Category Archives: Baby Your Baby

Virtual car seat checks to help keep babies safe



Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital is offering virtual car seat checks to help parents anywhere in the Intermountain West learn to properly install and use car seats to protect their babies.

Jade Elliott spoke with Jessica Strong, Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, and Michelle Jamison, Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, to learn about the virtual car seat checks.

“Proper installation and use of car seats are critical to keeping children safe, but many new parents and caretakers have questions about whether they’re doing it correctly,” said Jessica Strong, community health manager at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.

“Primary Children’s child passenger safety technicians have offered free car seat checks at Intermountain hospitals and community events for decades. We’re thrilled to continue those face-to-face encounters, and offer virtual options to bring critical safety information to parents and caretakers.”

Virtual car seat checks were piloted in 2020, when pandemic restrictions prohibited many face-to-face child safety events, Strong said. Primary Children’s opened the virtual options earlier this year, and plans to continue them to meet demand.

Here are some important things to remember about infant car seats:

  • Always place the infant car seat rear-facing in the back seat of a vehicle.
  •  Make sure your car seat fits properly in your vehicle. Check the vehicle owner’s manual and the safety seat instructions for proper placement procedures.
  •  Send in the safety seat registration card to stay informed about updates or recalls.
  •  Destroy a child safety seat if it has been involved in a crash, even if it still looks like it is in good condition. Damage that affects a seat’s ability to withstand another accident is not always visible.
  •  Avoid secondhand and expired safety seats.

Here are the steps to set up a virtual car seat check, and what to expect:

  • Call 801-662-6583 to schedule an appointment.
  •  You’ll need a portable device with a camera, such as a phone, tablet, or laptop.
  • Primary Children’s will send an email containing information about what to have on hand at your appointment.
  •  A text or email will be sent before the appointment with a link to the virtual meeting room.
  •  A certified car seat technician will demonstrate proper techniques with a car seat, then observe and guide the parent or caretaker install and use the device.

More information can be found at www.primarychildrens.org/safety.

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.


What to expect during the third trimester of pregnancy



When you’re pregnant, you’ll likely have a lot of questions about what is happening to your body during each trimester and what is happening with your baby’s development week by week. Jade Elliott spoke with Leah Moses, a certified nurse midwife with Intermountain Healthcare, about some of the most common questions she has women ask when they come in during their third trimester for prenatal visits and to explain why those visits are so important to help you and your baby stay healthy.

Your third trimester begins at about 25 weeks of pregnancy. The third trimester is a time of more frequent prenatal visits, usually every two weeks from 28-36 weeks and every week from 36 weeks until delivery.

Screenings during the third trimester

If you haven’t already had a glucose tolerance test, your doctor or midwife will recommend one between 24-28 weeks.

Group B Strep Test

Nationally, it’s recommended that all pregnant women be tested late in pregnancy (usually starting at about 36 weeks to detect Group B Strep bacteria.

Group B streptococcus [strep-tuh-KOK-uh s] or group B strep is a common bacteria that can live in the human genital and gastrointestinal tract. It’s not the same bacteria that causes strep throat, and in adults it usually doesn’t cause illness. When a pregnant mom has Group B Strep, it can be dangerous because the unborn baby can be exposed to this bacterial environment once mom’s water breaks and during childbirth. Infection can cause serious, even life-threatening, problems in a newborn, such as lung infections, blood infections, and meningitis (inflammation of the tissues around the brain and spinal cord).

Group B Strep is common. Studies show about 20 percent (1 out of 5) pregnant women carry the Group B Strep bacteria but have no symptoms. Based on data from the Utah Department of Health from Jan 2015 – July 2019, the incidence of newborn infection caused by GBS is higher in Utah compared to the national incidence.

If you do test positive for Group B Strep, simple precautions need to be taken before your baby is born.

Why is it important to manage high blood pressure during pregnancy?

Your blood pressure is checked at every prenatal visit. This is especially important to detect preeclampsia or other complications that may manifest in the third trimester.

Complications of high blood pressure can be very serious and include:

  • Preeclampsia, when high blood pressure can lead to organ damage in the mother and ultimately cause problems with the baby
  • Eclampsia, when the mother can have seizures
  • A stroke due to very high blood pressure.
  • Decreased blood flow to the placenta can lead to baby receiving less oxygen and fewer nutrients, causing low birth weight
  •  Sometimes a recommendation is made for a preterm delivery

Measuring baby’s growth

At each visit, a fundal height measurement is taken to make sure baby’s growth is correct. This measures the length from the pubic bone to the top of belly. Generally, you’ll measure the same number of centimeters as weeks you are pregnant.

Increasing fatigue and discomfort

Fatigue very common during the third trimester. Many women have increased ligament and muscle, pain or back pain as baby grows larger. Remedies include a warm shower, warm pack, or in some cases pelvic physical therapy.

Because of the extra fluid in your body, your hands and feet may swell, especially toward the end of the day. Some women find they need to go up a shoe size to allow for this change.

Sleep challenges

As you become more uncomfortable or have increasing heartburn, getting good sleep at night can be a challenge. Think of it as your body getting you ready for when your baby will wake you up in the night. It’s important to have a good attitude. For best blood flow, lay on your left side rather than flat on your back. But don’t worry about it too much. A pillow between the legs or a body pillow can help you find a comfortable position.

Breast changes

By 29 weeks, your breasts have begun to produce colostrum. Also called pre-milk, colostrum will be the first meal for a breastfed infant. Colostrum is usually thick and yellowish and may leak from your breasts. This is a normal sign that your body is preparing for your baby’s arrival.

Skin changes

As your skin stretches it may feel itchy and stretch marks may develop. Using lotion can help dry, itchy skin.

Baby’s development during the third trimester

As your baby grows larger, you may feel your baby’s movement more strongly, or some women feel movement is more subtle, since there’s not a lot of room for baby to move around. Your internal organs are feeling the squeeze of your rapidly growing baby.

Your baby begins to gain more fat during the third trimester to reach a healthy birth weight. Baby can gain a pound per week in the final weeks. The wrinkles on the skin smooth out and the cheeks plump slightly. The bones begin to harden. The hair on your baby’s head may take on color and texture. Your baby begins to shed the downy lanugo hair that has covered his or her body for the first weeks of life.

Your baby’s lungs become fully developed at 37 weeks. Your baby’s hearing develops, and he or she can differentiate between mom and dad’s voices. Eyelashes develop.

Sign up for a prenatal class

If you haven’t already, sign up for a prenatal class to help you know what to expect during labor and delivery and how to prepare for it and how to create a birth plan. Intermountain has online options available. Keep in mind that everything in labor and childbirth doesn’t always go as planned, so be flexible in your plan. Elective inductions are not recommended. It’s also a good idea to learn all you can ahead about how to care for your newborn baby and take a breastfeeding class.

Identify your labor coach and or support people

Talk to your partner, doula, family or friends and determine who you want to be there during labor and delivery. Be sure to check the visitor policy with your local hospital.

This is also a good time to talk about what support you’ll have at home after the birth while you’re recovering.

Now that you’re really showing in the third trimester, many women report that everyone wants to tell you their birth story. It’s ok to set boundaries. Some stories are inspiring, and others might create fear. You can stop and tell them you want your own labor experience and will I’d hear about their story later.

Nesting Instinct

Cleaning. decorating, setting up the baby’s room. Organizing things at home. According to researchers, pregnant women’s “nesting instinct” is quite real, very common, and probably triggered by surging hormones. Whatever the cause, your preoccupation with domestic affairs right now can be handy. It’s a good nudge to help you prepare your home for a new resident.

Pack Your Hospital Bag

Pack your bag for the hospital ahead of time. You never know when you might go into labor or if labor might progress very quickly.

Labor signs

In your final prenatal visits, your doctor or midwife will check your cervix. With gloved fingers, your healthcare provider will gauge whether and how much the cervix has thinned and shortened (effaced) and opened (dilated). Cervical changes are clues to your body’s readiness for labor. You may be dilated to 2-3 cm for a couple of weeks before delivery.

At 36 weeks, your provider will check to see if your baby is in the head down position and getting ready for delivery. Your provider can Can do help give you exercises or manually turn the baby if needed.

Braxton Hicks – or practice labor contractions

Dehydration can lead to contractions that are not labor contractions. Be sure to stay hydrated

Braxton Hicks contractions are a tightening of the uterine muscles. They can last 30 seconds to a few minutes. They can feel strange, but they’re not usually painful. They go away. It’s thought that these contractions are like uterine warm-ups, helping to tone and ready your body for the intense contractions of true labor.

True Labor

Labor contractions feel like strong menstrual cramps or a lower backache that comes and goes.

You’ll know you’re in true labor if your contractions:

  • Are regular and follow a predictable pattern (such as every 9 minutes)
  • Gradually get closer together
  • Last progressively longer

When to call your doctor or midwife

Call your provider if your water breaks. Your vaginal fluid becomes thinner and may leak a bit. You will know if your water breaks, it will drip down your legs. You should also call your provider if you have bright red bleeding. Some blood tinged mucous is normal.

Call your provider when your contractions are regular and are four to five minutes apart and continue for an hour.

As you finish your third trimester, take care of yourself and plan for how you can take a break and practice self-care after your baby is born. Adjusting to the demands of a new baby and your growing family takes time. It’s kind of like the fourth trimester. Be patient with yourself and enjoy the precious time you have with your baby.

For more information about pregnancy or to find a women’s health provider, visit intermountainhealthcare.org

Intermountain offers online childbirth preparation and breastfeeding classes or you can call your local hospital for more information.

Other pregnancy resources:

familydoctor.org

marchofdimes.org

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.


What to expect during the second trimester of pregnancy



When you’re pregnant, you’ll likely have a lot of questions about what is happening to your body during each trimester and what is happening with your baby’s development week by week. Jade Elliott spoke with Leah Moses, a certified nurse midwife with Intermountain Healthcare, about some of the most common questions she has women ask when they come in during their second trimester for prenatal visits and to explain why going to those visits are the best way to help you and your baby stay healthy.

The middle part of your pregnancy is called the second trimester. It is made up of weeks 13-14 through about weeks 26-27. Many women enjoy this middle part of pregnancy as your body has had time to adjust to being pregnant, morning sickness may subside, and your baby is not so big that you feel quite uncomfortable yet.

It’s also an exciting time, as an ultrasound is typically done during the second trimester, at about 18-20 weeks, and you can see how the baby is developing and find out the gender if you wish (if your baby is in an ideal position to identify the gender). This is also the trimester when you get to start feeling your baby move.

Your body during the second trimester

As morning sickness eases, your appetite may increase. If you’ve had unusual food cravings, these may ease or change. Your growing appetite supports your rapidly growing baby.

Hormones may prompt your body to produce more pigment (coloration). And increased blood flow can boost oil gland secretion. Together, these can cause a variety of changes in your skin.

Some women have rosier cheeks, smoother and softer skin — the “glow” effect of pregnancy. But many other women have new acne, and some develop discoloration in their face (the “mask of pregnancy”).

During pregnancy, your blood volume increases by 30 – 50%. You may notice that the veins on your breasts, legs, and abdomen are more visible. You may also have a stuffy nose — a byproduct of increased blood flow to the membranes in your nose.

Round ligament pain is common in the second trimester of pregnancy. This is brief pain in your lower abdomen, hip, or groin. It’s caused by the stretching of the round ligament that supports the uterus and connects it to the front of the groin area.

Pregnancy brings changes to your hair. For one thing, your hair is growing faster. It’s also falling out less. These are temporary effects of hormonal changes. You may also notice changes in your hair’s texture and color. Your hair may be curlier, oilier, dryer, straighter, coarser, etc.

Fetal movement

By about 21 weeks, you may have felt your baby move. The sensation may be subtle — a fluttering or bubbling feeling, perhaps like tiny popcorn pops. Later on, you’ll feel definite kicks and rolls as your baby moves inside you.

If this is your first pregnancy, you may not feel or recognize your baby’s movements just yet. Experienced mothers, however, often report feeling their baby move as early as 16 weeks of pregnancy.

Weight gain

By about 22 weeks, you probably have gained 10 or more pounds. The new weight is distributed throughout your body and to your growing baby. Your doctor or midwife can help determine a healthy pregnancy weight gain for you.

In general, a pregnant woman can expect to gain 2 to 4 pounds in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and slightly less than a pound per week for the rest of her pregnancy.

Don’t use your pregnancy as an excuse to overindulge with huge portions or sweet treats. For good nutrition during pregnancy, you only need about 300 extra calories a day. Make sure these extra calories come from nutrient-rich foods. Go for extra portions of fruit and vegetables — not extra sodas or desserts.

Glucose tolerance test

Between 24-28 weeks, during the end of the second or beginning of the third trimester, your doctor or midwife will recommend a glucose tolerance test, which screens for diabetes. The screening tests how your body processes sugar and will help determine if further testing is needed to determine if you have gestational diabetes.

Depending on the results, your doctor may suggest some changes to your diet and/or test you again later in the pregnancy or talk to you about a treatment plan. Treating diabetes during pregnancy is extremely important to protect the health of both mother and baby.

Postpartum depression or peripartum mood disorders

If you find yourself prone to tears or quick anger, you’re not alone. Many women report intense mood swings, particularly in the first and third trimesters. It’s a lot like what many women experience in premenstrual syndrome (PMS). You may also feel distracted and forgetful. This is normal and common.

Many women have heard of postpartum depression, but may not know that it can begin during pregnancy and can manifest not just as depression, but as anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder. The best term is peripartum mood disorders, as that covers the time during pregnancy and after childbirth and the various ways behavioral health conditions can manifest. Pregnancy and childbirth are major life changes that can add stress. And stress can be a factor in your mental health.

Intermountain healthcare providers practice under a mental health-integration model, where primary care providers screen patients for behavioral health conditions. Talk to your doctor or midwife if you have symptoms of depression or anxiety that are severe or last longer than 2 weeks. These include sadness, trouble concentrating, guilt, worry, indifference, or changes in sleeping and eating patterns.

Baby’s development during the second trimester

When the second trimester starts, your baby is about 3 inches long “from crown to rump.” This means your baby is being measured from the top of its head to its bottom (instead of head to toe) because the legs are curled up to the baby’s stomach.

At this time, your baby’s head is the biggest part of their body. But, by the end of the second trimester, the rest of your baby’s body will grow to 9 inches—or even longer.

  • Your baby will start to hear sounds, such as your heartbeat, by about the 18th week of pregnancy. Your baby’s hearing will improve, and they will be able to hear your voice.
  • Your baby’s eyes may open as early as the 20th week. Before this, the eyelids have been sealed shut. However, your baby’s eyes cannot see anything until the third trimester.
  • Your baby will have fingerprints and footprints by the end of the second trimester.
  • Fine hair and a white waxy substance cover and protect your baby’s skin. The skin is thin, loose, and wrinkled
  •  Your baby’s digestive system will start to function. The baby also will begin to produce and release urine, which becomes amniotic fluid.
  • Your baby’s nervous system develops and your baby will be able to feel all your movements and their environment by the end of the second trimester.

Fetal movement

Your baby is moving almost all the time throughout your pregnancy. However, you won’t start to feel it until about the 20th week. At first, you may notice a fluttering feeling. It can be hard to tell if this is your baby or something else. Soon enough, the movements will become very noticeable. Your partner may be able to feel the baby move as well. You might even be able to see your belly move when your baby “kicks.”

Your baby’s movements are helping them prepare for life outside your body. Muscles grow stronger as your baby learns to kick, suck, and open and close their hands. Your baby also practices making faces, such as frowning, smiling, and squinting.

After 20 weeks, about 10 movements an hour is baseline for a healthy baby. You may not notice movement as much when you’re busy or moving. Movements are more noticeable when you’re quiet or resting.

As you go through your second trimester it’s important to keep your prenatal appointments so you and your provider can help improve your and your baby’s chances for a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery.

For more information about pregnancy or to find a women’s health provider, visit intermountainhealthcare.org

Intermountain offers online childbirth preparation and breastfeeding classes or you can call your local hospital for more information.

Other pregnancy resources:

familydoctor.org

marchofdimes.org

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.


What to expect the first trimester of pregnancy



When you find out you’re pregnant, you’ll likely have a lot of questions about what is happening to your body and what is happening with your baby’s development. Jade Elliott spoke with Leah Moses, a certified nurse midwife with Intermountain Healthcare, about some of the most common questions she has women ask when they come in for their initial prenatal visit and to explain why those visits are the best place to get information and answers about your pregnancy.

If you’re thinking about becoming pregnant or think you might be pregnant it’s important to contact your provider.

Your provider can help check for many things to help ensure your pregnancy and baby are as healthy as possible. Once they know your medical history, they can provide answers for your unique circumstances.

At your first visit for a normal pregnancy that would be at about 7 weeks or so, your provider will likely:

  • Check your urine sample for infection and to confirm your pregnancy.
  •  Calculate your due date based on your last menstrual cycle or ultrasound exam.
  •  Recommend prenatal vitamins that include at least 400 micrograms (0.4 mg) of folic acid. This can reduce the risk of a child born with serious birth defects of the spinal cord or brain.
  •  Help explain the risks that come if you drink alcohol or use illegal drugs, and also answer questions about what prescription or over the counter medications are safe or not safe for you to take during pregnancy.
  •  Perform blood tests to check your health and for infections that can affect pregnancy including hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, rubella, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.
  • Discuss immunizations and recommend a flu or COVID vaccine if you haven’t already received them.
  •  Do a complete physical exam, which may include a pelvic exam.
  •  Offer genetic testing: screening for Down syndrome and other chromosomal fetal abnormalities, cystic fibrosis, or other specialized testing depending on your medical history.
  •  Talk with you about how to avoid toxic substances in foods or your environment.

If your pregnancy is healthy, your health care provider will help determine a care plan and regular schedule for visits. For a normal pregnancy it’s typically a visit each month during the first and second trimesters and more frequent visits during your third trimester. If you have a chronic health condition or complications during pregnancy you may need to be seen more often.

Your provider will also discuss any symptoms you are having or may experience during this time of your pregnancy.

Some of the common symptoms during the first trimester and why they occur:

Feeling tired – Your body is working hard to adjust to all the new physical changes. This can cause extreme fatigue. You may need to sleep longer than usual at night or take naps. Your energy will likely return in the second trimester.

Morning sickness – may include nausea and/or vomiting. It’s caused by pregnancy hormones. It’s fairly common in the first trimester. Morning sickness can occur at any time of day. Certain foods or smells might trigger these symptoms. Eating a saltine cracker, dry cereal or toast first thing in the morning before you get out of bed may help, as you may feel more nausea on an empty stomach. Morning sickness usually goes away by the second trimester.

There are over-the-counter vitamins and herbal supplements that may help with morning sickness. Taking vitamin B6 may help with nausea, even though it may not prevent vomiting. Ginger supplements also may relieve nausea.

Frequent urination – as your uterus grows, it pushes on your bladder. You may even leak a little urine when you cough or sneeze.

Lightheadedness – your body works overtime to make extra blood to support your baby and this can cause dizziness. If you are too hungry you might feel lightheaded.

Heartburn – This occurs because the muscles that break down food become more relaxed during pregnancy and hormone changes slow down the digestive process to give your body more time to absorb nutrients. Heartburn may increase in later pregnancy. Over the counter remedies such as Tums can help.

Constipation – The iron in prenatal vitamins may lead to constipation. Be sure to drink 6-8 glasses of water and eat fiber-rich foods such as whole grains, beans, legumes, fresh vegetables and fruit. And keep moving by walking or exercising.

Skin changes – With hormones causing increased blood circulation and extra oil production, you may have a “pregnancy glow.” You may also have flares of acne.

Breast changes – The hormones in your body change to prepare for breastfeeding. As this occurs, your breasts may feel tender and swollen. You might notice small bumps forming in the area around your nipples. Your breasts may feel bigger and fuller.

Vaginal changes – The lining of your vagina will become thicker and less sensitive. It’s normal to have a thin, white vaginal discharge or mild vaginal bleeding (spotting). However, call your doctor if you have significant vaginal bleeding. If the bleeding is heavy or painful, go to an emergency room.

Expanding waistline – Your waistline will expand as your baby and uterus grow larger. You may not notice this change until the second trimester. It is normal to gain no or little weight in your first trimester.

Emotional changes – Hormones change significantly during pregnancy, and you may feel moody, forgetful, or unable to focus. Fatigue and stress can increase these symptoms. Take time for yourself and practice self-care.

Your baby’s development during the first trimester, week by week

Conception usually happens about 2 weeks after the start of your last menstrual period (LMP).

You may not know the exact day you get pregnant. Healthcare providers use your LMP to find out how far along you are in pregnancy.

During weeks 3-4, the fertilized egg moves through the fallopian tubes towards your uterus and attaches to the lining of the uterus. Once it’s implanted, it begins to grow and the placenta forms. At the end of four weeks, you may notice you’ve missed your period.

At week 5, the embryo’s neural tube forms. The neural tube becomes your baby’s brain, spinal cord, and backbone. Tiny buds start to appear that become your baby’s arms and legs. Your baby’s heart and lungs are developing, and your baby’s heart starts to beat. Your embryo is producing hCG, the hormone that can be detected in a pregnancy test.

At week 6, your baby’s heart beats about 105 times a minute. Her nose, mouth, fingers, toes and ears are forming and begin to take shape.

At week 7, your baby’s bones start to form but are still soft. Your baby develops eyelids, but they stay shut. Your baby’s genitals begin to form.

At week 8, all of your baby’s major organs and body systems are developing. The placenta is working.

At week 9, your baby is close to ½ an inch long now. Tiny buds appear that become your baby’s teeth.

At week 10, you may be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat at your prenatal checkup. Fingers and toes continue to develop and your baby’s nails grow.

At week 11, your baby if now officially a fetus and her bones will begin to harden. Her skin is still thin and transparent, but becomes less so over time. Her head makes up about half of her size.

At week 12, your baby’s hands develop faster than her feet. She moves around, but you may not be able to feel her move yet. She’s about 2 inches long and weighs about ½ an ounce

During the first trimester your baby is making vital developments. It’s a critical time to see your provider and make healthy choices and take precautions to keep your baby safe.

For more information about pregnancy or to find a women’s health provider or calculate your due date, visit intermountainhealthcare.org

Intermountain offers online childbirth preparation and breastfeeding classes or you can call your local hospital for more information.

Other pregnancy resources:

familydoctor.org

marchofdimes.org

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.


Getting the flu vaccine is more important than ever



While flu was largely absent last winter, the CDC projects it will come back this year, at the same time COVID-19 will continue to circulate in Utah.

To help keep children and families healthy, experts are recommending flu vaccines for people ages 6 months and older as soon as possible. Flu vaccines are available now at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital’s Flu Shot Spot, and in many doctor’s offices, clinics and pharmacies.

Jade Elliott spoke with Sharon Soutter, RN, who runs the flu shot clinic at Primary Children’s Hospital, about the importance of the flu shot.

“Now more than ever, it’s critical for everyone to get the vaccine to protect themselves and their families, and help our hospitals from being overwhelmed by preventable diseases,” said Dr. Andrew Pavia, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at University of Utah Health and Director of Hospital Epidemiology at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.

For the upcoming flu season, vaccine is important to reduce flu because it can:

  • Keep individuals from getting sick with flu, reduce the severity of the illness for people who do get flu, and reduce the risk of a flu-associated hospitalization.
  • Prevent the anxiety and confusion of trying to tell whether symptoms are from flu or COVID-19
  • Lessen the resulting burden on the healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Reduce the risk of potential co-infections with both Flu and COVID-19, which might result in more severe illness.

In 2020, there were almost no flu cases in Utah, in large part due to universal masking and fewer in-person gatherings because of pandemic health prevention measures that were in place, Dr. Pavia said.

There have been a handful of confirmed flu cases in Utah this month. It is too soon to know if this signals the return of flu, but epidemiologists are concerned that flu could surge this year while COVID continues to circulate. Utah hospitals and health systems are already stretched thin and non-emergency surgeries are being cancelled. A major flu outbreak could lead to even more problems providing everyone the care they need.

Already, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is recording a rare summer surge, with more than 200 young children diagnosed with RSV every week in Utah since August, according to GermWatch.org. Typically, that surge comes in winter.

“We strongly recommend flu vaccine for people ages 6 months and older, and COVID-19 vaccine for eligible children ages 12 and older to help prevent these serious diseases,” Dr. Pavia said. “Vaccines can help keep children in school, and help parents remain able to work to support their families. They also help people who cannot receive vaccines stay healthy. Limiting the impact of flu can prevent a flu surge that could further stress our exhausted providers and over-burdened hospitals throughout the state.”

Here are some things families can do now:

  • Get a seasonal flu shot.
  • Get a COVID-19 vaccine for yourself and children ages 12 and over. This can be received at the same time as the flu shot.
  •  Wash hands often and well, and help children to do the same.
  • Stay home when ill.
  • Wear a mask in public particularly in indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status.

More information is available at IntermountainHealthcare.org.

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.


Helping your children with fears and anxiety



Many infants and toddlers experience fear or anxiety. What may be challenging to parents is to know how to soothe their little ones.

Because infants cannot soothe themselves, primary caretakers do that for them – and that helps young children eventually internalize an ability to self-soothe, said Dr. Merrill Kingston, pediatric psychologist at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.

Jade Elliott spoke with Kingston about tips to help your child.

“Infants are not born with a self-soothing function; they depend on primary caretakers to moderate strong emotional states for them, including anxiety,” Dr. Kingston said.

Babies and toddlers often express common fears and anxieties about the following:

  • Being alone
  •  The dark
  •  Dogs or other big animals
  •  Bugs
  •  Heights
  • Getting shots or going to the doctor
  • Unfamiliar or loud noises
  • Imaginary monsters — the “thing” under the bed
  •  Strangers (6-12 months)
  •  Separation (9-24 months)

But children can learn ways to calm themselves to cope with common fears. To facilitate self-soothing, parents can strive to:

  • Moderate or limit the amount of external stress-inducing events, such as anger, upset, and absence
  •  Limit developmentally overwhelming or anxiety-inducing influences, such as inappropriate media
  •  Recognize the child’s distress, such as fussing, crying or withdrawal, and provide verbal and physical soothing to calm that distress.

Issues that can interfere with a child learning to self-soothe include:

  • Primary caretaker absence (inability to recognize and soothe the anxious child)
  •  Primary caretaker or environment is overwhelming, reactive, dangerous, or scary (caretaker mental health struggles, food or housing insecurity, high crime rate, various other traumas).

“We recognize that parents are not perfect,” Dr. Kingston said. “We know, however, when the primary caretaker provides an adequate soothing function enough of the time, and if the external environment does not overwhelm the parent’s soothing abilities, the developing child will start to internalize the soothing function and begin to soothe himself or herself.”

While most fears and anxieties dissipate in time, there can be concern when they persist beyond developmental timelines, interfere with feeding or sleep, or when the child’s distress cannot be calmed.

In such cases, parents are urged to reach out to their pediatrician or medical provider, seek a psychological assessment or intervention, or contact family services.

More information is available at primarychildrens.org.

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.


Healthy toddler snack time



Toddlers love to snack. But many grab-and-go snacks popular with busy families are processed and contain excess sugar and sodium that can lead to poor eating habits and health concerns later in life.

There are easy ways to engage your toddler in snack time and teach them to eat right early on, said Sara Fausett, a registered dietitian-nutritionist at Intermountain Cedar City Hospital.

Jade Elliott spoke with Sara about some tips for healthy snacking.

“With a little planning, snack time can be a great way to help kids learn to eat right the fun way,” Fausett said.

Eating habits have the greatest impact on a person’s health, research shows. More than half of U.S. adults have one or more preventable chronic diseases, and many are related to poor diets and lack of physical activity. About one-fifth of U.S. children are clinically obese.

Teaching kids healthy eating and active lifestyles is a critical part of August’s Kids Eat Right Month, a campaign of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Here are some toddler snack-time tips:

  • Establish a regular snack routine.
  • Serve snacks at the table. Eat together to model healthy snacking.
  •  Offer fruits, veggies, and other healthy foods, like string cheese.
  • Cut foods into small pieces and watch your toddler eat to prevent choking.
  •  Give toddlers choices among healthy options. This helps them learn to choose healthy foods and improve autonomy (which they love).

For on-the-go snacks, purchase healthy convenience items or make your own bagged snacks, like these:

  • Puree fruit mixes
  • String cheese
  •  Pretzels
  •  Mini packs of carrots or apples
  • Dry cereal
  •  Fruit (gummy fruit snacks don’t count!)

Additional information can be found at intermountainhealthcare.org.

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.


Baby’s first foods: How to form healthy eaters



Baby’s transition to solid foods can be a source of stress for parents – or the most natural thing in the world.

The key: Don’t force it. Instead, allow baby choices and a fun introduction to food, said Sara Fausett, a registered dietitian nutritionist at Intermountain Cedar City Hospital.

Jade Elliott spoke with Sara Fausett about introducing foods to your baby.

“Eating is a continuum, and food is an experience,” Fausett said. “Allowing babies to explore food in a way that makes them feel safe helps them create a healthy relationship with food, which makes feeding easier for them — and for mom and dad.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC recommend introducing solid foods at age 6 months. That’s the time when breastmilk or formula alone no longer provides the number of calories and protein babies need, Fausett said.

But babies who express interest in foods mom or dad eat can be allowed to explore foods a little earlier.

“The expectation is not to perform, but to have a safe exposure to food anytime earlier than 6 months of age” Fausett said. “If you feed babies too early and they don’t know what to do with solid food, they will resist you as long as possible because it’s a safety issue for them.”

At six months, babies should be introduced to solid foods, even if they don’t seem interested, Fausett said. Parents could serve thinned rice cereal with several spoons to encourage exploration and play.

Parents should continue to provide breastmilk or formula when introducing foods, Fausett said. Other milks from legumes or animals and protein shakes should be avoided.

Here are some additional tips for introducing foods:

  •  6 months: Introduce cereal if baby is showing signs of readiness (sitting up, looking at you, able to tongue thrust, and turn head away)
  • 6-8 months: Start strained or pureed foods. Introduce one new food per week.
  • Add thickness, lumps, or chunks as baby’s ability to eat thinner purees or liquids improves.
  •  Offer firm large foods as an experience, so long as they cannot choke baby (whole celery or carrots are good options).
  •  Progressively offer foods that you eat at home as part of your healthy diet.

Remember, babies have a clean-slate palate, and this is good time to introduce fruits and vegetables, Fausett said.

For more information: Intermountainhealthcare.org.

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.


What to expect at prenatal appointments



What happens during prenatal visits is different depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy. You should schedule your first prenatal visit around 6 to 8 weeks of pregnancy (2-4 weeks after a missed period). Early and regular prenatal visits help your midwife or doctor will check your health and the growth of the fetus.

Jade Elliott spoke with Emily Hart Hayes, a certified nurse midwife and women’s health nurse practitioner with Intermountain Healthcare, about what you can expect at these prenatal appointments.

1. Your first prenatal visit will be one of your longest, so be sure to allow plenty of time. During the visit, you can expect your midwife or doctor to:

  •  Answer your questions. This is a great time to ask questions and share any concerns you may have.
  •  Check your urine sample for infection and to confirm your pregnancy.
  •  Check your blood pressure, weight, and height.
  •  Calculate your due date based on your last menstrual cycle or ultrasound exam.
  •  Perform tests to check for blood type, do a blood count, and check for infections that can affect pregnancy including hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, rubella, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.
  •  Ask about your health, including medical conditions, surgeries, and previous pregnancies.
  •  Ask about your family health and genetic history.
  •  Ask about your lifestyle, including whether you smoke, drink, or take drugs.
  •  Ask about your home environment and safety.
  •  Discuss exercise and diet.
  •  Discuss immunizations and recommend a flu or COVID vaccine if you haven’t already received these.
  • Do a complete physical exam, which may include a pelvic exam.
  •  Do a Pap test or test for human papillomavirus (HPV) or both to screen for cervical cancer risk if you are due for this screening.
  • Do an ultrasound, depending on the week of pregnancy.
  •  Offer genetic testing: screening for Down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities, cystic fibrosis, other specialized testing depending on history.

2. If your pregnancy is healthy, your health care provider will set up a regular schedule for visits that will include a visit every month during the first and second trimesters, and every 2 weeks from 28 to 36 weeks, and weekly from 36 weeks until your birth.

3. As your pregnancy progresses, your prenatal visits will vary greatly. During most visits, you can expect your health care provider to check your blood pressure, measure your weight gain, measure your abdomen (“fundal height”) to check your baby’s growth once you are about halfway through your pregnancy. Your provider will also check the fetal heart rate, feel your abdomen to find the fetus’s position (later in pregnancy), and possibly do tests, such as blood tests or an ultrasound exam.

4. Later in your pregnancy, some of your visits will include tests to check for gestational diabetes (usually between 24 and 28 weeks) and other conditions, depending on your age and family history. In addition, pregnant women should receive a booster of whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine between 27 and 36 weeks of pregnancy.

5. After your baby is born, your midwife or doctor will have you set up postpartum appointments, usually at 2 and 6 weeks postpartum. At these visits, your provider will check your blood pressure and do a physical exam to ensure your postpartum recovery is normal. They will also do screening for postpartum mood disorders, such as postpartum depression or anxiety, help you with breastfeeding, and discuss birth control (contraception) and family planning.

To listen to the Group B Strep episode mentioned in this podcast, click here.

For more information about pregnancy or to find a midwife or OB/Gyn visit intermountainhealthcare.org

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.


What to do after your pregnancy test comes back positive



There’s a whole range of emotions that women experience when they decide to do a home pregnancy test and it comes back positive. Women may feel nervous, surprised, excited, relieved, afraid, happy, overwhelmed or any combination of those all at once. You might not know what to do first!

Jade Elliott spoke with Emily Hart Hayes, CNM, DNP, Intermountain Healthcare, about what you need to do.

After sharing the news with your partner, what should you do to help ensure you have a healthy pregnancy?

1. Schedule an appointment with your midwife, OB/Gyn, or primary care provider.

Studies show that good prenatal care helps ensure healthier pregnancies, safer labor and deliveries, and stronger babies. Your first prenatal visit should happen between 6 and 8 weeks of pregnancy (when your menstrual period is 2 to 4 weeks late).

At your appointment, your provider will do another pregnancy test or blood test to confirm the positive results. They will also order routine blood tests and may do an ultrasound to confirm your due date. At this visit, you can discuss any questions or concerns you have and learn of the importance of going to prenatal visits throughout your pregnancy.

2. Check with your doctor if you are taking any prescription or over the counter medications to find out if you should continue taking them.

If you can’t get to see your provider right away, call or send a message to your provider about any current medications you’re taking.

3. Don’t smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, or use marijuana or illegal drugs, they are harmful to your baby. If you need help quitting any of these, talk to your midwife or doctor and they can help you with resources.

There’s no “safe” number of cigarettes or drinks, and many common medications can harm your developing baby.

4. Protect yourself from COVID-19.

The COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for pregnant women by the two national organizations of obstetric physicians, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine. The American College of Nurse Midwives also recommends the immunization.

Pregnant women are at a higher risk for developing severe complications from COVID-19, and there is preliminary evidence that severe disease from COVID can cause pregnancy complications, too.. Wear a mask, practice social distancing and good hand hygiene.

5. Start taking prenatal vitamins.

Prenatal vitamins are available over the counter. Look for prenatal vitamins with at least 400 micrograms (0.4 mg) of folic acid. Taking folic acid before and during a pregnancy can reduce the risk of a child born with serious birth defects of the spinal cord or brain.

6. Get enough sleep and exercise.

Balancing activity and rest will help you nurture your developing baby – and will help you feel good, too. Both rest and exercise help you cope with the mood swings of pregnancy, ease aches and pains, and manage morning sickness. Talk with your provider if you have any questions about exercise and what’s safe for you and your baby.

7. Eat nutritious meals and stay hydrated

What you eat can affect the health of your growing baby. So, make every bite count. Limit high-sugar and high-fat foods (like sodas and ice-cream and other desserts, and fatty meats like sausage or fried chicken). Instead, eat more fruits and vegetables. Choose whole-grain foods like whole-wheat bread and brown rice. Go for low-fat protein foods like low-fat milk, skinless chicken or turkey, and beans. Avoid fish that contains mercury. Drink eight glasses of water every day.

8. Wear a seatbelt.

It may not always feel comfortable around your growing waistline, but right now a seatbelt may save two lives. And if you want a head start on a safety seat for your baby, check out this car seat safety information from Intermountain’s Primary Children’s Medical Center.

9. Be informed. Learn about pregnancy, childbirth, recovery, parenting, etc. Intermountainhealthcare.org has many patient education resources for pregnant women.

10. Be aware of any mood changes, depression or anxiety during pregnancy or after childbirth and talk with your provider about your concerns.

Your provider can refer you to a behavioral health provider if needed.

For more information about pregnancy or to find an OB/Gyn or midwife visit intermountainhealthcare.org

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.