Saturday, September 20, 2008

Babies on the Brain

Considering having a child sometime in the future? Is your body in it's optimal condition?

Yes, I have babies on the brain. No, I'm not pregnant (got to finish grad school first) or thinking about getting pregnant in the near future.

For the past few days I've been learning a ton about pregnancy and new borns. I'm taking a Human development class at school and this book has brought some astounding stats to my attention. Reading this book is actually disheartening, there are so many things that can wrong during pregnancy or in the neonatal period. Some things are out of the parents control (i.e. hereditary disease) but there are a lot of factors that are within the parents control.

Some of you may be wondering what this has to do with health and fitness. Well, the physical health of both parents is huge factor when it comes to determining the health of the baby. I know some of you are don't plan on having children for a while. But this article is still worth reading because some decisions you make today will affect the health of you child.

First some general stats:

*African American women are more likely to have low birth weight babies than any other races (13.4% of all births)
* Black babies are nearly two and half times as likely to die in their first year as white or Hispanic babies.
*The neonatal and postnatal mortality rates for Black babies is more than double the rate of white babies.

So what do all those stats mean?
Low birth weight babies have increased risk of diabetes, cognitive deficits, behavioral problems, decreased IQ, brain abnormalities, and low education achievement.

What are the causes of low birth weight and Infant Mortality?

*Obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption, drugs and lack of prenatal care* We all know that African American women have the highest obesity rates.

How can you increase your chances of having a healthy baby

*Fight obesity with exercise and healthy eating prior to pregnancy. Of course you should avoid alcohol consumption, smoking, or any other toxins that can cause damage to the baby.

*Women of child bearing age are encouraged to take folate supplements and to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables even before becoming pregnant. The more fruit, vegetables, and protein that women eat 1 year prior to becoming pregnant will lower the risk for leukemia.

*Regular exercise is also helpful during pregnancy (consult with a doctor to see what works for you). Moderate exercise prevents constipation, improves respiration, circulation, muscle tone, and skin elasticity.

Resources for Mom's 2 Be

Childbirth Connection

Black Parenting Blog

The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy


What are thoughts of the stats mentioned above?

Share any other thoughts!

All the stats and suggestions come from Human Development by Papalia, Olds, and Feldman


SimplyMe said...

It's something that's been on my mind recently. I'm not thinking of children now, however I don't want to get to that point and say "I should have taken care of myself way before I got pregnant". It's an eye-opener and if I want to have kids in the near future I need to put some things in action.

Anonymous said...

Great info! A lot of people don't realize the seriousness of health when it comes to creating new life.

E said...

I'm in my 30s and the reality is my fertility has weighed on my mind. I am currently 20-30lbs overweight and would not be happy to become pregnant while I'm in still in this state. I want to become healthier physically before I even think of having child. I certainly could muddle my way thru pregnancy as is, but I'd rather not.

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