Friday, July 17, 2009

What's in a Baby Name? Apparently, quite a bit.

Writing in Social Science Quarterly, Shippensburg University professor David Kalist says giving newborn males oddball, girly or strange first names may just help land them in jail.

In alphabetical order, the Top 10 “bad boy” names, according to Kalist, are Alec, Ernest, Garland, Ivan, Kareem, Luke, Malcolm, Preston, Tyrell and Walter.

So if Ivan is terrible or Alec turns out to be a smart aleck, Kalist and his associate, Daniel Lee, believe they know the reason why. While noting that “unpopular names are likely not to be the cause of crime,” the social factors of being tagged with an offbeat moniker “increase the tendency toward juvenile delinquency.”

The pair based their report on a study of some 15,000 names given to baby boys between 1987 and 1991. They found that the more unlikely the name, the more likely a boy is to commit a delinquent act.

In writing about the Social Science Quarterly report, Time magazine pointed to a 1993 study that showed boys who have strange spellings of common first names (read Patric, Geoffrey) are less likely to be upstanding and successful; a 2001 study showing that boys are judged for their moral character and masculinity by their first names; and a University of Michigan study that stated, “having an unusual first name leads to unfavorable reactions in others, which then leads to unfavorable evaluations of the self.”

Within moments of the Social Science Quarterly report’s release, many Web sites were already poking fun at it. Writing on the Laughing Stork Web site, Candy Kirby commented, “People warned my parents I would end up a hooker or a stripper if they named me ‘Candy.’ And look at me. I NEVER dabbled in prostitution!”

The Kalist-Lee study also touched on baby girl names, noting that previous research showed a baby gal given the name Allison is seldom the daughter of high school dropouts — and that, on the whole, the less schooling they have, the more likely parents are to give their kids unpopular names.

It begs the question: Do you live up to your name?


Candace Parker and her return to the court as a nursing mother

Every basketball player has her own pregame routine. Few, however, have one as challenging as Candace Parker's.

Before the next WNBA game, Parker will listen to Jay-Z, stretch and take some shots with her Los Angeles Sparks teammates. Then she will return to the locker room, pull out her breast pump and get down to business.

"This is something I think I can keep doing for Lailaa," Parker said of avoiding formula for her 8-week-old daughter.

The WNBA's reigning MVP is not the first player in the league to have a baby. In fact, on her team alone, there are five mothers. Yet, Parker is pushing the envelope in one important way: She is starting her family at the beginning of her professional career, rather than putting it off until her late 20s or 30s. And she is trying to do it without taking much of a break.

Unlike teammate Lisa Leslie, who took a full year off after having her baby, Parker is pushing herself to miss as little playing time as possible. Last Sunday, just 7 1/2 weeks after giving birth to her first child and less than a week after attending her first postpartum practice, Parker scored six points in a 104-89 loss to the Phoenix Mercury.

"I think you can still be a great mom and do what you want to do," Parker said. "I think following my passion is good for me and good for my daughter."

Parker didn't plan for it to happen this way. Neither did her team, her sponsors and the league's publicity machine. All were shocked last January when Parker announced that she and her husband, Timberwolves forward Shelden Williams, were expecting. The 6-4 Parker had just won the Rookie of the Year and WNBA MVP awards in the same season. She was being touted as a once-in-a-lifetime player, a female Michael Jordan who would bring a whole new generation of fans to the WNBA.

Parker continued to work out until three days before giving birth and took two weeks off afterward only because the doctors ordered her to. She says she can do everything now that she used to, just not as well. "My core is not as tight and my legs are coming back but are not under me 100 percent," she said, "but every day I am getting stronger."

Coach Michael Cooper said after Sunday's game that the Sparks expect Parker's recovery will take some time.

"I wish Michael Jordan could give birth and come out and play," Cooper said. "The only thing he had to do was fight a cold and then throw up against Utah."

Parker admits that some days are easier than others. She still gets up in the middle of the night to feed her daughter, and she remembered a day a couple weeks ago when she physically didn't think she could drag her body into the gym, let alone work out.

Parker believes a lot of working mothers have experienced what she is going through. She is planning to take her daughter to her away games. She is hoping that her comeback can inspire other mothers who want to follow their dreams and have a career and family.

Said Parker: "I feel that people are rooting for me. I think they want me to succeed. I never wanted to sacrifice my career for my family or family for my career. I think there are a lot of mothers out there who have the same dreams and I would encourage them to follow them."


Pregnant Bikini Contests?

Is there any stage of life a woman doesn't have to look good in a bikini? I'm guessing the answer is no. A picture of pregnant women parading around for a pregnant bikini contest has been making the rounds, and when searching around I found another image from Big Woodrow's 4th Annual Pre-Labor Day Pregnant Bikini Contest last year in Houston. Does this sound like fun or just plain weird? Would you enter?


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bridgette Wilson-Sampras gives advice to new moms

How has having kids changed your marriage?
How has it not changed our marriage is the question! The first time around as a mom, I held on really tight and I was so stressed. Pete was a little freaked, so he wasn't doing anything. And we were like, "What's happening here?" By the second one, he was more confident and I was more relaxed and then you just sort of jump into a rhythm.

Your boys, Christian and Ryan, are 6 and 3 now. So who's the disciplinarian?
We both do it a little bit differently. Pete laughs at me because if they are doing something, I say "Let me explain that" and "Let me remind you, this is how we need to do that, so let's not do it that way again." He'll say to them, "Hey—stop it."

I had to tell myself, OK if nothing that they're doing is going to physically hurt them, just keep your mouth shut, Bridge. And he had to learn to allow me to talk things through. We had to give each other permission to be different as parents. That's why there's a mom and dad each with a different approach, because you do need both. If all I do is love my kids and put my best intentions forward, it's going to be fine."

Do you have any advice for the new mom?
It's a matter of acknowledging that you know more than you think you do. You have to do what's right for you and that isn't necessarily going to work for your friends. Your rhythm and process and how you do it might be different, and you don't have to justify it, you just have to be.

What was your biggest challenge as a new mom?
It was very hard for me to leave my kids. It was just devastating to have to get a babysitter that wasn't family. We went through some nightmare experiences with babysitters, but when you find that right person, to still be willing to go out to dinner and not lose your relationship with your husband...that was work for me. I was like, "I love you and all, honey, but I'm busy. I got my babies!"

Pete was like, "Oh my God, I'll fly your mom down! Can we just spend the night, one night somewhere?" So I said, "OK, sure." You have to stay connected to each other. I know my husband felt not so much a part of it and [when he felt] not a part of me, it made everything so much harder. That was a lesson that took me a while to learn.

And what about your career?
I haven't really ever considered that I wouldn't go back, it would just be a matter of when. For now, I want to be there when [the boys] wake up and I want to be there to put them in bed.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Memory Forms at 30 Weeks in the Womb

Fetuses that are only 30 weeks old may already possess short-term memory, Dutch researchers report.

"This is the next step into a better insight in the development of the fetal central nervous system," said study co-author Dr. Jan G. Nijhuis, director of the Centre for Genetics, Reproduction and Child Health at Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands. "We aim to develop an 'intra-uterine neurologic examination,' which could then be used in fetuses at risk."

Although memory is thought to develop while the baby is still in the womb, little else is known about the phenomenon.

"It is a fairly new idea to look at whether learning occurs in utero," said Dr. Russell Fothergill, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and director of ambulatory care at Scott & White.

The authors recruited 93 pregnant Dutch women, and then measured fetal responses to repeated "vibroacoustic" stimulation. Their report appears in the July/August issue of Child Development.

"We used a vibroacoustic stimulator, which leads to a combined stimulus of vibration and sound," Nijhuis explained. "The stimuli were applied to the maternal abdomen above the fetal legs for a period of one second every 30 seconds. We counted the number of stimuli after which the fetus does not respond anymore."

When the fetus makes the change to no longer responding, it is "habituated"; it recognizes the stimulus as "safe."

The authors stated that habituation is a form of learning and needs an intact central nervous system.

Fetuses were exposed to the vibroacoustic stimulation at 30, 32, 34, 36 and 38 weeks' gestation.

Fetuses as young as 30 weeks demonstrated a short-term memory of 10 minutes, and fetuses at 34 weeks seemed able to remember information they stored four weeks prior, the authors stated.

The level of stimulation the fetuses in this study received appears relatively high, another expert stated.

"I'm almost certain the baby heard it quite clearly and it was probably pretty loud," said Dr. Richard O. Jones, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and medical director of obstetrics at Scott & White. "I almost wish I could do an ultrasound looking at the baby while they were making these loud noises. I would not be at all surprised to see the baby putting its hands over its ears."

And, of course, doctors routinely used different forms of stimulation to make sure a baby is alive and, literally, "kicking" while still in the womb.

After reading this study, he added, if a mother complains that her baby isn't moving enough, one of the things he might suggest is turning the volume down.


Almost a 25% Adhesion Rate for Repeat Cesareans

Adhesions affect almost a quarter of all second-time cesarean sections, and the rate of adhesions increases with subsequent cesareans, slowing down time to each successive delivery, according to a study published in the July issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Adhesions are bands of scar tissue that form inside your abdomen or pelvis after surgery. As your body heals, this scar tissue connects organs together, causing them to stick to one another. As you move or become active you may experience quite severe pain. Abdominal adhesions are a common outcome of any pelvic or abdominal surgery. These can sometimes interfere with subsequent births.

Togas Tulandi, M.D., of McGill University in Montreal, and colleagues reviewed the charts of 1,283 women who had undergone repeat cesarean section delivery and 203 who underwent a primary cesarean section.

The researchers found that, among the women who had undergone just one cesarean section, there was no evidence of adhesions, but adhesions were found in women who had undergone two, three, and four or more cesareans in 24.4, 42.8, and 47.9 percent of cases, respectively. Complication rates were similar for women after one cesarean and multiple cesareans, but the delivery time was longer when there had been multiple cesareans -- 7.7 minutes for the first, 9.4 minutes for the second, 10.6 minutes for the third, and 10.4 minutes for the fourth or subsequent cesarean, the investigators discovered.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Joey McIntyre and Wife Expecting Second Son

There’s going to be another new kid on the block: Joey McIntyre tells PEOPLE that his wife Barrett is expecting their second child — a boy! — in December.

“I still can’t get over it,” says the singer, who is dad to 20-month-old son Griffin Thomas. “We feel so blessed.”

So far baby no. 2 has already managed to throw his parents for a loop. At first, there was a bit of confusion as to whether the family was really expanding at all. “My wife actually took the [pregnancy] test but she thought it was negative,” explained Joey. “She came out and gave me this look like, ‘No.’ Then she showed me the test and I said, ‘It’s positive! What the hell?’”

Then when the proud parents — who were convinced they were having a little girl — found out they were adding another boy to the brood, “we were shocked!” says Joey, who admits he already had his daughter’s name picked out. But they’re hardly disappointed. “It’s going to be a trip to have a couple of boys around.”

Griffin is more than ready for his new sibling, says Joey, 36, who grew up the youngest of nine kids. Along with constantly kissing his mommy’s belly, “we say to him all the time, ‘Do you want us to bring home a baby?’” Griffin’s response? “Please!”

The toddler has also inspired the singer to start a book drive through the Let’s Get This Foundation. While on the road, Joey and the rest of the New Kids have collected thousands of new children’s books and distributed them to children in need in various cities on their tour. “My wife is an avid reader and from the get-go she sat down with him and read with him. You see the importance of that,” notes Joey, who also reads Griffin some of his favorites like Good Night, Gorilla. “Then I found out there’s a lack of age appropriate books for kids, I saw a huge void and I knew our fans could step up.” He hopes hopes to reach 25,000 by the time the band wrap up their tour on July 18th.


The Supermodel Baby Boom!

First was Alessandra Ambrosio, then Heidi Klum again, then Adriana Lima and now Karolina Kurkova has just announced she’s pregnant! Maybe Gisele Bundchen will confirm her pregnancy now. That's 3 Victoria's Secret models who are new mothers - 5 supermodels total.

Maggie Gyllenhaal on her new parenting film

Maggie Gyllenhaal, who co-starred in the immensely successful The Dark Knight last year, is now taking a step in the opposite direction with indie film Away We Go, directed by Sam Mendes.

In the film, Maggie plays a hippie mother obsessed with back to the basics parenting. The 31–year-old actress, who is raising a 3-year old daughter Ramona with Peter Saarsgard, recently spoke with about how she was glad she was a mom herself before taking the part.

On becoming an earth mother: "Shortly before my daughter was born, I had a fantasy that everything was going to be organic and cloth diapers. I think a lot of people are that way. And then, of course, you actually have a child you have to manage in the real world with all the complications that brings. But the woman I play is really far out when it comes to her ideas of parenting. She's still nursing her 4-year-old and the whole family sleeps in bed together. I've never gone that far."

On her greatest lesson as a mother: "If I've learned anything as a mom with a daughter who's three, I've learned that you cannot judge the way another person is raising their kid. Everybody is just doing the best they can. It's hard to be a mom. I can relate to the anxieties of having other people tell you what to do."

On mothering on and off the set: "I don't know if I could have done the movie if I wasn't a mother. I had to comfort a crying 11-month-old baby. If I hadn't been able to pull it off, we would have wasted a lot of film time. So I thought, 'Thank God, I know what to do.' Then I'd go home to my own baby daughter. So I felt like I was just doing non-stop mothering."

On the one essential for New York moms: "I had a stroller from the beginning. You can't function without a stroller in New York. Thank God for my stroller. When my daughter was born, we were sent all sorts of strollers by these stroller companies because that's one of the perks of being an actor. And so we kind of tried all of them and it was sort of like picking out your first car. We have one that is lightweight and easy to fold. I'm good with a stroller, like those moms who know how to click 'em and close 'em just before they jump on the subway."


Childhood Cancer Risk Rises With Mother's Age

Research from the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota indicates that a baby born to an older mother may have a slightly increased risk for many of the cancers that occur during childhood.

“Our finding shows that although the absolute risk is low, advancing maternal age may be a factor and explain why, after other factors are adjusted for, some children get cancer,” said Logan Spector, Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics and cancer epidemiology researcher. Spector and Kimberly Johnson, Ph.D., post doctoral fellow in pediatric epidemiology, led the research team on this study. The results are published in the July 2009 issue of the journal Epidemiology.

Currently, about 1 in 435 children under the age of 15 in the United States gets cancer. Types of cancers most often affecting children include leukemia, lymphoma, central nervous system tumor, neuroblastoma, Wilms’ tumor, bone cancer, and soft tissue sarcoma.

For this population-based case-control study, Spector and Johnson used information from birth registry records in New York, Washington, Minnesota, Texas, and California. The study included the records of 17,672 children in those states diagnosed with cancer at ages 0-14 years between 1980 and 2004 and 57,966 children not diagnosed with cancer.

“We saw that the risk of 7 of the 10 most common childhood cancers increased slightly, about 7-10 percent, with every five-year increase in maternal age,” Spector said.

The researchers noted the father’s age did not seem to matter once the mother’s age was taken into account.

Spector and Johnson say more research needs to be done on why the risk for childhood cancer increases with advancing maternal age. Some of the possible explanations could be age-related changes in hormonal levels during pregnancy and alterations in DNA markings in eggs that can be transmitted to the offspring. “A mechanism of inherited mutation is consistent with our finding that the maternal age effect was strongest among children diagnosed with cancer at the earliest age,” Spector said.

He anticipates that such research will take on greater importance as more women delay having children until older. Statistics show the percentage of babies born to women 30 years of age or older in the United States has risen from about 18 percent in 1970 to 37 percent in 2005.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Ultrasound Tee Shirts

Expectant parents often tear up the first time they see their babe-to-be in utero, but the image is not guaranteed to have the same effect on others. Some people use sonogram photos to help break their baby news while others take it a step further and turn them into cufflinks. A pregnant mama may go gaga over this t-shirt option. For $25, she can turn her stomach into a fishbowl of sorts to show off her fetus. What's your take on the tummy telling tee? Do you find it weird or do you love it?