Your Baby

Weight Gain During Pregnancy

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Every pregnant woman wonders how much weight she could gain during pregnancy. For some women, being pregnant is an open invitation to eat whatever and whenever they like, while other woman worry what the weight gain will do to their figure. There is no absolute law about weight gain during pregnancy, but there are set of guidelines that can help you.

Weight gain should be based on your pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI.) Your health and your baby’s health also play a role in how much weight you should gain.

Here’s a list of suggested pregnancy weigh gain related to a healthy woman’s BMI.

  • Underweight (BMI less than 18.5) – 28 to 40 pounds
  • Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9) – 25 to 35 pounds
  • Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9) – 15 to 25 pounds
  • Obese (BMI 30 or more) – 11 to 20 pounds

Multiples are a different story. If you are carrying twins or other multiples you’re likely going to need to gain more than average weight. Your health care provider can help you determine what is right for you. Here are the recommended weight gain options.

  • Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9) – 37 to 54 pounds
  • Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9) – 31 to 50 pounds
  • Obese (BMI 30 or more) – 25 to 42 pounds

If you are overweight when you become pregnant, pregnancy increases the risk of various complications including diabetes and high blood pressure. Of course, a certain amount of weight gain is normal, but too much adds to the possibility of dangerous health risks for the woman and the child.

Remember that if you gain more than the recommended amount during pregnancy and you don't lose the weight after the baby is born, the excess pounds increase your lifelong health risks. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can also increase your baby's risk of health problems at birth and childhood obesity.

If you're underweight, it's essential to gain a reasonable amount of weight while you're pregnant. Without the extra weight, your baby might be born earlier or smaller than expected.

Calculating your BMI is not difficult; you just need to know your height and weight. There are several online BMI calculators that will do the math for you. Your healthcare provider should also have a BMI chart that can show you your BMI.

So, how is the extra weight used by your body when your pregnant? Here’s a simple list to help you follow a normal weight gain.

  • Baby: 7 to 8 pounds
  • Larger breasts: 2 pounds
  • Larger uterus: 2 pounds
  • Placenta: 1 1/2 pounds
  • Amniotic fluid: 2 pounds
  • Increased blood volume: 3 to 4 pounds
  • Increased fluid volume: 3 to 4 pounds
  •  Fat stores: 6 to 8 pounds

During your first trimester, you probably won’t gain much weight. Steady weight gain is more important in the second and third trimesters, especially if you begin at a normal weight or are underweight.

Exercise is also important during pregnancy. Even a moderate amount of exercise will help keep your body strong as the extra pressure builds while you are carrying.

As your pregnancy develops, more than likely you’re appetite will increase. That’s not a bad thing. Just fill those hunger pains with healthy food choices!

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.org/pregnancy-weight-gain/art-20044360

 

 

Your Baby

Protect Your Child Against Whooping Cough

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Pertussis, often called whooping cough, is a common disease that peaks every 3 to 5 years. Because the disease is highly infectious, once an outbreak starts it can spread rapidly.  Before a vaccine was available, pertussis killed 5,000 to 10,000 people in the U.S. every year. Currently, documented cases are on the increase and Texas could see the highest number of recorded cases in 50 years.

The Texas Department of State Health Services has issued a health alert. Officials are urging people to make sure that their vaccinations and their children’s vaccination are up-to-date.

Whooping cough mainly affects infants younger than 6 months and kids 11-18 whose immunity has started to fade from earlier vaccinations.

The first symptoms are similar to those of the common cold. Children may experience a runny nose, sneezing, a mild cough and a low- grade fever. After about 1 to 2 weeks the dry cough evolves into a much harsher coughing spell that can last more than a minute. A child can turn red or purple from coughing so hard and may make the characteristic whooping sound when breathing in. Some children may actually vomit. Between coughing spells the child may look and feel okay.

Sometimes infants don’t cough or whoop like older kids do, but look as if they are gasping for air. Their face can turn red and they may actually stop breathing for a few seconds during a bad session.

The bacteria that causes pertussis is spread 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. Adults and children become infected by inhaling the drops or getting the drops on their hands and then touching their mouths or noses. The time that someone is most contagious is during the earliest stages after the cough begins and continues for up to about 2 weeks.

Prevention begins with the pertussis vaccine. It’s part of the DTaP immunization that includes diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis. The immunizations are routinely given in 5 doses before the child’s sixth birthday. The AAP recommends that kids ages 11 to 12 get a booster shot of the new combination vaccine, Tdap, to boost their immunity. Young adults entering college should also make sure that they are up-to-date on their pertussis vaccination. Crowded classrooms and dorms are the perfect breeding ground for contagious diseases. 

Infants younger than 2 months cannot be vaccinated. To help protect those babies the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that pregnant women receive the pertussis vaccine between 27 and 36 weeks of gestation.

The name “whooping cough” sounds a little comical, but if you’ve ever witnessed a child in the throws of a pertussis coughing attack, it’s anything but funny. This disease can be fatal for little ones, so make sure you’re child is current on all of his or her DTap vaccinations and Tdap booster shots. If you are pregnant you can help protect your infant by getting the pertussis vaccination while you are carrying.

Research shows that adults and children who are not vaccinated are 8 times more likely to get whooping cough. Those that have received the vaccine may still get the disease but it tends to be less severe and doesn’t last quite as long.

Many of the cases in Texas are concentrated in the Fort Worth and Arlington area.  Statewide there have been 2 deaths, both were infants that were too young to recieve the vaccine. 

If your child has been diagnosed with whooping cough and is being treated at home, seek immediate medical care if he or she has difficulty breathing or shows signs of dehydration.

Sources: Gordon Dickson, http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/09/03/5130886/whooping-cough-outbreak-could.html

http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/bacterial_viral/whooping_cough.html#

Your Baby

Infant Antibiotic Use and Asthma

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Antibiotics are a common treatment for bacterial infections in children and adults however; some infants who receive antibiotics in their first year of life may be twice as likely to develop asthma, as they grow older.

The drugs themselves may not be the culprits though.

A child’s impaired immune system and genetic variations could explain why some kids face a higher likelihood of developing asthma.

The study, reported online May 15 in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, also didn't find any link between early use of antibiotics and development of allergic diseases.

The study’s authors noted that this contradicts a theory that antibiotics increase the risks of allergic asthma by disrupting a child’s immune system.

Antibiotics are often given to children for ear and respiratory infections. While the study found an association between infants who receive antibiotic treatment and asthma later in life, it was not designed to prove an actual cause and effect link.

In the new study, British researchers analyzed statistics from a study that tracked more than 1,000 children from birth to 11 years of age.

Information on antibiotic prescription, wheeze and asthma exacerbations were taken from medical records. Skin reaction tests that show whether a child is hypersensitive to allergens were done at ages 3, 5, 8, and 11 years. 

At age 11, blood was collected from children who had received at least one course of antibiotics or no antibiotics in the first year of life to compare their immune-system cell response to viruses and bacteria. Genetic testing was also done to look at the links between common genetic variations on chromosome 17, known as 17q21, and antibiotic prescription.

The study’s findings are believed to be the first to show that children with wheezing who were treated with an antibiotic in the first year of life were more than twice as likely as untreated children to experience severe wheeze or asthma exacerbations and be hospitalized for asthma. 

"We speculate that hidden factors which increase the likelihood of both antibiotic prescription in early life and subsequent asthma are an increased susceptibility to viral infections due to impaired antiviral immunity and genetic variants," lead author Adnan Custovic, of the University of Manchester, said in a journal news release.

"However, further studies will be needed to confirm that the impaired immunity was present at the time of the early childhood respiratory symptoms and predated antibiotic prescribing rather than as a consequence of the antibiotics," Custovic added.

The study was published in the journal The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

Source: Randy Dotinga, http://www.webmd.com/asthma/news/20140515/study-probes-link-between-early-antibiotic-use-asthma

http://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/article/?id=12094

Your Baby

Do Helmets Correct “Flat Head” Syndrome?

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The good news is that more parents are placing their babies are their back to sleep therefore reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).  The risk of SIDS is much higher for babies who sleep on their side or stomach. These positions can put your baby’s face directly into the mattress or sleeping area causing them to suffocate.

One side effect from following this important habit for baby’s safety, is that the number of babies with what’s known as "flat head" syndrome has increased. 

One controversial treatment for treating flat head syndrome has been for the baby to wear a specially constructed helmet. These helmets are typically expensive.

A new study has looked at whether the helmets are actually effective and determined that they are about as good as letting the baby’s head naturally reshape. 

Researchers in the Netherlands looked at 84 babies who had moderate to severe flattening of the head. Starting when they were 6 months old, half of the babies wore a custom-made, rigid, closely fitting helmet for 23 hours a day over six months. The others received no treatment.

By the time the children were 2 years old, there was no significant difference in the degree of improvement in head shape between the two groups, nor in the number of them who made a full recovery to normal head shape -- 25.6 percent of those who wore helmets and 22.5 percent of those who did not, according to a journal news release.

Babies who wore the helmets also experienced side effects such as skin irritation (96%), an unpleasant smell (76%) and pain (33%). Cuddling with the baby was noted as being more difficult as well.

When the children reached 2 years of age, parents in both groups reported that they were generally satisfied with the shape of their child's head. Among parents whose babies wore helmets, the average satisfaction score was 4.6 out of 5, and among those whose babies had not received the treatment the score was 4.4 out of 5, the study found.

"Based on the effectiveness of helmet therapy, and the high prevalence of side effects and high costs, we discourage the use of a helmet as a standard treatment for healthy infants with moderate to severe skull deformation," concluded researcher Renske van Wijk, at the University of Twente, in Enschede, and colleagues.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that the majority of flat head syndrome cases can be treated with physical therapy and other noninvasive measures.

The study was published in the online edition of BMJ.

If your baby’s head has become misshapen from lying on his or her back, talk with your family doctor or pediatrician about what therapies might be helpful as your little grows out of the infant stage.

It’s still very important to make sure your infant sleeps on his or her back.

Source: Robert Preidt, http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20140502/helmets-not-helpful-for-babies-with-flat-head-syndrome-study

Your Baby

Recall: Babies R Us HALO SleepSacks

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You’d think by now that manufacturers of baby clothing could get it right.  But for some reason (most likely cost reduction) companies that make infants and young children’s clothing continue to add buttons, plastic or silk flowers, strings and other assortments of decorations that can either fall off and be ingested or strangle a child.

I’ve noticed that the majority of these items are made in China and make their way to the U.S. to be sold at large department store chains.

I’m guessing the penalty of a recall is more cost effective than making the product correctly in the first place because there are hundreds of these recalls every year.

In fact, I could post nothing but infant and children recall products and fill a year’s worth of articles without ever touching on any other topics.

Whether a parent or caregiver has bought a particular recall product or not I think it’s important to remind them that all infants and young children’s clothing should be mindfully examined before purchasing. Look at the construction and danger possibility of what the added adornments can cause if they come loose. Buy your baby products based on structural integrity and not just because they are cute. I’d also give it a more thorough examination if it were made in China.

This recall involves Babies R Us HALO SleepSacks. The recalled products are wearable blankets that are 100% white cotton and come with pink-edged ruffles and a pink satin rose embellishment on the front. These sack-shaped wearable blankets have cutouts for the baby’s arms, a zipper down the center, a sewn bottom and were sold in small and medium sizes. Only SleepSack products with GPU numbers 2701, 2781, 2886, 2887, 3007, 3035 and 3142 printed on a neck label under the primary neck label are included in the recall.  

Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received six reports of the petals detaching from the blankets including one report of an infant found gagging on a detached petal.

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the wearable blankets and contact HALO Innovations for a pre-paid envelope containing instructions to remove and return the flower and order a free replacement product.   

Consumers should immediately stop using the wearable blankets and contact HALO Innovations for a pre-paid envelope containing instructions to remove and return the flower and order a free replacement product.   

Sold exclusively at: Babies R Us and www.babiesrus.com from December 2011 through July 2013 for about $25.  They are manufactured in China. 

Whether you own this product or not, it doesn’t hurt to take a close look at your baby’s clothing and stuffed toys to make sure that everything is sewn on tightly.

Source: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2013/HALO-SleepSacks-Wearable-Blankets-Recalled

 

 

 

Your Baby

Study: Changing the Order of Infant Immunization Shots Minimizes Pain

Changing the order in which a standard set of infant immunizations are given may be a simple way to minimize the pain and crying they cause. A new study shows that infants who received the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) following the combination vaccine for diphtheria, polio, tetanus, pertussis and Haemophilus influenzae type b (DPTaP-Hib vaccine) appear to experience less pain than those who receive the injections in the reverse order.

Researchers say it's the first study to look at whether the order of infant immunizations affects the pain children experience. The results suggest that varying the order of vaccine administration is a simple, effective and cost-free way to minimize pain. "Multiple injections are routinely administered during a single visit to a physician," writes researcher Moshe Ipp, MBBCh, of The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and colleagues in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. "Because some vaccines cause more pain than others, the order in which they are given may affect the overall pain experience." In the study, 60 healthy infants two to six months old were given the combination vaccine first, and another were 60 were given the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine first. To measure the pain the infants experienced, researchers videotaped the procedure and assessed the pain on a scale that considered the your-baby's facial expression, body movements, and crying after vaccination. Parents were also asked to rate their child's pain level on a scale of zero to 10. The study showed that the infants given the less painful combination vaccine first followed by the more painful PCV vaccine experienced less pain on average overall. Pain increased from the first injection to the second, regardless of which vaccination came first. Researchers say the results suggest that when two infant immunizations are given, the least painful should be given first. Giving the more painful injection first may focus the infant's attention on the procedure and activate pain processing centers in the brain, intensifying the response to anything further.

Your Baby

Social Networks Influence Kid’s Vaccinations

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A new study looks at what influences parents to either have or not have their infants vaccinated. Researchers reported that parents make decisions about whether to vaccinate fully, vaccinate over a period of time or not vaccinate their children at all largely based on social networks.

Emily K. Brunson, PhD, MPH, from Texas State University in San Marcos, presented the results of her survey in an article in the online journal Pediatrics. Dr. Brunson surveyed United States–born, first-time parents who had children aged 18 months or younger and resided in King County, Washington. A total of 126 participants conformed to vaccination recommendations and 70 did not. The 70 other parents forged their own paths: 28 delayed vaccines, 37 partially vaccinated and five didn’t vaccinate at all.

The two groups were described as “conformers” and “non-conformers”. 95% of both groups said they get their advice from people that they go to for information. The non-conformers were also significantly more inclined to use “source networks” (sources people go to for information and advice such as books, pamphlets, research articles and the Internet).

The current study connects immunization decision-making with the pressure to conform to group opinion. It also looks at whether parents are more likely to choose a social group that reflects their own beliefs and actions, or let the social group dictate their beliefs and actions. Dr. Brunson's data suggest that the social groups dictate the decisions.

Parents who did not conform to the recommended Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) schedule had a higher percentage of people in their social networks that recommended not conforming to the vaccine schedule.

Conformers were more likely to get their information from family, friends and healthcare providers.

“Parents’ people networks matter a ton,” says Brunson, now an assistant professor of anthropology at Texas State University. “Having those conversations with your sister, with your parent, with your friends matter a lot more than we thought.”

On an average, 59% of non-conformers reported that their sources – many of which persist in promoting a widely debunked association between vaccines and autism- recommend ignoring the CDC’s guidelines for vaccinations as compared to only 20% of conformer’s sources.

The actual number of “zero dosers” has stayed at less than 2%, but the numbers of parents who don’t trust that vaccines will actually do what they are told they will do is growing. This frustrates many pediatricians who have seen first hand or know about the deadly consequences of vaccine-preventable diseases. Some parents are deciding for themselves which vaccines they feel are necessary and then developing their own vaccine schedule by spacing out shots over a series of years, which experts argue only extends the time their kids are susceptible to disease or capable of passing it on to others.

Vaccines have been widely studied and current research has shown that multiple vaccinations do not pose a hazard to young children. Some of the older vaccines exposed toddlers to more antigens than newly formulated vaccines do.

Scientists noted that public-health officials should consider the importance of social networks when getting out the message that childhood immunizations are important for children’s health. It may be time, they say, to extend their reach beyond doctors and start paying attention to other people who influence parents’ vaccination decisions, namely friends and family whom moms and dads list as part of their “social network.” “If we want to improve vaccination rates, communication needs to be directed to the public at large,” says Brunson.

Preliminary data on Immunity Community’s effectiveness look promising: last year, one Montessori-preschool pilot site raised its immunization rate from 60% to 80%. The CDC is keeping tabs on the results and could bring it to other states as a potential national model, albeit one rooted at the local level. “For people to be passionate and credible and persuasive about this, they have to be local community members,” says Kris Sheedy of the CDC’s immunization-services division. “We know that birds of a feather flock together, so it’s a good thing to make vaccinating parents more visible.”

As the battle rages on about the safety and necessity of infant vaccines, too many children are not receiving the recommended doses. Doctors and public health officials are going to have to be more clear and aggressive in getting information to the general public on the facts surrounding immunizations.

Sources: Bonnie Rochman, http://healthland.time.com/2013/04/15/how-social-networks-influence-a-parents-decision-to-vaccinate/#ixzz2QZyv47qZ

Larry C. Pullen, PhD., http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/782558

Your Baby

Radiation In Milk: Should Parents Worry?

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The radiation found is more than 5,000 times smaller than the level that would require any action from the FDA. “These types of findings are to be expected in the coming days, and are far below levels of public health concern, including for infants and children,” the agency said. One of the most nutritional supplements children, particularly babies and toddlers, receive almost daily is milk. Since news of the Japanese nuclear power plant explosions, some parents are asking – how safe is the milk I give my child?

According to the EPA, the FDA, and scientists who study radiation, the risk of dangerous radiation levels in the nation’s milk supply is small. Recent reports from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration say that very low levels of radiation have turned up in milk samples on the West coast. Traces of radioactive Iodine-131 were found in milk in California and Washington state. Federal and state authorities are monitoring for contamination as the nuclear crisis continues to unfold in Japan. The radiation found is more than 5,000 times smaller than the level that would require any action from the FDA. “These types of findings are to be expected in the coming days, and are far below levels of public health concern, including for infants and children,” the  agency said. Robert Henkin, professor emeritus of radiology at Loyola University’s Strich School of Medicine, agrees that the levels detected are nothing to be concerned about at this time. Henkin told National Public Radio’s Health Blog Shots "We are exposed to tons of natural radiation, the amount is a fraction of our yearly background exposure.” Even tainted Japanese milk, one sample of which reportedly had over 1,500 becquerels per liter (50,000 times the amount found in Washington), would only be dangerous if you drank 58,000 glasses. People are often exposed to low levels of radiation through common occurrences such as smoking, flying in airplanes, dental x-rays, mammograms and exposure to natural radiation from the soil. Though radioactive material spreading from the Japanese power plant reached the West Coast days ago, radiation levels detected so far are well below normal exposure. Also,  because iodine -131 has a short half-life of  8 days- this level is likely to rapidly decrease. Levels of iodine 131 entering the air can be very diluted, but if the iodine is deposited on grass eaten by cows, the cows will re-concentrate it in their milk by a factor of 1,000. This is mainly a concern with fresh milk, not for dairy products that are stored before consumption. Milk provides calcium for strong bones and teeth, and according to medical research, milk can improve the intake of minerals and vitamins. A glassful of milk contains vitamin A & B for good eyesight and increasing red blood cell count, carbohydrates for  energy, potassium for proper nerve function, magnesium for muscular function, phosphorous for energy release, protein for body repair and growth. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that parents begin low fat milk after age two years. Before that age, toddlers should be either breastfeeding or drinking whole milk, but after age two you can start giving a child 2%, 1%, or skim milk. And of course they should be either breastfeeding or drinking an iron fortified infant formula before age 12 months.

Your Baby

Safer Baby Cribs

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Good News for Babies! After years of accidents- including some that were fatal- caused by unsafe baby cribs, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has strengthened the safety requirements for baby-crib production.There was excellent news from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for babies, parents and caregivers yesterday! Consumers will see a new generation of safer cribs for sale at local and national retail stores.

After years of accidents- including some that were fatal- caused by unsafe baby cribs, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has strengthened the safety requirements for baby-crib manufacturing. Safer cribs will mean a safer sleep for babies across the country. On December 15, 2010, the CPSC voted unanimously to approve new mandatory crib standards, establishing the most stringent crib safety standards in the world. Beginning immediately, all importers, distributors, manufacturers, and retailers must offer only cribs that meet the CPSC’s new and improved full-size and non-full-size crib standards. The new rules prohibit the manufacture, sale, or resale of traditional drop-side cribs. Mattress supports and crib slats will be strengthened, crib hardware will be made more durable and safety testing will be more rigorous. "A safe crib is the safest place for a baby to sleep. It is for this reason that I am so pleased that parents, grandparents and caregivers now can shop with confidence and purchase cribs that meet the most stringent crib standards in the world," said Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "From the start, our goal has been to prevent deaths and injuries to babies in cribs, and now the day has come where only stronger and safer cribs are available for consumers to purchase." CPSC has recalled more than 11 million dangerous cribs since 2007. Drop-side cribs with detaching side rails were associated with at least 32 infant suffocation and strangulation deaths since 2000. Additional deaths have occurred due to faulty or defective crib hardware. The new standards aim to prevent these tragedies and keep children safer in their cribs. Starting on December 28, 2012, child care facilities, including family child care homes and infant Head Start centers, as well as places of public accommodation, such as hotels and motels, and rental companies must use only cribs that comply with the new crib standards. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) required the CPSC to update the old crib standards, which had not gone through a major revision in more than 30 years, to ensure that the standards provided the highest level of safety possible. If you already own a drop-side crib, contact the crib manufacturer to find out if your crib has been recalled or if it will send you a bracket that will immobilize the drop side. For more information on crib safety you can go to www.cpsc.gov/cribs

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