Posts Tagged ‘pregnant’

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Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

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Happy Mother’s Day

Friday, May 10th, 2013

generationsIn honor of Mother’s Day, we’d like to offer expectant moms one more tool to help promote a healthy pregnancy. Here’s a quick introduction to elective deliveries. Find out why the latest research from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and  information from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the March of Dimes all suggest that women wait until at least 39 weeks of pregnancy to deliver unless medically necessary.

What is the safest point in my pregnancy for my baby to be born?

The baby’s brain, liver, and lungs continue important development in the womb until 39 weeks. Unless health risks to the mother or baby require earlier delivery, it is best to wait until at least 39 weeks to deliver and, if possible, to let labor begin on its own. This extra time improves outcomes for mother and baby.

What to ask your health provider before you decide to deliver before 39 weeks of pregnancy:
• Are there any medical indications that suggest I should induce labor early?
• What are the potential complications of elective early delivery for my baby?
• What are the potential complications for my own health?
• How do you tell when my body is ready for labor?
• How might inducing labor affect my future pregnancies?

Just a couple weeks can make a big difference for your health and the health of your baby. As you approach the last few months of your pregnancy (or if you’re already there), keep the questions above in mind as you talk to your doctor or midwife about your delivery options. Write them down. Print them out. And watch this video from the NIH on why waiting just a few extra weeks to deliver can be critical for you and your baby.

Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

bookAre you pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant? Pre-order your copy of Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby brought to you by the March of Dimes! This new book clearly lays out all the must-know information about every stage of your pregnancy, along with research-based advice to help keep you healthy and full of energy.

Get the facts you need from a source you can trust. Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby was written by two amazing women, both moms themselves. Dr. Siobhan Dolan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women’s Health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and an attending physician in the Division of Reproductive Genetics at Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital for Einstein, in New York City. Co-author Alice Lesch Kelly is an award-winning medical writer and health journalist.

Having a baby is one of nature’s true blessings and miracles. You have many choices before you in this exciting time and the more you know, the more empowered you become!

Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby features:
• A straight-forward “Start Where You Are” approach to maternity
• A month-by-month look at how your baby is growing
• The truth about weight gain and nutrition
• The essential labor checklist

To learn more, read excerpts, watch a video and pre-order your copy, click on this link.

Is your back bothering you?

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

backacheBackache is one of the most common problems for pregnant women. If you’re suffering, you’re not alone. Nearly half of all women have back pain at some point during pregnancy.

You can lessen some of the normal back pain encountered during pregnancy by following these tips:
• Be aware of your posture. Try to keep your hips pulled forward and your back straight. Don’t be a “sway back.”
• Wear low-heeled shoes with good arch support. Avoid wearing high heels. They can strain your lower back muscles.
• Avoid lifting heavy objects. This can put even more strain on your back. If you must pick something up from the floor, squat down, bend at the knees and keep your back straight. Do not bend over from the waist.
• Split larger loads into two smaller loads. Holding them in either hand may be easier than carrying one large load. If you must carry a large object, keep it close to your body.
• Keep objects you need close by so you don’t have to bend or stretch to pick them up. Be careful. It’s easy to lose your balance when you are pregnant.
• Avoid standing for long periods of time, if possible. If you have to stand for an extended period, rest one foot on a stool or box. This will help relieve the strain on your back.
• Sit in chairs with good back support. Tuck a small pillow behind your lower back for extra support while sitting.
• When sleeping, a firm mattress provides better back support than a soft one. If your mattress is too soft, a board between the mattress and box spring will make it firmer. Sleep on your side instead of your back. Tuck a pillow between your legs when lying on your side. The pillow will help straighten your spine and give extra support to your back.
• Look for maternity pants that have a wide elastic band to be worn under the curve of your belly. This band will help support the extra weight. Consider using special abdominal-support girdles. They can provide back support and are available in maternity stores.
• Apply a heating pad set to the lowest temperature, a hot water bottle filled with warm water or a cold compress. To avoid excessive cold or heat, wrap the heating pad, hot water bottle or compress in a towel.
• Try gently rubbing or kneading the sore areas of your lower back. Ask your partner or a friend to help. Consider getting a massage designed for pregnant women.
Medication to treat back pain during pregnancy is usually not a good option. Always check with your health care provider before taking any type of medication.
• Certain exercises can help strengthen and stretch your back muscles. They can also improve your posture and strengthen your abdominal muscles for labor and delivery. Talk with your health care provider about which exercises are safe for you and how long you should keep doing them during pregnancy.

Fertility and multiples

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

In this video, Dr. Siobhan Dolan talks with a woman about fertility treatment and how to lower one’s chances of getting pregnant with twins, triplets or more.

Fifth disease in adults

Friday, June 8th, 2012

sick-adultWell, it’s spring time, and along with the flower blossoms, sunshine and coat-less days comes viruses. One virus that is often seen is Fifth Disease.  It is also known as slapped cheek syndrome or Parvovirus B19. It is called Fifth Disease because when it was classified many years ago, it was the fifth in a list of childhood illnesses involving rashes.

Even though Fifth Disease is primarily known as a childhood illness, adults can get it, too. Once you are exposed to the virus, it takes 4 – 14 days for symptoms to begin, sometimes longer. Typically, the first symptoms are mistaken for a cold – runny nose, headache, mild fever and/or sore throat and sometimes itching. This is the time when you are contagious. However, at this stage, some people do not have any noticeable symptoms at all. But, then a rash usually appears, typically on the cheeks (hence the name “slapped cheek” disease). It is a lace-like, bright red rash. The rash can appear on other parts of the body, such as the feet, hands, thighs chest and/or back. To see photos of the rash, visit the CDC’s website.  The rash may come and go for days and generally fades after one or two weeks. A person is no longer contagious when the rash appears.

Usually most people just experience the above symptoms – they are annoying but not too uncomfortable. But, in other cases, you may experience fever and pain in your joints, as well. This is more common in adults than in children. For example, a friend of mine and I had Fifth Disease at the same time, as adults, and it was not fun. We both experienced pain in our joints. My friend had trouble holding a coffee cup. Ouch! I had swelling and pain in my hands and feet, and pain in my lower spine. This aspect of the disease can last for weeks (and did for us). But, as with most viruses, time, rest and comfort measures for pain (such as acetaminophen) help quite a bit.

Since an infected person spreads the disease before she even knows she has it (from coughing, sneezing, etc.), it can be hard to avoid it. The best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands frequently and try to keep your distance from people with cold and flu-like symptoms.
If you have a fragile immune system or if you are pregnant, you should seek medical attention if you think you have been exposed to Fifth Disease.

The good news about Fifth Disease is that once you get it, you should not get it again.  And, as far as diseases go, this one is on the mild side of the spectrum. You can read more about it in another NMN post.

A baby – are you ready emotionally?

Friday, June 1st, 2012

are-you-readyWhen we talk about preconception health, we usually mean your physical health.  But, there’s so much more to becoming a parent than just being in good physical shape. There are big changes involved that will affect you in a number of different ways.

Being a parent is a full-time job. Before you get pregnant, think about the emotional and lifestyle issues you will face as a parent. It’s important for you and your partner to agree on most of the major issues, or begin discussing your differences, before you conceive.

The following questions can help you think through some of the emotional issues you’ll face as a parent.

1 – Why do you want to have a baby? Do you want to have a baby or is your partner, parent or someone else pressuring you?
2 – How will a child affect your relationship with your partner? Are you both ready to become parents?
3 – If you’re not in a relationship, are you prepared to raise a child alone? Who will help you?
4 – How will a baby affect your education or career plans?
5 – Do you and your partner have religious, cultural or ethnic differences? Have you discussed how you’ll handle these differences and how they might affect your child?
6 – What will you do for child care?
7 – Are you prepared to parent a child who is sick or has special needs?
8 – Are you ready for your free time to become limited? Are you ready to give up sleeping late on weekends? Or find child care when you want to go out without your baby?
9 – Do you enjoy spending time with children? Can you see yourself as a parent?
10 – What did you like about your childhood? What didn’t you like? What kind of childhood do you want for your child?

These are tough questions, and there are no correct answers.  Only you can decide if you’re emotionally ready to have a baby.

Overweight pregnancy can have long-term health consequences for children

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Too much weight before and during pregnancy can have serious health consequences not only for the mother, but for her child’s health for many years, new research shows.

“While it’s pretty well-known a healthy weight is crucial to a healthy and long life, new research is showing that if a woman is overweight while pregnant, her baby is more likely to be overweight,” says Alan R. Fleischman, MD, March of Dimes medical director. Health risks continue into childhood, with a higher risk of developing insulin resistance, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, all of which can lead to heart disease and diabetes.

We realize that weight is a sensitive subject for many women and that some health care professionals are uncomfortable discussing it. But weight is a risk factor that can be changed, greatly improving outcomes. It’s very important to talk about this and get essential changes started. If a woman begins her pregnancy at a healthy weight, it can not only lower the risk of preterm birth and birth defects, but can give her baby a healthier start that can have life-long benefits. You can read a lot more about it at this link.

The March of Dimes recommends that women who are planning a pregnancy should get a preconception health check-up. During the visit, your health care provider can identify and treat health conditions that can pose a risk in pregnancy, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or certain infections.  Your provider can offer information on weight as well as nutrition, smoking, drinking alcohol and occupational exposures that can pose pregnancy risks. If weight might be an issue for you, don’t put off talking to your doc about about it. It will be good for both you and your baby.

Thinking of a hamster for a gift?

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

pet-hamsterIf your home is small and you don’t have room or are allergic to dogs or cats, many children like hamsters or guinea pigs. Rodents, such as mice, hamsters and guinea pigs, are popular pets in lots of homes. But women who are pregnant or who plan to become pregnant should be very careful with rodents. These animals may carry a virus called lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV).

The house mouse, a wild rodent found near and in homes, is the main source of the virus. Pets like hamsters and guinea pigs can become infected with LCMV after being in contact with wild rodents at a breeding facility, pet store or home.

People can get LCMV through contact with a rodent’s urine, blood, saliva, droppings or nesting materials. The infection can also spread when a person breathes in dust or droplets that have LCMV. (Examples: while sweeping up mouse droppings or cleaning out the hamster cage.) Pregnant women who get LCMV can pass it to their unborn baby. LCMV can cause severe birth defects or even loss of pregnancy.

Pregnant moms can lower their chance of getting LCMV by:
– Keeping pet rodents in a separate part of the home
– Asking another family member to care for the pet and clean its cage
– Washing hands with soap and water after handling pet rodents
– Keeping rodent cages clean and free of soiled bedding
– Cleaning the cage in a well-ventilated area or outside
– Keeping pet rodents away from your face
– Avoiding contact with wild rodents

If a house has rats or mice, taking care of the problem quickly with either mouse traps or calling a professional pest control company (talk to your health care provider before using any pest control chemicals in your home) is important.

If you have children, especially under the age of 5:
– Be sure an adult closely watches them when they are around pet rodents.
– No one should kiss pet rodents or hold them close to the face.
– Anyone who plays with the animals or cleans their cages or bedding should wash their hands afterwards.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has more information, including how to safely handle pet rodents and clean cages.   For more information on pets and other animals during pregnancy, click on this link.

Oh my aching back!

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

backacheAt one point or another, many of us have felt this way. Backache is one of the most common problems for pregnant women. Nearly half of all women have back pain at some point during pregnancy. There are three types of back pain related to pregnancy:
–  Low-back pain when you stand or sit
–  Pain that is worst in the back of your pelvis and deep in your buttocks
–  Pain in your lower back when you are in bed at night

Back pain can be caused by:
–  The strain on the back from carrying the extra weight of pregnancy
–  Changes in posture to offset the extra weight of pregnancy. This shifts your center of gravity forward and puts more strain on the lower back.
–  Strain on the weakened and stretched muscles in the abdomen that support the spine

Click on this link to lots of tips for lessening the normal backache that most of us face at some point during pregnancy.

Although some amount of backache is normal, severe back pain is not. It can be a warning sign of infection or complications, especially when a woman also has fever or other symptoms. Make sure to let your doc or midwife know about whatever backache you may have.