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Pregnancy Planning and Birth Defects Prevention

If you are planning to become pregnant, there are certain things you can do to increase the odds of good health for you and your baby. Some actions you take in advance can also significantly decrease the risk of certain birth defects. While some birth defects cannot be prevented, others are linked to the mom’s health and actions before and during pregnancy.

Folic acid supplementation

Every woman who might become pregnant should take a prenatal vitamin with 400 mcg of folic acid. Folic acid, also called vitamin B9, is an essential nutrient that helps develop the baby’s brain and spinal cord. This development usually happens early in pregnancy before a woman knows she is pregnant, so planning is essential. Some foods are also enriched with folic acid, such as fortified bread, pasta, and cereals. Eating a healthy, varied diet in addition to taking a prenatal vitamin will ensure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs for a healthy pregnancy.

Avoid alcohol, smoking, and drugs

There is no known safe level of alcohol, tobacco, or drugs like marijuana to consume during pregnancy. These substances can be harmful at all stages of pregnancy, including in the very early stages. It is best to avoid these substances altogether if you plan to become pregnant. If you need help to stop smoking or using a drug, please reach out to your healthcare provider.

Prevent infections

Some infections can cause pregnancy complications and birth defects if the mother has them during pregnancy. These infections include rubella, cytomegalovirus (CMV), toxoplasmosis, mosquito-borne illnesses like Zika and West Nile viruses, and many sexually transmitted diseases. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you should protect yourself from these diseases. Ensure you are up to date on your immunizations and talk to your healthcare provider to see if you need additional vaccines. Avoid travel to places where high-risk diseases like Zika are common. If you have a cat, you should avoid changing the litter box, which is a potential source of toxoplasmosis infection. And of course, it is a good idea to practice basic sanitation and infection prevention techniques like frequent handwashing and avoiding sick people. 

Check-in with your healthcare provider

Stay in close contact with your healthcare providers before and during pregnancy. If you have any chronic health conditions, you should make sure these are well controlled before becoming pregnant. For example, diabetes is a common health condition that can affect a baby’s growth and development if not controlled. Blood pressure problems, bleeding and clotting disorders, mental health conditions, and many other health problems can also affect pregnancy. Some prescription medications can cause birth defects and are unsafe to take during pregnancy. If you take any prescription medications and might become pregnant, you should make an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss a plan for these medications.

Take care of yourself

Finally, take care of yourself! Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also be quite stressful. It may seem like everyone has an opinion about what pregnant women should and shouldn’t do. Make sure you get your information from trusted sources. Remember that some aspects of pregnancy are simply out of your control, and trying the best you can to care for yourself and your baby is enough. At Canyon View Women’s Care, our goal is to help women have happy, healthy babies. We would love to take care of you before, during, and after your pregnancy and answer any questions you have. Call us at 801-465-2559 for a preconception consult or pregnancy-related visit.

Alyssa Heath, PA

Canyon View Women’s Care

What Your Pediatrician Has in Her Medicine Cabinet (For the Kids)

Is your medicine cabinet a jumble of bottles, with some expired medications drying up in the back? Have you ever had a child sick in the middle of the night and had to send someone out in the cold to pick up something for a bit of relief? Pediatricians often call the winter months “respiratory season” because of the seasonal spikes in viral illnesses, so consider doing a quick check on your medicine cabinet so you can be prepared. Here is what I have in my home, regardless of the time of year.


Even with a varied diet, it can be hard to get all the recommended nutrients every day. The AAP recommends breastfed babies receive 400 IU of vitamin D supplementation, and all children and adolescents 1 year and older receive 600 IU of vitamin D. This is especially important for Utahns because while many Americans are vitamin D deficient, we are at even higher risk in the high latitudes of Utah. Bone density increases fastest during growth in childhood and adolescence, so take advantage of that by adding calcium too–especially during puberty! Consider providing these nutrients through a multivitamin, especially if your child has picky eating habits.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

Acetaminophen is great at reducing fevers and pain. Children as young as 3 months of age can safely take acetaminophen for teething, fevers with illnesses, or other fussiness you may think may be pain-related. Under 3 months of age, you should talk to your pediatrician first. A fever in this age group should be evaluated immediately. Also talk to your doctor first if your child has a history of liver disease or injury.

Ibuprofen (Motrin)

I am a fan of acetaminophen and an even BIGGER fan of ibuprofen. For children 6 months and older, I usually grab this one first. Ibuprofen also treats fevers and pain, and at higher doses has anti-inflammatory effects too. When kids have pain in their bones or muscles, I usually recommend this as the first-line medication offered. Talk to your doctor first if your child has a history of kidney disease or if you are concerned about them being severely dehydrated.

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)

Diphenhydramine is a powerhouse medication with many uses. While I hope you don’t need it often, I have it in my medicine cabinet just in case. It can be used for allergies, itching, allergic reactions, motion sickness, severe sleep issues (clear this one with your doctor first), and even helps treat migraines.


Ok, this is not a medication, but have you ever had a bad cold and been soothed by a spoonful of honey either swallowed straight or mixed into warm tea? When prescription medications are not needed, it is so great to have other options, so try this for a cough or sore throat. Just remember, infants under 1 year of age should never be given any honey or honey products because of their risk for botulism.

Bonus: Nasal Aspirator

Another non-medication, but WOW, these are great for all of our sick and snotty babies! The Nose Frida and NeilMed Naspira are some of my favorites because you control the strength of the suction, and they disassemble easily for thorough cleaning between uses. A good nasal suction can sometimes keep a baby out of the doctor’s office, and while we love to see you, your sweet baby may rather stay at home. Pair its use with nasal saline drops or saline spray to break up that snot and increase your suction superhero powers. Nasal saline can also be very effective on its own for children who are older or do not tolerate suction.

For your child’s dosing of the medications listed, check out our Dosage Charts. And if you ever have questions or concerns about your child’s illness, the pediatricians at Canyon View Pediatrics are here for you. We can clarify your child’s appropriate dosing for medications, provide recommendations on how to use them, and determine if other treatments, such as antibiotics, are needed as well. And remember to always keep your medications (including those vitamins) in a safe and secure place away from your child’s reach. If you have a concern about accidental consumption, call us right away, or call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.

Sarah Tang, MD

Canyon View Pediatrics

Spanish Fork, UT

Creating Holiday Cheer

The holidays can be the most wonderful time of the year; they can also be very stressful. As we hustle from holiday activity to holiday activity, it’s essential that we remember to slow down, manage stress, and take time to care for ourselves. Here are some helpful hints to manage stress during the holiday season as we head into the new year

  • Don’t lose sight of what really counts. What matters most differs from person to person. Identify your priorities and goals and focus on the things that help you fulfill those goals.
  • Respond with kindness. It is no secret that the world has been under a lot of stress these last two years. It is easy to get wrapped up in our own lives and forget the struggles others may be going through. Even when you feel stressed or encounter individuals who may be grumpy, try to take a step back and respond with kindness. Kind words and a genuine smile go a long way.
  • Remember, it’s OK to do less. It is OK if you don’t cross everything off your “to do” list. Everything will be OK! Taking time to breathe and relax is very important and should be at the top of your “to-do” list.
  • Accept imperfections. Find the beauty in the imperfection and chaos of the holiday season. Always remember the wise words of Bob Ross “There are no mistakes, only happy accidents.”
  • Set healthy boundaries. It’s OK to say “no.”
  • Maintain your healthy habits. Try not to overdo it on the sweets, continue to get daily exercise, and ensure you get adequate sleep each night.
  • Reach out. The holidays are a time to connect with those we love deeply. It can also be a time that triggers depression and anxiety in some people. If you are struggling, please make sure you reach out for help.
  • Rethink your resolutions. Be gentle with yourself. Break down your goals into smaller steps that are easier to accomplish. 

We wish you a happy and healthy holiday season!

With love from our Canyon View Medical Group family to yours.

Giving Back to Education

In 1984, Carl Nielson was my high school counselor at Spanish Fork High School. He called me into his office, which made me a bit nervous. I thought Mr. Nielson would yell at me for some things that may or may not have happened on the previous Saturday night. Instead, Mr. Nielson congratulated me on my academic achievement and told me, “if you wanted, I think you could make it to medical school.” Fifteen years later, Carl Nielson became the Nebo School District Superintendent, the same year that I joined Canyon View Medical Group as a young physician. His belief in me and his devotion to education made me what I am today.

I strongly feel that K-12 education is vital to our community and recently decided to dedicate some of my time and energy to making sure that other kids can be inspired and allowed to excel. I was elected in 2020 to the Nebo School District Board of Education, and now I spend time each month reviewing and developing policies, working with district administrative staff, and overseeing the finances of our local school district.

I am excited to be part of the Nebo District and particularly look forward to rebuilding Springville, Spanish Fork, and Payson High Schools. I am amazed at the quality of our staff and the dedication they have to educate our children. While I love practicing medicine, I also love learning about how schools are run and financed and helping the district teach our children and inspire another generation.

Newborn Diaper Care

What is in my baby’s diaper…?

When babies are born, we spend a lot of time loving their beautiful faces, but a lot of their care seems to be for their bottoms! A newborn baby typically has 8 to 12 diaper changes in a day—while a person might know a lot about what happens down there, as a parent of a newborn, you may be surprised by what you find. Hearing about it early may help calm some of those middle-of-the-night panic moments. Here are some common findings, questions, and even surprises that may come up during your baby’s diaper change.


How often should your baby pee? Your baby should work up to at least 5 to 6 wet diapers per day. A good rule of thumb is Days of Life = Number of Diapers. So 1st day of life, have 1 wet diaper; 2nd day of life, 2 wet diapers; and so on until he reaches 5-6 wet diapers per day from then on. Decreased wet diapers may be the first sign of dehydration, so if you see that your baby isn’t peeing as much as usual, consider shortening those feeding intervals and feeding her more often. If it is a big or persistent drop, she isn’t acting well, or you have other concerns, seek medical attention right away.

Sometimes, in a baby’s urine, you’ll see an orange tinge or even a little pile of orange dust! This is caused by urate crystals. Urate crystals occur because newborn urine is more concentrated in the first few days of life. If you see these, it will likely be in the first week of life. Sometimes, this is referred to as “brick dust” because it often sits on top of the diaper.


Ahh, poop. I never thought poop would be so important in my medical or parenting career, but the newborn phase is the new parent’s inauguration into the poop obsession club.

Your newborn’s poop will start out as sticky, black/dark green meconium, which will go away by his 4th day of life. After that, diaper changes will be less sticky and tricky. His poop may then be various shades of green, yellow, or brown. Talk to your pediatrician if your baby’s meconium has not transitioned by the 4th or 5th day of life.

Unlike wet diapers, we worry less about how many dirty diapers each baby has. He may poop with every feeding or just every few days. Pooping might even take a bit of effort, accompanied by a red face and a little cry. (It is hard to bear down and relax at the same time!) But if your little one is otherwise happy and gaining weight appropriately, we will be happy too.

So when will your pediatrician REALLY worry about poop? If it is red or black like new blood or old blood, or chalky white, which means it could be missing bile. If there are tiny drops of blood in your baby’s poop, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician. But if you see lots of blood or white-colored stool in your baby’s diaper, he should be seen by a medical professional immediately.

Is that blood down there??

Occasionally, a parent is put in shock from seeing blood in the front of the diaper. Where does this come from?

In baby girls, blood may come from the vagina. Your little girl is born with functioning reproductive organs, so as her mother’s hormones decrease in her body outside of the womb, it may stimulate a “mini period” in her. It can also cause a little bit of clear, white, or yellow vaginal discharge that has a mucus consistency. But no need to worry if either of these things does not occur—though it can happen, it will not necessarily happen in all baby girls.

A baby boy may have small amounts of blood in his diaper after a circumcision. Otherwise, he should not bleed. Normal bleeding from a circumcision site is spotting, less than the size of a quarter. If you see continued dripping or oozing when you are home, try applying pressure for at least 30 seconds. If it does not stop, he should be seen right away by a doctor. Not sure if it’s blood, or is your baby uncircumcised? Consider the possibility of urate crystals. If you think it could be blood, call your doctor right away.

While the rest of us have a #1 and #2, maybe babies should have a #3, #4, or more! Now that we have reviewed what some of those things are, you can be assured when your baby makes the normal transition from being inside the womb to outside. If you have other questions, consider taking a photo of the diaper to share at your appointment when you come to see your pediatrician at Canyon View Pediatrics. Happy diaper changing!

And remember, if your baby is acting ill, excessively sleepy or fussy, has a temperature of 100.4 F or higher, or if you have any other immediate concerns, you should always take your baby in to be seen right away.

Haley Pledger, PA
Women’s Care
Matthew Walton, DO
Austin Bills, DO
Family Medicine
Aaron Fausett, PA
Family Medicine
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