Category Archives: Baby & Pregnancy

Common Baby Problems

These are some of the issues and problems that you can may expect to encounter with young babies.

Eczema

Eczema can quite often occur in babies up to about 4 months of age. It is usually milder than the type that occurs in adults. Your baby’s cheeks become rough and scaly and this can also occur in your child’s eyebrows and hair (cradle cap).

If infection sets in, the skin can become scaly, develop cracks and redness and weep.

Caused by overactivity of the sweat glands. This is usually grown out of in the first 6 months. You should stop using soap in his bath, ask your pharmacist about alternatives.

If the rash is particularly bad, you should limit the bathing to 2 times per week. Do not use baby creams and lotions.

Moisturise the skin with sorbolene cream. Your doctor may prescribe a very mild steroid cream which you can add to the sorbolene cream and apply to your baby’s skin. This is perfectly safe and will usually sooth the pain. A natural option is chamomile applied on babies head – do not use on children under 2 weeks old and always use one drop diluted in carrier oil. (see our section on Aromatherapy).

Cradle cap

Is a type of eczema, a build up of natural oils. This causes a dry scaly crust on your baby’s head. Petroleum jelly (vaseline) can help soften the scales and allow their removal.

Oral thrush

Baby’s immune system have not fully developed and can not often withstand infection of the candida albicans fungus. It most often occurs in their mouth. It will look like white milk curds stuck to the inside of the mouth. They will not be removed or scraped off however.

Thrush can be painful but more than likely your child will tolerate it. Your will need to speak to your doctor or pharmacist about specific products which will remove the thrush.

Also treat your nipples if breastfeeding as it can spread to you. You must also sterilise all feeding equipment and anything else your baby puts in his or her mouth. Change your sterilisation equipment you use for your feeding equipment often when your child has thrush.

Reflux

This can happen often in new babies. It occurs when your child vomits up most of the food swallowed. It is caused by a poorly formed valve between the gullet and the stomach. The valve usually rights itself as the child becomes older.

This can be a worrying time for parents as they worry if their child is putting on enough weight. The problem with reflux occurs when the vomiting becomes very regular and annoying, your baby does not put on weight. Usually the child will grow out of this problem in the first few months.

A few helpful hints are to adjust the baby’s resting position. Put the cot up at the head end about 30 degrees.

Bowel motions of a newborn

For breastfed children…

Your baby may have many motions per day or only one every few days. The motion may be yellow, green, brown or a combination of these. The consistency may be pasty, fluid or seedy. It will not normally be hard in texture.

If your child is passing hard stools, this is not normal. Another thing to look out for is overly fluid stools that resemble urine. See your doctor if this happens.

For bottle-fed children…

Bottle-fed babies will usually have more firmer stools and pass them more frequently – four times per day to once every couple of days. The colour of the stool will be more red-brown and green. They may become constipated or just simply pass harder stools.

If your child is passing watery stools – check with your doctor and take a sample of the stool with you.

The Birth

You will know when you are about to give birth because both you and your body will display some warning signs such as:

  • an urge to clean up the house in readiness for the arrival of the baby.

  • you may feel energetic and unsettled – wanting to keep on the move.

  • you may feel excited, anxious or nervous about the birth

  • you could lose some weight just before the birth

  • your baby could stop moving as it’s room in the womb is restricted from the position it has taken up towards your pelvis.

  • possibly a backache

  • diarrhoea

  • The ‘show’ – a small discharge of blood and mucus from your vagina

  • your waters will break – this is the sac that holds the amniotic fluid surrounding your baby.

If you have a constant flow of blood from your vagina – this is not normal and you should see your doctor immediately.

The First Stage

Your uterus tightens and relaxes its muscles to start your cervix opening up. At first they will be only slight. Your baby’s head moves towards the cervix, helping it to open.

Contractions may vary with each woman. In an ideal situation contractions which last 20 – 30 seconds will occur every 20 – 30 minutes. Some women do not notice the contractions until they are about 10 minutes apart.

Your cervix gradually dilates (opens). When it is about 3 cm dilated you are said to be in established labour. At this time your midwife or doctor will examine your vagina and check for any complications and other routine observations. As your cervix opens, your contractions will come more frequently and they will last longer. Your cervix will need to be 10cm wide before it is fully open.

Eventually your contractions begin to get much closer together and they can be quite painful and strong. This is the transition period. At this time you will more than likely be quite irritable, nauseous, trembling and you may feel a strong urge to push.

If your waters haven’t broken yet, this could be when they do. Your baby is nearly ready to be born.

The second stage

The second stage is usually a relief for many women as this is when the pushing can start.

The cervix is fully dilated and you will feel an urge to push the baby out. Your baby is moving down the birth canal. Your contractions will be lasting for about 5 or 6 seconds. This part of the process may last about an hour for first time mothers.

Once the baby’s head can be seen from the vagina, it is almost over. Resist the urge to keep pushing hard as you will rip the area between your vagina and anus – the perineum.

Try to breathe in short breaths to deliver your baby’s head. Once the head is out just let the rest of the body come out naturally.

Tell the doctors in advance that you want the child placed onto your stomach before the umbilical cord is cut. This helps with the bonding of the child to you. Hold the child as soon as you can.

The third stage

This is the delivery of the afterbirth or placenta. This is controlled by the doctor or midwife. Your uterus will continue to contract to get rid of this, but you will not be able to feel it. Sometimes the doctors will give you an injection to hurry this up to reduce the risk of serious bleeding after birth.

Most mothers will experience some mucus or bleeding from the vagina for a few weeks after childbirth

Week by Week Changes

When you become pregnant you experience many incredible changes over your pregnancy.  Here we look at week by week changes you will experience…  And developments in your womb.

Week 1:

Development of the Zygote

Day 1.    During sexual intercourse Approx 300-500 million sperm are deposited in the female genital tract…  But only about 300-500 reach the area of fertilization. Fertilization occurs closest to the ovary.  This is in the widest part of the fallopian tube.
Once a sperm penetrates the egg, the surface of the egg changes to prevent multiple fertilization. The sperm and the egg begin to fuse together.

Day 2. The sex is determined after the sperm and egg have fused. The cell eventually splits into two cells. This two-cell stage occurs about 30 hours after fertilization.

Day 3. About 3 days after fertilization The 12- and 16- cell stages occur . This small clump of cells is referred to as the morula.

Day 5. About the fifth day the morula finally enters into the uterus. Fluid begins to enter until a single cavity is formed. When this cavity is formed, the embryo is called the blastocyst.

Day 7. Around day 6…  Implantation into the uterine wall begins . The uterine lining is in a secretory phase at this point. The wall becomes spongy as the glands and arteries become coiled.

Week 2 – 4

Approx 22 days after conception your baby will have developed a heart beat, and is on its way to developing the digestive tract, sensory organs, and neural tube. The neural tube is what eventually becomes the Central Nervous System, consisting of the spinal cord and brain.

By the end of the first month of your pregnancy, your baby is smaller than a grain of rice.

What You might be Experiencing…

  • frequent urination possibly with vomiting
  • sleepiness
  • flatulence
  • nausea
  • absence of menstruation
  • emotional changes similar to PMS
  • tenderness and fullness of breasts
  • bloating
  • heartburn
  • food cravings
  • indigestion,
  • fatigue
  • constipation

It is highly possible that you do not know that you are pregnant during the first couple weeks.  However, It is possible that you will experience some of the signs of pregnancy.

Week 4

The embryo is attached to the lining of the uterus and is about 3 mm in length. You could see it with your eyes.

Week 5

The amniotic sac will have been formed.

Week 6

The embryo is not recognisable as a human being. But it has a spinal column, a large head and arms and legs. The sockets for its eyes have been formed. It is 1.3 cm long.

You may start to experience some symptoms such as breast tenderness and morning sickness.

Week 8

The embryo has all his or her major organs. The toes, fingers and features on the face are in the process of forming. The embryo is now considered a foetus. It is now more recognisable as a human. The length is about 2.5 cm.

Week 10

Fingers and toes are now webbed, the head remains larger than the body part. It has blood circulating through it.

Week 12

The uterus can just be felt above the pelvis. The foetus is about 7.5 cm long. It is more active. Nails and genitals are starting to appear.

You probably do not suffer from morning sickness any more.

Week 14

Your nipples may darken in colour and your breasts may stop feeling quite so tender. You will probably start to show from this time onwards.

Week 16

The foetus is moving vigorously but you may not be able to feel it.

Week 20

The uterus will have reached to level of your navel. You will now be able to feel the movements. The foetus now measures about 21 cm and is covered with fine hair. Eyelashes and eyebrows now have developed.

Week 24

Your foetus eyelids separate. Its length is about 33 cm

Week 28

The uterus reaches about halfway between the navel and the breastbone. If the foetus was born now, it could survive. It measures 37cm. The head is now reasonably in proportion to the body.

Week 32

The foetus is still very active. Most babies will have their head in the birth position.

Week 36

In most women, having babies for the first time, the head will have descended into the pelvic cavity and the uterus descends from under the rib cage as the baby’s head has moved down into the pelvis. It is about 46 cm.

Week 40

Pregnancy is full term. You can now breath easier, although you still may have pressure on your bladder

Your Pregnancy (A Summary)

  • A missed period

The first and most obvious sign that you may be pregnant is a missed period. This however may be caused by other factors or it may simply be late.

  • Lighter periods

Some women continue to get their periods for a couple of months but they are lighter.

  • Sore breasts

This can be a symptom in women who normally get sore breasts before their period. By six weeks, all women will experience an increase in the size of their breasts.

  • Morning sickness

In the first six to twelve weeks, most women experience nausea or vomiting. It can be uncomfortable at any time of day.

  • Frequent Urinating

You may find that you need to go to the toilet more often.

  • Tastes in the mouth change

Some women may have a strange taste in their mouth and may even notice a dislike for alcohol, coffee, cigarette smoke and meat products.

  • Emotionally Volatility

The hormones may wreak havoc on you at first and you may experience moodiness and stronger emotions than normal. If you experience any anxiety that lasts longer than the first trimester – speak with your doctor who may refer you to a counsellor for additional therapy.

You will experience many physical changes during your pregnancy and many may come as a surprise to you. It is always best to be prepared for the changes so you are better able to cope with them and control them.

  • Vaginal Discharge

this may increase during pregnancy. It is normal and does not usually require medical attention. If you notice it changing in odor or it becomes irritating – speak with your doctor.

  • Constipation and heartburn

you will be experiencing an increase in the hormone progesterone which can affect the bowel and make it slower.

  • Backache

this can become worse as the pregnancy continues on. Try to avoid high heeled shoes. Do not lean back to counteract the extra weight in your belly – this will put added pressure on your back.

  • Hemorrhoids or piles

the blood flow from your legs and pelvis is blocked by pressure from the baby . If you are constipated, this can make it worse.

  • Varicose veins

may appear for the first time. If you wear support stockings, they may not appear at all. Keep moving around as this can help the circulation.

  • Scarring on the abdomen

commonly called stretch marks, these fine scars may also come on your buttocks, thighs and breasts. There are many natural products on the market that may be able to prevent them from forming or becoming too noticeable. Ask our pharmacist about them.

  • Breast changes

will occur throughout your pregnancy. They may be tender and the nipples may grow and become darker in colour. They may eventually become more painful as more blood flows to them. Eventually prolactin is produced and this encourages the breast to make milk.

You may notice your breasts ‘leaking’ at around 5 to 6 months. After about five months your breasts should not grow much bigger.

  • Your belly

will increase and this can be a problem for women who have always tried hard to maintain their weight at a slim level. You will put on extra weight besides the baby as your body prepares for the pregnancy and the birth.


You should be eating a nutritious and varied diet in pregnancy as this is the best way of caring for yourself and your baby. You should not eat ferociously throughout your pregnancy in an effort to ‘eat for two’ as this will do more harm than good and make it difficult for you to give birth.

The following food groups provide you with the vitamins, minerals and protein you will need for a healthy pregnancy and baby.

  • Vegetables and fruits.

  • Breads, cereals, pasta and rice (wholegrain ).

  • Milk about 900 ml daily or if you cannot tolerate milk or want to try something less fattening natural yoghurt about 200g, unprocessed cheese 35g or cottage cheese 300g. Ask your doctor about a supplement if you do not want to eat dairy products. This will give you your required Calcium.

  • Lean proteins like fish, chicken, eggs, meat, liver, kidneys, nuts and pulses. Be aware that if you are only eating nuts and pulses for protein you will not be getting the iron, vitamin B12 or zinc which is required.

  • Also ensure you are eating adequate Folic acid – present in liver, kidneys, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, nuts, brewers yeast, avocado and peas. Do not cook your vegetables until they are soft as this can destroy folic acid.

  • Most medications may affect your unborn child – always check with your pharmacist or doctor before taking any drug either legal or otherwise.

  • Alcohol – the occasional wine or beer will do no harm, but do not drink excessively. Do not drink spirits.

  • Smoking – should be avoided and do not let anybody smoke in your presence.

  • Caffeine – limit your intake to one per day.

  • Soft cheeses – contain bacteria.

  • Raw/”Blue” meat.

  • Excessive exercise – although continue to do gentle exercises.

Some people think that having sex will hurt the baby. Normally sex is safe throughout the whole pregnancy. Sometimes you may not feel like having sex due to the discomforts and tiredness. But this usually does not last long.

Some women find that they become more sexual during this time in their lives and feel more sexy. If however, you have had complications with pregnancies in the past or are worried see your doctor about your concerns.


Finding Your Due Date

280 days or 40 weeks is the usual duration of a pregnancy…  To determine you due date firstly work out the first day of your last period and count forward 9 months and 1 week from that date.

To assist you we have a chart below that you can use (Scroll Down to View).
1. Determine the first day of your last period and find that day in the yellow rows with blue text.
2. Then you will find a date immediately below in the blue row with white text.
(Example:  If Jan 1 was the first day of your last period – then your approximate due date would be Oct 8.)

Jan 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Oct 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Feb 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28
Nov 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 1 2 3 4 5
Mar 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Dec 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 1 2 3 4 5
Apr 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Jan 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 1 2 3 4
May 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Feb 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Jun 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Mar 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 1 2 3 4 5 6
Jul 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Apr 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Aug 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
May 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Sept 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Jun 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Oct 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
July 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Nov 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Aug 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 1 2 3 4 5 6
Dec 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Sep 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Conception

Conception is a lot more complicated than the act of joining the sperm with an egg. The timing and conditions must be right to ensure that it is successful. People naturally assume that conception will take place soon after they stop taking ‘the pill’ – it is a presumed natural and straightforward event.

Each time a man ejaculates, he produces sperm. However, for women it is usually only once that she will be ready to conceive in the month. Usually a fortnight before the first day of your period, you will produce a single egg from your ovaries. The egg swims to the fallopian tubes and lives there for approximately 12 hours. If it is not fertilized at this time, it dies and is absorbed back into the cells of the tube and the cycle starts again.

If you have sexual intercourse around the time you ovulate there is a big chance of conception taking place. Once ejaculation has occurred, the sperm (there could be up to 1000 million of them) separate from the seminal fluid and move up towards the cervix. The strong sperm survive this journey and the weaker ones die.

The vagina is quite an acid environment for the sperm and it takes resilient ones to withstand it. By the time the sperm reach the fallopian tubes, there are only two thousand left. The sperm struggle and fight to be the one to fertilize the egg when it is released. The one that connects with the egg is the fittest and strongest and this is natures way of ensuring that unhealthy or damaged sperm are not able to fertilize an egg.

Fertilization occurs when a sperm penetrates the outer surface of the egg. Once the egg is fertilized, the tail drops off and the rest of the sperm die. The egg and sperm each with there own genetic information now combine together and form a single nucleus.

All this genetic information will determine the sex and characteristics of your child. The nucleus divides into two and over the next 3 days will continue to divide until there are 64 cells.

As this is happening, the egg travels through the fallopian tube towards the uterus. After the seventh day, the egg is able to snuggle into the lining of the uterus – now it can be nurtured and a pregnancy can start.

Once this happens conception is complete. The egg can be nourished by the blood supply in the uterine lining. At this time the ovary is informed that fertilization has occurred and it stops ovulation and the body also ceases menstruation.

Occasionally however, the egg divides into separate halves, instead of doubling the cells in a single cell. The two separate embryos will be identical twins as they started off from the same egg and sperm. Non-identical twins will occur when two egg cells are released at ovulation and are fertilized by two different sperm.

Most couples find it reasonably easy to conceive, however sometimes it may take up to two years or so before it occurs. Other couples have great difficulties in conceiving and the problem can be with either partners or both