Dr Jinan Harith Darwish is a paediatric allergy specialist and clinical immunology fellow at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center. Each month she answers your parenting questions.
I have recently been diagnosed with PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome. I’m trying to get pregnant. Is there anything you can suggest that would help?
PCOS may sound like some sort of new computer system, but it actually has to do with babies, not bits and bytes. PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility.While this condition can make conceiving more challenging, women with PCOS deliver healthy babies every day. Here’s what you need to know to boost your odds of getting pregnant by inducing ovulation to have a healthy baby.
Fertility medications are common options. Success rates for ovulation and pregnancy vary depending on the treatment:
Metformin: Although this diabetes medication, which helps regulate the amount of insulin in your blood, isn’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating PCOS, research suggests that it and other diabetes medications may assist with fertility, so ask your doctor if it’s appropriate for you.
Clomiphene citrate: This medication stimulates ovulation and has been a standard infertility treatment for years, including in women with PCOS — nonetheless, it has a number of side effects, including hot flashes, mood swings and a high multiple-pregnancy rate compared to natural conception.
Gonadotropins: These hormone shots cause ovulation, but substantially increase your risk of multiple births compared with clomiphene.
Letrozole: Probably the most promising treatment for PCOS yet, this drug blocks oestrogen production and increases production of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which makes ovulation happen. A recent study found letrozole results in a significantly higher rate of ovulation than clomiphene as well as a higher rate of live births (27.5 per cent versus 19.1 percent). Researchers also found it may also result in fewer twin pregnancies (3.9 per cent versus 6.9 per cent for clomiphene).
Ovarian drilling: A gynaecologist inserts a thin needle through the abdomen and destroys a small part of the ovaries to lower the androgens they produce. Research has found that after women undergo this procedure, approximately 80 per cent ovulate and 60 per cent conceive.
A 2014 study also found that eating just one teaspoon of cinnamon daily — a spice known to help regulate insulin levels — is a safe and possibly effective way to normalise your cycles and boost your odds of conceiving, too.
If none of these methods work for you, your doctor may suggest in-vitro fertilization (IVF), which often works best in women with PCOS.
My young son will be starting school shortly and still sucks a pacifier. I’ve tried taking it off him but he becomes very distressed and then sticks his thumb in his mouth. I’m sure he’ll be teased at school and would really welcome some tips on weaning him off the dummy.
Weaning from an attachment person or object should not mean the loss of a relationship, but a passage from one relationship to another. Anytime you wean your child from any attachment, know that you must always substitute an equally desirable one.
Trade it in: First, propose the idea to your son.Then take him to the toy store and let him trade in his pacifier for a favourite toy. When you get to the toy store, share your plan with one of the salesmen, so he’s part of the scheme. Let your son pick out what he wants, and the salesman gives him the toy in exchange for the pacifier. This works because the child participates in the choice and gets something in return for what he feels he is giving up.
Cut the tip off the pacifier: If you cut off the tip of the dummy nipple or poke a small hole in it, your child doesn’t get the same sucking sensation and might just abandon it.
I’m a new mum, my baby girl is just three months, and I am tired all the time. I have a helper but my daughter cries as soon as I’m away from her and wakes several times during the night, even when she’s been fed. I’m exhausted and feeling such a failure, can you help?
You need to take a deep breath and slow down. You need to start to see all you do accomplish in a day. All the smiles of encouragement, breast or bottle feeds, clothes changed. You’re out of breath, racing and exhausted, but truly not failing. Failing means stopping. Not getting up, not trying, not giving. That’s not you. I want you to stop telling yourself you’re failing. Instead, I want you to replace it with ‘I can do this’. You are a perfect mother for your daughter, that’s why God blessed her with you.
If you have a question for Dr Jinan, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.