- Women’s Health
- Healthy Living
- Health Conditions
- Nurse Barb
I hear from a lot of women who are suddenly ready to have a baby. They want to be pregnant as soon as possible. Others are considering pregnancy and trying to get prepared.
Stop All Birth Control
It may sound obvious, and that’s because it is! If you’re ready to become pregnant, then the first thing to do is to STOP using any birth control.
With most birth control methods once you stop using them, your menstrual cycle will start up again. It may take a few weeks to see a period return, but the process that leads to your period resumes as soon as you stop birth control.
This time of year many moms are busy in the stocking up phase, from gathering up school clothes and lunch boxes to helping their kids who are leaving home find a mini fridge for their dorm or apartment.
When my son was little, sure, I had the list of recommended notebooks, flashcards and markers, but I had to figure out the options for healthy lunches and snacks on my own. Then when he went off to college, my focus changed: What suggestions could I make, without nagging or being pushy, that would help him make healthy choices away from home?
It may be surprising to consider how many kids aren’t getting the recommended servings of dairy, fruits and vegetables every day just when their bones and muscles are growing the most. This is the time when their bodies need a variety of foods to get the essential vitamins, nutrients, protein and calcium necessary.
Since everyone is busy, I’ve gathered up a few tips here for healthy snacks, lunch box ideas and yes, even the mini fridge for moms with kids at every age and stage.
Guest Post by Amy Davalle and Peter David
From birth to the first four weeks, many critical events can occur in a newborn’s life. Infants establish feedback patterns and start bonding with their parents. On the other hand, many things can go wrong. For example, the drama of birth can change from miracle to tragedy in a heartbeat with birth asphyxia, infection, or complications from delivery. When a crisis like this occurs, accuracy and seconds matter.
So, how do we ensure that each and every baby has the best chance at a great start in life? We believe that part of the answer lies in supporting clinicians with the tools and technology to save time, reduce stress, and improve accuracy. (more…)
On my 2nd day, here at FAME, I saw something, extraordinary. I was privileged to be at the right place at the right time and witnessed a jaw dropping display of talent and knowledge in a most unexpected place. Pauline Diaz, the volunteer coordinator was giving me a tour and suggested that we bring the new donated baby hats from the US and the brand new Tanita baby scale to the maternity ward. Sure! Why not?
Here in Africa, many people come to see the Big 5 animals on safari. Yes, I know there are birders out there and plenty of people who love the cheetahs, warthogs, jackals, hyenas, antelopes, giraffes and zebras. Thousands of dollars are spent, and thousands of miles traveled to catch a glimpse, or perhaps get close enough to see the elephant, cape buffalo, lion, rhino, leopard, all of whom belong to the exclusive group of the Big 5.
However on that 2nd day at FAME, within seconds of arriving in the maternity ward and setting up the new baby scale, what I saw was Mama Evelyn, a 62 year-old experienced midwife, who delivered a baby, kept traction on the cord, and then resuscitated the new infant.
Guest Post from Tara Sabo, Fix.com. Tara Sabo lives, works, and breathes fitness. She is a certified personal trainer, fitness instructor, and half marathon runner.
Congratulations! You’re pregnant, so now what? Must you sit still for nine months? Or can you keep working out? The answers: no and yes. Exercise during pregnancy is safe and often recommended. Working out for two can be beneficial for Mom and baby; still, there are certain safety factors to consider.
How the Body Changes During Pregnancy
Having a new baby to care for is an emotional experience! Add to that the lack of sleep, feeding every 2 to 3 hours round the clock, a hormonal roller coaster….oh, yes and your body’s recovery from childbirth, plus your partner and family and, well, you get the idea. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all of the changes.
Mild mood changes are absolutely normal and expected for the first few weeks after giving birth. Every mom goes through a period of adjustment as her old way of life adapts to her baby’s needs, unique temperament, personality, as well as the baby’s sleep cycles, feeding challenges and all the other aspects of their care.
What every mom needs
All moms need support when a new baby arrives. Many times, moms who are feeling overwhelmed need to:
• Know that they aren’t alone
• Be encouraged to get more sleep
• Have other trusted caregivers help out by caring for the baby
• Be given permission not to be perfect
• Let go of pressures to keep up appearances
Comparing Your Experience to others on Social Media
Most new moms I’ve worked with over the years find motherhood much more challenging than they ever expected. This is what they tell me in the privacy of the exam room at 2, 4 and 6 weeks after giving birth. And because there can be a lot of shame involved when things are slightly less than perfect, it’s the rare mom who is comfortable posting anything but perfect photos and commentary on social media.
This sets everyone up for a false sense of inadequacy. You might be covered in spit up, be dragging around on only 2.5 hours of sleep, without a shower in days, hair in a ponytail and happen to glance at a friend’s photos and become instantly dejected, “Look at Emily, she’s lost all her baby weight, the breastfeeding is a breeze, her baby isn’t puking all over her and I bet she takes a shower every day.”
While adjusting to motherhood can be a breeze for a few lucky new moms (with full time help and a stylist on call), the vast majority of new moms need about 3-6 months to figure out how to care for their baby and themselves and, yes, get a shower every day.
If your pregnancy, birth and/or breastfeeding experiences are not what you expected or your baby has a health challenge, the feelings of being overwhelmed can become amplified.
Many new moms must also contend with managing complex relationships with well-meaning extended family members or be asked to conform to cultural traditions that may not resonate with their current situation. These can also add more stress to an already challenging situation.
Recognizing Postpartum Depression
There has been so much about postpartum depression in the news lately. Many new moms and their families wonder where the line between the normal “baby blues” ends and postpartum depression begins.
The following are examples of what may happen with more severe mood changes, and/or those that last more than 2 to 3 weeks. Anytime you are concerned about yourself or someone you love, do reach out to a health care provider.
Call your OB or Pediatric provider if you are:
– Feeling out of control
– Feeling sad and crying often
– Unable to sleep even when you are exhausted
– Having increased anxiety, worry or panic attacks
– Unable to care for yourself or the baby
– Having recurring thoughts or obsessive behaviors
– Feeling hopeless, guilty or ashamed
– Having disturbing thoughts about harming yourself or your baby
When in Doubt, Reach Out
Take or share this online risk assessment that can help to identify whether the symptoms you are experiencing should be addressed.
Safe and effective treatment options
Postpartum depression can be safely treated through one-on-one or group counseling, safe medications, or a combination of both. There are a variety of classes, support groups and treatments available no matter where you live.
You can find more resources through Postpartum Support International
For moms who live in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Maternal Outreach Mood Services (MOMS) program at El Camino Hospital is a resource I count on for my patients. This specialized program provides education, counseling and medical evaluation for expectant and new mothers.
Disclosure: I am working with El Camino Hospital to provide information on the programs and services that are available here.
Yes! You Are a Role Model
If you’re like me, you might sometimes wonder if your family is paying attention to all the little things you do every day that make their lives healthier and happier.
Let’s face it, most of us don’t receive applause or accolades on a regular basis for the healthy routines that we’ve established in our own families. Just stop, and consider for a moment how much of what you do every day impacts your family. And, though most of us are too humble to acknowledge this, most moms are doing a great job! So go ahead, pat yourself on the back.
When you eat salad and vegetables at dinner, your family is more likely to make the same choices. When you make time to exercise regularly, your family is more likely to also. Even walking the dog. Any routine that your family witnesses regularly gets ingrained as habits. Yes! You are a role model for your children and for the rest of your family.
As I start to haul down the Thanksgiving decorations that remind me of visiting Plymouth Rock, the Pilgrims and the very first Thanksgiving, I’m also thinking about families with children who might also be celebrating their very first Thanksgiving. I love having big groups to our house, especially when our friends bring their kids. Thanksgiving is so much more fun with little ones. Besides stuffing, my favorite part is not watching football, it’s the group walk after and getting on the floor and playing with the kids!
I’m going to be busy! That’s an understatement, so I’ve found some super simple and very fast recipes that will be prepped in minutes not hours. I want to concentrate on flavors, family and fun, not kitchen time. As a spokesperson for the National Honey Board, I have a bit of a sweet tooth, and have learned a lot about how to use honey as a natural sweetener for cooking and baking, because it contains just one ingredient – honey!
Honey locks in moisture and adds a boost of natural sweetness (more…)
My go-to, not-so-secret ingredient is as close as my pantry. I always turn to honey as a natural ingredient to jazz up typical meals and snacks to make this back-to-school season exciting for the whole family.
With more than 300 different types or varietals of honey in the U.S., honey adds its own unique flavor to your recipes. I love that it’s such a versatile ingredient that helps make foods more appetizing.
Plus, did you know that once your little one has turned one year of age, they may be able to enjoy honey with the rest of the family! The digestive system of a one year old child is usually considered by pediatricians to be “grown-up” enough to digest honey.
Tips for Toddlers
Also, moms are often asking me for ideas and tips to get their toddlers to eat more vegetables. Back-to-school season is the perfect time to shake up your recipe arsenal and experiment with new snacks and meals that the whole family will love. I make a yummy sweet potato and honey puree that is a terrific do-it-yourself (DIY) toddler favorite.
Here’s my recipe:
Nurse Barb’s Sweet Potato and Honey Puree
Preheat your oven to 400 o F.
Wash and scrub the outside of sweet potato or yam.Using a fork, pierce the outside of the sweet potato or yam. (This allows steam to vent and prevent little eruptions.)
“I never thought it would be this hard!”
“I haven’t slept in 2 months.”
“No one prepared me for…….”
Everything is different now
These are just a few of the thousands of statements I’ve heard from new moms when they come in for a check up 4 weeks after their delivery. Becoming a mom is one of the most rewarding and challenging transitions in a woman’s life. Everything changes. Everything! Forget the fantasies. Your old life is waving Bye bye!
No, your baby isn’t going to go to sleep so that you can prepare a healthy dinner, do a load of laundry, take a shower, answer the phone, emails and prepare for grandma’s visit.
Preparing for Birth is different than Preparing for Parenting
What’s kind of ironic is how much time we spend preparing for weddings but not the day- to-day reality of marriage, and likewise we have 6 weeks of classes for labor, but virtually nothing for parenting. It’s backwards. (more…)