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Pros and cons of eating fish while pregnant

When a woman becomes pregnant, her diet becomes even more important because she has to consider the nutrition of her developing fetus. The pros and cons of eating fish while pregnant have been widely reported by media in recent years. One recent research finding appears to support both sides.

A study published in 2012 in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine by Sharon Sagiv, a Boston University School of Public Health assistant professor of environmental health, and Susan Korrick, an internist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston appears to support both sides. The study found links between a pregnant women’s exposure to low-level mercury, primarily from eating fish, and an increased risk of their children exhibiting behaviors related to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Yet, the study also found that eating fish during pregnancy had a protective effect, reducing the risk of ADHD-related behaviors in children.

What does this seemingly conflicting advice mean for pregnant women?

“To eat fish—absolutely—as long as it’s not fish containing high levels of mercury. There are certain fish that fall into the high-mercury category, such as swordfish, shark, fresh tuna, or king mackerel. Fish that are low in mercury include flounder, haddock, and salmon. It’s important to think about what kind of fish you are eating,” study researcher Sharon Sagiv said.

Mayo Clinic obstetrician Roger Harris, M.D. concurs. He says eating fish can be beneficial.

“Seafood can be a great source of protein and iron — crucial nutrients for your baby’s growth and development. In addition, the omega-3 fatty acids in many fish can promote your baby’s brain development.”

But, he also says you should avoid eating large fish that are high in mercury, like mackerel, shark, swordfish and tilefish.

What do you make of this information? Are the developmental benefits of eating fish greater than the mercury exposure downsides? Let us know what you think.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Hydrate for your baby’s health

Happy 2013, folks!

A new year means new beginnings, but we are still facing the same old issues in our communities. In Mercer County, N.J., 41 of the 4,657 births last year resulted in infant death. There are many reasons for this alarming statistic, but the Nurse-Family Partnership, a staff of nurses that make free home visits to first-time pregnant mothers in Mercer County, all harp on one factor as the biggest preventative measure: prenatal nutrition.

If you get hit with a craving, Doris Greiner, R.N., says try to avoid fast food places like McDonald’s. It might be a quick fix, but it has lots of long term effects on the body.

“It’s better to have fruits and veggies because. Those give your body more of the good stuff that it really needs.”

Dehydration is something every pregnant woman should be aware of. Cynthia Hampton, R.N. says dehydration in a pregnant woman is extremely dangerous.
“Avoid eating foods that are high in salt. That can drain a lot of the water from your system,” she said. “Dehydration in late-term woman could possibly lead to premature labor.”

Here are some signs that you might be approaching dehydration:
Dark yellow urine, infrequent or lack of urination, dry mouth, weakness, dizziness and lightheadedness, excessive thirst, headaches, chapped lips, nausea and vomiting.

If you are interested in contacting the Nurse-Family Partnership, or just want more prenatal nutrition advice, please call 609-695-1977 ext. 115.
Prenatal health care services and education are extremely important to young parents. That can be the difference between a healthy birth and a complicated one. The numbers show that our communities still have some work to do.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Protect your child against eczema

Old Man Winter is upon us, which means we have to take extra steps to stay dry and warm. A new parent might not think consider how dry skin can affect a child. Our resident expert, Dr. Kendall Sprott, says this season puts young children at high risk for eczema.

Eczema or atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition frequently seen in babies. It often is associated with asthma and allergies. Food allergy also may be an aggravating factor in eczema, and care should be taken when introducing new foods to babies with the dry skin condition.

Dry patches can occur on different parts of the body, but skin creases (behind the knees and ears, the buttocks and at the elbows) and the scalp (in babies) are commonly affected. The itch is due to histamine, which causes blood vessels to dilate, resulting in skin redness and swelling. The severity of eczema can vary and tends to worsen with very cold or very hot temperatures.

It’s important to try to keep the skin as close to normal as possible. It’s much easier to reverse mild skin symptoms (redness and superficial dryness). It takes a much longer time to heal skin that is cracked, oozing or roughened to the point of becoming leathery. Since our skin surface is covered with bacteria, cracks or scratches allow entry below the surface, resulting in infection. Primary treatment is keeping the skin moist and avoiding infection.

Use moisturizing soaps to help preserve the oils. Not using soap or using oatmeal baths also has been effective. The next step is to keep the skin moist with lotions and creams. Be aware that some children may be sensitive to ingredients or scents in moisturizing products. It’s important to moisturize as soon as possible after bathing to minimize skin water evaporation.

Lotions will have a larger water content than creams and will be less effective when the eczema is moderate. Ointments or butters (cocoa, shea) act as barriers to lock in moisture and may be necessary for the more severe forms.

Antibiotics, either topical or oral, may be necessary when the damaged, inflamed skin is infected. Topical steroids are used to reduce inflammation and itch. Chronic steroid use on the skin can reduce the amount of skin pigment. Because of the close association of food allergy and eczema, an evaluation by a pediatric allergist may be helpful. Common food allergies in young children include cow’s milk, egg, wheat, soy, corn and some types of berries. Eliminating and/or careful introduction or reintroduction of foods to look for an effect on the skin may be useful.

This blog post is not to be used in replacement of a doctor visit. Please consult a physician for all health care needs.

Tell us what you think of the advice or ask a question of your own in our comment section. We hoped this helped.

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2012 in Ask the Expert

 

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