Dr. Allen Cherer is a neonatal care expert with over 30 years of medical accomplishments to his name.

Tag: myths


Top Pregnancy Myths: 2020

Some of the information expectant mothers receive is often based on myths or old wives’ tales. Dispelling the myths may bring comfort and reassurance in addition to ensuring the health of the expectant mother and growing infant.

You’re Eating for Two

For decades, women were encouraged to substantially increase their dietary intake in order to ensure they were consuming enough nutrients for the growing infant. However, overeating leads to obesity, which leaves the mother and baby at risk. Being overweight increases the chances of developing gestational diabetes or hypertension. The excess weight also stresses the cardiovascular system. Health care providers suggest that increasing daily calorie intake by a mere 200 to 300 calories is more than sufficient to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

Belly Size and Shape Reveals Gender

Physicians rebuke the belief that external appearance correlates with the baby’s gender. Some women carry the baby high while others carry it lower. However, the difference is often equated with genetics and physical characteristics and not infant gender.

Moisturizing Prevents Stretch Marks

Cocoa butter has long been touted as being one of the solutions to prevent stretch marks. While moisturizing preparations are good for the skin, they do not prevent the physiological effects that a growing infant causes on external skin. Women develop varying degrees of marks depending on genetics and the extent that the abdomen needs to stretch to accommodate the infant.

Stay Away from Cats

There is no reason why expectant mothers cannot have and care for a feline companion. The danger lies in changing the litter box. Feline waste products commonly contain a parasite that has the potential for causing toxoplasmosis. While the mother may or may not experience flu-like symptoms, the illness has the potential of becoming serious in infants. Best to leave litter box duties to someone else. The disease can also be contracted by eating undercooked meat or unwashed fruits and vegetables.


Persistent Myths in Neonatology

Neonatology is a medical specialty that deals with the care of newborns. It’s a subspecialty of pediatrics. In recent years, neonatologists have taken steps to demystify infant care. Part of that means confronting myths about caring for babies that have existed for generations.

Typically, these myths are spread by well-meaning friends and families. They want to help new parents and truly believe they’re passing on sound advice. However, much of this advice is badly out of date. Evidence-based medicine supported by double-blind trials has disproved much of it.

Nutrition and diet are common areas where myths abound. There are several nutrition myths about preemies and full-term babies. Nutrition myths can be focused on what babies eat, how they are fed and how their meals are prepared.

An example of a nutrition myth is that infant formula must be sterilized before feedings. This hasn’t been a recommended practice since the 1950s. In developed countries with clean water, preparing bottles with clean tap water is sufficient. Bottles and nipples should, of course, be washed with soap and water. But boiling is not necessary.

Other myths that persist are often centered on fevers. Parents misunderstand which fevers are serious. They can also attribute fevers to milestones like teething. Studies since the 1990s have shown that there’s actually no link between fever and teething. Even on days when new teeth erupt, an average temperature should not be above 100 degrees. This is a slight elevation, but not a dangerous fever.

Parents typically see fevers of about 102 as serious, high fevers. This is rarely the case. While calling a pediatrician can be prudent in these cases, typically the fever itself is not serious. Causes of fever can also be misunderstood, even by medical professionals. Sometimes, doctors attribute fever in newborns to dehydration. While this may be the case, it’s also important to rule out causes like infection before settling on that diagnosis.

It’s important to continue to talk about these neonatology myths. They are often handed down from previous generations in families. While they represent advice that was cutting-edge in the past, they can create more work for parents in the present. Medical professionals should also ensure that they are keeping up with literature, so that they can avoid pitfalls in treating newborn babies.

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