Does the most common vaginal infection relate to infertility, or can it put an existing pregnancy at risk? Here's what you need to know.
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born too SOON
The challenge: Born five weeks premature, Becca Williams’ daughter had difficulty nursing because of her early birth. “I would try to nurse her and she wouldn’t wake up,” Williams says. “I was sore and engorged.” She pumped to relieve the engorgement and applied hot washcloths for the discomfort.
Five weeks later, when Williams’ original due date arrived, her daughter was mature enough to nurse—and to stay awake long enough to do so. But the baby wasn’t latching on properly, and at her seven-week checkup, the pediatrician determined that she had a tight frenulum, a thin membrane that extends from the floor of the mouth to the underside of the tongue. To correct the problem, he recommended a simple procedure in which the frenulum is clipped by a specialist, after which the baby latched on like a champ. “Once she latched on, she liked nursing so much that she wouldn’t quit,” Williams says.
What the expert says: This baby’s problem was twofold: premature birth and a tight frenulum. Prematurity can make nursing difficult because of a lack of physical development, but this problem usually corrects itself once a baby hits her due date, as it did for Williams’ baby. As for the tight frenulum, once a pediatrician or lactation consultant determines the problem, it’s easily corrected with a simple (though not always necessary) procedure.
Engorgement and soreness can be a consequence of nursing a baby who is unable to nurse properly, and Williams managed her situation well. The best treatment is to apply heat (warm washcloths, a hot shower or a heating pad will work), then massage the breast while nursing, and follow that with pumping, if necessary, to empty the breast. “If the breast is not drained well, it can cause a backup of milk, which can in turn lead to a breast infection,” Petok says. Symptoms are fever, pain and redness in the breast, chills and flu-like aches. If any of these occur, call your doctor immediately.