Your period after pregnancy

A new way to comfort a preemie

You feel helpless or guilty because your baby is too tiny or sick to be picked up, you may want to try facil-itated tucking gently cupping and holding the baby’s arms and legs close to its body in a classic fetal position to soothe, reassure or just cuddle your infant. In a study of 30 premature infants in intensive care, this position was found to be helpful in calming infants who’d been subjected to a painful procedure, such as having blood drawn. Infants who were tucked stopped crying and fell asleep five to six minutes sooner than infants who were not. ‘This is great for parents of a preemie because their baby may not be able to tolerate stroking or patting,” says study author Karen Corff, a nurse practitioner. The position mimics what an infant would feel in the womb and so seems comforting. While only preemies have been tucked so far, Corff suggests that the position may also help soothe full-term infants who are not responding to other calming measures.

Your period after pregnancy

When you finally get your first postpartum menstrual I YYJ periods, you can expect some changes:

Cramps ‘‘While there’s no documented data in this area, many women find that their periods are less painful after pregnancy,” says Florence Comite, M.D., director of the Women’s Health Initiative at Yale University. You don’t have to give birth vaginally to get this benefit the stretching of the uterus during pregnancy may be what reduces the internal spasms that you feel as monthly cramps. Not all women experience a decrease in discomfort. If you experience an increase in cramps, you should report it to your doctor.

• Flow You’re as likely to experience a lighter or heavier period as you are to go back to the same flow you had before, says Dr. Comite.

• Frequency This is one thing that shouldn’t change dramatically after pregnancy. If your periods suddenly become irregular, consult your doctor. It may indicate fibroids, thyroid problems or lack of ovulation.

style-35Sudden infant death and secondhand smoke

I ewboms who are regularly exposed to cigarette smoke ‘ from adults smoking in the same room as the infant are more than five times as likely to die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) than babies who have no such exposure. To gauge the effect of smoking on SIDS, University of California at San Diego researchers compared the environments of 200 infants who had died of SIDS with that of 200 healthy infants. SIDS victims were more likely to have lived among smokers mother, father or other adults. The more cigarettes smoked in the same room as a baby, the greater the risk of death an infant exposed to 21 cigarettes a day was nearly 23 times more likely to die of SIDS than an infant in a completely smoke-free environment. Researchers also found a connection between infant death and nursing: breast-feeding usually helps protect against SIDS, but smoking by a mother during this time cancels out this benefit. “While smoking is not a cause of SIDS, it is a risk factor that is highly associated with it,” says study author Hillary Sandra Klonoff-Cohen, Ph.D. This finding is especially important for those women who quit smoking during pregnancy yet resume it after giving birth or allow other adults to smoke in the vicinity of the infant.

Does a newborn need water?

You six months old do not need to supplement their fluid intake. “Infants in y the nursing stage should not be forced to drink water, and substituting it for breast milk or formula is not only unnecessary, it can be dangerous,” says Mary Goessler, M.D., director of ambulatory pediatrics at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. Plain woter, juice or tea are simply not needed by infants unless they ore exposed to hot, humid surroundings, she notes. Even under such conditions, infants should be given only four to six ounces of extra fluid daily. Drinking too much water may dilute the salt levels in the baby’s blood, a condition known as hyponatremia. Symptoms include irritability, decreased appetite, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, disorientation and seizures. A surprise source of hyponatremia: pool swimming. “Infants can swallow enough pool water to cause this so-called water intoxication,” says Dr. Goessler. If you have a question about how much fluid-beyond breast milk or formula your infant needs, consult your pediatrician.

The mother of a colicky baby, I found nothing would 1 abate the incessant crying. We tried walking, rocking, singing, playing music and other assorted suggestions. One day when I turned on the vacuum, I noticed my baby had stopped crying and within minutes was fast asleep. To this day, when my eight-month-old seems too wound up to sleep, I turn on the vacuum cleaner and she’s off to dreamland!

Ann Barker, Scottsdale, Ariz.

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