- Women’s Health
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- Nurse Barb
Staying hydrated seems obvious, but it might be more challenging than you think. Most of my pregnant patients are surprised to learn that their blood volume increases by about 50% midway through pregnancy.
When it comes to salt – Remember Gold-i-locks: Not too much, not too little, but just the right amount. The truth is, your body needs salt, so while we don’t want you to over indulge in lots of salty foods, a little goes a long way in helping you maintain your fluid balance. So, don’t restrict your salt intake.
I’m back at FAME after a lovely safari weekend at Tarangire National Park, known as the park of elephants and Baobab trees. There has been more rain than usual for this time of year; maybe it is an El Niño effect, who can say, and in any case the grass is lush and green and there’s water.
On the road to Safari, what I saw was herds of cows and goats being led to whatever water had collected into impromptu mini-lakes and ponds along ditches on the side of the road, and then after the animals were cared for, the women and older children were washing clothes, giving the babies their baths and finally filling large buckets for their cooking and drinking water. It’s all the same water. No filters that I could see, and hopefully a fire to boil it at home.
There is so much here that is different, and yet so much is the same. Most of the people who come to the hospital, and many of the staff do not have running water. A daily hot shower that I take for granted is as rare as the likelihood of me seeing the white giraffe. (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.
New Moms are confronted with a gazillion new things to learn, cope with and react to. Many new moms haven’t spent a lot of time around babies and children, which makes the tsunami of feeding, diapering, sleeping and recovering from childbirth issues overwhelming.
It’s hard to know what to do when there is no magical book that tells you exactly the type of person you are, match it with your baby’s temperament and add in to it all of the unpredictable factors like labor and delivery experience, breastfeeding issues, sleep, crying, spitting up, you name it.
Feed Me – I’m Yours
Feeding babies is a highly emotionally charged experience when you break it down. Some parents worry that the baby is not getting enough to eat and could become sick. Others, worry that the baby is eating too much and will be overweight. All of this is dependent on parent’s own relationships with food, how much their baby weighed at birth, whether they’re growing appropriately on the weight chart. It’s difficult to not obsess about these things. (more…)
My Life Won’t Change With a New Baby
Remember saying this? I do. I remember thinking it. I remember looking at my friends with babies and kids and wondering what happened to them. Why couldn’t they just meet for a movie. Babies sleep right? They always seem to be sleeping, there’s lots of time to get stuff done.
I see my patients come in during their pregnancies with lots of ideas about what their lives will be like after their first baby arrives. Some have an idea that life will be turned upside down. Many don’t and lay out for me how they’ll manage to continue their lifestyle with the new baby. They have lots of great and reasonable plans.
When you’re in labor, the last thing you want to worry about is whether the pain relief that’s offered is dangerous. Well, now we have more reassurance. A study from England found that epidurals given in labor are about 10 times safer than we previously thought. The risk was estimated to be about 1 in 23,000 women will have a serious complication.