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Health Tips for October 20

Posted Oct 19 2009 10:01pm

Health Tip: The Importance of Folic Acid

Folic acid is particularly important for pregnant women, and should be taken, if possible, beginning at least three months before they become pregnant.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says this B vitamin can reduce the risk of major birth defects affecting the spine and brain by as much as 70 percent.

Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. It can be contained within a multivitamin, or as a separate supplement.

Women also can get folic acid in fortified breakfast cereal. Just make sure the cereal has 100 percent of the recommended daily amount.

Health Tip: Putting Baby to Bed

Newborn babies shouldn't be expected to sleep through the night. Their bodies are so tiny that they should be awakened if they haven't eaten for at least five hours, the Nemours Foundation says.

But there are things that new parents can do to help ensure a safe night's rest for their little one. The foundation offers these suggestions:

  • Put baby to sleep on his or her back to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Don't let baby sleep with plush bedding, blankets or pillows.
  • Remove stuffed animals from baby's crib when it's bedtime.
  • Each night, alternate which side of his or her head your baby sleeps on, to prevent development of a "flat spot" on a favored side of the head.

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