Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Giveaway: Omron Hip Pedometer With Holder

Update: A winner has been chosen. Click here to find out who won!

You don't need a gym membership or any special equipment to reach your fitness goals. Walking is something that everyone can do and make time for.

10,000 steps per day is ideal, as it often requires runs or walks that go beyond what we would normally accomplish during our regular routines and helps us to achieve the recommended 30 minutes of exercise each day.

Clipping a discrete pedometer to your waist can tell you if you've reached your goals, or if you need to ramp up your activity.

To encourage you in your fitness goals, we're giving away an Omron hip pedometer that can track your steps, stores 7 days of memory and resets itself everyday at midnight.

How to Enter

To enter to win, leave a comment below, with a screen name or first name (not as Anonymous), answering this question:
  • How can you add more steps to your day?
To enter, you must be at least 18 years of age and a United States resident.

Winner Announcement

We'll choose a winner at random on July 8th. The winner will be announced on the blog.

You can subscribe to our blog by email or RSS to make sure that you don't miss the winner announcement. See the sidebar to subscribe.

Prizes that are not claimed within 3 weeks of the winner announcement will be carried forward to the next draw.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Ask Us Anything: I Can See My Veins. Is this Normal?

"I have veins in my legs that I can see. One in paricular worries me. It is on my calf, and if I put too much stress on my leg, it hurts. It feels like a bad bruise. Is this normal?"

Ginny Lyons, RN, Responds:

It sounds like a phlebitis, meaning an inflammation of a vein. They can occur from trauma, injuring a vein, or just a lifetime issue of stress on a vein.

You always want to rule out it being a blood clot, especially behind the calf area. Is it raised, warm, and red with any streaking?

I would recommend you seeing your doctor to rule out a clot.

If it is a superficial phlebitis, you can elevate your leg and wear compression stockings to prevent further phlebitis issues. You will need a prescription for stockings, another reason to seek professional guidance.

– Ginny Lyons

Ginny Lyons, RN is a coordinator for Catholic Health's women's service line, WomenCare, a nurse clinician in Women's Health, a community health educator and a public health speaker for Catholic Health on wellness and prevention seminars.

If you have a question about your health, click here to ask our experts.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Summer Activities in Buffalo & Western New York

Make the most of your summer by experiencing events and activities that are at their best during the warmer months.

If I've forgotten any of your favorite summer activities, please leave your suggestions in the comments and I'll update the list.

Summer Activities

Hoyt Lake Row Boat Rentals (Buffalo)

Time: Daily, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Cost: $10 for 30 minutes
More Information: Website

Read a book or enjoy a picnic aboard a replica 1890's wooden lake boat. Boats can accommodate up to 5 people.

Maid of the Mist (Niagara Falls)

Time: Daily through October
Cost: $15.50 adults, $9 children 6-12, Free for kids under 6
More Information: Website

Don't discount the Maid of the Mist as just a tourist attraction. The Maid of the Mist takes you right up to the falls for a view that's unparralled. Go on a hot day – despite the rain coats provided, you will get soaked.

City Hall Observation Deck (Buffalo)

Time: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Cost: Free
More Information: Website

Take an elevator up to the 25th floor and walk up 3 flights to get a bird's eye view of the city. City Hall is known as an art deco masterpiece; free tours are available Monday - Saturday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., starting in the lobby.

Forest Lawn Cemetery (Buffalo)

Time: Daily
Cost: Free (self-guided)
More Information: Website

Forest Lawn Cemetery is the resting place of former U.S. President Millard Fillmore (Section F), singer Rick James and Barbara Franklin, mother of Aretha Franklin.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1928 design for the Blue Sky Mausoleum was built in the cemetery in 2004 and is a must-see for fans of the architect.

Buffalo Zoo (Buffalo)

Time: Daily
Cost: $10.50 adults, $8.50 seniors, $7.50 kids 2-14, Free kids under 2
More Information: Website

Don't miss out on seeing polar bear Luna while she's still a cub! She'll be leaving the zoo in two months while her new habitat is under construction at the zoo.

Panama Rocks (Panama)

Time: Daily, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Cost: $7 adults, $6 seniors, $6 kids 13-17, Free kids 5 and under
More Information: Website

An hour-and-a-half from Buffalo, Panama Rocks scenic park features rock formations that are over 300 million years old. Take the one-mile hiking trail or explore on your own.

Chautauqua Institute (Chautauqua)

Time: June 22 - August 25
Cost: Free on Sundays
More Information: Website

Take a road trip to the Chautauqua Institution, about an hour and a half drive from Buffalo. Founded in 1874, the institution offers arts programming and recreational activities for nine weeks each year. Narrated bus tours of the Chautauqua Institution grounds are available daily for a fee, or take a self-guided tour on foot. Not only will you find historic cottages and a beautiful view of Chautauqua Lake, but you can shop, see a classic film, or read or draw in the plaza.

Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village (Amherst)

Time: Daily, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Cost: $8 adults, $6 seniors, $4 kids
More Information: Website

Although it's open year-round, summer introduces weekend hours at the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village. Tour historical homes, a rural church and one-room schoolhouses from the Buffalo Niagara region. You'll meet costumed interpreters who will show you what life was like in the 19th century. There is an 1820's replica kitchen, a 1950's diner counter and an 1880s street of shops.

Buffalo Harbor Kayak (Buffalo)

Time: Varies
Cost: $15-30 hourly rental, $35-$55 half day
More Information: Website

Tour the waterfront in a paddle boat or take a lesson on a stand-up paddle board. Tours can be booked singly, or you can double up and share a tandem kayak.

Open-Air Autobus Tours (Buffalo)

Time: Select Dates, June - September
Cost: $25 for most tours
More Information: Website

Learn about Buffalo as you travel around town in an open-air bus.

Tours for this year are:
  • American Dreams: Houses of E.B. Green - June 28, August 2, September 21
  • The Buffalo Whirlwind Tour - Sat. and Sun., June 16 - September 29, Thursdays June 20 - August 29
  • Last of Their Kind: Churches of Oakley and Schallmo - September 7
  • Frank Lloyd Wright's Buffalo - July 5, August 9
  • Industrial Strength Architecture: Adventure on the Belt Line - July 12, August 16, September 14
  • Into the Heart of Black Rock: War of 1812 Edition - June 15, September 28
  • Scoopers, Saloons and Grain Elevators: Water's Edge in the Old First Ward - June 14, July 19, August 17, August 30
  • This Old Mansion - June 21, July 26, August 23

Old Fort Niagara (Youngstown)

Time: Daily
Cost: $12 adults, $8 kids 6 to 12, free for kids under 6
More Information: Website

This New York State Historic Site gives you a glimpse into military life with military architecture and fortifications from the 18th Century and the 19th Century.

Summer events include the French and Indian War Encampment (July 5-7), Soldiers of the Revolution (August 3-4), and Music of the War of 1812 (August 28). After your visit, have lunch in the quaint village of Lewiston.

Queen City Ferry (Buffalo)

Time: Daily
Cost: $12 all-day pass, $4 one way
More Information: Website

Queen City Ferry Company offers a water ferry service between Buffalo’s inner and outer harbor.

The river tour, offered daily from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. ($14 adults, $10 children), has rave reviews on Trip Advisor.

Water Bikes of Buffalo (Buffalo)

Time: Daily
Cost: $15-$25/hour
More Information: Website

Peddle past the grain elevators on a hydrobike or buddy up and paddle together on a waterpiller, aqua cycle, or tandem hydrobike. The hydrobike is $15 for a single rider; the tandem bike is $25/two riders.

Transit Drive-In (Lockport)

Time: Daily
Cost: $8 ages 12 and older, $3 kids 5 -11, free 4 and under
More Information: Website

Experience the latest movies the old-fashioned way. Adults pay just $8 for a double feature. Visit the snack bar for burgers, hot dogs, pizza, pizza logs and ice cream.

Events / Festivals

Shakespeare in the Park (Buffalo)

Time: Tuesday - Sunday, June 20 - August 18, 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free (donation suggested)
More Information: Website

Shakespeare in the Park opens with Hamlet on June 20, and closes the season with Measure for Measure, which begins on July 25.

Shows take place at 7:30 p.m. on a Tudor-style stage behind the rose garden.

Pack a pincic and your lawn chairs or a blanket; the area closest to the stage is reserved for blankets only.

Thursday at Canalside (Buffalo)

Time: Thursdays, June 13 - August 22
Cost: Free
More Information: Website

This free summer concert series includes concerts by Steven Page, Teddy Riley and Blackstreet, Los Lonely Boys, and more.

Taste of Buffalo (Buffalo)

Time: July 13-14
Cost: Free entry (cost for food)
More Information: Website

The largest two-day food festival in the United States, Taste of Buffalo gives you the opportunity to try foods from restaurants across Western New York. Favorites include Cecelia's Ristorante, Dinosaur BBQ, Fat Bob's Smokehouse and Louies Hot Dogs. Each restaurant offers a taste-size portion of a signature menu item for $2 (or 4 tickets).

Garden Walk Buffalo (Buffalo)

Time: July 27-28
Cost: Free
More Information: Website

No matter what your level of interest in gardening, Garden Walk Buffalo is a fascinating look at some of the most creative homes in the city. This free, self-guided tour of more than 380 gardens is the largest garden tour in the United States.

Italian Heritage Festival (Buffalo)

Time: August 1-4
Cost: Free
More Information: Website

This year, the Italian Heritage Festival celebrates its 25th year on Hertel Avenue. Don't miss Campi's Pizza, cannolis and other Italian dishes.

Eden Corn Festival (Eden)

Time: August 1-4
Cost: Free
More Information: Website

Chow down on homegrown buttered sweet corn at the Eden Corn Festival. The event also features midway rides, tractor pulls and arts and crafts.

Lucille Ball Comedy Festival (Jamestown)

Time: August 1-4
Cost: Free
More Information: Website

Lucille Ball's hometown offers a mix of free and ticketed events. Guests can meet Wanda Clark, who was Lucille Ball's secretary for over 20 years and for $35, can even have lunch with her in the Tropicana Room of the The Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Center. You can also try your hand at chocolate wrapping, just like in the "Job Switching" episode.

Erie County Fair (Hamburg)

Time: August 7-18
Cost: $10 adults, $7 seniors, free for children 12 and under
More Information: Website

In addition to midway rides, the Erie County Fair presents a sea lion show, a petting zoo, and historical demonstrations, such as old-time lye soap making and broom making. In the Antler Ridge Reindeer Barn, 8-10 reindeer will be on display, including reindeer calves who were born in May.

Lewiston Art Festival (Lewiston)

Time: August 10-11
Cost: Free
More Information: Website

Lewiston’s signature event features work by more than 175 exceptional artists and fine crafters. Meet the artists one-on-one and enjoy more than 20,000 original works of art — including paintings, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, glass, wood, mixed media, and photography.

Scottish Festival & Highland Games (Amherst)

Time: August 17, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Cost: $10
More Information: Website

The Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village hosts the Scottish Festival & Highland Games, which includes traditional food, beer, dancers, pipers, live performances and, of course, the Highland Games. You'll also have access to the historic homes within the village.

Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts (Buffalo)

Time: August 24-25
Cost: Free
More Information: Website

More than 170 artists and craftspeople line Elmwood Avenue for the Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. You'll also have the opportunity to meet 30 local organizations working to make our communities stronger and sign up to help a cause.

Buffalo Irish Festival (Buffalo)

Time: August 23-25
Cost: $10 adults, $8 kids 4-12, Free for seniors and kids under 4
More Information: Website

Head to the waterfront at Canalside for the 32nd annual Buffalo Irish Festival, where you'll find Irish music, goods and crafts from Ireland, and Irish food and beverage, many of which is imported from Ireland.

Buffalo Wing Festival (Buffalo)

Time: August 31-September 1
Cost: $5
More Information: Website

See the U.S. Wing Eating Championship and enjoy the best Buffalo wings that the city has to offer.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Ask Us Anything About Pregnancy: IV's in Labor, Baby Not Moving

Do you have a question for our staff? Click here to submit it.

Q. Are IV's required for all admitted patients in labor? Why can't I just drink some water? If it's in case of emergencies, isn't your staff trained in putting an IV in quite quickly?

A. Mary D'Angelo, Director of Maternal Child Services at Sisters of Charity Hospital, Responds:
IV's are generally started on all laboring patients for a variety of reasons.
With planning and communication with the physician, we are able to just put in a saline trap for access when needed. Laboring patients are able to have ice chips and popsicles, but these are not necessarily enough for adequate hydration.
If a woman goes through labor without pitocin or anesthesia of any kind, a saline trap is probably enough, but only with physician agreement.
It is true that OB nurses can start an IV quickly in the event of an emergency, but it is more difficult if the patient is dehydrated, and pregnant women dehydrate quickly related to the increase in blood volume the carry with the pregnancy.

Q. I'm 18 weeks pregnant, and for 2 weeks, when I lay down, I feel my baby move like crazy. I haven't felt her in 24 hours. I'm scared.

Francine Kane, RN, Responds:
I can tell that you are concerned, and I am so glad that you are so aware of your baby's activity. That is so important!

Babies do have periods of sleep/wake time, just as we do. Many moms do not perceive movement until they are a little further along in their pregnancy, so your little one must really be a "mover."

Some of the things that you can try:
  • Drink a beverage than has some glucose (sugar), such as orange or apple juice
  • Lay on your side for a little while (about 30 minutes) and pay attention to smaller movements such as flutters
If you still do not feel that your baby is moving, then by all means, call your healthcare provider to see what he/she would like you to do next. They may have you come into the office for a fetal heart rate check with a doppler or an ultrasound.

Either way, taking a very pro-active approach is the best way to handle the nervousness you may feel when the baby acts in a way that is uncharacteristic for them.

If you have a question about your health, click here to ask our experts.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Coping With the Loss of a Baby

Written by Meaghan Maess, Buffalo State College student and communications intern at Catholic Health

While losing a child is one of the most difficult trials that a parent can endure, the loss of a baby due to miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn death poses unique challenges. 

“We see couples struggle with the length of time that it takes to move through the grief process and the difficulty of seeing other pregnant women and babies,” said Amy Creamer, who is a volunteer counselor at Sisters of Charity Hospital’s Footprints on the Heart program. 

First-time parents also experience the invisibleness of being a parent without a baby, Creamer said. “Many people will not recognize them as parents, and it can be very hurtful to not be seen as the parent that they are.”

The Grieving Process

When grieving the loss of a child, there are typically two paths that someone will follow: that of the feeler or that of the doer.

The feeler wants to talk about his or her experience, write about it, look at pictures of the baby and talk some more.

The doer wants to put his or her emotions into action by doing or creating something.

“Often they will make a casket or scrapbook, start a foundation or find an organization that is related to their loss and volunteer for it,” said Creamer.

Although women most often take on the role of the feeler and men the role of the doer, people can switch between roles, beginning as one and then moving into the other.

Couples can avoid misunderstandings by being open about how they’re feeling and what their needs are. 

“Communication about when they need to talk and when they need space will help them to negotiate the times that they need to be alone and when they need the support of one another,” said Creamer.

Support Groups

For some parents, support groups can be therapeutic.

“Attending a support group helps you to realize that you are not alone on your journey and that there are many other people like you who are enduring the same difficulties. It also gives you an opportunity to speak about your loss, acknowledge what you have been through and not hide from the pain of the experience,” said Creamer.

"The support groups offer hope to their members. Today may be a bad day, but tomorrow may be better. And if it isn't, they have someone to call."

The Footprints on the Heart program, led by Registered Nurse Fran Kane, offers several support groups for couples and their families who have experienced the loss of a baby.

Click here to learn about support groups that meet on the Sisters Hospital campus.

Individual Counseling

Parents grieve their loss in different ways, and the support group setting is not for everyone. If you are not ready to attend a support group, Fran Kane offers individual support by phone or email.

Click here to learn how to contact Fran.


While there are many ways to remember or memorialize a baby, photographs are often a parent’s most treasured object.

"Babies who are miscarried, born still, or die shortly after birth have photographs taken by the nurses in the hospital," said Kane. "We print several photos for the parents immediately and place them in their memory box. A CD of the rest of the photos is given after discharge."

Parents who experience a pregnancy loss only have one chance to see their baby, and photographs can serve to remind them of details they don't want to forget.

"Parents always say they have too few photographs, not too many," Kane said.

“A company called Our 365 will create a beautiful package of photos for parents at no charge to them. Disposable cameras were also donated to all area hospitals and are given to families in the event that they are able to take some of their own poses. A local family who experienced a stillbirth donated them because they were in shock when they delivered and do not have enough photographs. Therefore, the nurses encourage the families to take as many as they can. The family wanted to try to make sure parents know how important those photos really are.”

In addition, an organization called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (NILMDTS) is available for photographs at the hospital.

Supporting Parents Who Have Experienced a Loss

If you know someone who has experienced a loss, give them the time and the space that they need to grieve.

"The best way to support a friend or family member is to be available for them to talk to you if they need to, but do not push them," Creamer said.

Don’t make assumptions about what the grieving parents need or how they are feeling. Every person goes through the process differently. Some parents may cope by talking about their loss, but for others, it may be too painful.

The best thing to say to someone who has just had a loss is, "I am so sorry to hear about your baby. I cannot imagine what you must be feeling. Please know that I am here for you if you need anything, whether that is space or a shoulder to cry on."

Understand that grief has no set time frame, and allow them time to heal.

"Parents may grieve much longer than other people are comfortable with and may be told that they should be over their loss when they have barely begun the grief process. This can be hard because then they feel as though they are doing something wrong,” said Creamer.

Offering to cook a meal for the grieving parents or to just come and sit with them can be helpful.

Although the loss of a baby is devastating, it is possible to heal. You can learn more about the resources available to bereaved parents at the Catholic Health website.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Pledge to See the First Feature Film About Pregnancy Loss

A movie starring Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting) and Paul Adelstein (Private Practice) aims to become the first feature film to focus on the issue of stillbirth, the loss of a fetus after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Many are hopeful for the movie's release.

"There is a silence surrounding stillbirth," said Fran Kane, a Registered Nurse who leads Catholic Health’s Footprints on the Heart program for bereaved parents.

“It is a taboo subject. For many, stillbirth is unheard of until it happens to them. Doctors don't talk about it during pregnancy care. Childbirth education classes don't talk about it. Even pregnancy-related books don't mention it. Kind of like, if we don't talk about it, it won't happen. Unfortunately when it does, people are left alone and must search for their own support.” 

For those who have never experienced a pregnancy loss, the movie reveals the complexity and depth of the loss and can highlight the need to validate the baby who has been lost.

"Parents and families who experience a stillbirth are frequently, if not, always, invalidated and unsupported. They are often not seen as parents because they have no baby to bring home," said Kane.

Movie Delves into Coping with Loss, Relationships

Created by filmmaker Sean Hanish, Return to Zero is based on a true story and follows Maggie (Driver) and Aaron (Adelstein) as they struggle to cope with the loss of their baby son just weeks before his due date. Their grief expresses itself in denial, escape, and alcohol use. Aaron’s affair with a co-worker propels the couple to separate, but they are reunited when Maggie discovers that she is pregnant again.

“I think the movie will demonstrate the difference in how women and men handle their grief following a stillbirth. The incongruent grief that is often experienced can tear a marriage or relationship apart,” said Kane.

An Uncertain Future for Return to Zero

Moviemakers are hopeful that the film will premiere at a film festival in August or September, but its release is yet uncertain.

They have recruited fans from across the country to serve as local leaders and spread the word about the film. These leaders are tasked with acquiring 100 pledges – promises to see the movie during its first weekend of release, if and when it makes it to theaters. More than 2,300 people from over 40 countries have volunteered to be local leaders.

Donations are being accepted, and donations of $250 and above will receive a “thank you” credit in the film.

Pledge to See the Film

Your pledge can convince distributors to release this movie to theaters. You can pledge to see the film using this form.

Follow Return to Zero on Facebook

The film’s Facebook page has over 9,000 followers. Follow their page for updates about the project.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Winner of the Tote Bag Giveaway

Update: Because this prize was not claimed within three weeks, a new winner has been chosen.

Thank you to everyone who entered our giveaway for the Catholic Health tote bag.

A winner has been chosen at random using a random number generator:

And the Winner Is:

Lisa C., who would like to see easy recipes for family weeknight dinners on our blog.

Lisa, please contact me at to arrange for delivery of your prize. Congratulations!

Note: prizes must be claimed within three weeks.

Get a Tote Bag from the Catholic Health eStore

If you didn't win but would like a tote bag of your own, you can pick one up at the Catholic Health estore.

Thank you to everyone who entered and suggested topics for upcoming blog articles. Please keep an eye out for articles about your suggested topics. Subscribe to our blog by email or RSS (in the sidebar) so that you don't miss a post, including our giveaway next month.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How to Cook Steak Using a Healthy Pan Searing Technique

Did you know that pan searing enhances the flavor of steak? At our Cooking Well at Mercy show, Mercy Hospital Chef Chris Damiani showed us how to cook steak using a healthy pan searing technique.

The recipe and video demonstration are below.

Upcoming Shows: In our upcoming show on June 26, Chris will demonstrate the art of stir frying. The demonstration is 15 minutes long and takes place at 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. in the Mercy Café. Shows are free and open to all hospital visitors and staff.

Chef Christopher Damiani: Christopher Damiani serves as the assistant director of Food Services at Mercy Hospital. A professional chef with a Culinary Arts degree from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, he oversees the menu planning for hospital patients and the Mercy Café.

Pan Searing Steak

Servings: 4
Yield: 5 ounces


  • Quick stove top cooking equipment
  • Cutting board
  • Digital thermometer
  • Hot pads
  • Kitchen fork
  • Knife
  • Tongs
  • Large nonstick sauté pan
  • Spatula


  • 16 ounces sirloin steaks, pounded to ½ inch thick with meat mallet, then cut into 4 equal pieces
  • 2 ounces flour
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
  • 2 ounces olive oil
  • 1 ounce parsley, chopped fine
  • 1 pinch thyme, chopped fine
  • 4 ounces red wine, your choice
  • 1 ounce shallot, chopped
  • 1 ounce garlic, chopped
  • 4 ounces sliced mushroom
  • 2 ounces butter, softened
  • 6 ounces brown gravy
  • Whipped potato topped with scallions
  • Green vegetable asparagus or broccoli steamed


  1. Mix flour, salt and pepper together.
  2. Dredge steak fillets in seasoned flour. Dust off excess flour.
  3. Heat pan on stove to medium high heat, add olive oil. Swirl oil in pan and look for faint smoke from the oil.
  4. Add the steak to the pan, allowing to it fall away from you so as not to get burned from the hot oil. Stay attentive and watch for the color change in the edges of the meat.
  5. Upon color change, turn over the meat. Seared side should have a nice brown color.
  6. Reduce heat to medium. Cook 3-4 minutes until internal temperature reaches desired doneness. Chef Chris usually turns off the heat when it reaches 120 degrees.
  7. Turn off the heat. Move meat around pan to create an open area, then add shallots, mushrooms, garlic, parsley, thyme, butter, allow to ingredients cook for a minute.
  8. Add red wine, then brown gravy and finish with softened butter.
  9. Baste mushroom sauce over meat. Allow to rest for a minute.
  10. Serve with your choice of starch and vegetables.

Join us on June 26

On June 26, Christopher Damiani, will demonstrate the art of stir frying. Join us in Mercy Hospital's Mercy Café at 12 p.m. or 1 p.m. for the 15-minute demonstration.

Mercy Hospital is located at 565 Abbott Road in Buffalo.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Ask Us Anything: I am Pregnant and am on an IUD. What Do I Do?

"I am on Mirena and just found out that I am 10 weeks pregnant. My OB/GYN told me that I am considered high-risk and tried to remove Mirena but was unsuccessful. She said that she couldn't do anything or it would disrupt the pregnancy. I need some guidance."

Dr. Lawrence Gugino Responds: 

There are very few studies to guide pregnancy outcomes with a pregnancy and IUD. Most studies are from the 1970's and are observational in nature.

The IUD should ideally be removed, but this is sometimes not possible, as in this case. Further attempts at removal would significantly increase the risk of miscarriage. There remains an increased risk of miscarriage with any pregnancy with an IUD.

Other increased pregnancy risks are placenta previa, placental abruption, a low-birth-rate infant, chorioamnionitis (infection), and an increased risk of delivery by cesarean section. Because this IUD is Mirena, which contains a slow release progestin (levonogesterol), there is a theoretical concern of fetal exposure to this progestin. However, the systemic dose released is lower than in the combination oral contraceptive pill, which has shown no teratogenic effect, thus I would doubt there is a significant risk to the fetus.

Surveillance during the pregnancy should include counseling for increased risk of miscarriage and placental abruption later in pregnancy, thus any vaginal bleeding deserves immediate evaluation. There should also be fetal growth surveillance by ultrasound in the third trimester. I would advise that you also be followed by a high-risk maternal fetal medicine specialist, in addition to your general OB/GYN.

– Dr. Lawrence Gugino

If you have a question about your health, click here to ask our experts.
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