Thursday, December 17, 2009

Win an iPod Touch loaded with family-friendly Glu Mobile Games + a $100 iTunes gift card

Glu Mobile is a leading publisher of family-friendly mobile games designed for all cell phone types including the iPhone and iPod touch. Fun games like Diner Dash: Flo on the Go® are an entertaining diversion while waiting for an appointment or in line at the coffee shop. And pickup-and-play games like Mini Golf Wacky Worlds and Glyder are a great way to engage kids.

This is your chance to win an iPod Touch loaded with Glu Mobile games and a $100 iTunes gift card courtesy of BabyWeekly. The contest runs from December 1 - 31, 2009. We will be selecting one lucky winner.

Enter the BabySweeps giveaway by filling out the form here. No purchase necessary.

Tips for Avoiding an Unwanted C-Section

Not every mother wants to avoid a C-section -- in fact, some request them -- but if you do, here are some tips for what to ask your doctor (or midwife) in the delivery room if the suggestion is made that it's time to give up on a vaginal birth and head to the operating room.

  1. "Doctor, is this an emergency, or do we have time to talk?"

    Sometimes you need a C-section to save your life, your baby's life, or both. In those cases, there's no room for discussion.

    Delivery room emergencies include excessive bleeding, a breech position where the baby is headed out foot-first, or when the baby has certain heart rate problems.

  2. "Doctor, what would happen if we waited an hour or two?"

    The vast majority of the time, when your doctor or midwife tells you it's time for a C-section, it's not an emergency.

    In many cases, women just need more time to labor. In fact, the No. 1 reason for a C-section is "failure to progress" during labor. If that's what we're talking about, then it's not an emergency.

  3. "Doctor, are you sure the baby is too big for me to deliver?"

    Sometimes parents are told a baby is too big to deliver vaginally. Dr. Ware Branch, medical director of women and newborns clinical program at Intermountain Healthcare in Utah, says parents should ask whether a C-section is absolutely necessary, especially if labor hasn't advanced very far.

    "If it was my wife in labor and she's three or four centimeters dilated and the obstetrician says the baby's head is too big and she can't deliver him, I'd say, 'Nonsense, she hasn't really had a trial of labor, doctor.' "

  4. "Doctor, is there something else I can try before having a C-section?"

    Antunes, a spokeswoman for DONA International, which certifies doulas, says there may be options such as maneuvers like the one she used on Ste. Marie to get a slow labor moving.

  5. "Doctor, can we talk more about the baby's heart rate?"

    If you're told you need a C-section because of the baby's heart rate, try to get your doctor or midwife to be as specific as possible.

    Some heart-rate problems mean a C-section is necessary immediately, but other types of heart-rate issues are not nearly as serious, and you may be able to labor longer.

    "This is a very gray area," says Debbie Levy, a certified nurse midwife in Marietta, Georgia. "It takes years to learn how to read fetal heart tones, and it's not an exact science."

    Levy says it can be difficult to ask these questions when the person delivering your baby says it's time for a C-section, especially since mom and dad are often exhausted.

    "This is a very tough discussion to have in the delivery room," she says. "You're vulnerable, because you're talking about your baby's well-being."

    But she says as long as it's not an emergency, you should have these delivery room conversations with your doctor or midwife.

    "You shouldn't be afraid to speak up and say you'd like to try to labor longer," she says.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Premature Birth Tied to Later Behavioral Problems

Children who were born prematurely and at a very low weight may have an increased risk of certain behavior problems and symptoms of depression and anxiety, research suggests.

As the survival rates of very preterm newborns have improved in recent years, studies have uncovered some of the potential long-term challenges these infants will face - including lower IQ and higher rates of behavioral problems compared with their peers born at term.

In the new study, researchers found that among 104 7- to 16-year-olds they assessed, the 49 who were born very prematurely had higher rates of hyperactivity and attention problems, as well as symptoms of depression and anxiety.

The higher risk was not explained by lower IQ scores, however. Nor was families' socioeconomic status an important factor in children's odds of behavioral or emotional issues.

Instead, birth weight itself was the strongest factor, the researchers report in the journal Pediatrics.

The finding "suggests that in children born prematurely, behavioral issues might be more biologically based and not easily compensated for by improvements in the environment," explained lead researcher Dr. Amy L. Conrad, of the University of Iowa College of Medicine in Iowa City.

"It does not mean that environment can't help," she told Reuters Health in an email, "just that it might not have as strong of an impact as for children born at term and of average birth weight."

In addition, while the study found that parents of premature children reported more behavioral and emotional symptoms than other parents did, most kids did not have significant problems.

According to Conrad, 18 percent of preterm children had hyperactivity/inattention problems that were in the "clinical range" -- or significant enough to warrant therapy -- while 14 percent had depression or anxiety symptoms in that range.

For the study, Conrad's team had 104 children and teenagers take standard intelligence tests, while their parents and teachers completed a standard questionnaire on behavioral issues. Forty-nine of the kids had been born significantly preterm -- between the 24th and 33rd week of pregnancy. A normal pregnancy lasts 40 weeks.

Their birth weights ranged from "extremely low" -- less than 2.2 pounds -- to "very low," or between 2.2 and 3.3 pounds.

In general, parents of preterm children reported more behavioral issues than parents of children born full-term, with the highest rates among children with extremely low birth weights. The link between birth weight and behavior did not fade after the researchers factored in children's age, gender, IQ and socioeconomic status.

It's possible that very low birth weight affected some children's brain development in a way that made them more vulnerable to behavioral problems.


Sofia Coppola Expecting Second Child

Congratulations to Sofia Coppola and partner Thomas Mars who are currently expecting baby no. 2!

Thomas recently confirmed the pregnancy in a backstage interview with Chicago's WXRT where, when asked if Sofia was expecting, seemed surprised, but nodded with affirmation.

The Phoenix frontman is already hoping to impart some musicality on his second child: "I heard the story that if you play Bach, [babies in the womb] get smarter,” says Thomas, adding however, that he’s “not sure it’s a good idea” to play his child any music from his band’s latest release, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.

Sofia and Thomas, who have been together for four years, are also parents to 3-year-old Romy Mars.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Kerri Walsh Is Pregnant Again!

Seven months after giving birth to her first child, two-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh is pregnant again. She says she will skip the 2010 season and longtime partner Misty May-Treanor will play with a new teammate for the first time since 2001.

Kerri Walsh amazed mothers everywhere in August when she stepped back into a bikini and competed on the AVP Tour just more than two months after giving birth to her first child. She'll impress many more if she can do it again.

She'll have a chance again this summer because she's almost four months pregnant with her second child, Walsh told on Friday.

"I'm pregnant again so I'm taking the year off and Misty is going to be playing with a different partner," the 31-year-old said, adding, "My due date is May 30, so end of May I'll be taking care of my family and starting to creep back into shape and I'll be ready for the 2011 season. My hope and my plan is for Misty and I to get back together and be better than ever."

"The goal is to play together and win in 2012, to win an Olympic gold medal," Walsh said.

Though Walsh, who is married to fellow AVP star Casey Jennings, says she's aiming to be back for the 2011 season, few would be surprised to see her sooner. She gave birth to a son, Joseph Michael, on May 22 and was back on the court in early August. Walsh says she's itching to play again right now.

"Part of the challenge of coming back this year was to make sure that I could do it and I did physically. And once I can wrap my head around it mentally then I know I'll be a better player than ever before," Walsh said.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Pregnant women develop emotion-reading superpowers

Raging hormones during pregnancy prompt mood swings, but may also lead to a heightened ability to recognize threatening or aggressive faces. This may have evolved because it makes future mothers hyper-vigilant, yet it could also make them more vulnerable to anxiety.

Previous studies have suggested that a woman's ability to correctly identify fearful or disgusted facial expressions varies according to her stage of the menstrual cycle, with perception heightened on days associated with high levels of the hormone progesterone. Since levels of progesterone and other hormones rise dramatically in late pregnancy, Rebecca Pearson and her colleagues at the University of Bristol in the UK investigated whether the ability to read faces varies during pregnancy.

They asked 76 pregnant women to assign one of six emotions to 60 computer-generated faces before the 14th week of pregnancy, and again after the 34th week. Faces expressing happiness and surprise tended to be correctly assigned at both stages of pregnancy, but for faces expressing fear, anger and disgust, the accuracy rates were higher in late pregnancy.

This may increase the chance that the woman will spot potential threats to her and her fetus, and prime her to be hyper-vigilant once she becomes a mother. But it could have a downside. Pearson points out that people with clinical anxiety are also better at identifying negative emotions in faces. Pregnant women aren't clinically anxious, but "they might interpret negative or emotional things around them in a slightly more sensitive way", she says.

The finding builds on a recent study by Ben Jones of the University of Aberdeen in the UK who found that pregnant women - and women in stages of the menstrual cycle where progesterone levels spike - are better at identifying faces showing signs of sickness. "It's preventing them from becoming sick by interacting with people who are ill," he says.

The next step will be to examine whether pregnant women and new mothers are also more sensitive to emotional cues in babies' faces, Jones says.


Chinese and Korean-American Women Have Increased Risk for Diabetes During Pregnancy

Chinese and Korean-American women are at a higher risk than Caucasian and African-American women of developing diabetes during pregnancy, according to a new study. The study, by researchers at Kaiser Permanente, also found that Pacific Islanders, Filipinos, Puerto Ricans and Samoans were also at a higher-than-average risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy, while Caucasian, native-American and African-American women have a lower than average risk.

Untreated diabetes during pregnancy can lead to complications to the women and fetus. It can also lead to the child becoming obese later in life, the researchers said in a statement.

According to the study, as many as 10 percent of women of Chinese and Korean descent could be at risk of developing the disease during pregnancy.

The study is published in the journal Ethnicity and Disease.