Congratulations on the new addition(s) to your family. You’ve been through (up to) 9 months of pregnancy, and you’ve just had your baby. Here’s what to expect next broken down into some simple points: Straight after the birth You might get the shakes Many women get uncontrollable shakes after the birth which are a result of your body’s hormones and/or the anaesthetic. They tend to go away within a few minutes, but this is all perfectly normal. Spend time with your baby It is at this time that you will be able to spend some intimate time with your baby. This is actually the time that they will be the most alert, so it’s a great time for skin to skin time and to start to try breastfeeding as this helps the uterus to start contracting and to help reduce any bleeding. Your obstetrician or midwife may also massage your belly to ensure that your uterus is contracting well, and check on any vaginal bleeding. You may experience contraction-like pains for the first couple of days after the birth, especially whilst breastfeeding and if you are a first-time mother. This is all perfectly normal. Stitches Vaginal and perineal tears can occur during the birth. Your Obstetrician will perform any stitches needed just after the birth before you go back to the maternity ward. The sutures are absorbable and will dissolve over a couple of weeks, and do not need to be removed. Checks Your baby’s Apgar score will be recorded after the birth to check their overall well-being. Your baby may be given vitamin K and Hepatitis B injections with your consent. Hospital stay The duration of your hospital stay may depend on how your birth was and whether it was a natural birth or Caesarean birth. The midwives will help and advise you on how to breastfeed, and give you some tips on looking after your baby. This is a good time to get help with getting your baby to sleep and in a routine whilst surrounded with help. You may notice a few things with you and your […]
World Diabetes Day took place on Tuesday this week, and there was a resounding urgency to raise further awareness of gestational diabetes which can occur in pregnancy – with one in seven births affected. A large number of women that develop Gestational Diabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes in later life. My post below explains gestational diabetes (GDM) in more detail. What is Gestational Diabetes? In a previous post I explained that when a woman is pregnant, her body requires two to three times more insulin than when she is not pregnant. Gestational diabetes occurs when the body is not able to produce this increased insulin, leading to higher glucose levels than normal, as the action of insulin in the body is to reduce glucose levels. During your pregnancy at around 24-28 weeks you will have a Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) to ensure your blood glucose levels are not higher than normal. If the glucose levels are abnormal, then it is at this stage that your obstetrician will diagnose gestational diabetes. Problems can arise in the pregnancy if gestational diabetes is not diagnosed and managed properly. It can lead to problems with the baby’s growth (usually leading to big babies, but sometimes there can also be growth restriction, leading to small babies), and the risk of stillbirth is increased in mismanaged or undiagnosed gestational diabetes. What happens if I am diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes? If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, the best way to manage it is with help from your Obstetrician, dietitian and diabetic educator, and your doctor who will provide you with help to manage your gestational diabetes. Daily management Blood glucose level monitoring It is extremely important to monitor the blood glucose levels during pregnancy once gestational diabetes has been diagnosed. This usually involves checking the blood glucose levels 4 times per day – before breakfast, and then two hours after each main meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner). The current targets for blood glucose levels are: Fasting (pre-prandial) <5.1 mmol/L 2 hours after meals (post prandial) <6.8 mmol/L The targets are stricter than the targets used for […]
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) (or cot death as it is also known) is the sudden unexpected and unexplained death of a baby aged between 4 weeks – 1 year. It generally happens when a baby is asleep in its sleep environment. In 2013 in Australia 117 babies died suddenly, and of those deaths 54 were identified as SIDS. Despite these deaths, SIDS is rare and the risk of your baby dying from it is low. The cause of SIDS is unknown but the risks can be reduced by: Using a cot that meets Australian and New Zealand standards AS/NZS 2172:2003, and not co-sleeping with your baby or on a sofa, armchair or letting them sleep in a rocker Not smoking whilst pregnant or after the baby is born, and not letting your baby be in an area where someone else is smoking Keeping all toys, blankets (tucked in half way down the body is ok), pillows away from where the baby is sleeping. Practise safe wrapping techniques or use a sleep suit to keep your baby nice and snug. Red Nose has a great brochure on safe wrapping Not putting a baby to sleep on its tummy or side Keeping the area where your baby is sleeping nice and cool, and not too hot Keeping your baby in your room where you can keep an eye on them when they are very young Breastfeeding your baby, whilst this is not always possible this is another practise that is potentially shown to reduce the risk of SIDS Not letting your baby sleep in an area near to pets or other children If you have any concerns whatsoever do not hesitate to speak to your Obstetrician to discuss further. For more information about SIDS visit the Red Nose website (formerly SIDS and Kids)
There are lots of longstanding jokes around experiencing ‘baby brain’ as part of pregnancy. In a recent ‘first of it’s kind’ study undertaken by Nature Neuroscience earlier this year it was found that being pregnant does in fact change the architecture in a woman’s brain, and that can last for at least two years after she has given birth, and the amount of grey matter decreases in areas of the brain that respond to social signals. So technically baby brain does exist – but whilst the grey matter in the brain decreases – this is temporary and women tend to become more adaptable and efficient in other areas i.e. knowing what their baby needs and being in tune with their role as a mother. Symptoms of “Baby Brain” The first trimester is a very ‘busy’ time for your growing baby. This is the time when all the major organs are developing and a lot of rapid growth happens. It is fairly normal therefore to feel increasingly tired especially if you are working or have other children to care for. If you are experiencing morning sickness, again this would make you feel fatigued also – therefore feeling tired, having a lack of focus and feeling forgetful are perfectly understandable at this stage. Later on in your pregnancy you will likely continue to feel tired from the growing baby but this is also when your brain alters and grey matter decreases – and it is as this stage that you may find that your short term memory and your ability to focus becomes more difficult – feeling like you have ‘baby brain’. If you find you are feeling constantly down and depressed however – this is not typical in a pregnancy so it is important to speak to your Obstetrician to get help. Tips to Overcome “Baby Brain” There are a few ways you can help combat the feelings of forgetfulness by setting up some simple processes: Always put things away in the same place i.e. car keys, house keys, handbag Write lists of things you need to do throughout the […]
So you have just found out you are pregnant! Congratulations! Now what? You have up to nine months to prepare for your arrival – which can seem like a long time – but there are some key things you could start doing to make sure you are all set when your new baby arrives. I’ve listed a few helpful suggestions below: Reading If this is your first pregnancy then you may be unsure what to expect. Whilst your friends and family may have lots of advice to give, it’s also good to read about pregnancy and hear from the experts. There are lots of books on the market to read which will offer advice day by day, week by week, where to get help and when you should be concerned and what is perfectly normal. Some great books/websites to start with are: Websites www.whattoexpect.com www.babycenter.com.au www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au Books What to Expect When You’re Expecting, by Heidi Murkoff For a more light hearted approach: Up the Duff, by Kaz Cooke Cooking As you get closer to the arrival of your new baby it can be really helpful to stockpile some food as when your baby first arrives you and/or your partner may not have time to be preparing food. A really easy way to do this is to simple double recipes when you are cooking and to freeze half each time, and in no time you will have a freezer full of food ready for when your new baby arrives. Nesting It’s good to be prepared for your new arrival and to start thinking about what extra furniture and items you might need such as a change table, bassinet, pram. Start thinking early before it comes a bit harder to walk around. Have a chat to friends and family and see whether they have any items they are not using anymore and get some ideas and advice of what you might need. There are so many shops for you to choose from it’s good to get advice so you don’t buy things that ultimately you will end up not using. Keep moving […]
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 […]