Archives for October 2015
If you suffered with depression before your pregnancy, chances are, you might very well suffer with it throughout the pregnancy as well. If it goes untreated, this depression can and will begin to affect your growing baby. Leaving depression untreated can result in:
- Low-Birthweight – A baby who is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces is considered a low-birthweight baby. Untreated depression can and will affect your baby’s birthweight.
- Premature Birth – Suffering with the stress and anxiety of depression can cause your baby to be born prematurely.
- Baby Irritability – Your baby could be more irritable in general, as well as less active, attentive and with fewer expressions in general. This is far more common in moms who suffered depression during pregnancy and left it untreated.
Treating Depression During Pregnancy
The key element here is treatment. It is preferable to have a team of providers who can help treat your depression while you are pregnant. It is critical that all of your needed medical professionals know you are being treated for depression as well. It can and will greatly affect their treatment for you for any other number of issues you or your baby may need monitored during the pregnancy. Be sure your pre-natal care provider knows if you are being treated by a mental health care professional including a therapist, counselor, psychiatrist, or psychologist.
Treatment Options available to pregnant women include:
- Talk Therapy
- Support Groups
While taking antidepressants during pregnancy have shown that it can put your baby at risk for certain health conditions, if you have been on antidepressants long-term before your pregnancy, it can be critical to continue them while being monitored by your health care provider.
Ultimately, it will be the decision of you and your medical professional when it comes to which treatments you will accept as options during your pregnancy. The important part is for you to get through your pregnancy with a healthy baby and a healthy you.
It never fails. You take your baby out for a stroll around the block and 12 people stop you to fiddle with your baby. It’s like they don’t even remember how terrifying it is to be a new parent with a new baby that has just about zero immunity to this world they just arrived in. Maybe, with all of your help, we can get this message out there so baby’s can be safe and new parents can rest easy on their fresh air collecting adventures around the neighborhood.
Stop Touching Stranger’s Newborn Babies in These Three Places
While your first urge may be to grab a baby by any given choice of favorite body parts, doing so can present quite a few problems. Aside from actually making the baby sick, you’ll also likely boost the new parent’s anxiety level for a few moments to a few days. But if you must get your hands on baby (and even when you’re allowed) try to avoid these three spots on baby’s body.
- Face – Just say no to squeezing those adorable cheeks, here’s why. Baby’s are new to some of the bacteria on the planet and they also can have very, very sensitive skin. That gentle finger you brush across baby’s face so you can get a feel of that baby soft skin, might leave baby with a nasty rash for days. We won’t even talk about how close you are to the baby’s mouth with that dirty thing, but we shouldn’t have to, because you should never touch anywhere near a baby’s mouth with your meat hooks! Stop it! What are you thinking?
- Hands – As compelling as it may be to grab one of those flailing hands and give it a little personable ‘how do you do’ shake, don’t. Just don’t. Babies live the first year of their lives with their hands in their mouths, or their hands holding items that are being shoved into their mouths. This is also another good reason to avoid touching those cheeks like we mentioned. Though babies do love getting those little hands shoved in their mouths, they’re not always entirely great about it and more often than not punch themselves in the face a little bit when trying to get them in their mouths quickly. Don’t let your creepy cooties be there waiting.
- Hair – I know this one is going to devastate some of those folks who can’t seem to stop themselves from scrubbing every tiny person they see on the head, but this is another no-no when it comes to getting your hands on other people’s babies. During the average day a shirt or onesie or other clothing rakes itself over baby’s head onto baby’s face. Basically you don’t touch the hair for the same reason you don’t put your hands on baby’s face or hands.
So please, share. Maybe we can spread the word about this newborn baby etiquette so that strangers with good intentions will understand that good intentions do not come with natural immunity to whatever illnesses they could be carrying around unknowingly.
While nesting may not occur with every pregnant woman, those it does happen to will find themselves overwhelmed by an urge to get things in order before baby arrives. You may even begin to compulsively worry, or worse, compulsively buy, before you even notice it’s happening.
10 Ways to Get Through the Nesting Phase
Here are ten helpful ways to get through the nesting phase of pregnancy.
- To-Do List – Try to put together a to-do list of realistic expectations for organization, required items and decoration. When creating the list, keep in mind that for reason’s sake, you’ll be sticking to the list only. So make sure you think it out completely before completing.
- Quitting Time – Establish your agreed upon daily quitting time. There’s no need to be up at all hours just because you can. Get some rest, refresh yours and your baby’s body with nutrition and begin again.
- Be Reasonable – You may be able to tackle painting baby’s room, but you’re not going to be able to paint the entire basement like you’ve really been wanting to for years. Leave that to post-baby exercise if you’re desperate to get it done. Pregnancy is not the time to push your body beyond reasonable limits for any reason.
- Listen to Your Body – Speaking of reasonable limits. You know your body. If it’s telling you to stop and take a break, then you need to stop and take a break.
- Space them Out – If you do have a couple major projects in mind, get started as soon as possible so that you have time for breaks for your body in between.
- Put the Digital Down – If you really expect to get things done during the daytime, you can’t be up pinning until the wee hours. Furthermore, your motor functions are delayed when you’re tired and put you at greater risk of accidents through general clumsiness. Be careful!
- Safety First – It goes without saying that you shouldn’t be doing any heavy lifting, but you should also avoid excessive exposure to any chemicals like cleaners, or even excessively long exposure to paint fumes with no ventilation. There’s no project worth risking your baby’s health.
- No Pressure – Quit pressuring yourself to ‘get things done’. If a project is taking longer than expected, bring others in to help instead of expecting wild results from a pregnant lady. You’re making another person right now. That really does ‘take it out of you’.
- Work in Bursts – Remember, you really are burning up more than average calories. So don’t forget to stop and grab a quick snack every couple of hours or you’ll exhaust yourself before you even realize it’s crept up on you.
- Accept Reality – Your life isn’t going to end once baby is born. There’s still time to wrap up the loose ends of your decoration and organization ideas once baby’s born. Sure, they might take longer, but by then, you’ll really appreciate the break from the frenzied nesting instinct that took over your body there for a while…
One of new parent’s biggest fears when they come home with their newborn baby is the worry that they won’t recognize if their baby becomes ill and needs emergency help. That’s a serious legitimate worry, too. Babies this young have no way to directly communicate with you. You can only watch their body language and learn to understand the difference between a ‘need cry’ and a ‘distress cry’. Fortunately, that takes very little time to learn.
3 Common Newborn Health Issues
So what should a new parent expect to look out for in those early days? The good news is that for a generally healthy baby, you shouldn’t have to worry about too many mystery issues presenting themselves. Just the most common three.
Formula Intolerance/Colic – Many babies who are bottle-fed will have issues with adjusting to their formula. And just as many other baby’s will be breastfed and still suffer with gassy, colic type issues of discomfort. You’ll usually recognize this type of cry as unusual because the pain factor may raise baby’s voice an octave or two, and you’ll notice the cries come in burst. (like gas bubbles do) You’ll definitely want to learn ways to get your baby through a bout of colic, but you’ll adjust. Other than an initial visit back to your pediatrician when the formula intolerance or colic fussing begins, a colic bout is no cause for the ER.
Ear Aches – Unfortunately, our little bodies don’t begin life in our most functional form. This means most babies will eat while slightly or completely declined, they’ll lay on their little backs while traces of liquid dribble down their Eustachian tubes while they are sleeping, and in general spend the first few months of life in the exact perfect position and circumstance to have none stop ear aches and infections. Before you know it, your little guy or gal will be waving their arms around their head and crying with one of those new distress cries you’ve grown to absolutely fear.
Take it easy. While this does likely merit a call to the pediatrician, and most likely a visit to check on the ear canal and the rest of the baby to ascertain that it’s not a larger issue, eventually you’ll grow used to the rituals you’ll be performing through the ear aches baby does have. As well as when to break out the right medication and when it does merit an ER visit. If baby seems to be desperately tugging on her or his ears, screaming high-pitched and never ending and running a fever, that’s time for the ER if your pediatrician isn’t immediately available to you.
Teething – While it is sort of a rare thing, babies can begin teething very, very early in life. This is an easy one to recognize. Baby will begin to gnaw on everything, even their own hands if nothing is made handy and you’ll notice one sure symptom that will let you know baby is working on new teeth. The drooling. It’s incessant and it’s epic. Follow your pediatricians advice on which pain relieving medications to use and learn to grit through these teething periods with toys, distractions and as many different teething rings and items as you can find. Those that can be frozen provide a great relief to baby. Have a few ready for rotation.
Whatever you do, during or after you read this, please do not roll your baby around on the subway floor. However, we do understand that parents who have to brave the subway system with their children will almost always come along with a container of Purell. It’s more than natural and healthy-minded to want to protect your children from any type of ICK they might encounter on the Subway, and we all know that’s a lot. As hair-tugging mad as “roll your baby on the subway floor” sounds, the geneticists who said it do have a good reason behind their message of ’embracing the filth’.
Geneticist Recommends Rolling Your Baby on the Subway Floor
A geneticist named Chris Mason at Weill Cornell Medical college outright suggested;
“I would advise any new parent to roll their child on the floor of the New York subway.”
I’m sure he would agree that the real message is to not be so quick to shield your baby from every tad of bacteria or microbes they could come in contact with. Mason, in fact, participated in an actual Subway Pathogen Study earlier this year which openly revealed that the NYC subway is home to microbes which are linked to everything from the basic flu to the Bubonic Plague. So Mason reminds us that most bacteria is actually completely harmless. And that it’s a fact that most researchers believe that some exposure to the ICK’s in life are actually good for us as they help to build immuno-resistence to those particular microbes.
“We tend to think of our homes and personal environments as these pristine places, and public ones as dirty and infested with bacteria,” Mason says. “But you should really think of yourself as a rabbit who gets to hop between two forests.”
The notion that being exposed to infection and germs can be good for you is known as the Hygiene Hypothesis. It is a reasonable theory that early exposure to bacteria can help our immune systems better fight the same microbes later. Bacteria is a huge part of our anatomy, making up about three pounds of an adult’s body weight.
Mason does agree that the hygiene hypothesis is superb for calming those germaphobic nerves, but suggest parents still be hyper-aware of where they take their newborns. Especially to areas where known outbreaks of illnesses the baby isn’t immunized for already occurs.
Every year in the United States, 3500 infant die unexpectedly and suddenly. These deaths are currently being listed under an occurrence referred to as Sudden Unexplained Infant Deaths or SUID. This is almost always referred to as SIDS by most laypersons. Most of these deaths occur while an infant is sleeping in an unsafe environment.
SUID’s are most often reported as one of three types of infant deaths.
- Accidental Suffocation and Strangulation in Bed – Suffocation occurs when an infant is put in a crib or pen that has soft bedding or pillows. This often occurs when a child is co-sleeping and a parent rolls on top of their infant. It also occurs when an infant becomes wedged between objects, whether those objects are the parents and the bed, or a pile of pillows in their sleeping space. Strangulation most often occurs when an infants head becomes caught between two objects, like their crib railings.
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – SIDS is the sudden death of an infant under one year of age that cannot be explained. This happens without warning in what seems like a normally healthy baby. Premature infants seem to die of SIDS more often. Premature infants are those born before the 37th week or those with a birthweight under 5 pounds and 8 ounces.
- Unknown Cause – Deaths of infants under one year of age that were not or could not be investigated are considered undetermined.
Reducing the Risk of SIDS
There are a few measures you can take to help reduce your infants chance of SIDS. October is SIDS awareness month and there are some save sleeping strategies you can implement with your own children to honor it.
- Put Baby on her Back – Always put your baby on their back in a crib without bumpers, blankets, loose bedding or stuffed toys.
- Stop Smoking – Do not smoke in the house with your newborn baby. Babies of smoker parents are more likely to die of SIDS than other babies.
- Give Baby A Pacifier – Giving your baby a pacifier before naps and bedtime will ensure their face remains at a distance from any edges. It may also prevent more restless sleeping that could toss baby onto her belly.
- Put Baby in Her Bed – Do not co-sleep. Do not put baby’s in bed with other children.
Educate yourself on the Myths of SIDS so that you know the difference between false rhetoric and real safety strategies. Remember the individual risk factors that can contribute and do all you can to provide the safest possible sleeping circumstances for your newborn baby.
Near the last end of your pregnancy, your physician or midwife will probably have ‘the talk’ with you about what to expect during labor and delivery. Make sure you are prepared for the talk by having a list of your most concerning questions handy. That talk is the time to get rid of any lingering anxieties you are suffering from. Believe me, shaking off those anxieties will definitely make the process of labor and delivery a much less stressful one. And as people tend to say about these things (because it’s true) the less stress and anxiety you have, the physically easier your L & D process will be.
3 Elements of Labor and Delivery that You Should Mentally Prepare For
Even if you ask every imaginable question, you’ll always face the possibility that not all labor and deliveries go as planned. However, mental preparation for the possibilities is half the battle.
Come Back When You’re Really Ready!
You might be in the labor process for days… weeks. What? So, your baby is due in three days and your contractions started hours ago and they feel pretty strong and it already feels like.. a little bit… like you’re kind of sitting on your baby’s head. Don’t worry! You’re not, exactly. But you’re not exactly near to being out of the laboring woods, either. This phase of labor can last for days, weeks, in some wild cases, a month. Just be prepared for being told to ‘just go home’ and come back when you’re really having a baby! Make sure to ask for the signs you should watch out for, but in general, the loss of your mucus plug or your water breaking are good symptoms to look for to know it’s definitely time to head back to the hospital or to call the midwife.. again.
I Can’t Take One More Minute!
Whether in the labor or delivery process, exhaustion is a real thing. It’s not uncommon to see laboring women shaking all over with sheer exhaustion. What makes it worse is that aside from ice chips, you can’t really have any replenishing nutrition that you desperately need in those moments. Luckily, your body is a baby delivering machine and even when you think you don’t have one more push in you, you will. You’ll also hopefully have a helpful partner or two to help you physically ball up so that the pushing is the only task for you. You’re not totally helpless in this, either. See all of the older grandmothers, and mothers hovering around in your last days of pregnancy, telling you to ‘eat! you need to keep up your energy!’ Well, listen to them, they know what they’re talking about. Having a healthy diet pre-labor and delivery absolutely will help. Once the delivery process itself begins, you won’t be eating again until your baby is born.
Major Changes in Plans
So this birth was supposed to be a VBAC? But during the labor process the doctors, nurses or midwives determine that it looks like the safest route for mother and baby will be another cesarean. Don’t sweat it. Don’t get upset or unnerved. Try to go with the flow of your labor and delivery process for what and how it is. An unpredictable series of fortunate or unfortunate events that will bring your baby to your arms. Nothing more. Nothing less.
When a woman is pregnant, her body changes. It changes to conform to the little human that is growing inside of her. It’s a beautiful thing…. pregnancy. It’s a time when you start taking those weekly photos, and downloading every pregnancy app possible and start clicking on due date clubs, breastfeeding clubs, meds or no meds clubs, first time mom’s or more than ones…. you join any and all the clubs you can because you want to be a part of it all. You want to be there.. and chat and get excited with all these other mommies. You even have this fantasy of meeting or knowing another pregnamt mom and becoming best friends with her because then your babies will be best friends for the rest of their lives… at least that’s what I wished.
I had two cousins and three good friends who were pregnant the same time as me. We all planned baby showers and maternity shoots. We all went shopping as soon as we found out we were pregnant because we all wanted to be the first one to buy something for our little nugget. A keepsake to save forever.
But my pregnancy became something else when we received the fetal diagnosis. My pregnancy was no longer this happy occasion. It was no longer this exciting thing. It’s was now a tragedy. It suddenly became this scary and awful thing to happen to us. This pregnancy became sad. And I became numb. For many many weeks I was just numb.
I saw Miracles
I remember each doctors appointment we went to became such a chore for me. I hated going to the doctors. We had to go every week, sometimes twice a week for check ups. I was so afraid I wouldn’t hear a heartbeat on the monitor. I feared that the ultrasound would show that my babies were dead. I literally hated going. From the moment we left the doctors office to the 3 to 7 days we went back and I saw and heard heartbeats, I held my breath. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think. I could barely function. All that kept me going was God’s mercy, His love and His strength.
I’d smile at everyone else’s pregnancy quirks. I’d even LIKE and comment ‘oh how cute’ at all their ultrasound pics and maternity photos. I oohed and awwwed along with everyone else at their lavish dream come true baby showers. And about 75% of me was really happy for then. Honestly! Pregnancy is an amazing experience…. but at that time, I hated everything about it. That 25% of me just wished I could run and hide forever.
And although they were ALL due months before me, my babies came into this world fighting to stay in it. And this is where my life took a drastic turn. Suddenly I wasn’t pregnant with these sad little sick babies anymore. Suddenly I was the mother of these two incredibly amazing and strong and resilient preemie baby’s! Suddenly I was thrust into this unknown world called The NICU. Suddenly I became a NICU mother.
I… had… no… idea…….
I had no idea the Lord chose me… He chose ME to witness miracles. During my pregnancy I had no idea. I didn’t seee what the Lord was preparing me for. I didn’t see what my purpose was. And still to this day I don’t really know exactly what my purpose is. But I see now. I see that everything that happened during my pregnancy wasn’t something sad that was happening to us. It wasn’t this great tragedy. It was a blessing… it was a MIRACLE. My mind was so clouded by sadness and the dream I had had about having a son. I had hoped and wished and prayed for so many years for a boy that I had planned everything. I planned what my pregnancy with a son was going to be like. From the baby announcement to the baby royalty-prince themed baby shower. I had it all planned out.
I should have known the Lord had other plans. I should have realized early on that the Lord was going use me and use US in a way that we may never fully understand. He is using us now to show the world what prayer can do. He is using us to show the world that miracles do happen. That no matter how bad something is, no matter how bad a disease the doctors will diagnose, He is a Healer.
I was so incredibly blessed to be a witness, everyday, to my babies growing outside of my womb. God’s creation. While everyone was still pregnant and complaining about how big they are, their feet swelling, their increased appetite, their babies kicking them in their ribs… I got to see mine in real life. I saw them in person instead of a 4D video. I saw what they looked like. I saw them smile for the first time. I saw them open their eyes to an amazing world for the first time. I saw them fight through breathing tubes to be taken off within weeks of their premature birth. I saw their fingers moving and curling and searching for mine. And then I felt their little fingers, fingers as small as a q-tip, wrapped around mine. I couldn’t hold my daughter for 2 weeks and my son for 4 weeks… but I did. Instead of feeling their kicks inside of me, I played with their toes while I held them.
As hard and difficult as the nicu journey was for me…. it was the most amazing and life changing experience I will never forget. I look at life completely differently. And I am forever grateful to the nurses and doctors who helped us during my pregnancy, time in the nicu and for all the support after we left.
So I end NICU Awareness Month with To God Be The Glory ♡ We witnessed miracles.
Angelina Castleberry writes on her blog All the Days the Lord has Made 4 Me. You can find an issue close to her heart at Made for a Miracle, a website for a group dedicated to helping families through the NICU journey with prayers and support.