Posts Tagged ‘miscarriage’

Are you watching your soda intake?

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

drinking sodaThere has been an interesting debate in the media lately about New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s attempt to regulate the size of sugary soft drinks.  He says he is doing it for health reasons. Well, he is right that there is an enormous (all puns intended) portion of the population that is overweight in this country, and that’s a concern for everyone.

Obesity leads to significant health problems. Being overweight or obese during pregnancy can cause complications for you and your baby. The more overweight you are, the greater the chances for pregnancy complications. You can read about many of the problems (infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes…) here.

It’s important to get to a healthy weight before you conceive. This way you’re giving your baby the healthiest possible start. Before you have a baby, take the time to get fit, exercise and eat healthy.  Cutting out the empty calories that do you no good is a good idea. It will be interesting to watch what happens in New York. What do you think?

How safe is sex during pregnancy?

Monday, February 25th, 2013

in-bed1There are lots of myths about sex and pregnancy, such as:
– Sex can be harmful or painful during pregnancy.
– Intercourse could hurt the baby.
– The baby somehow “knows” that sex is taking place.

The truth is that unless your doc or midwife advises you otherwise, sex during pregnancy is safe for the vast majority of us. And as for the baby, he or she has no idea what Mom and Dad are doing. The baby is well protected by a cushion of fluid in the womb and by the mom’s abdomen.

There are some circumstances, however, that can make sex during pregnancy unsafe. Women who have the following health complications should talk to their health provider before engaging in sex:
– A history or risk of miscarriage
– A previous preterm birth or other risk factors for preterm birth
– Unexplained vaginal bleeding, discharge or cramping
– Leaking amniotic fluid
Placenta previa (when the placenta is low and covers the cervix)
Incompetent cervix (when the cervix is weakened and opens too soon)

If your pregnancy is considered to be high risk, you may need to be more cautious than other women. Your health care provider may advise you to avoid intercourse for all or part of your pregnancy. This is an important conversation to have, so don’t be shy.

But again, for most of us, sex is safe, nothing to fear and may even become a more intimate experience. Many women find that pregnancy makes them want sex more than they did before they became pregnant. This sex drive is caused by hormonal changes. For some women, newfound voluptuousness can play a role in making them feel sexier than ever.

Other women may find that their sex drive comes in waves while pregnant. Here is a link to some common changes you may find throughout your stages of pregnancy.

Lose the weight before pregnancy

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Advertisements abound these days for weight loss programs and quick fix diets. Did you eat all your favorite traditional treats over the holidays and have a cup or two of cheer? I certainly did and am now feeling like it’s time to behave – time to swap the cookies for carrots, the fruitcake for fruit.

For those of you thinking about pregnancy, it’s especially important to get your weight under control before you conceive. To know if you’re overweight or obese, find out your body mass index (BMI) before you get pregnant.  BMI is a calculation based on your weight and height.

If you’re overweight, your BMI is 25.0 to 29.9 before pregnancy. Two in 3 women (66 percent) of reproductive age (15 to 44 years) in the United States is overweight.  If you’re obese, your BMI is 30.0 or higher before pregnancy. About 1 in 4 women (25 percent) is obese.

If you’re overweight or obese, you’re more likely than pregnant women at a healthy weight to have certain medical problems during pregnancy. The more overweight you are, the higher are the risks for problems. These problems include:
• Infertility (not being able to get pregnant)
• miscarriage (when a baby dies in the womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy)
• stillbirth (when a baby dies in the womb before birth but after 20 weeks of pregnancy)
• high blood pressure and preeclampsia (a form of high blood pressure that only pregnant women get). It can cause serious problems for mom and baby.
• gestational diabetes
• complications during labor and birth, including having a really big baby (called large-for-gestational-age) or needing a cesarean section (c-section).

Some of these problems, like preeclampsia, can increase your chances of preterm birth, birth before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. This is too soon and can cause serious health problems for your baby. (We’ll talk about how mom’s weight issues can affect her baby’s health in tomorrow’s post.)

For those women who are severely overweight, some are turning to surgery. New studies suggest that weight-loss surgery may help protect obese women and their babies from gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, overly large babies and cesarean delivery during pregnancy.

So think about staying healthy and shedding those unwanted pounds before you get pregnant. Talk with your health care provider, find a plan that’s good for you and stick to it. You’ll have a healthier and more comfortable pregnancy when the time comes.

Thrombophilias and pregnancy

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

The thrombophilias are a group of conditions that increase a person’s chances of developing blood clots. People with a thrombophilia tend to form blood clots too easily because their bodies make either too much of certain proteins (called blood clotting factors) or too little of anti-clotting proteins that limit clot formation.

Thrombophilias may pose special risks in pregnancy. Clots are more likely to develop when a person with a thrombophilia has certain risk factors, including being pregnant or in the postpartum period (up to 6 weeks after delivery)

Most women with a tendency to develop blood clots have healthy pregnancies. However, pregnant women with a thrombophilia may be more likely than other pregnant women to develop deep vein clots and certain other pregnancy complications. Even pregnant women without a thrombophilia may be more likely than non-pregnant women to develop deep vein clots and emboli. This is due to normal pregnancy-related changes in blood clotting that limit blood loss during labor and delivery. However, studies suggest that up to 50% of pregnant women who develop a pulmonary embolus (a clot in the lung) or other venous thromboembolism (a clot that breaks off and travels to a vital organ) have an underlying thrombophilia. Pulmonary embolus is one of the leading causes of maternal death in the United States.

Factor V Leiden and prothrombin mutations are the most common inherited thrombophilias and occur in about 5% to 3% of cases, respectively. Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is the most common acquired thrombophilia. APS occurs in up to 5% of pregnant women. Aside from possible pulmonary embolus, APS also may contribute to repeat miscarriage, stillbirth, preeclampsia and poor fetal growth.

All pregnant women who have had a blood clot should be offered testing. Your provider also may recommend testing if you have a family history of VTE before age 50. Women who have had three or more miscarriages (before or after 10 weeks of pregnancy) or one pregnancy loss after 10 weeks of pregnancy may be offered testing for APS.

Some women may not need treatment, however women with an inherited thrombophilia who have a history of blood clots are usually treated with an anticoagulant during pregnancy and the postpartum period. It is important for any woman with a clotting disorder to discuss with her health care provider what treatment, if any, is appropriate for her specific case. A family health history of blood clots can make a significant impact on the treatment decision – another good reason to know your family health history.

Loss is painful

Monday, December 12th, 2011

flowerI recently read that Michelle Duggar had a miscarriage with her 20th child. While many women choose to have babies later in life, there are risks associated with pregnancy in older women and risks associated with spacing children too close together.  Sadly, miscarriage is common (as many as 40 percent of all pregnancies may end in miscarriage), but that doesn’t change the fact that losing a baby is painful.

Whether it is your first pregnancy or your last, whether you just recently learned of your pregnancy or you were many months along, whether you have a houseful of children or none, the loss of a baby is not an easy thing.

Reading about the Duggar’s loss made me think to remind you that the March of Dimes has created bereavement materials for families who have suffered a loss. We have written a booklet called From Hurt to Healing to help families understand their grief. It explains grief and how men and women grieve differently. It talks about how to deal with your feelings, tells you how to ask for help, how to deal with family and friends, how to help other children understand. And it suggests ways to remember your baby. Two other booklets (What Can You Do? and When You Want to Try Again) are part of a packet the March of Dimes offers free to bereaved parents. We hope our booklets, fact sheets, and list of resources help parents find ways to heal and think about the future.

If you would like one of these helpful and free bereavement packets, please send an email requesting it to Askus@marchofdimes.org. Be sure to include your complete U.S. mailing address.

American Diabetes Month

Monday, November 28th, 2011

The rate of diabetes continues to increase. Today, about 1 in 9 adults has diabetes. But, according to the CDC, in the next four decades, the number of U.S. adults with diabetes is estimated to double or triple. That means anywhere from 20 to 33 percent of adults could have the disease.

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Racial and ethnic minority groups are the hardest hit by diabetes and its complications.

Nearly 9 out of 100 women in the United States have diabetes. About 3 out of those 9 don’t know it. It’s very important for all women to see their health provider regularly to watch for this disease and learn how to manage it.

If you have diabetes and are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, your health care provider will want to take extra special care of you. Pregnant women who have diabetes before pregnancy (preexisting diabetes) are considered to have a high-risk pregnancy. If diabetes is not well controlled, a mom and baby could face serious health complications:

  • The woman is more likely to have a miscarriage and stillbirth.
  • The baby is 2 to 4 times more likely to have a serious birth defect than other babies. Heart defects and neural tube defects are more common among babies born to women with diabetes.
  • The baby is likely to be very large (10 pounds or more). This makes vaginal delivery more difficult and puts the baby at risk for injuries during birth.

The time to act is now. Join Healthy People 2020 in support of American Diabetes Month. Organizations and individuals can work together in their community to prevent diabetes and its complications. Learn more and teach others about the dangers associated with diabetes and how to prevent them.

You have the power to prevent and control diabetes. If you already have diabetes, work to lower your risk of serious complications. If you don’t have the disease, learn if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes. To learn more about diabetes and what you can do to prevent it, read the information from the CDC.

Listeriosis harmful in pregnancy

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

You may have heard recent news about cantaloupes being recalled because they may be linked to listeriosis, a kind of food poisoning. The cantaloupes are Rocky Ford cantaloupes and were shipped nationwide by Jensen Farms.

Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by bacteria called listeria. Listeriosis most often happens from being in contact with foods that have listeria. While anyone can get listeriosis, pregnant women are about 20 times more likely than other healthy adults to get listeriosis. In fact, about 1 in 6 cases of listeriosis happens during pregnancy.

Listeriosis is very harmful to women during pregnancy. A pregnant woman who gets listeriosis is at risk for miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth. Listeriosis is also very harmful, even deadly, to newborn babies. Older adults and people with weakened immune systems are at increased risk of listeriosis, too.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises everyone not to eat Rocky Ford cantaloupes shipped by Jensen Farms. While most grocery stores have removed the cantaloupes from their shelves, some people may still have them in their homes. At least 18 states have reported cases of listeriosis from cantaloupes, including California, Montana, Kansas, Florida and Maryland.

To learn more about the recalled cantaloupes, visit the CDC website.

Come chat with us about loss

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

texting2So many women have suffered miscarriages, stillbirth or the early passing of a baby born too soon or due to a birth defect. Riding the rollercoaster of emotions is so very hard. Come share your thoughts, suggestions, support. What do you say to family and friends? How do you express what’s helpful and what’s hurtful? What helped you?

Join us on Twitter the evening of Wednesday, September 14th at 9 PM EDT for a chat about #infantloss.

Food at the ball game

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

hot-dogsBaseball is heating up, football is beginning, we’re all shouting and rooting for our team while we gobble hot dogs. Maybe they’re not the most nutritious food on the planet, but once in a while they’re fun.  I like my dogs smothered in spicy mustard and sautéed onions.  I always burp a lot afterward, but they sure taste good on the way down!

There is something all pregnant women, and those planning on becoming pregnant,  should know about hot dogs – and luncheon meats, deli meats and unpasteurized milk products, too.  Certain of these products can cause a form of food poisoning called listeriosis.  Listeriosis is caused by a bacterium (Listeria monocytogenes) and is especially dangerous during pregnancy.  When a pregnant woman is infected with listeriosis, she may have a miscarriage, premature delivery or stillbirth, or her newborn baby may become seriously ill and may die.

OK, no need to freak out here.  Most people do not become ill when they eat Listeria-contaminated foods. However, healthy pregnant women are more likely than other healthy adults to get listeriosis and more likely to become dangerously ill from it. So that’s why it’s important to steer clear of potentially contaminated food.

A pregnant woman can help protect herself and her baby from listeriosis by following these guidelines from the FDA:
• Do not eat hot dogs or luncheon meats (including deli meats such as ham, turkey, salami and bologna) unless they’re reheated until steaming hot.
• Do not consume unpasteurized milk or foods made from it.
• Avoid soft cheeses, such as feta, brie, Camembert, Roquefort, blue-veined, queso blanco, queso fresco or Panela, unless the label on the cheese says it’s made with pasteurized milk. You don’t need to worry about hard cheeses, processed cheeses, and cream and cottage cheeses – they’re safe.
• Do not eat refrigerated pâtés or meat spreads. (Listeria thrives at refrigerator temperatures.) Canned and shelf-stable versions are safe.
• Avoid refrigerated smoked seafood unless it has been cooked (as in a casserole). Canned and shelf-stable versions are safe.

You can read more about food safety on our website.

Medications and pregnancy

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

pills-2You may have seen a lot of news coverage on a study linking some over-the-counter pain relievers to miscarriage. The Canadian study found that using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which can be found in common pain relievers like Advil®, Motrin® and Aleve®, can put women at risk for miscarriage if taken in early pregnancy.

While more research needs to be done on the safety of these pain relievers during pregnancy, it’s a good time to remember to talk to your health provider before taking any medicines during pregnancy. If you’re already taking medication to keep you healthy, talk to your provider to make sure it’s safe to continue taking the medication during pregnancy. Your provider may want to keep you on the same medicine or switch you to a safer medicine during pregnancy.

Learn more about medicines and other drugs, herbs and dietary supplements during pregnancy.