Obstetrics - Best Private Hospital in Dubai Al Mankhool | IMH Dubai

Breastfeeding is a mother’s gift to herself, her baby and the earth.

Breastfeeding is one of the foundations of child health, development and survival. For these reasons, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that infants should exclusively breastfeed for the first six months; meaning no food or drink other than breast milk is offered to breastfeeding baby for up to 6 months. Baby is fed on self-demand, day and night with no restrictions on the length or frequency of breastfeeding. Complementary foods can then be introduced, with continued breastfeeding until 24 months of age or older.

Breastfeeding has been known to have several advantages that make it ideal—benefits of breastmilk span not only for children but also mothers.


Benefits of breastfeeding for children

    • Breastmilk provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs.
    • It is safe, clean and contains antibodies which help protect against many common childhood illnesses.
    • Breastfed children perform better on intelligence tests, are less likely to be overweight or obese and less prone to diabetes later in life.
    • Reduce the risk of allergies, rickets and Anaemia.
    • Readily available, with no preparation and suitable to child’s need.


Benefits of breastfeeding to mother

  1. Promotes mother and child bonding.
  2. It prevents uterine bleeding in the mother after delivery.
  3. A natural form of Family Planning.
  4. Reduces the risks of breast and ovarian cancer in the mother.
  5. Saves time and precious expenses need not be used for buying milk powder and health care.


Due to all numerous benefits, breastfeeding counselling should give to all pregnant women in the early antenatal period.

Nevertheless, contraindication to breastfeeding does exist. Some of them include:

  • HIV, HLTV 1 & 11 infections. (Adult T-cell lymphoma virus)
  • Active Tuberculosis.
  • Herpes lesions on the mother’s breast.
  • Infant with Inborn error of metabolism; galactosemia, phenylketonuria.
  • Mothers on certain medications; anticancer therapy, radioactive isotope etc.

However, the success of breastfeeding depends on proper breastfeeding technique; the key of that is adequate latching. While breastfeeding one must keep check of the mother’s position:

  • The mother can nurse sitting or lying down
  • The mother should be in a comfortable and relaxed positionable to hold the baby close to her without undue effort, her feet be supported


The technique of breastfeeding also entails the infant’s position to be in check:

  • The baby’s head and body must be perfectly lined up
  • The baby’s face must face the mother’s chest, with his nose in front of the nipple
  • The baby’s body must be close to the mother’s, turned towards her
  • If the baby is newly born, the mother must cradle him with one arm and give support to the buttocks, not just to the head and shoulders


Another vital characteristic to keep in check is the Infant attachment to the breast:

  • The mouth is wide open
  • The chin touches the breast (or close to)
  • The lower lip turns outwards
  • More areola is visible above the infant’ top lip


There are many positions that a mother can use to achieve all the criterion required for effective breastfeeding, as mentioned above. However, the best positions can be separated into five categories that are mentioned in the picture provided below.

Even though the techniques of breastfeeding are essential, a mother must make sure that effective breastfeeding is taking place to ensure the baby’s health and development. The signs mentioned below will allow the mother to conclude if the infant is appropriately nurtured.

Signs of Effective Breastfeeding

  • Frequent feedings 8-12 times daily.
  • Intermittent episodes of rhythmic sucking with audible swallows should be heard while the infant is nursing.
  • Infant should have about 6-8 wet diapers in 24 hours once breastfeeding is established.
  • Infant should have a minimum of 3-4 bowel movements every 24 hours.
  • Stools should be about one tablespoon or larger and should be soft and yellow after day 3.
  • Average daily weight gain of 15 -30g.
  • Infant has regained birth weight by day 10 of life.


Sometimes, a mother may encounter barriers to effective breastfeeding that are caused due to:

  • Lack of confidence in mother;
  • Belief that breast milk is not sufficient;
  • Lack of adequate support system;
  • History of previous breast surgery;
  • Breast engorgement, cracked and sore nipples;
  • Retractile nipples.


Another method of breastfeeding is through expressed breast milk.

Indications include:

  • Preterm / sick baby
  • Working mother


Storage of Expressed breast milk

  • Clean wide-mouthed container with a tight lid
  • At room temperature 8-10 hrs.
  • Refrigerator – 24 hours, Freezer – 20° C – for three months


In conclusion, breastfeeding infants is the best way to ensure their growth and health. With mothers ensuring that proper techniques are used for effective breastfeeding, it can be concluded to be the most effective tool in the child’s development. Mothers are encouraged to ask the help of their Obstetrician or Pediatricians to understand the best techniques for breastfeeding infants.

Breastfeeding is a mother’s gift to herself, her baby and the earth.

-Pamela K. Wiggins.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar level becomes high during pregnancy, affecting up to 10% of pregnant women, diagnosed by a blood test done at 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy. Women with gestational diabetes don’t have diabetes before their pregnancy – and it usually goes away after giving birth.

What causes gestational diabetes?

Hormones produced by the placenta cause a build-up of glucose in the blood. Usually, enough insulin is produced to control blood sugar levels. However, if the body is unable to produce insulin or stops using it, then the blood sugar levels rise, causing gestational diabetes.

Who’s at risk of gestational diabetes?

At your first antenatal appointment, a healthcare professional should check if you’re at risk of gestational diabetes.
The likelihood of getting gestational diabetes increases if you:
• were overweight before you got pregnant.
• have had gestational diabetes in the previous pregnancy.
• have had a large baby in earlier pregnancy (4.5kg/10lb or more)
• have a family history of diabetes – parent or sibling.
• come from a South Asian, Black or African Caribbean or Middle Eastern background.
• have high blood pressure .
• have given birth to a stillborn baby.
• are older than 30 years.
Having gestational diabetes increases your risk of developing it again in future pregnancies. It also increases your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life. You can reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes by managing your weight, eating healthily and keeping active before pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes symptoms.

Women with gestational diabetes don’t usually have symptoms. Most find out that have it during a routine screening.
You may notice that:
• You’re thirstier than usual
• You’re hungrier and eat more than usual
• You urinate more than usual

Gestational diabetes tests and diagnosis.

Gestational diabetes is diagnosed by routine screening, called Oral Glucose Tolerance Test, also known as an OGTT. The OGTT is done when you’re between 24-28 weeks pregnant. If you’ve had gestational diabetes before, you’ll be offered an OGTT as soon as possible, and another OGTT between 28-32 weeks if the first test result is normal.

How do you manage gestational diabetes?

The goal is to reduce blood glucose to the normal levels exhibited by a woman without gestational diabetes.

This involves:
• Measuring your blood sugar level four times a day
• Eating a healthy and balanced diet
• Performing moderate physical activity for about 150 minutes per week (Running, walking and swimming are good options)
• Reducing stress as much as possible.

These measures must be taken while continuing regular checkup with your doctor and adjusting them as needed. Changes in habits will sometimes not be enough; in such cases, metformin or insulin injections should be used during the pregnancy.

Target blood sugar levels in pregnancy:
• Before a meal: 95mg/dl or less
• An hour after a meal: 140mg/dl or less
• Two hours after a meal: 120mg/dl or less

Tips for eating well with gestational diabetes:
• Eat regular meals.
• There’s no need to ‘eat for two’. Portion size will have the most significant effect on your blood glucose level.
• Include carbohydrates but look for low GI (glycemic index) options and keep the consumption to the optimum level
• Get your five vegetables a day for vitamins, minerals and fibre.
• Cut back on salt, too much salt is associated with high blood pressure, which increases the risk of diabetes complications.
• Stick to water or sugar-free drinks.

What are the potential complications?

In the child:
• Macrosomia (above-average weight)
• Risk of being born with low blood sugar levels and respiratory problems
• Risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life

In the mother:
• Risk of a difficult delivery, possibly by C-section, depending on the baby’s weight
• Surplus of amniotic fluid, which could trigger premature delivery
• Gestational hypertension & Preeclampsia
• Risk of developing type 2 diabetes later
• Risk of suffering from gestational diabetes again in a future pregnancy

Most of the complications can be prevented with appropriate treatment.
In conclusion, in the vast majority of cases, gestational diabetes is easy to control, with your blood sugar levels likely to normal in about six weeks after childbirth. However, the risk of developing gestational diabetes in the next pregnancy increases, with the women also likely to develop type 2 diabetes in the future. It would help if you got follow-up tests every year. Many problems can be avoided through healthy lifestyle habits. Don’t panic and talk to your doctor to see how you can put the odds in your favour.