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Eating plenty of fruits while pregnant increases ta child's IQ

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BlackWoman-FruitKenyan women can increase their children’s’ IQ while they are still pregnant by eating seven severing of fruits daily as research has found that they contain nutrients that help in the function of the nervous system boosting brain function.

“We analyzed data of 688 children from Edmonton, Canada and controlled for parameters that would typically influence learning and growth. These factors include family income, parental educational attainment and the child's gestational age. The results showed that the IQ of children whose mothers ate six or seven servings of fruit or fruit juice daily while pregnant ranked six or seven points higher on the developmental tests,” read a 2016 research report by the University of Alberta, Canada.

Fruits such as bananas were found to be quite effective in IQ boosting because they are rich in magnesium which is an essential mineral in the transmission of nervous impulses. Bananas are also a source of Vitamin B6 which is not only involved in the assimilation of magnesium, but also in the metabolism of amino acids and the functioning of the nervous system.

Not only that; eating a large amount of fruits also associated with improving health and the reduction of lifestyle diseases.

In Kenya however, 2016, the ministry of Health in 2016 found that only 2.5m people consume the recommended amount of fruits which the ministry says has led to a great increase in lifestyle diseases.

“Thirteen per cent of Kenyans are now obese, the majority being women. They suggested that this is due to lifestyle patterns and diet, with more people eating diets high in carbohydrates and sugar, with not enough fruit and vegetables,” read the report.

In tackling this, the World Health Organization recommends eating at least five portions or 400g of fruits and non-starchy vegetables every day. They suggest always including vegetables in meals, choosing fruit and vegetables as snacks, and eating a variety of different fruits and vegetables, particularly those which are in season.

Pregnant women should receive preventive malaria treatment to reduce the risk of death

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MalariaPregnant women who suffer from malaria have a mortality rate of 50 per cent. The disease is deadly during pregnancy and is a major cause of prenatal mortality, low birth weight and maternal anemia in the country but it can be prevented by intermittent preventive treatment received during antenatal care.

“Pregnant women and unborn children are particularly vulnerable to the disease. Many children who survive an episode of severe malaria may suffer from learning impairments or brain damage,” said the Global Literacy Project, (GLP) a health charity organization working in Kibera, Nairobi.

It is one of the deadliest diseases globally, killing almost half a million people every year and in Kenya it accounts for 15 per cent of all out-patient attendance in the country's health facilities admissions.

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“One of the primary causes of the spread of malaria in the country is the pre-eminence of stagnant waste water, which is caused by ineffective drainages that run through the slum. The resultant pools of water provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes as well as other diseases such as Cholera and Typhoid,” said GLP.

During pregnancy, a woman’s immunity is reduced which makes her vulnerable to the disease, in fact research has that the second trimester has the highest rate of infection because their immunity has significantly reduced at that period.

“Pregnant women are three times more likely to suffer from severe disease as a result of malarial infection compared with their non-pregnant counterparts, and have a mortality rate from severe disease that approaches 50 per cent. In areas endemic for malaria, it is estimated that at least 25 per cent of pregnant women are infected with malaria and the second trimester appears to bring the highest rate of infection,” read a Malaria and Pregnancy: A Global Health Perspective study, published in the Obstetrics and Gynecology journal.

“The current prevention of malarial disease in pregnancy relies on 2 main strategies: providing pregnant women with insecticide-treated bed nets and intermittent presumptive treatment with anti-malarial medications.”

Indeed, in Kenya women can receive intermittent preventive treatment for the disease while pregnant during their antenatal care which is free in all public hospitals country wide as of last year.

Furthermore, the World Health Organization recently announced that will conduct trials of a new malaria vaccine in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi in a bid to reduce the high prevalence of the disease .The chosen theme for this year is ‘a push for prevention’.

“We are very appreciative that GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceutical company that is developing the vaccine will provide this for free of charge for this pilot. It will be assessed as the complementary intervention in Africa that can be added to our existing tool box of proven preventive diagnostic and treatment measures,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization’s Regional Director during the announcement on Monday.

Also, private companies such as Mortein Doom, have rolled out initiatives in a bid to educate the public on the on the need to use mosquito nets, proper environmental management such as draining stagnant water, clearing of long grass and the use of indoor sprays disease so as to reduce the risk of the disease.

“We have rolled out similar initiatives every year when we celebrate World Malaria Day. We believe that we can end Malaria for good if the public takes part in the fight against this killer disease,” said Sachin Varma, the Mortein Doom Country Manager.

Educative pregnant women's event to be held next month

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images 1Project baby shower, an event dedicated to educate new mothers is set to be held for the first time this year on March.

The event offers a learning platform for the heavily pregnant, newly pregnant and even first time fathers. There will be experts in various fields to ensure that the information shared is correct and factual to dispel the myths that accompany pregnancies.

Attendees will be encouraged to ask questions regarding any situation that they are going through and for any information that they would require.

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The experts will include a parenting coach-who will help parents in regards to disciplining of children, how to talk to them, what it means when a baby is crying, how to help children socialize and how to get rid of children’s bad habits among others. There will be a midwife that will educate parents on the types of births, what labour pains are, the role of the father during labour and in the delivery room among others.

There will also be a lactation manager that will teach mothers on how to breast feed with ease, the type of diet one requires to maintain while breastfeeding, what it means when the they are not producing enough milk and breastfeeding positions among others.

Other activities will include Lamaze classes, breastfeeding preparation and practical baby care.
The event also provides a platform for mothers to engage with others, support and learn from each other as they go through the same journey.

It will be held on March 4th from 9am to 4pm at the Osnet Gardens along Valley Road. Charges range from Sh1500 to Sh2500.

For more information or to make reservations call them on: 0731324358.

 

Totohealth SMS service continues to help pregnant Kenyan women track their health

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Totohealth, an SMS service platform that helps pregnant mothers track their health by sending them timely alerts thus reducing cases of maternal death, has seen tremendous growth since its inception in 2014.

As of 2016, it was able to detect up to 42 health and developmental conditions on a monthly basis thus helping minimize developmental disabilities such as autism and cerebral palsy in children. Once the conditions are detected it refers the mothers to take their children to health facilities around them.

 

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KenyaKidz conducted a follow up interview with the co-founder and CEO of the service, Felix Kimaru.

We got more information on how the service has been received in the market, how many parents it has helped and changes that they have made to the service since then.


How many more users do you have now compared to May 2014

In May 2014 we had 50 users but as of March 2016 we had 18, 121 parents using the


How many counties are you now in? Where have you seen your biggest growth?


We are now in six counties now and Nairobi remains our biggest with over 6,000 parents registered from there.

Have you increased the number of languages the service is available in? If so which ones?

Yes we have;


i. English (Text only)
ii. Kiswahili (Voice and Text)
iii. Somali (Voice and Text)

How many institutions have you partnered with and how?


We have partnered with five Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs). We have increase the health outcomes of the communities they serve.

Is the Toto Health service still free?

No, it’s Ksh 200 per year or 100 per 6months.


In your two years of operation, what trends have you noticed when it comes to maternal health?


The end user is now willing to pay for a service that will save or improve their live or that of the child than to wait for an NGO to fund them to access care. The budgetary allocation from the government also increased.

You say that you also seek to minimize developmental diseases by sending out questionnaires. How many children have you been able to help so far?


We detect up to 42 health and developmental conditions on a monthly basis. Once detected, we refer the mothers to take their children to health facilities around them.

Apart from keeping track of pregnancies, can Totohealth also help expectant women find hospitals or health centres more so in the far flung areas?


We do refer parents to the public health facilities near them.


Inorder to receive the healthcare information, hospitals or medical institutions must first register with Totohealth. Parents can then be registered under a particular healthcare institution noting down the age of the child or expected day of delivery if the mother is pregnant. Weekly health updates shall then be sent to the parents via text messagein regards to the age of the child.

The health institution under which the parents are registered also sends them reminder messages on vaccinations, clinic dates and appointments. These messages may also contain warning signs on your child’s health.

All responses to the text messages sent out are recorded by Totohealth and used to create reports.

Pregnacy joints pain, back pain and swelling of feet explained

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Pregnant women who experience joints pain, should do not worry about it being a serious medical condition as it is because of their bodies are adjusting to the growing baby in the stomach.

“In most cases the joints pain is caused by the body adjusting to the increase in weight and the growing stomach,” said Betty Mutuio, a nurse at a local hospital.

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“The body will also produce a hormone called relaxin that lubricates the body’s ligament preparing the body for childbirth. However it is encouraged for pregnant women to do some light exercise such as walking in order to make the joints flexible.”

For the back pain, which most pregnant women experience, it is due to the compressing of the vertebrae as the baby grows

"As the baby grows during pregnancy, the mother's center of gravity shifts forward, placing more strain on the lower back. The result of this extra pressure is often an exaggeration of the lumbar spine's natural inward curve. This can result in the vertebrae compressing and the lower back muscles shortening, both of which can cause pain,” said Damla Karsan Dryden, M.D, an obstetrician in the US in an interview with parenting website, parent.com in article titled, What Causes Lower Back Pain in Pregnancy

The swelling of feet during pregnancy, which is a normal occurrence during pregnancy, has been found to be due to the retention of fluids in veins below the knees.

“Changes in blood chemistry during pregnancy causes some fluid to shift into the tissues, and by the third trimester, the weight of the growing baby puts so much pressure on the pelvic veins and the vena cava forcing fluid retention below the knees causing swelling of the feet,” said Andree Gruslin, the interim chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Ottawa and Ottawa Hospital in a interview with family website todaysparents.

Despite pregnancy back pain, joints pain and swelling of the feet being normal, it is advisable for pregnant women to seek medical advice if soreness or swelling persists.

 

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