ПРОФИЛАКТИЧНИ ПРЕГЛЕДИ

ANNUAL PHYSICAL EXAMS AND WHY YOU SHOULDN’T SKIP THEM

ANNUAL PHYSICAL EXAMS AND WHY YOU SHOULDN’T SKIP THEM

Many diseases are asymptomatic for a long time. The only way they can be diagnosed early is your annual physical exam performed by your family doctor. If you’re Bulgarian and you pay your health insurance, getting an annual checkup is not only your right but also an obligation.

WHAT DO THEY INCLUDE?

Roughly, the exam consists of patient history, getting your weight and blood pressure measured, an electrocardiogram, blood tests (complete blood count), and a urine test with test strips.

If you fall into a risk group for a given disease, you are eligible for a secondary checkup by your GP. High-risk patients will be referred to a specialist (cardiologist, endocrinologist, etc.) , which is mandatory. At the discretion of the GP, you may also be given a referral for other tests, such as blood sugar and TSH.

People in certain age groups are eligible for even more tests. This is the PSA test for prostate cancer in men over 50  and a mammogram for women over 50.

CHECKUPS AT YOUR GYNECOLOGIST’S

It is advisable for every woman to visit her gynecologist once a year. The doctor will perform a pelvic exam, an ultrasound, a Pap smear, and an STI test. It is important to get examined each year because many gynecological issues like cervical cancer are asymptomatic but highly treatable at the beginning. The lack of treatment of some infections may be a cause of infertility.

PROPHYLAXIS AND THE BULGARIAN

The annual physical exam in Bulgaria is mandatory. Missing it will cost you up to 100lv and deprivation of your healthcare insurance rights for a month.

Unfortunately, a large part of the Bulgarian population regularly misses their annual exams. Many people believe that you shouldn’t go to the doctor unless your symptoms are severe. Until then, a lot of people rely on home remedies. Another impediment is the perception that the exam is associated with many extra costs. In fact, you only have to pay the consumer fee.

Prevention is much more effective than intervention. It is always better to go to your annual physical exam and find out that you are healthy than to postpone it until it is too late.

ВЕГАН ИЛИ ВЕГЕТАРИАНЕЦ?

VEGAN OR VEGETARIAN

VEGAN OR VEGETARIAN

A healthy diet means something different to everyone. Nowadays being vegan or vegetarian is the trend. However, is cutting whole food groups out of your diet that beneficial to your health? The short answer is: neither yes, nor no.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VEGANS AND VEGETARIANS?

While vegetarians do not consume meat (some might still consume fish), vegans don’t eat anything that has come from an animal. This includes eggs, dairy, even honey. Some vegans extend this philosophy to their daily lives by not using any leather, wool or cosmetics with animal products. The reasons for this can be ethical, ecological, religious or financial.

BENEFITS OF GOING VEGAN OR VEGETARIAN

Vegans and vegetarians consume more fruits and vegetables and with them more vitamins (A, E, Folic Acid), magnesium and fiber. They usually have lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and LDL (bad) cholesterol. This is a prerequisite for a reduced risk of heart attack and other types of heart disease. These diets are suitable for optimizing weight and reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

This diet is particularly beneficial for people with kidney disease due to lower protein intake.

According to hundreds of studies, fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of developing certain cancers. However, there is no clear evidence that switching to a fully plant-based diet will protect you from cancer better.

ARE THERE ANY RISKS?

To get the most out of a vegan or vegetarian diet, you have to keep it balanced. For example, French fries and energy drinks are vegan but not good for you.

Because of the consumption of eggs and milk, vegetarians rarely experience protein, some vitamin (B12, D3, and K) and omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies. There is some risk for vegans and this is why they might need to take dietary supplements.

VEGAN BABY

Children need a lot of energy. When they are on a plant-based diet, it is possible that they might get full before being able to consume all the calories and vitamins they need. If their food is not properly selected, they can easily suffer from malnutrition, vitamin B12, and D3 deficiency, as well as some minerals. Such experiments sometimes end in the emergency room. Be very careful about your children’s diet and always consult with a pediatrician.

РАЗЛИЧНИ ХРАНИ ПРЕЗ БРЕМЕННОСТТА

FOOD CRAVINGS DURING PREGNANCY

FOOD CRAVINGS DURING PREGNANCY

Pregnancy comes with a lot of changes especially in the way you perceive different kinds of food. Food cravings are mostly nothing but bizarre although sometimes they might indicate a more serious problem.

There are a couple of theories regarding food cravings. Estrogens and progesterone undoubtedly play a role here. They are believed to change the perception of different tastes. Along with food cravings come food aversions. They are thought to protect the fetus from potentially harmful substances.

Some nutritionists believe that certain cravings are linked to vitamin or mineral deficiencies. For example, if you crave chocolate, you might need more magnesium or vitamin B. If you’re hungry for ice cream or dairy products, then you might be deficient in calcium.

An interesting fact is that very few pregnant women crave healthy foods like fruit and vegetables. A craving for peaches might be a sign of beta carotene deficiency.

ARE THERE ANY RISKS?

Excessive weight during pregnancy is a serious issue that can lead to a whole list of complications. Most food cravings are for “unhealthy “, high-calorie foods. This can lead to you overeating without even realizing it. Although we strongly believe in indulging in your cravings, it should be done in moderation. That’s why more and more future moms consult with a nutritionist for a personalized dietary plan.

DANGEROUS CRAVINGS

In some rare occasions, pregnant women crave non-food items like ice, dirt or nails. This is a dangerous condition, prompting to a severe iron deficiency and anemia. If you find yourself in such a situation, please, tell your OBGYN immediately so that they can start treatment.

GIRL OR BOY?

If you crave sweets, it’s a girl. If you crave savory or sour foods, it’s a boy. Of course, this is just an old wives’ tale. Today ultrasound can tell you the sex of your baby quite easily. Whether food preferences can really work in this way, is up to you to say.

VITAMINS B12 AND D3

VITAMINS B12 AND D3: WHY ARE THEY SO IMPORTANT?

Vitamin D3 and B12 are needed for the proper function of many metabolic processes. Illnesses associated with a deficit are diverse and should be known so that treatment could be sought.

WHY DO WE NEED VITAMIN B12?

It is extremely important for fast-dividing cells and especially for erythrocytes due to its involvement in the synthesis of DNA and RNA. Without it, over 100 enzymes, proteins, hormones and lipids cannot be produced.

If you have a B12 deficiency, you’ll develop anemia. Neurological symptoms could appear as well. It sounds scary, but the treatment is easy and affordable. During pregnancy and lactation, a vitamin B12 supplement must be taken together with Folic Acid to prevent maternal anemia.

VITAMIN B12 — WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU’RE DEFICIENT?

Only fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, K) are stored in the liver. There is one exception — vitamin B12, which is water soluble. Its reserves are sufficient for 2-4 years.

Low levels of vitamin B12 are usually due to dietary mistakes. It happens often to vegans and vegetarians who do not supplement it.

To be absorbed, B12 has to be bind with a protein called the «intrinsic factor». It is produced in the stomach. Problems arise when there is an autoimmune process against the  intrinsic factor or other gastric disease — usually chronic gastritis.

WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF VITAMIN D3?

Vitamin D3 synthesis requires ultraviolet light and cholesterol. Unlike vitamin B12, it can hardly be obtained from food alone. No need to go to the tanning bed — only 13 minutes in the sun 3 times a week are enough. The best time to do so is at noon when UVB rays are the strongest.

It is both a vitamin and a steroid hormone. Its main function is to stimulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from food in the small intestine. It regulates the immune system and suppresses inflammation as well. There’s a correlation between vitamin D3 blood levels and the chance of getting pregnant. It is important for the development of the fetus and the newborn, so it should be taken by pregnant women and nursing mothers.

VITAMIN D3 DEFICIENCY

Vitamin D3 deficiency is common. Since it cannot be absorbed in the intestine, calcium is extracted from the bones. This affects their structure and strength. Children develop rachitis, and adults — osteomalacia.

Other signs of vitamin D 3 deficiency include frequent infections, fatigue, depression, muscle pain.

Do not forget that excess intake of vitamins is heavy both the body and the budget. Luckily, now you can get tested to see if you really need them.

Кофеинови напитки

CAFFEINE DRINKS

Caffeine is part of almost everyone’s diet. It has both positive and negative effects on the body, depending on the dose.

No matter if it comes from coffee, tea or dark chocolate, caffeine can speed up your metabolism, make you more alert and improve your memory. It also makes your blood pressure higher, increases your heart rate and works as a diuretic.

CAFFEINE AND FERTILITY

There’s no conclusive data on whether caffeine affects fertility. Scientists assume it can make it harder for women to get pregnant and it can change the DNA structure in sperm cells. It’s estimated that those effects come from other habits associated with caffeine consumption (for example, coffee and cigarettes).

CAFFEINE DURING PREGNANCY

The caffeine molecule can pass through the placenta. Unfortunately, the fetus can’t metabolize it the way adults can. It can cause disturbance in its sleeping pattern and cause excessive fetal movements. Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor which can lead to decreased blood flow to the fetus. This can lead to preterm birth and low birth weight.

Some gynecologists allow their patients to take in minimal amounts of caffeine during pregnancy (less than 200mg daily). However, since caffeine is found not only in coffee, you should avoid the delicious beverage as much as possible.

ENERGY DRINKS — A MODERN ALTERNATIVE?

The amount of caffeine in a can of energy drink can greatly surpass the one  in cup of coffee. Manufacturers usually do not disclose how much caffeine their drink contains which can lead to a fatal overdose. Many of those products are filled with sugar. They might also have been enriched with some vitamins. This should not fool you, the harms are more than the benefits.

CAFFEINE OVERDOSE — HOW TO RECOGNIZE IT?

Everyone’s tolerance for caffeine is different. When you consume a too large an amount of caffeine too fast you might experience nausea, vomiting, heart palpitations and arrhythmia. People with cardiac disease are at a greater risk. Although symptoms usually go away in a few hours, you should not underestimate the situation and seek medical treatment.

ФОЛИЕВА КИСЕЛИНА ПРИ БРЕМЕННОСТ

FOLIC ACID AND PREGNANCY

FOLIC ACID AND PREGNANCY

Folic acid or vitamin B9 is necessary for the proper functioning of many enzymes and cell division. Its intake is important to everyone, and the need for it is doubled in pregnancy.

WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?

Folic acid is needed by both the baby and the mother. It protects the fetus from neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly. Its use is associated with a reduced risk of premature birth and other birth defects. Folic acid stimulates the formation of erythrocytes in the mother, thus preventing anemia.

WHEN SHOULD YOU TAKE IT?

It takes some time to reach the optimal levels of folic acid in the body. If you are planning to get pregnant, you should start taking it 2-3 months before conception.

About 80% of pregnancies around the world are unplanned. Women find out that they are pregnant around the sixth gestational week when the fetal nervous system has begun its development. For this reason, experts advise that women of reproductive age should take a dietary supplement with folic acid. In the US, they deal with the problem by fortifying pastries with it.

HOW SHOULD YOU TAKE IT?

Some people carry a genetic mutation that makes metabolizing folic acid more difficult. The likelihood that you have this mutation should not scare you. All you have to do is choose supplements containing L-methylfolate.

Last but not least, the dose is important. Pregnant women need about 500 micrograms of folic acid daily, and may continue to take it during lactation. Many foods (spinach, nuts, beans, etc.) are rich in folic acid. Unfortunately, the amount needed is difficult to obtain through food, so choosing the right prenatal vitamins is essential.

ИНДИКАЦИИ ПРИ СЕКЦИО

INDICATIONS FOR CESAREAN SECTION

Modern medicines development has made cesareans a routine procedure. There are numerous indications for this kind of surgery and for many women it is the only way to give birth safely.

WHEN IS A CESAREAN SECTION PERFORMED?

Some women suffer from conditions that can render a normal delivery dangerous. These include eclampsia that doesn’t respond to medication or heart failure. Insulin treatment for diabetes can make the baby overweight and a vaginal delivery impossible. If you have myopia over 3 diopters there’s a risk that pushing can cause retinal detachment.

Anomalies of the placenta (placenta praevia, accreta or an abrubtion) or birth canal issues are indications for a c -section as well.

When the baby is in an oblique or transverse position or the umbilical cord has prolapsed into the vagina, a c-section should be performed. If the baby is breech, natural delivery can be attempted. If you’re pregnant with twins and the first twin isn’t breech you can try giving birth vaginally.

EMERGENCY CESAREAN SECTION

Deliveries are a very dynamic process and changes can occur at any moment. Sometimes in the course of a natural delivery a c-section might be needed after careful assessment by the medical team. This usually happens due to fetal distress or in cases of a prolonged labor. After your water breaks, the baby is no longer protected by the amniotic sac and the risk of infection increases.

ELECTIVE CESAREAN SECTION

When there are no indications for a c-section, vaginal delivery should be encouraged. Some mothers want a specific birth date for their baby. Such a practice can lead to dangerous consequences for the baby as it might not be ready to be delivered.

If you’re afraid to give birth naturally, please discuss the matter with your OBGYN or even a psychologist. Vaginal deliveries are much easier on the mom in the long run and it is even suggested that they strengthen babies’ immune system. This happens as the baby comes into contact with the vaginal flora.

However, If this is your final decision, it should be respected by your healthcare provider.

ВИРУСЕН ГРИП И НАСТИНКА

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A COLD AND THE FLU

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A COLD AND THE FLU
If you’re not sick during the flu season, consider yourself lucky. This fact is not very reassuring for those who are generally predisposed to getting infections like pregnant women and women undergoing IVF.
The flu and the common cold have many similarities. However, if the disease has an abrupt onset, you experience muscle pain, chills and a headache, it’s more likely to be suffering from the flu. Colds have milder symptoms which include mostly nasal congestion and a sore throat.
THE FLU AND PREGNANCY
After the first trimester, the mother’s immune system becomes much weaker so that the baby wouldn’t get attacked by it. This greatly increases your chance of getting sick.
Unfortunately, some of the most common medicines we take to combat the flu are deemed unsafe for pregnant women. Aspirin and ibuprofen among many others have a teratogenic effect — they can harm the fetus. This is why it’s so important to ask your family doctor before taking anything and always to read the instructions. And remember — antibiotics cannot cure the flu.
THE FLU AND IVF
IVF does bring a lot of stress to the individual. Stress, on the other hand, is known to cause low immunity thus making you more prone to catching the flu or a cold. If you get sick, there is a chance the IVF cycle might need to be paused or postponed. Do not hide your symptoms and always tell your gynecologist if you’re not feeling well.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
The flu virus gets spread through the air when people sneeze and cough. This makes it extremely easy to get infected.
Avoid going out until the epidemic is over as well as coming into contact with infected people. If you really need to go out, wear a protective mask and change it every 2 hours.
You can get the flu vaccine. It is safe even for pregnant women and does not lower your chances of getting pregnant if you’re undergoing IVF. The immunity from the vaccine will be passed to the fetus and can protect it for up to 6 months after birth.
These rules must be followed by the whole family in order to have positive results.
ЕДНОДНЕВНА ЕКСКУРЗИЯ С БЕБЕ

DAY TRIP WITH YOUR BABY

While before traveling with babies were considered some kind of a horror, more and more parents nowadays choose to take their child with them on their trips. There is a reason why  — you do not have to chase your baby around and they can’t say «I want this».

 Of course, the new member of your family has his requirements, but with a little more organization everything will go smoothly.

RESEARCH YOUR DESTINATION

For ultimate comfort, select a day when it is  neither too warm nor too cold. Babies cannot regulate their body temperature that well and extreme weather conditions are too hard on them.

Get to know the terrain in order to choose the best way to carry your baby. A stroller can be perfect for a city walk. However, if you’ve decided to climb Plovdiv’s hills or to visit the  mountain, a sling or a kangaroo might be a better option (as long as the baby likes it).

DO NOT OVERPACK

We know you want to be prepared for every possible situation. In fact, you do not need anything more than the usual things for a longer walk  plus a few extra diapers, a thermometer, and some first aid drugs. You can bring some paracetamol, probiotics, an insect bite cream. Do not forget sunscreen with a high SPF even in winter.

Your bag will feel lighter if you are breastfeeding. That’s another reason to choose breastmilk over baby formula.

Traveling with a baby requires a little more patience, but it can still be fun and useful both for you and your baby. On the one hand, your baby will grow used to being in different situations, surroundings and  vehicles. On the other hand, you will get a sense of what a longer trip would look like in the presence of your most precious.

ПАРТНЬОРИТЕ ПО ВРЕМЕ НА ИН ВИТРО?

RELATIONS BETWEEN PARTNERS CHANGE DURING IVF?

DO THE RELATIONS BETWEEN PARTNERS CHANGE DURING IVF?

At some point, almost every couple decides it is time to think about having a baby. For the majority, the desired two lines appear relatively fast, while for others things are not so simple.

In vitro fertilization as well as other assisted reproduction technologies  have an effect on one’s emotions. Many couples say that in vitro procedures have made their relationship stronger. Others may experience a feeling of hopelessness and that they’re not as close as they used to be. How things will turn out for you is quite specific and can’t be predicted.

We have prepared several tips for «survival» during IVF and other assisted reproduction procedures:

KEEP IT REAL

Couples who are aware of the whole process, their options and chances experience much less trouble in their relationship. Assisted reproduction is constantly developing, but no one can guarantee success from the first attempt. Discuss how far you would go in your attempts for a baby trials and do not be afraid to ask your obstetrician-gynecologist for information.

HAVE FUN

In the monotonous daily routine between work, home and the IVF clinic, take time for something that will take yours and your partner’s mind off things. Doing something fun does not mean you are not dedicated enough to your goal.

MAKE LOVE, NOT BABIES

There is nothing romantic about «scheduled» sex. Remember that stress is among the greatest enemies of getting pregnant (naturally or in vitro). Do it for pleasure, and the results will eventually appear.

There are ups and downs in every relationship. The important thing is to focus on the positive side of the situation. Which is — you love each other so much that you want to have a baby.

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