Is it Safe to Fly While Pregnant?

airplaneFlying can be difficult even when you are not pregnant, nevertheless when you are lugging around an extra 20lbs (in your belly) plus your family! First and foremost, there’s the question of safety…is it safe to fly while pregnant? The answer is yes (unless you have been told otherwise by your physician). In general, it is safe to fly until you are 34 to 36 weeks (provided your pregnancy is uncomplicated…check with your physician)….but some exceptions are for example if you are pregnant with twins (or multiples), have diabetes, history of forming blood clots, high blood pressure, or anything that puts you at risk of an earlier delivery (please discuss details and possibilities with your own doctor). It’s safest to avoid flying within that last month of pregnancy, mostly because you want to be near your doctor, family and hospital that you have planned to deliver at. Most airlines will not even allow you to book a flight within the last month of pregnancy because they do not want to take the risk of you going into labor while in flight.
If you are going to fly, the most important thing to do is make sure that you are comfortable. Try requesting an aisle seat so that you can get up easily and stretch, along with convenient access to the bathroom. On the topic of stretching, if you have a long flight, make sure to move your legs around every 30 minutes or so, especially if your legs get swollen easily. By getting up and walking or moving your legs, you increase the circulation in your legs and decrease the chance of developing a blood clot. Also, consider buying a pair of maternity support panty hose. Support hose help improve the circulation in your legs and help to keep the swelling to a minimum. Last but not least, don’t forget to drink plenty of water before and during the flight. The cabin air can be dry and dehydrate you. Enjoy your vacay!!!

Hydration While Breastfeeding

water2You remember when you were pregnant everyone, including this blog, kept on telling you how important it is to stay hydrated while pregnant?!?! We’ll it’s just as important, if not more, while you are breast feeding. The only way to produce enough milk for your baby is to get enough fluid in to your own body. The minimum amount of fluid you need in a day to produce adequate milk is at least two liters worth…yes thats equivalent to the size of a large soda bottle (or 4 small 500ml water bottles). But don’t forget, this is the minimum amount and soda or any fluids that dehydrate your body do not count! The best thing you can have is just pure good old water, but juice, milk, etc can count towards your total daily fluid intake. If the weather is hot, don’t forget, you are losing some of your body’s water from your skin so you need to put even more water back into your body. If your newborn is not producing enough urine or poop…one reason could be he/she is not getting enough milk and is becoming dehydrated. It is important to increase your fluid intake to make more (adequate) milk so your newborn can have more to feed on. [If your baby continues to have changes in his/her urine or stool habits, please make sure you contact your baby’s doctor immediately]  Don’t forget to keep hydrated!

What’s In Your Family Tree???

familytreeKnowing your family’s past medical history is very important in regards to your own health. Whether you are going to your Primary Care doctor, OB-Gyn, or your kids Pediatrician, we all have experienced that packet of papers you are handed by your doctors secretary as you walk through the door ( and yes I’ve been through it myself and unfortunately make my patients suffer through it everyday).  That packet of info contains extremely important aspects of your health, including asking you about your family history. Often times patients ignore the importance of family history. Unfortunately a lot of diseases are genetic, meaning you can inherit them from your family. Fortunately though, if your doctor knows about them, they can help screen you and possibly help prevent you from being inflicted. The best thing you can do to help with your personal health prevention is a simple task; before your appointment, ask your family, especially your immediate family, their medical history. For example find out who has hypertension (high blood pressure), hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), cancer, diabetes, etc. Spending a little time before can save you a lot of time and stress at the doctors office pondering about who has what medical condition in your family.

What’s in your family tree?!?!?

Importance of Folic Acid During Pregnancy

folic acidThe second you get pregnant, the first question your doctor will ask you is “when was your last period” and then he/she will ask you, “are you taking prenatal vitamins”? Hopefully you will have the right answer to both! Prenatal vitamins have the essential vitamins your body needs while pregnant, and most importantly, they contain folic acid. It has been shown that adequate levels of folic acid can help prevent neural tube defects in your unborn fetus. The good news is, folate (the natural version of folic acid) is found in a lot of foods we eat such as green leafy vegetables, oranges, legumes and beef liver. The bad new is that the amount of folate absorbed by your body is not always enough. Fortunately, supplemental forms (aka vitamins) of folic acid are well absorbed and vastly available.
There are hundreds of prenatal vitamin brands out there and thankfully in addition to pill form, they can now be found as liquid or gummy. Yes, I will admit, I am one of those peps that even at the age of 30, still chokes on pills so I opt for anything in gummy form. No one brand is superior than the other as long as it has the appropriate amount of folic acid you need. Here are some guidelines to go by:
1. Most of you will fall into this category: For primary prevention in low risk pregnancy, you need 0.4 mg (or 400mcg) daily. It is recommended that you start supplementation one month prior to pregnancy, or as soon as you find out you are pregnant.
2. For women with a child previous affected with a neural tube defect, it is suggested to have 4mg per day, and beginning supplementation one month prior to getting pregnant and continuing through at least the first trimester.
3. For women with pregestational diabetes (that is diabetes diagnosed prior to becoming pregnant, or women taking valproate or carbamazapine, should take 4mg of folic acid daily starting one month prior to conception and continuing through at least the first trimester of pregnancy.
*Please do not use this supplement or any other supplements if you have ever experienced an allergic reaction after previously taking them.