Pregnancy and Mercury
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Yes, you do have to worry about mercury when you're pregnant. But a lot of the info out there is wrong. This video seperates the mercury myths from the relevant facts.
Transcript: You love tuna and other fish dishes, but, oh mercy, the mercury! Mercury compounds, like methylmercury,...
You love tuna and other fish dishes, but, oh mercy, the mercury! Mercury compounds, like methylmercury, are chemical byproducts dumped into our oceans and rivers, which can contaminate some of the fish we eat. While mercury hasn't yet been shown to significantly harm adults, it can be extremely bad for babies. When a pregnant woman ingests mercury from fish, it can pass easily through a mother's body into her baby's placenta. This metal is toxic to a baby's nervous system and can result in disabilities ranging from cerebral palsy to mental retardation. For this reason, it is wise to avoid large, high-mercury fish while pregnant, including: shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. Another worrisome fish is tuna, which tends to have a moderate level of mercury. Tuna isn't completely off-limits, but pregnant women should limit their consumption of it, and avoid tuna steaks and filets, which have been shown to be high in the toxin. Instead, stick to light, canned tuna, and don't consume more than six ounces of it a week. You can feel safe about consuming smaller fish, like sardines, catfish and tilapia. Most shellfish is fine, as well, with the exception of lobster, which, like tuna has moderate mercury content. Unfortunately, methylmercury remains in your system for up to a year after it is consumed. A. Because mercury consumed even prior to pregnancy can harm a fetus, B. it's wise to minimize dangerous fish if you're trying to conceive. However, if you became pregnant unexpectedly and know that you've consumed large amounts of mercury, don't panic - it most likely won't have any consequences. However, you should stop eating fish that have mercury, and talk to your doctor. If you are concerned, you can always have a test performed to ascertain the level of mercury in your system. Today's pregnant woman needs to be very careful to minimize her mercury intake, but remember, just because mercury is bad for you doesn't mean you should stop eating fish.More »
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During pregnancy, it's extremely important to eat food that is healthy and safe for your baby. Check out this video to find out more about the safe stuff to eat during pregnancy.
Transcript: If there's one thing you've learned during your pregnancy, it's that an expectant momma's gotta eat....
If there's one thing you've learned during your pregnancy, it's that an expectant momma's gotta eat. Some foods-like veggies and dairy-are clearly in the "good for baby" department. However, since some others are more questionable, here's a rundown of foods that were once considered 'iffy' that are definitely A-OK for you and your baby. In terms of sweet stuff, you'll be thrilled to hear that eating chocolate is totally safe, as its trace amounts of caffeine aren't enough to harm your fetus. In fact, you'd get sick from gorging yourself on chocolate long before the chocolate's caffeine content could be dangerous. Artificial sweeteners like sucralose, more commonly known as Splenda, and aspartame, the sweetener in Equal and NutraSweet, are also fine for pregnant women, although they should be consumed in moderation. However, pregnant moms should avoid the potentially toxic sweetener saccharin, which is the primary ingredient in Sweet 'N Low. Many women express worry about eating non-organic livestock and produce, but these concerns are unfounded. Although non-organic livestock is treated with antibiotics, these antibiotics have not been shown to harm a developing baby. Similarly, non-organic produce treated with pesticides is safe, although it's wise to wash it first, just as you did prior to pregnancy. If you are looking to spice up your pregnancy, feel free to indulge. Very spicy foods are also fine for expectant moms. However, the potential for heartburn may make you think twice about Indian take-out!More »
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Can you just eat anything want during pregnancy? The simple answer is no. Find out more about cautionary foods during pregnancy by watching this video.
Transcript: Many pregnant women divide their diet into lists of off-limits foods and safe foods. There is actually...
Many pregnant women divide their diet into lists of off-limits foods and safe foods. There is actually a third list to be aware of though - cautionary foods. There are some foods that pregnant women just shouldn't eat-like mercury-laden fish and the potentially toxic sweetener saccharin. However, there are many foods that are completely safe for pregnancy. So if you are looking for a little variety in your diet, and don't want to take any risks, you should be aware that there are also quite a few foods on the safe list, if they are eaten in moderation. Although some people have suggested that consuming grilled and blackened meats, for example, poses a slight cancer risk. Most doctors agree that it's fine to enjoy blackened foods in moderation. Similarly, cured meats, like pepperoni, bologna, and hot dogs, have been brought into question. Worry here stems from nitrates-chemical preservatives that may prove toxic in large doses. For this reason, once-a-month moderation is recommended for this type of food. What if you're a vegan or a vegetarian? Can you maintain your diet without any risk to the baby? The jury says yes on this one, with one caveat: Take a multi-vitamin to make up for any nutrients lacking in your diet. And speak to your doctor about dietary restrictions. With her help, you can keep your baby healthy and eat a diet that works for you.More »
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It's not necessary to diet during pregnancy, nor should you be eating for two. Watch this video to learn how many calories you need during pregnancy.
Transcript: It's hard not to think about dieting when your body is ballooning, but is it a wise move to cut calories...
It's hard not to think about dieting when your body is ballooning, but is it a wise move to cut calories during your pregnancy? Most doctors agree that pregnancy is a time for gaining weight, not losing it. The average woman should gain between 25 and 27 pounds when pregnant. While women who are morbidly obese should gain less weight during pregnancy - about 15 pounds - all women should gain some weight. That's because, when you go hungry, so does your fetus. In fact, that little passenger has a big appetite. He or she requires that you eat about 2,500 calories every day! Since most diets recommend consuming between 1,500 and 1,700, it's easy to see why dieting during pregnancy is a no-no. If you want to drink diet shakes, as some nauseous women do during pregnancy, that's generally fine. But never rely on a these shakes as a meal replacement-it's not enough for your baby, and it's not enough for you right now, either. So keep eating throughout your pregnancy and worry about weight loss afterwards.More »
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A healthy pregnancy is accompanied by a healthy diet which is essential for your health as well as your baby's. Watch this video to learn about food for a healthy pregnancy.
Transcript: Now that you're pregnant you can eat whatever you want, right? Well-not quite! Keep watching for tips...
Now that you're pregnant you can eat whatever you want, right? Well-not quite! Keep watching for tips on keeping mom and baby healthy during pregnancy. Good nutrition is vital during pregnancy. Your baby needs plenty of vitamins and minerals to develop properly and you need them to stay strong - as you probably know by now, pregnancy is exhausting. Ensure your baby gets the food it needs! Most pregnant women need to eat only 300 extra calories a day. That's a healthy weight gain of about five pounds during the first trimester. While you're pregnant, try to eat three daily servings of protein to support the baby's rapid growth. Consider lean meats, eggs and legumes. Calcium also helps babies build bones. If you're not fond of milk, consider kale or edamame. Bold, colorful fruits and veggies contain the most nutrients to help your baby grow. Apples and iceburg lettuce are good for you, but mangos and romaine lettuce are even better. Of course, you'll need certain extras, too! Your pregnant body can't store essential Vitamin C. Get a fresh supply every day with strawberries, melon, tomatoes, and, of course, orange juice. Mineral-rich whole grain breads, cereals and pastas provide vital nutrients and can also combat pregnancy-induced nausea. To prevent anemia while pregnant, you'll need more iron. Spinach, soy products, dried fruit and blackstrap molasses are all great choices. To stay hydrated and healthy, aim for at least eight, eight-ounce cups of fluid daily. Water is best but milk, sugar-free juice and other liquids count, too! Fill in any gaps in your diet with a multivitamin formulated especially for pregnant women. While pregnant, you must remember that not every food is healthy for you and your baby. Alcohol is a no-no. Even moderate drinking can induce complications. Caffeine is OK in small doses, but stay below 300 milligram, or three cups, daily. That's because caffeine can counteract the benefits of calcium, and may increase the chances of miscarriage. Minimal unsaturated fats and salts are fine, but limit total fats to less than 30 percent of your daily calories. Also, avoid empty calories, like those found in processed and junk foods. You may love sushi, but pregnancy isn't the time to eat anything raw or undercooked. Cook meats until well done and fish until it flakes. Make sure that egg yolks are cooked through, and that all dairy products are pasteurized. Steer clear of herbal supplements and teas. They're natural, sure, but ginkgo biloba and St. John's Wort can have negative effects on a pregnant body. Of course, if you're pregnant, discuss any medications you are taking with your doctor. Many other natural therapies, like massage, meditation and acupuncture can relieve stress and ease the physical aches of pregnancy. Just be sure to tell any practioner that you are pregnant before beginning a session! The bottom line is that natural is better when you're pregnant. Always consult your doctor before trying a new diet or therapy.More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-15 | Tags »
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You may wonder what over the counter medications are safe to take during pregnancy. Check out this video to find out more.
Transcript: Pregnancy can sure be a headache! But is it safe to take an over-the-counter medication to soothe the...
Pregnancy can sure be a headache! But is it safe to take an over-the-counter medication to soothe the strain? If you're suffering from a headache or muscle pain during pregnancy, it's fine to take Tylenol, also known as acetaminophen. Other medications which are considered safe include: Nasal decongestant spray for a cold or sinus infection... and antacids-including prescription strength ones-for heartburn. Even cold medications containing small amounts of alcohol, like Nyquil, are probably fine during pregnancy. Even with safe medications, however, it is still wise to use them in moderation. In addition, you should never consume any medication at doses larger than those listed on the packaging. One class of drugs to avoid entirely is the NSAIDs, or Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Drugs in this class include Aleve, Aspirin, and Ibuprofen, which is sometimes marketed as Advil or Motrin. Some of these medications can potentially cause birth defects, and all of them can increase how much you bleed, which is particularly important as you approach labor. If you still have questions about an OTC medication, it's smart to call your doctor to ask about its use.More »
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Are you pregnant and worrying about the medications you take for specific conditions? Find out more medicating while expecting by watching this video.
Transcript: You know Tylenol is OK while you're pregnant, but what if your condition is more pressing than a muscle...
You know Tylenol is OK while you're pregnant, but what if your condition is more pressing than a muscle ache? When you are pregnant, you'll still need to deal with all of the day-to-day health issues that plague all of us. One common question women have is whether it's safe to take an over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medication. In fact, taking Imodium while you are pregnant can be a smart precaution, since consistent diarrhea can lead to dangerous dehydration. Some women complain of motion sickness during pregnancy, and want to know what treatment options are safe. If you're among them, it's fine to take an OTC aid, like Dramamine, to combat nausea. Yet another common pregnancy condition is insomnia. Unfortunately, no sleeping aids have been shown to be completely safe for a fetus. While two medications-Ambien and Benadryl-are probably fine, studies on their effects have thus far been limited to animals. More intense sleep medications, like Lunesta and Sonata, may cause metabolism and brain damage to a fetus, and should be avoided. If you are unfortunate enough to get a migraine headache while you are pregnant, it is probably okay to take narcotics, like codeine, to ease the ache. But older migraine medications, like Depakote and Fiorinal, could lead to neural birth defects or paralyzation. It's always smart to be cautious during pregnancy, so talk to your doctor before taking any kind of medication.More »
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If you have concerns about what medications to take during pregnancy, you'll be pleased to know that not ALL medications are off limits. Check out this video for more information about pregnancy and medications.
Transcript: For many women who rely on prescription medication, pregnancy offers a tough decision: Should I risk...
For many women who rely on prescription medication, pregnancy offers a tough decision: Should I risk harming my baby to keep myself well? The good news is that some common prescription medications are fine to take while you're expecting. These include most allergy and thyroid stimulation medications. However, some doctors advise women to steer clear of newer, less-researched allergy meds, like Allegra. Other prescription medications may not be as safe for a baby, yet can be vital to a mother's health. For example, anti-depressants may lead to lung problems, limb malformations, or heart defects in a fetus. But these side effects are very rare, and a mother may find that keeping her depression under control is worth the risk. Similarly, anti-epilepsy medications can lead to stillbirth or serious birth defects in a fetus. These problems, however, are seen in less than 10-percent of babies born to women on these medications, and... some doctors believe that seizures during pregnancy pose a more serious risk to the fetus than the potential side effects of anti-epilepsy medications. Because every woman's condition and pregnancy is different, however, it's vital to talk to your doctor about which prescriptions you can take while expecting.More »
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During pregnancy, your health can affect the health of your fetus, whether you're coping with depression or just a fever. Find out why a sick mom may mean a sick fetus, too
Transcript: Are you running a fever? Are you depressed? If you're sick, you'll understandably worry about your baby....
Are you running a fever? Are you depressed? If you're sick, you'll understandably worry about your baby. The good news is that the majority of illnesses that can befall a pregnant mother, if treated, won't harm her fetus. Similarly, most medications that you might take to treat an illness will be far less damaging to your baby than being sick. If you're running a fever, it's true that both you and the baby will burn off oxygen and calories faster than normal. But, while this may cause brief stress to the baby, it's not generally harmful in the long term. The exception to this is a fever above 103 degrees, particularly during in your first trimester, which could lead to neural tube defects in your baby if not monitored. Meanwhile, if you're suffering from depression while pregnant, your baby will be fine- as long as you take care of yourself. That means going to counseling to sort through your emotions, and being proactive about prenatal care. Your doctor may even recommend an anti-depressant, as most physicians agree that this is less hazardous to your baby than the risks of the disease itself. When in doubt, remember to be gentle on yourself and to talk to your doctor about safe healing.More »
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Pregnancy can change a lot of things about a woman's body, including her teeth. Watch this video to find out more about what happens to tooth health during pregnancy.
Transcript: Hearing the old wives' tale, "You lose a tooth for every pregnancy" may make you reconsider this whole...
Hearing the old wives' tale, "You lose a tooth for every pregnancy" may make you reconsider this whole baby thing! Luckily, the adage isn't true...but here's what is. Pregnancy is a trying time for your whole body, and your teeth are no exception. While you're expecting, the likelihood of developing gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums, rises dramatically. Unfortunately, gingivitis has been linked to premature labor and low birth weight in babies. The disease can often be avoided, however, when you take extra steps to care for your pregnant teeth. Start by flossing daily, even if you don't usually do so. This promotes strong, healthy gums. Continue brushing three times a day,More »
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If you were drinking before you knew you were pregnant, you may be concerned about your fetus's health. Learn more about the effect alcohol can have on your fetus.
Transcript: Your whole alcohol MO has to change once you're pregnant. But what if you were drinking before you...
Your whole alcohol MO has to change once you're pregnant. But what if you were drinking before you knew you had a passenger? Whether you're the daily cocktail type or you only imbibe on special occasions, you may accidentally consume alcohol during the early weeks of your pregnancy. If this happens, you shouldn't be too hard on yourself - after all, you didn't even know you were pregnant! Fortunately, it is usually the case that when you drink alcohol at this stage of the pregnancy, it's too early to negatively affect the fetus's organs. This is because there isn't a strongly established blood connection between you and your baby during the time when you ovulate and the end of the month. Of course, this "safe window," is short! Once you know you're pregnant, or even suspect that you may be, you should stop drinking. There is, after all, a risk of fetal alcohol syndrome when you consume any amount of alcohol during pregnancy. But don't worry, you'll have plenty of time for a glass of wine after the baby is born. If you are breastfeeding, though, you'll have to wait until the baby is no longer nursing to enjoy that cocktail.More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-15 | Tags »
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Alcohol and pregnancy do not mix. Drinking alcohol while you're pregnant puts your fetus at risk for serious health complications. Watch this video for details.
Transcript: Fast fact: More than 10 percent of women in the U.S. drink during pregnancy. Here's why that's harmful....
Fast fact: More than 10 percent of women in the U.S. drink during pregnancy. Here's why that's harmful. An unborn baby and booze don't mix, and you'd be hard pressed to find a doctor to disagree. When consumed during pregnancy, alcohol travels through your blood to your placenta and reaches your baby. Because a fetus breaks down alcohol much more slowly than an adult, it will often have higher blood alcohol levels than its mother. As a result, a baby that is given alcohol in the womb is more likely to develop any number of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. In fact, the Center for Disease Control lists exposure to alcohol as the number one most preventable risk for birth defects. The most severe illness that can result from in utero exposure to alcohol is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, a lifelong condition characterized by...poor growth (both in the womb and after birth), abnormal facial features, mental retardation, behavioral problems and delays in development. Even when Fetal Alcohol Syndrome doesn't occur, alcohol exposure can still lead to miscarriage, very early birth and a host of other mental and behavioral problems. If you're pregnant, it's important to stop drinking as soon as you find out-your child's future depends on it.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-07 | Tags »
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Smoking during pregnancy will harm your fetus's health. Watch this video for details on cigarettes and pregnancy.
Transcript: Up to 13 percent of women still smoke during their pregnancies. Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals,...
Up to 13 percent of women still smoke during their pregnancies. Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, all of which enter the blood stream and head straight for your baby. Two of these in particularcarbon monoxide and nicotinenarrow the blood vessels in the umbilical cord. Since this is the babys source of oxygen, when this happens it becomes much harder for him to breathe. Oxygen deprivation in the womb can lead to stillbirth, premature delivery, low birth weight, learning disorders and a lower IQ. If youre a non-smoker, but your partner lights up, your baby is still subjected to serious risks. In fact, the CDC says that women exposed to secondhand smoke have a 20 percent greater chance of delivering underweight babies than women who arent exposed. Even women who spend a great deal of time around wood fires may experience similar negative effects due to inhalation of carbon monoxide. This risk, however, is smaller than the risk of smoking, and not something to be worried about if it occurs in moderation. If youre pregnant and cant stop smoking, talk to your doctor about quitting. If you can do so by week 14, youre about as likely as anyone to have a healthy baby!More »
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