Upstate Parent gets answers to those health and wellness questions you’ve always wanted to ask. You ask us, and we ask local experts to weigh in with some answers.

Have a burning question? Let us know! This month’s questions are answered by several local experts. Remember that these answers are the opinions of these specific experts and not intended as medical advice. Always consult your personal doctor about your health.

Q: How often should I have my child’s car seat checked? I know her needs will change as she grows.

A: You should have your child’s seat checked at the very least at every transition – when your child transitions from rear facing to forward facing, when your child transitions from car seat to a booster seat and yes, when your child transitions from booster seat to seat belt. Every car is different and so is every car seat. Checking at these stages will ensure that your child is facing the right direction, in the right place in your car and in the right seat for every ride. It is the best way to ensure your child arrives safely.

— Cynthia D. Fryer, manager of children’s advocacy, Safe Kids Upstate

Q: I am expecting my first child. How will I know when I am in labor?

A: Throughout the third trimester, most patients will notice an increase in uterine activity, such as irregular tightening, cramps or the sensation that the baby curling up. This activity, referred to as Braxton-Hicks contractions, typically comes and goes, and is mild and irregular. As you get closer to your due date these mild contractions frequently become more intense. In labor, contractions will be very close together and will come fairly consistently. They will also be more intense, and you may find yourself having to focus or breathe at the peak of each contraction.

A good indicator is 5-1-1:

  • Contractions are five minutes apart or closer;
  • Each contraction lasts one minute or longer;
  • Contractions have been consistent for one hour.

Another indicator for labor is when the water breaks, which may or may not occur before strong contractions and frequently doesn’t happen until you are at the hospital. Please notify your physician if any of these symptoms occur prior to 37 weeks.

— Dr. Edward P. Heidtman, Carolina Women’s Health

Q: I’ve read conflicting reports about vitamin supplements for breast-fed babies. Should I continue my prenatal vitamins while breast-feeding?

A: What to take and what not to take when breast-feeding can be very confusing. Most health-care professionals recommend that moms continue to take their prenatal vitamins while breast-feeding, but it is actually more for mom than baby. Mom’s body will pull from her nutrient stores to make sure her milk is nutritionally complete for her baby. It can be tough to eat a well-balanced diet with a new baby, so a vitamin-mineral supplement will help fill in the gaps. A prenatal vitamin will help make sure mom has what she needs, too. Mom’s milk provides what her baby needs, even without the perfect diet. The one exception is vitamin D. People are designed to get their vitamin D from the sun and a lot of times we just don’t get enough. It is important to talk to your baby’s pediatrician about their recommendations for a Vitamin D supplement for baby.

— Mandy Schaub, outpatient lactation consultant, St. Francis Eastside

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