Early Identification Essential to Treat Postpartum Depression
It’s easy to assume that the weeks after giving birth are joyous ones for the new mother, but many women experience emotional lows — often referred to as “the baby blues” — in the postpartum period, says UCLA psychiatrist Vivien K. Burt, MD, founder and co-director of the outpatient Women’s Life Center at UCLA.
Breastfeeding Success May Depend on Getting a Good Start
Some problems can be avoided by getting off to a good start in the hospital. Ideally, breastfeeding should be initiated promptly following childbirth. “Women who begin breastfeeding in the hospital have a much higher likelihood of continuing nursing their children into the first year of life,” says Leena Shankar Nathan, MD, a UCLA OB/GYN in Westlake Village. “We recommend six months of exclusive breastfeeding.”
Gestational Diabetes: Taking Steps to Protect Women’s Health During and After Pregnancy
About 9 percent of women develop diabetes for the first time while pregnant. Gestational diabetes, like type 1 and type 2 diabetes, causes blood-sugar levels to become high. This places a woman at a greater risk for delivering a larger baby weighing 9 pounds or more and high blood pressure. “Pregnant women normally become a little resistant to insulin. This helps provide more glucose to their growing babies,” says Alexander Chiang, MD, a UCLA obstetrician/gynecologist in Santa Monica.
Improved Procedures Boost Options to Address Infertility
Infertility or subfertility is typically defined as an inability to become pregnant after regular unprotected intercourse for a year. At that point, says Zain Al-Safi, MD, a fertility specialist at the UCLA Fertility and Reproductive Health Center, the couple should seek an evaluation. For women 35 and older, the evaluation should begin earlier, after six months of trying to conceive. If a woman or man has a suspected abnormality — such as sporadic menstrual cycles in women — then an evaluation would be warranted sooner.