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Risk of OCD after Childbirth

A recent article found in the Journal of Reproductive Health (March/April 2013) that was published by researchers at Northwestern pregnancyUniversity has indicated that new mothers are four-times more likely to present obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms than that of the general population.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a condition in which the individual engages in several repetitive or ritualistic behaviors in order to help deal with intrusive, anxiety-provoking thoughts. Having a newborn is a time of increased stress and anxiety. The entire family’s daily life and expectations change. It would be abnormal for a new parent to not exhibit any anxiety or stress during this time.

If family members or friends begin to notice a new mother engaging in excessive ritualistic behaviors that change daily activities, it may be time to seek help.

Symptoms to look out for:

  • Repetitive behaviors.
  • Checking things.
  • Washing hands, putting on hand sanitizer at an excessive degree.

Do not be afraid to approach a new mother about possible concerns and to suggest possible help and intervention if need be.

Are Premature Babies Delayed?

The term premature refers to any infant that was born earlier than 37 weeks of gestation. Premature births occur in 10% of all live births. Premature babies (“preemies”) are at risk for multiple health problems, including breathing difficulties, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, and delays in their gross and fine motor skills.

Premature baby

Why are babies born pre-term?

The cause of premature labor is not fully understood. However, there are certain risk factors that can increase the likelihood of premature labor: a woman that has experienced premature labor with a previous birth, a woman that is pregnant with multiples (twins, triplets, etc), and a woman with cervical or uterine defects. Certain health problems can also increase the risk of premature labor, including diabetes, high blood pressure and preeclampsia, obesity, in-vitro fertilization, and a short time period between pregnancies.

What are the effects of being born pre-term?

In addition to multiple medical complications, a baby that is born before 37 weeks of gestation is at risk for developmental problems in gross motor skills, fine motor skills, sensory integration, speech and language skills, and learning. The baby may take longer to reach specific developmental milestones or need help to reach those milestones. The earlier babies are born, the more at risk they are for having delays. Each child is different as well, and no two preemies will be delayed in exactly the same manner.

If you or your pediatrician suspects that your baby is developmentally delayed, there are a variety of professionals that can assist your child in achieving his or her full potential. A physical therapist can help facilitate development of gross motor milestones such as sitting, crawling, walking, running, or jumping. An occupational therapist can help develop fine motor skills such as object manipulation, hand-eye coordination, and reaching, as well as sensory integration. Speech therapists can help improve language skills and articulation.  Consult with your pediatrician or talk with one of our Family Child Advocates to receive more information on setting up an evaluation with a skilled therapist at NSPT.

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What To Expect When You Are Expecting… Special Needs

With the new movie “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” coming out based on the pregnancy bible, it is important for expectant mother’s and father’s to also familiarize themselves with the possibility that they may have a child with a special need.  Of course, the last thing we want to think about when we are What To Expect When You're Expectingpregnant is a special needs child. However, a pregnant couple can just keep in mind what to look for or ask when they are expecting:

5 Steps to take when you are expecting a baby:

  1. If the ultrasound is anything but normal, or if they see anything that raises concern, find out what can be done immediately upon birth.  You may also want to set up meetings with a therapy clinic to talk with experts and specialists.
  2. Read up on parenting, behavior management, and normal child development so that you know what to look for when the infant arrives. You do have a pediatrician, but you are the expert on your own child and even pediatricians will depend on you, the parent for providing any concern or red flags. The American Pediatric Association is a great resource as is the state association, such as the Illinois Pediatric Association.
  3. Tell your best friends and your family to let you know if they ever think something is off or up with your baby once it comes. Ask them beforehand, you may be too emotional afterwards.
  4. Eat well, exercise per doctors orders, keep yourself happy and calm, and avoid alcohol and non-advised medicine, see your OBGYN for regular pre-natal visits and stay out of trouble!
  5. If you are an expectant mom, expecting an adoptive baby, use expert websites such as the Children’s Research Triangle  in Chicago, or Northwestern Family Institute, to know what to be looking for in your child. You may not have been there for the first months and need to be a super-detective when it comes to you child.  Read the blogs here, to learn everything you can about child development!

While you need to enjoy your pregnancy, reality and knowledge is always a good thing to have just in case.  No parent is ever fully prepared for a special needs child.  However, have any knowledge prior to a diagnosis, will only help you make the right decisions for your child and family.

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Beyonce’s Baby News | What Even Famous People Need To Do When Expecting A Baby

So Beyonce and Jay-Z are finally going to be parents. They are the wealthiest entertainers with a lot of connections. They seem to be experts in the entertainment business and everything music, but they are embarking on a whole new world. Do they have any knowledge on how to raise a baby or what normal development even looks like? No matter how famous Beyonce and Jay-Z are, they are still first time expectant parents.

Here are some tips on what research even rock stars need to do before bringing home baby!

1. Buy What to Expect When you are Expecting and What to Expect Your First Year and actually read it!  It details everything you, your partner and your baby will go through, month by month.

2.Google and learn about normal development and subscribe to a weekly email that reminds you what your baby should look like at every weekly stage.  www.Babycenter.com offers great weekly resources!

3. Log anything that looks or feels “odd” to you. Don’t wait. It never hurts to ask the doctor about something you are concerned or have questions about!

4. Find the best pediatrician for your family. Ask your friends, family and even co-workers who they go to. Find out who has proper bedside manner? Who returns calls fast? Who has a clean office?  You also want a proactive doc that will listen when you are concerned!
Most pediatricians allow expectant parents to come in and meet the staff and even “interview” the Doctors. Write down your questions beforehand and bring them with.

Sample Questions to ask the pediatrician are:

  • How often do you see a baby in the first year?
  • What is your policy on vaccines?
  • What are your weekend and sick hours?
  • Do you charge for after hour calls/walk-ins?
  • Do you see the pediatrician on well-visits or the nurse?

5. Play a lot of music for Baby in-utero and and even after birth and maybe you will raise another Beyonce or Jay-Z!