Maternity Wear

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I remember it only too well. 2012 and I was pregnant with my second daughter. Truly I wanted to embrace a whole new maternity wardrobe. So too, did my (particularly rampant) Chinese consumer genes, no doubt geed up by all those pregnancy hormones. With a royal baby on the way and Victoria Beckham rumoured to be adapting outfits for the Duchess, the ‘wrap’n’ruched’ dress – that (deeply unfashionable) hero piece of maternity wear’s ancient regime would finally be toppled. 2012 would be the year that pregnant women got a make over in the style annals. Read More…

Should I be taking folic acid?

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Q: My husband and I want to start a family. I know folic acid is important but can you clarify why, the amount and when to take it?

Folic acid (vitamin B9) is vital for its role in preventing spina bifida and other neural tube defects, which can limit or seriously impact on a baby’s life.

In 1991, research established that supplementing with 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily can reduce the risk of spina bifida (SB ) and other neural tube defects (see below) by up to 72 per cent. New research suggests that adding a daily 2.5mcg (minimum) of vitamin B12 is key to further reducing the risk. Vitamin B12 is essential for cells to take up folic acid, but some 60 per cent of women may not have enough. Read More…

How Can I Avoid Skin Darkening During Pregnancy?

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Q: I’m pregnant and worried about getting brown patches on my face as some friends have done. What are they and can I prevent them?

A: Hyperpigmentation or chloasma (also called melasma) affects between 50 and 70 per cent of pregnant women. Genes do play a role, and women of Asian or Latin descent are more likely to develop it.

The exact cause is unknown, but it is thought that elevated oestrogen and progesterone levels stimulate the cells that release melanin, and cause your skin to darken upon exposure to sunlight, according to Dr Tieraona Low Dog, a trained midwife and natural medicine physician at the Center for Integrative Medicine in Arizona.

They should disappear on their own. As hormone levels begin to return to normal, the patches will gradually fade in most women. Sun protection is vital, however, as sunlight stimulates melanocytes, so those dark spots will stay dark if you don’t use sunblock. Some women may find the patches refuse to fade and will need to use skin-brightening creams, says Dr Low Dog.

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Safe solutions for morning sickness

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Q: I am just over two months pregnant and suffering bad morning sickness. My doctor says it’s wiser not to take drugs. Can you suggest anything that will help?

A: Around 70 to 80 per cent of pregnant women suffer nausea and vomiting, which can occur day or night, according to GP Dr Roger Gadsby MBE , associate clinical professor at Warwick Medical School. ‘Symptoms often start at around six weeks from your first missed period and usually get better by 12 weeks,’ he says. The cause is not known.

The majority of women suffer mildly, and the symptoms disappear by the third month. But up to 30 per cent get severe nausea and vomiting, which may last until week 20. It’s very unpleasant but does not put the baby at risk.
However, about one per cent of women get very severe symptoms. If you can’t keep food or drink down, contact your GP or midwife immediately. You risk becoming dehydrated and may need to go to hospital for intravenous fluids. Plenty of rest is vital. Read More…