Post partum depression in India.
It is high time we spoke openly about a very common pregnancy related mental health disorder-Post partum depression.
Did you know that PPD affects 22% of women who have given birth in INDIA?
And its incidence is on a raise in urban population.
What exactly is PPD?
New moms experience mood changes,sadness,anxiety,crying spells in the first 2 weeks of pregnancy.
It is called post partum blues.
Sometimes,this can get stronger and may even extend upto 1 year.
Then it is called Post partum depression.(ppd)
Why does it occur?
Think of it like a complication of pregnancy,which isn’t in our control,so it isn’t a character flaw rather a side effect of hormonal changes during pregnancy and post partum.
The INDIAN scenario
The incidence is more in southern states followed by eastern,western and finally northern states.
The sad part is even if 22 women out of 100 are suffering from this,very few come forward to actually seek help.
The women think of it as a social taboo.
And most of the women are made to sit at home along with the baby,this seclusion at home itself is a lot detrimental to women.
After delivery,all the focus turns towards the new born, leaving very little attention towards the mother,who needs equal love at this stage.
Most of the women don’t even go for post natal visits rather depend on the elderly lady who just keeps rambling stuff to do and not do after delivery.
The most important of all NO PRIORITY TO MOTHER’S MENTAL OR PHYSICAL HEALTH is given and it is expected that she blooms with motherhood the instant she delivers.
What can we do?
India does have a national mental health programme drafted in 1982 but it is largely deficient in maternal mental health.
There isn’t any screening method to diagnose these cases before hand.
So the burden of detecting and reaching out for help falls on us.
We need to see for the risk factors first.
All these are from the studies in Indian population.
|Financial difficulties||Lack of support from family|
|Domestic violence||Recent stressful event|
|Marital conflict||Sick/death of the baby|
|Lack of support from husband||Previous female child|
|Birth of a female baby||Low maternal education|
|Mother having a psychiatric illness||High parity|
For new moms and family-
if you see the following in a new mom then reach out for help
With postpartum psychosis — a rare condition that typically develops within the first week after delivery — the signs and symptoms are severe. Signs and symptoms may include:
Confusion and disorientation
Obsessive thoughts about your baby
Hallucinations and delusions
Excessive energy and agitation
Attempts to harm yourself or your baby
Postpartum psychosis may lead to life-threatening thoughts or behaviors and requires immediate treatment.
Is there any way so that the mom can diagnose herself?
yes, there is a scoring system called Edinburgh post natal depression scale
this is a direct link to check for yourself.
Any value more than 9 should be sought after for medical help.
Dear mothers,to be mothers and everyone who’s reading this.
If you went through the risk factors,most of the cases emerge from lack of support from the family,especially the husband.
I can’t stress enough how our society has made it very difficult for the mom to seek for the basic help.
Mothers are expected to be a guide book to the baby.
It is very important to remember that she’s equally as new as you to the baby,especially the first timers,although the chances of ppd are high in multi moms.
Please listen to her when she says she needs help or that she’s anxious or that she’s feeling helpless.
Don’t start with ‘that’s what happens when you are a mom,you are supposed to do this or that’
Sometimes just listening and saying ‘I care’ matters a lot.
Don’t generalise her feelings, don’t say it will just go away.
Help a new mom as much as you can.
And give her the same attention you gave whe she was pregnant.
Most of the new moms seek extra love from their husbands.
I wrote this blog when a few moms posted that ‘PPD is a myth’ and ‘what are the values that we are going to set to the coming generation’
Why are we obsessed about the next generation when we aren’t able to properly support the present one?
Stop making it a social stigma. STOP JUDGING OTHERS!!!
Seeking for medical help is the basic right for every human being and mental health no matter how much you ignore, it needs special attention.So STOP LABELLING!
To all the mommas and to be mommas who are wondering if pregnancy brain is a thing,then it’s a big YES!
And who didn’t know until now, lemme explain what this blog is all about.
Pregnant women experience a lapse in attention and memory,famously called as ‘pregnancy brain or momnesia’
about 80% of the pregnant women complain either forgetfulness or poor concentration or simply not feeling sharp.
Almost 4 out of 5 women especially in their 3rd trimester complain it.
So there were many,many,maaaany studies on this topic and most of them hint towards the changes happening.
I trusted it because I found myself facing similar problems myself.
Before you freak out about doing something wrong at your job, relax!
It has been shown that there might ne minor lapses like forgetting stuff,but there wont be much of an impairment in your overall performance.
Also, these changes may start in the 1st trimester itself but they may not be apparent until 3rd trimester.
Why the pregnancy brain???
It has been studied that the gray matter of brain shrinks in pregnancy and the areas which are for important stuff related to child rearing like bonding and social cognition are strengthened.
The volumes of hypothalamus, striatum and amygdala (all parts of the brain) increase whose function is emotional regulation and parental motivation.
Size of hippocampus decreases leading to loss of memory.
The highlight is,the changes in the hippocampus took 2 years to reverse.
Along with these changes estrogen, progesterone and oxytocin marinate your brain in pregnancy which heighten the maternal responses.
Does it go away completely?
it is still not known if the brain function returns to normal after giving birth.
Studies are still going on to find out.
Also,the changes got pronounced with each pregnancy.
There were no changes in IQ but there were definitely changes in Priorities!
WHAT DO I DO,WHAT DO I DO?
There’s nothing to be scared of.
Its just the nature’s way of preparing you for motherhood.
Along with these changes there will be improvements in attention, foraging and planning.
Let’s think of this,in this way,your pregnancy gives you super power to make you a ‘super mom’
If you are experiencing forgetfulness, then,
All the hormones go bonkers in pregnancy. They make you depressed, forgetful, emotional but their ulterior motive is to make you ready for motherhood.
They want the baby to be your utmost importance. They want you to be on your toes to attend to them immediately, they want you to show the baby love like no one else existed.
And,all these changes are more prominent in a first time mom.
Wanna know a funny thing?
New fathers didn’t show any such changes at all. No wonder fatherhood isn’t instant,so cut those poor fellas some slack.He may be freaking out for all we know.
After all these, my kids gotta give me a medal or something.
oh wait, they better not, I’ll forget it anyway (he he, pregnancy brainer myself)
Cord blood banking
If you attend hospitals for regular check ups you may find lots of posters asking you to store cord blood cells in their banks.
Along with it comes the doubt, to bank or not to bank.
It’s a moral dilemma questioning you as a parent even before child birth.
This blog is to give you clarity regarding the uses of cord blood banking.
What exactly are cord blood cells?
The cord blood has cells with special abilities.
Abilities to transform into other cells.
How Is this blood collected?
Immediately after delivery the blood from the cord and placenta is collected in a specialised bag, which is taken by the assigned personnel for banking.
Takes around 10-15 minutes to collect.
Obviously It’s painless.
How does banking help?
Cord blood has the capacity to treat over 70 diseases including diseases of the immune system, genetic disorders, neurologic disorders, and some forms of cancer, including leukemia and lymphoma.
Are there any cons of cord blood banking?
The thing is cord blood can’t be used in case of genetic disease in the same person. For example, if the person has leukemia these cells can’t help as they too have potential to become cancerous as they carry same genes.
Then what’s the use of banking at all?
They do help in strengthening the immune system in some cancer treatments.
Also, these banked cells can be used for treatment for other people who match the requirements.
Similarly, we can use other’s banked cells when our cells can’t be of help to the baby.
A big plus is that they have low rejection rate compared to other stem cells like that of bone marrow.
How can this be available to the public?
There could be public banks and private banks.
Most of the ones available in India are private banks which need a certain amount of fee to be paid for long term banking.
In case of public banks, we can make donations to them too.
How to know if the blood collected is adequate?
Usually the bags will be labelled with certain level of marking for the blood to be collected.
In case the blood was rather made to flow into the baby after delivery then there might not be enough blood collected.
Sometimes, in case of an emergency where there is any impending danger to you or the baby then they may not have the time to collect the blood too.
Is it a necessity?
Its not a necessity and its totally upon your discretion to bank or not.
Then when should I do it?
If any of your family member is suffering from any genetic or hereditary disease which can be treated with cord blood cells then get them banked.
Or you can do it just as a future precaution, because there are instances where blood cells of baby have been used to treat their grandparent’s diseases.
I already banked for my elder kid,should I do it again for second pregnancy?
Another plus of cord blood banking is that siblings can be treated even if cells of one person are available.
So, if you have a confirmation that the previous cells are well maintained then you needn’t get it banked again.
Yes, cord blood banking seems not reliable.
Have a proper talk with the bank personnel on how they are maintaining the samples.
It isn’t an
absolute necessity and without any family history the cells may never come in handy
But, if you are a planner who plays safe then go ahead and bank the cells.
You never know how can they be useful on the long term.
You can find same blog on momspresso under my expert profile!!
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From the overwhelming joy of becoming a mom to tiresome nights to gradually getting acquainted to the baby to getting back to SEXUAL LIFE, is a hell of a ride.
And as you go on to getting back to normal,the fear of another pregnancy creeps you out.
so what to do, how to avoid another pregnancy????
Did you know that women tend to have no periods after delivery?
it is called ‘Lactational amenorrhoea’
the nature gives women a safe period of 6 months with the help of hormones to avoid pregnancy,sometimes this may extend beyond one year too.
But this comes with risks of its own.
The hormone levels may not stay the same for all women and a few tend to have regular ovulatory cycles leading to accidental pregnancy when had unprotected sex.
SO DON’T BLINDLY TRUST YOUR HORMONES.
The following are the options that you can choose.
so these are the simple and easily available methods.
It is necessary that you give a minimum of 3 years for your body to heal from the trauma of pregnancy.
Due to lack of resources, information and embarrassment of asking the doctor regarding sexual life, many women tend to get pregnant immediately after delivery and either resort to getting illegally aborted or continue at the expense of own health.
The doctors are here to help you. Have a talk with your gynaecologist regarding various options available and which are suitable to you both mentally and physically.
Talk to them regarding pros and cons and choose accordingly.
Always remember, Prevention is better than cure!
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Vaginal birth after Cesarean Delivery (VBAC)
Thanks to recent advents and availability of emergency and elective caesarean section,most of the difficult deliveries which could have been traumatic and detrimental to both mother and baby are averted reducing the morbidity and mortality in both.
But many women still want to have the natural birth experience and also want to avoid surgery for obvious reasons.
BUT, CAN EVERYONE DELIVER VAGINALLY AFTER CESAREAN?
According to recent studies, among women who take TOLAC (trial of labour after caesarean) 60-80% have chances of normal vaginal delivery.
Firstly, what is TOLAC?
See, women who are willing to under go VBAC have to pass a few criteria, after that a trial of labour is given with a backup of emergency caesarean, so that if either the mother or the baby are in jeopardy, the process can be stopped right away and surgery done.
Criteria for VBAC
I want to explain you all in as simple terms as possible.
The doctor has a few selection criteria where both maternal and fetal factors are taken into consideration.
Above all it also depends on the facilities available in the hospital for emergency surgery and also competence of the doctor.
The above are a few basic factors involved in selecting a candidate suitable for VBAC.
Every procedure has its set of pros and cons, so does VBAC.
What can you do from your side?
It is important that you can mentally prepared for all consequences. You can’t half-heartedly give a trial. Motivation plays a huge factor.
Have a detailed discussion with your Doctor.
Talk about pros and cons and especially what complications you can face in your condition.
Start taking iron and folic acid medications atleast 3 months before getting pregnant.
Take high protein diet and prepare your body for the situation.
Have blood reserved in blood bank near term for any unforeseen circumstances.
Know before hand how labour pains will feel and if you are willing to bear them or take epidural anaesthesia.How and when you should bear down.
Get regular scans as advised by your doctor especially to know baby anomalies, fetal weight ,placental position and most importantly scar thickness.
I know every mother cherishes the dream of a vaginal delivery no matter what hassles she has to face.
It is important that rather than flowing in the emotion of vaginal birth, take your health into consideration as well as baby’s.
Planning ahead helps you and prepares you!
And yes,VBAC is a big deal, talk about it,be proud of it and thank your super baby for getting you a successful one!!!
Every mother has a birth story and most of it revolves around labour pains.
Although there are a few women who love having labour pains and smile through all of them,most of them say its their worst night mare ever.
Thankfully, these days most of the hospitals have the option of Epidural analgesia during labour.But there have been lots of doubts and fears among pregnant women to opt for them or not.
Lets get to know about it in detail then.
What is epidural analgesia in labour anyway?
It is a way to deliver an anesthetic drug into your epidural space which covers your spinal cord there by numbing the pain sensations caused by labour pains.
So,there wont be no pain at all?
Yes,although it depends on the amount of anesthetic drug used. Based on the dose you can either have a little pain or no pain at all.
How exactly is epidural given?
A special needle is used and a thin plastic tube is introduced into the epidural space of the lower lumbar area .
This tube is used to administer the anesthetic.
A single of anesthetic is enough for the entire labour?
No,a single dose isn’t enough.
The doctor may keep administering a small dose of the drug after the effect of the given drug weans off.
Sometimes,instead of this a pump is attached to the tube which continuously administers a small amount drug.
How long will it take for the pains to reduce?
It takes around 10-20 minutes for the epidural to act and decrease the pain intensity.
Are there any side effects?
You will be catheterised with a foley’s catheter as there will be having difficulty in urinating.
Does epidural affect the baby?
Any drug given to the mother will reach the baby via umbilical cord,but this doesn’t have any effect on the baby.
They say,epidural leads to caesarean,is that true?
Although it prolongs the labour process,it doesn’t always lead to caesarean section.
The chances of instrumental delivery are high when epidural is used.
Delivery may require ventouse or forceps to extract the baby.
Why instrumental delivery,can’t I push?
Actually if you are well prepared you can push.
Some doctors prefer giving a bit of pain stimulus during the last stage delivery so that you get an idea whn exactly to push.
Otherwise usually your contractions are monitored on CTG machine and the doctors will let you know when to push.
I fear I may have back pain in the future due to epidural.
It is a general myth that women who take spinal or epidural get back ache in the future but it is FALSE.
There aren’t any long term side effects due to epidural.
Labour is a very stressful process,there are many warrior moms who like to endure the pain stating not only it is natural but also the only right way to deliver.
Remember,you are no less a warrior for taking epidural analgesia.Not everyone has the same tolerance to pain and its no crime to ask for epidural.
After all the baby will be better taken care of if the mumma is feeling better.Right?
i have posted the same article in momspresso,follow me there and on insta for updates and expert blogs too!
Should you be worried about your baby’s
“What do i do to improve my baby’s colour?”
My baby was very fair at birth,now lost all the colour,why?
Any medicines or oils or creams to improve the complexion?
homeremedies to improve the colour”
If you have been to any maternity&child care online portals,these are probably
the commonest questions you’ve come across.
Firstly,lemme be clear.The birth colour of the baby is not permanent and its
obviously not the “real” colour of the teeny bopper.
The newborn skin undergoes a lot of changes post birth.
There will be drying,scaling and finally peeling off of skin.
In case,the baby is a growth restricted one,it has the typical “old man’s look” as it
is famously called.These babies have a very dry and dark skin as well.
Mind you! these are not permanent.
Babies are covered by ‘vernix caseosa’ ,which is white sticky material,also gives
whitish tinge to the baby.As you keep bathing the baby this goes away.
Babies are covered by lanugo hair,spreading across the entire body but mostly
prominent over the arms and face.It sometimes gives a false ‘dark coloured’
These hair too get eventually cleared away as the baby grows.
What to do?
Do absolutely NOTHING!!!
Please don’t resort to aesthetics and put your baby to strain.
Babies are cute no matter what.And you worrying about the complexion is kind
of degrading your baby.
As the baby grows,the natural colour slowly sets in.
You can instead give highly nutritious food to increase the strength and
immunity and in return automatically your baby/kid looks healthy and also
less prone to diseases.
As the kids reach puberty their body undergoes many changes and the physique
and complexion is totally different.
Also,don’t restrain kids from outdoor games,swimming etc out of fear of losing
colour.You will be limiting their childhood.They will instead resort to a bad
lifestyle of mobiles and video games.
The blame is totally on you then.
*Never ever use haldi,besan or anything along with milk to apply to the
baby. It blocks the skin pores and inturn increases skin infections
*Never use oils,especially for long standing periods,they are very difficult
*Never use bleaching agents or soaps containing them,you are simply
ruining the baby’s tender skin.
*Never use honey and lemon,they are bleaching agents.
Also,never criticise your kid later on.It will only make them lose their confidence.
Never body shame them.
Motherhood already comes with a lot of new emotions and experiences to deal with,be it first time or any number of times.Don’t strain yourself over nothing.Colour is never a flaw and we should teach this to ourselves and the kids.
Teach them to love themselves.
After all everybody is unique.
And EVERY BABY is beautiful.
Sex in pregnancy
Is sex during pregnancy dangerous?
Does sex during pregnancy cause penis envy if i have a daughter?
Will the baby get any infections in such a case?
Are we ‘permitted’ to have sex in pregnancy?Isn’t it a sin?
These are probably the most common questions asked to a gynecologist.
Okay.Lets get to them one by one.
Firstly,sex or coitus has been seen as a taboo,discussing anything remotely
near to it is frowned upon in India.
And its a common misconception taught to us by the elders that having sex
in pregnancy is prohibited.
Its seen as a 9 month break!So much so that even the so called modern t.v
still preaches in many of its programmes/videos that its forbidden.
Sex in general is a physical need,sometimes emotional too.
Infact,in the first trimester women have increased sexual drives thanks to
Aaand,nope!its not forbidden.
Having sex is healthy.
So,is it dangerous???
Unless,your’s is a complicated pregnancy,there isn’t anything remotely
dangerous to the baby or you.
The baby wont be harmed due to the semen or vaginal secretions.
its pretty well guarded inside there. 🙂
Will the penis poke the baby?
Nope,the baby doesn’t come in contact with the penis anywhere during sex.
thanks to the human anatomy,the cervix is a very tough structure which is
pretty strongly closed until its the delivery time.
and for the same reason the baby wont have penis envy either as imagined.Its an entirely different scenario when it comes to penis envy.
Is it a sin?
This is where i cant help you.
The religious beliefs might hinder you.
It’s totally your call.
Now,there are certain conditions you must avoid sex.
If you had noticed before,I highlighted the word “complicated pregnancy”
In pregnancies,complications such as
* cervical incompetence
* placenta previa
* cervical cancer
* premature rupture of membranes(prom)
* twin pregnancy,polyhydromnios with open n short cervix
* vaginal infections
* threatened abortion
* threatened preterm labour etc
the above are few instances you have to keep in mind.
i shall discuss about each of the above complications in detail in other
but,its always better and safe if you discuss with your doctor beforehand.
now,go haffun 😉
The excitement level as soon as the pregnancy test comes in positive will be over the charts.
Everyone floods you with all sorts of love and ofcourse tons of unasked advice.
Amidst all this,we fail in preparing ourselves for the upcoming events.
We usually think about what sort of care to be taken during pregnancy and probably the mode of delivery too.But we often forget the main part,the part after the baby comes.
And most of us are a nuclear family and not all of us have access to someone experienced to help us out.
The 9 months of pregnancy is like a boon if you can utilize it to the fullest.
Use this time to do all sorts of research like ,
#how the initial few months gonna be after the baby’s home?
#is there are probability of post partum depression?
#what do you do if the baby cries incessantly?
#what are the red flag signs to look for in the baby?
#do’s and don’ts of breastfeeding
#what stuff to buy for your baby’s different needs like bathing,sleeping etc?
The above are just a few to begin with.
The first 4-8 weeks are really sleepless for most of the mothers and it takes time for the baby’s sleep cycle to regularize.This added to postpartum blues can cause all sorts of emotions,especially guilt and sadness and make the mother really depressed.
So,make sure you discuss with your doctor not only about the pregnancy and delivery process but also as soon as the baby comes into your arms,you must be on the top of your game.
Research for a good pediatrician near your location beforehand.
Its always better if you read books with scientific and medical facts regarding your pregnancy and baby.
Please never ever follow the old wives tales when it comes to the baby’s health.
Never ever follow home remedies and delay any treatment.
There are many apps and blogs online with regards to pregnancy and child care.Use them for research.
I shall post individual blogs regarding various topics.Keep following.
I know it sounds harsh and cruel.
But yes,this is what comes to my mind sometimes.
I used to be an independent,working woman who didn’t wanted to stop at anything.The pregnancy was unplanned but not unprepared for.
I always wanted to be a mother.Sooner or later I was going to be one.And I wanted to give no excuse to manage the motherhood thing all by myself.
I wanted to be the perfect mother for my lil one and so I quit my job to take care of my teeny bopper.
I mean who can not fall in love with the cuteness overloaded baby cub.
First came the ‘baby blues’.I didn’t know why I was so sad even when the most precious thing on earth was in my arms.
The constant crying seemed to never end.Everyone just kept insisting I breastfed the baby everytime it cried.
And the breastfeeding never seemed to end.I was either feeding it or I was a leaking faucet.
I just hated everyone around me.The pampering I got while I was pregnant was all gone.
I was becoming insecure of my husband as well.
And for no reason at all I was crying!!
It took counseling from my doctor and tons of support from my family, but I was back to normal in a few days.
Things settled down gradually and I was in tune with my baby and its habits.
But,again the feelings came back when my baby started crawling and walking.
When my husband is off to work its just me and my baby.So,the baby is overtly attached to me,like an extended organ.
The baby needs constant supervision,the fear that it might swallow something or just electrocute itself gave me chills.
The mess the baby makes and the time you take to clean it up making sure there’s nothing harmful around is tiring.
Plus you have to keep running behind the tiny tot to feed.Dont forget the temper tantrums.
Bathing and even pooping in leisure is a far fetched dream.
No matter,how baby proofed your place is,still the tiny tyke will find something or the other that will give you goosebumps.
Forget privacy.I stopped feeling as a human unit.I’m a zombie.Foregt makeup and feeling sexy,Im just a huge mess.
I really miss the old life sometimes.
All this gets to me at times and tears just roll out.
But a tiny gesture of affection,a simple smile at you or a teeny kiss vanishes it all out.
Its okay to feel that way,I’m human after all.
Not everyone has it together all the time.
But just a tiny gestue of love like a