Friday, September 03, 2010

Celine Dion Debuts Twin Baby Bump

After the announcement that she is pregnant with twins and dispelling the rumors that she experienced complications, Celine Dion debuted her baby bump on the cover of Canada's 7 Jours magazine. She poses without makeup with her husband, Rene Angelil, their 9 1/2 year-old son, Rene-Charles and their dog, Charlie.

Dion, 42, is due in November. Her rep recently denied tabloid rumors of complications saying: "She's never been in the hospital - her pregnancy continues to be healthy and she feels fantastic. As with most women expecting multiples, her doctor wants her to stay off her feet as much as possible as she finishes her pregnancy."

The longtime couple announced their pregnancy news earlier this year after a sixth attempt at in-vitro fertilization.

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Making Your Own Baby Food

Many parents don't realize that making baby food at home is a simple and economical plan to provide your baby with food that is high in quality, nutrition and taste. In addition, it gets your baby used to eating the same food the rest of the family does, a strategy that may pay off during the picky toddler years.

Here are basic steps for making your own baby food:

  • Wash and rinse your hands and equipment.
  • Scrub and peel fruits and vegetables.
  • Steam, bake, roast or microwave until tender (steaming and microwaving will preserve the most nutrients).
  • Puree in a food processor with a little liquid (breast milk, water or formula are all appropriate choices), or mash if your baby can handle more texture.
  • Store in the refrigerator or freezer, in airtight containers. One to three extra servings may be stored in the refrigerator. Use cooked vegetables or fruit within three days. Raw fruit and meats should be used the next day.
  • Rewarm when it's time to eat and allow to cool.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are best, but you can also use frozen or canned. Look for items that contain very few additives such as salt, sugar or preservatives. Recommended fruits and vegetables to soft-cook and puree include apples, plums, pears, apricots, peaches, bananas, carrots, peas, green beans, butternut squash and sweet potatoes. In addition to fruits and vegetables, you can also puree foods such as cooked meats. Make sure that the meat is fully cooked, with no pink, and has the fat, skin and connective tissue removed.

When your baby is just beginning to eat solids, remember to introduce only one food at a time to identify possible allergies. As your child gets older and you know which foods have been tolerated well, you can start to blend two or three different fruits or vegetables together. Try the following recipes and see how simple it is to offer your baby fresh and nutritious homemade baby foods.

Stage II (8-10 months)

Baby Beef Stew
INGREDIENTS

  • 1 peeled potatocup cubed cooked beef
DIRECTIONS
  1. Wash vegetables thoroughly and chop very fine.
  2. Simmer the veggies for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the macaroni and water; cook for 10 minutes or until macaroni is tender.
  4. Drain.
  5. Add cooked beef cubes.
  6. Mash or puree the mix until consistency is adequate for baby.

Stage I (6-8 months)

Mango Madness
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 ripe mango
  • Liquid of choice (Formula, breast milk or water)
DIRECTIONS
  1. Peel, de-seed and chunk the mango.
  2. Place mango chunks in a blender or food processor.
  3. Add formula, breast milk or water and blend or mash until the proper consistency.
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Kaitlin Olson, Rob McElhenney Welcome Son

The It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia family has expanded!

Costars Kaitlin Olson and Rob McElhenney welcomed their first child, son Axel Lee McElhenney, at 12:52 p.m. on Wednesday, September 1 at their California home, their rep confirmed.

"I went into labor at the Phillies/Dodgers game on Tuesday night," says Olson. "As soon as Ryan Howard hit a three-run home run, we felt comfortable leaving to go have our baby. We love him like crazy, even though he made us miss the second half of the game."

The 35-year-old actress recently talked about her plans for a home birth.

"I decided on a home birth because I believe that as long as a pregnancy is normal and complication-free, your body knows what to do and does not need medical intervention. I think the key to having a baby naturally is being able to completely relax and get out of the way of your body’s ability to get the job done."

The FX cult comedy hit, which McElhenney created and executive produces, is set to return for its sixth season on September 16.

Congratulations to the Olson-McElhenney family!

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Thursday, September 02, 2010

Biosensor baby PJs track vital signs, behavior

If biosensor onesies sound absurd, consider the plethora of baby gadgetry that's hit the market in recent years: speakers for babies, tweeting for babies, clothing that changes color to reveal babies' moods.

Then consider a few scenarios: parents concerned about babysitter vigilance; mothers going back to work; that several-month window in which babies are at the highest risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

So while Exmovere Holdings, the maker of Exmobaby - supposedly the first baby garment to remotely monitor vital signs and behavior - may be guilty of preying on parents' worst fears, its rather futuristic onesie could also save lives.

CEO David Bychkov explains how it works:

"Each Exmobaby onesie will come with a baby-safe, rechargeable Zigbee wireless transceiver that snaps into a pouch. From there, the data is transmitted to a nearby PC or cell phone in order to keep parents and other caregivers informed of a baby's status. This continuous monitoring in real time will allow for an 'emotional umbilical cord' between mother and child."

The Zigbee wireless standard uses a wireless local area network (LAN) and is targeted at radio frequency applications requiring lower data rate and battery life. It's also compatible with a wide range of USB and mini SD-slot dongle devices, i.e. cell phones.

Parents or caretakers wanting to check in on a baby via cell phone or computer will see icons that represent the baby's heart rate, as well as "emotional state" and "behavior," categories the company admits are less exact. But Exmovere compares its software to voice recognition software, where accuracy increases over time as person-specific data compiles.

The first 1,000 onesies are scheduled to ship to select buyers from the Exmobaby waiting list in early 2011. Each kit will include an Exmobaby garment set (in, yes, blue or pink), a Zigbee transceiver, PC and cell phone monitoring software, and six months of online service. The company has not yet released pricing details.

Of course, babies aren't the only target market when it comes to wearable sensors. Think of elderly relatives in nursing homes. Suspicious lovers. International spies. Teenagers who just got a license to drive. For better or worse, the ability to monitor one another continues to improve.

Source

Free Yoga Maternity Tees from RockStarMoms

RockStarMoms Maternity is giving away 50 of their Floating Baby Tees to help kick off September's National Yoga Month and to support the growing popularity of prenatal yoga. Their newest design, Floating Baby Yoga, will be given to one mom-to-be in each of the 50 states. To be eligible, expectant moms must be enrolled in a prenatal yoga class AND be the FIRST person from their state to submit an entry. Once entered, instructions will be given on how they can be entered to win one of two $100 gift certificates for RockStarMoms Maternity Wear. Contest details can be found on the company's website at: http://www.rockstarmoms.com/giveaways.php

Prenatal yoga classes can be a great way to stay in shape during pregnancy when paired with cardiovascular exercise and healthy nutrition. According to Stacey Bell, owner of YogaBell Wellness, "Prenatal yoga is also beneficial because it promotes deep breathing and relaxation, which assists with the physical demands of labor, birth, and motherhood." In addition, "Yoga helps the body deal with stress by slowing heart and breathing rates and lowering blood pressure - a big plus for new moms and moms-to-be."

The Yoga Health Foundation has designated September as National Yoga Month to raise awareness of yoga's health benefits and provide the public with guidance and tools to improve their well-being. This month, over 1,000 National Yoga Month events will be held in communities nationwide.

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Study: Mothers and Fathers Play Differently

Oxytocin has been called "the love hormone" because levels of it rise in women during childbirth and breast-feeding, and it is thought to facilitate bonding. It is present in men, too, and everything from eye contact to orgasm can increase its amount.

But does the hormone stimulate bonding in new fathers as it does in new mothers? A new study in the journal Biological Psychiatry, the first to look at what its authors describe as “the transition to fatherhood,” suggests that it does. And it also suggests a biological basis for the fact that men and women so often relate differently to infant and toddlers, with women more often cooing and cuddling and men tickling and tossing.

First, Israeli researchers took blood samples from 80 couples, all first-time parents, when their children were 6 weeks, and then 6 months, old. Oxytocin levels at 6 weeks, they found, were just as high in new fathers as they were in new mothers (partners appear to “match” each other in the production of the hormone), and the levels rose over the next four and a half months.

The researchers also observed the couples as they interacted with their infants, noting how often each parent did things like gazing at the child, talking “mommy-ese” to him or her, playing with them and otherwise stimulating love and learning. Women with the highest levels of oxytocin were most likely to demonstrate what the journal article calls “affectionate parenting behaviors” while men with the highest levels were most likely to demonstrate “stimulatory parenting behaviors.”

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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

This Week's Celebrity Baby Bumps

Miranda Kerr covers her bump with a draping scarf over a flowing dress, Jodie Sweetin gave birth shortly after her baby shower, Christina Applegate keeps it simple in a black dress, Alicia Keys wears a neutral strapless top with matching shorts, Ali Larter is airport chic in all black, and Alanis Morissette goes on a date with the father-to-be in all black as well.

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A Sweet Documentation of a Woman's Pregnancy

Simply titled: "Eliza," this film made by an expectant mom will warm your heart.

Jodie Sweetin Welcomes a Daughter

Jodie Sweetin has a full house!

The 28-year-old actress and her boyfriend Morty Coyle welcomed daughter Beatrix Carlin on Tuesday (August 31), People reports.

"Jodie was amazing and is doing great," proud papa Coyle says. "We are now the proud, excited parents of Miss Beatrix Carlin Sweetin Coyle. We're already madly in love with Beatrix and are so grateful for the support from our family and friends. And we can't wait for her big sister Zoie to meet her."

Beatrix, whom dad is already calling "Bea," weighed in at 7 lbs., 4 oz. and was 19 inches in length. She is the couple's first child. Sweetin is also mom to 2-year-old daughter, Zoie, with ex-husband Cody Herpin.

Congratulations to the Sweetin-Coyle family!

Source

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New Clues to Unnecessary Cesareans

Federal health officials released some interesting data Monday aimed at trying to figure out why so many U.S. women are undergoing cesarean sections to deliver their babies.

The rate at which women are having C-sections has soared in recent years. About one-third of all babies are delivered using the surgical procedure. C-sections are necessary sometimes to save the baby or the mother or both. But experts think they're being done far too frequently, putting both the woman and her baby at unnecessary risk, making the mother's recovery a lot harder and adding a lot of extra costs to the nation's health-care bill.

In the new analysis, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development analyzed data collected at 19 hospitals about 228,668 births that occurred between 2002 and 2008.

Overall, the researches found that about a third of the deliveries were by C-section. Surprisingly, however, that was even the case for women giving birth for the first time -- not because they had previously had a C-section, which can make trying regular labor riskier. Slightly more than one-third of first-time moms had C-sections. Also surprising was the fact that half of the women attempting regular births had their labor induced. And half of C-sections occurred in women who had been induced but had not even dilated 6 centimeters. That suggests that doctors may be jumping the gun and turning to a C-section too early. It also might support the idea that part of the problem might be that women and their doctors are scheduling their deliveries for convenience.

But none of this proves any of that. It could be that a lot of these C-sections are needed because of problem pregnancies. More women are giving birth at older ages, when complications are more common. More obese women are also giving birth. Obese women are more prone to complications.

About one-third of the C-sections were among women who had had a previous C-section. And among those who tried a C-section again even though they had already had one, they were successful in about 57 percent of the cases.

The researchers stress that the study can't determine exactly how many of the C-sections were really unnecessary and could have been avoided. But the study does provide new evidence that more could be done to avoid women getting C-sections the first time around, and more could at least try a regular birth even if they have had a previous C-section.

Source

New moms get enough sleep, just not good sleep

Contrary to popular belief, new mothers may often get a decent amount of sleep in their babies' first few months - but it's not a good-quality sleep, a new study suggests.

The study, which followed a group of new moms, found that on average, the women got just over 7 hours of sleep per night during their babies' first four months. That is within what's generally recommended for adults, and, based on past studies, more than the average American gets.

On the other hand, the study found, that sleep is also frequently disrupted -- with the women typically being awake for a total of two hours overnight.

The finding may not sound surprising, especially to parents. But the study does challenge a central assumption about new mothers' typical sleep patterns, according to lead researcher Dr. Hawley E. Montgomery-Downs, an assistant professor of psychology at West Virginia University in Morgantown.

That assumption, she told Reuters Health, has been that most new moms are sleep-deprived -- that is, not getting enough hours of sleep.

So the advice on how to combat daytime fatigue has focused on countering sleep deprivation, Montgomery-Downs said -- such as the age-old adage to "nap when your baby naps."

But the current results, reported in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, suggest that new mothers' highly fragmented sleep is what's behind their daytime fatigue.

That sleep pattern, Montgomery-Downs said, is similar to what's seen with certain sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, where people log enough hours in bed, but get little restorative, good-quality sleep.

Sleep occurs in repeated cycles that each last about 90 minutes to two hours. Depending on how often a new mom is waking up, she may get few or no full cycles of sleep, Montgomery-Downs noted.

And a quick daytime nap is unlikely to counter that.

"We need to think about what kinds of strategies can help consolidate sleep" for these mothers, Montgomery-Downs said. One tactic, she suggested, could be for breastfeeding moms to find time to pump milk and store it in bottles so that they do not have to be the ones to always get up with the baby.

And while quick naps might not do much, Montgomery-Downs noted that "if you're one of the lucky parents" whose infants typically nap for at least two straight hours, taking that time to sleep could be helpful.

The findings are based on 74 new mothers who were followed between either the second and 13th week of their infants' lives, or between the 9th and 16th week. The women kept track of their sleep patterns using sleep "diaries," and also wore a wristwatch-like device called an actigraph that recorded their movements during the night.

Contrary to expectations, the researchers found that the women's average sleep time was about what it should be, at 7.2 hours. Instead, sleep fragmentation was the issue.

Relatively few mothers tried napping as a countermeasure. By the third week of their infants' lives, less than half of the women in the study said they napped, and among those who did, the average was twice per week.

Daytime fatigue, a problem reported by many new mothers in other studies, is a concern for several reasons, according to Montgomery-Downs. One is that, in some women, sleep problems and exhaustion may contribute to postpartum depression.

Beyond that, Montgomery-Downs said, fatigue can also hinder people's ability to drive safely or hurt their performance at work.

She argued that mothers' fragmented sleep and daytime fatigue call for a reconsideration of maternity work leave in the U.S. Right now, national policy states that workplaces with 50 or more employees have to offer up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave; the U.S. is the only Western country that does not mandate some amount of paid parental leave.

So many women, Montgomery-Downs said, may have to go back to work at a time when "they should really be taking care of themselves."

Source

Weinstein, Chapman blessed with another girl

Harvey Weinstein is quadruply blessed. The burly movie mogul's wife, Georgina Chapman, gave birth Sunday night to India Pearl Weinstein, friends tell Page Six. "Mother and daughter are doing great," added one. Weinstein has three daughters from his first marriage -- Lily, Emma and Ruthie. It's the first child for Georgina, the Marquesa designer who dressed many of the Emmy nominees. "Let's all hope she looks like Georgina," laughed one pal.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Lactic Acid Test Can Predict C-Section Birth

Lactic acid test can predict C-section birth, say doctors, as women with a high level of the acid in their system during pregnancy and labor may be unlikely to deliver vaginally, according to a new scientific study.

Doctors in Liverpool, England say that 25% of emergency c-section births could be avoided with a simple test to determine if there is an excessive level of lactic acid in the woman's bloodstream. Lactic acid causes the womb to contract, leading to painful, unproductive labor pains. The study says that if the acid levels are indeed high, allowing the contracting uterus to "rest" can help lower those levels and allow the birth to continue normally.

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Family win 18 year fight over MMR damage to son

A mother whose son suffered severe brain damage after he was given the controversial MMR vaccine as a baby has been awarded $140,000 compensation.

The judgment is the first of its kind to be revealed since concerns were raised about the safety of the triple vaccine.

Robert Fletcher, 18, is unable to talk, stand unaided or feed himself.

He endures frequent epileptic fits and requires round-the-clock care from his parents Jackie and John, though he is not autistic.

He suffered the devastating effects after being given the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine when he was 13 months old.

The Department of Health had always denied that the vaccine was the cause of Robert’s disability.

But now, in a judgment which will give hope to hundreds of other parents whose children have been severely affected by routine vaccinations, a medical assessment panel consisting of two doctors and a barrister has concluded that MMR was to blame.

Robert’s mother Jackie said the money would help with his care, though she described the amount as ‘derisory’.

Her first application for compensation under the Government’s Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme was rejected in 1997 on the grounds that it was impossible to prove beyond reasonable doubt what had caused Robert’s illness.

But Mrs Fletcher appealed and in a ruling delivered last week, a new panel of experts came to a different conclusion.

In a six-page judgment, they said: "Robert was a more or less fit boy who, within the period usually considered relevant to immunization, developed a severe convulsion... and he then went on to be epileptic and severely retarded. The seizure occurred ten days after the vaccination. In our view, this cannot be put down to coincidence. It is this temporal association that provides the link. It is this that has shown on the balance of probabilities that the vaccination triggered the epilepsy. On this basis, we find that Robert is severely disabled as a result of vaccination and this is why we allowed the appeal."

The ruling will reignite the debate over the safety of common childhood vaccines, although it makes clear that Robert’s case does not involve autism.

There is one other reported case of a family being given compensation as a result of an MMR jab.

The Government refuses to say how many awards have been directly attributed to this vaccine rather than other inoculations against illnesses such as diphtheria or whooping cough.

Details of successful claims involving vaccine-damaged children are seldom publicized because the Department of Health is thought to be anxious not to encourage a rush of applications.

Figures released in 2005 under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that tribunals had paid out about $5.5 million over the previous eight years.

Mrs Fletcher set up and runs pressure group JABS - Justice, Awareness and Basic Support.

Around 2,000 families seeking compensation for their vaccine-damaged children are registered with the group, which provides advice and support.

"My husband John and I have battled for 18 years for the cause of Robert's disability to be officially recognized," she said. "We were told the vaccine was perfectly safe. Like most people, we trusted what the doctors and nurses were putting to us. The money is a derisory amount though it will help with making adaptations to the house for Robert’s benefit. What matters is the recognition that MMR was the reason this happened."

Tory MP Nadine Dorries, a member of the Commons Health Committee, said: "If an independent panel has reached the conclusion that there has been a link between the MMR vaccine and the brain damage suffered by this boy in this case, then it is fair to assume that there could be as many as thousands of children and parents in the same position."

Dr Michael Fitzpatrick, a London GP whose own son is autistic, said: "It is a very important principle that parents should be compensated in cases of this kind. But although a causal link has been established in law in this instance, exhaustive scientific research has failed to establish any link between MMR and brain damage. This case should not make parents feel any different about the safety of the vaccine."

The Department of Health said: "This decision reflects the opinion of a tribunal on the specific facts of the case and they were clear that it should not be seen as a precedent for any other case. The safety of MMR has been endorsed through numerous studies in many countries."

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Breastfeeding May Lower Moms' Diabetes Risk

Breastfeeding for a month or longer appears to reduce a woman's risk of getting diabetes later in life, according to a new study.

The breastfeeding and diabetes link has been reported in other studies, according to researcher Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Her study lends more credence to the link, she says. "Moms who had ever breastfed were much less likely to develop diabetes," Schwarz tells WebMD. "Moms who had never breastfed had almost twice the risk of developing diabetes as moms who had."

The researchers evaluated data on 2,233 women. Of those, 405 were not mothers, 1,125 were mothers who breastfed for at least a month, and 703 were mothers who had never breastfed.

The risk of getting a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes for women who breastfed all their children for a month or longer was similar to that of women who had not given birth.

But mothers who had never breastfed were nearly twice as likely to develop diabetes as women who had never given birth.

Moms who never exclusively breastfed were about 1.4 times as likely to develop diabetes as women who breastfed exclusively for one to three months, Schwarz found.

Later in life, here is the breakdown of who developed diabetes:

  • 17.5% of the women who hadn't given birth.
  • 17% of the women who breastfed all their children for a month or longer.
  • 20.3% of those who breastfed, but not all children for a month or longer.
  • 26.7% of moms who didn't breastfeed.

Overweight and obesity were common among the participants, with 68% having a body mass index of 25 or more, considered outside the healthy weight range.

The link held, Schwarz says, even after controlling for factors such as weight, physical activity, and family history of diabetes.

While one month of breastfeeding appears to make a difference, Schwarz says even longer is better. "Previous studies have shown the longer the mom breastfeeds, the more benefit for your body."

The diabetes-breastfeeding link is probably explained by belly fat, Schwarz says. Moms who don't breastfeed, as they get older, may have more belly fat, she says, as breastfeeding helps new mothers take off weight. "Belly fat increases the risk of diabetes as you get older."

Some research has shown that breastfeeding may increase sensitivity to insulin, in turn reducing diabetes risk. But that may be short-term -- while the breastfeeding is occurring, Schwarz says. "The real problem may be the belly fat."

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