Initial obstetrical visit. A great time for myth-busting!

I have performed obstetrics for 18 years and taught medical students and residents to do the same.  It is an honor and a privilege.  Pregnancy advice is fraught with “myths”. . . here are some “truths.”

Eat fish!  Fish is high in quality protein and low in saturated fats.  It has omega-3 fatty acids.  But, limit fish to two average meals per week of a variety of fish that are low in mercury. (Methyl mercury can impair fetal and newborn motor and thinking skills).  High mercury fish are considered to be swordfish, tilefish, whale, king mackerel, shark and albacore tuna.

flickr.com/photos/jessandcolin/ 4155145700

flickr.com/ photos/ jessandcolin/ 4155145700

Sushi (most likely) is okay to eat.  Sushi in the United States is usually flash frozen which kills most pathogens.  Very rarely infectious diseases from raw fish are seen in the US.

Eat GOOD food.  If you eat fruits, vegetables, and lean meats and fish a supplement is not needed.  There is no evidence that an omega-3 fatty acid pill is beneficial.  Getting the nutrient from the food is best!

Take your prenatal vitamin.  This is an excellent source of folate which is needed to help the fetal spinal cord form.  Prenatal vitamins should be taken through the childbearing years… until you decide that you are done birthing and breastfeeding babies.

Avoid listeria.  This is an infection that may cause miscarriage and stillbirth.  Most listeria is contracted from hot dogs, but also from queso fresco.  The FDA suggests pregnant women do not eat hot dogs or luncheon meats unless they’re reheated to steaming and to avoid soft cheeses, refrigerated pate or meat spreads, smoked seafood, raw or unpasteurized milk, raw and undercooked meats.

Caffeine in moderation is okay.  Studies have failed to show that caffeine intake causes low birth weight, congenital malformations or miscarriage.

Avoid alcohol.  No known amount of alcohol is okay for the fetus.  1 in 6000 US newborns have fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.  Do not drink alcohol while pregnant.

Stop smoking.  And, stay stopped.  Nothing good comes from nicotine, not for the fetus and not for the child that shares your home.

No soaking in hot tubs.  Immersion in water heated to 100 degrees Fahrenheit is potentially teratogenic (causing of birth defects).  In addition, maternal hyperthermia from hot tubs may result in miscarriage and nearly doubles the risk of fetal spinal cord defects.

Hope this helps.

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About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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