Women are often pulled in multiple directions throughout their week — children, work, parents, home…our To Do lists seem never-ending. It’s no surprise that women often complain of fatigue. So what’s normal fatigue and when is it something that needs medical attention?
Here are some red flags that should prompt you to discuss your fatigue with your doctor:
Fatigue is accompanied by feeling down and depressed
You are not rested even after a good night’s sleep
You are dizzy or lightheaded
Your skin is exceptionally dry or you’re losing hair
In addition to the obvious physical changes as your belly grows during pregnancy, what other surprises may your body have in store for you? Pregnancy is an exciting time, but often one filled with many questions — is my baby healthy, can I do this/eat that, and what the heck is happening to my body?
During your first trimester, you’ll probably feel tired, perhaps more tired than you’ve ever felt before. Get as much rest as you can. About 70 percent of women will also experience nausea or vomiting during their first trimester. Eating a balanced diet of bland foods can help. A great over-the-counter combination that has proven effective and safe in controlling nausea and vomiting is taking Unisom (or a generic version) and vitamin B6 before you go to sleep at night.
We all know that breast milk is best for babies, but when you have two, three, four or more babies, is breastfeeding possible? Yes, it is. It requires focus, dedication, planning and help.
Start right. Bring your babies to your breasts as soon as possible after they are born. If the babies are in the NICU or for some other reason unable to nurse immediately, start pumping and saving your breast milk. If your babies are born at under 34 weeks, they will need fortified milk. A mineral-rich supplement can be mixed with your breast milk and given with a bottle for two or three feedings each day, depending on what your doctor recommends.
Being a faculty member in the Division of the Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) at the University of Michigan means I have had the privilege of working with many amazing families and playing a part in this very important time in their lives. My colleagues and I have spent our careers caring for women with pregnancies that for any number of reasons qualify them as being high risk.
Several months ago, we had the extraordinary honor of meeting Mr. and Mrs. Robert and Jessica Hicks and their family. Mrs. Hicks had learned she was pregnant with higher order multiples and was referred to our institution for the special level of care we provide for high risk pregnancies. Upon our initial consultation, we learned that Mrs. Hicks was not just pregnant with four babies, as they had previously been counseled, but rather five babies – quintuplets! Numerous ultrasounds, consultations, appointments, and eventually an inpatient hospitalization for Mrs. Hicks allowed our team to optimize the care that both she and her babies needed.
You’ve made the healthiest choice for your baby and are breastfeeding, but maternity leave is almost over and it’s time to get ready to go back to work. With a little planning and support, you can continue to breastfeed your baby. The earlier you can start planning the better, but it’s never too late to set up a good plan.
During Your Pregnancy
Talk with your manager/supervisor about your goal to continue breastfeeding when you return to work. The Affordable Care Act mandates that all employers with more than 50 employees provide mothers with babies younger than 12 months a reasonable break time and private place (other than a bathroom) to pump.
Do your homework on breast pumps. Some insurance companies cover the cost of purchasing a quality electric pump. If yours does not, investigate renting a pump. Quality, electric pumps are best. Less expensive, battery-operated pumps are not as effective and have been shown to diminish a mother’s milk supply.
Many women consider undergoing gynecologic surgery for a variety of conditions such as abnormal bleeding, pelvic pain, ovarian cysts, fibroids or endometriosis. Historically, these surgeries were often done through large abdominal incisions requiring long hospitalizations and recovery time, increased scar tissue and increased risks of bleeding and infection. In contrast, many women now have the option of having these procedures performed with minimally invasive surgery (MIS) techniques. MIS techniques are usually associated with less pain, quicker recovery, and lower risks of infection and bleeding. These surgical methods include vaginal surgery, laparoscopy and hysteroscopy. Laparoscopy is the performed with a small camera that is inserted into the abdomen with the use of several small instruments. Traditionally, this involves 3-5 small incisions on the abdomen. This can also be performed with a robotic surgical system or with a single port device where all of the instruments and camera are inserted through one small incision. Hysteroscopy is when a camera is inserted into the uterus through the cervical opening in the vaginal canal.
If a woman is considering gynecologic surgery, here are several things to think about: