Staying Healthy
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Sweet Peas, Pods & Papas: All About Birth, B@@bs & Babies

Staying Healthy

Bradley Method® baby - It is important totake precautions and protect  baby from in utero infeectionsI am getting a little nervous about my class.  They don’t have any questions!!  Maybe they are still warming up to us, or maybe it’s late when we finish, or maybe they really are the smart crew!
 
So today I am going to write about something that one of the dad’s shared when we went around the circle and talked about what they learned in class.  We watched The Bradley Method® video production, “Gestation – The First Days of Life” last night, to go along with Class 3 Topic: Pregnancy.
 
One dad mentioned that the “something new” he learned last night came from the movie.  He learned that a fetus can be exposed to any virus that the mom is exposed to through the umbilical cord.  In medical terms, it’s called a “transplacental” infection.  The consequences of some infections mom has, such as a common cold or flu, are less risky to a pregnancy.  Other infections, syphilis and toxoplasma for example, are more dangerous and can cause miscarriage or stillbirth. 
 
Some of these infections are time sensitive to the weeks of gestation. Avoiding contact with contagious people is of utmost importance if you are trying to get pregnant or during your pregnancy.
 
For a good list, you can go to http://www.womens-health.co.uk/infect.asp to read more about common infections and their effect during pregnancy.  There is a lot of information on the internet and not all of it is reliable.  We suggest that you check the validity of what you find with your care provider – yes – this includes anything on our blog, too.
 
So on the positive side, what can you do to protect mom and your baby?  If you are trying to get pregnant, it’s a good idea to know if you have any STD’s before you conceive so that you can discuss the risks with your care team.  If you know what to expect, you and your care team can develop a management plan for your pregnancy if you decide that you are willing to accept the risks.
 
Once you are pregnant, be overly cautious.  Although some of these suggestions sound extreme, keep in mind that the mania only needs to be temporary.  You may find that these become a habit, and hopefully you will all have a healthier life by being more aware of protecting yourself.  From personal experience, guard mom through her pregnancy and baby through six months of birth or at least through flu season, which ever comes last.
 
Here are some common-sense precautions you can take:
1. Hand-washing: it is the most effective way to prevent infection.  The CDC has a campaign slogan: Clean Hands Save Lives.  They suggest that you wash your hands
      -  Before, during and after preparing food
      -  Before eating food
      -  After using the toilet
      -  After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the
          toilet
      -  Before and after caring for someone who is sick
      -  After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
      -  After touching an animal or animal waste
      -  After touching garbage
      -  Before and after treating a cut or wound
 
Soap and water are the best way to kill germs.  A common suggestion is to since the “Happy Birthday” song two times from beginning to end; the goal is to lather and scrub them well for at least 20 seconds.
 
If there is no soap and water available, you could use a hand sanitizer that has a minimum of 60% alcohol content.  Sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs, and they are not effective when hands are visibly dirty (1).
 
2.  Change your clothes after you have been around crowds.  Did you know that some germs can survive outside the body for 48 hours? They survive best on hard surfaces, but they can also survive on clothing (2).  If you are going to be around a crowd and then going solo, bring a change of clothes with you.  For example, if you are going to fly, bring clothes for the trip, and then have clothing ready that you can change into after you have picked up your bags and washed your hands.  Working parents can consider changing clothes once they get home when mom is pregnant.  We suggest changing clothes before handling your newborn if your baby is born during flu season (peak is generally accepted as November-March).  I am not suggesting that you would throw caution to wind off-peak of flu season.  From personal experience we are vigilant year-round, and even more so during flu season.

3Get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluid.  Your body needs to rest to function and to fight infection.  It needs fluids to stay hydrated and to eliminate toxins efficiently.  If you aren’t getting rid of the toxins, they are playing games with your immune system.  Not a good thing in general, and definitely not when you are pregnant and working overtime for you and your baby.

4."Stay out of church and Walmart during flu season."  No joke – this is what the respiratory therapist told us when we were in the hospital with our second child when he was three months old and fighting RSV.  He said that there are so many people going through those buildings, and people go to church and Walmart sick or healthy – if they have a need, they are going to be there.  By extension, we suggest that our students and their newborns stay out of any situation where they don’t have control over who is going to be there.

5. Advocate for yourself and for your baby.  It is okay to ask people to stay away if they are sick.  Whether its as obvious as a fever or phlegm-y cough, or seemingly innocuous like a little cough or runny nose, keep your distance.  As one of our pediatrician friends told us last week, “If they say they have ‘allergies’, tell them that you can wait to see them.”  We send a note with any invitation to our home that reads like this, “As much as we want to celebrate with our closest friends and family, we also need your help in keeping (mom and/or baby) healthy.  We will understand if you choose not to come due to illness and will look forward to celebrating with you when you are in full health.”

6. Avoid harmful substances.  If you see someone smoking, move away from them if you are not comfortable asking them to move away or stop in your presence.  Examine labels for food and health and beauty products.  Whatever mom puts into her body transfers to the baby through the placenta in one form or another – there is no barrier.  That is why it is so important to discuss any concerns with your care team – that is why you hired them, so use their knowledge to your full advantage.
 
You will never regret taking care of yourself or your baby.  If you look at the big picture, you may decide that it is better to risk offending someone than risking your health or your baby’s health just for the sake of “being nice” or “keeping the peace”.
 
References:
(1)  www.cdc.gov/handwashing
(2)  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/infectious-disease/AN01238
 
Interesting internet reads:
(A)  Foundations of nursing, Lois White, Second Edition, page 361
"A portal of entry is the route by which an infectious agent enters the host.  Portals of entry include the following:…Transplacental, through transfer of microorganisms from mother to fetus via the placental and umbilical cord (including HIV, hepatitis B)"
 
(B)  Infections of the central nervous system, W. Michael Scheld, Richard J. Whitley, Christina M. Marra, page 132
"In utero disease is likely a consequence of transplacental infection and usually involves skin, brain, eye, liver and adrenals."
 
(C)  www.dhh.louisiana.gov - IsolationTransmissionLearnLink.pdf
Microorganisms present in the blood of the mother go through the placenta to infect the fetus.  In some cases [*] it is difficult to differentiate between perinatal or transplacental transmission, since both modes of transmission are known to occur.
-  Syphilis
-  Toxoplasma
-  CMV, HBV*
-  HIV*
-  HSV*
-  Rubella, Varicella
 
 
Disclaimer:
The material included on this site and blog is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This site and blog contain information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this site and blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

 

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