How to Celebrate Halloween with Your Baby

There are loads of positives of having a baby in Fall, but one of my favourites has to be celebrating your baby’s very first Halloween. Not just for older children, Halloween can offer some really great photo opportunities for families with babies and toddlers and can be used to create some really fun memories too.If your baby is celebrating their first Halloween this year, here are some fun ideas and activities to make it really memorable! Find a cute Halloween costume – From spooky pyjama sets to fun and humorous outfits, or even sticking them inside a pumpkin with their The post How to Celebrate Halloween with Your Baby appeared first on The Pulse.

How to Celebrate Halloween with Your Baby

There are loads of positives of having a baby in Fall, but one of my favourites has to be celebrating your baby’s very first Halloween. Not just for older children, Halloween can offer some really great photo opportunities for families with babies and toddlers and can be used to create some really fun memories too.If your baby is celebrating their first Halloween this year, here are some fun ideas and activities to make it really memorable!

Find a cute Halloween costume – From spooky pyjama sets to fun and humorous outfits, or even sticking them inside a pumpkin with their legs poking out for the perfect super cute Fall shot, the dressings up opportunities for babies at Halloween are pretty endless! If you are pregnant during Halloween, you can even find maternity Halloween outfits too! You can check out our suggestions for the best Family Halloween outfits here. We are big fans of the coordinating family look at Halloween.

Visit a pumpkin patch – When it comes to Halloween must haves, there is nothing cuter than taking your baby along to your local Pumpkin Patch and capturing their response. Plonk them down in a field full of pumpkins, prop them up against a selection of different coloured pumpkins in a wheelbarrow or have your baby toddle along between the rows and rows of orange. Let them explore – this is a real treat for their senses in terms of sights, textures and smells. Make sure you don’t forget your camera as these are perfect moments to capture behind your lens. Many patches offer carving options on site too, so for older babies or toddlers, they can even make their very first pumpkin to take home!

Embrace the Halloween books – A really fun way to introduce the idea of Halloween to babies is to bring out the Halloween books. Think cute rather than scary, books with interactive pages, flaps, texture or items to push or pull are ideal for bringing Halloween season to life. Many also help introduce babies and toddlers to the prospect of trick or treating and Halloween parties too.

Attend themed baby events – lf you attend a local baby group, chances are that most of them will do a special themed event to celebrate Halloween. These sort of events are ideal for capturing images of lots of babies all dressed up together and helps babies to learn that dressing up is fun. There is nothing more adorable than groups of pumpkins, witches, cats and spiders all smiling and laughing together.

Halloween hand / footprint craft – If you want to create something to mark your baby’s first Halloween, or that you can frame and keep forever, there are lots of different Halloween crafts you can make using your baby’s hands or feet. From Frankenstein using your babies feet to spooky ghost hands or witches, these require very little in terms of  creative skills, just the ability to paint a tickly brush on the toes, attempt to keep your baby still and lots of baby wipes to clean up after!

How did you celebrate your baby’s first Halloween?

The post How to Celebrate Halloween with Your Baby appeared first on The Pulse.

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Patent Foramen Ovale: A Common Heart Anomaly in Pregnant Women

In previous articles on The Pulse, we have covered the rare but serious complication of strokes occurring during pregnancy, resulting from increased tendency to form blood clots, and we have also touched on the topic of congenital conditions leaving a hole between the two atria (upper chambers) of a baby’s heart. Hearing about such congenital heart malformations, you may think of young children automatically. After all, congenital conditions are the may issue that concern us when it comes to newborns, as they are born and develop into young children. But today, let’s explore what happens when the baby with the The post Patent Foramen Ovale: A Common Heart Anomaly in Pregnant Women appeared first on The Pulse.

Patent Foramen Ovale: A Common Heart Anomaly in Pregnant Women

In previous articles on The Pulse, we have covered the rare but serious complication of strokes occurring during pregnancy, resulting from increased tendency to form blood clots, and we have also touched on the topic of congenital conditions leaving a hole between the two atria (upper chambers) of a baby’s heart. Hearing about such congenital heart malformations, you may think of young children automatically. After all, congenital conditions are the may issue that concern us when it comes to newborns, as they are born and develop into young children. But today, let’s explore what happens when the baby with the most common type of structural heart issue, a type of hole known as a patent foramen ovale (PFO) grows up and sets out to have children of her own. We are choosing to focus on PFO as today’s example, because it is extremely common. It occurs in an estimated 25 to 30 percent of people; that’s so common that we cannot even refer to PFO as a disease.

Before considering PFO in the context of pregnancy, let’s take a look at how to classify PFO in relation to what is normal and what is not. A hole between the two atria of the heart can be either an atrial septal defect (ASD), meaning that a portion of the the atrial septum (the wall between the two atria) is simply missing. This can happen in an adult either from a very bad heart attack that damages the septum, which is extremely rare in a woman of childbearing age, or, in almost all cases, as a result of the interatrial septum never completing its formation in the first place, that is during fetal life. Much, much, much, more common, however is a PFO, which is different from an ASD that way that broken door is different from a hole in the wall of your house. During fetal life, right up to birth, a part of the interatrial septum has a kind of swinging door, on an opening through the septum, called the foramen ovale. Have you ever seen an old western movie in which some guy walks into a saloon, busting through swinging doors, that move back and forth in both directions? Well, that’s not the type of swinging door that you have in your heart. Think instead about the kind of swinging door that can swing only one way, either into or out of a room. In the heart, between the right and left atria, the door through the foramen ovale swings in the direction toward the left atrium. Consequently, when you were a fetus and your lungs were all collapsed and full of fluid, keeping the pressure in the lungs high, the pressure in your right atrium was high, higher than the pressure in your left atrium. This kept the foramen ovale open, allowing blood to move freely from the right side of the heart to the left. When you were born however, and took your first breaths of air, the lungs inflated, the pressure in the right atrium decreased dramatically, while the pressure in the left atrium increased, leading to the post-birth circulatory situation, characterized by a high pressure on the left side of the heart and a low pressure on the right side.

Now, in most people, over the course of weeks to months, the swinging door of the foramen ovale, not only stays shut because of the higher pressure in the left atrium pushing it shut, but also because locks shut. Actual physical connections form, making it more like a locked door than like a swinging door. But in those 25-30 percent of people, the door never locks, which means that it could swing open on some occasions —namely, when the pressure in the right atrium increases significantly compared with the pressure in the left atrium. When might such a pressure change occur in a pregnant woman?

First of all, it happens whenever the volume of blood entering the right atrium increases, and that happens during pregnancy. As pregnancy progresses, the volume of blood in a woman increases typically about 50 percent and in some women the increases can even approach 100 percent. Increased right atrial pressure also could happen during SCUBA diving — which is not something that you are not supposed to do while you are pregnant— but there is something that everybody does, whether pregnant or not. It’s called a Valsalva maneuver, a sudden increase of pressure in your thorax against a closed glottis. This happens when you cough, laugh, or strain to go to the potty number two and also in certain very high stress situations, when you need to raise the pressure in your abdomen and thorax and keep it high for moments at a time, such as when you lift something very heavy (which you shouldn’t do while pregnant), or when prevent yourself from losing consciousness while flying a high performance aircraft through a high acceleration maneuver (which also is not recommended during pregnancy).

Or, when you push during vaginal delivery, to get the baby out. This is the situation that worries people and may lead your obstetrician to recommend cesarean birth, but the good news is that, despite the very high prevalence of PFO among healthy adults, many PFOs produce only very mild changes in the types of things that could cause a problem. Consequently, the simple presence of a PFO, as opposed to certain more serious cardiac anomalies that we’ll discuss in future posts, may not put you at serious risk, nor necessitate that you have a C-section, although the option would be open to you.

So what types of changes and problems are we concerned might result from an increased pressure in the right atrium pushing open the swing door? The main issue is that it could lead to a stroke, due to blood from the right atrium moving directly into the left atrium, thus bypassing the lungs. Such a stroke would be initiated by an embolus reaching the brain and causing an embolism, after breaking off from another clot, either in a deep vein, or in the heart itself. The first scenario, an embolus coming from a clot in a deep vein, is something that we have discussed previously on The Pulse, and for which pregnant women are at particular risk. The second scenario, an embolus from the heart itself, can result from what doctors call an atrial septal aneurysm, which can occur in association with a PFO, or more likely with an ASD.

The presence of any of these structural heart conditions —PFO, ASD, atrial septal aneurysm— can be determined with a technique called cardiac ultrasonography, which works on your heart just like the ultrasonography that is used on your uterus to examine your fetus. While most PFOs are very mild and do not require treatment during pregnancy, more severe cases can be treated using instruments that are passed through blood vessels to close the opening in the atrial septum without surgery.

The post Patent Foramen Ovale: A Common Heart Anomaly in Pregnant Women appeared first on The Pulse.

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