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Your Baby

Study: Fracking Linked to Babies Low Birth Weight

High volume fracturing, also known as fracking, has increased in production all through the United States. The process allows access to large amounts of natural gas trapped in shale deposits by utilizing natural gas wells.

These types of wells were once more likely to be found in rural settings but are now increasingly located in and near populated neighborhoods.

A new study from the University of Pennsylvania has found a link between mothers who live close to high volume fracking wells and an increased risk of having a lower birth weight baby.

Researchers analyzed the birth records of more than 15,400 babies born in Pennsylvania's Washington, Westmoreland and Butler counties between 2007 and 2010.

Women who lived close to a high number of natural gas fracking sites were 34 percent more likely to have babies who were "small for gestational age" than mothers who did not live close to a large number of such wells, the study found.

Small for gestational age means a baby is smaller than normal based on the number of weeks the baby has been in the womb, according to the March of Dimes.

The findings held true even after other factors were accounted for such as whether the mother smoked, her race, age, education and prenatal care. Also taken into account was whether she had previous children and the baby’s gender.

Like other cities around the country, the number of fracking sites in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale has increased substantially in the last few years. In 2007 there were 44 wells; by 2010, more than 2,800.

"Our work is a first for our region and supports previous research linking unconventional gas development and adverse health outcomes," study co-author Bruce Pitt, chair of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health's Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, said in a university news release.

"These findings cannot be ignored. There is a clear need for studies in larger populations with better estimates of exposure and more in-depth medical records," he added.

The main concerns around fracking sites are the air and noise pollution and waste fluids.

"Developing fetuses are particularly sensitive to the effects of environmental pollutants. We know that fine particulate air pollution, exposure to heavy metals and benzene, and maternal stress all are associated with lower birth weight," Pitt said.

While the study provides an association between fracking and lower weight babies, it does not prove that living close to a high concentration of natural gas fracking sites causes lower birth weights. Researchers said that they believe the study’s findings warrant further investigations.

The study was published online in the June edition of the journal PLOS One.

Source: Robert Preidt, http://consumer.healthday.com/environmental-health-information-12/environment-health-news-233/fracking-linked-to-low-birth-weight-babies-700018.html

Your Baby

Pets May Protect Infants Against Allergies

1.30 to read

Fluffy or Fido may protect your baby from developing allergies later in life. Many owners will tell you that their pet is like a family member. A new study suggests that those four-legged family members may reduce a child’s risk of developing allergies.

For years allergists have warned parents that some pets may actually cause allergies, but a new study published in the journal Clinical & Experimental Allergy suggests that early exposure to pets, during an infant’s first year of life, appears to provide an actual defense against allergies later in life. Lead study author Ganesa Wegienka, Ph.D., of Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit noted, “Exposing children to cats and dogs in the home is not going to increase the risk of sensitization to these animals. It might even decrease the risk.” Interesting revelations were found in the study such as; 18 year old males, who lived with a dog in the house when they were an infant, reduced their risks of developing allergies by half,  but not so with girls. Cats, on the other hand, seem to affect both sexes. Infant boys and girls who lived in a home with cats reduced their risks of developing allergies –by about 48%- by the age of 18 years. Another finding of the analysis showed that both males and females delivered by C-section had a 67 percent less likelihood of developing a dog allergy when a dog was present in the home during their first year of life. Wegienka said that this could be due to the fact that babies born by cesarean section are not exposed to the diverse microflora that babies born vaginally are. The long held idea that pets may cause allergies led Wegienka, and her colleagues, to study what effects childhood exposure to cats and dogs had on the risk of developing allergies to them. For their study, the researchers analyzed blood samples of more than 500 children taken during the Detroit Childhood Allergy Study from 1987 to 1989 that followed participants from birth. The focus of the analysis was to look for the presence of an antibody known as animal-specific IgE, which would indicate that a child was sensitized to that animal. In addition, follow-up among children in the study at age 18 included additional blood samples and pet histories. The histories indicated that 184 participants had a dog, and 110 of the children had a cat, during their first year of life. Pet allergy is an allergic reaction to proteins found in an animal's skin cells, saliva or urine. Signs of pet allergy include those common to hay fever, such as sneezing and runny nose. Some people may also experience signs of asthma, such as wheezing and difficulty breathing. Severe allergic reactions can be deadly. Pet allergy is often triggered by exposure to the dead flakes, or dander, that a pet sheds. Any animal with fur can be a source of pet allergy, but the most common pets are cats, dogs, rodents and horses. Wegienka pointed out that the study does not definitively indicate that having a family pet will prevent infants from developing allergies later in life, as it only found an association between a reduced risk for allergies and exposure to cats and dogs at an early age. Wegienka cautioned, “We don't want to say that everyone should go out and get a dog or cat to prevent allergies.” She then added, “More research is needed, though we think this is a worthwhile avenue to pursue. How does having a dog or a cat change the home environment? And, how does that affect allergy risk?" If you have an infant and a pet sharing the house, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your little one to make sure that he or she is able to tolerate pet dander.

Your Baby

AAP Reissues Warning About Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy

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The medical community has long stressed the importance of not drinking alcohol while pregnant.  But repeated claims that it is safe for a mother-to-be to drink small amount of alcohol has prompted the American Academy of Pediatrics to publish an updated report in its online journal Pediatrics.

There is no amount of alcohol that is safe to drink during any trimester of pregnancy notes the new report.

Alcohol-related disorders in newborns occur at even greater frequency than previously thought, it found, because such disorders have been “significantly unrecognized.”

Such disorders, in fact, are the most commonly identifiable cause of developmental delays and intellectual disabilities in children, said Janet F. Williams, a University of Texas physician and lead author of the report.

“The research suggests that the smartest choice for women who are pregnant is to just abstain from alcohol completely,” she said. “This message has been out there for a long time, that alcohol use is not healthy, and a lot of people just want that to be wrong.”

The report stated “about half of all childbearing-age women in the United States report consuming alcohol within the past month. In truth, some don’t yet realize they are pregnant. But nearly 8 percent of women said they continued consuming alcohol during pregnancy.

Women that binge-drink when they are not pregnant may be more likely to consume alcohol during pregnancy, researchers said.

Williams noted that there’s more than 30 years of research that clearly connects alcohol use during pregnancy with birth defects.

The academy reports that another study found an increased risk of retardation of growth in infants even when a pregnant woman’s consumption was limited to one alcoholic drink per day — a 1.5-ounce shot of distilled spirits, 5 ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beer.

Drinking in the first trimester of pregnancy compared with no drinking resulted in 12 times the odds of giving birth to a child with fetal alcohol spectrum.

First- and second-trimester drinking increased those odds by 61 times, with those drinking throughout the duration of pregnancy increasing the odds by a factor of 65.

Children affected by fetal alcohol spectrum, Dr. Williams said, are notably smaller with smaller or less apparent facial features and flatness in the middle region of the face. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder also is strongly associated with alcohol, while neurological and cognitive problems can include the inability to form concepts, make plans and speak fluently. Additional problems can occur with social interaction and relationships.

“No alcohol is the safe choice,” Dr. Williams said. “No alcohol means no [fetal alcohol spectrum disorders]. I don’t want people to feel badly if they were using alcohol and found out they were pregnant. That happens. But they must know at that moment, if they stop, they have a definitely lower risk of their child having problems than they would if they continue drinking.”

Sources: David Templeton, http://www.post-gazette.com/news/health/2015/10/19/Study-reinforces-avoiding-alcohol-while-pregnant/stories/201510190008

Carl Nierenberg, http://www.livescience.com/52515-pregnant-women-no-drinking-alcohol.html

 

 

 

Your Baby

Thousands of Head Injuries Related to Strollers and Baby Carriers

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According to a new report, between 1990 and 2010, an estimated 316,000 children five years or younger suffered injuries from strollers and baby carriers that were serious enough to land them in the ER.

The analysis found that in 1990, fewer than one in five accidents in strollers or baby carriers resulted in traumatic brain injuries or concussions. But by 2010, 42 percent of children in stroller accidents and 53 percent of babies in carrier accidents who were treated in emergency rooms were found to have suffered a brain injury or concussion.

The higher rate of brain injuries does not necessarily mean that strollers and carriers are more dangerous now than in the 1990s. It could be that physicians and other medical care providers have become more aware of traumatic brain injury and concussion and are reporting these types of injury, said Kristin J. Roberts, the study’s co-author and a research associate in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

The data showed that the majority of the injuries (55 percent) occurred in children who were younger than 1 year old, and most of the injuries occurred when children fell from a stroller or carrier or when they tipped over. The head and face most commonly took the brunt of the falls.

“It’s not uncommon to see a child who has fallen out of a carrier that was placed on a bed or a child who was not strapped into a stroller,” said Dr. Leslie Dingeldein, a pediatric emergency physician at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.

While the study showed that an average of 17,187 children each year end up in hospital emergency rooms because of stroller and carrier injuries, overall injury rates associated with these accidents declined over the 21-year period studied.

Roberts also noted that the incidences of stroller and carrier accidents might be even higher because the data doesn’t include injuries treated at pediatricians’ offices, private urgent care facilities or at home.

The study authors noted that in 2014, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued updated standards that addressed potential stroller-related hazards such as hinges, brakes, buckles, structural integrity and stability. The new standards went into effect in September of 2015, after the study’s data collection period.

“The good news for parents who rely on strollers and carriers is that new federal mandatory safety standards for these products address many of the risks to children identified in this study,” Elliot Kaye, chairman of the safety commission, said in an email to the New York Times.

The Mayo Clinic offers these safety tips when baby is in a stroller:

•       Stay close. Don't leave your baby unattended in his or her stroller.

•       Be careful with toys. If you hang toys from a stroller bumper bar to entertain your baby, make sure that the toys are securely fastened.

•       Buckle up. Always buckle your baby's harness and seat belt when taking him or her for a stroller ride.

•       Use your brakes. Engage your stroller brakes whenever you stop the stroller.

•       Properly store belongings. Don't hang a bag from the stroller's handle bar, which can make a stroller tip over.

•       Take caution when folding. Keep your baby away from the stroller as you open and fold it, since small fingers can get caught in stroller hinges. Always make sure the stroller is locked open before you put your child in it.

•       Keep it out of the sun. During hot weather, don't let your baby's stroller sit in the sun for long periods of time. This can cause plastic and metal pieces to become hot enough to burn your baby. If you leave the stroller in the sun, check the stroller's surface temperature before placing your baby in the stroller.

•       Check for recalls. Return the stroller warranty card so that you'll be notified in case of a recall. If you're considering a used stroller, make sure the stroller hasn't been recalled.

The report was published in the journal Academic Pediatrics.

Story sources: Rachel Rabkin Peachman, http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/08/17/more-head-injuries-reported-for-babies-in-stroller-accidents/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/stroller-safety/art-20043967?pg=2

Your Baby

IKEA Recalls 169,000 Crib Mattresses

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Swedish furniture maker IKEA is recalling about 169,000 of their VYSSA crib mattress because of the risk that infants can become trapped between the mattress and the crib.

The firm has received two reports of infants becoming entrapped between the mattress and an end of the crib. The children were removed from the gap without injury.

The mattresses were sold exclusively at IKEA stores and online from August 2010 to May 2014 for about $100.00.

This recall involves IKEA VYSSA style crib mattresses with the following five model names:

·      VACKERT

·      VINKA

·      SPELEVINK

·      SLÖA

·      SLUMMER.

The involved mattresses were manufactured on May 4, 2014 or earlier. An identification label attached to the mattress cover has the date of manufacture in Month-DD-YYYY format and the VYSSA model name. A gap between the mattress and crib ends larger than two-finger width is an indication of the defective mattress.

Consumers should inspect the recalled mattress by making sure there is no gap larger than the width of two fingers between the ends of the crib and the mattress. If any gap is larger, customers should immediately stop using the recalled mattresses and return it to any IKEA store for an exchange or a full refund.

Consumers can contact IKEA toll-free at (888) 966-4532 anytime or online at www.ikea-usa.com and click on the recall link at the top of the page for more information.

Source: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2015/IKEA-Recalls-Crib-Mattresses/

Your Baby

Gerber Recalls Two Batches of Organic Baby Foods

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Gerber Products Company is voluntarily recalling specific Organic pouch products after identifying a packaging defect that may result in product spoilage during transport and handling.

The two kinds of Gerber Organic 2nd Foods Pouches being recalled are: Pears, Carrots and Peas and the other is Carrots, Apples and Mangoes, the company said.

“Consumers may notice that, in some cases, the pouches are bloated and product inside may have an off taste or odor. There have been three consumer reports of temporary gastrointestinal symptoms, however, we have been unable to confirm that these are related to the product. Consumers should not use the product, since it does not meet our high quality standards,” the company said in a statement.

The products were distributed at U.S. retailers nationwide and through on-line stores. Consumers who purchased pouches with UPCs, batch codes and expiration dates listed below, are encouraged to contact the Gerber Parents Resource Center at 1-800-706-0556 anytime day or night for a replacement coupon.

Replacement coupons are being offered for the following products:

GERBER® Organic 2ND FOODS® Pouches –Pears, Carrots & Peas, 3.5 ounce pouch UPC 15000074319

Best By dates/batch codes

•       12JUL2016 51945335XX

•       13JUL 2016 51955335XX

GERBER® Organic 2ND FOODS® Pouches- Carrots, Apples and Mangoes, 3.5 ounce pouch UPC 15000074395

Best By dates/batch codes

•       13JUL2016 51955335XX

•       14JUL2016 51965335XX

Consumers can also find more information on the Gerber Products Company website at https://www.gerber.com/recall-march-2016

Story source: http://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls/ucm492260.htm#recall-photos

Your Baby

Obese During Pregnancy Linked to Obesity in Offspring

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Not every time, but often, you’ll see obese couples and their kids are either obese or on the threshold of obesity. While adults have the power and the life experience to understand the health issues associated with obesity, their children – depending on their age- are reliant on on their parents making healthy choices for them.  

 Is generational obesity inherited or a case of families making poor choices where food and exercise are concerned – or both?

Researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine wondered if children born to obese moms might be predisposed to being obese due to their womb environment.

The team of scientists analyzed stem cells taken from the umbilical cords of babies born to normal weight and obese mothers. In the lab, they coaxed these stem cells to develop into muscle and fat. The resulting cells from obese mothers had 30% more fat than those from normal weight mothers, suggesting that these babies’ cells were more likely to accumulate fat.

No cause and effect was established, but the scientists noted that further research was needed. “The next step is to follow these offspring to see if there is a lasting change into adulthood,” says the lead presenter, Kristen Boyle, in a statement.

She and her colleagues are already studying the cells to see whether they use and store energy any differently from those obtained from normal-weight mothers, and whether those changes result in metabolic differences such as inflammation or insulin resistance, which can precede heart disease and diabetes.

Other studies have found a high correlation between parents’ Body Mass Index (BMI) numbers and their children ‘s BMI, particularly between mothers and their kids. Further, the BMI of grandmother’s and their grandchildren is also high.

What is a healthy weight gain for a pregnant woman? It depends on how much you weigh before getting pregnant.

The guidelines for pregnancy weight gain are issued by the Institute of Medicine (IOM); most recently in May 2009. Here are the most current recommendations:

•       If your pre-pregnancy weight was in the healthy range for your height (a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9), you should gain between 25 and 35 pounds, gaining 1 to 5 pounds in the first trimester and about 1 pound per week for the rest of your pregnancy for the optimal growth of your baby.

•       If you were underweight or your height at conception (a BMI below 18.5), you should gain 28 to 40 pounds.

•       If you were overweight for your height (a BMI of 25 to 29.9), you should gain 15 to 25 pounds. If you were obese (a BMI of 30 or higher), you should gain between 11 and 20 pounds.

•       If you're having twins, you should gain 37 to 54 pounds if you started at a healthy weight, 31 to 50 pounds if you were overweight, and 25 to 42 pounds if you were obese.

These recent findings point out again, how important it is for pregnant women to consider the possible long - term health affects on their unborn offspring when making decisions about their own health.

The report was presented in May to the American Diabetes Association.

Sources: Alice Park, http://time.com/3906135/obese-moms-wire-kids-obesity-during-pregnancy/

http://www.babycenter.com/0_pregnancy-weight-gain-what-to-expect_1466.bc

 

Your Baby

Can More Fruit Consumed During Pregnancy Raise Baby’s IQ?

1:30

The USDA recommends that women consume 2 cups of fruit daily. This can include fruits that are fresh, canned, dried or frozen, as well as 100-percent fruit juice.

Fruit not only contains important vitamins, minerals and fiber but may also provide benefits for the children of moms-to-be who consume more fruit during pregnancy.

According to a new study from Alberta, Canada, the children of mothers that consumed higher levels of fruit during pregnancy, had better cognitive development by the time they were one-year-old.

Researchers said the effects of eating more fruit on test scores were significant.

"It's quite a substantial difference," Dr. Piush Mandhane, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta, said in a press release.  "We know that the longer a child is in the womb, the further they develop -- and having one more serving of fruit per day in a mother's diet provides her baby with the same benefit as being born a whole week later."

For the study, researchers analyzed data on 688 one-year-old children collected as part of the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development study, and considered the amount of fruit their mothers consumed during pregnancy, gestational age at birth, parental lifestyle factors, including income and education, and cognitive tests given to the children.

Two-thirds of the population falls between 85 and 115 on the traditional IQ scale, with the average at about 100. The researchers found if pregnant mothers ate six or seven servings of fruit or fruit juice per day, their children scored six or seven points higher on IQ tests at one year old. There was no improvement in learning when only the babies were fed fruit.

The researchers noted that future studies will explore longer-term benefits of increased fruit consumption during pregnancy beyond one year of life, as well as whether higher intake of fruit affects development of other parts of the brain.

"We found that one of the biggest predictors of cognitive development was how much fruit moms consumed during pregnancy. The more fruit moms had, the higher their child's cognitive development," Mandhane said.

Experts recommend that pregnant women eat a variety of foods throughout the day to make sure they and their baby get the nutrients they need. A balanced diet contains fruits and vegetables, breads and grains, protein and dairy. Doctors often prescribe prenatal vitamins just in case a mom-to-be isn’t able to get all the nutrients she needs by diet alone.

While fruit is important to one’s overall diet, pregnant women should consult with their OB/GYN about their intake if they are diabetic or susceptible to gestational diabetes.

The study was published in the online edition of EBioMedicine,

Story source: Stephen Feller, http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2016/05/26/Eating-fruit-while-pregnant-helps-babys-cognitive-development-study-says/3311464273928/?spt=sec&or=hn

Your Baby

Safer Baby Cribs

1.45 to read

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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