Most of the moms are confused while introducing babies to their first foods. One of the things that concern most mothers is how to properly feed their children right from the time of introducing solids. Introduction of solids to babies is also called as complementary feeding, as it is mandatory to feed them with breast milk or formula feed which should be the primary source of food till they are one year old. The solids must be an additional source of nutrients.
Feeding an infant shouldn’t be a stressful situation. To help out the new mothers, here are some do’s and don’ts while feeding their babies
- Do check with your pediatrician before starting solids to your baby.
- Look for the physical signs such as sitting up with limited support, have good neck strength and ability to chew the food.
- Introduce one food at a time in small quantity i.e. about one to two teaspoons and gradually increase the quantity over time.
- When solids are introduced before your baby turns 6 months, make sure they are pureed. Later introduce different kinds of textures such as minced, mashed or shredded food which helps the baby in transitioning to eat regular food.
- Make sure to provide necessary nutrition for your baby to aid healthy growth.
- Don’t introduce two new foods at a time; maintain a gap of three to four days between introduction of each food. By following this tip it is easier to figure out any possible reactions like diarrhea, vomiting or rashes.
- Don’t stop breast-feeding or formula-feeding just because you are working on the introduction of solids. Breast milk or formula feed must be a main source of nutrition and calories.
- Don’t add honey, salt or sugar into the baby food just to make your baby like that food.
- If your baby doesn’t show interest or rejects while being introduced to a new food, don’t force them to eat. Try again and again by maintaining a gap of few days.
- Don’t distract your baby during the mealtime. Turn off the TV or music, and keep away the toys while feeding.
It is very important to be patient while feeding your baby. Don’t get frustrated when your baby does not accept the food you have introduced to him. Remember that the every food you are introducing to your baby has never crossed his lips before and he has to get used for its new texture and flavour.
Amenorrhea is menstrual disorder which is referred as the absence or infrequent menstruation. A woman who misses at least three menstrual periods consequently is said to suffer from amenorrhea. As the menstruation ceases during pregnancy and while breastfeeding in some women, amenorrhea is healthy and natural part of life. But if a woman suffers from amenorrhea in the absence of pregnancy, it is not healthy and can indicate a serious health condition which should be treated immediately to regulate the menstrual cycle.
Symptoms of amenorrhea:
Though absence of menstrual periods is the main symptom of amenorrhea, but depending on the cause of amenorrhea, the possible symptoms may include:
- Hair loss
- Excess facial hair
- Pelvic pain
- Vision changes
Causes of amenorrhea:
Amenorrhea can be caused for a wide variety of reasons. The natural causes of this condition are pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause. But the other reasons for the cause of amenorrhea might be the side effect of some medications or an indication of medical problem. Some of the causes of amenorrhea are listed below:
- Use of contraceptive pills
- Medications taken for conditions such as allergies, blood pressure, depression.
- Lifestyle factors which include excessive exercise, low body weight and increased mental stress can be a cause of amenorrhea.
- Some of the medical problems which can be a result of hormonal imbalance such as PCOD, thyroid malfunction, and premature menopause can disturb the menstrual cycle and lead to amenorrhea.
A woman with regular menstrual cycle is believed to have good Gynec health. Though many women don’t mind missing their menstrual period, it is very important to discuss about the abnormalities that occur in their menstrual cycles with their gynaecologists. If you find any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is time to get treated by an expert gynecologist.
Hormones have great impact on women’s health. The women’s reproductive health is influenced mainly by two well know female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. In women, female hormones are important components of reproduction, sexuality, overall health and well-being.
Because female hormones play a major role in women’s bodies, women feel their hormones are controlling them. When the level of hormones fluctuates, it can have effect on woman’s ovulation, mood and fertility as well. So, hormonal imbalance has adverse effect on the functioning of woman’s reproductive system. Following are some of the common signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance that most of the woman experience in their day-to-day life.
- Irregular Sleep Patterns: One of the most common side effects of hormonal imbalance is lack of sleep. In women, low progesterone levels lead to poor night’s sleep.
- Excessive Sweating: Women experience night sweats or hot flashes due to the reproductive hormonal imbalance often caused by menopause and excessive use of birth control medications.
- Unexplained Weight gain or Loss: Hormones play an important role in regulating metabolism including how many calories are burnt or store them as fat. So, when the hormones are out of balance, unexplained fluctuations in weight are noticed.
- Chronic Fatigue: Hormonal imbalance often makes a body feel completely exhausted on daily basis. Due to unbalanced hormonal levels, body has to work overtime just to perform basic functions.
- Cravings and Poor Digestion: While increased cravings for specific types of food are because of nutrient deficiency, but cravings for salty, sweet foods and feelings of intense hunger when your body doesn’t need to eat are due to hormonal imbalance.
As already stated, hormones play important role in regulating metabolism, hormonal imbalance can cause discomforts of bloating, indigestion, diarrhea, nausea and constipation.
If one or more of above signs describes you, it’s time to balance your hormones as ignoring these symptoms may worsen your reproductive health.
Most of us think that headaches are just an adult problem, but they are very common in children and teens. The types of headaches in children are same as adults do. Main reason behind the headaches in children is because of an illness, infection, fever, or cold. But other triggers include stress, anxiety, depression, change in sleep patterns, loud noises and some foods.
Types of Headaches:
Based on the reasons of their occurrence, headaches are of many types. The severity of headaches can range from mild to severe and affects people in different ways.
Some types of headache which are most common include:
- Tension: These headaches are caused by the contracting of muscles around head and neck. The main cause of this type of headache is stress at school or home, arguments with parents or friends and depression.
- Migraine: Migraine can make people dizzy. Often, migraine headaches are associated with nausea, vomiting and visual disturbances.
- Psychogenic: These types of headaches are less common and similar to tension headaches. The main cause is an emotional problem such as depression. Signs of depression include low energy levels, loss of appetite or overeating, difficulty in thinking and concentrating and sleep disorders.
How Headaches Are Diagnosed In Children & Adolescents:
It is very important to note the symptoms and characteristics as completely as possible so the headaches can be properly diagnosed and treated successfully. The important points which need to be noted are as follows:
- When the headache started and how long it lasted.
- How often the headache occurs.
- The range of severity (mild to very severe.)
- Cause of the headache such as certain situations, foods, medications or some physical activities.
- Anything that helped it to go away.
- Family history.
- Where the pain is located.
Treatment of Headaches:
The proper treatment will depend on several factors such as type and frequency of headache, its cause and age of the children. Some of the tips by which a child can get relief from headache are as follows:
- Applying a cold compressor to head.
- Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast.
- Seek rest in cool, quiet and comfortable location.
- Avoiding activities which trigger headaches.
- Practicing deep breathing exercises.
The above are the ways which can be tried at home for temporary relief from headaches, but can’t help always if the frequency and severity is high.
Miscarriage or pregnancy loss is the topic a woman never wants to hear when she is pregnant. But, unfortunately most pregnancies end in miscarriage. In general, a miscarriage is defined as spontaneous abortion which is the unexpected end of pregnancy in the first 20 weeks. The most common type of miscarriage is the spontaneous pregnancy loss and it cannot be prevented.
Signs of Miscarriage:
Some women don’t experience any symptoms of miscarriage at all; but the most common and possible signs and symptoms of miscarriage are as follows:
- Back pain
- Mild to severe cramps
- Loss of pregnancy symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, breast tenderness.
- Heavy bleeding possibly with clots or tissue; similar to a period.
- A negative pregnancy test after a positive one.
Causes of Miscarriage:
Although it is very common that a woman blames herself when she has a miscarriage, it’s so important not to do so. Miscarriage is most commonly caused due to the genetic or chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo i.e., the embryo do not develop as it should. The other risk factors which could be a cause of miscarriage are mentioned below:
- History of recurrent pregnancy loss.
- Chronic illness such as diabetes or thyroid disease.
- Advanced maternal age i.e., over 35
- Deficiencies of vitamin D and Vitamin B and high levels of vitamin A.
- Excess consumption of alcohol.
- Physical problems such as cervical inefficiency which means weakness of the cervix that cannot hold the pregnancy.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to stop a miscarriage from happening once it is started; it is crucial to consult a gynecologist and treated to prevent infection.
Babies’ tummies are tiny and can reserve less fluids in their bodies when compared to elder children and adults. Till 6 months, babies get all the fluids they need through their regular feedings by breast milk or formula. But if they are exposed to high temperatures or loses fluids through fever, vomiting, diarrhea or sweating, they quickly become dehydrated.
Once babies are introduced to solid foods, small amounts of liquids will start to come from other sources such as juices, fruits, vegetables and sips of water. As the amount of breast milk intake decreases, make sure to keep your baby hydrated by giving plenty of fluids.
Signs of Dehydration:
If your baby has fever, diarrhea, or vomiting, you should watch carefully for the signs of dehydration which include:
- Dry skin
- Cracked lips
- Few or no tears while crying
- Sunken eyes
- Less urinary output
How to Treat Dehydration in Babies:
Treating dehydration is to replace fluids to restore levels of body fluids to normal. Some of the important tips to hydrate your baby when he is severely dehydrated are follows:
- Rest your child in a cool environment, until the lost fluid has been restored.
- Instead of feeding every few hours, feed small amounts for every half hour.
- Dilute juices if your older infant drinks juice.
- Offer smaller portions of milk more frequently, if your child is bottle feeding.
- Dress infants in weather – appropriate clothing.
- Use an Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS), these are specially designed to help hydrate infants to restore water, sugars and salts which are lost due to dehydration.
If you notice no improvement even after treating your child for dehydration at home, consult a pediatric specialist as the child might need to receive intravenous fluids in the hospital.
In general, giving birth to a healthy baby is a natural process. A normal pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks; in which a woman goes into labour on or before her due date mentioned by her gynecologist and gives birth to a healthy baby. After one or two days of her delivery, she starts her day-to-day life with her growing family. But this is not the case with all women, some women face challenges before, during or after delivery, what doctors refer to as a high-risk pregnancy.
A high-risk pregnancy is referred to presence of potential complications in a pregnancy which could affect the mother, the baby or both. Women who have high-risk pregnancy, need specialized care to help ensure the best outcome for the mother and baby.
Risk Factors for High-Risk Pregnancy:
The factors which place a pregnancy at risk are as follows:
- Maternal Age: One of the most common risk factors for a high-risk pregnancy is the age of the woman. Women who will be under age 17 and over age 35 are at higher risk. Pregnant teens are more likely to develop high blood pressure and anaemia. The risk of miscarriage and genetic defects further increases after age 40.
- Medical History: A history of miscarriage or recurrent pregnancy loss and a family history of genetic disorders are also risk factors of high-risk pregnancy. Conditions such as kidney disease, diabetes, lung, heart, thyroid problems can put mother and/or her unborn baby at risk.
It’s important to consult your doctor if you have any of these medical complications before you are planning to get pregnant. This helps you to get advice and precautions to optimize the health of you and your baby.
- Lifestyle Factors: Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol can put a pregnancy at risk. Smoking during pregnancy puts the fetus at risk for preterm birth and certain birth defects. Even a second-hand smoke can cause serious health problems for woman and her developing fetus. Consuming alcohol during pregnancy passes directly to the fetus through umbilical cord which leads to abnormal facial features, short stature and low body weight.
Pregnancy Complications: Pregnancy risks are high when woman carries more than one baby i.e., twins, triplets, quadruplets etc. Various complications that develop during pregnancy such as problems with uterus, cervix or placenta and too much or low amount of amniotic fluid also increases the risk of pregnancy.
During the first trimester of pregnancy, a woman’s body experiences many changes. The most common complaint heard from 90 percent of pregnancies is vomiting, also known as “morning sickness”. This is a normal part of the pregnancy but it is mainly caused due to the rapid hormonal changes. When a woman is pregnant, due to high estrogen production and hormonal activities triggers nausea and vomiting.
Some of the tips and home remedies to minimize morning sickness or vomiting and nausea are listed below:
- Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is found to help in relieving morning sickness in pregnant woman and it doesn’t harm the fetus. Foods which are high in Vitamin B6 are brown rice, corn, nuts, fish and bananas.
- Mint Leaves: The menthol properties present in mint leaves, helps to soothe the inner part of the stomach. Chewing some fresh mint leaves to drink its juice avoids vomiting sensation.
- Lemon: Lemon juice is also a very good remedy to deal with vomiting during pregnancy. Smell fresh lemon peels to ease nausea and vomiting symptoms or squeeze a fresh lemon into a glass of water with some honey added to it, drink this every day in the morning to prevent morning sickness.
- Carom seeds: Chewing one teaspoon of carom seeds in the morning, helps pregnant woman for better digestion and to deal with vomiting. Consuming too much of carom seeds will increase the heat level of body, so make sure to have them in right quantity.
- Ginger: Ginger can be used to treat all types of nausea and is safe for pregnant woman. Using fresh ginger in your drinks such as tea and fresh grated ginger in your food can help to get relief from nausea.
- Eating patterns:
- Take several small meals throughout the day, instead of having large meals.
- Don’t eat fried, spicy foods and avoid foods with strong odours that bother you.
- Avoid having empty stomach. Sip on some fluids such as clear fruit juices or water and snack regularly between meals.
- Take foods which are easily digestible, low in fat and high in carbohydrates or protein.
- Regular Walks: Walking and light exercises are very helpful during pregnancy, unless your doctor says no to it. Walking is a perfect remedy to reduce vomiting as it is a safe exercise and aids digestion. Sitting in one position for a long-time trigger vomiting, so it is better to walk a little after your meals for faster and better digestion.
Seek medical help if you are suffering from severe and constant vomiting, as this may lead to dehydration if left untreated.
It’s tough for any parent to find that their child has a sleep disorder. Before going to know about what a sleep disorder is, know how much sleep do children need. Depending upon their age, the sleeping schedules varies from child to child. Children who are 12 to 18 years old need around 9 hours of sleep, toddlers need 11 to 14 hours and new-born will sleep approximately 16 to 17 hours. Lack of sleep in children may have negative effects on academic performance, extra-curricular activities and social relations.
Children with sleep disorders may exhibit some symptoms such as hyper activity, restlessness and inattentiveness which are more like ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Due to this symptomatic overlap, sleep disorders may often misdiagnosed with ADHD.
Signs of Sleep Disorders in Children:
Children with sleep disorders exhibit some symptoms which are considered to get medical evaluation.
- Excessive snoring
- Bed wetting in children older than 6 years.
- Trouble sleeping
- Sleep walking
- Excessive sleepiness during day
- Decrease in day time performance
Tips to Improve Your Child’s Sleep:
Sleep disorders in children can lead not only to tired and cranky children, but also all kinds of behavioural problems in their social lives. Below are some tips to help to improve your child’s sleep.
- A fixed bed time and wake-up time helps your child internal clock to get sleepy and feel awake at specific times. The waking time should not vary from weekday to weekend more than one to one and a half hours.
- Create a relaxing bedroom environment which makes it easy for your child to drift off to sleep and stay asleep.
- A warm bath before bed time will help child’s body to reach a temperature where it’s most likely to rest.
- Avoid offering foods and drinks with caffeine to children before bed time.
- Skip stimulating TV shows, video games or computer games before bed time in favour of more calming activities, because you want the child to relax not to energize.
Fibroids!!! The most renowned gynecological problem seen in woman these days. Woman get alarmed by hearing the word “fibroid” when they consult a Gynecologist about their fertility issues or menstrual problems. Most of the woman don’t have right knowledge about what fibroids exactly are. To spread the awareness among woman, here is a brief explanation about fibroids.
Fibroids are non-cancerous tumours made of smooth muscle cells that develop in the woman’s uterus. These have different names such as “Uterine fibroids”, “Leiomyomas” or “Myomas” in Medical terminology. The size of these tumours can range from the size of a bean to as big as a melon.
No one has a clear picture about the causes of fibroids. But the main factors which tend to occurrence of fibroids are hormonal and genetic. Following are some of the important factors which cause fibroids:
- Fibroids can occur mostly during the woman’s reproductive years as the estrogen and progesterone levels are high. During pregnancy, fibroids tend to swell as the estrogen levels are high. While they shrink during the menopause stage because of low estrogen levels.
- Family history of having fibroids will increase the risk. Women with a family member or close relative with fibroids have a greater risk.
- Overweight can be one of the main cause of fibroids in women.
- Some evidences prove that high intake of caffeine, alcohol and having lot of red meat increases your risk of fibroids. While increased intake of green vegetables and fruits might reduce the risk.
The symptoms can vary from woman to woman. Some woman who have fibroids have no symptoms, or have only mild symptoms, while other women have severe symptoms. Each individual may experience the symptoms differently. But the most common symptoms seen are listed below:
- Heavy or prolonged menstrual periods which may cause Anaemia.
- If the fibroids are large, there may be swelling in the lower abdomen.
- Severe backache
- Pain during intercourse
- Fertility issues
- Pregnancy problems
- Repetitive miscarriages
- Pelvic pain
In most cases, as symptoms are rarely felt, one can’t diagnose fibroids by self-examination. Fibroids can be only diagnosed by going through certain medical examinations such as,
If the woman has no symptoms and the fibroids are not affecting her day-to-day life, she may not receive any treatment at all. Since fibroids grow more as a result of high estrogen levels, some medications are prescribed by Gynecologists to lower the production of estrogen which does not affect fertility.
Depending on the symptoms and size of the fibroids, patient need to undergo surgery. The surgical procedures to treat fibroids are mentioned below:
- Hysterectomy: Hysterectomy is the procedure in which the uterus is removed. It is mostly suggested for the woman who have large fibroids. In some cases, ovaries are also removed along with uterus.
- Myomectomy: Myomectomy is a surgical procedure to remove fibroids from the uterus. This procedure is highly suggested to the woman who want to become pregnant.
- Laparoscopy: Woman who have fibroids in small size and less in number, are suggested to undergo laparoscopy. This procedure is usually reserved for removing one or two fibroids that are growing on the outside of the uterus.