Monthly Archives: August 2016

Pregnancy Brain Tips

Pregnancy is a phase of move, and a lady needs to experience a great deal of physical and passionate changes amid this period. Mental languor and loss of memory, or distraction, is one such normal issue amid pregnancy, which is named by numerous as ‘pregnancy cerebrum’, “pregnesia” or ‘placenta mind’. While specialists are wary about the presence of ‘pregnancy cerebrum’, an incredible lion’s share of ladies claim that they really encountered this condition amid those nine months.

No wonder the failure to remember even the simplest everyday tasks can be quite frustrating for a pregnant woman, when she is already battling a host of other issues (morning sickness, constipation, mood fluctuations), caused by surging hormone levels. So, what exactly is ‘pregnancy brain’? Is it a myth or an inevitable part of pregnancy? Let’s find out more about what people like to call ‘pregnancy brain’.

What is Pregnancy Brain and When does It Occur?

As mentioned already, pregnancy brain is a condition – supposedly induced by pregnancy – where a woman experiences ‘brain fog’ or trouble in concentrating and remembering things. Women usually complain about this condition during their first and third trimesters. Many women on the other hand, experience it after childbirth, which is termed as ‘mommy brain’.

However, studies conducted to examine the relation between pregnancy and memory are very limited, and most of these studies have produced conflicting results. While some studies have found that pregnancy may have an effect on memory and cognitive abilities, others maintain that the results of cognitive tests conducted in expectant mothers and women who are not pregnant are almost similar.

So, there is not enough evidence to back the claim that ‘pregnancy brain’ or ‘pregnesia’ is a real condition. Nevertheless, it cannot be completely denied that the physical, mental, and emotional changes associated with pregnancy may have an impact on the memory of a woman. So, what exactly does happen during pregnancy? Does the brain shrink during pregnancy and cause memory loss? Or is mommy brain just an illusion? Let’s find out some of the possible explanations about the pregnancy-induced ‘brain fog’ that many women experience.

What are the Possible Causes

Surging Hormones

The sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone, fluctuate greatly during pregnancy, which can cause mood swings, fatigue, increased sleepiness, and headaches. Moreover, the hormonal surge in the first few weeks can alter the way in which the brain processes sensory information, especially those coming from the olfactory glands. This is the reason a woman becomes extremely sensitive to certain odors during pregnancy. So, it is presumed that if these hormones can change a woman’s perception about taste and smell, they may have an effect on her memory as well.

Increased Level of Stress and Anxiety

It is quite natural for expectant mothers to be preoccupied with thoughts of the baby and the new challenges that motherhood will bring into their lives. However, sometimes this preoccupation can leave little room for other issues, and cause distraction. In other words, a pregnant woman can sometimes become so anxious and worried about the health and safety of her unborn baby that she may end up being forgetful.

The nesting phase, where a woman feels an irresistible urge to prepare a home for the newborn, may also be associated with ‘pregnesia’. Because of her nesting instinct, a pregnant woman can become so obsessed with cleaning and preparing the house for the new member, that she may forget about other day-to-day activities.

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation is perhaps one of the most common complaints that women complain of during pregnancy and the first few months of motherhood. Both men and women need 7 to 8 hours of good sleep to feel mentally and physically alert. So, lack of enough sleep can take a toll and cause mental sluggishness, which can be interpreted by expectant and new mothers as ‘pregnancy or mommy brain’.

Changes in the Brain

In 1996, a report published in the New Scientist Magazine found that the brain of pregnant women shrunk during their third trimester. Another study published in the American Journal of Neuroradiology in 2002, also revealed that the volume of the brain reduced by about 4% during pregnancy. However, the brain usually regains its original size within a few weeks after childbirth. But in some cases, the brain can take up to six months to attain its former size.

Scientists are not sure why the size of the brain changes during pregnancy, but it is assumed that changes in cellular metabolism, required for reconstructing the brain circuits, may be responsible for it. However, a woman does not lose brain cells during pregnancy, and hence, the shrinkage is certainly not caused by the loss of brain cells. Further, experts are not sure whether the pregnancy-related brain shrinkage is in any way related to memory. But, it is suspected that the process of restructuring the connections between the brain cells may have a relation with ‘pregnancy brain’. Yet another theory suggests that ‘pregnancy or mommy brain’ can be an evolutionary development which helps a woman focus more on her baby by making her unmindful of outside distractions.

A Belief in the Existence of Pregnancy Brain

Many experts brush off the existence of pregnancy or placenta brain, and consider it mostly as a psychological phenomenon. They are of the opinion that many women tend to be more aware of the minor lapses in their memory and cognitive abilities during pregnancy, because of their firm belief in the concept of ‘pregnesia’. In fact, one study found that a group of pregnant women thought that their performance was worse than what it would have been before pregnancy, even though they actually did as good as the women who were not pregnant.

Can Pregnancy have a Positive Effect on the Brain?

✤ It has been observed that from the moment of conception, the brain of a pregnant woman undergoes many changes. New circuits are developed in the brain to prepare a woman for motherhood. Moreover, it has been observed that while some areas of the brain can shrink in size during pregnancy, other areas, especially the forebrain, can expand. The forebrain is responsible for reasoning and problem-solving, and so, its expansion may sharpen these skills.

✤ Some animal studies have observed that mothers have a better memory and they are more courageous than females without children. They are also better hunters and providers, as compared to the females who have not given birth.

✤ Professor Helen Christensen, director of the Center for Mental Health Research at the Australian National University, is of the opinion that pregnancy can have a positive effect on the functioning of the brain. So, with pregnancy, a woman can expect to have better mental abilities than before. After all, a mother needs to be more vigilant and alert to protect her child. Similarly, childbirth and breastfeeding may also have a positive impact on brain function.

But if pregnancy changes the brain for the better, then why does a woman experience ‘brain fog’ during this period? Experts are of the opinion that sleep deprivation can mask the improved mental abilities of a pregnant woman. For many women, memory loss during pregnancy can become very troublesome. However, a woman can overcome it to a great extent by writing down all her important tasks, reducing her workload, following a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly.

Exceptionally Rare Cases of Stone Babies

What are Stone Babies?

Lithopedion (additionally spelled as lithopaedion) or stone child is one which is framed when a baby creates inside the stomach pit rather than the uterus and passes on amid pregnancy. Continuously, it gets calcified. On the off chance that it is too extensive in size, the amniotic sac calcifies it to shield the lady’s body from wellbeing intricacies. This to a great degree uncommon condition starts as an ectopic pregnancy, a case in which a treated egg is embedded in the fallopian tube and becomes outside the uterus.

After studying several cases of stone babies from medical literature, German physician Friedrich Küchenmeister classified them into three types, namely, Lithokelyphos, Lithotecnon, and Lithokelyphopedion. Lithokelyphos meaning stone sheath, is a condition in which calcification occurs on the placental membrane, not the fetus. Lithotecnon, called Stone Son or “true” lithopedion is a condition wherein the placental and ovarian membranes rupture, the fetus enters the abdominal cavity and gets calcified. And Lithokelyphopedion is the condition where both the fetus and the sac are calcified.

On most occasions, women carrying a lithopedion do not realize it. There have been cases where a woman gave birth to other babies while the calcified fetus was still inside her body. There have been around 300 cases of lithopedions documented by medical literature and a majority of the women with this condition, were aged over 40.
Strange Cases
❑ The earliest case was that of a French woman named Madame Colombe Chatri who became pregnant at the age of 40. However, she did not give birth and was bedridden due to exhaustion and abdominal pain. When she was autopsied after her death in 1582, there was a well-developed mummified fetus or stone baby found in her abdominal cavity. She had been carrying the stone baby for 28 years and her abdomen was puffed up and hard.
❑ Another remarkable case happened in Germany. Anna Mullern became pregnant at 48 and underwent labor pains, which lasted for seven weeks, but she never gave birth. Her belly remained swollen. Her doctor declared that it was a false alarm of pregnancy. Later, Anna gave birth to two healthy children; a son and a daughter. When she died at 94, there was an autopsy performed on her body. Her physician found a hard mass of a stone baby inside her abdomen.
❑ A woman, Randi Jonsdatter, from Denmark got pregnant in 1803. She had been pregnant for 10 years after which she gave birth to a lithopedion, a dead calcified or a decomposed stone baby through an incision above her belly. The woman was about 50 years old and survived many years after the incident without any health complications.
❑ An American woman, named Rebecca Eddy suffered from what felt like labor pains when she first became pregnant and when she had an accident with a large kettle hanging over the fire. Slowly the pains abated and she never gave birth. An autopsy was performed by Dr. William H. H. Parkhurst after her death and what was found in her belly was a perfectly formed stone baby. Eddy carried the baby for 50 years.
❑ Another astonishing case is that of Zahra Aboutalib, a woman from Morocco, who went through labor pains and was taken to a hospital where the doctors declared that she would require a cesarean section. After watching another young woman die in pain on the operating table after undergoing the same procedure, she fled the hospital for she thought that she would suffer the same fate. She did not return for 46 years. The pain ceased after a few days and she never bore children again, but adopted three. Many decades passed and she became a grandmother. The pains reoccurred when she was 75. Her son took her to the doctor, but the doctor couldn’t identify the cause of pain. Later, another doctor suspected an ovarian tumor and sent her for scans. This revealed a solid mass that could not be identified. Another specialist radiographer was referred who could identify it as a calcified structure. An MRI scan revealed that it was a stone baby Zahra had conceived 46 years before.
❑ A 70-year old woman named Antamma, from West Bengal, was suffering from abdominal pains for a while. She was then admitted to the hospital. After checkups, the doctors discovered a stone baby which she had conceived 35 years before. The operation was successful and the baby was removed. The hands, feet, and head of the baby were found to be embroiled among themselves. Despite the incomplete pregnancy, Antamma gave birth to three children.
❑ A 92-year old woman, Huang Yijun, from Southern China delivered a lithopedion or stone baby after having carried it for 65 years. She wanted the dead baby to be removed by the doctors, but they demanded a huge amount of money, which she could not afford and so ignored it.
❑ The most recent case of lithopedion is that of a woman from Colombia. She went to the doctor for pelvic discomfort. The doctors identified a 40-year-old stone baby or lithopedion after an X-ray was performed on her. The woman who was 82 years old had been carrying the calcified fetus for a long time without even realizing it. The woman is now expected to go through a surgery to remove it.
❑ An 84-year old woman from Brazil has been carrying a lithopedion inside her for over 40 years which she did not realize. This was found out only after she complained about abdominal pain and underwent an X-ray examination. The face, bones, and few other aspects of the baby were visible in the images. She said that she had been suffering from extreme pain before and had consulted a local traditional healer who gave her medication that ended the pain. She assumed that she had miscarried the baby.
❑ In August 2014, Kantabai Thakare, a 60-year old woman was operated on and skeletal remains of an unborn child were removed from her body. After she complained of severe abdominal pain, an ultrasound was performed on her, which detected a lump in the lower right side of her abdomen. According to the reports of Times of India, the remains of the unborn child had stayed in the mother’s body for 36 years. Perhaps, this is the longest time a fetus from an ectopic pregnancy remained in a woman’s body.

These were some of the weird cases of stone babies. One may wonder if cases of fetus in fetu are also related to those of stone babies. Well, fetus in fetu is a developmental abnormality wherein a fetus-like tissue is formed inside the body. The mass of tissue may start developing as a fetus but get wrapped inside its twin. Such a case was reported in Hong Kong, where a baby was born pregnant with her own sibling. Or the mass of tissue may develop into a teratoma. A fetus in fetu may resemble a normal fetus, but has no functional body systems, which means it cannot live. And when a fetus dies inside the body and calcifies, it can be termed as a stone baby.

Prediction During Pregnancy

Is it true that you are expecting an adorable little expansion to your family? At that point you would have most likely heard stories about approaches to decide the sexual orientation of your li’l one. Take a look into the old spouses’ stories that have existed since ages.

Eat Garlic to Know the Child’s Gender!
A famous myth says that if the mother eats a clove of garlic and doesn’t smell of it, she will have a baby girl!
You might have heard several old wives’ tales that make predictions about the sex of the baby, which you often begin to hear as soon as you reveal the “good news.” All the older ladies at home will have different methods of knowing whether the cute li’l bundle in your womb is a girl or a boy! These myths have existed ever since people started having babies.

The most common gender prediction you may have come across is the one related to carrying your unborn child low or high. It is said that if you are carrying low, it is boy and if you are carrying high, it is definitely a girl. Can someone be so sure about the gender of the baby by simply looking at the baby bump? This Buzzle write-up has put forth a collection of some old wives’ tales that claim to be able to ascertain the sex of your baby. Although they are myths, which are prevalent even today, you can have fun reading through them.

8 Myths About Predicting Your Baby’s Sex

Mixing Drano to Urine

✘ Myth: People believe that if you stir drano into your urine, you will notice a color change. If it turns green, you will have a boy! However, there are no real colors that are mentioned anywhere that can determine the sex of the child.
✔ Fact : The test only suggests a urine color change if you are about to have a boy but no color change is specified in case you have a girl! Moreover, there is no acidic or alkaline level change in the male and female chromosomes. So, the color change is merely due to the components present in urine. Doctors suggest that pregnant ladies should not even smell the chemical, leave alone playing around with it.
Cravings for Lots and Lots of Sweets

✘ Myth: If during your pregnancy days you develop a sweet tooth, you are going to have a baby girl, but if you crave for sour foods, it is a boy!

✔ Fact : Your baby cannot demand chocolates and ice creams if they are still in your womb, can they? There is no scientific evidence to support this claim that the cravings are in any way linked to the baby’s sex. In fact, it is yet to be declared whether the cravings are real and not imaginative!
Your Face Looks Fuller

✘ Myth: Some believe that if your face is round, rosy, and a lot fuller than before, you will have a baby girl.

✔ Fact : The shape of the face can surely not determine the sex of the baby. The rosiness may be just because your inner happiness reflects on your face. And if you have gained immense weight, your face is bound to look fuller.
Fetal Heart Rate Reaches 140

✘ Myth: This myth claims to have a scientific backing, but it doesn’t! If the fetal heart rate will be above 140, you would have a baby girl, and if it is below 140, you would have a baby boy.

✔ Fact : The truth is that the baby’s heart rate cannot, by any means, determine the sex of the child. However, during labor, the girl child’s heart rate will increase.
Baby Keeps Moving
✘ Myth: If your baby is restless and keeps moving, i.e., if the baby is active, you will give birth to a baby boy.

✔ Fact : Does that mean the baby girl is not active in the womb? Doctors say that the fetal activity is a mother’s perception. So, if she is not working and sitting relaxed, she will feel more of the kicking activity, but if she is a working woman, she will not feel them. So, it is a matter of mere perception.
Looking Tired

✘ Myth: There are various versions of this theory. Some say that if the mother is less attractive, then she will have a girl. Another version of the same says that she will have a baby boy!

✔ Fact : With so many versions of the myth, its credibility is already lost. But if we believe the first version, it is believed that the girl child takes away the beauty of her mother while the baby boy will make her look tired because of the hormonal mix.
Chinese Lunar Calendar
✘ Myth: The Lunar Calendar is believed to take into account the age of the mother and the month of conception to determine the gender of the baby.

✔ Fact : Though there is little scientific backing for this, the method is believed to be 50% accurate. But even 50% cannot be held good enough, can it?
Experience Morning Sickness

✘ Myth: If you are experiencing severe morning sickness, you will have a girl. Though this theory has existed since ages, recent studies have somewhat supported it.

✔ Fact : Women who suffer from morning sickness have hyperemesis gravidarum, because of which they are likely to give birth to girls. The reason: hCG levels that trigger morning sickness increases if the mother is carrying a baby girl.

There’s More …
❀ If the father puts on weight during pregnancy, the couple will be parents to a boy.

❀ Heard about the famous pendant method? Swing a gold pendant on the belly. If it swings back and forth, it’s a girl; if swings in circles, it is a boy!

❀ If the mother develops lots of acne, she is going to have a girl.

❀ If the pregnant lady picks a key from its thin end, she will be blessed with a baby girl.

❀ If the mother’s feet are colder during pregnancy, it is a boy.

❀ Here’s another legend similar to the golden pendant method. Hang your wedding ring from a strand of the father’s hair, and swing it over your belly. If it swings back and forth, it is a boy, and if it moves in circles, you will have a baby girl.

Yellow Discharge During Pregnancy

unduhan-17Vaginal release is normal amid pregnancy, as there is an expansion in the creation of estrogen and blood stream to the vaginal region. As pregnancy advances, the recurrence and measure of release increments, and changes in the shading and consistency might be watched.

Discharge During Early Pregnancy

During pregnancy increased blood circulation in the vaginal area and changing hormones cause a mild-smelling, milky discharge called leukorrhea. This watery discharge is made up of secretions from the vagina and cervix, old vaginal cells, and normal bacterial flora that are found in the walls of the vagina. In the very early stages, cervical secretions fill the cervical canal creating a protective barrier called mucus plug. As your cervix begins to thin out and dilate, mucus is expelled. As you approach labor, you may notice more vaginal discharge.

Thick Yellow Discharge

Discharge from the vagina should be light in color, thin in consistency, and odorless. However, if you observe thick discharge that is yellow or green and emanates a foul odor, then it may be caused due to the following reasons:

Candidiasis
Candidiasis is a type of yeast infection which may occur in some pregnant women due to hormonal changes. You can treat this yeast infection by applying anti-yeast vaginal creams prescribed by your doctor.

Chlamydia
It is a sexually transmitted infection that may cause thick, yellow or green vaginal discharge. If chlamydia is left untreated, it may lead to miscarriage or other complications during labor. Chlamydia can also be passed to the baby during labor, which may prove harmful to the child.

Trichomoniasis
Trichomoniasis is another sexually transmitted infection that causes abnormal discharge. This parasite could lead to preterm birth or infection in the amniotic fluid (the liquid that nourishes and protects the fetus in the uterus).

Cervical Polyps
These are red, smooth, finger-shaped appendages in the passage extending from the uterus to the cervical canal. Though cervical polyps often occur without any symptoms, these could become infected causing odor and changes in the color of the vaginal discharge.

Bacterial Vaginosis
Bacterial vaginosis (or BV) is an infection caused by an imbalance of the microbial flora in the cervical canal or vagina. Like yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis can be transmitted through sexual intercourse. Bacterial vaginosis produces a vaginal discharge with distinctive, fish-like odor. Women having BV may experience burning sensation while urinating. Pregnant women affected with BV are likely to give birth to babies with low birth weight. There is an increased risk of preterm birth.

Precautionary Measures

Dark yellow or brown discharge during pregnancy should be brought to the immediate notice of your health care provider or gynecologist, in order to avoid further complications. It is essential to follow these precautions to reduce this discharge, and prevent impending infections of any kind in the genital region:

  • Keep your genital area dry and clean. Wear loose-fitting, cotton undergarments.
  • Avoid douching as it may increase or worsen vaginal discharge. It may also remove the healthy bacteria, found in the lining of the vagina, that protect your body from infections.
  • Having yogurt or probiotic supplements can avoid yeast infections. If you experience any form of yeast infection, use an over-the-counter cream or consult your physician who may prescribe appropriate medication for the same.
  • Avoid stress and keep a check on your blood sugar levels, if you are a diabetic.

It is always beneficial to exercise necessary precautions and follow a proper health care regimen, when you are pregnant. If you notice yellow discharge during pregnancy that is accompanied by itching or irritation, you should consult your gynecologist without further delay.