Immune System

The organs and processes of the body that provide resistance to infection and toxins

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9 tips to prevent cold and flu during pregnancy

The good news is that there are several ways to prevent the flu so you can stay healthy through your pregnancy. Here are nine. 1. Get the flu vaccine Even if this season’s flu vaccine is not 100 percent effective, it’s still better than nothing and you may even have milder symptoms if you do get sick. The antibodies you make from the vaccine are also passed onto your baby, protecting him until he’s six months old, at which point he can receive the vaccine himself. In fact, according to a study in the journal Clinical Infectious Disease, the flu vaccine during pregnancy was 92 percent effective at preventing infants from being hospitalized. Those same antibodies are also passed through breast milk. 2. Wash your hands Be sure to wash your hands frequently to avoid picking up the virus. Use warm water and soap, scrub the front and back of your hands, in between your fingers and under your fingernails for at least 20 seconds. When soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 3. Don’t touch your face The flu virus can easily spread into the mouth, nose, and eyes so do your best to keep your hands away until you’ve washed them. 4. Kill the germs Disinfect all surfaces you frequently touch at home and work, especially if someone has been sick. 5. Eat healthily Plenty of fruits and vegetables, ideally five to nine servings a day, will give you the antioxidants to help strengthen your immune system. 6. Avoid crowds You might want to re-think that baby expo because coming into close contact with other people can increase your chances of catching the flu. If you’ll be traveling, wash your hands frequently and wipe down all surfaces on the plane with disinfectant wipes. 7. Consider supplements Vitamin C, D3, and other supplements may help you to fend off the flu. Be sure to talk with your doctor first about which ones are safe during pregnancy. 8. Rest and relax You’re probably a restless sleeper these days, but make it a point to get enough rest because it can strengthen your immunity. Also, activities that reduce stress like a prenatal yoga class, meditation, a day at the spa, and sex can help too. 9. Get checked If you have a high, persistent fever, call your physician immediately. The swab test for the flu will give you results fast but it isn’t 100 percent accurate. Nevertheless, your physician may prescribe Tamiflu anyway. Content Source Featured Image Source

Benefits of Massaging Your Baby

Some of the benefits of baby massage include better sleep for the baby, reduced stress and cranky behavior, relief from flatulence, improved motor development and relief from congestion. Psycho-Social Benefits of Baby Massage- Touch is the primary communication received by a newborn. Infant massage has been a longstanding tradition. Being caressed and touched through massage also acts as psychological food for your infant. It is the best form of touch therapy for infants. It is a communicative approach and helps parents relax the baby as well as connect in a positive way. Physical Benefits of Baby Massage- Massage is one of the best ways to improve the health of your infant. Just as adults benefit from a massage, there are numerous benefits associated with infant massage for better physical development. Some important ones have been listed below: Better sleep: Infant massage helps in increasing serotonin levels in the body. This neurotransmitter is known to regulate mood. High levels of serotonin provide a feeling of well-being. As a result, it ensures better sleep that is deeper and more restful. Reduces stress and cranky behavior: It is common for babies to cry for various reasons. General reasons causing your baby to cry or act cranky include discomfort, pain in legs or abdomen, tiredness or improper sleep. Regular massage can relieve your infant from pains and discomfort, thus providing better sleep. This further reduces the crying and cranky behavior of the infant. Relief from flatulence: Many infants experience chronic abdominal pain due to intestinal gas. Belly massage increases the pace of waste removal from the body. This way, the trapped wind is also easily released by the body. Relieves digestion problems: Massage speeds up the natural progression of food along the digestive tract. This way, the massage has proven to be helpful is eliminating problems like constipation and acid reflux. Strengthens the immune system: Just like massage benefits various physiological processes in the body, it also benefits the immune system. Regular massage gives a newborn baby’s immune system a boost, thereby keeping common ailments at bay. Improves weight: Some babies are underweight at the time of birth. Massage provides significant improvement in the weight gain process, thus providing healthy weight to underweight infants. Improves motor development: Baby massage stimulates the nervous system. This makes the infants more aware of their body’s functions during the massage process. This way, infant massage improves flexibility, coordination and muscle control. Relieves congestion: In addition to benefits like speeding up of the nervous system and providing relief from digestion problems, baby massage also provides relief from congestion. Massage aids improved drainage of sinuses, thus preventing fluid accumulation in the sinuses and airways. Important Massage Moves: Check out the following massage moves to get started with the process. Head Massage- Apply some oil on your baby’s body. Then massage with fingertips in extremely gentle, circular motions all around the head. Neck Massage- Support the head and upper body of your child on one hand. Use the other hand to massage the neck with thumb and first two fingers in gentle, circular motions. Belly Massage- Put your hands at the navel. With your fingertips, massage in gentle yet firm circular motions over the tummy. Repeat these motions a few times. Colic-relief Massage- After the belly-massage, bend the baby’s knees up to the tummy. Hold the position for about 30 seconds and release. Repeat 2 to 3 times. After that, put one hand’s edge on his/her belly. Start gliding downwards from the belly button in a rhythmic pattern. This will help in releasing built-up gas in the stomach. Arm Massage- Roll the baby’s arms gently between the hands. Start from shoulders and move down towards the wrist. Repeat it twice or three times, and then focus on another arm. Leg Massage- The movements for leg massage are similar to those used for massaging the arms. Start from the thighs and move down to the ankles. Repeat 2 to 3 times for each leg. Some important things to take care of during infant massage have been listed below. Regular massage schedule Select a good massage oil Be gentle Select a comfortable place Notice cues offered by your infant Content Source Featured Image Source  

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Importance of Baby Massage

Key Benefits of Baby Massage

6 Ways to Protect Your Baby During Cold Season

Your baby will get a cold at some point. It’s inevitable. Babies’ immune systems are immature, which makes them more susceptible to the more than 200 different viruses that cause the common cold. Plus, your baby—like all babies—loves to touch everything as he explores the world. And pretty much everything he touches winds up in his mouth, which is the best place for icky germs to make their way into his body.   Don’t worry! You don’t have to give in and just wait for the inevitable to happen. There are steps you can take to help prevent the number of colds your baby will get. And, perhaps most importantly, there are steps you can take to ensure he never gets the flu.  Follow these six tips for a healthier cold and flu season.  1. Be on high alert for the first two months- Before your baby has had his first round of immunizations, it’s crucial to have every defense up. The number one thing you can do during this time is to keep the baby away from crowded places like shopping malls and grocery stores.  2. Keep your baby covered when in public places- If you’re past the two-month point and make a trip to the mall, keep your baby in the stroller with a thin blanket over the opening. Chances are your baby will be snoozing anyway (at least we hope so, for your sake!) and this will prevent strangers from being tempted to take a peek or—worse—a touch!  3. Always carry disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer- Germs can live up to five hours on things like shopping carts, so make it a habit to wipe things down. If you’re not able to wash your hands, a little hand sanitizer can go a long way.  4. Enforce a strict “no sick guests allowed” policy- If your mother-in-law is getting over bronchitis and proclaims, she won’t touch the baby but just has to see him, stay strong. Sorry, you need to stay away until you no longer have symptoms. Don’t make exceptions for anyone. If someone has a fever, they need to be fever-free (without using a fever reducer) for at least 24 hours.  5. Breastfeed if possible- If you’re able to nurse your baby, great! Studies show that babies who are exclusively breastfed for six months are less likely than formula-fed babies to get colds and ear and throat infections. It’s pretty amazing, actually. The antibodies from your body are transported through your breast milk, which gives your little one an extra line of defense. If you are unable to breastfeed, don’t be hard on yourself. There are other things you can do on this list to protect your baby.  6. Get your shots- Babies can’t get the flu vaccine until they’re six months old, which is why moms and moms-to-be are urged to get vaccines for flu and pertussis (whooping cough). Getting the flu shot when you're pregnant passes antibodies on to your baby that should last him for about six months. The flu can be deadly in new-borns, making any side effects you may experience from the vaccination (low-grade fever, nausea) minor in comparison. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that expectant moms also get vaccinated against whooping cough between 27 and 36 weeks so they don’t pass the disease to their unvaccinated new-born. It’s also highly recommended that anyone who comes into regular contact with the baby receive these vaccines.  Content Source Featured Image Source  

Helpful Herbs to boost fertility

Some studies suggest that certain herbs can have a positive effect on fertility. Some experts believe that the following may be helpful. Shatavari  Shatavari is the Ayurvedic name for the herb, Asparagus racemosus. It is considered both a general tonic and a female reproductive tonic and the name implies its ability to increase fertility and vitality. It is rich in phytoestrogens, a group of naturally occurring compounds that have a chemical structure very similar to estrogen that plays a very important part in your reproductive cycle.  Shatavari may also help to reduce stress (which is well known for its role in fertility problems). As well as treating fertility problems, it is also used for menopausal symptoms and to increase lactation. Ashwagandha  Ashwagandha is the Ayurvedic name for the herb, Withania somnifera. Traditionally it has been used to treat fertility issues in men. It is believed to improve: •    semen quality, erections and sperm count •    male sexual health in disorders such as psychogenic impotence and unexplained infertility •    endurance to stress •    immunity against infections •    It is also believed to delay aging. A combination of the aqueous extracts of four herbs, known as vajikaran Rasayana herbs is believed to improve reproduction in men.  Agnus castus (chaste berry)  Some small studies suggest that agnus castus (chaste berry) balances reproductive hormones and can help to regulate the menstrual cycle.  Black cohosh  Some experts say that this herb helps improve female infertility. It is believed to stimulate the ovaries and give ovulation a boost.  Chinese herbs There's limited evidence that c some traditional Chinese herbs boost fertility when taken along with other fertility drugs such as clomiphene or clomid.  However, the effect of Chinese herbs on fertility, when taken alone has not been proven yet. If you are having problems conceiving and are considering herbal remedies, speak to your doctor first. Not all herbal remedies are universally safe and they may act in the same way as conventional drugs.  It's also possible that some medications may interfere or react with certain herbs and cause harmful effects. Often herbal medication is sold as a blend rather than a single herb so you need to be sure that all the ingredients are safe for you. For this reason, it's important that both your gynecologist and herbalist or ayurvedic doctor are well aware of the health requirements and treatment you are undergoing. Always pick a qualified medical herbalist or ayurvedic doctor and ensure she takes a full medical history before prescribing anything. Content Source  Featured Image Source

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Benefits of Sex During Pregnancy

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Chicken and Vegetable Broth/ Soup Recipe

This is an easy to make broth or soup, which can make a nutritious snack or meal and a perfect comfort food. If you have a sick child at home, whose taste buds are getting revolted at the sight of food, this soup could be your best bet. Ingredients 1 Chicken leg piece ( You could use some other piece as well, preferably with bone) 1 cup chopped vegetables( cubed carrots, chopped green beans, peas or any vegetable your child likes) 1 small onion chopped ½ teaspoon finely chopped garlic 1 teaspoon olive oil 2 cups water or as needed Salt and pepper to taste Recipe. Method In a pressure cooker, heat the olive oil. You could also do this in a wide saucepan, but it is faster in a pressure cooker. Add garlic and sauté for a few seconds. Do not brown them. Add onions and sauté till they become soft and translucent. Add vegetables and sauté for a minute. Add chicken piece and sauté slightly till sealed. Add water and salt and pepper. Cover the pressure cooker, turn the heat to simmer and let it cook till 3-4 whistles. Let the cooker cool on its own and check. The meat should be falling off the bone. Before serving, remove the meat from bones and mix with the broth. Adjust the seasoning and serve hot. Content Source:  Feature Image Source: 

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