How Eating Habits During Pregnancy Can Affect 3 Generations

After conceiving, having a balanced diet and following a healthy lifestyle is vital for you and your little one. While you’re pregnant, your body is just not your own – it has your baby attached and dependent on it as well.

Healthy eating during pregnancy is important for your baby’s development and growth. You must have heard that maintaining a healthy and balanced diet throughout pregnancy is beneficial. But have you thought why and how is it important?

What do the recent studies suggest?

New research suggests that your eating habits during pregnancy affect not only your baby but also your grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Medical professionals believe that maternal diet plays an important role in your baby’s development.

One of the unique aspects of the research was to find how a mother’s eating habits can have an impact on her baby even before conceiving.

more “How Eating Habits During Pregnancy Can Affect 3 Generations”

How to stay healthy during a monsoon pregnancy?

How to stay healthy during a monsoon pregnancy?

One of the most awaited seasons to get relief from the summer heat, monsoon is loved by all. But for women who are pregnant during the summer season, monsoon doesn’t bring much relief. However, you can make the best of monsoon by taking some special care and making some changes in your lifestyle.

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Here’s what you can adopt to make your monsoon pregnancy a lovely one:

  • Clothes: As the level of humidity increases during monsoon, you will sweat more than summer. Moreover, pregnancy leads to fluctuation in body temperature and you may often feel your temperature to be high. So, to stay comfortable, wear cotton clothes that are a size bigger. Cotton will absorb the sweat easily and keep you dry.
  • Personal Hygiene: Hygiene is one of the most important factors to remain free from infectious diseases. As monsoon brings rain and the water gets dirty due to sewage, mud etc., it may lead to variety of infections. So, don’t go outside barefoot during pregnancy. Stay indoors as much as possible and if you have to go out, make sure to wash your hands and feet with mild disinfectant soap immediately after returning home.

Take bath with Neem water at least once every day during your monsoon pregnancy. It will help in preventing various skin problems. And whenever you sweat, wipe your face, hands and the back of your neck with a wet cloth. It will freshen you instantly.

  • Keep your Home Clean: If you are not working, then you have to pass most of your time at home during pregnancy. So, it becomes very necessary to keep your home free from infection. Use good quality mild disinfectants to clean the floors and bathroom. You can even burn dried Neem leaves to keep away flies and mosquitoes.
  • Keep Hydrated: During pregnancy, it is very necessary to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and make sure to have filtered water only. Unfiltered water carries lots of germs causing varied health problems.
  • Eat Healthy Food: Stay away from street foods during monsoon. In fact, street food is not at all good for pregnant women as it may carry different types of germs. As your baby in the womb will receive nutrients from the food you eat, have a healthy and balanced diet.

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Tips for pregnant women during monsoon:

  • Carry an umbrella or a raincoat whenever you step out of your house.
  • Wear comfortable footwear which is not slippery.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables properly before eating or cooking.
  • Stay away from fish and prawns during the rainy season; as this is the time they breed, and you may suffer from stomach infections.
  • Don’t go near open wires or any electrical appliances which may harm you.
  • Inform your family members if you are going out.

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How To Safeguard From Summer Heat During Pregnancy

Summer which is both hated and loved has arrived. With temperatures soaring and hot winds blowing, it becomes very difficult to cope during summers now-a-days. The best way to enjoy the flavours of summer is by being prepared to beat the heat.

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This is the time of the year you can nourish your body and mind with delicious seasonal fruits like mangoes, watermelons, pineapples etc. which are loaded with variety of nutrients. These fruits not only make you healthy and feel refreshed but also help in making your skin glow and hair shine.

However, getting the best of out of summer depends on how you beat the heat and enjoy the offerings of the season. Here are some tips to stay cool and healthy during summer.

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  • One of the most important things during summer is staying hydrated. So, drink lots of fluids like water, fruit and vegetable juices etc. It will help you to retain the fluids lost while sweating. Carry a water bottle along with you whenever you step out of your house.
  • Using an umbrella, hat and sunglasses will help you avoid direct contact with sunrays and keep you comfortable.
  • Have a proper breakfast during summer as it prevents dizziness and low blood pressure. Have small but frequent meals during the hot days as it will keep you healthy.
  • Stay away from heavy foods and focus on light and refreshing food options. Light meals are easy to digest making you feel comfortable during the summer season.

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  • To stay cool and comfortable, wear loose fitting cotton clothes and flip flops.
  • Avoid alcoholic drinks, caffeine etc. during summer as they may speed up the loss of fluids.
  • Avoid staying in closed, parked cars during summer which may lead to suffocation etc.
  • Whenever you go out use sunscreen lotion adequately to prevent tan and rashes.
  • Have lot of seasonal fruits and fresh vegetables to keep you fit and healthy.

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Whole grains and their benefits during pregnancy

During pregnancy, it is very essential to have whole grains in your diet. A good source of nutrients, whole grains keep you and your baby fit and strong. So, if you are pregnant, then discover the lovely world of whole grains which will benefit you and your developing baby through various ways.

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Some of the benefits of whole grains:

  • Good source of folic acid: Whole grains are a good source of folic acid, a type of vitamin B. It helps in generating new cells in your body. Deficiency of folic acid causes diseases like anaemia, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis, dementia and cognitive deficit in pregnant women. It also leads to premature infants, low birth weight and babies with neural tube defects (NTDs). So, if a pregnant woman consumes the required quantity of whole grains in their diet, it can, to a great extent, prevent major birth defects especially in the baby’s brain and spine. Cereal and fortified bread provides a good amount of folic acid during pregnancy.
  • Contains high fibre: Whole grains contain a good quantity of fibre of two types — soluble and insoluble. Both are beneficial for women during pregnancy. And as fibre digests slowly, it makes you feel fuller for a longer period of time. However, all types of whole grains are not high-fibre. Pregnant women can take bran, brown bread, oats and barley in their diet.
  • Delivers essential minerals: Whole grains are a good source of minerals required for a healthy pregnancy. Iron, magnesium, zinc etc. can be received from whole grains which help in preventing anaemia, build bones and keep your immune system alert.
  • Contains resistant starch: Complex carbs like brown rice and oatmeal are whole grain sources of resistant starch. These types of whole grains are ideal for women during pregnancy as they help fight constipation and combat nausea.

Some good options for grain sources are:

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Whole-Grain-Food

  • Cooked oatmeal, wheat and barley
  • Brown rice
  • Bran
  • Whole wheat bagel
  • Raisin or plain bagel
  • Whole grain muffin
  • Cooked whole wheat pasta and noodles
  • Whole grain pancake or waffle
  • Brown bread

So, eating healthy foods like whole grains, milk, vegetables, fruits etc. during your pregnancy is one of the best things you can do to keep yourself and the baby in your womb healthy.

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The Goodness of Milk During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, milk and milk related items provide various types of nutrients to the pregnant woman and her developing baby. According to clinical research, it is found that milk consumption during pregnancy shows better results. Moreover, it benefits newborn babies during the early stages of their lives. So, it is recommended to have at least three glasses of milk daily directly or indirectly.

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Benefits of milk during pregnancy:

As milk is one of the dietary sources of nutrients, intake of milk during pregnancy is very important. The following nutrients which are very essential for the proper growth of the foetus and also for the mother can be derived by consumption of milk.

  • Calcium

Milk is a vital source of calcium for human beings. During pregnancy, if the intake of calcium rich foods like milk is not adequate, then the foetus will not meet the demanding needs of calcium for healthier bones and teeth. So, it is very necessary for the mom-to-be to have the required quantity of calcium in the form of milk to keep her bones and and that of her developing baby strong. Drinking milk regularly will make both their bodies strong and flexible and also help in strengthening nails.

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  • Vitamin D

Milk is one of the few dietary sources of Vitamin D, which helps to prevent low birth weight, neonatal rickets and other associated problems.

  • Protein

An excellent source of protein, milk, if taken adequately, provides the protein needs of pregnant women. A cup of low fat milk daily provides 8.22 gm of proteins. Protein plays an important role during pregnancy as it serves a number of important functions like proper blood supply, build-up of the uterus, remodelling breasts and tissues of the baby. Inadequate consumption of protein can lead to low birth weight babies and other heart related problems during pregnancy.

Which type of milk is good for pregnant women?

According to research, it is found that babies born to mothers who drank sufficient milk during pregnancy are more likely to be tall as teenagers.

  • Low fat milk: It is not necessary to drink whole milk during pregnancy as the presence of unsaturated fats in whole milk is unhealthy for expecting mothers. So, it is better to consume low fat or non-fat milk. You can add skimmed milk to your diet in order to decrease the level of saturated fat.
  • Pasteurised milk: Drinking raw or unpasteurised milk or having anything made from raw milk is not safe for pregnant women. It increases the risk of various diseases for both the mother and the baby as it can carry microbes. So, it is very essential to have pasteurised milk. Generally, during pasteurisation microbes get destroyed when the milk is heated at a high temperature.

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Glycemic index of food you eat during pregnancy

Introduction:

During pregnancy, food with low glycemic index reduces the risk of various complications such as gestational diabetes. In addition, it helps in reducing the risk of high birth weight of the baby during delivery.

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A woman who is pregnant gains more weight on normal diet as compared to one with low glycemic index. Pregnant women can cut down excess weight to around 20 per cent if they follow a healthy diet with low glycemic index. So, it is very essential to have food with low glycemic index during pregnancy. However, take recommendations from your doctor before going on low glycemic index food.

What is glycemic index of food?

Glycemic index (GI) of food is the number which is associated with carbohydrate containing food indicating its effect on the blood sugar level of a person. Different foods have different glycemic index and a value of 100 is said to be the standard one. It is equivalent to pure glucose. This is a new method of analysing food, giving you the impact of particular food on the blood sugar level of your body.

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Suggestions to help you to take low glycemic index food:

  • Plan your meals and snacks for a couple of weeks using the glycemic index chart.
  • While shopping, carry the chart along with you, it will help you buy food that is low in GI.
  • Eat whole grains as they have more nutrients than refined ones; during pregnancy, it is very essential that you and your baby get proper nutrition.
  • You can include oatmeal, barley, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, high bran cereals and sprouted whole wheat products.
  • Have plenty of vegetables in your meals; some of the healthy options with low GI are broccoli, cauliflower, tomato, peas, carrot, cabbage, mushrooms, corn, eggplant, beans and sweet potatoes. Potatoes and pumpkin are high GI foods.
  • Eat plenty of fruits as they have lots of nutrients which are required for proper development of the baby. Oranges, plums, cherries, coconuts, kiwis, peaches and strawberries are some of the fruits with low GI. Dates and watermelons should be avoided during pregnancy as they are high GI fruits.

 

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  • It is essential to have low-fat dairy products as they provide calcium, responsible for healthy growth of bones, teeth and nails of the baby. Most of the low-fat dairy products are low in GI. Milk, yogurt and cottage cheese are not low but moderate GI foods.
  • You can eat white fish and chicken during pregnancy as these are low GI food. Pork, lamb and beef should be avoided.

Conclusion:

As the glycemic index of food you eat during pregnancy plays a vital role in the development of the baby, you should eat food with low GI. But don’t forget to consult your doctor before going through such diet.

Eat healthy and give birth to a healthy baby.

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Allergies During Pregnancy — Prevention and Cure

Pregnancy is one of life’s many phases when your body undergoes different changes. These changes occur mainly due to hormones which influence to a great extent your immune system and your susceptibility to allergies.

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Causes of allergies in pregnant women

Allergies are the most problems that occur during pregnancy due to various reasons. Fungus, dust, pollen etc. are some of the environmental allergens that lead to sniffling, sneezing, and watery eyes. Most pregnant women suffer from food allergies and have rashes or itching on skin. The allergic reactions may also occur due to medicines, chemicals, animal dander or insect bites. Some of the allergies go away quickly while some persist for long. This depends solely if you have taken these allergies seriously or not.

If you have asthma before conceiving, then you must take proper care so that it doesn’t worsen during pregnancy. You can take certain measures to prevent occurrence of allergies during this period.

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Follow these preventive measures:

  • Quit smoking during pregnancy. Moreover, stay away from people who smoke. It will not only help in preventing allergies but also help in the healthy development of your baby.
  • Avoid food causing allergies: When you get pregnant, make a note of those foods that you have already been allergic to. Some of the common food allergens are peanut, soy, wheat, sesame, egg, milk, fish, shellfish etc.  Such allergens have a tendency to trigger the immune system.  Once you have identified them and avoid them, then take expert opinion for confirming how your nutritional requirements are to be met.  Maintain a food diary before meeting the nutritionist.

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  • Stop alcohol intake: In order to avoid allergies during pregnancy, you should avoid taking alcohol which is dangerous to your baby, as well.
  • Stay indoors: If you are allergic to pollen, try to stay inside your house where there is filtered air conditioning. And if you go out, you can wear sunglasses and remove your shoes outside the door. Don’t forget to wash your face and hands immediately after coming from outside.
  • Stay away from dust: Use vacuum cleaners and wet mops to clean your house in order to avoid dust allergies during pregnancy. Keeping clean will help you avoid dust allergies.
  • Keep your pets away: During pregnancy, you may have allergic infections due to animal dander. If you have a pet at home, make sure to have a separate room in your house in which your pet doesn’t enter.
  • Avoid chemicals: During your pregnancy, stay away from household chemicals like paint thinner as it may worsen your allergies.

Treatment for allergies during pregnancy

If you are suffering from allergies before pregnancy and having regular medications, then you should consult your doctor if they can be continued or not after you get pregnant. While you should always consult your doctor before taking any type of medications, here are a few medications to treat allergies:

  • Antihistamines: Generally, over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines are considered to be safe during pregnancy. They help in treating seasonal allergies and perennial allergies. But they have side effects like drowsiness etc.
  • Allergy shots: If you are having allergy shots before pregnancy, then only allergy shots are considered to be safe. But many allergists feel that it not a good idea to start allergy shots during pregnancy as they may cause reactions to the already changing immune system due to pregnancy.

 

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How to protect yourself from the Summer heat during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, it is quite normal to feel hotter than usual. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, increased flow of blood and the heat produced by the placenta are factors responsible for high body temperature in pregnant women. But getting too hot is not good at all for the pregnant woman and the developing baby. Heat and humidity during summer makes you more uncomfortable when you are pregnant. The high body temperature added to the summer heat makes life more miserable. So, it is very necessary for you to remain cool during summer.

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Some tips for a cool and healthy pregnancy during summer:

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  • Staying hydrated is very important during pregnancy. Drink lots of fluids so that it will replace the fluids you lose in the form of sweat.
  • Remain indoors as much as possible and avoid exposure to direct sunlight.
  • Carry a water bottle along with you when you go out of your house.
  • Keep a small water-filled spray bottle with you to mist yourself whenever you feel warm.
  • Place a damp cloth on the back of your neck and forehead to keep yourself cool during summer.
  • Do your outdoor work in the morning or evening hours when the heat is low.
  • In order to prevent your rooms from heating up from direct sunlight, keep the curtains closed.
  • Take quick showers frequently during summer; it will help you to keep cool.
  • Wear loose fitting cotton clothes which will help avoid skin rashes under the breasts, abdomen etc. during pregnancy and keep you cool and comfortable.
  • Wear a light headscarf when you go out; it will help reduce direct sunlight.
  • Wear flip flops to keep your feet cool.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages, caffeine and street food during summer.
  • You can refresh yourself by having cold fruit or vegetable salad; it is not only refreshing but healthy, as well.

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  • Minimise intake of salt; it will help in combating water retention, making you stay more comfortable during summer.
  • You can exercise during the cooler time of the day and avoid doing it till the point of exhaustion.
  • Stay in cool places as much as possible at the time of your pregnancy during summer.

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Intake of Ghee during pregnancy – good or bad?

Introduction

Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the key factors for a healthy pregnancy as the baby receives its nutrition from the food that the pregnant woman eats. During the nine months of pregnancy, you have to follow a strict diet and may have a variety of problems like uneasiness, nausea, mood swings etc. But all these seem nothing in comparison to the little bundle of joy that will arrive at the end of the third trimester. So, make the best of your pregnancy by having nutritious food that will help your baby develop in a healthy manner.

All through your pregnancy, you will get an array of advice regarding what food you must eat and what you should avoid. Ghee is one such item in the food list suggested by your relatives and other concerned people.

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Importance of ghee

An integral part of Indian cuisine, ghee is nothing but clarified butter. It has lots of nutritional benefits and contains Omega 9 fatty acids, Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants etc. Though there are many health benefits of ghee for a normal person but whether the consumption of ghee during pregnancy is beneficial is not properly known.

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Some of the health benefits of ghee are:

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  • Maintains the cholesterol level of blood
  • Stimulates the digestive fibre of the body
  • Enhances metabolism
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Moisturises and nourishes skin
  • Nourishes scalp hair
  • Maintains healthy growth of brain and bones of the baby

Consumption of ghee during pregnancy

According to nutritionists, the consumption of ghee is not a good idea during pregnancy as ghee is said to be a saturated fat. Though the benefits of ghee for pregnant women is not proven, but in Indian culture it is believed that consuming ghee during this period has the following effects.

  • Helps in the development of the baby’s brain
  • Nourishes the baby
  • Helps in relieving constipation
  • Improves digestive function
  • Helps to induce labour by acting as a laxative
  • Helps in stimulating contractions naturally for smooth delivery

Conclusion

If you follow a diet that consists of fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy options, adding ghee in a small proportion to your diet does not cause any harm. Homemade ghee is often supposed to be a healthy option and is considered stable for cooking in comparison to butter or oil. And if your weight gain is quite normal, it is safe to have ghee during this period. But if you have gained excess weight, it is advisable not to take ghee. No matter what, it is always good to consult your doctor regarding the inclusion of ghee in your diet and in what amount.

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Common Problems in Babies

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Why do babies cry?

Most parents nowadays expect babies to behave like adults from the time they are born! They think every cry has a medical reason, and most of them want a medicine to help the baby to stop crying!

Babies require timely attention and constant contact with their mothers. They try to convey their feelings through the only language they know. Crying is not always a call for food.

What can make a baby cry?

  • When it is hungry
  • If it is uncomfortable
  • If it is feeling hot or cold
  • If it is ill
  • The baby may just want to go out, as it is bored with the same environment
  • If the baby has colic – this problem is so exaggerated that most babies are on anti-colic medications nowadays
  • Evening colic is very common between 6 pm and 11 pm

Your exclusively breastfed baby will not require medicine for the following during the neonatal period (first 6 months)

  1. Breast engorgement in newborns – Don’t squeeze it
  2. Bleeding per vagina – It will stop in 4 days
  3. Constipation – Common to pass stool even once in 3-5 days
  4. Frequent passage of stools – Stool of babies who are breastfed are sticky golden yellow
  5. Indigestion and vomiting – Requires only proper positioning and burping
  6. Crying before and after passing urine and stool


Jaundice in Newborns

Jaundice in newborn babies is normal and often not very serious. Majority of babies can have Jaundice at birth. When your baby’s skin turns yellow it’s called Jaundice. The whites of your baby’s eyes may also turn yellow. This is due to excess amount of a pigment called bilirubin. The bilirubin comes from the breakdown of old red blood cells.

This type of Jaundice starts when the baby is 2 to 3 days old. It goes away by the time your baby is 2 to 3 weeks old. Jaundice progresses from head to toes; and it regresses from below upwards. White part of eyes may remain yellow for a longer period of up to 2 to 3 weeks.

 Rh or ABO problems

Jaundice can happen if the mother and baby have different blood group types. There are two different types of blood group incompatibility that can cause Jaundice. When the mother’s blood group is O positive and the baby’s group is A, B or AB positive; or when the mother’s blood type is negative and the baby’s blood type is positive. This type of Jaundice more often starts from the first day of the baby’s life. Please ask your Pediatrician for further information. Your baby can also get Jaundice by being born too early, or from infection and diseases like neonatal hepatitis syndrome.

Breast Milk Jaundice (BMJ)

It is normal for breastfeeding babies to have Jaundice. It usually occurs at 10 to 21 days of age, and can last for 2 to 3 months. As long as the baby is gaining weight, passing lots of clear yellow urine and yellow or green stools, and having bowel movements, there is no need to be worried. It is not harmful, therefore do not stop breastfeeding.

Diarrhoea

  • Thirst is the earliest indicator of dehydration. Look for it.
  • Sunken eyeballs and fontanelle indicate dehydration.
  • Replace the amount of water lost in diarrhoea.
  • Like flowers, children also droop without water.
  • A child suffering from diarrhoea loses lot of fluid from the body. Hence, it is important for the child to be hydrated enough at regular intervals to compensate the loss of fluid.
  • A child who dies from diarrhea, dies from dehydration.
  • Use salt sugar solution (SSS) to prevent dehydration. A glass of water mixed with a pinch of salt and a spoon of sugar in small quantity should be given to the baby suffering from diarrhoea.
  • A right way of administering salt, sugar solution is 5 teaspoon every 10 minutes.
  • Too much salt and sugar in the rehydration fluid is dangerous.
  • Let the parents make oral rehydration solution (ORS) and feed the baby before they leave from home – 50 to 100cc/kg every 4 hours.
  • Use medicines for diarrhoea only on doctor’s advice (Zinc is needed).
  • Other drugs for diarrhea may do more harm than good.
  • Continue breastfeeding during diarrhoea.
  • Diarrhoea is not worsened by giving food.
  • The worst treatment for diarrhoea is to stop food and fluids.
  • Give one extra feed for one week after diarrhoea.
  • Wet mopping of floor twice a day prevents diarrhoea.
  • Everything that goes in his mouth, must be clean.
  • Malnutrition can also be a cause for diarrhoea, so avoid malnutrition. Diarrhoea, in turn, leads to malnutrition.
  • To prevent diarrhoea: continue breastfeeds, give measles vaccine, use proper sanitation, keep food and water clean, wash hands before touching food, control houseflies, give vitamin A.

Common respiratory infections and wheezing

There are different reasons why your child may cough or wheeze. Possible causes include:

  • Colds or other viruses – this is a very common cause of coughing.
  • Choking – the coughing is sudden and the child has not been unwell.
  • Croup – this tends to cause a barking, hoarse cough.
  • Bronchiolitis – this is a chest infection, which can cause coughing and wheezing.
  • Smoke – smoking around babies can cause them to cough and should be avoided.
  • Allergy – this can cause coughing after exposure to specific substances.
  • Asthma – coughing tends to be worse at night or after exercise. The child may also wheeze.
  • Whooping cough – a contagious infection, which can be prevented by immunization.
  • Pneumonia – this causes a sudden onset of cough, high fever and fast breathing; it can be prevented by immunization.

 When to seek immediate medical help

Children can stop breathing during a severe respiratory attack. If the coughing and wheezing don’t settle, or if your baby becomes more distressed or unwell, take the baby to your doctor or children’s hospital straight away.

Seek immediate medical help in these situations

  • Breathing problems – if your child is having difficulty breathing or its breathing becomes rapid or irregular.
  • Breathing is noisy – if your baby’s breathing is noisy when they are not crying.
  • Skin colour changes – if the skin turns blue or the baby becomes very pale.
  • Tired – if baby seem unusually tired.
  • Choking – if your baby suddenly starts to cough and has not been unwell, they may be choking. They may have breathed something into their airways. Choking requires immediate emergency treatment.
  • Something stuck in the nose – a child with a one sided runny or blocked nose may have something stuck in their nose and should be seen by a doctor.
  • Refuses food or drink — this should always be a cause for concern.
  • Fever – if baby has a temperature over 37°C