Posts Tagged ‘multivitamins’

Folic acid can help reduce the risk of spina bifida

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

Holding a multivitamin 2If a woman of childbearing age takes 400 micrograms of folic acid every day before and during early pregnancy, it can help reduce her baby’s risk for neural tube defects (NTDs). NTDs are birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. Spina bifida is the most common neural tube defect, affecting 1,500 to 2000 babies a year.

A baby’s neural tube normally develops into the brain and spinal cord. It starts out as a tiny, flat ribbon that turns into a tube by the end of the first month of pregnancy. NTDs happen if the tube doesn’t close completely.

Since birth defects of the brain and spine happen in the first few weeks of pregnancy, they often occur before a woman knows she’s pregnant. This is why it is important for a woman of childbearing age to take folic acid every day, even if she isn’t planning a pregnancy any time soon. By the time a woman realizes she’s pregnant, it might be too late to prevent these birth defects.

Types of spina bifida

There are four types of spina bifida, ranging from mild to severe. The mildest form (occulta), usually doesn’t cause health problems. However, other forms such as closed neural tube, meningocele and myelomeningocele (also known as open spina bifida) may cause symptoms such as bladder problems, infections and paralysis.

Spina bifida can also cause a number of medical conditions. If your child has spina bifida, he will need a team of medical professionals to monitor his health:

  • Pediatrician – a doctor who takes care of babies and children
  • Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician – a pediatrician with additional training in developmental disorders
  • Neurologist – a doctor who treats problems of the nervous system, brain and spinal cord
  • Psychologist – a professional trained to treat social and mental health problems
  • Psychiatrist – a doctor who specializes in treating mental health disorders
  • Urologist – a doctor who treats problems of the urinary tract (kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra)
  • Orthopedist – a doctor trained to treat disorders of bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, nerves, tendons and overall physical movement problems
  • Occupational Therapist – a professional trained to help with activities of daily living and fine motor problems
  • Physical Therapist – a professional trained to treat movement, balance, strength and physical problems

Learn more about the causes, types and treatments of spina bifida, on our website.

Bottom line

Take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid every day, BEFORE and early in pregnancy, to help prevent certain birth defects.

Dads: Getting ready for baby

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

dad-and-bellyWhen I first learned about our baby-to-be, I was thrilled! I’d already started living a healthier lifestyle before getting pregnant, like getting to a healthy weight and taking a multivitamin with folic acid. But now more than ever, I’m very cautious about what I eat, my environment and my activities. I want to be sure I’m doing everything I can so that baby is healthy and safe during the pregnancy.

Interestingly, my dear husband is going through his own daddy-to-be phase. In the last few weeks, I’ve noticed him getting around to those household projects that were always on the bottom of his list, like cleaning out the air filters, fixing the floor molding, even helping out with daily chores like the laundry and dishes. We only have one car; a little two-seater convertible that’s been the envy of our friends for years. But, with the baby coming, my husband has thrown himself into issue after issue of Motor Trend and Consumer Reports magazines to identify the safest, most efficient family vehicle. You’d think he’s writing his Ph.D. dissertation with all of the research and notes he’s taking! But all of it is very cute to see 🙂 .

Even my own dad, a soon-to-be grandpa, is making lifestyle changes. He’s started to eat healthier and get more exercise so that he’ll be in great shape to play with his new grandbaby this winter.

USA Today had an article about the new dad phase, specifically about dads being more cautious and sensible as they get ready for baby. Did anyone else see a similar change with the dad-to-be in their life?

Got vitamins?

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

67958806_thbWhether you visit this blog regularly (woo hoo!) or you’re stopping by for the first time (welcome!), I’m sure you’ve heard by now that women are encouraged to take folic acid everyday. Getting the recommended amount through diet alone can be tough though. That’s why March of Dimes has created a quick and easy way to get the information you need on this important topic. Through video and audio you can meet medical experts like Dr. Dolan and Dr. Fleischman who discuss the importance of taking folic acid before pregnancy. Click here to watch and listen. Let us know what you think!

Too many kids don’t get enough vitamin D

Friday, August 7th, 2009

vitamin-dKids need vitamins to help them grow strong and healthy. But a new study in this month’s Pediatrics journal finds that nearly 7 out of 10 kids aren’t getting enough vitamin D. This is alarming because vitamin D is an important nutrient in preventing bone-weakening diseases in children as well as other health complications that can occur later in life, like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

The study examined over 6,000 children aged 1-21 and found that kids who spent more time watching TV, playing video games or using computers and drank milk less than once a week were more likely to have lower levels of vitamin D.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies, children and adolescents get 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day. Babies who are breastfeed can get this nutrient from vitamin D drops.  Your baby’s pediatrician can and should prescribe multivitamin drops containing vitamin D to breastfed babies starting in the first 2 months of life.

Kids can get the right amount of vitamin D by eating foods that are fortified with vitamin D, taking a children’s multivitamin with vitamin D, and by spending some time playing outside in the sunshine (sunlight is a good source of vitamin D).

Diabetes and pregnancy

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

You may have heard us say it before, but it’s worth saying it again – having a healthy baby starts BEFORE pregnancy! There are so many factors about mom’s health before and during pregnancy that affect how healthy her baby will be. That’s why it’s important for all women to take care of themselves and live a healthy lifestyle. This is especially true for women living with diabetes.

The USA Today published an article last week on this very topic. In fact, nearly 9 out of 100 women in the United States have diabetes. But, about 3 out of those 9 don’t know it. Managing diabetes before pregnancy (often called “preexisting diabetes”) is important to the health of both mom and baby. This is also true for women who develop gestational diabetes (when diabetes develops during pregnancy). If too much glucose (sugar) is in a woman’s blood during early pregnancy, there’s a chance that this can cause birth defects. In later pregnancy, too much glucose could lead to a baby that is too large, born prematurely, born via c-section or have other life-threatening situations.

But there is good news! By learning how to manage your diabetes before and during pregnancy, you can increase the chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby. Here’s a few things you can do right now:
Visit your health provider regularly before and during pregnancy
• Take a multivitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid
• Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
• With your health provider’s OK, be active and exercise
• Learn more about managing pre-existing diabetes and gestational diabetes.

Ladies – keep on taking those vitamins!

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

You may have seen recent news coverage about a study showing that daily multivitamins may not help prevent cancer or heart disease. But that doesn’t mean you should stop taking your multivitamins. That’s because most multivitamins have folic acid, and folic acid is known to help prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord when taken before the end of early pregnancy. The trouble is that most women may not even know they’re pregnant at the time when folic acid is most beneficial at preventing birth defects. That’s why it’s important that women take multivitamins before getting pregnant.

When shopping for a multivitamin, make sure it has at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. Once you know you’re pregnant, your health provider will give you prenatal vitamins, which have the amount of folic acid you need.

Prenatal Vitamins

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

I was in my car and heading back to work when I realized that I was smiling. My prescription slip was safely tucked in my daily planner on the passenger’s seat. I was happy and this was really happening. I couldn’t wait to drop it off at the pharmacy later that day. I wanted to see Joe and tell him all about my visit.

I brought the prescription up to the counter at CVS. They had my insurance information on file so the technician said it would only take about ten minutes. I aimlessly shopped around for things I didn’t need such as pony tail holders and sunflower seeds. When I returned the tech asked for my signature as she rummaged through a bin of stapled white bags. She found mine, scanned it and then I almost passed out. Forty-five bucks!?!

I started talking to myself out loud. “This is crazy. $45 a month for vitamins. Are these magical vitamins?” I must have been scaring the other customers because the pharmacist quickly walked up to the register. My insurance didn’t cover this particular brand. She said that they did have the generic version in stock, but we would have to get permission from my health care provider to switch. I left the store with no white bag.

It wasn’t that big of a deal. The next morning I got in touch with my doctors office and they called in the new prescription. The moral of the story is this… if you’re given a prescription talk to your health care provider or pharmacist about generic alternatives. It may save you a few bucks. And if you’re planning to have a baby saving money is especially important. That goes for over-the-counter medications too, including multivitamins. Just make sure to talk to your doctor, always read labels and follow the instructions before use.