New Prenatal Test Warn Expectant Moms About Risk Factors Just Nine Weeks Into Pregnancy

Pregnancy

With all of the concerns about how various activities and foods will impact the baby, pregnant women have a lot to worry about. While every pregnant woman wishes to have a perfect pregnancy, this is not always possible. And if something does go wrong, it’s best to know as soon as possible. “As soon as possible” has just become a lot sooner thanks to a revolutionary new test called Panorama.

This new prenatal test and can now find abnormalities as early as nine weeks into the pregnancy. Taking this test will take some of the weight off of the shoulders of expecting mothers if there are no abnormalities. If there are some abnormalities, the family will have time to prepare.

So how exactly does it work? Blood is drawn from expectant moms in order to get genetic material from the baby’s placenta. This test can spot defects that can result in Down’s syndrome or other trisomies. It can also find defects that lead to sex chromosome abnormalities and microdeletions, which are the cause of conditions like Angelman and Prader-Willi.

If the results of the test show that there is a high risk for some abnormalities in your baby, there is more that needs to be done. The next step is more testing, such as amniocentesis or the CVS, chorionic villus sampling. If the results show a low risk, the expectant mother may be able to void amniocentesis or other invasive tests.

While it will, of course, be unsettling for an expectant mother to learn that she is high risk, it is ultimately crucial that she find out early, so she can better prepare. If an expectant mother gets back a high-risk result, the mother and her doctor should monitor the pregnancy differently. They will also want to ensure that that the mother is at the best possible location to deliver her baby. This means that she should be near the best specialist and the best NICU possible. This way, her delivery can go as smoothly as possible and the baby can be as healthy as possible.

While the most important aspect of Panorama is, of course, the ability to detect risk factors, it also has a number of other interesting features. For example, parents can detect their baby’s gender early on. It is astounding that a non-invasive surgery that is done with a simple blood test can show this.

One of several cell-free DNA tests on the market, Panorama may give a false positive result. However, out of all prenatal screening tests available, Panorama has the lowest false positive rate for the commonly screened chromosomal abnormalities, trisomies 13, 18 and 21.

Panorama is typically used alongside other routine screening tests such as ultrasounds, and it is typically covered by insurance. With Panorama, expectant mothers who do not have high-risk factors can instead focus on other matters. And those who are at high risk can adjust so that their babies can be as healthy as possible. Panorama is bound to make an incredible difference in the lives of many expectant families.

Speak with your doctor about Panorama and allow your doctor to communicate if this prenatal screening is right for you.

Study: Mashed Potatoes, Potato Chips Contribute to a Higher Risk of Gestational Diabetes Among Pregnant Women

Fingerling_Potatoes,_Pike_Place_Market

Enjoying a potato-rich diet, involving the consumption of potatoes and potato by-products (ex. scallop potatoes, au gratin potatoes, mashed potatoes, potato chips, tater tots, hash browns and french fries), could be bad for you if you’re pregnant, according to new research published by The National Institutes of Health. The report asserts that potato-rich diets contribute to a higher risk of gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes generally develops during the 24th week of pregnancy, and it’s associated with high blood sugar and high glycemic index food. The British Medical Journal published the study, and it concluded that consuming potatoes more than five times a week increased the likelihood of developing gestational diabetes by 50 percent. The 10-year study examined the health records of 15,632 women between 1991 and 2001. The researchers proceeded to track and evaluate the subject’s consumption of potatoes and other foods, checking in every four years. They tracked incidences of diabetes, verified by medical records and reported by patients. That lengthy study yielded interesting results.

The research authors found that pre-pregnancy consumption of potatoes fundamentally contributes to the increased risk of gestational diabetes, regardless of adjustments to other major risk factors (weight, age, and diet). When following up, it was discovered that 854 women developed pregnancy diabetes. Women who consumed two to four 3.5-ounce servings of potatoes per week were 27 percent more likely to develop pregnancy diabetes, and those who ate five servings of starchy vegetables each week were 50 percent more likely to face a greater risk of developing the condition.

Women who eat fewer potatoes, and consume legumes, whole grains, and other vegetables instead, are 12 percent less likely to develop gestational diabetes.  The study was the first to examine the impact of potatoes on pregnancy.

It’s important to recognize that correlation doesn’t not necessarily equal causation.  Eating potatoes in moderation is fine, but what’s most important is maintaining a balanced diet. It’s the absolute best way to have a happy and healthy pregnancy.

5 Ways to Prepare for your Due Date

dr. lori gore-greenImpending parenthood is often a time fraught with a unique blend of excitement, anxiety and a whole host of other emotions. And while many claim that no one is ever fully prepared for parenthood, there are some concrete steps that expectant mothers and their partners can take in the days leading up to delivery. Below are some of the easiest ways to relieve stress related to the delivery process, simply through preparation.

Make a Go Bag

While this may seem fairly obvious, make a point to pack a bag that includes comfortable clothes that are easy to get into (think zip up hoodies, yoga pants, a warm shawl or fleece that you can wrap yourself in) without much movement or effort. I wouldn’t suggest bringing much in the way of jewelry or makeup. Instead pack simple, fragrance free products. The most important thing to include in your to go bag are any medications that you are currently taking or may need to take. Also, don’t forget to include your folder of important documents (outlined below) and extra pairs of underwear . 

Contingency plans

Whether you are having an induced labor or going the natural route, it’s important to have a plan in place for getting to the hospital, but it’s equally important to have a backup plan, and to have a plan for your other responsibilities. If you have another child or other children, make sure that they also have a go bag so that they can stay with a trusted babysitter or relative while you are in labor and recovering. Discuss the time frame for your expected delivery and make sure that this works with the guardian for your child. Create a document with all relevant information for your child, and for you. Do this well in advance so that you don’t have to worry about it when you are focusing on the delivery, and make a point to email a copy and give this guardian a printed copy. 

Automate Bill Pay

A month or two before your expected delivery date, make a point to automate or take care of any bills coming up in the next few months. While automated bill pay is a convenience that you may already take advantage of, if you haven’t started, now is a great time to try it. This way, you won’t have to worry about bills getting paid on time while your focus is elsewhere. You can always change this option once you are home, but the more things that you can automate while you are focusing on this birth, the better. Also, consider sharing your bill pay or “errand” calendar with your partner or a trusted confidante if you don’t have time to finish these tasks prior to delivery.

Important Documents

While this may seem like the last thing on your mind as you approach your labor day, this is something that will reduce paper-work related-stress, and will serve you well even after the birth of your child. Early on, I recommend that you create a folder that includes copies of all important documents including a copy of your government-issued ID, a copy of your Health Insurance Card(s), a sheet that lists all of your current doctors and medications that you are taking – as well as any allergies. Additionally print out a sheet that includes your emergency contacts and their information. Also keep an updated copy of your will and any pertinent instructions regarding end of life care. Keep this information in a folder in your go bag, and leave a copy at home or in your safety deposit box and/or with your partner or family member(s). Make sure your partner or hospital companion keeps an eye on this folder once you arrive. While this may seem like a somewhat somber set of documents to procure in the midst of your pregnancy, it is all a part of being responsible for both your health and the health of your child. Talk to your doctor and ask if there is any other information that would be relevant to have on hand, or if there is any way to share this information beforehand (to cut back on the number of items you bring with you).

Be Kind to Your Body

Although this means different things to different people, there are certain things that you should do for yourself throughout your pregnancy. Finding ways to exercise regularly (from yoga, to walking to more aerobic workouts, always make sure you consult with your doctor and listen to your body). Make a point to meditate. Drink lots of water and eat healthy whole foods. Visit your doctor regularly, and never be afraid to ask any questions. And most importantly, find ways to de-stress your daily life.

There are a number of other ways that you can prepare for your child’s arrival. Preparing your home before you go to the hospital or birthing center is also a huge component of preparing for the birth. For more information on how to prepare, do your research and talk to your doctor.

How to Shed Those Post-Pregnancy Pounds

Dr. Lori Gore Gore-Green PregnantCongratulations! Your new baby is here and now you’re impatient to return to your pre-pregnancy weight. Following a smart plan will help you shed the extra pounds, but these things take time you’ll need to do it in a way that is healthy for your body.

Follow these 6 steps to healthily shedding your post-pregnancy pounds:

  • Stay Hydrated: The recommendations for your suggested daily water intake vary from place to place, but most doctors nevertheless agree that staying hydrated is key for maintaining a healthy weight. Use your urine color as a gauge for your hydration level — if your urine is relatively clear, you know that you’re probably drinking enough fluids. (Note: Some medications and pills, such as B vitamins, can cause your urine to turn bright yellow, regardless of your hydration level).
  • Don’t Diet: Dieting can be the wrong mindset for new mothers, especially if they are breastfeeding their babies. Instead of putting an exclusive focus on cutting calories, put the focus back on eating healthy foods in a well-balanced variety. Eat lots and lots of vegetables, have a portion of healthy grains and lean protein at each meal, and keep small, healthy snacks available for noshing in between.
  • Choose Nutrient-Dense Foods: Your body needs all the nutrition it can get while it’s recovering from a delivery. This is particularly true if you’re breastfeeding your baby. Routinely add superfoods to your diet, such as salmon, quinoa, milk, greek yogurt, spinach, and avocados, in moderation.
  • Breastfeed: The jury is still out on whether breastfeeding can actually help mothers lose weight — some studies suggest it can help you return to your pre-pregnancy weight faster while others find no difference. Either way, breastfeeding is worth pursuing because it gives your baby a number of health benefits, including a boosted immunity. You can add 200-300 extra calories to your diet if you exclusively breastfeed, but just make sure to keep those calories in line with the rest of your weight loss plan.
  • Start Burning Calories: Your weight loss starts in the kitchen, but it ends with your exercising routine. Make sure to include both strength training and aerobic training exercises into your weekly regimen to help you de-stress, achieve better sleep, avoid depression, and keep off the extra pounds.
  • Catch Up On Sleep: Getting a good night’s sleep with a new baby around may sound impossible but getting those 8 hours of sleep is one of the most effective ways to keep off the extra weight. When you’re well rested, you’ll have more motivation to exercise and you’ll reduce the weight-gain effects of stress hormones like cortisol. Make it a priority to sleep when your baby sleeps and try to take naps during the day to catch up on lost sleep. You’ll have to go to bed earlier, but you’ll be thankful that you did.