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At the Heart of Breastfeeding...

At the Heart of Breastfeeding... 0

In honor of National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, let us pay homage to the nursing mom. The decision to breastfeed is one of the most important ones a new mom will make. There is definitely no doubt about the benefits that the newborn receive from breast milk. Besides the commitment of time and effort, the main obstacle is the social stigma.  Although breastfeeding has been around since the creation of man, most people know very little about it or the health benefits to baby and mom. Society as a whole tends to take a negative stance on topics that it knows so little about. It’s especially hard if she is the first person in the family to breastfeed. Most of us have seen the viral video of the women breastfeeding versus those women showing lots of cleavage. If you haven’t seen it, you can probably guess who received the favorable reactions from the public versus those who received looks of disgust and negative comments. Let’s change the tide and start being supportive and encouraging to moms who choose to give the very best to their babies. Let us lift them up and not tear them down.

Ask any breastfeeding mom and she will tell you that it’s quite a challenge. What drives her to continue is that she understands how superior breast milk is for her little one as opposed to formula. The breastfeeding mom knows that her baby will be less colicky and less likely to deal with allergies, ear infections, and other illnesses. Breastfed children are generally healthier with less risk of diabetes and obesity. The benefits of breastfeeding continue even through adolescence. The bonding that occurs between mom and baby is indescribable! God designed the female body in such a way that the milk evolves as the baby grows, so the little one always get exactly what he or she needs. No formula created in a lab could ever achieve this.

Being a new mom and learning how to breastfeed can be anxiety provoking, if you let it. The mindset must be different. With formula-fed babies, it’s quite easy to look at the bottle and see how much milk little Johnny has drank. With breastfeeding, you must trust your body and know that you can do it. There are different sets of rules that apply with breastfed babies versus formula-fed babies. Trust yourself. If you know of someone who is contemplating breastfeeding or is already doing it, be supportive and positive. As new moms embark upon this new endeavor, they need encouragement and love. As with anything in life, when breastfeeding is first initiated, it can be challenging. Stick with it! You have the promise of knowing the rewards you and your baby will reap will go way beyond the 6 months to a year of nursing.

  • Pamela Lacy
It's Not Contractions! It's Just Gas!

It's Not Contractions! It's Just Gas! 0

It’s the holiday season! Time to celebrate and enjoy our loved ones with lots of food and fun.   If you’re pregnant, you’re likely to enjoy the food much more than the loved ones. Being pregnant during the holidays lets you overindulge without all the guilt. You are eating for two, aren’t you? First, let me dispel that myth…. no, you are NOT eating for two! Let’s not blame this sweet innocent developing fetus for your lack of willpower to push away from the table. Is it this little one’s fault that you had to have a third piece of pumpkin pie? Let’s put the blame where it belongs…. on you! Your fetus does not LOVE Aunt Mary’s turkey and dressing so much that you have to keep going back getting seconds, thirds, and so on… As the holiday season fast approaches, there is a look of glee and gluttony in the eyes of most moms to be. It doesn’t help that pregnancy enhances the taste buds and turns eating into a hobby in and of itself. Throwing in Thanksgiving and Christmas really creates a perfect storm of turkey, dressing, giblet gravy, pumpkin pie, and spice cake.

So let’s talk about the aftereffects of such a grand meal. If you’re pregnant, it won’t be pleasant. Because the pregnant uterus tends to compress the stomach and bowels upward, it is highly likely you will experience discomfort. Sharp, shooting pains throughout the abdomen is bound to occur. You may even experience some nausea and vomiting if you have really overindulged. You will know it’s not labor, because the uterus will remain soft. Contractions* on the other hand, will be painful. Many times, the pain will start in the lower back and radiate around the abdomen. The whole uterus will be firm. You may feel pressure in the vaginal area at the same time this is occurring. True contractions are going to be regular, lasting approximately 30 seconds and then subsiding. You will be able to set your watch by them. Gas pain will be sporadic. Is it just gas or are you having contractions? Think long and hard before you call 911 or have your loved ones bring you to the ER. You may want to consider taking some Gas-X first to see if the symptoms will subside.

While we are on the subject of overeating, let me mention other negative effects of yielding to the temptations of the holidays. Swelling, indigestion, bloating, and constipation will all happen to some degree.  Remember the saying you learned in elementary school? You are what you eat. If you eat bad foods expect to feel bad. If the foods you’re eating have a high salt content, you’ll see an increase in swelling in the face, hands, legs, and feet. There may even be an increase in your blood pressure.

Let's continue to play this out, shall we? You overeat because you’re pregnant and you’re eating for two (yada, yada, yada….). After a gluttonousness meal, you began feeling uneasy, and your stomach doesn’t feel so great. In your mind, the obvious answer is that you’re in labor. Forget the fact that you ate half the turkey, all the green bean casserole, and a whole sweet potato pie, because that’s irrelevant right now. You suddenly began having sharp shooting pains all over your tummy and yet your uterus remains soft. Ahhh, but you have an explanation for this! All the women in your family always had back labor; they never hurt in their uterus. You think to yourself this is perfect timing. The whole family is here from out of town. Everyone can celebrate this joyous occasion.

Your pain is getting more severe. Someone thinks it’s best to just call the ambulance. The ambulance comes and takes you to the hospital and you are rapidly taken to labor and delivery. (Side note: the whole family, who drives their own vehicles, beats the ambulance to the hospital and makes it up to labor and delivery before you…go figure!) You come up on the stretcher, writhing in pain. The baby will be here any minute! You’re sure of it! The nurse puts you on the monitors and lo, what is it that she sees? No contractions…. She checks your cervix and it hasn’t changed from you last office visit. She says, “It's not contractions.” You explain to her the whole back labor thing that happens with the women in your family. She gives you the side eye and tells you she’ll call the doctor. Your OB comes in, looks at the monitor and rechecks your cervix. The doctor confirms what the nurse has said, “It's not contractions. It’s just gas!” You are given medication for gas and taught what real contractions feel like and how to time them. After your discharge, you walk out looking sheepishly and now your family is giving you the side eye as they think about the football game they could have been at home enjoying.

How can you avoid such a conundrum, you ask? Let me explain! First, start with small meals. Instead of one huge meal where you sit down and eat more than Uncle Joe, eat a small meal, let that digest, and then eat a little more. This will also help prevent indigestion, nausea, and vomiting. Next, drink plenty of water. Being pregnant, especially in the third trimester, which is 28 weeks and beyond, the stomach has a limited capacity. The perks of water are you will be less likely to drink other high calorie drinks such as fruit juice, soda, and tea. These can cause fluctuations in your sugar level, which will make you feel lightheaded and dizzy. Last, allow yourself one serving of dessert. That’s right, I said ONE! Overindulging on those high calorie sweets will have you feeling awful. So as you longingly stare at the desert table, ask yourself will it be worth all the misery that you will potentially endure later. Will it be worth the trip to labor and delivery to hear, “It's not contractions? IT’S JUST GAS?” Will it be worth your family making fun of you for years to come? Think about it. You are so much stronger than you think!

*Consult your obstetrician for any signs or symptoms of labor!

An Obstetrician’s Point of View:  The Devastation of Early Pregnancy Loss

An Obstetrician’s Point of View: The Devastation of Early Pregnancy Loss 2

As an obstetrician, I enjoy entering the exam room and seeing the excited, yet nervous, faces of the newly expecting couple.  I see the wheels turning in their mind.  Will it be a boy or a girl?  Can we do this?  Are we ready?  Seeing the start of a new family or an extension of an established one is one of the best aspects of my job.   Unfortunately sometimes, I walk in the room to sad faces and teary eyes.  All hope and aspirations gone with an ultrasound that shows no heartbeat.  I see the wheels turning in their minds, also.  What happened?  Did I eat or drink the wrong thing?  Maybe I’ve been under too much stress!  What if we can never have a baby?  My first words are always, I am so sorry.  It never gets mundane or become routine.  This should be one of the most joyous occasions in a couple’s life; however, it has now become sad and depressing.

Early pregnancy loss is quite difficult.  From the couple’s standpoint, it’s the end of a dream for that child they had probably been praying for.  They probably had imagined how spoiled and loved this little one would be.  Ideas about the color of the nursery had probably already begun in the crevices of their mind.  They probably went so far as to already have the name picked out.  So heartbreaking.

 From my standpoint as an obstetrician, I grieve, too.  Sometimes, I even cry with them.  Every time, I cry for them.  I wish I could take away the pain and sadness.  I wish I could give a sound medical reason that would take the hurt away.  I wish I could answer that question that every single person asks that experiences this…why?  Unfortunately, when the loss occurs so early, we rarely know why.   Many times, it’s likely a chromosomal defect or a natural error in development.  My answer is always the same.  I tell them that they haven’t done anything wrong to cause such devastation.  I encourage them not to blame themselves, because it is not their fault.  I tell them it’s okay to be sad and grieve, regardless of the fact that they are only a few months along.  For most of us who have had babies, we know the love for our baby starts with the positive pregnancy test.

 Be strong.  To all those negative people that can’t understand why you are so upset, ignore them and say no to their “helpful” advice.  No! You are not crazy for being so sad.  No!  You can’t just get over it.  No!  You can’t just decide to have another baby to replace the one you lost.  

 Allow yourself time to mourn the loss of the child you’ll never feel kick in your womb.  It’s okay to mourn the loss of that first cry.  Weep for the sleepless nights you would’ve been up feeding the little one or changing a diaper.  Weep for the loss of the first crawl, the first step, and the first word.  You, my friend, are allowed to mourn, to be hurt, and to cry.  Please, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  You have lost a precious piece of yourself.

 When the mourning is over and you have received closure, know that happiness will find you again.  Be aware that you are not alone.  Pregnancy loss is sad, but it’s more common than people think.  This commonality concerns me at times, because it makes some erroneously think that this is no big deal.  Any woman who has ever suffered in this way knows firsthand the traumatic and emotional impact that such a loss can bring.    You must believe that at your core, you are a wonderful human being and you’re not being punished for any wrongdoing in your life.  Your season will come.  You will never replace the child that you lost, nor will you forget.  And no one should ask you to.  But because of this lost, when you are blessed with a child, you will love a little harder and truly appreciate the gift of life.  Surround yourself with positive people and remember that time heals all wounds.

  • Pamela Lacy

Got Milk??? 0

 

Is water really necessary? 0

As we approach the July 4th holiday, many of us will engage in outdoor activities in the sweltering heat.  If you are among the pregnant population, water is vital!  Let me first say, there is NO substitute for water!  I repeat, there is NO substitute for water!  Think of water like oil for your car.  Without oil, your car cannot run efficiently.  Water has the same effect on the body!

Without an adequate amount of water, dehydration will develop.  What are the typical signs of dehydration that pregnant women experience?  Let me tell you!  Headaches, dizziness, joint aches, and pains are among the most common.  The most serious side effect is contractions.  Most of the time, this can be corrected with hydration (with water) or intravenous fluids.  Who wants to spend their holiday weekend on Labor & Delivery getting fluids when you could be celebrating with your family?  Lack of water can also lead to frequent bladder infections, which can also lead to contractions.

Many pregnant women have the misconception that if they drink more soda or juice this will be good enough.  Unfortunately, they are wrong.  These sugar-filled drinks and enormous amounts of salt in soda lead to sugar spikes and excessive salt intake.  The fluctuations in the sugar levels lead to dizziness, headaches, and feeling bad in general.  The extra salt leads to excessive swelling.  

The main complaint I hear from my patients is they don't like the way water taste!  IT HAS NO TASTE!  It is not supposed to taste like soda or juice.  Its purpose is to nourish the body.   Let's change the way we think about water....it is a vital component that our body needs to thrive at its highest level.  Pregnancy discomforts can be hard enough without the added complications of dehydration.  To all you pregnant women out there, drink up!  When you think you've had enough, drink another bottle just for baby!

Have a safe and happy 4th of July! 

Grand Opening....in more ways than one!!!!!! 0

As I sit here excited about our storefront's grand opening this Saturday, June 13, it brings up memories of my own daughter's birth.  Let's go back to March 2, 2007.  I was 37 weeks pregnant.  It was early in the morning, and I was going to the hospital to round before heading to the office to see patients.  Leroy and I lived in a second floor apartment.  As I was coming down the stairs, I felt myself falling.  I didn't trip or stumble.  My balance was off, as any woman who has had a baby knows!

My first thought was, "Oh no!  I'm going to fall on Jaden!"  I decided to turn sideways to land on my bottom.  The message failed to reach my feet!  As I tumbled down 3-4 steps, I thought to myself, this is going to be a nasty bruise.  My phone fell a few feet away from me.  I landed on the bottom step, sitting on my behind.  I tried to stand and that's when it happened!  The most excruciating pain I have ever felt in my right ankle.  All I could do was cry.  No one was around because it was so early.  All the neighbors were still sleeping.

I grabbed my phone and called Leroy, crying and screaming that I fell.  My hero rushed down the stairs and picked me up.  The searing pain that ripped through my leg was unbearable.  He started to take me back upstairs and I yelled,"No!  I need to go to the ER!"  Pregnant women everywhere will appreciate this part.....I get to the ER and I am sitting in a wheelchair crying in pain.  Guess what the triage nurse asks me to do?  Stand on the scale to get weighed!!!!  All I have to say is if looks could kill, she'd be dead!  I remembered my upbringing and politely declined.

X-rays were done and my suspicions were confirmed.  I had broken my leg and needed surgery immediately.  (I need to pause here and apologize to the nurse who attempted to take off my shoe and I hissed "Leave it alone!"  It was the pain talking.  I'm really a nice person!)  I was given morphine to control the pain as they prepared me for surgery.  I remember being out of it at that point, but Jaden remained so active.  I couldn't understand why the morphine didn't calm her.  I underwent a Cesarean section followed by repair of my broken ankle.

Eight years later, I look at this rambunctious little girl, and her personality has not changed a bit.  Her birth was a grand opening in so many ways!  The grand opening of my store will never compare to the birth of our angel, but I hope it goes down as a memorable occasion in my life, one that I will always cherish!

If you are near Columbus, MS, come by and celebrate with us!  Remember Mom 2 Be...it's not your mother's maternity store!

God Bless!