New Mother Syndrome or Post-Natal Depression

You are home with your newborn. You look at that angel sleeping and you suddenly burst into tears. Do not worry – feeling emotional, in tears and panicked is normal for a new mother. Your life perspective changes from “I” to “my child”. You have new priorities and you are more sensitive than ever.

Reading this article will help you make the difference between baby blues and post-natal depression. Remember that a happy mother is a happy child.

New Mother Syndrome

This is hardly a problem or an illness. The new mother syndrome is the change in perspectives. From woman you become mother, the ultimate title. In the first weeks of maternity, you can suffer from the so-called baby blues, which are random bursts of tears, anxiety or sadness. They do not last long, though and they swap with good moods.

You need to realize that being a mother is not entirely a joyful, idyllic experience. It is also an overwhelming, tiresome experience.

What you need to do is take care of yourself and of your baby. Do not neglect yourself. Get enough rest and eat well.

Most mothers panic when their baby cries… or does not cry. Babies have their own alarm system and crying is their way of speaking.  When your baby cries and weeps, try to keep your cool and soothe his nerves, do not become yourself agitated and nervous.

Things get problematic if your sadness persists and it becomes a way of living.

Post-Natal Depression

Scientists did not discover yet why some mothers become depressed and others do not. It is the result of many factors: an unstable financial situation, no support from their life partner, the absence of family and friends, previous depressive symptoms.

Consult with your doctor to diagnose correctly a depression.  Here are the most common symptoms of post-natal depression:

  • Manic behaviour: insomnia, severe agitation
  • Prolonged sadness
  • Lack of hope and no perspective on life, future
  • Guilt
  • Irritable behaviour, unjustified anger
  • Indifferent to your baby or a wish to harm him
  • Indifferent to your life partner

It is very important to acknowledge these symptoms and not to keep them to yourself. Do not be afraid of being judged or misunderstood. In any types of depression, communicating with your closest ones and a doctor is the best method.

Post-natal depression does not mean you have failed as a mother.

Love yourself and your baby.

Reshape your belly after birth

Timely action and an effective plan will help you reshape your post-partum belly and regain the muscle tone and skin firmness you had before getting pregnant. Read on our tips on exercising to get rid of the flabby stomach aspect and make the stretch marks fade away.

How your belly looks like right after birth

Unless you are a celebrity catered by trainers, nutritionists and doctors, your post-partum belly will not look so toned and flat. Most women have a flabby stomach after birth, cleft in the middle where the stomach muscles have distanced to make room for the baby. Stretch marks don’t make it better either. It feels somewhat like a deflated ball and looks like a sinking cake. The skin loses its firmness and feels soft at touch. The linea nigra will disappear in a few months and the red stretch marks can fade if treated.

Get rid of the stretch marks

It’s easier to prevent the appearance of stretch marks than to remove them afterwards. Use lotions and oils with vitamin E throughout your pregnancy. If stretch marks have been formed, they will fade in time if you continue to use lotions.

Exercising can also help regain the elasticity of the skin, but don’t exercise in the days right after birth. After you feel more energized, start training with exercises focused on your stomach muscles.

Regain muscle tone

You’ll likely feel sore and tired in the first week after birth. When you regain your energy, start with some light exercises and increase the intensity week by week. Sit-ups and plank exercises are very effective for building the muscle tone on your stomach. Try yoga, pilates and swimming to complete your training and build your overall muscle tone.

Maintain an after-birth diet

In the first two months after delivery you need to ensure that you get plenty of nutrients and calories to recover and maintain a healthy milk supply. Don’t rush into a diet to lose weight while you’re still breastfeeding. You will naturally start to get back in shape if you exercise. Later on, you can speed up the process by combining training with a healthy post-partum diet. Set your daily target to an intake of about 1800 calories after you are no longer breastfeeding. With the proper motivation, your belly will get back in shape in 6 to 12 months from birth.

10 Things You Shouldn’t Say to Your Pregnant Partner

Most pregnant women have had the experience of an insensitive comment at least once. Learn how to avoid the most common ones.

1. “Who is the father?”

This is by far the most dangerous question you could ask a pregnant woman. If you have reasonable doubt that you are the father, talk to her about that, express your concerns and reasons for doubt and be understanding. It will nonetheless be a difficult conversation, so think it through beforehand.

2. “How hard can it be?”

Have you ever had a baby? The experience of being pregnant brings pain, discomfort, stress and a great deal of anxiety and bad moods. It’s extremely important to show empathy and support, so try to be more understanding and less condescending.

3. “Are you crying again?”

Pregnancy is an emotional time, so don’t be surprised if your partner will start crying over small issues. Be supportive and offer her hugs and tissues.

4. “You’ve gotten big”

Don’t make any comments about her weight gain, ever. For most pregnant women, this is a very sensitive subject and should be handled cautiously.

5. “Are you going to wear that tent for dinner?”

Pretty maternity clothes are much harder to find than regular clothes, especially when she’s on a budget. You should make her feel beautiful and comfortable. Don’t create insecurities by commenting on her maternity wear.

6. “You’re too emotional”

And that is normal during pregnancy, so don’t make her feel bad about it.

7. “I know how you feel”

Unless you’ve actually been pregnant before, you don’t know. You might laugh together about a remark like this or she might get upset. It’s good to ask her how she feels and to be understanding, but remember that you’re not really sharing the same load.

8. “You can’t eat that”

Never tell your pregnant partner what she may not eat. That’s her decision. Don’t question the cravings she has and try to help her have a balanced diet without imposing anything.

9. “Let’s have a drink”

Suggesting alcohol or coffee is irresponsible and might be upsetting to her.

10. “I don’t feel like rubbing your back right now”

Back aches are a common symptom during pregnancy. Giving her back rubs every evening is your responsibility as a partner and one of the most soothing things you can do to make her pregnancy easier.

How to Cope with Early Pregnancy Symptoms

The four most common symptoms in early pregnancy are tiredness, morning sickness, mood swings and frequent urination, followed by other first signs of pregnancy. Learn how to keep them under control and cope with the changes they bring in your early weeks of pregnancy.

Tiredness

A very common pregnancy symptom is feeling tired. This is more intense in the first and third trimester.

Take naps as often as possible. You need plenty of rest, especially in early pregnancy, so try to go to bed earlier and take several short naps during the day.

Include carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables in all your meals and snacks throughout the day. A healthy pregnancy diet will keep you energetic and reduce the fatigue symptom.

Keep an exercise schedule and generally try to stay active. Even if you exercise lightly, establishing a daily routine will make you feel stronger and less tired.

Morning sickness

This symptom is commonly experienced in the first trimester of pregnancy. Nausea is sometimes accompanied by vomiting, especially in the morning.

Feeling nauseous can be accentuated by the food you eat. Keep your meals small and often, and replace foods that cause you nausea with their nutritional equivalents.

Natural remedies can be efficient against morning sickness. Examples include ginger, mint tea and Roman Chamomile tea.

Stay hydrated to diminish nausea. Have water, lemon juice or your favourite herbal tea with you to sip regularly throughout the day.

Frequent urination

This symptom is especially common during the first and third trimester of pregnancy. While your body produces more urine, the pressure on your bladder will increase, resulting in the frequent need to pee.

There are no options to go around this symptom. It’s very important to stay hydrated during pregnancy, so don’t cut back on fluid intake. Coffee makes you pee faster and is not very hydrating, so giving up caffeinated drinks will help. The frequent trips to the toilet at night can be reduced if you drink less water in the two hours before bedtime.

Mood swings

If your mood changes from one minute to the next, know that it’s normal. Mood swings are caused by hormonal activity and are very common during the first trimester.

You can’t really control the hormones responsible for your pregnancy symptoms, but there are ways to cope with mood swings. Exercise, rest and talking about your mood swings with your partner and friends will make you feel a lot better. Feeling guilty over your mood swings will only lead to more stress and is unjustified, as they’re out of your control. Be kind to yourself and find moments for reflection and relaxation. Reflecting on your pregnancy and becoming conscious of your baby is an important step towards a healthy pregnancy and giving birth.

Top Questions in Early Pregnancy

When does morning sickness start?

Morning sickness symptoms are caused by the pregnancy hormones in your body and for most women it starts around the 6th week. You might experience nausea from particular smells or foods. Read more on what morning sickness is and how to cope with it. As you advance in the second trimester, your morning sickness and nausea symptoms should ease up.

When will my pregnancy bump show?

If this is your first pregnancy, a bump will only be visible at the start of the second trimester, around weeks 12-16. If it is not your first pregnancy, your bump may be visible sooner, because belly muscles may be still stretched from your last pregnancy. Body weight, age and genes are also factors that influence how soon you will start to show a bump. If your bump shows too early, you might consider booking an appointment for an ultrasound scan to calculate the due date.

When will I have my first baby scan?

The very first scan you can take is the early pregnancy scan, which confirms whether you are pregnant or not and calculates your estimated due date. Twin pregnancy can be detected with this ultrasound. Also called viability scan, the early pregnancy scan can be taken from week 7 to week 11 of pregnancy. Your doctor or midwife might recommend this scan especially if you have had miscarriages or complications during previous pregnancies.

How soon does frequent urination start?

Frequent urination is one of the first signs of pregnancy, and will be at its peak during the first and last trimester. This is caused by the shrinkage of your bladder and by the fact that your body will start to produce more urine during pregnancy. This is a symptom you’ll have to get used to, as there is not much to do to reduce it. It’s important that you continue to drink the necessary amount of fluids. Try to give up caffeinated drinks, as these make you urinate more often and do not hydrate your body very much.

Why am I so emotional during pregnancy?

Mood swings are a common symptom during the first trimester of pregnancy. There’s not much reason to worry if you’re going from calm to irritation in seconds or if you’re feeling that your emotions are not as balanced as before. Mood swings are caused by the increase of pregnancy hormones in your body, as well as by the fact that there are many changes you need to go through during pregnancy. During the second trimester, mood swings should disappear. Read more about how to cope with mood swings and other common symptoms during early pregnancy.

Vitamin D and Pregnancy during Winter

Your Vitamin D levels during pregnancy are important for your baby’s health and help prevent certain diseases. Differences between babies born during summer and babies born after October are believed to be partly due to differences in sun exposure. Because the amount of sun exposure is higher during late spring, summer and beginning of autumn than the rest of the year, women who are pregnant in this period benefit from more Vitamin D intake on average.

Effects of Vitamin D intake during pregnancy

What does this mean? Your baby needs Vitamin D for growth, especially in the second half of pregnancy, when ossification processes and bone growth are developing. Babies born during the summer are more likely to have bigger bones than babies born during the winter season. On average, “summer babies” are 5 mm taller than “winter babies”. This difference is correlated with the difference of Vitamin D levels measured in the blood of the mothers while pregnant.

Vitamin D has many other benefits for maternal and fetal health. It has important effects for the immune system and it may play a role in preventing food allergies, asthma and preeclampsia. Try to spend as much time as possible in daylight, especially during the winter season, when days are shorter.

Food sources of Vitamin D and dietary supplements

Products fortified with Vitamin D are a good choice, since very few foods have sufficient Vitamin D. Cereal, milk and orange juice that are fortified with Vitamin D and Calcium are usually easy to find. Other foods rich in Vitamin D are: egg yolk, tuna, sardines and pink salmon. However, when you are pregnant, your body needs much more Vitamin D than any of these foods can supply. So if the rainy days keep you inside, vitamin supplements are a must. Always consult with your doctor beforehand.

Most pregnant women need to take dietary supplements that include Vitamin D, as intake from food is often not sufficient. The level of Vitamin D in your body can actually be measured if deficiency is suspected, so check with your doctor at the next appointment for advice on taking supplements. Talk to your midwife for nutrition and lifestyle advice that will help you increase your daily intake of Vitamin D. A tip: hold back on using sunscreen with SPF higher than 30, it reduces your Vitamin D intake.

The Most Successful Ways to Reduce Pregnancy Stretch Marks

In the third trimester of pregnancy, most women get stretch marks as a result of the drastic gain in weight. While there are many methods to prevent their appearance, the most influential factor in the appearance of stretch marks during pregnancy is genetics. And once the stretch marks have made their appearance it is almost impossible to make them completely disappear. Yet there are ways to make them fade. Here are the most recommended ones. Remember, the earlier you begin to apply them, the more effective they are!

IPL Treatment

Sessions with Intense Pulsed Light are a highly effective post-pregnancy treatment for your stretch marks if they are still red. Although there is no evidence yet that IPL treatment affects pregnant women in any way, most clinics and salons avoid treating pregnant women for extra precautions.

Pulsed dye laser

Only choose this option if your stretch marks are still red. Treatment with a pulsed dye laser device will not completely eliminate stretch marks, but it will make them appear more faded.

Prescription creams

Body creams based on retinoids (derived from Vitamin A) and glycolic acid increase the elasticity of your skin and can have visible effects if applied in the early stages of stretch marks. However, you cannot use retinoids while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor for a custom recommendation.

Exfoliation

Choose a natural exfoliator that is gentle with your skin and use it once or twice a week. Through exfoliation, dead cells are removed and your skin cells renew faster. You’ll also have a softer and more radiant skin.

Moisturize

Treat your skin with body lotion, almond oil, Shea butter, cocoa butter, or other body moisturizers. They won’t make the stretch marks disappear, but if applied early on, they will have an effect in the later stages of the stretch marks’ evolution.

Eat what’s right for your skin

Foods containing Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Zinc are your skin’s best friends.

Exercise

Physical activity keeps your skin healthy and nourished by increasing blood flow in your body. Another great thing about exercise is that it helps reduce stress, which has an impact on how your skin behaves. More than that, if you keep an exercise routine during pregnancy, you will most likely gain weight gradually and not abruptly.

Keep hydrated

Drink plenty of water to keep your skin elastic. The more elastic your skin is, the slower your stretch marks will expand.

Healthy Habits for Sleeping Well during Pregnancy

It becomes harder and harder to maintain a good sleeping routine as the pregnancy progresses. Nausea, pressure on the bladder, cramps and mood swings and usually the factors that stay in the way of a good night’s rest. Here are a few tips on how to develop healthy habits that will help you sleep well during pregnancy.

Find a good sleeping position

Sleeping on the side is the best position for both you and your baby. On the opposite end is sleeping on the back: this can result in back pain and problems with breathing and circulation. As the pregnancy evolves, when lying on the back, the weight of your uterus puts pressure on your back and intestines and reduces the blood flow to your uterus. Sleeping on your stomach is not associated with any risks, but it can become very uncomfortable as your belly and breasts increase in size.

As you progress towards your third trimester of pregnancy, train yourself to sleep on the left side. This position is optimal for increasing the blood flow and provision of nutrients to your baby. Shifting positions during sleep is perfectly normal and should not be a reason to worry. If you reach an uncomfortable position, you will wake up. Many pregnant women find it difficult to stick to one position. If you’re feeling tired or uncomfortable from sleeping on your left side, try using pillows to prop up your back or legs.

Create a sleeping routine

Establish a sleeping routine and try to stick to it. Pair it with a ritual that helps you relax before going to bed, such as drinking a glass of warm milk, brushing your hair or reading. Avoid eating, watching TV or surfing the web while in bed. It’s easier to fall asleep when you associate sitting in bed with sleeping and not with stimulating activities that normally occur during the day.

Use relaxation techniques

Relax your body and mind with a massage, stretching exercises and prenatal yoga. Exercising will also help you stay in shape and improve your circulation and your physical well-being. Schedule you exercises in the morning and afternoon, but keep your physical activity low in the hours before bedtime.

Take daytime naps

Take half-hour naps during the day to reduce fatigue. One or two power naps of 10 minutes are also healthy for your mental and physical well-being. You will feel less tired and have better concentration throughout the day. Avoid taking naps that are longer than 30 minutes, otherwise you might feel drowsy all day.

Eat little and often

In between your main meals, include snacks and small meals. This keeps the energy levels stable and it also helps reduce pregnancy nausea for some women. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid spicy or fatty meals to ease your digestive system.

Nature vs. morning sickness

Although pregnancy may be the best time of your life, it sometimes brings forth some inconveniences, such as the morning sickness (nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, also known as the NVP symptom). Most cases of morning sickness occur during the first trimester of pregnancy (reaching its peak during the 9th and 10th weeks) and last until the 14th to 16th week when the NVP usually clears up. Over 60% of new moms to be do experience this discomfort, which is accounted for by the buildup of the HCG (human chorionic gonadotopin) hormone in your system, also known as the pregnancy hormone.

Although morning sickness usually occurs during morning, NVP can affect you at any time of the day or night, and some women feel sick all day long. Frequently, the morning sickness is accompanied by bouts of nausea and vomiting, to varying degrees, affecting thus the nutrition which is highly important during pregnancy.

However, morning sickness isn’t all bad since recent studies have suggested that mothers who experience morning sickness have fewer miscarriages so there IS a bright spot in the midst of your morning, or in some cases, all day miseries.

What can I do to cure my morning sickness?

We live in a world full of quick and highly-reliable solutions for almost everything. If, for example, a headache is about to ruin my day, all I have to do is to take a pill and wait for a few minutes. However, when it comes to morning sickness, both the doctors and the new moms to be are reticent in using medicines since these may be harmful to your pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. Therefore, the natural remedies are one of the safest methods to tackle the pregnancy ailments, without bringing about any unpleasant side effects.

And….we come back to Mother Nature who offers plenty of natural remedies, such as:

Ginger

Ginger is a safe and effective natural treatment for women suffering from morning sickness, during pregnancy. Health care professionals recommend the use of fresh ginger roots: a teaspoon of grated ginger root is steeped in a cup of hot water. You can drink this tasty juice either cold or hot.

We recommend the consumption of ginger during cold autumn or winter days, when you feel the need to enjoy hot drinks; this fact is also acknowledged by the Chinese tradition which considers it as a hot remedy.

If you’re not fond of the fresh ginger savor, you may purchase either ginger capsules, from specialized stores or special ginger candies.

Due to its potential side effects, characterizing all such similar products, ginger should not be consumed for more than 3 successive weeks.

Mint

While ginger is considered to be a hot remedy, mint is a cold remedy. Mint can be consumed as a cold tea, being expressly recommended for pregnant women claiming hot flashes and similar discomforts. Mint flavor can be also found in chewing gum and different sugarless delicious confections. However, in some cases, the strong mint flavor may aggravate the queasiness and nausea.

Roman Chamomile

The Roman Chamomile tea is recommended for digestion problems and for its easeful and healing effects.

Lemon

The lemon is well known for its positive effects against pregnancy nauseas. Sometimes, all you need to do is to smell the lemon rind.  Also, the lemon, mint or mandarin essential oils are very useful in allaying morning sickness.

 

Besides these natural remedies, here are some useful and practical tips:

–          Never skip your breakfast;

–          Eat less and more often;

–          Don’t forget to take your vitamin B6;

–          Don’t eat chocolate or spicy food;

–          Avoid coffee and all beverages that contain caffeine;

–          Exercise as much as you can;

–          Drink water between meals;

–          Carefully choose your sleeping position.