Dr Ken Law
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Recovery After a Baby – Tips On Recovering Safely

  • Travel light during pregnnacy

Whilst looking after your new bundle of joy is crucial after giving birth – so is looking after yourself. Each pregnancy and birth will be very different, and your body will react differently as it gets back to normal. It is important to give yourself time to recover. In this post you will find some helpful information on how to recover after the birth of your baby. Physical changes to your body Giving birth is not like the Hollywood films show it, and once your baby is born your stomach does not immediately shrink back to what it was. It can take time. Your uterus will contract for a number of days after the birth, especially each time baby feeds.  This may cause some discomfort, and it can take up to 8 weeks for it to shrink to its pre-pregnancy size, so do not be concerned or feel pressured to get your weight down too quickly as it is not safe and not healthy to do so in the weeks after giving birth. In addition, depending on how you gave birth will depend on the recovery and period of time. If you had a natural birth, you will probably find that your recovery is much quicker than if you had a severe perineal tear or caesarean section, and your mobility and general ability to do day-to-day activities may be longer after a caesarean. You may also find that in the first few days after giving birth when your milk ‘comes in’ that you may experience tender breasts which can be treated using ice packs or a warm shower. Body discomforts Haemorrhoids can be experienced during and after pregnancy.  These haemorrhoids can cause significant discomfort. They can be treated with witch hazel or cream that you will be able to get from your local pharmacy. Alternatively chat to your Obstetrician who will be able to provide alternative recommendations if needed. Constipation is another common side effect of giving birth. Pear juice is a great option to help keep the bowels moving, as well as drinking plenty of water and a fairly […]

Gestational Diabetes

  • diabetes

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 […]

Is Baby Brain Real?

  • Stress can make problems worse

  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 […]

Preparing For Your Baby

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 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 […]

Most Popular Baby Names in Australia in 2017

  • What's the baby's name?

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.

Coping With Brisbane’s Heat During Pregnancy

  • Pregnant Woman in Sun

With the temperatures here in Brisbane soaring – if you are pregnant the heat can often feel even hotter carrying around your growing baby. Here are some tips to help tackle coping with the heat this summer: Keep your fluids up Hydration is important for everyone but when pregnant it is very important to ensure you drink enough fluids – so water, herbal teas, and milk.  At least 6-8 glasses of water per day is recommended. By the time you actually feel thirsty you are already starting to become dehydrated, so make sure you drink your fluids regularly. You might also want to minimise your salt intake as too much salt can lead to water retention. Tip – take a bottle of water in the car/on public transport and when out and about with you. Stay out of the sun Stay out of the sun where you can – especially when it is the hottest part of the day, and don’t forget that your skin may be sensitive during your pregnancy – so be careful. Some women can experience cholasma whilst pregnant which is causes pigmentation on the face – if you go in the sun these may darken also. Tip – make sure you wear a high factor sunscreen when out and about. Swimming to cool down If you have a pool a nice dip is the perfect way to cool off – preferably not in the direct sunlight, or if you don’t have a pool then pop along to your local public pool. Alternatively you could invest in a small paddling pool to dip your feet in on those extra hot days* or even have a nice cool shower (but not ice cold!). Tip – please consult council pool guidelines for paddling pools and safety, and always consult your doctor if you are intending on starting any new exercise. Wear fabrics that are breathable Wear fabrics that are lighter and cooler on the really hot days such as cotton, and in the evening when in bed consider your bed clothes and bed fabrics as they may make you […]

5 great pregnancy apps

  • Pregnancy App

With 79% of Australians owning smartphones and thousands of apps being used, it comes as no surprise that there are lots of apps for pregnancy available. From contraction timers to tracking your baby’s growth week by week – generally there is an app for every aspect of pregnancy. Here are my top 5 recommended FREE apps for your phone/tablet My Pregnancy & Baby Today Daily Tracker The My Pregnancy & Baby Today tracker is a great all rounder app that supports you before, during and after your pregnancy. The app gives week by week tips for your pregnancy along with video links, checklists and access to a wider community of other mums to chat to. There is a bumpie photo journal for you to document your pregnancy as well as a link to baby names. Once your baby is born the app switches over to give daily advice on parenting for the entire first year. What to Expect  You’ve heard of the famous books in the What to Expect series – well there is also an app available that gives you some great information and guides you through your pregnancy step by step. The app provides some great information about the changes you may experience as part of your pregnancy, as well as what is happening to your baby and how they are developing as well as access to a whole community of mums to be. Baby Bump The Baby Bump app is another great app available and is an all rounder when it comes to the information it provides for expectant mums. The app enables you to track your weight, your feelings/moods, and even details about your baby’s size. In addition, it has a great countdown widget that enables you to enter your due date and watch as the weeks fly by as well as giving you information each week about what to expect. It even has a contraction tracker which records the time between contractions as well as a kick counter, baby name database and enables you to create a birth plan. Baby Names Genius  Struggling to think […]

Pain Relief in labour

Nobody would call childbirth an easy or painless process. But thanks to modern medicine, you can now choose to make your labour more bearable than it would otherwise be. Let’s look at some options that are available to you when you’re giving birth. Nitrous Oxide Commonly known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide delivers pain relief through a mouth tube. When breathed in from the beginning of the contractions, this gas can help to take the edge off the pain from the contraction, though it doesn’t eliminate the pain altogether. Nitrous oxide is a popular choice because it gives the mother control over her pain relief – she can breathe in as much or as little of the gas as she needs or wants. The potential risks are minimal. Morphine Injection Morphine is an effective pain relief. The typical method of delivery is an injection to the bottom – something you might find embarrassing in other circumstances but probably won’t be bothered by while in labour! Medicine to treat nausea is usually given simultaneously because this is a common side effect of morphine. Epidural An injection of epidural anaesthesia is a common and usually effective form of pain relief for women in labour. After receiving the injection in the back, the body goes numb from the waist down. Epidurals are popular partly because they don’t affect the woman’s top half, allowing her to be present and alert during the birth. Speak to your doctor to get a good understanding of these before you make your decision. You’ll be ready to deliver a brand new child into the world! Dr Ken Law is a Brisbane Obstetrician specialising in the management of pregnancy and delivery. For more information and to discuss your specific situation, please contact Dr Ken Law to arrange a consultation at Greenslopes Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Partners in the Delivery Room

It’s quite common for partners-to-be to feel a bit useless during labour. Nobody likes seeing their partner go through a tough and painful experience without being able to do anything to help.The good news is, expectant partners can do much more than stand around and get in the way! Here’s how you can help out in the delivery room. Understand What She Expects Your wife/partner might expect you to do everything during her delivery, or she might prefer you to keep back for the most part and let the doctor and midwife handle most things. Either way, the only way to know what she expects from you is to talk about it. Find out what kind of role she would like you to take on before and during the birth. If she wants you to be heavily involved, taking a birthing class together is a great way to feel a bit more prepared. Greenslopes Maternity offers antenatal classes for all their patients. Play Masseuse As a partner in the delivery room, you’ll likely find yourself on backrub duty at least once. There’s going to be a lot of soreness and stiffness in your partner’s body while she’s giving birth and afterwards. If you take the initiative by offering a soothing massage, she will almost certainly appreciate it. This is also a great way to comfort and distract your partner. Know the Hospital What’s the number to call when the contractions speed up? What’s the quickest route to the nearest bathroom? Where is the vending machine that has your partner’s favourite comfort food? Mum-to-be won’t have the patience to work out these details, so it’s up to you to understand the hospital’s layout and organise things as necessary. Provide Physical and Emotional Support From holding her up while she pushes to reassuring her she did a great job afterwards, you need to be the rock for your partner during and after labour. Yes, you’ll probably have an emotional breakdown (or two) of your own, but try to remain strong during the crucial moments and save these for later! Amongst all the […]

What to Expect in Your Third Trimester

If there’s one word to summarise the third trimester, it’s big. Some activities will seem like a big effort. Your baby (and your belly) will grow bigger rapidly. And, at the end, your life will change in one of the biggest ways imaginable. Here’s what to expect during the final 3 months of your pregnancy. Your Body’s Changes Aside from the obvious growth to accommodate your baby’s development, you may notice a couple of other aesthetic changes in your body. For example, it’s common for women to experience varicose veins and stretch marks during this phase – even if they haven’t earlier in the pregnancy. There are a few internal symptoms you are likely to come across as well, including: Aches (particularly around your abdomen and back) Tiredness (eat healthily and generously to keep your body fuelled) Persistent heartburn (especially in the final weeks) Poor bladder control and preemptive milk leaks from your breasts Lowered sense of balance (don’t worry – you haven’t gotten clumsier for no reason!) Many women also report having unusually strong and strange dreams during the third trimester. No need to panic – it’s just your hormones playing up while you sleep. Of course, when it’s time to go into labour, you’ll also experience the giveaway symptoms: contractions and/or your water breaking. You know the drill – give the hospital a call pronto! Your Baby’s Development Your baby is completing his or her pre-birth growth and getting ready to enter the big wide world. More specifically: Baby’s skin will change from transparent to opaque Cartilage will turn into bone All five senses will be working Baby’s brain will grow rapidly, allowing him or her to blink, regulate body temperature and even dream. If you encounter any problems during this trimester, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 1300 464 464. Dr Ken Law is a Brisbane Obstetrician specialising in the management of pregnancy and delivery.  For more information and to discuss your specific situation, please contact Dr Ken Law to arrange a consultation at Greenslopes Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Greenslopes Obstetrics and Gynaecology