Vices in Pregnancy – Part 1

woman pregnant smoking

Caffeine

Caffeinated beverages do not seem to cause birth defects or preterm labor and delivery in people…but there are other risks. Such as: fetal growth retardation, miscarriage, and low birth weight.

Woman who drink more than 300mg of caffeine are at the highest risk. That would be about three, five ounce cups. Those that both smoke and drink caffeine are at even a higher risk for babies with stunted growth.

Coffee (5 oz. cup) 60-180 mg
Tea (5 oz. steeped 4 minutes) 38-77 mg.
Cocoa (5 oz. cup) 2-20 mg.
Chocolate milk (8 oz.) 2-7 mg.
Cola drinks (Jolt, Mr. Pibb, Mountain Dew, etc.) 36-72 mg.
Non-prescription drugs (Excedrin, Anacin, etc.) 30-65 mg.


Tobacco

Cigarette smoke is full of chemicals. Many of these migrate to the sperm cells when they fertilize the ovum, and then continue to bombard the fetus when the mother smokes or is exposed to tobacco smoke.

Women who smoke are more likely to experience pre-eclampsia during pregnancy, preterm labor, premature rupture of the membranes, and premature delivery. The baby born to a smoking woman tends to be lower in birth weight, and more likely to die soon after birth than those who do not smoke.

The damage to the baby can persist into later life. They are at more risk for cancer as an adult, susceptible to middle-ear infections, asthma, chronic bronchitis, and wheezing.

If raised in a household where smoking is allowed children are more likely to develop hypertension, as well as neurological and behavioral problems such as attention deficit disorder. They also tend to score lower in intelligence tests later in life.

Men who smoke have a considerable higher risk of having children with birth defects and childhood cancer. This is probably due to the lowering of vitamin C levels in seminal fluids and sperm. Not even the best of nutrition can make up for the damage done by smoking!

Woman smoking and alcohol

Alcohol

Alcohol freely enters the placenta and directly exposes the developing baby to its toxic effects. It travels in the baby’s blood stream at the same concentration as that of the mother. If mother is “buzzed”, so is the baby!

Some babies born develop a condition called “Fetal Alcohol Syndrome” or FAS. They are shorter in length, lighter in weight, than other babies. They do not “catch up” eve with special postnatal care. They also have abnormally small heads, irregularity in their faces, limb abnormalities, heart defects, and poor coordination. Many are mentally retarded and may develop behavioral problems as they grow up (such as hyperactivity). Another condition, which is similar, is called “Fetal Alcohol Effect” or FAE.

No one knows how much alcohol it would take to damage a baby. Since it causes permanent physical and mental birth defects and no “safe” amount is known, the best bet is to abstain from alcohol.

Be aware of the alcohol that may be in certain foods. Such as: Irish Coffee, wine coolers, rum in fruit cakes, liquor-laced desserts, and cough medicines.

 

 

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Weight Gain in Pregnancy

WEIGHT GAIN IN PREGNANCY

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Having a healthy baby with a normal birth rate
is directly linked to pre-pregnancy weight.

 

Even if you are 20 or more pounds over-weight you would still need to gain weight during your pregnancy.

Many women know little about the importance of weight gain in pregnancy, or are given too low of a weight amount. Not gaining enough weight puts your baby at risk for infant low birth weight or fetal death.

Women who gain less than 20 pounds during pregnancy are at the highest risk. The best fetal outcome is when a woman gains twenty-six to thirty-five pounds during their pregnancy.

A woman who is overweight at conception, may need to go up to 40 pounds in weight gain. Her calorie intake was already higher when she conceived. She needs to consider the needs of the unborn fetus inside of her.


DO NOT DIET DURING YOUR PREGNANCY!

 

Under-eating during the last portion of the pregnancy puts the fetus at risk for underdevelopment of the brain, and abnormal growth.

• Don’t worry about your weight gain.
• Eat when your appetite tells you to eat.
• But…when you eat, eat with good nutrition in mind. No “empty calories”, …ever.
• Don’t restrict salt intake
• Be careful with drugs, especially diuretics.

During pregnancy the blood volume of the circulatory system increases more than 40 percent in order to take care of the needs of the mother and baby. The expansion of blood is determined and is maintained by whether or not there is adequate salt intake. This includes salt that is found in the foods you eat, as well as that which is used to flavor the food.

Be sure to refer to the “Baby Wise Diet” blog post or hand-out when choosing foods. Eat fresh whole foods as often as possible. Try to limit the “sweets” from your diet such as cakes, pies, cookies, and candy. Also limit fast foods and fried foods.


Concentrate on:

Fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals and breads, fish (see nutrition hand-outs for cautions), poultry and lean meats.

Dairy products are also important, if tolerated, but remember calcium and other nutrients can be found in dark leafy vegetables as well.

Yogurt can be and is a good source of protein and calcium, but also is good for the intestinal tract. It is better tolerated than whole milk because of the fermentation processed used to culture the yogurt. With the over-use of antibiotics, our intestinal flora cannot support the production of essential vitamins normally found within the intestinal tract.