How Soon can I expect my Periods to Return after the Birth of my Baby?

How Soon can I expect my Periods to Return after the Birth of my Baby?

How soon menstruation occurs depends largely on whether a mother is breast or bottle-feeding. The bottle feeding mother can expect a period as early as one month from delivery or as late as three – possibly four months. Normally, the periods then continue to occur as before. However, it’s important to remember that ovulation normally precedes a period, and in this event fertility has resumed and pregnancy is again possible. The mother who is totally breast feeding with not more than four hours between feeds is not likely to ovulate and periods may not return for several months, possibly a year or more. However, any change in the feeding habit, such as baby sleeping longer e.g. through the night, use of a soother (pacifier), introduction of formula feeds or solids, illness of mother or baby may bring about a change and push towards returning ovulation. The signs of ovulation are: a reduction in milk supply, baby fretfulness; breast milk becomes slightly more salty at ovulation time and dissatisfies baby. This can alert the mother to look for more accurate signs of the return of fertility. For Example: A change in the vaginal area suggests ovarian activity and returning fertility; (1) a return of mucous following a period of dryness or (2) any change in the type of mucous already present since the normal post natal bleeding (lochia) ceased. Some women may also experience slight abdominal pain, backache or / and spotting/bleeding at ovulation time. The arrival of a period 2- 3 weeks later confirms...
Nancy gives advice in an Irish Times piece for prospective parents

Nancy gives advice in an Irish Times piece for prospective parents

Parents-to-be need to ensure they are in good shape by Jill Nesbitt 28-07-2015 Preconception care is where it’s at today for men and women wanting to have a healthy baby. What’s more, the nutritional status of a mother can have lifelong adverse effects on her baby that may not emerge until decades later. Surprisingly, many pregnant women are found to have inadequate levels of certain nutrients such as vitamin D, iron, folate and calcium. Men too need to do their bit to improve sperm quality by achieving a normal BMI and giving up smoking. Poor folate status in either men or women can affect gene regulatory properties and the way sperm behave. Alcohol “destroys folate status”, according to Dr Daniel McCartney, lecturer in human nutrition and dietetics at Dublin Institute of Technology and a spokesman for the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute (INDI). Neural tube defects (NTDs), which had been in decline, now appear to be rising again. In March, a study showed that while 96 per cent of women reported that they took folic acid after becoming pregnant, only 25 per cent had taken it for the recommended three months before conception, the length of time needed to achieve the necessary level in the body. The risk of NTDs is greater in obese women, who need a greater amount of folic acid, yet fewer than 6 per cent were taking the higher dose (on prescription) as recommended. Dr Michael Turner, director of the UCD centre for human reproduction and professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital, adds that other maternal risk factors that...
Smoking and Pregnancy

Smoking and Pregnancy

Studies conducted world-wide over the past 25 years confirm that cigarette smoking has a marked effect on the outcome of pregnancy for mothers and babies. These findings were consistent, even after allowing for a range of biological, behavioural, socio-economic and psychological factors as well as the influence of alcohol, caffeine, stress and maternal nutrition. The association between maternal smoking, low birth weight babies, infant death and ill-health are well established, as are the risks to the mother’s own health. Even mothers exposed to passive smoking delivered lighter babies. However, this data demonstrates that smoking in pregnancy presents more serious implications than just a small baby. The overall view obtained from the research shows a significantly increased risk of the following: • Raised blood pressure • Miscarriage • Premature delivery • Premature rupture of membranes • Stillbirth • Neonatal death (death in the first month) • Perinatal mortality (death in the first year) • Perinatal morbidity (impaired health and development throughout childhood) • Underweight and underdeveloped baby at birth Some mid- to long-term effects of smoking include bronchitis and respiratory illnesses as well as ear, nose and throat infections. If breastfeeding, beware that nicotine can enter your milk. The research done on alcohol intake is less conclusive. Available evidence does not support absolute abstinence from alcohol in pregnancy, but recommends that consumption should be limited to a glass of wine once or twice a...
What tests are used to detect abnormalities in the baby?

What tests are used to detect abnormalities in the baby?

Foetal movements: It is normal practice for some obstetricians to ask mothers to record their baby’s movements or “kicks”. Once the baby has kicked ten times the mother can stop the count for that day. If less than ten kicks are noted, she should notify her doctor or hospital. Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) Test AFP is a protein normally made by baby and passed in small amounts into the mothers’ blood. A higher or lower than normal level indicates the baby may be at risk of Downs syndrome, anencephaly or spina bifida. Further screening such as, ultrasound or amniocentesis gives more accurate information. Triple Test This is a blood test for Downs syndrome which combines the AFP result with levels of other blood chemicals and can indicate how likely a suspected abnormality might be. Amniocentesis This test may be done, when there is a suspected foetal abnormality. An ultra sound scan is done first to check the position of baby. Following a local anaesthetic, a sample of amniotic fluid which surrounds baby is withdrawn and sent to the laboratory. This test also reveals the sex of the baby. If there is a family history of haemophilia or muscular dystrophy, a male infant can inherit the disease. Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) This test can show up a number of disorders in the baby. Carried out in early pregnancy, it poses a small risk of miscarriage. A CVS can indicate Downs syndrome, certain inherited diseases e.g. sickle cell anaemia or...
What are after-pains?

What are after-pains?

For some days following labour, intermittent pains or “contractions” of the womb are still to be felt giving rise to the so-called after-pains. These are more common following a second or subsequent birth as the multiparous womb (having had one or more babies) is less active due to a small space being left inside, which fills up with secretions from the healing afterbirth site. This stimulates the womb to contract in the attempt to expel the secretions and can cause quite severe pain and discomfort. Following a first birth, the walls of the womb come together more closely, virtually emptying the womb completely of all secretions, therefore contractions are less likely to occur. After-pains are also stimulated by breastfeeding, and though uncomfortable for some, this helps the womb to return to normal. Involution of the other generative organs – ovaries and fallopian tubes takes place a little more slowly than that of the womb. Mild painkillers as taken for a headache will alleviate the discomfort of after-pains. If breastfeeding, it’s best to check with your doctor before taking any medication as this can be transmitted to the...