What are the most common dietary complaints during pregnancy?
Can pregnant women go to the dentist?
Why is heartburn more common during pregnancy?
Why is back pain so common during pregnancy and what can be done about it?
How can I care for my spine during pregnancy?
Is sexual intercourse safe during pregnancy?
How can stretch marks be prevented?
Is exercise safe during pregnancy?
Who should avoid exercise or seek further advice?
What are the benefits of exercising during pregnancy?
What are the first symptoms of pregnancy?
When do pregnancy tests become effective?
How long after conception does the fertilized egg implant?
What is the most accurate pregnancy test to use?
Is it normal to feel cramping during pregnancy?
Why do pregnant women feel tired?
What can I do about morning sickness?
What is the recommended weight gain in pregnancy?
Should certain foods be avoided during pregnancy?
Can women safely eat fish while pregnant?

 

Q: What are the most common dietary complaints during pregnancy?

A: “Complaints” is an interesting choice of words. From a practitioner’s perspective complaints or symptoms are signs from our body that it has specific NEEDS which NEED to be addressed.

I always found pregnancy was a time when I was very in-tune with my body, life was slower and it seemed easier to know exactly what my body did or did not want. My suggestion would be to use this time as a window of ‘learning to listen’ to that inner guidance.

During early pregnancy, many women experience an increased appetite, due to extra calorie needs. Some authors suggest that stomach motility decreases and that there is a reduced incidence of peptic ulcer. This is certainly contrary to both personal and practitioner experience where a number of women even from early pregnancy experience increased stomach acidity. Homeopaths can assist with safe and effective homeopathics and Naturopaths can guide women on which foods will exacerbate acidity or reflux issues.

Some literature suggests that during pregnancy bowel function slows. This may be more due to the load on the spine and nervous system and hence impeding function of the bowel, so be sure to read: Why is back pain so common during pregnancy and what can be done about it?

Another feasible cause of bowel changes is that many women unknowingly experience Candida during pregnancy. This needs to be addressed and tackled well before birthing your baby.

Please see Well Adjusted Blog post: Candida Overgrowth

If you are craving particular foods please see Food For Thought For Pregnant Bellies

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Q: Can pregnant women go to the dentist?

A: During pregnancy the gums naturally become more swollen and they will tend to bleed frequently after brushing (this often continues during the post birth period also), irrespective, dental care during pregnancy is an important part of overall healthcare.

Be sure your dentist is aware of the pregnancy. Try to avoid (where safely possible) any treatment of cavities or infections, as the impact of antibiotics and local anesthetics are unclear during pregnancy. Some research indicates they are detrimental. Please see

Radiographs where possible should also be best avoided during pregnancy because a small, but statistically significant, increase in childhood malignancies exists in children exposed to in-utero radiographic irradiation.

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Q: Why is heartburn more common during pregnancy?

A: Many women experience heart burn during late pregnancy and some authors suggest this is due to increased progesterone and/or decreased levels of gastric-motilin, rather than mechanical obstruction due to the size of our babies in the third trimester.

Some studies have also shown decreased lower esophageal sphincter tone, which can lead to an excess of gastric acid in the esophagus.

I imagine it is combination of all of these factors and the individual woman’s digestive tendencies. In my clinical experience I have seen many women prior to pregnancy prone to bowel vulnerability, (ie bloating, allergies and bowel irregularities) who will then display acidity issues during pregnancy. Homeopaths can assist with safe and effective homeopathics and Naturopaths can guide women on which foods will exacerbate acidity or reflux issues.

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Q: Why is back pain so common during pregnancy and what can be done about it?

A: Half of women report having back pain at some point during pregnancy, with the sacroiliac joints of the pelvis being most commonly affected.(1)That’s a heck of a lot of women!!Back pain is thought to be due to multiple factors, which include:

  • shifting of the center of gravity caused by the enlarging uterus,
  • increased joint laxity due to an increase in hormones such as relaxin,
  • stretching of ligaments

Each of these three factors ultimately affects the structure and alignment of our spine and in turn the function of our nervous system. As your pregnancy progresses, the weight of your baby can become a major load to bear and hormonal changes exacerbate any previous spinal weakness or injury.

Some forms of treatment for back pain obviously include heat and ice, massage, pain-killers and drug therapy. Utilising pain-killers or other drugs during pregnancy is alarming for a number of reasons. Firstly, more and more research now shows that there is no such thing as a ‘placental barrier’, so any drugs taken will ultimately impact your growing baby. Pain-killers are adaptly named because they numb our capacity to register pain. Due to decreased pain we then go about with our normal activities further exacerbating and aggravating the problem. Experiencing or feeling pain makes us stop and feel vulnerable, allowing our body time and a chance to rest.Heat and ice can certainly offer short-term relief from aches and pain, but the underlying cause of the problem will remain and needs to be addressed. Massage has great value, often muscles are working harder than they need to due to underlying joint and nerve dysfunction. Masseurs will often refer pregnant women to chiropractors to ensure their pelvis is in correct alignment.

Some literature suggests that women with back pain should seek advice on proper posture, good supportive shoes, and an exercise program for strength and conditioning. All of these may be helpful, if however there are existing misalignments in the spine then exercise may further aggravate the depth of the problem and strengthening exercises may further ‘anchor’ the problem.

Any area of the spine that has been previously traumatised by a physical injury or sustained work postures and has been left uncorrected may affect a mother’s health during pregnancy. Like any weak link in a chain, a weak area of the spine has a predisposition for further damage if placed under stress. Hormonal changes and weight gain may also exacerbate previous injuries. Correct alignment of the spine and pelvis is not only critical for the mother’s health but also to promote ideal positioning for growing babies. Please see Well adjusted Babies blog post “Why Is A Baby’s Position Important?”

Chiropractic care has been shown to be safe for both mother and unborn children,(2) Having your spine checked by a chiropractor helps to ensure that your pelvis is sitting correctly to allow optimum room for your baby to grow and move.

X-rays of your spine will not be suggested by the chiropractor (acknowledging that you are pregnant) and techniques will be modified to accommodate for your growing belly.

A well functioning nervous system enables a mother to easily combat many of the hurdles of pregnancy. Often women learn to just accept pregnancy discomforts such as nausea, heartburn, constipation, pubic pain etc, when in fact they don’t need to. Studies show that having your spine checked regularly may result in a less stressful pregnancy and a less uncomfortable delivery.(3) A chiropractor will check your spine to assess if it is properly aligned and subluxation-free (joint and nerve dysfunction), and regular visits while you are pregnant will help to keep you in great shape in preparation for your birth.Maternal subluxations have also been implicated in foetal constraint (i.e. constraint of the baby within the uterus and pelvis).(4) This can interfere not only with your baby’s comfort level during pregnancy but also their presentation at birth and your birth outcome. Studies have now begun to look at the more long-term effects of constraints in the uterus and the development effects on infants.(5)

Research shows that correct alignment of the pelvis and spine contributes to a more straightforward labour with less pain and trauma for mother and child. A study conducted by Dr Irvin Henderson MD(6) (a member of the American Medical Association Board of Trustees) demonstrated that, “Women who received chiropractic adjustments in their third trimester were able to carry and deliver their child with much more comfort.

”Each successive pregnancy stretches pelvic musculature and ligamentous tissue. Therefore, women who have had multiple pregnancies and have not consciously re-strengthened abdominal and spinal musculature are often highly susceptible to pelvic subluxations.

Chiropractic care has also been shown to significantly reduce labour time for women who had care throughout their pregnancy. In her study, Dr Joan Fallon found that first-time mums averaged a 24% shorter labour, while experienced mothers (those who had given birth before) had a 39% reduction in the average labour time in a substantial percentage of births.(7)

In another hospital study that incorporated chiropractic adjustments during the patient’s pregnancy, the results indicated that there was a 50% decrease in the need for painkillers during delivery, attributable to pre-delivery adjustments.(8)

Show me any woman who would not be excited about this possibility! Chiropractic care is extremely important before, during and after pregnancy.

REFERENCES
1) Fast A. Low Back Pain in Pregnancy. Spine. 1987;12(4):368-371., Berg G. Low Back Pain During Pregnancy. Am J Obstet Gyn. 1988;71:71-75.
2) Diakow P. Gatsby T. et al. Back Pain During Pregnancy and Labour. JMPT. 1991;14:116-118.
3) Penna M. Pregnancy and Chiropractic Care. ACA. J. Chiro. 1989;26:31-33.
4) Kunau PL. Application of the Webster in-utero Constraint Technique: J Clin Chiro Ped. 1998;3:211-216.
5) Hultman C. Autism May Result From Intra-uterine Growth Restriction, Foetal Distress. Epidem. 2002;13:417-423.
6) Henderson I MD. American Medical Association records released in 1987 during trial in U.S. District Court Northern Illinois Eastern Division, No. 76C 3777. May, 1987.
7) Fallon J DC. The Effect of Chiropractic Treatment on Pregnancy and Labour: A Comprehensive Study. Proceedings of the World Federation of Chiropractic, 1991:24-31., Fallon J DC. Chiropractic and Pregnancy, a partnership of the future. ICA Review Nov/Dec 1990. (pg. 39-42)
8) Frietag P. Expert testimony of P Frietag MD PhD., comparing the results of two neighbouring hospitals, US District Court Northern Illinois Eastern Division, No.76C 3777. May 1987.

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Q: How can I care for my spine during pregnancy?

A: Here are some golden top tips for caring your spine…

  • Don’t try to sit up from a lying position using your abdominal muscles. Instead, bend your knees, turn onto your side and push yourself up with your arm.
  • Remember to unlock your knees when standing and refrain from wearing high-heels.
  •  Avoid standing with your hands on your hips and pushing your tummy forward.
  •  Let others lift heavy items for you and avoid carrying toddlers.
  •  Avoid twisting your spine on top of your pelvis, instead trying moving your whole body with your feet. For example, when getting out of the car, turn your whole body towards the open door as you place your feet on the ground.
  •  Avoid remaining in one position for too long. If you need to stand for an extended period place one foot on a small box or an equivalent to reduce the load on your back. Swap legs.
  •  Keep your pelvic floor strong.
  •  Breathe deeply into your lower abdomen, especially when stressed.
  •  Gently stretch your body daily.
  • Sleep with a pillow between your knees and place another pillow at your breast level to snuggle, so that you do not roll your upper body forward.
  • Have your spine regularly checked by a chiropractor.

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Q: Is sexual intercourse safe during pregnancy?

A: Research indicates that sexual intercourse is safe in the absence of ruptured membranes, bleeding or placenta previa, infection and/or breaking of the amniotic sac or leaking amniotic fluid.

The American College Obstetrics and Gynecology specifically cautions that a women should limit or avoid sex if she has had preterm labor or birth, or more than one miscarriage.

When can women resume sexual intercourse after pregnancy?

If a woman is keen and interested typically she can resume sex 4-6 weeks after delivery and when bleeding has substantially decreased. Medically, this will be when the cervix has closed, which should occur at 4 weeks’ postpartum, and uterine bleeding is minimal.

Women who have had an episiotomy need at least 2-3 weeks to heal before intercourse.

Partners would be advised to remember that women often do not have much interest in sex after giving birth because of fatigue, stress, fear of pain, lack of opportunity and/or lack of desire. This is usually temporary.

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Q: How can stretch marks be prevented?

A: Some authors suggest that the degree to which a woman experiences stretch marks is determined genetically and that unfortunately, striae (stretch marks) cannot be prevented.

I am of the opinion however, that genetic predisposition may set us challenges but our health is largely determined by our lifestyle. This may sound amusing when we are simply discussing a vanity issue such as “stretch marks”, but if we go back to the principle of how our body is constantly striving for balance or homeostasis and that we are either moving towards balance or away, then stretch marks may be a sign that our body’s needs are not being met.

While creams and gels may have some benefit, I believe it is critical to address the body’s nutritional needs. For example, Zinc de?ciencies are known to encourage a lack of elasticity which may promote tearing in the perineal muscles during birth. With both Zinc and silica being suggested as potentially helpful in preventing stretch marks, perineal tears and cracked nipples.

Silica can be found in a quality multi-vitamin or multi-mineral drink. While sources of zinc include beef, lentils, oats, oysters, shell ?sh, brazil nuts, pecans, pine nuts, sun?ower and pumpkin seeds. Zinc is also found in mushrooms, spinach, soya beans, skim milk, turkey, wheat germ, whole grains and brewer’s yeast. The RDI of zinc in pregnancy is 16–20 mg, and while lactating 20 mg+ (the demand for zinc during breastfeeding is also high).

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Q: Is exercise safe during pregnancy?

A: Expectant mothers should not worry that exercise will hurt their babies.

Simply ensure that you measure your heart rate (HR) at the peak of activity; a heart rate kept under 140-150bpm has wonderful benefits to offer. Studies have shown that foetal distress occurs only if the maternal HR exceeds 180bpm.( 8 )

Moderately intense aerobic exercise should be limited to 15–20 minute periods and low intensity exercise should not exceed 45 minutes in total.(9)

A pregnant woman should also drink plenty of water before and after exercise to prevent dehydration.

During pregnancy, choose an exercise that will not affect your centre of gravity.
For example, as your belly grows bigger, opt for walking up a hill along a footpath rather than an inclined tread mill. Walking, swimming, stationary bicycles, water aerobics and low impact aerobic classes designed for pregnant women are mild and wonderful forms of exercise.

Stretching is also vital for relieving general aches and keeping the body flexible. Again, Yoga is fantastic exercise during pregnancy, not only for the physical benefits of strengthening and stretching but also the discipline of breath control and mind-body connection.

There are many yoga classes available for pregnant women at health centres. They are also available on DVD and video.

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Q: Who should avoid exercise or seek further advice?

A: Exercise is contraindicated for women who have high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, vaginal bleeding, pre-term rupture of membranes, history of incompetent cervix or premature labour, foetal complications, anaemia, diabetes, sickle cell anaemia and thyroid disease.(10)

If you suffer with one of the above conditions, please seek advice before initiating an exercise regime. Ask your carers for suggestions as there may be some forms of gentle exercise you can safely partake in. If you are advised to refrain from exercise entirely then I would suggest that you surrender to the clear messages from your body that it needs complete rest and choose to enjoy this time. Decide to keep yourself as healthy as possible by feeding your mind and body with wholesome things. Life will be busy enough when your little arrives.

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Q: What are the benefits of exercising during pregnancy?

A: According to a GREAT many studies, exercise during pregnancy is extremely valuable for a number of reasons:

  • A pregnant woman will have more energy, more restful sleep, better stress management and less mood swings.(1)
  • Women who exercise while pregnant gain 21% less weight and have an improved attitude over sedentary pregnant women.(2)
  • 80% of women who exercise during pregnancy gave birth on or before their due date.(3)
  • Moderate exercise increases placental function and growth (vigorous exercise causes a decreased size at birth and is not recommended).(4)
  • Exercise helps to improve the flow of blood and oxygen to your baby’s brain. Babies tend to be more alert, calm and more responsive to stimuli.(5)
  • Studies have also proven that women who exercise have shorter, easier labours (decreased by an average of two hours), less medical intervention (24% less caesareans and 14% reduced use of forceps), less foetal distress and a faster recovery. There is also less need for induced labours or epidurals.(6)
  • The changes to your cardiovascular system during pregnancy as a result of exercise enable a greater flow of nutrients and oxygen to your baby. These beneficial changes include a 40% increase in maternal blood volume and a heart rate increase of 15 beats per minute (bpm).(7)

References:
1)     Clapp JF 3rd. Dickstein S. Endurance Exercise and Pregnancy Outcome. Med Sci Sports Exercise. 1984;16:556-562.
2)     Clapp JF 3rd. Little KD. Effective Recreational Exercise on Pregnancy, Weight Gain and subcutaneous fat deposition. Med  Sci Sports Exercise. 1995:27;170-177.
3)     Clapp JF 3rd. Dickstein S. Endurance Exercise and Pregnancy Outcome. Med Sci Sports Exercise. 1984:16;556-562.
4)     Clapp JF 3rd. Kim H. Burciu B. Lopez B. Beginning Regular Exercise in Early Pregnancy: Effect on Fetoplacental Growth. Am J Obstet Gyn. 2000:183;14841488.
5)     Clapp JF 3rd. Morphometric and Neurodevelopment Outcome at Age Five Years of the Offspring of Women who  Continued to Exercise Regularly Throughout Pregnancy. J Pediat. 1996;129:856-863.
6)     Anderson C DC. Exercise and Pregnancy. ICA Review: Spring/Summer; 2004. (pg. 52-61)
7)     Clapp JF 3rd. Exercise During Pregnancy. A Clinical Update. Clin Sports Med. 2000:19;273-286.
8-10) Anderson C DC.  Exercise and Pregnancy. ICA Review: Spring/Summer; 2004. (pg. 52-61)

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Q: What are the first symptoms of pregnancy?

A: Obviously one of the first signs of pregnancy is missing a period. Personally I always felt like I was just about to get my period, i.e. I would experience all the sensations of a heavy uterus and some cramping and then nothing, my period just wouldn’t eventuate. Which of course then lead me to purchasing a pregnancy test.

Waiting to see if you’ve missed a period becomes tricky for women who have irregular cycles and women are best to look for other signs of pregnancy. Other initial signs are breast tenderness, the need to urinate frequently, extreme fatigue, nausea and/or vomiting. All of these symptoms can be normal.

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Q: When do pregnancy tests become effective?

A: Most over-the-counter pregnancy tests are sensitive 9-12 days after conception, and they are readily available at most drug stores.
Performing these tests early helps to allay confusion and guesswork. If your test is negative and yet your period still hasn’t arrived then wait a few days and repeat the test.

A serum pregnancy test (performed in a provider’s office or laboratory facility) can detect pregnancy 8-11 days after conception.

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Q: How long after conception does the fertilized egg implant?

A: The fertilized egg enters the uterus as a 2- to 8-cell embryo and freely floats in the endometrial cavity roughly 4-7 days after conception.

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Q: What is the most accurate pregnancy test to use?

A: Serum hCG is the hormone that is produced by developing cells on the day of implantation. This hormone rises fairly quickly in both the maternal blood stream and urine. Urine pregnancy tests can produce positive results at the level of 20 mIU/mL, which is 2-3 days before most women expect the next menstrual period or roughly about 8-9 days after conception.

The kits are very accurate and widely available and can be completed in about 3-5 minutes. The kits all use the same technique—recognition by an antibody of the beta subunit of hCG. False positive readings can result from placental or embryological abnormalities or results may remain falsely positive for weeks after a pregnancy termination, miscarriage, or birth.

On the other hand, false-negative test results can occur from incorrect test preparation, urine that is too dilute, or interference by several medications.

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Q: Is it normal to feel cramping during pregnancy?

A: Yes uterine cramping in pregnancy is normal. Early in pregnancy, cramping can indicate normal changes of pregnancy initiated by hormonal changes; later in pregnancy, it can indicate a growing uterus. Cramping that is different from previous pregnancies, worsening cramping, or cramping associated with any vaginal bleeding may be a sign of ectopic pregnancy, threatened abortion, or missed abortion.

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Q: Why do pregnant women feel tired?

A: Fatigue in early pregnancy is very normal. Fatigue is also a great sign from your body that your body is working hard and requires additional rest and sleep. So don’t resist, listen to your body and lie down, rest those legs and your weary head.

Lower blood pressure level, lower blood sugar levels, hormonal changes due to the soporific effects of progesterone, metabolic changes, and the physiologic anemia of pregnancy all contribute to fatigue.

If fatigue seems excessive or extends well into second trimester then women should check with their health care provider to determine if an additional work up, prenatal vitamin changes, and/or supplemental iron would be beneficial.

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Q: What can I do about morning sickness?

A: Morning sickness during the first trimester is a normal self-regulating process. Your body is undergoing enormous physiological change, particularly on a hormonal level, and nausea is often one of the by-products of such change.

The two best methods for conquering morning sickness (or as it should correctly be known, ‘all night and all day sickness’) are to eat small amounts of food consistently and to sneak in extra sleep.

Consistent, light snacking will prevent your blood sugar levels from plummeting (thus preventing nausea) and having naps where possible or going to bed early to ensure that you get extra sleep can make the world of difference to how you feel. Other items that may be helpful are fresh ginger tea and attaining enough vitamin B6.

Try increasing your vitamin B6 intake, found in:
– bananas
– currants
– dried apricots
– prunes
– sunflower seeds & walnuts
– soya beans
– chicken
– salmon
– tuna
– turkey
– wholegrains
– sweet potato
– brewer’s yeast

Avoid overcooking these food sources of vitamin B, as essential B vitamins are lost when heated to high temperatures.

Some women unfortunately experience severe nausea during pregnancy which according to Reuters Nov 2010 appear to be influenced, at least in part, by genetics, according to new study findings. Researchers found that women were more likely to experience a serious form of morning sickness if their mothers or sisters did as well.

Looking specifically at a very severe form of nausea known as hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), the authors found that women with sisters who had HG were 17 times more likely to also develop HG. Women with this condition have unrelenting, excessive nausea and vomiting that puts them at risk of malnutrition, dehydration and significant weight loss.

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Q: What is the recommended weight gain in pregnancy?

A: Next to being fearful that something may be wrong with our developing baby, the greatest fear many women have is whether they are gaining to much weight during pregnancy.

So let’s cut straight to the chase. It is my opinion that if couples gain awareness about “real health” prior to conception and focus on being in optimal physical and emotional health at the time of conception, weight gain is generally not an issue during pregnancy. This way the couple are likely to be at their ideal weight at the time of conception, they are also vibrant and well within themselves. If couples prior to conception are focused on feeding their minds and bodies wholesome lifestyle habits then the measuring scales are unnecessary.

Irrespective just so we can address the needs of our analytical brains, that voice that incessantly wonders about facts and figures the guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy from The Institute of Medicine (IOM) are as follows:

  • Underweight women (BMI <18.5) should gain 28-40 pounds.
  • Normal-weight women (BMI, 18.5-24.9) should gain 25-35 pounds.
  • Overweight women (BMI, 25-29.9) should gain 15-25 pounds.
  • Obese women (BMI, 30 or higher) should gain 11-20 pounds.*Weight gain guidelines are for singleton pregnancy; weight gain should be higher for multiple pregnancies.
  • *Important variables to take into consideration regarding recommended weight gain include twin or triplet pregnancies, the mother’s age, and the mother’s pre-pregnancy weight.
    Looking at these figures poses the question – What are the Dangers of Gaining toooooooo Much Weight During Pregnancy?

    Well over the last twenty years more and more research has been completed to better understand the effects of weight gain during pregnancy on the health of both the mother and the infant. Seemingly according to research women of childbearing age have become heavier, with the trade-off being maternal and child health.

    Excessive weight gain is associated with an increased risk for:

    • gestational diabetes,
    • pregnancy-associated hypertension,
    • and delivery of large-for-gestational-age infants.

    At any point in life their is a cost for being overweight. More then ever though excessive weight gain during pregnancy will not only jeopardise your health but the health of your little one. So if you were over weight prior to conception, or if you are candidate for gestational diabetes please know that there are many skilled Allied Health practitioners who can holistically guide you through your pregnancy. Practitioners who can guide you on diet, exercise and all aspects of healthy lifestyle options during your pregnancy.

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    Q: Should certain foods be avoided during pregnancy?

    A: Listeria, which presents as ‘gastro’ and can cause miscarriage, birth defects and pre-term birth, is caused by eating foods that are infected with listeriosis.

    Foods which are considered high risk include:

    • processed meats (e.g. salami, prosciutto, paté),
    • uncooked meats, raw fish (sushi),
    • raw and/or poor quality shellfish
    • soft cheeses.
  • Also at risk are foods which have been ‘sitting’ in their prepared, cooked
    state for long periods. This would include pre-cooked chickens and any long-stand- ing leftovers. Foods that contain raw or soft eggs—such as home-made ice cream, mayonnaise or mousse—have a high listeriosis potential.There is some literature to suggest that raw vegetables, unpasteurized juices, liver, and undercooked meat, poultry, or eggs have been linked with Salmonella species and Escherichia coli (including the dangerous E coli 0157).Cooking foods properly kills off any potential bacteria.

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    Q: Can women safely eat fish while pregnant?

    A: Fish is an excellent source of protein, iodine, vitamins B, A and D, minerals and omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids. However, gone are the days where our only concern regarding consuming fish during pregnancy was whether the fish was sufficiently cooked. Many pregnancy texts advise the avoidance of ‘raw’ fish during pregnancy, but what of the dangers of consuming today’s fish in general?
    There are now three major health concerns surrounding fish (and these are not just concerns for pregnant women but for each and everyone of us):

    1. FISH HIGH IN MERCURY

    All fish contain some level of mercury, which accumulates in the aquatic food chain as methyl mercury. In nature, deep sea fish require mercury for insulation. The level of mercury depends on how long the fish has lived and what it eats. Deep sea fish or predatory fish (fin fish) therefore contain higher levels of mercury. This is a concern for pregnant women in particular, as studies have shown mercury readily passes through the placenta to the foetus.

    The Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and the Food and Drug Administration of America (FDA) recommend the following fish be limited in diets-especially for pregnant women, women planning pregnancy, lactating mothers and young children-due to high levels of mercury and its affects on the brain and nervous system.

    FISH HIGH IN MERCURY INCLUDE:

    • Billfish (swordfish, broadbill and marlin)
    • Shark, or better known as flake
    • Orange roughy, also sold as sea perch
    • Catfish
    • Bluefish, king mackeral and tile fish
    • Oysters, clams and mussels have been found to have concentrated levels of mercury and pesticides.

    THE FDA SUGGEST THE FOLLOWING:

    • Limiting intake of albacore tuna to once weekly
    • Limiting intake of low mercury fish such as light tuna, shrimp, salmon, Pollock and catfish to 12 ounces (340 grams) weekly.
    • We are also exposed to mercury through many house-hold items. Please refer to blogs relating to this topic for further information and for ideas on how to source safe alternative beauty products and cleaning agents.

    WELL ADJUSTED BABIES SAFER FISH OPTIONS;

    Health experts suggest that safer fish options include summer, flounder, wild pacific salmon, croaker, sardines, haddock and tilapia. It is also suggested that molluscs (such as oysters and calamari) and crustaceans (including prawns, lobsters and crabs) generally have lower levels of mercury than fin fish.

    2. FISH MAY BE A SOURCE OF ANTIBIOTICS, VACCINES, COLOURINGS AND PESTICIDES

    Salmon steaks, cutlets and smoked salmon may not be as safe as some of us would believe.
    Did you know:

    • Farmed salmon are fed more antibiotics per kilogram than any other farm animal.
      Whilst Australia’s salmon and trout farms are free of most diseases, some salmon and trout farms use antibiotics, vaccines, hormones, pesticides and fungicides.
    • Wild salmon migrate long distances during their maturation, while farmed salmon are kept in cages and fed a high oil diet that may include pigments to give them a nice pink colour (producers can use a colour swatch called a ‘SalmoFan’ to choose a desired shade of pink).

    3. TINNED FISH CONTAINS THE TOXIC CHEMICAL BISPHENOL A AND OTHER NASTY ADDITIVES

    Bisphenol A (or BPA) is a toxic plastic chemical found in polycarbonate plastic and the resinous lining of food cans. Tinned fish also frequently contains sulphur dioxide and sodium and potassium sulphites (220, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 228) as well as calcium disodium (EDTA, 385).
    Please see Well Adjusted Babies Chapter 6 – Nasties to Minimise or Avoid During Pregnancy for our TOP FISH RECOMMENDATIONS

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