Archive | January 2019


Folic acid is also helpful in producing red blood cells which help prevent anemia during pregnancy. The most important benefit of folic acid intake before and during pregnancy is that it protects against neural tube defects.  In order to work optimally, you must start taking folic acid at least 1-2 months before you get pregnant.  The neural tube, which eventually develops into the baby’s nervous system, is formed during the first few weeks of pregnancy and if the proper amount of folic acid is present in the mother’s body at this point, it reduces or eliminates the risks of defects in the child.”

babyMed (

Folic Acid Awareness Month is January

National Folic Acid Awareness Month, which was in the beginning of this month!   January 10–16, 2016, was National Folic Acid Awareness Week but for those who may have missed the info on it don’t fret striveforgoodhealth  is covering Folic acid today and its especially important to women who might become pregnant, as it can help prevent serious birth defects of the brain, neck and spine. Recent studies suggest that it can also help lower the risk of neural tube defects and orofacial clefts (cleft lip and palate). Notably, folic acid has been shown to lower the risk of anencephaly (the absence of a large part of the brain and skull) and spina bifida (an opening in the spinal column) by 50 to 70%.

Much of the baby’s growth and development happens very early in pregnancy, even before most women know they’re pregnant. Experts estimate that women need to start taking folic acid at least one month before they become pregnant for it to prevent birth defects, so it’s important to make folic acid-enriched foods and vitamins a part of your daily routine.

The benefits aren’t limited to your baby: your body needs folic acid, too. The acid helps to create healthy new cells in the body, from hair to nails to skin and blood cells. Without it, blood cells become unstable, and the body is susceptible to disease. The vitamin also protects your liver, allowing it to continue purifying your body. Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin that your body cannot store, so it should be taken every day to replenish your body’s supply.

Many foods are now being fortified with more folic acid, such as grains, pastas and breakfast cereals. Check the nutritional facts label on your favorite products to see how much they contain. Many cereals now contain as much as 100% of the recommended daily value. Additionally, prenatal vitamins typically contain folic acid. If you’re not yet taking a prenatal vitamin, you can also look for multivitamins with added acid, or buy folic acid pills.

Birth defects are common, costly, and critical conditions that affect one in every 33 U.S. newborns annually. Women can reduce their risk of having a baby born with a birth defect by making healthy choices and adopting healthy habits before and during pregnancy.

Health care providers can encourage parents-to-be to make a PACT for birth defects prevention by taking the following steps: Planning ahead for pregnancy; Avoiding harmful substances like chemicals in the home or workplace (2); Choosing a healthy lifestyle, including eating a healthy diet (3); and Talking with their health care provider before and during pregnancy, particularly about medication use.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages health care providers to become active participants in National Birth Defects Prevention Month by joining the nationwide effort to raise awareness of birth defects, their causes, and their impact.

CDC urges all women of childbearing age who can become pregnant to get 400 µg of folic acid every day to help reduce the risk for neural tube defects. Health care providers should encourage women of childbearing age to consume folic acid in fortified foods or supplements, or a combination of the two, in addition to a diet rich in folate CDC urges all women of childbearing age who can become pregnant to get 400 µg of folic acid every day to help reduce the risk for neural tube defects. Health care providers should encourage women of childbearing age to consume folic acid in fortified foods or supplements, or a combination of the two, in addition to a diet rich in folate.

An easy way to be sure you’re getting enough folic acid is to take a daily multivitamin with folic acid in it. Most multivitamins have all the folic acid you need. If you get an upset stomach from taking a multivitamin, try taking it with meals or just before bed. If you have trouble taking pills, you can try a multivitamin that is gummy or chewable. Also be sure to take it with a full glass of water.

Folic acid has been added to foods such as enriched breads, pastas, rice and cereals. Check the Nutrition Facts label on the food packaging. A serving of some cereals has 100% of the folic acid that you need each day.

In addition to getting 400 mcg of folic acid from supplements and fortified foods, you can eat a diet rich in folate. You can get food folate from beans, peas and lentils, oranges and orange juice, asparagus and broccoli, and dark leafy green vegetables such as spinach, and mustard greens.

Nutritional habits

Although all enriched cereals and grain products in the U.S. are fortified with the B-vitamin folic acid, only one-third of U.S. women of childbearing age consume the recommended amount from their diet. Taking a multivitamin with folic acid every day is a key way that women can get the recommended amount of 400 mcg.

Be prepared before pregnancy

Women need folic acid, even if not planning to become pregnant, since 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned. Taking folic acid before pregnancy reduces the risk of birth defects of the brain and spine, called neural tube defects (NTDs), by up to 70%.

Message to the Hispanic community

Hispanic babies are 1.5 to 2 times more likely than others in the U.S. to be born with an NTD. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that Latinas in the U.S. consume the least amount of folic acid and have the least knowledge about folic acid among racial or ethnic groups.





“Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) is a congenital heart defect with four components: 1) large ventricular septal defect (VSD), which is a hole between the two ventricles or pumping chambers in the heart; 2) pulmonary stenosis, which is narrowing beneath or in the blood vessel leading to the lungs; 3) overriding of the aorta, in which the aorta lies directly above the ventricular septal defect; and 4) as a result of these events, the right ventricle becomes thickened or hypertrophied.”

Cleveland Clinic

Part III Congenital Birth Defects Cardiac-Tetralogy of Fallot

What is it?

A heart defect that features four problems.

They are:

  • a hole between the lower chambers of the heart
  • an obstruction from the heart to the lungs
  • The aorta (blood vessel) lies over the hole in the lower chambers
  • The muscle surrounding the lower right chamber becomes overly thickened

More information for parents of children with Tetralogy of Fallot

What causes it?

In most children, the cause of tetralogy of Fallot isn’t known. It’s a common type of heart defect. It may be seen more commonly in children with Down syndrome or DiGeorge syndrome. Some children can have other heart defects along with tetralogy of Fallot.

How does it affect the heart?

Normally the left side of the heart only pumps blood to the body, and the heart’s right side only pumps blood to the lungs. In a child with tetralogy of Fallot, blood can travel across the hole (VSD) from the right pumping chamber (right ventricle) to the left pumping chamber (left ventricle) and out into the body artery (aorta). Obstruction in the pulmonary valve leading from the right ventricle to the lung artery prevents the normal amount of blood from being pumped to the lungs. Sometimes the pulmonary valve is completely obstructed (pulmonary atresia).

How does tetralogy of Fallot affect my child?

Infants and young children with unrepaired tetralogy of Fallot are often blue (cyanotic). The reason is that some oxygen-poor blood is pumped to the body through the hole in the wall between the right and left ventricle instead of being pumped to the lungs.

What can be done about tetralogy of Fallot?

Tetralogy of Fallot is treated surgically. A temporary operation may be done at first if the baby is small or if there are other problems. Complete repair comes later. Sometimes the first operation is a complete repair.

Tetralogy of Fallot patch diagramTetralogy of Fallot shunt diagram

Temporary Operation

In some infants, a shunt operation may be done first to provide adequate blood flow to the lungs. This is not open-heart surgery and doesn’t fix the inside of the heart. The shunt is usually a small tube of synthetic material sewn between a body artery (or the aorta) and the pulmonary artery. The shunt is closed when a complete repair is done later.

Complete Repair

Complete repair tends to be done early in life. The surgeon closes the ventricular septal defect with a patch and opens the right ventricular outflow tract by removing some thickened muscle below the pulmonary valve, repairing or removing the obstructed pulmonary valve and, if needed, enlarging the branch pulmonary arteries that go to each lung.

Sometimes a tube is placed between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery. This is sometimes called a Rastelli repair. It’s similar to the type of repair used for some other heart defects.

Will my child’s activities be limited?

Your child may need to limit physical activity, particularly for competitive sports, if there is leftover obstruction or leak in the pulmonary valve, which is common after repair. Children with decreased heart function or rhythm disturbances may need to limit their activity more.

If the tetralogy has been repaired with surgery, and there’s no obstruction or leak in the pulmonary valve, your child may be able to participate in normal activities without much increased risk.

Your child’s pediatric cardiologist will help decide if your child needs limits on physical activity.

What will my child need in the future?

If your child has had tetralogy of Fallot repaired, he or she will need regular follow-up with a pediatric cardiologist. As an adult, your child will need lifelong regular follow-up with a cardiologist who’s had special training in congenital heart defects.

Some long-term problems can include leftover or worsening obstruction between the right pumping chamber and the lung arteries. Children with repaired tetralogy of Fallot have a higher risk of heart rhythm disturbances called arrhythmias. Sometimes these may cause dizziness or fainting.

Generally, the long-term outlook is good, but some children may need medicines, heart catheterization or even more surgery.

What about preventing endocarditis?

Children with tetralogy of Fallot are at increased risk for endocarditis. Some children, including those have had a valve replacement, still have a shunt or have leaks around surgical patches, and need to take antibiotics before certain dental procedures to help prevent endocarditis.


“Congenital heart defects are the most common types of birth defects. Birth defects are health conditions that a baby’s born with that change the shape or function of one or more parts of the body. They can cause problems in overall health, how the body develops, or in how the body works.”.

March of Dimes (

Part II Congenital Birth Defects

The duct should close in the first hours after birth. If it does not, the blood begins to shunt from the aorta into the pulmonary artery and hyperperfuse the lungs. The left side of the heart will have an increase in blood return and become volume overloaded. Too much blood is going to the lungs. RA – RV – Lungs _ LA – LV – Aorta now blood shunts backwards because pressure in L side higher than R so pressure in aorta in higher it backflows (it is already oxygenated) and prevents the blood that needs to be oxyenate doesn’t get there. Dispalces blood that needs to be oxygenated. Mixed blood in oxygenation. L sided heart failure. L to R shunt. THIS IS CALLED A LEFT-TO-RIGHT SHUNT.

-1 Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA).

Simply put, this is a hole in your baby’s aorta that doesn’t close.

Aorta is the largest artery in the body, the aorta arises from the left ventricle of the heart, goes up (ascends) a little ways, bends over (arches), then goes down (descends) through the chest and through the abdomen to where ends by dividing into two arteries called the common iliac arteries that go to the legs which is called the femoral artery than.

Anatomically, the aorta is traditionally divided into the ascending aorta, the aortic arch, and the descending aorta. The descending aorta is, in turn, subdivided into the thoracic aorta (that descends within the chest) and the abdominal aorta (that descends within the belly).

The aorta gives off branches that go to the head and neck, the arms, the major organs in the chest and abdomen, and the legs. It serves to supply them all with oxygenated blood. The aorta is the central conduit from the heart to the body. A hole in the aorta causes many problems.

During pregnancy, the hole allows your baby’s blood to bypass his lungs and get oxygen from your umbilical cord. After he’s born, he starts to get oxygen from his own lungs, and the hole has to close.

If it doesn’t, it’s called patent ductus arteriosus, or PDA. Small PDAs may get better on their own. A larger one could need surgery.

 -2Truncus arteriosus.

This is when your baby is born with one major artery instead of two that carry blood to the rest of his body. He will need surgery as an infant to repair the defect, and may need more procedures later in life.

I-transposition of the great arteries. This means that the right and left chambers of your baby’s heart are reversed. His blood still flows normally, but over time, his right ventricle doesn’t work as well because it must pump harder.

D-transposition of the great arteries. In this condition, the two main arteries of your baby’s heart are reversed. His blood doesn’t move through the lungs to get oxygen, and oxygen-rich blood doesn’t flow throughout his body. He will have to have surgery to repair this condition, usually within the first month of his life.

Single ventricle defects. Babies are sometimes born with a small lower chamber of the heart, or with one valve missing. Different types of single ventricle defects include:

  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome: Your baby has an undeveloped aorta and lower left chamber, or ventricle.
  • Pulmonary atresia/intact ventricular septum: Your baby has no pulmonary valve, which controls blood flow from the heart to the lungs.
  • Tricuspid atresia: Your baby has no tricuspid valve, which should be between the upper and lower chambers of the right side of his heart.

Which Type?

In some cases, your doctor can spot congenital heart problems when your baby is still in the womb. But he can’t always diagnose the defect until after birth and your baby shows signs of a problem.

Many mild congenital heart defects are diagnosed in childhood or even later because they don’t cause any obvious symptoms. Some people don’t find out they have them until they’re adults.

Whatever the type of congenital heart defect, rest assured that with advances in diagnostic tools and treatments, there’s a much greater chance of a long, normal life than ever before.




“We know that not all birth defects can be prevented. But, we also know that women can increase their chances of having a healthy baby by managing health conditions and adopting healthy behaviors before becoming pregnant. Make a PACT, a commitment to yourself, to get healthy before and during pregnancy by actively trying to plan ahead, avoid harmful substances, choose a healthy lifestyle, and talk with your healthcare provider.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Birth defects and how to prevent it!

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Health care providers are encouraged to provide women to plan for pregnancy; avoid harmful substances, like tobacco (2) and alcohol (3); and choose a healthy lifestyle, like eating a healthy diet (4), to increase their chances of a healthy pregnancy. Health care providers also discuss with women any medications they might be taking, both prescription and over-the-counter, to ensure they are taking only what is necessary. If yours is not maybe you need a new one. Prevention is the key to giving highier odds the baby will be healthier when born. Re-enforcement is a great tool and that’s where the medical profession comes into play with pregnant women who is their clientele.

Know that not all birth defects can be prevented. But, we also know that women can increase their chances of having a healthy baby by managing health conditions and adopting healthy behaviors before becoming pregnant. Make a commitment to yourself, to get healthy before and during pregnancy by actively trying to plan ahead, avoid harmful substances, choose a healthy lifestyle, and talk with your healthcare provider. There are some that can be prevented.

1.Plan ahead.

Get 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day.
Folic acid is a B vitamin. If a woman has enough folic acid in her body at least one month before and during pregnancy, it can help prevent major birth defects of the developing brain and spine defects like anencephaly or spina bifida.
Anencephaly is a serious birth defect in which a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull. It is a type of neural tube defect (NTD). As the neural tube forms and closes, it helps form the baby’s brain and skull (upper part of the neural tube), spinal cord, and back bones (lower part of the neural tube). Spina bifida is a condition that affects the spine and is usually apparent at birth. It is a type of neural tube defect (NTD). Spina bifida can happen anywhere along the spine if the neural tube does not close all the way. The backbone that protects the spinal cord does not form and close as it should. This often results in damage to the spinal cord and nerves. Spina bifida might cause physical and intellectual disabilities that range from mild to severe. The severity depends on:

  • The size and location of the opening in the spine.
  • Whether part of the spinal cord and nerves are affected.
  • There are 3 types and they are: 1-Myelomeningocele, 2-Meningocele, and 3-Spina Bifida Occulta.
  • 1-Myelomeningocele is the most serious type of spina bifida. With this condition, a sac of fluid comes through an opening in the baby’s back. Part of the spinal cord and nerves are in this sac and are damaged. This type of spina bifida causes moderate to severe disabilities, such as problems affecting how the person goes to the bathroom, loss of feeling in the person’s legs or feet, and not being able to move the legs.

2-Meninocele is a sac of fluid comes through an opening in the baby’s back. But, the spinal cord is not in this sac. There is usually little or no nerve damage. This type of spina bifida can cause minor disabilities.

3-Spina bifida occulta is the mildest type of spina bifida. It is sometimes called “hidden” spina bifida. With it, there is a small gap in the spine, but no opening or sac on the back. The spinal cord and the nerves usually are normal. Many times, spina bifida occulta is not discovered until late childhood or adulthood. This type of spina bifida usually does not cause any disabilities.

    • Women can get folic acid from fortified foods or supplements, or a combination of the two, in addition to a varied diet rich in folate.
    • See a healthcare professional regularly.
      A woman should be sure to see her doctor when planning a pregnancy and start prenatal care as soon as she thinks that she is pregnant. It is important to see the doctor regularly throughout pregnancy, so a woman should keep all her prenatal care appointments. If you are trying to have a baby or are just thinking about it, it is not too early to start getting ready for pregnancy. Use these checklists to help you write down your goals and have them in a place that you reinforce yourself to maintain them as best as possible for your child’s sake and your own sake as well.

2.Avoid harmful substances.

  • Avoid alcohol at any time during pregnancy.Alcohol in a woman’s bloodstream passes to the developing baby through the umbilical cord. There is no known safe amount of alcohol use during pregnancy or while trying to get pregnant. There is also no safe time during pregnancy to drink. All types of alcohol are equally harmful, including wine and beer. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and a range of lifelong physical, behavioral, and These disabilities in the child, which occur because the mother drank alcohol during the pregnancy, are known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). The best advice for women is to stop drinking alcohol when trying to get pregnant.
  • Avoid smoking cigarettes.

The dangers of smoking during pregnancy include preterm birth, certain birth defects from cleft lip or cleft palate to even infant death and more diseases inherited by mom through smoking. Even being around tobacco smoke puts a woman and her pregnancy at risk for problems. Quitting smoking before getting pregnant is best. For a woman who is already pregnant, quitting as early as possible can still help protect against some health problems for the baby, such as low birth weight. It’s never too late to quit smoking.

  • Avoid marijuana and other “street drugs”.

A woman who uses marijuana or other “street” drugs during pregnancy can have a baby who is born preterm, of low birth weight, or has other health problems, such as birth defects. Marijuana is the illicit drug most commonly used during pregnancy. Since we know of no safe level of marijuana use during pregnancy, women who are pregnant, or considering becoming pregnant, should not use marijuana, even in states where marijuana is legal. Women using marijuana for medical reasons should speak with their doctor about an alternative therapy with pregnancy-specific safety data.

  • Prevent infections.

Some infections that a woman can get during pregnancy can be harmful to the developing baby and can even cause birth defects. Some easy steps to prevent infections include frequent hand-washing, cooking meat until its well done, and staying away from people who have an infection.

3.Choose a healthy lifestyle.

  • Keep diabetes under control.

Poor control of diabetes during pregnancy increases the chances for birth defects and other problems for the pregnancy. It can also cause serious complications for the woman. Proper healthcare before and during pregnancy can help prevent birth defects and other poor outcomes. 

  • Strive to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Do you know your body mass index (BMI)? Calculate it. Where? Just look it up on the internet anywhere for free.

A woman who is obese (a Body Mass Index of 30 or higher) before pregnancy is at a higher risk for complications during pregnancy. Obesity also increases a pregnant woman’s risk of several serious birth defects. Even if a woman is not actively planning a pregnancy, getting healthy can help boost her health and her mood. If a woman is overweight or obese, she should talk with her doctor about ways to reach a healthy weight before she gets pregnant.

4.Talk with your healthcare provider.

  • Talk to a healthcare provider about taking any medications.

We know that certain medications can cause serious birth defects if they are taken during pregnancy. For many medications taken by pregnant women, the safety has been difficult to determine. Despite the limited safety data, some medications are needed to treat serious conditions. If a woman is pregnant or planning a pregnancy, she should not stop taking medications she needs or begin taking new medications without first talking with her healthcare provider. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medications and dietary or herbal products.

  • Talk to a healthcare provider about vaccinations (shots).

Most vaccinations are safe during pregnancy and some vaccinations, such as the flu vaccine and the Tdap vaccine (adult tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis vaccine), are specifically recommended during pregnancy. Some vaccines protect women against infections that can cause birth defects. Having the right vaccinations at the right time can help keep a woman and her baby healthy. She should talk to her doctor about which vaccines are recommended for her during pregnancy.



“Families with alcohol and drug problems usually
have high levels of stress and confusion. Children in families experiencing alcohol or drug abuse need attention, guidance and
support. These children need to have their experiences
validated. They also need safe, reliable adults & those to confide in.”
SAMHSA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Adm.

National Alcohol and Drug Facts Week

People who drink are affected even before they show signs of being drunk, especially when it comes to decision-making abilities.

At first, alcohol causes people to feel upbeat and excited. But this is temporary and they shouldn’t be fooled.

If drinking continues, the effects on the body—and the potential risks—multiply. Here’s what can happen:

  • Inhibitions and memory: People may say and do things that they will regret later, or possibly not remember at all. Inhibitions are lost – leading to poor decision making.
  • Decision-making skills: When they drink, individuals are more likely to be impulsive. They may be at greater risk for having an alcohol-related traffic crash, getting into fights, or making unwise decisions about sex.
  • Coordination and physical control: When drinking leads to loss of balance, slurred speech, and blurred vision, even normal activities can become more dangerous.
  • Death: Drinking too much alcohol can also lead to death. If people drink too much, they will eventually get sleepy and pass out. Reflexes like gagging and breathing can be suppressed. That means they could vomit and choke, or stop breathing completely.

And finally, it’s easy to misjudge how long alcohol’s effects last. Alcohol continues to affect the brain and body long after the last drink has been finished. Even after someone stops drinking, alcohol in the stomach and intestine continues to enter the bloodstream, impairing judgment and coordination for hours.

An alcohol blackout is a gap in a person’s memory for events that took place while he or she was drinking. When a blackout happens, a person’s brain does not create memories for these events as they are happening. For people who have had a blackout, it can be frightening to wake up the next day and not remember what they did the night before.

Teens drink for a variety of reasons. Some teens want to experience new things. Others feel pressured into drinking by peers. And some are looking for a way to cope with stress or other problems. Unfortunately, drinking will only make any problems a person has already worse, not better.

Alcohol poisoning (also called alcohol overdose) occurs when there is so much alcohol in a person’s bloodstream that areas of the brain controlling basic life-support systems—such as breathing, heart rate, and temperature control—begin to shut down.

Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty remaining conscious
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Trouble with breathing
  • Slow heart rate
  • Clammy skin
  • Dulled responses, such as no gag reflex (which prevents choking)
  • Extremely low body temperature
  • Death.

If you suspect someone has alcohol poisoning, call 911 and get medical help immediately. Cold showers, hot coffee, or walking will NOT reverse the effects of alcohol overdose and could actually make things worse.

Part II with Drug Facts Tomorrow!