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Your Baby

Pregnancy: Too Much, Too Little Weight Gain Adds to Health Risks

2:30

If you’re thinking about becoming pregnant, starting your pregnancy at a normal weight is best for baby and you, according to new study.

The study found that too much or even too little weight, increases an expectant mom's risk for severe illnesses and death. 

"Not only for baby's sake, but also for your own sake, have a healthy diet and get regular exercise before pregnancy," said study lead author Dr. Sarka Lisonkova. She's an assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of British Columbia and the Children's and Women's Health Centre in Vancouver. 

"It's never too late, even if you're already pregnant," Lisonkova said, adding that weight gain during pregnancy can also increase the risk for severe illnesses and even death in expectant mothers.

The study was large, including information on three-quarter of a million women. The average age of the women was 28 years old.

The researchers found that the more a woman weighed, the more likely she was to have a severe illness or to die during pregnancy. Underweight women also had an increased risk for these outcomes. Severe illness included such conditions as eclampsia (convulsions or coma brought on by high blood pressure), sudden kidney failure, sepsis, hemorrhage and respiratory problems.

While the results sound scary, the risk to any one particular woman is low. For instance, the study found that, compared with normal-weight pregnant women, there were about 25 more cases of either severe illness or death for every 10,000 pregnant women if the woman was obese.

"The chance that any one woman dies in pregnancy is about 1 in 6,000 in the United States," said Dr. Aaron Caughey, who chairs the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland

However, what's especially concerning about this study's findings, he said, is that more and more women are entering pregnancy obese or super-obese. With higher levels of obesity, "there's an incredibly high inflammatory state that increases the risk of rare outcomes, like thromboembolism," a blood clot, Caughey said.

He said that underweight women likely had a chronic illness that increased their risk. 

Both Caughey and Lisonkova said that ideally, women should be at a normal weight before getting pregnant. If a woman isn't at her ideal weight, pregnancy is a good time to start focusing on things such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, they said. 

Pregnancy can be a "focusing event for affecting behavior change in women," Caughey said, because once pregnant, a woman often focuses on doing what she can to have a healthy baby.

"Pregnancy is a great time to think about diet and exercise, especially because women often drive health behaviors in the family, so there's no time like the present to make healthy changes," he said. 

Lisonkova also emphasized the importance of good prenatal care. "Clinicians can catch signs of potential complications earlier with regular checkups," she said. 

A woman will naturally gain weight while pregnant and that’s as it should be, but if you begin a pregnancy overweight it’s more difficult to keep the weight gain within the normal range. It’s healthier for mom and baby to begin a pregnancy at or close to a normal weight.

The study was published in the November edition of Journal of the American Medical Association.

Story source: Serena Gordon, https://consumer.healthday.com/vitamins-and-nutrition-information-27/overweight-and-underweight-health-news-516/weighing-too-much-or-too-little-when-pregnant-can-be-risky-728505.html

 

 

Parenting

Cradle and Bassinet Safety Tips

1:45

Cradles and bassinets can be convenient for parents and comfortable for babies. You can move them easily from room to room, letting you keep an eye on baby during the day. At night, you can keep your baby in your own bedroom during the first few weeks of life as you and baby adjust to a new sleeping schedule.

In recent years, cradles and bassinets have gained new features: You can buy ones that vibrate, are on wheels, swivel from side to side, or nestle next to your bed for co-sleeping without bed-sharing. They’re also great for trips to see the grandparents.

While they are handy, cradles and bassinets are not substitutes for a crib. Babies outgrow them, so you’ll need a crib sooner or later, but they can be useful.

Just like cribs, there are important safety tips to be aware of when using cradles and bassinets:

  • Avoid bassinets and cradles with a motion or rocking feature, as these have caused suffocation when babies rolled against the edge. If you use an heirloom-rocking cradle, supervise your infant while in use.
  • As with a crib, a bassinet, cradle, sleeper or play yard should have a firm mattress that fits snugly without any space around the edges so a baby’s head can’t get wedged in and lead to suffocation. The American Academy of Pediatrics has not yet weighed in on the safety of these products; some pediatricians have warned parents that they are not safe for overnight sleeping. Parents should err on the side of caution and use only products that comply with safe-sleep recommendations.
  • If you have pets or other young children in the house – for instance, a dog who might knock over a bassinet, a cat who might climb in, or a toddler who might try to lift your baby from a bassinet – stick with a crib.
  • Moses baskets - a woven basket with handles - are often lined with puffy fabric, which raises a baby's risk for suffocation or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and are best avoided.

Bassinets and cradles are designed for babies under 5 months old, and who cannot push up on hands and knees.

These temporary products can be helpful for keeping an eye on your baby while they are napping, if you need to move from room to room or stay overnight in another home. Parents and caregivers need to make sure any cradle or bassinet used meets current CPSIA safety standards.

Story sources: https://www.babycenter.com/bassinets-baskets

 

Your Baby

“Furry Pets” May Help Kids Avoid Some Allergies

2:00

You might think that having pets would be a nightmare if you have small children with a family history of allergies. A new study says that furry pets may actually help protect children against some allergies.

The infants’ mothers had a history of allergy, so the babies were at increased risk too, and it was once thought that pets might be a trigger for allergies in such children, the authors point out in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

“Earlier it was thought that exposure to pets early in childhood was a risk factor for developing allergic disease,” said Dr. Merja Nermes of the University of Turku in Finland, who coauthored the research letter. “Later epidemiologic studies have given contradictory results and even suggested that early exposure to pets may be protective against allergies, though the mechanisms of this protective effect have remained elusive.”

Adding pet microbes to the infant intestinal biome may strengthen the immune system, she told Reuters Health by email.

The study team collected fecal samples from diapers when the babies were one month of age and these were tested for the DNA of two types of Bifidobacteria that are found specifically in animal guts: B. thermophilum and B. pseudolongum.

One third of infants from the pet-exposed group had animal-specific bifidobacteria in their fecal samples, compared to 14 percent of the comparison group. It’s not clear where the infants without furry pets at home acquired their gut bacteria, the authors write.

When the babies were six months old they had skin prick tests to assess allergies to cow’s milk, egg white, flours, cod, soybeans, birch, grasses, cat, dog, potato, banana and other allergens.

At six months of age, 19 infants had reactions to at least one of the allergens tested. None of these infants had B. thermophilum bacteria in their fecal samples.

Other studies have pointed out the connection between kids exposed to farm animals and household pets and building a better immune system.

“When infants and furry pets live in a close contact in the same household, transfer of microbiota between pets and infants occurs,” Nermes said. “For example, when a dog licks the infant´s face or hand, the pet-derived microbiota can end up via the mouth into the infant´s intestine.”

Human-specific Bifidobacteria have beneficial health effects, and animal-specific strains may also be beneficial, she said. It is still unclear, however, if exposure to these bacteria protects against allergies later in life, she said.

“Future research is needed to assess if these infants develop less atopic dermatitis, asthma or allergic rhinitis later,” she said.

Nermes also noted that she believes pediatricians should not discourage pregnant women or parents of infants from having pets in order to prevent allergies.

“If a family with a pregnant mother or an infant wants to have a pet, the family can be encouraged to have one, because the development of allergic disease cannot be prevented by avoiding pets,” she said.

Source: Kathryn Doyle, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/10/us-health-allergy-pet-microbes-idUSKCN0RA2CK20150910

 

 

Your Baby

Whooping Cough Shot During Pregnancy Protects Newborns

2:00

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, typically affects babies younger than 6 months who haven’t received or aren’t old enough to receive the vaccine. It can cause such uncontrollable fits of coughing that it can be deadly for babies, who may stop breathing, have seizures, develop pneumonia, or suffer brain damage.

Since 2012, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that pregnant women receive a vaccine called Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), to prevent their newborn from getting the bacterial infection.

While the preventative measure is working to lower the numbers of infant whooping cough cases, only about half of mothers-to-be are opting to receive the vaccine, according to a new study.

Researchers from the CDC analyzed data from 2011 to 2014, from six states, on babies younger than 2 months. The investigators found that Tdap vaccination in the third trimester of pregnancy prevented 78 percent of whooping cough cases.

Among babies who developed whooping cough despite their mothers’ vaccination, 90 percent had mild cases and did not require hospitalization.

"Women have such a great opportunity to help protect their babies before they enter the world by getting the Tdap vaccine while pregnant," said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. 

Babies cannot receive the vaccination before 2 months of age and infants younger than 1 year are at the highest risk for severe complications or death from whooping cough. Each year, five to 15 babies die from whooping cough in the United States. In most cases, these infants were too young to get their own shot, the CDC researchers said. So far this year, more than 11,000 cases have been reported.

Pertussis is highly contagious. The bacterium spreads from person to person through tiny drops of fluid from an infected person's nose or mouth. These may become airborne when the person sneezes, coughs, or laughs. Inhaling the drops or getting the drops on their hands and then touching their mouths or noses can then infect others.

"This study highlights how babies can benefit when their mothers get the vaccine, and reinforces CDC's recommendation for women to get Tdap vaccine in the third trimester of each pregnancy," Messonnier added in an agency news release.

Story sources: Marie McCullough, http://www.philly.com/philly/health/kids-families/study-whooping-cough-vaccination-during-pregnancy-protects-newborns-20170928.html

Robert Preidt, https://consumer.healthday.com/public-health-information-30/centers-for-disease-control-news-120/whooping-cough-shot-works-but-many-moms-to-be-skip-it-cdc-726985.html

Your Baby

Recall: Toys R Us Pacifier Clips Due to Choking Hazard

:45

The recall involves about 53,000 Babies ‘R’ Us pacifier clips sold in an assortment of six colors and character designs, including a red monster, blue monster, monkey, giraffe, owl with one eye closed, and an owl with both eyes open.

The pacifier clip’s spring mechanism can break and release small parts, posing a choking hazard.

The pacifier clips have a circular plastic cover affixed to a metal spring clip and a fabric strip with snaps at the other end. The recalled pacifier clip assortment has model number 5F6237F and “®2014 Geoffrey, LLC” engraved on the back to the plastic cover.

The firm has received two reports of pacifier clips breaking, however, no injuries have been reported at this time.

Consumers should immediately take the recalled pacifier clips from babies and return the product to Babies ‘R’ Us or Toys ‘R’ Us for a refund.

The clips were sold at Babies ‘R’ Us  and Toys ’R’ Us stores nationwide from February 2015 through April 2016 for about $4.

Consumers can contact Toys ‘R’ Us at 800-869-7787 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or online at www.toysrus.com and click on Product Recalls for more information.

Daily Dose

Why Babies Get "Goop" In Their Eyes

1:15 to read

If you have recently had a baby you may already know about “clogged tear ducts”. This is also named nasal lacrimal duct obstruction and is fairly common in newborn infants in the first weeks to months of life.

A baby’ s tear duct, the tiny little hole in the inner corner of the eye, is very small and narrow and may often get obstructed. If that is the case the tears that an infant makes gets backed up and may form a thickened “goopy” discharge in the eye. At times when this occurs the baby’s eye will seem to be “glued” shut as the goop gets in the eyelashes and almost seems to cement those little eyes shut. Occasionally the eye will look a little puffy due to the debris in the eye. The best thing to do for this problem is to use a warm compress or cotton ball dampened with warm water to wipe the eyelashes and remove the discharge from the eye.

Once the “goop” is removed and your baby opens their eye, look at the whites (conjuctiva) of the eye. The conjunctiva should not appear to be red or inflamed. The goop will re-accumulate over time, but the eye itself should continue to look clear. Babies with clogged tear ducts do not appear to be ill and continue to eat well. The only problem should be the goopy eye. In order to help open the clogged duct you can try to massage the inner lower corner of the baby’s eye (beneath the tear duct itself), several times a day. Gently apply pressure to the area and do this several times a day. The eye “goop” always seems to be worse after the baby has been sleeping. It is also not uncommon for one eye to clear up only to have the other eye develop “goop”.  Most of these obstructions resolve on its own by four to six months of age. If the tear duct continues to be obstructed, talk to your pediatrician about a possible referral to the pediatric ophthalmologist.

That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again tomorrow.

Your Baby

Happier Mom - Less Colicky Baby?

1:30

There’s an old saying that husbands have used many times, “happy wife, happy life.” Now it seems there may be a new saying about to trend, “happy mom, less colicky baby.” It doesn’t have the rhyme or snappy cadence, but it may be true none the less, according to recent research.

In a new study of 3,000 mothers, relationship happiness, a solid support system and an involved partner were found to protect against colic -- defined as crying or fussiness three or more hours a day.

"Maybe the baby cries less if the mom and dad are happier," or mothers in happy relationships may not view their baby's crying negatively and may not report it as colic, suggested study senior author Kristen Kjerulff of Penn State College of Medicine. 

Having a supportive partner and receiving support from friends and family were also associated with a lower risk of colic, according to the study.

The participants were ages 18 to 35 years old and gave birth at 75 hospitals in Pennsylvania between January 2009 and April 2011. Nearly 12 percent of the mothers said their infants were colicky.

However, the happier a woman said she was with her relationship with her partner during and after pregnancy, the lower the risk of colic in her infant. This was true even among women with postpartum depression and among those whose partner was not their baby's biological father, the study reported.

Interestingly, the research showed that babies of single mothers had the lowest rate of colic. The single women reported having higher levels of general social support.

"If you don't have a partner, you can still have lots of social support, lots of love and lots of happy relationships, and all of that's going to be better for the baby," said Kjerulff, a professor of public health sciences.

Other research has linked increased colic in babies with a mother’s anxiety and lack of support during pregnancy, as well as post partum depression.

The study does not prove a causal relationship between happier mothers and less colicky babies, but an association between the two.

The study results were published recently in the journal Child: Care, Health and Development.

Story source: Robert Preidt, https://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/colic-health-news-139/happy-mom-means-less-colicky-baby-722007.html

Your Baby

Babies Shouldn’t Be Given OTC Cold Medicines

2:00

When a baby is sick with a cold, the first reaction for many parents is to want to give their infant something to make him or her feel better. It’s a natural response; no parent likes to see their little one feeling bad. But turning to the medicine cabinet or making a trip to the pharmacy isn’t going to help your baby get better any quicker and could be dangerous says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medicine should not be given to children younger than 2 because they could cause serious and potentially deadly side effects, the agency warned.

Children often get more colds than adults, and parents might want to give them pain relievers, decongestants and other medicines, but that would be a mistake. The FDA says the best medicine is simple rest and care.

"A cold is self-limited, and patients will get better on their own in a week or two without any need for medications. For older children, some OTC medicines can help relieve the symptoms -- but won't change the natural course of the cold or make it go away faster," Dr. Amy Taylor, a medical officer in FDA's Division of Pediatric and Maternal Health, said in the news release.

A virus is what typically brings on a cold, but people often ask their physician or pediatrician (for their children) for antibiotics to treat them. Antibiotics are only useful for treating bacterial infections.

Colds are usually accompanied by coughing which can actually be useful to the body.

"Coughs help the body clear the mucus out of the airway and protect the lungs; so you don't want to suppress all coughs," Taylor said.

"Coughs help the body clear the mucus out of the airway and protect the lungs; so you don't want to suppress all coughs," she said.

Fever helps the body fight off an infection and does not always need to be treated. But if your child is uncomfortable because of fever or other symptoms of a cold, there are alternatives to cough and cold medicine to help them feel more comfortable. Taylor says they include the following actions:

·      Using a clean cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier in a small area near the child’s bed may help moisten the air and decrease the drying of the nasal passages and throat.

·      For infants with a stuffy nose, use saline or salt water drops/spray to moisten the nasal passages and loosen the mucus. Then clean the nose with a bulb syringe.

Non-drug treatments to ease coughs in children with colds include giving them plenty of fluids, especially warm drinks to soothe the throat.

While most children with colds do not need to see a doctor, Taylor said parents should call the doctor if they see any of these symptoms:

·      A fever in an infant aged 2 months or younger, or a fever of 102 Fahrenheit or higher at any age.

·       Signs of breathing problems, including nostrils widening with each breath, wheezing, fast breathing or the ribs showing with each breath.

·      Blue lips, ear pain, not eating or drinking, signs of dehydration.

·      Excessive crankiness or sleepiness, a cough that lasts for more than three weeks, or worsening condition.

·      A persistent cough may signal a more serious condition such as bronchitis or asthma.

"You have to know your child," Taylor said. "With small infants, fever is a major concern, and you need medical advice. If you are worried about your child's symptoms, at any age, call your pediatrician for advice."

The FDA voluntarily removed cough and cold products for children under two years old from the market because of on-going safety concerns discussed in 2007.  These safety concerns revealed that there were many reports of harm, and even death, to children who used these products.  These reports of harm occurred when the child received too medication such as in cases as accidental ingestion, unintentional overdose, or after a medication dosing error.  In those reports of harm that lead to a child’s death, most of those children were under two years of age.  

Since infant formulations of cough and cold products were voluntarily removed from the market years ago, parents who currently give these products to their infants (less than 2 years of age) may be using cough and cold products designed for older children and modifying the doses, for instance by giving half the recommended amount to the infant than what is recommended for an older child.  This can be especially dangerous as dosing adjustments cannot safely be made this way and could add to the existing risk of giving these products to young children.

Colds can be tough on children and adults and this is certainly the time of year when we all are more susceptible to getting one. Fluids and plenty of rest, plus sanitizing the area around the sick person and not sharing objects like silverware and drinking cups is the best treatment for colds. And of course the most important cold remedy for baby is mommy and daddy’s love and tender touch. 

Source: Robert Preidt, http://consumer.healthday.com/respiratory-and-allergy-information-2/common-cold-news-142/steer-clear-of-cold-meds-for-babies-fda-advises-693878.html

http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/SpecialFeatures/ucm263948.htm

Your Baby

Half of U.S. Parents Using Unsafe Bedding for Infants

2:00

Parents are getting better about using loose bedding and leaving soft objects in their baby’s bed, but about half of U.S. infants are still sleeping with potentially hazardous bedding according to a new study.

Blankets, quilts and pillows can obstruct an infant’s airway and pose a suffocation risk according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).  This type of bedding is a recognized risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

The researchers investigated bedding use from 1993 to 2010 from the National Infant Sleep Position study.

They found that from 1993 to 2010, bedding use declined, but remained a common practice. The rate of bedding use averaged nearly 86 percent in 1993-1995, and declined to 55 percent in 2008-2010. Prevalence was highest for infants of teen mothers (83.5 percent) and lowest for infants born at term (55.6 percent). Researchers also found that bedding use was highest among infants who were sleeping in adult beds, placed to sleep on their sides, or shared a sleep surface.

AAP recommends that the best place for a baby to sleep is in the same room as his or her parents and always in a crib, not in the same bed. The crib should be free from toys, soft bedding, blankets, and pillows.

Other safe sleep practices are:

•       Place your baby on a firm mattress, covered by a fitted sheet that meets current safety standards. For more about crib safety standards, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Web site at http://www.cpsc.gov.

•       Place the crib in an area that is always smoke-free.

•       Don’t place babies to sleep on adult beds, chairs, sofas, waterbeds, pillows, or cushions.

•       Toys and other soft bedding, including fluffy blankets, comforters, pillows, stuffed animals, bumper pads, and wedges should not be placed in the crib with the baby. Loose bedding, such as sheets and blankets, should not be used as these items can impair the infant’s ability to breathe if they are close to his face. Sleep clothing, such as sleepers, sleep sacks, and wearable blankets are better alternatives to blankets.

•       Place babies to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS. Side sleeping is not as safe as back sleeping and is not advised. Babies sleep comfortably on their backs, and no special equipment or extra money is needed.

•       “Tummy time” is playtime when infants are awake and placed on their tummies while someone is watching them. Have tummy time to allow babies to develop normally.

•       Remove mobiles when your baby is able to sit up.

Study authors conclude that while the numbers have improved significantly, infants are still being put to bed in an unsafe sleeping environment; about half still sleep with blankets, quilts, pillows, and other hazardous items.

It’s not unusual that many parents may not be aware of the dangers of blankets, pillows and quilts in a baby’s bed. Lots of people were raised with all these items in the bed, but that was also before scientists began to understand SIDS better and the possible causes. True, many babies did fine before these alerts and safety suggestions became more popular but a lot of children also died – we just didn’t know why.  Parents today are able to access better infant safety information than their own parents.

The study, “Trends in Infant Bedding Use: National Infant Sleep Position Study 1993-2010” was published in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Source: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/News/Pages/Study-Shows-One-Half-of-US-Infants-Sleep-in-Potentially-Hazardous-Bedding.aspx

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