Posts Tagged ‘ Healthy Pregnancy ’

Could Labor Be Considered Child Abuse?

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

That’s the scary implication behind one hospital’s attempt to keep a mom-to-be from trying a vaginal birth after previous C-sections (VBAC). Mom-to-be Jennifer Goodall received a letter from the hospital where she planned to give birth, Bayfront Health Port Charlotte in Florida, stating that “because she decided to have a trial of labor before agreeing to cesarean surgery, her prenatal care providers intended to report her to the Department of Children and Family Services, seek a court order to perform surgery, and to perform cesarean surgery on her ‘with or without [her] consent’ if she came to the hospital,” according to a press release from the National Advocates for Pregnant Women.

Goodall tried to fight it in court, but was unsuccessful—the judge said that she had no “right to compel a physician or medical facility to perform a medical procedure in the manner she wishes against their best medical judgment.” (And that’s despite the fact that Goodall herself said she wasn’t adverse to having another C-section—but just wanted the chance to try laboring.) In the end, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy last weekend, at a different hospital where they were willing to allow her to labor—and had a C-section.

But this wasn’t the first time that a woman reported being bullied into a C-section. We reported about a woman who was suing a New York-area hospital for forcing her to have a C-section against her will.

VBACS aren’t right for everyone. But at a time when the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is expressing concern over the startling numbers of C-sections (one in three babies is born via C-section now), why are so many hospitals still pushing for surgery? And why are they using scare tactics like reporting parents to Child Services for questioning the hospital protocol?

Labor & Delivery: Unplanned C-Section
Labor & Delivery: Unplanned C-Section
Labor & Delivery: Unplanned C-Section

 

Image: Rissy Story/Shutterstock.com

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Is Your Pregnancy Diet Lacking THIS?!

Monday, May 26th, 2014

When it comes to a pregnancy diet, you probably think about eating clean, organic foods, drinking milk, and taking prenatal vitamins and folic acid. You probably don’t think about needing more iodine in your diet, right? Well, it turns out you should!

New research by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that one-third of pregnant women in the United States have an iodine deficiency, and iodine is needed to produce thyroid hormones—which control your metabolism and play an integral part in your baby’s all-important brain development. One theory for the lack of iodine in women’s diets is that processed foods don’t use iodized salts, and Americans as a whole are eating much more processed food than we once did.

And even though in the U.S. pregnant women often take prenatal vitamins, only 15 to 20 percent take ones that contain any iodine (in the form of potassium iodide), and many of those that do contain iodide don’t contain the 150 mg suggested by the National Academy of Sciences. The recommendation for pregnant women and breastfeeding moms is the same—a daily supplement that includes at least 150 mg of iodine and use of iodized table salt for a combined intake of between 290 and 1100 mg of iodide per day.

You can naturally add iodine into your diet by eating things like seafood or low-fat yogurt. And in the U.S. most table salt is fortified (a practice that started in 1924 to help end iodide deficiencies), so it’s an excellent source for iodine with ¼ teaspoon providing about 47 percent of your necessary daily intake.

So it’s relatively easy to add what you need into your diet to give your baby the best chances of being a brainiac—but like everything else, consult your doctor about your individual needs, especially before taking any supplement!

How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy: What
How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy: What
How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy: What "Eating for Two" Really Means

Image of pregnant woman eating yogurt courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Pregnant Women in NZ Paid to Quit Smoking?!

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Happy New Year! You’ve probably already made your resolutions for the year, and maybe even broken a few (oops!)! Well, in New Zealand the government is trying to make sure that pregnant smokers keep their promise to quit their nasty nicotine habit, by giving out vouchers for up to $300 worth of groceries, baby products, phone credit, movie tickets and gas.

The rational side of me thinks it’s absurd that you would be rewarded for doing the right thing for your baby. After all, smoking during pregnancy contributes to higher rates of miscarriage, pre-term births, sudden infant death syndrome, and lifelong complications like asthma, learning disabilities and behavioral problems. Why would you put your baby through all of that?

On the other hand, when I take the time to get off my soapbox, I realize nicotine is addictive, and when you’re addicted to something, your better judgment goes out the window. So why not give these addicted women an incentive to kick their habit if it means saving babies lives or saving them from lifelong complications?

About 13 percent of pregnant women in the U.S. smoke during pregnancy. According to the U.S. Public Health Service, if all pregnant women stopped smoking, there would be an estimated 10 percent reduction in infant deaths in this country. Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of stillbirth, miscarriage, and severe vaginal bleeding, and nearly doubles a woman’s risk of having a baby with low birth weight. Studies by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also suggest that smoking increases the risk of preterm delivery (before 37 weeks of gestation) by about 30 percent, and it increases the likelihood of certain birth defects, including a cleft lip and/or cleft palate. Babies of mothers who smoke are twice as likely to die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) as babies of nonsmokers.

Smoking also increases the risk of having an ectopic pregnancy, and almost doubles a woman’s risk of developing placental complications, like placenta previa, a condition in which the placenta is attached too low in the uterus and covers part or all of the cervix; and placental abruption, in which the placenta separates from the uterine wall before delivery. Both can result in a delivery that jeopardizes the life of mother and baby.

The good news is that quitting smoking during the first trimester can greatly reduce the risk of having a baby with low birth weight— almost to that of a woman who doesn’t smoke. So there is reason to quit smoking even if you’ve already exposed your baby to nicotine. Do it for your little one, if not for yourself!

TELL US: Do you think there should be incentive-based government programs in the US, like in New Zealand, to encourage pregnant women to quit smoking?

Image of pregnant woman smoking courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Is Your Unborn Child Already a Junk Food Junkie?

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Put down those Doritos and read this! The foods you’re eating during pregnancy and while breast feeding are shaping the way that your unborn child will eat for years to come, according to a new study. That’s right—bad eating habits form in utero.

Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, a nonprofit research organization in Philadelphia, found that babies’ taste buds are directly linked to what their moms ate while pregnant with them. So if you’re eating a diverse and varied diet, your child will eventually be a less picky eater, who is open to trying new things. Your good habits are being passed down to them, and that will show in how they eat as toddlers and later on as adults.

But your bad habits are being passed down as well. A study conducted at the University of Adelaide in South Australia found that if you are eating sugary or fatty foods, your child will actually have cravings for those foods and form an emotional attachment to them. Moms who ate Froot Loops, Cheetos and Nutella during pregnancy had children that built up a tolerance for those foods, so that they needed more of them to get the same gratification from eating them. That is how researchers believe the US’ obesity epidemic all started (70 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese).

According to the New York Times, “researchers believe that the taste preferences that develop at crucial periods during infancy have lasting effects for life. In fact, changing food preferences beyond toddlerhood appears to be extremely difficult.” So when you tell people you’re “eating for two,” you really are—not the amount of calories for two people, but you are choosing what your baby will be eating for the rest of his or her life. Just think about that the next time you have a craving! Of course it’s fine to indulge every now and again (here are some ideas for doing that the smart way), but know that your eating habits do have long-term effects on your little one, so choose your meals wisely!

Test your Pregnancy Nutrition IQ here.

TELL US: What foods have you cut out while you’re pregnant? What are your healthy indulgences?

Image of pregnant woman eating a salad courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Gestational Diabetes Can Lead to WHAT?!

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Gestational Diabetes High Birth Weight C-SectionIn Germany, a woman gave birth to a baby weighing in at a whopping 13.47 pounds—wait for it—naturally! That’s right, even though the 22.6 inch baby was nearly twice the weight of the average newborn, she was not born via cesarean section, according to the Daily Mail. That is one brave and very strong mama, if you ask me! I just hope for her sake her delivery wasn’t as painful as it seems. All I can say is, “Ouch!” And if you’re saying, “Wait, I thought this story was about Gestational Diabetes,” well, then hold your horses, ladies. I’m getting there!

The shocking thing is that throughout all of this new mama’s sonograms, no one raised a red flag that her baby seemed big. That’s wild to me because my son ended up weighing in at seven pounds, seven ounces, and I was told along the way that we needed to watch his growth to make sure he wasn’t getting too large.

It turns out like me, and about 18 percent of pregnant women in the United States, the mom had developed Gestational Diabetes. But while mine was monitored and I cut down on white flour, carbs and sugars and made sure to get at least 30 minutes of exercise three times a week, this mom’s gestational diabetes went undiagnosed—which can be a dangerous thing.

Normally, the amount of glucose in the blood is controlled by insulin. But during pregnancy, hormone levels can get out of whack, and some women have higher than normal levels of glucose in their blood and their pancreases fail to produce enough insulin to have the cells absorb it all. So the baby can end up being larger and heavier, which translates to often a longer, harder delivery, and many times ends in a cesarean section.

It can also lead to the baby having shoulder dystocia, which is when the baby’s shoulder gets stuck in the mother’s pelvis during birth. During that time, the mom’s not exactly comfortable, but the baby is really in danger as he or she may not be able to breathe. Once born, the baby could have low blood glucose, which can lead to poor feeding, jaundice, irritability, breathing problems, seizure and diabetes later in life. For most women, gestational diabetes goes away once the baby is born and the hormone levels return to normal.

It’s unclear why some women develop gestational diabetes and others don’t, but you could be at risk if you are over 25, have high blood pressure, a family history of diabetes, have been obese prior to becoming pregnant, or have a history of unexplained miscarriage or stillbirth.

So it’s important for every pregnant woman to get a glucose screening at around 20 weeks (it doesn’t hurt; it just requires drinking a super-sweet liquid and drawing blood an hour later). And if you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it is not the end of the world—though it may seem like it at the time (been there!). As long as you are able to manage it with diet and exercise, or medication in more extreme cases, you are still likely to have a perfectly healthy baby (like me!).

TELL US: Have you been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes? How did you manage it?

Image of a screaming woman courtesy of Shutterstock.

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