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Ask the Expert: Fitness trackers, UTIs and puberty

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, Bon Secours St. Francis physician Edward Heidtman of Carolina Women’s Health answers questions. 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: Should I continue to wear my fitness tracker during pregnancy? What changes should I expect?

A: Talk with your physician about what specific exercises are acceptable to maintain your health along with your baby’s. Due to the increased demands of the baby on your body, your cardiovascular system changes throughout your pregnancy. As a result, your body is required to pump more blood sending oxygen and nutrients to the baby, and you may see your resting heart rate increase gradually. It is important for this increased blood supply to be for the needs of the baby, not expended on excessive exercise. Your fitness tracker can help monitor your distance walked, calorie consumption, and heartbeat, however, talk with your physician about how to set reasonable goals for the changes your body experiences during pregnancy.

Q: I am prone to urinary tract infections. What can I do to help avoid them or make them occur less often?

A: To help prevent urinary tract infections, it is important to remain hydrated by drinking water and avoiding sugary drinks including sodas or carbonated beverages and fruit juices. Avoiding drinks with a high level of caffeine may also reduce infections due to caffeine’s tendency to be an irritant to the bladder. Emptying your bladder regularly and specifically before and after sexual intercourse can also help avoid infections. During the warmer months, urinary tract infections often occur more frequently. It is important to change clothes after exercising or swimming in order to remain dry since moisture aids the growth of bacteria. Eating a healthy and balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and adding a cranberry tablet supplement can assist your body in preventing infections.

Q: At what age should I begin discussing puberty with my daughter? 

A: Considering that most girls start experiencing signs of puberty between ages 9 – 11, you should consider discussing puberty with your daughter sometime in the fourth grade. When you start noticing her having a growth spurt in height and as breasts begin to form, you want to be able to prepare her for the changes her body is going to experience. She may have a friend who experiences these changes earlier than she does, so it is important for you as the parent to have this discussion with her first. You also may consider whether you use the discussion regarding puberty as an introduction to human reproduction and sexual concepts.

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