Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Breastfeeding - natural and important for new Moms

"Breastfeeding is one of the most enriching experiences for a mother": It not only nourishes the baby, but also creates an immense bond between the mother and the baby".
Breastfeeding is natural, but it is important that expectant moms educate themselves on how to breastfeed and learn about positioning and latching-on, supply and demand of milk, and how to handle challenges during breastfeeding.
It’s important to understand that the production of breast milk is based on demand and supply. The more the mother feeds, the more the supply of milk which means that a mother should feed the baby on demand, rather than on a schedule. Also, babies have growth spurts. So, a baby who was being fed every three hours might suddenly demand to be fed every hour: It does not mean that the supply of milk is less, but that the baby is experiencing growth spurts.
Even the dad has a role to play in this process. It is important that the expectant dads attend a childbirth class to learn about breastfeeding. For successful breast feeding the mom needs food, rest, sleep and support. So, it is dad’s duty to take on household chores. So, men, better get a grip on cleaning, cooking, washing and entertaining guests. Also the dad has to encourage the mom and tell her that she is doing a great job. Dads can also support the mom to position and latch-on the baby while she is breastfeeding. Once the feeding is done allow the mom to rest and take the baby under your care. Burp the baby, change its clothes and put it to sleep. Also at night it’s the dad’s duty to bring the baby to the mother for feeds.

Courtesy: Chennai Times, august 3 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Feet first! - Gives yourselves happy and pretty feet. Here's how?

The feet are the pedestals of beauty. Your posture, your figure, your grace of movement all depend, finally on your feet. The human foot has 52 bones, and 214 ligaments. It is subject to more pressure and more injury than any other part of the body. It can also be affected by a great variety of diseases, circulatory disorders, dermatitis, diabetes and arthritis. However, minor foot problems start from outside pressure and everyday complaints like corns and calluses to in grown toe-nails which are very painful and grow worse unless they get proper treatment and attention.

Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses are caused by the way we walk and by friction on the foot. A massage with olive oil, castor oil or coconut oil softens the dead tissues and makes it easier to rid yourself of these problems. A salt foot – bath followed by a massage with lemon peel oil is very soothing. You can make this by turning half a lemon inside out and filling it with olive oil or any other vegetables oil. Allow the oil to seep in overnight. To ease the pain of corns, tape garlic or onion on the corn. Rubbing a pumice stone over calluses softened by bathing keeps calluses small and eventually eliminates them. Melt and store 100 gm coconut oil, 5 gm camphor and 20 gm of paraffin wax. Use on clean feet at night daily till the cracks disappear. Wash feet in the morning and use a hand and body cream. For itching feet lemon juice and vinegar applied to the feet are excellent. Athlete’s foot is a fungus which develops an itchy rsh between the toes with minute blisters splitting the skin. Onion juice between the toes relieves itching and athlete’s foot. For swollen Feet soak feet in a basin of hot water to which a handful of Epsom salts (Magnesium Sulphate) and a handful of salt has been added. The swelling will soon disappear if you tie crushed leaves of geranium over the feet.

In grown toe – nails are mostly self – inflicted by incorrect trimming of the nail, cutting it too short or when snipping down the sides, tearing the nail, resulting in a sharp piece piercing the skin. You should see a chiropodistas the whole nail may have to be removed. For perspiring feet use a foot powder. Make your own foot powder: Talcum powder: 11/2 cup, Boric Acid: 2 tbsp, corn starch:1/2 cup. Mix all the ingredients together and use. Chillains occur due to poor circulation and they react with the cold, damp weather. Scratching an itchy chilblain only makes a broken one which will need medical attention. If the chilblains are unbroken, you can rub them with an iodine ointment at night. In the morning, paint the area with a mixture of equal quantities of Tincture benzoine and a weak solution of white iodine. Always try on shoes in the afternoon on a hot day. Avoid high heels for long periods of time. For long stretches of standing use sturdy leather lined shoes with broad- based medium heel. Don’t use the same pair day in and day out. Leather loses its shape unless allowed to rest for a day or so. To exercise feet, once in a while, move around barefoot. Sandy beaches and thick grass stretch your arches and make your toes work. Alternatively, you could walk on a carpet for 30 minutes. Picking up marbles with your toes improves the state of your feet.

Spare time once in ten days to give yourself a pedicure. Remove old nail polish. Massage nails with cuticle cream and soak in a basin of soapy water. Trim and me nails straight across. Push back cuticles with orange stick remove dead cuticle with cuticle remover Buff nails. Apply nail polish. One last tip- Remember to dry your feet after bathing, particularly between the toes. Damp feet provide the perfect environment for foot infection.

For information on diabetic foot causes and treatment click here

Saturday, November 28, 2009

ULTRASOUND - A glimpse into a hidden world

The ultrasound scan is a safe, non-invasive and accurate obstetric tool that plays an important part in the care of pregnant women.

The new mom is excited. She is three months pregnant and has been scheduled for an ultrasound examination. She and her husband will actually be able to see the baby! At the same time she is a tiny bit nervous. Will the baby be normal? Will the doctor be able to tell her that the baby is growing normally? Does she have twins?

What is an obstetric ultrasound scan?
In the 70s, ultrasound scanning was introduced, to image the foetus growing inside the uterus. Ultrasound scans literally threw new light on the growing foetus, giving us a glimpse into the hitherto hidden world of the foetus. We can now measure its growth, and watch and make sure that most of its organs are functioning well. We can see it moving, blinking its eyes, making breathing movements, swallowing, waving its fingers, sucking its thumb and even urinating inside!

Ultrasound scan is a safe, non – invasive, accurate and cost-effective investigation in a pregnancy. It has increasingly become an indispensable obstetric tool and plays an important part in the care of every pregnant woman.

The role of ultrasound scanning in pregnancy
Confirmation of pregnancy: Ultrasound can confirm a pregnancy by 5 weeks from the last period. By 6 weeks of pregnancy a heartbeat can be confirmed.
Diagnosing a miscarriage: When there is vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy, ultrasound examination is very important in confirming the viability of the foetus. If the heartbeat is identified, the chance that the baby will go to term is almost 95 per cent. In case the pregnancy is not growing well, the gestational sac may be irregular and the foetus may not be identified. This is called a blighted ovum. If the foetus is seen but there is no heart beat, a diagnosis of missed abortion will be made.

Occasionally, the pregnancy may not be growing inside the uterus but may actually have formed inside the tube. This is called an ectopic pregnancy.

Dating of pregnancy: Foetal body measurements give us the gestational age of the foetus. A scan done between 6 – 12 weeks of gestation will give us the most accurate age of the foetus. In women who have irregular periods or who do not remember the first day of the last period, such measurements must be made as early as possible in pregnancy to arrive at a correct dating of the pregnancy.

In the second half of pregnancy measuring body parameters will allow assessment of the size and growth of the foetus. The measurements help in determining if the baby is growing well or not.

Confirming that the baby is normal: Many physical abnormalities in the foetus can be reliably diagnosed by an ultrasound scan. A few abnormalities can be seen even in the early weeks of pregnancy but the best time to look for most defects is between 20 – 24 weeks of pregnancy. It is important to remember that even with the most advanced ultrasound technology; 15 – 20 per cent of foetal defects may be missed. A normal scan report is not a guarantee that the baby will be completely normal. Some abnormalities are very difficult to find or to be absolutely certain about.

Diagnosing twins: Ultrasound scanning is invaluable in the diagnosis of twins. Ultrasound scanning is also used to monitor the growth of the twins.

Screening and diagnostic procedures: Ultrasound scanning is a very important part of screening for chromosomal abnormalities like Down syndrome. Ultrasound can also assist in other diagnostic procedures in prenatal diagnosis such as amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling and foetal blood sampling.

How often is a scan done?
An early scan is done at 7 – 8 weeks to confirm pregnancy, exclude ectopic or molar pregnancies, confirm the presence of a heart beat and measure the crown rump length for dating. A scan between 11 – 14 weeks of it’s useful to check nuchal translucency and can be combined with blood tests to rule out Down syndrome.

A scan at 20 – 22 weeks is important to rule out foetal abnormalities. Growth can be assessed and placental position determined. Further scans may be needed if abnormalities are suspected. Your obstetrician may ask for a scan in the third trimester to assess foetal growth and evaluate foetal size and weight. It might also be done to follow up on possible abnormalities seen in an earlier scan.

Special ultrasound scans.
Doppler ultrasound. This imaging technique is used to measure the flow of blood in the blood vessels of the placenta and the foetal blood vessels.

3-d Ultrasound: This technology uses especially designed probes and software to generate three-dimensional images of the developing foetus. It helps in clearly defining certain foetal abnormalities for example cleft lip.

Fetal echocardiography: this technology is extremely useful to assess the baby’s heart structure and function. This is used to help assess suspected congenital heart defects.
(The author is a Chennai – based obstetrician and gynecologist with a special interest in women’s health issues).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Women and Wellness - Battling for breath

Did you know that after age 20, women are more likely than men to have asthma for the first time?
Dust and pollution can trigger off asthma. Inhalers may not be effective and a visit to the hospital becomes a must.
Even though asthma is more common in little boys as compared to little girls, this trend reverses after puberty. After age 20, women are more likely than men to have asthma for the first time. Women also have more problems with asthma, as compared to men. Due to hormonal changes around the time of the periods, women may find an exacerbation of the diseases during that time. Pregnancy too, can make asthma worse, and moreover it may complicate pregnancy. Between the ages of 20 and 50 women are nearly three times more likely than men to be hospitalized for asthma.
Not having asthma as a child is no guarantee against getting it as an adult. 30 to 40 per cent of people suffering from asthma will get it as adults.
In mild cases, the chest feels tight, but in severe cases there can be an intense feeling of suffocation. Being unable to breathe or feeling like you can’t breathe is one of the single most frightening situations to find oneself in.

The basis of an asthma attack is inflammation of the bronchioles, which are the narrow tubes which carry air into the lungs. The inflammation leads to constriction and narrowing of the bronchioles and results in wheezing, tightness of the chest and persistent dry cough. Substances like dust, mold, pollen and smoke trigger cell inflammation and mucous production. The basis for this is an allergic reaction. People who have a tendency to have allergies have a greater chance of developing asthma.
All asthma is not triggered by allergies. Women can also have asthma attacks after taking drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen. Some women develop asthma in the workplace due to exposure to certain chemicals or other substances. Some women have asthma which is triggered by exercise. Exercise-induced asthma is caused by dry air coming into the lungs or a change in the fluid balance of cells. Within five to ten minutes after beginning exercise, individuals experience asthmatic symptoms such as chest tightness, coughing or wheezing.
Breathing exercise like pranayama is excellent for asthmatics and complement medical treatment.

Adults will often develop asthma soon after a respiratory infection. Women who are prone to allergies may develop asthma when they move to a place where there is more dust, pollution or an allergy stimulating environment.
Asthma attacks can be unpredictable. A woman may get an attack when she is least expecting it. That is why all asthmatics are advised to always keep their medications with them. Asthma can also be exhausting. Women may find that they have no energy to carry on their daily routine after having spent a night fighting an attack. It also prevents women from exercising, leading to an increase in weight which in turn worsens the condition.
Asthma can sometimes be so severe that it requires hospitalization. Oxygenation of the brain can be hampered and in rare cases asthma can actually be fatal.

More women have an asthma attack around the beginning of their period than at other times in the menstrual cycle. At this time, the oestrogen level in the body is very low and this may trigger the attack. 75 percent of adults hospitalized for asthma are women. The hormonal changes in women may account for this.

A particular concern for women is how pregnancy will affect their asthma. Some women find their symptoms get worse, while others find their symptoms stay the same or get better. Women with more severe asthma are more likely to have their asthma worsen during pregnancy than women with milder forms. Inhalers (both steroid and bronchodilators) are safe in pregnancy. Oral medications may be taken under physician supervision.
Most women with mild to moderate asthma can go through a pregnancy without complications. Women with severe, poorly controlled asthma may have the risk of delivering babies with low birth weight and premature babies
(The author is a Chennai – based obstetrician and gynecologist with a special interest in women’s health issues)
The supplementary: the Wellness
The Hindu date September 25 2008

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Health Vs Weight

A majority of women are more cocerned abut their weight than overall health, says a recent US poll. The new poll has found, it is not health related issues that's weighing down most women, but weight-related ones - even among the 26 per cent of respondents whose Body Mass Index (BMI) is in the noal range.
Of the 1000 respondnts, just one-third said they didn't like their physical condition - despite the fact that obesity and a sedentary lifestyle increase the risk of ailments like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
"So many women think more about the number on the scale than whether their blood pressure or cholesterol is normal," an American daily quoted registered dititian Keri Gans, a spokesperson for the American Dietic Association, as saying. "They really don't think about disese risk as much as they d about their wieight," Gans added.
The survey also revealed that women exercise for a median of just 80 minutes per week, which means that half the women do even less exercise. A mere eight per cent of the women surveyed said that they eat the minimum recommended servings of fruit and vegetables (five a day) and a full 28 per cent said they consume those five servings just once a week or less.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Calcium - Miracle Mineral

Calcium - the 'Miracle Mineral' is an essential mineral to maitain good health.  Calcium is essential to build  bone and teeth health. Approximately 99% of the body's calcium is stored in the bones and teeth. Calcium in the body also aids in neurotransmitter release and muscle contraction. Women especially need to ensure the calcium intake in their foods to ensure a healthy life.


Pregnancy is a time when proper calcium intake is of particular importance. The growing fetus depends on its mother to provide a daily supply of adequate nutrients including calcium for healthy growth and development. Nursing mothers too need to ensure the intake of calcium is adequate to ensure baby growth. Vitamin 'D is required for calcium absorption.  Get little sunlight everyday to aid calcium absorption.


It is an important nutrient to prevent osteoporosis in later life.  Calcium is also believed to reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Dairy products, such as milk and cheese, are a well-known source of calcium. Avoid Calcium robbers like caffine and excess intake of salt in your food. 

Exceeding the recommended daily calcium intake for an extended period of time can result in hypercalcemia and calcium metabolism disorder.


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Sunday, May 10, 2009

WOMEN & WELLNESS: Here's how to prepare your child about the arrival of another baby

Telling your child about the new baby?
There are no real rules about how your break the news to your child about the new baby. If your first child is still very young, he or she might not quite understand the concept of waiting for a few months till the baby arrives. You might wake up every day to be bombarded by the same question, “Has the baby come yet”

How your child handles the news also depends on the age of the child and the size of the extended family. If the child has been the centre of attention in a small nuclear family, he may find it hard to give up his place. Sibling jealousy and rivalry is a fact of life. By preparing your child, you may be able to lessen it even if you cannot do away with it completely.
The age of the child
If your child is 2-3 years old he might tend to be more possessive of your affections and might find it hard to share you. A 4-5 year old child might find it easier to share because he has already learnt to deal with other children in school. If the child is 6 or older, he might want to be informed about all that is happening and might be very interested in helping out with the new arrival. Regardless of the age, parents have to be realistic and need to know that each child will react differently to the arrival of a new baby.
Involve your child during pregnancy
If your child is small but old enough to understand the concept of another baby, tell him around the third month of your pregnancy. Of course, if your child is older and understands your conversations, then tell him as early as possible so that he does not feel left out. Take your child with you to the antenatal checkups so that he can be involved in the process right from the beginning. Let your child help in picking stuff for the new arrival. Encourage your child to come up with names for his sibling. Either directly or by suggestion, does not influence the child to say that he specifically wants a sister (or a brother). Encourage him to stay that he wants a baby and it does not matter whether it is a boy or a girl. When your keep stressing that you want the baby to be of the opposite sex of your child, he might feel that you don’t appreciate him or that he was a disappointment. He will then resent the new baby.
Involve your child in the hospital
Make arrangements for your child to be take care of when you are in the hospital. You must also prepare the child for the separation and let him know that he is being very helpful to you by being mature and staying at home. Let your first child come and visit you as soon as possible. Your child will want to touch and fell the baby. Do not get agitated and angry. Let him gently touch the baby while you are holding it. Calmly explain that the new baby is very fragile and needs gentle handling. Do not be surprised if your first child regresses and wants to be held and cuddled by you. Give him all the hugs and reassurances he needs.
After bringing the baby home
When you come, reserve some special time for your first child. Have someone handle the baby for a while and give all your attention to the first one. If your child sulks and throws a tantrum, be patient and calm. Do not lose your temper or tell him that he is a bad brother. Be firm and allow the child to calm down. If the child continues to be aggressive, make sure that you do not leave him alone with the baby. The aggression will lessen eventually. You just have to be patient.
The Hindu the Wellness dated June 12 2008

Friday, February 20, 2009

Diet After Delivery

You have delivered your baby now!!!!!!! and with your baby comes a galore of advices for your diet pattern. It is very vital that you diet is a completely balanced. It is not required to eat large quantities just because you are nursing your baby. Your diet should basically contain carbohydrates, proteins, iron, vitamins and minerals. Calcium requirements can be compensated by consuming supplements.

To know more on your diet after delivery click here http://healthtips.in/eating-healthy-after%20delivery.asp