Tag Archives: pregnancy

Is your body ready for pregnancy?

If you’ve decided you’re ready to get pregnant, you may already be emotionally committed to parenthood. But is your body prepared for the task ahead?

Ideally, preconception planning begins up to a year before conception. To help ensure a healthy pregnancy, schedule a preconception appointment with your health care provider as soon as you begin thinking about pregnancy. Be ready to answer the following questions.

What type of birth control have you been using?

If you’ve been taking birth control pills, your health care provider may recommend a pill-free break before trying to conceive. This will allow your reproductive system to go through several normal cycles before you conceive — which will make it easier to determine when ovulation occurred and establish an expected due date.

During the pill-free break, you may want to use condoms or another barrier method of contraception. Continue reading Is your body ready for pregnancy?

About sex after pregnancy

Sex after pregnancy happens. Honestly. But first, vaginal soreness and sheer exhaustion are likely to take a toll. Whether you’re in the mood or sex is the last thing on your mind, here’s what you need to know about sex after pregnancy.

After the baby is born, how soon can I have sex?

Whether you give birth vaginally or by C-section, your body will need time to heal. Many doctors recommend waiting four to six weeks before resuming intercourse. This allows time for the cervix to close, postpartum bleeding to stop, and any tears or repaired lacerations to heal.

But the other important timeline is your own. Some women feel ready to resume sex within a few weeks of giving birth, while others need a few months — or even longer. Factors such as fatigue, postpartum blues and changes in body image may take a toll on your sex drive. Continue reading About sex after pregnancy

Antidepressants during pregnancy

Taking antidepressants during pregnancy may pose risks for your baby — but stopping may pose risks for you.
Antidepressants are the first line of treatment for most types of depression. Antidepressants can help relieve your symptoms and keep you feeling your best. But there’s more to the story when you’re pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant. Here’s what you need to know about antidepressants and pregnancy.
Pregnancy hormones were once thought to protect women from depression, but researchers now say this isn’t true. In fact, an estimated 10 percent of women experience depression during pregnancy. Although pregnancy doesn’t make depression worse, pregnancy often triggers a range of emotions that can make it more difficult to cope with depression.
If you don’t take proper care of depression during pregnancy, you may put your health — and your baby’s health — at risk. If you’re depressed, you may not have the energy to take good care of yourself. You may not seek optimal prenatal care or eat the healthy foods your baby needs to thrive. You may turn to smoking or drinking alcohol. And the price may be high, including premature birth, low birth weight, developmental problems and an increased risk of postpartum depression.
Few medications have been proved safe without question during pregnancy. Research continues, however, and the latest studies on antidepressants and pregnancy offer some reassurance. Overall, the risk of birth defects and other problems for babies of mothers who take antidepressants during pregnancy is very low. Still, some types of antidepressants are safer than others.

Here’s an overview, arranged alphabetically by specific type of antidepressant:

Antidepressant name Risks Recommendations
                   Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
Citalopram (Celexa) Associated with a rare but serious newborn lung problem (persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, or PPHN) when taken during the last half of pregnancy Consider as an option during pregnancy
Fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem) Associated with PPHN when taken during the last half of pregnancy Consider as an option during pregnancy
Paroxetine (Paxil) Associated with fetal heart defects when taken during the first three months of pregnancy Avoid during pregnancy
Sertraline (Zoloft) Associated with PPHN when taken during the last half of pregnancy Consider as an option during pregnancy
                Tricyclic antidpressants
Amitriptyline Suggested risk of limb malformation in early studies, but not confirmed with newer studies Consider as an option during pregnancy
Nortriptyline (Pamelor) Suggested risk of limb malformation in early studies, but not confirmed with newer studies Consider as an option during pregnancy
               Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
Phenelzine (Nardil) May cause a severe increase in blood pressure that triggers a stroke Avoid during pregnancy
Tranylcypromine (Parnate) May cause a severe increase in blood pressure that triggers a stroke Avoid during pregnancy
              Other antidepressants
Bupropion (Wellbutrin) No established risks during pregnancy Consider as an option during pregnancy

Note: Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn is a rare condition. Even if you take an SSRI during pregnancy, the ultimate risk remains extremely low.

 If you take antidepressants throughout pregnancy or during the last trimester, your baby may experience temporary withdrawal symptoms — such as jitters or irritability — at birth.
A preliminary 2007 study associated the use of antidepressants during pregnancy with preterm birth. However, the evidence wasn’t strong enough to consider antidepressants a consistent risk for preterm birth. Generally, antidepressants aren’t considered a risk factor for preterm birth.
If you stop taking antidepressants during pregnancy, you risk a depression relapse. In fact, in a 2006 study, pregnant women who stopped taking antidepressants were five times more likely to experience a depression relapse than were pregnant women who continued taking the drugs.

In addition, stopping an SSRI abruptly may cause various signs and symptoms, including:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chills
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Vivid dreams

If you have depression and are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, consult your doctor. Sometimes mild depression can be managed with support groups, counseling or other therapies. If your depression is severe or you have a recent history of depression, the risk of relapse may be greater than the risks associated with antidepressants.
It’s not an easy decision. As researchers continue to learn more about antidepressants, the risks and benefits of taking the drugs during pregnancy must be weighed carefully on a case-by-case basis. Work with your doctor to make an informed choice that gives you — and your baby — the best chance for long-term health.

Alcohol during pregnancy

Some experts recommend that pregnant women limit of one unit of alcohol, once or twice per week, but the only way to be one hundred percent sure is to abstain from drinking alcohol at all during pregnancy.
The effects of alcohol are greater in women who smoke, drink large amounts of drinks containing caffeine, and have a poor diet.
The highest risk from alcohol to developing baby is during the earliest stages of pregnancy, when baby’s critical organs are forming and cells are dividing very rapidly.
When women drink alcohol, it rapidly reaches baby through bloodstream and across the placenta.
Women who drink alcohol during pregnancy are at risk of having babies with fetal alcohol syndrome . In the world today, FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome) is the leading known cause of mental retardation. FAS also cause physical problems.
Here some consequences fetal alcohol syndrome:

  • Undersized head
  • Poor coordination
  • Learning problems
  • Short memories
  • Growth deficiency
  • Deformed facial features
  • Abnormal joints, hands, feet, fingers and toes
  • Heart defects

All the damage that results from FAS is irreversible and cannot be cured.
The majority of children born with FAS were born to mothers who are drank everyday, but cases of a birth of sick children are known for mothers who consume as a little as two drinks a day .

FAS disease can be easily prevented – Pregnant women should not be drinking at all.