Work and Pregnancy

Greetings wonderful individuals! It’s a pleasure to reconnect with you in this space. Today, our focus revolves around the intersection of work and pregnancy. For those navigating the professional realm while expecting, it’s crucial to be well-versed in your entitlements regarding antenatal care, maternity leave, and associated benefits. Should concerns arise about your well-being during work hours, consider consulting with your doctor, midwife, or occupational health nurse. Additionally, open dialogues with your employer, union representative, or the human resources department can provide valuable insights. Understanding your rights as a pregnant employee may necessitate legal counsel, given that these rights vary across countries but generally aim to safeguard pregnant women in the workplace. An anticipated aspect of this journey is the likelihood of increased fatigue, especially during the initial and final stages of pregnancy. Utilizing your lunch break for nourishment and rest is advisable. If commuting during rush hours becomes taxing, explore the option of temporarily adjusting your work hours with your employer’s approval. Resist the urge to rush home and engage in additional tasks like cleaning and cooking. Enlist the support of friends, partners, or family members whenever possible. If grappling with nausea and vomiting (commonly known as morning sickness), inquire with your employer about potential adjustments in your work hours to avoid periods of heightened discomfort. Working from home on days when morning sickness is more pronounced could also be considered. If the challenges seem overwhelming, seek advice from a GP or midwife to address any significant concerns about your well-being. That concludes our discussion for today. Join us for the next episode, promising even more excitement. Until then, take care and stay healthy!

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Sex in Pregnancy

Greetings, wonderful readers! Today, let’s delve into a fascinating subject: Sex during Pregnancy. I understand some of you may be curious about the safety of engaging in sexual activities while expecting. Well, fear not, as we’re about to address that question. Engaging in sexual activities during pregnancy is generally safe unless otherwise advised by your doctor or midwife. Rest assured, having sex will not harm your baby. The penetration of a penis or penetrative sex toy is limited to the vagina, and the baby remains blissfully unaware of the proceedings. Nevertheless, it’s normal for your libido to change during pregnancy. There’s no need to fret about it, but discussing these shifts with your partner is beneficial. Pregnancy may bring varying degrees of enjoyment or disinterest in sexual activities. If you find yourself less inclined, there are alternative ways to express love and intimacy. The key is open communication with your partner. In the absence of complications, normal pregnancy, sex, and orgasms do not heighten the risk of premature labor or miscarriage. In later stages of pregnancy, orgasms or sex itself may trigger mild contractions, known as Braxton Hicks contractions. While they may be uncomfortable, these contractions are a natural part of the process, and there’s usually no cause for concern. Consider relaxation techniques if discomfort arises or lie down until the contractions subside. Instances when it’s advisable to avoid sex during pregnancy include: – Experiencing heavy bleeding in the current pregnancy. – If your waters have broken, as it may increase the risk of infection. – Issues with the entrance to the womb (cervix), which could elevate the risk of premature labor or miscarriage. – In the later stages of pregnancy, especially if you’re carrying twins or have a history of early labour. For those engaging in sexual activities with multiple partners during pregnancy, it’s crucial to use barrier contraception, such as condoms, to safeguard against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that could pose risks to both you and your baby. While sex remains safe for most couples during pregnancy, it might require some adjustments. Exploring different positions can be an exciting opportunity for experimentation and bonding. As the pregnancy progresses, traditional positions like having your partner on top may become uncomfortable, not only due to the growing bump but also because of tender breasts. Side-lying positions, facing each other or with your partner behind, and variations like being on top or penetrated from behind while on hands and knees, may offer more comfort. Don’t hesitate to use pillows to enhance your comfort. That concludes today’s discussion. Join us next time for another engaging episode. Until then, stay healthy!

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Female Infertility I

Greetings, dear readers! We are delighted to reconnect with you, and today we delve into a fascinating subject – Female Infertility.   Female infertility is characterised by the persistent inability to conceive despite regular, unprotected sexual intercourse for at least one year.   About one-third of cases of infertility stem from female factors, another third from male factors, and the remaining cases result from either a combination of both or remain of unknown origin.   Diagnosing the underlying causes of female infertility can often be challenging, but there are various treatments available based on the specific issue. It’s worth noting that many couples grappling with infertility ultimately achieve pregnancy without medical intervention.   Now, let’s explore the symptoms associated with infertility. The primary indicator is the inability to achieve pregnancy. Additionally, a menstrual cycle that is excessively long (35 days or more), too short (less than 21 days), irregular, or even absent may signify a lack of ovulation. Other signs and symptoms may be absent in some cases.   So, when should you consider seeking professional help? The timeline varies based on your age:   For those under 35, most medical experts advise attempting pregnancy for a year before pursuing testing or treatment. If you fall in the 35 to 40 age bracket, it’s advisable to discuss concerns with your healthcare provider after six months of trying. If you’re over 40, your doctor may recommend testing or treatment without delay. In certain situations, your doctor might suggest immediate testing or intervention if you or your partner have known fertility issues, a history of irregular or painful periods, pelvic inflammatory disease, recurrent miscarriages, a history of cancer treatment, or endometriosis.   To achieve pregnancy, every step in the intricate human reproductive process must occur flawlessly. These steps include:   The release of a mature egg from one of the two ovaries. Capture of the egg by the fallopian tube. Sperm making their way through the cervix, the uterus, and into the fallopian tube to meet the egg for fertilization. The fertilized egg’s journey down the fallopian tube to the uterus. Attachment (implantation) of the fertilized egg to the uterine lining. During fertilization, the sperm and egg unite within one of the fallopian tubes to form a zygote. This zygote then proceeds down the fallopian tube, developing into a morula. Upon reaching the uterus, the morula matures into a blastocyst. The blastocyst subsequently embeds itself into the uterine lining, a process known as implantation.   That’s where we’ll pause for today. In our next article, we’ll delve into the various causes of female infertility. Stay healthy, and until next time, farewell!

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Female Infertility 1

Hello beautiful people, it brings us immense Joy to reconnect with you. Today we will take a look  at an  interesting topic – Female Infertility.   Infertility is defined as trying to get pregnant with frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year with no success.   Infertility results from female factors about one-third of the time and both female and male factors about one-third of the time. The cause is either unknown or a combination of male and female factors in the remaining cases.   Female infertility causes can be difficult to diagnose. There are many treatments, depending on the infertility cause. Many infertile couples will go on to conceive a child without treatment.   What are the symptoms of infertility? The main symptom of infertility is the inability to get pregnant. A menstrual cycle that’s too long (35 days or more), too short (less than 21 days), irregular or absent can mean that you’re not ovulating. There might be no other signs or symptoms.   When should you see a doctor? When to seek help can depend on your age:   Up to age 35, most doctors recommend trying to get pregnant for at least a year before testing or treatment.   If you’re between 35 and 40, discuss your concerns with your doctor after six months of trying.   If you’re older than 40, your doctor might suggest testing or treatment right away. Your doctor might also want to begin testing or treatment right away if you or your partner has known fertility problems, or if you have a history of irregular or painful periods, pelvic inflammatory disease, repeated miscarriages, cancer treatment, or endometriosis.   For pregnancy to occur, every step of the human reproduction process has to happen correctly. The steps in this process are:   One of the two ovaries releases a mature egg. The egg is picked up by the fallopian tube. Sperm swim up the cervix, through the uterus and into the fallopian tube to reach the egg for fertilization. The fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tube to the uterus. The fertilized egg attaches (implants) to the inside of the uterus and grows.   During fertilization, the sperm and egg unite in one of the fallopian tubes to form a zygote. Then the zygote travels down the fallopian tube, where it becomes a morula. Once it reaches the uterus, the morula becomes a blastocyst. The blastocyst then burrows into the uterine lining a process called implantation.   Let’s Stop here for today, in our next episode, we will look at the causes of female Infertility. Stay healthy and bye for now   

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Pre-term Labour

Greetings, lovely readers!Today, we embark on an exploration of an important and fascinating topic: Preterm Labor.   Preterm labor refers to the occurrence of regular contractions that lead to the opening of the cervix after the 20th week but before the 37th week of pregnancy.   It’s crucial to recognize that preterm labor can result in premature birth, and the earlier it happens, the greater the health risks for your precious little one. Many premature babies, affectionately known as preemies, often require specialized care in the neonatal intensive care unit and may face long-term mental and physical challenges.   The specific causes of preterm labor often remain elusive. While certain risk factors may elevate the likelihood of preterm labor, it’s worth noting that it can also occur in pregnant women with no known risk factors.   Now, let’s delve into the telltale signs and symptoms of preterm labor, which include:   Regular or frequent sensations of abdominal tightening (contractions). Persistent, low-grade backache. A sensation of pressure in the pelvic or lower abdominal area. Mild abdominal cramps. Vaginal spotting or light bleeding. Preterm rupture of membranes – characterized by a gush or a continuous trickle of fluid following the rupture or tearing of the membrane surrounding the baby.   When should you seek the guidance of a healthcare professional? If you experience any of these signs or symptoms or harbor concerns about what you’re experiencing, it’s imperative to contact your healthcare provider without delay.   Now, let’s shift our focus to the risk factors associated with preterm labor. While preterm labor can impact any pregnancy, several factors are linked to an increased risk, including:   A history of previous preterm labor or premature birth, especially in the most recent pregnancy or in multiple prior pregnancies. Carrying twins, triplets, or other multiples. A shortened cervix. Uterine or placental issues. Smoking or using illicit drugs during pregnancy. Specific infections, particularly affecting the amniotic fluid and lower genital tract. Chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and depression. Enduring stressful life events, such as the loss of a loved one. Excessive amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios). Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. The presence of a fetal birth defect. Short intervals between pregnancies (less than 12 months) or long intervals (more than 59 months). Maternal age, both younger and older. Black, non-Hispanic race and ethnicity.   While preventing preterm labor entirely may not always be within your control, there are proactive steps you can take to promote a healthy, full-term pregnancy:   Prioritise regular prenatal care: Consistent prenatal visits enable your healthcare provider to monitor your well-being and your baby’s development closely. Don’t hesitate to share any concerns, especially if you have a history of preterm labor.   Adopt a balanced diet: Good nutrition plays a pivotal role in ensuring a healthy pregnancy. Research suggests that a diet rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), found in nuts, seeds, fish, and seed oils, may reduce the risk of premature birth.   Steer clear of harmful substances: Quit smoking if you smoke and avoid illicit drugs at all costs.   Mindful pregnancy spacing: Some research suggests that pregnancies spaced too closely together (less than six months apart) or too far apart (more than 59 months) may increase the risk of preterm birth. It’s advisable to consult your healthcare provider about appropriate pregnancy spacing.   Exercise caution with assisted reproductive technology (ART): If you’re considering ART to conceive, think carefully about the number of embryos to be transferred, as multiple pregnancies carry a higher risk of preterm labor.   Manage chronic conditions: Certain conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity can heighten the risk of preterm labor. Collaborate closely with your healthcare provider to effectively manage these chronic conditions.   As we draw the curtain on this chapter, I invite you to join us next time for another enlightening discussion. Until then, take good care of yourselves and stay in the best of health.

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Multiple Pregnancies III

Greetings, wonderful readers! We are thrilled to be back with you once more. Today, we will be wrapping up our discussion on the topic of Multiple Pregnancies, and as always, we are here to address any lingering questions you may have.   Let’s delve into how a multiple pregnancy can impact your risk of developing gestational diabetes. It’s important to note that women carrying multiples face a heightened risk of gestational diabetes. This condition not only increases the likelihood of preeclampsia but also raises the chances of developing diabetes mellitus later in life. Furthermore, newborns born from multiple pregnancies may encounter difficulties such as breathing problems or low blood sugar levels. Fortunately, the risk of these complications can be mitigated through a combination of dietary adjustments, exercise, and, in some cases, medication.   Moving on, let’s explore how a multiple pregnancy can influence the growth of the foetuses. Multiple pregnancies are more prone to encountering growth-related issues compared to single pregnancies. When one fetus significantly lags behind the others in terms of size, it is referred to as discordant growth. It’s important to note that discordant growth isn’t always indicative of a problem. However, in some instances, restricted fetal growth can be attributed to factors such as infection, twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), or complications with the placenta or umbilical cord. In cases where growth restriction is suspected in one or both fetuses, frequent ultrasound examinations may be conducted to closely monitor their growth progress.   Now, let’s turn our attention to how a multiple pregnancy can affect the delivery process. The likelihood of a cesarean section (C-section) is higher when it comes to delivering multiples. However, it’s worth mentioning that twins, for instance, can be delivered vaginally in some situations. The method of delivery is determined by various factors, including the number of babies, their respective positions, weights, and overall health, as well as your own health status and the progression of your labor. The expertise and guidance of your obstetrician-gynecologist (ob-gyn) also play a crucial role in determining the most suitable delivery approach.   Lastly, let’s address a common concern: Can you breastfeed if you have multiples? Absolutely, but like anything worthwhile, it may require a bit of practice. Your body will adjust to produce the right amount of milk for your babies. To support this process, it’s essential to maintain a nutritious diet and stay well-hydrated. Lactation specialists are readily available in many hospitals and within your local community to offer invaluable assistance if you encounter any challenges.   With that, we have concluded our series on Multiple Pregnancies. We hope you found this information enlightening and helpful. Join us next time for another exciting and informative topic. Until then, take care and goodbye for now!

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October 2023 NEWSLETTER

OCTOBER 2023 NEWSLETTER.   Fostering Support and Connection   VSF’s Plan and Goals   Hello, and welcome to October. We want to thank you once again for your incessant support as we continue to provide financial and emotional support to pregnant women with history of infertility, recurrent miscarriages and stillbirths.   OUR INITIATIVES   Efforts are being intensified by our program officers at sourcing and signing of new beneficiaries and these efforts are gradually yielding fruits. Last month, we  signed on a new beneficiary and hosted our first annual golf tournament .Our targert this year is to provide support to twenty women through pregnancy, birth and beyond and we are confident that we will achieve this goal before the end of the year.   OUR BABIES   We welcomed two baby boys not just last month but on the same day – September 19th 2023. All our babies are thriving, and our program officers are in touch with the families to ensure that they are well fed and receiving all the nutrition they need. One of our babies clocked one year on 27th September and we celebrated him the VSF same way.   OUR PARTNERSHIPS Our partnership with the Hospital Management Board, particularly with the Mother and Child Hospital in Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria, continues to be fruitful. To date, the foundation has financed medical treatments at the hospital for fourteen women who had previously struggled with infertility, recurrent miscarriages, and stillbirths, enabling them to give birth to healthy babies. The hospital’s medical expertise and investigative support have been invaluable, and they have also been instrumental in providing high quality healthcare to new mothers and infants. Additionally, the hospital has pledged to support our efforts to care for pregnant women who will be joining our program this year.   WHATS NEW   NEW CAMPAIGNS One of our campaigns for the year is the 20smilesfor20years initiative is still very much on course. We will continue to collaborate with donors to offset the growing cost of providing support for our beneficiaries. To complement these efforts, we will be organizing more walkathons and encouraging individual campaigns.   OUR PARTNERSHIPS   We are intensifying efforts to cultivate more partnerships and collaborations that can assist us in advancing the foundation’s objectives. We will be sharing news later this year. Please stay with us on this journey.  

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Multiple Pregnancies (II)

Greetings, wonderful readers! We’re delighted to be back with you once more. Today, we will continue our exploration of the captivating topic: Multiple Pregnancies. We’re here to shed light on more of your burning questions about this unique experience.   Do you need to increase your weight during a multiple pregnancy?   Expectant mothers carrying more than one bundle of joy should anticipate gaining more weight compared to those carrying a single fetus. You’ll need an additional 300 calories per day for each baby. For instance, if you’re expecting twins, you should aim for an extra 600 calories daily. However, for triplets and beyond, it’s crucial to consult your obstetrician-gynecologist (ob-gyn) to determine the appropriate amount of weight gain for your specific pregnancy.   Is exercising advisable during a multiple pregnancy?   Staying physically active is essential for your overall well-being during a multiple pregnancy, although you may need to steer clear of strenuous workouts. Opt for low-impact exercises like swimming, prenatal yoga, or brisk walking. Aim for a moderate 30 minutes of exercise each day. In some cases, if complications arise during your pregnancy, your ob-gyn may recommend that you refrain from exercise.   What to expect during prenatal care for multiple Prenatal care will likely involve more frequent visits to your ob-gyn. Starting in your second trimester, you may undergo ultrasound exams every 4 to 6 weeks. If any concerns arise, you might undergo additional tests or more frequent ultrasound examinations.   What is the most prevalent complication in multiple pregnancies? The most common complication in multiple pregnancies is preterm birth, with more than half of all twins being born prematurely. Triplets and higher-order multiples are almost always born prematurely.   What are the risks associated with monochorionic twins? Monochorionic twins who share the same placenta, face a higher risk of complications than those with separate placentas. One such complication is twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), where blood flow between the twins becomes imbalanced. One twin donates blood to the other, resulting in one twin having too little blood and the other having too much. The timing of TTTS in the pregnancy significantly impacts the outcomes for both babies.   While monochorionic-monoamniotic pregnancies are rare, they are considerably risky. The most common issue is related to the umbilical cord. Women with this type of pregnancy typically receive more frequent monitoring and are more likely to have a cesarean section.   How does a multiple pregnancy affect the risk of preeclampsia? Preeclampsia, a blood pressure disorder typically occurring after 20 weeks of pregnancy or post-childbirth, is more prevalent in multiple pregnancies compared to singleton pregnancies. Moreover, it often manifests earlier and with greater severity in multiples.   Preeclampsia can harm various organs in your body, including the kidneys, liver, brain, and eyes. In cases where preeclampsia worsens and leads to seizures, it’s referred to as eclampsia. When preeclampsia emerges during pregnancy, it may necessitate the immediate delivery of the babies, even if they haven’t fully developed.   That’s all for today, folks. Join us next time as we conclude our discussion on Multiple Pregnancies.

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Victoria’s Smile Foundation’s 3rd Annual Walkathon is on the 24th of August 2024. Please click the link below to donate and/or participate.