Should I lose weight before knee replacement surgery

Written by
Fuel Your Life

Maybe you or someone you know needs knee replacement surgery and have been told to lose excess weight. For many this can be a point of frustration.

Generally, when people try to lose weight, they use both dietย andย exercise. However, for many people who are preparing for knee replacement surgery, whether it be due to osteoarthritis or a serious injury, exercise is often painful and limited.

For many, achieving pre-operative weight loss goals can often feel as though they are going into battle with one hand tied behind their back. The truth is, exercise only plays a small role in the weight loss puzzle. Diet plays a much larger role and the reality is that weight loss can be achieved through diet alone.

Whether or not you should lose weight prior to knee replacement surgery is fairly individual, however if you are carrying excess weight, you would very likely benefit.

So, what are the benefits of losing weight prior to surgery?

Dietary Habits

Although people usually lose some weight immediately following knee replacement surgery, many people struggle to maintain the weight loss long-term. Learning how to improve your diet for better weight management before surgery, can help with establishing good habits that will help you long into the future.

Reduced Pain

Losing weight can reduce the amount of pressure on your knee joint. In fact, studies have found that every 1 kilogram of body weight lost leads to a reduction of up to 4 kilograms of pressure on the knee joint! Weight loss has also been found to reduce inflammation and pain.

Reduced pain and physical disability generally result in increases in activity levels, improved physical fitness and consequently increased strength surrounding the knee joint.

Home Faster

Weight loss prior to surgery can result is a shorter hospital stay and/or less time in a rehabilitation facility. Resulting in a safer, comfortable, and satisfying recovery.

At home, people are more likely to:

  • Avoid post-surgical infection and readmission to hospital
  • Get better sleep
  • Eat foods they like.

Losing weight before knee surgery can seem like an impossible task, especially since it can be difficult to exercise. However, with the right mindset and dietary strategies, weight loss can be achieved.

For specific, tailored advice that suits your individual lifestyle, speak to one of our Dietitians here at Fuel Your Life.

MY KNEE SURGERY COVERED UNDER PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE?

To find out if you’ve got the right level of cover with your health insurance speak with a member of the Care To Compare team on 1300 76 76 00.

Care To Compare can help you find a health insurance policy that covers you for what you need. When you compare and buy a policy through Care To Compare, 100% of profits are donated to charities like the Red Dust who work together with remote Aboriginal communities to deliver health and well-being programs for youth and families.

What is the difference between porcelain veneers, composite veneers and composite bonding?

โ€œMy role as a dentist is to help you achieve the smile youโ€™ve always wanted. The best way to do that is with a treatment plant that is personally tailored to you, and works within your budget.โ€

Dr James Bartalotta

What are dental veneers?

Veneers cover the front surface of your natural teeth to correct imperfections in tooth shape, colour, size or alignment.

What is the difference between porcelain veneers, composite veneers and composite bonding?

Porcelain veneers are made of ultra-thin ceramic porcelain that are placed over your existing teeth. Porcelain veneers provide the ultimate aesthetic approach for enhancing your smile. They are a highly durable and stain resistant replacement of your natural tooth enamel.

Composite veneers is a treatment of a strong composite resin material added directly to your teeth and sculpted free-hand. Composite can be applied to the entire tooth and there is greater flexibility in the decision of your tooth shade and shape. Composite veneers can achieve a great aesthetic result, however are less durable and long lasting than porcelain veneers.

Composite bonding is applied to the edges of the teeth to fix chips, cracks and correct tooth shape for a more aesthetic look. The composite material is bonded to your natural tooth therefore the shade needs to be matched to your natural tooth shade. Once the composite material is applied, it cannot be whitened or changed. It’s recommended for patients to have their teeth whitened in chair and have bonding done afterwards. A take home whitening kit will help maintain your white smile. 

Porcelain veneer results

Porcelain veneers will roughly last 10-15 years. This also depends on the way you look after your veneers. It’s important to understand that any prosthetic work you have done to your teeth should be be maintained even more closely than your natural teeth, therefore regular dental checkup’s are recommended.

Porcelain veneer results with Dr James Bartalotta

Composite veneer results

Every individual and case is unique and results may vary. All dental treatments carry risks and benefits. Please seek a second opinion from a professional healthcare provider.

Can I get a rebate for cosmetic dentistry?

To claim for cosmetic dental treatment you need to have an Extras policy. Depending on your health fund you may need both cover for both General Dental and Major Dental.

Your dentist can provide you with itemised codes of your treatment. Your health fund can use these codes to let you know your level of cover and rebate that will apply.

The team at Care To Compare can help you compare your current health insurance policy against any health fund available in Australia. You can speak with a member of the Care To Compare team on 1300 76 76 00 to find out more.

Is there a waiting period?

A waiting period may apply if you have recently upgraded to a higher level of cover or if you are new to private health insurance. In this case a waiting period of 12 months is likely to apply.

Are there limits on rebates for orthodontic treatment?

Annual limits apply and health funds may offer different benefits and limits depending on your level of cover.

Contact your health insurer or the Care To Compare team to learn more.

Ready to make your smile healthy?Dr James Bartalotta can be contacted directly for a free virtual aesthetic consult or teeth whitening assessment.

Clear aligners for straighter teeth

“Straightening your teeth for aesthetic purposes is not the only beneficial outcome of orthodontics. Having straight teeth gives you healthier gums, makes teeth easier to clean and can improve self-esteem and happiness.”

Dr James Bartalotta

The clear aligner difference

Clear aligners use an innovative approach to effectively straighten your teeth with a series of clear aligners that are custom-designed and fitted to suit your orthodontic requirements. With no traditional metal brackets or wires, the course of treatment involves changing aligners approximately every two weeks, sequentially moving your teeth into a straighter position, until you have achieved a beautiful straight smile.

The benefit of having straight teeth

Straightening your teeth for aesthetic purposes is not the only beneficial outcome of orthodontics. Having straight teeth has additional benefits: 

โ€ข Gives you healthier gums / reduces periodontal disease.

โ€ข Makes teeth easier to clean.

โ€ข Prevents abnormal tooth wear.

โ€ข Decreases your risk of tooth injury.

โ€ข Improves self-esteem and happiness.

What is malocclusion?

Malocclusion is the technical term for teeth that aren’t in their ideal position between the two dental arches. Put simply it means “bad bite.” Different malocclusions can cause various issues with your oral health. Malocclusions can also impact your facial aesthetics. In cosmetic dentistry fixing malocclusions can play a big role, not only by making teeth straighter but by also providing a solid foundation for any additional aesthetic work such as crowns or veneers. Invisalign is one way to fix a malocclusion.

What to expect at each appointment

APPOINTMENT #1

You will receive x-rays, scans and photos to accurately create your individual treatment plan to move your teeth into the desired position. Your dentist will:

  • assess and examine your teeth to determine your suitability for Invisalign treatment. This will be a great opportunity for you to explore your desired outcome and raise your concerns and expectations.
  • assess your facial features and aesthetics and give his professional opinion on how to achieve the aesthetic outcome you desire.

The assessment of suitability  for orthodontic treatment also includes your oral and periodontal health.

Your dentist should never recommend treatment unless they are confident that the desired result can be safely and effectively achieved. 

APPOINTMENT #2 – Smile Simulation

Based on the results from your initial consultation, you will be given a rough outline of the duration of your treatment and which Invisalign case you fall under (Lite, Full or Complex). 

This will be shown to you through the ClinCheck Software which will be made available to you to help you visualise the projected end goal of your treatment.

Your dentist may use small tooth coloured attachments to aid in the movement of your teeth. Any alterations to the position of your teeth can be discussed with your dentist before you begin treatment.

APPOINTMENT #3+ 

Once your clear aligner treatment is ready to commence, your first series of aligners will be fitted.

Straightening your teeth is a medical procedure and needs to be monitored closely. Your dentist may recommend for you to be set up on Dental Monitoring as part of your treatment. This allows them to virtually monitor your treatment on a week to week basis to ensure your treatment runs as smoothly as possible. This allows less in-office visits for your convenience.

Clear aligner Results

Every individual and case is unique and results may vary. All dental treatments carry risks and benefits. Please seek a second opinion from a professional healthcare provider.

Invisalign Pricing

The cost and duration of your Invisalign treatment will depend on the complexity of your case. This can be determined by booking a complimentary Invisalign consultation to determine which case you fall under. Treatment will vary for each individual person.

Lite Case
$5,000 ย when paid upfrontย 

$5,500 when paid in instalments

Duration: 3-9 months
Full Case
$7,000 when paid upfrontย 
โ€‹
$ 7,500 when paid in instalments

Duration: 9-24 months
Complex Case
$8,000ย when paid upfrontย 

$8,500 when paid in instalments

Duration: 24+ months
Treatment fees are estimates only.

Clear Aligners FAQs

How often do I have to wear my aligners?

You need to wear your aligners for 22 hours per day to get the best result from your treatment. You should only take your aligners out to eat and clean your teeth.

Do clear aligners work as well as braces?

Clear aligners are just as effective as braces for moving teeth. Like traditional braces, clear aligners move teeth with precise controlled forces. They allow a more precise delivery system of orthodontic force through their unique ability to control tooth movements individually.

Can I eat & drink with my aligners in?

No you should not eat or drink anything apart from water with your aligners in.

What are clear aligners made from?

Clear aligners are made of a strong, biocompatible medical grade plastic that is virtually invisible when worn.

Will the Government Help Cover the Cost of Orthodontics?  

Some people can save a small amount of the cost of orthodontics through the government.  

Child Dental Benefits Scheme  

The Child Dental Benefits Scheme covers dental expenses for children aged 2-17 years if their parent receives an eligible Centrelink payment. Orthodontic treatment isnโ€™t covered by the scheme however you may claim for x-rays or extractions.  

Can I Claim on Medicare?

Medicare will only cover the cost of braces under the Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Scheme.

Can I get a rebate for orthodontic treatment?

To claim for orthodontics you need to have an Extras policy with Major Dental.

Your dentist can provide you with itemised codes of your treatment. Your health fund can use these codes to let you know your level of cover and rebate that will apply.

The team at Care To Compare can help you compare your current health insurance policy against any health fund available in Australia. You can speak with a member of the Care To Compare team on 1300 76 76 00 to find out more.

Is there a waiting period?

A waiting period may apply if you have recently upgraded to a higher level of cover or if you are new to private health insurance. In this case a waiting period of 12 months is likely to apply.

Are there limits on rebates for orthodontic treatment?

Lifetime limits apply to orthodontics for each person. This means that each person covered by your policy can only claim for orthodontic treatment once in their lifetime.

Contact your health insurer or the Care To Compare team to learn more.

Ready to make your smile healthy?Dr James Bartalotta can be contacted directly for a free virtual aesthetic consult or teeth whitening assessment.

Rebates for osteopath treatments

Written by Care To Compare

Private health insurance can provide rebates in addition to the rebates you might be eligible for from a range of government agencies.

Private health insurance and OSTEOPATHY

Osteopathy rebates are generally available under Extras Cover. The benefits available will depend on your level of cover and may have an annual cap.

Some health funds offer better osteopathy benefits than others.

Some osteopath benefits may be combined with other services like chiropractic and physiotherapy under an annual cap.

Here are some things to think about when you buy or review your private health insurance:

  • Who needs cover? Is it for you, your partner or your family?
  • What type cover do you want?  Extras only Cover (to cover osteopathy), Hospital Cover or both Hospital and Extras Cover?
  • What benefits are included? Our team can help you compare policies side by side so you know what benefits are included.

When you see an osteopath as a private patient there may be a gap payment. A gap payment is the difference between what your health fund will cover and the fee charged by your osteopath. Your osteopath has no control over what rebate your health fund will provide.

If you need some help to figure out the best health insurance with psychology benefits or psychiatric services please contact our team on 1300 76 76 00.

MEDICARE AND OSTEOPATHY

Medicare rebates for osteopathic services are available for patients with a Chronic Disease Management (CDM) plan. The governments CDM program enables a doctors (a General Practitioner) to refer patients with a CDM plan for up to 5 allied health professional consultations in a calendar year.

Your doctor needs to facilitate the referral to an osteopath as part of your CDM plan. Your doctor will decide if you would benefit from osteopathy as part of your plan.

If eligible, your osteopath will provide regular reports back to your doctor so they can review and revise your overall CDM plan.

NATIONAL DISABILITY INSURANCE SCHEME (NDIS) and OSTEOPATHY

If you are an NDIS client that self-manage an individualised funding package you need to consult your case manager to see if osteopathic services can be paid for with you package funds.

WORKCOVER AND OSTEOPATHY

If you are injured at work you may be eligible to see an osteopath who can provide workplace injury management services throughout Australia. For example, following a referral from your doctor (a general practitioner) your case manager may approve a rebate for treatments provided by an osteopath. This can include when you have been injured at work and have issues affecting your bones, muscles or joints.

VETERANS AFFAIRS AND OSTEOPATHY

Australian Veterans can access services provided by osteopaths.

Your doctor will need to provide a referral to access Department of Veterans Affairs services.

The Department of Veterans Affairs also advises that people may be able to receive osteopathic services if they have a clinical need and either a Veteran Gold Card or White Veteran Card and your treatment is for an accepted service-related condition.

MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS AND OSTEOPATHY

For people injured in a motor vehicle accident you may be able to access osteopathic treatments through Compulsory Third Party arrangements in each Australia state and territory.

Osteopaths are eligible practitioners in each state and territory motor accident scheme. It means you can consult an osteopath if you have been injured in a motor vehicle, have a neurological or musculoskeletal injury (i.e., an injury to your bones, muscles, joints, tendons or nerves) and are approved to receive rebated or paid treatments for your injury by your claim case manager.

In general, you will need a referral from a General Practitioner (GP) to see an osteopath for a motor vehicle accident unless your case manager has exempted you from needing a referral. In approving consultations with an osteopath, your claim case manager may ask if a General Practitioner has referred you.

DID YOU KNOW?

Our team can help you find a health insurance plan with osteopath benefits to meet your needs.

When you compare and buy health insurance through us we donate 100% of our profits to charity.

What are my options for straighter teeth?

“Straightening your teeth for aesthetic purposes is not the only beneficial outcome of orthodontics. Having straight teeth gives you healthier gums, makes teeth easier to clean and can improve self-esteem and happiness.”

Dr James Bartalotta

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a type of dental treatment that helps correct overcrowded teeth, diastema (gaps), alignment of teeth and jaws. Treatment can include braces, plates and retainers.

What are the different types of braces?

Metal braces – traditional metal braces are one of the most common types of treatment recommended by orthodontic specialists and the preferred solution when clear braces or aligners canโ€™t achieve the significant movement required. 

Ceramic braces – the difference between metal and ceramic braces is the clear or tooth coloured brackets instead of traditional metal brackets to give them a more subtle appearance.

Clear aligners –  there are a number of different brands to choose from including Invisalignยฎ, Clear Correct and OrthoCaps. A series of clear aligners apply a small amount of pressure to help move your teeth into the desired location over time. 

Lingual braces – these braces are placed inside the teeth instead of on the outside. Because of where they are placed this makes them one of the most invisible types of braces. Your dentist or orthodontist will be able to tell you if lingual braces will work for you.

Do I need to see an orthodontic specialist?

Your regular dentist may provide orthodontic solutions that help correct minor orthodontic issues however for more complex cases you can see an orthodontic specialist with or without a referral from your regular dentist.

Will the Government Help Cover the Cost of Orthodontics?  

Some people can save a small amount of the cost of orthodontics through the government.  

Child Dental Benefits Scheme  

The Child Dental Benefits Scheme covers dental expenses for children aged 2-17 years if their parent receives an eligible Centrelink payment. Orthodontic treatment isnโ€™t covered by the scheme however you may claim for x-rays or extractions.  

Can I Claim on Medicare?

Medicare will only cover the cost of braces under the Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Scheme.

Can I get a rebate for orthodontic treatment?

To claim for orthodontics you need to have an Extras policy with Major Dental.

Your dentist can provide you with itemised codes of your treatment. Your health fund can use these codes to let you know your level of cover and rebate that will apply.

The team at Care To Compare can help you compare your current health insurance policy against any health fund available in Australia. You can speak with a member of the Care To Compare team on 1300 76 76 00 to find out more.

Is there a waiting period?

A waiting period may apply if you have recently upgraded to a higher level of cover or if you are new to private health insurance. In this case a waiting period of 12 months is likely to apply.

Are there limits on rebates for orthodontic treatment?

Lifetime limits apply to orthodontics for each person. This means that each person covered by your policy can only claim for orthodontic treatment once in their lifetime.

Contact your health insurer or the Care To Compare team to learn more.

Ready to make your smile healthy?

Dr James Bartalotta can be contacted directly for a free virtual aesthetic consult or teeth whitening assessment.

Gestational diabetes and pregnancy

Written by
Fuel Your Life

There are many challenges that come with pregnancy, but one of those that is most challenging and relatively common affecting 12-14% of Australian women, isย gestational diabetesย mellitusย (GDM).

Chances are, if youโ€™re here reading this blog, you might be awaiting or even have experienced the infamousย oral glucose tolerance testย (OGTT). This test is the ultimate decider in determining whether you are diagnosed with GDM or not. Many mothers can dread this test, not only due to the fact you have to drink a very sweet drink after a nightโ€™s fast but also what those results may show. But fear no more, today weโ€™re going to delve into what GDM is, who gets it, how it can affect you and your baby during pregnancy, and how a dietitian can help you successfully manage GDM.

What is Gestational Diabetes?

GDM is a form of diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy. This means there is too much glucose (sugar) in the blood. Excess glucose in the blood can have negative effects on both you and your baby. But the good news is successfully managing your GDM can increase your chances of having a normal delivery with no effects on your babyโ€™s long-term health.

The Development of GDM

The food you consume is broken down by the gut into proteins, fats and carbohydrates, along with many vitamins and minerals. The carbohydrate component of these foods is made up of many small parts called glucose, and this is what we refer to as sugar. Glucose is our bodies main source of fuel, powering us with the energy to accomplish every day activates involving muscle contractions and brain function. When pregnant, glucose becomes even more important because it is needed to fuel the growth and development of your baby.

Carbohydrates are found in nearly all foods. However, carbohydrate-rich foods are typically sweet or starchy foods (see table below). During digestion, the glucose in carbohydrates is released into the blood, contributing to our overall blood glucose level. From here, this glucose needs to be transported around the body to our muscles, where it can be used for energy. The hormoneย insulinย is responsible for moving glucose from the blood into the muscles and other organs within the body, and as glucose leaves the blood, that is how the blood glucose levels start to decrease.

Carbohydrates

The below are some of the most common sources of carbohydrates in our diet but donโ€™t forget that all of those sweet and savoury treats also contain a LOT of extra carbohydrate as well as fats and salt.

Cereals and GrainsFruit
(fresh, canned, dried, juice)
Starchy Vegetables and LegumesDairy (but not cheese)
Flours,
Rice, Pasta
Crackers,
Bread, wraps and tortillas
Cereals,
Oats
Bananas
Apples,
Pears,
Pineapple, Watermelon
Juices (fresh or pre-packed)
Potatoes,
sweet potato,
Legumes,
Lentils,
Corn
Milk (fresh,
long life,
powdered, flavoured)
Yoghurt
Custard
Ice cream

Insulin Resistance

Unique hormonal changes during pregnancy naturally reduce the effectiveness of insulin, meaning pregnant mothers usually require 2 to 3 times more insulin than they normally would. When the effectiveness of insulin is reduced, glucose stays in the blood and cannot be transported to the muscles. This is referred to as insulin resistance. This is what is happening to mothers with GDM. Their bodies simply cannot keep up with the insulin demands and does not produce enough insulin to effectively overcome the insulin resistance. Blood glucose levels will continue to rise to unsafe levels as more food is consumed. Some women in particular struggle to produce the extra insulin and have an increased risk of developing GDM, these include those:

  • Aged over 35 years
  • Above the healthy weight range
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander or Asian decent
  • Having a family history of type 2 diabetes or high blood glucose levels
  • Using anti-psychotic or steroidal medications
  • Already had GDM or a large baby before

If you fit into any of the categories above, you could have GDM without even knowing it. Many mothers do not report any symptoms. But those who do typically notice increased thirst, increased hunger or food consumption and more frequent trips to the toilet. All of which are typical symptoms in someone with diabetes.

The Effects on Pregnancy

When blood glucose levels are uncontrolled and remain too high for too long, the glucose needs to find somewhere to go. The easiest path for this glucose is straight to your baby. Extra glucose means the baby will be getting too much fuel, resulting in too rapid growth. Bigger babies can significantly increase the chances of early delivery, with complications during birth. As a result, C-sections are very common to assist in the delivery.

Testing for Gestational Diabetes

GDM is diagnosed using the OGTT as mentioned above, and although it is challenging and requires a lot of patience it is essential to ensure the health of you and your baby. This test usually occurs around 24-28 weeks into the pregnancy, where you drink a sweet drink after an overnight fast. The pathologist will then test your blood sugar levels at certain time points. If too much glucose remains in the blood, you will be diagnosed with GDM.

Managing Gestational Diabetes

GDM can be successfully managed by monitoring blood glucose levels, and by adopting a controlled eating pattern. Upon diagnosis, you will be referred to a dietitian and diabetes educator.

If you are looking or anย Accredited Practising Dietitian the team at Fuel Your Life can assist you and your GP can refer you straight to them. Fuel Your Life dietitians will always provide you with advice that is tailored to your lifestyle.

The bottom line is that GDM is a condition that can be successfully managed with a proactive approach. Fuel Your Life dietitians are here to help, soย get in touch today.

Can I get a rebate for seeing a dietitian?

To find out how you might be able to claim the costs of seeing a dietitian with your health insurance speak with a member of the Care To Compare team on 1300 76 76 00.

Care To Compare can help you find a health insurance policy that covers you for what you need. When you compare and buy a policy through Care To Compare, 100% of profits are donated to charities like theย Australasian Birth Trauma Associationย who provide a peer-led community dedicated to helping Australian and New Zealanders prevent and heal from birth-related trauma.

Teeth whitening options

“My role as a dentist is to help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted. The best way to do that is with a treatment plant that is personally tailored to you, and works within your budget.”

Dr James Bartalotta

Teeth whitening is one of the most common cosmetic dental treatments requested by patients. Many patients don’t consult with their dentist before whitening their teeth and that can lead to less than optimal results.

What are my options for whiter teeth?

When it comes to whitening your natural teeth there are different options available.

  • In-chair whitening where your dentist will fast track the tooth whitening. This process usually takes about an hour in a single visit. Your dentist can provide you with a take-home kit to help maintain your glowing smile.
  • At-home whitening where your dentist will fit you for a kit that is custom to your teeth. This process usually takes around 7-14 days to reach.

What should I do before whitening my teeth?

Visit your dentist for an oral-health check up and discuss your teeth whitening options.

During your oral-health check up your dentist will be able to highlight any issues you may encounter during teeth whitening. Issues like untreated gum disease, untreated tooth decay and plaque build up may impact the results you want to achieve from teeth whitening.

How long will whitening last?

Great oral hygiene and regular visits with your dentist can help maintain the whitening for years. The colour of your teeth can change depending on what you put in your mouth.

When discolouration occurs a simple touch-up of your whitening can help you regain a brighter smile. Ask your dentist what solution is best for you.

What causes discoloured teeth?

Did you know that some people are born with yellowish teeth or that your teeth can yellow as they age?

The main reason your teeth change colour is the result of what you put in your mouth. Tea, coffee, red wine and smoking can all change the colour of your teeth. Even dark coloured foods like beetroot, mulberries, blackberries and cherries can also stain your teeth. Unfortunately the more you eat of these types of foods the more impact in can have on the colour of your teeth.

There are some medications that also make your teeth look yellow or stained.

Your dentist can help you identify what options to whiten your teeth will work best for you.

Is teeth whitening the right for me?

A dental examination with your dentist will help confirm what teeth whitening options are best for you.

Your dentist will let you know if there is an underlying problem that needs to be addressed before you begin teeth whitening.

Some people may have gum or tooth sensitivity which can mean that some products used in teeth whitening should be avoided.

If you have any crowns or veneers your dentist will know what options are best for you.

Some health funds may cover up teeth whitening as a dental procedure as part of your Extras Cover. Your dentist can provide you with itemised codes of your treatment. Your health fund can use these codes to let you know your level of cover and rebate that will apply.

Can I get a health insurance rebate for teeth whitening?

The team at Care To Compare can help you compare your current health insurance policy against any health fund available in Australia. You can speak with a member of the Care To Compare team on 1300 76 76 00 to find out more.

Support for new dads

“When you welcome a new baby into the world, there is so much emphasis on self care, support and love for mums (and babies). Rightly so. Mums have birthed this human being, experienced profound changes to their bodies, have had a huge shift in their sense of self and most often are primary carer to this new little human.

Unfortunately, partners slide a little under the radar and donโ€™t always receive the care, support and attention they need and crave during this time of transition to parenthood.”

Jasmin Kostov, Let’s Sleep

Up to 1 in 10 Dads experience postnatal anxiety and depression in the first year after their baby is born. Up to 1 in 5 new Mumโ€™s will experience postnatal anxiety and depression. Whilst the prevalence is lower for Dadโ€™s (or so the statistics show anywayโ€ฆ), we know that men in general are not as likely to talk about how they are feeling and may โ€˜bottle upโ€™ their emotions.

This highlights the importance of supporting partners during pregnancy and postnatally.

Providing opportunities to debrief after the birth experience they have witnessed, having support and education in those early newborn days and empowering Dadโ€™s to build confidence and be as involved as possible are a few key factors that can REALLY help the transition to parenthood for partners.

Here are my suggestions for how to support our partners in the transition to parenthood.

Antenatal education

Knowledge is power. Getting educated about birth and beyond makes a world of difference for parents. I honestly believe that if partners can receive some education about the birthing process, how to support their partner during labour, see a birth video, understand some different scenarios that can happen during labour and birth – this can empower partners and remove some of the unknown and โ€˜fearโ€™ leading up to to birth of baby.

Often this is where the education stops.

I wish that all parents had some education around caring for a newborn, sleep basics, feeding, how important self care is (and how to fit it in!) and what to expect in those first months as a parent. This knowledge can make the world of difference for partners that are supporting a new Mum and baby.

My antenatal/newborn package was designed just for that reason.

Debrief after the birth

All parents should be provided with the opportunity to debrief after the birthing process. It is a HUGE experience no matter how your birth unfolds. A partners experience of the birth of their baby is completely different from Mums. A partner witnesses the love of their life in quite immense discomfort and can feel helpless as they canโ€™t take that pain away for them. If there is an unexpected turn in the labour such as needing an emergency caesarean, this can create some additional stress for partners and is often a completely unknown environment for them.

Debriefing with a health professional or a trusted friend or family member after the birth of baby can help partners to begin to understand what happened in the birthing process, discuss how they felt and what they saw. This simple chat can prevent those emotions from bubbling under the surface.

Get your partner involved early on

When baby is born, quite naturally the baby and mother spend majority of their time together – especially if baby is breastfeeding. Baby is feeding frequently and having lots of cuddles with Mum. In the moment, itโ€™s not always easy to step back and reflect on how your partner is feeling and adjusting.

Providing opportunities for your partner to build his or her confidence with baby from those early days will help to strengthen and nurture that Mum, partner and baby triad. Involving your partner as much as possible is not only wonderful for their relationship with baby but also provides Mum with some time to herself (even if its just 20-30 minutes a day to begin with). Try your best to allow your partner some space alone with baby, make small suggestions if they need some help but try not to hover (after all, we all learn by trial and error!)

Some ideas for how your partner can be involved regularly from those first few days and beyond.
  • Skin to skin
  • Settling baby for a sleep while Mum has a shower/dinner
  • Offering a bottle of expressed breastmilk or formula (if breastfeeding, always express with a hand or electric pump if your baby is having a bottle, this will help to protect your breast milk supply)
  • Take baby out for an assisted nap in the pram, carrier or car
  • Change nappy and dress baby
  • Bath baby or have a shower with baby skin to skin

Words of encouragement

Those first few months with your new baby can be tiring, stressful and amazing all at the same time. Every day, I challenge all new Mumโ€™s to reflect on something that your partner has done to support you and baby. I then would highly encourage you to share that with your partner. These small comments each day can help to build confidence for partners, make them feel appreciated, involved and needed. Positivity and kindness go a long way.

Some examples might include:
  • โ€™it was so great when you gave Max his bottle today and had cuddles with him afterwardโ€™
  • โ€˜thank you for cooking us dinner tonightโ€™
  • โ€˜it was so helpful that you brought the washing in off the line todayโ€™
  • โ€˜Max loved having a nice warm shower with you tonightโ€™

I hope that these suggestions resonate with you and positively impact transition to parenthood. Our partners are so important. There is something pretty special about seeing your partner with your baby and nurturing that relationship.

About the author

Jasmin Kostov is a Registered Midwife, Registered Nurse, Maternal & Child Health Nurse, Infant & Child Sleep Coach and the Director of Let’s Sleep.

SUPPORT FOR POSTNATAL DEPRESSION

Care To Compare is proud to support the Australasian Birth Trauma Association who provide a peer-led community dedicated to helping Australian and New Zealanders prevent and heal from birth-related trauma.

DID YOU KNOW?

Asking your private health insurer to remove pregnancy cover can reduce your monthly premiums?

What happens at a dental check-up?

“A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.”

Dr James Bartalotta

Regular check up and cleans can save you time, stress and money in the long run. It helps to diagnose and treat dental problems before they become more serious. A visit to your favourite dentist every 6 months is recommended for a detailed examination and thorough clean of your teeth. 

What happens at a check-up and clean or preventive maintenance visit?

A regular visit to your dentist should include:

  • An oral exam to check the your teeth, gums and tongue
  • Scale and polish
  • Fluoride rinse 
  • X-rays if necessary

How often will I need an x-ray or diagnostic test?

An examination may also include dental X-rays (bitewing radiographs) or other diagnostic procedures. X-rays are recommended to be taken every 2 years, depending on your risk status for potential oral health problems.

During the examination your dentist will check for oral cancer and soft tissue damage.

How to avoid tooth decay.

Prevention is always better than a cure. 

3 in 10 Australians aged 25-44 have untreated tooth decay and the same number either delay or avoid a visit to the dentist due to cost. (AIHW-2017)

Did you know that you can prevent tooth decay with good oral hygiene and regular check up appointments at the dentist?

When you visit the dentist routinely we can spot tooth decay in the early stages and offer treatment to prevent decay from getting worse. Itโ€™s not ideal finding yourself in a situation where you may need a root canal or extraction.

Can I get a rebate for seeing a dentist?

A great dentist should accept all private health funds. A co-payment or gap payment may be required. Private health insurance may not cover your entire dental treatment.

Some health funds may cover up to two preventive dental visits per year. Your dentist can provide you with itemised codes of your treatment. Your health fund can use these codes to let you know your level of cover and rebate that will apply.

The team at Care To Compare can help you compare your current health insurance policy against any health fund available in Australia. You can speak with a member of the Care To Compare team on 1300 76 76 00 to find out more.

Weight training for weight loss

Written by Jared Adams
Bushido Strength Hub

“Weight or fat loss is one of the most common reasons that motivates people to seek the help of a personal trainer or strength and conditioning coach. By working together we can help find a solution to achieve your goals that fits with your lifestyle “

Jared Adams, Bushido Strength Hub

Weight training or resistance training both have some key benefits over a more traditional approach to weight loss like focusing on just basic activities like running, cycling and swimming alone.

Some might consider using the ‘energy in vs energy out’ approach to help lose weight where the goal is to expend more calories than you consume.

With an entry level fitness tracker and a basic understanding of calories you could monitor daily energy intake and energy out. This approach alone can make you feel stuck with a constant cycle of monitoring.

While you can modify the intensity of physical activity, monitoring energy in and out alone create times when you are running 7 days each week to make up for those extra treats during the week.

What if there was a more sustainable way of keeping the weight off? Or something that you could use in conjunction with this approach?

The great news – there is an alternative.

By training with resistance or weights you can develop more muscle. The more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate (RMR) – that’s how many calories your body requires to function at rest.

Your resting metabolic rate accounts for around 60-75% of total energy expenditure and that’s before you add any weight training sessions.

This approach can provide a more sustainable way to help you keep your weight down long term.

As you grow muscle your body needs more calories just to hit the baseline of 60-75%.

Following weight training your RMR is increased for up to 8 hours to help with nutrient uptake and restoration of the muscles used during training.

So what’s the perfect exercise plan?

Everyone will have different needs and abilities that should be considered in developing an exercise plan.

As a guide, 10 to 12 repetitions seems to be the golden range. You should aim to progress the intensity of these movements each week with increased weight, repetitions or total sets to ensure a progressive overload. This gives your muscles what they need to continue to grow and in turn, store more energy.

This is not to say this is the best way to approach your weight loss, simply that weight training can very well be complimented with a traditional approach for additional cardiovascular health or simply some active recovery 

Need help to create your perfect exercise plan?

If youโ€™d like to work with Jared or the Bushido Strength Hub team connect with them on Instagram or Facebook.

Did you know that some health funds offer rebates for personal training to support healthy lifestyles?

To find out how you might be able to claim the costs of personal training or gym memberships with your health insurance speak with a member of the Care To Compare team on 1300 76 76 00.