Folate in Pregnancy

by Maxine
Posted July 23 2010 01:30pm
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Experts have found that mothers who have adequate levels of folic acid in their bodies may be less likely to give birth to children with neural tube defects (NTDs). As well, folate may also help in preventing a number of other health problems that can be experienced during pregnancy, including anemia, birth defects, and complications such as preeclampsia and spontaneous abortion. After the birth of a child, folate may also help a mother’s body get ready sooner for another pregnancy.

Although it occurs naturally in food, a typical woman of childbearing age gets just 0.2 mg of folic acid through diet alone. Because many pregnancies are unplanned and NTDs occur very early in a pregnancy—often before a woman knows she’s pregnant—experts recommend that all women of childbearing age take in between 0.4 mg and 1.0 mg of folic acid every day. And women who suffer from epilepsy and diabetes or who have a family history of NTDs should take in more, as much as 5.0mg daily. After giving birth, many women appear to suffer folate deficiency for as long as 6 months; these women, in particular, should think about supplementation. However, always consult your doctor before starting folate supplements. Folic acid levels that are too high can possibly lead to an increased risk of multiple births, neurological disorders, and breast cancer.

With a little preventative action, such as storing food in the fridge in tightly covered containers and cooking in small amounts of water for as little time as possible, folic acid can be preserved in the foods we eat. 

Excellent sources of folate include: 

Cooked fava, kidney, roman, soy and white beans, lima beans, chickpeas and lentils, spinach, asparagus, orange juice, canned pineapple juice, peanuts, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, romaine lettuce, enriched pasta and bagels made with enriched flour.

Good sources of folate include: 

Cooked corn, sprouted mung beans, broccoli, green peas, brussel sprouts, beets, oranges, melons, avocado, eggs, walnuts, cashews and English muffins made with enriched flour.

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Couple's Emotional Rollercoaster

by Maxine
Posted August 9 2010 11:42am
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Thrilled one day about the new baby that’s coming, scared the next about not knowing what to expect. Does this sound familiar? Pregnancy is a huge, life-changing event for almost every couple. During that time, emotions are sometimes up and sometimes down. Most pregnant couples notice that they are dealing with a lot more than they thought they would. They are experiencing a roller coaster of emotions.

Even when a pregnancy is planned, couples are often somewhat surprised that they have actually conceived. They may have been trying for several months or even years to become pregnant. While trying to become pregnant, they make plans and change their daily life to prepare for this huge event. However, when they do become pregnant, the timing may not be perfect. Every pregnancy is unique and no one can guess what emotions each parent will feel during the pregnancy.

Couples who didn’t plan their pregnancy often find it hard to believe they're actually pregnant – there are a lot of unplanned pregnancies – as many as 30-50%. This disbelief can last for several months. When it finally sinks in, the couple can feel all sorts of different emotions. Typically, the partner who accepts the pregnancy first may have difficulty coping with the other partner who is taking more time to accept the pregnancy.

Emotional ups and downs during pregnancy are normal. However, they can cause both moms and dads to worry if they are unable to deal with them. Here are a few guidelines to help you with emotions that are pretty typical during pregnancy.

A very worrisome fear is that something will be wrong with the baby.
This is really two fears. The first fear is that the baby will have something very wrong, physically or intellectually. The second is a worry that as parents, you will be unable to give such a baby the care and affection needed. Unfortunately, simply knowing that the chances of having such a baby are very low usually does not help ease this worry. The best thing to do is to talk about these fears with one another. Try not to keep them to yourself. These worries are pretty typical and float up at least once with most parents, and for some parents they become a major preoccupation.

If you feel that something will go wrong with your baby to the point where it is interfering with your enjoyment of your pregnancy or life in general, discuss your worries with your doctor or midwife with whom you feel the most comfortable.

Sometimes parents worry that they will embarrass themselves during labour and delivery.

They're fearful of saying or doing something to hurt their relationship with each other or their doctor. This is stressful for parents. Prenatal classes will help prepare you to go through labour and delivery in a way that works for you. Don’t worry about what you might say or do in the hospital. Medical personnel have seen it all and are very patient.

Regardless of whether or not the pregnancy is planned, most parents wonder what they got themselves into.
Sometimes the timing is wrong, or parents worry that they will never be good parents. These worries are normal. They typically come and go throughout the pregnancy. The best way to deal with them is to talk to your partner about them. Worries like these don’t usually last.

Some parents have bad dreams that play out deep fears.
You may dream that your baby has died or has a disability. Some parents even have dreams where they harm their babies. No one really knows why these dreams occur. Some experts think these types of dreams are a way parents mentally prepare themselves to handle experiences they fear. Others think they may express feelings parents may not be aware of. All experts advise parents against believing that these dreams will come true. Believing it will only result in feeling guilty or frightened. These bad dreams occur in many pregnancies, so if they happen to you, don’t blame yourself or think that it’s a bad sign.

(Discuss the dream with your partner, and if you continue to be worried about the dream, talk about it with your midwife and your doctor.)

A couple's emotions often change together.

If one is down, the other goes down. This is very common in many couples. When this happens, each partner has to deal with his or her own emotions as well as the partner’s. It may take a while for a couple to figure out that they are triggering each other’s moods. Each partner needs to decide when to maintain a little emotional independence and when to share the other’s emotions.

Some parents know they are not ready to become parents and that bothers them.
Typically parents bury such feelings because they don't want to admit that they have such “bad” thoughts. Or parents hide how they feel to avoid letting their partners know. The parent with the deep regrets hopes that the feelings will go away or magically disappear when the baby arrives. This almost never happens. Keeping these very important thoughts and feelings to yourself will affect your relationship with your partner and your baby. If you find yourself in this situation, talk to a doctor or midwife with whom you feel most comfortable. These feelings are more common than most people recognize. They will help you find the guidance you need without judging you.


How did you manage your emotionas as a couple through your pregnancy? What are you doing now to get over the emotional struggles? Let us know by leaving a comment below! 

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Abuse and Violence in the Home

by Guest
Posted August 9 2010 10:53am
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The first few months of Melody and Robert’s marriage were wonderful. Robert was loving, considerate and fun to be with. But as soon as Melody got pregnant, the violence began.

Robert would often abuse her emotionally – telling her that the baby was a mistake and that he would leave her. When Melody was seven months pregnant, Robert pinned her against the wall and violently attacked her. Unfortunately, the blows were so severe that she went into preterm labour and lost the baby.

Reading this scenario may have made you feel very sad, but this is what really happens in some relationships today. Clearly, abuse and violence are not healthy for dads, moms and their babies. Any amount of physical blows will be harmful to the baby and even emotional abuse can add to an expectant mom’s stress and also affect your baby.

When you become upset during pregnancy, your adrenaline-type emotions will affect the baby. Recent research has shown that stressful feelings experienced by the mother during pregnancy are related to problems in their young children’s behavior. High levels of stress may also put women at greater risk for preterm labour.

Reasons for Abuse During Pregnancy:
There may be many reasons for the occurrence of abuse and violence between partners during pregnancy, but some of the most common ones include the following:

  • Couples become pregnant hoping that it will help to solve previous relationship problems. It doesn’t. Problems can become worse during pregnancy.
  • One or both partners regret becoming pregnant. These feelings can be shown in abusive or violent behaviour towards each other.
  • Hormone changes in expectant mother can cause out of control actions on her part. Dad, in turn, may lose his control, and this escalation becomes violent. 
  • A pattern of abuse already existed and is just continuing despite its effects on mom or the baby.

Don’t feel alone or ashamed if you are being abused. Doctors, emergency room personnel and counselors are aware that abuse and violence can occur between couples during pregnancy. These professionals are trained to provide help without blaming anyone. They are willing and able to assist you.

If you are worried about your partner’s hostile behavior towards you or are currently experiencing abuse, there is help available. Here are some of your options:

Call any of the following help lines:

  • Assaulted Women’s Helpline 1-866-863-0511;
  • Victim Support Line 1-888-579-2888 or 416-314-2447 in the Toronto area.

Don’t wait to get help if you are worried or hurting! These situations rarely get better without the guidance of an experienced professional.

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Why should I be concerned if I am pregnant and have a cat?

by Maxine
Posted July 26 2010 08:47pm
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Most cats, even if they are an indoor cat, have been exposed to a parasite that can cause a condition called Toxoplasmosis.

Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by a parasite called toxoplasma gondii. People may get this disease by accidentally swallowing cat feces, eating contaminated foods, i.e., meat or water, or using cooking utensils that have become contaminated. In pregnant women or people with a poor immune system it may cause a flu-like illness, or not. You can have this condition and not know it.

  • If this disease develops while a woman is pregnant it can cause severe harm to her baby’s development. If you have a cat, the best way to avoid toxoplasmosis is to: Wash your hands after handling your cat every time, because the parasite may linger on the fur.
  • Avoid the kitty litter – let someone else look after the litter box, if this is not possible then wear rubber gloves and wash your hands well immediately after changing the litter.
  • Clean your kitty litter daily as it takes several days for the parasite to become infectious.

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