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Mother and baby

Adoptive Breastfeeding Protocol - Breastfeeding your Adopted Baby

Have you ever wondered how it is not merely biology that defines your parenthood? Parenting is, in fact, an everyday celebration of the emotional bond that you share with your little ones from the day they come into your life. Therefore, choosing to be a parent is always a tremendously life-changing decision, regardless of you being your little one’s biological parent or adoptive parent. The journey of adoptive parenthood is in no way less beautiful and joyful than other types of parenting. Although it comes with its share of ups and downs similar to biological parenting, it is best to be fully informed about the process in detail before taking a step in that direction.

 

If you are someone who is considering the option of expanding your family through the adoption of a baby or willing to pursue adoption, you might like to have a few bites of the adoption wisdom. One of the primary questions that you might encounter while wondering about the implications of an adoption is- ‘How do I induce lactation?’ In all likelihood, you might think that it is not possible to breastfeed your baby if you are not their biological mother or have not been pregnant before. But you would be surprised to know that it is entirely possible and appropriate! However, before you start breastfeeding your adopted baby, you need to bear in mind the adoptive breastfeeding protocol. Here’s what it means along with the answers to some of your questions :

 

What do I need to know about breast milk and breastfeeding my adopted child?

As an adoptive mother, you might wonder how the process of breastfeeding works with a child you were not pregnant with, followed by the issues related to it. But, it is reasonably simple and not as troublesome as one might assume. However, you must set your expectations at a moderate level not to be disappointed later because not all women have the ability in them to produce all the milk that an infant would need. Nevertheless, a many women are able to breastfeed their little ones adequately without having to worry about producing the maximum amount of breast milk that their babies might need. There is more to the process than the production of breast milk. Often the closeness and the emotional bond that you form in the process of breastfeeding your  child- even without producing enough breast milk -can still build the same level of intimacy that is necessary between a mother and her toddler during the infant stage.

 

What do I need to know about induced lactation as a part of the adoptive breastfeeding protocol?

Hormones that govern your lactation, i.e. the prolactin and the oxytocin have nothing to do with your ovaries. In fact, both of these hormones are pituitary hormones. It is only through nipple stimulation that both these hormones are produced. The prolactin is the milk-making hormone, and the oxytocin is the milk-releasing hormone - which can collectively govern your lactation process. Although the option of hormone therapy is available today, it is also possible for you to induce your lactation process through mechanical stimulation alone. It is often a breast massage or nipple manipulation that can assist you in bringing in milk. Besides, you can also opt for sucking via an electric breast pump provided in hospitals or the various herbal preparations that help induce lactation to make the process of breastfeeding the baby easier.

 

Induced lactation produces only a limited amount of milk initially, and I am worried about my adopted child’s nutritional requirements. What do I do?

If your adopted child’s nutritional status is making you worried, you should know that you have a solution to that as well. The initial low volumes of milk and skipping of the colostral phase are both interrelated phenomena. In order to avoid this, you can use a device that acts as a feeding tube. It is easy to use and comes in the shape of a bag or a bottle which you can wear suspended from your chest. They have feeding tubes of silicone that stick to the nipple with the help of hypoallergenic surgical tape. So, as your little one sucks your breast, it will deliver donor milk by flowing through the tubes like it would through a straw.

 

How and where do I start with the process of induced lactation?

Seeking help from a lactation professional

By working closely with a lactation professional, you can build a plan and customise it according to your goals. It can be your healthcare expert, a midwife or a lactation consultant who can provide you with the necessary advice, connect you to resources and guide you accordingly before you start breastfeeding your adopted baby.

Prior stimulus and expression

If your little one is yet to join you and if you are at least two months away from your adoption, you can start with a routine of stimulus and expression for your breasts to help produce adequate volumes of milk at the required time. Schedule this according to your convenience and allow your body to react to the implied demand for your breast milk.

In case of an unpredictable adoption

If you think you do not have enough time to prepare for your adoption, you can always resort to the speciality-feeding devices that are available. SNS or a Supplemental Nursing System is one such specialty product that facilitates the feeding of donor milk, expressed breast milk or formula through a thin silicone feeding tube by keeping the skin-to-skin contact intact.

 

Thus, breastfeeding can never be confined to biological families only. With a sound knowledge of the protocol that involves breastfeeding your baby and preparation, you too can breastfeed your adopted baby.


 

March 10, 2021 |  read

Family

Possible Psychological Problems faced by an Adopted Child - Emotional and Behavioral

Adoption, in a lot of ways, is not all that different from childbirth. Parenting in any of its forms, quite truly, is one of the most difficult yet rewarding experiences in life. Whether it is in your belly that you carried your child for most part of the year, or have spent a long time to complete your family coordinating with an adoption agency, when the child finally arrives, all you really want as a parent is to have a happy and healthy child.

 

However, adoption as a legal process can involve a lot of emotions and feelings for all the people involved - you as a parent, your partner, your family, and the adopted child. Further, it can make child care quite a challenge as many emotional and behavioural problems could occur. Every child needs hugs, lullabies, and ofcourse – their homework checked. While adopted children too face similar issues to the ones non adopted children face while growing up, given the temperament of an individual child, some experiences may directly be related to being adopted. As a result, adopted children may be more likely to struggle with emotions and behaviours. Whatever the nature of the problem may be, some kind of intervention becomes necessary. Especially during the adolescent years, the child will begin to explore their identity, and find a place in the world. 

 

To make sure that the health, progress, and well- being of your child is not hampered, let us look at some common psychological problems of adopted children that might occur, and what steps can be taken to reduce the probability of the child experiencing them.

 

Feelings of Grief or Loss

Certain behavioural problems in adopted children can come out of their sense of abandonment. If the child is old enough, he or she may grieve for their biological parents, grandparents, siblings, culture, or language. If feelings of grief, loss, anxiety, or even anger are left unexpressed and not attended to in this regard, it may stir up a sense of uncertainty. They might start to wonder if there is something wrong with them, or if their adoptive parents will leave them too. 

 

What is needed then is to make sure there is enough communication of thoughts and feelings. To be able to overcome these anxieties, the child must be talked to. Parents must provide the child with a safe outlet for self expression, and acknowledge their feelings. This will allow the child to feel secure and be comfortable with the adoption arrangement.

 

A Sense of Low Self- Esteem

As the child grows, he or she may face challenges with their self- esteem, which relates directly to their sense of value, identity, dignity, and belonging. The adopted child might think of himself or herself as different, somewhat out of place, and not the right fit in the society with others. It is when the child is ashamed or embarrassed of being adopted, they display a lack of self confidence.

 

To let them have a better sense of self while growing up, adoption should be looked at in a positive manner when being raised. A sense of self worth and self esteem in the child can be the result of healthy relationships between parents and their adopted child.

 

Formation of Identity

Development of Identity can be slightly complicated for kids that are adopted. They are likely to ponder over several questions like who their biological parents are, where they live, or why they were given up for adoption. It is like trying to put several pieces of a puzzle together. Identity formation begins during childhood and becomes more prominent into the teenage years. It is a sense of purpose that they seek from life in this setting of adoption, by filling these blanks. In such a case, an ‘open adoption’ (if possible) can be extremely beneficial for children as well as for adoptees.

 

Open Adoption

An ‘open adoption’ is one where the birth family and the adoptive family keep in touch for the sake of the child. Keeping in touch can mean different things - exchanging letters or mails, or making phone calls or visiting regularly. It is what suits best to both the parties. This kind of a set up makes the adopted child have tangible answers to several important questions. It helps them overcome challenges, and get a wholesome feeling while growing up. They truly understand their identity, and often even carry it with pride, knowing that their biological and adoptive families both love them a lot.

 

Over-Indulgence

At times, adoptive parents with sincere intentions tend to over- indulge their child. They may treat the adoptive child as someone “special” simply because he or she is adopted. They indulge the adopted child more than they would indulge the biological one. While it may be done out of sympathy and a pure heart, it can create additional anxiety, sadness, or fear for the adopted child. Parents may even not discipline the child if he or she misbehaves, thinking that may not have complete “right.” 

 

However, over-indulging any child does not lead to a positive outcome in the long run. The adopted child should not be treated any differently. Every child needs to understand that there are rules and that a little bit of discipline can go a long way. 

 

If nothing seems to work out, reach out to an expert - one that understands your child and you as a parent. With the right kind of assessment and intervention, the psychological problems can be managed and you and your child will learn to honour the positivity and strength that exists in your relationship as a family.

July 29, 2021 |  read

Babies

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Pregnant woman

Understanding the First Trimester of Pregnancy Week by Week

Have you received the wonderful news you were waiting for, already? If you are sure that you are going to welcome a new member to your family soon, you must be quite excited to know how they are growing. Let’s look at your pregnancy week by week to understand what’s happening.

Here is a list of everything that you need to know about the growth of your baby in the first trimester.

 

Week 1

Let us tell you a fact: you are technically not pregnant in the first week. Surprised? Here’s why: the doctors calculate your gestational period from the date of your last menstrual period (LMP). Therefore, the date of conception is after a week or two from the date of your last menstrual cycle which means you are not pregnant yet. The date is helpful to count ahead 40 weeks to estimate your due date.

 

Week 2

This is the week when you ovulate. In the second week, the ovary releases an egg into the fallopian tube. Fertilization occurs if and when a sperm, among a million, penetrates into the fallopian tube through your cervix within 12 to 24 hours of ovulation.

After the egg is fertilized, it travels downs towards the fallopian tube while dissecting itself into multiple cells known as a blastocyst. Once the egg enters the uterus, it burrows itself into the uterine lining, known as implantation.

 

Week 3

The one cell entity formed after fertilization is called a zygote. In case of the formation of multiple entities or if the egg splits into two, you will have multiple zygotes and therefore, pregnancies.

If you are awarded the news of bearing twins, that can be either fraternal twins (when two separate eggs are fertilized by two different sperms) or identical twins (when one egg splits into two after fertilization)

Interestingly, your baby’s inherited genetic characteristics will also be determined by this stage. A zygote has 46 chromosomes; 23 from your partner and 23 from you. These chromosomes are the determinant factor of your little angel’s sex and physical traits.

 

Week 4

Normally, this is the time when your next period would be due and thus, you shall get the joyous news of being pregnant.

While you are celebrating the beautiful moment, your little one is already developing inside your safe womb. The embryo splits into two parts to form the placenta which delivers nutrients and oxygen to your baby while the other part continues to develop into a fetus. At this point,  s/he is the size of a poppy seed.

The development initiates by forming a neural tube which will turn into your baby’s brain, spinal cord and backbone. 

Monitoring your pregnancy week by week is a good way to know how to go about looking after yourself. At this stage, remember to exercise caution as your baby is the most vulnerable.

 

Week 5

Your little one is now the size of a sesame seed, growing quite fast. The tiny heart starts to beat, and the circulatory system is on its way to development from the middle layer of cells called the mesoderm. The top layer is called the ectoderm while the inner layer is called the endoderm.

 

Week 6

The neural tube starts closing from which the brain and spinal cord develops. The heartbeat is more regular, and the eyes, nose, mouth and ears are starting to form.

The embryo is curved with a tail. The developing arms and legs would be visible in the ultrasound as small swellings.

 

Week 7

This is when your baby’s tiny hands and feet start to develop. The brain is more complex now and nerve cells in the brain are growing at a faster pace. Dark depression demarcates the area where nostrils would develop, and the formation of the retina has already begun.

Your little one would resemble the size of a blueberry.

 

Week 8

By the eighth week, your baby has webbed fingers and toes and their hands and legs are longer. The respiratory system has started to form with their lungs developing. The other physical features such as eyes, ears, nose etc. are becoming more distinct.

 

Week 9

Your baby, by this time, will have the initiation of a few key organs like the reproductive organs, pancreas, gallbladder etc. The head is relatively larger and tucked towards the chest. They even have tiny taste buds in their mouth by now.

But the interesting part is, they weigh just about a fraction of an ounce and are the size of a grape!

 

Week 10

As you progress through pregnancy week by week, the little one inside you has been growing and maturing. Now, it is time to call your baby a fetus rather than an embryo. It is week 10 already and your little one is growing at quite a pace. The brain is developing with 250,000 neurons every minute while the fingers and toes begin to separate. The jawbones, nostrils and upper lip have started to develop.

The heart beats faster and you can notice small, jerky movements on ultrasound.

 

Week 11

This week, the face broadens, eyes are separated, and red blood cells begin to form in the baby’s liver. By the end of the week, the baby’s external genitalia start developing, the body gradually straightens, and fingernails start to form.

Want to know an interesting fact? Your little one can breathe underwater: they inhale and exhale amniotic fluid.

 

Week 12

You are almost at the end of your first trimester now. Your baby’s face is more developed, and so are the organs. They will also move their body parts, but it is too early for you to feel.

Now you know what has been happening in the first trimester of your pregnancy week by week. Stay tuned, your little sweetheart will grow and mature in the coming weeks.

 

Summary

  1. Fun Fact: You are not really pregnant in the first week of pregnancy. Conception occurs only at the second or third week.
  2. Your baby’s physical traits would be decided from the moment the zygote forms.
  3. At the fourth week, when you discover that you are pregnant, your little one is already the size of a poppy seed.
  4. The neural tube develops into the brain, spinal cord and backbone and the heart starts to beat by the fifth week.
  5. The rest of the weeks are when your baby’s organs develop gradually.
  6. By the twelfth week, your little angel is developed and now, it is the time to grow and mature inside the womb. 

 

March 01, 2021 |  read

Baby and parent

Daily Care Routine for Newborn

With a newborn baby in the house, all you will see them do is eat, cry, sleep, poop –repeat! No two babies are the same; their sleeping and eating patterns often change. Especially during the initial phase, some things might come very organically and naturally to you, others might not. Whatever the case may be, you and your baby will eventually and certainly fall into a daily routine of feeding, sleeping, and playing. Here is a quick guide for you to know a little bit about the daily care routine for newborn.

 

Feeding

Whatever it is that you choose - bottle feed or breastfeed, on an average, a baby will need about six to eight feeds in a day. Breast milk is believed to be easily digested, hence, you may even have to feed the baby close to twelve times. Babies may also cry for food quite frequently. It is known as ‘cluster feeding.’ 

To calculate time between your baby’s feeds, note the time when the previous feed began, and not when it ended. While you are providing your baby with the best of nutrition, feeding time gives a lot of room to cuddle. This can help you build a loving, strong bond with your baby.  (Karmel 2010)

 

Playing

As part of the daily care routine for newborn babies, making time for fun and play. It lends an important role in their development and growth. Some ways to do so is by inculcating these following ideas to interact with the newborn :

  • Laughing and talking while making eye contact
  • Singing rhymes, softy
  • Reading or narrating a story with facial animations
  • Making funny faces
  • Hiding your face behind the palm and going Peek-a-boo!, etc
  • Taking them for a walk (after consulting your pediatrician) 
  • Giving them soft and tiny toys or items to touch and feel
  • Gently massaging the baby
 

Sleeping

Most of the baby’s time is spent sleeping in between feeds. Every now and then when they wake up, they might just need your help to put them back to sleep. Chances are, they might be sleeping for about 16 out of 24 hours. Your baby might also wake up about two to three times in the middle of the night, as they have no sense of night or day yet. It is rather better to keep your sleeping pattern flexible in the first few months because the baby’s sleep routine might keep changing. 

 

Holding

While your teeny little baby might feel very delicate and fragile, you do not have to be afraid to handle and hold them. However, do remember that their neck muscles still have not yet developed, and so your hand’s support will be needed for their head. You could also provide that support with their head on your shoulder while carrying them.

 

Bathing

Between the splashing of water, bubbles, and giggles, what makes a great time to engage the baby, and their senses is bath time! It also helps nurture the bond you share as a parent. Choosing the right products for your baby’s bath is very important as they have sensitive and gentle skin. 

 

How to go about it?

  • Keep everything ready : towel, diaper, clothes, baby cream. The baby should not be left in the water unattended - even for a second. 
  • Fill the tub with warm water. Run a temperature test. 
  • Wet a cloth to wash the face; support with one hand and wash the baby with the other. The diaper area should be washed from front to back.
  • Gently rinse with water, not from under the faucet, but from the tub. You do not want unexpected temperature variations.
  • Dry the baby with a soft towel, leaving no moisture.
  • Apply mild baby cream.
 

Comforting

Believe it or not - most babies weep for almost 2 hours on an average in a day especially in the first three months. It is absolutely normal. It is important, however, to find out the cause of their discomfort. Is it hunger? Is it sleep? Is the diaper to be changed? Over time, your motherly instincts will naturally indicate exactly what is to be done. 

 

Changing Diapers

There may be a lot of diapers that have to change through the course of an entire day. It is suggested to purchase a lot of diapers before the baby gets home from the hospital , to make things easier. Nappy rashes might also occur as the baby’s skin is sensitive and fragile. Any signs of redness should mean a quick application of cream (as suggested by your pediatrician) on the diaper area. Rash powder might also be used to provide to your baby with absolute protection (always consult your pediatrician first). 

 

If there is anything you are feeling uncertain about, always consult your pediatrician and they will guide you through this journey. They can help you know more about the daily care routine for newborn children. Welcome to parenthood, it’s going to be a beautiful journey!


 

April 12, 2021 |  read

baby and books

Books for your baby - What to choose, How to plan

Babies grow super fast in their initial years. Numerous physical, mental, emotional, and a majority of cognitive developments take place in their initial years of growth. To cope with these changes and growth, parents need to provide them with the necessary toys and books. In today’s world, baby’s books are not just limited to traditional paperback books, some books are made of cardboard, cloth, napkins, and many more. There are also e-versions of baby books. Depending on the baby’s age and rate of development, you could choose the right books for your baby.    

 

For a baby's wholesome cognitive development, it is essential to choose the right books for them. Just like a school syllabus, baby books are designed and developed while the baby’s age is kept in mind. 

 

Here are a few tips and suggestions for new mommies and daddies on how to choose baby books based on the type and content of the books. 

 

0 – 12 months

These are your baby’s initial days, from the time of birth to their first birthday, numerous developments take place in them. From the first time they roll over to their first step, each of these milestones are a result of their physical growth. 

Babies start to recognize colors at around 3rd or 4th month and start grabbing and gripping over at around 6th or 7th month. To improve cognitive ability, it is essential to get colorful books for your baby, with rich textures, and steady ones. It is advised to buy your little-one books that are made of cardboard. Try and keep your baby away from screens like laptops and phones as much as possible. An E-book for this age would be a strict NO. 

You could also get them books that are made of cloth napkins and books that sing when you open them. These singing books have songs or rhymes with soothing tones. This would help them relax and sleep better.

 

A few months down the lane, they also tend to start using this board book as their chew toy; make sure to keep the books clean and dust-free. The way you read the book also plays an important role. It is advised to sit or sleep alongside them and read the book. Feel free to use different voices and pitches while reading them from books, your little one would love it.

 

12 to 24 months

In this span of 12 months, your little ones start to talk, walk, and develop particular interests. Now, your littles can recognize and remember things. Even for kids this age, say no to e-versions of books for your baby. Try to keep them away from phones and tabs, their eyes are still developing, and harmful blue-rays from the screen could affect the little eyes. Now, you can switch to books that have glossy papers, pictures, and short stories. Make sure the baby’s books have tons of pictures and bold letters. This would help them to learn about images and recognize them. 

 

Towards the end of this period, you could bring them coloring books and baby-friendly crayons or colored pencils. This helps them remember colors and promotes hand-eye coordination. Make it a habit to read to your little one every night. This enables them to imagine or picturise the story. Incorporate loads of hand gestures, voice modulations to help them focus and concentrate. 

 

Get them acquainted with short story books or toddler’s comics. These comics have a little bit of text and more pictures that have different textures. 

 

24 months to 3 years

This is the best time to hook your little ones on storybooks. They begin to recognize letters by now and talk more fluently. Make it a point to read with them for an hour or so each day. You could read with them when you are feeding them or when you are putting them down for a nap. This is a great way to indulge a reading habit in them. You could now read to them from your phones or tablets, keep this screen time in moderation and encourage them to read more books. 

 

You could now get books for your baby that have alphabets, fruits, vegetables, and animals in them. By this age, they can remember and memorize names and colors. Make sure to read aloud so your little munchkin can hear the sounds and repeat them. Involve them in coloring activities, encourage them to draw. You could get them acquainted with chalk and blackboards and slowly move towards whiteboards and markers. 

 

This is the time to teach them to read and write alphabets, small words like “Yes, No, Go ”; encourage them to practice these alphabets. Let your little ones listen to audiobooks of rhymes and stories. You could also read them rhymes and jingles from their books with a lot of expressions and movements. 

 

These are just a few suggestions on how to get your little one acquainted with books and ensure an all-round cognitive development. As important as it is to read to them and read with them, you need to practice what you preach. You could just read a book, and that would inspire them to read more. Kids tend to imitate the older ones around them. It is also essential to have fun with the kids when you are reading along with them. This way, they would want to read more or play more with the books. If your baby does not like books as much, don’t force them. Every tiny-hooman is different and you should learn to embrace it with love and joy. 


 

April 28, 2021 |  read

Newborn baby

How to Bond with the Newborn Baby

Remember the plans you had made with your baby when you were pregnant, it’s time to put them into action. If you have just had a baby, you probably would spend more time with the little one and get lost thinking how could someone so tiny take up all your attention. Here, we have a few tips to help you strengthen your bond with the newborn baby. 

 

The first 3 months of your new-born child could also be called the fourth trimester. There are still various physical and psychological adjustments happening to your baby. From the warm, dark atmosphere in the womb to the bright and colorful environment, the transition could take a few months. Babies are extremely dependent on their parents, especially on their mothers for warmth and comfort. Thanks to evolution, new mothers are by-default sensitive to non-verbal cues of their babies. 

 

Early bonding with the little munchkin plays a major role in how he/she looks at and perceives the world. Bonding with the little one might happen instantly or could take a bit longer than expected, it’s all-natural. One of the most important things to remember while bonding is to have fun. Let us see how. 

 

Breastfeeding 

Breastfeeding is one of the oldest and most natural ways to bond with the newborn baby. It helps develop a sense of comfort and trust in your baby. The skin to skin contact between the two of you helps stabilize temperature and stress in your baby. Say no to using any gadgets while feeding, and make sure to give your full attention to the little champ. You can talk to your baby in a soothing tone and look her in the eye, this will help them relax and trust you. Another great way to bond would be to sleep close to your baby. The skin contact helps keep them warm and comfortable. The little one loves mommy’s skin and touch. 

 

Talk to the baby 

This might seem a bit odd, but know that babies can recognize voices and sounds. You can talk to the baby about literally anything. Talk to them about how excited and happy you were to meet them, talk about your favorite books, movies, or even about people you know. Hold their little hand and speak in a soothing tone. The variations in your voice could be very entertaining to your tiny human. Make sure to have eye-contact with the baby when you talk to them. You could also give him/her a nickname. This would be like a little secret between you two. 

 

Sing and read stories

You could sing songs or the rhymes you learned from when you were a kid to your baby. Your baby will love different tunes and notes of the songs and rhymes. You could also curate a playlist of all your favorite songs and play them for both of you. After a few weeks, you might notice the little one recognizing the songs. 

Read the books you loved while growing up, or buy books for the baby and read, this is an amazing way to bond with the newborn baby. Your baby will love hearing your voice, and at times, you could see them imitating your expression or tone. Make this a habit, they will look forward to hearing from you each day. 

 

Mommy and me time!

Strap your baby on to you using a baby sling and start doing your usual chores. The baby will love this. You can cook, take a walk or sometimes even do mild cleaning with this. Play out your favorite tracks and dance to them while doing your chores, this makes it more fun. The baby will be close to your chest, that way you don’t have to worry about them waking up or crying. Take a long walk in the park or go shopping, the little one loves to travel and see different places. 

 

Fam Jam!

The relationship you share with your partner, and the entire family plays a huge role in bonding with your baby. If your little one has siblings or pets, let them play and get along. The best part is, even you could join them and relish the good old memories of your childhood. The communication between you and your partner, pets, or other kids teach your newborn a lot about the importance of family. To make family time more interesting, all of you can dress up and click pictures. Trust me, your heart will melt when you see your munchkin all dressed up!

 

Playtime!

Kids, despite their age, love to play. Even though new-borns cannot participate completely, they love watching you laugh and play. Get silly, make funny faces, and play with your little one. You can play peek-a-boo, tickle them gently, make funny faces, wiggle the eyebrows, and stick your tongue out. Be prepared to watch yourself fall in love with your little one all over again when she/he smiles. Let your other kids or pets join you, your baby munchkin is going to love this playtime. A few weeks into the playtime, you might hear your baby giggle and laugh. Record these moments and treasure them.

 

These are a few of many tips to bond with the newborn baby. Each and every baby is different, understanding the likes and dislikes are important. Once you know what he/she likes, you can bond with your baby in your own way and maybe even come up with different new ways. Spend as much time as you can with your kid and treasure all your favorite memories. Babies grow up fast, cherish these memories while you can. 


 

March 18, 2021 |  read

Getting Pregnant

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Fruits and nutrition

Ready to be Pregnant: Pre Pregnancy Diet and Exercise Plan

If you are trying to conceive, you must have come across every other person you meet  suggesting the food to eat or things to do to ensure pregnancy. But too many suggestions are difficult to keep track of. There must be a thousand questions running through your mind: What should I eat? What should my ideal weight be? What is healthy for the baby? Worry not! We have mapped out everything you need to know about your pre pregnancy diet and exercise plan to assist a healthy conception.

 

Antioxidants

Women trying to conceive are recommended to eat food rich in antioxidants like folic acid and zinc. Such food is known to deactivate the free radicals in the body which damages the gametes. Folic acid has vitamins which reduce the baby’s risk of neural tube birth defects thus, reducing the incidence of heart attacks, cancer, strokes, and diabetes.

Food to eat: Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach or kale, nuts, citrus fruits, whole grains, legumes, cereals etc. One can also take prenatal vitamins or a supplement to increase folic acid intake.

(What to Eat to Get Pregnant: Conception Diet, 2020)

 

Omega 3S

Omega 3S is beneficial for the baby’s eye development while reducing your risk of preterm birth, preeclampsia and depression. Moreover, your body does not make Omega 3S which is why it is more important to consume food rich in the same.

Food to eat: Coldwater fatty fish like salmon, low mercury fish such as tuna, shrimp or catfish.

(Trying to Conceive - North County Health Services, 2020)

 

Dairy

Consumption of low-fat dairy products enhances the chances of getting pregnant as it reduces the risk of ovulatory infertility. If you are trying to conceive, it is recommended to have at least one or two servings of whole milk in a day to ensure your calcium and protein intake.

 

Fruits and Vegetables

Studies have found that watermelon and asparagus are essential for the supply of glutathione in the body which has a direct impact on the egg quality. Pineapple, on the other hand, is rich in beta-carotene, which keeps your hormones at a steady level and helps to prevent miscarriage. Moreover, it has bromelain which supports implantation because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

Other fruits and vegetables you can include in your diet are cantaloupe, carrots, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables etc. which provide the essential nutrients and antioxidants to decrease inflammation in the body. Kale contains elements necessary for estrogen metabolism.

You may prepare fresh fruit or vegetable juices like that of goji berries which contain phytochemicals beneficial for fertility. It is a good idea to roast vegetables in high heat for some time without water to avoid any nutrient loss. (17 Natural Ways to Boost Fertility, 2020)

 

Fibre

While trying to conceive, it is important to ensure that you include fibre in your diet.  This is because fibre reduces excess hormones and keeps your blood sugar level balanced. On average, a woman is recommended to have 25 gms of fibre per day. This would help in the reduction of ovulatory infertility among women older than 32 years.

Food to eat: Avocados, sweet potatoes, fruits, oats, whole grains, beans etc.

 

Water

It goes without saying that the intake of the due amount of water can be quite helpful to avoid any hassle during conception. Water helps to thin out cervical mucus making it easier for the sperm to reach the egg cells. Moreover, it carries oxygen and nutrients to the cells, tissues and organs.

 

What else should I look for?

While a nutritious and balanced diet is vital to maintain healthy fertility, you would also need to keep a track of your weight. A pre pregnancy diet and exercise plan is essential for this. What may not be of common knowledge is the fact that obesity or being overweight significantly reduces the chances of being pregnant and having a healthy baby. Here, your BMI has an important role to play. Ideally, a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy to start trying for pregnancy.

(Weight and Fertility, 2020)

 

How can overweight affect fertility?

Being overweight, that is having BMI more than 25, can have a considerable number of implications if you are trying to be pregnant. More often than not, it causes hormonal imbalances and menstrual disorders. Problems with ovulation are not uncommon either. With more fat cells in the body, more estrogen is released which can cause the body to react as if already pregnant. This prevents ovulation and thus a monthly period cycle.

If you are planning to opt for an assisted reproductive technique, being overweight can cause a few hitches and reduce your chances of getting pregnant through any fertility treatments.

Besides, obesity is one of the common causes of PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) which may result in infertility.

(Weight, fertility, and pregnancy, 2020)

Thus, it helps significantly to know what you should and should not be including in your diet to have a healthy start and have a pre pregnancy diet and exercise plan in place. A nutritious and balanced diet is quite vital for maintaining the appropriate BMI. Additionally, you can keep tracking your menstrual cycle to time your conception. Talk to your doctor and keep checking up regularly on your ovulation cycle.


 

March 05, 2021 |  read

couple

My husband isn’t ready to have a baby, but I am. What do I do?

You and your husband are having a good, solid relationship going and now you feel it's time you made the bond stronger with a little addition. Unfortunately, your partner is not on the same page. My husband isn’t ready to have a baby, but I am. What do I do? There are a number of women with this question. Let's take a look at how to approach the situation.

 

Open Conversation

                                                                                      

An honest conversation can solve half the problems in a relationship. Talk to your partner openly and find out why they don’t want to have a child. The reasons could be financial or emotional. Give them their space to voice out their concerns and lend a non-judgmental ear. Remember, not everyone may have the same priorities as you and it may not be possible for you to understand the situation that they are in. Talk to them about your perspective and why you think it’s the right time according to you. Keep your tone and body language in check so you make him feel comfortable in being a part of the conversation.

 

Respect their Viewpoint

                                                                       

Learn to take no for an answer. While it's understandable that you want to start a family, it is also essential to understand that your partner is allowed to have a different opinion from you. Respect their decision and do not make them feel guilty for the way they feel. Maybe they are at a sensitive point in career where an added responsibility might hamper it. Maybe they aren’t emotionally ready to be a parent yet. Whatever their reason, learn to accept it for what it is. Forcing them to agree with you, especially for something life changing, such as having a baby, could have its repercussions. Pregnancy and parenthood is a journey that involves both of you and it isn’t going to be enjoyable if only one of you is ready to embark upon it.

 

Looking at Yourself

                                                                    

When your husband isn’t ready to have a baby, how about taking a look back to understand the problem better. Why is it that you want to have a child? Many times, we are led to believe that having a child is a way of completing our family and is the natural next step. It is also possible that you are insecure about your relationship and having a child, you feel will give it more stability. While bringing a child into the world is a beautiful miracle, doing this for the wrong reasons is going to create problems for both you and your partner. Parenting can be an extensive activity. Think it out and find out why exactly you want a child right now. If the concerns are genuine like fears of possible medical complications, communicate them with your partner effectively to help him understand the situation.

 

Reaching the Middle Ground

                                                                  

As a first step, realise that a middle ground is possible in most differences of opinions. Your partner is not your opponent and you are in on this together. You both are on the same team. That being acknowledged, the important question to ask yourself next is – is this child more important to you than your partner or the relationship you have with him? Unless the relationship is undergoing a major crisis, most partners tend to respond with no. Realise how important your partner is to you and try to reach a compromise where you both get some and give up some to reach a middle ground. However, if, in fact, you do think having a child is more important to you, it is probably a red sign that you need to reconsider the relationship and realign your priorities.

 

Prepare Yourself

                                                                     

While it may be true that many around you have started a family, remember that this is not for everyone. Being excited about the pregnancy result is one thing and going through the nine months, labour, to finally raising a child, isn’t as easy as it may seem. Make sure that you are prepared for what's coming up your way before you make a decision. Not only is this going to require financial and emotional commitment but, as a mother, physical commitments as well. Taking care of a child is a commitment you will have to fulfil for years to come. Remember, you are under no pressure to have a child by a certain age or time. It's absolutely acceptable for you to have a committed, happy marriage without a child being a part of it – if that is what makes you and your partner happy. 

If you are thinking about starting a family during the pandemic, here are some things to keep in mind - Things to Know Before You Get Pregnant During the Pandemic.

 

So, what do you really do when your husband isn't ready to have a baby ? Well, the answer is simple. You communicate. Listen to their concerns and voice out yours. It's almost always possible to reach a middle ground with a respectful conversation where you both feel that your opinions are valued and acknowledged. While it's important to understand why your partner may not want a child, it is also important to find out why you do. Keep the conversation honest and open, and remember to not force your partner into anything he may not be ready to do just yet.

 

 

February 19, 2021 |  read

men

Male Sexual Dysfunction - Problems and Solutions

Sexual dysfunction is quite common, despite the common beliefs and irrespective of gender, age or sexual orientation. While talking about male sexual dysfunction, it is helpful to understand that such a sexual problem can affect anyone, for which the causes can be both biological and psychological.

 

Sexual dysfunction in men essentially refers to the inability to perform sexually. This occurs when one cannot get or maintain an erection to participate in sexual intercourse or to derive satisfaction. However, other common problems also include premature ejaculation, inhibited sexual desires or delayed ejaculation, and low libido.

 

Although erectile dysfunction is not always a cause for concern, continuation of erection troubles may be a symptom for underlying health conditions or affect your mental health. The sexual reaction cycle goes in the following order: appetence, arousal, orgasm and resolution, depending on which disorders in sexual function can be classified. Hence, there is a need to understand and distinguish between partial functional impairment and those dysfunctions which require treatment.

 

Erectile Dysfunction

                                                                     

The most common male sexual dysfunction is failure or trouble to have an erection or arousal. While it is not very common in young males, mostly men above 40 years of age suffer from ED. The process involved in male sexual arousal is quite complex to include the brain, emotions, hormones, nerves, blood vessels and muscles. An erection is caused due to increased blood flow into the penis, which is stimulated by sexual thoughts or direct contact with the penis.

 

Excitement in a man would cause the penis muscles to relax, which allows increased blood flow through the arteries to fill up the two chambers inside. With the chambers being filled up with blood, the penis grows rigid.

 

Various psychological and physical factors or sometimes, a combination of both could result in trouble in having or to maintain an erection. The causes can vary which include diseases that affect the blood flow, for instance, hardening of the arteries, nervous disorders, injury to the penis, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and Perkison’s diseas. Moreover, relationship problems, sleep disorder or stress, depression and performance pressure can have severe effects too. Erectile dysfunction also results from unhealthy habits such as smoking, alcohol consumption, overeating and lack of exercise.

 

Hence, it is vital to consult your doctor on what would be the best way to get treated, or if there is any underlying health condition. Sometimes, a combination of medications and therapy help to treat ED.

 

Oral medications which help to stimulate your blood flow into the penis include avanafil, sildenafil, tadalafil and vardenafil. In case of low levels of testosterone, you may be recommended testosterone therapy.  

 

Sometimes, a vacuum pump treatment may be used as well, to stimulate an erection. Blood is drawn to the penis using a pump-like device which leads to an erection.

 

Ejaculation Disorders

                                                                          

Distresses with ejaculation includes premature ejaculation (ejaculation occurs too soon), inhibited or delayed ejaculation (when ejaculation takes a very long time) or retrograde ejaculation (rather than ejaculation being through the penis, it is forced back into the bladder).

 

As is the case with other male sexual dysfunctions, studies suggest that ejaculation disorders too can be caused due to a combination of physical and psychological factors. Sexual repression or any such history, affects as much as stress or low self-confidence or an unhealthy relationship with the partner. Alcohol or substance abuse, smoking, side effects from other medicines are among the few causes to be on lookout for. Diabetic nerve damage is the most common reason for retrograde nerve damage.

 

Low Libido

                                                                   

Low libido refers to decreased interest or desire on sex. The definition is varied according to what each person considers as sexual satisfaction.

 

Apart from the above mentioned factors, this may be caused due to low levels of male sex hormone, ie, testosterone. Testosterone is responsible for male sex drive, sperm production, muscle, bone and hair. If the level of the hormone decreases, it could affect your body as well as mood.

 

In such a case, treatment would mean raising the level of testosterone by hormone replacement therapies through injections, gels and patches.

 

A counsellor may be recommended to consult in case of psychological causes such as anxiety, depression, or guilt aroused through inability to perform sexually.

 

Given any kind of treatment, the first and foremost thing to do is to recognize the problems and have a healthy relationship with the doctor. You may approach a sexologist or if recommended, a psychiatrist or psychologist to fathom the causes and treatment for your sexual dysfunction.

 

You can always opt to alter your lifestyle if you realize that most of your problems may be related to an unhealthy diet, or lack of exercise, sleep etc. More often, the causes lie in our daily routine. For instance, try to have a regular sleeping pattern, maintaining at least six-seven hours of sleep every day.

 

If you are having problems with your partner, communicate with them. It is very crucial to have a healthy relationship for a fulfilling sexual life.

 

Avoid alcohol consumption or smoking. Substance abuse is never a solution to any problem.

 

Plan your diet and keep a track of the food habits. Exercise regularly. You will find that working out regularly will not only significantly improve your sexual life but also elevate your overall mood.



 

February 20, 2021 |  read

Baby bump

How to Get Pregnant – Is there a right time to make a baby?

Sex is seen very differently when it’s time to make a baby with your partner. There is no one ‘best’ way of getting pregnant. But we have a few tips and methods that you could keep in mind when you are trying to get pregnant

 

The Infamous ‘Fertile Window’

Many researchers and doctors have studied that the fertile window within a menstrual cycle helps to inhibit the sperm and the egg to infuse to develop into an embryo. The atmosphere thus created increases your chances of conception. The process of ovulation takes five days altogether. So having sex during these five days increases your chances of getting pregnant.           

With these scientific studies, we would like to break the myth that women can get pregnant anytime. It is simply not true. Conception happens only within the time period of the fertile window.

 

Understanding the Process of Ovulation

The process of ovulation in the female reproductive system allows the egg to be released from the ovary. The egg then travels through the fallopian tubes and gets embedded in the walls of the uterus. This process produces perfect eggs that have the capacity to grow into a baby with the help of a sperm.

Doctors say that the best way to get pregnant is within this window of 5 days leading to ovulation. This is the best time to make a baby because the chances are higher for the best sperms and eggs to come together to form an embryo.

12-24 hours after the period ovulation, a woman has fewer chances of getting pregnant. This is because the eggs are no longer in the fallopian tube. Do understand that this is not a method you could rely on if you are not planning to get pregnant, using contraception would be a better choice.  

 

Why is the Fertile Window Important?

Sperms and eggs have a very short lifetime. On average, sperms are active only for 5 days. On the other hand, eggs need to be fertilized within 24 hours after being released from the body.

Both the sperm and egg have to be active in order to come together to create an embryo. The fertile window is the right time period for this process to occur. The atmosphere in the body allows the fertilization of the sperm and the egg together.

 

Timing is Key

Understanding your menstrual cycle is the best way to plan ahead to have sex if you are ready to get pregnant. The best method to do this is to make a note of your menstrual pattern so that you are able to get the right number of days that consist of your menstrual cycle. Period math is everything when it is time to make a baby. 

You can use our Baby Space Ovulation Tracker to track your ovulation dates every month. An average woman’s menstrual cycle lasts between 28-30 days. These are the number of days starting from the first day of your period to the first day of your next cycle. The process of ovulation occurs in the mid-point of this cycle. If you have noted a 28-day cycle, then your ovulation day should be sometime around day 14. Note this day and plan a romantic date night around this time period.

Ovulation also brings about a lot of changes in the body. So this can be another method to indicate the exact time of ovulation in the body. Some women see a change of colour in their vaginal discharge or slight changes in their body temperature. These are very rare changes and vary from one person to another.

 

Sex - This is How We Make Babies

As discussed, having sex within the fertile window is the key to getting pregnant. There are a lot of myths and online queries talking about the perfect way to have sex in order to get pregnant. Research is the truth; there is no certain way to have sex that gives you 100 per cent result. You might have come across sources that they say that one position is better than the other. This comparison varies from person to person. We suggest that you try and experiment with your ideas instead of going into a whirlwind of suggestions from others and just enjoy the process.

The key point of having sex is the importance of the act of penetration. The deeper the penetration, the closer the sperm gets to the cervix which allows it to latch onto fertile eggs. Studies show that the missionary and doggie-style positions allow deeper penetration. Also, sperms are pretty good swimmers. It takes about 15-20 minutes for them to reach the cervix once it enters through the vagina. 

How many times should you do it? Well, there are a lot of myths that do cause a bit of confusion. Some sources say that having sex frequently reduces the quality of the sperm. Some research on the other hand shows that good quality sperms are produced after 2-3 days of abstinence. Studies also show that pregnancy rates are higher among the couple who have sex every 1-2 days. Do what works for you. Forget the contraception for a change - it’s time to make a baby! 

 

Other Tips to Get Pregnant 

  • Watch Your Diet: Include exercises and an adequate amount of veggies, fruits and meat in your diet. Also, try to cut down on caffeine to boost your fertility.
  • Quit Smoking: Smoking is harmful to your body and increases the odds of infertility and miscarriage.
  • Orgasm: Ejaculation is an important process for the male to get his partner pregnant. Although it is not considered important for the woman to climax, it does help to speed up the process for the sperm to reach its destination.

 

March 19, 2021 |  read

Baby

What is IVF Pregnancy?

IVF ( in vitro fertilisation)- the term faintly rings a bell, doesn’t it? Well, what is IVF pregnancy? You might have come across it at some point, while flipping through the pages of the women’s weekly you have subscribed to or maybe on the large hoarding at the traffic signal that grabs almost everyone’s attention. Even the cinema world has no dearth of films whose plots consist of a ringing presence of IVF as a subject. From popular contemporary Bollywood films to the Mohanlal starrer Dasharatham- which dates back to the 1980s, this marvellous innovation in the history of medical sciences has changed the conventional beliefs about giving birth to a baby. And today globally, infertility, impotency, one being a single parent or same-sex parents, are not seen as hindrances by couples who might be trying to build a family.

You must also remember that infertility is not rare but in fact is a commonly found phenomena across the globe, that affects at least 7 out of 10 couples. Fortunately, IVF came to the rescue and today even couples who are not able to complete the natural process of fertilisation, can have a baby through it. The babies conceived by the process of IVF are better known as test-tube babies. 

IVF is one of the most common types of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). ART is the umbrella term assigned to those medical procedures that are designed to address infertility related matters. Now that you know the term and its context, this brief reading will provide you with a basic overview of how IVF works and what are the notable points you need to know about an IVF:

 

What is IVF Pregnancy? How is it done?

As complicated as it might seem, let’s see if we can break down the process for you. In vitro fertilisation is the process of combining a woman’s eggs and man’s sperm outside the body in a laboratory setting to enable the development of the embryo. It requires constant monitoring to induce fertilisation. IVF mainly involves stimulating the woman’s ovulatory process after the removal of an ovum or ova from the ovaries by fertilising it in glass (in vitro) through its fusion with sperm. After undergoing a successful embryo culture for two to six days, the same fertilised egg can be implanted in the same woman or maybe in another woman’s uterus to regulate a pregnancy successfully. In this way, the fertilised egg can be implanted in a surrogate’s uterus to establish a pregnancy where the resultant baby is genetically unrelated to the mother.

 

What is its process?

Now that you’ve answered what is IVF pregnancy, let's take a look at the process. The IVF process involves several steps and takes several months for completion. Although at times it works on the first trial, for some people it takes more than one round to attain pregnancy through IVF. It works differently for different individuals in increasing their chances of pregnancy. This subjectivity exists because of the natural variations in our body types. 

 

The beginning of the process of IVF is marked by the intake of fertility medications in order to enable the production of several eggs over a period of time so that they are mature enough to cause fertilisation. This induced process of ovulation is often followed by regular blood tests and ultrasound scans to determine the hormone levels and track the production of the egg/s. This process helps to keep a check on whether ample mature eggs have been produced by the ovaries. When this condition is fulfilled, the procedure of egg retrieval is carried out by virtue of a minor surgery. This is done by the doctor in a hospital or fertility clinic that involves the removal of the eggs from the body.

 

Even though it may seem like a severely complicated and painful procedure, that is not the case. It involves relaxing medications that helps in making you comfortable during the process. The doctor inserts a tube into the vagina that reaches the ovary and its follicles which hold the eggs. This tube is thin and hollow in shape and is connected to a suction device which operates by pulling the eggs out of each follicle in the most gentle manner.

 

Further, the insemination procedure is carried out. This is the process of letting the sperm cells of your partner or donor fuse with your eggs. It is done in labs by storing them together in a special container to allow fertilisation to take place. In case of low motility of the sperms, fertilization is promoted by direct injection of the sperm into the eggs. This is then followed by close monitoring by the lab professionals to allow the cells in the fertilised eggs to segregate and form embryos. 

 

Following 3-5 days of the egg retrieval procedure, embryo transfer is carried out. This is the step in which one or more embryos are planted into the uterus. The procedure is carried out with precision by doctors who use a thin tube to transfer the embryo and insert it directly into the uterus. Since it is carried out in a hospital or fertility clinic, it is generally not painful. The attachment of any of the embryos to the uterus lining, finally results in pregnancy.

 

After the process

Adequate rest is extremely essential after an embryo transfer. However, you can go back to normal activities the following day onwards. Sometimes, pills and daily shots of the progesterone hormone are prescribed for about eight to ten weeks to make the embryo’s survival in the uterus easier.

 

Final thoughts

An IVF can be an expensive affair and the very thought of it might be overwhelming to you. Talking to people with similar fertility struggles sometimes tend to help in eliminating apprehensions. However, it is always advisable to get in touch with your doctor who can give the right information on what is IVF pregnancy, the costs and possible side effects if any, with appropriate solutions.


 

April 08, 2021 |  read

Indian couple and baby

Questions About IVF : Everything You Might Want to Know

Infertility becomes a major concern whenever a couple is unable to get pregnant or is trying to conceive, despite the indulgence in unprotected intercourse, having tried for at least one year, and additionally so when the woman is aged less than 35. But with the continued advances made in reproductive medicine, treatments for infertility have become highly successful, including the IVF. Here is a list of questions about IVF, and answers to them you probably are seeking.
 

What is IVF?

IVF stands for in-vitro fertilization. It is a treatment for infertility, whereby in a laboratory dish, a woman’s eggs are fertilized with a man’s sperm. The fertilized eggs (or embryos) are further transferred into a woman’s uterus, in the hope that they will implant, and mature into a pregnancy. Essentially, it is a reproductive technique that is assisted medically, initially outside the woman’s body.

 

When or Why is IVF considered?

It is when other forms of infertility treatment are already considered and evaluated, but somehow did not work out, that one thinks about IVF or in-vitro fertilization. IVF is mostly considered when either the woman who has an advanced reproductive age, blocked fallopian tubes, PCOS, or when the man exhibits the male factor infertility. Among other reasons, it is also opted for to prevent the transmission of genetic diseases to future generations. 

 

How successful is IVF in India?

One of the questions about IVF that probably does come to your mind is ‘How successful IVf really is in India?’ Doctors at Apollo Hospital confirm that IVF procedures are carried out throughout the year in India, successfully. Some difficulties might come in your way while conceiving, and hence IVF becomes a solution. It is understandable, however, that there might be a few concerns in terms of whether or not the process would be fruitful, given the time and money invested. A lot many couples or people have been able to start their family because of IVF. 

There are several factors that determine the success of IVF including (but not limited to) the body’s capability to sustain a pregnancy in terms of age and previous or prevailing health issues, embryo status, lifestyle factors, choosing to conceive through surrogacy, or general attitude towards the process - sometimes IVF may not show results the first time, and it need not necessarily mean that it would not work out at all. IVF is a very personal decision, but must be taken only after carefully evaluating the factors that are at stake. Technology has come a far way and has managed to grow, of which IVF is one such result. With the right kind of guidance, IVF sure can help you gain from its benefits. 

 

What are the things to be kept in mind before choosing IVF?

Everything about IVF must be known to you before considering IVF, including the benefits, the risks, or even the alternatives. A detailed discussion with the physician should nudge you in the right direction to make an informed decision and start a family of your own. 

Choose the right IVF clinic :

The success of an IVF depends significantly on many factors related to the patients themselves, but they also quite do on the approaches the clinic takes.

Ask for details :

The cost and other expenses combined with each step of the procedure should be known well in advance. Ask about the number of embryos that will be transferred, implanted, and all other questions you might have.

 

Is IVF painful?

Every woman displays a different, individualistic response to the procedure in IVF. While some aspects might cause pain or discomfort to some women, others might not feel the same way. However, in case of severe pain, you must visit your doctor as it could be an indication of a complication (most likely to be easily dealt with) whilst the IVF process is going on. Women might experience discomfort while ovarian stimulation which is the first part of the process, or during ovulation induction, egg retrieval, and  embryo transfer. There is no harm in talking to your doctor to be double sure.

 

How long does an IVF cycle take?

A cycle of IVF can take somewhere between four to six weeks, typically. Treatment can begin only after the initial fertility testing is done. The testing procedure will include assessment of the egg quality, uterus, semen analysis, etc. 

 

How many times can IVF be tried?

IVF is almost like a miracle for women and men suffering from infertility. If you are not successful in the first attempt, how many more cycles should you try? Keeping the financial limitations or the monetary aspect aside, individuals can get the in vitro procedure done until they are successful. There is no guarantee however, whether or not it will be a success after the first or the second cycle. Ideally, there is no limit on the number of cycles of IVF one can get done, but if it has worked out even after the second or the third try, there might be a possibility of other factors getting in your way, that you might not be aware of. A fertility specialist in such a case, you should get in touch with. 

 

When should you run the pregnancy test after IVF?

Ideally, women are advised to wait for about two weeks after the IVF procedure to run a pregnancy test. It takes that much amount of time for the fertilised egg to get implanted in the womb, and further produce the hCG hormone - that shall be detected in the test.

We sincerely hope that these answer some of your questions about IVF. 


 

March 15, 2021 |  read

balanced diet

Best Diet for IVF Success

In-vitro Fertilization (or IVF) has become a boon to couples facing difficulties in conceiving. The IVF journey can be both emotionally and physically challenging. Women who undergo the treatment commonly feel anxious, sad, and uncertain and the regular shots of hormones that they receive can further heighten the emotions. It is important to have a healthy diet during his period to keep your body energised for the demanding period. Here are some suggestions you can include to create the best diet for IVF success.

 

What Kind of Meals Do I Eat?

Your body works as an entire system. To keep your fertility levels high, it isn't simply enough that you take care of your reproductive system but your digestive and immunity systems as well. Remember to take healthy, whole meals that give your body the nutrition it requires. Choose energy over convenience. Do not make any major dietary changes at this point. For example, if you weren't following a gluten-free diet, now is not the time to make that lifestyle shift. A Meditteranean diet has been shown to be helpful for both men and women during the IVF cycles. 

 

How Important is My Weight?

Your weight can be a contributing factor in the success or failure of your IVF treatment. Being underweight or overweight is not desired. Check your BMI to keep a track of what the ideal weight for your height is. Keep in mind that your BMI results are not the ultimatum and get expert medical opinion for more accurate advice. Trying to reach the optimal weight can also be an emotionally taxing period. Prepare yourself for it. 

 

Meditteranean Diet

You can have a diet congruent with the Meditteranean Diet even without making a complete shift. Include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and eat whole grains. Lean proteins like fish and healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil are also good food inclusions. Low-fat dairy products and legumes help meet the protein requirements. An easy target that you and your partner can keep everyday is as follows:

Fresh vegetables - 5 servings

Fresh fruit - 2 servings

Protein – 15-20% of total calorie intake

Carbohydrates – 50-60 % of total calorie intake depending on the BMI

Total fat intake – 25-30 % of total calorie intake

 

Keeping Yourself Hydrated

Water is an important element to keep your body energised. Without enough water to lubricate its cells, your body cannot function at its best. Drink at least 2 litres of water everyday. Keep a bottle with you at all times and set reminders on your phone to remind you to take consistent sips if you feel you may forget to do so. 

 

What to Avoid

It is as important to keep in mind what to avoid, as it is to remember what to intake. Eating red meat was shown in a study to have negative effects on chances of clinical pregnancy and embryo development for women undergoing IVF treatment and is best avoided. While there isn't an absolute medical restriction on the intake of alcohol while preparing for or during your IVF cycle, it is important to keep it in check. A couple of drinks in a single week could hamper with the process and has definitely no place in your best diet for IVF success. There is also the added danger of emotional reaction that alcohol can bring out that you should keep in mind. It is also important that you get your regular medication list (if any) checked by your IVF specialist. There may be some drugs there that could hamper the process and so need to be checked and approved of. Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), medication for mental health issues like antidepressants, steroids, and chemotherapy drugs need to be discussed with and prescribed by your doctor in relation to the IVF procedure.

 

Pointers for the Male Partner

As a male partner, your role is not complete with the sperm donation. Your partner requires your support and help in both direct and indirect ways. It is important to make this a shared journey and keep yourself an active participant in this. While reducing the intake of alcohol is a good option for the success of your sperm donation, it is also helpful when your partner is going through her other procedures as a part of the cycle to evade any temptations that she may get. Smoking should be avoided as well. Further, chalk out diet plans together to not just optimize nutrition for both, but also to make this a bonding activity and reduce the workload of cooking separate meals. 

 

Finding the best diet for IVF success is not as difficult as committing to it. At every point where you feel demotivated, remember your reasons for doing this. Take care of yourself and give your body and mind what it requires to keep going - take a break for some ‘me time’, go on a romantic date with your partner, get yourself some flowers; anything that feels good for you! While diet is an important factor in the success of your IVF procedure, remember that this is not the only one. Good sleep habits, regular exercise, and keeping your stress in check are also necessary lifestyle changes that you need to make.


 

July 22, 2021 |  read

Parenting & Lifestyle

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Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast Cancer: Early Detection for your protection

Prevention is better than cure has been rightly acknowledged over time. Breast cancer early diagnosis can surely help you to identify the disease when it is most treatable. Therefore, having sufficient knowledge about what it is and what the signs are symptoms of Breast cancer can help you take sufficient prevention against it. 

 

Breast cancer develops in the lining cells (epithelium) of the ducts (85%) or lobules (15%) of the glandular tissue. The malignant development is initially restricted to the duct or lobule (“in situ”), where it usually causes no symptoms and has a low risk of spreading (metastasis). In situ (stage 0) tumors can grow over time and invade the surrounding breast tissue (invasive breast cancer), then spread to neighboring lymph nodes (regional metastasis) or other organs in the body (distant metastasis). It is because of widespread metastasis that death from Breast cancer takes place. 

 

The Treatment for breast cancer can be quite effective, especially if the disease is detected early. Microscopic cancer that has spread from the breast tumor through the blood is generally treated with a combination of surgical removal, radiation therapy, and medication (hormonal therapy, chemotherapy, and/or targeted biological therapy). This type of treatment has the potential to hinder cancer growth and spread and thereby save many lives. 

 

What is the scope of the disease?

Breast cancer had been diagnosed in 7.8 million women in the previous five years as of the end of 2020, making it the most common cancer in the world. Breast cancer causes more disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) in women around the world than any other type of cancer. Breast cancer is not restricted to any one country type and can occur in any country across the world in women after puberty at any age and the rates of its occurrence increase in later life. The technological and treatment advancements appear as a piece of good news in our knowledge about Breast cancer as the mortality rate has been considerably changed a little after the 1980s with the help of early detection and surgical treatments. 

 

Who is at the risk?

Breast cancer is neither an infectious nor transmissible illness. Unlike other cancers that are caused by infections, such as human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and cervical cancer, breast cancer is not associated with any viral or bacterial infections.

 

Approximately half of all breast cancers occur in women who have no known risk factors for the disease other than their gender (female) and age (over 40 years). Age, obesity, hazardous alcohol use, family history of breast cancer, history of radiation exposure, and reproductive history (such as the age at which menstrual periods began and a family history of breast cancer) are all variables that raise the risk of breast cancer.

 

What are the signs of Early Detection?

We know that the name and the disease in itself can be highly intimidating and daunting knowledge to procure but if the signs of early detection are known and be taken care of, then with the help of proper care and medicative measures chronic risks can be avoided in time. 

The most frequent symptom of breast cancer is a painless lump or thickening in the breast. Even if there is no pain connected with an abnormal lump in the breast, it is critical that women visit a health practitioner within 1-2 months of discovering it. Seeking medical help as soon as a potential symptom appears allows for more effective therapy. Whereas, 90% of the masses in the breast are not cancerous and can be non-cancerous breast abnormalities like cysts and other infections.  

We would like you to look at the signs and symptoms of breast cancer for your informed knowledge and safety, and these are:

 
  • dimpling, redness, pitting, or other changes in the skin
  • a breast lump or thickening; a change in the size, shape, or appearance of a breast
  • a change in the appearance of the nipple or a change in the skin around the nipple (areola)
  • nipple discharge that is abnormal.
 

What can be done to reduce the risk of Breast cancer?

As much as we know that the factors like having a family history with Breast cancer cannot be changed but we sure can change the lifestyle changes to reduce the breast cancer risk. Some of the lifestyle changes to reduce the breast cancer risk are:

 

Limiting alcohol- Alcohol should be consumed in moderation. The more alcohol you consume, the more likely you are to develop breast cancer. Based on research on the influence of alcohol on breast cancer risk, the general guideline is to limit oneself to one drink per day.

 

Maintaining a healthy weight- If you're on a healthy weight, try to keep it up. If you need to reduce weight, talk to your doctor about how to do so in a healthy way. Reduce the number of calories you consume each day and gradually increase your physical activity. 

 

Adequate physical activity- Physical activity can assist you in maintaining a healthy weight, which can aid in the prevention of breast cancer. Most healthy adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of strenuous aerobic activity each week, as well as strength training at least twice a week.

 

The most important thing to live a disease-free and healthy life is to stay fit, eat well, and do good workouts in order to have optimum physical activity for our body. We know that the advent of any disease is mostly unexpected and uncertain but can definitely ensure to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep ourselves healthy, happy, and fit. 

  

June 19, 2021 |  read

Indian Couple

Contraceptives - Birth Control Methods You Should Know About

There are different types of contraceptives or birth control methods that are available in India. Families follow contraceptive methods to help with proper birth planning for their baby and the growth of the family. 

The use of contraceptives during the sexual act is to prevent the process of reproduction. This can be done in different ways. It acts as a barrier against the fusion of an egg and a sperm. A contraceptive halts the formation of an egg in the body. Some other birth control methods stop the sperm and egg from attaching to the lining of the womb.  

Here are a few birth control methods that you should know more about:

 

Natural Methods

Abstinence :

In simple words, it means to decide not to have sexual intercourse. But it has different meanings to different people. While some people choose to stay away from any or all sexual activity, others engage in everything else other than vaginal or anal penetration.

Abstinence as a type of contraceptive is 100 percent effective.

Withdrawal :

Also known as ‘coitus interruptus’, it is a practice of removing the penis from the vagina before ejaculation to prevent pregnancy. This pulling out method avoids the sperm from entering the vagina and reaching the sperm.

This birth control method isn’t as effective as other methods. An estimated 1 in 5 couples practising withdrawal over a year do get pregnant. But it has very few side effects and is followed by most couples.

 

Use of Devices

Male Condom :

Condoms are a commonly used contraceptive method by many people. It not only prevents pregnancy but it also helps to tackle sexually transmitted diseases. External condoms, worn on the penis are thin latex designed to stop the sperm from travelling into the vagina.

Male condoms are proved to be 98% effective. This means 2 out of 100 people will become pregnant even if they use a male condom. In India, condoms are easily available at stores and medical shops.

Female Condom :

This birth control method is not as common as a male condom. Similar to the actions of a male condom, a female condom also acts as a barrier against the sperm. It is worn inside the vagina.

There are no serious side effects of using a female condom. Women who are not comfortable touching their genital area should avoid using a female condom.

Diaphragm :

Although this is not a common practise in India, it is one of the most effective types of contraception. A doctor can help you determine the right size of the diaphragm that fits your body type. It is a soft rubber device and has a flexible ring that helps to attach the cup-shaped device to fit inside the vagina.

It is said to be 94% effective and comfortable to use for women. It can also be reused for 2-3 years.

 

Injections

Contraceptive injections release hormones known as progestogen into your bloodstream to prevent pregnancy. It is taken by women and is said to be 94 percent effective. The effect of the ‘shot’ will last for 8 to 13 weeks. But the effect of the injection reduces if you forget to take the next injection on time.

This birth control method brings about side effects such as weight gain, headaches, mood swings and irregular bleeding. Other rare risk factors are also seen as a result of these shots. Therefore, it is advisable to take it under your doctor’s prescription.

 

Pharmaceutical Contraceptives

Intrauterine Device :

This device is placed in the uterus of the patient through a medical procedure. The sperm is prevented from reaching the egg by this ‘T’ shaped device. It reduces the chances of getting pregnant to less than 1 per cent in women. It has a lasting effect than other birth control methods and is hassle-free.

Contraceptive Pills :

These birth control pills contain synthetically structured hormones that prevent fertilization in women. Its mechanism works as it disrupts the natural hormone functions in the body. It interferes with the ovulation cycle and its release. The pills also affect the linings of the womb which prevents the egg from attaching to the lining. On consultation, if required, your doctor can help you with a prescription for the same.

 

Permanent Birth Control Methods

There are different types of permanent contraceptives for both females and males. A surgical procedure known as tube ligation refers to the process of the woman’s fallopian tubes being blocked, tied or cut. Tube implant on the other hand inserts small metal springs in each fallopian tube. Vasectomy in men is a surgical procedure that cuts, ties or seals the male vasa deferentia to prevent the release of sperm.    

This method of permanent sterilization is quite popular among couples who have a specific family plan in order. The procedure is not only expensive but also difficult to be reversed through medical surgeries.

 

There is a lot of information about different types of contraceptives that you can access. But it is always best to consult a doctor. Each individual has a different medical case when compared to another. Seeking help from a professional will also help you to follow the procedure in a healthy manner.


 

March 19, 2021 |  read

Couple

Fun Ways to Tell Your Partner You’re Pregnant

Finding out you are pregnant is amazing news irrespective of how long you have been trying. You might have been trying for a long time now or got lucky for the first time, this could be the happiest news of all in your life. This super happy news could come to you as a surprise or was long overdue - either way, it would alter your life forever. 

 

Giving your partner the news would be the happiest step of welcoming the little one to the world. It could be as simple or as extravagant as you want it to be. You could just go up to your partner and pop the news, or you could make him play a little game and surprise him. Either way, you and your partner will remember this day forever. 

 

If you have been wondering or trying to figure out how to give your partner the news, you are in the right place! This is a special moment for the two of you. Here are a few super creative and fun ways to tell your partner you’re pregnant.

 

Tell him via onesie!

Order a customized baby onesie with a cute little message on it. This could come as a complete surprise to the daddy-to-be, and he would remember this cute little onesie forever! 

 

Spoon trial

Give him this news when he is about to start eating his food. Leave little sticky notes with directions to pick a spoon, write the big news, and stick it on a spoon. He would love this particular meal and remember it forever! This is also an easy and oldschool way to pop the news!

 

Drink it in!

Follow the oldest proposal plan in the book, but with a little twist. This time, instead of a ring, add in a capsule with a little note inside it giving him the big news! This would make one of the amazing ways to tell your partner you’re pregnant.

 

Take him on a treasure hunt!

Plan a small treasure hunt for your partner in and around the house. If you want it to be a little extravagant, you could ask your friends to help you out a little. Use sticky notes and small clues that lead up to your pregnancy test. This is one of the oldest-fun ways to tell your partner both of you are expecting a little one very soon!

 

Message in a Bottle

Get a small bottle and customize it as you want (there are many websites that can do this for you as well). Add in a little sand, flowers, and a note with the big news and place it where he could find it. Let him find and read the message while capturing his expressions and emotions. This is something both of you would want to remember and treasure.

 

Make use of your salt and pepper shakers!

Get a miniature salt and pepper shaker and place it with the regular ones. Tie them together and top it off with a bow tie made of ribbon. The gesture is self-explanatory; if you want to make it obvious, add in a little note with the big news and place it between the shakers. 

 

Boxed surprise!

Order in a few baby gears and diapers, place them in a big box and let him find it. If you want to make it more fun, you could use helium balloons to fill the box. Get a balloon that says “You’re a Daddy” or similar ones and stick it inside the box. The balloon pops up the minute he starts to open the stuff inside the box. Record and treasure this memory!

 

Tell him Via Pizza

Bake him a pizza topped with the special news! Bake the pizza and write the news with sauce on the pizza! He would be so happy to find out about the little one with his favorite pizza! 

Just like salt shakers. Bake a tiny pizza with two regular ones. Your partner would automatically get the message. Record all these memories, your little one would want to watch this when he/she is older!

 

Float the news!

Use Helium balloons with several notes. Make sure to keep the balloons at the eye level, you could use baby gears to hold them down. You can attach little notes saying how much you love your partner in the beginning and build your way up to the special news in the end. Make him pop the last balloon to find out the message. This is one such way that is super sweet and romantic. 

 

All the way down!

Get a customized mug that tells, “You’re going to be a daddy” at the bottom. Give him his morning coffee in the mug. This news would make his day filled with love and happiness. Make sure to record his expressions.

 

Get him a scratch card or a Customised fortune cookie

Get a scratch card customized to tell him the big news! Take him on a date and give it to him. Make him scratch the card towards the end of the date and wait for him to find out. You can also get him a custom fortune cookie with a note saying ‘You’re going to be a dad!’ inside. This one will definitely guarantee a surprise!

 

These are a few fun-filled and creative ways to pop the news to the new daddy-to-be! While these are just a few of many ways to tell your partner you’re pregnant, they sure would lighten up the new daddy’s face.


 

April 30, 2021 |  read

a group of people belonging to the lgbtqia+ community

Talking to Kids About Gender and Sexual Orientation

The older a child becomes, the more questions they have. As a parent, it becomes your responsibility to ensure that the answers they receive are the right ones. Gender and sexual orientation is an important area to talk about, especially to adolescents. Here are some pointers to keep in mind while talking to kids about gender and sexual orientation. 

 

Keeping Yourselves Sensitised

Before you can talk with your child, it is important that you are aware of what you are talking about. Read as much as you can about the LGBTQIA+ community. You may not have had much exposure to it while growing up or as an adult, so it is okay to find yourself confused! Try to get clarification through authentic sources, or if it becomes necessary, from reliable persons like an LGBTQIA+ specialised psychologist. Check your own misconceptions - contrary to what many people say, being LGBTQIA+ is not “just a phase” and it’s not a disease to be “cured”. It is a major part of a person’s sense of identity and expression, and they are equally deserving of acceptance and respect. 

 

Having The Talk

Finding out that your child is LGBTQIA+ can be overwhelming - give yourself time to accept that possibility, and see it as something positive. This will enable you to have an open conversation with your child about gender and sexual orientation. Youth falling on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum often experience more mental health issues due to the stigma around it; and rejection or even anticipated rejection from family members can be an important factor contributing to this which may  lead to problems of identity formation. Talking to kids about gender and sexual orientation helps them realise that you are ready to accept them for who they are, thus helping to put these fears to rest and making them feel that they are emotionally supported. 

 

Coming Out to Friends and Extended Family 

A major worry for many parents of LGBTQIA+ children is the possible negative and unkind reactions from other people that their child may face. In fact, this fear is one of the reasons why a lot of parents fail to properly support their children. This is another reason why healthy conversations become important. Help your children open up to you about what their experiences are and what kind of support they expect from you. Some measures you can take to ensure your child’s well-being include:

  • Require that the extended family members accept your child for who they are.
  • Be welcoming towards your child and anyone they choose to bring home.
  • Encourage your child to attend LGBTQIA+ events and participate with them. 

 

Handling the Emotions

Your child’s current experiences may be in conflict with the belief system that you’ve held on to for many years - this can often create discomfort and a slew of negative emotions. But what you need to remember is that you want what is best for your child. By setting aside earlier beliefs and prejudices, and wholeheartedly accepting your child and their gender or sexual orientation for what it is, you can help to ensure your child’s physical, mental and emotional well-being.

 

There are healthy ways to help you come to terms with your child’s gender identity and sexual orientation, and become a support system for them to rely on. Finding a support group where you can talk to other parents or members of the community can help you deal with your own experience of coming to terms with your child being a part of the Queer community. Learning and educating yourself is vital to this process as well - read up extensively on your child's sexual orientation and sense of gender identity. Try to understand who they are and what they are going through. Unlearn some of the negative and wrong beliefs you may be unknowingly holding on to.

 

Work as a Team

This situation is best handled when you work with your child as a team. Don't push your child away and try to escape from having to deal with it; look at this as something you are all involved in together. Remember that this situation must be even more difficult for your child. Now is when they need you and all the support you can give. Get aid from a counselor or community organisations who have the resources you need to parent your LGBTQIA+ child the right way. Furthermore, you need to make sure that your child knows that they can talk to you - the better connected and aware you are about what is happening in the child's life, the better you can look out for them. For this, you must maintain a non-judgemental and loving approach. This is especially important to ensure that your child is forming healthy relationships.

 

Having an LGBTQIA+ child can feel challenging, especially given the Indian context where they may not be easily accepted and be discriminated against. Talking to kids about gender and sexual orientation can help you understand what they are going through, and show them that you are open-minded and ready to embrace their true selves. Learn to manage your own emotions fruitfully through educating yourself and learning about your child. It's important to make your child feel comfortable about their sexuality and gender identity. Open and honest conversations are the best way to do this. 


 

June 17, 2021 |  read

Pregnancy

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Diet

Foods to avoid during pregnancy and why

Pregnancy is a time of joy, but also a time to follow some rules and guidelines. While consuming a few extra calories comes as an added advantage, there are some foods to avoid during pregnancy. Of course, there are scientific reasons behind why you should avoid these foods. Continue reading to know all about it.

 

Say No to Raw Egg

There are chances of raw eggs being infected with Salmonella, a type of bacteria which can cause you problems like vomiting, nausea and fever. It might also cause your uterus to cramp which might result in the premature birth of your baby. Thus, always consume your eggs after thoroughly cooking them and avoid any food products like lightly scrambled eggs, homemade mayo etc. which might contain raw egg or its components in them.

 

Undercooked Meat? Inedible

Although meat is a great source of nutrients, raw or undercooked meat isn’t good for you and your baby when you are pregnant. They could be hosts to several bacteria and parasites which can bring up ailments like epilepsy, neurological illnesses, and blindness in your child and diarrhoea and dehydration for you. You should also add cold cuts or processed meats to the list of foods to avoid during pregnancy.

 

No Sushi

Fish like Tuna, Swordfish, and Mackerel contain large amounts of mercury in them and should hence not be consumed when you are pregnant. It can cause serious problems for your baby. You can consume seafood which doesn’t contain mercury, but they should be fully cooked and not to be consumed raw. The bacteria in uncooked fish can cause Listeria, an infection which can be very dangerous for your baby.

 

No Unripe Papaya!

Although fruits are healthy, raw papayas are an exemption. They contain a milky liquid called latex in high amounts which can trigger contractions of the uterus. Hence, it is better to steer clear from papaya during pregnancy.

 

Nothing Unpasteurized

Be it milk, cheese or juice, if it is unpasteurized then it isn’t a healthy item to consume. Unpasteurized dairy can contain several bacteria like Listeria, E Coli and Salmonella which can prove to be fatal for your baby. Make it a point to consume pasteurized products and always boil your milk before drinking.

 

Cook Your Sprouts

Sprouts are said to be great sources of proteins, but do not consume them raw. The humid conditions in which seeds sprout helps the growth of Salmonella which are difficult to get rid off easily while washing. It is a safer option to cook sprouts well before eating.

 

Stop Eating Street Food

Street food is everybody’s favourite but unfortunately belongs in the category of foods to avoid during pregnancy. Chaats like pani puri, samosa and bhel puri are heavy on spices and are not ideal for the consumption of pregnant ladies. As there is no way to perform a quality check on ingredients used in their preparation, foods like kathi rolls and chowmein should also be avoided. Do not eat Indo-Chinese street food as it contains ajinomoto or Monosodium Glutamate which can put your baby at risk. 

 

Cut Down on Caffeine

You don’t have to give up your morning cup of coffee or occasional soda, but you have to manage the quantity. It is advised that pregnant women should not consume more than 200 mg of caffeine per day. The caffeine you consume passes on through the placenta to your fetus that doesn’t have the necessary enzymes to break it down. Thus, it can lead to a number of complications like low birth weight and SIDS in the baby and in the pregnant woman it can exacerbate insulin resistance which could cause gestational diabetes.

 

Definitely Ditch the Wine (and all other alcoholic beverages)

This one goes without saying, but consumption of alcohol during pregnancy is strictly prohibited. Even the smallest amount can have adverse effects on the baby which includes still birth or miscarriage and that is why you should stay away from alcohol until your baby is born. Do not consume alcohol if you are breastfeeding. Wait for the green signal from your doctor before you start to consume alcohol again.

 

Seed Safety

Fenugreek seeds used in everyday Indian cooking can induce uterine contractions if consumed in large amounts. Although these seeds are known as a potential galactogogue during breast feeding they should be avoided in large doses during pregnancy.

 

Other Tips

Avoid consuming any junk or processed food. You should also not consume organ meats in large quantities and do not eat any fruits or vegetables without washing them first as it can result in a number of infections.

As every pregnant woman’s body is different, your doctor might ask you to keep away from some other food items especially if you are prone to allergies. To avoid any confusion, it is advised to discuss your diet plan with your doctor as soon as you get pregnant.


 

April 09, 2021 |  read

Pregnant woman

The Pregnancy Pounds: Weight Gain When You are Expecting

Do you often find yourself wondering what can be the right choice of nutrition for you and the little angel growing inside you? Are you putting on too many pregnancy pounds? It is very important to maintain a healthy diet during the nine months and in fact, to gain weight.

Yes, that’s right. It is vital to gain some extra pounds during your pregnancy which in medical terms, is known as Gestational Weight Gain. Let’s not be overwhelmed here: what we see on screens about perfect pregnancy figures need not be so. It is rather important to have adequate nutrition for your baby to be born healthy.

 

How much weight should you gain?

The amount of weight to be gained during pregnancy depends essentially on the pre-pregnancy weight and BMI, irrespective of age, smoking history, parity, race or ethnicity. The following table should give you an idea on the same, the data of which has been collected based on the Institute of Medicine (IoM).

(Weight Gain During Pregnancy | Pregnancy | Maternal and Infant Health | CDC, 2020)

However, if you are expecting triplets or multiple babies, do consult your doctor on the weight goals.\

 

Why should you keep track of your weight?

There is no doubt that the mother’s weight is quite relevant to the baby’s. Gaining more pregnancy pounds or less of the recommended weight can lead to complications during or after the birth of your little one. (WHO | Maternal body mass index and gestational weight gain and their association with perinatal outcomes in Viet Nam, 2020)

For instance, gaining lesser weight than what is recommended could result in the baby being underweight during birth. This may lead to implications such as difficulty in breastfeeding, more prone to neonatal mortality and illness later in life as well as cognitive developmental delays.

On the other hand, gaining more weight could result in the baby being born large which increases the implications of perinatal health risks. Additionally, it enhances the chances of Cesarean delivery and obesity of the child during the growth years.

 

Parts of your body prone to weight gain:

Naturally, gaining gestational weight differs from woman to woman. While gaining weight slowly and steadily is quite excellent, it is not unusual to not gain more than 1 to 2 kilos ( 2.2 to 4.4 lbs) in the first trimester. Many women have a growth spurt during which they may gain several pounds in a short time.

Essentially, your pregnancy weight resides in your baby but there are other parts of your body which carries the weight too. These include the amniotic fluid which surrounds the baby, weight in blood and body fluids, breasts, placenta, uterus etc. In addition to building the birthing sac, your body is also providing nutrients and blood supply to your baby in your womb, which is a cause of weight gain (Weight Gain During Pregnancy, 2020).

 

How can you ensure a healthy weight gain?

Now that you know how much weight you should maintain on an average, let’s get to the question of ‘how to do it’? Naturally, by maintaining a balanced diet you can keep the pregnancy pounds in check. Additional consumption of 300 calories a day is considered to be essential to have a healthy pregnancy. Here are a few steps you can keep track of to ensure that you are taking care of the necessary nutrients (Diet Chart for Healthy Weight Gain during Pregnancy, 2020).

  • Improve the quantity and nutrient level of your diet.
  • Ensure that your maternal nutritional needs for a healthy reproductive system as well as the nutrients supplied to the fetus are maintained.
  • The diet must provide continuous adjustment to body metabolism.
  • Ensure that you have a gap of at least 1 hour 30 minutes to a 2-hour gap between dinner and bedtime.

 

What should be included in your diet?

-         Cereals: whole wheat, multi-grain bread, wheat bread, bajra, ragi, jowar etc.

-         Pulses: green gram, soya beans, black eyed beans, horse gram

-         Fruits: two or three seasonal fruits daily, along with 25 gms of dried fruits

-         Vegetables: a cup a day with either lunch or dinner. Avoid having root and tubers

-         Raw salad: at least once a day

-         Green leafy vegetables: 3 times a week

-         Lactose: At least 400 ml of skimmed milk per day

-         Oil: 3-4 tablespoon of sunflower or safflower oil a day

-         Water and other fluids: 2 to 3 litres per day

-         Chicken without skin, non-fried fish or egg whites

 

What should not be included in your diet?

·         Excess coconut

·         Too much or sweets or candies

·         Deep-fried food

·         Soft drinks, honey, jaggery, ice cream, etc.

·         Pickle or processed foods

·         Flour based food like kulcha, naan, roomali roti

·         Too much of fats like butter, cheese, vanaspati, ghee, re-used oils

·         Caffeine intake to be limited to 300 mg per day.

·         Smoking, Alcohol and substance abuse is an absolute no-no.

 

Other things to remember:

If you are having a tough time maintaining the diet and monitoring your pregnancy pounds, you can avoid eating at a go and instead, continue with an intake of 5-6 times a day in small amounts.

Moderate intensity of aerobic exercise such as brisk walking is recommended for most normal pregnancies. You may consult your doctor if you have any restrictions on such physical activities (12 Pregnancy Planning Tips: How to Prepare Your Body, Foods and Infections to Avoid, 2020).

March 27, 2021 |  read

sex and pregnancy

Sex and Pregnancy: Can You Have Sex When You’re Pregnant?

Being pregnant can have varied effects on one’s body. While some pregnant women may feel an increased libido in some months due to all the hormones, others may feel a decreased interest in sexual activities, often attributed to a feeling of unattractiveness to self. However, even when a pregnant mother wants to have sex, fear and anxiety stop them from doing this. So, what is the truth? Let’s find out everything you will need to know about sex and pregnancy.

 

Is it Safe?

Looking at the general trends of sexual activity amongst pregnant women, researc shows that there is a lesser frequency of sex during the first trimester, followed by increased activity in the second trimester, and a decrease again in the third trimester. While in the first trimester there maybe apprehensions of a miscarriage, the last trimester brings with it fears of uterine contractions and early delivery. The important thing to keep in mind here is that, sex during pregnancy is absolutely normal and there is no hard and fast rule about how much sex is permissible in each trimester. It is all about the comfort of both the partners. Sex is considered absolutely safe in low-risk pregnancies. It is always better to consult your gynecologist and clarify with them as the risk factor associated changes from case to case.

 

The Comfort Factor

While sex and pregnancy can get along absolutely fine in most cases, it isn’t just safety that must be kept in mind. Comfort of both the partners, especially the mother, while indulging in such activities is to be carefully considered. As the pregnancy progresses, there are chances that the mother starts feeling less satisfied and may have difficulty in achieving an orgasm. Further, it can also start getting painful or uncomfortable if the partner penetrates too deeply.

 

Can it go wrong?

While it is generally considered safe to have sex during pregnancy, one cannot deny that there is the small possibility of some issues related to it. The possibility of these happening or causing complications isn’t very high. However, it is always good to be aware and stay prepared, just in case. Always consult your gynecologist to be safe. 

Preterm Labour: 

There is a slight chance that having sex during the last trimester of your pregnancy can cause contractions which could result in early labour for high risk pregnancy cases. Even so, remember that the studies conducted for this are minimal and there is no solid evidence to show that abstaining from sex can prevent preterm labour. It is more of a precautionary measure taken to minimise complications.

Bleeding: 

It is proposed that sexual activity can stimulate the cervix to result in haemorrhage or bleeding which could have extremely unpleasant results for women with placenta previa. There is no evidence to conclude this and is based on theoretical assumptions. However, in case of high-risk pregnancies, this becomes a reason to advise couples to stay away from sexual activity during pregnancy.

Venous Air Embolism: 

A complication that is very rarely observed, it is still good to keep in mind that oral sex and sex in rear entry position can cause issues in some pregnant women in the form of venous air embolism. While the occurrence is really low, the affected women faced severe complications often leading to death. It is nothing to panic and an open conversation with your doctor can help you clarify the risk involved in your pregnancy.

Braxton Hicks Contractions:

Having sex or an orgasm can set off uterine contractions known as Braxton Hicks Contractions. You may feel your uterus harden and it could get uncomfortable. No need to panic, as this is absolutely normal and no case for alarm. Try some relaxation techniques in case it gets too uncomfortable or simply lie on your back and breathe through them.  

 

Bonding with Your Partner

Pregnancy is a new step for both you and your partner and it is important to embark upon this journey together. Communication is the key here. While a lot of people may not have physical discomfort in having sex during pregnancy, they may have emotional or moral barriers. It is necessary that one respect these boundaries and openly communicate about what is okay for you and what is not. Remember that penetrative sex is not the only kind of sexual activity that you can indulge in. If you or your partner is not comfortable having sexual intercourse, discover other methods of enjoying physical intimacy. What is important is to be on the same page and remind yourselves that you are in on this together. 

 

Even when both partners want to indulge in sex during pregnancy, remember that it may not be like before or as easy. You may need to experiment with multiple positions to understand your comfort level and see what works for both of you best. Give it time, see what works for you both and don’t force yourself or your partner into anything. 

Pregnancy is a crucial period but there is no reason that it shouldn’t be fun. Confirm with your gynecologist if there are any risk factors when it comes to sex and pregnancy for you. Talk to your partner about your feelings and what is comfortable for both of you. 





 

April 07, 2021 |  read

Pregnant woman

Questions You Should Ask Your Gynecologist When You're Pregnant

Pregnancy can be as confusing as exciting. Find out what are some of the questions you should ask your gynecologist when you’re pregnant to understand what’s going on with you and your baby. Be aware, stay prepared, and await the arrival of the new member to the family with all worries rested. 

So the good news is here. You're going to be a mommy! While it's truly an exciting moment, one should not forget that this is also a period when the mommies-to-be need to take some extra care for themselves. We have curated a set of questions you should ask your gynecologist when you're pregnant to keep you well informed about the upcoming journey and what to keep in mind through it. 

 

Is it time to tell my loved ones?

It's been some time now and you simply can’t keep the news to yourself. Well, when is the right time to tell your loved ones that you are expecting? It is wise to wait until the first scan to share the news. However, discuss this with your gynecologist who can check for any possible complications or miscarriages. It’s also important to give yourself the time to accept that you’re going to have a baby and what this is going to hold for your future. Once you’ve received the gynec’s green signal and  feel that you are ready to talk about it, there’s nothing more to worry about. Let the cat out of the sack and share the happiness with them all.

 

How much food should I eat?

While it’s often believed that a pregnant woman needs to “eat for two”, the truth is that shoving unnecessarily excessive food is absolutely unnecessary. An extra 200 - 300 kcal per day in addition to what you usually eat should be enough to keep you and your little one nourished (World Health Organization 2001). The diet should be well-balanced with lots of vegetables and fruits, dairy products, protein rich food items like fish or beans, etc. Your gynecologist can help you chart out a diet plan that suits you and helps you get the extra nutrition you need during pregnancy.

 

Should I exercise during pregnancy?

Staying physically active can have multiple advantages for a mommy-to-be. It can prevent or ease out pains and aches you may be facing during pregnancy, lowers the risk of pregnancy complications like preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, and is seen to make women better prepared for labour (National Health Portal 2015). However, not all physical activities are advised for women, especially the ones that may have the danger of getting you hit in the abdomen or make you fall. What exercises are safe for you to practice is one of the questions you should ask your gynecologist when you’re pregnant.

 

Can I continue taking my medicines?

If you’re someone who is on regular medication, it may be a good idea to discuss the effects of these with your doctor before continuing them when you are pregnant. Remember that everything you eat, including your medicines, has an effect on your baby and some of these can harm him or her(Department of Health 2010). Always get your medications approved by the gynecologist. Further, when you visit a doctor for some treatment, make sure that they know you’re pregnant.

 

Is having sex during pregnancy alright?

While some pregnant women and their partners find it enjoyable to have sex during pregnancy, some others may feel uncomfortable or could be worried. We are here to tell you that it is perfectly alright to indulge in sexual activities during this time. In fact, you may find your sex drive taking a rise with all the hormones released during pregnancy. However, stay alerted that sex during pregnancy is going to be different and it may take some time to find out positions that work for both of you. Consult your doctor about having sex during pregnancy, nevertheless, as in some cases where there are complications, they may advice you to abstain from it.

 

How much weight will I gain during pregnancy?

Gaining too little or too much weight can both affect your baby. From the fourth month of your pregnancy, you can expect to gain an average of 1.5 - 2 kg per month (World Health Organization 2001). If this weight gain is below 1 kg or above 3 kg, you need to consult your doctor to see how to rectify this. By the end of the gestation period, you would have gained about 10 - 12 kg. Eat healthy but don’t overeat. Talk to your gynecologist about what to eat and what you should avoid to make sure that only the best reach your baby.

 

When should I call the doctor?

So what is a red signal to call the doctor? 

Here are some things to look out for (National Health Portal 2015):

  • Vaginal bleeding or discharge
  • Cramps or discomfort in the abdomen
  • Prolonged nausea
  • Burning or discomfort during urination
  • Feeling nausea or dizziness

These are only a few of the possible reasons to ask for immediate help. Consult your gynecologist beforehand to make a list of changes that could need you to go to them and keep this handy. 

 

Your gynecologist is going to be your constant support system during pregnancy.  Find the right medical help, someone who you can trust and rely upon. These were some of the questions you should ask your gynecologist when you’re pregnant to keep yourself prepared for what is going to come. Sit with them for a session along with your partner and clear these out with any other queries that you may have. Now that you’ve received your answers, sit back and relax. A brand new baby is coming home!


 

April 15, 2021 |  read

Single Parents

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A romantic dinner date setting

Dating as a Single Mother

Dating can be quite an adventure. Especially when you are dating as a single mother, it brings about a whole range of emotions - anxiety, hope, disappointment, elation. Parenting is already a full time job. Additionally, if you are a single parent, in raising a young child, it becomes doubly so. The thought of dating might have struck your mind. Wondering what that is like? Here are a few strategies that can help you get back out there!

 

Know if You are Ready

Today, there are more ways than ever to find potential matches for single people. You may  be willing to try and date again, but it is understandable if you are also wary about it. There is a possibility of rejection that comes with the process, and has the potential to really test you. Struggling hard to keep your cynicism at bay? Know that there may be a set of reasons why you have chosen to still be single. There may be too many variables at play. Make sure that you are ready for this change, and take a decision that comes out of self love.

 

Stay Guilt Free

Single parents tend to feel guilty, but know that you do not have to. Dating as a single mother can be by choice, or because of a prior divorce, or widowhood. In any case, guilt may become a constant companion.  It is understandable that when you want your child to have the world, you would feel that a partner would make the job easier. Do not feel bad at all for wanting a personal adult life of your own.

Realise that it is a Family You are Thinking About

It is not only a relationship that you may be going to form with a new person, but also may be including them in your family. A family with kids. Assess thoroughly how the potential stepfamily relationship is going to develop in the future (of course after you reach that stage of seriouseness in dating). 

 

Fill Your Kids In

It is best to not associate any moral judgements to wanting to date as a single mother. There is nothing wrong with it, and hence be confident in sharing it with you child. Take your sweet time, but fill them in, whenever you deem fit. It is a slow and gradual process to accept a parental dating relationship. All they need is your reassurance that you love them no matter what, and will forever stick around. Eventually, in time, they are going to learn that including a new person in one’s life does not necessarily mean that affections split up. It might take time, but they will gradually understand and be open to welcoming a new member.

 

Let Your Date Know About Your Kids

When you are dating as a single mother, it is important to have your date know that you are a mom. Try and find the most appropriate time to do so, preferably over the first date itself. What it does is that it weeds out all dates that do not wish to accommodate children in their new relationship with someone. It will further only help you to not waste your time or invest emotionally. There is no need whatsoever for long descriptions, but rather a simple conversation where they feel comfortable in asking questions to you too.

 

Thoroughly Understand a Potential Partner

Get the child involved in this process only once you are sure that the potential match has over time, earned your trust. Take time to know them, their personality. Do a background check if possible. Under no circumstances should you be putting yourself or your child(ren) into any kind of risk.

 

Find the Right Time to Introduce the Kid with Your Date

When is the right time for your child and your date to meet? It is a common question many single mothers wrestle with. Give the relationship a significant amount of time to undergo a natural flow of ups and downs. Allow it to grow and let it reach a point where there is comfort in the idea of seeing the two parties meet.

 

Do Not Bother Yourself With the Moral Police

There is no need for you to think about what the society or people around you might say. That also does not mean that you stop to seek advice, but know that you must overlook any kind of moral judgements people might pass casually. You know what you are doing, and why you are doing it. You are the best judge for yourself. Say bye bye to the moral police! You are going to do just fine, and we are sure of it. Happy dating!


 

February 23, 2021 |  read

romantic date

Dating as a Single Father

It’s not easy to date and especially so if you have to take care of child as well. Balancing parenting and your dating life can be quite a task but there is no reason why you should not do it. Let us look at a few things to keep in mind when you are dating as a single father.

 

Keep Yourself a Priority

When there is a child to take care of and other external stresses like work, parents often feel the need to be “super parents” and they end up putting their own needs and necessities behind out of guilt. Wanting to find a partner is only natural. Don’t bash yourself for having these feelings. While your child needs your attention, that does not mean that you shouldn’t give space for your priorities too. Find a babysitter or a friend/family to babysit for when you would be out on the date. Keep yourself reminded that you are a “good enough” parent and dating is not going to change that. Your baby isn’t going to compromise for you and you shouldn’t have to either.

 

Find the Time

Juggling the various responsibilities of being a single father can get quite tiresome and going on a date may seem like a distant, impossible dream. Sit down with a day planner and map out everything that you have to do. Delegate work as much as possible to anyone else who may be available. Good organizational skills can help you find some time for yourself which you can use to go on that date of yours. While you are at it, be there in the place and time one hundred percent without worrying about your baby. No one likes to have a date lost in his own thoughts!

 

Dating Another Single Parent

Dating as a single father is not going to be easy and not just because of the child. People tend to not want to take on the responsibility of a child that is not their own, and this gives single parents a disadvantage (Gray et. al. 2016). It is always best to be upfront and clear from the start. It’s important that you accept the reality for what it is and see how you can get around this. You can look for other single parents to date and may actually find it easier to relate to them due to similarity in life situations. The responsibility is now added on both ends and you can find ways together to bond with each other’s children.

 

Involving the Children

So do we get the dates home to our children? Well, the answer is yes and no. It depends upon your approach to relationships and at what stage of dating you and your partner are in. If you are someone who is not interested in commitments and is only looking for temporary partnerships, it may be better to keep the children uninvolved. We don’t want them missing your ex-partners now, do we? However, if you are strongly committed to a person and you see a future together, then it may be a good idea to gradually introduce them to your children. Let them get to know your children and vice versa and bond together. This will make things better at both ends than dropping the news on your children one fine day and expecting them to get along with your partner and the other way around.

 

Keep Calm and Date

If you thought single parents were less invested in mating than single non-parents, you are in for a surprise. Studies show that single parents, in fact, are much more active sexually and romantically in mating due to possible reasons like re-establishing emotional support for their children (Gray et. al. 2014). You may want to find a “new mother” for your child and have someone who you can share your responsibilities with. However, don’t pressurize yourself to do so. Remember, you are doing your best and you are giving your child the best you can. Stay calm, go on a few dates, and see where things go. Do not feel stressed out about completing that family picture and lose focus of what yo have. 

 

Setting the Sexual Boundaries

Having a child in the house brings with it a responsibility on the limits of sexual exploration. While it is great to go on a date, taking your partners back home may not always be as convenient if you have little ones running around. Find time for intimacy when your child(ren) are not around. Drop them at a relative’s or friend’s place for a few hours. Shut the doors tight and make your walls soundproof if you are relying on having sex when they are asleep or still in the house. Have fun responsibly lest your little one walks in on something you definitely don’t want them to.

 

Dating as a single father or mother can be challenging but it is definitely worth pursuing if that is what you want. Investing all your time in the child and leaving nothing for yourself can become exhausting and less-satisfying in the long run. Finding a mate and having sexual needs is only natural and nothing to feel guilty about. Set the boundaries, find time for yourself, and go on that date. Who knows, Ms. Right or Mr. Right may just be around the corner!


 

February 25, 2021 |  read

father and daughter

Raising your Child as a Single Father

Conversations about single parenthood are usually centred around the mother and rarely about fatherhood. Don’t worry daddies, we are here to talk about you. While you can figure out a few things easily, some can get really confusing when you are raising your child as a single father. Based on the experiences of other single dads, here are some tips, hacks and advice for you to make fatherhood more joyous.

 

Form a Bond

                                                        

As a father, you might feel like you would not be able to form a strong connection with your child like the mother would. While the role of a father and mother are usually different, when you are playing both the roles, you can definitely try and form the best bonds with your children. A single father of two 11-year old boys says that he feels like he has been able to connect on a deeper level with his children because he is a single father. He believes the same would not be the case if there were two parents involved.

 

Dedicate Some Time

                                                                

Spending time with your child(ren) is very important, both when they are just born and during the later stages. They are emotionally dependent on you and crave a lot of attention. Being a single dad, you might not be able to give them your whole day or stay with them all the time, but you surely can dedicate a couple of hours to them. Relax and watch a cartoon show with your child after you come back from work. Laugh with them, cuddle with them and make it a point to have dinner together. 

 

Reaching Out is Good

                                                                    

Everybody needs help at some point. While raising your child as a single father, you might want to reach out a lot, and that is a good thing! While you are at work, you would need a sitter or nanny or a family member to look after your kid. You would also need a few extra adjustments on the part of your colleagues and bosses to accommodate your schedule with child(ren). You might have to pick them up from school in the middle of the day or attend a PTA and at such times, ask your colleagues to cover for you.

 

Financial Plans

                                                                   

Many believe that it is slightly easier for single fathers to manage their finances as in a typical Indian society, it is traditionally assumed that men are breadwinners of the family. Nevertheless, it is very important for you to learn to budget your salary to support yours as well as your child’s needs. Teach your kids how money management works, let them know their spending limit in a month.

 

Build the Trust

                                                           

An experienced single father says that trust is the key factor in a father-child relationship. When you are a single parent, the responsibility to maintain and build that trust is relatively higher. You can start with simple steps like keeping them updated about your whereabouts, especially if you have parted with your partner through a divorce and your child has abandonment issues. You can also let your kid(s) know that you are available for them, whenever they need you.

 

Don’t Be a ‘Yes’ Sir

                                                                             

Overcompensation is never a good thing. Just because one of the parents is missing from the equation, there is no need for you to say ‘yes’ to everything your child asks of you. You can tell them no when they are doing something wrong. You need to be firm with them without being harsh; you balance that equation and you would be a golden dad!

 

Seek Therapy

                                                              

If you are a single father by choice, then you might be well prepared for everything that comes next. But if the responsibility of raising your child as a single father falls on you unexpectedly, then going to therapy can be one of the wisest choices you make. The father of a 7-year-old says that therapy did help him a lot while dealing with the changes in his life which included a divorce and an introduction to single parenthood. Seek help in the form of parenting tips when you need it. 

 

Mommy Talk

                                                             

It is a good plan to keep your child informed of his/her mother. If you guys might have separated, or she might have, unfortunately, passed away. Either way, talk to your child about it. Explain why the mother isn’t around. Help them understand how your little family is made up. Train them to proudly answer the questions their peers/friends ask them about your family structure. Of course, wait till your kid develops the emotional maturity to understand these things.

 

Daughter Dearest

                                                                

As a father, you can take the best care of your baby girl, but sometimes, she might need a female figure in her life to talk about certain things. She will need a bra or need to talk about her period and at these times, she might find it easier to talk to another woman. Dads, this doesn’t mean that she doesn’t trust you, it simply might be easier for her to talk to someone who goes through the same experiences as her. You could introduce her to a sister or close relative or close friend to guide through these times. 

 

The responsibilities can surely seem overwhelming and difficult to keep up with at times. But a father is every child’s favourite superhero. He/she would love and adore you no matter what. At the end of the day, that’s all it takes to make you feel like it is all worth it. Happy fatherhood, superdads!



 

February 15, 2021 |  read

Mother and child

Raising your Child as a Single Mother

Motherhood comes with its own set of challenges as well as many joys. Single/choice motherhood brings all of these in two folds, mainly because you are playing the role of two parents. If you are raising your child as a single mother, or planning to, we have gathered some tips for you based on the experiences of other single mothers.

 

Societal Judgement

There is really no way to sugar coat this: unfortunately a lot of judgement comes along your way when you plan to be a single mother in India. It might come from your parents, other family members or someone who knows you. Other single mothers suggest that it is better to simply pay no heed to such remarks and instead, be proud of the choice you have made as the love you receive from your child is infinite. 

 

Identify your Support System

Single mothers have also mentioned on multiple platforms that unlike the judgemental clan, most of the time, there would be a set of people on whom you can completely rely when you are a single mother. They might some close friends and in case of a divorce, your ex-husband can also be a ray of support if you have parted on amicable terms and he wishes to help you in bringing up your child. One of the mothers has mentioned how her parents, although reluctant at first, later became her biggest supporters.

 

Financial Security

You have to be extremely careful of your expenses while raising your child as a single mother as you ought to have enough money to support yourself and your child. Fellow single mothers say that having a job is more of a necessity under these circumstances. It is also necessary to make your child understand how your budget works as they grow up.  

 

Challenges in Society

Single mothers often find it difficult to find housing even in metropolitan cities. House owners are usually reluctant to rent their houses to a single mother and her child(ren). The schools might demand the details or signature of the father during your child’s admission process. You might also constantly get pressured to get married so that your child can have what the society defines as a ‘complete family’. We sincerely hope you find the courage to face these challenges and be successful in defining single motherhood boss-style.

 

Work-Life Balance

Like we mentioned already, you would be playing the role of two parents. You would be the one going to work to take care of your family, at the same time, you would also be the one to take your child out to lunch or a friend’s birthday party. Often times, it gets really difficult to juggle between multiple roles. But you can work out a schedule; if you work the whole week, maybe you take your kid out during the weekend. If you are free in the evenings, you can accompany them to their dance/drawing class. You can also come up with specific activities which you can do as a family, for example, having dinner together every day.

 

Sitters or Nannies

Since you would mostly be a professional woman, you would need someone to take care of your kid(s) while you are at the office. While some of you might have parents or other family members that can lend a helping hand, some of you might want to hire child sitters or nannies. One of the mothers talks about how she didn’t like the idea of her daughter being with a nanny and hence enrolled her to dance, abacus and elocution classes. This way, her daughter would be busy after school till her mommy reached home and at the same time, learn something productive.

 

Difficult Questions

Children are curious beings. It is only natural that they ask you questions about why their family is different from their friend’s. If the child goes through a divorce, he/she might ask you why the father isn’t living with you anymore. Most mothers feel that it is important to be transparent with your children rather than being secretive about things. However, they also suggest that you should wait till they attain an age where they can understand the situation well instead of confusing them at a very young age.

 

Men and Dating

There is no rule that you should swear off dating when you are raising your child as a single mother. If you find someone compatible, you can definitely go on dates. A lot of single mothers have found love and gotten married and so can you (if that’s what you want!). One of these mother's advice to keep an open mind while dating and not see the man as a future father figure in your child’s life, but to see if he’s a compatible life partner for you first and eventually move on to his relationship with the child.

With education and awareness, the situation today has improved a lot when compared with how it was a decade ago. People these days are more accepting of a woman’s choices and are often supportive. So, if you are a single mother, raising a beautiful child, all on your own, chin up lovely lady and all the very best! You’ve got this!


 

April 29, 2021 |  read

Surrogacy

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Breastfeeding baby

Breastfeeding and Surrogacy

Breastfeeding is one of the most beautiful things a mother can do for her child. Often, intended mothers worry if they will miss out on this experience. Well, you don’t have to, mommies! You can breastfeed your baby even if they’re born through a surrogate mother, thanks to medical science! Here is your guide to everything you need to know about breastfeeding and surrogacy.

 

Common Issues

You can breastfeed your baby born through surrogacy, but there are a couple of common issues you might face in the process. One of them is production of breastmilk and  another is getting your baby to breastfeed. Since breastfeeding is a holistic experience and not just about nutrition, it is advised that intended mothers should know that it might not be possible for them to produce enough milk to fulfil the baby’s nutritional requirements. However, they can produce enough to experience the magic of breastfeeding through induced lactation.

 

How to Produce Milk?

There are two ways to produce milk. It can be produced by providing a combination of hormones to the intended mother or by mechanical stimulation of breasts.

Hormonal Treatment

The treatment starts much before the birth of the baby. Your doctor will first start the process by prescribing oral contraceptive (birth control) pills to you for a specified duration. Next, these pills would be stopped, and you will start receiving nutritional supplements and drugs which would help you with lactation. You will receive doses of estrogen and progesterone and a medication called Domperidone. Then you would be directed to pump milk with the help of electric pumps and your medications and pumping frequencies would be adjusted till your milk production level increases.

Mechanical Stimulation

Many women can produce milk only when there is mechanical (nipple) stimulation. This is mainly because milk producing hormones like prolactin and oxytocin are pituitary hormones and they can only be produced as a response to nipple stimulation (Singhal, 2020). This stimulation can be conducted by means of breast massages a few months before the baby is born, which can be followed by pumping milk with electric breast pumps for ten minutes. This will send a signal to your body to express milk and you can also observe drops of milk being expressed during initial days.

 

Getting Your Baby to Take the Breast

To habituate your baby to take your breast is one of the biggest challenges of breastfeeding and surrogacy. It is advised that you get him/her to start feeding from your breast soon after he/she is born. It is advised to not use artificial nipples and avoid bottles as much as you can to help him/her get used to breastfeeding. Whether you’re producing enough milk to feed or if you’re using products like Supplemental Nursing System (SNS), latching is important. You can use skin to skin contact to help your baby get used to you and thereby help them latch better to your breasts.

It is important that you speak to the doctor or lactation consultants at the hospital where your surrogate is delivering and let them know about your plans to breastfeed the baby. They would be able to guide you better and also make the necessary arrangements to help you start feeding as soon as possible.

 

Surrogate Mother’s Breast Milk

If as intended parents you want your baby to enjoy the benefits of breastmilk, but cannot, don’t want to or cannot afford the treatment for induced lactation, then you could always ask your surrogate. If they’re willing to, you can request them to pump breastmilk for your baby and deliver it to you. Although the surrogacy contract doesn’t require the surrogate mother to breastfeed, you can talk to her prior to signing the contract about this. If she is willing to do it, then you could include it in the contract. However there may be chances of you having to pay extra money to her for this. It is always good to have this conversation before signing the contract to avoid confusions in the future. (Breastfeeding and Surrogacy | Surrogate.com, n.d.)

 

Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding Your Baby Born through Surrogacy

Although motherhood is the same no matter how you become your child’s parent, breastfeeding your baby born through surrogacy would require a lot of patience and perseverance. At the same time, there are also benefits you and your baby could enjoy with breastfeeding.

Let’s discuss the benefits first

  • Breastmilk would help build your baby’s immune system.
  • You can create a bond with your baby via breastfeeding.
  • Mothers feel that breastfeeding is more convenient than formula or bottle feeding.

Let us take a look at the possible challenges

  • Babies would need to feed 10-12 times a day and it can get tiring for the intended mother as the process requires a lot of time and energy.
  • It can take a while for the intended mother to get used to or familiar with breastfeeding, especially if you are using Supplemental Nursing System.
  • Since intended mothers might not produce enough milk and would have to depend on SNS, it might become inconvenient to feed the baby in public places.

 

With this information, we are sure you will be able to make an informed decision about breastfeeding and surrogacy based on your own preferences. Make sure you inform your pediatrician about your feeding choices so that they can help you chart your baby’s diet accordingly. Reach out to members in our Community to discuss and learn from their experiences too!


 

March 12, 2021 |  read

Pregnancy

Building A Relationship with your Surrogate

Surrogates are angels to intended parents. There’s no better gift a couple can receive than having the gift of a baby if they don’t have one. It is not easy to carry a baby for nine months for a surrogate and to let go of the little one that she has grown to get attached to. This is why it is important to make the journey as easy as possible for her as well as the intended parents. One way to do this would be by building a relationship with the surrogates you are looking forward to being acquainted with, leading to a smooth and pleasant experience for both parties. There might be certain doubts in your mind about establishing a healthy relationship with your surrogate. It might be painful for you to see someone else go through this journey that you dreamt of going through yourselves, but we hope that this article helps you realise the benefits of having a healthy relationship with your surrogate.

 

In India, due to the prevalent surrogacy laws, you would most likely know your surrogate mother. According to the latest bill, commercial surrogacy is banned in India. This means that only altruistic surrogacy, wherein the surrogate carries a baby without any monetary benefit is allowed. Henceforth, it is vital that a healthy relationship is developed between the intended parents and the surrogate which may even turn into a lifelong friendship.

 

Why Should You Build a Relationship with your Surrogate?

  • You may or may not choose to tell your child about his or her birth story but if you do, having a healthy relationship with the surrogate mother is a cherry on the cake.
  • You are going to be a parent and this gift will be given to you by her. You do not want a bumpy ride over the course of the next nine months.
  • Surrogates usually feel that this is one of the most meaningful acts of their lives and they would like to be appreciated. A little acknowledgement goes a long way in showing your gratitude.

 

Let’s start with the foundation: like any bond, the basis of building a relationship with surrogates is trust, communication, appropriate boundaries and flexibility.

 

Trust

You are putting your faith for your baby in a woman, who may or may not be a stranger to you. If she is, imagine how nervous she might be as well. She would be carrying a child for nine months, all for someone else. She chose to walk through this challenge to light up your life. Therefore, she needs to know that you trust her. Make her feel comfortable with you and your partner. She must be able to tell you about her feelings and if she is facing any teething troubles. This process goes vice-versa. She would want to feel that you know that your baby is in good hands and trust you.

 

Communication

You know what they say about communication being the key. If you are an introvert, start light. You may not know what to talk about exactly but that’s alright. Start with having a conversation about each other’s expectations. It is important to lay your questions about each other on the table. You are about to undertake a beautiful journey together and it is crucial that you establish a rapport with each other wherein you can talk easily and freely. Ask her about her hobbies, preferences, family and her aspirations. Let the relationship develop organically.

 

Boundaries 

Sometimes, intended parents tend to become too close to their surrogates and end up promising something they might regret later. Hence, it is good to establish certain boundaries. Try to have realistic expectations. You may not be able to anticipate everything that would come up and therefore, introspect regularly on where you are in your relationship with your surrogate. Make her feel comfortable. Put yourself in her shoes and imagine how you would want to be treated if you were a surrogate. It is okay to worry about her health but do keep in mind how she would feel if you are calling her up for the fifth time in a day. If you want to join her for the next doctor’s appointment, let her know and ask if she is okay with it.

 

Flexibility

You may be new to parenthood and quite excited but try to understand that your surrogate has a life outside her pregnancy. She has her own family and her own expectations too. Flexibility, in this case, is quite important to bear in mind. You may not always be her priority but trust that she is taking care of your baby. It is tempting to call her up about the tiniest of things such as that the weekend trip she took or that extra chocolate she ate. But cut her some slack and give her some space. Pregnancy is not an easy ride and she knows what she had signed up for.

 

Tips to Build a Relationship with the Surrogate

You would already do great keeping up the above mentioned points in mind but if you do need any more tips, here are a few more points you may jot down:

 

  • If you find any common hobby such as movies to enjoy or reading or going for a yoga class, make time to do it together. It will help you bond and make her realize that she is never alone in this journey.
  • Keep track of her food cravings and any particular dish she likes. It will show her that you care.
  •  

You will find that by building a relationship with surrogates you establish a personal connection with her marking the beginning of a beautiful journey that you have embarked upon together.

August 01, 2021 |  read

Working Parents

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Working Mom

Part Time Career Options for a Mom

Between taking care of the kids and home, a mother’s work truly is never done! However, for many modern moms, getting a job can be an added source of fulfilment. You’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of part time career options for a mom that you can opt for, while ensuring that your work-home balance is taken care of!

Whether you have prior work experience in a particular field or have never worked before, or whether you have a college diploma or not, there is something for you.

 

Part Time Jobs for Moms

For moms with school-age kids, a good part of the day is left relatively free - the perfect time to get out and interact with the world! 

 

Training 

Education at different levels is a field with hundreds of opportunities! Depending on your own educational background, you can join a training centre and train anyone from college students to corporate executives. Some training opportunities include English language training, training in foreign or Indian languages, soft skills training, technical training, training for competitive exams - the list is long and lucrative. And the best part is, the hours are flexible and negotiable, with good pay per class or per hour - making it one of the best part time career options for a mom!

 

Customer Service

Customer Service Representatives are key players in major companies’ success - if you have good people skills, this is the perfect part time job for you. You will mostly work in a call centre or office, and will have to field calls from customers, answer their questions, help to resolve their issues, and encourage them to stick with the company! There are flexible time-slots available with a job like this, making it ideal for a mom.

 

Part Time Work From Home Jobs

Many moms prefer jobs that allow them to work from home, so that they can stay on top of things on the home-front. Today, there are more options for work from home, than ever before!

 

Go Freelance

There are plenty of ways to turn your skill-set and background into great freelance projects. As a freelancer, you are your own boss, you get to define your earnings, working hours and everything in between - can you imagine better part time career options for a mom? Work dedicatedly on building a strong portfolio, and soon, you will be able to pick and choose your projects. Some areas where freelancing is a great option include content creation, web development, creative design, architecture, social media management and several others.

 

Consulting

 

Another lucrative freelance gig is consulting. As a consultant, you can offer your services and expertise to any number of organisations and individuals. Some of the most popular consulting jobs include business consulting, brand consulting, legal consulting, strategy consulting and creative consulting - and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

 

Home Business

Finally, the 21st century is the age for entrepreneurs, with anyone and everyone able to turn their special skill into a business! Chances are, you have a great home business idea at the back of your mind - so here are a few examples to help you figure it out. From selling homemade food, whether it be biryani, pickle or mithai to selling handmade jewellery and accessories, from tutoring school-kids to teaching yoga, music, dance or art, there are options aplenty!

 

Online Training

 

Online training is one of the best part time career options for a mom. There are thousands of companies hiring people to teach learners online. From making video modules, creating reading material to conducting live sessions, there are plenty of things one can do as an online trainer, depending on comfort level and  skills. English training is top of the list of online training options - but there are others like technical training, soft skills training etc.

 

Transcription

Transcription is heavily in-demand, which means that there are plenty of opportunities available for you. Transcription involves turning audio or audio-video into text - including writing transcripts live, writing closed captions for videos, creating subtitles for videos, and so on. This job is particularly known for its flexibility, making it perfect for a stay-at-home mom!

 

Part Time Jobs for a New Mom

 

New moms have very tight schedules, thanks to their precious babies taking up all their time and attention. But that doesn’t mean there are no part time work options for new moms who want it! As a new mom, you would prefer a job where you don’t need to leave the house, or are not tied to your computer for several hours. If your baby is a year or older, you might even like a job where you can take him or her along! Some options you could explore include: freelance writing and blogging, working at a day-care centre or other child-centric businesses, online transcription, and home tutoring.

 

So there you have it - if you are a mom looking for part time career opportunities today, there are more options than ever before! Whether you are looking for a way to occupy your time temporarily, or you are looking for some financial independence or want to explore something to take forward long-term, part time jobs are the way to go.


 

July 13, 2021 |  read

Father and child

Tips for working dads : Work-Life Balance

Balancing professional and personal life is like a game of Jenga, it’s all about finding the right balance! Find the equation that works for you. A recent study conducted by The Boston College Center for Work and Family found out that while 80% - 90% millennial fathers wanted advancements in their careers, only 4% agreed that they would be willing to sacrifice personal and family time to achieve it. We have a few tips for working dads who want a healthy work-life balance.

 

Prioritize Your Goals

The first thing to do is to ask yourself what you are looking to achieve, both professionally and personally. Have some professional goals as well as family goals and try not to expend your time on anything else unnecessarily. While setting these goals, include your partner in the discussion so that both of you are in sync about your professional and personal decisions. If you have to travel for work, plan well in advance for everything that should happen at home so that there won’t be any chaos while you are away.

 

Do Not Miss Out on Important Things

Ball games, dance shows, music recitals! These are the little events where your kids would want your presence. These are their proud achievements and you would want to be there as their biggest cheerleader. While an event like this or an event like their birthdays come up, plan ahead and take a leave from the office and be there with your little one/s.

 

Flexible Work Or Work From Home

Although you worked 10-hour shifts and pulled all-nighters at work before, once you become a parent, it is necessary to find some flexibility in your work schedule. You might have to attend a PTA or pick your child up from school or take them to their art class. Speak to your colleagues and manager and create a flexible schedule. If possible, take work from home at least a couple of days in the week so that you can spend more time with your children.

 

No Work Calls At Home

This is one of the most important tips for working dads. The advent of technology has made it more possible than ever to bring work home. Make it a rule to not check work related emails or return work calls once you reach home. Let your co-workers know beforehand that once you reach home, your time is reserved for the family and if there is something urgent, give them a time slot when they can contact you. 

 

Family Night

It is important for the whole family to do activities together and spend some time as a unit. Especially if both you and your partner are working parents, then it becomes all the more necessary for you to have this special night in a week dedicated only to your family. The activity can be something as small as watching a movie together while munching on popcorn or a fun dinner at your favourite restaurant.  Just ensure to keep a night aside for this in the beginning of the week while preparing your schedule. Plan ahead!

 

Date Nights With Your Partner

While the children will always be a priority and on your mind, it is important to prioritise your partner and your relationship with them too. Between working and taking care of the kids, you might miss out on some quality couple time which is important for your relationship. Hire a sitter or ask a friend to take care of your kids while you both go to a romantic dinner or watch a movie -  just the two of you.

 

Exercise Session

No matter what the age, physical exercise is important. Your kids need some physical activity and so do you. Do it together so that you get to spend more time with them while also having fun. You could go for morning jogs or plan bike rides during the weekends. If you are the kind of working dad who reaches home before sunset, you can take your kid to the park and while they play, you can get your walk or run.

 

Have Some Me Time

You are a dad, a husband and a professional, but you are also an individual. It is important for you to give yourself some “me time” for self care. Have a hobby like hiking or fishing which you can do once a week or have an everyday habit like meditating or listening to a podcast or reading a book. During this “me time”, make sure that you won’t tend to your office needs. Tell your family what you are doing and to not disturb you unless it’s urgent or an emergency. Taking care of yourself should always be a priority.

 

Remember that it is all about finding the balance that works for you. Planning ahead and communicating always helps. One step at a time!


 

March 08, 2021 |  read

Covid-19

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mother breastfeeding her child.

Covid Vaccine for Breastfeeding Moms in India

India has ramped up its Covid-19 vaccination drive. Adults between the ages of 18 to 45 years have been eligible to get the vaccine since May 1st, 2021. If you’re in this age group and currently breastfeeding your baby, you’re probably wondering whether you can take the vaccine too.

 

Read on to find out the latest developments regarding the Covid vaccine for breastfeeding moms in India.

 

Should Breastfeeding Moms get the Covid Vaccine?

As per current guidelines in India, lactating women who are breastfeeding infants, can take the Covid-19 vaccine. This includes women who are feeding their children pumped breast milk.

 

What has Changed?

Until May 2021, lactating women were not cleared to take the Covid-19 vaccine. In early May, the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) submitted a new recommendation to the Government that all lactating women should be allowed to take the Covid-19 vaccine. 

 

As of May 20, the Government has authorised this recommendation. Lactating women are officially eligible to take the vaccine in India.

 

Is the Vaccine Safe?

Both the vaccines available in India i.e. AstraZeneca's Covishield®, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India,  and Covaxin®, manufactured by Bharat Biotech Limited, have undergone clinical trials in 2 phases. They have received Emergency Use Authorization, because they are deemed safe for injection. The Sputnik vaccine manufactured in Russia has also been approved for use in India. All the vaccines provide good protection against the Covid-19 disease - either by preventing infection or preventing progression into a severe state of the disease.

 

Initially, lactating women were not included in the clinical trials for the 2 vaccines,  thus possible effects of the vaccines on breastfeeding women and their babies were not known - including the safety of the vaccines for lactating women, the effects of the vaccine on the breastfed infant, and on the mother’s milk production. 

 

However, new data has shown that the vaccines are unlikely to have a harmful effect on mother or infant. As Dr NK Arora, Chairman of the NTAGI, explains to India Today, the vaccine does not contain a live virus and will not harm the breastfed baby. He adds that the WHO also recommends that lactating women should be vaccinated.

 

In countries like the UK and the US, the Covid-19 vaccine is already being taken by breastfeeding mothers, as it does not have a negative effect on breastfed infants. Bringing the pandemic to an end is understood to depend on the maximum number of people getting vaccinated. Allowing lactating women to take the vaccine will help protect them, their infants, and those around them, from infection.

 

Dr Arora also adds that in several cases, when mothers are vaccinated against various diseases, their babies also receive antibodies through the breast milk. However, it is not yet known whether this is also true for the Covid vaccines available in India. 

 

What Should I Do Now?

Now that the guidelines have been updated to allow the Covid vaccine for breastfeeding moms in India, your best course of action is to take the vaccine as soon as possible. You may consult with your doctor before you register yourself for the vaccine, to discuss your particular case or any of your concerns. 

 

You will be able to register yourself for vaccination on the CoWIN platform, and book your slot at the nearest available health centre. You may have a choice between Covishield, Covaxin, or the new Sputnik vaccine, depending on availability. You can take your 1st dose immediately, and your 2nd dose after some weeks, depending on the vaccine.

 

Upon taking the 1st or 2nd dose, you may experience side effects such as mild headache, mild fever, pain or swelling at the injection site, or irritability. These side effects should disappear in a few days. Do contact your doctor if side-effects persist beyond a few days, are very severe or unusual.

 

Remember, after your 1st or even 2nd dose, there are chances of infection with the Covid-19 virus, even though severe illness is unlikely. To protect yourself, your baby, and those around you, you must continue to practice all precautionary measures - including wearing masks, hand hygiene and social distancing.

 

Besides getting yourself vaccinated at the earliest, do encourage your partner, parents or anyone living at home with you to do so too. This will ensure that your entire family and household is safe.

 

In a situation like the Covid-19 pandemic, changes are ongoing and new developments and guidelines are being announced all the time - so it goes for the Covid vaccine for breastfeeding moms in India. Now that the guidelines have been changed, go ahead and get the vaccine as soon as you can, and help end the pandemic in India.


 

May 26, 2021 |  read

Kid wearing a mask

New Government Issued Guidelines for Managing Kids with Covid

Anticipating an intermittent surge in the number of Covid cases in the months to come once lockdown protocols are lifted and schools are reopened, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has rolled out a new set of guidelines on 9th June 2021 and a revised version on 16th June 2021 dictating how to deal with covid cases in children who are below 18 years of age. 

 

While the guidelines clearly state that "Children have less severe disease than adults. In the majority, the infection is asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic. It is uncommon to have moderate to severe Covid among healthy children," nevertheless you need to be prepared. We know how scary and uncertain the times are, but do not panic. Take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety and well being of your kid(s). We are here to break down these guidelines for you so you can equip yourself with correct information and act accordingly if the need arises. 

 

Which drugs to use and which ones to avoid?

Drugs that are prescribed to adult patients of Covid-19 like Ivermectin, Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), Favipiravir and Antibiotics such as Doxycycline and Azithromycin should not be administered to children. This is so because these drugs have not yet been tested for their effectiveness in the prevention or cure of Covid-19 in children. The guidelines also strictly prohibit the use of the antiviral drug Remdesivir for children suffering from Covid-19. Anti-fever drugs such as Paracetamol and basic throat smoothening agents can be given to mildly symptomatic children. Antimicrobial drugs should not be administered to children unless there’s evidence or strong suspicion of superadded bacterial infection and the condition of the child is quite serious. However, do not administer antimicrobials or steroids or anti-coagulants unless it is prescribed by a doctor. 

 

How to handle asymptomatic cases?

According to the guidelines, if your child is asymptomatic then you can take care of them in your house. Keep them in isolation and make sure they follow all precautions like wearing masks and frequently washing their hands. You don’t need to give them any medication but ensure that they’re eating nutritious food and drinking lots of fluids. Take care of them and allow them to communicate with friends and relatives via video calls and chats so that they feel happy and content. 

 

How to handle symptomatic cases?

For mildly symptomatic cases, you can give basic anti fever drugs that have been prescribed by the doctor, to your kids and keep a note of their oxygen levels. Check if they feel weakness or have trouble breathing, consult a doctor if their symptoms escalate. All the while, it is very important that you keep your kid hydrated and feed them highly nutritious food. If your kid is old enough to gargle, let them do it frequently with saline water. 

 

The guidelines clearly state that HRCT is to be done only if the symptoms are worsening. In serious cases as such, please make sure that your kid has immediate  access to oxygen therapy and get them admitted to a hospital where their fluid and electrolyte balance can be maintained. Let the doctors take it from there. Under such a situation, you have to stay strong for your kid and keep motivating them. 

 

The most important thing to do in these trying times is to not lose hope. Follow these basic guidelines issued by the government and continue being a pillar of strength that your child/children can rely on. Make sure your kids are wearing masks, regularly washing their hands, eating a nutritious diet, and staying hydrated. 


 

June 18, 2021 |  read

Covid-19 vaccination syringe

Can I Get Covid-19 Vaccine During Periods?

Social media and WhatsApp have been flooded with messages ever since the government declared that people between the age of 18-45 years can get the vaccine from May 1, 2021. But with that, came many rumors. You might have received one of those forwarded messages which advise you against taking the Covid-19 vaccine during your menstrual cycle or five days before and after your cycle. It is understandable if those texts got you concerned but let’s debunk those myths and get to the facts. Can you really get the Covid-19 vaccine during your period?

 

First of all, before you believe a message or any crucial piece of information, check if it is a hearsay or it has been cited through a valid source. None of the health agencies such as the World Health Organization, ICMR, CDC etc. have claimed or suggested any relation between the vaccine taking a toll during menstruation. The Ministry of Health and Family Affairs did not mention any such contraindication on women under menstrual cycle to avoid vaccination.

 

The Science Behind Your Periods

Menstruation is the monthly vaginal bleeding that occurs in a person with a uterus and ovaries. Typically, the cycle occurs every 28 days but it can vary according to the person, their diet and their metabolism.

 

Every month, the body prepares for pregnancy which occurs on fertilization of an egg and a sperm. This is done by thickening the lining of your uterus. In case of the failure of fertilization, the body sheds the thicker lining which it no longer requires, along with blood from your vagina. This is the period that you get every month.

 

The Claim

The claim of the social media rumors has been that since the immunity of a woman is low during her menses, she must not get vaccinated during her menstrual cycle.

 

Fact Check

Your menstrual cycle is a natural and physiological method of your body shedding the womb lining every month, if no fertilization has occurred. Therefore, due to no relation between the immunity of the body and your period cycle, there would be no lowering of immunity during your period.

 

Secondly, if you look at any other vaccination, there has been no suggestion to avoid taking any vaccines during your periods. So, why should you avoid taking the Covid-19 vaccine either?

 

No research has concluded to suggest that the menstrual cycle is affected after the vaccination.

 

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has declared that there has been no evidence found, yet to suggest that Covid-19 vaccine affects fertility.

 

The hearsay has had its roots from a few cases of menstrual irregularity being faced by women after taking the vaccine. However, researchers explain that the same should be considered as like any other vaccine side-effects such as a mild fever. This means that your immune system is being activated and just as the mild fever does not pose any threat or permanent complications in your body, neither will the vaccine.

 

Doctors and researchers have taken over twitter and other such social media handles to assuage people of the said claim and state the facts of the question, if you can get Covid-19 vaccine during periods.

 

According to the World Health Organization, there have been people with certain health issues that are advised against getting the vaccine. Additionally, if your immune system is compromised, you have a history of allergies to any vaccine or are pregnant or lactating, do consult your doctor before you get a dosage of the vaccine.

 

Conclusion

 When it comes to the question of if you can get vaccinated during your periods, the answer is in the affirmative. Yes, you can!

 

The side-effects accompanying the vaccine are absolutely normal and nothing to worry about. However, if any reaction or symptoms experienced are severe instead of mild, please notify your doctor immediately. Moreover, know that it takes about two weeks for the body to develop your immunity against the virus after the two dosages. Essentially, any vaccine helps our bodies to develop antibodies that would fight off the virus. The body produces T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes which remember the process of fighting the virus in the future. However, as already mentioned, it takes about two weeks for the body to develop immunity and if, within the said period, the body comes into contact with the virus, they may get sick as there was not enough time for the vaccine to build immunity.

 

Therefore, any side effects of mild fever or irregularity in your menstrual cycle are normal and nothing to worry about.


 

May 24, 2021 |  read

pregnant woman with baby shoes

Covid Vaccinations and Pregnancy in India

On May 1st, adults between the ages of 18 to 45 years became eligible to register for the Covid-19 vaccination drive in India, and get inoculated against Covid-19. What does this mean for pregnant women who are likely to fall within this age group? And what about women who have plans to become pregnant?

 

These are the latest developments regarding the Covid Vaccinations and Pregnancy in India.

 

About the Covid Vaccine

The Covid-19 vaccination is designed to inoculate persons against the Covid-19 disease - this means preventing infection or preventing progression into a severe state of the disease.

 

At present, there are 2 vaccines available in India - AstraZeneca's Covishield®, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India,  and Covaxin®, manufactured by Bharat Biotech Limited. Both have received Emergency Use Authorization from the Indian regulatory body CDSCO, as per global standards and following successful Phase I and Phase II clinical trials. Each comes in 2 doses, to be taken 4 to 8 weeks apart.

 

Can Pregnant Women Take the Covid Vaccine?

 

At present, official guidelines recommend that pregnant women do not take the Covid-19 vaccine.

 

What are the Latest Developments?

In May, the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) submitted a new preliminary recommendation to the Government regarding pregnant women and the Covid vaccine. They have stated that pregnant women should be informed about the Covid-19 vaccines and given the choice to take the vaccine during their antenatal check-ups.

 

However, the Government has not yet authorised this recommendation. At present, pregnant women are not officially eligible to take the vaccine.

 

Why is This The Case? 

 

Pregnant women were not included in the initial clinical trials for Covishield or Covaxin. As of now, it is not known for sure whether the vaccine is safe for pregnant women and foetal health, or what are the potential complications, if any. 

 

Thus, as per present guidelines, women who are at any stage of their pregnancy, or could possibly be pregnant at this time, should not get the Covid vaccine.

 

Will the Guidelines Change?

The NTAGI recommendation is currently under review by the Government, although no decision has been made yet. At the same time, the recommendation is considered only preliminary, with further decisions yet to be made.

 

As the Covid-19 pandemic is an ongoing health crisis, new research is taking place simultaneously at an accelerated pace. In the US, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been declared safe for pregnant women, following evaluation of data related to maternal and foetal outcomes after vaccination. As Covid-19 infections are known to cause complications in pregnant women, the vaccine is considered a good precautionary measure.

 

As research continues in India as well, new data will continue coming to light. Regulatory bodies and committees like the NTAGI will accordingly put forth new recommendations and guidelines, including with regard to Covid vaccinations and pregnancy in India. 

 

However, at present, pregnant women should not take the vaccine.

 

If there are changes in official guidelines in the coming weeks, regardless of what stage in your pregnancy you’re at, consult with your obstetrician and make a decision accordingly. 

 

What if I’m Planning to Get Pregnant?

Now that the vaccine is being rolled out for adults 18 years or older, you may have questions regarding your future pregnancy plans and whether to take the vaccine.

 

If you have plans to become pregnant naturally or via assisted conception treatments, you must consult with your gynecologist regarding the Covid-19 vaccine, recommends Dr Anjali Menon, CK Birla Hospital speaking to The Indian Express. Some doctors told The New Indian Express that if women take the vaccine, conception should be delayed by 6 to 8 weeks post-vaccination. 

 

As taking the Covid-19 vaccine and becoming pregnant are both very important decisions, consider speaking to your doctor as soon as possible. Discuss all factors and options, to make the right decision.

 

If you unexpectedly find out that you are pregnant after taking the vaccine, do not panic. It is unlikely to cause harm. Consult your doctor as soon as possible.

 

Does the Covid Vaccine Affect Fertility?

 

You may have heard rumours that the Covid vaccine negatively impacts fertility. However, this has been widely denied by gynecologists. 

 

The Covid vaccine has no effect on fertility in men and women, experts told The New Indian Express, and it is recommended that all eligible adults get the vaccine.

 

At present, this is everything you should know about the Covid vaccinations and pregnancy in India. 

 

If you’re pregnant, you may not be able to take the Covid-19 vaccine right now. But do encourage your partner, parents or anyone living with you who is eligible to register for the vaccination. Once they’re inoculated, your own level of protection from infection will increase.

 

Have a safe and happy pregnancy!

May 28, 2021 |  read

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