Friday, July 28, 2006

Double maternity leave to two years, says Labor

News on the other side of the world. This is for my Australian readers and anyone who is just interested...

MOTHERS should have the right to ask for two years unpaid maternity leave - as they though do in the United Kingdom - if they do not want to rush back to work, Opposition leader Kim Beazley said today.

Announcing a range of childcare initiatives this morning, Mr Beazley, said it was a mark of a good society that mothers who wanted to work should be able to and those who chose not to were also given support. "I take a very simple approach to this problem. Women who want to work outside the home should always be able to," he said. "I think it’s terrible when families miss out on an income they rely on, and the economy misses out on skills that are in short supply, just because of the cost and shortages of childcare."

But while childcare was important, Mr Beazley said many parents don’t want to rush straight back to paid work after the birth of a baby. "In this country, around half of all mothers of children under five are home fulltime, and around another third are home part-time. A lot of women believe the best thing for the children is if they can be at home in the early years," he said. "Fair enough, too. A good society is one which makes sure they can." Labor would allow employees to request two years unpaid maternity leave – plus give them a right to return to work part-time or with flexible hours. "The employer would be able to refuse the request on reasonable grounds, for instance if it would have a detrimental effect on their business," he said. The eight policy document released by Labor offers Fringe Benefits Tax exemption and entitlement to claim business tax deductions for employers who provide eligible employer-provided childcare and allow employees using eligible employer-provided childcare to salary sacrifice their fees. The offer of tax concession is meant to reflect Labor’s new view, expanded by Opposition finance spokesman Lindsay Tanner in The Australian today, that taxpayer support to business must not be passive welfare, rather it should be a response to a commitment from business. The blueprint builds on a previous commitment to spend $200 million to establish 260 new childcare centres on primary school grounds and other community land, to create up to 25,000 new childcare places and end the "double drop off" – taking children to two or more locations in the morning. The Coalition said reducing fringe benefit tax on childcare would harm lower and middle income earners unless there were significant changes to the existing 30 per cent rebate on out of pocket expenses. Assistant treasurer Peter Dutton, who has previously owned childcare centres, warned that the tax concession would effectively reduce the money handed back to lower income earners for childcare. ”The benefit from salary packaging child care using the FBT exemption would depend on an individual’s marginal tax rate. Under Kim Beazley’s plan, families facing high marginal tax rates may benefit but families on low and middle incomes would go backwards," he said in a prepared statement. Mr Dutton said that in 2006-07, a family with one parent earning $71,000 and the other earning $14,000 (a combined income of $85,000), requiring 50 hours a week child care for 50 weeks, would be $1,767.50 better off on the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Tax Rebate than they would under Labor’s plan. "Significantly, under Kim Beazley's plan, if a family benefits from the FBT exemption for on-premises child care, then the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Tax Rebate are not available," he said."Why does Labor’s only child care plan ignore so many Australian families?"

Labor would also get rid of TAFE fees for eligible childcare courses by giving childcare trainees a skills account with an initial deposit of $1,200 per year for up to two years. Labor's think-tank, the Chifley Research Centre, is also preparing a report on options including other tax breaks to encourage employers to invest in childcare, like an accelerated or premium rate of capital depreciation or increased deduction rate for recurrent expenditure as well as a system of capped, tax-free childcare credits paid by employers to employees or centres. Source: The Australian

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Dieting during pregnancy may harm baby: Study

Women who diet during pregnancy are putting their children at serious health risk, say experts. Researchers at the University of Southampton used ultrasound scans to measure the artery wall thickness of more than 200 nine-year-old children whose mothers had taken part in a nutrition study during pregnancy, reported the online edition of Daily Mail. They found that, on an average, the lower the mother's intake during pregnancy, the thicker the artery wall of the child. The link was closely correlated, with mothers eating the fewest calories producing children who had the thickest arteries. These children, they said, are at greater risk of developing atherosclerosis - the thickening of the artery walls due to fatty deposits - and may as a result suffer from heart attacks and strokes later in life. The findings were also true regardless of social class, smoking or exercise habits, weight or sickness during pregnancy. Though experts usually recommend that a pregnant woman needs to eat around 2,500 calories a day, the researchers were unable to determine the optimum number of calories to be eaten per day to prevent the effect. However, they said, it did not matter what proportion of the calorie intake came from fat, protein or carbohydrate; it was the total calorie intake that was important. Source: Hindustantimes

What Will Hollywood Look Like in 2026?

This is so cool! I recommend checking this out if you are interested in seeing what some of todays Hollywood kids will look like in 2026. Maddox, Apple, Zahara, Lourdes, Sean Preston and more! Us Weekly took the initiative to go into the future of Hollywood Stars! "What will today's star kids look like in 20 years? We asked a forensic imagingspecialist to blend mom and dad's features together to find out. Click on each pic to watch these celebrity babies morph into future babes!" I think Zahara will look beautiful! What do you guys think about the Morph?

Shiloh- "The World's Most Famous Baby"

I saw this picture a couple days ago and I thought it was too hideous to post. Well, this morning I changed my mind. Honestly, I think it just creeps me out! Anyway, take a look... What do you think? Creepy, huh?

Here's a little info on this piece of art: Madame Tussauds recreated two month old, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, and her parents Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, into wax figures. This is the first time an infant has been recreated in wax. Hmmm... interesting. No, really, don't care. You can check out Shiloh and her folks at the International Museum's Branch in Times Square. "It costs about $30 for a ticket to take a peek at what the museum calls "the world's most famous baby." Visitors to the exhibit can have their photos taken with the famous wax family, and $1 from each photo will be donated to UNICEF.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Planning to get pregnant? Read this first

I read this article and thought it would be something interesting to share for women who are looking to get pregnant. Here are five tips you should follow if a new baby is what you want: Plan for your pregnancy: "Fifty percent of pregnancies in the United States are not planned," Mehta says. Whether this will be your first child or an addition to your current family, you need to start planning and think about how it would affect your existing lifestyle. "A couple has to decide how many children they want to have and the spacing between them," Mehta says. "Anywhere between two to four years seems to be an ideal thing." Quit smoking: Most women want to quit or want to cut down. There are medications women can take to safely cut down on smoking. Lose weight: If someone is overweight or is diabetic, they should adhere to a healthy diet and exercise plan. Take a folic acid supplement: A woman should take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. It can be contained in a multivitamin or its own pill. However, the supplement should not replace a well- balanced diet, he cautions. Seek pre-screenings: If you or your spouse have a history of genetic defects in your families, it's best to get any relevant tests to see what the risk would be for the baby to inherit a particular trait. SOURCE: Star-Gazette

Britney went into false labor

I guess this pregnancy has turned out to be a bit rough for the seven-month pregnant Britney Spears. According to In Touch Weekly, she went into false labor on July 15th. Not good times! Because of the incident Britney now has her doctor on speed dial in case of another emergency. “She's fine now,” a “family insider” told the In Touch. “Britney started cramping. She had a real scare.” Unfortunately, she had a few scares during her first pregnancy as well. Their has also been talk about Britney not eating nutritional meals. Maybe a little too many chips on her plate? “After indulging in junk food during her first two trimesters, she hired a nutritionist to help her follow a well-balanced diet, a “pal” told In Touch Weekly. “She wasn't eating enough vegetables.” There is a possibility that Spears might spend her last month on bed rest. Spears' friend says, “Britney is determined to enjoy the rest of her pregnancy and stay healthy after she gives birth.”

Water aerobics eases back pain during pregnancy

Water aerobics can help ease the pelvic and back pain that plague many women during pregnancy, Swedish researchers report.

Among healthy pregnant women, those who did water aerobics once a week reported less low back pain and less work missed due to back pain than those who performed land-based exercise weekly.

More than one third of women experience low back pain during pregnancy, which can increase the risk of suffering this type of pain later on, midwife Aina B. Granath of Primary Health Care in Southern Bohuslan County in Molndal and colleagues note in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing.

To compare the effectiveness of land- and water-based exercise routines in easing lower back and pelvic pain among pregnant women, the researchers randomly assigned 390 healthy pregnant women to one or other of the two types of sessions, once weekly.

Both the land- and water-based exercise routines were specifically designed for pregnant women, and included 45 minutes of activity followed by 15 minutes of relaxation. Women began exercising, on average, at about 19 weeks of pregnancy.

Women in the water exercise group reported less pregnancy- related lower back pain than those who exercised on land, and while none of the water exercisers took sick leave due to low back pain, six women in the land-based exercise program did.

"Pregnant women should be encouraged to continue with moderate physical activity as long as possible. Water aerobics is a simple and inexpensive form of physical activity," the researchers conclude.

SOURCE: Reuters

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Maggie Gyllenhaal Doesn't Like Pregnancy Attention

Anyone who is involved in the celebrity baby boom knows Maggie Gyllenhaal is pregnant. To tell you the truth I haven't even blogged about her! Go figure. She's gotten away until now! Ha-Ha! The only time she questions people's obsession with pregnant actresses and wishes for less attention, I have to write about her. Ooooh, I'm not very nice... Oh, well. She recently told Life magazine: “There seems to be an obsession with pregnant actresses.” “You think, ‘Is there going to be some terrible picture [of me] with my mouth full of food?’ We try to ignore it, but what can you do? I guess pregnancy, no matter who you are, is a very compelling thing.” Maggie revealed: “I’ve been to a bunch of screenings of my movies, and I think when my voice is so loud, the baby can feel it. It does things like move and flip around.” The baby is due in October and seems to be reacting to her movies and Mommy's voice. How exciting!

Toddlers of Mothers Who Smoked During Pregnancy Show Behavior Problems

New findings from a study supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health suggest that toddlers of women who smoked during pregnancy begin to show a pattern of behavior problems as early as 18-24 months of age. It is the first study to show a link between smoking during pregnancy and child behavior problems in the first years of life.

"We already know that smoking can negatively affect the physical health of children," said Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., NIH Director. "This study tells us we should also be taking a closer look at how it affects development and behavior."

"This study highlights the importance of better understanding how prenatal exposure to nicotine affects the development of the fetal brain, and how in turn this disrupts behavior later on in childhood and adolescence," said Nora Volkow, M.D., NIDA Director. "If we can pinpoint what areas of the brain might be most affected by prenatal cigarette smoke exposure, we can better tailor prevention or remedial intervention while children are very young."

The researchers followed 93 toddlers between their first and second birthdays. Forty-seven percent were prenatally exposed to cigarettes. First, researchers examined whether exposed toddlers' behavior patterns differed over time from non-exposed toddlers. Then they tested if cigarette exposure was associated with specific types of disruptive behavior.

The study was designed to delineate between the normal behavior patterns typically seen in the "terrible twos" and more severe behaviors. The researchers found that toddlers exposed to cigarette smoke in utero exhibited higher levels of behavior problems from 12 through 24 months. The level of behavior problems remained relatively stable over time for the non-exposed toddlers, but for the exposed toddlers the problems increased from 18 to 24 months. Additionally, researchers found that nearly all toddlers with behavior problems in the clinical range at age 2 had been exposed to cigarette smoke. They also found that exposure to cigarette smoke was associated with disruptive social behavior. Exposed toddlers were significantly more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior and to stubbornly refuse to follow directions. They were also less likely to seek out and participate in playful social interactions with their mothers.

Researchers also found that exposure to cigarette smoke was associated with social, rather than emotional aspects of early disruptive behavior. For instance, compared to non-exposed toddlers, exposed toddlers were significantly more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior and to stubbornly refuse to follow directions. They were also less likely to seek out and participate in playful social interactions with their mothers. They were not more likely to have difficulty regulating negative emotion.

"Research into the relationship between prenatal smoking and toddler behavior adds a complex new dimension to our portfolio of knowledge of the deleterious effects of smoking," said Vice Admiral Richard Carmona, United States Surgeon General.

This study does not prove whether or not prenatal exposure to cigarettes causes behavior problems, but it does bring us closer to understanding how that exposure affects fetal brain systems that regulate behavior. The study is being published in the July/August issue of the journal Child Development. The finding comes from a study funded by NIDA and conducted by Lauren Wakschlag, Ph.D., and her colleagues at the University of Illinois at Chicago, in collaboration with researchers at the Universities of York (England) and Massachusetts (Boston), and the National Institute of Mental Health.

Source: CommunityDispatch

"Due Dads: The Man's Survival Guide To Pregnancy"

Yes! Lets start teaching our husbands how to survive pregnancy! I guess they need guidance as well... right? "Due Dads: The Man's Survival Guide to Pregnancy," is a educational video (DVD) targeting expecting fathers by providing next-generation dads with advice on how to be an effective parent! Women, that's what we need, I mean, THEY NEED! This DVD will help guide men and help them better understand the pregnancy process and how to best be involved from conception to birth to raising their child. This is the a first in a series on fatherhood related topics. "Due Dads: The Man’s Survival Guide to Pregnancy" is a 90-minute DVD split into three 30-minute "trimesters" with each one providing tips and tricks on being a supportive husband during the pregnancy process. The DVD includes descriptions of the expecting mom’s symptoms and of the changes in the developing baby. If you're interested check out Dad Labs for more info or puchasing!

X- Files Star Pregnant With Second

Gillian Anderson, former X-Files star, is pregnant with her second child, according to Hello! Magazine. Her boyfriend/ partner, Mark Griffith, is said to be the father of the child. Apparently, Gillian, 37, just went to through marital troubles, and in April of this year divorced her husband of 16 months, Julian Ozanne, a documentary filmmaker. Its good to see that she put her difficulties behind her and is getting ready to take on a new/different challenge- having a baby! I wish her the best!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Tattooed Moms- Sexy or Skanky?

Look at these Sexy Moms! Have you noticed how many Mommies have tattoos these days? More Mothers now than ever have tattoos somewhere on their bodies, whether visible or not. Even in Hollywood it's more common to see tattooed Moms, such as Angelina Jolie, Britney Spears, Pamela Anderson, etc. For me to find a Mother sexy it depends on the tattoo and the Mom. I usually find Moms with tattoos sexy (especially, the ones pictured above!), but don't get me wrong I have seen some Moms with tattoos that just look skanky! The tattoos that become old and faded and don't generally compliment the area of the body its on are horrible! But besides the "trashy factor" that a tattoo could place on the body, I usually find them sexy. Its importnant to take care of yourself and your tattoo. Do you think tattooed Moms are sexy or skanky? I do not have a tattoo and I am currently pregnant with my first. I cannot say if I will never get one, but I believe the chances of getting one are slim. I don't want my children to see that Mommy has a tattoo, therefore thinking I had a rebelious streak. My Mother doesn't have a tattoo, neither does my Grandmother nor any woman that I know of in my family. I guess our conservative side runs strong. Plus, I could never decide what kind of tattoo I would permanently want on my body!!! I can't even keep one hair color! Do you have a tattoo? If not, do you still find other Mothers who do sexy or just plain skanky? Share your thoughts!

A Few New Pregos In Da House!

Good morning! So, it's Monday morning and I'm ready to blog! While searching through my usual gossip sites, Hot Momma Drama, Just Jared, I'm Not Obsessed (just to mention a few), I learned that their are a few new prego Mommas in the world... I mean, the celebrity world. Ani DiFranco just announced over the weekend that she is pregnant with her first! Yay! I Love Her! While accepting an award at the National organization for Women’s 40th annual convention, she made the special announcement! DiFranco was honored for her feminist contributions and as most of you know that is a great part of her work. To the dismay of many record companies, she has her own record label, Righteous Babe, which is very successful thanks to her strong fan base. Ani DiFranco, 35, is currently 12 weeks pregnant, due in late January. The father is reportedly boyfriend music producer Mike Napolitano, but this has not yet been confirmed. Do you remember the rock band Veruca Salt? I believe their most popular song was "Seether." They had others, but I think that is the song that most people remember. Anyways, Nina Gordon, the founder and singer of Veruca Salt, is six months pregnant with her first. She announced it on her myspace page! Go figure that myspace would be so popular that we would get our celebrity news from there? “I figure I better come clean before it becomes tomorrow morning’s gossip,” she writes. “No, I have not been hitting IN-and-Out Burger a little too hard, I am…Gimme a K, Gimme a N… (she proceeds to spell out the word “knocked up.”) She writes, “little Suri Shiloh is due in November, a few days after my birthday. Hate to spill the beans and run, but I have a show to play.”The father, according to Wikipedia, is Jeff Russo of the band Tonic.