Eating Right During Pregnancy

26. February 2013 10:45 by carondelethealth in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Eating a well-balanced, healthy diet is an important part of helping your baby grow and develop in the womb. In addition to taking prenatal vitamins, there are some guidelines you can follow to help ensure you and your baby are getting the proper nutrients during your pregnancy.

  • Aim for getting these recommended daily servings:
    • Six to 11 servings of breads and grains
    • Two to four servings of fruit
    • Four or more servings of vegetables
    • Four servings of dairy
    • Three servings of protein (beef, pork, poultry, eggs or nuts}
  • Increase your fiber intake by choosing whole-grain breads, pastas, cereals and rice.
  • Limit the amount of fat you eat to 30 percent or less of your daily calories.
  • Avoid eating shark, swordfish or white snapper since these fish are high in mercury. Raw fish and shellfish should be avoided as well.
  • Do not eat soft cheeses such as Feta, Brie or Camembert; these cheeses are often unpasteurized and may cause a Listeria infection.
  • Be cautious when eating hot dogs and deli meats unless they are properly reheated to 160 degrees F.
  • Limit your caffeine intake to 300 mg or less per day.
  • Do not drink alcohol; alcohol consumption during pregnancy has been linked to birth defects, premature delivery and low birth weight.

For a physician referral in the Birthing Center at St. Joseph Medical Center, call 816-943-2345 or visit the online provider search tool.

Exercise Tips for Expectant Moms

6. February 2013 12:43 by carondelethealth in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Exercise is an important part of keeping you and your baby healthy during pregnancy. Studies have shown that women who work out regularly experience a more comfortable pregnancy and staying in shape helps your body prepare for labor and delivery. The following are some tips to help you work out safely during your pregnancy.

  • Talk to your healthcare provider to ensure your exercise activities won't put you or your baby at risk.
  • Try to stick to low-impact activities such as walking, water aerobics or an
    elliptical machine.
  • Avoid lying flat on your back after the fourth month.
  • Keep moving to help prevent blood from pooling in your legs which can make
    you dizzy.
  • During the hot summer months, exercise inside to avoid overheating.
  • Drink plenty of water during and after exercising.
  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Don't overdo it. If you get dizzy, experience pain or cramping or feel out of breath, stop and rest.
  • Avoid activities that require balance, such as riding a bike outside or a step
    aerobics class.

What to Bring to the Hospital

7. January 2013 12:09 by carondelethealth in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

A common question many women ask is what they should bring to the hospital when it's time to give birth. Here is a handy checklist to help you prepare for the big day.

For mom:

  • Extra copy of your birth plan
  • Your pediatrician's name and contact information
  • Comfort measures you plan on using, such as iPod, rice pack, manual massager, etc.
  • Lip balm
  • Nightgowns, slippers and robe
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste and other toiletries
  • Two to three bras (nursing bras or snug-fitting bras for non-nursing moms)
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Comfortable clothes to wear home
  • Camera and charger
  • Cell phone and charger
  • List of phone numbers for people you wish to call
  • Baby book (nurses can do baby's footprints for you)
  • Change for vending machine for partner

For baby:

  • Sleeper
  • Socks
  • Hat
  • Baby blankets for the ride home
  • Pacifiers
  • Car seat
  • Diaper bag
  • Nursing pillow

Breastfeeding is Good for Mom, Too

5. December 2012 10:39 by carondelethealth in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Making the decision to breastfeed is one of the best things you can do to help protect your baby's health. However, did you know that mothers benefit from breastfeeding, too? From saving money to the psychological benefits, there are a lot of good reasons why breastfeeding is an excellent choice.

  • Reduces the risk of breast cancer. Women who breastfeed have up to a 25 percent less risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Reduces the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer. Breastfeeding lowers a mother's estrogen levels and this is thought to reduce the risk that tissue in the uterus and ovaries will become cancerous.
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis. Mothers who breastfeed are four times less likely to develop osteoporosis than those who opt to feed infants formula.
  • Provides a unique bonding experience. Breastfeeding is something only a mother can provide for her baby. The experience of this closeness and skin-to-skin contact creates a special physical and emotional connection. Mothers who breastfeed have also been found to be less prone to postpartum anxiety or depression.
  • Helps with weight loss. Breastfeeding has been shown to help mothers return to their pre-pregnancy weight quicker. And, research has shown that mothers who breastfeed are more likely to weigh less years later, too.
  • Saves money. On average, feeding a baby formula costs $1,200 a year. The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that breastfeeding moms save $400 in a year by going the natural route.

St. Joseph Medical Center provides a free breastfeeding support group for mothers who have given birth at the medical center. For more information, call 816-943-2027.

Milking the Benefits of Breastfeeding

27. November 2012 11:39 by carondelethealth in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

As a mother, one of the most important things you will decide is how to feed your baby. Breastfeeding is not only natural for your baby, it also provides many health benefits. Breast milk is unique in that it contains all the essential nutrients that your baby needs as it develops. While infant formula can replicate some of the nutrients, natural breast milk is still vastly superior.

Despite many studies showing the benefits of breastfeeding, the United States has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the industrialized world. Recent research shows that if 90 percent of families breastfed exclusively for six months, nearly 1,000 deaths among infants could be prevented. In addition, medical care costs are lower for infants who have been fully breastfed. This is because breastfeeding provides a wide range of health benefits, including:

  • Strengthens the baby's immune system since the mother passes antibodies to
    her infant
  • Fewer ear and respiratory infections
  • Lowers the baby's risk of diabetes
  • Decreases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Helps protect the baby from developing allergies.

St. Joseph Medical Center provides a free breastfeeding support group for mothers who have given birth at the medical center. For more information, call 816-943-2027.

Swaddling Your Baby

20. November 2012 13:37 by carondelethealth in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

When you bring your new baby home, swaddling it in a blanket is a great way to soothe it and keep it warm. But, did you know that swaddling also has other benefits? Swaddling your baby can reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by helping to prevent your baby from flipping over on its stomach. Swaddling also helps babies sleep better which is essential for
infant development.

When swaddling your baby, it's important to make sure the blanket is not covering any part of the infant's nose or face. Also, pay attention to make sure your baby isn't trying to roll to the side when it's swaddled. If this does happen, it's a good idea to stop swaddling your baby since it may roll onto its tummy
while sleeping.

Wrapping the blanket just right to swaddle your baby can be tricky. The Mayo Clinic has some good instructions with pictures on how to swaddle a baby safely.

Tips for Soothing a Crying Baby

13. November 2012 15:24 by carondelethealth in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

For being so small, babies can create a lot of noise! Many parents find themselves at their wits' end when they can't stop the crying. It's perfectly natural for babies to cry; that is their main form of communication. However, there are some ways you can help soothe and calm a cyring baby.

  • Check the diaper. A wet or soiled diaper can be a common reason for your baby's tears. Even if it seems like you just changed the diaper, it's a good idea to check it again if the baby starts crying. A new, clean diaper may be all your baby needs to calm down.
  • Check your baby's temperature. When babies are too hot or cold, crying is their way of letting you know. Put your hand on the back of your baby's neck to check its temperature. If it feels warm, remove a couple layers; likewise, if the baby feels cool, add another layer for warmth.
  • Pat your baby's back. If your baby gets fussy after a feeding, it may have a gas bubble. Pat your baby's back or rub its back while it lays on your lap to help relieve the gas pain.
  • Distract your baby. Sometimes getting your baby to calm down can be as easy as making a silly face. Often, babies will calm down when you distract them from the reason for their tears.
  • Gently rock or bounce. The gentle motions of a rocking chair or baby swing can do wonders to help calm your baby down. Car rides are also another popular way of soothing babies.
  • Check your baby's skin. Your baby may be crying to let you know that a snap on a shirt is pinching its skin or diaper tape may be sticking.
  • Swaddle your baby. Sometimes there is nothing more comforting to a baby than being wrapped tightly in a soft, warm blanket.

Baby, It's Getting Cold Outside

8. November 2012 13:31 by carondelethealth in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

These chilly days mean winter is right around the corner, making it a good time to brush up on some pointers for keeping your baby happy and healthy through the cold months.

Believe it or not, it’s already the cold and flu season. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the flu vaccine for everyone, including children starting at six months. Babies under six months are at high risk for serious flu-related complications, including dehydration (watch for fewer wet diapers and/or dark urine), ear infections and bacterial pneumonia. And, because this age group can't be immunized, they depend on those around them for protection until they can be safely vaccinated. Breastfeeding mothers who've been vaccinated help by passing along some of their immunity to their babies and vaccinated care givers minimize the chance of passing along illnesses.

The Birthing Center at St. Joseph Medical Center provides flu vaccinations to all new moms who consent before they are discharged. Dads are also encouraged to get their immunizations as soon as possible. And, because we’ve seen a lot of whooping cough (pertussis) in the area in the last year, we also recommend new mothers get the Tdap vaccination (for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), as well as anyone over the age of 11 who is in contact with infants less than 12 months old.

Other preventive steps recommended by the CDC include:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze—and discard immediately
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze; if you are not near water, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner
  • Keep yourself and your baby away from people who are sick, as much as you can.

If your baby does end up getting sick, do not use over-the-counter cold remedies. Saline solutions and humidifiers can help open up passages, making breathing easier. Be sure to follow directions for keeping the vaporizer clean and mold-free.

Keep your home free of respiratory irritants that can trigger coughing spells, such as aerosol sprays, tobacco or cooking smoke, fireplaces and wood-burning stoves. Spray toys and areas frequently touched with a disinfectant such as Lysol.

It’s also important to keep your baby warm. During winter, babies require about the same number of layers as adults for comfort, indoors and out. Since a newborn’s ability to regulate body temperature is not well developed, parents need to pay special attention to how the baby is dressed.

Babies that are too cold may fuss, but they may not complain if they're too warm. Spotted or blotchy looking skin and pale cheeks may be a sign a baby is too cold. If the neck feels damp from sweat or the cheeks are especially rosy, the baby may be overdressed.

When your home’s heater kicks on, you may find your baby’s skin becomes drier. Unscented moisturizers can be applied to the baby’s skin frequently throughout the day to ease dryness and a gentle lip balm can help prevent chapped lips. Cutting your baby’s bath time down to about 10 minutes can also help prevent dry skin.

When driving, avoid putting infants in car seats with their coats on. We recommend bundling baby in blankets or using special car seat bundling materials while riding. Put on the baby’s coat (and don't forget the hat) after you've arrived at your destination. It’s also important to make sure nothing is obstructing the car seat’s safety straps. This can cause problems in the event of an accident and make it harder to determine if you need to adjust the straps.

Finally, be careful with space heaters. Many children are burned every year from unattended heaters. If you must use them, buy a space heater with an exterior that remains cool to the touch and make sure it has an internal switch that shuts the unit off if it tips over.

As the winter chill sets in, following these tips will go a long way toward helping your baby stay healthy and comfortable.

The Flu Vaccine Helps Keep You and Your Growing Baby Healthy

1. November 2012 07:29 by carondelethealth in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

More than 200,000 people are hospitalized each year from complications of the flu. If you are pregnant, you are at a higher risk of becoming very ill from the flu. The best way to protect yourself is to get an annual flu vaccine (pregnant women should not get the nasal spray vaccine). Not only will it help keep you healthy, but it will protect your baby, too. Getting the flu shot during pregnancy will provide your baby with some immunity for up to six months after birth. 

Is it safe to get the flu shot while I’m pregnant?
Yes. Flu shots have not been shown to cause any harm to pregnant women or their babies. In fact, flu shots during pregnancy protect the baby. 

What type of flu vaccine should I get during my pregnancy?
While you are pregnant you should get the inactivated flu vaccine that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. Pregnant women should not get the nasal spray vaccine. 

How do I get a flu shot?
Talk to your health care provider about getting the flu shot as soon as you can during your pregnancy. 

To find a physician, visit St. Joseph Medical Center’s online physician referral service or call at 816-943-2584.

The Birthing Center at St. Joseph Medical Center utilizes a family-centered approach to care that includes a wide range of services, including spacious birthing suites where mothers can labor, deliver and recover in the same room, private postpartum suites, a level II neonatal intensive care unit staffed 24 hours a day by neonatal nurse practitioners, breastfeeding education specialists and childbirth education classes.

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