Thursday, December 10, 2009

Amanda Peet is Pregnant Again!

Amanda Peet is pregnant again!

The actress, 36, and her husband of three years, screenwriter David Benioff are expecting their second child, her rep tells exclusively.

In 2007, Peet - who recently appeared in the sci-fi flick 2012 - welcomed daughter Frances "Frankie" Pen, whom she named after her mother, Penny.

Peet has said motherhood is not what she expected.

"One surprise of motherhood for me was how little control I have," she told Cookie magazine last summer. "I thought it would be an extended, blissful romance with me at the helm, cuddling this little creature to life. It's been bittersweet and humbling to let her lead, and to try not to be perfect myself."

Last month, Peet told Parade she hopes her daughter doesn't grow up too fast.

"I'm trying not to think about what the world will be like when she grows up," she said. "I think more about when is she going to start drinking and wearing a G-string and how can I stop those things from happening."

Congratulations to the happy family!


Avoiding Healthcare-Associated Infections during Childbirth

With the H1N1 making the rounds and taking its toll on many pregnant women and babies, the spread of infection is in the spotlight. Receiving the vaccination is a good step, but there are other types of infections that can be spread, for which no vaccines are available.

About 1.24% of births in a hospital lead to a healthcare-associated infection. The hospital environment is notably sterile; unfortunately this leaves only the strongest bugs to survive. Pregnant women and infants have weaker immune systems making it an even riskier situation. In addition, studies have shown that only about half of doctors and nurses wash their hands between patients. Here are steps you can take and things to watch out for to avoid a healthcare-associated infection:

  • Reduce invasive procedures. As much as possible try to limit epidurals, cesarean sections, catheters, IVs, internal monitors and episiotomies. Sometimes these procedures are necessary, but they can increase the risk of infection.
  • Keep vaginal exams to a minimum.
  • Try to find a hospital that has a separate maternity suite to the rest of the hospital.
  • Nurses and doctors should be in full gown with gloves and mask when performing invasive procedures, such as inserting a catheter.
  • Anyone entering the room should wash their hands thoroughly before touching the mother or baby. Don’t be afraid to insist on it for friends, family and medical professionals. Medical professionals will completely understand if you ask them to wash their hands in front of you.
  • Sick friends, family members and medical professionals should stay away from the mother and baby.
  • Disinfect areas with an alcohol-based sanitizer where the mother’s skin comes in contact, such as the birth ball.
  • If, after giving birth, you find yourself becoming sick directly after, or feel increasing pain, return to the hospital immediately.

Kimberley-Clark is working to educate medical professionals and consumers about healthcare-associated infections in a campaign called “Not on My Watch”. Find out more information here.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Gary Busey & Girlfriend Expecting A Baby

Gary Busey and his girlfriend Stephanie Sampson are expecting a child together!

The 65-year-old Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas star was spotted patting Stephanie's baby bump at the premiere of Crazy Heart in Beverly Hills on Tuesday (December 8).

Busey happily confirmed the pregnancy news to New Times and pronounced his love for Stephanie:

"Nothing is difficult. I have no fear, no doubt, and great faith, and I've loved this woman for 31 lifetimes."

Gary has a 38-year-old son, actor Jake Busey, with ex-wife Judy Helkenberg.


Folic Acid May Help Prevent Fetal Heart Defects

Here's another reason for pregnant women to take folic acid supplements: they help prevent fetal heart malformations, new research from the Netherlands suggests.

"Given the relatively high prevalence of congenital heart defects worldwide, our findings are important for public health," Dr. Ingrid M. van Beynum of Radboud University in Nijmegen and her colleagues write.

Folic acid supplements are now recommended for all pregnant women, and women planning on becoming pregnant, in order to prevent birth defects involving the neural tube such as spina bifida. Many countries, including the US, now require bread and other wheat products to be fortified with folic acid for this reason, but this practice hasn't been adopted in The Netherlands.

To investigate further, the researchers used a national register of birth defects to identify 611 mothers who had given birth to a child with a heart defect, matching them to 2,401 women who delivered babies with genetic defects or other birth defects unrelated to folate.

Women who took a supplement containing at least 400 micrograms of folic acid were nearly 20 percent less likely to have a child with a heart defect, compared to other non-folate-related malformations, while their risk compared to the general population was 26 percent lower.

Their risk of having a child with a heart defect involving the septum -- which separates one side of the heart from the other -- was nearly 40 percent lower than that of the general population.

The current study couldn't show whether taking more or less than 400 micrograms of folic acid would be more effective in preventing heart defects, the researchers note, although there's increasing evidence that heavier women may need to take more folic acid to get the same protective effects.

The researchers conclude that women who want to become pregnant should take folic acid supplements around the time of conception, not only to prevent neural tube defects but also to reduce the risk of congenital heart defects.


Mothers' Genes Important in Preterm Birth Risk

A mother's genes may be an important factor in the risk of preterm birth, two new studies suggest.

Past research has shown that genes likely play a role in a pregnant woman's odds of delivering prematurely - before the 37th week of pregnancy.

The risk is increased, for example, among women who were themselves born prematurely or have a sister who ever gave birth preterm, And findings from twin studies suggest that up to 40 percent of preterm deliveries involve some genetic susceptibility.

But little is known about the specifics of how genes influence preterm labor.

The two new studies, reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology, suggest that the mother's genes - rather than genes affecting fetal development that are inherited from both parents - are key.

In one study, Danish researchers analyzed national database information on more than 1 million singleton births in Denmark between 1978 and 2004. They found that, not surprisingly, women with a history of preterm delivery were at increased risk of having a subsequent early birth.

But the risk was also elevated among women with a mother, sister or half-sister (born to the same mother) who had delivered prematurely. Compared with women without such a family history, these women were 60 percent more likely to have a preterm birth.

In contrast, preterm births among female members of the father's side of the family, or among the female partners of a woman's male relatives, had no bearing on a woman's own risk of premature delivery.

The findings were similar in the second study - this one of more than 989,000 births in Sweden between 1992 and 2004. Researchers found that sisters of women who had delivered preterm had an 80 percent higher risk of early delivery, versus women without that family history.

There was no evidence of an increased risk, however, when a brother's partner had delivered prematurely. Nor was there evidence that the increased risk shared by sisters was explained by non-genetic factors that could influence the chances of preterm delivery, like smoking or lower education levels.

Overall, the researchers estimate that mothers' genes account for one-quarter of the variation in preterm delivery risk across the population. In contrast, fetal genes - which are inherited from both parents - showed little influence.

The vast majority of women in the studies did not deliver early, regardless of family history. In the Danish study, for example, about 7 percent of women with a sister who had delivered prematurely had a preterm birth themselves; that compared with 4.5 percent of women whose sisters had no history of preterm delivery.


March of Dimes Reveals Pregnant Moms Biggest Fears

The March of Dimes polled about 1,200 moms to find out exactly what it is that caused them to lose sleep (other than the fact they were pregnant!) while they were pregnant. The results were presented today at the March of Dimes National Communications Advisory Council luncheon where experienced, practicing obstetricians and gynecologists discussed the survey results, as well as some of the frequently asked questions their patients ask.

The March of Dimes poll found that the number one thing moms worried about was birth defects - 78 percent said they were worried their child would be born less than perfect. Stress was moms' second fear, with 74 percent answering that they were concerned if stress in their life would harm their baby's health. Preterm birth was a close third with 71 percent saying they were worried their baby would be born too soon.

"Women should discuss all their questions with their doctors and should be concerned about their overall health - quit smoking, control their blood pressure, weight and any chronic diseases, such as diabetes - before they become pregnant so they will have a better chance at a healthy pregnancy," said Dr. Diane Ashton, March of Dimes deputy medical director, who took part in the panel discussion.

Surprisingly, only 70 percent thought about the fear of pain of childbirth and 55 percent were worried that they wouldn't get to the hospital on time!

Other things moms worried about were:

  • 60 percent worried they wouldn't be able to breastfeed successfully.
  • 59 percent worried about losing weight after pregnancy.
  • And, 59 percent worried about getting pregnant in the first place.
  • Sushi and fish was the number one food concern, with 61 percent concerned.

The poll was conducted Nov. 6 to Nov. 13, 2009 using the online software Zoomerang. There were 123 valid responses from the 1,224 women from the March of Dimes Moms e-Panel and March for Babies Family Teams who were invited by email to answer the 65 questions. Some 90 percent of the women surveyed have a child who was born preterm. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents are employed, about 60 percent are between the ages of 25 and 34, 90 percent have children under the age of five and 95 percent had attended some college. The survey was written by Betty Wolder Levin, Ph.D., professor of Public Health, Graduate Center of the City University of New York.


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Send Your Nursery Photos

Calling all design gurus! The ladies of Maternity&Style are asking all expecting mothers who designed their baby's nursery to send photos of your designs. Each week they'll feature a photo from a different nursery.

Just send your photos to and please write a few sentences about your inspiration, designs and ideas. Include the state you live in and what your nursery theme is.

Less caffeine better during pregnancy, study says

For years, medical professionals have been telling pregnant women to reduce their caffeine intake, and that by doing so they could reduce their risks for problems such as premature delivery, low birth-weight babies and miscarriage.

However, for some pregnant women giving up caffeine completely simply is not realistic. For them, how much caffeine is too much?

A report from the British Medical Journal tried to answer this question. Researchers followed more than 2,600 low-risk women at two large teaching hospitals in England from 2003 to 2006. They screened pregnant women for caffeine, tobacco and other drug use. Close monitoring also noted miscarriages, low birth-weight deliveries, preterm delivery, elevated blood pressure and stillbirths.

In attempting to determine a safe upper limit of caffeine intake, the researchers looked for pregnant women who admittedly ingested significant amounts of caffeine as coffee, tea, soda or chocolate. In those women, the average amount of caffeine intake prior to pregnancy was almost 240 milligrams per day. That dropped to an average of 140 milligrams of caffeine during their pregnancies.

To put caffeine levels in perspective, a soda or cup of coffee has about 30 to 40 milligrams of caffeine.

What the researchers found answered some questions, but also raised some new ones. In comparing the women who ingested more than 300 milligrams of caffeine vs. those who ingested 30 milligrams of caffeine per day, the most dramatic differences were noted in infant birth weights. Higher amounts of caffeine ingestion were associated with lower birth weights.

From past studies we have also seen a correlation of higher caffeine usage with miscarriage and premature delivery.

So the British researchers confirmed what we already knew - that less caffeine is better when it comes to pregnancy. Unfortunately, they were not able to determine if there is a safe upper limit of caffeine ingestion.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests a maximum of 300 milligrams per day. The British government's Food Standards Agency recommends no more than 200 milligrams per day. Some doctors say to patients who just cannot say no to that morning cup of coffee is to try to keep their caffeine ingestion to less than 100 milligrams per day.

Of course, we have to keep the results of this British study in context. While levels of caffeine usage greater than 30 milligrams per day were associated with smaller birth weight babies, these differences in weight were fairly small (a few ounces).

Of course, when combined with the use of tobacco, alcohol or other substances, a few ounces could make a big difference.


Simple test can spot premature birth false alarms

A simple test can help reliably determine whether signs of an imminent premature delivery are likely to result in a false alarm, research suggests.

Less than half of women showing these signs actually go on to give birth soon after, and they often have to undergo what turn out to be unnecessary tests.

UK researchers found a test that looks for a protein called fetal fibronectin (fFN) could solve the problem.

The study was conducted by University College London.

fFN is the protein that helps attach the foetal sac, in which the foetus develops, to the uterus.

Previous research has shown that when fFN is found to be leaking at a certain stage of pregnancy, a premature birth is more likely.

A test to detect fFN levels is relatively cheap and easy to perform - but it is not commonly used in all maternity units.

It is done at the same time as a vaginal examination, which is routinely carried out when a woman is admitted with abdominal pain in pregnancy.

If the results show low levels of fFN, then the chance of a women having a premature delivery imminently is low.

The researchers conducted an audit to determine whether use of the test made any significant difference.

Initially they analysed 22 cases of women admitted to hospital showing signs of being about to go into premature labor.

Of these, 17 did not give birth during their hospital stay, which averaged just more than eight days.

Most received steroid drugs to improve their baby's lung function, or tocolytic drugs to halt labor contractions.

The situation changed significantly after staff began to use the fFN test.

It proved to be 98.6% accurate in identifying women who, despite showing signs of premature delivery, did not go into labor for at least another two weeks.

As a result just seven women out of 78 who showed signs of being about to go into labor, but who registered low levels of fFN, required hospital treatment - for pain management.


Monday, December 07, 2009

Stain repellents linked to low birth weight and premature births

Research finds that stain repellent and anti-adhesive chemicals may be linked to low birth weight and premature births in those born near a factory that both produces and uses the chemicals.

A study that surveyed members of a West Virginia community finds that higher exposures - presumably through water and air - to antistick chemicals released from a nearby factory may be linked to low birth weight and early birth in babies born to women who live in the area.

The synthetic chemicals of concern in the study are called polyfluorinated compounds (PFCs). They are widely used in the manufacture of stain repellents applied to carpets and furniture and as anti-adhesives in pots and pans.

Two of the most common PFCs are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). While they are designed for use in product coatings, PFOA and PFOS may also form when other PFCs break down. The chemical plant located near Parkersburg, West Virginia used PFOA since 1951 to make nonstick coatings.

These chemicals are very persistent and have been detected worldwide in wildlife and humans. The most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) reported that virtually all US residents are exposed to PFOA and PFOS.

Animal studies have reported reduced fetal weight and increased neonatal mortality after exposure to high doses of PFCs. Results from previous human studies have been inconsistent.

In this study, women with PFOS blood levels above the median (13.6 nanograms/milliliter (ng/mL)) had a 50 percent increased risk of low birth weight and a 10 percent increased odds of preterm birth when compared with women with exposure below the median. These women were also 30 percent more likely to have preeclampsia, which is characterized by high blood pressure during pregnancy and is in turn a risk factor for abnormally slow fetal growth.

Data were collected as part of a survey of more than 69,000 people living close to a chemical plant located in the Mid-Ohio Valley in West Virginia. These data were collected following a class action lawsuit alleging health damage due to exposure to PFOA, which is believed to have occurred through groundwater contamination and air deposition. Researchers measured PFCs in the blood of 1,845 women and obtained information on pregnancy outcomes based on participant interviews.


Amy Adams is Pregnant!

Amy Adams and her fiance Darren Legallo are expecting their first child together, PEOPLE reports.

The couple have been together for seven years since meeting in acting class. They became engaged in July 2008.

The 35-year-old Enchanted actress will next be seen in the romantic comedy, Leap Year, which hits theaters on January 8.

Congratulations to the Adams-Legallo family!