Flu Vaccines are Important and Safe for Pregnant Women

Influenza or Flu is a viral illness that appears most frequently during the winter and early spring. The effects of the flu can range from a mild cold-like illness to becoming severely sick, requiring hospitalization.

Women who are expecting are at an increased risk of developing severe flu-related illnesses due to the many changes in the immune system, heart and lungs that occur during pregnancy.

Influenza can be harmful to both mother and developing baby.   Complications from the flu can increase chances for premature delivery and is also linked to neural tube defects in growing fetuses.

The CDC highly recommends that pregnant women receive the flu shot. For 2015-2016, it is estimated that the vaccine prevented about 5 million influenza illnesses and 3,000 related deaths.

A flu shot given to a pregnant woman protects mother and baby. Research shows that mothers, who are vaccinated, will pass on some immunity to their child after birth. This reduces the risk of illness for the newborn.  The CDC finds that “The flu shot given during pregnancy has been shown to protect both the mother and her baby for several months after birth from flu.”

The vaccine is safe to get during any trimester.  There is an excellent safety record for the millions of pregnant women who received the flu shot.  We highly recommend vaccination for all pregnant women, and it is considered part of routine prenatal care.

It is important for others living in the household to get the flu shot to further protect the newborn. Babies usually get their first flu shot at the age of 6 months, so until then, they are at an increased risk of getting influenza from their environment. If an unvaccinated infant gets the flu, it can be severe and require medical management.

If you are pregnant and experiencing flu symptoms such as fever, body aches or a sore throat, call your family doctor immediately or seek medical attention.

To schedule an appointment with the Family Medicine Department at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call, 718-206-6942

Radeeb Akhtar MD. MPH. JHMC Family Medicine

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Could You Be Pregnant? 10 Signs You May Be

A common question many women ask after missing their period is, “could I be pregnant?”  There are early symptoms that you could look out for that may indicate pregnancy. These signs may show up a week or two after you have missed your period and can include:

 

  1. Mood swings
  2. Food aversions
  3. Frequent urination
  4. Spotting and cramping
  5. Constipation
  6. Changes in breasts that may involve swelling or tenderness
  7. Fatigue
  8. Headaches
  9. Back pain
  10. Darkening of nipples

Every woman’s body is unique; therefore, some may experience multiple symptoms or none at all during the early stages of their pregnancies.  If you believe you could be pregnant, it is advised that you see your doctor to confirm the pregnancy.   Once your pregnancy is confirmed, your doctor will discuss a prenatal care plan that is best for you and your baby’s health.

Prenatal care is vital because it improves the chances of a healthy pregnancy.  Women who do not receive prenatal care are three times more likely to have low birthweight babies and are more at risk of having complications caused by pregnancy.

To speak with a doctor about your pregnancy or prenatal care, please schedule an appointment with an OB/GYN at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center by calling 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

The ABC’s of Safe Sleep for Infants

Sweet Newborn Baby Girl Asleep in Crib

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and the New York State Department of Health, Office of Children and Family Services urge new parents to follow the ABC’s of how to keep your baby safe while sleeping.

“A” is for ALONE – make sure that your baby sleeps ALONE

“B” is for BACK – Be sure to place your baby on their BACK

“C” is for CRIB – Always place your baby in a safe CRIB

Although the rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) related deaths in infants between 28 days and 4 months old has decreased significantly; the incidence of sleep related deaths due to injury and the infant’s sleep position and environment are on the rise. Studies have shown that at least 80% of these infant deaths could have been prevented.

Some guidelines that new parents should follow are:

  • Purchase a safety-approved crib for your infant and keep it near your bed.
  • Sleeping in the same room as your baby is recommended.
  • Sleeping on the same surface as your baby (sometime referred to as bed-sharing) is NOT RECOMMENDED.
  • Breastfeeding mothers ought to place their baby back into their crib before going to sleep.
  • Do not place pillows, blankets, bumpers or other soft objects into the crib with your baby.
  • Purchase a firm mattress and fitted sheets for your baby’s crib.
  • Do not rely on your baby monitor.
  • Never use a car seat, baby swing, carriage or carrier without fully fastening the straps. Partially fastened straps can become a hazard for the baby.
  • Smoking with your baby present puts them at a higher risk for SIDS.
  • Do not have your baby sleep on a couch or chair. This will pose a risk of blocking airways and may trap the baby in a position that may cause them to suffocate.

For these and additional tips on how to keep your baby safe, visit – http://www.safebabiesny.com/

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Sickle Cell Awareness for Expecting Mothers

pregnancy health September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month. Sickle cell disease (also called SCD) is a condition in which the red blood cells in your body are shaped like a sickle (like the letter C). This can result in interruption of blood flow, and prevent oxygen from reaching tissue and organs. When this occurs, painful events can occur with an associated risk of muscle, bone and organ damage.

A careful history should be taken from all pregnant women seeking to identify risk factors for genetic disorders. A simple blood test either before conception or during pregnancy can determine whether either parent carries a sickle cell trait. During pregnancy, SCD poses problems to both mother and fetus.

With regular prenatal care, most women with SCD can have a healthy pregnancy. However, if you have SCD, you’re more likely than other women to have health complications that can affect your pregnancy. These complications include pain episodes, infection and vision problems. During pregnancy, SCD may become more severe, and pain episodes may happen more often. Pain episodes usually happen in the organs and joints. They can last a few hours to a few days, but some last for weeks.

As a pregnant woman with sickle cell disease certain risk factors may increase:

  • Miscarriage
  • Premature birth
  • Having a baby with low birth weight (less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces)

If you have SCD and you’re pregnant or planning to get pregnant, talk to your health care provider about the medicines you are taking. Your provider may change your medicine to one that is safe for your baby during pregnancy.

For more hospital events, highlights, health and  fitness tips, visit us on Facebook.com/JamaicaHospital and follow us on Twitter @JamaicaHospital 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Mosquito Bites – More Than Just an Itch

zikabugSummertime means most of us will spend more time outdoors, but this means we must share our space with mosquitoes. Of the 3,000 species of mosquitoes in the world, roughly 200 can be found in the USA.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mosquitos have been labeled the most dangerous animal in the world since estimates hold mosquitos responsible for hundreds of millions of malaria cases each year, as well as transmitting West Nile virus, yellow fever and the more notable Zika virus.

We are told by health professionals and monitoring agencies that the Zika virus is primarily spread to people through the bite of an insect, the Aedes aegypti mosquito to be more specific. Additionally, there have been some cases where Zika has been spread through having sexual relations with an infected male. Men and women who have traveled to Zika hot spots should consider condom use during pregnancy if the man has been exposed.

The most common symptoms of the Zika virus disease are:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint pain
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)

The CDC goes on to state that the Zika virus is usually mild with symptoms that last from several days to one week, but with Zika being linked to birth defects in women infected during pregnancy, the CDC recommends the following measures to protect you against being bitten:

  • Repellents – When used as directed, insect repellents are the best way to protect yourself and family from getting mosquito bites. The higher percentages of active ingredients provide longer lasting protection.
  • Cover up – When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.
  • Keep mosquitoes outside – Use air conditioning or make sure that you repair and use window/door screens
  • Protect yourself when traveling – learn about the country-specific travel advice, health risks and how to stay safe.

Since specific areas where Zika is spreading, and most prevalent, are often difficult to determine and are likely to change over time, please visit the CDC Travelers’ Health Site for the most updated information at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-travel-information

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Preeclampsia Awareness Month

pregpicPreeclampsia Awareness Month is a nationally recognized health observance that presents an opportunity to offer education to help increase awareness of this life-threatening disorder.

Preeclampsia occurs in eight percent of all pregnancies.  Formerly called toxemia, preeclampsia is a condition that is marked by high blood pressure in pregnant women that have previously not experienced high blood pressure.  Symptoms of preeclampsia include high levels of protein found in their urine and they may have swelling in the feet, legs and hands.  Preeclampsia appears late in the pregnancy, generally after the 20 week mark, although, in some cases, it can appear earlier.

If left undiagnosed and untreated, preeclampsia can become a more serious condition called eclampsia, which can put the expectant mother and baby at risk.

There is no cure for preeclampsia, but when it is caught in its early stages, it is easier to manage.

If you are pregnant and would like to make an appointment at Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Women’s Health Center, call 718-291-3276, for an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Zika

According to the Centers for Disease, Control and Prevention, the Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.  The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis.

Most recently, the Zika virus has been linked to microcephaly in babies of mother’s who contracted the virus during pregnancy. Microcephaly is a condition where a baby’s brain with microcephaly does not develop properly during the pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth, this results in a smaller sized head.

What we DO know:

  • Zika virus can be passed from pregnant women to their fetus during pregnancy or at delivery.
  • Pregnant women can be infected with the Zika virus through the bite of an infected mosquito
  • You can become infected by a male sex partner
  • Pregnant women should not travel to areas affected by Zika
  • Based on available evidence, the Zika virus infection in a woman who is not pregnant would not pose a risk for birth defects in future pregnancies after the virus has cleared from her blood.

What we DO NOT know:

  • How likely a pregnant woman who has been exposed to Zika will get the virus
  • How the virus will affect her pregnancy or how likely it is that Zika will pass to her fetus
  • If the infected fetus will develop other birth defects or when in the pregnancy the infection might cause harm to the fetus
  • If sexual transmission of Zika virus poses a different risk of birth defects that mosquito-borne transmission

If you must travel to Zika areas affected by Zika, speak with your healthcare provider about the risks of Zika Virus before you travel.  Learn how to protect yourself from mosquito bites and try to avoid regions where Zika is present.

If you have traveled to a region where Zika is present and are pregnant, talk to your health care provider about Zika symptoms. If you would like to speak with a physician, you can make an appointment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Women’s Health Center, call 718-291-3276.

For more FAQ’s on Zika Virus you will find the following websites helpful –www.health.ny.gov/diseases/zika_virus/

http://www.cdc.gov/zika/

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Exercises That Can Help You Push

pregnant woman -183938624Giving birth is usually not an easy feat. Fortunately, there are several exercises you can do while pregnant that will help prepare your body for labor and delivery.

Doing exercises which place emphasis on strengthening the abdominal muscles and relaxing pelvic-floor muscles can help you in pushing more effectively.  They can also contribute to shorter labor times and help position your baby into an optimal birthing position.

These exercises are simple to do but before trying any of the following, consult your doctor:

  • Squats –The American Pregnancy Association recommends squatting during labor to open up the pelvis. Squatting expands the pelvic outlet to as much as 10%, which allows more room for the baby to move down to the birth canal.  This exercise also strengthens the thighs as well as the abdomen, which is crucial during pushing.
  • Kegels- Pelvic floor exercises such as kegels help in strengthening vaginal muscles and muscles that support the uterus. Kegels can help you to develop control of these areas during labor and delivery, which eases some of the discomforts of giving birth.
  • Pelvic tilts or angry cat- This exercise strengthens abdominal muscles and has been known to help ease back pain during labor.  It also encourages optimal fetal positioning.
  • Walking- This is a great way to prepare your body for delivery. Many women who are near or pass their due date are advised to walk because its rhythm helps to move the baby further toward the cervix, which applies pressure and stimulates dilation.   Walking has also been found to strengthen and help regulate contractions.

Every woman’s pregnancy is different, so speaking with your doctor (especially if you are high risk) about performing these exercises is very important.  If these activities are done incorrectly you may run the risk of harming yourself and your baby.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

VEGAN CREAMY PUMPKIN SOUPN (GLUTEN FREE)

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For a creamy and vegan pumpkin soup recipe sprinkled with almonds and fresh rosemary, try the recipe below.

Serves: 3

Prep time – 5 minutes

Cook time – 25 minutes

Total time – 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ onion, diced
  • ½ pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, diced
  • 4-5 cups vegetable broth
  • ½-1 cup coconut milk

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook for a few minutes until translucent. Add pumpkin and garlic and continue to cook for a few more minutes.
  2. Add rosemary and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until pumpkin is soft and cooked through. Add salt to taste.
  3. Puree soup in a blender (in batches) and return to the pot.
  4. Add coconut milk and simmer for another minute or two.

Give this recipe a try. It is simply delicious and healthy too.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Your Body Makes Milk for Your Baby

breastfeeding-475378452Your breasts give you the earliest clues that you are pregnant.  When you become pregnant, they become swollen, tender and the skin on your nipples and areolas become darker. Within the first trimester you will continue to experience physical changes in your breasts-such as the bumps(Montgomery glands) surrounding your areolas  increasing in size. Milk –producing cells (alveoli) and ducts in the mammary glands will also multiply in preparation for the distribution of milk.

Usually by your fourth to sixth month of pregnancy, hormones will be released which tell your mammary glands to begin producing milk.  The alveoli draw fats, proteins and sugars from your blood to make breast milk. At this point of pregnancy, it is not unusual for your body to begin leaking milk. This form of milk is called colostrum and may be yellow or orange in color and sticky.

After the birth of your baby the body increases levels of the hormone prolactin.  This hormone releases signals to produce more milk. It is also known as the hormone that makes mothers feel maternal.

You can attempt to feed your baby soon after delivering; however some mothers are not fully capable of feeding their newborn within 24 to 48 hours after delivery. Your “first milk” will be colostrum, which will have a creamy appearance.  Colostrum is specially created for newborns; it is high in protein, low in fat and sugar and is easy to digest. It also helps your baby to make the first bowel movement and provides antibodies that strengthen the immune system.

As you can see, your body is designed to make the nutrients most essential to your baby’s health.  Breastfeeding will provide many benefits for your bundle of joy and it will also provide you with countless health, emotional and financial benefits.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.