Q. Is running a good exercise to maintain my fitness during my pregnancy?
We all know that fish are a great source of Omega 3’s and fatty acids, but consuming fish during pregnancy isn’t always safe. Research has indicated that they are also a source of harmful toxins, such as pesticides and heavy metals such as mercury. These harmful chemicals tend to accumulate “higher up the food chain”, meaning that the bigger the fish the more contaminated it is likely to be.
Because of potential toxicity, fish consumption should be limited especially during pregnancy, lactation and in young children. Health Canada advises that all Canadians should limit their consumption of fresh and frozen tuna, shark, swordfish, escolar, marlin and orange roughy due to their mercury levels. Heavy metals such as mercury have a negative impact on the development of the fetal nervous system as it tends to accumulate in the brain. This can lead to health problems such as decrease in I.Q., delays in walking and talking, lack of coordination, blindness and seizures.
Omega 3 fatty acids, more specifically – EPA and DHA – are very important in healthy fetal development. Research indicates that they prevent premature births, are involved in healthy development of vision and the nervous system and increase intelligence. Essential fatty acids also have potential benefits for the mom. In studies they have shown to be important nutrients in the treatment of depression.
Non-fish sources of omega 3 fatty acids include walnuts and ground flaxseeds. However, these food sources do not contain enough of the essential fatty acids and you should not rely on these sources alone for the omega 3 health benefits. Taking a supplement of fish oil during pregnancy is the best option available to ensure that you and your baby’s health are protected and nurtured during pregnancy and beyond. Fish oil provides the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids without the risk of toxicity. However, beware of the type of fish oil you choose to take. You should make sure that the company that produces the fish oil uses strict guidelines that ensure the fish oil is molecularly distilled to remove the heavy metals, pesticides and other chemicals that are commonly found in fish.
Dr. Agnieszka Matusik, ND is a Naturopathic Physician practicing family medicine in Kerrisdale and Kitsilano communities of Vancouver. For more information contact her at [email protected].
Sorry, moms-to-be, being pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t use cleaning products. (i.e. You can’t use pregnancy as an excuse to hire a maid—unless you just want to) In years past, cleaning products were much harsher and more dangerous than they are now, but that doesn’t mean that everything is safe or recommended for use while pregnant. Luckily there are lots of options out there to choose from. Here are some helpful tips for knowing what cleaning products are safe to use during pregnancy.
Is it Safe to Dye Your Hair While Pregnant? According to all the information we have at hand, yes, it’s perfectly safe for you to get your roots touched up with hair dye while you’re expecting. Please! No one should look like a skunk in their post-birthing pictures! Based on the data which OTIS (Organization for Teratology Information Services) has gathered over years of research, modern hair treatments, including dyes and bleaches, are low in harmful chemicals. So go get thyself pretty: this includes perms, chemical relaxers, highlights, etc., although to be ultra-safe you might want to wait until after the first trimester to do full-head treatments, to minimize absorption of any chemicals through the scalp. Scientists and stylists alike agree, the chance of any of these processes actually hurting you or your baby are extremely minimal.
The aestheticians polled for this question said the biggest risk in having your hair colored while pregnant is that the hormones running rampant through your body might influence the absorption of the dye in your hair shaft, meaning the color might come out a bit different than expected. The chances of a botched dye-job can be diminished by getting your beautification done at a salon by a professional, rather than at home with a box and a pair of gloves. Those people paid money to learn how to do hair in the best and most technically correct ways—you standing at your kitchen sink and struggling to get the back of your head to match the front is neither the best nor technically correct way to color your hair. You’ve been warned!
Is Sushi Safe While Pregnant?
Sorry, my harajuku girls who love their sashimi, but you gotta lay the chopsticks down for a few months until that bun’s done in the oven. (At least for some kinds of sushi, that is.)
Why isn’t sushi safe while pregnant?
According to OTIS (Organization for Teratology Information Services), raw fish can contain parasites and bacteria which a normal body can easily fight off but which a pregnant mom’s suppressed immune system might not be able to deal with. Also, some larger fish such as mackerel, salmon and tuna have high levels of mercury and other heavy metals, depending on where the fish was obtained (farmed fish have higher concentrations than wild-caught fish), which are very dangerous for a developing brain.
There could also be issues with cleanliness in the storing, preparation and service of raw foods. Although the chances of any of these issues troubling you in particular are extremely low, it’s always best to err on the side of caution when it’s not just your health on the line.
However, all is not lost, my little sushi addicts: a California roll is still perfectly safe, as are rolls made without fish or with cooked seafood. So enjoy what you can while you’re pregnant, and rest easy in the knowledge that you’re making the best decisions for you and your baby. Many meat teryaki rolls, tempura and veggie rolls are available. Swap the white for brown rice and you’re even better off. The seaweed wraps are filled with anti-oxidents and goodness and there are plenty of non-raw choices in most restaurants. So enjoy what you and and put the spicy tuna on your wishlist for the first post-birth feast!
Your first pregnancy is always full of questions and anxiety: what’s normal? What can and can’t I do? It’s nice to have some concrete facts to go by. This one’s pretty easy: The answer to ‘can I use nail polish while I am pregnant‘ is yes.
According to the Organization of Teratology Information Services (OTIS, they study and release information on substances and practices that could cause birth defects or harm developing babies), it’s fine, just be wise. Heck, go all out and get yourself a mani-pedi, because once you hit the middle of the second trimester you’ll be lucky to be able to see your feet, much less be able to contort yourself around the curve of your baby belly to paint your own toenails, right? At least then you’ll know they’re presentable without having to use a handheld mirror to check!
Q – What’s the deal with folic acid? I know I’m supposed to start taking it but don’t fully understand why? Should I take it before I get pregnant or just during my pregnancy? Do I need to keep taking it if I’m breastfeeding?
Q – I have read in 3 different pregnancy books that you should not sleep on your back when you are pregnant. Why is this? I am 7 months pregnant and that is pretty much the only position that is comfortable for me! Can you tell me what the deal is?
Q – I am 30-weeks pregnant, and wondering if it’s safe to perm my hair. I know the general suggestion is no, but in a handout my doctor gave me, it writes ‘occasional’ is fine. I am confused. Please help!
Q. Is it safe to diet during pregnancy?