Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hypothermia and Early Motherhood

I went camping recently with the Boy Scouts and it was  freezing. I thought I'd better brush up my knowledge of hypothermia, since I was the resident expert on the trip.

As I started reviewing the symptoms of hypothermia, I realized the symptoms are very similar to the first several months of motherhood. And the last couple of months of motherhood. Heck, Motherhood.

Here is from the MayoClinic's website:

Moderate to severe hypothermia

As your body temperature drops, signs and symptoms of moderate to severe hypothermia include:
  • Shivering, although as hypothermia worsens, shivering stops
  • Clumsiness or lack of coordination
  • Slurred speech or mumbling
  • Confusion and poor decision-making, such as trying to remove warm clothes
  • Drowsiness or very low energy
  • Lack of concern about one's condition
  • Progressive loss of consciousness
  • Weak pulse
  • Slow, shallow breathing"


Treatment of Hypothermia:

  • call 911
  • Warm the person up by getting them indoors.
  • Put the person in dry clothes and blankets.
  • Warm their bodies/trunks, not the hands and feet. that can put them into shock.
  • Don't immerse in warm water -that can cause arrhythmias.
  • Give warm fluids to drink-not coffee or alcohol
  • If the heart stops, start CPR and keep going until Assistance arrives in the way of paramedics.

We have a saying in medicine when referring to cardiac arrest in a hypothermic patient:

A hypothermic person isn't good and dead until they're warm and dead.

Cold persons can maintain brain function for a lot longer than a warm person and the cold temperature may prevent the CPR from working right away. You need to warm the person up and keep doing CPR before you call the code off.


Motherhood is not so different from hypothermia:

  • Confusion
  • Exhaustion, fatigue and low energy
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of concern about one's condition 
  • Loss of consciousness (at every opportunity available--few and far between)
  • Clumsiness and lack of coordination (usually from trying to carry a baby and perform activities of daily living at the same time)

The treatment however, is often the exact opposite of the treatment of hypothermia.

  • Call in every favor ever owed you and get out of the house and away from the baby for a while
  • Get outside into the sunlight
  • Take a long, long, LONG HOT shower. Shave and groom and do it all in PRIVACY. 
  • Take in coffee, alcohol, or whatever your favorite beverage is. Add in chocolate and all the foods you've been avoiding while breast feeding. 
  • If your heart stops in shock of some actual private time, don't worry. It won't happen again for a long while. 

And remember Moms:

Mothers are never TRULY asleep until their child decides Naptime is over. It never fails.

November 11, 2014

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