Friday, October 20, 2006

Mother's stress may slow baby's growth in the womb

When I was pregnant I tried not to stress out, but how do you do that? I felt like I just ended up stressing out even more. The study below says that stressing out heavily during your pregnancy can effect on the development of the fetus. __________________________ Pregnant women under heavy stress have smaller fetuses in mid-pregnancy than expectant mothers who are not distressed, a new study shows. Cortisol -- the hormone released by the adrenal gland in times of stress -- appears to be the responsible factor, Dr. Miguel A. Diego of the University of Miami School of Medicine and colleagues conclude in their report in medical journal Psychosomatic Medicine. "Women that have clinical depression or diagnosed anxiety disorder or are under some extreme level of stress should be looking for some sort of medical treatment," Diego told Reuters Health in an interview. "There is an effect of the mother's psychological state on the development of the fetus."

While there is evidence linking maternal distress and premature birth, as well as low birth weight, no studies have looked at how stress in pregnancy might affect the fetus before birth. To investigate, Diego and his team performed ultrasound exams on 98 women who were between 16 and 29 weeks pregnant, checked their hormone levels, and had them complete tests evaluating their levels of stress and anxiety. The more daily hassles, depression and anxiety a woman faced, the smaller her fetus. A statistical analysis revealed that higher levels of cortisol were directly tied to higher levels of distress and lower estimated fetal weight. Controversy continues about the safety of using antidepressants during pregnancy, Diego noted. Other ways of helping women experiencing distress during pregnancy could include psychotherapy or more social support, he added. "There are some researchers that have begun to look at this but the main findings have just begun to come out," he said.

Source: Reuters

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Pregnancy Weekly Guest Writer- Eve

Eve is this week's Pregnancy Weekly guest writer! She has sent me a wonderful story describing her experience as a pregnant woman and the change of heart that she has toward the world once discovering that she was pregnant. Thanks Eve for taking the time and sending this for other women to read!

(if you have a story you can email it to me at __________________________________________ Pregnant with Love & Possibility

Since I saw you last, life in its amazing twists and turns has delivered a whole new way of being once again. From the moment I saw those two positive lines on that test stick, there’s been nothing else than a big “yes” to life. A yummy gentle, quiet confidence pervades that I’ve never experienced before, it’s like somehow the universe now makes perfect sense – (or maybe I make sense with the universe) it’s like I’ve just been included or told an old joke and I just got the punch line!

Now in the energy of life supporter (for want of better words), I have an increased sense of the fruitlessness of war & struggle, and the war is not just over there in Israel, it’s alive and active right here in every person I know. Everybody playing the game of attack & defense, victim & perpetrator - I don’t want to play anymore. Im done playing the game of defending, of attacking and assuming we know each others dream. Nobody wins in War. An evolutionary leap required and it all starts here, now within me, within each of us.

Through a series of fortunate events, I was blessed to be assistant at a weekend pregnancy retreat, divine to be in the energy of these women and men in latter stages than I.

We took a trip to Mevlana for some Oceanic Bodywork – 2 hours of being held, massaged & supported in a heated pool and lulled by the sounds of whales and dolphins. I really look forward to sharing this experience with Matthew when he comes up.

We had belly painting the next day and I was paired with jess a 23 year old at 39 weeks. (I was the oldest mum to be - there!!!) I painted a gigantic blossoming lotus over her moving belly – I was very happy with it I must say. My tummy was painted with a small green magic bean, which had a sprouting beanstalk that spiralled its way outwards.

We had a visualization session which turned out to be a great relief for me– once I start crying these days I just cant stop – I greived for every time I’ve doubted myself, everytime Ive sold myself short, how I just haven’t trusted myself and now as this experience which is far bigger than me takes me over, I have nothing but to trust, but to believe that my being and my body knows exactly what its doing.

Tears cleanse the gaps where fear used to live and love flows in.

The teacher bathed our feet and scrubbed them with polenta, apparently a shamanic tradition, recounting birth stories - empowering us, honouring us – the weekend far too quickly coming to an end. In our last circle we all chose a glass bead for each pregnant woman, blessing it out loud and stringing it onto a necklace for each women to wear during labour.

Precious Experience, made greater for my service role – did I mention how good the food was? Yummmmmmmm. All local All Organic – Food has taken on another meaning!!!!!

I could probably fill this entire page talking about food – so to keep it short lets just say that this experience of pregnancy is beautifully challenging my issues of vanity & body awareness and my old walls of the mind are having no option other than to crumble – and im sure there’s a way to go yet!

Britney Spears Didn't Pay For Her Weight Loss

I know that most of you saw pics of Britney Spears' new look while she was on a shopping spree in Malibu! Well, she lost a ton of post-pregnancy weight in such a small amount of time! Five weeks after giving birth to her second son she lost 26 lbs. I was shocked when I saw the pics. Honestly, I was absolutely jealous. I thought to myself, "If I had money for a fitness trainer and a nutritionist, I would have a hot bod too!" But I could be wrong! It is said that she didn't have a trainer, nutritionist, or take pills! A Family friend says, "She is not treating herself with food and desserts anymore." An employee at a store where she shopped said, "a whole new size - an eight," and needed "all new clothes." Spears weight reportedly jumped from 120 to 160 during her pregnancy, but has slimmed down with diet and exercise. "She requested T-shirts, jeans, sweaters, dresses and coats." In case you were wondering how she did this Britney has been working out six days a week, hits the treadmill each morning, followed by weight lifting and then does sit-ups in the evening. She is also taking off the excess weight with a diet of six small meals a day, ditching her love of fast food for healthy snacks like fruit, nuts and low-fat yogurt. According to husband Kevin Federline's representative Mike Esterman: "Kevin loves the way Britney looks." Ugh, Kevin has a Spokesperson! I can't stand him!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Breathing Space

PregnancyWeekly is expanding their site with a new section that I think many pregnant women will enjoy, especially those of you who are looking to find mental and physical exercises to help you relax. Geared toward your mind, body and spirit, Breathing Space will help take the stress out of your pregnancy.
We encourage mothers to open their hearts and observe their life force as they breathe deeply, find emotional and physical comfort, and focus on resolving issues to enjoy a satisfying and peaceful existence.
I find this site very useful for pregnant Mothers and new Moms-to-be. Here are this week's current topics:
  • Great Quote of the Week:
  • "The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new." ~Rajneesh
  • Physical Exercises:
  • Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) This pose helps activate the second chakra, which is located just below the navel and expressed with the color orange. It also enhances digestion and can be practiced immediately after meals. It increases the ability of the intestines to absorb nutrients and relieves stomach problems such as hyperacidity, which is a common pregnancy complaint.
  • Spirit/Meditation:
  • Smoke Out, Light In Simple breathing and visualizing exercise will help you relax and eliminate stress and negative feelings.
  • Mind:
  • Happiness Breeds Success The best way to achieve happiness is different for every person, but perhaps knowing the lifetime benefits of being happy will encourage people to pursue it, in their own way.
Updated weekly, so you can check out new exercises that will benefit you and your baby throughout your pregnancy! Too bad Breathing Space wasn't around for my pregnancy!!!

Should pregnant women avoid coffee altogether?

Animal study suggests even low caffeine doses could effect fetus. Tentative evidence has emerged to suggest that low doses of caffeine, equivalent to just one or two cups of coffee per day, can affect the development of unborn babies. The findings are almost certainly too preliminary to prompt public health officials to change official advice to pregnant women, who at present are told only to avoid large amounts of caffeine. But the researchers involved, who have detected behavioural and cellular changes in rats whose mothers drank caffeine during pregnancy, say they themselves are advising pregnant women to avoid caffeine altogether. Joseph Nunez and his colleagues from Michigan State University in East Lansing, who presented their results on 16 October at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Atlanta, Georgia, say the findings came as a surprise. In an initial experiment, they examined brain cells from new-born rats whose mothers had been given a dose of caffeine, equivalent to one or two cups of coffee for a human, every day during pregnancy. "I was a skeptic," says Deborah Soellner, a colleague of Nunez's. "I didn't expect to see this at such a low dose." But in the exposed rats, Nunez's team found odd effects in brain cells of the hippocampus, a region of the brain associated with memory and spatial navigation. For example, the cells absorbed less glutamate, a molecule that makes brain cells more active. Whatever glutamate was absorbed also exited the cells sooner than usual. Reduced inhibition To see how the cellular changes were affecting behaviour, the Michigan team took baby rats whose mothers had been caffeined-up and ran them through a series of behavioural tests. Nunez says that the animals showed no cognitive defects, but were more active and less inhibited than those whose mothers had not received caffeine. The rats were more willing to explore new environments, for example. When placed in a small dark space with an opening into a larger lit area, it took control animals around 4 minutes on average to emerge. But the caffeine rats left after an average of just 25 seconds. Other tests showed similar, if less pronounced, changes. The rats were more likely to explore exposed environments, and spent more time interacting with other animals. "You have an animal that doesn't know when to stop," says Nunez. Safe not sorry Although there is no reason to assume that these differences are negative or harmful, Nunez would like pregnant women to be advised to avoid caffeine as a precautionary measure. On his display was pinned a photograph of his four-month-old baby; he says his team's rat results started to emerge when his wife was pregnant, so he immediately advised her to stay away from caffeine. Current public health guidelines say only that women should limit themselves to 300 millilitres or less a day, but that is equivalent to what Nunez fed his rats. He points out that caffeine is able to cross the placenta, and the developing fetus is known to take up to 4 days to clear out the caffeine from a single cup of coffee drunk by mum. Nunez says that any effects of caffeine on humans may have been missed because it is so widely used and assumed to be relatively safe. "No one has ever systematically done this research before," he says. Nunez's team plans to follow up their studies by looking in more detail at the effect that caffeine is having on brain cells. Source: Nature

Monday, October 16, 2006

? OF THE WEEK: How Would You Rate Your Partner?

Since Emily was born my husband, Jon, has tried as much as he can to help out... that's within his boundries! Meaning, when he gets tired or if he's watching his favorite football team play, somehow he's unavailable to change diapers. Besides that he is a great guy and I feel blessed to be with him, but sometimes he doesn't see the complete picture of how difficult it can be for me. Wow, I think I am just in a bitchy mood this morning! But my question to you is how would you rate your partner?
  • Superman
  • Great
  • Wonderful
  • Good
  • Okay
  • No help at all
Jon and I have been together for 6 years now, so we know each other very well. This is our first baby together and everything is so new and "first time." This is a really exciting time for us. I do find him super supportive and I am really happy to be sharing this experience with him. I rate my man as "great!" I know that he can be a "Superman," this is how:

Total support can be attained if you follow the following rules:

  • Communicate your needs and desires while being open to hear what your spouse's concerns are.
  • Alleviate the legitimate fears that your spouse addresses.
  • Finally, know that unconditional love for you will allow your spouse to believe in you no matter what. To know you can succeed at anything you undertake and to support you to that end.
Return to your spouse respect and unconditional love and accept nothing less for yourself. You deserve nothing less, and neither does he. Together you can achieve great things.

I need to hear how other Mothers are coping with their partner's support. Rate your partner!