Posts Tagged ‘ Healthy Pregnancy ’

Taking Common Narcotics in Pregnancy Can Hurt Your Baby

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Pinkillers and pregnancyMost pregnant women are careful about what they eat and drink while they prepare to deliver a healthy baby. But some expecting mothers may not realize that the prescription narcotics they’re taking as painkillers can be dangerous for their babies—even though those drugs are given by a doctor.

According to a new study published online April 13 in the journal Pediatrics and conducted using the medical records of more than 112,000 Tennessee pregnant women, the use of prescription narcotic painkillers—including drugs like hydrocodone (brand name Vicodin), oxycodone (brand name Oxycontin), codeine, and morphine—was common. And it drove up the chances of early delivery, low birth weight, or even a challenging withdrawal period from the drugs for the baby.

Nearly 30 percent of the moms in the study used at least one of those drugs during her pregnancy. And the risk of those troubling outcomes for baby went up if the expecting women were also medicated with antidepressants, or if they smoked.

Related: See These Shocking Images of Smokers’ Unborn Babies During Pregnancy

“I was surprised by the number of women prescribed opioid pain relievers in pregnancy,” wrote lead author Dr. Stephen Patrick, a neonatologist and assistant professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. “I was also surprised by how commonly women smoked in pregnancy, and how much that increased the risk of neonatal abstinence syndrome [problems faced by babies exposed to drugs in utero] among those who also used opioid pain relievers in pregnancy.”

If it seems like more and more studies are looking into this issue lately, and more and more media reports are talking about it, there’s a good reason for the attention: Overall rates of women taking prescription painkillers have doubled since 2000. And by now we know it’s worth seriously considering whether that Vicodin is essential for pain during pregnancy.

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Alesandra Dubin is a new twin mom. She’s also a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Prescription Drugs During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Prescription Drugs During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Prescription Drugs During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?

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Is There a Good Time to Eat Junk Food in Pregnancy?

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Pregnancy cravingsWe all know about the importance of taking folic acid and eating well during pregnancy to maintain good health for ourselves and our developing babies. Still, many of us experience pregnancy cravings. And hey, with all the work our bodies are doing to grow those babes, we deserve to embrace those sometimes unhealthy cravings from time to time, right?

I’ll be the first to confess: I was like an animal whenever Red Vines were around last year when I was carrying my twins. And though it’s not my secret to tell, my editor confessed to eating a Sarabeth’s muffin nearly every day while pregnant with her second child, after passing her gestational diabetes test!

Well, if you’re going to indulge in junk food while pregnant, new research suggests there are actually better and worse times to do so for your developing baby.

University of Adelaide researchers have shown there are two important periods when junk food is most dangerous. These latest findings branch off from earlier research that demonstrated that mamas who eat junk food during their pregnancies are laying a foundation for babies who are addicted to a high-fat, high-sugar diet by the time they are weaned.

The new studies show the two times to “turn around this junk food addiction” are in late pregnancy—as well as in adolescence.

“Our research suggests that too much junk food consumed late in pregnancy for humans has the potential to be more harmful to the child than excess junk food early in the pregnancy,” wrote Jessica Gugusheff, post-doctoral researcher in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine.

The good news is this gives moms a chance to set things right as their pregnancies progress.

Gugusheff wrote, “Importantly, it also indicates that if excess junk food was consumed by the mother in those early stages of pregnancy, there may be a chance to reduce those negative effects on the baby by eating a healthy diet in late pregnancy.”

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Alesandra Dubin is a new twin mom. She’s also a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy:Decoding Pregnancy Cravings
How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy:Decoding Pregnancy Cravings
How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy:Decoding Pregnancy Cravings

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Does Your Vagina Need a Personal Trainer?

Friday, February 20th, 2015

kegel exercisesYou’ve probably heard of kegel exercises — movements meant to help strengthen your pelvic floor. Tone up those muscles that support the uterus, bladder, and bowels, and you can likely improve some of the discomforts of late pregnancy, like leaking urine and hemorrhoids.

These exercises aren’t new — but one new high-tech system in the marketplace suggests they’re important enough that it’s time we took them more seriously. Basically, it wants to be a personal trainer for our vaginas. Are you paying attention yet?

The sexual health and wellness product company Minna Life recently released kGoal, an interactive training device and app for pelvic floor exercise. The goal is to get all women to recognize the importance of doing the exercises — including the 17 percent who didn’t know what kegels were, according to a survey that the brand conducted. The survey also showed more than half of women don’t really know how to do a kegel.

What sets the new product apart from other stuff already out there? Well, Minna Life says kGoal has a customizable shape to fit all kinds of women, and it was designed in collaboration with pelvic floor physical therapists. It also says the product’s squeeze pillow is super sensitive to contractions, and provides feedback through the app as well as gentle vibrations.

Whether or not we actually need all that high-tech stuff to hone our pelvic floor strength, kegel exercises can be beneficial for all kinds of women. In addition to the pregnancy benefits mentioned above, kegels are known to enhance sexual responsiveness. (So yay to that!) Plus, they improve core strength in general, which is key for posture and balance.

So you tell me: Would a high-tech tool encourage you to do kegels?

Sign up for our pregnancy newsletters and keep up with the latest pregnancy news.

Alesandra Dubin is a new twin mom. She’s also a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.

Pregnancy Workouts: Is It Safe to Exercise?
Pregnancy Workouts: Is It Safe to Exercise?
Pregnancy Workouts: Is It Safe to Exercise?

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Can Too Much Folic Acid Be Bad?

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Folic acidWe already know about the benefits of getting enough folic acid during pregnancy. In fact, according to new data published last month by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fortifying grain foods has saved about 1,300 babies from being born with birth defects each year!

But does a new study now show that too much of the good stuff can actually be bad?

The new research, published in the Journal of Endocrinology, suggests that mamas who take excessive doses while they are expecting may put their daughters at risk for diabetes and obesity later in life.

In the study, researchers gave 20 times the recommended dose of folic acid to rats during mating, pregnancy, and lactation. Those animals gave birth to babies who grew up to be overweight and insulin resistant, as well as deficient in a hormone that protects them against diabetes and obesity. The findings were more pronounced in female offspring.

But let’s take a step back for a sec. To repeat, the study involved animals, not humans, first of all. And second of all, remember that researchers gave rats a full 20 times their recommended dose—so that’s a huge amount.

“This study is in rats and should not deter women from taking folic acid when they are planning a pregnancy or are pregnant,” says Edward McCabe, M.D., the March of Dimes’ Chief Medical Officer. “We know that folic acid taken in the appropriate dose helps to prevent developmental problems in the nervous system, like spina bifida. This has not been shown to cause health problems for the mother or her offspring.”

Megan Edhardt, the communications and media relations manager for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, is quick to cite the group’s own firm guidelines for folic acid, which specify taking 400 micrograms of folic acid daily for at least one month before pregnancy, and 600 micrograms daily during pregnancy to prevent birth defects.

So however you read this study, don’t freak out. And keep taking your vitamins!

Sign up for our pregnancy newsletters and keep up with the latest pregnancy news.

Alesandra Dubin is a new twin mom. She’s also a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal Vitamins

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Two Ways Pregnancy Stress Could Hurt Your Baby

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Stress and pregnancy“Try to relax during pregnancy. It’s bad for the baby if you get all worked up.”

I hated hearing advice like that in pregnancy—because it seemed to only compound the pressure I was feeling. Talk about adding insult to injury! But two new studies out now underscore the fact that stress can indeed be bad for baby, and expecting moms should do what they can to manage it.

One study out of Radboud University in the Netherlands showed that women who experienced stress during pregnancy were likely to have babies with a poor mix of intestinal microbiota, and with a higher likelihood of intestinal problems and allergic reactions. These issues could be related to both psychological and physical problems as the children continued to develop, the study indicated.

Summing it up, author Carolina de Weerth said, “We think that our results point towards a possible mechanism for health problems in children of mothers who experience stress during pregnancy.”

Another study, out of the University of Cambridge, showed that increased levels of stress hormones in pregnant mice could lead them to overeat, and could potentially affect the long-term health outcomes of the fetus. That is, the fetuses of the mice with raised levels of that hormone tended to be smaller, despite the mother overeating, suggesting that a mother’s stress levels may affect her child’s growth.

Though it may be easier said than done, these new studies point to the fact that managing stressful situations and thoughts in pregnancy is important for staying healthy—for mama and baby alike.

Sign up for our pregnancy newsletters and keep up with the latest pregnancy news.

Alesandra Dubin is a new twin mom. She’s also a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Stress During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Stress During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Stress During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?

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