Mei 25, 2009

The Goodness of Folate (folic acid)

Each trimester certain nutrients become very important for the baby's development. One particular nutrient that you shouldn't ignore is folic acid from the family of B-vitamins; this vitamin prevents birth defects in a developing baby. Ideally this vitamin should be taken 3 months before conception to ensure a healthy start and be continued for a further 3 months.

Key features

• In the early weeks, the embryo develops 3 layers of cells of which the outer layer will form the neutral tube; from this the brain, spinal cord, nervous system, ears and eyes develop.

• Poor development will cause baby to be born with a neural tube defect (NTD) such as spina bifida (in layman's terms it is known as split spine). Babies born with severe spina bifida may not be able to walk and will face bowel and bladder problems.

• Another merit point to consider is it aids in cell division and in the formation of red blood cells for both mother and baby.

• It also lowers the risk of growth restriction and increases birth weight of baby in the later part of pregnancy, thereby lowering the odds of premature birth, and even preeclampsia.

• Some research seems to point to folic preventing the incidence of Down's syndrome, though it is not conclusive.

• A deficiency in this nutrient causes anemia in the mother, leaving her fatigued most of the time.

How much is enough..

Women who are trying to conceive should take 400mcg daily for at least a month before conceiving and continue for the first three months of pregnancy. If you decide to continue with this vitamin through the end of your term is even better. It is naturally found in leafy greens and green beans but it is difficult to acquire folate from natural food sources; supplements become essential to combat this insufficiency. Folic acid levels can be labeled in these ways; if you are not sure check with your doctor the level that is suitable now for you.
• 400 mcg (micrograms)
• 0.4 mg (milligrams)
• 400 ?µg (international units)

Check your multivitamin label to ensure the correct dosage of this vitamin. Don't be tempted to take more than the recommended dose unless advised by your doctor. Women who need higher doses fall in the following category:
1. Have had a previous pregnancy affected by NTD
2. Have NTD themselves
3. Have a family history
4. Have a partner with a family history of NTDs

You will be advised to take 5 mg of this vitamin if any of the above applies to you. The sensible thing to do is take your supplements along with foods rich in folate. Examples of such foods:

• Green leafy vegetables especially spinach, broccoli, asparagus
• Other vegetables such as green beans, cabbage, peas, cauliflower, avocado
• Oranges and other citrus fruits
• Breakfast cereals fortified with this vitamin
• Eggs, lentils, kidney beans, chick peas, baked beans
• Yoghurt & milk

If you are a Vegetarian..

Five good sources of folate:
• Chickpeas curry
• Mixed bean salad
• Broccoli and cheese quiche
• Mixed nuts roast
• Vegetable biryani
Cress tomatoes, green and red peppers, lettuce and avocado all have some folate in them. Mix these and fix yourself a bowl of salad.

Special note:

Folate levels decrease if vegetable and fruits are kept or stored so use them fresh. Cooking destroys them; washing destroys the nutrient value as well. The key to maximizing the folate levels:
1. Store vegetables in the fridge and use them soon after you buy them
2. Serve them raw (uncooked)
3. Cooking methods should be - steam, boil or simmer


TEN tips for a Healthier Working Pregnancy

Lilypie 1st Birthday Ticker

1 Don't be a 'superwoman'!
Get rest when you are not at work and reduce household chores, especially when approaching the delivery date. Studies show that one and a half hour of extra rest makes a lot of difference; uterine blood flow increases, and the supply of oxygen and other nutrients to your baby improves.

2 Relax when possible
If at all possible, lie down on your left side for ten minutes during your lunch break on a floor mat. Else, just rest your head on the table or elevate your feet. Relax your mind and body.

3 When exhaustion overtakes you, leave work early
If you are commuting to work using public transportation, don't be afraid to ask for assistance with regards to a seat, if necessary, from the conductor or driver.

4 Negotiate a flexible work schedule
Work out a schedule that suits your health. If you suffer from morning sickness, ask about coming in later and ending your workday later. On the other hand if you are an early riser and get tired easily in the afternoon, ask to come in early and end your workday early.

5 Telecommute whenever possible
Try and work out such that you can group assignments and attend office 2-3 times a week. The balance days of the week when your presence at the office is not necessary, you can work from home. Another alternative is to work part of the day at the office and part of the day from home but ascertain you are always open for office contact.

6 Ask for help
If a project or assignment is causing your health to suffer, speak up to your boss about getting the help of a coworker or even a temp worker to fill in for you. If need be, request the project be reassigned to someone else and take a less stressful assignment.

7 Snack - time
To maintain energy levels and to avoid nausea & heartburn (common ailments of pregnancy), stock up a selection of snacks to work and eat something every few hours.

8 Pregnancy emergency kit
Keep the kit in your desk drawer. It should contain lemon hard candies to beat nausea, an extra pair of undies or sanitary napkin for incontinence accidents, an Evian face mister for instant cool-offs, and a cache of crackers, pretzels, wafer cookies for snacking.

9 Write notes
Maintaining a notebook at all times can offset memory loss in the first trimester. Note down important work reminders. Jot down anything you consider important for you to remember or act on.

10 Heroine you are not!
If possible, start your maternity leave a week or 2 prior to your due date to give yourself ample time to rest before the big day.

The Final Word

You will probably decide on discontinuing work either on your doctor's advice or exhaustion. There are certain guidelines you should follow to minimize health complications that can worsen if you are working.

If your job is more rigorous in nature entailing heavy lifting, climbing or bending below the waist you should stop work by week 20. But if you have moderate load to tackle with rest periods in between, you can continue working till about week 28.

However you should consider giving up your job after conception if you are carrying more than one baby, had a previous miscarriage, or premature birth. Cut back on your work hours if you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes or high blood pressure. Bottom-line: listen to your doctor's advice on when to quit your job, how many hours you can afford to put in and the nature of job you can continue with. Don't ignore your doctor's recommendations, no matter what your financial status.

If your job requires you to be on your feet all day, you should consider switching to desk job or stopping work beginning in your 24th week. If your job requires you to spend more than 30 minutes out of every hour on your feet, consider shifting to something sedentary by week 32.

Returning to work after baby:
Much of this depends on how you feel and the health of your baby. If all is well then returning to work is a personal choice. Whether you decide to take 3 whole months, less or more, some workday precautions apply as when you were pregnant.
-Avoid fatigue by taking short naps.
-Try to arrange to work from home sometimes.
-Go back part time rather full time until your body readjusts to your previous schedule.
-Push for a flexible work routine in order to accommodate to your baby's needs.

Above all, don't be afraid to enlist your husband's help with household and baby chores. Make certain to visit your doctor for a complete checkup before returning work. Take time out if despite your leave you still feel you need a break.