3.5

Fetal Growth and Development

by Maxine
Posted July 7 2010 12:03pm

Pregnancy is an exciting time for parents-to-be and their family and friends.

Pregnancy is an exciting time for parents-to-be and their family and friends. It’s also a time when you might have more questions than answers about how your baby is developing. In an effort to help you find the answers you are looking for, we have provided a link to one website we believe offers a clear and concise overview of the different stages of your baby’s development, week by week, trimester by trimester:  Pregnancy.org

As each week of your pregnancy unfolds, Pregnancy.org provides detailed descriptions and pictures of real embryos and fetuses to bring the experience of fetal development to life and help you better understand your baby’s growth.

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Depression in Pregnancy

by Guest
Posted July 5 2010 03:16pm
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While pregnancy may be a happy time for women, it’s a myth that pregnant women do not become depressed. However, this myth can prevent women from talking about her feelings or from finding help for it because they are ashamed. Women should talk to their partner, doctor or midwife about this as soon as they sense it is happening to them.

If a pregnant woman says she is feeling down or depressed, it is important for her, and those around her, to pay attention. If these down feelings are combined with constant sadness or losing interest in the things she normally does, she is clearly showing some of the warning signs of depression. Studies show that about 15% of pregnant women experience major or moderate depression during pregnancy.

Keep in mind that if a woman has had a depression before becoming pregnant or has a relative who has faced a depression, she may be more prone to a serious depression during her pregnancy.

Mood swings, fatigue, and trouble eating and sleeping can be typical at certain times in many women's pregnancies. However, they are also signs of depression in pregnancy if they continue for longer than what is normally expected. Other signs of depression are:

  • Always feeling sad.
  • Feelings of despair, guilt and of being worthless.
  • Thinking often about death or suicide; not being able to concentrate or do the things she ordinarily does.
  • A change in eating habits more or less that than what is normally expected in pregnancy.
  • Not being able to sleep or wanting to sleep a lot.

Pregnant women who are depressed are more likely to slide into unhealthy practices, just when healthy practices are needed most. For example, women may skip their regular prenatal check-ups, or they may not eat well or rest enough or use substances such as tobacco or drugs. All of these can lead to having the baby too early or to the baby not being a healthy weight when born.

It is important for a pregnant woman to talk to her doctor or midwife about depressive feelings or signs. In many cases, it is helpful if her partner goes along to this appointment because he needs to be part of the treatment plan. She can sometimes treat minor depression by doing things like eating well, getting regular exercise, making sure she gets enough sleep and deals with her stress (through relaxation exercises, yoga, etc.). If her doctor thinks the depression is serious, medication may be prescribed. In such a case, she will want to discuss with her doctor and pharmacist all the side effects and implications for her mental health and the baby's development.

Many herbal products, including St. John's Wort, have not yet been studied carefully for their effects on pregnant women. Mom should not take any herbal products without first consulting with her doctor, pharmacist or the Motherisk Clinic.

About 25% of women who are depressed during their pregnancy will have what is called a "postpartum depression," which is a depression after the baby is born.

It’s normal for a woman to feel a little sad or anxious in the first two weeks after the baby is born. Everyone should pay attention and help during this period. If she has constant or signs and symptoms of depression, there is cause for concern. Both parents should speak to her doctor or midwife about this to determine how to treat the depressive symptoms. Depression is easier to treat if it is caught early before the With symptoms become deeply rooted.

If a mother is depressed during baby’s first year of life, it can make it difficult for her to become emotionally attached to baby and vice versa. Fathers and others need to ensure she gets the help she needs for her depression. Dads may also need to step in and help her relate to the baby in whatever way she can while she recovers. Dads also need to give extra loving care and stimulation to the baby to keep baby's development on track.

For more information on Depression in Pregnancy:

 

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What is a Midwife?

by Maxine
Posted August 9 2010 11:48am

A midwife is a registered healthcare provider. She gives basic care to low-risk moms throughout their pregnancy, labour and birth.

Midwives are professionally committed to using as few medical procedures as possible. Midwives spend more time developing relationships with moms than physicians, and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Midwives work together in group practices. Their group practices differ from physicians’ practices in that two midwives will develop a relationship with the expectant mom, so if one midwife is busy when a baby is being born, the other midwife will take over. Moms who use a midwife do not see a physician unless problems arise. In uncomplicated pregnancies, a mom who uses a midwife can choose to give birth at home. Midwives also have hospital privileges and work together with other healthcare providers such as nurses and doctors. OHIP funds midwives’ services.

Regarding labour: Midwives often are with moms throughout their labour.

Regarding delivery: If the delivery is uncomplicated, midwives deliver the baby. If the delivery becomes complicated, the midwife will call in a physician or obstetrician to take over the delivery. Midwives may consult with an obstetrician if a problem arises in pregnancy or labour. If the labour turns into a high risk situation, the midwife calls in an obstetrician to take the lead.

Regarding postpartum: Midwives provide care to both mom and baby during the first six weeks following the birth. Sometimes, this is done through home visits.

 

To find a midwife, contact:
Canadian Association of Midwives

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Varicose Veins

by Guest
Posted August 9 2010 03:27pm
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Some pregnant women develop varicose veins. These can arise with aching or throbbing of the area. Varicose veins (varicosity) can occur in the legs, vulva or rectal area. Sometimes, this can happen as hormones cause the vessel walls to relax and blood pools in these areas. It is also due to heredity.

If you develop varicose veins, try these tips to ease your discomfort:

  • Elevate your legs at least twice a day.
  • Increase your physical activity. For example, try swimming or prenatal yoga or you and your partner can go for a walk.
  • Avoid restrictive clothing, like knee-high stockings.
  • Use a footrest when you're sitting.
  • Talk to your doctor about using support stockings.
  • Use witch hazel compresses to ease your discomfort. You can buy these at the drug store.

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