Plan for a Healthy Pregnancy

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Plan for a Healthy Pregnancy

Pregnancy, while miraculous and amazing, can also be very taxing on a woman's body, as well as her mind. Knowing that your baby's health and well-being is dependent on your own health and well-being can be a bit overwhelming. But there are steps you can take before and during pregnancy to help keep yourself and your baby as healthy as possible.

First, work on getting to a healthy weight prior to pregnancy. Women who are overweight tend to have more problems getting pregnant than those at a healthy weight. Of course, dropping the pounds by drastically cutting calories will be counterproductive: Women who want to conceive need a well-balanced diet filled with a variety of foods that will provide them with the vitamins and minerals their bodies need. When your body is healthy and well-nourished, it will be more ready to nurture a new life!

Once you get pregnant, focus on putting good, nourishing food into your body. Think about increasing your fruit and veggie intake and try to move toward lean protein like fish, chicken and pork. Try to drink 6-8 large glasses of water every day. And be sure you are taking a prenatal vitamin. All of these things will make you feel better, help your baby get the nourishment it needs, and – bonus! – keep you from putting on unnecessary weight.

Throughout your pregnancy, try to stay active. This doesn't mean you need to be doing the same hardcore workouts you did before you got pregnant, but just taking a walk or two every day is good for your body, your mind and your baby. Focus on being active – walking, swimming, even just taking the stairs whenever possible can make a difference. If you are feeling good and your doctor approves, try to get your heart rate up more days than not. This can be done through low-impact cardio exercise at your gym, light running, yoga – whatever you and your doctor agree upon.

Pay attention to the list of "don't's" that your doctor shares with you. Alcohol, smoking, certain types of fish, etc. – there is a reason these things are "no-no's" for pregnant women. When in doubt, don't do it. Talk to your doctor about any specific things he or she would you like to steer clear of and get his or her input on anything you are unclear about.

Finally, listen to your body and take care of yourself. Growing a baby is hard, exhausting work on your body and you need to respect the process. If you feel tired, rest. If you feel hungry, eat. This is not the time to push yourself and ignore what your body is trying to tell you. This is also a good time to indulge a little – make plans with friends, plan a weekend away or just clear your calendar for a day or two of reading and relaxation. Pamper yourself a little – you've earned it! And your body will thank you for it.

To learn more about pregnancy, child birth and caring for baby – visit the Dignity Health website and register for one of our upcoming classes or events!

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Nationally Recognized Stroke
Care in Sacramento

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Nationally Recognized Stroke Care in Sacramento

When a person is suffering a stroke, getting appropriate care as quickly as possible is crucial. Here in the Sacramento area, we are fortunate to have world-class stroke care available nearby.

All six Dignity Health facilities in our region have been recognized for their capabilities and commitment to delivering comprehensive stroke care and have been recognized by The Joint Commission in collaboration with the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association as Primary Stroke Centers. These recognized facilities include Mercy General Hospital; Mercy San Juan Medical Center; Methodist Hospital; Mercy Hospital of Folsom; Woodland Healthcare; and Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital. Because these facilities are found throughout our region, patients suffering from stroke can receive the care they need quickly and, often, in their own community.

Now, Mercy San Juan Medical Center has received additional certification as a comprehensive stroke center, the first hospital in our area to be recognized for its ability to provide complex stroke care. This certification is in recognition of Mercy San Juan's ability to treat the most complex stroke cases in the timeliest manner. For patients, this means not having to travel out of our area to receive the exceptional and complex care required in stroke cases.

Understanding what a stroke is can help you to understand why getting treatment quickly is so critical. A stroke occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain stops. If blood flow is stopped for more than a few seconds, the brain will not get the blood and oxygen it needs. The longer blood flow is stopped, the more damage occurs to the brain. Deprived of blood flow, the brain cells will die which will cause permanent damage. Receiving prompt and appropriate care can help to re-instate blood flow to the brain, minimizing the amount of permanent damage that occurs.

Of course, the first step toward receiving the appropriate care for stroke is recognizing it when it is happening. Stroke can happen to men or women and it can happen at any age. To recognize the symptoms of a stroke quickly, the American Stroke Association recommends remembering the acronym


F = Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is one side of the face numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven?

A = Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S = Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like, "The sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?

T = Time to call 911: If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared. This information will be helpful to the stroke care team.

To learn more about the stroke care available at the Dignity Health facilities in the Sacramento region, visit their website.

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