Parenting

Higher Vitamin D, Less Childbirth Pain

2:00

A new study suggests there may be a simple way pregnant women can reduce their pain during childbirth. The secret? Higher levels of vitamin D.

The new study included 93 pregnant women whose vitamin D levels were checked before childbirth and who received an epidural for pain during labor. The researchers measured how much pain medication each of the women required during delivery.

Women with lower vitamin D levels required more pain medication than those with higher vitamin D levels, according to the study scheduled for presentation Tuesday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in New Orleans.

"Women often experience lower than normal levels of vitamin D during pregnancy. We found that patients with low levels of vitamin D experienced an increase in pain during childbirth," senior author Dr. Andrew Geller, an anesthesiologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said in a society news release.

"Given the research results, prevention and treatment of low vitamin D levels in pregnant women may have a significant impact on decreasing labor pain in millions of women every year," he added.

"This topic needs to be revisited and additional research should be conducted to determine how we can improve the labor experience for women everywhere," Geller concluded.

Vitamin D deficiency is common during pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that women at highest risk are vegetarians, women who do not get enough sun exposure and members of ethnic minorities.

You can obtain more vitamin D by:

  • Making sure that you have enough exposure to the sun. 20 to 25 minutes, without sunscreen, is helpful.
  • Fresh fatty fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel and tuna are a good source of vitamin D.
  • Canned tuna is also a good source, but check with your OB/GYN on how much canned tuna you should eat while pregnant. Tuna (light canned) is recommended over white Albacore tune because of mercury content.
  • Fortified milk with vitamin D can offer a vitamin D boost.
  • Fortified orange juice with vitamin D also offers around 100 IUs, but can vary from brand to brand.
  • Vitamin D supplements. Be sure to not overdo the dosage. Too much of a good thing is not a good idea as far as vitamin D is concerned. Too much can be toxic. 4,000 IUs is the daily limit recommended from all vitamin D sources including food, sun and supplements.
  • Egg yolks provide vitamin D in small doses. One yolk yields about 40 IUs.
  • Fortified cereals can offer additional vitamin D.
  • While probably not a favorite of many people, a 3.5-ounce serving of beef liver contains about 50 IUs.
  • Cod liver oil comes in liquid or capsule form. One tablespoon contains about 1,300 IUs of vitamin D.
  • During the darker winter months, Ultraviolet lamps and bulbs can be helpful. People at high risk of vitamin D deficiency may resort to UV-emitting lamps and bulbs. This includes people unable to absorb the vitamin (mal-absorption) or those who can't get enough in winter months, says Michael F. Holick, MD, a professor of medicine, sociology, and biophysics at Boston University Medical Center. 

These are similar to tanning beds, but smaller. "The lamp is only about 24 inches by about 16 inches," says Dr. Holick. 

These lamps carry the same skin-cancer risks and need for protective eyewear, so they're best for those with a doctor's recommendation.

A healthy Vitamin D level is recommended for both men and women and the benefits are showing up in studies, not only for pregnant women, but also for heart, skin and emotional health.

Studies presented at meetings are usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Sources: Robert Preidt, Health Day Reporter, http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20141014/could-vitamin-d-make-childbirth-less-painful

Ella Quittner, http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20504538,00.html

Parenting

Important Recall: Shrapnel From Exploding Airbags

2:00

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)  released a recall notice Monday for defective airbags and urged people whose cars are equipped with them to take action immediately.

More than 7.8 million vehicles are involved in the recall. At least four people have died when inflator mechanisms ruptured on the air bags, scattering the passengers with metal fragments.

These vehicles are traveling the roads with individuals and families who believe that the airbags will protect them in a crash. Normally, that’s true, but these defective airbags are dangerous time bombs waiting to explode.

The airbags are made by Takata and are in place in some Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan and General Motors models.

The recall comes with urgency, especially for owners of vehicles affected by regional recalls in the following areas: Florida, Puerto Rico, limited areas near the Gulf of Mexico in Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Louisiana, as well as Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii.

"Responding to these recalls, whether old or new, is essential to personal safety and it will help aid our ongoing investigation into Takata airbags and what appears to be a problem related to extended exposure to consistently high humidity and temperatures. However, we’re leaving no stone unturned in our aggressive pursuit to track down the full geographic scope of this issue," said NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman.

Consumers that are uncertain whether their vehicle is impacted by the Takata recalls, or any other recall, can contact their manufacturer’s website to search, by their vehicle identification number (VIN) to confirm whether their individual vehicle has an open recall that needs to be addressed. Owners that have been contacted by their manufacturer should contact their dealer’s service department and make arrangements for the repair.

In addition, consumers can sign up for NHTSA recall alerts, which go out before recall letters are mailed by the manufacturers to the affected owners.

Some of the automakers affected by this recall are asking passengers not to ride in the front passenger seat until the problem is fixed. They’ve also said that dealers will disable airbags until the parts required to repair them are in. If you are the owner of one of the affected cars, check with your automaker’s website to see what they recommend.

The NHTSA released an updated press release today.

The list below corrects the list that accompanied our October 20 advisory, which incorrectly included certain vehicles. The numbers cited for potentially affected vehicles below are subject to change and adjustment because there may be cases of vehicles being counted more than once. Owners should check their VIN periodically as manufacturers continue to add VINs to the database. Once owner recall notices are available, owners can retrieve a copy from SaferCar.gov, or will receive one by U.S. mail and are advised to carefully follow the enclosed instructions.

BMW: 627,615 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan

2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe

2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon

2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible

2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe

2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

Chrysler: 371,309 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan

2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe

2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon

2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible

2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe

2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

Ford: 58,669 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2004 – Ranger

2005 – 2006 GT

2005 – 2007 Mustang

General Motors: undetermined total number of potentially affected vehicles

2003 – 2005 Pontiac Vibe

2005 – Saab 9-2X

Honda: 5,051,364 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2001 – 2007 Honda Accord)

2001 – 2002 Honda Accord

2001 – 2005 Honda Civic

2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V

2003 – 2011 Honda Element

2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey

2003 – 2007 Honda Pilot

2006 – Honda Ridgeline

2003 – 2006 Acura MDX

2002 – 2003 Acura TL/CL

2005 – Acura RL

Nissan: 694,626 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2001 – 2003 Nissan Maxima

2001 – 2003 Nissan Pathfinder

2002 – 2003 Nissan Sentra

2001 – 2003 Infiniti I30/I35

2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4

2003 – Infiniti FX

Mazda: 64,872 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2003 – 2007 Mazda6

2006 – 2007 MazdaSpeed6

2004 – 2008 Mazda RX-8

2004 – 2005 MPV

2004 – B-Series Truck

Mitsubishi: 11,985 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2004 – 2005 Lancer

2006 – 2007 Raider

Nissan: 694,626 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2001 – 2003 Nissan Maxima

2001 – 2004 Nissan Pathfinder

2002 – 2004 Nissan Sentra

2001 – 2004 Infiniti I30/I35

2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4

2003 – 2005 Infiniti FX35/FX45

Subaru: 17,516 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2003 – 2005 Baja

2003 – 2005 Legacy

2003 – 2005 Outback

2003 – 2005 Baja

2004 – 2005 Impreza

Toyota: 877,000 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2002 – 2005 Lexus SC

2002 – 2005 Toyota Corolla

2003 – 2005 Toyota Corolla Matrix

2002 – 2005 Toyota Sequoia

2003 – 2005 Toyota Tundra

Sources: http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/Vehicle-owners-with-defective-airbags-urged-to-take-immediate-action

http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle+Owners/VIN-lookup

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