Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Mr Mum Pregnancy Phenomenon

ACHES and pains are often part of pregnancy. But men do their best not to complain too much.

Until the morning sickness kicks in that is, along with the mood swings, cramps and, yes, even a swelling belly.

Scientists claim some fathers-to-be are so in tune with their expectant partners they experience a phantom pregnancy.

In the largest study of its kind, 282 expectant fathers were monitored by specialists while their partners were pregnant. The results were then compared with the emotional and physical wellbeing of 281 men whose partners were not having a baby.

"These men were so attuned to their partners, they started to develop the same symptoms," said Arthur Brennan, who carried out the research at St George's University of London.

One man in the study said he and his wife suffered morning sickness at the same time, while another said his stomach pains worsened in a similar way to a woman's contractions.

Some men involved in the study even experienced food cravings.

"I was constantly hungry all the time and had an unstoppable craving for chicken kormas and poppadoms," one said. "Even in the early hours of the morning I would get up and prepare myself one. It was strange to say the least."

Others claimed to have suffered back pain and extreme fatigue. Three said their stomachs appeared to be swollen, while two piled on the kilograms.

Four claimed to have lost weight. One started fainting and others reported dental problems, insomnia and depression.

Eleven men sought help from their GPs, but a number of tests failed to detect any physical cause to explain the symptoms.

Most men noticed symptoms in the early stages of their partner's pregnancy. Others had to cope with problems right up until the delivery.

Being in the labour ward can be traumatic for many men. But one of those in the study insisted the stomach pain he experienced during labour outranked his wife's discomfort.

"It seemed like my pain was worse," he said. "Her contractions were fairly strong but she couldn't push, and as that was happening my stomach pain was building up and up and getting worse and worse."

The phenomenon is known as Couvade syndrome, but is not a recognised medical condition.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Best and Worst Movie Parents

Taken from The Poop, I thought this was hilarious and wanted to share it with everyone. The writer of the the blog gave her insight on the best and worst movie parents, and I must admit that I agree with her too.

Best Movie Parents:

5. Bob and Helen Parr ("The Incredibles")

4. Daniel Hillard ("Mrs. Doubtfire")

3. Clark and Ellen Griswold ("National Lampoon's Vacation")

2. Furious Styles ("Boyz 'n the Hood")

1. Atticus Finch ("To Kill a Mockingbird")

Worst Movie Parents:

5. Mrs. Robinson ("The Graduate")

4. John Bender's dad ("The Breakfast Club")

3. Jack Torrance ("The Shining")

2. Kate and Peter McAllister ("Home Alone"; "Home Alone 2")

1. Darth Vader ("Star Wars")

Monday, June 11, 2007

Mom-to-be's flu shot triggers baby's immune system

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Research suggests that when a pregnant woman is vaccinated against influenza, her baby can develop its own immune responses to the vaccination.

The finding is surprising because it is widely held that newborns and very young infants cannot mount a very effective immune defense against infection, but rely on protection acquired from their mother in the very early stages of life.

Dr. Rachel L. Miller of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, and colleagues studied umbilical cord blood -- that is, blood circulating in the baby -- in more than 100 mostly Hispanic pregnant women after they were given a flu shot.

"Both antigen-specific T-cell and B-cell immune responses were detected," Miller told Reuters Health, referring to the two main types of immune system cells that guard the body against infections.

According to a report in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the researchers detected anti-influenza antibodies in about 40 percent of cord blood specimens examined.

"The determination that the fetus can initiate B and T cell responses following exposure of the mother during pregnancy has wide implications for multiple diseases," write the researchers.

"Our findings may have implications for how early the immune response to environmental exposures may occur," Miller said.

As she and her colleagues note in their article, it looks like the immune system of newborns "is not deficient or incompetent but, rather, capable of responding to environmental exposures."