Tag Archives: Pregnancy

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences study: Women, particularly minorities, do not meet nutrition guidelines shortly before pregnancy

20 Mar

The Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services explained why healthy babies are important. “Healthy babies are more likely to develop into healthy children, and healthy children are more likely to grow up to be healthy teenagers and healthy adults.” http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/topics/earlychildhood/health/index.aspx

Science Daily reported in Women, particularly minorities, do not meet nutrition guidelines shortly before pregnancy:

Black, Hispanic and less-educated women consume a less nutritious diet than their well-educated, white counterparts in the weeks leading up to their first pregnancy, according to the only large-scale analysis of preconception adherence to national dietary guidelines.

The study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and led by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, also found that, while inequalities exist, none of the women in any racial and socioeconomic group evaluated achieved recommendations set forth by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Healthy maternal diets have been linked to reduced risks of preterm birth, fetal growth restriction, preeclampsia and maternal obesity.

“Unlike many other pregnancy and birth risk factors, diet is something we can improve,” said lead author Lisa Bodnar, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., associate professor and vice chair of research in Pitt Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology. “While attention should be given to improving nutritional counseling at doctor appointments, overarching societal and policy changes that help women to make healthy dietary choices may be more effective and efficient.”

Bodnar and her colleagues analyzed the results of questionnaires completed by 7,511 women who were between six and 14 weeks pregnant and enrolled in The Nulliparous Pregnancy Outcomes Study: Monitoring Mothers to Be, which followed women who enrolled in the study at one of eight U.S. medical centers. The women reported on their dietary habits during the three months around conception.

The diets were assessed using the Healthy Eating Index-2010, which measures 12 key aspects of diet quality, including adequacy of intake for key food groups, as well as intake of refined grains, salt and empty calories (all calories from solid fats and sugars, plus calories from alcohol beyond a moderate level).

Nearly a quarter of the white women surveyed had scores that fell into the highest scoring fifth of those surveyed, compared with 14 percent of the Hispanic women and 4.6 percent of the black women. Almost half — 44 percent — of black mothers had a score in the lowest scoring fifth….   https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170317082514.htm

Citation:

Women, particularly minorities, do not meet nutrition guidelines shortly before pregnancy

Date:       March 17, 2017

Source:    University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Summary:

Black, Hispanic and less-educated women consume a less nutritious diet than their well-educated, white counterparts in the weeks leading up to their first pregnancy, according to the only large-scale analysis of preconception adherence to national dietary guidelines. The study also found that, while inequalities exist, none of the women in any racial and socioeconomic group evaluated achieved recommendations set forth by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Journal Reference:

  1. Uma M. Reddy, MD et al. Racial or Ethnic and Socioeconomic Inequalities in Adherence to National Dietary Guidance in a Large Cohort of US Pregnant Women. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, March 2017 DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2017.01.016

Here is the press release from U Pitt:

Women, Particularly Minorities, Do Not Meet Nutrition Guidelines Shortly Before Pregnancy

PITTSBURGH, March 17, 2017 – Black, Hispanic and less-educated women consume a less nutritious diet than their well-educated, white counterparts in the weeks leading up to their first pregnancy, according to the only large-scale analysis of preconception adherence to national dietary guidelines.

The study, published today in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and led by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, also found that, while inequalities exist, none of the women in any racial and socioeconomic group evaluated achieved recommendations set forth by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Healthy maternal diets have been linked to reduced risks of preterm birth, fetal growth restriction, preeclampsia and maternal obesity.

“Unlike many other pregnancy and birth risk factors, diet is something we can improve,” said lead author Lisa Bodnar, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., associate professor and vice chair of research in Pitt Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology. “While attention should be given to improving nutritional counseling at doctor appointments, overarching societal and policy changes that help women to make healthy dietary choices may be more effective and efficient.”

Bodnar and her colleagues analyzed the results of questionnaires completed by 7,511 women who were between six and 14 weeks pregnant and enrolled in The Nulliparous Pregnancy Outcomes Study: Monitoring Mothers to Be, which followed women who enrolled in the study at one of eight U.S. medical centers. The women reported on their dietary habits during the three months around conception.

The diets were assessed using the Healthy Eating Index-2010, which measures 12 key aspects of diet quality, including adequacy of intake for key food groups, as well as intake of refined grains, salt and empty calories (all calories from solid fats and sugars, plus calories from alcohol beyond a moderate level).

Nearly a quarter of the white women surveyed had scores that fell into the highest scoring fifth of those surveyed, compared with 14 percent of the Hispanic women and 4.6 percent of the black women. Almost half—44 percent—of black mothers had a score in the lowest scoring fifth.

The scores increased with greater education levels for all three racial/ethnic groups, but the increase was strongest among white women. At all levels of education—high school or less through graduate degree—black mothers had the lowest average scores.

When scores were broken down into the 12 aspects of diet, fewer than 10 percent of the women met the dietary guideline for the whole grains, fatty acids, sodium or empty calories categories.

Approximately 34 percent of the calories—or energy—the women consumed were from empty calories. Top sources of energy were sugar-sweetened beverages, pasta dishes and grain desserts. Soda was the primary contributor to energy intake among black, Hispanic and less-educated women. Women with a college or graduate degree consumed more energy from beer, wine and spirits than any other source.

Juices and sugar-sweetened beverages combined for a much larger proportion of vitamin C intake than solid fruits or vegetables for black, Hispanic and less-educated women. The opposite was true for white women or more-educated women.

For all groups, green salad was the only vegetable in the top 10 sources of iron. Green salad and processed cereals were the top two sources of folate for all groups except black women, whose second highest folate source was 100 percent orange or grapefruit juice. Folate and iron are important nutrients for developing fetuses and healthy pregnancies.

“Our findings mirror national nutrition and dietary trends.  The diet quality gap among non-pregnant people is thought to be a consequence of many factors, including access to and price of healthy foods, knowledge of a healthy diet, and pressing needs that may take priority over a healthy diet,” said Bodnar, also an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Pitt’s School of Medicine. “Future research needs to determine if improving pre-pregnancy diet leads to better pregnancy and birth outcomes. If so, then we need to explore and test ways to improve the diets for everyone, particularly women likely to become pregnant.”

Additional authors on this research include senior author Uma M. Reddy, M.D., of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; as well as Hyagriv N. Simhan, M.D., of Pitt; Corette B. Parker, Dr.P.H., and Heather Meier, both of RTI International; Brian M. Mercer, M.D., of Case Western Reserve University; William A. Grobman, M.D., and Alan M. Peaceman, M.D., both of Northwestern University; David M. Haas, M.D., and Shannon Barnes, R.N., both of Indiana University; Deborah A. Wing, M.D., and Pathik D. Wadhwa, M.D., Ph.D., both of the University of California Irvine; Matthew K. Hoffman, M.D., of the Christiana Care Health System; Samuel Parry, M.D., and Michal Elovitz, M.D., both of the University of Pennsylvania; Robert M. Silver, M.D., and Sean Esplin, M.D., both of the University of Utah; George R. Saade, M.D., of the University of Texas; Ronald Wapner, M.D., of Columbia University; and Jay D. Iams, M.D., of The Ohio State University.

This study is supported by grant funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, as well as RTI International grant U10 HD06336, Case Western Reserve University grant U10 HD063072, Columbia University grant U10 HD063047, Indiana University grant U10 HD063037, Pitt grant U10 HD063041, Northwestern University grant U10 HD063020, University of California Irvine grant U10 HD063046, University of Pennsylvania grant U10 HD063048 and University of Utah grant U10 HD063053.

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http://www.upmc.com/media/NewsReleases/2017/Pages/bodnar-pregnancy-nutrition.aspx

Humans have free will and are allowed to choose how they want to live. What you do not have the right to do is to inflict your lifestyle on a child. So, the responsible thing for you to do is to get birth control for yourself and the society which will have to live with your poor choices. Many religious folks are shocked because moi is  mentioning birth control, but most sluts have few religious inklings or they wouldn’t be sluts. A better option for both sexes, if this lifestyle is a permanent option, is permanent birth control to lessen a contraception failure. People absolutely have the right to choose their particular lifestyle. You simply have no right to bring a child into your mess of a life. I observe people all the time and I have yet to observe a really happy slut. Seems that the lifestyle is devoid of true emotional connection and is empty. If you do find yourself pregnant, please consider adoption.

Let’s continue the discussion. Some folks may be great friends, homies, girlfriends, and dudes, but they make lousy parents. Could be they are at a point in their life where they are too selfish to think of anyone other than themselves, they could be busy with school, work, or whatever. No matter the reason, they are not ready and should not be parents. Birth control methods are not 100% effective, but the available options are 100% ineffective in people who are sexually active and not using birth control. So, if you are sexually active and you have not paid a visit to Planned Parenthood or some other agency, then you are not only irresponsible, you are Eeeevil. Why do I say that, you are playing Russian Roulette with the life of another human being, the child. You should not ever put yourself in the position of bringing a child into the world that you are unprepared to parent, emotionally, financially, and with a commitment of time. So, if you find yourself in a what do I do moment and are pregnant, you should consider adoption.

Children need stability and predictability to have the best chance of growing up healthy. Children will have the most success in school if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of society’s problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family.

Unless there was a rape or some forcible intercourse, the answer to the question is a woman who gets preggers with a “deadbeat dad” a moron – is yes.

Learn more about prenatal and preconception care.

http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/preconceptioncare/Pages/default.aspx

http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pregnancy/conditioninfo/Pages/prenatal-care.aspx

See, Prenatal care fact sheet http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/prenatal-care.html

Our goal as a society should be a healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood. ©

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©

http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©

http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©

https://drwilda.com/

 

University of Alberta Medical School study: Prenatal fruit consumption boosts babies’ cognitive development

29 May

The Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services explains why healthy babies are important. “Healthy babies are more likely to develop into healthy children, and healthy children are more likely to grow up to be healthy teenagers and healthy adults.” http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/topics/earlychildhood/health/index.aspx

Science Daily reported in Prenatal fruit consumption boosts babies’ cognitive development: Study discovers previously unknown benefits of fruit consumption in expectant mothers:

Most people have heard the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” It’s an old truth that encompasses more than just apples–eating fruit in general is well known to reduce risk for a wide variety of health conditions such as heart disease and stroke. But now a new study is showing the benefits of fruit can begin as early as in the womb.

The study, published in the journal EbioMedicine, found that mothers who consumed more fruit during pregnancy gave birth to children who performed better on developmental testing at one year of age. Piush Mandhane, senior author of the paper and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, made the discovery using data from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study–a nationwide birth cohort study involving over 3,500 Canadian infants and their families. Mandhane leads the Edmonton site of the study….

The study examined data from 688 Edmonton children, and controlled for factors that would normally affect a child’s learning and development such as family income, paternal and maternal education, and the gestational age of the child.

Using a traditional IQ scale as a model, the average IQ is 100 and the standard deviation is 15; two thirds of the population will fall between 85 and 115. Mandhane’s study showed that if pregnant mothers ate six or seven servings of fruit or fruit juice a day, on average their infants placed six or seven points higher on the scale at one year of age….

To further build on the research, Mandhane teamed with Francois Bolduc, an associate professor in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry’s Division of Pediatric Neurology, who researches the genetic basis of cognition in humans and fruit flies. Both researchers believe that combining pre-clinical models and epidemiological analysis is a novel approach that may provide useful new insights into future medical research.

“Flies are very different from humans but, surprisingly, they have 85 per cent of the genes involved in human brain function, making them a great model to study the genetics of memory,” says Bolduc. “To be able to improve memory in individuals without genetic mutation is exceptional, so we were extremely interested in understanding the correlation seen between increased prenatal fruit intake and higher cognition.”

According to Bolduc, fruit flies have a long track record in the field of learning and memory. Several genes known to be necessary in fly memory have now been found to be involved in intellectual disability and autism by Bolduc and others. In a subsequent series of experiments, he showed that flies born after being fed increased prenatal fruit juice had significantly better memory ability, similar to the results shown by Mandhane with one-year-old infants. He believes it suggests that brain function affected by fruit and the mechanisms involved have been maintained through evolution, and conserved across species.

While the findings are encouraging, Mandhane cautions against going overboard on fruit consumption as potential complications such as gestational diabetes and high birthweight–conditions associated with increased intake of natural sugars–have not been fully researched. Instead, he suggests that expectant mothers meet the daily intake recommended in Canada’s Food Guide and consult with their doctors…..                                                                                                         https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160525161548.htm

Citation:

Prenatal fruit consumption boosts babies’ cognitive development

Study discovers previously unknown benefits of fruit consumption in expectant mothers

Date:      May 25, 2016

Source:  University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

Summary:

The benefits of eating fruit can begin as early as in the womb. A new study, using data from nearly 700 Edmonton children, demonstrates that infants do significantly better on developmental tests when their mothers consume more fruit during pregnancy.

Journal Reference:

      Francois V. Bolduc, Amanda Lau, Cory S. Rosenfelt, Steven Langer, Nan Wang, Lisa Smithson, Diana Lefebvre, R. Todd Alexander, Clayton T. Dickson, Liang Li, Allan B. Becker, Padmaja Subbarao, Stuart E. Turvey, Jacqueline Pei, Malcolm R. Sears, Piush J. Mandhane.

Cognitive Enhancement in Infants Associated with Increased Maternal Fruit Intake During Pregnancy: Results from a Birth Cohort Study with Validation in an Animal Model

      .

EBioMedicine

      , 2016; DOI:

10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.04.025Cognitive Enhancement in Infants Associated with Increased Maternal Fruit Intake During Pregnancy: Results from a Birth Cohort Study with Validation in an Animal Model

Francois V. Bolduc  Amanda Lau1    Cory S. Rosenfelt1   Steven Langer

,Nan Wang, Lisa Smithson, Diana Lefebvre, R. Todd Alexander, Clayton T. Dickson,

Liang Li, Allan B. Becker, Padmaja Subbarao, Stuart E. Turvey  Jacqueline Pei,

Malcolm R. Sears, Piush J. Mandhane

, The CHILD Study Investigatorsi

1These authors contributed equally to this paper.

Open Access

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.04.025

Article Info

Highlights

  • •Gestational fruit intake positively correlates with infant cognitive performance.
  • •Similar findings in a birth cohort and in Drosophila learning and memory scores
  • •Cyclic adenylate monophosphate (cAMP) pathway may be a major regulator of this effect.
  • •Postnatal fruit intake did not enhance cognitive outcomes in humans or Drosophila.

Fruits have been an important part of the human diet for thousands of years. We wanted to know if more fruit intake improves our ability to learn. Using data from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study, we found that mothers who ate more fruit during pregnancy had children who did better on developmental testing at 1 year of age. Similarly, fruit flies had improved learning and memory if their parents had more fruit juice in their diet. In both humans and in the flies, there was no improvement in learning when only the babies were fed fruit.

Abstract

In-utero nutrition is an under-studied aspect of cognitive development. Fruit has been an important dietary constituent for early hominins and humans. Among 808 eligible CHILD-Edmonton sub-cohort subjects, 688 (85%) had 1-year cognitive outcome data. We found that each maternal daily serving of fruit (sum of fruit plus 100% fruit juice) consumed during pregnancy was associated with a 2.38 point increase in 1-year cognitive development (95% CI 0.39, 4.37; p < 0.05). Consistent with this, we found 30% higher learning Performance index (PI) scores in Drosophila offspring from parents who consumed 30% fruit juice supplementation prenatally (PI: 85.7; SE 1.8; p < 0.05) compared to the offspring of standard diet parents (PI: 65.0 SE 3.4). Using the Drosophila model, we also show that the cyclic adenylate monophosphate (cAMP) pathway may be a major regulator of this effect, as prenatal fruit associated cognitive enhancement was blocked in Drosophila rutabaga mutants with reduced Ca2+-Calmodulin-dependent adenylyl cyclase. Moreover, gestation is a critical time for this effect as postnatal fruit intake did not enhance cognitive performance in either humans or Drosophila. Our study supports increased fruit consumption during pregnancy with significant increases in infant cognitive performance. Validation in Drosophila helps control for potential participant bias or unmeasured confounders.

Here is the press article from the University of Alberta:

An apple a day

UAlberta study shows infants do better on developmental tests when their mothers consume more fruit during pregnancy

By Ali Dotinga and Ross Neitz on May 25, 2016

Piush Mandhane, senior author of the study, found that prenatal fruit consumption boosts babies’ cognitive development

Most people have heard the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” It’s an old truth that encompasses more than just apples—eating fruit in general is well known to reduce risk for a wide variety of health conditions such as heart disease and stroke. But now a new study is showing the benefits of fruit can begin as early as in the womb.

The study, published in the journal EbioMedicine, showed that mothers who consumed more fruit during pregnancy gave birth to children who performed better on developmental testing at one year of age. Piush Mandhane, senior author of the paper and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, made the discovery using data from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study—a nationwide birth cohort study involving over 3,500 Canadian infants and their families. Mandhane leads the Edmonton site of the study.

“We wanted to know if we could identify what factors affect cognitive development,” Mandhane explains. “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.”

In the study, researchers examined data from 688 Edmonton children, controlling for factors that would normally affect a child’s learning and development, such as family income, paternal and maternal education, and the gestational age of the child.

Using a traditional IQ scale as a model, the average IQ is 100 and the standard deviation is 15; two-thirds of the population will fall between 85 and 115. Mandhane’s study showed that if pregnant mothers ate six or seven servings of fruit or fruit juice a day, on average their infants placed six or seven points higher on the scale at one year of age.

“It’s quite a substantial difference—that’s half of a standard deviation,” Mandhane explains. “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.”

To further build on the research, Mandhane teamed with Francois Bolduc, an associate professor in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry’s Division of Pediatric Neurology, who researches the genetic basis of cognition in humans and fruit flies. Both researchers believe that combining pre-clinical models and epidemiological analysis is a novel approach that may provide useful new insights into future medical research.

“Flies are very different from humans but, surprisingly, they have 85 per cent of the genes involved in human brain function, making them a great model to study the genetics of memory,” says Bolduc. “To be able to improve memory in individuals without genetic mutation is exceptional, so we were extremely interested in understanding the correlation seen between increased prenatal fruit intake and higher cognition.”

According to Bolduc, fruit flies have a long track record in the field of learning and memory. Several genes known to be necessary in fly memory have now been found to be involved in intellectual disability and autism by Bolduc and others. In a subsequent series of experiments, he showed that flies born after being fed increased prenatal fruit juice had significantly better memory ability, similar to the results shown by Mandhane with one-year-old infants. He believes it suggests that brain function affected by fruit and the mechanisms involved have been maintained through evolution, and conserved across species.

Though the findings are encouraging, Mandhane cautions against going overboard on fruit consumption, because potential complications such as gestational diabetes and high birth weight—conditions associated with increased intake of natural sugars—have not been fully researched. Instead, he suggests that expectant mothers meet the daily intake recommended in Canada’s Food Guide and consult with their doctors.

Mandhane also says he will continue work in the field, with plans to examine whether the benefits of prenatal fruit consumption persist in children over time. He will also be looking to determine whether fruit can influence childhood development related to executive functioning—in areas such as planning, organizing and working memory.

Funding information

Funding for Mandhane’s study was provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute at the U of A.

https://www.med.ualberta.ca/news/2016/may/an-apple-a-day

The key is regular prenatal care.

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reports in What is prenatal care and why is it important?

Prenatal Care

Women who suspect they may be pregnant should schedule a visit to their health care provider to begin prenatal care. Prenatal visits to a health care provider include a physical exam, weight checks, and providing a urine sample. Depending on the stage of the pregnancy, health care providers may also do blood tests and imaging tests, such as ultrasound exams. These visits also include discussions about the mother’s health, the infant’s health, and any questions about the pregnancy.

Preconception and prenatal care can help prevent complications and inform women about important steps they can take to protect their infant and ensure a healthy pregnancy. With regular prenatal care women can:

  • Reduce the risk of pregnancy complications. Following a healthy, safe diet; getting regular exercise as advised by a health care provider; and avoiding exposure to potentially harmful substances such as lead and radiation can help reduce the risk for problems during pregnancy and ensure the infant’s health and development. Controlling existing conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, is important to avoid serious complications in pregnancy such as preeclampsia.
  • Reduce the infant’s risk for complications. Tobacco smoke and alcohol use during pregnancy have been shown to increase the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Alcohol use also increases the risk for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, which can cause a variety of problems such as abnormal facial features, having a small head, poor coordination, poor memory, intellectual disability, and problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones.2 According to one recent study supported by the NIH, these and other long-term problems can occur even with low levels of prenatal alcohol exposure.3

In addition, taking 400 micrograms of folic acid daily reduces the risk for neural tube defects by 70%.4 Most prenatal vitamins contain the recommended 400 micrograms of folic acid as well as other vitamins that pregnant women and their developing fetus need.1,5 Folic acid has been added to foods like cereals, breads, pasta, and other grain-based foods. Although a related form (called folate) is present in orange juice and leafy, green vegetables (such as kale and spinach), folate is not absorbed as well as folic acid.

  • Help ensure the medications women take are safe. Certain medications, including some acne treatments6 and dietary and herbal supplements,7 are not safe to take during pregnancy.

Learn more about prenatal and preconception care.

http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/preconceptioncare/Pages/default.aspx

http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pregnancy/conditioninfo/Pages/prenatal-care.aspx

See, Prenatal care fact sheet http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/prenatal-care.html

Our goal as a society should be a healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood. ©

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©

http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©

http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©

https://drwilda.com/

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study: Evidence that autism spectrum disorder risks may begin in utero

31 Jan

The number of children with autism appears to be growing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides statistics on the number of children with autism in the section Data and Statistics:

Prevalence

  • It is estimated that between 1 in 80 and 1 in 240 with an average of 1 in 110 children in the United States have an ASD. [Read article]

  • ASDs are reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, yet are on average 4 to 5 times more likely to occur in boys than in girls.  However, we need more information on some less studied populations and regions around the world. [Read article]

  • Studies in Asia, Europe, and North America have identified individuals with an ASD with an approximate prevalence of 0.6% to over 1%. A recent study in South Korea reported a prevalence of 2.6%. [Data table ]

  • Approximately 13% of children have a developmental disability, ranging from mild disabilities such as speech and language impairments to serious developmental disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and autism.  [Read article] http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html

In order for children with autism to reach their full potential there must be early diagnosis and treatment.

Science Daily reported in Obesity, diabetes in mom increases risk of autism in child:

Children born to obese women with diabetes are more than four times as likely to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder than children of healthy weight mothers without diabetes, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests.

The findings, to be published Jan. 29 in the journal Pediatrics, highlight what has become a leading theory about autism, that the risk likely develops before the child is even born.

“We have long known that obesity and diabetes aren’t good for mothers’ own health,” says study leader Xiaobin Wang, MD, ScD, MPH, the Zanvyl Krieger Professor in Child Health at the Bloomberg School and director of the Center on the Early Life Origins of Disease. “Now we have further evidence that these conditions also impact the long-term neural development of their children.”

Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by severe deficits in socialization, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. Since the 1960s, the prevalence rates have skyrocketed, with one in 68 U.S. children now affected by it, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity and diabetes have also risen to epidemic levels in women of reproductive age over the same time period.

For the study, the researchers analyzed 2,734 mother-child pairs, a subset of the Boston Birth Cohort recruited at the Boston Medical Center at birth between 1998 and 2014. They collected data on maternal pre-pregnancy weight and whether the mothers had diabetes before getting pregnant or whether they developed gestational diabetes during pregnancy. They also followed up the children from birth through childhood via postnatal study visits and review of electronic medical records. They identified 102 children who were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder over the course of the study. Those children with mothers who were both diabetic and obese were more than four times as likely to develop autism compared to children born to normal weight mothers without diabetes, they found.

“Our research highlights that the risk for autism begins in utero,” says co-author M. Daniele Fallin, PhD, chair of the Bloomberg School’s Department of Mental Health and director of the Wendy Klag Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities. “It’s important for us to now try to figure out what is it about the combination of obesity and diabetes that is potentially contributing to sub-optimal fetal health.”

Previous studies had suggested a link between maternal diabetes and autism, but this is believed to be the first to look at obesity and diabetes in tandem as potential risk factors….                               http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160129091631.htm

Citation:

Obesity, diabetes in mom increases risk of autism in child

Date:         January 29, 2016

Source:     Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Summary:

Children born to obese women with diabetes are more than four times as likely to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder than children of healthy weight mothers without diabetes, new research suggests.

Journal Reference:

  1. Mengying Li; M. Daniele Fallin; Anne Riley; Rebecca Landa; Sheila O. Walker; Michael Silverstein; Deanna Caruso; Colleen Pearson; Shannon Kiang; Jamie Lyn Dahm; Xiumei Hong; Guoying Wang; Mei-Cheng Weng; Barry Zuckerman and Xiaobin Wang. The association of maternal obesity and diabetes with autism and other developmental disabilities. Pediatrics, January 2016 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2015-2206

Here is the press release from Johns Hopkins:

January 29, 2016

Obesity, Diabetes in Mom Increases Risk of Autism in Child

New study offers new evidence that autism spectrum disorder risks may begin in utero

Children born to obese women with diabetes are more than four times as likely to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder than children of healthy weight mothers without diabetes, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests.

The findings, to be published Jan. 29 in the journal Pediatrics, highlight what has become a leading theory about autism, that the risk likely develops before the child is even born.

“We have long known that obesity and diabetes aren’t good for mothers’ own health,” says study leader Xiaobin Wang, MD, ScD, MPH, the Zanvyl Krieger Professor in Child Health at the Bloomberg School and director of the Center on the Early Life Origins of Disease. “Now we have further evidence that these conditions also impact the long-term neural development of their children.”

Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by severe deficits in socialization, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. Since the 1960s, the prevalence rates have skyrocketed, with one in 68 U.S. children now affected by it, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity and diabetes have also risen to epidemic levels in women of reproductive age over the same time period.

For the study, the researchers analyzed 2,734 mother-child pairs, a subset of the Boston Birth Cohort recruited at the Boston Medical Center at birth between 1998 and 2014. They collected data on maternal pre-pregnancy weight and whether the mothers had diabetes before getting pregnant or whether they developed gestational diabetes during pregnancy. They also followed up the children from birth through childhood via postnatal study visits and review of electronic medical records. They identified 102 children who were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder over the course of the study. Those children with mothers who were both diabetic and obese were more than four times as likely to develop autism compared to children born to normal weight mothers without diabetes, they found.

“Our research highlights that the risk for autism begins in utero,” says co-author M. Daniele Fallin, PhD, chair of the Bloomberg School’s Department of Mental Health and director of the Wendy Klag Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities. “It’s important for us to now try to figure out what is it about the combination of obesity and diabetes that is potentially contributing to sub-optimal fetal health.”

Previous studies had suggested a link between maternal diabetes and autism, but this is believed to be the first to look at obesity and diabetes in tandem as potential risk factors.

Along with pre-conception diabetes, children of obese mothers who developed gestational diabetes during pregnancy were also at a significantly higher risk of being diagnosed with autism.

The biology of why obesity and diabetes may contribute to autism risk isn’t well understood. Obesity and diabetes in general cause stress on the human body, the researchers say. Previous research suggests maternal obesity may be associated with an inflammation in the developing fetal brain. Other studies suggest obese women have less folate, a B-vitamin vital for  human development and health.

The researchers say that women of reproductive age who are thinking about having children need to not only think about their obesity and diabetes status for their own health, but because of the implications it could have on their children. Better diabetes and weight management could have lifelong impacts on mother and child, they say.

“In order to prevent autism, we may need to consider not only pregnancy, but also pre-pregnancy health,” Fallin says.

“The association of maternal obesity and diabetes with autism and other developmental disabilities” was written by Mengying Li; M. Daniele Fallin; Anne Riley; Rebecca Landa; Sheila O. Walker; Michael Silverstein; Deanna Caruso; Colleen Pearson; Shannon Kiang; Jamie Lyn Dahm; Xiumei Hong; Guoying Wang; Mei-Cheng Weng; Barry Zuckerman and Xiaobin Wang.

The parent study was supported in part by the March of Dimes, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (R21 ES011666) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (2R01 HD041702). The Pediatrics study is supported in part by the Ludwig Family Foundation; the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (U01AI90727 and R21AI079872) and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (R40MC27442).

# # #

Media contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Barbara Benham at 410-614-6029 or bbenham1@jhu.edu and Stephanie Desmon at 410-955-7619 or sdesmon1@jhu.edu.

One of the implications of this study is the necessity that women receive adequate prenatal care and women really should have pre-pregnancy counseling and care.

United Health Foundation reports Prenatal Care (1990 – 2011): Percentage of pregnant women receiving adequate prenatal care, as defined by Kessner Index:

Prenatal care is a critical component of health care for pregnant women and a key step towards having a healthy pregnancy and baby. Early prenatal care is especially important because many important developments take place during the first trimester, screenings can identify babies or mothers at risk for complications and health care providers can educate and prepare mothers for pregnancy.  Women who receive prenatal care have consistently shown better outcomes than those who did not receive prenatal care[1]. Mothers who do not receive any prenatal care are three times more likely to deliver a low birth weight baby than mothers who received prenatal care, and infant mortality is five times higher[2].  Early prenatal care also allows health care providers to identify and address health conditions and behaviors that may reduce the likelihood of a healthy birth, such as smoking and drug and alcohol abuse.                                                                                                                                                         http://www.americashealthrankings.org/All/PrenatalCare/2012

Given this recent study it is imperative that ALL women receive prenatal care particularly poor and those women at risk of difficult pregnancies.

Related:

Autism and children of color

https://drwilda.com/tag/children-of-color-with-autism/

Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine study: Kids with autism more likely to be bullied

https://drwilda.com/2012/09/06/archives-of-pediatrics-and-adolescent-medicine-study-kids-with-autism-more-likely-to-be-bullied/

Father’s age may be linked to Autism and Schizophrenia

https://drwilda.com/2012/08/26/fathers-age-may-be-linked-to-autism-and-schizophrenia/

Chelation treatment for autism might be harmful

https://drwilda.com/2012/12/02/chelation-treatment-for-autism-might-be-harmful/

Journal of American Medical Association study: Folic acid may reduce autism risk

https://drwilda.com/tag/folic-acid-in-pregnancy-may-lower-autism-risk/

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Columbia University study: Common household chemicals link to drop in child IQ

14 Dec

The goal of this society should be to raise healthy and happy children who will grow into concerned and involved adults who care about their fellow citizens and environment. Science Daily reported in Prenatal exposure to common household chemicals linked with substantial drop in child IQ:

Children exposed during pregnancy to elevated levels of two common chemicals found in the home–di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP) and di-isobutyl phthalate (DiBP)–had an IQ score, on average, more than six points lower than children exposed at lower levels, according to researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. The study is the first to report a link between prenatal exposure to phthalates and IQ in school-age children. Results appear online in the journal PLOS ONE.

DnBP and DiBP are found in a wide variety of consumer products, from dryer sheets to vinyl fabrics to personal care products like lipstick, hairspray, and nail polish, even some soaps. Since 2009, several phthalates have been banned from children’s toys and other childcare articles in the United States. However, no steps have been taken to protect the developing fetus by alerting pregnant women to potential exposures. In the U.S., phthalates are rarely listed as ingredients on products in which they are used.

Researchers followed 328 New York City women and their children from low-income communities. They assessed the women’s exposure to four phthalates–DnBP, DiBP, di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate, and diethyl phthalate–in the third trimester of pregnancy by measuring levels of the chemicals’ metabolites in urine. Children were given IQ tests at age 7.

Children of mothers exposed during pregnancy to the highest 25 percent of concentrations of DnBP and DiBP had IQs 6.6 and 7.6 points lower, respectively, than children of mothers exposed to the lowest 25 percent of concentrations after controlling for factors like maternal IQ, maternal education, and quality of the home environment that are known to influence child IQ scores. The association was also seen for specific aspects of IQ, such as perceptual reasoning, working memory, and processing speed. The researchers found no associations between the other two phthalates and child IQ.

The range of phthalate metabolite exposures measured in the mothers was not unusual: it was within what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention observed in a national sample.
“Pregnant women across the United States are exposed to phthalates almost daily, many at levels similar to those that we found were associated with substantial reductions in the IQ of children,” says lead author Pam Factor-Litvak, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School.
“The magnitude of these IQ differences is troubling,” says senior author Robin Whyatt, DrPH, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and deputy director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at the Mailman School. “A six- or seven-point decline in IQ may have substantial consequences for academic achievement and occupational potential.”

PSYBLOG lists common household items in 8 Household Items Newly Found to Lower Children’s IQ Significantly:

Avoiding phthalates
While it is impossible to avoid phthalates completely, they are found in these common products, amongst others:
• Hairspray.
• Plastic containers used for microwaving food.
• Lipstick.
• Air fresheners.
• Dryer sheets.
• Nail polish.
• Some soaps.
• Recycled plastics labelled 3,6 or 7.
http://www.spring.org.uk/2014/12/8-household-items-newly-found-to-lower-childrens-iq-significantly.php

Citation:

Prenatal exposure to common household chemicals linked with substantial drop in child IQ
Date: December 10, 2014

Source: Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health

Summary:
Children exposed during pregnancy to elevated levels of two common chemicals found in the home — di-n-butyl phthalate and di-isobutyl phthalate — had an IQ score, on average, more than six points lower than children exposed at lower levels, according to researchers. The study is the first to report a link between prenatal exposure to phthalates and IQ in school-age children. While avoiding all phthalates in the United States is for now impossible, the researchers recommend that pregnant women take steps to limit exposure by not microwaving food in plastics, avoiding scented products as much as possible, including air fresheners, and dryer sheets, and not using recyclable plastics labeled as 3, 6, or 7. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141210140823.htm
Persistent Associations between Maternal Prenatal Exposure to Phthalates on Child IQ at Age 7 Years
• Pam Factor-Litvak mail,
• Beverly Insel,
• Antonia M. Calafat,
• Xinhua Liu,
• Frederica Perera,
• Virginia A. Rauh,
• Robin M. Whyatt
• Published: December 10, 2014
• DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0114003

Abstract
Background
Prior research reports inverse associations between maternal prenatal urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations and mental and motor development in preschoolers. No study evaluated whether these associations persist into school age.
Methods
In a follow up of 328 inner-city mothers and their children, we measured prenatal urinary metabolites of di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP), butylbenzyl phthalate (BBzP), di-isobutyl phthalate (DiBP), di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate and diethyl phthalate in late pregnancy. The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, 4th edition was administered at child age 7 years and evaluates four areas of cognitive function associated with overall intelligence quotient (IQ).
Results
Child full-scale IQ was inversely associated with prenatal urinary metabolite concentrations of DnBP and DiBP: b = −2.69 (95% confidence interval [CI] = −4.33, −1.05) and b = −2.69 (95% CI = −4.22, −1.16) per log unit increase. Among children of mothers with the highest versus lowest quartile DnBP and DiBP metabolite concentrations, IQ was 6.7 (95% CI = 1.9, 11.4) and 7.6 (95% CI = 3.2, 12.1) points lower, respectively. Associations were unchanged after control for cognition at age 3 years. Significant inverse associations were also seen between maternal prenatal metabolite concentrations of DnBP and DiBP and child processing speed, perceptual reasoning and working memory; DiBP and child verbal comprehension; and BBzP and child perceptual reasoning.

Conclusion
Maternal prenatal urinary metabolite concentrations measured in late pregnancy of DnBP and DiBP are associated with deficits in children’s intellectual development at age 7 years. Because phthalate exposures are ubiquitous and concentrations seen here within the range previously observed among general populations, results are of public health significance. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0114003

Saundra Young of CNN wrote about toxic chemicals in ‘Putting the next generation of brains in danger.’

According to Young there are several types of chemicals which pose a danger:

The best example of this, he said, is cosmetics and phthalates. Phthalates are a group of chemicals used in hundreds of products from cosmetics, perfume, hair spray, soap and shampoos to plastic and vinyl toys, shower curtains, miniblinds, food containers and plastic wrap.
You can also find them in plastic plumbing pipes, medical tubing and fluid bags, vinyl flooring and other building materials. They are used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl.
In Europe, cosmetics don’t contain phthalates, but here in the United States some do.
Phthalates previously were used in pacifiers, soft rattles and teethers. But in 1999, after a push from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, American companies stopped using them in those products.
“We certainly have the capability, it’s a matter of political will,” Landrigan said. “We have tried in this country over the last decade to pass chemical safety legislation but the chemical industry and their supporters have successfully beat back the effort.”
However, the Food and Drug Administration said two of the most common phthalates, — dibutylphthalate, or DBP, used as a plasticizer in products such as nail polishes to reduce cracking by making them less brittle, and dimethylphthalate, or DMP used in hairsprays — are now rarely used in this country.
Diethylphthalate, or DEP, used in fragrances, is the only phthalate still used in cosmetics, the FDA said.
“It’s not clear what effect, if any, phthalates have on human health,” according to the FDA’s website. “An expert panel convened from 1998 to 2000 by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), part of the National Institute for Environmental Safety and Health, concluded that reproductive risks from exposure to phthalates were minimal to negligible in most cases….” http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/14/health/chemicals-children-brains/

See, Helping to protect children from the harmful effects of chemicals http://www.who.int/ipcs/highlights/children_chemicals/en/

Children will have the most success in school, if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family.

Our goal as a society should be a healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood. ©

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Northwestern University study: Heavier babies do better in school

27 Oct

The Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services explains why healthy babies are important. “Healthy babies are more likely to develop into healthy children, and healthy children are more likely to grow up to be healthy teenagers and healthy adults.” http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/topics/earlychildhood/health/index.aspx

The New York Times reported in the article, Heavier Babies Do Better in School:
A study of children in Florida found that those who were heavier at birth scored higher on math and reading tests in the third to eighth grades.
Like so many other parts of health care, childbirth has become a more medically intense experience over the last two decades. The use of drugs to induce labor has become far more common, as have cesarean sections. Today, about half of all births in this country are hastened either by drugs or surgery, double the share in 1990.
Crucial to the change has been a widely held belief that once fetuses pass a certain set of thresholds — often 39 weeks of gestation and five and a half pounds in weight — they’re as healthy as they can get. More time in the womb doesn’t do them much good, according to this thinking. For parents and doctors, meanwhile, scheduling a birth, rather than waiting for its random arrival, is clearly more convenient.
But a huge new set of data, based on every child born in Florida over an 11-year span, is calling into question some of the most basic assumptions of our medicalized approach to childbirth. The results also play into a larger issue: the growing sense among many doctors and other experts that Americans would actually be healthier if our health care system were sometimes less aggressive.
The new data suggest that the thresholds to maximize a child’s health seem to be higher, which means that many fetuses might benefit by staying longer in the womb, where they typically add at least a quarter-pound per week. Seven-pound babies appear to be healthier than six-pound babies — and to fare better in school as they age. The same goes for eight-pound babies compared with seven-pound babies, and nine-pound babies compared with eight-pound babies. Weight, of course, may partly be an indicator of broader fetal health, but it seems to be a meaningful one: The chunkier the baby, the better it does on average, all the way up to almost 10 pounds.
“Birth weight matters, and it matters for everyone,” says David N. Figlio, a Northwestern University professor and co-author of the study, which will soon be published in the American Economic Review, one of the field’s top journals… http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/12/upshot/heavier-babies-do-better-in-school.html?abt=0002&abg=0&_r=0

Citation:

The Effects of Poor Neonatal Health on Children’s Cognitive Development (WP-13-08)
IPR-WP-13-08
David Figlio, Jonathan Guryan, Krzysztof Karbownik, and Jeffrey Roth
This working paper makes use of a new data resource—merged birth and school records for all children born in Florida from 1992 to 2002—to study the effects of birth weight on cognitive development from kindergarten through schooling. Using twin fixed effects models, the researchers find that the effects of birth weight on cognitive development are essentially constant through the school career, that these effects are very similar across a wide range of family backgrounds, and that they are invariant to measures of school quality. They conclude that the effects of poor neonatal health on adult outcomes are therefore set very early.
David Figlio, Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy and of Economics, and Director and Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University
Jonathan Guryan, Associate Professor of Human Development and Social Policy, and Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University
Krzysztof Karbownik, Visiting Scholar, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University
Jeffrey Roth, Research Professor of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Florida
Download working paper PDF http://www.ipr.northwestern.edu/publications/docs/workingpapers/2013/IPR-WP-13-08.pdf

Other articles have questioned whether heavier babies are healthier:

Bigger Baby Trend Worries Doctors As Health Concerns Mount Over Supersized Deliveries http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/19/bigger-baby-trend_n_3780699.html

Everyday Research blog analyzes the study in Heavier babies do better in school:
Questions
a) How do we know this is a correlational study? What are its variables?
b) Here’s a quote from the article:
Mr. Figlio estimates that, all else equal, a 10-pound baby will score an average of 80 points higher on the 1,600-point SAT than a six-pound baby. Another way to see the pattern is to look only at top-scoring students: Among the top 5 percent of test scorers in elementary school, one in three weighed at least eight pounds at birth, compared with only one in four of all babies.
Does this quote address statistical validity? Construct validity? External validity? or Internal validity?
c) Here’s a great addition. Underneath the main figure in the article, are tables of results for education, race, and age. The caption reads:
The effect of being heavier is similar across many different types of mothers.
Is this caption addressing potential moderators? potential mediators? or potential third variable problems?
d) Here’s another quote from the piece:
Florida offers a window on the issue because the state tracks children from birth through college…. The authors of the new study….used the data to compare birth weight with test scores from third through eighth grades, as well as with kindergarten readiness scores. They controlled for, among other factors, the health and sex of the baby, the length of the pregnancy and the health, age, race and education of the mother
Looking at the last sentence of this quote, is this statement addressing potential moderators? potential mediators? or potential third variable problems?
http://www.everydayresearchmethods.com/2014/10/heavier-babies-do-better-in-school.html

The question many parents ask is what is a healthy weight range.

The What to Expect article, Your Newborn’s Weight: What’s Normal, What’s Not discusses healthy weight:

So just what is average for a newborn? At birth, the average baby weighs about 7.5 pounds — though the range of normal is between 5.5 and ten pounds (all but five percent of newborns will fall into this range).
What makes your baby weigh more or less than the newborn in the next bassinet? Several factors come into play:
• Your own diet and weight, both before and during pregnancy (If you’re overweight, you may have a heavier baby. If you don’t get enough nutrients while you’re pregnant, your baby may be smaller.)
• Your prenatal health, including whether you drink, smoke, or have diabetes
• Your own birth weight, plus genetics (your size at birth, plus your and your hubby’s size now, can both play a role)
• Whether your baby is a boy or a girl (boys tend to be heavier)
• Whether this is your firstborn (they tend to be smaller than subsequent children)
• Whether your baby is a twin or triplet (multiples tend to be smaller than singletons)
• Your baby’s race (Caucasian babies are sometimes larger than African-American, Asian, or Native American infants)… http://www.whattoexpect.com/baby-growth/newborn-weight.aspx

The key is regular prenatal care.

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reports in What is prenatal care and why is it important?

Prenatal Care
Women who suspect they may be pregnant should schedule a visit to their health care provider to begin prenatal care. Prenatal visits to a health care provider include a physical exam, weight checks, and providing a urine sample. Depending on the stage of the pregnancy, health care providers may also do blood tests and imaging tests, such as ultrasound exams. These visits also include discussions about the mother’s health, the infant’s health, and any questions about the pregnancy.
Preconception and prenatal care can help prevent complications and inform women about important steps they can take to protect their infant and ensure a healthy pregnancy. With regular prenatal care women can:
• Reduce the risk of pregnancy complications. Following a healthy, safe diet; getting regular exercise as advised by a health care provider; and avoiding exposure to potentially harmful substances such as lead and radiation can help reduce the risk for problems during pregnancy and ensure the infant’s health and development. Controlling existing conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, is important to avoid serious complications in pregnancy such as preeclampsia.
• Reduce the infant’s risk for complications. Tobacco smoke and alcohol use during pregnancy have been shown to increase the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Alcohol use also increases the risk for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, which can cause a variety of problems such as abnormal facial features, having a small head, poor coordination, poor memory, intellectual disability, and problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones.2 According to one recent study supported by the NIH, these and other long-term problems can occur even with low levels of prenatal alcohol exposure.3

In addition, taking 400 micrograms of folic acid daily reduces the risk for neural tube defects by 70%.4 Most prenatal vitamins contain the recommended 400 micrograms of folic acid as well as other vitamins that pregnant women and their developing fetus need.1,5 Folic acid has been added to foods like cereals, breads, pasta, and other grain-based foods. Although a related form (called folate) is present in orange juice and leafy, green vegetables (such as kale and spinach), folate is not absorbed as well as folic acid.
• Help ensure the medications women take are safe. Certain medications, including some acne treatments6 and dietary and herbal supplements,7 are not safe to take during pregnancy.
Learn more about prenatal and preconception care. http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/preconceptioncare/Pages/default.aspx
http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pregnancy/conditioninfo/Pages/prenatal-care.aspx

See, Prenatal care fact sheet http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/prenatal-care.html

Our goal as a society should be a healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood. ©

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