…As Paediatrician advises mothers: Breastfeed adequately to prevent infant jaundice***
A Gynaecology Consultant, Dr Ayodele Ademola, on Monday advised pregnant women to undergo dental examination to prevent mother-to-child transmission of bacteria and infection during pregnancy.
Ademola gave the advice in an interview in Lagos.
He said that such procedure was necessary, especially at the early stage of pregnancy to ensure good health of mother and child.
The consultant, who is attached to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), said the clinical check would help in preventing mother-to-child transmission of harmful and complicated issues, including premature labour.
He said there was need for pregnant women to avoid some procedures such as “tooth whitening” and ensure that they had regular medical check-ups to guard against bacterial infection.
“One possible reason is that oral bacteria harbour `Prostaglandin’, a labour-inducing hormone.
“Poor dental hygiene and gum disease can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and adverse pregnancy outcome.
“During pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through several changes that can cause oral health problems, including hormonal changes, fluctuation in oral hygiene practices and eating pattern.
“Fluctuating hormone can cause expecting mothers to develop pregnancy gingivitis (swollen, bleeding gum),’’ he said.
According to him, this, if left untreated, can lead to periodontal diseases, which in turn, can raise the risk for low birth weight and premature delivery.
“If you reduce the bacteria in the mouth, you reduce the low-level infection that could cause pre-term labour.
“So, pregnant women are advised to undertake dental clinical examination and cleaning of their teeth at least once a day, to have a clean bill of health,” Ademola said.
The medical expert said that it was necessary for pregnant women to cultivate good eating habit to avoid unnecessary weight gain.
He disagreed with the belief that eating plenty of food would produce healthier and stronger babies.
Ademola said that heavier mothers, especially those who were over-weight during conception and then gained more weight during pregnancy were at greater risk of gestational diabetes and hypertension.
According to him, their babies tend to be larger in the process and can cause serious difficulties during delivery.
He advised mothers against over-weight and urged them to do a lot of exercise to keep fit.
“You don’t need to gain a great deal of weight to have a healthier baby.
“A foetus generally requires only an extra 100 calories a day in the first trimester and 300 calories in the third trimester,” he said.
In the meantime, a Consultant Paediatrician, Dr Luke Ogeruo, on Monday advised mothers to breastfeed their infants between eight and 12 times per day to boost their immunnity and prevent them from contracting jaundice.
Ogeruo, who works in St. Kizito Hospital, Isuaniocha, Awka North Local Government Area, gave the advice in an interview in Awka.
He said that for the first several days of life, an infant should be breastfed every two to three hours to prevent jaundice.
According to him, the complete system for feeding infants should have about 30 to 60 millilitres of formula every two to three hours.
“Infant jaundice is a yellow discolouration on a newborn baby’s skin and eyes which occurs because the baby’s blood contains an excess of Bilirubin.
“Bilirubin is the yellowish pigment of the red blood cells found in bile and made by the liver.
“Infant jaundice is a common condition, particularly in babies born before 38 weeks gestation period (pre-term babies).
“Infant jaundice usually occurs because a baby’s liver is not matured enough to get rid of Bilirubin in the bloodstream. Excess Bilirubin is the substance that caused the yellow colour of jaundice,” he said.
Ogeruo said that jaundice usually appeared on the second or third day of the baby’s life.
“But with adequate breastfeeding, the child`s immune system will be strengthened to help get rid of the Bilirubin before it causes the condition,” he said.
Ogeruo noted that in some cases, an underlying disease might also cause the jaundice in infants.
He said the diseases or conditions that could cause jaundice included internal bleeding (haemorrhage) or an infection in baby’s blood (Sepsis).
“Other causes are viral or bacterial infections; an incompatibility between the mother’s blood and that of the baby; liver malfunction; an enzyme deficiency or an abnormality of baby’s red blood cells,” he added.