Archive for the ‘ Pregnancy ’ Category

Should Pregnant Women Avoid Eating Tuna?

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Should Pregnant Women Eat TunaConsumer Reports published a special report today saying that women who are pregnant or nursing should avoid eating all forms of tuna due a high potential for mercury exposure.

These remarks come after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published a combined statement in June suggesting that pregnant women eat between 8 and 12 ounces (that’s 2 to 3 servings) of fish per week.

This was the first time either organization had ever recommended a minimum amount of fish that should be consumed, LA Weekly reported, though they have made maximum consumption directives in the past. Their guidelines cited important nutritional benefits that can come from eating fish such as improving growth and development before birth and during infancy.

While the FDA and EPA recommendations do say that pregnant women should monitor the types of fish they’re eating to limit mercury exposure, Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives for Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, told The Washington Post simply, “We encourage pregnant women to avoid all tuna.” Mercury exposure before birth can result in neurological disorders and impair development of a baby’s brain and nervous system, among other potential risks, the EPA states.

Not surprisingly, the National Fisheries Institute took issue with CR’s conclusions. In a statement, it said: “Though we urged CR to do a thorough, balanced and science-based job, that obviously did not happen. Minimal research would have presented reporters literally hundreds of independent seafood studies from the FDA to the World Health Organization that clearly demonstrate the net benefit gained from eating seafood, like tuna.”

Confused now? If you’re pregnant, ask your healthcare provider about what’s best for you and your baby. And read about these five simple ways to eat healthier during your pregnancy.

How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy: Making a Healthy Snack
How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy: Making a Healthy Snack
How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy: Making a Healthy Snack

Photo of tuna courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Good News: Teen Pregnancy Is On the Decline!

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Teenage Pregnancy Birth rates among teenagers have declined dramatically, according to new research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Since reaching a peak height in 1957, birth rates have generally fallen in the U.S. since then, including a whopping 57 percent drop from 1991 to 2013. This decrease translates to an estimated 4 million fewer births to teens over the course of those years.

The CDC attributes this decline to a number of factors including a higher likelihood and more frequent use of contraception as well as decreased sexual activity overall among teens.

Bill Albert, chief program officer of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, told CBS News that he believes popular MTV reality shows like Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant have actually encouraged teens to avoid pregnancy, rather than glamourizing it.

“Many teens have described these shows as far more sobering than salacious, and they are watched by millions,” he said.

USA Today reports that while the national average for teen birth rates is 29.4 births per every 1,000 girls ages 15-19, birth rates remain well over that average in states in the South and Southwest. New Mexico has the highest teen birth rate with 47.5 births per every 1,000 teen girls.

Think you might be pregnant? Consider one of these 10 at-home pregnancy tests.

Are You Pregnant? How to Know for Sure
Are You Pregnant? How to Know for Sure
Are You Pregnant? How to Know for Sure

Photo of teenage girls courtesy of Shutterstock

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CDC Report: Single Mom and Teen Births Declining

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

There are fewer people eligible to be on MTV’s Teen Mom, according to the latest stats from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report shows a continued decline in single motherhood, in all groups but the over-35 segment. Now, only 4 out of every 10 births occur out of wedlock—and more than half of those “single mom” births are within cohabiting couples who just haven’t decided to make their union official.

The biggest decline in birth rate occurred in the 15-to-17-year-old age bracket, where the number of births fell by almost a third over the last five years—and the older-teen birth rate also declined by more than 25 percent.

This slightly contradicts some earlier figures in a Johns Hopkins study, which showed that nearly 60 percent of births to the Millennial generation had occurred out of wedlock.

Still, both sets of data show that the wife-then-mom model may not be the scenario for many modern-day moms.

Sign up for Parents.com newsletters to keep up with the latest information targeted to your child’s age and stage.

Mom Confessions: My Latest Parenting Fail
Mom Confessions: My Latest Parenting Fail
Mom Confessions: My Latest Parenting Fail

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For Breech Babies, C-Section Is Safest

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

While many experts are concerned with the rise in C-section rates, there’s one situation where C-section is called for—when the baby is in breech position. That’s the latest finding in a Dutch study published in the journal of the Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Breech babies (those who present feet or buttocks first, rather than the head) who are born vaginally are 10 times more likely to die during childbirth as their counterparts who were born via C-section. In the retrospective study of 58,320 of breech births, the researchers found that  as elective C-sections for breech births have increased, from 24% to 60%, that resulted in a decrease of infant mortality from 1.3/1000 to 0.7/1000.

The takeaway? According to lead study author Dr. Floortje Vlemmix from the Department of Obstetics and Gynecology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, ”While elective C-section has improved neonatal outcomes there is still a good number of women who attempt vaginal birth. Our findings suggest there is still room for improvement to prevent unnessary risk to the infant. We recommend using measures to turn the baby (external cephalic version) to prevent breech presentation at birth and counselling women who want to proceed with a vaginal breech birth.”

Find out more about breech birth, and learn how to build a birth plan that covers emergencies.

Birth Stories: Planned C-section With Twins
Birth Stories: Planned C-section With Twins
Birth Stories: Planned C-section With Twins

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Could Common Antibacterials Be Harmful to Pregnant Women and Their Babies?

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Pregnant women and their babies-to-be are being frequently exposed to antibacterial compounds that could be harmful, according to a new study from Arizona State University being presented at the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). The compounds—triclosan and triclocarban—are found in more than 2,000 household cleaning and personal care products, as well as school supplies and toys. There’s growing evidence that exposure to triclosan and triclocarban could lead to developmental and reproductive problems in animals, and that the danger could extend to humans, too. While we have the ability to dilute these antibacterial compounds, the fact is, they’re so prevalent that we’re at risk of universal exposure, according to ASU’s Rolf Halden, Ph. D., the lead investigator of the study. More from Science Daily:

Laura Geer, [Ph.D., of the State University of New York], says the study yielded a link between women with higher levels of another ubiquitous antimicrobial, butyl paraben, which is commonly used in cosmetics, and shorter newborn lengths. The long-term consequences of this are not clear, but Geer adds that, if this finding is confirmed in larger studies, it could mean that widespread exposure to these compounds could cause a subtle but large-scale shift in birth sizes.

Luckily, some state policymakers and companies have already taken steps to remove triclosan from products. Minnesota will prohibit its use in certain products starting in January 2016. And companies like Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble are taking out the antimicrobial in some of their products. At the federal level, the FDA and Environmental Protection Agency are conducting additional research on these compounds, too.

Are you pregnant? Keep track of your medical records in one spot.

Hair Dye and Nail Polish During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Hair Dye and Nail Polish During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Hair Dye and Nail Polish During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?

Image via Shutterstock.

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