Posts Tagged ‘heart’

Heart to heart

Friday, February 14th, 2014

heartsTo all our volunteers and friends across the country, we offer our heartfelt thanks for your support.  Whether the loved ones in your family have healthy hearts or are struggling with a congenital heart defect, we are wishing you strength, good health and the joy of sharing love with others.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Heart health

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

heart-healthI was reminded today that it is healthy heart month.  Since pregnancy puts a fair amount of physical stress on a woman, I thought it a good time to mention taking care of your ticker before you conceive.  I’m not thinking about having a baby (not at my age!), but it’s a good reminder for me, too.  Here are some things each of us can do to help improve our heart health.

Stop smoking – Even if you do smoke, you’ve got to know it’s not good for you.  But did you know smoking may make it harder for you to get pregnant? And if you smoke while you’re pregnant, your baby is at greater risk for being born prematurely or too small?

Have your doc check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  If they test high, take steps to bring them down.  Most health care providers want your BP to be at or below 120/80 and total cholesterol to be below 200.

If you have a family history of diabetes, get your blood sugar checked.  Make sure you get into a program to help keep it in control before and during pregnancy.

Eat right – Eat foods from each of the five food groups: fruits, vegetables, proteins (like chicken, fish and dried beans), grains, and milk products. Easy does it on salt and avoid foods high in fat and sugar.

Get to a good weight – If you’re not at your ideal weight (too many holiday treats?) knock off a few pounds, or gain ‘em if you need ‘em.  Exercise regularly and get fit. Exercising for 30 minutes on all or most days of the week is a good way to help maintain or lose weight, build fitness and reduce stress.

Reduce your daily stress – Pregnancy is a stressful time for many women. You may be feeling happy, sad and scared—all at the same time. It’s okay to feel like that, but doing what you can to reduce stress before pregnancy can help you better manage extra stress associated with pregnancy.  And if you’re not considering pregnancy, reducing stress can improve your quality of life in general.  Sounds good to me!

Valproate sodium and related products linked to birth defects

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a statement about the increased risk of birth defects when a fetus is exposed to valproate sodium and related products (valproic acid and divalproex sodium).

The birth defects are neural tube defects, craniofacial defects, and cardiovascular problems. A neural tube defect is a defect of the brain and spinal cord. A craniofacial defect affects the face and the skull.

Valproate sodium and its related products may be used to treat migraine headaches, certain seizures and other conditions. If a woman is taking any of these products, she should talk to her health care provider, preferably before she gets pregnant. The risk of birth defects is especially high during the first trimester.

Joyful music makes your heart sing!

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Joyful music can bring on emotions that are good for your blood vessels and heart, according to researchers at the University of Maryland. People participating in the study chose music that made them happy. When they listened to their favorite tunes, their blood vessels opened up and blood flow increased. In 2005, the researchers found that laughter had a similar effect. So listen to whatever makes you happy, whether it’s Rihanna or Celine, Kanye or Jason Mraz, Mozart or Chesney. And laugh a lot! It’s all good for you!

Music can also help reduce stress while you’re pregnant. Watch the new March of Dimes video about stress and pregnancy.

For more on music and health , visit the University of Maryland Web site.

Which music makes you happy? Tell us about it.

Preexisting diabetes

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

If you have diabetes and you want to have a baby, it’s really important to talk to your doctor and to establish good blood sugar control first. A woman with preexisting diabetes can have a healthy baby just as long as her blood sugar level remains normal before and throughout pregnancy. If you have good blood sugar control around the time of conception, your risk of having a baby with a birth defect is nearly the same as that of women without diabetes.

Women with poorly controlled diabetes in the early weeks of pregnancy are at an increased risk of having a baby with a serious birth defect, such as a heart defect or a neural tube defect. They also have an increased risk of miscarriage and stillbirth as well as increased risk of having a very large baby (macrosomia), which makes vaginal delivery more difficult and puts the baby at risk for injuries during birth.

Smoking can hurt your baby’s heart

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Smoking early in pregnancy can increase the risk of heart defects in your baby. This is what the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found in a recent study. The more the woman smokes, the greater the risk.

For more information and to get help for quitting, see the March of Dimes article on smoking. To learn about heart defects, read the March of Dimes fact sheet.