General TTC

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Vaginal infections durng pregnancy

Pregnancy is the time when your body undergoes significant hormonal changes. Due to these changes, women often find their immunity levels dipping, making them susceptible to an array of infections. Infections in the vaginal region such as the yeast infections, Trichomoniasis, and Bacterial Vaginosis are a common occurrence during pregnancy. However, one may encounter other kinds of vaginal infections as well. If left untreated they may harm the foetus too. Therefore, it is best to stay well informed about the causes and symptoms of the different vaginal infections during pregnancy in order to identify and treat them at the earliest. Vaginal Infections To Watch Out For During Pregnancy #1. Bacterial Vaginosis One of the most common vaginal infections during pregnancy, Bacterial Vaginosis or BV is seen in every one out of five pregnant women. Cause: BV is caused when the vagina’s naturally existing bacteria start multiplying excessively due to hormonal imbalances, leading to unpleasant symptoms. Symptoms: Pain and burning sensation during urination Inflammation, irritation, and itchiness inside and around the vagina Thin, watery, greyish white vaginal discharge, which has a very foul odour Diagnosis: Your doctor, through a pelvic examination, can diagnose BV. She may take a swab sample of the discharge to observe it microscopically and even send it to the lab for a vaginal culture for further confirmation. Treatment: Antibiotics are a good line of treatment for Bacterial Vaginosis. Your doctor will prescribe you a dosage safe for use during pregnancy. However, if you are in your first trimester, she may avoid giving any medication at all. Points to remember: If detected early BV may go away on its own without medication. However, if left untreated for long it may lead to serious problems such as – low birth weight of the baby, preterm delivery, pelvic inflammatory disease in the mother, eventual damage to the fallopian tubes, increase in risk of contacting Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), and even infertility. What you can do: In order to prevent BV during pregnancy you must – Drink at least 2-3 liters of water daily Keep your vagina clean and dry to prevent bacterial build-up Do not use bath oils or thick applications in the vaginal region. These may block pores and lead to infections. Maintain good hygiene and wash yourself dry twice or thrice a day Wear cotton undergarments and change your underpants twice a day to prevent the area from being sweaty. Wear loose pants and avoid tights to prevent sweat buildup. Sleep without your underpants to prevent infections. Adopt safe sex practices and avoid having intercourse with multiple partners during your pregnancy. While using toilet paper, wipe from front to back to avoid infections from anal bacteria to spread to the vagina. Avoid frequently douching the vagina in an attempt o clean it. This may worsen the infection. #2. Yeast Infection A yeast infection is commonly seen during the second trimester of pregnancy. It features an overgrowth of the naturally existing vaginal fungus – Candida. Causes: A spike in the levels of progesterone and estrogen in your body cause yeast infections during pregnancy. This hormonal imbalance disrupts your vaginal pH, thus, causing fungal infections. An antibiotic or steroid treatment during pregnancy may also cause a yeast infection. Some other causes include – excessive douching, having intercourse, having STD, or diabetes.   Symptoms: Burning pain while passing urine or during intercourse Appearance of whitish brown discharge from the vagina that looks like cottage cheese. Yeast like foul smell from discharge Inflammation, irritation, and redness in the labia and vulva. Diagnosis: Your doctor can easily diagnose a yeast infection upon a vaginal examination. To further confirm the possibility she may take a swab sample of the discharge and check it under the microscope or send it to a lab for further testing and conclusive results. Treatment: A yeast infection can be treated using an anti-fungal cream prescribed by your doctor. The cream must be applied to the infected area as suggested on a regular basis. You may alternatively be prescribed an oral anti-fungal medication or an ovule to insert in the vagina.  Points to remember: If undetected or untreated yeast infections get transferred to the baby at the time of delivery. They infect the baby’s mouth in the form of an oral condition called thrush. What you can do: In addition to the above mentioned tips you must - Reduce your intake of sugar as it is inflammatory and may worsen the fungal infection. Add complex carbohydrates to your diet to improve your digestion and immunity. Eat yogurt. It is probiotic and helps improve the gut and vaginal pH. #3. Trichomoniasis This vaginal infection results from a parasitic protozoan microbe known as the Trichomonas vaginalis. Causes: A pregnant woman may contact this infection from a sexual encounter with an infected partner. The disease also spreads through infected pool water, towels, or toilet seats. Symptoms: Yellow/white/clear discharge from the vagina Fish-like foul smelling discharge Redness, inflammation, and irritation in the vaginal area Pain while passing urine Diagnosis: Besides identifying the evident symptoms, your doctor can diagnose Trichomoniasis by taking a swab sample of the vaginal discharge. This can either be studied under the microscope to visually identify the parasite or can be sent for a lab culture to get a confirmed result. Alternatively, a urine test may also reveal Trichomoniasis infection. Treatment: Trichomoniasis is treated with a course of oral antibiotics. Make sure to take only prescribed drugs in recommended dosage only so that your baby is not harmed by the medication. Points to remember: If detected and treated timely the Trichomoniasis infection can be completely cured. It is one of the most easily curable vaginal infections. What you can do: In addition to the above mentioned precautions related to proper hygiene and safe sex practices, one must avoid using swimming pools, shared bath towels, and public toilets during pregnancy.

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How foul air may affect fetal heart development

Apart from ensuring healthy food choices, good prenatal care, and regular medicines, there are other factors also that affect the health of a developing fetus. One such environmental factor is exposure to microparticles in air pollution. According to a recent study, published in the journal Cardiovascular Toxicology, exposure to particulate matter in the air may damage the healthy development of the cardiovascular system of a fetus. Researchers have found that exposure to microscopic particulates in early pregnancy or in late pregnancy, significantly impacted the development of the fetal heart. This means that pregnant women, those undergoing fertility treatment, or of child-bearing age should avoid going out in high pollution areas and should also consider monitoring the quality of indoor air. Even a single incident of exposure likely to cause damage The growth and development of the fetus are affected by what the mother eats, drinks and even breathes. Therefore, when she inhales these nano-particulates in the air, it affects her circulatory system, constricting her blood vessels and restricting the blood flow to the uterus. This lack of blood flow leads to a lower supply of oxygen and nutrients to the child, hampering its growth. Further, restricted blood flow may also lead to other pregnancy complications like intrauterine growth restriction. For the purpose of the study, the researchers exposed a group of pregnant rats to nano aerosols of titanium dioxide a single time during all three trimesters and observed its effects. These effects were then compared with the development of milestones in pregnant rats exposed to highly filtered air. The study findings revealed that exposure to these particulates in early pregnancy significantly impacted the development of the main artery and the umbilical vein in the fetus. Further, exposure during the late third trimester affected the growth of the fetus, distressing fetal size. This happened because of decreased nutrients and vitamins reaching the uterus during the third trimester. The researchers also found that the restricted blood flow to the fetus during pregnancy continued to affect the child in adulthood. Non-pregnant animals also affected Exposure to these nano-particles of titanium oxide damaged the function of uterine arteries even in non-pregnant animals. While nanotechnology has led to major advances in the sciences, its impact on humans at different stages of development is yet unknown. It is estimated that by 2025, the annual global production of nanosized particles of titanium dioxide will reach 2.5 million metric tonnes. In addition to being found in the air, these nanoparticles are also used in personal and beauty care products like face powders and sunscreens. Though the impact of air pollution on the general health of the population is well-known, there is relatively little research on how it affects fetal development. More research is being undertaken in this regard, but it would take some time for scientists to understand the complete implications of air pollution on fetal growth and development. Featured Image Source

Causes and prevention of varicose veins during pregnancy

Varicose veins, also known as varicoses or varicosities, occur when your veins become enlarged, dilated, and overfilled with blood. Varicose veins typically appear swollen and raised, and have a bluish-purple or red color. They are often painful. The condition is very common, especially in women. Around 25 percent of all adults have varicose veins. In most cases, varicose veins appear on the lower legs. Causes of varicose veins Varicose veins occur when veins aren’t functioning properly. Veins have one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing backward. When these valves fail, blood begins to collect in the veins rather than continuing toward your heart. The veins then enlarge. Varicose veins often affect the legs. The veins there are the farthest from your heart, and gravity makes it harder for the blood to flow upward. Some potential causes for varicose veins include: Pregnancy Menopause Age over 50 Standing for long periods of time Obesity Family history of varicose veins Symptoms of varicose veins The primary symptoms of varicose veins are highly visible, misshapen veins, usually on your legs. You may also have pain, swelling, heaviness, and achiness over or around the enlarged veins. In some cases, you can develop swelling and discoloration. In severe cases, the veins can bleed significantly, and ulcers can form. Diagnosing varicose veins Your doctor will likely examine your legs and visible veins while you’re sitting or standing to diagnose varicose veins. They may ask you about any pain or symptoms you’re having. Your doctor may also want to do an ultrasound to check your blood flow. This is a noninvasive test that uses high-frequency sound waves. It allows your doctor to see how blood is flowing in your veins. Home remedies Measures can be taken at home to improve pain and prevent varicose veins from worsening. These measures include the following given below:  Exercising Losing weight Raising the legs Avoiding prolonged standing or sitting There are also many over-the-counter natural treatments, usually topical creams and emollients. These can help soothe pain, and improve comfort and they may improve the general appearance of varicose veins. Prevention: To reduce the risk of developing varicose veins you need to do the following:   Exercise regularly  Maintain a healthy weight Avoid standing still for too long Do not sit with the legs crossed Sit or sleep with your feet raised on a pillow Anyone who has to stand for their job should try to move around at least once every 30 minutes  Content source Featured image source  

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Shopping, hairstyle and more!

Tingling sensation continues? As you glide into the 24th week, you may be feeling that much change has not occurred since the last week to this one. The next few weeks will be such that your body may not show too many symptoms of change but the symptoms that are already present may tend to aggravate a little more. For instance, last week we spoke about how your palms would feel a tingling sensation on them due the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). This week CTS may go that extra mile and make your fingers and wrists turn rigid and numb. Move your wrists and fingers in circular motion to let the blood flow. This will provide you with temporary relief. Time for a new hairdo? Another thing you might have noticed is that your hair and nails are continuing to grow faster and rather wonderfully. Be grateful of the hair growth now, as post-delivery, your hair may fall out in large chunks. Cherish that luscious hair and try out a new hairdo, we say! Get on a shopping spree! Have you sorted out your wardrobe yet? In few more weeks, you are going to outgrow most of your clothes. Well, this is the perfect excuse to get on a shopping spree, don't you think so? Get some shoes for yourself too, now that your shoe size is definitely bigger. Do not hesitate to use tummy belts or lowers with belts, specially designed for maternity, to provide extra support to your belly. Vaginal Discharge Some women experience vaginal discharge throughout pregnancy. If you find it itchy or extremely foul-smelling, do contact your doctor immediately. Meanwhile, ensure the vaginal area is always dry and clean. Such problems if ignored may lead to urinary tract infections, which are again common in pregnancy. Anxiety about delivery Are you constantly thinking about the big day? What is that you are hoping for - natural or a C-section or something else? You may have all chances of a normal, natural delivery if you focus on a healthy, well-balanced diet and a good fitness routine. Remember to focus on your pelvic area and legs while exercising. Trouble in bed? You are probably finding it difficult to sleep comfortably, thanks to all the weight gain. Well, it is time to stop sleeping on your back now. SOS - sleep on side, preferably left, is the new position for you. You could also try a soft pregnancy pillow for some relief while sleeping. Upcoming tests Are you aware of the tests/scans that are coming up? You may have a glucose tolerance test around 24-28 weeks. It is a good idea for your partner to accompany you for such tests, from now on.

Difference Between Implantation Bleeding and Menstrual Cycle

1. Colour • Implantation Bleeding: The blood seen is usually pink or brown in colour. The brown colour that is sometimes observed is only on account of older blood. • Menstrual Cycle: The colour of the blood that is seen during periods can vary and is considered a biological health monitor for a woman. While a bright red colour can indicate new blood, a greyish hue may indicate an infection or miscarriage. 2. Duration • Implantation Bleeding: It does not last for long and has a maximum duration of 1-2 days. • Menstrual Cycle: It can last anywhere between 2-7 days. It is highly variable and depends on factors such as lifestyle and body type. 3. Discharge • Implantation Bleeding: The discharge is always highly viscous. • Menstrual Cycle: The discharge changes according to the ovulation cycle and is often considered an accurate indicator of a woman’s fertility. The mucus is an egg white colour and relatively watery when a woman is most fertile. On the other hand, the discharge becomes sticky and has a creamy texture when a woman is in her non-fertile stage. 4. Cramping • Implantation Bleeding: The cramps experienced are mild compared to what you go through during a period. They are caused due to hormonal activity after the implantation. • Menstrual Cycle: The cramps can range from mild to severe with each period. A hormone called prostaglandin causes muscle contractions within the uterine wall which is responsible for the cramps. 5. Volume • Implantation Bleeding: The amount of bleeding is minimal and in many cases, does not even require the changing of a pad. The volume of bleeding is also independent of any other condition. • Menstrual Cycle: The amount of bleeding is, on average, about 10-30 ml per period, though sometimes it can even cross 500ml! The flow is variable and depends on conditions such as the size of the individual, exercise, and hormonal levels. Content Source Featured Image Source

Signs And Symptoms Of Pregnancy Implantation

Below are some of the symptoms associated with pregnancy implantation. However, not all women experience these symptoms, and a pregnancy test is the only sure-shot way of finding out whether you are pregnant. Additionally, many of these symptoms must continue for at least a week after the ovulation cycle is over. 1. Bleeding/Spotting Implantation spotting is the most reliable indicator that implantation has taken place. Light, short bleeding without regular period cramps are a sign of implantation. However, spotting may also be a result of sexual intercourse due to increased sensitivity of the cervix. 2. Cramping The process that takes place within your body leads to implantation cramping. However, this pain can be differentiated from menstrual cramping as its intensity is lesser. One aspect to be noted is that cramping isn’t the result of the physical embedding as it is too tiny to make such an impact. The mild cramping is a result of the hormonal changes that take place within the body after implantation. 3. Soreness of the Breasts After implantation, hormones begin to send chemical messages to the body to prepare itself for pregnancy. In response, the breasts start becoming tender and swollen. You may experience some soreness because of this. 4. Increased Basal Body Temperature Basal Body Temperature (BBT) is the temperature of your body during a state of inactivity. Many women who are actively trying to get pregnant have a BBT chart to track their ovulation. The best time to take this measurement is right after waking up. When you are ovulating, the BBT increases due to the increased progesterone levels. During implantation, there is a dip in the BBT to below 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, after which there is a dramatic rise in temperature. 5. Frequent Urination The implantation leads to a flurry of activities taking place within the body, one of which is an increase of blood flow to the pelvis. This puts stress on the bladder making you feel the need to urinate often. However, this is associated with menstrual cycles as well and is not a guarantee for implantation. 6. Food Craving or Aversion The surge in hormones could make you crave a specific food item that you don’t usually eat. Alternatively, you might feel an intense aversion to food items that you eat on a regular basis. 7. Hot Flashes This can happen due to the dynamic change in hormones that takes place during implantation. 8. Cervical Mucus There will be a marked increase in your mucus flow due to an increase in hormones that will stimulate the cervix. 9. Mood Swings You will experience rapidly changing emotions that can range from crying one minute to being elated the next minute. This is on account of the changes in your hormones. However, these are also pre-menstrual symptoms and do not guarantee implantation. Content Source Featured Image Source

Is it implantation bleeding — Or just my period?

When you’re actively trying to get pregnant, those two weeks between ovulation and a positive home pregnancy test (or your period) can seem much longer. If you’re like most women, you’ll spend them hyper-aware of every ache, twinge, and craving your body has, wondering whether it’s an early sign of pregnancy. One of the most telltale symptoms of pregnancy is bleeding. If you do have some light spotting, does it mean anything? While it can be hard to tell, many women who go on to have healthy, normal pregnancies have what’s called implantation bleeding around the time that their embryo lodges itself into the side of the uterus. What is implantation bleeding? After ovulation and at the moment an egg is successfully fertilized by a sperm, the embryo starts dividing and growing, sending out signals to a woman’s body to prepare for pregnancy. In turn, the walls of the uterus, called the endometrium, start to change: They’ve already been thickening throughout the menstrual cycle, but they’ll need to grow and mature even more to protect and nourish an embryo for nine months. Anywhere from six to 12 days after fertilization, the quickly-growing embryo has moved down the Fallopian tubes to the uterus. It’s starting to need more nutrients, and the endometrium has filled in enough to support the embryo. At this time, the embryo attaches itself to the endometrium, where it becomes reliant on a mother’s body — for the first time — for nutrients and oxygen. Implantation bleeding happens when the embryo makes its way into the uterus, which sometimes causes little blood vessels to burst. When does implantation bleeding occur? When the embryo implants in the lining of the uterus, it can disrupt tiny blood vessels in the spot it burrows into. This won’t cause any problems (the endometrium recovers!) but some women will experience light bleeding, from pinkish or red to brown discharge. This so-called implantation bleeding will likely arrive earlier than your expected monthly flow (usually around five to 10 days after conception).  How do I know it’s implantation bleeding and not my period? Since implantation bleeding is a symptom that can often occur before you test positive on a pregnancy test, it can be hard to know whether light bleeding is an early sign of pregnancy or just normal spotting leading up to your period. And unfortunately, there’s no conclusive way to find out. The best way to know whether you’re pregnant or not is to wait a few more days and take a pregnancy test. The timing of when you last had sex might also help you figure it out: If it’s been more than two weeks, it’s unlikely that any spot you're having is implantation bleeding. That said, approximately one-third of women who report having experienced implantation bleeding often describe it as distinct from their usual premenstrual spotting — some say the blood is darker and not as red compared with normal period blood. Others have mild cramping at the same time as the spotting. But for many women, the two types of bleeding aren’t different at all. So you’re not alone if you assume that some spotting is implantation bleeding and get your period a few days later, or if you assume that implantation bleeding is normal spotting and end up being pregnant! When should I see my doctor? Light bleeding during pregnancy even at times other than implantation is often normal. Causes can include mundane things like irritation of the cervix following a pelvic exam, sex or infection of the vagina. But because sometimes bleeding following a positive pregnancy test can be a sign of ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy or miscarriage, you should always call your medical provider if you experience it so you can talk through any other symptoms. Don’t worry too much; chances are good that if the bleeding is light and doesn't last long, everything is fine. Content Source Featured Image Source