Posts Tagged ‘healthy pregnancy’

Eat healthy during pregnancy and your baby’s bones will thank you later!

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

dumb-bell-41Eating healthy during pregnancy doesn’t just help your baby grow while in the womb. More studies are showing that your nutrition during pregnancy benefits your baby later in life.

A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition followed over 2,800 women during pregnancy. They found that pregnant women who ate foods rich in protein, vitamin B-12 and phosphorus greatly influenced their babies’ bone health later in childhood. When these babies were around 6 years old, they were more likely to have greater bone mass, which leads to stronger and healthier bones. On the other hand, babies born to mothers who ate foods high in carbohydrates and had higher amounts of homocysteine (a kind of amino acid) in their blood during pregnancy often had lesser bone mass later in life.

This is just one more reason to keep eating healthy during pregnancy. Your baby will thank you for it!

We’re born to appreciate parents!

Friday, May 31st, 2013

boc-fathers-day-55-1134-vert1The March of Dimes imbornto campaign is intended to engage with parents around Mother’s Day and Father’s Day since our quest for “stronger, healthier babies” truly begins with the most important people in babies’ lives – parents! Through our history, our support of parents has been an understated but crucial aspect of addressing the medical and public health problems that have been the focus of our mission. Only a parent can measure most profoundly the personal effects of illness and disability on a child. Our emphasis today on healthy pregnancy and healthy babies implicitly involves parents in our most important objectives. After all, this concern is at the basis of providing “News Moms Need.”

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are special occasions to honor one’s parents. In the 1950s the March of Dimes recognized Mother’s Day by selecting an annual “Polio Mother of the Year.” But the hoopla surrounding such publicity skirts the momentous fact that the conquest of polio was achieved by millions of women (and men) who joined “Mothers March,” the most successful fund-raiser of those years. “Mothers March on Polio” soon became “Mothers March on Birth Defects,” and the volunteer moms and dads behind these efforts were as much responsible for improving children’s health as the creators of vaccines and the leaders in perinatal breakthroughs. This is but one reason why we laud the contributions of mothers and fathers today.

From Virginia Apgar’s 1972 book of advice to new parents, Is My Baby All Right?, to our decades-long involvement in supporting families undergoing the traumatic experience of a NICU hospitalization, the March of Dimes has appreciated the role of parents in children’s health. Our current push for creating transdisciplinary centers for research on premature birth runs parallel to our propensity for collaboration and team-building, and the role of parents in these endeavors is just as fundamental to the overarching social goals of improving children’s health.

In 1955, the National Father’s Day Committee selected March of Dimes President Basil O’Connor as “Father of the Year.” In the wake of the success of the polio vaccine created with March of Dimes funds by Dr. Jonas Salk, his selection may seem to us all-too-obvious in retrospect. His daughters, Sheelagh O’Connor and Bettyann Culver, attended a recognition luncheon, and the requisite photographs were taken. Among the many letters of congratulations that O’Connor received, one close business contact wrote, “You are a good father, and you are an exceptionally good citizen and good friend.” It is in this spirit of warm appreciation that the March of Dimes pays tribute to mothers and fathers. Hats off to all moms and dads!

Learn about exercise during pregnancy

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

exercise-during-pregnancyAs you think of Mother’s Day coming up, give the gift of health and knowledge to the moms-to-be. Invite them to this FREE webinar on May 6 at 1:00 PM ET to learn about exercise during pregnancy with March of Dimes medical advisor Dr. Siobhan Dolan. 

Some women think that pregnancy is a perfect time to sit back and put their feet up. Not so! For most women, it’s important to exercise during pregnancy and offers many health benefits. But how much exercise should you get and what’s safe? Join us on Monday – you’ll learn a lot.

We are grateful to Community Health Charities for making this webinar possible and available to everyone. Click on this link and register now!

The Military and the March of Dimes

Monday, November 12th, 2012

military-and-mod4

In its drive to promote healthy pregnancy, the March of Dimes considers every avenue of outreach. This has included cordial ties with U.S. Armed Forces in order to support military families. Historically, our earliest years coincided with the global catastrophe of World War II when our founder – President Franklin D. Roosevelt – was Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces. In that troubled time, our military ties were many and various. An early research grant went to Drs. John Paul and Albert Sabin to find out why American GIs in Egypt contracted polio when native populations seemed immune to the disease. The Foundation created a fund-raising unit that coordinated its annual “March of Dimes” campaigns with all branches of the military. Our Armed Forces Division was so popular that top brass such as Gen. Dwight Eisenhower and Admiral Chester Nimitz wrote enthusiastic public messages of support for our fight against polio.

After the war, the most conspicuous military program was the Military Air Transport Service (MATS). MATS was a standing agreement of the March of Dimes with the U.S. Air Force to airlift iron lung respirators to epidemic areas and even individuals with paralytic polio to hospitals for special care. In one case, MATS cargo aircraft shipped iron lungs to a polio epidemic in Japan in 1961. With the advent of the Salk polio vaccine developed with March of Dimes funds, the Foundation ensured that military personnel were protected from the polio virus. Military personnel and their families from the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard dispensary to the U.S. Army Hospital at West Point participated in March of Dimes polio vaccination programs.

When the March of Dimes turned toward birth defects prevention in the 1960s, our involvement with the military also turned in a new direction. We then maintained on staff an official liaison to the military as we broadened our approach to birth defects by focusing on all the determinants of healthy pregnancy. And, in our examination of the genetic causes of birth defects, we provided advice to Viet Nam era veteran groups about medical and genetic counseling for victims of Agent Orange. Our relationship to the Veterans of Foreign Wars has been mutually supportive for decades, and several March of Dimes national ambassadors have been members of military families. One of these, Cody Groce, was very proud to appear with Gen. Colin Powell at our National Youth Leadership Conference in Washington, DC in 1998. Our most recent effort in support of military families has been our involvement in Operation Shower.

In the darkest days of World War II, FDR offered these words to characterize his understanding of the March of Dimes mission: “Nothing is closer to my heart than the health of our boys and girls and young men and young women. It is one of the front lines of national defense.” With this impetus, the March of Dimes went on to defeat polio and launch a new mission against birth defects and prematurity. FDR’s original sentiment bears close resemblance to our passionate quest for “stronger, healthier babies” today.

Note on photo: Sailors in formation spell out “March of Dimes” on board aircraft carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1962

When exercise isn’t a good idea

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

pregnant-exerciseMany women want to get into really good shape before having a baby. This is an excellent idea, because you don’t want to diet or start a new and aggressive exercise routine when you’re pregnant. Start a healthy habit now.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that healthy pregnant women get at least 2 1/2 hours of aerobic exercise every week. This means that most pregnant women should try to get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on most, if not all, days. Go for it, exercise during pregnancy and stay fit.  

BUT, If you have any of the conditions below, do not exercise. Check with your health care provider.

• Heart disease
• Lung disease
• Incompetent cervix: The cervix is the narrow, outer end of the uterus. If it is weak, it cannot hold the fetus in the uterus.
• Preterm labor (before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy) 
• Multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets or more) at risk for preterm labor
• Frequent bleeding from the vagina during months 4-9 of pregnancy
• Placenta previa: The placenta connects the baby’s blood supply to the mother’s blood. Attached to the mother’s uterus, it is an unborn baby’s lifeline. Placenta previa is a low-lying placenta that covers part or all of the cervix. This can block the baby’s exit from the uterus.
• Hypertension 

Remember, if you experience any symptoms of a problem, or your’e just not sure, stop exercising and call you doc right away.

20 minutes after

Monday, January 31st, 2011

CSL007As working moms, often we forget to schedule in down time after medical appointments. We squeeze our medical appointments into the beginning or end of the day to accommodate work, family and personal schedules.  I don’t know about you, but I think medical appointments are hard enough to just get to; let alone planning for what happens when you receive difficult news at the doctor’s office, too.  This recently happened to a friend of mine and she drove 20 minutes after receiving this difficult news directly back to work.  While it seems admirable that she hurried back to her duties, taking just 20 minutes afterward for herself might have been healthier.

Our body and mind needs time to process the information we have received. I think it’s reasonable to try to build into your schedule a time for “after the doctor’s” appointment, don’t you?  During these 20 minutes you could stop at a local café to have a cup of tea, read some information, or go for a long walk. This time could help you relieve stress or anxiety and help you build up an internal coping mechanism. 

Pregnant women that face difficult news may face more intensified emotions, because of our body’s changing hormones during pregnancy.  I suggest having a person from your support team with you during pregnancy/prenatal checkups or annual women’s medical appointments, including a spouse, partner, or friend, sibling or parent.  If your support person cannot be physically present at the appointment, ask her to be available for 5 minutes after your appointment to talk on the phone, text or email etc.  This will help you have a support system that is there to listen. Tell this person to remind you to take those “20 minutes after” for yourself… and then take them.

 

One virgin piña colada, please!

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

pregnancy-coupleMy husband and I recently came back from our babymoon in Cancun, Mexico. With our first baby due at the end of November, our vacations will soon consist of road trips to visit with the grandparents and perhaps a trip to Disney World. So, what better way to have our last hurrah than to take a beach vacation just the two of us? While my husband never failed to order his margarita on the rocks at the swim-up bar, the bartenders already knew by looking at me that my beach beverage of choice was a virgin piña colada (without the shot of rum).

Alcohol during pregnancy is a no-no! Alcohol, even in small amounts, may harm your baby during pregnancy. Still, there are some people who believe that one or two drinks can’t hurt you. You may have even heard about a recent study from England suggesting that a little alcohol during pregnancy might be fine. But there really is no safe amount of alcohol for you to have during pregnancy. Every woman is different and alcohol affects each woman differently. While one drink might be okay for one woman during pregnancy, it could have devastating consequences for another. So, it’s best for both you and your baby to stay away from alcohol during pregnancy.

I liked my virgin beach beverages. Now, if I could only find a way to have warm weather, sunshine and live on the beach permanently… :) .

Moderate caffeine OK during pregnancy

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

I always loved chocolate, but now that I’m pregnant, I found a deeper passion for it! Even then, I try not to go too nuts with it because I don’t want to have too much caffeine. But now, I can rest a little easier.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says that it’s OK for pregnant mommies to have moderate amounts of caffeine per day. Research has shown that a reasonable amount of caffeine (about 200mg or 12oz) per day doesn’t appear to lead to miscarriage or preterm birth.

So if you’re pregnant, you can go ahead and have your daily cup of coffee. As for me, I’ll be making brownies!

Stay safe in summer heat

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

summer-heat-wave1If you’re in the Northeast like me, you’re in the midst of a heat wave. Temperatures reached over 100 degrees in some areas. I can usually deal with heat waves. But with the pregnancy, I’m finding myself feeling more sluggish, exhausted and thirsty!

It’s important to stay safe in summer heat, especially if you’re pregnant. If your body temperature gets too high during pregnancy, it can be very dangerous to your baby. We wrote a post with some helpful tips to keep cool during last year’s summer heat wave. But as a quick reminder, follow these tips:
• Drink plenty of fluids (preferably water) even if you’re not being very active.
• Avoid drinks that are high in sugar or have alcohol because they can make you even more dehydrated. (If you’re pregnant, you should be keeping away from these kinds of beverages anyway!)
• Stay indoors or in areas that are cool.
• If you need to go out, try to do so in the morning or evening, when it’s not as hot as midday.
• Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
• Use sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher and wear a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses.
• NEVER leave anyone (or any pets) in a closed, parked vehicle.

Dads: Getting ready for baby

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

dad-and-bellyWhen I first learned about our baby-to-be, I was thrilled! I’d already started living a healthier lifestyle before getting pregnant, like getting to a healthy weight and taking a multivitamin with folic acid. But now more than ever, I’m very cautious about what I eat, my environment and my activities. I want to be sure I’m doing everything I can so that baby is healthy and safe during the pregnancy.

Interestingly, my dear husband is going through his own daddy-to-be phase. In the last few weeks, I’ve noticed him getting around to those household projects that were always on the bottom of his list, like cleaning out the air filters, fixing the floor molding, even helping out with daily chores like the laundry and dishes. We only have one car; a little two-seater convertible that’s been the envy of our friends for years. But, with the baby coming, my husband has thrown himself into issue after issue of Motor Trend and Consumer Reports magazines to identify the safest, most efficient family vehicle. You’d think he’s writing his Ph.D. dissertation with all of the research and notes he’s taking! But all of it is very cute to see :) .

Even my own dad, a soon-to-be grandpa, is making lifestyle changes. He’s started to eat healthier and get more exercise so that he’ll be in great shape to play with his new grandbaby this winter.

USA Today had an article about the new dad phase, specifically about dads being more cautious and sensible as they get ready for baby. Did anyone else see a similar change with the dad-to-be in their life?