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Benefits of Breastfeeding

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Some mothers decide to breastfeed their babies when they are born while others would rather not embark on this journey. The topic of breastfeeding tends to be a pretty sensitive one as there is a big divide amongst women who breastfeed and those who do not. While there are plenty of benefits to both mom and baby when it comes to breastfeeding, it is not for everyone and that’s ok too. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a mother breastfeeds her baby for the first year of life and there are many benefits of doing so.

Nutrition Basics
Breast milk is made up of all the right amounts of vitamins, fat and protein that a baby needs to thrive. This milk comes in a much more safe and natural form whereas store bought formula can be based off of not so great ingredients such as corn syrup solids and sugar. Not to mention that there is a perfect form of antibodies that help a baby develop a really strong immune system. This can be beneficial in helping fight off bacterial and viral based illnesses.

Development
Breastfeeding benefits are not just nutritionally based. There have been studies that show children who were breastfed for at least the first six months of like had higher IQ scores than those that were fed solely from formula. This isn’t just due to nutrition but also thanks to the physical contact a baby receives while they are nursing. Eye contact, skin to skin contact and being held can all help a child’s emotional and intellectual development. Babies that are breastfed are at a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome as well.

Immune Support
The benefits of breastfeeding occur during the period of time that a baby nurses but these benefits can often last a lifetime. Breastfeeding has been proven to reduce a lifetime risk of allergies and asthma. There is a decrease in ear infections, illness and stomach upset when breastfeeding takes place. More research will be done in the future to determine other benefits, but it is suspected that breastfeeding can reduce a number of cancers, diabetes and also obesity later on in life.

Benefits For Mom
In addition to breastfeeding being beneficial for the baby that is receiving the mother’s milk, nursing can also benefit the mother as well. With all of those extra calories being given to the baby, those post partum pounds can be shed quite fast. Oxytocin is a hormone that is released during the nursing process and the uterus reacts by shrinking faster than normal. As for long term benefits, breastfeeding can decrease the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer throughout the rest of the mother’s life, not just the months where breastfeeding occurs.

The benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh the benefits of formula feeding is nursing is something you can accomplish. It’s not an easy journey to embark on but it is worth the work that you put into it. Utilizing the services of a trusted and reputable lactation consultant can help you address any issues that might be going on whether it be an issue with latching, staying latched or milk production. It is important to remember that only you can decide what is best for your baby. You may want to enlist the help of your medical professional as well when determining what is best for you and baby. Certain prescription medications can be harmful to a baby if passed through the breast milk, so always check with your doctor regarding this fact as well.

 

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Importance of National Breastfeeding Month

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August is National Breastfeeding Month and people are joining together all over the world to promote this natural and beneficial way of feeding one’s child. Not every mother chooses to breastfeed and not every woman is able to due to medical issues but mother’s milk is beneficial to both mom and baby and is recommended for the first year of like by the American Academy of Pediatrics as well as The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Promoting Health Benefits

Not all women receive optimal health care during their  and because of this, they may not be aware of the benefits associated with breastfeeding. With breast milk being comprised of all the perfect amounts of fat, protein and vitamins that a baby needs, mother’s milk is the way to go for the majority of infants. These days, many store bought formulas contain some really nasty ingredients like chemicals, corn syrup solids, refined sugar and more. Breast milk contains ingredients that the mother is consuming but if mom is taking care of herself and eating properly, then breast milk is beneficial.

Immune System Development and Care

Breast milk contains antibodies for a host of different illnesses and once consumed, the baby will form a resistance to these illnesses. Both bacterial and viral illnesses can be completely prevented thanks to breastfeeding and even if they are contracted by the infant, their duration can be much shorter. Some preliminary research is showing that breast milk can prevent certain cancers, diabetes and developmental delays as children grow. Ear infections, the flu and RSV can all be prevented or shortened by consumption of breast milk. Allergies and asthma are on the rise in children under the age of five but breastfeeding can also help prevent these things as well. These facts are easy to access when looking into the benefits of breastfeeding but for those who are not aware of it, national breastfeeding month can be a good time to get these facts out there and reach the masses.

Proper Child Development

Not every child will walk and talk at the exact same point in their lives but there is a general age where children are expected to meet certain milestones. Breastfeeding has been shown to help children reach these milestones on time or earlier than normal. When breastfeeding takes place for the first six months of a child’s life, they tend to have a higher IQ score than those children that were fed formula on a consistent basis. Keep in mind, this is largely in part to all of the great things that are in breast milk, but one of the benefits of breastfeeding that is promoted during national breastfeeding month is the bonding that occurs between the mother and the baby. Skin to skin contact is beneficial for development as is eye contact and being held and soothed.

The mother of the baby, whether baby is born yet or not, is the person who will make the final decision regarding whether they will breastfeed or not. National breastfeeding month can bring mother’s together to help educate and inspire women to nurse their babies. All other conflicts aside, including whether or not to breastfeed in public, breast is best in the majority of situations and national breastfeeding month can help get the facts out into the public so women can make an educated decision on what is best for their baby. Utilizing the services of a lactation specialist can help make this process simpler and more enjoyable for mom and baby. It is recommended that nursing continue for the first year of life.

 

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Hepatitis Causes and Prevention

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Image is from National Hemophilia Foundation

Hepatitis means inflammation of a person’s liver cells due to an injury to the liver. There are different types of hepatitis you can get that can be determined through a laboratory test. Hepatitis can heal on its own without the need of treatment, but in some cases, treatment is necessary since the virus causes a chronic infection. The main types of hepatitis are A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis A, B, and C cause the most liver damage.

Hepatitis can be a symptom of another disease, and it is mainly a symptom of autoimmune diseases. The hepatitis is a disease that is mainly caused by a viral infection. Hepatitis often starts as an acute disease but can progress and become chronic if not detected early. The disease can cause liver cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer to the patient.

Causes of Hepatitis

Hepatitis can be caused by toxins from drugs, alcohol or other sources of toxins. It can also be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites or an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the liver. However, the most known common cause of hepatitis is a virus.

Hepatitis A and E are short term viral infections that are mainly transmitted through water or food that is contaminated by human or animal waste. Other sources of these forms of hepatitis include under cooked food or raw food that has not been handled in a hygienic way.

Hepatitis B can be spread through having direct contact with infected blood. It can also be sexually transmitted or spread to a child during childbirth.

Hepatitis C can be spread through direct contact with infected blood. It is rare for the disease to be spread from mother to child during childbirth or during sexual intercourse.

Hepatitis D can also be spread through infected blood. However, you can only get hepatitis D if you were infected with hepatitis B. Those who are at the greatest risk of getting the infection include drug users since most share needles. Other at-risk groups include those who have unprotected sex with multiple partners.

Prevention

New cases of hepatitis have been significantly reduced through vaccinations. There are vaccines available for prevention of hepatitis A and B. the vaccinations are effective in reducing the number of infections in children as well as adults.

Currently, there is no vaccine for hepatitis D. however; the disease can be prevented once you get immunized for hepatitis B.

Babies who are delivered to mothers suffering from hepatitis B should get the vaccine within 12 hours of birth to prevent them from getting infections.

Other things that can be done to prevent infection include the following:

  • Washing your hands and encouraging other people to do the same with water and soap after changing a diaper, after coming from using the bathroom and before handling any food.
  • Avoid eating raw foods from unknown places and always drink bottled, boiled or chemically treated water.
  • Practice safe sex. Using condoms goes a long way in preventing the spread of the infection.
  • Do not share sharp objects or toothbrushes.
  • When performing first aid, always wear gloves.
  • Disinfect all blood spills and wear gloves when cleaning up any body fluids.
  • Seek regular prenatal care when you are pregnant.

To reduce the risk of getting a non-viral type of hepatitis, avoid taking excessive alcohol. Also, consult a physician before starting a new prescription and on taking supplements. Hepatitis is a disease that needs to be taken seriously as it can cause severe damage to your liver.

 

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Hepatitis Awareness Month

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Image is from American Liver Foundation

The Purpose of Hepatitis Awareness Month

The CDC strives to inform and educate individuals, communities, organizations, the medical community, and groups on Hepatitis.

  • What Hepatitis is
  • The symptoms
  • How it impacts lives
  • The treatments available
  • Testing available
  • Resources available

May is the time to heighten your awareness of Hepatitis to help yourself and those around you to become aware and educated about this insidious disease, many times a hidden and severe threat to your loved ones.

Hepatitis is a Dangerous Virus

You have no doubt heard about Hepatitis, or maybe not, but if you do you know what hepatitis is and how this can impact your life you will want to spread the word. Gain knowledge and information put out by the CDC during Hepatitis Awareness Month in May.

Many people have Hepatitis and are not even aware that they are infected. Hepatitis is a well-hidden illness of epidemic proportions. Millions of people suffer from Hepatitis in America every year.

In a nutshell, hepatitis is an inflammation process within your liver. This inflammation can remain as such or spin out of control causing fibrosis.

Fibrosis is a scarring of the liver tissues. This scarring hardens the liver tissue, which in the end resembles a stone. Hepatitis can cause you cirrhosis or cancer in the liver.

All forms of hepatitis cause liver damage in differing ways, some types of Hepatitis offer no indications the person even has a health problem. Other people suffer from minor symptoms of this disease. Other people have serious complications resulting in death.

Hepatitis, unfortunately, is very common and caused by substance abuse such as too much alcohol all the time, street drugs, and certain diseases related to immunity disorders.

Five Types of Hepatitis

There are five types of Hepatitis, A, B, C, D, and E. Type A caused by the ingestion of contaminants from food and water. Type B causes a chronic disease leading to cirrhosis and cancer, caused by contact with infected body fluids. Type C causes a chronic illness leading to cirrhosis and cancer, caused by contact with infected body fluids. Type D caused by contact with infected body fluids, and type E caused by the ingestion of contaminants from food and water

Universal Transmission

  • Blood transfusions and blood products
  • Contaminated invasive medical equipment
  • Infected pregnant women
  • Sexual contact
  • Sharing of needles among drug users
  • Accidental needle pricks among medical personnel
  • Poor sanitation conditions.
  • Symptoms

Symptoms may include a yellow tinge to the skin called jaundice, dark urine, severe fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

Work to Spread the Word

May is set aside as Hepatitis Awareness Month across the Untied States. The CDC set the 19th day of May as the day of hepatitis testing.

The CDC recognizes how hidden and elusive hepatitis and their focus is to shed light on this deadly epidemic, threatening the populace.

Become a Proactive Citizen for Hepatitis every year. May is the time of year to push the CDC’s agenda for Hepatitis Awareness and what this illness stands for throughout the United States.

Help to promote things that you, your friends, and your family can do to protect them from this hidden medical menace. You can help spread the word.

  • Take the Hepatitis Risk Assessment. This assessment only takes a mere 5 minutes of your time and is well worth taking.
  • Learn vaccination recommendations
  • Access educational videos
  • Wear buttons and badges and hang posters
  • Be prepared to answer questions and provide the basics of hepatitis.

Support the CDC and May Hepatitis Awareness Month the CDC in their endeavors to make every May a successful hepatitis awareness month.

 

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How Are Women Of Childbearing Age At Risk For Hepatitis C


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What Is Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a known severe liver disease. It is contagious and deadly, causing untold liver damage and sometimes liver cancer. You can have hepatitis C, and you may not know it unless you test. You can contact hepatitis C through coming in contact with infected blood or body fluids from an individual who is a hepatitis C carrier. Coming in contact with the blood from someone who is a carrier is how hepatitis C spreads from one person to another.

If you have hepatitis C, your symptoms can be mild to severe. Symptoms can last a few weeks to a lifetime. Although, if you are infected with hepatitis C chances are this disease will be long-lasting and chronic. Hepatitis is a slow progressing infection that in the end takes an enormous toll on your liver. There are treatments options that you need to work with your primary care doctor before the progression snowballs out of control.

An Increase in Hepatitis C Cases in Women

The research done by the CDC notes that during the years of 2010 – 1014 in a particular class of white women and of childbearing age, hepatitis saw an increase of nearly 25% in the hepatitis C infection. This entire group carried a history of drug use via injection, which is the most common way to get hepatitis C. The concern is the high risk for transmission of HCV to the unborn child by the mother. Recommendations from the CDC say testing for this infection is a vital part of prenatal care.

The research completed found ways in which to control this disease in an efficient manner, however, as yet; there is nothing available to prevent transmission of the infection from mother to their unborn.

Risk Factors For Contracting Hepatitis C

What puts you at risk for contracting hepatitis C when you are pregnant? If you are pregnant, think long and hard about how you live your life and avoid high risk living in less than sterile atmosphere to protect your unborn child such as,

  • Injections of drugs
  • Visiting a tattoo parlor
  • Body piercing
  • Submitting to acupuncture
  • Never share a toothbrush
  • Never share a razor
  • Unsafe sex

Other risk factors are when you expose yourself to blood transfusions, injection of drugs, and non sterile needles before you become pregnant or while you are pregnant. If you have HIV you need a specialist doctor to follow you during your pregnancy. This doctor checks for liver function on a regular basis.

If you do not have Hepatitis C or HIV your risk factors increase when you work in an industry where you come in contact with the virus, such as a nurse, doctor, paramedic, or medical technician.

If you have known hepatitis C, know that the risks are lower for you are successfully transmitting this infection to your baby, but there remains a five in 100 chance you can. These odds dramatically increase if you have HIV.

If you face this scenario, there is no way to assure your baby does not contract hepatitis C. Doctors found that it makes no difference how the doctor delivers the baby, traditional or Caesarean.

The only one option is some medications on the market could reduce these risks.

These babies contracting hepatitis C live with a chronic liver inflammation, including cirrhosis, and cancer for the rest of their life.

Researchers found that if you have hepatitis C your child’s condition relies heavily upon your Viral RNA level as how high of a risk your baby has in your transmitting hepatitis C to the infant.

Avoid all risks.

 

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