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Article: Help Your Child Learn to Speak

Being able to talk is vital for making friends, as well as learning and understanding the world around you. Talking to your child from the day they are born is very important.

Babies have to understand words before they can start to talk.

You can help your child learn by holding them close, making eye contact and talking to them as soon as they’re born. They will look back at you and very soon begin to understand how conversations work. Even making ‘baby noises’ will teach your baby useful lessons about listening, the importance of words and taking turns in a conversation. And while you’re introducing them to conversations, you’ll also be building your relationship with your child.

As your baby starts to take more of an interest in what’s going on around them, start naming and pointing at things that you can both see (‘Look, a cat!’). This will help your baby learn words and, in time, they’ll start to copy you. Once your baby can say around 100 individual words, they’ll start to put short sentences together. This normally happens by around the age of two.

Useful baby talk tips

The following tips will encourage your baby to start talking:

Talk to your child

  • From the day your baby’s born, make faces and noises and talk about what’s going on. Ask questions like, ‘Are you hungry now?’ or ‘Do you want some milk?’
  • Start looking at books with your baby from an early age. You don’t have to read the words on the page, just talk about what you can see.
  • Point out things you see when you’re out and about (‘There’s a bus’). As your baby gets older, add more detail (‘There’s a red bus’).
  • As your baby grows, have fun singing nursery rhymes and songs, especially those with actions like ‘Pat-a-cake’, ‘Row, row, row your boat’ and ‘Wind the bobbin up’.

Help your child learn sounds and words

  • If you repeat the sounds your baby makes back to them, your baby will learn to copy you.
  • If your child is trying to make a word but gets it wrong, say the word properly. For example, if they point to a cat and say ‘Ca!’ say, ‘Yes, it’s a cat.’ Don’t criticise or tell them off for getting the word wrong.

To read the original NHS article please click here.


Article: Postnatal Depression

This leaflet is for anyone wants to know more about postnatal depression (PND for short). We hope it will be helpful to:

  • women who have, or think they might have postnatal depression
  • pregnant women who are worried about getting postnatal depression
  • partners, family and friends.

The leaflet describes

  • what it’s like to have postnatal depression
  • how to help yourself
  • how partners, families and friends can help
  • when to seek help from your GP or mental health services
  • treatments
  • further sources of help and information.

What is postnatal depression?

Postnatal Depression is a depressive illness which affects between 10 to 15 in every 100 women having a baby. The symptoms are similar to those in depression at other times. These include low mood and other symptoms lasting at least two weeks.  Depending on the severity, you may struggle to look after yourself and your baby. You may find simple tasks difficult to manage.

Sometimes there is an obvious reason for PND, but not always.  You may feel distressed, or guilty for feeling like this, as you expected to be happy about having a baby. However, PND can happen to anyone and it is not your fault.

It’s never too late to seek help. Even if you have been depressed for a while, you can get better. The help you need depends on how severe your illness is. Mild PND can be helped by increased support from family and friends.

If you are more unwell, you will need help from your GP and health visitor.  If your PND is severe, you may need care and treatment from a mental health service.

When does PND happen?

The timing varies. PND often starts within one or two months of giving birth. It can start several months after having a baby. About a third of women with PND have symptoms which started in pregnancy and continue after birth.

 

What does it feel like to have PND?

You may have some or all of the following symptoms:

Depressed

You feel low, unhappy and tearful for much or all of the time. You may feel worse at certain times of the day, like mornings or evenings.

Irritable

You may get irritable or angry with your partner, baby or other children.

Tired

All new mothers get pretty tired. Depression can make you feel utterly exhausted and lacking in energy.

Sleepless

Even though you are tired, you can’t fall asleep. You may lie awake worrying about things. You wake during the night even when your baby is asleep. You may wake very early, before your baby wakes up.

Appetite changes

You may lose your appetite and forget to eat. Some women eat for comfort and then feel bad about gaining weight.

Unable to enjoy anything

You find that you can’t enjoy or be interested in anything. You may not enjoy being with your baby.

Loss of interest in sex

There are several reasons why you lose interest in sex after having a baby. It may be painful or you may be too tired. PND can take away any desire. Your partner may not understand this and feel rejected.

Negative and guilty thoughts

Depression changes your thinking:

  • you may have very negative thoughts
  • you might think that you are not a good mother or that your baby doesn’t love you
  • you may feel guilty for feeling like this or that this is your fault
  • you may lose your confidence
  • you might think you can’t cope with things.

Anxious

Most new mothers worry about their babies’ health. If you have PND, the anxiety can be overwhelming. You may worry that:

  • your baby is very ill
  • your baby is not putting on enough weight
  • your baby is crying too much and you can’t settle him/her
  • your baby is too quiet and might have stopped breathing
  • you might harm your baby
  • you have a physical illness
  • your PND will never get better.

You may be so worried that you are afraid to be left alone with your baby. You may need re-assurance from your partner, health visitor or GP.

When you feel anxious, you may have some of the following:

  • racing pulse
  • thumping heart
  • breathless
  • sweating
  • fear that you may have a heart attack or collapse.

You may avoid situations, such as crowded shops because you are afraid of having panic symptoms.

Avoid other people

You may not want to see friends and family. You might find it hard to go to postnatal support groups.

Hopeless

You may feel that things will never get better. You may think that life is not worth living. You may even wonder whether your family would be better off without you.

Thoughts of suicide

If you have thoughts about harming yourself, you should ask your doctor for help. If you have a strong urge to harm yourself, seek urgent help (see below).

Psychotic symptoms

A small number of women with very severe depression develop psychotic symptoms. They may hear voices and have unusual beliefs. If this happens, you should seek help urgently (see below).

How does PND affect how I feel about my baby?

  • You may feel guilty that you don’t feel the way you expected to.
  • You may or may not love your baby.
  • You may not feel close to your baby.
  • You might find it hard to work out what your baby is feeling, or what your baby needs.
  • You may resent the baby or blame the baby for the way you feel.

Do women with PND harm their babies?

Depressed mothers often worry that they might do this, but it is very rare. Occasionally, through utter tiredness and desperation, you might feel like hitting or shaking your baby. Many mothers (and fathers) occasionally feel like this, not just those with PND. In spite of having these feelings at times, most mothers never act on them. If you do feel like this, tell someone.

Women often worry that if they tell someone how they feel, their baby may be taken away.  Actually your GP, health visitor and midwife will want to help you get better. This will mean that you can enjoy and care for your baby at home.

Doesn’t everyone get depressed after having a baby?

Having a baby is a time of huge change.  It is common to feel many different emotions. Not everyone gets a depressive illness.

Over half of new mothers will experience the ‘baby blues’. This usually starts 3 to 4 days after birth. You may have mood swings. You may burst into tears easily. You can feel irritable, low and anxious at times. You may also over-react to things.  It usually stops by the time your baby is about 10 days old. Women with baby blues do not need treatment. If it continues for more than 2 weeks, tell your health visitor or GP. They can check whether you have PND.

To read more of the original article please click here.


Article: The Flu Jab in Pregnancy.

Why are pregnant women advised to have the flu vaccine?

The flu jab will protect both you and your baby.

There is good evidence that pregnant women have a higher chance of developing complications if they get flu, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy.

One of the most common complications of flu is bronchitis, a chest infection that can become serious and develop into pneumonia. Other complications are not common, but include:

If you have flu while you’re pregnant, it could mean your baby is born prematurely or has a low birthweight, and may even lead to stillbirth or death in the first week of life.

Is the flu vaccine safe in pregnancy?

Yes. Studies have shown that the flu vaccine is safe during any stage of pregnancy, from the first few weeks up to your expected due date. The vaccine doesn’t carry risks for either you or your baby.

Women who have had the flu vaccine while pregnant also pass some protection on to their babies, which lasts for the first few months of their lives.

The vaccine also poses no risk to women who are breastfeeding, or to their babies.

When should I have the flu jab?

The flu vaccine is normally available from September until around January or February each year. It is free for pregnant women.

If you’re eligible for the vaccine, try to have it as soon as possible so that you’ll be protected by the time the flu viruses are circulating in the winter.

Don’t worry if you find that you’re pregnant later on in the flu season, though, you can have the vaccine then if you haven’t already had it.

How do I get the flu vaccine?

Contact your midwife or GP to find out where you can get the flu vaccine. It’s a good idea to get vaccinated as soon as possible after the vaccine becomes available in September.

In some areas, midwives can give a flu vaccine at the antenatal clinic, while in others you will need an appointment at your GP practice.

Some community pharmacies now offer flu vaccination on the NHS.

If I had the flu jab last year, do I need to have it again now?

Yes, because the viruses that cause flu change every year. This means that the flu (and the vaccine) this year may be different from last year. If you had the flu vaccine last year, either because you were pregnant or because you’re in a vulnerable group, you need to have it again this year.

Read more about how the flu vaccine works.

Will the flu jab give me flu?

No. The vaccine doesn’t contain any live viruses, so it can’t cause flu. Some people get a slight temperature and aching muscles for a couple of days afterwards, and you may feel a bit sore at the injection site.

Read more about flu vaccine side effects.

Can I have the flu jab at the same time as the whooping cough vaccine?

Yes, you can have the flu jab at the same time as the whooping cough vaccine, but don’t delay your flu jab simply so you can have both at the same time.

Pregnant women are at risk of severe illness from flu at any stage of pregnancy, so really need to have the flu vaccine as soon as possible.

The best time to get vaccinated against whooping cough is from 20 weeks, after you’ve had your scan, up to 32 weeks of pregnancy.

To read more of the original article please click here.