Archive | April, 2013

Pregnancy after 35 – am I too old?

Tags:

Pregnancy after 35 – am I too old?

Posted on 23 April 2013 by Kristrun

pregnancy after 35The simple answer to this is that NO, it is not risky to have a baby after 35 years of age. In fact for a variety of reasons, in today’s society it is becoming more common for women to wait to start a family until they are over 35. It is important to remember that although there are some risks associated with your ‘advanced’ age, there are also benefits for both mother and baby by waiting. There are a number of aspects to consider in answering this question fully, so I will try to give you a summary of the information.

The risks – real or perceived

  • Fertility: The risks associated with having a baby at 35+ are wide-ranging and specific to each individual. In the first instance, there is a higher possibility of couples finding it more difficult to conceive, however in many situations technology is assisting families in this area.
  • Chromasomal Abnormality / Down Syndrome / Twins: There is an increased risk for all mums over 35yrs old, of the possibility of conceiving a baby with a chromosomal abnormality. Despite this, it is important to remember that the majority of babies are fine, and except for the chromosomal abnormalities, research indicates that babies of older mothers are no more at risk of birth defects than babies of younger mothers. The major concern is that of Down Syndrome, or others related to complications with cell division. Individuals have different feelings and beliefs about this subject and there are tests available to either screen or diagnose for these abnormalities. These tests are optional and have far reaching implications, which you should consider prior to having any performed. Added to this there is a higher chance of having a twin pregnancy, which may be considered as either a benefit or complication.
  • Your energy levels: Once pregnant with a healthy baby the adage of “you are only as old as you feel” is definitely true. Age itself does not indicate risk; health, lifestyle, family history and socioeconomic matters also impact on the pregnancy and birth. The majority of mothers complete their pregnancy and birth with no complications, often to the surprise of their caregivers. Data does indicate that the incidence of pre-existing conditions which can impact on birth and pregnancy do increase with age, however these are all able to be well managed throughout the pregnancy.
  • Your health: Throughout the pregnancy there does seem to be a higher possibility of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure, bleeding and low lying placenta. However, these once again are all conditions which are able to be well managed with current knowledge and medications. These are issues which you can impact on by ensuring good health prior to conceiving and seeing a doctor or midwife for preconceptual care.One area to consider is how you and your caregivers’ approach to the pregnancy may affect its course. There does seem to be a higher rate of intervention in mothers who are more mature. It is difficult to establish the reasons behind this, however it is possible that it is related to the caregivers’ anxieties, rather than actual clinical needs. It is important to discuss with your caregivers throughout the pregnancy, any concerns you have and how you would like to approach the birth.

The benefits

  • Maturity! Despite the real, perceived or potential risks, all studies agree that the actual outcome for the baby is every bit as good as that for younger mothers. On the positive side more mature parents are often in a more secure financial situation, have achieved a level of success in their working lives and have been shown to be more psychologically assured, as well as being more aware of a healthy lifestyle.

Previously issued on Yummy Mummy in 2010 – now updated.

Comments Off

washing powder

Tags: ,

Your dirty laundry – and baby and toddler rashes

Posted on 21 April 2013 by hulda

There are a few items that I never buy cheaply, namely shoes, the mattress in my bed and …a washing machine.  Because it basically runs all day long and I really want it to do a good job.  And I have only had to buy washing machines twice in my life, as they actually have lasted very well.

It was therefore a shock to have to call Siemens for the third time in two years to ask them to come and fix our machine this week.  After checking, they informed me that the reason for all these breakdowns was that there was too much washing powder being used, and the machine was clogging up.

I spend probably 1/3 of my week advising parents about various things regarding the health of their families.  One of the most common complaints that parents have — right from the early days with a newborn, through the toddler and childhood years — is rashes.  And the most common answer: if the rashes are not the typical baby achne or something of a similar nature,  consider that there might be external factors contributing to them, and  the first question is usually whether the person is using fabric softener or too much powder.  Most people are surprised and think this is not the reason, but will go home and check.

Because, as we live in Hong Kong, we are usually not responsible for doing our own laundry.  Most of us have helpers who take care of this and through my 12 years in Hong Kong I must say that I have learned that many helpers – and others — believe that they will have cleaner clothes coming out of the machine if they use more powder.  So they put in a lot.

washing powder

Research has shown us that washing powder and fabric softener can be a reason for rashes and outbreaks on sensitive skin. The powder or liquid may not be exactly what the individual is allergic to, but it may make symptoms much worse, especially for those that have sensitive skin and are prone to redness, spots or sore or itchy patches.  Then there are some that do have actual allergic reactions to some of the chemicals.  But very often, it is simply that there has been too much used and that the soap is not washed properly out of the clothes.

It is ironic that my own machine got clogged this way and I had to stop blaiming Siemens for it.  After all, I myself always just put very little powder for washing, maximum 1 teaspoon.  And I had told my helpers, but that was a long time ago.  I also have not observed them carefully regarding this, I only told them.

So lesson learned from this and reading and looking into this matter:  

  1. Always use little powder, 1 teaspoon is enough.
  2. Longer washing cycles, and higher temperatures work better than more soap.
  3. A long rinse is very important to make sure there is no residue of soap in the clothes.
  4. Use non-bio powder, without enzymes.
  5. Skip the softener altogether.
  6. Use fragrance-free powder.
  7. Show your helper how much powder and how to use the machine and observe how he/she does it.

Happy washes,  less rashes.

Hulda

 

 

Comments Off

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Family comes last and thank yous and job satisfaction and homebirths

Posted on 17 April 2013 by hulda

I have once had to bail out of a birth when I was sick. Only once.  In 12 years, I have been fortunate enough to not ever have births overlap so that it mattered, or have sick kids, be sick or absent myself  or  have anything unexpected happen.  So I have indeed been lucky.

photoAs home care workers and  midwifes, if you look at statistics, you are quite likely at some point to burn out, have your children feel like you never were there for their birthdays (true) and become divorced one day.  This is like in so many other professions where people are working strange or long hours away from home and the family essentially ends up on the backburner too often.

This sounds very negative, and  to change the tone, I will say that fortunately for me, I have a very good family who has been tolerant.  They have gone on endless vacations without me, they have held their birthday parties with cakes from Dora (yoga guru who bakes at night) rather than their mum, and somewhere long time ago they stopped moaning about me not being there half the time.   They are still happy and so am I.

 

The thing is, my job satisfaction is also endless.  There are days where I just cannot even try to tell you how nice it is to work with the pregnant ladies, the families, the new babies that I get to care about.  And days where I really feel that being there has made some difference, that the families have had care that they deserved.  I get thank you cards and chocolates and lots of smiles and hugs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I go home truly blessed and essentially, my family will sometimes get a tired, but most of the time, a very happy person back.

I have this week just done the 18th homebirth in Hong Kong, with Eugenie, my midwife colleague.  It was a wonderful experience, as they always are, and once again reminded us of how things can be during labour, how relaxing, comforting, supporting environment and people make all the difference in the world.  If we could just create this in hospitals here, there would be so much good done.  Noise, lights, talk, orders, equipment number two, empowerment, strength and support number one.

I am just ranting but I feel you should know this and I must say thank you all, families and people of Hong Kong who believe in normality of birth and are brave enough to pursue it.

For those of you that already know and are awaiting news – as well as those that are new to the discussion, Annerley is very much in the process of preparing a Birth Center, this has taken a long time, but we have not given up and one day will hopefully see the dream come true. In the meantime, good things are happening at home and in hospitals.    Best, Hulda

 

Comments Off

Hulda and little girls

I don´t think this is ever said too often

Posted on 12 April 2013 by hulda

But you cannot cuddle your children too much.  Enjoy the weekend dear parents:

Too much cuddling?

Too much cuddling?

Comments Off

The Best 10 Breastfeeding Tips from our Lactation Experts

Tags: ,

The Best 10 Breastfeeding Tips from our Lactation Experts

Posted on 11 April 2013 by hulda

Breastfeeding is supposed to be natural – and it is – but sometimes nature needs a little support. Annerley’s midwives give their best recommendations:

  1. BreastfeedingFeed as often as the baby wants in the first few days.  This means sometimes every 30 minutes, sometimes 3-4 hours between.
  2. Get all the assistance in hospital you can to learn the right techniques from the beginning.  Ensure you also have help from a midwife when you come home.
  3. A good latch on the breast is one of the most important factors in preventing sore nipples and to increase the flow of the milk in each suck. 
  4. Pain that does not go away during a feed means something is not OK.  You need to respond to this quickly or get help to identify what is wrong.
  5. Always make sure you bring the baby to you, and not to bring the breast to the baby. 
  6. In the early days, air dry the nipples, let breast milk dry on them and if they are cracked, lanolin may be helpful in the healing process.
  7. If your milk supply is low, make sure to drink and eat enough, get plenty of rest and eat as often as possible.
  8. Fenugreek might also help if you have low milk supply.
  9. Feed on demand in the early days, it will help to regulate the flow of milk faster and decrease risks of low supply and mastitis. 
  10. Use hot and cold packs if/when your breasts engorge, and learn techniques to massage blockages out.  

 

When in doubt and ideally before any problems happen,  feel free to call me or any of the other midwives at Annerley, we are all experts in breastfeeding amongst other things and will help you either at our clinic, or in your home in the early days.  

Best regards,  Hulda Thorey, midwife.

 

Comments Off

Does classical music guarantee a child genius?

Does classical music guarantee a child genius?

Posted on 11 April 2013 by hulda

Untitled

Most children raised in Hong Kong have a packed schedule that would put most hardworking businessmen to shame – attending a long list of extra-curricular classes on top of school. But why do we enroll our children into so many extra lessons? Because we want the best for them, we want to open every door and possibility we can. But does it all help?

Playtimes explores the discussion on “The Mozart Theory” and whether or not just listening to classical music alone is enough. Kathryn Eagle, Founder of Sensational Baby, says, “A strong sensory base helps babies process the information they need to thrive. Classes like Sensational Baby give parents opportunities to embrace and capitalise on each of their baby’s new development stages.”

Read more about the argument for classical music and what can benefit your child in the March issue of Playtimes magazine.

Download the story here, or read the complete magazine here.

Annerley’s Sensational Baby Classes give parents and babies the opportunity to form  new friendships, share experiences, advice and stories, providing mutual support and encouragement with the challenges of parenting.

The activities in our baby group focus on your baby’s sensory development as well as developing their motor skills through movement and stretching. Their sense of rhythm and musicality will be stimulated and they will be thoroughly entertained throughout the class.

Classes are for babies around 2 – 8 months of age. We would love to see you there, visit our website for more information and pricing for our Sensational Baby Class.

Comments Off

How swaddling helps baby sleep

Tags: ,

How swaddling helps baby sleep

Posted on 06 April 2013 by hulda

If you are looking for a way to help your very young baby sleep, then consider the ancient art of swaddling.

Annerley SCMP Swaddling Rookie Mum-tn

Click image to read more: How swaddling makes sleep more snug – SCMP Rookie Mum

The most famous person to be swaddled was of course baby Jesus, but swaddling has come a long way since those times when the baby was tightly bound with what were in a effect, bandages. Through the ages swaddling was seen as a way to help the baby’s limbs grow straight – the tighter the bind the better – and later associated with negligence as wet nurses used swaddling as an effective baby management tool. Fot these and other reasons, swaddling fell from favour in about the seventeenth century.

Benefits of swaddling

Today swaddling is regaining popularity because it does seem to work as a way to soothe very  young babies. The simplest explanation for why swaddling works is that babies are born with a jerk or startle reflex, the Moro reflex, where the baby’s arms jerk up. This can cause light sleepers to wake and start a round of crying. Instinctively we also are inclined to believe that the snugness replicates the womb and helps transition young babies into our big open world, which in itself must seem startling. Another benefit is associated with the risk of SIDS, where it is thought that babies that sleep on their back have less chance of suffering SIDS; a swaddled baby cannot roll and so parents can see this as a safety device.

And arguments against

Swaddle200pxThere are arguments against swaddling: done too tight and it might cause hip dysplasia; done too well or with the wrong fabric and the baby might overheat; done too loose and the blanket might cover the baby’s face and cause suffocation. There those that argue that it delays development. We believe that, when done properly, the benefits outweigh the risks, and generally babies will outgrow swaddling quite soon, and it certainly should not be applied after the baby starts to roll on its own accord (usually about three to four months).

Ready-made swaddling clothes

For the reasons above, commercially available ‘swaddling’ clothes are popular. Some are specially shaped blankets with velcro, others have little ‘bat wings’ for hold baby’s arms secure but without being too restrictive. Of course the fabrics are specially chosen to prevent overheating, and zippers mean that you don’t need to worry about the fabric covering the baby’s face or being too tight. Annerley stocks the Love To Swaddle range which you can buy either at the Annerley store online or at the centre.

Comments Off

Saga and sheep

Dirty and happy

Posted on 02 April 2013 by Annerley

I think I have blogged about this so many times.  This is because it is very close to my heart and I don´t feel that I see enough of it.

Dirty

Dirty

Kids getting dirty and wet.  I think perhaps we do need to educate our helpers a little better also, they often seem to think that if a child gets wet (i.e. in the rain), there is a big risk that they will get sick also.  So kids are often kept away from the rain and instead of jumping around where water is collected, playing in the mud etc, they are taken inside.

 

The truth is that the sensory systems benefit endlessly from different types of stimulants, including things like the rain, wind and different sorts of materials.  So instead of always having to create it, pay for it, make it happen – why not just use what is right there in front of our eyes these days, – rain and mud.

I hope you all had a good Easter weekend and must admit that I am looking forward to summer coming now.   Best regards from dirty and wet land.

Comments Off