Get active for baby

Genetic preprogramming of your child’s health characteristics may be a reality. In a study published earlier this year at Michigan State University, professor James Pivarnik looked at the effects of a mom’s physical activity during pregnancy and the child’s risk of high blood pressure later in life. He found that the well-established connection that lower birth weights in babies increases their chances of high blood pressure later in life was disrupted when the mother had been physically active during pregnancy. “This is a good thing as it suggests that the regular exercise habits of the mother are good for heart health later in a child’s life,” Pivarnik said. The study evaluated the physical activity of 51 women during and after pregnancy over a five-year period. In a follow-up study it was discovered that the children whose mothers exercised regularly during pregnancy were likely to have lower blood pressure.

Keep cool

Thee body’s ability to handle the heat of summer can change during pregnancy. Dr. P. Adam Dodd with Sutter Gould Medical Foundation recommends expecting mothers keep their clothing loose and cool, and to keep fluids flowing during the heat of the day. Broad spectrum sunscreen is a must to protect against burns and melasma, also known as the “mask of pregnancy,” which causes brown or gray patches to form on the face.

Iodine supplement

Iodine helps in the production of thyroid hormone, which is an essential element for brain development during pregnancy and early childhood. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that one-third of pregnant women are deficient in iodine. They recommend that pregnant and lactating women take supplements with adequate levels of iodine and point out that only about 15 percent of this group does so.

More than just beauty sleep

How important are those daytime naps for baby? Researchers at the University of Sheffield concluded, after studying 216 healthy 6- to 12-month-old infants, that only those babies who took a nap of at least 30 minutes after learning a new skill were able to remember and reproduce their new knowledge or skill. A lead researcher in the study, Dr. Jane Herbert, stated the study suggests, contrary to previous assumptions, “the optimal time for infants to learn new information is just before they have a sleep.” According to the study the findings also reinforce bedtime stories as invaluable for a child’s development.