Tag Archives: Preterm birth

Complications In Pregnancy

 

Pre-eclampsia, eclampsia or toxemia of pregnancy
Definition:
Pre-eclampsia or preeclampsia (PE) is a disorder of pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure and a large amount of protein in the urine. The disorder usually occurs in the third trimester of pregnancy and gets worse over time. In severe disease there may be red blood cell breakdown, a low blood platelet count, impaired liver function, kidney dysfunction, swelling, shortness of breath due to fluid in the lungs, or visual disturbances. PE increases the risk of poor outcomes for both the mother and the baby. If left untreated, it may result in seizures at which point it is known as eclampsia.

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Toxemia of pregnancy is a severe condition that sometimes occurs in the latter weeks of pregnancy. It is characterized by high blood pressure; swelling of the hands, feet, and face; and an excessive amount of protein in the urine. If the condition is allowed to worsen, the mother may experience convulsions and coma, and the baby may be stillborn.
The term toxemia is actually a misnomer from the days when it was thought that the condition was caused by toxic (poisonous) substances in the blood. The illness is more accurately called preeclampsia before the convulsive stage and eclampsia afterward.

Preeclampsia affects between 2–8% of pregnancies worldwide. Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are one of the most common causes of death due to pregnancy. They resulted in 29,000 deaths in 2013 – down from 37,000 deaths in 1990. Preeclampsia usually occurs after 32 weeks; however, if it occurs earlier it is associated with worse outcomes. Women who have had PE are at increased risk of heart disease later in life. The word eclampsia is from the Greek term for lightning. The first known description of the condition was by Hippocrates in the 5th century BCE

Symptoms:
Swelling (especially in the hands and face) was originally considered an important sign for a diagnosis of preeclampsia. However, because swelling is a common occurrence in pregnancy, its utility as a distinguishing factor in preeclampsia is not great. Pitting edema (unusual swelling, particularly of the hands, feet, or face, notable by leaving an indentation when pressed on) can be significant, and should be reported to a health care provider.

In general, none of the signs of preeclampsia are specific, and even convulsions in pregnancy are more likely to have causes other than eclampsia in modern practice. Further, a symptom such as epigastric pain may be misinterpreted as heartburn. Diagnosis, therefore, depends on finding a coincidence of several preeclamptic features, the final proof being their regression after delivery.

The symptoms of toxemia of pregnancy (which may lead to death if not treated) are divided into three stages, each progressively more serious:
Mild preeclampsia symptoms include edema (puffiness under the skin due to fluid accumulation in the body tissues, often noted around the ankles), mild elevation of blood pressure, and the presence of small amounts of protein in the urine.

Severe preeclampsia symptoms include extreme edema, extreme elevation of blood pressure, the presence of large amounts of protein in the urine, headache, dizziness, double vision, nausea, vomiting, and severe pain in the right upper portion of the abdomen.
Eclampsia symptoms include convulsions and coma.

Risk Factors:
Known risk factors for preeclampsia include:

*Nulliparity (never given birth)
*Older age, and diabetes mellitus
*Kidney disease
*Chronic hypertension
*Prior history of preeclampsia
*Family history of preeclampsia
*Advanced maternal age (>35 years)
*Obesity
*Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome
*Multiple gestation
*Having donated a kidney.
*Having sub-clinical hypothyroidism or thyroid antibodies

It is also more frequent in a women’s first pregnancy and if she is carrying twins. The underlying mechanism involves abnormal formation of blood vessels in the placenta amongst other factors. Most cases are diagnosed before delivery. Rarely, preeclampsia may begin in the period after delivery. While historically both high blood pressure and protein in the urine were required to make the diagnosis, some definitions also include those with hypertension and any associated organ dysfunction. Blood pressure is defined as high when it is greater than 140 mmHg systolic or 90 mmHg diastolic at two separate times, more than four hours apart in a women after twenty weeks of pregnancy. PE is routinely screened for during prenatal care.
Causes:
There is no definitive known cause of preeclampsia, though it is likely related to a number of factors. Some of these factors include:

*Abnormal placentation (formation and development of the placenta)
*Immunologic factors
*Prior or existing maternal pathology – preeclampsia is seen more at a higher incidence in individuals with preexisting hypertension, obesity, antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, and those with history of preeclampsia
*Dietary factors, e.g. calcium supplementation in areas where dietary calcium intake is low has been shown to reduce the risk of preeclampsia.
*Environmental factors, e.g. air pollution
*Those with long term high blood pressure have a risk 7 to 8 times higher than those without.

Physiologically, research has linked preeclampsia to the following physiologic changes: alterations in the interaction between the maternal immune response and the placenta, placental injury, endothelial cell injury, altered vascular reactivity, oxidative stress, imbalance among vasoactive substances, decreased intravascular volume, and disseminated intravascular coagulation.

While the exact cause of preeclampsia remains unclear, there is strong evidence that a major cause predisposing a susceptible woman to preeclampsia is an abnormally implanted placenta. This abnormally implanted placenta is thought to result in poor uterine and placental perfusion, yielding a state of hypoxia and increased oxidative stress and the release of anti-angiogenic proteins into the maternal plasma along with inflammatory mediators. A major consequence of this sequence of events is generalized endothelial dysfunction. The abnormal implantation is thought to stem from the maternal immune system’s response to the placenta and refers to evidence suggesting a lack of established immunological tolerance in pregnancy. Endothelial dysfunction results in hypertension and many of the other symptoms and complications associated with preclampsia.

One theory proposes that certain dietary deficiencies may be the cause of some cases. Also, there is the possibility that some forms of preeclampsia and eclampsia are the result of deficiency of blood flow in the uterus.

Diagnosis:
Pre-eclampsia is diagnosed when a pregnant woman develops:

*Blood pressure >_ 140 mm Hg systolic or  >_  90 mm Hg diastolic on two separate readings taken at least four to six hours apart after 20 weeks gestation in an individual with previously normal blood pressure.
*In a woman with essential hypertension beginning before 20 weeks gestational age, the diagnostic criteria are: an increase in systolic blood pressure (SBP) of   >_ 30mmHg or an increase in diastolic blood pressure (DBP) of   >_15mmHg.
*Proteinuria  >_ 0.3 grams (300 mg) or more of protein in a 24-hour urine sample or a SPOT urinary protein to creatinine ratio  >_ 0.3 or a urine dipstick reading of 1+ or greater (dipstick reading should only be used if other quantitative methods are not available)

Suspicion for preeclampsia should be maintained in any pregnancy complicated by elevated blood pressure, even in the absence of proteinuria. Ten percent of individuals with other signs and symptoms of preeclampsia and 20% of individuals diagnosed with eclampsia show no evidence of proteinuria. In the absence of proteinuria, the presence of new-onset hypertension (elevated blood pressure) and the new onset of one or more of the following is suggestive of the diagnosis of preeclampsia:

*Evidence of kidney dysfunction (oliguria, elevated creatinine levels)
*Impaired liver function (impaired liver function tests)
*Thrombocytopenia (platelet count <100,000/microliter)
*Pulmonary edema
*Ankle edema pitting type
*Cerebral or visual disturbances
*Preeclampsia is a progressive disorder and these signs of organ dysfunction are indicative of severe preeclampsia. A systolic blood pressure ?160 or diastolic blood pressure ?110 and/or proteinuria >5g in a 24-hour period is also indicative of severe preeclampsia. Clinically, individuals with severe preeclampsia may also present epigastric/right upper quadrant abdominal pain, headaches, and vomiting. Severe preeclampsia is a significant risk factor for intrauterine fetal death.

Of note, a rise in baseline blood pressure (BP) of 30 mmHg systolic or 15 mmHg diastolic, while not meeting the absolute criteria of 140/90, is still considered important to note, but is not considered diagnostic.

Predictive tests:
There have been many assessments of tests aimed at predicting preeclampsia, though no single biomarker is likely to be sufficiently predictive of the disorder. Predictive tests that have been assessed include those related to placental perfusion, vascular resistance, kidney dysfunction, endothelial dysfunction, and oxidative stress. Examples of notable tests include:

*Doppler ultrasonography of the uterine arteries to investigate for signs of inadequate placental perfusion. This test has a high negative predictive value among those individuals with a history of prior preeclampsia.
*Elevations in serum uric acid (hyperuricemia) is used by some to “define” preeclampsia,[14] though it has been found to be a poor predictor of the disorder. Elevated levels in the blood (hyperuricemia) are likely due to reduced uric acid clearance secondary to impaired kidney function.
*Angiogenic proteins such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and placental growth factor (PIGF) and anti-angiogenic proteins such as soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1) have shown promise for potential clinical use in diagnosing preeclampsia, though evidence is sufficient to recommend a clinical use for these markers.
*Recent studies have shown that looking for podocytes, specialized cells of the kidney, in the urine has the potential to aid in the prediction of preeclampsia. Studies have demonstrated that finding podocytes in the urine may serve as an early marker of and diagnostic test for preeclampsia. Research is ongoing.

Differential diagnosis:
Pre-eclampsia can mimic and be confused with many other diseases, including chronic hypertension, chronic renal disease, primary seizure disorders, gallbladder and pancreatic disease, immune or thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, antiphospholipid syndrome and hemolytic-uremic syndrome. It must be considered a possibility in any pregnant woman beyond 20 weeks of gestation. It is particularly difficult to diagnose when preexisting disease such as hypertension is present. Women with acute fatty liver of pregnancy may also present with elevated blood pressure and protein in the urine, but differs by the extent of liver damage. Other disorders that can cause high blood pressure include thyrotoxicosis, pheochromocytoma, and drug misuse
Treatment:
Preeclampsia and eclampsia cannot be completely cured until the pregnancy is over. Until that time, treatment includes the control of high blood pressure and the intravenous administration of drugs to prevent convulsions. Drugs may also be given to stimulate the production of urine. In some severe cases, early delivery of the baby is needed to ensure the survival of the mother.

Prevention:
Recommendations for prevention include: aspirin in those at high risk, calcium supplementation in areas with low intake, and treatment of prior hypertension with medications. In those with PE delivery of the fetus and placenta is an effective treatment. When delivery becomes recommended depends on how severe the PE and how far along in pregnancy a person is. Blood pressure medication, such as labetalol and methyldopa, may be used to improve the mother’s condition before delivery. Magnesium sulfate may be used to prevent eclampsia in those with severe disease. Bedrest and salt intake have not been found to be useful for either treatment or prevention.

Diet:
Protein or calorie supplementation have no effect on preeclampsia rates, and dietary protein restriction does not appear to increase preeclampsia rates. Further, there is no evidence that changing salt intake has an effect.

Supplementation with antioxidants such as vitamin C and E has no effect on preeclampsia incidence, nor does supplementation with vitamin D. Therefore, supplementation with vitamins C, E, and D is not recommended for reducing the risk of pre-eclampsia.

Calcium supplementation of at least 1 gram per day is recommended during pregnancy as it prevents preeclampsia where dietary calcium intake is low, especially for those at high risk. Low selenium status is associated with higher incidence of preeclampsia.

Aspirin:
Taking aspirin is associated with a 1% to 5% reduction in preeclampsia and a 1% to 5% reduction in premature births in women at high risk. The WHO recommends low-dose aspirin for the prevention of preeclampsia in women at high risk and recommend it be started before 20 weeks of pregnancy. The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends a low-dose regimen for women at high risk beginning in the 12th week.

Physical activity:
There is insufficient evidence to recommend either exercise or strict bedrest as preventative measures of pre-eclampsia.

Smoking cessation:
In low-risk pregnancies the association between cigarette smoking and a reduced risk of preeclampsia has been consistent and reproducible across epidemiologic studies. High-risk pregnancies (those with pregestational diabetes, chronic hypertension, history of preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy, or multifetal gestation) showed no significant protective effect. The reason for this discrepancy is not definitively known; research supports speculation that the underlying pathology increases the risk of preeclampsia to such a degree that any measurable reduction of risk due to smoking is masked. However, the damaging effects of smoking on overall health and pregnancy outcomes outweighs the benefits in decreasing the incidence of preeclampsia. It is recommended that smoking be stopped prior to, during and after pregnancy

Restriction of salt in the diet may help reduce swelling, it does not prevent the onset of high blood pressure or the appearance of protein in the urine. During prenatal visits, the doctor routinely checks the woman’s weight, blood pressure, and urine. If toxemia is detected early, complications may be reduced.

Resources:
http://health.howstuffworks.com/pregnancy-and-parenting/pregnancy/complications/a-guide-to-pregnancy-complications-ga13.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-eclampsia

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Listeriosis

 

Definition:
Listeriosis is a bacterial infection caused by a Gram-positive, motile bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes,which is often found in soil and is present in most animals. It’s transmitted to humans through contaminated food.

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Healthy people rarely become ill from listeria infection, but the disease can be fatal to unborn babies and newborns. People who have weakened immune systems are also at higher risk of life-threatening complications. Prompt antibiotic treatment can help curb the effects of listeria infection.

Listeria bacteria can survive refrigeration and even freezing. That’s why people who are at higher risk for serious infections should avoid eating the types of food most likely to contain listeria bacteria.

The symptoms of listeriosis usually last 7–10 days. The most common symptoms are fever and muscle aches and vomiting. Nausea and diarrhea are less common symptoms. If the infection spreads to the nervous system it can cause meningitis, an infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms of meningitis are headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions

Symptoms:
If you develop a listeria infection, you may experience:

*Fever
*Muscle aches
*Nausea
*Diarrhea
*Loss of appetite
*Lethargy
*Jaundice
*Vomiting
*Respiratory distress (usually pneumonia)
*Shock
*Skin rash
*Increased pressure inside the skull (due to meningitis) possibly causing suture separation

Symptoms may begin a few days after you’ve eaten contaminated food, but it may take as long as two months before the first signs and symptoms of infection begin.

If the listeria infection spreads to your nervous system, signs and symptoms may include:

*Headache
*Stiff neck
*Confusion or changes in alertness
*Loss of balance
*Convulsions

Symptoms during pregnancy and for newborns ;

During pregnancy, a listeria infection is likely to cause only mild signs and symptoms in the mother. The consequences for the baby, however, may be devastating. The baby may die unexpectedly before birth or experience a life-threatening infection within the first few days after birth.

As in adults, the signs and symptoms of a listeria infection in a newborn can be subtle, but may include:

*Little interest in feeding
*Irritability
*Fever
*Vomiting

Causes:
Listeria bacteria can be found in soil, water and animal feces. Humans typically are infected by consuming:

*Raw vegetables that have been contaminated from the soil or from contaminated manure used as fertilizer

*Infected meat

*Unpasteurized milk or foods made with unpasteurized milk

*Certain processed foods — such as soft cheeses, hot dogs and deli meats that have been contaminated after processing

*Prepacked salads (unless they’re thoroughly washed)

*Pâté made from meat, fish or vegetables

*Blue-veined or mould-ripened cheeses

*Soft-whip ice cream from ice-cream machines

*Precooked poultry and cook-chill meals (unless thoroughly reheated)

*Poor food hygiene and storage practices also increase the risk of someone developing listeriosis

Unborn babies can contract a listeria infection from the mother via the placenta. Breast-feeding is not considered a potential cause of infection.

Risk Factors:
Pregnant women and people who have weak immune systems are at highest risk of contracting a listeria infection.

Pregnant women and their babies
Pregnant women are significantly more susceptible to listeria infections than are other healthy adults. Although a listeria infection may cause only a mild illness in the mother, consequences for the baby may include:


*Miscarriage
*Stillbirth
*Premature birth
*A potentially fatal infection after birth

People who have weak immune systems
This category includes people who:

*Are over 60
*Have AIDS
*Are undergoing chemotherapy
*Have diabetes or kidney disease
*Take high-dose prednisone or certain rheumatoid arthritis drugs
*Take medications to block rejection of a transplanted organ

Complications:
Most listeria infections are so mild they may go unnoticed. However, in some cases, a listeria infection can lead to life-threatening complications — including:

*A generalized blood infection (septicemia)

*Inflammation of the membranes and fluid surrounding the brain (meningitis)

Complications of a listeria infection may be most severe for an unborn baby. Early in pregnancy, a listeria infection may lead to miscarriage. Later in pregnancy, a listeria infection may lead to stillbirth, premature birth or a potentially fatal infection in the baby after birth — even if the mother becomes only mildly ill.

Diagnosis;
In CNS infection cases, L. monocytogenes can often be cultured from the blood, and always cultured from the CSF. There are no reliable serological or stool tests.

Treatment:
Bacteremia should be treated for 2 weeks, meningitis for 3 weeks, and brain abscess for at least 6 weeks. Ampicillin generally is considered antibiotic of choice; gentamicin is added frequently for its synergistic effects.

Prognosis:
Listeriosis in a fetus or infant results in a poor outcome with a high death rate. Healthy older children and adults have a lower death rate.Overall mortality rate is 20–30%; of all pregnancy-related cases, 22% resulted in fetal loss or neonatal death, but mothers usually survive

Prevention:
The main means of prevention is through the promotion of safe handling, cooking and consumption of food. This includes washing raw vegetables and cooking raw food thoroughly, as well as reheating leftover or ready-to-eat foods like hot dogs until steaming hot.

Another aspect of prevention is advising high-risk groups such as pregnant women and immunocompromised patients to avoid unpasteurized pâtés and foods such as soft cheeses like feta, Brie, Camembert cheese, and bleu. Cream cheeses, yogurt, and cottage cheese are considered safe. In the United Kingdom, advice along these lines from the Chief Medical Officer posted in maternity clinics led to a sharp decline in cases of listeriosis in pregnancy in the late 1980s

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose

Resources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/listeriosis.shtml
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001380.htm
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/listeria-infection/DS00963/DSECTION
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Listeriosis

http://abbybatchelder.com/blog/2009/03/02/is-it-safe-to-eat-deli-meats-and-hot-dogs-during-pregnancy/

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Babies Eye Sight

Vision in a baby’s first few months
To start with, they can see a toy or face in front of them but anything much further away is a blur. Slowly, the distance that they can see clearly increases, until by about six months they can see across a room.

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Many tiny babies also have a squint (their eyes look in different directions), which usually gets better within a few months.

Faces are a good test
Most babies can recognise their parents by about two weeks and start to smile at about six weeks. In these early days, most babies are particularly fascinated by faces and will focus on one in front of them – following it with their gaze (they prefer familiar faces).

This gives you a chance to test your baby’s sight from the age of six weeks.

•Sit your baby on the lap of someone they’re comfortable with
•Crouch down so your face becomes level with your baby’s face and about an arm’s length away from them
•Your baby should fix his or her eyes on your face (rather than looking everywhere else)
•Keep looking at your baby but move your head around from one side to another
•Your baby should keep his or her eyes fixed on your gaze
Alternatively, use a toy moved in front of your baby. They should be able to follow a brightly coloured moving toy held about 20cm (8in) away from them by about six weeks.

It can be difficult to be certain
Small babies are easily distracted and it can be very difficult to test their sight with certainty, so any worries you have are best checked by a professional.

Small babies can seem to take longer than normal for their brain to register what their eyes are seeing, even though there’s no problem with their vision. This is more likely in premature babies. After a matter of weeks, their visual sense suddenly kicks in and the problem’s resolved.

Serious visual problems are rare at this age, especially if his eyes appear normal, but occasionally they do occur.

A parent’s instincts should never be ignored. If you’re worried, talk to your doctor.

You may click to see to learn more :

How a Baby’s Vision and Eyesight Develops

Vision Development in Babies

Developmental milestones: Sight

Source : BBC Health.

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Baby Massaging

Introduction:
Baby massage is an ancient childcare practice which finds its relevance even in the contemporary medical research. Spending just twenty minutes a day massaging your baby greatly benefits her. Babies simply love to be touched and it’s a critical part of growth and development. Skin-to-skin contact comforts your baby when she’s upset and the massage sometimes even eases the symptoms of indigestion. Touch is also an important factor in physical and emotional development, as well as self esteem. Sharing the massage experience is not only calming for your baby but it also helps strengthen a bond that will last a lifetime. Studies have shown that premature babies when regularly massaged require minimum hospitalization. All newborns show healthy growth, more weight gain and thrive better if they are massaged well, regularly.
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Being a new parent can be tough with new sleeping arrangements, a demanding feeding schedule, and the constant hustle and bustle that an infant brings to the home. Yet being a newborn is no walk in the park either. Your baby has lost his familiar cozy quarters, the food is different and requires effort to obtain, and everything is, well . . . new. The result of this new living arrangement can be stress for both babies and parents. The good news is that infant massage is a great tool for managing this stress.

Research shows the benefits of infant massage, nurturing babies’ psychological, physiological, and developmental growth. Proponents of infant massage claim that it fosters healthy self-esteem and increases bonding between parents and their babies. You know how much you love your baby, but in all of  the frantic newness and exhaustion it sometimes seems that there is little time to slow down and show your baby you love him. Massage can validate those feeling of love and affection for babies and for parents.

Benefits:
The benefits of baby massage can help nurture your baby’s psychological, physiological, and developmental growth.Massaging your baby can ease his stress and pain, and even improve his sleep patterns!

*A good massage soothes and calms a baby.
*Helps them to relax and sleep better and makes them more alert during their waking hours.
*It stimulates digestion and helps the baby pass gas.
*Raises the child’s sense of self.
*Using essential oils for a special condition during the massage lessens congestion if the child has cold or stuffy nose.
*Increases blood circulation in the body.
* Improves non verbal communication between you and your baby.
*It is a good exercise which promotes motor activity and muscular development.

Brighter Babies:-
There may be other, more exciting developmental boons associated with infant massage. In a poll sponsored by Developing Minds, 86 percent of respondents indicated that they believed infant massage could stimulate childhood learning. That’s not too far off base, says Dr. Tiffany Field, PhD, founder of the

Touch Research Institute. According to Dr. Field, studies show that a five-minute massage enhances the performance of babies and children on tasks requiring attentiveness.

Rubbing your baby’s back may or may not turn him into a young Einstein, but it will help him slow down, relax, and pay attention to the world around him. Not a bad deal for something that feels so good!

Tear Taming:-
Massage can be especially beneficial for high-needs infants and may provide some relief for babies who suffer from colic or unexplained crying bouts lasting three hours or longer.

Kimberly Habib, a licensed massage therapist and certified infant massage instructor at the Huggins Center in Melrose, Massachusetts, outlines some of the possible medical benefits of massage. She says infant massage helps babies who are prone to gas, constipation, and other digestive difficulties by:

*Reducing spasms in the colon
*Expelling stuck gas
*Regulating and stimulating digestion
*Encouraging and increasing endorphin output to naturally reduce pain
*Decreasing stress-related hormones.

Of course, massage doesn’t cure colic. Jessica Riley, mother of a colicky baby, turned to infant massage to help her son. She explains, “It doesn’t do away with the colic, but it does lessen it.” Massage doesn’t always do the trick for Riley’s son, but she points out that “it’s a great bonding time anyway.”

Tiny Touches:-
Infant or baby  massage might help preemies, babies born before 37 weeks gestation, as well. Studies demonstrate that babies who are massaged in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) gain weight faster and are released from the hospital earlier than their peers.

If your baby was born prematurely, you may want to ask her neonatologist if infant massage could be appropriate. Not all NICUs embrace the technique, and in those that do, your baby’s age and weight will determine whether or not massage is indicated.

Touch Techniques:-
One way to learn more about infant massage is to take a class. Habib recommends that parents and babies start an infant massage class when the baby is about seven weeks old. Classes last four to five weeks, giving parents the opportunity to practice their techniques before returning for the next session. An added bonus is that classes are a great way to meet other new parents.

If going to class doesn’t jibe with your schedule, try the do-it-yourself route. There are several excellent resources that you can use as a guide. Any of the following is a good first start:

Videos/DVDs :-
Infant Massage, A Gift of Love (with Cheryl Brenman)
Baby Massage: A Video for Loving Parents (directed by Jim Jenner)

Books :-
Baby Massage: A Practical Guide to Massage and Movement for Babies and Infants, by Peter Walker
Loving Hands: The Traditional Art of Baby Massage, by Frederick Leboyer
Infant Massage: A Handbook for Loving Parents, by Vimala McClure
you may click & see :How To Massage Your Baby For Health And Happiness

Your Baby’s Cues
At its heart, infant massage is about responding to your baby’s cues. What time of day seems to work best for your baby? Does massage soothe him and help him sleep? If so, wait until 30 minutes before naptime. What type of strokes does your baby prefer? Are there sensations or settings that seem to disturb her?

Habib adds a few additional reminders for new parents:

Find a warm, flat surface to lay your baby on — a blanket on a carpeted floor is fine. Pour a little baby oil onto your palms and rub your hands together to warm them and the oil. Try to look into your baby’s eyes, and sing or talk to her as you do the massage. Talking and smiling to her while massaging her keeps a child happy, making the baby more secure and robust. Pay attention to your baby’s response: if she doesn’t seem to be enjoying herself, try a lighter touch, or simply stop. Here are some tips on massaging your baby:

>Pick the right time for the massage. Make sure that you are not in a hurry and your baby is not hungry, ill or tired.
>Keep all the things ready before you start, like clean diapers, clothes, warm towels etc.
>Keep the baby engaged by singing or talking to her or by giving her the favorite toy.
>Use edible oils like coconut, olive or vegetable oil. Avoid perfumed oils.
> Eye contact with the baby ensures her of your undivided attention.
> Remove the jewelry pieces on your hand which may hurt the soft skin of your baby. Also keep your fingernails short.
> Use gentle but firm strokes with your fingers or palms.
> Hold your baby’s foot with one hand, while using your other hand to stroke the length of her leg in a gentle, squeezing motion. Use the same stroke on her arms.
> Once you get to her back and tummy, begin with both hands in circular motion at the center, and then push out lightly as if you were smoothing a crumpled piece of paper.
>Avoid rashes, wounds or areas where the baby has got her injections or vaccines as it may hurt.
>Your baby should be awake during the massage.
>You shouldn’t massage your baby if he has a fever or an unknown rash.
>Don’t massage your baby if you are angry or in a rush.

If you have any questions or feel uncertain about something, ask your baby’s pediatrician. And remember, not all babies take to massage and some find it overstimulating.

Parent Pampering:-

While infant massage is great for babies and parents, there’s no reason for its stress-busting, feel-good benefits to stop with your baby. Some doctors recommend parental massage to relieve the stresses of parenting. When an exhausted parent gets a massage, she may relax and even fall asleep. Most experts agree that what’s good for parents is good for babies. So, while you’re nurturing your baby, don’t forget to indulge yourself and your partner.

Resources:
http://www.babyzone.com/baby/nurturing/crying/article/infant-massage-benefits-pg3
http://www.littlewonders.in/Care/Baby-Massage.aspx
http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-3041684.html

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232 Toxic Chemicals found in 10 Babies

 

Laboratory tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group have detected bisphenol A (BPA), a plastic component and synthetic estrogen, in umbilical cord blood of American infants.
Nine of 10 randomly selected samples of cord blood tested positive for BPA, an industrial petrochemical.

BPA has been implicated in a lengthening list of serious chronic disorders, including cancer, cognitive and behavioral impairments, endocrine system disruption, reproductive and cardiovascular system abnormalities, diabetes, asthma and obesity.

In all, the tests found as many as 232 chemicals in the 10 newborns, all of minority descent. The cord blood study has produced hard new evidence that American children are being exposed, beginning in the womb, to complex mixtures of dangerous substances that may have lifelong consequences.

And in a separate study, researchers found that complications of pregnancy, such as preterm labor, preterm birth, and infection were lowest in women with the highest vitamin D levels.

Blood levels of activated vitamin D usually rise during very early pregnancy, and some of it crosses the placenta to bathe the fetus, especially the developing fetal brain, in activated vitamin D. But many — in fact most — pregnant women do not make as much vitamin D as they need.

4,000 IU of vitamin D per day during pregnancy was found to be safe (not a single adverse event). However, this amount only resulted in a mean vitamin D blood level of 27 ng/ml in the newborn infants, indicating that even 4,000 IU per day during pregnancy is not enough.


Resources:

Mothering December 9, 2009
Environmental Working Group
New Research Findings Two December 3, 2009
National Institutes of Health

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