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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Home Environmental Hazards

by Guest
Posted July 26 2010 09:43pm
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Part of being a positive parent is providing a healthy and safe area for your child to grow.

All parents want their home to be safe, especially once a pregnancy occurs or there are children in the home. Part of being a positive parent is providing a healthy and safe area for your child to grow.

Pregnant woman, babies and young children can be exposed to harmful substances through the air they breathe (i.e. cigarette smoke, indoor air pollution), the food or drinks they eat (pesticides in food or lead from water pipes), or the things they touch (cleaning products). Babies and young children are more susceptible to exposures and hazards because:

  • The systems in their body are still developing. Their skin is thinner and more porous and their airways are smaller and more sensitive to air pollutants and their brain is still developing.
  • They do not have the cognitive skills needed to recognize unsafe items.
  • They put toys or objects in their mouth, play on the floor or grass.
  • They eat, drink and breathe more than adults.

Use this as a guide when doing a safety check of your home.


Keep the following things in mind when you do a walk-through around your garage and attic. Make note of any potential hazards you see.

  • Things like car battery cases, motor oil containers and even garbage bags and luggage may contain hazardous plastics and solvents. Get rid of any old ones you don't need and store the ones you keep locked and away from children.
  • Paints, paint strippers and thinners and varnish may contain Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) solvents that contribute to poor indoor air quality. Get rid of any you don't need and store the rest carefully out of reach.
  • If there is mould or asbestos, expectant moms, babies and young children should stay out of these areas as much as possible until the problem is dealt with.


  • Contaminated soil and dust may contain lead. Replace contaminated soil and try to limit wearing shoes worn outdoors inside your home.
  • Fumigation materials, aerial spraying and house and yard treatment products may contain pesticides. Store house and yard treatment products in a locked place and do not use them where children may play.
  • Personal insect repellent and pet flea products may contain pesticides. Limit your use of these products or use alternatives to flea products.


Old shingles and siding may contain asbestos. Make sure you dispose of them if you can.

Textured paints may contain asbestos; so avoid their use if possible.


The basement may have a home workshop or can become a catch-all area for items that you meant to get rid of, but there they sit – a potential danger for your baby.

The list could include:

  • Adhesives and glues
  • Disinfectants
  • Motor oil containers
  • Old furnaces and asbestos pipe insulation
  • Paints, paint strippers and thinners and varnish

Pregnant woman should limit their exposure to these items. Adhesives, glues, disinfectants, paints, paint strippers, thinners and varnish should be used in well ventilated areas. Again, make sure you get rid of any of these items you don't need. And get asbestos problems fixed now if you can.


Are there really dangerous hazards lurking on your bathroom? Check the list below. We all have some or all of these things in our bathroom. Get rid of any you don't use and make sure everything else is secure behind doors.

  • Artificial fragrances contribute to poor air quality in homes and may irritate baby’s sensitive airways. Cosmetics may contain chemicals that are harmful to children if they are swallowed.
  • Bathroom cleaning products, disinfectants and aerosol sprays.
  • Garbage bags contain plastic and can pose a suffocation hazard with young children.
  • Hair dryers create electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and could pose a burn or electrocution hazard when used by a young child.


  • Artificial fragrances may contain harmful chemicals common to cleaning products.
  • Cosmetics, hairsprays, hair dyes and cosmetics such as nail polish and remover should only be used sparingly, if at all. They may contain VOC solvents.
  • Televisions, electric blankets, electric beds, electric heaters, computers and monitors, game boxes, video display terminals, cell phones and cordless phones generate electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Try to avoid placing these near where you or your child sleeps.
  • Dry cleaned clothing may contain VOC solvents that can irritate a child’s sensitive airways.
  • Electric blankets, electric beds and electric heaters produce EMFs.
  • Floor and furniture polishes may contain harmful chemicals common to cleaning products. Limit their use or switch to eco-friendly products

Again, try to reduce the amount of plastics be that in: containers, bottles, jars, jugs, cutlery or garbage bags. And also less cleaning and polishing products is better!


  • Kitchen cleaning products, disinfectants, floor cleaners and aerosol sprays may contain volatile organic compound (VOC) solvents. Store these out of the use of the reach of children. When using these products ventilate the rooms well.
  • Garbage bags may contain hazardous plastics such as low density polyethylene (LDPE) and can pose a suffocation hazard for young children.
  • Imported lead soldered food cans or ceramic pottery may contain lead; try to limit your use of imported products.
  • Plastic bottles and plastic storage containers may contain unsafe types of plastic (polyvinyl chloride, polystryrene and polycarbonate). Safe plastic containers can be identified with a triangular symbol that includes either of the following numbers 1, 2, 4 or 5. Avoid containers with numbers 3, 6 and 7.
  • Older homes may contain vinyl flooring and tiles, and pipe insulation that may contain asbestos.
  • Older homes or apartments may contain lead plumbing. Run water taps for several minutes if the taps have not been used for a number of hours. Use cold water for drinking, cooking and making baby food.
  • Produce, especially fruits and vegetables, may contain pesticides. Consider using organic fruits and vegetables and always wash well before using.
  • Tap water, if plumbing or fixtures contain lead.

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What Stress Relievers do you Use?

by Maxine
Posted July 14 2011 04:49pm
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We all likely have strategies to cope with the stress in our lives. Are you looking for some new strategies to try?Check out the list below and try one the next time you are feeling stressed.

Contact a Support Person. When we are feeling stressed or down, it is often helpful to talk to someone who will just listen and be positive and supportive. When you want to de-stress, make sure you are connecting with someone you feel secure with – someone that will provide positive support. You can call, e-mail or visit, depending on where your support person is. You may want to start the conversation by simply saying, "I am feeling stressed and just need someone to listen

Explore Nature. Nature is all around us in many forms, but we often get caught up in our busy lives and do not take time to stop and "smell those roses." A great way to de-stress is to slow down and take a moment to enjoy and explore nature around us.

As you go through your normal day, take a moment to see how amazing nature is. Notice the grass growing through the asphalt and wonder about the amazing power of a blade of grass. Notice the colours of the trees, leaves, flowers, sky, etc. Look up and appreciate the shapes of the clouds or how the wind picks up a piece of paper.

You can also explore nature in books, in magazines (such as National Geographic or Canadian Geographic) and on websites. If you find something that particularly catches your interest, take time to explore that interest further.

Laugh. Laughter is the natural way to de-stress. It diminishes muscle tension and increases endorphins dramatically. One of the simple recipes for reducing stress is to inspire yourself and others to laugh. Try one or more of the following ideas: Read a joke book. Check out a joke website. Watch a comedy show on TV, on video or live. Think about something funny that happened to you or someone else. Take a Bath -taking a warm bath is a great way to de-stress... Nothing soothes the body more than relaxing in a tub of warm water. And pay attention to your comfort – a towel or plastic cushion behind your neck can help you to relax more fully. Add candles, music and/or a book to maximize the experience. You may want to blend in some aromatherapy at the same time.

Massage. There’s nothing like a great back rub or a foot rub to relieve the pressures and stresses of life. Pick a day each week and commit to each other this wonderful gift of relaxation.

Moviethon. Close the curtains, turn off the lights, make some popcorn and create a double or triple feature – day or night. Escape alone or together with your partner to another world, a different world and feel the tensions leave your mind and body.

Music. The beneficial qualities of music have been known for centuries. Music has been used to help cope with pain, promote relaxation, decrease stress and anxiety, and promote healing. When selecting music, consider whether you wish to produce feelings of energy, calm or relaxation. Find a comfortable position and give yourself permission to enjoy the music for 5 to 10 minutes.

Visualization (imagery use). This activity requires conscious effort. It takes daydreaming to a new level, consciously imagining a situation or anything else you can conjure up in your mind’s eye. The technique of visualization has been used for years and has helped people to manage pain, counter stress and anxiety and promote positive perceptions. Imagery involves using more than just mental pictures. It can include the use of all the senses; vision, hearing, smell, taste, movement, position and touch.

To begin your visualization, always find a position that allows you to be comfortable. Relax and start by taking a few deep breaths.

Walking. Walking is well accepted as a great low impact exercise, much easier on joints and bones. It is also a great stress reducer. Walking, like any exercise, is associated with the release of endorphins, which both relieve pain and stimulate relaxation. When walking, create a rhythm of movement and set your own pace. Walking alone or with a companion is a wonderful way to ease tension and create a positive outlook.


Have you used these methods to cope with stress? Are there any others that you'd like to share? Let us know and leave a comment below!

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Dealing with Stress

by Maxine
Posted July 27 2010 04:16pm
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Here are several ways to help deal with your day-to-day stress:

  • If you have any physical symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, racing heart, etc., consult your physician immediately.
  • Think about what's really important to you. Eliminate or let go of the things that are not at the top of your list.
  • Look at everything you do and decide what you can control and what you can't. Put the things you can control in order of importance, and try not to worry about the things you can't control.
  • Learn to say "no" sometimes, so that you don't take on more than you can handle. Don't be so busy satisfying everybody else that you end up with everybody happy but you.
  • Make sure to build in some time for yourself to relax, whether it's reading a book, going for a walk at lunch time or having a long bath. Try to arrange with your partner, or a friend, to see that you have some time for yourself. Everything will look brighter when you can meet some of your own needs.
  • Make sure you're getting enough physical activity and eating properly - these may seem trivial, but they can make all the difference to your state of mind.
  • Try to stop yourself if you find that you are taking things out on your family. If you are frequently irritable and unpredictable, or having emotional outbursts, your family will withdraw their support when you really need it.

What techniques do you use to handle your stress? Share them by leaving a comment below!

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