Category Archives: My well-being

Allergies during your pregnancy

Some women already suffer from seasonal allergies which may increase or decrease in intensity during their pregnancy. For others, it may come as a shock to be affected by the all-too-common allergies for the first time. According to the World Allergy Organization Journal (2017) a fifth of pregnant women is affected by allergies. In the US alone, 18–30% of women in the childbearing age experience allergies to some degree.

Some common symptoms include: nasal congestion, itchy nose, constant sneezing, watery eyes and red, itchy or swelling skin. It’s important to do an allergy diagnosis and management during your pregnancy to ensure you and your baby’s wellbeing.

As for its diagnosis, an in vitro allergy test is most optimal during pregnancy. Try to take a rain check on any skin testing or provocation test until after your baby’s born.  Regarding its management, prevention and caution will always be the best. Firstly, identify what is triggering your allergies and try to avoid completely or minimize your exposure to them.

Always check with your doctor before going to your local over-the-counter remedies. As for home remedies the Mayo Clinic suggests the following:
• Rinse your nasal passages. Dissolve ¼ teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water. Mix well, then place it in a Neti pot, bottle or syringe (go to your local pharmacy). Over a sink, place the syringe in your upper nostril while holding the other nostril shut and squeeze. The solution will then flow through your nasal passage and into your mouth, spit it right out, blow your nose and repeat with the other nostril. This works because it increases the speed and coordination of the tiny hair-like structures inside your nose that help push your mucus and remove allergens and irritants.
• Breathing hot steam from the shower or from a humidifier can be a huge help. Watch out for the bacteria that can build up in your humidifier though!
• Massage your sinuses to relieve some of your congestion.

Whatever may be your degree of allergy, before resorting to self-medication, check with your doctor first and together come up with a management plan that’s well suited both for you and your baby.

Traveling safely

Your body is, at least for these nine months, not just your body anymore. You’re carrying your little one and because of that you are now in charge of his safety. There are a few guidelines and tips you can follow to ensure you’re up to speed on traveling safety and can keep crossing things off your bucket list!

During the first trimester, you’ll probably feel discouraged to travel either by car or by plane since this time is when your energy levels are especially low (your body working day and night developing the placenta), your morning sickness and nausea are peaking, and you’re just getting the hang of all the changes (physical and hormonal) that inevitably come with pregnancy. Most women feel better and are more motivated to travel during their second trimester. It’s been said that it’s the “safest” time to travel given that you have a bit more energy, the risk of a miscarriage is lower and you’ve still got a long way to go before labor. If you can, try to limit or skip altogether any travel plans during your third trimester. With your belly a lot bigger, fatigue coming on and labor drawing closer, you’ll probably want to stay home.

What can you do to ensure easy breezy travels?
• Avoid certain destinations altogether.
o Hot and humid climate generally don’t go well together with pregnancy. Be sure to check the weather of wherever you’re planning to go.
o Destinations with high altitude can make it a little harder to breathe (if it’s hard for you, imagine what your baby’s going through).
o Destinations that require long walks or standing for extended periods of time. Remember, your energy levels are different now that you’re carrying a little person inside you.
• Check with your doctor, but general recommendations (from airlines, doctors and insurance companies) suggest you take a rain check on any airplane travels after week 36.
• If you’re in the clear and are getting on an airplane, be sure to choose your seat (aisle tends to be your ally for those constant pee breaks), take walks up and down the aisle to help with your circulation, drink lots of fluids and wear loose and comfortable clothing.
• Take copies of your doctor’s letter regarding your due date and clearance for travel and any medical records that may be relevant for your pregnancy.
• Think ahead and research the contact information of health care facilities that could treat you in case of an emergency during your trip.

The golden rule in this case is to always check with your doctor before going on any trip (long ones even more so). Last but not least, safe travels!

Working during your pregnancy

For all you working moms out there, life may hand you quite a few challenges in your workplace during your pregnancy. However, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to continue being productive day after day. There are a few tips you can follow to ensure you’re able to tackle whatever your boss (or mother nature) throws at you.

You’re nauseated
This is more common during the first trimester and knowing it’s a possibility enhances your need to know on how to deal with it in the workplace.  You’ve probably identified the few triggers that cause your nausea, steer 100% clear of them on your workdays. If you’re still working on identifying them, a journal or simple note on your phone can help you keep track of anything and everything you smell and taste right before you begin feeling nauseated. This practice will help you narrow down whatever’s triggering those sensations. Snacking can also help you deal with your nausea. It’s proven that nausea can be way worse when you’re running on empty. Stale or ginger crackers can be perfect in making you feel better, be sure to keep some in your desk. And just in case, know the quickest route to the bathroom at all times.

You’re tired
You’ll need to make some changes to your sleeping patterns. Add a short nap during the day (we know it’s easier said than done). Respect your schedule and your sleeping hours avoiding late-night get-togethers on weekdays and don’t skip on your exercise! Although it may be hard at times, in the long run it will help you sleep better, feel less anxiety and stress and keep you in a good mood!

You’re in pain
Lower back pain can be all too common on the job. If you’re sitting down for most of the day opt for a small cushion for support or try to place your feet on a footrest, box or whatever you have at hand. You can alternate between your left and right foot, then try both at the same time. Getting up and walking around (in comfortable shoes) can also be a quick fix for sore muscles and pain. If you’re job involves standing for long periods of time, follow the same instructions with the footrest, take all necessary breaks and opt for wide-heeled shoes over high-heels/flats.

On behalf of all of us here at Kinedu we want to congratulate all the hard-working moms out there! Keep up the good work! Here’s a quote to ease you through the Monday grind: “I think every working mom probably feels the same thing: you go through big chunks of time where you’re thinking, ‘this is impossible, this is impossible’, and then you just keep going, keep going, and you sort of do the impossible” – Tina Fey.

Zika virus and your pregnancy

Zika’s a mosquito-borne virus that, with good reason, has gained a lot of traction in the media in the last few years. Pregnant women should be extra careful as it’s been proven that the Zika virus can cause birth defects, such as microcephaly, in their babies. Microcephaly’s a birth defect in which a baby’s head and brain are smaller. As such, the brain may not be fully developed. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that even if a baby doesn’t show signs of microcephaly at birth, she is at risk for developing it later on.

The first big outbreaks of the Zika virus remounts to May 2015 in Brazil. Since that time, it’s reached South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, Africa and the US. What’s dangerous about the Zika virus is that most people don’t actually show symptoms right-away. Some of the symptoms listed include a rash, fever, joint-pain, pinkeye, muscle-pain, headache and vomiting.

First of all, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid traveling to places where the virus is most present. If you live there, below are a few security measures you can follow to ensure your and your baby’s safety:
• Using an insect repellent containing DEET. As the Mayo Clinic states, the benefits of potentially avoiding this disease clearly outweigh the risks of whatever small amount of DEET reaches your bloodstream.
• Avoid leaving your house during “peak” mosquito hours (dawn to dusk).
• If you’re going to be outdoors for a while, wear long sleeves, pants and socks (better safe than sorry).
• Sleep in screened-in rooms, with closed windows and/or air-conditioning.
Right now, there’s still no cure for the Zika virus. Be on the lookout for any of the symptoms described above, and if at any time you suspect you may be infected reach out to your doctor immediately to stay on the safe side of your pregnancy and baby’s development.

There will always be factors that we can’t control and which may be a risk. The important thing during your pregnancy is to be aware and cautious and always look after your baby’s safety and well-being. You can reach out to your doctor if you’re worried about this virus and need more information on how to avoid exposure.

Sleeping for two

It’s quite common to experience changes or disturbances in your sleeping patterns during your pregnancy. According to the National Sleep Foundation (2007), 79% of pregnant women experience some sort of sleeping disorder. There are so many changes happening in your body, physical and hormonal, that they ultimately end up taking their toll on your precious beauty sleep.  Lack of sleep can cause drowsiness during the day, irritability, fatigue and higher levels of anxiety throughout your pregnancy. Your many bathroom breaks in the middle of the night as well as finding a proper position with your ever-growing belly are some of the main players behind your sleep deprivation.

But worry no more, there are several “home remedies” you can apply to your bedtime routine to ensure you get the most out of your resting hours.
• Finding the right posture. Finding exactly what works for you may take some time but in the end it’s all worth it. Try placing a pillow between your legs, that should make sleeping on your side easier. You can also give it a go with different-sized pillows as they may help elevate your upper body (helping you breathe easier) or your knees (relieving back pain). If you feel you have a lot of pain or sore muscles, you may need to invest in a mattress pad for further support and pressure.
• Relaxation exercises. It’s sometimes imperative for you to learn to calm your mind and with it your muscles in order to get a good night’s sleep. Try stretching for a bit before bed or focusing your attention to your breathing for a few minutes. A warm bath or a massage can also do the trick! Although it’s easier said than done, leave the worries and hassles for the morning. If you feel you’re having trouble finding time to relax, head over to our relaxation section on the catalog for more tips and specific techniques.
• Exercise. It’s been shown that during pregnancy, exercising has many benefits, deep sleep included. Try to fit a 30 minute workout every now and again (not before bed) and you should be able to sleep better.
• Get up and move. If you wake up in the middle of the night, it’s better to get up and try to do something that may bore you (organize your pantry for example) rather than to lie in bed counting down the minutes left until you have to get up. That should tire you and allow you to fall right back to sleep once you hit the sack.
• Sex and sleep only. Condition your body to learn that the bed is exclusive for sex and sleep, if you let your body believe you can work or do household chores from bed, it’ll be harder to fall asleep once you finally decide to.
• No lights please. It’s important you keep your bedroom dark. If you have any electronics with bright lights (internet router, smartphone, etc.) you can put a cloth over them. Try it even for one day and you’ll feel a huge difference. Artificial light interferes more with our sleep than we think.

Sleeping is and always will be an important matter since it ensures you feel energized, happy and willing to take on whatever the day throws at you. If you’re still having trouble sleeping, you should contact your doctor and get further guidance into what you can do to remedy this.

Toxoplasmosis, causes and prevention

The parasite toxoplasma gondii is responsible for toxoplasmosis, an infection that can penetrate the placenta, be transmitted to your baby, and therefore be dangerous during pregnancy. During the third trimester, this infection tends to be risky, as it’s when the baby has the greatest risk of becoming infected. So take precaution in order to prevent it, and take care of your baby’s health.

How does toxoplasmosis get transmitted?

Toxoplasmosis can be transmitted through infected, raw or poorly cooked meat, contaminated veggies, fruits, and water, or by touching your face after being in contact with contaminated soil or cat litter. Not everyone who becomes infected shows symptoms, however, you could notice some flu-like symptoms. If you suspect an infection make sure to visit your doctor.

What do I do if there’s a cat at home?

• Try to avoid direct contact with your cat’s litter box. Ask someone else to clean it up for you, it’s ideal if you don’t tamper with it while you’re pregnant
• Feed your cat well-cooked food and never give your cat undercooked meats
• Always wash your hands after being near your cat
• Don’t let your cat out where it can catch an infected prey

Safety recommendations that prevent infections:

• Wash your cooking utensils with hot water before preparing any dish
• Wash all of your fruits and veggies before cooking or eating them
• Wash your hands often, and wear gloves if you need to work in the garden
• Avoid touching your face, especially when cooking

Although the infection rate is very low, it’s best to be safe than sorry.

Labor is approaching, know the signs

Your body will begin to prepare for birth a few weeks before delivery. Even though it’s impossible to know the exact moment ahead of time (your doctor can only estimate dates), there are some signs that could help you figure out when you are going into labor. Sometimes these symptoms, though, can be present and just be a false alarm.

Here’s a list of some symptoms previous to delivery:

• Rising Braxton Hicks contractions. They could feel like period cramps and can range from mild to very painful. If they don’t increase in frequency and intensity, it could mean that you still have a few days or weeks before giving birth
• Your baby positions itself place near your pelvis. You could feel your baby position {him/herself} in your pelvis. This will help you breathe and it means your body and your baby are preparing for birth
• Dilation. Your cervix should dilate up to 10 cm in order to allow your baby’s passing through the birth canal
• Mucus discharge. You might begin noticing a thick and blood tinted discharge when the date is approaching or after having sex
• Your water breaks. The amniotic liquid leaks right before delivery, and it could come with contractions if they haven’t already started. If you notice your water breaking, go to your doctor or midwife immediately.

Sometimes these symptoms could start days before delivery or they could be a false alarm. However, you must be prepared if these symptoms show up since it could mean that your baby is on {his/her} way.

Vaginal candidiasis: causes and preventions

Vaginal candidiasis is an infection caused by the growth of the fungus Candida in your vaginal walls. Having a small amount of these Candida is completely natural. However, you can develop an infection if they multiply too much.

This infection is common during pregnancy, due to high levels of estrogen, and therefore a higher production of glycogen in the vagina (glycogen helps said fungus grow).

The most common symptoms of vaginal candidiasis are creamy vaginal discharge, burning sensation during urination, pain, redness, and itchiness around the vagina or the labia. If you experience any of these symptoms, go to your doctor to get screened. Talking to a professional before getting medication is really important since these symptoms could get mixed up with another kind of infections, such as sexually transmitted diseases.

This infection isn’t harmful to the baby. However, your baby could get it during birth. If {he/she} does, it can be treated seamlessly.

How can I prevent vaginal candidiasis?

• Avoid humidity in the genital area
• Wear cotton underwear
• Avoid wearing synthetic pants
• Try to sleep with no underwear on for better ventilation
• Wash your genitals with water and avoid vaginal douches

Sexually transmitted diseases during pregnancy

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are obtained through a virus of bacteria that is transmitted through anal, oral, or genital sex with an infected person. Some diseases such as Hepatitis B can also be transmitted through needles, razors, or contact with the infected person’s blood.

It’s important that you take special care during pregnancy to prevent STDs since some of them could pass through the placenta and infect your baby. Besides, STDs are dangerous and can cause preterm births, spontaneous abortions, or a urinary tract infection.

Here’s a list with some of the most common STDs:

• Chlamydia
• Hepatitis B
• Herpes
• Syphilis
• Gonorrhea
• HPV
• HIV/AIDS

Some STDs could show no symptoms at all, this is why you should go to your doctor as soon as possible if you suspect of a possible infection.

How can I steer clear from STDs?

It’s hard to avoid getting one if you or your partner have sex with other people or do intravenous drugs. You could use a condom to decrease the risks of getting them, but even so, you may get infected. This is why monogamous sexual relationships are the best way to reduce risks.

Urinary tract infection: risks during pregnancy

If not treated in time, a urinary infection could provoke an infection a bladder or kidney. Kidney infections, a type of urinary infection, could be harmful to your pregnancy and should, therefore, be timely detected and treated. Urine exams can detect these infections, so getting tested is very important during pregnancy.

These are some types of urinary infections:

• Bladder infection or cystitis, which is very common amongst young women who are sexually active
• Urinary tract infections are not serious if treated in time. Some symptoms might include a burning feeling when you urinate, pain or pressure in your back or lower abdomen, and cloudy or strange-smelling urine. Even if not commonly risky, Urinary tract infections can develop to Kidney infections, and then pose a higher threat to pregnant women, so, if you feel fever or chills, check with your doctor since it might be a sign of a Kidney infection.
• Kidney infection, not common during pregnancy. This infection could be serious since it raises the risk of a premature or low birth weight baby. Infection could also spread to the mother’s blood stream and take a toll on her health.

Urinary infections have similar symptoms: the constant need to pee, pain when having sex, burning sensation when peeing, and pain in the lower abdomen. These symptoms differ from the characteristic kidney infections, which are as follows: vomiting, nausea, lower back pain and high fever. If you present any of the above symptoms make sure to call your doctor.