Fish Consumption in Pregnancy

  There is much confusion about fish consumption during pregnancy. Fish contains important Omega-3 DHA, critical to fetal brain development. However, some fish (shark, tilefish, swordfish, king mackerel) contain levels of mercury that can be harmful to a developing fetus.
  Pregnant women should eat 2-3 servings (about 12 ounces) of fish per week, and avoid fish that may be high in mercury content.  Pregnant women unable to eat 2-3 servings per week should take an Omega-3 DHA supplement.  Eating whole fish is preferable to supplements because whole foods offer complete nutritional contents and its benefits.

Mammogram Screening

There is a lot of confusion about recommendations for breast cancer screening with mammograms. That confusion stems from different recommendations from different organizations. In November 2009, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued a new recommendation for mammogram screening every 2 years between 50 and 74 years of age.  This conflicts with American Cancer Society recommendation for screening every year after age 40.

A recent analysis shows that screening every year after the age of 40 saves 71% more lives than every other year screening between ages 50 and 74.

Calcium Requirements

           All women should receive 1000 mg. of calcium each day; women over 50 and younger than 18 should receive as much as 1300 mg. each day.  Food sources of calcium are the best, but mineral supplements are available.

            Labeling of food products is confusing because the calcium content is listed as a percent (%) of “Daily Value” instead of “mg”.  There is an easy solution.  Add a “0” to the “%” and you will calculate the “mg.” For example, an 8-ounce glass of milk has 30% of the Daily Value and 300 mg.; a cup of yogurt may have 25% of the Daily Value and 250 mg.

            If you're not getting enough calcium in your diet, then you should take a calcium supplement.  These supplements will list the calcium content in “mg”.  There are no known risks from getting too much calcium.

Weight Gain In Pregnancy

The Institute of Medicine has released recommendations for weight gain during pregnancy. Underweight women with a low BMI (Body Mass Index) should gain more than women who start the pregnancy overweight.

If Your BMI is less than 18.5 (underweight), you should gain 28-40 pounds.
If your BMI is 18.5 - 24.9 (normal weight), you should gain 25-35 pounds.
If your BMI is 25 - 29.9 (overweight), you should gain 15-25 pounds.
If your BMI is greater than 30 (obese), you should gain 11-20 pounds

To calculate your BMI, go to the CDC website here.


"Herbal" and "Natural" Treatments for Menopause Symptoms

            In 2002 and 2004, studies showed a small but real risk to hormone replacement therapy.  As a result, fewer women have chosen to take estrogen and progesterone to treat their menopausal symptoms.  Many women will tolerate their mild symptoms without any treatment, others will turn to “Herbal” or “Natural” alternatives.

            Herbs are considered dietary supplements and not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In 2010, a law was passed insuring that the listed ingredients are contained in the product.  There is still concern about other ingredients (contaminants) that may be in the product but not listed.  Quality testing results for various products can be found at

            Studies have been done to see if any of the herbal alternatives are really effective.  To date, no benefits have been found for black cohosh, dong quai, evening primrose oil, ginseng, red clover, soy supplements or wild yam.  Some of these alternatives may interfere with anticoagulants and increase bleeding.  However, as a general rule, herbal supplements are safe.