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AVOID THIS DURING PREGNANCY & BREASTFEEDING

FOOD

Listeriosis and Toxoplasmosis are foodborne illnesses that are more likely to affect pregnant women.

Keep food safe to eat by following these general guidelines to avoid food borne illness.

CLEAN: Wash hands and surfaces often.
SEPARATE: Don’t cross-contaminate. For example, after cutting meat, wash the knife before using it to cut vegetables.
COOK: Cook to proper temperature using a food thermometer.
CHILL: Refrigerate promptly.

ALCOHOL

· Pregnant women and women planning to become pregnant should not drink Alcohol. Alcohol can cross the placenta into the baby’s bloodstream. It causes damage to an unborn baby at all stages of pregnancy. Risks involves

• miscarriage

• the way your baby develops in the womb – in particular, the way your baby’s brain develops

• the way your baby grows in the womb, by causing the placenta not to work as well as it should – this is known as foetal growth restriction

• increased risk of a stillbirth

• increased risk of premature labor

• your baby being more prone to illness in infancy, childhood and as an adult

• learning and behavioral disorders

SMOKING AND DRUGS

· These are potentially just as dangerous as Alcohol, if not more. SO avoid.

CAFFEINE

· You should limit caffeine during pregnancy – avoid having more than 200mg of caffeine a day. High levels of caffeine can cause babies to have a low birth weight. Too much caffeine can also cause a miscarriage. Caffeine is found naturally in some foods and is added to some soft drinks. So avoid Sodas.

HERBS AND SUPPLEMENTS

· Virtually no medicinal herb has been established as safe in pregnancy or breast-feeding, and even herbs that might seem safe because of their wide use in cooking could cause problems when they are taken in the form of highly concentrated extracts.

· Some herbs are definitely known to be toxic in pregnancy, such as blue cohosh and pennyroyal .

· Other herbs that are traditionally regarded with caution during pregnancy include andrographis , boldo , catnip , essential oils , feverfew , juniper , licorice , nettle , red clover , rosemary , shepherd’s purse, and yarrow , along with many others.

· the herb chasteberry has shown a theoretical potential for inhibiting milk supply.

· Some supplements like conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) appears to reduce the fat content of breast milk, with potentially harmful effects on the nursing infant.

· herbs with estrogen-like properties make scientists worry about possible effects on the fetus; these include soy , isoflavones , red clover , flaxseed , lignans , and hops .

· Some un-regulated Chinese herbal medicines and Aryurvedic herbal remedies have been found on occasion to contain toxic heavy metals, poisonous herbs, or unlabelled prescription drugs.

HYGIENE:

· Wash your hands with soap and water after touching soil, sand, raw meat, or unwashed vegetables.

· Cats can spread parasite causing Toxoplasmosis. Have someone else change the litter box if possible. If you have to change it, wear disposable gloves and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water afterwards.

· Wear gloves when gardening or handling sand from a sandbox. Cats may use gardens or sandboxes as litter boxes. Wash hands afterward.

· Avoid drinking untreated water, particularly when traveling in less developed countries.

Sources: EBSCO, NHS, Choosemyplate.org


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SEPTEMBER IS BABY MONTH

Just over 4 million babies are born in the United States each year. Most births take place in September more than any other month. The most popular day for babies to make their entrance is Tuesday, followed by Monday. Sunday is the slowest day, with 35.1 fewer births than average. California, Texas, and New York (in descending order) had the greatest number of births. Utah had the highest birth rate, with 88 births per 1,000 women age 15 to 44. Vermont had the fewest births, followed by Wyoming, North Dakota, and District of Columbia.

WalletHub analyzed the best and worst states to have a baby by looking not only at budget considerations but also health care conditions and the baby-friendliness of the state.

Texas ranked number 24 ahead of California, NY and Florida but not anywhere close as North East and North.

Families in the United States pay the highest birthing costs in the world, according to a report from the International Federation of Health Plans.

The average cost of a conventional delivery at an American hospital is $9,775. For a C-Section, it’s $15,041.


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NEWS: PREGNANCY AND AUTISM

All along parents have been eager to blame vaccines for Autism.

In further confirmation, a third study this week from California specifically links autism spectrum disorders to pesticide exposure. In the new study, about a third of mothers had living within a mile of fields treated with pesticides, most commonly organophosphates, were 60 percent more likely to have an autism spectrum disorders than children of non-exposed mothers, per Environmental Health Perspectives. For some pesticides, exposure seemed to be most important just before conception and in the third trimester, but for others it didn’t seem to matter when during pregnancy women were exposed.

Organophosphate (OP) compounds are a diverse group of chemicals used in both domestic and industrial settings. Examples of organophosphates include insecticides (malathion, parathion, diazinon, fenthion, dichlorvos, chlorpyrifos, ethion), nerve gases (soman, sarin, tabun, VX), ophthalmic agents (echothiophate, isoflurophate), and antihelmintics (trichlorfon). Herbicides (tribufos [DEF], merphos) are tricresyl phosphate–containing industrial chemicals.

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Don’t spray for cockroaches every month. Instead use integrated pest management – i.e. seal up cracks and crevices in the home, clean up food residue, try non-toxic options and use chemical pesticides the last resort. Also stop using organophosphates and pyrethroids inside the home.

Learn more at: http://www.whatsonmyfood.org/


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PREGNANCY SERIES: YOUR IRON LEVEL

I see a lots of children with respiratory challenges in my clinic.

What if I tell you that 10% of those can be avoided?

9.3% of moms suffer from Anemia during pregnancy. (Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology)

Iron deficiency is one of the most common complications of pregnancy.

A recent study compared anemia rates with childhood asthma rates and found that anemia during pregnancy led to a 3 TIMES increase in early-onset wheezing.

It also leads to a 50% chance that a child develops asthma by age 6.

Iron deficiency is just a marker for other nutritional deficiency. Earlier studies have found that deficiencies of selenium, vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, vitamin E, and folic acid can contribute to respiratory development problems in babies.

Protecting your baby’s lungs during pregnancy starts with a healthy diet.


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MAYBE A BIT OF CHAUVINISM WILL HELP

According to Canadian researchers who studied records of more than 500,000 women for six years from 2006 to 2011, Women run a 42 % increased relative risk of being in a motor vehicle accident when they’re pregnant than when they’re not. The risk is especially acute during the first month of the second third of pregnancy. The risk was higher in the fall and winter, when the weather is worse, and in the afternoons, the study found. Car crashes are the leading cause of fetal death linked to trauma in mothers.


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PREGNANCY SERIES: CHEMICAL INHIBITING YOUR PREGNANCY

I remember the time when I was fresh out of residency and we were eagerly awaiting our first child. It was 5 long years after our wedding.

One in 10 women of childbearing age have trouble getting pregnant. Many don’t know why.

A new study in Environmental Health Perspectives suggests that the common canned food lining chemical, bisphenol A (BPA), could lower a woman’s chance of getting and staying pregnant while on IVF treatment. Study found that BPA mimics the actions of estrogen and estrogen fluctuations have drastic effects on reproductive capabilities.

Previous studies linked BPA to sperm problems.

BPA’s also has been suggested as causing heart problems and a potential cause of autism.

And read this, BPA is shown to cause breast cancer later in life, according to a recent report by The Breast Cancer Fund.

Simple:

Avoid canned goods. minimize contact with certain plastics, water bottles and cash-register receipts.


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BREASTFEEDING BASICS FOR NEW MOM

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months. No juice, formula or solid foods in the first 6 months.

Breast milk has the perfect mix of antibodies and nutrients for a baby’s development and can protect a baby from a range of illnesses such as diarrhea, ear infections, SIDS, bacterial meningitis, diabetes, obesity & asthma.

Breastfeeding also helps the mom. It causes uterine contraction that helps your body return to its pre-pregnancy shape.

FEW TIPS

1. Watch for hunger cues like crying, fussing, licking her lips or sucking the fist.

2. Feed your baby “on demand,” or whenever (s)he asks for it.

3. Not sure if he is getting enough? – Keep a log of how often he eats, urinates and has bowel movements.

4. Try to stick to a feeding schedule

5. If you are going back to work – Pump milk while at work.

6. Talk to your pediatrician if you are worried.


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MISCARRIAGES & BIRTH DEFECTS

The ALARMING STATS: According to the March of Dimes, as many as 50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. The risk of a miscarriage drops to 10% in your eighth week. The risk of having a baby born with a birth defect is 3-5%.

Some factors increase the risk:

a) Alcohol: A small amount can lead to “Fetal Alcohol Syndrome,” which increases the risk of miscarriage, developmental delay, and hyperactivity in the child.

b) Drugs: Needless to say – Drug kills.

c) Cigarettes: The more a woman smokes, the higher the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight, premature birth, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), & possible death.

d) Medications: Accutane/Retinoic acid given for Acne, Antidepressants substantially affects the baby’s health.

e) Antibiotics: Most antibiotics are safe but there are exceptions. Avoid Aminoglycosides, Tetracycline and Doxycycline during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Other preventable factors that affects baby’s health:

· Infection

· Diabetes that is not controlled

· Exposure to environmental and workplace hazards such as high levels of radiation or toxic agents

In Summary: Check with your Ob-GYN before you add any chemical to your body.


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IS IT OK TO HAVE JUST A DRINK DURING PREGNANCY?

I hear many parents still ask during pre-natal consult if it is ok to have just one beer occasionally during pregnancy.

I strongly recommend against it.

Everything you drink, your baby also drinks.

No type of alcohol is safe.

If you drink alcohol, you will hurt your baby’s growth.

Ever heard of fetal alcohol syndrome?

Children with fetal alcohol syndrome may have problems eating and sleeping, seeing and hearing, following directions and learning how to do simple things, paying attention and learning in school, have trouble getting along with others. They will need medical care all their lives.

In Short, DON’T.


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FOR A SAFE PREGNANCY – AVOID BPA

Women with the highest BPA levels were found to be 80 percent more likely to have a first trimester miscarriage than those in the group with the lowest BPA levels. BPA exposure increases the risk of both genetically normal and genetically abnormal miscarriages, which suggests that BPA may work in multiple ways to increase miscarriage risk.

WHAT IS BPA?

Bisphenol A (BPA) is the primary component in polycarbonate plastic and is used in the resin lining of most food and beverage cans. It is an industrial chemical that mimics estrogen.

HEALTH EFEFCTS OF BPA

BPA is similar in structure to the hormone estrogen, so there is a thought that it may bind to estrogen receptors in the body and disrupt hormone signaling.

· Pre-cancerous changes in the mammary and prostate glands;

· Altered brain development causing behavioral abnormalities and earlier onset of puberty;

· Reproductive abnormalities such as lower sperm counts, hormonal changes, enlarged prostate glands, and abnormalities in the number of chromosomes in eggs;

· Obesity and with insulin resistance, a condition that commonly precedes the development of diabetes.

But here is the kicker, The federal Food and Drug Administration says BPA is safe.

SOURCES OF BPA

BPA is used in the resin lining of all food and beverage cans.

It is the principal building block of polycarbonate plastic and is used in a wide range of products, including clear plastic baby bottles and sippy cups, clear plastic water bottles, and other kitchen plastics such as measuring cups, drinkware and storage containers.

BPA is also found in some dental sealants and fillings, medical devices, paints, epoxy adhesives and cash register receipts.

Most people have BPA in their urine, which suggests that the chemical leaches out of the packaging of foods or drinks and into the body.

KEY TAKEAWAY

  • The primary source of exposure to BPA for most people is through the diet.
  • Use alternatives. Use glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers for hot foods and liquids instead of plastic containers.
  • Avoid all sources of BPA – not just for pregnancy but for overall good health. Don’t use polycarbonate plastics (marked with a #7 PC) for storing food or beverages, especially if you are pregnant, nursing or the food or drink is for an infant or young child.
  • Avoid canned food. Choose frozen vegetables and soups and broth that come in glass jars or in aseptic "brick" cartons, as these containers are BPA-free.
  • Avoid any plastic that is NOT labeled BPA-free
  • Ask your dentist to provide BPA-free treatments.
  • avoid cooking or warming food in plastic because heat helps the chemical leak out.
  • Don’t leave water bottles in the sun

Where can I go for more information?

For more information on what other federal agencies are doing related to BPA, visit the following websites and search for “bisphenol A.”

· BPA-Related Journal Articles and Stories

· Consumer Product Safety Commission

· U.S. Food and Drug Administration

· U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Source: NRDC, News, NIH, FDA, others


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LATEST BREAST FEEDING RESEARCH FINDINGS (2013)

STUDY 1: Dr. Aviva Mimouni-Bloch, of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine found a clear link between rates of breastfeeding and the likelihood of developing ADHD. These results have been published in the journal Breastfeeding Medicine.

DETAILS: Children who were bottle-fed at three months of age were found to be three times more likely to have ADHD than those who were breastfed during the same period. Taking all risk factors into account, researchers found that children with ADHD were far less likely to be breastfed in their first year of life than the children in the other groups. Researchers do not yet know why breastfeeding has an impact on the future development of ADHD; it could be due to the breast milk itself, or the special bond formed between mother and baby during breastfeeding.

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STUDY 2: Breastfeeding is good for babies’ brains. Researchers from Brown University used a specialized, baby-friendly magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) found that by age 2, babies who had been breastfed exclusively for at least three months had enhanced development in key parts of the brain compared to children who were fed formula exclusively or who were fed a combination of formula and breast milk.

DETAILS: The extra growth was most pronounced in the parts of the brain associated with language, emotional function, and cognition. They are finding the difference is on the order of 20 to 30 percent, comparing the breastfed and the non-breastfed kids.

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STUDY 3: A new study has found that babies that are breastfed for longer than six months have significantly better mental health in childhood. Raine Study at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research study found that children who were breastfed for less than six months compared to six months or longer had a 52% increased risk of a mental health problem at 2 years of age, a 55% increased risk at age 6, at age 8 the increased risk was 61% while at age 10 the increased risk was 37%.

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KEY TAKEAWAY: Experts concur that breastfeeding can have a protective effect against the development of the disorder, and can be counted as an additional biological advantage for breastfeeding. Breast feed as long as possible.


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IF YOU ARE PREGNANT, OR HAVE YOUNG KIDS, READ THIS…

STUDY

Researchers at the University of Illinois, who conducted their study on mice, showed how exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical commonly found in plastic water bottles and soup cans, in the womb could increase prostate cancer risk. Per the study, Studies of expectant mothers in the US showed that more than 95 per cent of them had BPA in their urine, which means they recently ingested these compounds.

DETAILS

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a man-made carbon-based synthetic compound. Currently there are no BPA labeling requirements for plastics. In general, plastics that are marked with Resin Identification Codes 1 to 7 are very unlikely to contain BPA.

BPA exhibits hormone-like properties that raise concern about its suitability in consumer products and food containers. In the early 1930s the British chemist Charles Edward Dodds recognized BPA as an artificial estrogen. A 2010 report from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned of possible hazards to fetuses, infants, and young children. In September 2010, Canada became the first country to declare BPA a toxic substance. The European Union, Canada, and recently the United States have banned BPA use in baby bottles.

Early developmental stages appear to be the period of greatest sensitivity to its effects, and some studies have linked prenatal exposure to later physical and neurological difficulties.

A recent study demonstrated a link between environmental estrogens and insulin resistance. Studies found that BPA imitates the sex hormone 17B-estradiol which leads to a rise in insulin and eventually resistance. This resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

A 2008 study by the Yale School of Medicine demonstrated that adverse neurological effects occur in non-human primates regularly exposed to bisphenol A.

A 2010 review concluded that bisphenol A may increase cancer risk. And a 2009 study discovered adverse reaction to thyroid function due to BPA.

Want more damning evidence? In 2006, the US Government sponsored an assessment of the scientific literature on BPA. Thirty-eight experts in fields involved with bisphenol A gathered to review several hundred studies on BPA. At the end of the meeting, the group issued the Chapel Hill Consensus Statement, which stated "BPA at concentrations found in the human body is associated with organizational changes in the prostate, breast, testis, mammary glands, body size, brain structure and chemistry, and behavior of laboratory animals."

So WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Bisphenol A is leached from the lining of food and beverage cans where it is used as an ingredient in the plastic used to protect the food from direct contact with the can. Consumption of canned foods and beverages and restaurant meals were the most likely sources of exposure to BPA in their usual diets.

Free BPA is found in high concentration in thermal paper and carbonless copy paper, including receipts, event and cinema tickets, labels, and airline tickets.

Consumer groups recommend that people wishing to lower their exposure to bisphenol A avoid canned food and polycarbonate plastic. To avoid the possibility of BPA leaching into food or drink, the National Toxicology Panel recommends avoiding microwaving food in plastic containers, putting plastics in the dishwasher, or using harsh detergents.

So you would think, let’s try BPA-Free Plastic. The industry has responded to criticism of BPA by promoting "BPA-free" products, which are made from plastic containing a compound called bisphenol S (BPS). BPS, which shares a similar structure and versatility to BPA, is now being used in everything from currency to thermal receipt paper. According to a 2013 study, BPS shares similar problems to BPA in that it has been found to be an estrogen hormone disruptor even at extremely low levels of exposure.

Simple solution: Throw out all your plastics and tin cans. Use ceramic, stainless steel or Plastic containers only. Avoid anything made with plastic. Evidence of BPA in participants’ urine decreases by 50% to 70% during the period you eat fresh foods;


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NEW RESEARCH FINDINGS ON AUTISM IN CHILDREN ( & PREGNANCY)

STUDY

Pregnant women exposed to heavy diesel pollution are twice as likely to have an autistic child as those living in areas with low pollution, according to a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health. The results add to a growing body of research linking air pollution to autism.

DETAILS

There is no known single cause for autism, but it is generally accepted that it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function. Brain scans show differences in the shape and structure of the brain in children with autism versus typical children. No one gene has been identified as causing autism.

Autism tends to occur more frequently than expected among individuals who have certain medical conditions, including Fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, congenital rubella syndrome, and untreated phenylketonuria (PKU). Some harmful substances ingested during pregnancy also have been associated with an increased risk of autism.

Research indicates that other factors besides the genetic component are contributing to the rise in increasing occurrences of autism, such as environmental toxins (e.g., heavy metals such as mercury), which are more prevalent in our current environment than in the past. Per research, high air concentrations of diesel, mercury, lead, manganese, and methylene chloride significantly increase the risk of giving birth to a child with autism.

Link to vaccines: One of the greatest controversies in autism is centered on whether a link exists between autism and certain childhood vaccines, particularly the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Despite extensive research, no reliable study has shown a link between autism and the MMR vaccine. Avoiding childhood vaccinations can place your child in danger of catching and spreading serious diseases, including whooping cough (pertussis), measles or mumps.

FACTS AND STATISTICS

1% of the population of children in the U.S. ages 3-17 have an autism spectrum disorder. Prevalence is estimated at 1 in 88 births significantly up from 1 in 150 in 90s. 1 to 1.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder. It is the fastest-growing developmental disability with 1,148% growth rate.

But most importantly, the cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Researchers identified diesel as the most dangerous pollutant linked to autism. Diesel pollution is strongest within 1,500 feet of major roads and highways. Be careful how much exposure you have to pollutants. If necessary, wear a mask.

Expectant mothers should take prenatal vitamins and eat foods high in healthy oils, stay away from cigarette smoke, and maintain a healthy weight throughout pregnancy, all of which have been shown to reduce the risk of have having a child with autism.


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HOW TO INFLUENCY YOUR BABY’S HEALTH DURING PREGNANCY

A healthy Pregnancy and Baby’s health are closely related. A new born’s health depends on:

· genes the child inherits from it parents

· environment in the womb

Most expectant women are warned that drinking alcohol, smoking and even eating unpasteurized cheeses can have serious consequences for the growth and development of their unborn children. But there are other ways in which a pregnant woman influences the later health of her child.

Shed pounds before pregnancy: Maternal obesity increases the risk of a woman developing gestational diabetes or going into preterm labor, as well as the risk of obesity and diabetes in the child. Recent studies have also linked a woman’s pre-pregnancy weight to her child’s risk of asthma. Regular exercise helps.

Limit Coffee Intake: Doctors and researchers have known that high caffeine intake during pregnancy may harm the fetus but the limit on caffeine is not known. However, a study published last month found that caffeine was associated with an increased risk for babies being smaller than normal at birth. Preferably avoid coffee.

Avoid secondhand smoke: Living in a smoky environment or secondhand smoke has long been tied to asthma and breathing problems in kids. Per study, kids born to mothers exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy were more than twice as likely to develop attention and aggression problems by the age of five than the children of mothers unexposed to smoke.

Discuss antidepressants with your doctor: Antidepressants have lasting impacts on the developing fetus, according to recent review of studies. A selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) while pregnant may be linked to a higher risk of miscarriages, birth defects, preterm delivery and behavioral problems, including autism. Behavior therapy, which includes counseling but not medication, should be the first line of depression.

Get your VITAMIN ‘D’ AND FOLIC ACID. There’s growing evidence that low levels of the “sun vitamin” & folic acid during pregnancy may lead to health problems for mother and child. The review of more than 30 studies linked low levels of vitamin D to an increased risk of gestational diabetes, autism, pre-eclampsia and lower birth weight.

CUT out Deli meats: Roughly 1,600 Americans yearly suffer from severe cases of listeriosis, a food borne illness caused by a bacteria. A Listeria infection can lead to premature delivery, infection in the infant and even stillbirth. Processed meats, such as hot dogs, deli slices and smoked salmon can become contaminated with Listeria before they are packaged. Washing all fruits and vegetables and thoroughly cook all meats before consuming.

Avoid air pollution: Breathing outdoor air pollution caused by traffic, industry and even dust during pregnancy may slightly increase the risk that a baby will be born at a lower birth weight. Avoid rush hour traffic as well as idling cars. One study published found that increasing the intake of fruits and veggies during pregnancy may help protect against the effects of air pollution.


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PREMATURE BIRTH REPORT CARD

PREMATURE BIRTH REPORT CARD

With a grade of "C," the United States has a long way to go in reducing our rate of premature birth. With 1 in 9 babies born too soon, our country’s rate is higher than that of most developed nations.

For more information, read: http://www.marchofdimes.com/mission/prematurity_reportcard.html


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LATEST (2013) STUDIES ON PREGNANCY AND BABIES

KEY FINDING:

Taking daily iron supplements during pregnancy can reduce the chances of having a small baby as well as anemia.

STUDY:

Studies of two million women found that taking even a tiny amount of iron cut the risk of anemia by 12% and low birth weight by 3%.

For every additional 10 mg of iron taken each day, up to a maximum of 66 mg per day, the risks of anemia and low birth weight decreased.

But researchers found no reduction in the risk of premature birth as a result of iron use.

So WHAT?

The World Health Organization currently recommends a dose of 60 mg per day for pregnant women.

Women contemplating pregnancy should adjust their diet to include appropriate iron nutrients before becoming pregnant.

Add Lean meat, green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, nuts and many breakfast cereals to add natural iron.

Iron supplements may have unpleasant maternal side effects like constipation, indigestion and bloating. Add fibrous food to offset the constipation effect of iron.

KEY FINDING:

Alcohol is not safe for pregnancy. Don’t imbibe even a glass or two.

STUDY:

Researchers at Oxford and Bristol Universities discovered that drinking one or two glasses of wine a week during pregnancy could have an impact on a child’s IQ.

Drinking too much while expecting a baby can lead to miscarriage, low birth weight, learning disabilities and hyperactivity.

So WHAT?

· When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, the levels of alcohol in her baby’s blood rise as high as her own. Because the baby’s liver is immature, it can’t break down the alcohol as fast as an adult can. This means the baby is exposed to greater amounts of alcohol for longer than the mother. When an unborn baby is constantly exposed to alcohol, a particular group of problems can develop, known as fetal alcohol syndrome.

KEY FINDING:

Mothers who were iodine deficient had children with a slightly lower IQ and worse reading scores in primary school.

STUDY:

Study showed that two in three women were not getting enough iodine during pregnancy. This was mostly mild deficiency.

So WHAT?

· A balanced diet during pregnancy would contain enough iodine. Iodine is a building block of hormones made in the thyroid gland. These control the way the body uses energy and how it grows. It is particularly important when the brain is developing. In pregnancy you need 50% more of the chemical than normal.

KEY FINDING:

Babies are learning when they’re still in the womb

STUDY:

A US and Sweden study discovered that in the last 10 weeks of pregnancy, fetuses are listening to their mothers communicate. And when they are born, they can show what they’ve heard.

So WHAT?

Speak regularly to your baby. But don’t put loudspeakers in the tummy to disrupt the baby’s sleeping pattern.

· Baby developmental milestone:

· 4 months: Fetal hearing begins to develop; the nervous system starts functioning

· 6 months: Fetus responds to sounds by kicking, quickening pulse

· 7 months: Fetal hearing fully developed. Fetus responds to visual and audible stimulation

· 8 months: Brain continues to develop; fetus can see

Babies born to bilingual mothers have shown they can equally accommodate two or more languages – but that ability is acquired through natural exposure.