There has been a big push from the government to get Pregnant woman vaccinated for COVID-19. So why has the advise changed? Pregnant women have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and their babies have a higher risk of being born prematurely. Vaccination is the best way to reduce these risks.
"Pregnant women were not included in the first clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines, so at the time of initial guidance there was limited evidence confirming the safety of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy. The initial advice from immunisation expert groups was therefore cautious, and COVID-19 vaccines were not routinely recommended in pregnancy. Over time, ‘real-world’ evidence from other countries has accumulated and reports show that COVID-19 vaccines, such as Comirnaty, are safe to use in pregnant women. Emerging research also demonstrates that pregnant women have a similar immune response to mRNA vaccines compared to non-pregnant women, and are therefore likely to have similar protection against COVID-19. Furthermore, research shows that the antibodies produced by vaccination cross the placenta and may provide some protection to newborn babies." (health.gov.au). Pregnant woman especially in at risk groups like over 35, health conditions, from indigenous decent etc should know the risks are even greater for them.
Here are the facts of Pregnant woman Vs Non pregnant woman:
- They have about 5 times higher risk of needing admission to hospital.
- They are about 2-3 times higher chance of needing admission to an intensive care unit
- About 3 times higher need of needing invasive ventilation (breathing life support)
COVID-19 during pregnancy also increases the risk of complications for the newborn, including:
- A slightly increased risk (about 1.5 times higher) of being born prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) or at a higher risk of stillbirth
- An increased risk (about 3 times higher) of needing admission to a hospital newborn care unit.
We all know that the information and advice surrounding COVID-19 keeps changing and what is said today may be different tomorrow, though for now it seems like the evidence supports Mums to be getting vaccinated to protect themselves and their unborn baby- so 'Roll Up your Sleeve'! The earlier the better and also the research shows that it does not affect fertility.
CBS News released this article on the 18th August 2021.
Why all of a sudden do you feel like it is 3 x harder to walk up a hill or a stairwell, or why has your iron levels dropped?
Blood volume increases significantly within the first few weeks of gestation and increases progressively throughout the pregnancy. The total blood volume increase varies from 20% to 100% above pre-pregnancy levels, usually close to 45% of average woman.
"A healthy woman bearing a normal sized foetus, with an average birth weight of about 3.3 kg, will increase her plasma volume by an average of about 1250 ml, a little under 50% of the average non-pregnant volume for white European women of about 2600 ml. There is little increase during the first trimester, followed by a progressive rise to a maximum at about 34-36 weeks, after which little or no further increase occurs." (National Library of Medicine) A non-pregnant woman has about 100ml of blood per minute flowing through the uterine artery, but in early pregnancy this increases to about 120 ml per minute. Once a woman is close to her due date, the blood flow has increased to about 350 ml per minute.
Interestingly enough the research shows that physically active women possess significantly greater vascular volumes than their sedentary counterparts.
WHY DO WE GET AN INCREASE
Pregnancy requires dramatic changes in blood flow, the most obvious being that which occurs in the uterus and the development of the placenta to make a baby grow.
WHAT OTHER THINGS HAPPEN AS A RESULT OF THIS INCREASE?
- Blood flow to the skin increases, making a newly pregnant woman feel warmer and perhaps sweat more, particularly from her hands and feet.
The increase boosts the body metabolism by about 20%, creating more body heat and making pregnant women less likely to feel the cold the body temperature will often rise to about 37.8 C degrees. (Normally 37)
SUMMER for many is their favourite season of the year...until they get PREGNANT and then it becomes uncomfortable!!! There are a few things to take note of as you brave the heat this summer.
It's not just that it's hotter outside, but pregnant women are hotter too: In the first trimester, the progesterone hormone increases body temperature. Pregnant woman's body temperature is already higher than normal so add in scorching summer temperatures and if you are not careful dehydration or other medical problems could arise.
Dehydration is common in the summer months. Did you also know pregnant woman is more prone to sunburn than non-pregnant woman? Other not so nice side effects of the summer heat is swelling, chaffing,
Surviving the summer heat is necessary if you are pregnant and here are some tips:
1. Avoid direct sunlight.
Do outside activity early in the morning or after the sun sets.
2. Stay hydrated.
Water intake should about eight to 10 glasses per day and should be more if you are exercising. Drink low-sugar electrolyte fluids, especially if you’re going to spend time outside.
3. Dress for the heat.
Wear loose, breathable clothing and a hat to reduce sun exposure.
4. Spritz water often.
Carry a spray bottle with you and spritz yourself with water to cool down your body temperature.
5. Be smart about exercise.
Swimming is a terrific way to exercise and keep your body cool. Or stay inside and work out at the gym or walk laps at the mall.
6. Wear sunscreen.
Be sure to reapply after sweating or swimming. Choose a brand with at least SPF 30 and make sure your face is protected.
Newborn babies need extra care and attention when it becomes hot. Quite often they will want to breastfeed more reguarly, though become agitated due to the sweaty nature of skin to skin so might feed more less time.
The Australian Breastfeeding Association reports the following:
"Most parents worry at some stage that their fully-breastfed baby may not be getting enough to drink in hot weather and they ask if they should give boiled water or fruit juice 'just in case'. The answer in most cases is that extra fluids are not required if your baby is breastfed whenever he needs and this may be more often than usual - just as you are drinking more often.
Breastmilk contains a perfectly balanced ratio of food and water to meet all your baby's needs. It is a living fluid, ever-changing to suit your baby and even in response to the weather! The first milk your baby gets from a full breast has a low fat content and naturally quenches baby's thirst. Once the let-down has occurred, the fat content of the milk gradually increases as the breast softens. This later milk has a creamier appearance and satisfies baby's hunger.
In hot weather a thirsty baby may want to breastfeed more frequently but for shorter periods. In this way he is getting more low-fat milk and so is satisfying his thirst. If you need to be away from your baby, it is preferable that he has your expressed breastmilk (EBM).
An older baby or toddler who is no longer exclusively breastfed may be encouraged to drink water between breastfeeds. You can also offer extra 'snack' breastfeeds to keep him well hydrated. Another refreshing idea for toddlers is to freeze fruit pieces, such as orange quarters, peeled banana or slices of pineapple - cooling and fun, just be prepared for the very sticky mess!
- Some babies become sleepy travelling in hot weather. You may need to stop and wake your baby for feeds.
- The effect of car airconditioners can cause some dehydration - so extra breastfeeds may be necessary on long trips, even if you are cool.
- Prams that are enclosed are airless and can get very hot. An open-weave bassinette, cradle, layback stroller, baby hammock, cot or portable cot is probably cooler for your baby to sleep in."
As a result of Mum needing to feed more often and the heat making her dehydrated she needs to increase her water quantity. Signs of dehydration include irritability, headache, dry mouth, a feeling of thirst, and darker-than-usual urine. Prevent dehydration by carrying a refillable water bottle with you. It is suggested drinking a glass of water every time baby drinks. If water’s not really your thing, eat more high-water-content fruit, like watermelon, as well as frozen fruit and other fresh fruits and vegetables.
Outfits should also be loose, comfortable and made from a performance/breathable fabric. You may also want to carry a bamboo/cotton sheet to place between yourself and the baby during a feed. Our new cotton breastfeeding tshirt is a great idea as the zip allows for easy discrete access and there is material that remains between you and bub.
Stay vigilant and HYDRATED this Summer!
For some this is true: Don't drink the water you'll get pregnant! For a growing number the ability to fall pregnant is a long and ardious process with many roller coaster rides of emotions and pregnancy test kits. The angst felt by woman who see their friends/relatives/work mates fall pregnant within a drop of a hat is indescribable. They keep saying to themselves: 'When will it be my turn?'
Just because you haven't conceived doesn't mean you cant or wont be able to fall pregnant naturally- sure there are some medical reasons that might inhibit it but one thing is for certain you need to put your body in the best healthy state possible.
Did you know:
~Around four per cent of all children born in Australia are the result of IVF -- that's the equivalent one child in every average sized classroom.
~The success rates of IVF significantly drops from 35 per cent in patients under 30 years old to just eight per cent for women over 40 years of age.
~A quarter of Australian women undergoing IVF are over the age of 40.
This leaves many to ask how can I place my body in the best possible space to fall pregnant?
We have compiled some tips, foods and ideas to help you on your way:
- Healthy weight
Being overweight or underweight can affect your chances of conceiving. Too much or too little body fat can make you have irregular periods or stop them completely, which can affect your ability to conceive.
+Your weight is healthy if your body mass index is between 20 and 25.
+Women whose BMI is more than 30 or under 19 may have problems conceiving.
+If your partner's BMI is more than 30, his fertility is likely to be lower than normal.
Studies of the effects of exercise on fertility have found that vigorous exercise reduces the risk of ovulation problems and that moderate exercise decreases the risk of miscarriage and increases the chance of having a baby among women who undergo ART(Assisted Reproductive Technology.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a complex condition which is associated with infertility. Women with PCOS often have irregular or no periods because they rarely ovulate. For overweight and obese women with PCOS regular exercise can increase the frequency of ovulation which leads to more regular menstrual cycles. As ovulation becomes more frequent, the chance of conceiving increases. While studies show that exercise boosts female fertility it is important to note that a large amount of very high intensity exercise may actually reduce fertility and the chance of having a baby with ART. So, it’s a good idea to avoid very high intensity exercise while trying for a baby.3. Smoking and Drugs
There is also a link between smoking and poorer quality sperm, although the effect on male fertility isn't certain. But stopping smoking will improve your partner's general health.
There's no clear evidence of a link between caffeine, which is found in drinks such as coffee, tea and cola, and fertility problems. Though it is recommended to keep the caffeine at a lower level. There is also some prescription drugs and illicit substances that will interfere with the ability to fall pregnant.
+Following a low-carb diet may improve hormone levels associated with fertility, especially among women with PCOS.
+To boost fertility levels, avoid foods high in trans fats. Eat foods rich in healthy fats instead, such as extra virgin olive oil.
+Some studies suggest that eating more calories at breakfast and less at your evening meal can improve fertility.
+Taking an antioxidant supplement or eating antioxidant-rich foods can improve fertility rates, especially among men with infertility.
+Eating a diet high in refined carbs can raise insulin levels, which may increase the risk of infertility and make it harder to get pregnant.
+Eating more protein from vegetable sources, instead of animal sources, may improve fertility levels in women.
+Replacing low-fat dairy products with high-fat versions may help improve fertility and increase your chances of getting pregnant.
+Consuming iron supplements and non-heme iron from plant-based food sources may decrease the risk of ovulatory infertility.
The last piece of the puzzle that we are sharing is the impact that the stress or worry will have on conception. We know of several examples of woman who were so stressed/anxious/uptight about the whole process and when they gave up and stopped trying so hard- guess what they FELL PREGNANT!
As your stress levels increase, your chances of getting pregnant decrease. This is likely due to the hormonal changes that occur when you feel stressed. Having a stressful job and working long hours can also increase the time it takes you to become pregnant.
In fact, stress, anxiety and depression affect around 30% of women who attend fertility clinics.
Receiving support and counselling may reduce anxiety and depression levels, therefore increasing your chances of becoming pregnant.
Our next article on fertility is going to be on the small percent of woman who conceive fine in the first pregnancy and then struggle with their second (second infertility). This actually accounts for a whopping 50% of infertility cases.
The above information has been collated from a range of sources and research papers.
The sense of smell is very important. Did you know that this sense often gets affected due to depression? Many observe during pregnancy that their sense of smell heightens often making nausea worse so why is it that many suffer a loss of smell in the postanatal stage due to postnatal depression or other mental illness post baby?
"Personally, my husband did not believe me that my sense of smell had gotten so bad due to my postnatal depression and anxiety. Unfortunately now many smells go unnoticed or the degree of the smell needs to be greater in order to sense it..."
So here is why?
Depression, schizophrenia and seasonal affective disorder all suppress the sense of smell. The olfactory bulbs is the part of the brain that gives us our sense of smell. Researchers have found that the more severely depressed a person was, the smaller their olfactory bulb. Therefore this suggests that depression may cloud, but not damage, a person's sense of smell. The reduced brain response to odours found in depressed persons may be tied to problems in two closely connected parts of the brain that play an important role in processing emotional information and smell, known as the orbitofrontal cortex and amygdala.
The effects were present whether or not an individual was taking antidepressant drugs.
It has also been noted that once the depression has been successfully treated the sense of smell/response to smells returned back to their normal levels.
The world has gone into a panic over the Caronavirus- there is NO toilet paper on supermarket shelves, people are panic buying their staples and don’t even mention HAND SANTISER...
So should pregnant woman be worried?
Pregnant women tend to have more serious flu infections than people the same age who aren't pregnant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s because pregnancy changes the immune system somewhat and lung capacity decreases as a woman’s pregnancy progresses. Though this doesn’t mean that pregnant women will experience coronavirus more severely. There are just not enough studies on pregnant women and coronavirus for experts to say.
“There were some reports of women who are pregnant that have been published, but they're very small numbers,” Adalja said.
Basically what this means is that pregnant women are as at risk for coronavirus as any one else whose immune system is currently compromised and should take precautions as such.
While this might sound worrisome, the experts recommend that pregnant women follow the same smart behaviors that everyone should practice.
“This is a virus that doesn’t have a vaccine or any kind of treatment so the best protection is really just common sense hygiene that you would use during flu season anyway,” Adalja said.
Wash your hands, avoid sick people
This means frequent and proper hand washing. Pregnant women (and all people) should use soap and warm water and rub their hands — including their palms, wrists and between fingers — together vigorously for 20 seconds or about the length of “Happy Birthday.”
“Wash your hands, avoid sick individuals, if you are sick cover your cough,” Adalja said.
While influenza is a different virus than coronavirus, pregnant women should get a flu shot if they have not already received one. It will protect them from getting the flu, which can be more serious in pregnant women. And, fewer flu infections means that doctors can focus their resources and energy on helping patients with coronavirus.
“The more people that are vaccinated against influenza, the less of a burden we're going to have in our hospitals,” Adalja said. “We need to have room to take care of patients that may have the novel coronavirus.”
Do you need a mask if you're pregnant? Nope
Pregnant women do not need to buy masks to protect themselves. Only N95 respirators are effective and a mask prevents you from spreading coronavirus.
"If you put a mask on if you’re sick, that prevents you from spreading the germs to other people,” Dan McGee a pediatric specialist at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, told TODAY Parents. “But to go out in public wearing a mask, especially the flimsy lightweight surgical mask you see people wearing, it's not going to prevent the virus from coming in contact with you.”
There is still little known about the virus and how it effects each age and individual.
So the news is a mask isn’t going to protect you- increasing your personal hygiene standards will!
Info from TODAY and Pop sugar news site