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Thursday, August 21st, 2014
Consumer 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.
Photo of tuna courtesy of Shutterstock.
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eating fish, fish, mercury, Pregnancy, pregnancy diet, pregnancy health, pregnancy nutrition, pregnant women, prenatal care, tuna | Categories:
Parents News Now, Pregnancy
Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
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.
Photo of teenage girls courtesy of Shutterstock
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Thursday, August 14th, 2014
A small new study from Italian researchers, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, has found a surprising reason why in vitro fertilization (IVF) may not always work.
As Yahoo News UK reports, the researchers looked at IVF success rates in 154 women who were vitamin D-deficient and compared them to 181 women who were not deficient in the vitamin, and found that the women with sufficient vitamin D levels were twice as likely to have IVF success. And not only that—the women with healthy vitamin D levels were also more likely to have “high-quality embryos.”
“Our work is the largest study to date to examine how vitamin D affects fertility in women who are undergoing IVF,” one of the study’s authors, Alessio Paffoni, MSc, of the Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico in Milan, Italy, said in a statement.” He continued, “Although randomized clinical trials are needed to confirm the findings, our results certainly suggest that low levels of vitamin D contribute to infertility.”
The researchers defined a healthy or sufficient level of vitamin D as 20 to 30 nanograms per milliliter of blood.
Find out which foods are smart sources of vitamin D.
Photo of vitamin D courtesy of Shutterstock
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Tuesday, August 5th, 2014
Believe it or not, there’s good news for moms-to-be who suffer from morning sickness: New research published in the August issue of the journal Reproductive Toxicology found that the often debilitating, sometimes-all-day nausea and vomiting that can affect as many as 85 percent of pregnant women actually offers a protective effect. According to the study abstract:
“Our analysis reveals a consistent favorable effect of NVP [nausea and vomiting of pregnancy] on rates of miscarriages, congenital malformations, prematurity, and developmental achievements. The effect size was clinically important for miscarriage, malformations and prematurity. In a few studies the protective effects were more prominent in women with moderate–severe NVP than among those with mild or no NVP.” In other words, as bad as those barfy first weeks and months can be, they could mean good things for your baby.
The study isn’t the first to find a protective effect from morning sickness—in fact, the research in Reproductive Toxicology is a meta-analysis of 10 previous studies, reports the Wall Street Journal, that were conducted between 1992 and 2012.
More from WSJ:
The studies involved an estimated 850,000 pregnant women. They examined associations between nausea and vomiting and miscarriage rates, prematurity, birth weight, congenital abnormalities such as cardiac defects and cleft palate, and long-term child development.
The risk of miscarriage was more than three times as high in women without symptoms of nausea and vomiting as in those with symptoms. Women 35 years old or older, who generally have a relatively high risk for miscarriage, appeared to benefit the most from the “protective effect” associated with morning-sickness symptoms, the study said.
It’s important to note, however, that it can be perfectly normal to not have morning sickness, as well.
Image of woman with morning sickness courtesy of Shutterstock
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Monday, August 4th, 2014
Don’t freak out: Scentists are finding that a mom-to-be’s stress levels can have significant effects on a child’s future health, including delays in cognitive development, behavioral issues, and even an increased risk of autism. The latest link? Scientists have found that maternal stress could increase the risk that babies develop allergy-induced asthma.
The study, produced by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, focused on mice, and found that even a single stressful situation could flood the baby’s bloodstream with stress hormones like corticosterone, and lead to a greater chance that the baby develops allergy-based asthma after birth.
What’s the takeaway? Do what you can to relax, unwind, and reduce stress throughout your pregnancy, to help protect your baby’s health.
To keep up with the latest news for your kiddo, sign up for our Parents Daily newsletter.
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allergy-induced asthma, asthma, Autism, Child Health, cognitive delays, maternal stress, mental health, mom-to-be, Pregnancy, pregnancy health, prenatal stress, research, study | Categories:
Child Health, New Research