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Archive for October, 2009

Pregnancy Blues

Are you afraid to say anything about how you’re really feeling because you think you’re going to sound like a bad person or mother?  Don’t be silly!   We’ve all been there, we’ve all had a thought that made us think… it’s ok!   TALK!

Mood swings, anxiety and even depression are very common in pregnancy.  Not only are you dealing with your feelings about becoming a parent, but hormonal changes are affecting your body. It’s normal to feel heightened emotions, both good and bad, as you go through your pregnancy.
 
Many moms-to-be find that moodiness flares up around 6 weeks, eases up in the second trimester, and then reappears as they get closer to giving birth. Here are a few ideas on how to nurture yourself when you’re struggling with your emotions:

How can I manage my mood swings?

Try to remind yourself that emotional upheaval is normal right now. That said, making a conscious effort to nurture yourself can help keep you on an even keel during turbulent times.

•  Take it easy. Resist the urge to pack in as many chores as you can before the baby comes. You may think you need to stencil bunnies on the nursery walls, reorganize all the closets, or put in serious overtime before going on maternity leave, but you don’t. Pencil yourself in at the top of your to-do list. Pampering yourself is an essential part of taking care of your baby.

•  Bond with your partner. Clueing your partner in about how you’re feeling and reassuring him that you still love him will help him avoid taking your outbursts personally. Make sure you’re spending plenty of time together and nurturing your relationship. Go on a vacation if you can. Strengthen your connection now so you can really be there for one another after the baby comes. If you’re single, do something to nurture your relationship with your friends and family. It’ll provide vital support for you now — and after your baby’s born, too.

•  Do something that makes you feel good. This might mean carving out some special time for you and your partner. Or it might mean taking time alone to do something just for you: Curl up for a nap, go for a walk, get a prenatal massage, or see a movie with a friend.

•  Talk it out. Air your worries about the future with understanding friends. Just putting your concerns into words often helps dissipate them or gives you insight into solutions. Keep the lines of communication between you and your partner free and clear, too. Make it a two-way street. In addition to pouring out your feelings, let him express his own.

•  Manage your stress. Rather than let frustration build up in your life, find ways to decompress. Get plenty of sleep, eat well, exercise, and have some fun. Identify sources of stress in your life and change what you can, such as trimming your “to-do” list. If you still find anxiety creeping in, try taking a pregnancy yoga class, practicing meditation or other relaxation techniques, or consulting a professional counsellor.

 If you’re having trouble managing your anxiety or are worried that you may be suffering from depression, you are not alone.   At least one in ten pregnant women struggles with bouts of depression.
 
Depression is often undiagnosed because its symptoms are attributed to “normal” pregnancy moodiness that many women feel. But depression is different, and it’s important to let your doctor or midwife know if you’re experiencing these common symptoms of depression:

What are the symptoms of depression?

Some of the symptoms below, such as fatigue or trouble sleeping, are common among healthy women during pregnancy. But when they’re combined with a sense of sadness or hopelessness or they interfere with your ability to function, depression is probably at least partly to blame.

If you feel unable to handle your daily responsibilities or are having thoughts of harming yourself, call your doctor or midwife immediately for a referral to a counsellor. Seeing a therapist or psychiatrist isn’t an indication of weakness. On the contrary, it shows that you’re willing to take the steps necessary to keep your baby and yourself safe and healthy.

If you’ve experienced three or more of the following symptoms for more than two weeks, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you should see a therapist:

•  A sense that nothing feels enjoyable or fun anymore
•  Feeling blue, sad, or “empty” for most of the day, every day
•  It’s harder to concentrate
•  Extreme irritability or agitation or excessive crying
•  Trouble sleeping or sleeping all the time
•  Extreme or never-ending fatigue
•  A desire to eat all the time or not wanting to eat at all
•  Inappropriate guilt or feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
 
Don’t feel shy about letting someone know if you’re feeling low. Your emotional health is just as important as your physical health, and getting treated for depression during pregnancy will reduce your risk of developing postpartum depression (PPD) after your baby’s born.

~ Meagan

*all of this information was sourced from www.babycenter.com

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Have you ever done a self breast exam?  Even though there is no history of breast cancer in our family I took it upon myself to learn when I was young woman.   Often I’ll do a quick exam in the shower.   I remember doing my first exam and being certain I had cancer and rushed to my doctor’s office.   My family doctor, who is also a friend, laughed and explained I didn’t have cancer just larger lymph nodes.   Thankfully, I now know my breasts and what they feel like.  

 

After the birth of our daughter I got a nasty case of mastitis (an infection caused from a clogged duct); because my duct was clogged it created a very large lump.   So postpartum thoughts slipped into my head that of course I now had cancer and was going to die and leave our daughter…. Yeah that wasn’t the case either.   Thankfully I’ve had wonderful doctors who can tell me like it is without scaring me or being rude!   My OB laughed, rolled her eyes and said, “Yes that’s it, you have cancer!”   You know that’s exactly what I needed to hear and needed a good giggle.   Again, because I know my breasts, I was able to rationalize that she was right and I was just being silly!   But you can never be too safe right?

 

This will help you to detect any changes or lumps if they occur and bring them to the attention of your doctor.  It is important to know what “normal” is, because that will help you detect any changes or lumps if they occur. Most of the time these changes are nothing to worry about, but they should be checked out by a doctor to determine whether they warrant further testing. If so, it’s likely you’ll be found to have a cyst or a benign tumor rather than cancer. But if the changes are found to be cancerous, you’ll have more treatment choices and a better chance of recovery the earlier they’re discovered. So examine your breasts every month (in addition to, not instead of, your regular mammogram), and see your health care provider if you find any changes.

Early Detection

No one knows exactly what causes breast cancer, and it is difficult to predict who will get it. Your best line of defence is to follow screening guidelines for early detection as recommended by the American Cancer Society:

  • Age 20-39
    Monthly breast self-exam, clinical breast exam every three years
  • Age 40-49
    Monthly breast self-exam, annual clinical breast exam, mammography every 1-2 years, baseline mammogram by age 40
  • Age 50+
    Monthly breast self-exam, annual clinical breast exam, annual mammography

Breast Self-Exam Instructions

Breast self-exam can seem intimidating at first, but each time you examine your breasts you will become more familiar and comfortable with your breast tissue. As you get to know what your breasts normally look and feels like, you’ll be able to notice any changes that may occur. It is normal for breasts to feel lumpy — by identifying your own natural “lumps,” you’ll be able to tell if something is different.

 

Take note of the size and shape of each of your breasts, and the position of each nipple. It is normal for one breast to be larger than another. Experts suggest checking about one week after your period. You may want to check with your doctor for the best way to perform the exam.

  1. Lie down with a pillow under your right shoulder and place your right arm behind your head.
  2. Use the finger pads of the three middle fingers on your left hand to feel for lumps in the right breast.
  3. Press firmly enough to know how your breast feels. A firm ridge in the lower curve of each breast is normal. If you’re not sure how hard to press, talk with your doctor or nurse.
  4. Move around the breast in a circular, up and down line, or wedge pattern. Be sure to do it the same way every time, check the entire breast area, and remember how your breast feels from month to month.
  5. Repeat the exam on your left breast, using the finger pads of the right hand. (Move the pillow to under your left shoulder.)
  6. If you find any changes, see your doctor right away.
  7. Repeat the examination of both breasts while standing, with your one arm behind your head. The upright position makes it easier to check the upper and outer part of the breasts (toward your armpit). This is where about half of breast cancers are found. You may want to do the standing part while you are in the shower. Some breast changes can be felt more easily when your skin is wet and soapy.

 Breast self exam patterns

For added safety, you can check your breasts for any dimpling of the skin, changes in the nipple, redness, or swelling while standing in front of a mirror right after your breast self exam each month.

 

If you find any lumps, thickenings, or changes, tell your doctor right away. Most breast lumps are not cancerous, but you won’t know if you don’t ask. When tumours are detected in the very earliest stages, the survival rate can approach 100 percent.

Special Tips for Women with Implants.

If you have breast implants, you should perform breast self-examination monthly on your implanted breast. In order to do this effectively, you should ask your surgeon to help you distinguish the implant from your breast tissue.

 

Press firmly inward at the edges of the breast implants to feel the ribs beneath, checking for any lumps or bumps. However, if you have a saline filled breast implant be careful not to manipulate (i.e., squeeze) the valve on the implant excessively, which may cause valve leakage and make the breast implant deflate. Any new lumps or suspicious lesions (sores) should be evaluated with a biopsy. If a biopsy is performed, care must be taken to avoid puncturing the implant.

Take the time to know your body, you’ll be thankful you did!

~ Meagan 

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello everyone!

I hope you are enjoying your holiday and are spending it with your family or families!

We have a houseful this year! We have my parents, the in-laws, my family; my husband and daughter, and my sisters family; her husband and three children. Saddly we are missing my brother this year, he stayed in Calgary and we made the trip out to BC for the visit.

We are thankful all year round for our family and the support they give us, but it’s nice to get together for a large Sunday supper and enjoy a little family time.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!

~ Meagan

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Canadian Women’s Health Network is promoting breastfeeding this week and encouraging everyone out there to breastfeed.  I thought I would share some facts from them with you all. 

I am definitely an advocate for breastfeeding and think it’s very important to try and hopefully you and your baby succeed at it.   Would I think any less of you if you didn’t breastfeed?   Never!   It’s not natural for everyone and not everyone is comfortable with it.   There are definite pros to breastfeeding and I’ll provide a link at the bottom of this post with tons of information for you to read, but it’s a learning experience and not everyone can succeed.   It does not make any one of us less a loving mother to our baby.

Heck, I struggled and struggled with our daughter but I didn’t give up. I kept at it and we breastfed for six months.   At six months ­she decided she didn’t want to nurse any more.   I had a bit of a hard time with it, but you know, it’s about her right?!   Sometimes us mothers forget that and are doing things more for ourselves and not really listening to our children.   I work very hard at listening and hearing what our daughter is saying.   Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s not.   It’s the effort that counts though right?   I figure if I treat her as a respectful person now, maybe we’ll set good examples for those teenage years to come!

I often check out sites as the one listed below and wonder sometimes if they cause more fear or not…. Or maybe it’s the society pressure that makes us mom’s feel guilty for what it is we ‘think’ we should be doing.   I hope as everyone reads the following link and fact sheets that you remember to do what is best for your family!   It is very easy to feel the pressure of society and to make sure you are doing everything ‘right’.   What is right for you; may not be right for me and vice versa.   I think that is the best advice I can offer, Do what is right for YOUR family!   One mom said that in a play group when our daughter was young and it has really stuck with me.   When I adopted this mindset, I felt a lot more at ease.   I hope it will bring you and your family ease as well.

 ~ Meagan

http://www.infactcanada.ca/FactSheets.htm

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