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Celebrate Change This Spring

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Maybe it’s because it’s (finally) gotten warm enough along the East Coast for us to leave our parkas at home, maybe it’s the time of year, but I feel like every third woman I see right now is pregnant. Pregnancy brings great joy, excitement, and questions. When you’re eating, drinking, and sleeping for two (or more!), it’s the perfect time to commit to healthy changes. Find information about how to be your healthiest self – before, during, or after pregnancy – on Kaiser Permanente’s website.

As it heats up, many of us reach for iced tea. Try making it a healthy option by picking unsweetened. Jazz it up yourself with this recipe for homemade peach iced tea.

Peach Iced Tea

Ingredients
1 tablespoon dried mint leaves
4 cups water
2 cups pureed peaches, chilled
Fresh mint (garnish)

Directions
Steep mint leaves in hot water for 3 minutes.
Pour peaches in a sieve to remove chunks.
Once the mint tea is cool, mix with strained peach puree. Serve cold, garnished with fresh mint.

 

 

Advice for New Moms’ First Hours, Days and Weeks Following Childbirth

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After the BirthTotal Health Radio has had straight talk about pregnancy and truth telling about childbirth.  But what about those first days and weeks after giving birth?  In this episode, we focus less on the baby and more on the changes you are going through during that time – what’s normal, what’s not, and what may surprise you.  Packed with tips for making new moms more comfortable and advice on how spouses and partners can best provide support, this show is valuable listening for expectant parents – and the people who love them.

For more information on this episode and for links to additional resources every new mom should have at her fingertips, check out the Total Health Radio website.

Breastfeeding: Helping Babies and Moms Reap the Benefits

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With August as National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, much has been written  highlighting the benefits of breastfeeding.  Research shows it promotes good health and wellbeing for the baby as well as the mother.  And according to the Office on Women’s Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, breastfeeding also has a positive effect on our society:

“Recent research shows that if 90 percent of families breastfed exclusively for 6 months, nearly 1,000 deaths among infants could be prevented. The United States would also save $13 billion per year — medical care costs are lower for fully breastfed infants than never-breastfed infants. Breastfed infants typically need fewer sick care visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations.”

Impressive stats.  The website also makes the point that breastfeeding moms miss less work, because their babies don’t get sick as often – contributing to a more productive workforce.  And it’s environmentally friendly with no waste from bottles, nipples and formula packaging.

So many real and valuable benefits, yet helping new mothers choose to breastfeed exclusively remains a challenge.

Kaiser Permanente has addressed this directly with the creation and launch earlier this year of a breastfeeding toolkit.  Developed to help hospitals and health care systems promote breastfeeding and give babies the “healthiest start possible,” the toolkit includes information on evidence-based practices, processes that Kaiser Permanente has implemented with its own teams that have helped patients, templates, tools, videos and more.

More information on what Kaiser Permanente is doing to support new mothers and their babies can be found at the health organization’s News Center.   And loads of helpful facts, information, support and advice are available at WomensHealth.gov (and in the infographic below).
Breastfeeding Infographic

Breastfeeding Info Straight From the Experts: Join the Tweetchat

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In honor of National Breastfeeding Month, MomsRising (@MomsRising) and Kaiser Permanente (@KPThrive) and are hosting a tweetchat tomorrow—Thursday, August 23, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. PDT.  Topics for the chat include Baby-Friendly hospitals, how to prepare for breastfeeding, how to balance breastfeeding and work outside the home, and what you can do to help new moms in your community achieve their breastfeeding goals.

Ruth Shaber, MD, medical director for the Kaiser Permanente Care Management Institute, will answer questions involving KP’s breastfeeding commitment with the Partnership for a Healthier America and Cara Hafner, lactation specialist at Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Medical Center (a designated Baby-Friendly hospital) in Clackamas, Ore., will be available to comment on how women can prepare for breastfeeding and other common concerns.

Check out hash tag #KPBFChat to join the discussion on Twitter Thursday, August 23, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. PDT.