Articles on Women Matters:

Does Poor Personal Hygiene Cause Vaginal Infection?

The vaginal can be infected by bacteria such as gonorrhoea and syphilis commonly known as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Occasionally, it can be infected by another type of bacteria called anaerobes. This condition is called bacterial vaginosis (BV).

The cause of BV is not fully understood, but it is associated with an imbalance of "good" and "harmful" bacteria (anaerobes) normally found in the vagina.

BV develops when there is an overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria. While BV is more common in women who are sexually active, it can affect those who have never had sexual intercourse.

Usually, the women complains of viginal discharge. This may be clear or greyish and is often accompanies by a fishy oduor, pain or burning sensation during urination or itching around the outside of the vagina.

In most cases, BV causes no complications. But there are some serious risks if the infection is not treated. The bacteria may move up into the genital tract and infect the uterus (womb) and fallopian tubes (tubes where sperm meets the egg). The infection is called pelvic inflammatory disease and can lead to infertility by damaging the tubes.

BV also increases a woman's susceptibility to other STDs such as chlamydia. If the woman is pregnant, she is at increased risk of premature birth.

Some activities can upset the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina and put women at increased risk.

These include:

>>having a new sex partner;
>>having multiple sex partners; and
>>douching (washing or cleaning out the vagina with water or other mixtures of fluids).

However, women do not get BV from toilet seats, swimming pools or from touching objects around them.

Dr Peter Chew
22 Jan 2007

Dr Peter Chew is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Gleneagles Hospital.
Dr Peter Chew is also a founding member of aLife, a voluntary welfare organization dedicated to nurturing a healthy respect for fertility and family life. For more information, visit

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Different Stages of Pregnancy: What Foods To Take?

During pregnancy, as the baby negotiates its way through three different stages of pregnancy called trimesters, what foods to take becomes important. Your body too changes its shape as it makes room within itself for the baby’s growth. You need to eat a variety of foods that are beneficial to the baby. These foods also help you in maintaining health and preparing to breastfeed. Below is the list of foods that you ought to consume as you make your way through nine months of preparing for your baby’s birth.

The First Trimester: Consume Nutritious Foods Containing Folate
The first stage of pregnancy lasts for about three and a half months or 14 weeks, during which stage you may experience the dreaded morning sickness, sore and enlarged breasts, and the advice of your health care provider that you get enough vitamins, minerals and nutrients as they are essential for growth and development.

You require around 2200 calories a day to keep your baby in health. You need well balanced, healthy diets with adequate fiber; prenatal vitamins as prescribed; avoiding of the use of alcohol and tobacco; small, more frequent meals that will help you if you are nauseous, get good nutrition. Let us take a look at the foods you will be asked to eat during the first trimester when your diet chart is made. You might be advised to vary your intake of these foods. But they remain more or less constant through your pregnancy and when you breastfeed. Eat lots of fruit and green leafy vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals. Take moderate amounts of low fat dairy foods and lean meats and small amounts of foods high in fat, sugar and salt. Consume dried beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, and low fat milk, cheese and yoghurt. A folate supplement should be taken prior to conception and for the first three months of pregnancy to help reduce the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Folate is a B vitamin that is essential for cell growth and reproduction. It is found in green plants, liver, yeast and fresh fruit.

The Second Trimester: Increase Food Intake With More Iron To Your Diet
The second stage of pregnancy lasts until the end of the seventh month and is, for many women, the easiest stage of pregnancy as they start to regain some of their energy. It is during this stage that the stomach begins to expand and that you are pregnant becomes noticeable. At this time any feelings of morning sickness should dissipate, although some women may continue to vomit well into the second stage. At this point you may experience the baby moving and kicking in the womb. This is the period when a sex determination test can tell you whether you are giving birth to a boy or girl.

What should you eat during the second stage? Well, there are several foods. During this phase you have to increase your intake by 2500 calories/day, so eat the foods mentioned above in larger amounts. Continue to maintain a well-balanced diet with plenty of fiber; take vitamin supplements if prescribed and avoid the use of alcohol.

You have to increase your intake of iron during this stage. The iron that your fetus consumes from you will last it through five or six months after birth. So eat rich sources of iron like red meat and sources of Vitamin C like oranges to help absorb the iron.

The Third Trimester: Go Heavy On Calcium
The third stage of pregnancy starts from the seventh month until the time when the baby is born, at nine months. It is marked by a surge of feeling for the baby, as also more anxiety and greater sensitivity towards the environment. This is a phase of greater pain in your lower back; with the increased size and weight of your baby causing the ache, making you feel discomfited, tired and anxious.

Your daily requirement remains at 2500 calories; you may need to resume small frequent feedings to prevent heartburn; continue prenatal vitamins as prescribed. Continue to avoid the use of alcohol; get yourself adequately hydrated and avoid overheating to protect the baby and you. You may feel like eating for two people now that you can physically sense the baby’s movements. There is no need to eat more food. You may only need to increase your intake of the same foods by about 10 per cent or so. However, you have to increase your intake of calcium during the third trimester. The baby is developing bones, if it does not find the required doses of calcium from the mother’s diet, it begins to draw from her bones. So, stock up on dairy products like milk and cottage cheese, and on soymilk, for the required calcium. You will need the calcium to make milk for breastfeeding too.

Be prepared to take on each stage of your pregnancy, armed with adequate nutrition and vitamin supplements.

Alexander Kimber
09 Mar 2007

Resource: Alexandra Kimber is a freelance author who writes on different aspects of
pregnancy and related issues. She focuses that an understanding of different stages of pregnancy such as first trimester of pregnancy and the like would help the mothers to cope with pregnancy problems.

Can Pregnancy Make You Smarter?

Pregnancy most often associated with difficulties as our bodies are changing and hormonal levels significantly change. But there is an unexpected effect many fail to consider or simply don’t know about. Pregnancy can make you smarter!

Scientists have recently discovered that motherhood gives women a sudden jump in ability to memorize and learn. This positive effect is a direct result of baby birth and can last several decades.
While conversation of a new mother might be limited to “baby talk”, her brain goes through a fast development as she prepares to bring a new life into this world. New mother’s senses develop as she prepares to recognize her baby, using smells and sounds.

It’s build into us by Mother Nature and developed by centuries of civilization but only now becomes a fact recognized by science. Article published in Scientific American Magazine by Kreg Kinsley and Kelly Lambert mentions that motherhood associated with many benefits as brain of the mother tries to grow to be able to respond to new requirements presented by body condition.

Biggest problem comes from inability of new mother to use new abilities of her brain due to constant luck of sleep and physical weakness after delivery. Sleepless nights also effectively mask new abilities and perhaps overcoming this problem can make all the difference.

These positive changes in your brain direct effect of hormonal changes in your body as result of taking care of your baby. Hormonal misbalance during pregnancy, baby delivery and breastfeeding also cause growth in parts of your brain and produces effect described in this article.

As you can see, pregnancy can and will make you smarter. Just one thing remain – overcome the constant feelings of being tired. Which is perhaps the hardest part, as we all know. But informed is forewarned so consider this to be your warning.

Olga Sysoef
09 Mar 2007

Olga is a co-publisher of
baby care guide designed to Unlock your Inner Mother Code. Parenting manual that mother nature should have included with your new baby