Folate in Pregnancy

by Maxine
Posted July 23 2010 01:30pm
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Experts have found that mothers who have adequate levels of folic acid in their bodies may be less likely to give birth to children with neural tube defects (NTDs). As well, folate may also help in preventing a number of other health problems that can be experienced during pregnancy, including anemia, birth defects, and complications such as preeclampsia and spontaneous abortion. After the birth of a child, folate may also help a mother’s body get ready sooner for another pregnancy.

Although it occurs naturally in food, a typical woman of childbearing age gets just 0.2 mg of folic acid through diet alone. Because many pregnancies are unplanned and NTDs occur very early in a pregnancy—often before a woman knows she’s pregnant—experts recommend that all women of childbearing age take in between 0.4 mg and 1.0 mg of folic acid every day. And women who suffer from epilepsy and diabetes or who have a family history of NTDs should take in more, as much as 5.0mg daily. After giving birth, many women appear to suffer folate deficiency for as long as 6 months; these women, in particular, should think about supplementation. However, always consult your doctor before starting folate supplements. Folic acid levels that are too high can possibly lead to an increased risk of multiple births, neurological disorders, and breast cancer.

With a little preventative action, such as storing food in the fridge in tightly covered containers and cooking in small amounts of water for as little time as possible, folic acid can be preserved in the foods we eat. 

Excellent sources of folate include: 

Cooked fava, kidney, roman, soy and white beans, lima beans, chickpeas and lentils, spinach, asparagus, orange juice, canned pineapple juice, peanuts, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, romaine lettuce, enriched pasta and bagels made with enriched flour.

Good sources of folate include: 

Cooked corn, sprouted mung beans, broccoli, green peas, brussel sprouts, beets, oranges, melons, avocado, eggs, walnuts, cashews and English muffins made with enriched flour.

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Prenatal Dental Care

by Guest
Posted August 9 2010 10:55am
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Everyone knows that it’s important to take good care of your teeth. But, good dental hygiene is even more important for during pregnancy.

During pregnancy, your changing hormone levels and possible morning sickness can affect her teeth and gums. If not given adequate care and attention, poor dental health can affect not only you, but also your baby.

The following guidelines will limit the dental problems you might have during your pregnancy.

  • Brush and floss regularly; this means brushing after each meal or snack with a small pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste and flossing at least once a day.
  • Regular visits to the dentist should also be a part of good dental care. The second trimester (3 to 6 months) is usually the best time to receive routine care, although dental x-rays should be postponed until after your baby is born.
  • If experiencing morning sickness, always rinse your mouth out with water or a mouth rinse after vomiting, but wait 30 minutes before brushing. The stomach acids from vomiting combined with brushing may erode your tooth enamel.

Do you know the meaning of the word “gingivitis”? Gingivitis is a mild form of gum (periodontal) disease affecting 9 out of every 10 Canadians at some time in their lives, and about half of all pregnant women. Signs include red, swollen and bleeding gums. Left untreated, gingivitis can result in more advanced gum disease, which might cause you to lose teeth and have permanent gum damage.

The good news – gingivitis is reversible. All it takes is a little time and effort. By brushing and flossing correctly and, if necessary, receiving a scaling and cleaning from a hygienist, you can get her dental health back on track.

You’ve learned how gingivitis can directly affect you, but do you realize that it can also affect your unborn baby? This is true. Recent studies showed that expectant mothers with gingivitis during pregnancy are more likely to have preterm low birth weight babies. Another study showed that expectant moms with gum disease who received a scaling and cleaning had significantly fewer preterm babies than those with gum disease who were not treated.

There are other very important reasons for expectant moms to pay close attention to their dental health as well. During the first trimester (more so than later in pregnancy), the bacteria caused by the plaque on your teeth can move through the blood to the placenta and interact with hormones that can trigger premature labour. Be aware that periodontal disease may also contribute to high blood pressure during pregnancy. This is known as preeclampsia.

Below is a list of associations that can be of help.

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Vitamin D

by Guest
Posted July 24 2010 01:22pm
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The Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) says that pregnant woman, postpartum moms and babies in Canada are not getting enough Vitamin D. This is especially true for those that live farther north than 55° latitude (including many Northern Aboriginal Peoples) where there is limited exposure to sunshine, a natural source of Vitamin D. Darker skin tone can also interfere with the absorption of natural Vitamin D. Breastfed babies whose mothers are low in Vitamin D are most likely low in Vitamin D too. Vitamin D is important for cell growth and metabolism, as well as for healthy immunity. According to a 2006 study, low intake of vitamin D during pregnancy has been significantly associated with low birth weight babies.

Rickets – an illness that causes poor bone development – is still present in Canada’s North, but could be prevented with Vitamin D supplementation.

Vitamin D is found in a few foods and most commonly in fortified milk and sunshine. The levels of Vitamin D from these sources may be inconsistent and not enough for breastfed babies and for pregnant and breastfeeding women. CPS recommends all exclusively breastfed babies receive 400IU per day and that babies living in the North receive 800 IU per day during the months of October through April. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to speak to their doctors about taking 2000IU per day.

If you are lactose intolerant, you still want to make sure you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D, as these are important for your bone health and for the development of strong bones and teeth for her baby. The following foods are good sources of calcium and vitamin D:

  • Fortified soy or rice milk
  • Calcium set tofu 
  • Canned salmon (with bones)
  • Sardines
  • Bluefin tuna
  • Calcium fortified orange juice
  • Vegetables such as collard greens, spinach, kale, or bok choy

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Tips to Stop Smoking

by Maxine
Posted August 9 2010 10:58am
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Are you trying to stop smoking? It is not an easy habit to quit and many people try several times before they are successful.

  • Talk to your partner, family and friends and enlist their help in your goal to quit.
  • Decide on a date that you will quit and let your partner, family and friends know. 
  • Talk to your doctor about your decision to quit, they are another good support. 
  • Decide on a plan on how you will stop smoking – will you use some self-help booklets or printed information? Or will you attend a group program or smoking cessation clinic?
  • Consider learning other ways to cope with stress that you can use once you start stop smoking. 
  • Buy sugarless gum, hard candies or veggie sticks (carrots, celery, etc.) to use when you have the urge to smoke.

There are programs and information to help you if you want to stop smoking see the resources listed below for help near you:

  • Your local public health department.
  • Best Start is Ontario’s Maternal, Newborn and Early Child Development Resource Center their website includes information about becoming smoke free.
  • Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) their website includes information on a variety of addictions including smoking. 
  • Canadian Council for Tobacco Control lists smokers' help lines, self-help on the web and self-help publications. Health Canada. 
  • Programs through the Ontario Lung Association.
  • Health Canada website has a section that is devoted to tobacco and there are resources listed to help in smoking cessation.
  • Heart and Stroke Foundation website includes information on how to stop smoking.
  • Smokers' Helpline [Ontario] 1-877-513-5333 (Available from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm Monday through Thursday, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm on Friday, and 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Learn more about the effects of Smoking During Pregnancy

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