Category Archives: Healthy Moms

From Careers to Infertility: When Is The Best Time To Start A Family

From Careers to Infertility: When Is The Best Time To Start A Family

A lot of tabloid ink is spilled discussing whether and when our favorite celebrity couples will have children. And our curiosity reflects the fact that these questions come up in more families now than ever before. If you’re like many women, you’ve started your career and you’re wondering when it might be best to have children. Can you leave the workforce for a couple of years and then jump back in at your current salary level? Welcome to the “mommy track,” where corporate life is still shifting to accommodate an increasing number of women who are having babies later in life.

Career concerns are valid, but it’s important for women to regard their fertility equally as seriously—and to know that behaviors they engage in even years before they’re ready to have a child can have significant impact on their future ability to conceive. For some women, this is a wake-up call.

Are you struggling to get pregnant?

If you’re 34 or younger and have spent 12 months trying to conceive, seek expert advice. If you’re 35 or older, seek help after six months. In either case, be sure to take your waking temperature each morning with a basal thermometer and keep a chart for each cycle, so that your care provider can help you identify any possible problems that could keep you from developing a normal pregnancy.

Threats to fertility

Did you know that in times of stress your body adapts by suppressing your fertility? Stress can cause problems with ovulation, diminish your sex drive, reduce blood flow to your reproductive organs, increase your blood pressure, and cause significant hormonal fluctuations. You don’t have to be in the middle of a meltdown for stress to impede your fertility. Mitigate its effects by using simple relaxation and stress-management techniques. Yoga is a proven stress buster. Exercise reduces our stress and bolsters us against future stressors. Deep breathing, listening to meditation tapes, and relaxing music can relieve stress. A warm bubble bath with candles and soft music can literally wash away stress. Find what relaxes your mind, slows your breathing, and puts you at ease—and use these tools on a regular basis.

Other risks to your fertility include polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, sexually transmitted infections, tubal disease, and age. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), caused by excess male hormones, is increasing in prevalence. Warning signs include weight gain (especially in your abdomen), irregular or absent periods, coarse or dark facial or body hair (hirsutism), and adult acne. PCOS raises your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes and requires assistance from your health care provider to bring your body into balance.

Millions of women today suffer with endometriosis, a condition that causes uterine tissue to grow outside of the uterus, often near the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, bowel, and other areas. Because this tissue responds to hormonal changes, it can cause pain, irritation, scarring, and infertility. Most health care providers use oral contraceptives to treat endometriosis. Surgery can remove the tissue, but it’s tenacious and can return. Endometriosis often causes painful cramping, heavy menstrual flow, diarrhea or painful bowel movements, and pain during intercourse.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can also negatively affect your fertility. STIs include chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV, genital warts, genital herpes, hepatitis B and C, trichomoniasis, scabies, and pubic lice. Using a condom during sex can help prevent STIs as well as unwanted pregnancies.

Tubal disease causes infertility in one in five women struggling to conceive. Tubal disease occurs when your fallopian tubes are affected by STIs, pelvic surgery, endometriosis, IUDs used for contraception, or two or more abortions, among other risk factors. The bottom line: Get annual gynecological exams to keep your reproductive organs healthy so you’re ready when the time is right.

Adopt healthy nutritional habits: Your diet should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and lean meats. Get at least 400 mcg of folic acid every day to help prevent birth defects, and take a daily multi- or prenatal vitamin. If you have to “eat on the fly,” bring along a meal replacement, a nutritional supplement drink, or a nutritional bar so that your diet doesn’t suffer.

Maintain a healthy body weight: Estrogen is stored in fat cells; being overweight creates an overabundance of estrogen, which then acts like birth control, preventing pregnancy. On the other hand, if you don’t have enough body fat, your body won’t produce enough estrogen and your monthly reproductive cycle can’t begin. Women who are underweight or who exercise to extremes stop having periods.

Exercise often: Exercise goes hand in hand with a healthy diet and pregnancy. But talk with your health care provider about exercises that can diminish fertility—almost anything to excess can affect your cycles, impeding your chances of conceiving.

Quit smoking: Smoking damages your ovaries and affects your body’s ability to make estrogen, an essential reproductive hormone. Smoking also increases the risks of genetic abnormalities that lead to birth defects, and it deprives the baby of oxygen.

About the Author: Jan DeMasters, PhD, RN, is CEO of DeMasters & Associates, a division of Total Health Concepts, LLC; she specializes in health and stress management consulting in St. Louis.

By Jan DeMasters, RN, PhD

Tips On Breastfeeding Your Preterm Infant

Tips On Breastfeeding Your Preterm Infant

If your baby is born early (before 37 completed weeks of gestation) and is small, you may find feeding a challenge. Your baby may be able to breastfeed or bottle-feed, or suckling and swallowing may be difficult. Your baby may be sleepy, even during a feeding. It is important that preterm babies experience steady weight gain.

Your participation in the feeding plan is important, and your care provider wants to help you with the feeding method of your choice. Here are the answers to some questions you might have:

1. Is breast milk beneficial for my baby?

Breast milk has the same benefits for your baby as any baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that breast milk is the best for all babies for the first year. Breast milk has the following special benefits for preterm babies:

    • Fewer infections


  • Specific substances (growth factors) in human milk help to mature the baby’s gut



  • Increased ability to use iron and zinc



  • Better development of areas of the baby’s brain



  • Better absorption of the milk



2. My baby is not ready to feed at the breast yet (not able to latch on). How often should I pump? Any specific pumping instructions?
    • As often as you would be breastfeeding: at least eight times in 24 hours, or approximately every three hours


  • Use a hospital-grade pump and double-pump if possible as they saves time



  • Label and freeze/refrigerate your milk so that when your baby is ready, it will be available



3. How will my baby be fed if he/she is not able to breastfeed?

There are several ways that your baby may be fed, including:

    • feeding of expressed breast milk by a tube put down the nose into the stomach


  • intravenous feedings of glucose or other solutions



  • alternating bottle-feeding/breastfeeding with tube feedings



Your baby may have developed his/her ability to latch on, suckle, and swallow. Or your baby may still have to grow and develop enough to do the “work” of feeding. Your nurse and other healthcare providers will work with you and your baby to ensure that feeding goes well, and that your baby receives the calorie intake he/she needs.

4. My baby gets tired easily and falls asleep at the breast? Is my baby getting enough?

If your baby feeds from only one breast, you can pump the other to ensure that you keep up your milk supply. Other things you might do in the hospital to ensure that your baby is getting enough include:

    • keeping track of the number of wet and dirty diapers that you change


  • feeding at least eight times in 24 hours



  • listening for swallowing with every one to three sucks at the breast



While you are in the hospital, your baby may be weighed before and after feedings to ensure that he/she is doing well.

5. When I go home, how do I make sure my baby is getting enough and growing?

After you go home, some steps you may take to make sure you are making enough milk and that your baby is feeding well include:

    • follow up with your health care provider within 24 to 48 hours to have your baby checked and weighed


  • keep track of feedings and diaper changes



  • use a breast pump to pump after feeds if the baby falls asleep



  • make sure you eat well, drink lots of fluids, and sleep when the baby sleeps



By AWHONN Editorial Staff

The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) promotes the health of women and newborns.


Baby Jogger Recalls Strollers Due to Fall Hazard

Baby Jogger Recalls Strollers Due to Fall Hazard

August 27, 2009 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Baby Jogger City Mini Strollers

Units: About 41,000

Distributor: Baby Jogger LLC, of Richmond, Va.

Hazard: The stroller’s restraint buckle could break or unlatch allowing the child or infant to fall out.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description: This recall involves Baby Jogger City Mini single and double strollers. “City Mini” is printed on the stroller. Item numbers and date codes included in this recall are listed in the chart below along with stroller colors. The item number is printed on a sticker on the rear wheel crossbar. The manufacturing date code is engraved on the frame behind the rear wheel axle crossbar or on the back of the frame on the upright bar between the right rear wheel and the seat.

67100 Black
67102 Blue/Gray
67103 Red/Black
67104 Gray/Green
67105 Stone/Black
67109 Orange/Gray
67170 Black
67172 Blue/Gray
67173 Red/Black
67174 Gray/Green
67175 Stone/Black
67179 Orange/Gray

Manufacturing Date Codes: Nov.1, 2007 through Feb. 28, 2009

Sold at: Juvenile products stores, mass merchandisers, and department stores nationwide and on various Web sites including from November 2007 through July 2009 for between $220 and $400.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled strollers and contact Baby Jogger to receive a free replacement restraint buckle and installation instructions.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Baby Jogger at 877-506-2213 between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET, email the firm at {encode=”[email protected]” title=”[email protected]”}, or visit the firm’s Web site at

CPSC is still interested in receiving incident or injury reports that are either directly related to this product recall or involve a different hazard with the same product. Please tell us about it by visiting

By AWHONN Editorial Staff

The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) promotes the health of women and newborns.


Find Out Why Your Baby is Crying

Find Out Why Your Baby is Crying

Babies cry. Nature has designed your baby’s cry to be disturbing; to get your attention. Your baby is trying to communicate.

Babies cry for lots of reasons. They might be hungry or thirsty. Perhaps they’re uncomfortable, or having gas or other pain. Sometimes babies are lonely or just want to be held and loved. Other times a change in routine, a new experience or feeling tired is enough for a baby to start crying. When infants cry, it’s our challenge to figure out why and to soothe them.

When Babies Cry

Babies typically cry during different stages of sleep and wakefulness. If you can recognize the stage your baby is in, you can use this information to better soothe and communicate with her. Follow her cues when she’s crying during:

Quiet sleep: Your baby is very still except for an occasional startle or twitch. Breathing is smooth and regular. This is no time to disturb her.

Active sleep: She appears to be dreaming. Her eyelids may flutter, facial expressions may change, and she may make sucking sounds. She may move and her breathing is not as regular as in deep sleep. Again, watch but don’t disturb or soothe baby unless it seems to help calm her.

Drowsy: Baby is sleepy and she may be waking up or falling asleep. Watch for yawning, unfocused eyes, and droopy eyelids. Help her awaken or drift off to sleep to soothe her tears.

Quiet alert: Baby is awake, alert and relaxed; her eyes are open and bright. Her breathing is regular. She will look into your eyes, respond to your voice and may even mimic your expressions. This is a great time to encourage interaction and distract her from her crying!

Active alert: Her eyes are open, as in the quiet alert state, but she has bursts of movement involving her whole body. Her breathing is irregular and she may be fussy. This state often occurs before a feeding; this may be your cue she’s starting to get hungry.

Purple Crying

Sometimes young babies tend to cry without reason—and just because you can’t soothe them, it doesn’t mean you’re doing a bad job. Their crying is perfectly normal. All babies go through a period of increased inconsolable crying between ages 2 weeks and 2 months and continues for a couple of months; it’s called the Period of Purple Crying. Experts consider it a normal stage of development for every baby. Don’t be surprised if what typically calms or comforts baby doesn’t work. Ask your partner or relative for extra help if you need to take 5-10 minute breaks from baby’s crying during these episodes.

By Celeste R. Phillips , RN, MSN, EdD