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Safety in pregnancy

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NO to caffeine.
Caffeine (found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate) readily enteres the baby’s bloodstream and accumulates in the brain.
When I knew that I was pregnant in my 1st pregnancy, I started to abstain from cofee, tea and soft drinks.

NO to alcohol. Beware of food with alcohol, e.g. tiramisu.

NO to chemicals.
Organic solvents used in dry cleaning can pass through placenta.
Pregnant women who are exposed to organic solvents at the workplace (e.g. laboratory technicians, factory workers, professionals artists / chemists) may also place their developing baby at a greater risk of developing birth defects.
Avoid chemical finishes e.g. stain repellents, flame retardants, paint / DIY products which emit fumes.
Avoid chemical air fresheners.
Avoid heavily scented cleaning products e.g. dishwashing liquids, floor cleaners, washing powders, pesticides.

NO to hair dyes / perms.
Remember that pregnant mothers are blooming beautifully, you do not need to change the color of your hair to feel beautiful.

NO to cigarette.
Avoid smokers. Exposure to as few as 2 hours a day of 2nd hnd smoke also significantly increases the risk of having a low-birth-weight baby.

NO to deep-tissue massage e.g. foot reflexology, Shiatsu.
No to sp treatments that raise pregnant mothers’ body temperature e.g. body wraps, sauna.

YES to exercise.
Walking is highly recommended for at least the 1st 2 trimesters.

When in doubt, always consult your doctor.

How to achieve pregnancy (Billings method) in the Dragon year?
Early signs of pregnancy
Challenges in pregnancy
Stay positive, be protective in pregnancy
Improve your lifestyle in pregnancy.
Checklist for week 20 scan during pregnancy.

Food for pregnancy:
soup of Beet root, Carrot, and Dates

Written by blueroselady

May 11, 2013 at 4:57 am

Checklist for week 20 scan during pregnancy

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What will the sonographer look at?
The sonographer will examine all your baby’s organs and take measurements. She will look at:
The shape and structure of your baby’s head. At this stage severe brain problems, which happen very rarely, are visible.
Your baby’s face to check for a cleft lip. Cleft palates inside a baby’s mouth are hard to see and are not often picked up.
Your baby’s spine, both along its length and in cross section, to make sure that all the bones align and that the skin covers the spine at the back.
Your baby’s abdominal wall, to make sure it covers all the internal organs at the front.
Your baby’s heart. The top two chambers (atria) and the bottom two chambers (ventricles) should be equal in size. The valves should open and close with each heartbeat.
Your baby’s stomach. Your baby swallows some of the amniotic fluid that he lies in, which is seen in his stomach as a black bubble.
Your baby’s kidneys. The sonographer will check that your baby has two kidneys, and that urine flows freely into his bladder. If your baby’s bladder is empty, it should fill up during the scan and be easy to see. Your baby has been doing a wee every half an hour or so for some months now!
Your baby’s arms, legs, hands and feet. The sonographer will look at your baby’s fingers and toes, but not count them.
As well as this detailed look at how your baby is growing, the sonographer will check the placenta, the umbilical cord and the amniotic fluid.
The placenta may be on the front wall (anterior) or the back wall of your uterus (posterior), usually near the top (or fundus). If the placenta is near the top, it may be described as fundal on your scan notes.
The placenta will be described as low if it reaches down to or covers the neck of your uterus (your cervix). If the placenta is lying low in your uterus, you’ll have another scan in the third trimester to check its position. By then, it’s likely the placenta will have moved away from your cervix.
It is possible to count the three blood vessels (two arteries and a single vein) in the umbilical cord, but your sonographer may not do this. It’s not routine procedure. She will check to see that’s there’s enough amniotic fluid for your baby to move freely, though.
During the scan, the sonographer will measure parts of your baby’s body, to see how well he is growing. The sonographer will measure your baby’s:
head circumference (HC)
abdominal circumference (AC)
femur or thigh bone (FL)
The measurements should match up to what’s expected for your baby, given his anticipated due date. The due date will have been established at your dating scan. If your anomaly scan is the first scan you’ve had, it will be used to establish a due date.

Which abnormalities can be seen on the scan?
Sonographers have a list of conditions to look out for. The conditions are on the list either because they are very serious and may even mean a baby can’t survive, or because they are treatable after birth.
If the conditions are treatable, it will help the hospital team to know in advance. The team can then make sure your baby has the right care as soon as he’s born.
Some conditions are easier to spot than others; some are hard to see at all. Most of the conditions on the list are very rare. Here’s the list of conditions, and the percentage chance of your sonographer seeing each one, if your baby has it:
Absence of the top of the head (anencephaly): 98 %
Cleft lip: 75 %
Defect of the abdominal wall (exomphalos): 80 %
Defect of the abdominal wall (gastroschisis): 98 %
Missing or very short limbs: 90 %
Defect of the spinal cord (spina bifida): 90 %
Major kidney problems (missing or abnormal kidneys): 84 %
Hole in the muscle separating chest and abdomen (diaphragmatic hernia): 60 %
Excess fluid within the brain (hydrocephalus): 60 %
Edwards’ syndrome or Patau’s syndrome (chromosomal abnormalities): 95 %
Major heart problems (defects of chambers, valves or vessels): 50 %

Written by blueroselady

December 7, 2012 at 4:54 am

Pregnancy challenges me

with 2 comments

This post was post-dated.
I wrote below almost 4 weeks since conception / fertilization.
Pregnancy makes me super tired. All I want is to rest and to eat. After I eat, I feel like vomitting (fortunately none come out).
I lie on sofa more often than ever.
I do not feel like going to work, but I have to earn a living (and make some progresses before my maternity leaves).
Fatigue is possibly due to dramatic rise of progesterone.
Beware that fatigue can also be a symptom of iron-deficiency anemia.

I also had dreams every night while sleeping.
Some dreams are scary.
Now, between midnight and 2 am I will wake up to go washroom.
I will always wake up at night at least once, even if I drink very little before sleeping.

Pregnancy makes my olfactory sense and taste buds super sensitive.
Now plain water tastes weird.
I dislikes plain water.
Everything I eat left some smells lingering in my mouth.
The smell of the refrigerator makes me want to vomit.

Pregnancy drives overwhelming production of phlegm.

Pregnancy lowers my immune system.
I suffered from viral-associated fever until 38.8 C. Worried!
I suffered from infection.
But, I will be strong for the sake of our baby.
I also suffered from diarrhea.
5x in a day since early 5 am.
Again, I will be strong and persevered for the sake of our baby.

I decided not to go for voluntary activity in a hospital.
I will wait until my immune system increases.

I am invited twice overseas.
These selections are likely to be helpful for my career, yet for the sake of our baby, I decide to give them a miss.
My partner is worried about radiation of taking flight.
After all, our baby was conceived overseas, so our baby was once exposed when I returned, but we can strive to minimize air travel.
I am also worried about luggage, pregnant women are not supposed to carry heavy stuff.
Bye traveling! Bye being a globetrotting young lady! Welcome to the world of motherhood.

All these I am willing to endure for the safety and health of our baby.
Our baby is healthy, happy and I will safely deliver him to this world.
Our baby is strong in mind, body, and soul.
We pray to St Jude for protecting our baby.
We pray Novena.

Written by blueroselady

September 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Pregnancy recipe: BCD soup with Beet root, Carrot, and Dates

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Very good for anemic pregnant mothers.

1 beet root
1 carrot
8 red dates

Beet root contains iron and folic acid.

Red dates are beneficial to the blood.
Consume more red dates (e.g. red dates tea) during pregnancy to prevent jaundice to your newborn.
Should you opt for casearian section, consume more red dates before delivery.
Red dates can also neutralise the side effects of anesthetics.

Written by blueroselady

August 25, 2012 at 5:11 am

Posted in food, health

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Should I buy an insurance plan for my pregnancy?

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Questions to ask the salesperson:
@~@ What is the earliest expectant mother’s purchase a pregnancy insurance plan and when does coverage start?
@~@ Does the plan offer a savings component?
@~@ Does the plan cover hospitalization costs for both mother and baby?
@~@ What are the pregnancy complications that are covered for the insured expectant mothers?
@~@ What are the congenital illnesses covered by the plan?
@~@ Does the plan allow the option of transferring the policy to the child’s name?

Written by blueroselady

August 20, 2012 at 5:58 am

Pregnancy: early signs

with 3 comments

1. Breast Tenderness, Nipple Enlargement And Increased Breast Size. Changes and increased swelling and tenderness in the breast and nipples are one of the classic very early signs of pregnancy.

2. Nausea, headache, Vomiting. Ensure that you are hydrated.

3. Constipation.

Progesterone slows down food movement.

4. Elevated body temperature.

5. Fatigue and exhaustion.

Due to progesterone.

6. missed period.

7. lower backaches.

8. food cravings / food aversions.

9. need to pee frequently.

Note: Most home pregnancy test kits will give you a reliable result if you wait until at least the first day of a missed period.

The best time to do a urine pregnancy test would be with the first morning urine specimen.

Blood tests can detect ~ 6-8 days after ovulation.

The best resource I found so far is from:

Written by blueroselady

April 16, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Posted in health

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How to achieve pregnancy (Billings method)?

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This post is a continuation from the previous post.

What are the phases of the cycle?

Menstruation – infertile phase – fertile phase – peak / ovulation (1 day only!) – infertile phase – menstruation – … and so on.

Infertile phase

  1. after menstruation.
  2. dry / sticky mucus.
  3. known as BIP (Basic Infertile Phase).

Fertile phase

  1. When does it begin? a change from the pattern of infertile phase.
  2. Initial mucus may be cloudy. Do not worry. It is the release of plug that prevents sperms to get into uterus.
  3. Initial 3 days: avoid intercourse. Why? Because your estrogen is still building up. You are not reaching peak yet.
  4. How long is fertile mucus? ~ 6 days before ovulation.
  5. Most obvious (egg-white like) strings are 2-3 days before peak.

Ovulation occurs at the PEAK of fertility.

Signs of peak:

  1. the last day of fertile mucus / slippery sensation.
  2. not necessarily the day of most mucus.
  3. sensation of slippery (wet) is important.

Signs of post-peak

  1. 3 consecutive days after peak, you feel dryness or not-slippery mucus.

How to chart?

  1. sensation (slippery vs sticky or dry) is more importance than appearance.
  2. chart the most fertile sign for that day (e.g. if you feel lumpy, pastry, stringy at different time of today, chart stringy).
  3. consistency. use same word to describe the same mucus.
  4. do not search inside the vagina, which is always wet.


  1. sparse mucus throughout cycle is infertile sign. Please see a doctor.
  2. douches, vaginal deodorant, lubricative jellies decrease fertility.
  3. severe menstrual pain, endometriosis? Please see a doctor.

God, thank you for letting me to learn about the Billing method so that we can attempt better to have a baby.

God, please also help other couples who are trying to conceive.

Mother Mary please pray for all of us.

Written by blueroselady

March 31, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Where else besides restaurants and hawker centers can we eat in Singapore? Someone’s home through PlateCulture

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I used to be adventurous in my food consumption: gulping everything edible (though I am not highly carnivorous) until my pregnancy, confinement and breastfeeding restrict my choices of food. Please don’t get me wrong.

These experiences (that I am grateful of) have widen my horizons and allowed me to embrace a new passion in food, its benefits on health, and simple cooking. I even take a course on cooking for children from Coursera.

These days, I love home-cooked meals.
I also try to minimize eating MSG-infested food served in restaurants and (some) hawker centers.
Sometimes, I feel thirsty after dining in some restaurants / food courts / hawker centers. Have I become so sensitive to MSG and excess salt?

Now, I choose to savor (instead of hastily consume like in the past) my food and constantly learn creative ways related to food and health.

Recently, I learned about PlateCulture through Anh-Minh Do of Tech in Asia. PlateCulture, a Malalysian-based start-up (founded by Audra Pakalnyte and Reda Štarė of Lithuania), is like Homedine in US and Cookening in Europe.

So, I started browsing the hosts listed by PlateCulture.

I am particularly interested by Healthy Chinese Food with Herbs hosted by Sara K of Damansara, Kuala Lumpur. Like Sara, I love pandan leaves and ginger.

Here are 4 inspirations from her (mixed with my past experience):
(1) I plan to incorporate traditional Chinese medicine principles into my cooking.
For example,
On a hot day, have a bowl of green bean soup.
On a cold day, have a bowl of red / azuki bean soup.
(2) Freshly squeezed orange juice with no water or sugar added, is indeed a simple pleasure of life.

(3) I often cook steamed fish (salmon with sesame oil or white fish with ginger), perhaps I should also try cooking foil-wrapped steam herbal chicken.

(4) Sara wrote "Dinner at home is often accompanied with relaxing traditional/new-age music with aromatherapy". Sometimes I do listen to classical music while enjoying my simple home cooked dinner, perhaps I should try traditional / new-age music too.

For PlateCulture-listed kitchens in Singapore (as of October 2013), the cost ranges from SGD 30-70 per person, which is quite expensive for our standard.

Normally, we will only spend around $15-$20 per person on our once-a-week restaurant dining. Sometimes, we are pretty happy eating at shop houses without air conditioner, and it costs us only $5++ (less than $10) per person. Many times, my husband and I will share a cup of coffee.
I do not care if people say that I am cheapskate, we do so simply because I could not take too much caffeine (but I love coffee!);
it is more about one of my values of being frugal and sustainable (environmentally friendly and not wasteful).

Of course, I understand that home kitchens (like those promoted by PlateCulture) are not professionally run restaurants. It is the interactions with the hosts and the newly formed relationships that matters, which are absence from dining in restaurants.

I really look forward to more affordable home dining experience in Singapore offered by PlateCulture!

Written by blueroselady

October 9, 2013 at 6:37 am

The power of positive thinking that we could never underestimate

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Positive thinking

# allows us to treasure, enjoy, embrace our lives

# gives us a reason to continue living as illustrated by a story of Viktor Frankl

# makes learning easy for us
# can be inherited (sounds like our genes) to the future generation as suggested by a reader S


When Viktor Frankl was imprisoned in the Nazi camp,
suffered torture and the loss of his family (parents, brother, wife),
he miraculously realized that
between what happened to him (the stimulus) and his response to him,
he still has the power / the freedom to choose his own response.

Viktor Frankl chose to think positively, to imagine positively.
He imagined that he would lecture to his students after being released from the camp.
He imagined a positive future that gives hope and strength to his present.
He survived,
founded logotherapy and
wrote Man’s Search for Meaning,
which highlight the importance of finding meaning in all forms of existence,
even the most sordid ones, and hence a reason to continue living.


Learning is a part and parcel of living.

As my saying goes "Live, Learn, Earn"

How can we effortlessly learn difficult subjects and skills using positive thinking?

Think positive.
Do not think that it is difficult.


The best in the world simplify the complex (e.g. complex subjects);
the most common make the simple complex.


A reader S sent me a warm email about her experience with positive thinking.

She wrote:
Although my pregnancy was relatively physically challenging,
I suffered from acid reflux, nausea, and backache that made sleeping flat uncomfortable,
yet I was very happy.

Pregnancy seems to be a long holiday when I was pampered by my family member, tolerated by my colleagues, and showered with kindness by strangers.

I spent many hours reading self-help positive psychology books.
Probably, I read over a hundred books,
making my own notes that I can review later,
they are like short-cuts to happiness for me,
or an instant side-effect-free ‘aspirin’ when I am stress.

As a result, I delivered a healthy baby who is naturally happy.
He smiles within 24 hours in his sleep,
and he smiles the first thing in the morning when he wakes up after a good night sleep and being fed with breast milk.
He smiles often, even to strangers.
People loves him.

God must have given him to us to also let us learn from him.
His natural ability to be happy with himself, with life, and to bring happiness to others through his smiles.

On the other hand,
looking back at my post-delivery experience,
there are things that I wish can be better.

Sometimes it seems that the more people (including grandparents, in-laws, the so-called experts, and well meaning friends giving advices)
are involved in the process,
the more different wants and rules to be met,
which made my life tougher.
What I did not realize that I do not have to live my life to other people’s expectation!

What works for others, may not work for us (my baby & me).
What works for us, may not works for others.
For example,
his grandmother insisted that we do not buy a breast pump,
but the breast pump turned out to be highly useful!
I just have to keep on experimenting and finding ways that work for us.
It is ok to be different & imperfect.

Finally, the most important lesson that I learned,
while I diligently gulped down all the nutritious confinement meals and red date tea,
I forget to consume my positive thinking nourishment.

Everyday, it seems that there are new problems.
Things that I must buy and do.
Grandparents will tell me to do this, to do that, and the list goes on.

To make it worse,
my mother nagged at me,
she told me to sleep more,
not to breastfeed baby at night,
because that was her experience,
but she did not know that by doing so would result in drop of breastmilk supply,
and I would wake up at night worrying for my baby,
because I was not allowed to sleep with him in the same room or same bed.

Moreover, I need to write as it is therapeutic for me.
In recent years, I have been writing using my laptop
but my mother disallowed me to use IT gadgets (including my laptop, mobile phones) because she is worried that they are bad for my eyes.

I sincerely want to forgive my mother,
she just wants the best for me.
Although she does not realize that children are not necessarily inherit the same likings / ways of feeling goods as parents,
she just wants the best for me.

Perhaps, my mother is also learning from this experience,
after all my baby was her first grandchild.
She appears to be more patient with her grandchild than to me or our siblings when we were young.
Oops! I am comparing again.

Well … I am trying to be more mindful when I compare things.
Some comparisons are fruitless.

After all, all those have become the past.
I choose to cherish the happy and positive things from the past,
and live in the present.

Blueroselady says:
Congratulations S for becoming a new mother!
You are doing well and great!

To summarise S’ points:
Cultivate intrinsic happiness daily.
Live in the present.
Live not for others’ expectation.
It is OK to be unique / different.
It is OK to be imperfect.


Bonus: voice note dated 2013 Aug 20th

Written by blueroselady

August 20, 2013 at 10:25 am

How to increase breast milk production? 10 recipe of Asian soup that also benefits lactating mothers

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Category A

1. LiuWei 六味汤 + pork rib (排骨).

2. BaZhen 八珍汤 + pork rib / chicken bones*

3. SiShen 四神汤 + pork rib.

4. double-boiled chicken bones* / pork rib soup with wolfberries, red dates, xigui.

Category B

5. pork rib + overnight soaked peanut (add the soaked water to the soup) + carrots.

6. pork rib + beet root + carrots / corn.

7. pork rib / pre-boiled chicken bone (for 1 hour) + 2 potatoes + 1 carrot + 1 tomato.

8. meat ball + caixin (must finish per meal). To make meat ball, you can mix minced meat, tapioca flour, sesame oil, pepper, soy sauce.

9. pork rib / chicken bones* / pork tenderloin (腰部嫩肉) + red yeast rice (红曲米 / ang-kak)

10. fish bone + fish maw (must soak, squeeze out oil for 3x).

* use the bones of village chicken, not meaty chicken.

If you have no access to chicken bones, you can use pork rib / pork tenderloin.

Do not drink soups in Category A on consecutive days, because they may be too heaty, especially BaZhen soup.

The soups in the Category A are often consumed during confinement.
The soups in the Category B are also good for pregnancy.

The soups are easy to cook.
When mothers take good care of their health, they can give their best to their babies / children.

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Written by blueroselady

March 16, 2013 at 8:47 pm

Posted in food, health

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