering non-drug pain relief in labour here are a few options to consider: TENS machines A TENS machine involves having pads put on the lower side on each side of the spine that give out electric pulses and sends signals to the brain to convince it that the pain is less than it actually is. The pads connect to a battery unit and you can then control how powerful the electric pulses are. Tip: If considering a TENS machine you can hire them out before labour. Check to see if they have classes you can attend to see how the machine works or get someone to show you when you pick it up. Hot or Cold options Some patients find that a warm shower or bath helps when in active labour – or even a heat pack or a cold pack. Massage Often this is where partners can help in a big way during labour – by giving their pregnant partner a massage. In giving a massage it can help to soothe and relax you to keep you going as well as to stimulate endorphins which will help with your overall mood. Tip: Be sure to tell your partner when and when not to massage you as you may find that you really don’t want to be touched at certain points in your labour. Also be mindful of using essential oils – check which ones are safe for pregnancy. Breathing techniques Prior to labour it’s a great idea to practice breathing techniques and in labour it can help you to both focus and also stay relaxed. There are often classes available that help with this and some baby yoga classes will focus on breathing too. Of course with all of these things always be mindful […]
The first Christmas with a newborn is a special time but often more for the new parents than the baby especially if they are a newborn. You may find they sleep Christmas Day away! It’s often tricky to know what to buy for a new baby – so here are some ideas that might help you come up with some ideas this Christmas. Personalise away There are so many websites and products now that enable you to not only buy some beautiful gifts, but to personalise them as well with the baby’s name on. So if you are wanting to buy something really special you could have the baby’s name put on it too. Websites such as Tiny Me and Bright Star Kids have a great range of gift ideas that you could have baby’s name put on. Birth Prints Birth Prints are very popular now and consist of baby’s birth date, place, weight in a graphical poster. Websites such as Etsy and Hard to Find have some great ones available. Wooden toys There is a trend of going back to basics with baby/kids toys and lots of beautiful wooden toys around to buy rather than the plastic more modern toys. Buy an outfit for the occasion! Technically it is for Christmas day but there are lots of fun and cute Christmas outfits available for babies right up to toddlers in most of the high street shops. So if you are really stuck you could buy something for baby to wear on the day! A Christmas of ‘firsts’ You can buy so many ‘first’ Christmas gifts such as ‘first’ bib, ‘first Christmas’ stocking – Not On The High Street have lots of great ideas. Don’t forget mum! Why not buy mum a pampering gift to help her feel extra special? A nice massage, pedicure, hair cut would be appreciated by most if not all new mums – or if you want to spend less – why not hand-make your own vouchers offering to help with baby sitting or something your friend/new mum family member/partner might need.
Travelling over the holidays can be stressful, but it can prove even more difficult with a baby. Here are some tips to help you have a stress-free Christmas holiday: Be prepared Whether you are flying or doing a road trip to see family interstate, make a list in advance of everything you generally use on a daily basis and pack everything ready. Make sure you leave a well packed nappy bag out for inside the car or on the flight with nappies, change of clothes, pre-filled water bottles (if using formula and flying – the airlines should allow you to take it on board – check with your airline), emergency dummy, snacks and food if bub is on solids, baby toys, wipes, and muslin cloths to name a few things. Invest in a cheap pushchair If flying a lot of parents often put their main pram/stroller on with cases and then buy a cheap foldable pushchair (around $25 in shops such as Target) to push bub around whilst in the airport and getting to the airport lounge (depending on age of your baby). Some airlines even have them on hand for you to use theirs. One less thing to worry about. Travel as light as possible With smart thinking you can reduce the amount of things you need for a trip. For example check with the hotel you are staying at whether they have bassinets or portacots available as that could be one less thing you need to worry about when travelling – don’t forget sheets though. If flying check with your airline whether you can book a bassinet/cot for your baby. Be mindful that with some airlines depending on the number of babies and their ages you may not always get an allocation. Safety Checks If going on a road trip a first aid kit is handy as is taking some baby Panadol with you just in case of a fever on the way*. Check your baby’s car seat is fitted properly, and consider window shades to ensure your baby doesn’t get exposed to too much sun. *always […]