Boy-Moms at Higher Risk for Post Partum Depression

2019-01-22T21:32:49+00:00December 14th, 2018|Categories: Fertility Blog|Tags: , |

Hey Boy-Moms, a new study out of the UK finds you are way more likely to suffer with post-partum depression (PPD) than Girl-Moms. Researchers looked at 300 women over several decades and found the odds of developing (PPD) for moms of males is 71 – 79% higher than moms of female babies.

The moms at an even higher risk for (PPD)…those with birth complications. The study also found that mothers who had to manage birth complications were 174% more likely to suffer (PPD) than moms that had no birth complications. Examples of birth complication include: preterm labor, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, breech presentation and hemorrhage.

There is a wide range of PPD symptoms including extreme sadness, low energy, anxiety, crying, irritability, sleeping too much or not enough, and eating too much or not enough. Some moms have extreme anxiety about hurting themselves or their baby. Onset of PPD is typically between one week and one month following childbirth, although symptoms can show up anytime in the first year.

Researchers speculate the reason for the increased rate of PPD in boy-moms and following birth complications is related to inflammation. Inflammation is the immune system reacting to a threat and raising the alarm to fight it. Any time the immune system is activated for long periods, it places stress on the body. Pregnancy activates the immune response no matter your baby’s gender, but researchers think a male fetus produces a stronger response and more maternal stress.

What can you do to protect yourself, friends or clients from PPD? Know the risk factors and symptoms to intervene early. Two screening tools are Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Screen (EPDS) or Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ). Ask your doctor about PPD and follow up frequently if you have the risk factors. Have your doctor’s number on hand and talk with your partner or other family members about the symptoms of PPD, they may be the first to notice your symptoms.

If you are a health care provider, be sure PPD is part of a routine new mother appointment since 10-15% of new moms suffer from some form of mood disorder. It is always helpful to develop a good relationship with patients prior to delivery, easing anxiety about potentially difficult conversations like PPD symptoms.

For more information about PPD visit

Boob Tube episode 19 – Dealing with Fertility Challenges

2018-09-18T20:51:11+00:00September 18th, 2018|Categories: Fertility Blog|Tags: , , , |

In this episode we talk about the challenges some moms have trying to get pregnant. Tobi talks about her own journey to motherhood and we hear from other moms and moms-to-be about their struggles with fertility. For more of the Boob Tube check out The Boob Tube at Fairhaven Health.

Episode 19 – Infertility and reasons you might not be getting pregnant

Posted by Belly to Breast: Fairhaven Health on Thursday, September 13, 2018

Health Risks of Motherhood Are Higher for African Americans

2018-04-22T04:23:04+00:00April 22nd, 2018|Categories: Fertility Blog|Tags: , , , , , |

As healthcare providers we strive to provide the same care to all of our patients and see good health outcomes across the lifespan, income level and educational status. Mostly, we have been successful – more mothers are insured, home visiting programs have shown promising results and more infants getting their vaccines on time. But as many health disparities are shrinking, one is growing. African American mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women’s health. Compared to a white woman, an African American woman is 22 percent more likely to die from heart disease, 71 percent more likely to die from cervical cancer, but 243 percent more likely to die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes.

In a national study of five medical complications that are common causes of maternal death and injury, African American mothers were two to three times more likely to die than white women who had the same condition. African American mothers are 49 percent more likely than whites to deliver prematurely (and, closely related, their infants are twice as likely as white babies to die before their first birthday). And the number of complications is rising.
The high maternal mortality rate of African-Americans is the main reason the U.S. maternal mortality rate is so much higher than that of other developed countries. African American pregnant and new mothers in the U.S. die at about the same rate as women in countries such as Mexico and Uzbekistan, according to the World Health Organization.

Experts do not know why African American mothers and babies are dying more than others. In the past, the researchers have assumed poverty, lack of education or low access to quality health care as some of the culprits. But educated African American mothers also have poor outcomes too. One study done in NYC showed college educated African American mothers had worse outcomes than white mothers that had never graduated from high school. According to the CDC affluent and educated black women are more likely to lose their newborn than uneducated white women who’ve had little or no prenatal care. African American women suffer the highest infant and maternal-mortality rates of any race, according to the CDC.

As public health experts try to pinpoint the reason for the disturbing difference in health outcomes, some researchers are taking a new look at racism and the stress it causes across the lifespan. Arline Geronimus, a professor at the University of Michigan – School of Public Health, coined the term “weathering” for stress-induced wear and tear on the body. Weathering “causes a lot of different health vulnerabilities and increases susceptibility to infection,” she said, “but also early onset of chronic diseases, in particular, hypertension and diabetes” — conditions that disproportionately affect African American mothers. Her research even suggests weathering accelerates aging at the molecular level; in a 2010 study Geronimus and colleagues conducted, the telomeres (chromosomal markers of aging) of African American women in their 40s and 50s appeared 7 1/2 years older on average than those of whites.

Weathering may play a part in pregnancy complications too. Pregnancy is the most physiologically complex and emotionally vulnerable time in a woman’s life. As we get older, our risk for complications goes up. The data shows the rate of complications increases for white women in their 40s and for African American women in their 30s. This means that many high risk pregnancies are not monitored as closely as they should be, and more pregnancy complications go undiagnosed in African American mothers.

The risks to mother’s health do not disappear with delivery, according to the most recent CDC data, more than half of maternal deaths occur in the postpartum period, and one-third happen seven or more days after delivery. For mothers with hypertensive disorders, diabetes and peripartum cardiomyopathy the postpartum period should be closely monitored. African American mothers have 25% higher rates of C-section than white mothers and are more than twice as likely to be readmitted to the hospital in the month following the surgery. They are also twice as likely as white women to have postpartum depression, which contributes to poor outcomes, but they are much less likely to receive mental health treatment for the condition. For all of these reasons, new African American mothers need careful monitoring as they recover from childbirth, establish breastfeeding and adjust to motherhood.

Poverty, access to care, culture, communication and decision-making all contribute to health outcomes for mothers and their infants. As researchers continue to discover more about the differences in health outcomes for mothers from all backgrounds, watch for more recommendations to best help our patients.

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2013-09-13T10:45:31+00:00September 13th, 2013|Categories: Fertility Blog|Tags: , |

Conquer school mornings in stride with this Olympic-worthy breastfeeding game plan!

By Karen Williamson, CLEC Milkies Special Contributor

Does the alarm clock chime send a shiver down your spine? Get your baby fed and your school-age kids to class on time, with a little help from a simple planner, some extra pump parts, and a streamlined routine.

Chart the course for happier days, easier milk

If we let it, stress can steal so much of our joy as parents. According to Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple: A Guide for Helping Mothers (Hale Publishing, page 228), it can also diminish a nursing mom’s milk ejection. This can result in a baby consuming less milk when nursing. Likewise, a jam-packed schedule may decrease milk production, if nursing sessions are dropped or shortened.

If you don’t already own one, find a planner or electronic calendar app to serve as your mainstay this school year. In addition to school and extracurricular activities, leave room for recording days and times that you plan to store up breastmilk either through pumping or using the Milkies Milk-Saver. Keep your planner by your bedside to review before sleep. Then, review it once more each morning to clarify your vision for the day.

Round up backpacks, school clothes, and pump parts before nightfall

I am sure that at least one of my gray hairs can be accounted for by the dreaded elusive permission slip or missing school assignment. Avoid morning time-wasters by reviewing your children’s homework, signing permission slips, and reading school notices before bedtime. In addition, work with your child(ren) to lay out backpacks and clothes the night before—complete with socks, shoes and any after-school gear for karate, ballet, etc. That way, you don’t have to play hide-and-go-seek for a missing shoe in the morning hours.

If you work and pump outside of the home, consider purchasing at least one extra set of breast pump parts (flanges, storage bottles and connecting pieces) through your pump manufacturer’s website. Then, you can bypass the dreaded wash-by-hand chore. At the end of the workday, simply gather all of the used pump parts into a zippered mesh laundry bag or mesh bathtub toy bag, nestle the bag into the top rack of your dishwasher, and set the dial for the hot wash cycle.

Forget Food Network lunches. Aim for the best food you can manage.

Although I would do a cartwheel (not an easy feat for this post-baby body!) for one of Food Network star Jeff Mauro’s tantalizing “Sandwich King” creations, when nursing I had to give myself permission to pack simple dinner leftovers. In fact, in some instances, all I could muster was filling a plastic sandwich bag with a few dollars for a lunch purchase at school or childcare.

The “bedtime bewitching hours” can be trying for nursing and non-nursing moms alike. So if you opt for homemade lunches, load up lunch boxes after your nursling dozes off to nighttime dreamland. Or better yet, if available, recruit your partner to be the official lunch-packer. Don’t forget to delegate to those under counter height, too. Even little tikes can handle taking dirty containers out of lunch bags and tossing them into the sink.

Rise before the rest of the team.

For most nursing moms, morning is prime time for milk flow and therefore prime time for getting more milk output from a pumping session—thanks to sleep’s positive effect on prolactin levels. According to The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk (McGraw-Hill, page 66), even brief naps can boost this milk production hormone.

Whether you opt to pump or not in the a.m., feeding baby before other siblings arise helps prevent distractions that can lure baby away from that important first feed of the day.

Get your sling on.

A sling can be a lifesaver when you really need to brush your school-age child’s hair or help tie a shoe, but your nursling insists on nursing now! Having trouble finding a sling that you and your baby both feel comfortable in, so your hands can be free? Before purchasing one, ask the moms at your local mom’s group or play group if you can try on theirs to evaluate how your baby and you respond to each. For additional shopping pointers and sling-wearing safety tips, visit

Exercise your breastmilk storage skills on weekends, too.

Both in the world of sports and the world of lactation, consistent routines appear to be essential to long-term stick-to-itiveness. To perform at the peak of their game, most Olympians exercise at least six days a week. Similarly, many lactation experts recommend that moms who pump on work days also pump on days off work. This helps moms set aside some breastmilk before the busy work week begins.

To sneak in extra time with the pump on days off without feeling perpetually strapped to the machine, pump 10 minutes or so immediately after a breastfeeding session. As a bonus for many moms, this can help boost milk supply for the upcoming work week. (Overproducing mamas may want to forego this idea.)

And if your non-nursing breast leaks while your little one is latched onto the other side, consider using a Milkies Milk-Saver to store that breastmilk so that it is not wasted in your nursing pad.

With these tips in action, you’ll be headed to school or the bus stop feeling a lot less like you’ve just competed in a triathlon.

Breastfeeding matters! Please contact your doctor, midwife or lactation consultant with specific breastfeeding questions or concerns. This article is intended only to provide general information.


2012-09-13T10:46:40+00:00September 13th, 2012|Categories: Fertility Blog|Tags: , |

(This is a great newsletter from Healthy Babies Happy Moms, Inc a wonderful clinic in Rhode Island that helps moms navigate the early days of motherhood and breastfeeding. I thought this information was important and want to share it with Milkies readers.)

Sometimes, a lot of what we do at HBHM Inc. involves helping moms navigate the system to get what they need for their particular situation. Read below for the experience of one of our clients, a Rhode Island mother of two small children, who is also a RN with a Master’s of Public Health. In this instance, she taught us new information on DHA/ARA content in formula and an insurance benefit we were not even aware of, which might be helpful for mothers who need formula because of a low milk supply.

DHA/ARA Concerns and Insurance Coverage of Formula

Controversy surrounds the use of DHA and ARA additives to infant formula. While DHA and ARA are compounds are also found in breast milk, manufactured sources of DHA and ARA are structurally different and may not actually be beneficial. More concerning are the potential negative health effects of these additives, which remain largely untested in infants. DHA and ARA additives can expose babies to environmental contaminants and fungal toxins. These contaminants and toxins are most concerning for infants with immature immune systems and can cause unpleasant side effects in all babies. For a full discussion of the dangers and side-effects of DHA and ARA in infant formula, visit this link.

The side effects of DHA and ARA are what I noticed first in our newborn. I had to give him formula due to a low supply issue I have had with both of my children, despite my best efforts to exclusively breastfeed my babies. He had watery explosive diarrhea, excessive foul smelling gas and what I suspected was abdominal cramping by observing how fussy he became when he passed gas or had diarrhea. Our pediatrician said “babies have gas” but I felt like this was more than just a common case of fussiness. I learned about the possibility that DHA and ARA were to blame from the website Figuring that this was an easy change to make, I set out to buy formula that did not contain DHA or ARA. Sounds simple, but it wasn’t.

After hours spent pouring over formula websites and on phone calls with formula companies, I learned that most formula makers have stopped producing formula without DHA or ARA. The only company that makes a formula without these additives is Baby’s Only, however, this formula is a “toddler” formula and I did not feel comfortable giving this formula to my newborn.

Through my research I discovered that Good Start does make a DHA/ARA free formula but it is only sold in Canada. I called the Canadian Good Start company (Nestle) to ask if I they could send some formula to me but they couldn’t do it. Customs rules do not allow things that are regulated by the FDA to be sent across borders. The man I spoke to on the phone was perplexed. Why was I calling him about this formula when it is actually made in the United States and then shipped to Canada? I wanted the answer to this question too so I called the American Good Start company. I know that you manufacture this formula here, I said, could you just send me a can? But no, they couldn’t. “Not FDA approved for sale in the US,” was the response I received.

I happened to have a friend who was visiting Canada at the time and she brought three precious cans of DHA/ARA free formula back for me, hidden in the trunk of her car. My baby is now three months old and we’ve been using the formula for the past two and a half months. He’s doing so well on it, virtually no gas, normal poops. He’s an incredibly happy and easy baby. But we’re running out of formula and I don’t have anyone to get it for me now. Short of driving six hours to Canada to get it myself, I’m out of luck.

My solution is the one that you may also have to consider, if you are concerned about DHA and ARA in infant formula. Through my research I learned that while all formulas contain these additives, they contain them in different quantities. Earth’s Best, Enfamil and Good Start contain 17mg of DHA and 34mg of ARA per serving but Similac contains less, 8mg DHA and 22mg ARA (personal communication with formula company representatives via phone). If you choose to use Similac, at least you will be exposing your baby to the least amount of DHA and ARA possible.

One unexpected surprise from my previous experience was to find out that Moms with low milk supply can get supplemental formula for their babies for free through insurance. To take advantage of this benefit, ask for a prescription for the formula from your baby’s pediatrician. Some insurance plans may also require that the pediatrician submit a letter of medical necessity in which she should state that this is a breastfed baby with “failure to thrive” due to low breast milk supply. Other insurance plans do not require a letter for babies under 1 year old and only a prescription is required. It’s best to call your insurance provider to ask what sort of documentation is needed.

In my personal experience, I have dealt with two insurance carriers (Blue Cross Blue Shield of New England and Tufts Health Plan) and I have had formula covered without any issue. As a mom with a low milk supply, having formula covered by insurance is such a gift. Paying for formula after heroic attempts to establish adequate milk supply would be like adding insult to injury. It is good to know that insurance companies support the efforts of breastfeeding mothers with low milk supply by helping them to make up the difference in the amount of milk their baby needs. Hopefully, they will be equally supportive someday of coverage for lactation consults and breast pumps!

Check out this great website here-