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Having a healthy road to pregnancy

If you’ve been thinking about getting pregnant, here are some steps to take before your pregnancy to ensure a healthy and successful journey to becoming a mom.

  1. Start taking prenatal vitamins at least a month before conceiving. The folic acid in these vitamins (usually between 400 and 800 micrograms) will help decrease risk of a neural tube defect, like spina bifida. The spinal cord forms and closes by four weeks gestation, before many women even know that they are pregnant, so it’s important to get on this early.

  2. Starting pregnancy at a healthy weight decreases your risk of complications of pregnancy like high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. Good control of chronic medical problems will also help a future pregnancy go much more smoothly.

  3. Consider  ...

A year of personal medicine as a physician

I’m fortunate enough to have lived most of my life with hardly a worry in the world when it came to personal health issues. However, this year changed my outlook. Firmly into the fourth decade of my life, it became necessary to schedule some basic preventative health care screens for the first time. This then led me down to what seemed like a never-ending path of scheduling and completing test after test, followed by even more appointments. As the year progressed, I also became involved in a serious health care issue affecting a very close family member which led to learning how to navigate the maze of international health care!

As 2014 finally rolls to an end, I reflect on some valuable lessons learned, having experienced medicine from the perspective of a consumer rather than a provider.

Circumcision: Yes or No?

On December 2, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a draft of its proposed recommendation that doctors should counsel all males (including parents of all male children) on the benefits and risks of circumcision.  This comes after a policy statement was published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in 2012, stating that the benefits of infant circumcision outweigh the risks. 

The federal regulation has sparked a national debate, which I thought would be a good time to remind families about the pros and cons of the procedure.  

Multiple Sclerosis and Affordable Care Act

Take a look at this panel discussion interview where Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center neurologist Dr. James Bowen and a nationally recognized health insurance expert discuss the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace as it specifically relates to the needs of the multiple sclerosis community. Some of the key topics include cost and coverage of MS medications, the benefits of a selecting a silver-level plan, ways to ensure access to care, expansion of Medicaid, and how to appeal coverage denial.
 

What to do if your child swallows something

With the holiday season fast approaching, the environments around us are about to change. Glitter, lights, tinsel, ornaments, decorations, new toys and many other exciting trimmings are bound to be a part of daily life for a while. It’s no doubt that kiddos will be curious about all of this new shiny stuff!

Many kids will likely explore these things with their mouths. Exploring the world by mouth is a normal part of development for babies, but what should you do if your baby or child swallows an object? The answer: stay calm and think! There are some situations in which your child will require the help of a doctor, however many situations can be managed from home. Many items are small enough to pass through the digestive tract and out in a bowel movement, and in this instance your child will likely have no symptoms.

Here are the red flags to look for if your child swallows a foreign object. If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, seek medical help.

New recommendations for children’s screen time and media usage

Screen time is a hot topic for parents, especially in our tech-savvy part of the world. In 2001 the American Academy of Pediatrics addressed the subject of screen time and recommended no more than 2 hours of screen time per day and none for children under 2 years of age . The world has changed considerably since 2001 and screens are more prevalent than ever. Recent surveys suggest that the average child in the US actually spends about 5 hours per day in front of a screen. Recent data (2013) suggest that the average 8 year old spends up to 8 hours per day in front of a screen. Some teens spend up to 11 hours per day in front of a screen. This is not a surprise since 75% of teens have their own phones and most teens text. The average teen sends 3,364 texts per month.

The changing world of media has prompted new recommendations with the hope of fostering a healthy approach to media. New ...

How to deal with temper tantrums in toddlers

We’ve all been there during that screaming fit in the grocery store because your 2 year old just HAS to have that particular treat off the shelf, and when we say no….it (a temper tantrum) all begins.

Why do toddlers tantrum?

A tantrum is the expression of a young child's frustration with the challenges of the moment and their inability to manage that frustration in any other constructive way. This is part of the normal development of children. For some toddlers, tantrums happen when they can’t figure out a particular task; for others they just can’t find the words to express his or her thoughts or feelings. Whatever the challenge, frustration with the situation might trigger anger — resulting in a temper tantrum. Since tantrums are an expression of powerlessness, toddlers who feel some control over their lives may have many fewer tantrums. Remember, if your child is thirsty, hungry or tired, his or her threshold for frustration is likely to be lower — and a tantrum is more likely.

Can I prevent tantrums?
  • Toddlers  ...
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