Friday, September 01, 2006

Low Vitamin E Levels in Pregnancy Boosts Childhood Asthma Rates

Children born to women who get little vitamin E while pregnant are more likely to have asthma by the time they are school-aged, a study says.

The findings suggest poor eating habits, and the dearth of vitamins that result, may help explain the rising number of children diagnosed with asthma since the 1980s, researchers said. About 20 million Americans have the chronic lung condition that inflames airways, making breathing difficult, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Women getting the least vitamin E were 5 times more likely to have children with persistent asthma at age five compared with women getting the highest levels, the study found. Children whose mothers got little of the antioxidant vitamin were also three times more likely to suffer from wheezing, a hallmark symptom of the potentially fatal breathing disorder.

``We're eating fewer vegetables than we used to,'' said lead researcher Graham Devereux, a pulmonologist from the University of Aberdeen in the UK. ``The decreasing intake of vitamin E during the past 50 years may account for some of the increase in asthma and may offer a way of trying to prevent asthma in the future,'' he said.

Results of the study, involving more than 1,200 women and their children, appear in the September edition of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. The researchers also found zinc consumption during pregnancy reduced active asthma, while the children's diet had no impact.

The findings aren't definitive and don't mean pregnant women should start taking vitamin E supplements, Devereux said in a telephone interview yesterday. Instead, they should be eating a healthy, balanced diet, he said.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is found at high levels in corn, nuts, leafy green vegetables, asparagus, vegetable oils and margarine. It is an antioxidant, thought to protect the body from harmful byproducts that develop during the metabolism of oxygen. The byproducts, known as free radicals, damage DNA and are thought to play a role in everything from aging to cancer.

Recent studies have yielded mixed results about the benefits of vitamin E supplements, however. High amounts of it can be harmful, and several studies failed to show it prevents cancer and heart disease. Other work suggests it may help ease symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

Timing may be the key to vitamin E's benefit for children, Devereux said. The airways are fully developed by the time the fetus is 16 weeks old, and early intake of the vitamin may boost lung function, he said. The study found later consumption of the vitamin was linked to less allergic inflammation in the airways, he said.

Source: Bloomberg

Thursday, August 31, 2006

9 months of gestation in 20 seconds

Pretty cool video! Click here to check it out!

Many pregnant women 'unprepared'

One in five pregnant women say they do not feel "emotionally ready" to have a baby, a survey has revealed.

The poll of 1,100 women for Tommy's baby charity found many women were surprised at the physical and emotional demands of pregnancy.

Half felt under pressure to be "perfect", and 44% said those around them felt the need to pass on "tips".

Experts said more services should be available to support pregnant women and to stop them feeling so isolated.

Tommy's, which funds research into the causes of, miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth, found 67% felt more exhausted than expected during pregnancy, and 58% felt more emotional.

Over half said they felt more in need of reassurance than they expected, but 29% felt confused by all the conflicting advice they read.

A third said they had received personal comments that upset them, such as being told about other people's pregnancy and birth "horror stories".

One woman said: "People find it entirely acceptable to pass comment about my body shape whilst I am pregnant - the size of my hips, the weight I'm carrying, the size and position of my bump.

"They would never dream of being so direct and rude if I wasn't pregnant."

'Detrimental'

Just over a quarter (27%) said they were weighed down by relationship or financial pressures.

And 10% of pregnant women felt pressure from friends who said they had "lost" them socially.

The poll also found that 21% felt pressure from media coverage of celebrities who appeared to lose all their pregnancy weight straight away.

Dr Linda Papadopolous, a spokeswoman for Tommy's, the baby charity, said: "These are alarming statistics as they show just how little pregnant women are being supported through their pregnancy - and how this is detrimentally affecting them, both mentally and physically.

"Pregnant women must be reassured that their emotional feelings and stress are commonplace.

"They're not alone in feeling like this and there are plenty of support services available to them."

She added: "It's evident that the mounting pressure on women to remain perfect throughout pregnancy and motherhood is huge.

"This problem needs to be addressed - women mustn't be left feeling so isolated. They need support and good clear pregnancy health advice."

Mary Newburn, of the National Childbirth Trust, said: "Pregnancy causes enormous physical, social and emotional changes for women - often the impact is greater than you anticipate beforehand, but every pregnancy is different and so many factors play a part in how you will feel.

"One thing that holds true for every pregnant women is that it's good to talk to people who listen and understand.

'Unfortunately, reductions in the number of antenatal visits may mean that women have longer to wait between appointments, and have fewer opportunities to talk about the changes they are experiencing and ask questions.

"They may feel more isolated and less well supported as a result."

Source: BBC

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Sharon Stone adopts baby No.3

Hollywood beauty Sharon Stone has confirmed reports she has adopted a third son.

The 'Basic Instinct' star, who started the procedure to become baby Quinn's legal mother in June this year, confirmed reports about the adoption's formalisation to US TV show 'Extra', reports Contactmusic.

The 48-year old star adopted her oldest son Roan Joseph in 2000 while still married to Phil Bronstein. After her divorce, she adopted another baby boy Quinn who had been born in Texas to a surrogate mother on May 7, 2005.

Source: ChinaDaily

Pregnancy Weekly Guest Writer- Samantha

Worry?

Worry? Me? Worry was not a part of my vocabulary until I was 6 weeks pregnant. I had just had a conversation with one of my co-workers about the joys of being pregnant. The frequent urination and morning sickness just to name a few.

I stopped in the bathroom on my way back to my desk take part in one of the many joys (Frequent urination) and there it was. The word all pregnant women dread. Spotting. My entire world changed from that moment on.

I got back to my desk and reached for my phone. I could barely dial the number as I sat there shuddering. I told the nurse what I had seen. "It was brown,” I said over and over again. She said I needed a blood test so that they could check my hormone levels to see if the pregnancy was viable. It sounded so cold. So I rushed down to the lab with my husband to take the test. Tears were flowing. I just knew it was going to be bad.

As I felt the prick of the needle in my arm, I could feel the pit in my stomach get deeper and deeper. I had to wait 48 hours to see if my hormone levels had doubled. How was I going to function for the next 48 hours? So I did what a rational person in my situation would do. I called in sick and sat in my bed trying to hold on to the little life in my belly.

No one could take away the uncertainty I felt. No hugs or kisses from my wonderful husband. No word of encouragement from my friends. How could anybody understand how I felt? I was scared about what was going to happen if I was miscarrying. When would it happen? Would it hurt? I felt alone. I just wanted the phone to ring. After an eternity it did finally ring. It was my results. My hormone levels had doubled! Yes! The little life in my belly was still growing. "Just take it easy for the next couple weeks", the nurse said. "You can count on it", I told her. And I did just that and today I am happy to say that I am now 6 months pregnant with a healthy and ACTIVE little girl we plan on naming Emily.

Now I’m not saying all the worry is gone. It is still very much there. Just not as sharp as it was those first few weeks but I truly believe that all the anxiety I felt for those first painful weeks made me a stronger person. Worry can be an obstacle that keeps you from seeing the little light and the end of the tunnel. Or in my case the “little life” at the end of the tunnel.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

? OF THE WEEK: Do You Want Another Baby, But Your Partner Doesn't?

Since I've been pregnant, I've spent quite some time on pregnancy forums. I have definitely taken part of the September 2006 board! I love hearing how other Mothers are coping with their pregnancies and doctor check-ups. It's great, we can compare notes! One of the Mothers on the board was mentioning that her husband doesn't want anymore children after this baby, but she doesn't agree. What do you do when you want another baby and your partner doesn't? I am curious to see if other Mothers/ Fathers have faced this same issue. After looking into it it seems quite common. The Mother on the board said, "I dream about being pregnant with another and my husband is so happy to have changed his mind." She seemed to be going through a difficult time, realizing that she may not have another baby. In my opinion I think she should just have another baby especially if she only has one. I would like her to be happy and fulfilled in life as a Mother. But unfortunately, so many factors come into play when deciding to have a baby or not. Responsibility and financial issues are the most important factors. I found this great site, Preconception.com, that has the top 3 steps to help Mothers and Fathers cope:
1. Set the Ground Rules Change the environment where you normally have discussions, the authors say. This prevents negative feelings from being associated with certain areas. Being aware of the hour is also important, to ensure that both of you are attentive. Finally, say what you want – without assuming your partner is a mind reader. According to Wade and Kovacs, other ground rules include:
  • State the reasons for your desires.
  • Actively listen to each other.
  • Remain calm, and take frequent breaks.
  • Be open to each other’s point of view.
  • Review childhood experiences.
  • Stay focused.
  • Take things slowly.
  • Plan a target date for coming to an agreement or evaluating progress.
  • Be honest with yourself about your decision.
2. Seek Outside Advice If you’re not making any progress through discussions, it’s time to seek outside help. Finding the right counselor for this specific problem is important, say Wade and Kovacs. They advocate the use of a licensed professional, such as a marriage or family therapist, nurse psychotherapist, clinical social worker or a clinical psychologist. If your spouse refuses to go to therapy, there is high probability of no change, say Wade and Kovacs. 3. Learn to Cope After discussion and therapy, if the decision is to not have another child, how can you cope? Fletcher recommends asking yourself what you wanted out of having a child, and then looking for other ways to satisfy that need. Try to make a conscious decision that you can live your life in a satisfying way without the addition of another child.
What would you do if you wanted another baby, but your partner didn't? Would you try to get pregnant anyway? Or would you try communicating and accept whatever the decision is whether you agree with it or not?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Baby on board: Stay fit during pregnancy

Exercise during pregnancy, once considered off limits, is now a valid choice. Mostly, it will appeal to women who relish the idea that they have a say in their physical destiny, pregnant or not.

LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT

Women who are already exercising regularly will be pleasantly surprised how much they can safely continue to do, and they will reap all the same rewards of pre-pregnancy fitness and then some.

If you hated exercise prior to becoming pregnant, though, chances are good that having an extra body on board is not exactly going to warm you up to the process.

Conversely, if you are a fitness junkie with a habit for going at it hard, you may hate the fact modification is warranted.

MODIFICATIONS ARE A MUST

Ligaments and joints become more lax and mobile during pregnancy due to hormonal changes, so aggressive stretching, high kicks and hot yoga should be avoided. In the second trimester, lying on your back should be limited or avoided.

PROCEED WITH SOME CAUTION

During the third trimester, alterations in a woman's centre of gravity and balance can compromise moves once done with the strength of a boxer and the grace of a ballerina. It is not something to hate, but something to be aware of as you plan your exercise agenda.

Building a baby is serious work and may call for more of your physical capacity than you might initially assume. For that reason, your physician should be aware of your exercise habits, and her/his approval is required prior to beginning or maintaining a fitness program during pregnancy.

The risks for mom include low blood sugar, fatigue and musculoskeletal injuries, while the baby's risk lies in overheating and mom's decreased uterine blood flow.

It stands to reason all mothers and their respective partners should know that some symptoms call for an immediate cessation of exercise and a doctor's attention. These symptoms include vaginal bleeding, muscle weakness, dizziness, chest pain, amniotic fluid leakage and inability to catch one's breath.

Don't mess around --there are two lives depending on you.

CONSULT A PROFESSIONAL

You need a plan. Remember, this is the baby's room for nine months. How far to push yourself is usually intuitive but if you don't exercise already, it may be a hard concept to grasp.

Your doctor and a professional fitness trainer or physiotherapist can be avenues to figuring out how much exercise is appropriate.

You do need to move on a regular basis.If you are hard core, you need to realize pregnancy is a time to maintain your fitness while sparing the energy necessary to play the creationist role. Everything from breathing to peeing seems to take more out of you, so pace yourself.

Pregnancy has often been compared with a snowflake --every one is different. So tailor your fitness approach to your own goals and lifestyle, just as you would if you were not pregnant.

IT'S WORTH THE EFFORT

The costs associated with inactivity during pregnancy include increased risk of gestational diabetes, hypertension and preterm delivery.

The exercise payoffs are feelings of well-being, stress relief and improved co-ordination. Exercise has been proven to strengthen the body, facilitating an easier labour. And for many active women, exercise lessens some of the discomforts of pregnancy.

In most cases, the costs of doing nothing are far greater than the risks associated with doing something.

Source: Canada.com