The 2014 flu shot: What’s new and why get it now

vaccine imageNow is a great time to roll up your sleeve because the flu vaccine takes two weeks to kick in, says Elizabeth Jones, M.D., a family physician at the University of Michigan Health System’s Livonia Health Center. Everyone 6 months of age and older is encouraged to get their yearly flu vaccine, ideally by October.

More must-know flu season information

Needle-free season for kids. New this year, the nasal spray vaccine has become the preferred flu vaccine for healthy children ages 2-8. Studies suggest it may work better than a flu shot in younger children. But don’t delay getting vaccinated to find the nasal spray vaccine, Jones says.

A boost for seniors. Adults age 65 and older, there’s an alternative for you: a high-dose vaccine that new research shows is 24 percent more effective at preventing flu. As we age our immune system Continue reading

Heart disease poses threat to new moms

On rare occasions, pregnancy can lead to peripartum cardiomyopathy

161029561On rare occasions pregnancy can lead to peripartum cardiomyopathy, a type of pregnancy-related heart failure once called postpartum cardiomyopathy. Women can develop the condition in the last month of pregnancy or within five months of delivering a baby.

For these women, this type of heart failure can be temporary, or can progress to severe, life-threatening heart failure that requires a heart device to support their weakened heart muscle.

While peripartum cardiomyopathy is rare (occurring in 1 of every 2,500 to 4,000 pregnancies which translates to about 1,000 to 1,300 cases in the U.S. each year), some women are at higher risk than others. It is more common among women who are older, African American, carrying multiples, or who have high blood pressure or preeclampsia.

The cause of peripartum cardiomyopathy is not well understood, but active research is underway to learn more. Early diagnosis improves women’s outlook for recovery. Continue reading

Pregnancy and Weight Gain

Eating for Two You

pregnancy weight gainSeems like the minute you discover you are pregnant, people start reminding you that you are eating for two and to take it easy. While decades ago that was the advice given to women (and is still what many of those around you may be saying), research has shown that a healthy diet, appropriate weight gain and staying active during pregnancy is the best approach for both you and your baby.

Guidelines for how much weight you should gain during your pregnancy were most recently updated in 2009. Continue reading

Pregnant and snoring? When to worry

Maternal snoring puts women at greater risk of health issues such as high blood pressure and poor delivery outcomes but how do you know if you need treatment?

BlogPregSo your partner tells you that in addition to all of the obvious physical changes from pregnancy, you have also started to snore.

Is it just another irritant on the list of pregnancy nuisances or a serious concern for your health and your baby’s health?

I’ve been studying the link between maternal snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, and mom and baby health for several years. My most recent study found that chronic snoring  (snoring before and during pregnancy) makes women 65 percent more likely to deliver small babies and more than twice as likely to have a C-section as non-snorers. This is true even after other known risk factors, such as obesity, are accounted for.

Continue reading

Oh, how your body will change during pregnancy

wh blog - body changes during pregnancyIn addition to the obvious physical changes as your belly grows during pregnancy, what other surprises may your body have in store for you? Pregnancy is an exciting time, but often one filled with many questions — is my baby healthy, can I do this/eat that, and what the heck is happening to my body?

During your first trimester, you’ll probably feel tired, perhaps more tired than you’ve ever felt before. Get as much rest as you can. About 70 percent of women will also experience nausea or vomiting during their first trimester. Eating a balanced diet of bland foods can help. A great over-the-counter combination that has proven effective and safe in controlling nausea and vomiting is taking Unisom (or a generic version) and vitamin B6 before you go to sleep at night.

Continue reading

Breastfeeding multiples — Yes, it can be done!

wh blog - breastfeeding multiplesWe all know that breast milk is best for babies, but when you have two, three, four or more babies, is breastfeeding possible? Yes, it is. It requires focus, dedication, planning and help.

Start right. Bring your babies to your breasts as soon as possible after they are born. If the babies are in the NICU or for some other reason unable to nurse immediately, start pumping and saving your breast milk. If your babies are born at under 34 weeks, they will need fortified milk. A mineral-rich supplement can be mixed with your breast milk and given with a bottle for two or three feedings each day, depending on what your doctor recommends.

Continue reading