Posts Tagged ‘
Healthy Pregnancy ’
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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Childhood Obesity, Diet, Fit Pregnancy, Food, Healthy Eating, Healthy Pregnancy, Junk Food, Obesity, pregnancy, Pregnancy Diet, pregnant | Categories:
Cravings, Healthy Pregnancy
Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
In 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?
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birth, C-section, childbirth, Diabetes and Pregnancy, Gestational Diabetes, Glucose Screening, Healthy Pregnancy, pregnancy, Pregnancy Diabetes, pregnant, Shoulder Dystocia | Categories:
Friday, July 26th, 2013
With the joys of pregnancy also come the exhaustion, aches and pains. While it’s tempting to kick back on the couch and watch a whole Real Housewives marathon in one sitting, getting active is going to make you feel better, and it’s going to ensure a healthier pregnancy, and ultimately a healthier baby (which of course is the end goal!).
Pregnant yoga instructor, Extra Lifestyle Correspondent and wife to Alec Baldwin, Hilaria Baldwin, is due with her first child, a daughter, at the end of the summer. Here, she shares her tips for a healthy pregnancy.
How has your workout changed since becoming pregnant?
My cardio softened quite a bit. I still did some spinning and jogging at the beginning, but you have to be careful not to get your heart rate up too high because the baby can’t sweat. Later in my pregnancy, I started swimming more and I do yoga every day. As your belly gets bigger, you have to widen your stance in yoga. If you’re squatting down, you need to make more and more space so your growing belly has room to breathe.
Do you think yoga is something all pregnant women can benefit from?
Some women are on bed rest or have other health considerations, but if your doctor suggests you exercise, then yes, I believe that all pregnant women should do yoga. It’s incredible for hip, lower back and foot pain, restless leg syndrome, circulation, and just the whole body and mind in general. It can also help with the delivery. A strong core and flexibility can really help with labor.
Do you ever think some women focus too much on getting their body back even before they have the baby? What advice would you give women who are worried about their bodies not bouncing back?
My advice is don’t let your body run away from you when you’re pregnant—stay active. I know it’s frightening to not be so thin, especially being someone who’s been thin my entire life. But remember that you’re doing something that is beautiful. You are creating life. It’s your responsibility to take a step back from your vanity for those 40 weeks to do what’s right for your child. Many studies I’ve read have said that exercising (with your doctor’s approval) and not letting your body run away from you promotes the best possible pregnancy and the best health for your child.
Have you seen changes in your skin since you’ve become pregnant?
No, other than a blemish here and there. I think one of the reasons I haven’t really had any problems is because I started moisturizing my skin from day one. Once you become pregnant you think a lot more about your overall health and well-being— your skin included. Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash has been an incredible addition to my beauty regimen because it is gentle and has shea butter so it keeps the moisturizers on your skin even after the cleansers rinse away. So I never feel dry.
Pregnancy has its perks, but it can also bring on some not-so-attractive side effects (acne, hair loss, indigestion, etc). How do you manage to feel confident and sexy while pregnant?
I work out every day. Not only does that give you endorphins and adrenaline that carries you throughout the entire day, but it also promotes circulation. In an expanding body, staying active keeps everything at bay. During pregnancy your body is supposed to grow and you should embrace that womanly figure. In the end, taking good care of your body makes you feel good as well.
You always look great. What’s your best maternity style secret?
A Pea in the Pod has great jeans. But it’s important to also understand that you don’t have to wear maternity clothes. Most of my clothes aren’t. Recently, I learned that you can wear a skirt as a dress just by adding a belt. It’s the best thing ever!
What’s been the most surprising thing about pregnancy?
Feeling the baby kick! You know from the start that the baby’s going to kick, but when you really feel it, it is such a wonderful and bizarre feeling at the same time. It just makes you cry because you’re so happy. The second most surprising thing is not being able to remember anything. I had no idea about pregnancy brain!
The most exciting?
Getting to know your baby. I haven’t met her on the outside yet, but I feel like I know her so well. I’m at the point now when I’m really getting to interact with her and if I talk, I feel her respond.
There are a lot of medical tests and waiting for test results can be scary, but yoga helps me through that [stress] a lot.
What’s been the most fun for you to buy for the baby?
The gear! We were really excited to get our strollers. We have two: the Bugaboo Chameleon, which I’m really excited about. But I definitely need a tutorial on how to use it—there are so many levers! We also have a Graco stroller and car seat combo. The other thing that I wanted, right from the beginning, was the Mamaroo. My friend had one and her baby was the most content baby ever! It has a car mode, a wave mode, there’s music that plays, and so I immediately went out and bought it, although my husband pointed out that I was only four months pregnant at the time!
What’s the sweetest thing your husband has done for you since you’ve been pregnant?
I had one really crazy pregnancy moment when I wasn’t feeling well and didn’t eat dinner. Around 1 AM, I popped out of bed and said that I needed to eat right then! I had never done that before and I was almost in tears. Alec ran downstairs, but we didn’t have that much food in the house, so he brought up melon and almonds. He just watched me while I inhaled all of it, then went back to sleep.
Have you dropped any hints about a push present?
I didn’t know about push presents until someone explained it to me. Ultimately, my present is the baby. But knowing Alec, he’s very generous and he always spoils me. He’s a total sweetheart, but I’m not really big into presents. She’s the real present, so we’ll put a bow on her!
TELL US: How are you staying fit during your pregnancy?
Image of Hilaria Baldwin courtesy of Olay.
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A Pea in the Pod, Alec Baldwin, birth, celebrities, delivery, Exercise, Healthy Pregnancy, Hilaria Baldwin, Labor, Maternity Clothes, pregnancy, pregnant, Skincare, Work Out, Yoga | Categories:
Wednesday, July 24th, 2013
It’s summertime, and the beach seems to have a magnetic pull. The sun’s warmth! Fresh air! Sand between your toes! Cool ocean water on a super-hot day! The relaxing sound of the waves! And an excuse to lounge around with nothing to do but read a (trashy) novel!
But now that you’re pregnant SPF isn’t the only thing you need to worry about (though you should be wearing at least SPF 30 at all times, because pregnant women actually burn easier)! While there is no proof that UV rays can be soaked into your skin and somehow harm your baby, UV can break down folic acid, which is imperative while pregnant.
Folic acid—which is a B vitamin found in foods like leafy greens, oranges and black beans—helps prevent birth defects of the spinal cord (like spina bifida) and brain (anencephaly), as well as cleft lips and palates and certain types of heart defects. Your body also needs folic acid to make normal blood cells and to prevent anemia, and it is essential to DNA production, repair and functionality. It is extremely vital in supporting the rapid growth of the placenta and fetus as well.
One study found that women with folic acid deficiencies were two to three times more likely to have a premature baby or a baby of low birth weight than those who got enough of the vitamin. So if you are going to be tanning, it’s especially important to make sure you are keeping up with your daily prenatal supplement. According to the March of Dimes, pregnant women should be getting 600 micrograms of folic acid per day either in their diets alone or in a mixture of diet and a prenatal multivitamin.
Also note that increased melanin production mixed with sun exposure can lead to the “mask of pregnancy” (that weird raccoon mask-effect around your eyes that looks like you were wearing sunglasses while tanning), so make sure your time in the sun is limited and that you don’t ever head out without sunblock.
I’m sure you’ve already realized that pregnant women tend to get hot very easily, so be careful of overheating and dehydration—both are very dangerous for your unborn babe. Pay attention to heat advisories in your area (New York City has recently hit 100°!), and if the heat index is in the 90s, stay indoors as much as possible with the A/C blowing, and cool down with a damp washcloth applied to the back of your neck or forehead.
Drink plenty of liquids—eight ounces for each hour you’re outside. Water is great, but you can also down OJ, milk or sports drinks that replace electrolytes you’ve lost while sweating. And if you’re sitting on the beach, make sure to take long shade breaks every 20 minutes or so, and bring a mist bottle to keep your skin as moist and cool as possible. If you do become dehydrated, you’re actually limiting oxygen and nutrients from getting to your baby, which could put his/her development in jeopardy. So drink up!
Whether at the beach or pool, take frequent dips into the water. It not only cools you off, but it helps take some of your extra weight off of your sciatic nerve, which can get overtaxed and cause pelvis, leg, and foot pain.
While bumming around at the beach—showing off your cute bump!—can still be a blast, you’re taking care of two already, so keep your little bundle’s needs in mind too before hitting the sand and surf. Happy summer!
TELL US: What baby-safe precautions do you take when going to the beach?
Image of pregnant woman at the beach courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Beach, Birth Defects, Dehydration, Folic Acid, Healthy Pregnancy, pregnancy, pregnant, Sciatic Nerve, Skincare, SPF, Spina Bifida | Categories:
Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013
Summer colds are a bummer. Summer colds while pregnant are the worst! Sore throat, coughing, runny nose, sinus headaches—ugh! Normally, the first thing you’d do is reach for the nearest decongestant. But if you’re pregnant, don’t! Recent findings show that the use of a decongestant during the first trimester of pregnancy may raise the risk of certain rare birth defects in your unborn child.
Over-the-counter medicines, including phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine (which are commonly used in products like Afrin, Mucinex, Sudafed, Dristan, etc.) are linked to rare birth defects of the digestive tract, ear and heart. Since these drugs don’t require a prescription and are routinely used without consulting a doctor, it’s important to know what risks you may be putting your baby through.
Dr. Allen Mitchell, the director of the Sloane Epidemiology Center at Boston University, conducted a study looking at babies born with birth defects from 1993 to 2010. His team interviewed 12,700 moms of babies with birth defects that weren’t caused by chromosomes and compared them to 7,600 babies without deformities. Moms were asked what medications they took while pregnant and in the two months before becoming pregnant.
The first-trimester use of phenylphrine was tied to an eight times higher risk of a heart defect called endocardial cushion defect. And phenylpropanolamine was linked to an eight times higher risk of defects of the ear and stomach. Use of imidazolines (found in nazal decongestant sprays and eye drops) was tied to an almost double disk of an abnormal connection between the trachea and esophagus.
I must stress that these cases are rare. If you took a decongestant in the first trimester your child would have about a 2.7 in 1,000 chance of having a defect. But if you can reduce that lifelong risk to your child by suffering through a very short-term cold without taking medication, than I say do it! If women can get through natural childbirth, they can certainly survive an annoying cold!
TELL US: Did your OB warn you about taking decongestants while pregnant?
Image of a woman taking medicine courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Afrin, birth, Birth Defects, childbirth, Decongestants, Healthy Pregnancy, Labor, Mucinex, pregnancy, pregnant, Sudafed | Categories: