Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful phases of a woman’s life. Along with your little bundle of joy, you may also get stretch marks. They are quite common, especially in the third trimester. And though not harmful or painful, some women feel distressed with the appearance of their skin.
Stretch marks tend to occur when your body gains weight or loses excess weight suddenly. With the baby developing inside the womb, the skin stretches beyond its capacity. Due to this and the hormonal changes stretch marks occur. You may have stretch marks in the areas prone to fat accumulation such as abdomen, tummy, hips, arms, thighs and breasts. They often start as reddish or purple in colour and after delivery, they gradually fade and become white or greyish.
Medical treatment and home remedies can make stretch marks fade away but you cannot get rid of them completely. With passing time, they turn into fine lines gradually almost close to your skin tone. You can even try exercises that work on the muscles of the areas having stretch marks. Exercises help regenerate the tissues, tighten the loosened skin and diminish the stretch marks. A combination of balanced diet and exercises can make a visible difference.
Home remedies such as oil treatment, honey aloe vera, egg white, cocoa butter or shea butter etc., can help your skin feel better. Remaining adequately hydrated is vital as it helps in restoring the elasticity of your skin and keeping it supple.
Do not feel embarrassed or worry if you have stretch marks during pregnancy. Get the help of your doctor, apply creams and take proper care of your skin, and the stretch marks will reduce as time passes.
The secretion of milk from the breast (lactation) not due to childbirth or nursing is known as galactorrhoea. The milk may be secreted spontaneously or expressed and the volume of milk may be large or small.
This inappropriate lactation occurs usually in women, even in those who never had a child or after menopause (that is when periods stop around age 50). This condition can occur in infants (babies under 1 year) and as well as in men and is not a disease by itself but could be a sign of underlying problems.
Causes of Galactorrhoea
Galactorrhoea is often caused by an increase in the level of Prolactin, the hormone that stimulates milk production. Other factors may include:
- Disorders of the pituitary gland (pituitary and hypothalamus are glands in the brain that secrete hormones).
- Excessive stimulation of the breasts
- Birth control pills
- Side effects of medication such as antidepressants, high blood pressure drugs, certain sedatives etc.
- Herbal supplements such as fenugreek seeds and fennel
- Chronic kidney disease
- Spinal cord surgery, injury or tumours
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Nerve damage to the chest wall due to burns or surgery
- Use of marijuana or cocaine
However, in some cases, the cause of galactorrhoea is not known.
Symptoms of Galactorrhoea
One or both breasts may be affected with galactorrhoea. The symptoms may include:
- Persistent milky discharge from the nipple
- Nipple discharge involving multiple milk ducts
- Problem with vision
- Irregular or absent menstrual period
When to See A Doctor
If you are not expecting or breastfeeding and experiencing continuous milky discharge from your nipple or experiencing the above-mentioned symptoms, it is important that you visit a doctor. Experiencing non-milky nipple discharge such as clear, yellow or bloody discharge, requires immediate medical attention as it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
To find this, your doctor may do some of these tests:
- A physical exam to check for breast lumps or any other suspicious factors.
- A blood test to check the prolactin level in your body.
- Analysis of the discharged fluid to check if fat droplets are present.
- A pregnancy test to exclude that pregnancy could be the possible cause of the milk secretion.
- If any lump or suspicious appearance or lesion is found in your breast during the physical exam, mammography, ultrasound scan of the breasts or both will be performed to obtain the images of the lump.
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) of the brain to check for tumour or any other abnormality with the pituitary gland.
Based on the results, your doctor will provide you with the necessary treatment.
Galactorrhoea in Infants and Men
Galactorrhoea in newborn babies occurs sometimes when the high estrogen level pass through the placenta into the baby’s blood. Due to this, enlargement in the breast tissue of the baby may occur which is associated with the milky discharge. In case of men, deficiency of testosterone hormone is associated with galactorrhoea due to which the breasts may enlarge or become tender.
The Third Trimester is the final stage of pregnancy during which your baby grows at a faster rate. All organs, brain, eyes, ears, lungs, bones etc. develop more rapidly and for this, the nutritional needs of your baby also increase. You have to concentrate on eating a healthy and balanced diet. A wholesome diet will help meet the extra nutritional needs of your baby.
In this last stage of pregnancy, heartburn and indigestion may occur but these issues don’t last long in most pregnant women. If you do happen to be affected, you can opt for small but frequent meals. Normally, during the last trimester, a woman needs around 350 calories more. So, now, you should include foods that contain the following:
Calcium: Is needed for bone development of the baby.
You can include the following foods in your diet.
- Low fat Milk
- Low fat Yoghurt/ Curd
- Green Leafy Vegetables
- Fortified Orange Juice
- Fortified Soya Milk
- Unsalted Almonds
- Sesame Seeds
As the volume of blood increases during pregnancy, the demand of iron also increases. Moreover, the developing baby starts storing iron for further development. Some important iron-rich foods which you can include in your third trimester meal chart are:
- Leafy Green Vegetables
- Grains like pearl millet(bajra), finger millet(ragi) etc
- Legumes like Bengal gram, moth beans, horse gram etc
- Poultry and egg
Vitamin A is essential as the mother’s intake is a determinant of vitamin A status of the baby. Even after delivery, baby depends on breast milk for vitamin A so adequate intake is necessary.
- Dairy Products
- Yellow to dark orange coloured vegetables and fruits
One of the minerals necessary during the third trimester, Selenium acts as an antioxidant to fight against free radicals. This mineral may be helpful in making the lungs of the baby healthy. Some of the healthy food sources of selenium are:
- Poultry and egg
- Certain Cereals and millets
Some Important Things to Remember During the Third Trimester
- Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- Eat snacks that are healthy and try to avoid foods like cakes, biscuits and chocolates in which sugar content is higher.
- Have lots of vegetables and fruits.
- Choose dairy products that are low in fat.
- Have different types of starchy foods like whole grain cereals, millets, potatoes, bread, rice, pasta etc.
- Choose protein-rich foods such as beans, nuts, lentils, eggs, fish, soya, poultry etc.