Aetna Latest Healthy Living News Latest Healthy Living News from Aetna en Aetna Latest Healthy Living News Latest Healthy Living News from Aetna TYPO3 - get.content.right Mon, 22 Dec 2014 14:04:00 -0500 Study: Mom's Depression Linked to Risky Behavior in Teens Teenagers whose mothers were depressed when the teens were between 6 and 10 years old are more... What's the Doctor's Reaction? Mothers of school aged-children who are depressed should get help. Not just for themselves, but to keep their children from getting into trouble as teenagers. That's the message from a study just released in the journal Pediatrics. Researchers from Canada looked at data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth. They followed almost 3,000 pairs of mothers and their children starting in 1994-1995, when the children were in preschool, until 2008-2009, when they were 16-17 years old. Every 2 years, the researchers asked the mothers about symptoms of depression. They also asked the parents and children themselves about risky teen behaviors, such as using drugs, drinking alcohol, getting into fights or getting in trouble with the police. The researchers found that when mothers were depressed during their children's mid-childhood years (6 to 10 years old), their children were more likely to engage in risky behaviors as teenagers -- and to start them at an earlier age. Any exposure to maternal depression had some effect, but the exposure during mid-childhood had the biggest effect. The authors of the study point out that middle childhood is a crucial time in the cognitive, social and emotional development of children. This is when they are starting school, building relationships and finding their way in the world. When mothers are depressed, not only does this create stress for the child, but it gets in the way of the mother's ability to support and nurture the child at this important time. What Changes Can I Make Now? It's common and understandable for parents with depression to think of it as just their problem. This study underlines what we've known for a while: depression is absolutely their child's problem as well. We know that when mothers of infants are depressed, it affects the development of their babies. This isn't surprising, as so much of infant development depends on the interactions between caregivers and babies. Depressed mothers don't interact as much as mothers who aren't depressed. We've also known that teens of depressed mothers are more likely to get into trouble. This new study shows us that middle childhood is a crucial time, and that what happens then has a big influence on what happens in the teen years. All of this makes the point extremely clear: mothers (and fathers) who are suffering from depression need to get help. They should talk to their primary care doctors and get a referral for treatment. This could be therapy or medication or both. If treatment isn't helping, they should let their doctor know. Although it can take a little while to get the treatment right, depression is a treatable illness. Another big message of this study is that while taking risks is part of being a teen, parents have everything to do with whether that risk-taking gets dangerous or harmful. Parents truly can be the anti-drug, not just by taking care of their own mental health, but by communicating with their teens, building a strong relationship, and by being a good role model. What Can I Expect Looking to the Future? Hopefully this study, and others like it, will not just spur depressed parents to get help, but also help increase awareness that we need to have enough mental health resources to get them that help. We owe it to those who are suffering from depression, as well as their children.]]> Mon, 22 Dec 2014 14:04:00 -0500 Study: Moms Using Devices Talk to Kids Less Mothers who use their smartphones and tablets at the dinner table are less likely to interact with...                    What Is the Doctor's Reaction? The next time you are with your children and start thinking about reaching for your phone to check your e-mails or look at Facebook, think again. While it might not seem like a big deal, it actually could be. Researchers from Boston University watched mothers and their children at the dinner table. They measured the mothers' mobile device use, and also their interactions with their children. Compared with mothers who didn't use their devices during dinner, mothers who did use them:
  • Talked with their children 20% less often
  • Had other interactions with them 39% less often
  • Showed less encouragement of their children
  • Talked with their children 26% less often when new foods were introduced, which can be stressful for children
  • Interacted with their children in other ways 48% less often when offering new foods
Why does this matter? Well, talking with children at mealtime matters. In fact, family dinners where parents and children talk to each other have been linked to:
  • A lower risk of obesity
  • Fewer risky behaviors among teens
  • Bigger vocabularies for young children
Other interactions matter, too. They are part of building strong relationships. And strong relationships with parents make all the difference for children. They are the biggest protective factor against psychosocial stress. Children need to feel like they can rely on and talk to their parents, and feel like their parents support them. This helps to prevent depression, anxiety and other such problems. What Changes Can I Make Now? The change is simple: put down the phone. Not that you can't pick it up at all, but it shouldn't take your attention from your child.  If you really need to check something in that moment, explain to your child what you are doing, do what you absolutely need to do, and then put the phone down. Most of the things parents do with their phones around their children can wait until later. Most of the time, it's boredom or habit or compulsion that has people reaching for their phones. And that's something our children need us to stop doing. Instead, talk with your children. Ask them about their day. Talk about what you see around you. Talk about whatever it is they would like to talk about. Talk about anything -- but talk. And give them your full, loving attention. That is what they want and need most of all. If you have older children with cell phones, make sure that mealtimes and other family times are cell-phone-free -- because older children need their parents, too. And that makes it all the more important that parents put their cell phones down, in order to set a good example and keep things fair. What Can I Expect Looking to the Future? People use their mobile devices, including smart phones, everywhere. That's why we need to pay attention to this study and others like it. We need to be careful and thoughtful about the effects mobile devices can have on our children and our relationships -- because they matter more than any device.]]>
Mon, 15 Dec 2014 12:59:00 -0500
More Young Children Getting Flu Vaccine The proportion of children under age 5 getting flu vaccine each year increased sharply after the...                    What Is the Doctor's Reaction? Starting in 2008, the flu vaccine was recommended for all children 6 months of age and older every year. What was the impact of this new policy? The results of a new study help to answer this question. The journal Pediatrics published the article. The study focused on children ages 6 through 59 months in Davidson County, Tennessee. Researchers looked at this age group for each year between 2000 and 2011. That was both before and after the flu vaccine was recommended for nearly all children. The pandemic during the 2009-2010 influenza season was accounted for as an exception in the analysis.  This study looked at how many children each flu season:
  • Got the flu vaccine
  • Went to the emergency room because of the flu
  • Ended up in the hospital with the flu
The researchers found that the number of children who:
  • Got the flu vaccine went up from 6% (in 2000-2001) to 38% (in 2010-2011)
  • Had a visit to the emergency room went up
  • Had to stay overnight in a hospital went down slightly
It was encouraging to learn that so many more children got the flu vaccine. But more than half were still not vaccinated in any given flu season during the study years. There is much more room for improvement in protecting as many children as possible from the flu. This study also raised a question. If more children got the flu vaccine, why did flu-related ER visits actually go up? Maybe the ER was used more often because flu viruses that are common in some years cause more severe flu illness than others. Parents also may have learned more about the risks of the flu. This may have worried them enough to bring their children to the ER just to be safe. Flu still causes a large amount of illness among young children. The authors point out that with more children getting the vaccine, less flu illness is likely. Of course, this depends on several factors, including:
  • How much flu is around
  • How many people in an area are protected
  • Whether the virus strains circulating in a community match those covered by the vaccine
What Changes Can I Make Now? The flu season is here. Everyone must take steps to prevent flu-related illness. I hope that your children (and you) already have received the flu vaccine. Being vaccinated is the best way to be protected against the flu. Ask your doctor about the different types of flu vaccines. Check which one is best for you and your children. Flu vaccine should be given to:
  • All children 6 months of age and older. This includes infants born early (preterm) and children with medical conditions that increase the risk of severe illness from the flu.
  • All women who are pregnant, are thinking about pregnancy, have recently had a baby or are breastfeeding during the flu season. Flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant.
  • All people who take care of any healthy child younger than 5 or a child of any age with a high-risk condition. This approach also helps protect all infants less than 6 months of age, since they are too young to get flu shots.
Keep in mind these day-to-day tips that can prevent the spread of the flu:
  • Wash hands often with soap and water (or alcohol-based hand sanitizer).
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder, not your hands.
  • Wipe noses with disposable tissues.
  • Try not to touch eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Keep sick children away from others.
  • Regularly wipe down all surfaces, including toys, with a virus-killing disinfectant.
  • Keep your distance from people who are sick.
Watch out for symptoms of the flu in your family. These include cough, runny nose or sore throat and fever. If symptoms start, please ask your doctor early on whether an antiviral medicine might help. What Can I Expect Looking to the Future? Experts will continue to recommend the flu vaccine for all children beginning at 6 months of age. They will keep tracking how many children actually receive the vaccine each season. Getting the vaccine lowers the chance a child will have a serious problem with the flu. Public health experts also will look into how and why some flu viruses can be so severe in even healthy children. Researchers continue to count the number of children going to the ER. They also count how many are admitted to the hospital with the flu. This helps show the impact of getting the flu vaccine.   Advice for the public may need to be adjusted from time to time. Flu viruses often change from one flu season to the next. Therefore, flu vaccines are made each year to match the flu viruses expected to cause illness. Expect doctors to talk with you about the latest updates in flu viruses and vaccines.]]>
Mon, 08 Dec 2014 00:00:00 -0500
Despite Risk, Half of Babies Use Soft Bedding More than half of families use soft bedding for sleeping infants, despite warnings that the...                    What Is the Doctor's Reaction? The number of babies dying from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is going down. But the number of babies dying from other sleep-related causes has gone up. The use of bedding over and under an infant for sleep is unsafe, but still very common. A new study in the journal Pediatrics looked at whether and how often parents used bedding. Almost 19,000 parents were surveyed by telephone between 1993 and 2010. They were asked about:
  • How their babies slept
  • Where their babies slept
  • The type of bedding used
The authors found that the use of bedding went down from 86% to 55% during the 17 years studied.  But many parents still use blankets or pillows with their babies today. When parents were asked about bedding, the authors found that:
  • It was used the most for babies who slept
    • In adult beds
    • On their sides
    • In a shared sleeping place
  • Thick blankets, quilts and comforters were used most to cover the baby
  • Blankets and cushions were most often placed under the baby
  • Pillows and sleeping bags were used less often than other bedding
The researchers also found differences based on age, race and education. Mothers who used bedding were most likely younger than 20, not white and not college educated. Some mothers have heard that bedding is unsafe for a baby. Yet many still use it because they:
  • Think the baby would be more comfortable with it
  • Do not think bedding under a baby can be as dangerous as bedding over a baby
  • Use pillows to block the baby's fall from a bed or sofa
  • See ads in magazines showing babies with blankets
  • Think it is okay if blankets are used only below the baby's neck
  • Think that blankets with regular holes (crocheted) are safe
The researchers point out the importance of all parents knowing safe sleep habits for their babies. Soft objects or loose blankets should NOT be anywhere near where babies sleep. What Changes Can I Make Now? Do not use any bedding under or over your newborn when he or she sleeps. It is very dangerous. Soft objects, such as a pillow, can block the airway. So can loose bedding, such as a blanket or quilt.They increase the risk of:
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Choking
  • Strangling
  • Smothering
Be sure to follow advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to help prevent baby injury or death.
  • Always put your baby to sleep on his or her back. The AAP recommends that babies sleep only on their backs. Never on the side. Never facedown on the tummy. This protects babies from being smothered or dying from SIDS.
  • Share your room, but not the bed. The AAP recommends that parents share a room if they want, but NOT a bed. When sharing a bed, parents can roll onto babies. The baby can get tangled in the blankets.
  • Place your baby on a firm sleep surface. Never put your baby to sleep on a chair, sofa, waterbed or cushion. Car seats and other sitting devices also are not recommended spots for sleep.
  • Keep the crib clear of any objects. Put the baby in a safe sleeping place without any objects nearby. Cover the mattress with a fitted sheet. Do not put pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, crib bumpers or toys in the crib. They can smother or choke a baby.
  • Do not let your baby get overheated. Avoid covering the baby's head.Use clothing that keeps your baby warm without covering the head. Do not dress your baby in extra layers.
  • Do not use special products that are marketed to lower the chance of SIDS. Heart monitors, wedges, positioners and special mattresses have not been proven to lower the risk of SIDS.
Keep these important tips in mind, too:
  • Breastfeed your baby. This lowers the risk of SIDS.
  • Consider letting your baby suck on a pacifier when sleeping. This also may lower the risk of SIDS.
  • Keep your home and car smoke-free.
  • Stay away from smokers and places where people smoke.
  • Avoid smoking during pregnancy and after delivery.
  • Let your baby play on her tummy only when she is awake and you can watch her closely.
  • Stay up to date with all of your baby's vaccines.
  • Make sure all caregivers -- Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, babysitters -- know how to prevent SIDS and other sleep-related injuries.
What Can I Expect Looking to the Future? Expect your pediatrician to talk with you about ways to prevent injury or death from bedding. Educating parents will lead to safer sleep practices for babies and prevent many deaths. More programs to spread awareness about safe sleeping for infants need to be developed and studied. One good resource is the Safe to Sleep campaign from the U.S. government.]]>
Mon, 01 Dec 2014 00:00:00 -0500
Report: More Children Have Eczema Growing numbers of U.S. children are being diagnosed with eczema, a new report says. The report...                    What Is the Doctor's Reaction? Eczema can make a child miserable. The itchy, red rash comes and goes --and comes back again. It affects 10% of children in the United States. Most of them start having it when they are less than 5 years old, so it can be a problem throughout childhood. When we think of skin problems, we usually think of dermatologists. But it turns out that general pediatricians handle most of the care of eczema. That's fine, because in general the care is pretty straightforward. But general pediatricians aren't dermatologists. So the American Academy of Pediatrics has just released a clinical report with the most up-to-date information and advice about eczema. This report will be useful for parents as well as pediatricians. Here are some of the highlights:
  • Eczema can look different in different children. It can be bumpy or scaly, with small or big patches. The amount of redness also varies. Dry skin usually occurs along with it. In little children, eczema tends to be in the inside of the elbows and behind the knees. In teenagers, it's more common on the hands and feet.
  • Not only is eczema common (and itchy), it also can affect the quality of life for both children and their families. Children with severe eczema tend to have fewer friends and take part in fewer group activities. Parents spend a lot of time caring for their child's skin. When they must deal with nighttime itching, they often get less rest.
  • Food allergies are more common in children with eczema. But the food allergies don't cause the eczema. So unless a child has had a clear reaction to a food, or has a medical test that clearly shows an allergy, parents shouldn't put their children with eczema on special diets.
  • Treating eczema in young children is especially important. Research suggests that treating eczema may help prevent other kinds of allergic disorders, such as asthma.
What Changes Can I Make Now? There are four important parts of treatment (and prevention):
  1. Take good care of the skin.  It's important not to bathe a child with eczema too much, as this dries out the skin. How often a child should be bathed depends on the child's skin. Discuss this with the doctor. However often you do it, the baths should be short and lukewarm, not hot. The soap should be mild, without perfume. The most important maintenance, though, is using an ointment-type moisturizer all over the body at least once a day. Twice or more each day is even better.
  2. Use creams and ointments to stop the inflammation. Steroids are the most commonly used kind, and they are very effective. It's important not to overuse them, though. That can lead to thinning of the skin and other side effects. Talk to your doctor about the best regimen for your child.
  3. Control the itch. When kids itch, it makes eczema worse. Moisturizing helps sometimes. Medicines can make a difference, too. Your doctor can help you choose the best medicine for your child.
  4. Prevent and treat any skin infections. Skin infections are common in people with eczema, and they, too, can make things worse. It’s important to call the doctor anytime the redness of eczema increases or you see new crusting or drainage. Diluted bleach baths (putting a little bit of bleach in a big tub of water) a couple of times a week can help kill germs and keep the skin healthier.
What Can I Expect Looking to the Future? I hope that the information in this clinical report will help pediatricians and parents understand eczema better, and make children with eczema happier and healthier.]]>
Mon, 24 Nov 2014 00:00:00 -0500
Study: 23% in High School Use Tobacco About 23% of U.S. high school students use some form of tobacco, new survey data show. And about...                    What Is the Doctor's Reaction? It has been 50 years since the first "Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health" was published. U.S. adults and youth are not smoking nearly as often now. That is the good news. The bad news is that more than 5 million of today's children and teens will still die early from a smoking-related illness. Why? The use of other tobacco products has gone up. There are many forms of tobacco, including:
  • Cigarettes
  • Cigars
  • Smokeless tobacco
  • Pipes
  • Bidis
  • Kreteks
  • Hookah
  • Snus
  • Dissolvable tobacco
  • E-cigarettes, a new product containing a nicotine extract
It's also very easy for teens to be exposed to tobacco. We still see people smoking around town, on billboards, on TV and in movies, magazines and newspapers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported new data about tobacco use in middle school (grades 6-8) and high school students (grades 9-12). The CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published the data. More than 18,400 students took the 2013 National Youth Tobacco Survey. They were asked about using tobacco at least once (ever) and using tobacco at least once in the past 30 days (current). The study also looked at how many students used one or more tobacco products. This CDC study found students using all types of tobacco products. In middle school, almost 1 in 5 students had ever used tobacco. More than 1 in 20 reported current use of any tobacco product. Compared with middle school students, high school students were more likely to try tobacco.
  • Almost 1 in 2 reported having ever tried a tobacco product.
  • More than 1 in 5 reported current use of any tobacco product.
  • More than 1 in 3 reported having ever tried 2 or more tobacco products.
  • More than 1 in 10 reported current use of 2 or more tobacco products.
Of the high school students who use any tobacco product, more than 9 out of 10 are smokers. They use burnable products like cigarettes, cigars, hookahs and pipes. These are the most common products used. They also cause the most tobacco-related disease and death in the United States. Most youth who use tobacco think they will be able to stop using tobacco in the near future. This turns out not to be true. Many will keep using tobacco well into adulthood. Plus, youths who report use of 2 or more tobacco products are at higher risk for developing nicotine dependence. What Changes Can I Make Now? Tobacco use is still too high overall. As a parent, you can help prevent your child from smoking and using other tobacco products. Teens who complete high school without ever smoking are much less likely to become smokers in adulthood. Talk with your children about tobacco at an early age. Remember that many kids start smoking in middle school.
  • Explain that smoking is very dangerous and unhealthy.
  • Tell them how addicting it is.
  • Point out that tobacco smoke
    • Smells bad
    • Causes bad breath
    • Turns teeth and fingernails yellow
    • Makes clothes and hair smell
    • Causes wrinkles
    • Leaves you with a hacking cough
    • Leaves you with less energy for sports and other fun activities
Follow these tips to keep your child smoke-free.
  • Be a role model. Set a good example for your child by not smoking. Parents who smoke are more likely to have children who smoke.
  • If you are a smoker, quit now. The earlier you stop smoking, the less likely your child is to become a smoker. You can also talk to your child about how hard it is to quit.
  • Have a smoke-free policy in your home and car. Make sure all events that your child attends are smoke-free.
  • Role-play with your teens to prepare them for dealing with pressure from friends to try tobacco.
  • Don't forget to talk about the other forms of tobacco. These include cigars, hookah and chewing tobacco. Make sure your child knows that they can be just as dangerous and addicting as cigarettes.
  • Mention that smoking is expensive. You can compare the cost of smoking with video games, clothes or other items that are important to your child.
  • Warn your child about the influence of tobacco companies. Children should not be fooled by how cool smoking looks in movies, TV, magazines and other media.
If you catch your child smoking, take it seriously. The best way to prevent your child from becoming a lifetime smoker is to stop it right away.
  • Be supportive. Try not to get angry.
  • Find out why your child started smoking in the first place. Talk about what changes can be made in her life that will help her to stop smoking.
  • Help your teen quit. Call the toll-free quit line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW and visit the teen smoking website of the National Cancer Institute.
What Can I Expect Looking to the Future? More work is needed to monitor and prevent the use of all forms of tobacco among youth. Expect your pediatrician to counsel you and your children on the risks of tobacco use. Programs to discourage children from ever trying to smoke can help protect them from any tobacco use and nicotine dependence. Parents also need to teach their teens about the problems linked with tobacco use.]]>
Tue, 18 Nov 2014 00:00:00 -0500
Study Cites Poison Risk from Detergent 'Pods' In the last 2 years, more than 700 young children needed hospital care after exposure to laundry...                    What Is the Doctor's Reaction? Do you use laundry detergent "pods"? Pods are little packets of concentrated detergent. In many homes, they have replaced liquid detergent for washing machines. It seems young children like laundry detergent pods. The pods are colorful. Children think they are candy and try to eat them. This harms young children, as swallowing any cleaning product can. The chemicals inside these pods can also get onto skin or into eyes, causing more problems. A new study shows us the details about children exposed to laundry detergent pods. Researchers studied data on poisonings collected by a large national call system. The journal Pediatrics published the study. The study covered 2012-2013. During those 2 years, there were 17,230 calls about laundry detergent pod exposures in children younger than 6. Here are some of the key findings:
  • The most common reason for exposure was "unintentional" (not on purpose).
  • About 3 out of 4 children were under the age of 3.
  • About 4 out of 5 exposures involved eating the detergent.
  • In nearly half of the cases, the pods were always left out or where the child could see them.
  • Almost 1 in 20 children needed a hospital stay for treatment.
  • About 1 in 12 children had a moderate or major medical outcome, such as being put on a respirator. There was even 1 death.
The researchers note that poisoning from pods has become a serious problem. The pods may work well, but children are exposed to them way too often. Even worse, the pods seem to be more toxic to children than regular laundry detergents. What Changes Can I Make Now? Remember that most poisonings occur at home. Children are at highest risk of accidental poisonings at home because they are:
  • Naturally curious
  • Attracted to the colors, scents and labels of products
  • Often putting things in their mouths to learn about them
  • Always exploring the world around them
  • Doing what they see adults do to be just like them
Always be prepared in case a poisoning happens in your home. Put the national toll-free number for the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) in everyone's cellphone. Put it next to every telephone you have in your home, too. Make sure all babysitters and caregivers know where to find this number. The laundry detergent in pods is very strong and can be toxic. A small amount can cause serious breathing concerns, stomach problems or eye pain. To keep your child safe from laundry detergent pods, follow these tips:
  • Never let your children play with the pods. They dissolve very fast. They can melt even faster with water, wet hands or saliva. 
  • Seal the container that stores the pods. Place the container in a locked cabinet after each use. Make sure the container is out of your child's reach.
  • Follow the warnings and directions on the product label.
Review our 'Childproof Your Home' tool on this website. This tool shares many important ideas on how best to protect young children from poisonings inside and outside your home. In addition, keep these tips in mind to prevent poisonings:
  • Never leave young children alone. Remember that it takes only a second for a child to be poisoned.
  • Watch children extra carefully at someone else's home. Assume that the house is not poison-proofed.
  • Never call medicine "candy."
  • Do not take any medicine in front of children.
  • Use child-resistant locks on all cabinets and doors in your home that hold chemicals and medicines.
  • Keep purses and diaper bags out of children's reach.
  • Store household products and medicines in their original containers. These containers often include first-aid information.
  • Remember that child-resistant containers are not childproof. Store all chemicals and all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
What Can I Expect Looking to the Future? More study also is needed to understand why the pods are so toxic to children. A less toxic form might be possible with a change in the chemicals or the strength of ingredients in each pod. We don't know for sure, but it appears that the colorful, candy-like design of laundry detergent pods catches the eye of young children. Product packaging should change, so children do not think the pods are something to eat. All laundry detergent pods should carry a label that warns about the danger of exposure. With more educational efforts, you can expect increased public awareness of the danger of these pods.]]>
Mon, 10 Nov 2014 00:00:00 -0500
Pregnancy Diabetes May Affect Daughter's Weight Daughters of women with high blood sugar during pregnancy may be more likely to become overweight...                    What Is the Doctor's Reaction? High blood sugar in a pregnant woman greatly increases the chance that she will develop diabetes later in life. It also increases the risk of a premature (early) delivery and having a very large newborn. There's another important risk. In this study, the daughters of women who had high blood sugar during pregnancy had a much greater chance of becoming overweight or obese early in life than the daughters of women with normal blood sugar in pregnancy. This was true even for daughters whose weights were normal at birth. This is not the first study to show the risk of a higher body mass index (BMI) in children of women who had high blood sugar during pregnancy. These researchers went beyond just looking at BMI. They also looked at the percentage of body fat and the waist-to-height ratios of the daughters. A high waist-to-height ratio indicates you likely have more belly fat. Doctors call it visceral fat. It's the most dangerous type of fat. This type of fat has been linked with a greater risk of diabetes and heart disease. In this study, women's blood sugar levels during pregnancy just needed to be higher than normal to increase their daughters' risk of weight gain. The pregnant women did not need to carry a diagnosis of gestational diabetes. The researchers did identify which daughters had the greatest chance of becoming overweight or obese. They were born to women who were overweight or obese themselves before pregnancy and had gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is very common today. Close to 10% of pregnant women develop it. That's why pregnant women are routinely tested for gestational diabetes. The test usually is done between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. Women are tested sooner if they:
  • Have had gestational diabetes in the past
  • Have symptoms that suggest high blood sugar, such as excessive urination, thirst and dry mouth
For the gestational diabetes test, the pregnant woman drinks a sugar solution. Blood is drawn one hour later. A blood sugar level of 140 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or higher suggests gestational diabetes. What Changes Can I Make Now? Compared with men, women have an extra motivation to maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly. Excess weight may affect not only their health but also the health of their children. If you are overweight, it's best to lose the weight before you get pregnant.  But once you are pregnant, forget the old saying "eat for two." Women who have a normal body weight at the start of pregnancy should consume 300 extra calories per day. But for overweight and obese women, this is probably too much. Underweight women should eat more. The recommended amount of weight gain during pregnancy depends on your weight before you got pregnant. The Institute of Medicine and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend these goals:
  • For underweight women, gain 28 to 40 pounds.
  • For women of average weight, gain 25 to 35 pounds.
  • For overweight women, gain 15 to 25 pounds.
  • For obese women, gain about 15 pounds.
Ideally, weight gain during pregnancy should be gradual. Most of the gain should occur during the second half of pregnancy. Women who have diabetes or pre-diabetes before a planned pregnancy need to keep their blood sugar as close to normal as possible. If blood sugar levels rise during pregnancy, getting them under control is more important than the amount of weight gain. What Can I Expect Looking to the Future? This study was done just on daughters. It's likely that sons of pregnant women with high blood sugars would also have a greater chance of having more body fat. You can expect a future study to provide us with the answer.]]>
Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:37:00 -0400