Safe Eats for Mom-to-Be:
Eating Out During Pregnancy

Craving a plate of steaming Pad Thai or a juicy Paneer Burger during pregnancy? Don’t put those cravings on hold! With a little preparation and some smart choices, venturing out to your favourite restaurants can be a delightful and satisfying dining experience for both you and your growing baby.

husband feeding pregnant wife

Many women crave restaurant meals during pregnancy, but concerns about food safety can dampen those desires. The good news is that with a little planning and awareness, enjoying a night out doesn’t have to be risky. Here’s how to navigate restaurant menus and buffets while keeping you and your baby healthy.

Choosing the Right Restaurant

Look for Certifications: Opt for restaurants with certifications from local health authorities and good online reviews regarding cleanliness.

Freshness is Key: Order dishes made to order and served hot. Avoid buffets where food may have been sitting out for extended periods.

Making Savvy Menu Choices

Cooked Foods: Order dishes that are freshly cooked and served hot. Avoid raw or undercooked meats, seafood, and eggs, as they may contain harmful bacteria and parasites.

Fruits and Vegetables: Avoid pre-cut raw fruits and vegetables unless you wash and peel them yourself or you trust the restaurant’s hygiene standards. Opt for cooked vegetables instead.

Dairy Products: Ensure all dairy products, including milk, cheese, and yoghurt, are pasteurised. Unpasteurised products can carry harmful bacteria like Listeria.

Seafood: Avoid raw seafood like sushi and sashimi. Ensure all seafood is well-cooked to avoid bacterial contamination. Be cautious with shellfish as they are prone to toxins and bacteria.

Avoid Pre-Packaged Salads

Avoid pre-packaged salads from stores or buffets. They may have been sitting out for a long time and are more prone to bacterial contamination.

Avoid salads with unpasteurised cheese (such as feta, Brie, Camembert, and blue cheese) and dressings made with raw eggs or unpasteurised milk.

Avoid salads containing processed meats, such as deli meats, hot dogs, and smoked seafood, which can harbour Listeria.

Homemade Salads: Prefer salads made at home where you can control the washing and preparation process. If making dressings at home, use pasteurised eggs or avoid raw eggs altogether. Consider using vinegar or lemon juice-based dressings, which are safer options.

Temperature Control: Keep salads cold until ready to be eaten. If transporting salads, use ice packs or a cooler.

Women eating

Water and Beverages

Water: Drink only bottled water with intact seals or boiled water.

Ice: Avoid ice in drinks, as it may be made from unfiltered water. Opt for beverages served without ice or ensure the ice is made from safe, filtered water.

Beverages: Avoid unpasteurised juices and beverages.

Handling Buffets

Freshness: Ensure buffet items are freshly prepared and not left out for extended periods. Hot items should be steaming, and cold items should be properly refrigerated.

Serving Utensils: Use the serving utensils provided and avoid cross-contamination between different dishes.

group of women eating

General Precautions

Hand Hygiene: Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitiser containing at least 60% alcohol.

Food Temperature: Consume food while it is still hot. Avoid food that has been left out at room temperature for more than two hours.

Street Food: Street food often lacks proper hygiene standards and poses a higher risk of contamination. When eating outside, avoid all raw foods or drinks (like pani puri water, jal jeera, sugarcane juice, sprouts, etc.). Also, avoid eating and drinking from roadside stalls.

Prefer to have your favourite chats made at home.

Leftovers at home

Avoid eating leftovers, especially if they have not been stored and reheated properly. Maintaining the right food temperature during pregnancy is crucial to preventing foodborne illnesses –

Hot Foods: hot foods at 60°C (140°F) or above to prevent bacterial growth.

Cold foods: Keep cold foods at 4°C (40°F) or below.

Ask About Food Preparation: When in doubt, ask restaurant staff about how food is prepared and stored.

Seek out restaurants that display certifications from local health authorities. This signifies their commitment to food safety protocols.

By following these simple yet effective tips, you can transform your next restaurant outing into a delightful and safe experience. Remember, a healthy and happy mom-to-be translates into a healthy and happy baby! So, go forth, explore new culinary delights, and embrace the joys of dining out during your pregnancy journey!

Dr Latha Sashi
Chief Nutritionist & Head,

Dept of Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics, Fernandez Hospital

International Women’s Day: Celebrating and Embracing Inclusive Healthcare for Women

Today is International Women’s Day. The time of the year when women’s achievements, contributions, and rights are brought to the limelight. It is the only day when women from the past are lauded for their initiatives and success in establishing equality for women. But these are not the sole purposes of this day.

Wones Day

International Women’s Day is a reminder that nudges us to continue the fight for women’s equality and equity every year. This year’s theme is ‘Inspire Inclusion’, Everyone deserves an opportunity to live a healthy life, and this is where health equity in women’s healthcare matters.

Healthcare equity implies that every woman receives a fair and just chance at quality healthcare services regardless of where they come from or how they look.

Are our women receiving quality, respectful, and impartial healthcare?

It is crucial to reflect on the progress made in the realms of reproductive, sexual, and maternal healthcare. Although we have come a long way, there is still more to achieve and implement in ensuring the best healthcare for women. We need to make sure that every woman, regardless of their background and circumstances, gets accessible healthcare services and can make informed choices about their body and life.

Women of every age have the right to receive accessible healthcare where all their needs are addressed. We can look at the healthcare needs of women by tracing them through different phases of their lives.

Adolescent Health

Adolescence is a crucial stage in a woman’s life where she goes through several physical and psychological changes. Comprehensive sex education and safe healthcare environments are inevitable in developing inclusive healthcare solutions.

Quality menstrual and reproductive healthcare can enable girls to have better health later in their lives. Menstrual health issues are often overlooked with shame and stigma in our society. Thus, only a few girls come forward to access healthcare services.

women

Inclusive, safe, and non-judgemental health screenings for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) like HIV and HPV are necessary. The healthcare providers should be trained to offer care without any bias. Early detection and prevention of prevalent reproductive health issues, including cervical and ovarian cancer, PCOD, PCOS, and endometriosis, is indispensable. This includes accessible HPV vaccinations and cervical cancer screenings at all levels of health centres.

Maternity Care

Maternity healthcare includes access to safe infertility treatments, counselling on contraception and family planning, respectful prenatal care, postnatal care, and nutrition. The lack of these basic services undermines and endangers the rights and well-being of women.

pregnant women

It is necessary to recognise and respect women’s autonomy and dignity while providing reproductive and maternal healthcare services. A woman-centred maternity care ensures that every mother-to-be makes informed choices and gets quality care irrespective of socio-economic differences.

Menopausal Healthcare

Towards the end of reproductive years, women go through another set of physical and psychological changes. A woman’s nutrition needs can change after and during menopause. The changes begin gradually with the perimenopausal phase. Women often fail to recognise the signs due to the lack of awareness. After menopause, many women become prone to health conditions like osteoporosis and are exposed to risks of cardiovascular diseases.

women

There is a need to spread awareness about perimenopause and postmenopausal health among women and health professionals. Women should be guided through this stage with the right nutrition and health treatments.

Providing healthcare equity for women does not end with focusing on one aspect. Instead, a comprehensive healthcare system needs to be developed where all health conditions are addressed and treated. Non-judgemental, safe, and inclusive spaces are what our women need. Reforming the design of the healthcare system to actively involve women and their health issues will not just serve women and girls in the present but also future generations.

Your Ultimate Guide to Menstrual Cups

Have menstrual products truly come a long way, from pads with belts to winged pads and tampons? Could the eco-friendly menstrual cup, crafted from silicone and latex, be the game-changer? Are menstrual cups better than traditional pads or tampons? Join us as we delve into their safety, usage, and benefits – a quest for a greener and more comfortable period.

Are Menstrual Cups Safe?

Menstrual cups, like most menstrual products, do carry a level of risk. The risks with cups, however, are considered minimal and are less likely to occur when the cups are used as recommended. Washing your hands thoroughly with warm water and fragrance-free soap before insertion and removal will help you avoid potential infections and risks.

How to Use a Menstrual Cup

Cups are simple to figure out. Most brands provide a how-to-use leaflet with instructions. Discovering the right menstrual cup size is crucial for a comfortable experience. If you’re a first-time user, consider starting with a small size. Sizes typically range from small to large, each designed to cater to different needs.

  • Small: Ideal for those with a lighter flow or who have not given birth.
  • Medium: Suitable for those with a moderate flow and may have given birth.
  • Large: Recommended for a heavier flow or for individuals who have given birth.

Choosing the Right Size

Choosing the right size ensures not only a secure fit but also effective leak protection. Now, let’s dive into the step-by-step guide on how to use a menstrual cup!

Step 1: Wash your hands well with soap and warm water.

Step 2: Wet the cup with water or use water-based lube on the outsides of the cup before insertion.

Step 3: Tightly fold the rib of the cup and fold it into a C-shape.

Step 4: Relax your pelvic muscles and gently insert the cup. It may take a few tries, but soon you will master the technique.

Advantages of Using a Menstrual Cup:

Picture a period where you can go about your day without the constant concern of leaks. Menstrual cups create a secure seal, providing unparalleled leak protection. Menstrual cups are cost-effective, eco-friendly, and long-lasting. Cups are reusable, meaning less waste and a smaller carbon footprint. They can also be used during exercise and swimming and don’t interfere with or disrupt your IUCD.

The steps to using a menstrual cup may be new, but the rewards are boundless. This little silicone product offers comfort, environmental benefits, and lower health risks.

To learn more about what socio-demographic factors support disposable vs. sustainable menstrual choices in India, click here.

Better Birthing Experience: A Thought-Provoking Finish | Day 2

On Day 2 of the Better Birthing Experience Conference, delegates and faculty delved deep into thought-provoking panel discussions on reducing unnecessary interventions. Talks and discussions ranged from how to offer VBACs, delayed cord clamping, breech births, and perinatal mental health education. The conference encapsulated a rich tapestry of contemporary childbirth practices and, most importantly, how birth professionals need to listen to women’s voices. Moreover, the significance of culturally appropriate childbirth education took centre stage, affirming the holistic approach towards fostering optimal birthing experiences.

In this blog, we put the spotlight on the diverse talks and panel discussions that marked Day 2 of the Better Birthing Experience conference.

If you haven’t already seen our Day 1 blog recap of the conference, be sure to check it out.

 

The Fourteenth Dr Lourdes C. Fernandez Oration

Ms Karuna Vakati, an IAS officer, currently serving as the Secretary at the Department of Education in the Government of Telangana, delivered the 14th Dr Lourdes C. Fernandez Oration on Telangana’s remarkable journey into midwifery. In her oration, Karuna traced the origins of this transformative initiative, highlighting how it all began with Fernandez. She eloquently described Telangana’s Midwifery Journey as a testament to progressive healthcare practices. She emphasised the crucial role of Fernandez, UNICEF, and the Government of Telangana in laying the foundation for improved maternal and newborn health in the region.

Can we reduce unnecessary medical interventions?

The panel discussion was led by senior consultant Dr Nuzhat Aziz, who heads Fernandez’s Obstetric Emergency Department, and had a stellar panel, comprising Dr Malathi Ponnuru, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Andhra Pradesh Medical Council; Sheetal Samson, Professional Midwife, and National Midwifery Educator,  Dr Vijaya Krishnan, Certified Professional Midwife (CPM), co-founder-The Sanctum, Natural Birth Centre and Dr Jogitha Unni, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Fernandez Hospital. Each panellist discussed the challenges and opportunities when it comes to reducing medical interventions in their settings.

Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC)

Dr Vijaya Krishnan’s talk on VBACs focused on how it is crucial for women who have previously undergone a caesarean section. VBACs allow women to have a vaginal birth for their subsequent pregnancies, reducing the need for surgical interventions and the potential complications associated with multiple caesarean deliveries. Throughout the programme, participants were guided through comprehensive counselling sessions, receiving in-depth information about the risks and benefits associated with VBAC. They were educated about the factors influencing successful VBAC, including uterine rupture, maternal age, and the interpregnancy interval. By addressing their concerns and providing factual details, participants felt empowered and informed about the birthing options, leading to reduced anxiety and increased confidence in the ability to achieve a successful VBAC.

Term Breech Births 

The session was followed by a talk on Breech Births by Kate Stringer. Kate is a Consultant Midwife at the Surrey and Sussex NHS Trust. She has extensive experience in education, training, clinical practice, midwifery-led care, and public health initiatives in the UK and India. In her talk, she focused on identifying the characteristics based on the current evidence concerning fetal positions, the mechanisms of breech birth and characteristics of breech labours. This is to increase care providers’ knowledge in the management of women in labour with a breech-presenting fetus.

Delayed Cord Clamping

Dr Nuzhat Aziz, who heads Fernandez’s Obstetric Emergency Department, delivered an insightful talk on delayed cord clamping during the conference. She emphasised why delay in clamping the umbilical cord has been linked to notable advantages for premature babies. With a blend of expertise and passion, she illuminated the significance of this practice in childbirth. She elucidated the scientific rationale behind delayed cord clamping and its role in promoting a smoother transition for newborns. Her compelling presentation inspired attendees and underscored this practice’s importance in facilitating a healthier start for infants.

Physiological Third Stage

Ms Sheetal Samson, Professional Midwife and National Midwifery Educator at Fernandez Hospital, explained how, in a physiological third stage of labour, you wait for the placenta to arrive on its own. It is the duty of the midwife to wait to cut the umbilical cord after the baby is born so that oxygenated blood may flow from the placenta to the child.

Postpartum Mental Health

The postpartum period, encompassing pregnancy, can be emotionally challenging for many parents. Dr Shubangi Dere offered valuable guidance on recognising and addressing issues like prenatal and postpartum depression and anxiety, empowering health providers to prioritise the mental well-being of pregnant mothers.

Culturally Appropriate Childbirth Education

Why does family matter in childbirth education? This essential question forms the core of Anupama Kumar Vijayanand’s talk. She is a certified childbirth educator, doula, and the founder of Vriksham Pregnancy Care. She emphasised the pivotal role of family in the birthing process and highlighted the significance of childbirth education for fathers and in-laws. Moreover, she delved into the evolving beliefs surrounding childbirth, acknowledging the dynamic shift in perceptions and practices over the years. Understanding these changing perspectives is fundamental in tailoring childbirth education to meet the diverse cultural needs and preferences of today’s families.

Listening to Women’s Voices

The panel discussion was led by Dr Evita Fernandez, the Managing Trustee of Fernandez Hospital Educational and Research Foundation (FHERF). The panel comprised four women with varied birthing experiences – some were traumatic, and the others very blissful.  All the women agreed that birth trauma significantly altered their mental health, but they wanted to share their experiences so others could learn from it.

Master Class on Breech Births

Day 3 of the Better Birthing Experience conference was the Master Class on Breech Births by Kate Stringer. The class had over 150 participants from across India and helped participants gain a thorough understanding of how to facilitate breech deliveries.

Better Birthing Experience: A Pioneering Conference for Childbirth Practitioners

Pregnancy, labour, and childbirth are life-changing experiences for a woman and her family. For couples, this is also a time filled with uncertainties, questions, and apprehensions. How do birth professionals make birthing a positive experience for women? How can they remove apprehensions and ensure women are empowered to give birth with confidence?

To answer these questions and equip birth professionals with the latest knowledge about normal undisturbed births, Fernandez Hospital Educational and Research Foundation, in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), organised the Better Birthing Experience Conference in Hyderabad recently. The conference provided invaluable guidance and support for healthcare providers. The faculty covered a wide variety of topics, from optimal birthing positions and perinatal mental health education to the importance of undisturbed birth and culturally appropriate childbirth education.

In this blog, we will highlight the topics and workshops covered on Day 1 of the conference held on 4 November 2023.

The conference had close to 400 delegates from around 19 states in India and a few other international ones, too. With a mix of professionals, including childbirth educators, obstetricians, midwives, physiotherapists, nurses, doulas, and policymakers, the Better Birthing Experience conference was truly the first of its kind.

Dr Evita Fernandez

Dr Evita Fernandez, the Managing Trustee of the Fernandez Hospital Educational and Research Foundation (FHERF) kickstarted the conference with a powerful introduction on why women all over the world deserve better and positive experiences and, as birth professionals, we owe it to them.

The Beauty of Undisturbed Births

“Undisturbed births are endangered today”, Priyanka Idicula beautifully described what undisturbed births are and how, as healthcare providers, we need to protect the environment in which women birth! Priyanka emphasised the importance of allowing the birthing process to unfold naturally with minimal interventions. Attendees and delegates learned how a calm and supportive environment, combined with respectful care, can enhance the birthing experience, and promote better outcomes for both mother and baby.

After that talk, Priyanka followed it up with a workshop on Birthing Positions. Attendees learned about the advantages of various birthing positions, which can significantly impact the ease and comfort of labour and delivery. Knowledge about these positions empowers parents to make informed choices about their birthing experience.

Priyanka demonstrates the different birthing positions that a woman can choose while birthing

Gentle Birthing

Dr Gowri Motha, world-renowned obstetrician and pioneer of the Gentle Birthing Method, discussed and advocated for a more serene and compassionate birthing experience. She encouraged birth professionals to learn gentle handling of mothers, positive communication, and comfort measures, helping to create a calm and reassuring atmosphere during labour and delivery.

Hydrotherapy and Water Births

Hydrotherapy and water births are gaining popularity as they offer pain relief, relaxation, and buoyancy during labour. Better Birthing Experience Conferences provided insights into the benefits and techniques of water birth in the workshopHydrotherapy and Water Births” by Ms Indie Kaur and Dr Usha Ukande. The knowledge gave healthcare providers a chance to learn and explore how water birth and hydrotherapy work during labour.

Optimal Fetal Positions

The Optimal Fetal Positions workshop was a comprehensive session focused on educating participants about the importance of fetal positioning during pregnancy and labour. Led by Dr Latha Balasundaram, Head, Dept of  Physiotherapy, Fernandez Hospital and Ms Sheetal Samson, National Midwifery Educator at NMTI Fernandez, the workshop delved into various techniques and exercises that can help optimise the positioning of the fetus for a smoother birthing process. Attendees gained valuable insights into the impact of maternal positioning on the progression of labour, as well as learned practical strategies to enhance maternal comfort and facilitate an optimal birth experience.

Delegates learn optimal fetal positions facilitated by Dr Latha Balasundaram

Perinatal Mental Health Education

The perinatal period, encompassing pregnancy and the postpartum period, can be emotionally challenging for many parents. The conference had a detailed workshop on “A framework for prenatal mental health education and screening for obstetricians” by Dr Sai Krishna and Dr Shubangi Dere. The session offered valuable guidance on identifying and addressing issues like prenatal and postpartum depression and anxiety, empowering health providers to prioritise their mental well-being.

Language Matters

Does language matter in a labour room?  What role does respect play in maternity care? How does respectful maternity care (RMC) look in reality? The workshop on  RMC by the Fernandez team had all the participants thinking about how they treat mothers. During the workshop, the attendees were divided into diverse groups, fostering collaborative discussions, and sharing learning experiences. The team of Fernandez doctors guided each group through a series of engaging sessions aimed at promoting awareness and understanding of the crucial role of language in fostering respectful maternal care. Participants actively delved into the nuances of communication, emphasising the significance of using compassionate and empowering language when interacting with expectant mothers and addressing their healthcare needs. Through various role-play exercises and case studies, attendees developed a heightened sensitivity to the impact of language on maternal well-being, enabling them to cultivate a more empathetic and supportive environment within healthcare settings.

The Power of Hypnobirthing

The workshop on Hypnobirthing facilitated by Dr Pooja Shenoy had practical demonstrations in which participants gained a comprehensive understanding of how hypnobirthing can alleviate fear and anxiety during childbirth, promoting a more relaxed and positive birthing experience. The workshop emphasised the importance of mindfulness, breathing exercises, and deep relaxation techniques in empowering expectant mothers to harness their innate ability to manage pain and facilitate a smoother labour process.

Overall, day one at the Better Birthing Experience Conference had a treasure trove of information and practical workshops to deepen the understanding of health professionals.

The Sound of New Beginnings: Understanding Newborn Hearing Screening

The birth of a newborn is a transformative moment, inundating our lives with an abundance of wonder, hope, and love. It marks the beginning of a remarkable journey that is awe-inspiring and responsible. Among these responsibilities, none are as crucial as safeguarding the health and development of your child. This journey into parenthood is not just about cuddles and cooing; it is a profound commitment to nurture, protect, and ensure the well-being of your little one.

One of the most vital aspects of this journey is the newborn hearing screening, a procedure that might not initially stand out but is integral to your baby’s early development. In this blog, we embark on an exploration of the intricacies surrounding this essential examination. We will uncover what this hearing test entails, why it is a fundamental component of your baby’s health, and how it plays a pivotal role in the foundation of your child’s overall well-being.

What is Hearing Screening?

Newborn hearing screening is an objective test designed to assess your baby’s hearing soon after birth. It helps determine if your baby’s hearing is within the normal range or if further evaluation is necessary. Normal hearing is essential for a baby’s speech and language development.

Why is newborn Hearing Screening important?

Hearing loss is one of the most common birth disorders in newborns. Statistics show that approximately four to six babies out of every 1,000 born may have congenital or other forms of hearing loss.1 Screening and early diagnosis of hearing problems are crucial to promptly identifying auditory issues in infants.

Further, this early intervention can profoundly impact a child’s communication and language development. Unidentified hearing loss can lead to difficulties in behaviour, academic achievement, and language development without it.

When is the Hearing Screening test conducted?

Hearing screening for a newborn should ideally be performed after 12 hours of birth. If, for any reason, the screening is missed during the hospital stay, it must be conducted before your baby reaches one month of age or within six weeks. After this period, the calibration of the screening equipment may no longer be accurate.

How is Hearing screening done?

Two main methods to assess a newborn’s hearing are Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) and Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR). In AABR, electrodes are placed on specific areas of the baby’s head, and a soft ear tip is gently inserted into the baby’s ear. This ear tip emits a clicking sound, and the equipment records the baby’s hearing response, determining whether it is a pass or a refer. The process is quick, typically taking 15 to 20 minutes, and not painful for the baby. It is often conducted while the baby is asleep.

What if your newborn does not pass the hearing test?

If your newborn does not achieve a successful result in the hearing test, it is essential to understand that this does not automatically indicate a hearing impairment. Various factors, including the presence of ear fluid, ambient noise levels, or even your baby’s crying, can affect the screening outcomes. Nevertheless, a non-passing result should serve as a trigger for scheduling a follow-up diagnostic assessment before your baby reaches three months of age.

How is hearing loss treated in babies?

If your baby is diagnosed with hearing loss, various interventions are available, including hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other treatments. It is crucial to engage with your paediatrician if you notice that your child does not react to loud noises or seems unresponsive to sounds.

Newborn hearing screening is not just a medical test but a cornerstone in ensuring your baby’s bright and healthy future. Identifying and addressing potential hearing issues early on gives every child the best chance to embrace the world of sound, speech, and language. It is the gift of hearing, a gift that lasts a lifetime.

 

Newborn hearing screening might seem like a routine medical procedure, but it holds a profound significance. It is an early opportunity to assess and address potential hearing issues in your baby, ensuring they have access to the world of sound and communication right from the start. By diving into the details of this screening, we hope to illuminate its importance and empower you with the knowledge and understanding you need to make informed decisions about your child’s health and development.

 

[1]Roush, Jackson, et al. “Hearing Screening in North Carolina’s NICU and Well-Baby Nurseries: Impact of JCIH 2019 and COVID-19.” Journal of Early Hearing Detection and Intervention 7.1 (2022): 11-23.

Safeguarding Our Children: The Significance of Polio Vaccinations

Polio, short for poliomyelitis, is a highly contagious and potentially crippling disease caused by the poliovirus. It primarily affects children under the age of five and can lead to paralysis or even death within hours of infection. The virus is transmitted by ingesting contaminated food or water that contains the faecal material of an infected person. In this blog, we aim to shed light on the importance of polio vaccinations in protecting our children from this devastating illness and promoting a polio-free world.

So, the first question that comes to mind is how the transmission of polio occurs. Polio is caused by the poliovirus, which attacks the nervous system and can lead to paralysis. This virus is transmitted through contact with infected faeces. Once inside the body, the virus multiplies in the intestine and is excreted in faeces, potentially spreading the infection to others.

Who is at risk of Polio?

Children under five years of age are most vulnerable to polio. However, adults who have not been immunised and healthcare personnel working with polio cases can also be at risk. Approximately one in every 200 people infected with polio will experience irreversible paralysis, usually affecting the legs1. In severe cases, it can even impact the respiratory muscles and the spinal cord.

Can we prevent Polio?

There is no specific cure for paralytic polio, which is why prevention is of paramount importance. The most effective method for preventing polio is through vaccination.

Two types of vaccines are available for this purpose: the oral polio vaccine (OPV) and the injectable polio vaccine (IPV). It is essential to recognise that while significant progress has been made in curbing polio through relentless vaccination efforts, the threat of its resurgence still lingers.

However, the persistent and dedicated work of vaccination campaigns has led to a gradual decline in polio cases.

 

A graphical presentation of India’s success over the years:2

Should a child receive OPV during campaigns and routine immunisations?

Absolutely! It is highly recommended that children receive the oral polio vaccine (OPV) during both vaccination campaigns and routine immunisation schedules. OPV has a well-established track record of safety and effectiveness in preventing polio. To ensure comprehensive protection against this crippling disease, it is crucial to guarantee that every child receives the vaccine. It is important to note that multiple doses of OPV are necessary to establish strong immunity against polio, making it even more imperative to include OPV in both routine and campaign-based immunisation efforts. By doing so, we take a significant step towards safeguarding the health and well-being of our children and contributing to the global mission of eradicating polio.

Is it important to receive both OPV and IPV?

Both OPV and IPV are recommended for a child. OPV induces intestinal local immunity, which not only protects the vaccinated individual but also prevents the transmission of the virus. IPV, on the other hand, is increasingly being used in efforts to phase out OPV while continuing the fight against polio.

A collective responsibility

Polio, once a devastating global health threat, has now been reduced to a few remaining pockets due to the tireless efforts of vaccination campaigns. It is crucial to understand that the threat of polio is not entirely eradicated, and the disease can make a comeback if vaccination efforts wane. The importance of polio vaccinations lies in their role in protecting children from a life-altering and potentially fatal illness. By ensuring that children receive their recommended doses of the vaccine, we not only shield them from the debilitating effects of polio but also contribute to the global mission of eradicating the disease altogether. The significance of polio vaccinations extends beyond individual health; it is a collective responsibility to create a safer and healthier world for future generations.

At Fernandez, we are dedicated to creating a polio-free world. We strongly encourage parents and caregivers to ensure that children under the age of five receive the necessary polio vaccinations. It is only through collective action and vaccination that we can achieve complete polio eradication. Together, we can safeguard our children and work towards a healthier, polio-free future.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to your neonatologists. Call 1800 419 1397 for appointments.


1Lahariya, Chandrakant. “A brief history of vaccines & vaccination in India.” The Indian journal of medical research 139.4 (2014): 491.

2https://iimcnews6.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/polio-eradication-indias-success-2/

Empowering Expectant Moms: Navigating BMI with the Body Positive Clinic

Pregnancy is a transformative journey filled with joy and anticipation. However, for pregnant women with a high Body Mass Index (BMI), this journey can come with increased health risks. Recognising this, Fernandez’s Body Positive Clinic was established with a mission to provide specialised care and support to pregnant women with a BMI of 40 and above.

The Body Positive Clinic began in June 2023, aiming to offer focused antenatal care, intrapartum monitoring, and postpartum follow-up. In just four months, the clinic has been supporting 38 mothers with dedicated care. Operating every Friday from 9 AM to noon, the clinic takes eight appointments each week.

Pregnant Women

The Journey so far

Pregnant women with morbid obesity face heightened risks of maternal and perinatal complications. Fernandez’s Body Positive Clinic has developed a specialised algorithmic care approach that has been proven to improve outcomes for these mothers. Through a team of skilled healthcare providers, the clinic offers personalised care that addresses the unique challenges associated with a high BMI during pregnancy.

Understanding BMI and Its Importance

BMI, or Body Mass Index, is a crucial metric that assesses an individual’s body fat based on height and weight. For pregnant women, maintaining a healthy BMI is vital because an elevated BMI can lead to various complications during pregnancy. A BMI at or above 30 is considered obese and 40 is severely obese. This index plays a pivotal role in determining the risk factors and care needed during pregnancy.

How High BMI Affects Pregnancy

High BMI during pregnancy is associated with a range of complications, including diabetes, hypertensive disorders, preterm births, increased rates of caesarean births, anaesthesia-related challenges, macrosomic babies, foetal anomalies, intrauterine foetal demise, postpartum haemorrhage, and surgical site infections. Fernandez’s Body Positive Clinic understands these risks and works diligently to mitigate them through specialised care.

Clinic’s Operation

Fernandez’s Body Positive Clinic operates as a specialty clinic, featuring a team of doctors from various medical fields, such as:

  • Obstetrics
  • Foetal medicine
  • Nutrition
  • Dietetics, and
  • Physiotherapy

The clinic operates weekly, offering a fixed number of appointments to ensure individualised care, attention, and long-term follow-up throughout pregnancy, labour, and post-birth. The dedicated team focuses on antenatal care, foetal surveillance, physical activity, and dietary modifications essential for healthy pregnancy outcomes.

Post-Birth Follow-Up

Body Positive Clinic goes the extra mile by following up with mothers not only throughout pregnancy but also during the postpartum period. This commitment extends to at least 12 months post-birth, ensuring that mothers receive continued support and care beyond delivery.

Fernandez’s Body Positive Clinic has emerged as a beacon of hope and support for pregnant women with high BMIs. By recognising the importance of BMI and tailoring specialised care to address its challenges, this clinic is transforming the pregnancy journey for expectant mothers, offering them the best chance for a healthy and positive experience.

CLINIC SCHEDULE

  • Every Friday
  • 9:00 AM – 12:00 NOON
  • 1st Floor, Fernandez Clinic, Hyderguda (Unit 4)

FOR APPOINTMENTS

 

Understanding Preeclampsia: Signs and Symptoms

Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-related disorder characterized by high blood pressure and damage to organs, typically the liver and kidneys. It usually occurs after the 20th week of gestation and can pose risks to both the mother and the unborn baby. While the exact cause of preeclampsia remains unknown, several factors such as genetics, immune system dysfunction, and inadequate blood flow to the placenta are thought to contribute to its development.

Signs and Symptoms

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia is crucial for early detection and management.

Common symptoms include:

  • Persistent high blood pressure
  • Swelling in the hands and face
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Headaches
  • Changes in vision
  • Abdominal pain

Additionally, protein in the urine, often detected during routine prenatal check-ups, is an important diagnostic marker of preeclampsia. It’s vital for pregnant women to communicate any unusual symptoms to their healthcare providers promptly.

While preeclampsia can affect any pregnant woman, certain risk factors increase the likelihood of developing this condition. These include a history of preeclampsia in previous pregnancies, high blood pressure, obesity, multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets, etc.), and certain underlying health conditions like diabetes or kidney disease. Although prevention is challenging, regular prenatal care, a healthy lifestyle, maintaining a balanced diet, staying physically active, and adhering to the prescribed prenatal vitamin regimen can help reduce the risk and severity of preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia is a potentially serious pregnancy complication that requires careful attention and management. Early detection and appropriate prenatal care are essential to ensure the well-being of both mother and baby.

By understanding the signs, risk factors, and preventive measures, expectant mothers can work closely with their healthcare providers to navigate preeclampsia and achieve a healthy pregnancy outcome.

For more information, please consult our team of Obstetricians. To book an appointment, call 1800 419 1397.

Immunization: 5 Reasons Why It Is Not A Matter Of Choice

Immunization, also known as vaccination, is one of the most effective and important methods to protect against infectious diseases. Immunization works by stimulating the body’s immune system to produce antibodies that can fight off specific infections. These antibodies provide long-lasting protection against diseases, often for a lifetime, and can help prevent the spread of contagious illnesses.

Here are five key points to understand why immunization can’t be a matter of choice.

  1. Immunization saves lives: Vaccines have been successful in preventing serious diseases such as polio, measles, and tuberculosis, which have historically caused significant morbidity and mortality. By vaccinating people against these diseases, we can save millions of lives each year.
  2. It is safe: Vaccines are thoroughly tested and approved for use by regulatory bodies globally. The vaccines used in immunization programs are highly safe and effective, and the risks of serious side effects are very low.
  3. Immunization protects the community: When enough people are vaccinated against a disease, it creates herd immunity, which helps protect those who cannot receive vaccinations for medical reasons or who are too young to receive them. This also helps to reduce the spread of disease in the community, making outbreaks less likely to occur.
  4. It is cost-effective: The cost of vaccination is far lower than the cost of treating someone who contracts a vaccine-preventable disease. Immunization not only saves money on treatment but also reduces the number of hospitalizations, doctor visits, and missed workdays due to illness.
  5. Protection for Travel: Immunization is essential for travel, especially to certain countries where diseases such as yellow fever, typhoid, and hepatitis are prevalent. Many countries require proof of immunization against certain diseases before allowing entry.

In conclusion, immunization is essential for preventing the spread of deadly diseases, protecting communities, and saving lives. It is a safe and cost-effective way to keep individuals healthy and prevent the spread of diseases. Vaccination is a crucial public health measure, and it is important for everyone to be aware of its benefits and get vaccinated on time.