Friday, June 04, 2010

Samantha Bee Reveals Baby Bump On 'The Daily Show'

Funny lady Samantha Bee had a big surprise for everyone when she and husband fellow comedian Jason Jones made cameos on a skit on The Daily Show last night. Spoofing the reaction to the BP Oil Spill, Samantha dressed in a pair of overalls, sported a sizable pregnant belly!

This sketch was also the debut of new correspondent Olivia Munn, who remarked that she "wasn't here to replace anyone," and referred to Samantha as the "always-pregnant lady." Indeed, this new baby will join Samantha's other children: 4-year-old Piper and 2-year-old Fletcher. Part of the reason Samantha and Jason have a large family is that The Daily Show is actually a very family friendly place to work! In a recent interview with NPR, Samantha says "the show could not be more accommodating."

Watch the funny skit here:

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Thursday, June 03, 2010

Kevin Costner Welcomes Baby No. 7!

Kevin Costner, 55, and his wife, Christine, 36, welcomed a baby girl named Grace Avery Costner on Wednesday (June 2), PEOPLE reports. Grace is Costner's seventh child, his third with Christine.

Baby Grace arrived at 5:46 p.m. in California. She weighed 7 lbs., 11 oz., and was 21 inches in length.

Kevin and Christine have been married since 2004.

The happy couple are also parents to sons Hayes Logan, 16 months and Cayden Wyatt, 3. Kevin is also dad to Liam, 13, Joe, 22, Lily, 23, and Annie, 25.

Congratulations to the Costner family!


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

This Week's Celebrity Baby Bumps

Alicia Keys ruffles her bump, Isla Fisher wears a pantsuit, Jodie Sweetin stripes her bump, Danica McKellar looks beautiful in blue, Jennifer Gareis looks stylish and comfortable in a black and white dress, and Mario Lopez's girlfriend is bold in black leather pants.

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Tips for Staying Cool During a Summer Pregnancy

You should already be drinking copious amounts of water, but here a few things you may not have thought of:

  1. Shop for baby: You don't have to spend a thing; just take advantage of all that free air-conditioning in the mall.
  2. Skip the spice: There's a temptation to eat spicy food because old wives' tales claim it will get labor moving. But spicy food literally raises the body temperature, making you more uncomfortable. And there's no scientific evidence it will get the baby out anyway.
  3. Bring out the baby bath. It's taking up an enormous amount of space just waiting for baby, so get the most out of it -- fill it with cold water and dip your tootsies.
  4. Go topless. Nipple stimulation is one natural way to induce labor that might actually hold weight. So set up in the living room with a fan on you and have at it. Bonus points if your partner gets to partake as well -- they do say sex can speed up labor.
  5. Pull the pregnancy card. You will be more tired, so work it girl -- ask for HELP around the office, the house, and from that cute bag boy at the grocery store.

Too Much Pregnancy Weight Gain Hurts Child's Heart

Any weight gain during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy -- or more than a pound a week between weeks 14 and 36 -- raise the odds your child will show signs of heart disease by age 9.

The findings come from the U.K. Avon study, which is following the health of nearly 14,000 children born from April 1991 through December 1992. The study, by University of Bristol researcher Abigail Fraser, PhD, and colleagues, focuses on more than 8,500 mother/child pairs for whom detailed data were available.

Women who were overweight before becoming pregnant were more likely to have overweight or obese children.

But regardless of a woman's pre-pregnancy weight, weight gain during pregnancy affected the child's weight -- and at age 9, the child's risk of having high body fat, low levels of good HDL cholesterol, a big waistline, high blood pressure, and other risk factors for heart disease.

Children's heart risk increased with any weight gain during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, and with any weight gain over 1.1 pounds per week during weeks 14 to 36 of pregnancy. The more weight a woman gained during these times, the higher her child's heart risk.

Weight gain after week 36 of gestation was not linked to heart risk in a woman's offspring.

What's going on? Fraser and colleagues suggest that the reason why these kids already have a high heart risk by 9 years of age is their fat mass. But exactly why children tend to be fat if their mothers gain too much weight during pregnancy isn't clear.

One thing is clear, comments obstetrician/gynecologist Jennifer Wu, MD, of New York's Lenox Hill Hospital.

"In order to help ensure healthier futures for their children, women considering childbearing should try to achieve ideal body weight pre-pregnancy and to adhere to recommended weight-gain guidelines," Wu says in a statement released by the Lenox Hill press office. Wu was not involved in the Fraser study.

The Fraser study appears in the June 15 issue of Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association.


The Sci-Fi Cliche Guide to Parenting

Teleportation, while a time-saver for the captain on his away mission, violates the laws of quantum mechanics, thermodynamics and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

Teleporters, popularized by Star Trek of course, are neat to watch and fantasize about. Children, while not be expected to fully wrap their heads around it, should understand that this is the most absurd sort of fiction. Teleportation basically is explained away by claiming it breaks down matter into energy, then beams it across space. This would be the same process as obliterating someone with a phaser on kill. The very basic reason it violates all the scientific rules mentioned above, is that position and momentum of particles cannot simultaneously be known.

It’s quite simple really, and takes the core of the word teleportation. Port. Transport. As parents, we are the transporters and our cars are the teleportation devices. We move children from one state of being to the next. To school, a mostly sedentary existence, to the kinetic soccer practice that is a great place to learn about energy distribution. If we think of it that way, while it may be a more manual process to the science, teleportation is not that obtuse of a concept. This line of thinking may foster a greater respect for the effort put into the constant movement and shuttling in their lives, done on their behalf by the parent. It also might just elicit a smart-ass response like “why don’t we just get a transporter like on Star Trek?”

An ultra-fast zoom out of the universe starting from point A on Earth reveals one of the following: the universe is contained in jar on a shelf, the universe is contained inside a necklace on a cat, the universe rests within a lamp shade in a bedroom occupied by Rob Lowe and Adam West, et al.

The universe is a large and mysterious place. We have only discovered a tiny fraction of the known universe and are relative light years away from fully understanding the science of the universe. Yet, it appears as equal a mystery that the universe tends to revolve around a singular child. Similar to early theories about the rotation of the planets, children believe they are the Earth and we are nothing more but hovering planetary objects stuck in their gravitational pull.

While some days we may feel like helpless asteroids wondering listlessly among the stars, it’s not a hopeless effort to explain to children that they are not in fact the center of the known universe. Not to mention, there is more in the universe in relation to their little lives that is left to be explored. When these cliche moments present themselves in sci-fi, a correlation to real life can quickly be made.

The point of all this is breaking down the singular view of the world that occupies children’s brains. By pointing out the mysteries in life, teaching them to expect the unexpected and find the mysteries of life, they may start to expand their little universes to encompass more than just them.

The plucky sidekick super genius kid or the droid with the questionably protruding interface can pretty much override any security system in any secure facility if you give them covering fire, not only being able to comprehend a system they’ve never interacted with, but doing it quicker than humanly possible.

This cliche is especially present in sci-fi and adventure aimed at children. There always seems to be the one smart kid in the group that can either hack anything with little or no apparent effort. Either that, or some droid plugging into a foreign computer system with relative ease and disarming the security. The quick lesson learned here is that this kind of stuff is easy. Need to break into an ATM or the school’s computer – no problem. How about starting World War III by simply hacking into a military installation?

The deeper lesson here is how easy the hackers make the task appear. Yes, the reality is skewed but if the hacker is human, the assumption can be made that these skills were not intuitively learned by some sort of strange osmosis. Instead, a learning opportunity can easily take place. With any skill in life, practice and education are equally as important as intuition. Chances are, that really smart kid hacking into a military mainframe spends a great deal of time working with computers.

While this can make a great segue into the importance of going to college or learning a craft, it’s probably better not to push it too much with their young minds. Instead, focus on more tangible things, like playing with LEGO leading to architectural design, or how HTML is used to build web pages. Most kids with a willingness to learn will be able to make these connections in life. They’ll be able to see the building blocks of higher learning and will be electronically changing their grades in no time, saying to you “there’s an app for that. I wrote it.”


New Safety Standards Set for Baby Bath Seats

Baby bath seats will soon be receiving a makeover. On May 20, 2010, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved a slew of new federal requirements for infant bath seats, the first infant and toddler product targeted by the recently enacted Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

Set to go into effect by the end of 2010, tougher standards for bath seats include stricter stability requirements to prevent the bath seat from tipping over, tighter leg opening requirements to prevent children from slipping through the leg openings, and a larger permanent warning label alerting parents and caregivers that bath seats are not safety devices and that infants should never be left unattended in a bath seat. Revised standards still call for latching and locking mechanisms and manufacturer compliance with CPSC rules for sharp points and edges, small parts, and lead in paint.

The redesign in bath seats couldn't come soon enough. According to CPSC statistics, from 1983 through November 2009 there were 174 reported deaths involving bath seats and 300 reported non-fatal bath seat incidents. Many of the deaths and incidents involve babies left unattended while bathing.

Mesh or plastic bath seats are used in a sink or tub to provide back and front support to a seated infant while he or she is being bathed. Seats are generally geared towards infants between 5 and 10 months of age—babies who may still need a little support to sit up at bath time, especially during the transition to the big tub.

Bath seats may make it easier to bathe Baby, but as the CPSC reminds parents that young children can drown quickly, even in small amounts of water. Never leave a child alone, even for a moment, near any water. Always keep a young child within arm's reach in a bathtub. And never leave a baby or toddler in a bathtub under the care of another young child.


iPhone App Designed to Curb Morning Sickness

Got morning sickness? There's an app for that! A British company claims their iPhone application can significantly reduce the nausea that is often associated with early pregnancy. Nevasic ($1) helps stabilize inner ear balance receptors by working specially engineered audio pulses into music. According to a small study conducted by the British National Health Service, nine out of 10 women saw the symptoms decline after listening to the tunes.


Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Céline Dion Is Pregnant With Twins!

Céline Dion's dream to have more children has come true!

The French-Canadian singer, 42, is pregnant with twins after undergoing her sixth in-vitro fertilization attempt and turning to acupuncture to improve her chances of a pregnancy, PEOPLE reports.

Dion, mom to 9-year-old son René-Charles, is 14 weeks pregnant. The Power of Love singer will find out the gender of the twins next month.

"We're ecstatic," her husband/manager René Angelil gushes. "Céline is just hoping for a healthy pregnancy. She was hoping for one baby and the news that we are having two is a double blessing."

The songstress tells Le Journal de Montreal it's been an exhausting year-long endeavor:

"I feel like I've been pregnant more than a year. I never gave up. But I can tell you that it was physically and emotionally exhausting."

"Everyone knows that Céline has guts and is determined," adds proud hubby René. "These treatments were truly hard on my wife's body. It wasn't simple at all."

"There were truly great emotions after all our efforts," boasts Dion.

The couple traveled from their Florida home to New York for months of treatments. The singer also turned to acupuncture from a Montreal-based specialist.

"My doctors had to constantly reassure me. I [wanted] to see the babies," she says. "Each week I had sonograms. I heard their heart beats."

The multi award-winning recording artist is listening closely to doctors' orders.

"It's stressful but I'm relaxing. I look at my little belly. I do almost nothing," she says. "If you tell me I have to stay in bed, I will stay in bed until November, when the babies are born. To bring them into the world, there's nothing more important than that. It's incredible. We will have a beautiful family nest full of love."

Dion still plans to kick off a new Las Vegas show next year. She says she loves her career, but realizes that there's an even higher priority in her life.

"There are no accomplishments bigger than [being a mom]. The trophies and the money, that doesn't give meaning to life and that doesn't give you true happiness," she says. "A baby – yes."

Céline and René are already parents to 9-year-old son René-Charles.


Housework While Pregnant Could be Harmful

It is the perfect excuse for mothers-to-be to unplug the vacuum and abandon the washing up - housework could be bad for baby.

Research suggests the 'boring and repetitive' nature of household chores raises the odds of giving birth prematurely.

Exercise, however, is good for both mother and unborn child.

Researchers asked almost 12,000 new mothers how much they had exercised during pregnancy – including housework.

The women were also asked about their jobs, the weight of their babies and whether they were born early.

And the information showed that mentally unstimulating work, including doing jobs around the house day-in day-out, increased the chances of giving birth at least three weeks early by up to 25 per cent.

Although it isn't clear why, researchers think it may be that boring tasks increase levels of stress hormones involved in triggering labor.

The study, published in the journal Perinatal Epidemiology, also threw up some other interesting results.

For instance, women who work night shifts seem to have slightly heavier babies.

Again it isn't clear why, but may simply be that those who work through pregnancy are healthier in general.

The research also showed sedentary lifestyles raised the odds of having an underweight baby, while strenuous exercise did no harm to either mother or baby.

Researcher Hajo Wildschut, of Erasmus University in Rotterdam, said: 'Pregnancy is not a disease. 'In fact, most women who are pregnant are healthy and most of them are being delivered of perfectly healthy babies.

'Women who are healthy and do not have pregnancy complications should not restrict their activities in order to achieve a better pregnancy outcome. They may safely continue their normal daily physical activities, including strenuous activities like jogging, squash and weight training even until late in pregnancy.'

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says that in most cases exercise in pregnancy is safe.

Mothers-to-be are advised to avoid contact sports, cycling, ice-skating and horse-riding.


Toddler's life saved after grandmother spots eye cancer in holiday snap

An eagle-eyed grandmother saved her grandson's life after she noticed an unusual shadow on the toddler's eye in a holiday photo.

Three-year-old Ewan Boarder, had developed a rare eye cancer but was showing no symptoms of the killer illness.

However, his grandmother Beverley Warner, 61, noticed a white shadow on his eye when she was leafing through photos taken on a recent holiday to the Isle of Wight.

She remembered reading about a child with cancer who had the same shadow in a photograph and warned Ewan's parents.

Ewan was referred to the local hospital which in turn sent him on to a London hospital which diagnosed that he was suffering from retinoblastoma - a deadly tumour of the retina. Although he went on to lose an eye he survived the disease.

His mother Samantha Boarder, 32, said: 'We are so lucky that my mum spotted this in the picture and knew a bit about it. We knew something was wrong but did not know it was retinoblastoma. Not only do parents know little about this, doctors also seem to not be aware of it.'

The mother-of-two added: 'We had been to see a GP a couple of times and they didn't know what was wrong. It was the photo that made a real difference and I have a lot to thank my mum for.'

Samantha, of Norwich, now desperately wants to raise awareness of the condition and warn other parents what to look out for.

'We had noticed his right eye looked a slightly different color from the other one, but he did not seem unwell and we went to a GP, who did not seem overly concerned. The GP referred us to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. They then sent him straight to see an eye specialist at the Royal London Hospital, who diagnosed a tumor.'

By this time Ewan had become completely blind in his right eye and had started complaining it was sore. But as he had just turned two it was difficult for him to tell his worried parents just how bad it was.

Specialists in London said the tumor was aggressive and had to remove his eye just under a year ago.

Scans revealed although the cancer had not spread to other parts of his body, it had reached the outer blood vessels of his eye and Ewan had to have chemotherapy.

The brave tot now has a prosthetic eye and his family - which includes dad Jason and four-year-old sister Elise - said he had coped amazingly days after he celebrated his third birthday with his friends.

'He has been absolutely brilliant. It is amazing how well he has coped,' said Samantha.

'Ewan gets his eye checked every 12 weeks and luckily it is not the hereditary form of the condition so he will not pass it onto his children and no one else in the family has it. I wanted to bring this to the attention of other parents because I didn't know anything about this condition before. If you catch is early, it is treatable.'


Common antidepressants 'increase miscarriage risk'

Taking common antidepressants while pregnant significantly increases the chances of suffering a miscarriage, a new study warns.

The risk rose by more than two thirds if expectant mothers were taking the drugs, researchers found.

Previous studies have also found a link between antidepressants and birth defects.

Experts warned that doctors should discuss the possible risks with pregnant women.

Depression is a very common illness, and an estimated more than one in 30 women take antidepressants while expecting a baby.

However, there are fears that coming off the drugs can lead patients to a relapse into depression, potentially putting both mother and baby at risk.

Researchers found a link between miscarriage and a type of antidepressants, Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class of drugs which includes Prozac.

A combination of different antidepressants could up to double the risk of miscarriage, the study also found.

Dr. Anick Berard, from the University of Montreal, who led the research, said: "These results, which suggest an overall class effect of selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, are highly robust given the large number of users studied.

"Physicians who have patients of child-bearing age taking antidepressants or have pregnant patients who require antidepressant therapy early in pregnancy discuss the risks and benefits with them."

The study looked at 5,124 women who had suffered miscarriages.

They found an increased risk associated with SSRIs, especially Seroxat (also called paroxetine) and Efexor (also called venlafaxine).

Overall, the increased risk was 68 per cent.

The findings were published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Last year a study found that expectant mothers who took Seroxat were three times as likely to have a baby with a heart abnormality and those who took Prozac were four times as likely as other women.

A spokesman for Pfizer, which makes venlafaxine, said: "Pfizer will need to review this study in detail until we can provide any further comment."