Category Archives: Pregnancy

Your essential guide to the Zika virus

I love holidays. I’m certainly not one of those people that needs ‘a few days to unwind’, I’m in the holiday zone within seconds of the car rolling off the drive. Over the years I’ve had many different types of breaks and slept in all sorts of random (and often fairly unsanitary) types of accommodation. Back-in-the-day I embraced trips involving a pair of flip flops and a copy of the Lonely Planet. Nowadays holidays are more likely to involve cramming excessive amounts of paraphernalia into the people carrier and praying I’ve remembered each child’s thread bare toy required for sleep. Hey ho…times change, but a holiday is still a holiday.


If your thoughts are starting to turn to your next trip, and are pregnant or thinking of starting a family soon…have a look at my essential guide to the Zika Virus before you pick your destination.

Colic… on for some moral support!

newborn-baby-1429447-2If any of you have had children, you will be very familiar with the concept of Colic. Colic is not only miserable for the baby, but also can take its toll on the rest of the family. Read my latest Patient post for some tips and tricks on getting through those tricky first months.

The Chickenpox Vaccine … to immunise or not??

I’ve recently had a few people ask me for my thoughts on the varicella (or chickenpox) vaccine…. so here goes….


The immunisation has been around since 1995 and is part of routine childhood vaccination regimens in many countries including the USA. In the UK (as in others) vaccination is targeted at specific ‘at risk’ groups only.

So assuming you don’t fall into that category, should you bother forking out to have it done privately?

When thinking about immunisation a good rule of thumb is to consider two things. Number one is; how does it affect me or my child as individuals, and number two; what is the impact on the wider community. Continue reading →

Word of the Fortnight: Varicella Zoster

Doctors often look foolish when it comes to the health of their own children.

I love having a houseful of guests, especially now most of my friends have little ones in tow and you can stick all the kids in one room to entertain themselves fight it out whilst the adults hide in another sneakily drinking wine. On one such occasion a friend commented that sprog1 had a few spots around his neck and asked if he’d had chicken pox yet. I fleetingly cast an eye in his direction and continued supping from my glass. Come bath time I looked like a prize plum as he was spottier than Mr Tumble and was undeniably in the grips of varicella zoster.giraffe

Yes – Varicella is not the newest teen pop sensation but the medical word for good old chickenpox. Most of us have suffered with the pox in childhood and are fairly familiar with it, but I thought it’s always worth a bit of a refresher. Continue reading →

All you’ve ever wanted to know about contraception after pregnancy…..!

I have just worked out an utterly staggering and shocking statistic; over the past 5 and half years I have either been pregnant or breastfeeding for approximately 70% of the time. That accounts for 2 children, one about to pop out and a couple of miscarriages thrown in for good measure. Blimey…I think this may explain a couple of things, namely my extremely poor memory and my general zombie like state much of the time. So as I come to the end of this pregnancy my mind beings to turn to the small matter of contraception…. Yup after sprog3 arrives this will be it for us (probably, possibly, most likely…..)

One of the things GP’s always harp on about at the 6 week baby check is contraception. On many occasion a mothers eyes intimacyhave locked with mine in horror, to even suggest that they might have the energy, let alone the inclination to be getting jiggy a mere 6 weeks after their child’s arrival! None-the-less thinking about contraception post-pregnancy is important, unless you are inclined to crack on with the next whilst your tot is still in the Moses basket! Continue reading →

Word of the fortnight: Atopy

balloonatopyAhem…. I’d like to make an announcement. My name is Jessica and I am atopic, and I’d hazard a guess that many of you reading this are also atopic. No – don’t panic – I am not confessing to a deviant hobby but merely my susceptibility to asthma, eczema and a bit of hayfever.

ATOPY is the medical word for this group of allergies. All of them are caused by the same underlying hypersensitivity reaction in the body, causing a chain reaction of events which ultimately results in tissues becoming swollen and inflamed. Typical things that trigger atopic reactions (often referred to as ‘allergens’) include house dust mite, moulds, some foods and various parasites. Continue reading →

5 Things You Should Know About Postnatal Depression

I think that before having children we all have preconceptions about what life will be like filled with tiny extra people. Usually the scenes we concoct in our mind are of blissful afternoons cuddling sweet-smelling newborns or soft-focused hours merrily spent playing with cheerful and chubby cheeked toddlers. As those of us who have crossed to the ‘other side’ (i.e. have children) well know, things rarely pan out as you expect.


Today is World Mental Health Day and in honour of this I wanted to write a few thoughts about Post-Natal Depression or PND. As a female GP with young children of my own, I see lots of similarly aged patients, so pre and postnatal care is inevitably something I am involved with a lot. I love this part of my job; seeing ladies arrive excitedly brandishing their pee’d on sticks, waddling in proud as punch with beautiful bumps and then of course meeting the tiny tot once it has arrived. However with all that happiness come many cases where things aren’t as straightforward or easy – from fertility issues, to miscarriage and all too often mental health issues. Post or even pre natal depression is something that seems to cut across the board, affecting women without warning and shattering what is perceived to be ‘the happiest time of your life’. I think, impart, that is what makes PND so exceedingly difficult, in that it fly’s in the face of all our preconceived notions of what motherhood and starting a family should bring.

Obviously PND is a huge area so here are just a few of my thoughts; Continue reading →

Congrats to the Royal Couple and Hyperemesis Gravidarum update…..

Yesterday Clarence House announced the happy news that Will and Kate are expecting again. Every detail of her first pregnancy was scrutinized, analysed and debated by the media, and I’m sure she will have braced herself for more of the same this time round. If that wasn’t bad enough, it is no great secret that she suffered with hyperemesis gravidarum when she carried baby George, and it would seem she is having the same torrid time with this pregnancy.

Just to refresh your memory, in case you had forgotten, hyperemesis gravidarum is the extreme end of morning sickness. I am eternally grateful that I avoided anything other than mild queasiness during my pregnancies, and compared to even ‘standard’ morning sickness, hyperemesis is quite another matter. Continue reading →

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