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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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Lifestyle Hazards While Pregnant

by Guest
Posted August 9 2010 10:50am
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Lifestyle hazards can come from the way you eat, drink, exercise and relate to those around you.

Here are some steps you can take:

  • Ask your doctor about taking prenatal vitamins.
  • Mom should avoid alcohol. There is no safe level of alcohol consumption and no safe time period for drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
  • Avoid smoking. If you are a smoker, try to quit or, at the very least, cut down. If Dad is a smoker, always smoke outside and try to quit, too.
  • Eat a balanced diet, get plenty of sleep, and drink at least six glasses of water, milk or juice a day. Dad can help Mom here by sharing the load of the extra time it takes to shop for, prepare and clean up after nutritious meals.
  • To avoid toxoplasmosis - disease that is devastating to developing babies – expectant mothers must avoid all contact with cat feces (kitty litter, garden soil that may contain cat feces) and raw or undercooked meat. Moms can work with soil using rubber gloves and good hand washing techniques after each exposure. Dads can take over cleaning the litter box during pregnancy and during the newborn phase of baby's development. Hand washing is critical for him too! Be sure to cook meat very well.
  • Modest daily exercise, such as walking or swimming, helps mom and baby's circulation and helps mom stay in a positive frame of mind. Since regular exercise is somewhat of a challenge in our sedentary society, many moms find it easier to stay motivated when you do some of your exercising together with your partner.
  • Mom will be rewarded with fewer aches and pains if she wears comfortable clothing and shoes with good support throughout pregnancy.
  • Moms and dads should jointly identify causes of stress then reduce or eliminate the stressors where possible.
  • Take advantage of support offered by friends, co-workers and those available in your community.

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Iron in Pregnancy

by Maxine
Posted April 25 2011 03:17pm
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Pregnancy is a precious time – you and your baby are growing together. However, this time of rapid growth naturally puts higher demands on your bodies basic nutrient requirements. Have you had you iron levels checked?

During pregnancy iron is critical because it helps make hemoglobin – a blood protein that carries oxygen to other cells for both the mother and the fetus, and aids in the process of disease resistance in the fetus. When demands for iron exceed the supply the mothers body is depleted. When this happens it causes fatigue, weakness/poor endurance, trouble with concentration, paleness, or sometimes a quickened heartbeat. So if you are experiencing any of these symptoms be sure to have your health care professional test your iron levels at your first prenatal appointment.

Iron needs nearly double in pregnancy. But how much is enough, or too much? The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for a pregnant woman is 27 milligrams (mg) per day. But be sure to ask, taking more than necessary can make you feel nauseated, cause constipation, heartburn or even diarrhea.

Here’s how to make sure your diet is pumped with iron:

  • Choose red meat, poultry, salmon and eggs for a good source of heme-iron, the type of iron found in animals. It’s better absorbed than the non-heme iron found in plants.
  • Choose plant-based foods such as berries, broccoli, green leafy vegetables (like chard and spinach), green beans, tomatoes, and artichokes.
  • Remember tomato sauces and tomato juice also contains iron. Choose whole-grains (for example millet), iron-fortified breads and cereals, and bake with wheat germ, brewer’s yeast and molasses.
  • Add parsley or seaweed to your favorite dishes to provide a little extra iron.
  • Cook non-gmo tofu for a great vegetarian source of iron.
  • Sprinkle dried fruits and nuts on your morning oatmeal for an iron top-up.
  • Cook in a cast-iron pan: your food will absorb iron from the pan.

If you’re still feelings symptoms of anemia, ask your doctor or midwife about taking supplements, which you should swallow on an empty stomach with orange juice for better absorption. Note that dairy, and caffeinated drinks interfere with iron absorption.

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Depression in Pregnancy

by Maxine
Posted August 9 2010 10:52am
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While pregnancy may be a happy time for women, it’s a myth that pregnant women do not become depressed.

 

However, this myth can prevent women from talking about her feelings or from finding help for it because they are ashamed. Women should talk to their partner, doctor or midwife about this as soon as they sense it is happening to them.

If a pregnant woman says she is feeling down or depressed, it is important for her, and those around her, to pay attention. If these down feelings are combined with constant sadness or losing interest in the things she normally does, she is clearly showing some of the warning signs of depression. Studies show that about 15% of pregnant women experience major or moderate depression during pregnancy.

Keep in mind that if a woman has had a depression before becoming pregnant or has a relative who has faced a depression, she may be more prone to a serious depression during her pregnancy.

Mood swings, fatigue, and trouble eating and sleeping can be typical at certain times in many women's pregnancies. However, they are also signs of depression in pregnancy if they continue for longer than what is normally expected. Other signs of depression are:

  • Always feeling sad.
  • Feelings of despair, guilt and of being worthless.
  • Thinking often about death or suicide; not being able to concentrate or do the things she ordinarily does.
  • A change in eating habits more or less that than what is normally expected in pregnancy.
  • Not being able to sleep or wanting to sleep a lot.

Pregnant women who are depressed are more likely to slide into unhealthy practices, just when healthy practices are needed most. For example, women may skip their regular prenatal check-ups, or they may not eat well or rest enough or use substances such as tobacco or drugs.   All of these can lead to having the baby too early or to the baby not being a healthy weight when born.

It is important for a pregnant woman to talk to her doctor or midwife about depressive feelings or signs. In many cases, it is helpful if her partner goes along to this appointment because he needs to be part of the treatment plan. She can sometimes treat minor depression by doing things like eating well, getting regular exercise, making sure she gets enough sleep and deals with her stress (through relaxation exercises, yoga, etc.). If her doctor thinks the depression is serious, medication may be prescribed. In such a case, she will want to discuss with her doctor and pharmacist all the side effects and implications for her mental health and the baby's development.

Many herbal products, including St. John's Wort, have not yet been studied carefully for their effects on pregnant women. Mom should not take any herbal products without first consulting with her doctor, pharmacist or the Motherisk Clinic.

About 25% of women who are depressed during their pregnancy will have what is called a "postpartum depression," which is a depression after the baby is born.

It’s normal for a woman to feel a little sad or anxious in the first two weeks after the baby is born. Everyone should pay attention and help during this period. If she has constant or signs and symptoms of depression, there is cause for concern. Both parents should speak to her doctor or midwife about this to determine how to treat the depressive symptoms. Depression is easier to treat if it is caught early before the With symptoms become deeply rooted.

If a mother is depressed during baby’s first year of life, it can make it difficult for her to become emotionally attached to baby and vice versa. Fathers and others need to ensure she gets the help she needs for her depression. Dads may also need to step in and help her relate to the baby in whatever way she can while she recovers. Dads also need to give extra loving care and stimulation to the baby to keep baby's development on track.

For more information on Depression in Pregnancy:

 

 

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