Preeclampsia and Probiotics




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Probiotics are one of those areas of nutrition and health that we’re really just starting to scratch the surface. You’ve probably heard that probiotics can be used to help with digestive problems, and you’ve probably even heard that they can be used to help babies with colic. Probiotics are a quick and easy way to bring some balance to your body.

However, those benefits are spilling over beyond simply helping the gut. There’s new research that shows that probiotics may actually be beneficial for the pregnant woman. In particular, probiotics may help to reduce the risk of a woman developing preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia typically occurs after about the 20th week of pregnancy, and is marked by an increase in blood pressure. Generally, the woman with preeclampsia will have swelling in her hands, feet, ankles, and face. About one in 20 women will experience preeclampsia. If it’s not recognized and dealt with, it can lead to a more severe condition in which the pregnant woman may have seizures or worse.

This most recent study looked at 33,000 pregnant Norwegian women over a period of six years. Some took probiotics in one form or another each day during pregnancy. That group of women was less likely to develop preeclampsia.





Of the women who took probiotics, only 4.1 percent developed preeclampsia. This compares to 5.6 percent of women who did not take probiotics. Even factoring in other differences between the women that can contribute to preeclampsia such as smoking, weight and other factors, the risk was 20 percent lower for women who took probiotics.

Certainly, more testing in this area could be beneficial. In the Norwegian study, some women drank probiotic milk while others ate probiotic yogurt. Further studies could be done using standardized probiotic capsules, which controls the exact amount of good bacteria that he woman gets.

The good news is that probiotics are safe. They are “friendly” bacteria that are good for your digestive system, immune system, and more.

Sources:
Probiotics tied to lower risk of pregnancy problem – Reuters
Intake of Probiotic Food and Risk of Preeclampsia in Primiparous Women – American Journal of Epidemiology

Is Lower Back Pain Be A Sign Of Pregnancy?




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Many women who become pregnant will notice lower back pain.  While it is not particular common as an early sign of pregnancy, some studies do suggest that more than fifty percent of women will experience some degree or another of pain in the lower back during the early stage of pregnancy.  If lower back pain is accompanied by other symptoms, such as morning sickness, muscle cramping, and tenderness of the breasts, considered altogether these can be signs of pregnancy.

Back pain that occurs early on in pregnancy is generally caused by the way that her hormones, particularly progesterone, affect her body.  Progesterone softens the discs and the ligaments in a woman’s back.  These ligaments and discs support her upper body, and this sort of pain may be accompanied by muscle spasms.  In other cases, lower back pain during the early part of pregnancy may be caused by a urinary tract infection.





Exercise, posture, rest, and safety will all help to relieve lower back pain in pregnancy.  Good exercises to relieve back pain include pelvic rocking, walking, and mini-crunches.  By standing and sitting straight, you can help to relieve or even avoid back pain as your center of gravity changes during pregnancy.  Getting enough sleep will help not only with your lower back pain, but will also help with your mood and your overall health during pregnancy.  Finally, by making sure that you are practicing safe lifting techniques, you can avoid straining a back that may already be sore.

Lower back pain generally tends to disappear sometime around the 20th week of pregnancy.  During the third trimester, you may experience back pain again as your baby grows and grows bigger, creating a strain on those muscles.  If you have pain in the back that is severe or is persistent, you should contact your health care provider.  She can help to determine if there is another cause for the pain, and to help determine what the best treatment options may be.

What does a ‘slow-riser’ mean?




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A slow riser refers to when HCG levels do not increase at the rate that is expected. For example, in early pregnancy HCG levels double every couple of days in the vast majority of pregnancies. However, one out of every five women will be a “slow riser’ meaning that her HCG levels do not increase rapidly although she has a viable pregnancy.

HCG levels will generally start to decline after the second month of pregnancy and are not considered an important indicator in the outcome of the pregnancy after this time. Normal HCG levels are above 10,000mIU/ML at the eight week mark. Some slow riser women may have lower levels than this. Slow risers may be due to a pending miscarriage or it could be that the woman’s body is just responding to the pregnancy in that way. There is no way to predict either way unless an ultrasound is done. Usually, after a woman has HCG levels of 6,000mIU/ML the baby should show up on ultrasound. However, even if the baby is not visible that does not mean that the baby isn’t thriving. There are many reasons why a baby that small can’t be seen.

There are women who have HCG levels over 100,000mIU/ML whose babies can’t be seen on ultrasound. This is frequently due to abnormalities like bicornuate uterus, tilted uterus, or some other situation that would cause the “hidden baby.”





Many women have a tilted uterus if they have suffered from endometriosis and others simply have a tilted uterus because of their genetics. If you have a tilted uterus your doctor should be able to inform you of this during an ultrasound.

Many women have uterine abnormalities that cannot be seen on ultrasound and generally are only obvious during a C section. Women whose mothers took DES or medicines for morning sickness many years ago may have a uterine abnormality as a result. If you know your mother took any of these drugs it is important to share that information with your doctor.

How to Calculate Estimated Due Date




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Once you are pregnant you can’t wait to know when to expect your baby bundle of joy! Newly expecting parents look forward to finding out their EDD, expected due date, and often times like to try and figure out what that date might be before they visit the doctor. Sometimes, too, the EDD can help support or contradict the EDD that is based on the baby’s first ultrasound.


Calculating EDD

In order to calculate your EDD you must know the first day of your last period. Keep in mind, too, that the calculations used are based on women with a 28 day cycle. If you have a shorter or longer cycle then you should keep track of that as it will affect your baby’s due date. The following formulas are quite commonly used to determine an estimated due date and both will give you the due date of your baby!

First day of your last period + 7 days – 3 months = due date

For example, if the first day of your last period was March 3 then your due date would be December 11, give or take a day or two!





First day of your last period + 281 days = due date

So, if the first day of your last menstrual period is March 3 then you add 281 days to that and the end day is your due date! You can count up 281 days on the calendar from the first day of your last period to get the result.

Of course, if math isn’t your strong suit or you simply prefer for someone else to do all the work then consider using a due date calculator on the web. You include the first day of your last period, your average cycle length, and luteal phase, and your estimated due date will be provided to you!

If you know the date you conceived and are 100% positive then all you need to do is add the days of an average pregnancy to the date of conception. That is 267 days or 38 weeks.

Remember, though, that estimated due dates are just that, estimates. They can’t tell you when your baby will be born. Instead, they give you an estimate as when to expect your little one!

How Much Omega-3 Should I Get In A Day While Pregnant?




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The question of the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids you get in a day while pregnant is an important one. Omega-3 fatty acids are an important part of your nutrition during pregancy. Experts recommend that a woman get at least 1200 mg of Omega-3 fatty acides in a day while pregnant.

According to researchers, as many as 85% of all women are deficient in these omega 3 fatty acids. Among pregnant women, only 2% had diets that met their needs of DHA, EPA and DPA. The rest are getting less than 18% of the recommended daily allowance. This deficiency is blamed on the depletion of omega 3 oils in our food and the trend against eating oil rich fish, such as salmon. It is important, then, to recognize what Omega-3 fish oils do for a mother and her growing baby.

There are a number of benefits that come from getting the best Omega-3 fatty acids while pregnant. Essential fatty acids like Omega-3s help to develop your baby’s nervous system, as well as her retina. It is important to get Omega-3 fatty acids while pregnant in order to maintain your baby’s growth and development.





There are a number of different types of Omega-3 fatty acids. For example, there are DHA fatty acids. These are most often found in fish oils. There are also EPA fatty acids, and DPA fatty acids. Research suggests that deficiencies of these important Omega-3 fatty acids  have been shown to contribute to a number of problems during pregnancy, such as premature birth and low birth weight.

In particular, DHA Omega-3 fatty acids are some of the best Omega-3 fatty acids you can get while pregnant. During the third trimester of your pregnancy, those Omega-3 fatty acids help your baby’s brain grown and develop like it should. By getting enough Omega-3s, you insure your baby’s development and growth occur as they should.

We are proud to offer the DHA-enriched Pregnancy Plus Omega-3 Supplement.

How Can Omega-3 fatty acids Benefit My Baby?




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Salmon

It seems like “omega 3” is the new health buzzword (well, word and number!): everyone is wondering how much is enough, and what is the best way to get it into your diet! Omega 3 is critical for your child’s brain and eye development in utero, and after birth.

You’ve probably heard the acronyms DHA and EPA—you know they’re great for children’s development, right? They are both forms of omega 3 (another is ALA, which is not as easily absorbed!), and they are generally only found in animal foods. You can try to eat flax and hemp, which are considered to be high in omega 3, although they are higher in omega 6 (which is not as good for you), and only contain the ALA form of omega 3, which is not as easily absorbed by the body. Flax also can mimic estrogen in a woman’s body, and can lead to hormonal imbalance, so it may not be the best choice for women who are trying to conceive.





All micro- and macro-nutrients are best absorbed through food rather than through supplements. Our bodies work best when we eat our nutrients, rather than swallow them with water. That being said, an omega 3 supplement can be extremely helpful if you are concerned about your ability to maintain a diet high enough in omega 3’s. There are many options with a less-fishy taste and smell, as well as several brands that boast pills that are smaller than the massive ones we all think of when we hear “omega 3 supplement!” Look for sustainable harvesting and for oil sourced from small fish or algae to limit mercury exposure.

Dietary sources of omega 3 are (you guessed it!) fish, fish, and more fish! If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, watch out for mercury levels in the fish you’re eating. As a general rule, the larger the fish is, the higher the mercury content. Some of the best fish for omega 3’s are small, fatty fish like sardines and herring, as they are super-high in omega 3 and low in mercury. Salmon is always a great fish to eat, and middling in terms of mercury content, so try to eat it once a week. Eggs are another great source of dietary omega 3, as are milk products (although it is usually added to milk and yogurt, so again, it is not as easily absorbed as naturally occurring food sources).

Omega 3’s are great for a pregnant (and trying-to-get-pregnant) mama! The essential fatty acids are wonderful in keeping “bad” cholesterol in check and can help prevent depression (which can be an effect of pregnancy) and help maintain overall mental health and acuity. It can also help with joint lubrication and bone health. Basically, “it’s all good!” So make sure to eat (and supplement, if necessary) lots of high-quality omega 3’s!