January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month.

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. Jamaica Hospital would like to join the national effort to increase awareness about birth defects and what can cause them.

While not all birth defects are preventable, there are certain healthy behaviors that can be practiced to increase your chances of having a healthy baby.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following tips for preventing birth defects:

  • Take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. Folic acid is important because it can help prevent some major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine. Most vitamins contain the recommended amount of folic acid, but women should check the label to be sure it contains 100% of the daily value (DV) of folic acid.
  • Speak with your healthcare provider before you begin or stop taking any medicine. If you are planning to become pregnant, discuss your current medicines with a healthcare provider, such as your doctor or pharmacist. Creating a treatment plan for your health condition before you are pregnant can help keep you and your developing baby healthy.
  • Remain up to date with all vaccines, including your flu shot. Vaccines help protect you and your developing baby against serious diseases. Get a flu shot and whooping cough vaccine (also called Tdap) during each pregnancy to help protect yourself and your baby.
  • Attempt to reach a healthy weight before getting pregnant. Obesity increases the risk for several serious birth defects and other pregnancy complications. If you are overweight (or underweight), speak with your healthcare provider about ways to maintain a healthy weight before you become pregnant.
  • Avoid harmful substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs during pregnancy. Smoking during pregnancy can harm the developing baby and can cause certain birth defects. Alcohol can also cause problems for a developing baby throughout pregnancy. Using certain drugs during pregnancy can cause health problems for a woman and her developing baby.

By following these recommended tips, you will be doing what is best for you and your baby.

Speak to your doctor about other ways to increase your chances of having a healthy baby. To make an appointment at Jamaica Hospital’s Women’s Health Center, please call 718- 291-3276.

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.

Shingles and Pregnant Women

shingles 495765256Almost 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles. Shingles is the term used for a skin rash that is caused by the herpes-zoster (varicella) virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. In some cases it can reactivate and cause shingles. Anyone who has had chickenpox may develop shingles, including pregnant women and even children.

As a new or expecting mother there are a lot of concerns for staying as healthy as you can for you and your baby during pregnancy. Although you can’t give anybody shingles, you can pass the virus on as chickenpox. Whereas shingles is harmless in pregnancy, chickenpox can cause problems for an unborn baby. For this reason, stay away from other pregnant women while you have shingles.

If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant:

  • First, get a blood test to find out if you’re immune to chickenpox. If you’re not immune, you can get a vaccine. It’s best to wait 1 month after the vaccine before getting pregnant.
  • If you’re already pregnant, don’t get the vaccine until after you give birth. In the meantime, avoid contact with anyone who has chickenpox or shingles.
  • If you’re not immune to chickenpox and you come into contact with someone who has it, tell your doctor right away. Your doctor can treat you with medicine that has chickenpox antibodies.
  • Tell your doctor if you come in contact with a person who has shingles. Your doctor may want to treat you with an antiviral medication. Antiviral medication will shorten the length of time that the symptoms will be present.

There isn’t a cure for shingles but a physician will usually prescribe medications to make the symptoms less intense. If you have questions about shingles send them to AskUs@marchofdimes.org

To learn more about prenatal treatments please call the Women’s Health Center at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center at 718-291-3276.

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.

Birth Defect Prevention

Every four minutes, a baby is born with a major birth defect in the United States. Babies born with birth defects have a greater chance of illness and long term disability than babies without birth defects. They are a leading cause of death among infants, accounting for about 20% of mortality in the first year of life. To raise awareness about the impact of birth defects and the steps taken to prevent them, January is National Birth Defect Prevention Month. Although every birth defect cannot be prevented, there are things a woman can do to prepare for a healthy pregnancy, such as:

  • Maintain a healthy diet by eating well balanced and nutritional meals. Consult with your doctor about taking a multivitamin to gain more nutrients for mother and baby.
  • Avoid consuming harmful toxins that lead to birth defects, including alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and caffeine.
  • Obtain genetic counseling and birth defect screening, particularly if you have any family history of birth defects.
  • Stay active and get fit. The babies of overweight women have an increased risk of birth defects.
  • Treating long-term conditions such as diabetes are the keys to a healthy lifestyle before and during pregnancy.

Men are also encouraged to make lifestyle changes when planning ahead for pregnancy with their partner. As some birth defects are genetic, it is important that men participate fully in any family medical history research that takes place.

Steady communication with your doctor is very important to assist with planning ahead. All medications should be discussed with a doctor prior to being taken, including prescription medication, over-the-counter medication and dietary and herbal supplements.

Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it also can be stressful. Knowing that you are doing all that you can to get ready for pregnancy, staying healthy during pregnancy, and giving your baby a healthy start in life will help you to have peace of mind.

If you are an expecting mother in need of a physician, the Women’s Health Center at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center is open six days a week. Appointments are necessary to see a physician and can be made by calling 718-291-3276.

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.

Fibroids- Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Patient with doctorUterine fibroids are abnormal growths that develop in or just outside the uterus.   They form when the smooth muscle cells of the uterus (myometrium) begin to grow rapidly and advance into tumors, which are typically non-cancerous. These tumors vary in size and can be as small as a pumpkin seed or as large as a grapefruit and in unusual cases, much larger.

Fibroids are very common. It is estimated that 70 to 80 % of women will develop tumors by the age of 50. Although the causes are unknown, there are factors that put some at a greater risk than others-they are:

  • Family history
  • Pregnancy
  • Being overweight
  • Having African American ancestry
  • Being over the age of 30

The symptoms of fibroids depend on the size, location and the number of tumors present.  Symptoms include:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Heavy bleeding and blood clots between and during periods
  • Increased urination
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Enlargement of the lower abdomen
  • Increased time of menstruation
  • Pressure or a feeling of fullness in the lower abdomen

Women who have very small tumors or are going through menopause may experience very little or no symptoms at all.

Fibroids are diagnosed by gynecologists by way of pelvic exams and ultrasound or MRI.   Your doctor will create a treatment plan based on symptoms and the advancement of the growth.  Treatment may consist of medication to regulate hormone levels, assist in shrinking the tumor or alleviate pain. Surgery may be performed laparoscopically to remove tumors, however, if your condition is extreme, your physician may recommend a hysterectomy.

Jamaica Hospital’s Gynecologic Division uses the latest techniques and equipment, such as ultrasonography, color Doppler, laser and laparoscopic surgery, in the diagnoses and treatment of female disorders. These disorders include sexually transmitted diseases, abnormal pap smears, benign tumors, and female urinary disorders, including urinary incontinence. To schedule an appointment, please contact our Women’s Health Center at 718-291-3276 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

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.

Top 5 Women’s Health Issues

7things-womens-health_456pxDo you know which health conditions pose the biggest threat to American women? The good news is that many of the leading threats to women’s health, which can vary based on a woman’s age and background, are preventable. Find out which conditions to be aware of to maximize your health today.

  1. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women. Luckily, there are many lifestyle changes you can make to ward off heart disease, such as not smoking, following a heart-smart diet, and being physically active.

 

  1. Stroke poses a significant risk to women’s health in the United States. Almost 55,000 women suffer from stroke each year, and about 60 percent of overall stroke deaths occur among women.

 

  1. Two of the most common cancers affecting women are breast and cervical cancers. Early detection is the key to keeping women alive and healthy. The most recent figures show that around half a million women die from cervical cancer and half a million from breast cancer each year.

 

  1. Sexually transmitted diseases are responsible for one third of health issues for women between the ages of 15 and 44 years. Unsafe sex is a major risk factor – particularly among women and girls in developing countries.

 

  1. Depression is the most common mental health problem for women and suicide a leading cause of death for women under 60. Evidence suggests that women are more prone than men to experience anxiety, depression, and somatic complaints – physical symptoms that cannot be explained medically.

 

The first step to staying healthy is educating yourself, and then taking the necessary precautions to reduce your risk. While you can’t eliminate risk factors such as family history, you can control many other risk factors for heart disease, stroke and cancer. Also be sure to consult your doctor about when you should have mammograms and other cancer screenings. The Women’s Health Center at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center has an experienced and friendly staff readily available to assist you. To make an appointment please call, 718-291-3276.

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.

Should You Breast Feed When You Are Sick?

BreastFeeding.SickThere are many benefits to breast feeding, but is it harmful to your child’s health when you are sick with a cold or virus?

Even when you are sick, your baby will almost always benefit from breastfeeding. In most instances, viruses are most likely transmitted before symptoms even occur. Breast feeding can actually help protect your baby from the virus since your breast milk produces the necessary antibodies to stave off the illness. In fact, even if your baby gets sick, it is usually a much milder case than anyone else in the house.

It is not a good idea for you to stop breast feeding abruptly because your breasts can become engorged, which can lead to painful inflammation, known as mastitis. Instead, while you are sick, ask a family member to bring the baby to you to nurse and take him way when you’re done so you can rest. Also, drink plenty of fluids when you are sick so you don’t become dehydrated and your milk supply does not decrease.

Some moms may also be concerned about taking medications while breastfeeding, but with few exceptions, over the counter medications are just fine. Some suggestions include:
• Avoid using extra or maximum strength pain medication or fever reducers.

• Medications that contain ibuprofen are recommended over those that contain acetaminophen.

• Try to use single ingredient, short acting forms of cold, cough, and allergy medications.

• Avoid taking aspirin as there is a small risk of infants developing Reye’s syndrome.

It is important however to carefully read medication labels and check with your physician before taking any drug while you are nursing. If you do not have a doctor, contact Jamaica Hospital’s Women’s Health Center at 718-291-3276 to make an appointment.

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.