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Women & Family Health : Healthy Pregnancy and Parenting


Pregnancy can be one of the happiest times of your life but with it can also come an overwhelming array of questions and concerns about what to expect. When it comes to parenting advice, let’s face it, there’s a ton of information available, but often it’s hard to discern what information is accurate or not. South Shore Hospital’s new Healthy Pregnancy and Parenting blog has been created by a trusted community of expert colleagues from our maternity team as well as other experts throughout our system of care. The main goal of the blog is to disseminate accurate, useful information focused on healthy pregnancy and parenting to the community at large.

The interactive platform of the blog allows readers to engage with our team of experts as well as other readers on a variety of pregnancy and parenting-related topics. 

Our Blogs

About Our Authors

  Amy Baron
  Andrew Frongillo
  Becky Fay
  Chris Just
  Debbie Carlson
  Elizabeth Bwogi
  Jessie Wilson
  Julie Honan
  Julie Paul
  Mary Hogan-Donaldson
  Nannette Landry
  Rebecca Dunk, RN, MPH
  Susan Scotti Smith
  Susan Yount
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Pregnancy and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
by Chris Just at 07:21 AM

drinking%20water_Blog.jpgBy now most people know that trans-fats are bad and saturated fats should be kept to a minimum but that’s only part of the conversation regarding fats and health. Did you know that there are good fats (in the form of oils) that you need in order to survive? The fatty foods that are most healthy for you contain omega 3s, essential fatty acids necessary for optimal health. The most beneficial of these fatty acids are EPA and DHA which play an important role in preventing heart disease, cancer, and depression and may help treat other disorders such as arthritis and diabetes. To assist the public in getting enough of these vital nutrients, some foods are now fortified with omega 3s, including certain brands of eggs, pasta, and yogurt.

When it comes to babies, these same nutrients promote brain and eye growth and have been found to help prevent the onset of asthma, allergies, low birth weight and preterm labor. Hence, many providers prescribe prenatal vitamin supplements that contain DHA and recommend that women take them during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.  

One of the best natural sources of omega 3 fatty acids is fish. The FDA advises that pregnant and breastfeeding women (and young children) consume 2 – 3 weekly servings of low-mercury fish (such as salmon, light canned tuna, tilapia, cod, shrimp, catfish, pollock). In addition to providing omega 3, fish contain high quality protein and a significant amount of vitamins and minerals yet are low in saturated fat. Fish to avoid, due to high mercury content, include shark, king mackerel, tilefish and swordfish. White albacore tuna should be limited to 6 ounces per week. No amount of raw or undercooked fish is OK during pregnancy.

Despite all of its benefits, fish is generally under-consumed by many pregnancy women. Reasons for avoiding fish may include cost, availability, fear of mercury, dislike of the taste or texture of fish, or a lack of knowledge on how to prepare seafood. It is important for women to feel confident in following the FDA guidelines. Safe fish is highly recommended and the benefits are numerous. Find local deals on fish to cut costs – some markets and farms host fish trucks on a weekly basis, allowing you to purchase fresh fish from a convenient location. Don’t be afraid to ask the seller for ideas on how to prepare the fish. If you or your family are not huge fans of seafood, try fish tacos or salmon burgers - when mixed with lots of ingredients, the fish is barely perceptible. With a quick google search you can find several recipes and choose the most appealing one for your taste. If cooking isn’t your pleasure then ask friends or investigate online to find the best seafood restaurants in town.

For more information on fish and pregnancy, check out the latest draft of guidelines from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Fish: What Pregnant Women and Parents Should Know. Remember, food can be your best pharmacy and fish provides a list of health benefits that is unrivaled by most other food types.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Birth Control After Baby
by Becky Fay at 10:39 AM

family_blog.jpgBelieve it or not, a few weeks after the birth of your baby you will be interested in resuming intimacy with your partner. Many couples may plan to add to their family in the future, and others may feel that their family is complete. The average age of menopause, when women are no longer able to conceive, is just over 51-years-old in the United States—an age that may leave you with many years of pregnancy prevention ahead. One half of all pregnancies are unintended, and one half of those unintended pregnancies are the result of a contraceptive failure. There are many options available to couples who want to have some control over their fertility. Below is a brief over review of some different methods that are available. As you consider your options, you should consider effectiveness and safety, as well as your personal lifestyle. Of course, you should discuss your plans with your partner and your provider to make sure you are making the best choice for you.

Options range from permanent to reversible. Permanent options include male sterilization (Vasectomy) and female sterilization (laparoscopic tubal ligation and the newer non-invasive approach ESSURE). Reversible methods include hormonal methods such as pills, patches, vaginal rings, injections, and implants. Other reversible methods include two different types of intrauterine devices (IUDs).

For those couples who do not want to use hormones, or have medical conditions that prevent them from using hormones, barrier methods such as male condoms, diaphragms, or female condoms are safe and effective. Other non-hormonal methods include fertility awareness-based (FAB) methods and lactational amenorrhea method (LAM).

With the many choices available, you should feel confident that you and your partner will choose a method that fits both your fertility needs and your lifestyle. You should plan to speak with your provider to discuss all your options at your six week post-partum visit.

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