Monthly Archives

March 2021

Pregnant Lady

Dealing with Pregnancy Complications

By PregnancyNo Comments

Not every pregnancy is smooth sailing. Your pregnancy journey may hit some bumps along the way. Here are the common pregnancy complications and ways to manage them effectively.

Pregnancy complications can happen to any woman, even women who were perfectly healthy before getting pregnant. Some may be minor, and some conditions may be more serious and can turn the pregnancy into a high-risk pregnancy where the mother’s and infant’s health may be at stake.


Preeclampsia High Blood Pressure

Preeclampsia is a condition of high blood pressure induced by pregnancy. It occurs when the blood vessels in the placenta do not develop properly, causing the blood vessels to be narrower than usual. They also react differently to hormones, and therefore less blood is able to flow through the blood vessels. Symptoms of preeclampsia include severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, blurry vision, and abdominal pain near the ribs. It generally occurs in first-time pregnancies after the 20th week and may develop suddenly without any symptoms. This is why blood pressure monitoring is important in prenatal care because a spike in blood pressure is usually the first symptom of preeclampsia.

If left unchecked, preeclampsia can lead to serious or fatal complications for mother and baby. Seizures, stroke, and severe bleeding are possible complications until your blood pressure decreases. Delivery of your baby is the only solution for treating preeclampsia. If you are diagnosed too early in the pregnancy, you may need to be hospitalized and be continuously monitored as it will be too early to deliver to the baby. Alternatively, your doctor may suggest C-section delivery or early induced labour.

While there are no successful treatments for preventing preeclampsia, complications from preeclampsia can be managed with early detection and proper prenatal care. Several preventive measures have shown promise in treating preeclampsia. For example, low-dose aspirin therapy and calcium supplementation has been shown to improve symptoms for high-risk pregnancies. Calcium reduces blood pressure in pregnant women with mild to moderate hypertension and low dietary calcium intake. A low dose of aspirin therapy at 100mg per day can also reduce the risk of preeclampsia.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a condition in which pregnant mothers have high blood sugar. Gestational diabetes can happen to women of all sizes, even women who are not diabetic. The exact cause of gestation diabetes is still under debate, but doctors suspect that it is due to hormones from the placenta that supports the baby’s growth. In some cases, these hormones also block the function of insulin in the mother’s body. This results in insulin resistance, which makes it harder for the mother to use insulin. Glucose is unable to exit the blood without sufficient insulin, hence it keeps building up in the blood, causing hyperglycemia. As blood sugar is also transported through the placenta to your baby, your baby may also have high blood sugar levels and be at risk for developing obesity and diabetes as they grow older.

A healthy diet is important for pregnant mothers, regardless of having gestational diabetes or not. It is important to eat foods high in nutrients that keeps your blood sugar in check, provide your baby with the necessary nutrients and maintaining a healthy weight. When your blood sugar is stable, you will experience fewer cravings for sugary sweets and snacks, thereby preventing your blood pressure from spiking. Your baby will also grow at a normal rate, as blood sugar is a major factor in your baby’s weight gain in the last trimester.

A low-carb diet based on meat, eggs, dairy, vegetables and a little fruit is recommended. By low carbohydrates, we mean cutting out junk food, refined grains and snacks with added sugars. There is plenty of carbohydrates that are safe for pregnant women to eat. Complex carbohydrates such as whole-grain bread, crackers, beans, and rice are good examples.

The key point is to follow your body’s cues and eat when you are hungry, instead of obsessing over calorie count. Gestational diabetes is completely manageable and the first thing to do is to check your blood sugar levels and understand which foods are causing your blood sugar levels to fluctuate.


A pregnant woman who has less than normal red blood cells count in her blood is deemed to have anaemia. Anaemia can occur at all stages of pregnancy and is commonly caused by iron deficiency. Pregnant mothers need more iron to make red blood cells as the mother’s blood volume increases during pregnancy, and also to meet the demand for iron by the growing baby. When you are anaemic, you may often feel exhausted, sometimes out of breath and have a pale complexion. Anaemia is risky for pregnant women, as they are less capable of coping with blood loss during labour and delivery.

The good news is anaemia is easily treated. Your doctor may prescribe iron and folic acid tablets to replenish iron levels in your body. You should also include more iron-rich foods in your diet, such as leafy green, chicken, beef and beans.

Getting regular prenatal care goes a long way in preventing pregnancy complications. Just be sure to follow a healthy diet and lifestyle, attend your prenatal appointments, and inform your doctor if you are experiencing any abnormal symptoms.

Labour Pains

Managing Postpartum Depression

By PostpartumNo Comments

Is it baby blues? Or postpartum depression? Here’s how to tell the difference and manage postpartum depression symptoms before it gets out of control.

Post Partum

Is it baby blues? Or postpartum depression? Here’s how to tell the difference and manage postpartum depression symptoms before it gets out of control.

Women experience a multitude of emotions after having a baby, ranging from joy, anxiety to sadness. Although the arrival of a new baby is supposed to be a happy occasion, it is normal to feel frustrated and overwhelmed about caring for your new baby. Hence the term baby blues! Baby blues is commonly experienced by women who are dealing with motherhood for the first time. Baby blues don’t last long and usually fade away on their own. It is not considered a serious medical condition.

Postpartum depression is different from baby blues. Postpartum depression is more severe and lasts much longer. Most women experience postpartum depression a few weeks after delivery, but some women may also display symptoms as late as 6 months post-delivery. Symptoms include depression, mood swings, negative feelings towards your baby, and impaired decision-making. Bear in mind that many mothers experience these feelings at some point and it is completely normal to feel great one day, and feel the complete opposite the next day. A good way to distinguish postpartum depression from baby blues is, in addition to having the symptoms above, you also have delusional thoughts or hallucinations. These hallucinations may lead to irrational behaviours that are unsafe for you and your baby.

Postpartum depression occurs more often than you think – one in ten women suffer from postpartum depression after childbirth. If your feelings of baby blues persist to the point that it interferes with your daily life, then you might be suffering from postpartum depression (PPD).

What makes a woman more vulnerable to postnatal depression? Expecting mothers with a history of depression, who were depressed during pregnancy and who have financial difficulties or marital woes may find it more difficult to cope with a newborn, and are more likely to feel depressed.

Many women often do not realise they have postpartum depression as it can emerge gradually. It can suddenly begin out of nowhere, or you could experience PPD with your second baby even though you sailed through the first pregnancy. A certain state of affairs can also add more stress to new mothers, such as having a difficult pregnancy, premature delivery, problems with breastfeeding, and medical issues resulting from a difficult childbirth.

The best way to see if you have postpartum depression is by checking in with your doctor. If your “baby blues” last longer than 2 weeks, it is best to seek your doctor’s advice. They can then evaluate your symptoms and work out the best treatment plan for you. Not all forms of depression require medication, and sometimes making changes to your daily habits may just do the trick of lifting you out of a bad mood.

One of the things you can do is to get sufficient rest and sleep. Women who sleep less than 4 hours are more likely to get depressed than the average women. In the beginning, sleeping may be hard with your baby waking up to feed multiple times through the night. In this case, it might be helpful to prepare some milk bottles in advance so your partner can take over a night feeding or two. Don’t be shy to seek help from your partner or family members with chores to lighten your load. You may find that it is easier to sleep at night with the right encouragement and reassurance from your loved ones.

As new mothers, food is often the last thing on your mind but don’t underestimate the power of a healthy meal! Going without food for too long causes your energy levels to dip, and going on a diet immediately after childbirth is not recommended. You will feel tired easily and fatigue increases depression. Furthermore, if you are breastfeeding, you will need the calories and nutrients to keep up a regular milk supply.

Although you may not feel like it, light exercise is a very effective mood booster for new mothers. In a new study recently published, walking has been shown to have an anti-depressant effect on women with postpartum depression. A good way to incorporate exercise into your busy routine is to walk with your baby in a stroller outdoors for 10 minutes a day. Additionally, you can try doing simple workouts with the equipment at home.

Your doctor may also refer you to network with other mothers as part of a support group. Sharing your experience with other mothers, especially those who had postpartum depression previously, has been shown to reduce depression. Having regular social contact will also help you feel less alone and isolated. You may also learn new tips to bond with your baby!

With the right resources, postpartum depression is definitely manageable. Many women have seen improvement in just 6 months with the right treatment. You are not alone in this battle. With mental health issues at the forefront nowadays, mothers and families at never short of options in resources to ride out this rocky voyage called motherhood!

Cold Vs Flu

Combating Flu During Pregnancy

By PregnancyNo Comments

In this article, we list out the dos and don’ts of managing the flu while you are pregnant to keep you and your baby safe.

In recent times where COVID-19 is running rampant, you can’t be too careful about flu and colds. Getting pregnant also leaves you more vulnerable to viral infections as your body undergoes changes in your heart, lungs, and immune system. But do you know the difference between a cold and the flu? The two are often confused for the same, as both illnesses has similar symptoms.

Cold Vs Flu 

Cold Vs Flu

A cold is defined as virus infection of the nose, throat, sinuses and upper respiratory organs. Symptoms include runny nose, sneezing, sore throat and coughing and usually last for a week. There is no cure for a cold at the moment, and most people recover on their own without medical treatment. Colds also do not develop into the flu as both illnesses are caused by different viruses.

The flu has similar symptoms as a cold, however, it is a much more serious respiratory illness and the symptoms generally last longer. If you have caught the flu bug, you may have a fever, muscle aches, and cold-like symptoms that come on strong at the onset. You may continue to feel ill for several weeks. In certain cases, flu symptoms may worsen and become pneumonia, bacterial infection, and even hospitalization in serious cases. As a matter of fact, pregnant women are more likely to be hospitalized from flu complications than other women of similar age.

Flu is caused by influenza viruses. Contrary to popular opinion, antibiotics don’t work against colds and flu. In most cases, the best way is to let the infection runs its course and allow your body’s own immune system to fight off the virus.

Having a Cold or Flu During Pregnancy

Pregnant Lady with Cold or Flu

If you have caught a cold while pregnant, just drink plenty of fluids and get more rest to allow your body to fight off the cold. As new mothers, your developing baby will cause your womb to expand and press against your lungs, which is why you may find breathing to be more laborious. This condition is exacerbated more so if you catch a cold and find your noses blocked! The good news is, you can alleviate these symptoms by taking over-the-counter medications such as Panadol, cough drops, or Decolgen. Rest assured that catching a cold is unlikely to harm you or your baby.

However, if you have caught the flu while you are pregnant, consult your doctor as soon as possible. Getting the correct diagnosis earlier can get you treated faster and ensure that you and your baby are safe. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral medicines for you as having the flu increases your chances of pregnancy complications down the road. For example, fever may harm your baby and is often associated with neural tube defects, premature birth, and miscarriage.



Antiviral medication is not to be confused with antibiotics – most antibiotics work by killing the pathogens, while antiviral medications treat viral infections by limiting the progress of the virus. The antiviral medication works best when taken within 48 hours of flu-like symptoms developing, and while it will not cure the flu, it will certainly help decrease the symptoms and prevent further medical complications. High fever is potentially dangerous, hence you will need to take medication to reduce the fever. Paracetamol (the active ingredient in Panadol) is a pregnancy-safe option for treating headaches, fever, body aches and other moderate pain associated with flu. Avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAID) such as Ibuprofen and aspirin as these medications may increase the risk of miscarriage. However as with any medication taken during pregnancy, it is always best to use the lowest dose for the least period of time.

Cold and Flu Natural Home Remedies

Natural Home Remedies

If your symptoms are mild, why not try using natural home remedies such as honey, lemon and saltwater for some relief? A couple of teaspoons of honey mixed with hot water and lemon provides the much-needed relief for those pesky sore throats. Sea salt is also a natural antiseptic, hence gargling with sea salt can shorten the time you spend sick as it kills viruses. If you have a blocked nose, a non-steroidal decongestant spray may help. Nasal sprays made from sea salt have been proven to soften mucus and clear the nasal passageway. Last but not very least, resting well, keeping warm and drinking plenty of fluids will also help you recover faster.

Flu Vaccinations for Pregnant Women 

Flu Shot

As best as antiviral medications may work, it is still no substitute for a flu shot. This is why it is always recommended to get a vaccination to prevent the flu. People who caught the flu after receiving a flu shot often have much milder symptoms than those who have not been vaccinated. In pregnant women, flu shots reduce the risk of contracting serious respiratory infection by half. Vaccinated pregnant women are also 40% less likely to be hospitalized.

You may be wondering, is it safe for me to get a flu shot while I am pregnant? Yes, it is completely safe! You can get a flu shot at any stage of your pregnancy as well. Neither does flu vaccinations affect breastfeeding in any manner. In fact, your little one will have a stronger immunity as mothers are known to pass on antibodies to their babies in the womb and through breast milk. Your little one will be protected for up to 6 months after childbirth, which is a huge plus since at this period babies are too young to be vaccinated.

To guard against the flu, it is recommended that pregnant women should get a flu shot every year as the influenza virus mutates all the time. This is the reason why flu shots change by the year. Even if you have gotten a flu shot previously, you will still need to get a new shot annually. The phrase “prevention is better than cure” has never been more true when it comes to your health!