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Preventing Birth defects in babies

Approximately over 100,000 children are born every year in Nigeria affected by one or more birth defects. Although the cause of over 60% of birth defects are not known, there are things that you can do to help ensure optimal health for your baby. Awareness and education are the first steps to preventing birth defects. The immediate step following awareness and education is taking action. There are a number of things you can do to increase the probability of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Some are more challenging than others because they may require that you break bad habits, but it is worth your effort. ca652d62cc878e6da66b4c99204dd994 Here are a variety of tips you can use to prevent birth defects as you contemplate starting or adding to your family:

  • The first and foremost tip is maintaining preconception health; eating well balanced and nutritional meals, and taking a multivitamin daily that includes the recommended 400 mcg of folic acid.
  • If you are sexually active and pregnancy is a possibility, make sure you take a multivitamin daily, which includes the recommended 400 mcg of folic acid and other essential B vitamins.
  • Avoid all activities that could potentially lead to birth defects, including alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and caffeine.
  • Seek a regular gynecological and wellness exam.
  • Obtain genetic counseling and birth defect screening, particularly if you have any family history of birth defects or if you are 35 years of age or older.
If family or friends are considering conceiving, and are concerned about the possibility of birth defects, encourage them to get screened. You can send them the link to helpful websites for more information. One email to your family and friends may have a huge effect in creating awareness of birth defect prevention options.

Getting pregnant after 35 years of age

Many women today find themselves trying to conceive after the age of 35. This opportunity can be full of joy and riddled with questions. Despite some challenges, many women in their thirties and forties successfully conceive. The most common cause of age-related decline in fertility is less frequent ovulation. As women age, they begin to have occasional cycles where an egg is never released. Egg quality and quantity also declines in a woman’s 30s and 40s. While the total number of eggs cannot be increased, research has shown that egg quality can be improved. Supplements containing myo-inositol, folic acid and melatonin have been shown to help improve egg quality and ovarian function. 35 Other reasons conceiving after 35 may be more difficult include:

  • Infection or surgery that caused scar tissue around the fallopian tubes or cervix
  • Endometriosis
  • Fibroids or uterine disorders
  • Decrease in cervical fluid
  • Chronic health problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes
  • Miscarriage is also more common in women over 35. This is often caused by the increased incidence of chromosomal abnormalities. Women aged 35-45 have a 20-35 % chance of miscarriage.
Trying to conceive after 35 may seem overwhelming, but there are many things you can do to make getting pregnant easier. 15253275_1629619930666170_4516767387214675968_n Here are some things to remember: Schedule a pre-conception appointment – You and your health care provider can review your medical history, current medications and overall lifestyle. This gives you the opportunity to address any concerns about trying to conceive after age 35. Women over age 35 take longer to conceive – The average time it takes a couple over 35 to conceive is 1-2 years, so try to remain positive if you do not become pregnant immediately. A woman who is physically, mentally and emotionally healthy is more likely to conceive – Alcohol, smoking and caffeine can negatively affect fertility. Being overweight or underweight can also affect fertility by interfering with hormone function. Observing your fertility signs can tell you a lot about your body – Recording your basal body temperature and cervical fluid can help you pinpoint the best time to have intercourse while trying to conceive. These fertility signs can also reveal if you are ovulating regularly. Becoming familiar with your fertility will also help you determine whether you are experiencing signs and symptoms of pregnancy. Consider taking an at home fertility screening test –  There are over-the-counter tests that help screen for key elements affecting female and male fertility. This often gives couples peace of mind as they move through the journey to conceive. Visit your health care provider if you haven’t conceived after 6 months of purposeful intercourse. If you have not conceived after 6 months, contact your health care provider to discuss the possibility of fertility testing. You may decide to consult a fertility specialist at this time. Consider a supplement containing myo-inositol to help improve egg quality. Remember, never give up. Although they're few in number but a couple of women give birth in their 40’s and even 50’s. Rekax and just let nature take it's course.

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False Labour: What you should know

As the time of delivery approaches, you might notice that contractions become more frequent and intense. It is very common for women to think that they are experiencing actual labor and proceed to the hospital or call their midwife only to learn that it was a false alarm or “false labor.” How Can You Tell The Difference Between Real Labor And False Labor? The following information can serve as a guide: rheumatoid-arthritis-and-pregnancy-300x191 Signs of false labor include:

  • Irregular and unpredictable contractions (for example, intervals between contractions of ten minutes, six minutes, two minutes, eight minutes, etc.)
  • There is no progression of labor
  • Contractions are felt as a generalized abdominal tightening
  • Change in activity or body position causes contractions to slow down or stop
  • There is no evidence of bloody show
  • Membranes have not ruptured
Note the following; false-labor-pain-stress How frequent are your contractions? Record your contractions using a watch or clock, jotting down the time each contraction begins. True labor develops into a regular pattern, with contractions growing closer together. With false labor, contractions remain irregular. How long does each one last? Record how long each contraction lasts by jotting down when it begins and when it stops. True labor contractions last more than 30 seconds at the onset and get progressively longer, up to 60 seconds, whereas false labor contractions vary in length and intensity. Do the contractions continue with change in activity? The contractions in true labor continue regardless of the activity of the mother, and can grow even stronger with increased activity such as walking.  False labor contractions often cease regardless of the mother’s activity. Where do you feel the contractions? With true labor, the pain tends to begin high in your abdomen, radiating throughout your entire abdomen and lower back, or visa versa. In the case of false labor the contractions are often concentrated in the lower abdomen and groin. But even after experiencing these signs of labor, you can’t be sure if you are actually in labor. Some women have painful contractions for days with no cervical changes while other women might feel only a little pressure and backache. Some women might disregard what they are feeling because their due date is weeks away, only to find out at their regular checkup that they are fully dilated. On the other hand, some women leave for the hospital or birth center with regular contractions that are 3 minutes apart only to have them completely stop after they arrive. If this happens to you, you don’t need to feel embarrassed or frustrated. Rather, try to keep your thoughts positive and try to view the experience as a good practice run. There are variations in these scenarios, but false alarms can be even more convincing in second and third labors in spite of the fact that those mothers have prior experience. So if you are in doubt, call your health care provider; keep in mind that if your contractions continue to get longer, stronger and closer together, it is probably the real thing!

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Cutting Your Newborn’s Umbilical Cord

Throughout your pregnancy, the umbilical cord has functioned as the connection between your baby and the placenta. It has brought important nutrients and blood to your baby. During the late stages of your pregnancy, the cord has been passing on antibodies as well, benefiting your baby’s immune system. Technically, once your baby is birthed, the umbilical cord will no longer be necessary but it is highly advised to wait at least 1 minute before clamping it. In most cases, the umbilical cord will be cut following birth; however, it does not necessarily have to be cut immediately. It Is possible that keeping your baby connected to their umbilical cord for a period longer than one minute may result in specific health outcomes. This is referred to as delayed cord clamping. BabyinWomb-e1462955684202 Babies whose cords were clamped later following delivery had a higher initial hemoglobin concentration, had greater iron storage 3-6 months after birth, and had a greater birth weight. However, it is important to note that in the late clamping group, more babies needed phototherapy due to jaundice. While there may be some benefits of waiting to cut your baby’s umbilical cord, the cord may need to be clamped and cut prior to his/her shoulders being exposed during labor if the cord is wrapped around their neck. If you or your partner would like to help clamp and cut the umbilical cord, you should let your doctor know. If you have not specified your preference to the medical team, your doctor may ask if you would like to cut the cord. Your medical team will provide you with the necessary instructions. If you are uncomfortable assisting with this task, your doctor would be happy to do it for you. Your baby will be left with a small, blue/purple stump attached to his or her belly button.  In 1-2 weeks the stump should fall off on its own.    

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How To Treat Joint Pain Naturally During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, there are many changes that occur in your body. Due to these normal physical changes, it is common to experience increased joint and muscle pain. Increased weight puts pressure on the knees and may exacerbate knee pain. You may also notice that your joints seem looser and that you feel like you waddle when you walk. This is all very normal, but it can easily lead to the question about how to treat joint pain naturally during pregnancy. Additionally, gaining water weight may increase stiffness in the feet, hips, knees, and ankles. Water weight gain may also worsen carpal tunnel syndrome, which causes pain and tingling in the fingers. Make sure to consult your doctor if your joint pain becomes worse or if you experience tingling and/or numbness in your hands or feet. Also notify your doctor of any water weight gain, such as in the face or severe swelling of your hands. Specifically, it is important to contact your doctor immediately if you notice sudden swelling or water weight gain, particularly in the legs. 285x285_SLIDE_1_Arthritis_During_Pregnancy Aside from joint pain due to normal physical changes during pregnancy, joint pain during pregnancy may also be due to arthritis. Arthritis is a condition in which the joints become inflamed. Some women may find their arthritis becomes worse during pregnancy; however, others may experience less severe symptoms. Treating Joint Pain Naturally During Pregnancy Exercise: Regular exercise improves range of motion and can help keep your joints flexible. Low impact exercise, such as walking and swimming, is gentler on the joints. Hot and Cold Therapy: Try taking a hot shower or bath. Use a heating pad or electric blanket on your joints. Place an ice pack wrapped in a towel on your joints. Massage: Massage therapy has been shown to treat joint pain and stiffness, as well as improve range of motion and walking. athritis Herbal supplements: Some herbal supplements may also be used for joint pain. However, in order to prevent harmful drug interactions, it is important to consult your doctor or an herbal specialist before taking a supplement. Omega-3s: Including foods rich in omega-3s in your diet and/or taking an omega-3 supplement may help relieve joint pain and stiffness. Rest: Take time to rest to give your joints a break. Relaxation exercises as well as putting your feet up may also help alleviate knee and ankle pain. Footwear: Wearing high heels puts strain on your ankles and feet. Instead, try to wear shoes that provide adequate support. Support: If your joint pain is getting in the way of your daily activities, don’t hesitate to ask for help.   Also, gamma-linolenic acid is another fatty acid that is used to alleviate joint pain. However, it should not be taken during pregnancy as it may induce labor and pose risk to the fetus. Likewise, turmeric, should be avoided during pregnancy Whether pregnant or not, it is important to limit your dosage and frequency because excessive use of the medication is associated with liver damage.  Soothing ointments or creams that contain methyl salicylate should be avoided. If natural remedies do not relieve your pain, consult your doctor about safe medications to take during pregnancy. It is also important to talk with your doctor if you were taking arthritis medication before pregnancy. Some medications are not safe to take during pregnancy, so your doctor may need to give you a new prescription.

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Olympic athlete, Alysia runs with 5-months pregnancy

Olympic runner Alysia Montaño on Thursday raced at the U.S.A. Track & Field Outdoor Championships  in Sacramento while she was five months pregnant, in 100-degree heat - and she beat her time for the last Championship she raced while also pregnant.

Three years ago, she competed in the same race when she was eight months pregnant. She was able to take 10 seconds off her 800-meter time from 2014.
“People were like, oh, you’re going to run faster than you did last time because you’re less pregnant, I was like, I’m still pregnant” Montaño told LetsRun.com. Montaño isn’t the only athlete to compete while pregnant.
In January, Serena Williams played in the Australian Open and won the title while pregnant. Montaño said she was inspired after learning that Gal Gadot filmed half of Wonder Woman while she was five months pregnant. “I saw Wonder Woman, and I was like, I for sure am signing up for USA Nationals. I already was thinking I was going to do it” she said.

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All about Pre-mature births you must know

Premature birth is birth that happens too soon, before 37 weeks. Babies born this early may have more health problems or need to stay in the hospital longer than babies born later. Prematurity can cause problems for babies all throughout their lives. The earlier a baby is born, the more likely he is to have health problems. Some of these problems may not show up for several years, even into adulthood. Finding and treating health problems as early as possible — and preventing premature birth overall — can help babies lead longer, healthier lives. 24e3c4ec-afd0-4d62-88c2-ff8fa81180c8 Premature birth can lead to long-term intellectual and developmental disabilities for babies. These are problems with how the brain works. They can cause a person to have trouble or delays in Physical development, Learning, Communicating with others, Getting along with others and Taking care of himself Some long-term disabilities caused by premature birth include:

  • Behavior problems, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (also called ADHD) and anxiety
  • Neurological disorders, like cerebral palsy, that affect the brain, spinal cord and nerves throughout the body
  • Autism, a group of disorders that affect a child’s speech, social skills and behavior
Premature birth can cause a baby to have lung and breathing problems, including:
  • Asthma, a health condition that affects the airways and can cause breathing problems
  • Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (also called BPD). This is a chronic lung disease that causes the lungs to grow abnormally or to be inflamed. Over time, the lungs usually get better, but a premature baby may have asthma-like symptoms throughout his life.
newseventsimages Premature birth can lead to these health problems:
  • Intestinal problems, sometimes caused by a disease that affects premature babies called necrotizing enterocolitis (also called NEC). This disease affects a baby’s intestines. Intestines help your body break down (digest) food. While most babies with NEC get better, some may have intestinal problems later in life. For example, scarring may cause the intestine to become blocked. And some babies who’ve had surgery to remove part of the intestine may have trouble later getting nutrients from food.
  • These can include pneumonia (infection of the lungs) and meningitis (infection of the brain).
  • Vision problems, like retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Children born prematurely are more likely than children born on time to have vision problems.
  • Hearing loss, a common birth defect in premature babies. Children born prematurely are more likely to have hearing loss than children born on time.
  • Dental problems, including delayed tooth growth, changes in tooth color or teeth that grow crooked or out of place
Talk to your baby’s health care provider about medical services and treatment your baby may need. Depending on your baby’s condition, he may need treatment early on or sometimes not until later in life.

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What You Eat Can Affect Your Child During Pregnancy

  Truth be told, what you eat during pregnancy to a greater extent determines not only the outcome of your pregnancy but it plays an important role in the developing and growth of the growing foetus. It increases immunity to fight against infections, prevents the occurrence of certain congenital birth defects and it allows for a smooth delivery during labour. slide_210559_714250_large During pregnancy, the developing baby derives all its nutrients from the mother via the umbilical and the placenta which attaches to the baby and the womb respectively. So it is true to say that whatever you eat during pregnancy will affect your child both positively and negatively depending on your nutrition. In this article, we will discuss on nutrition tips and positive ways your diet will affect your child during pregnancy. PRET

  1. Prevention of congenital abnormalities
During routine antenatal visits to the hospital, all pregnant women are usually placed on folic acid and other drugs. These drugs are usually referred to as routine drugs. Studies have shown that folic acid prevents the development of certain congenital abnormalities e.g. neural tube defects (inappropriate development of the brain and the spinal cord), abdominal wall defects (causing protrusion of the intestine via the abdominal wall) and cleft lip/palate. good-diet Folic acid and Vitamin B12 are obtained by eating meals rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, beef and salmon oil. Adequate nutrition is sufficient to provide a pregnant woman with the recommended daily amount of folic acid and vitamin B12. However, during pregnancy, women are encouraged to take folic acid and vitamin B12 supplements to prevent these congenital conditions. The current trend in the prevention of neural tube defects is for women to start folic acid and vitamin B12 supplements about a year before getting pregnant. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects, abdominal defects and also reduces the incidence of preterm labour. 94250731
  1. Increase fetal red blood cells
In the human body, red blood cells are specialized cells tasked with the function of carrying oxygen from the lungs to different parts of the body and also returning deoxygenated blood back to the lungs. For the formation of healthy red blood cells, iron must be present. Therefore, a diet rich in iron will affect your child positively during pregnancy. Iron gotten from the mother is transferred to the developing baby via the placenta and it is used to form hemoglobin (oxygen carrying pigment found predominantly in the red blood cells). Lack of iron leads to poor oxygen concentration in tissues which can lead to intrauterine fetal death, preterm labour, spontaneous abortion, increase risk of post partum hemorrhage, and sudden fetal death. beautifully-pregnant-african-woman-2 Iron can be gotten in red/white meat, green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts and by iron supplements. This is important because pregnant women need additional amount of iron to compensate for the loss during menstruation, improve oxygen carrying capacity to the baby/ maternal organs and in ensuring that the baby gets the right amount of iron for the formation of fetal red blood cells. As a standard medical antenatal care practice, all pregnant women are encouraged to take iron supplements during their course of pregnancy and for few months after delivery.
  1. Development of the brain and cognitive functions
The brain is a vital organ of the human body and it controls virtually all functions of the human body. Adequate diet during pregnancy provides the body with all the necessary nutrients, vitamins and minerals needed for the brain to develop adequately. Diet rich in omega-3 fatty acid and other essential nutrients improves cognitive functions, improve intelligent quotient, improved vision, motor skills, language comprehension and memory are also greatly enhanced during the development age of childhood. It is not farfetched to say that what you eat during pregnancy affects your child during pregnancy and even up to years after delivery. Omega 3 rich food include; salmons, sardines, walnut and flax seed. iron
  1. Improve bone and teeth formation
Calcium is another important nutrient needed by the growing baby to develop healthy and strong bones. Calcium gotten from the diet of the mother is transferred to the baby via the placenta. It is recommended that a pregnant woman gets about 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily. This is of importance during the second and third trimester when bone and teeth formation occur. Calcium is gotten from diet and food containing calcium are legumes, cheese, dark leafy vegetables, okra, almonds and canned fish.
  1. Improves immunity during pregnancy and after childbirth
White blood cells are specialized cells referred to as ‘the soldiers’ of the body. They are produced by the bone marrow and are mobilized whenever there is an infection caused by a microorganism in the body. During pregnancy, immunity is slightly reduced hence increasing the risk of maternal and fetal infections. With inadequate nutrition, essentials nutrients and minerals are not available and these are important in the synthesis of healthy white blood cells. It is important to note that these white blood cells and antibodies are transferred from the mother to the child during pregnancy and thus are effective in protecting the baby for 6 months after delivery. Foods that improves immunity contains carotene, vitamin A, C, E and K, Selenium, zinc and magnesium. These nutrients are obtained from fruits, vegetables, nuts, oils and dairy products.

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How do you know if your baby is tired?

A well-rested baby is not only a happy baby, but a healthy baby, too. In order to make sure your baby gets enough sleep, it’s important to develop a regular sleep schedule that you stick to. It’s important to be able to recognize the signs that your baby is sleepy; if your baby gets overtired, they’ll be cranky and have trouble falling asleep. Here are the signs to look for: keep these in mind, and you’ll be much better prepared in recognizing when your baby is ready for a nap. Watch Their Actions Your baby’s actions will probably show the first signs that they’re ready for sleep. Some, but not all, babies will yawn: an obvious sign that they’re sleepy. Other physical signs that your baby might be ready for a nap are rubbing their eyes, or sucking their fists. The latter might not always be a sign that your baby is tired, as some children do this even when they’re not sleepy, however. If they thrash their limbs about—especially their arms—this can be a sign of tiredness, too. t bired Crying or Other Noises Babies cry a lot: it’s the only way they know how to communicate that they’re unhappy. Crying can indicate that your baby is overtired and cranky, so they may have passed the point where it becomes difficult for them to fall asleep. If your baby is crying or fussy and they’re not hungry and have all of their other needs met, this can be a good indicator that they’re probably ready to sleep. child-818434_960_720 Level of Alertness When a baby is getting tired, their alertness tends to noticeably drop off. Since babies can’t communicate directly to you that they’re tired, watching for subtle clues that their level of alertness is dropping is a good way to tell early when your baby is tired, before they’re awake for too long and become overtired. Watch for signs that their level of attention is decreasing. If they aren’t paying as much attention to you, to their toys, or to the environment around them. If your baby tends to act happy and playful when they’re playing with their toys or with you, but this suddenly stops, it’s probable that they’re starting to get sleepy. Time of the Day If your baby is starting on a sleep schedule every day, they will probably start to get sleepy around the same time of day, every day, as long as they got enough sleep earlier. Young babies also tend to get sleepy after certain activities: for example, they might get tired after every time they are breastfed. tired baby 2 Not All Babies Give Obvious Signs It’s important to note that not all children will give obvious signs that they’re sleepy. They might not get cranky or upset when they’re tired, or otherwise show any obvious physical signs of being sleepy. There will probably be subtle clues, such as a drop in alertness or a general slight look of tiredness. If you’re the parent of one of these children, you’ll have to learn to pick up on the subtle clues that your baby is tired. It will probably also help to get them to sleep on a regular basis every day, regardless of whether they look tired or not. After Your Recognize the Signs That Your Child is Sleepy Once you’ve gotten accustomed to recognizing the signs that your child is tired, you can begin to start them on a daily sleep schedule. Doing so will make it much easier to get them to sleep, too, because they’ll usually find it easier to stick to a schedule they’ve been on for a while.  Sticking to a schedule is important, because babies will find it difficult to get to sleep if they’re being put to bed at different times of the day every day. If at all possible, try to avoid any activities that will interrupt your baby’s sleep schedule on any given day. If your baby has a regular babysitter or is in daycare and has to sleep on a schedule of their choosing, your best bet is to continue that same schedule when they’re at home, too. Consistency is the key!

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Beyonce’s twins were born premature, being treated for Jaundice

Beyonze and Jay Z's twins arrived ahead of time. The babies were born prematurely and are being treated for jaundice.

The pair have not left the hospital since arriving eight days ago; it was previously reported doctors had opted to keep them in for a 'minor issue.' as reported by dailymail.

Early: Beyonce and Jay Z's twins were 'born premature and are being treated for jaundice' according to reports

Jaundice is quite common among newborns, especially preterm births; twins are more susceptible since they are rarely carried to full term.

Beyonce gave birth since last week Monday at a hospital in Los Angeles but has not been discharged since then reportedly due to a problem with the twins.

Usually, when babies are born with jaundice, they are kept under a phototherapy light or under a sun lamp. Babies with jaundice have elevated bilirubin levels and the lights under which these babies are kept are designed to lower bilirubin in the blood to eliminate the jaundice. Exposing the baby to sunlight through a window also helps in lowering the bilirubin level as is done in most cases in Nigeria.

Here are more scientific facts about twins

 
  • Their births are on the rise
  • Older moms are naturally more likely to have twins
  • They live longer than singletons—and so do their moms
  • There are more than two types of twins
  • They can also be conceived—and born—up to 24 days apart
  • They can have different skin colors—and even different fathers
  • Babies born at the same time to the same mom can even have different dads.
  • There’s a gene for fraternal twins
  • They are more likely to be left-handed
  • Tall women are more likely to have twins
  • They should be delivered at  36 - 37 weeks (2 - 3 weeks earlier than normal single births)
  • To reduce the risk of stillbirth and complications, experts say that the best time to deliver at 37 weeks gestation—or 36 weeks, if the babies share a placenta.
  • For a lot of twin pregnancies, early delivery happens naturally.
  • C-sections aren’t the only delivery option