Crucial Role of Zinc In Pregnancy

January 28th, 2011 admin Pregnancy 0

Pregnancy and lactation are the special conditions when women need to have special attention on diet and supplements rich in vitamins like folic acid and minerals like Zinc. It is crucial for maintaining a healthy pregnancy and feeding the baby with optimum nutrition. As the demand increases, women should intake more amount of Zinc at this time. But most women are unaware about it.

The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for pregnant women is 11 milligrams per day and 12 milligrams per day in lactation. A report published in 1992 in American Journal of Epidemiology revealed that low Zinc intake was associated with approximately a two-fold increase in risk of low birth weight and low Zinc intake earlier in pregnancy was associated with more than a trebling of pre-term delivery.

A research published in medical journal The Lancet noted that by the sixth month of lactation, even a well-nourished mother may provide her child with insufficient Zinc. Breastfed babies who received Zinc supplements grew significantly in length and weight over those given a dietary source of Zinc

Rich sources of Zinc are oysters, beef, liver, seafood, poultry, nuts and seeds, whole grains, yogurt, wheat germ, tofu, peanuts and peanut butter, legumes and milk. Zinc found in breast milk is better absorbed than that of in formula milk. Fruits and vegetables are not generally good sources of Zinc.

Dr Shahjada Selim

Promoting Perinatal Health is an Urgent Need

December 17th, 2009 admin Pregnancy,Women's Health 0

Despite significant improvement in medical science in recent decades, mothers and their babies in the third world countries like Bangladesh are still at risk during the perinatal period, which covers pregnancy, delivery and the postpartum.

Babies born too early are more likely to die than that of born at term. They are also more likely to have neurological and developmental disorders that carry long-term consequences for their quality of life, their families and for health and social services.

Perinatal health includes care for both mother and their new born babies. But we often forget about the care of the mothers during and after delivery. However, maternal deaths are less than babies. This is a tragic event as a significant proportion of these deaths are associated with substandard care.

When we talk about paediatrics (child care), it only deals with children. And the obstetricians deal with mothers only. But we need to set up a sturdy bridge in between these two separate entities. It is impossible to think about healthy child without healthy mother. In fact, perinatal science deals with a unique two in one health delivery system.

Bangladesh has made a significant progress in reducing maternal and infant death in recent years. This has been possible because of strong leadership of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) in creating a supportive policy environment, technical and financial commitment of donors and UN agencies, active engagement of professional bodies and academic institutions. National Neonatal Health Strategy has already been prepared by the MOHFW. Now we need to operationalise the recommendations outlined in the strategy and begin to roll out the crucial interventions needed to prevent unnecessary deaths.

Immediate and early postnatal care for mothers and newborns is one such crucial intervention. Most of maternal and newborn deaths occur within the first three days of childbirth. Therefore we need to deliver the services to them in those crucial days.

Neonatal sepsis (infection of the newborn) is the single largest contributor to neonatal mortality. We need to ensure that the health service providers at community level can prevent, detect and manage sepsis when it occurs. Now operation research is underway to see the feasibility of different approaches in order to determine the best way to deliver this service to the majority of the newborns who are born at home.

We need to strengthen the policies, guidelines and service providers’ capacity to ensure that the neonates and the mothers are not left without care. Unless we can scale up these services to reach the primary level of health system, we will not be able to attain the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. We need to create additional posts of neonatologists and obstetricians at the district hospital level as a starting point.

Prof M Shahidullah.

Save The Newborn

August 1st, 2009 admin Child Health,Pregnancy 0

The death of a newborn is a very painful experience for the mothers who have taken the ordeal of pregnancy for 9 months or so. The causes of newborn death in Bangladesh are manifold like poverty, lack of medical check up, home delivery etc.

Bangladesh has one of the highest newborn deaths in the world. It is about 37 per thousand live births per year. Nearly 4 million babies die after delivery each year throughout the world out of which 98% die in developing countries including Bangladesh. Out of total deaths 45% die within first four weeks of life and 30% die within one year.

In order to decrease this huge number of deaths every year, a pragmatic coordinated approach is needed by all concerned, it is not possible for the government to solve this gigantic problem all alone, both government and non governmental organisations should make every effort in a combined way to mitigate this human tragedy.

MDG-5 is to reduce child mortality by two thirrd by the year 2015. It is heartening to note that the under 5 mortality in Bangladesh has come down significantly in the last decade, from 88 to 66 per 1000 live births per year.

But the main contributing factor affecting the high under-5 mortality is the bulk of the new born deaths that occur within the first 28 days of life. So it is imperative that we need to address the problems that affect the new born deaths more seriously in a coordinated way at the grass root level i.e. in the non urban areas, where a large proportion of deliveries take place in the home setting, compounded by meager medical facilities and man power within the vicinity.

We all know that the main cause of newborn death in Bangladesh is home delivery, lack of trained personals and medical facilities, delayed referral, transportation problem etc. To address these problems the most important thing is to produce skilled birth attendants (SBA) who will be trained to do the following things:

1) Conduct normal deliveries
2) Identify the danger signs
3) Quick referral and transportation to higher centers

At the same time we should put emphasis on:
1) Improve obstetric and neonatal care at thana and district level
2) Control population boom
3) Compulsory birth and marriage registration
4) Improve women education
In a country like Bangladesh institutional delivery is not possible, we need to utilise our human resources by producing more SBA’s in order to bring down neonatal mortality.

This is a huge task which needs to be jointly addressed by all.

Take Care of Your Poor Feet

May 24th, 2009 admin Health Resources 0

A huge number of people develop foot pain in their 60s. Usually they think that foot pain is a part of the aging process and accept it walking with pain. But it can start as early as the 20s and 30s as well. With simple measures like proper footwear and regular exercise can play an important role in preventing foot problems.

On an average, healthy people walk the equivalent of three times around the Earth in their lifetime. That is a matter of enormous wear and tear on the 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 tendons, ligaments and muscles that make up the foot.

Excessive weight, diabetes and circulation problems can contribute to foot pain. The most common foot conditions that occur with age are arthritic joints, thinning of the fat pads cushioning the soles, plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the fibrous tissue along the sole), bunions (enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe), poor circulation and fungal nails. The following questions will help you assess whether you should take more preventive action as you age.

Are you overweight? The force on your feet is about 120 percent of your weight. It can lead to plantar fasciitis and heel pain and can worsen hammertoes and bunions. It is also a risk factor for diabetes, leading to the next question.

Are you diabetic? Being farthest from the heart, the feet can be the first part of the body to manifest complications like poor circulation and loss of feeling, both of which can lead to poor wound healing and amputation. Diabetics should have their feet examined annually by a doctor and avoid shoes that cause abrasions and pressure.

Do you have poor circulation? If you suffer from peripheral artery disease — a narrowing of veins in the legs — your feet are more susceptible to problems. Smoking also contributes to poor circulation.

Do your parents complain about their feet? Family history is probably your biggest clue to potential problems.

Do your shoes fit? Feet flatten and lengthen with age, so if you are clinging to the shoe size you wore at age 21, get your feet measured (especially mothers — pregnancy expands feet).

Do your feet ever see the light of day? Fungus thrives in a warm, moist environment. Choose moisture-wicking socks (not cotton), use antifungal powders and air out your toes at home.

Do you walk? Putting more mileage on your feet is the best way to exercise the muscles and keep them healthy.

— Dr Md Rajib Hossain —

Management of Psoriasis in Pregnancy

January 10th, 2009 admin Pregnancy 3 Comments

Psoriasis is a chronic disease of the immune system that appears on the skin, usually in the form of thick, red, scaly patches. Women who develop psoriasis often worry about becoming pregnant. They ask themselves if the baby will develop normally. Will they be able to breastfed? Will their psoriasis get worse during pregnancy? Are the treatments safe for the baby?

According to medical science, Psoriasis is not necessarily a barrier to pregnancy, nor does it affect a woman’s ability to have children. Women with psoriasis generally progress through pregnancy and give birth just like anyone else. However, expectant mothers who suffer from psoriasis need special precaution in their treatment and should be aware of the hereditary nature of this condition, the effect of hormonal changes and tips for ease in breastfeeding.

Treatment options
Pregnant women with psoriasis need to be aware that some treatments for psoriasis may harm their babies. There are not many drugs available to treat pregnant women as most anti-psoriatic drugs are toxic for the fetus. The appropriate treatment for psoriasis in a woman who is pregnant, or who plans pregnancy, will depend on the extent and severity of the skin condition.

Topical treatment:
Topical treatments are first line treatments for psoriasis in pregnancy as most of systemic drugs are toxic to fetus. However, medications for external use are not free from side effects as they are absorbed by the body. Some should be completely avoided during pregnancy as they are potentially teratogenic (causes birth defect).

Emollients: Soothing and moisturising creams may be used without incurring any risk.

Vitamin A derivatives for local use should be avoided because of their teratogenic effect.

Vitamin D derivatives can be used in small quantities in very specific areas.

Corticosteroids (Cortisone): Dermatologists sometimes prescribe cortico-steroids in small quantities for use on very limited areas. It can increase the risk of stretch marks, so it should not be applied to certain parts of the body such as the breasts, abdomen and hips.

Exfoliants such as urea and Salicylic acid: These treatments can be used if their application is limited to small areas of the skin.

Systemic treatment:
Systemic treatments are often teratogenic. These risks are very high when medication is taken during the first trimester of pregnancy. Consequently, most orally administered medicines are stopped during pregnancy.

Dr Syeda Ishrat Jahan…