Tag Archives: pregnant

DHEC in the News: Community baby showers, swimming advisory, heart disease

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Community baby shower draws 100 expectant mothers

Sequoia Rivers waited outside of the Palmetto Electric community room in Ridgeland on Friday, anxious to enter the community baby shower being hosted by Sen. Margie Bright Matthews in partnership with Molina Healthcare of South Carolina.

Rivers, a Ridgeland resident, who is expecting her fourth child, has twins and a 7-year-old child. She said she attended to get the most up-to-date information about what opportunities are available for expectant mothers.

SCDHEC lifts swimming advisory for North Myrtle, Surfside

A temporary ban on swimming along portions of the Grand Strand coast has been lifted, South Carolina Department of Health and Environment Control announced Friday afternoon.

General Interest

Limited health literacy is a major barrier to heart disease prevention and treatment

Limited healthy literacy is a major barrier blocking many people from achieving good cardiovascular health or benefiting from effective treatment for heart attacks, heart failure, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases, according to a scientific statement published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

Health literacy encompasses not only the ability to read, but skills such as being able to ask questions about your care, understand documents with medical terminology, perform the basic arithmetic needed to take medication correctly and negotiate with health care providers and insurance companies. Inability to do these things effectively can have serious health consequences.

DHEC in the News: Flu, sewage discharge, American Heart Month & more

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

DHEC: Week 8 of high-activity flu season brings second child death to South Carolina

Horry County, S.C. (WPDE) — The eighth week of flu season brought the second flu-related child death of this year, according to a report by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

In its weekly flu watch report, DHEC said the week of Feb. 18 to Feb. 24 was the 11th consecutive week of widespread flu activity.

2 million gallons of sewage discharged into the Stono River

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Department of Health and Environmental control says an estimated 2.4 million gallons of sewage discharged into the headwaters of the Stono River over the course of 8 days.

According to DHEC, the Town of Hollywood noticed disruption of flow in a wastewater line on February 19, 2018. The disruption indicated a problem with the collection system.

Take care of your heart during Heart Health Month

Heart disease is a leading cause of early death and disability in South Carolina. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control encourages residents to adopt habits to keep their hearts healthy.

In 2016, heart disease was the second leading cause of death in the Palmetto State. But small changes can make a big difference.

General Interest

1 in 14 women still smokes while pregnant, CDC says

(CNN)About one in 14 pregnant women who gave birth in the United States in 2016 smoked cigarettes during her pregnancy, according to a report released Wednesday.

The findings, gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, revealed that 7.2% of all expectant mothers smoked — but that the percentage of pregnant smokers varied widely from state to state.

Folic Acid Awareness Week: This Vitamin Helps Guard Against Birth Defects

This week — January 7-13 — is Folic Acid Awareness Week. Did you know that taking folic acid before and during early pregnancy can prevent up to 70 percent of some serious birth defects of the brain and spine?

Folic acid is a B vitamin that is necessary for proper cell growth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Public Health Service recommend that all women between the ages of 15 and 45 consume 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily to prevent two types of neural tube defects, spina bifida and anencephaly. These birth defects develop within the first few weeks of pregnancy, which is why it’s important to have enough folic acid in your body BEFORE becoming pregnant and to continue getting enough during early pregnancy.

Every woman needs folic acid daily, whether she’s planning to get pregnant or not. For one thing, almost half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned.  Also, folic acid helps the body make healthy new cells. The body — the skin, hair, nails and other parts of the body — makes healthy new cells daily.
Women who could possibly become pregnant can consume 400 mcg of folic acid every day by:

  • taking a daily multi-vitamin containing folic acid, and
  • eating fortified foods like grains, pastas, or breakfast cereals.

For more information on folic acid, visit the CDC website or the National Birth Defects Prevention Network website.

FolicAcid Fact Sheet

Bread, New Year’s Resolutions and Healthy Babies

By Vinita Oberoi Leedom, MPH, CIC
MCH Planning and Evaluation Program Manager

This Birth Defects Prevention Month, I’d like to introduce you to one of my favorite table-top heroes: Bread. Mouthwatering, crumbly, soft, flakey, warm crust. If that doesn’t sound delicious enough, what if you potentially saved yourself some dough (over $20,000 dollars a year for some birth defects) and the heartache of seeing your baby sick all because you ate fortified bread just prior to becoming pregnant?

The fortification of bread products with folic acid was one of the great public health victories of the 1990s that has ultimately reduced the number of birth defects by nearly 1,000 cases per year. Consumption of folic acid is linked to a reduction in neural tube defects, birth defects in which an opening in the spinal cord or brain remains from the baby’s development. Women on low-carb or gluten-free diets may not get enough folate from bread. Some other food sources of folate, or vitamin B9, include dark, leafy green veggies, broccoli, beef liver, avocado, beans and folic acid supplements of course. Yum!

Like many public health efforts, fortification is done behind the scenes so that public health is improved without majorly interrupting anyone’s daily routine. However, fortified bread is not enough. To improve your chances of a healthy baby, don’t let your New Year’s resolutions become stale:

  1. Reach and maintain a healthy weight and get diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic medical conditions under control. Check out “Healthy Weight” by CDC for some tips and see a health care provider regularly.
  2. Plan ahead for a healthy pregnancy. If you are planning a pregnancy, get 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day and see your provider.
  3. Drop that cigarette (in an ashtray). Always avoid smoking cigarettes. Smoking makes all health problems worse. Need some help with quitting? Call the SC Tobacco Quitline at 1-800 QUIT NOW. Also, avoid alcohol at any time during pregnancy. It can cause all sorts of medical problems for babies.
  4. 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. Women using marijuana for medical reasons should speak with their doctor about an alternative therapy with pregnancy-specific safety data.
  5. Prevent infections. Some easy steps to prevent infections include frequent handwashing, cooking meat until it’s well-done, and staying away from people who have an infection.
  6. Discuss vacation plans with your health care provider. Some places have local transmission of Zika virus, which is associated with serious brain defects in infants.
  7. One more time: Talk with your health care provider. Talk to a health care provider about any medications you are taking and also about getting vaccinated. Some routine vaccines can actually prevent birth defects.

While research is still being done on the causes of many birth defects, these aren’t half-baked recommendations. They have been tested, and have shown to improve the chances of a healthy baby. The SC Birth Defects Program (SCBDP) is working to gather information on all babies born with birth defects in our state. SCBDP conducts active surveillance of more than 50 birth defects from all of South Carolina’s delivering hospitals. Learn more about us here.

Travelers Should Follow Zika Precautions

South Carolinians traveling to areas of the world affected by the Zika virus should protect themselves and their families from Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases.

Zika virus is currently circulating in several areas of the world, including countries and territories in the Caribbean, Central America, South America, the Pacific Islands and Cape Verde. It, along with other viruses, can be acquired from the bite of an infected mosquito.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that pregnant women in particular should not travel to areas with active Zika transmission as the virus may cause serious birth defects. Pregnant women who must travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctor or other health care professional first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.

“We strongly advise that anyone – especially pregnant women – planning to travel be aware of the countries where Zika virus is circulating,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said. “In addition, travelers should consult with a health care provider and follow recommendations on avoiding mosquito bites to prevent all illnesses carried by mosquitoes.”

If you are traveling to a country where there is active Zika transmission, avoid mosquito bites by wearing EPA-approved repellent, wearing protective clothing and staying in facilities with air conditioning or with good window and door screens whenever possible.

Upon returning to the United States, continue to take steps to prevent mosquito bites for three weeks, even if you don’t feel sick, to prevent possible spread of Zika to uninfected mosquitoes.

Sexual transmission of Zika virus from a male partner is possible, so men who have lived or traveled to areas with Zika and their partners should take special precautions to prevent spreading the virus. Pregnant women should avoid sexual contact with men who have recently been in an area with active Zika transmission or use a condom the right way every time. Women and men with possible exposure to Zika virus but no symptoms of Zika virus disease should wait at least eight weeks after exposure before trying to get pregnant.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been more than 600 travel-related cases of Zika virus in the United States, including one confirmed case in South Carolina as of June 10, 2016. In all of these cases the virus was acquired while traveling to a country where Zika is spreading or sexually transmitted by someone who had acquired the virus while traveling. The virus is not currently known to be carried by mosquitoes in the United States.

Helpful information on travel and pregnancy can be found by viewing the following:

For more information on CDC travel advisories, visit http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/.

For additional information on Zika, visit www.scdhec.gov/Zika.

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