Friday, November 12, 2010

Jillian Barberie Reynolds Confirms Pink's Pregnancy

Good Day LA co-anchor Jillian Barberie Reynolds took to Twitter to confirm her good friend, Pink's, pregnancy news:
"Hey @Pink I'm sooooo happy for you lady!!! Congrats on baby!! Ps. You know your man whispered it to us at dinner. See I CAN keep a secret!!"
A source recently told Us that the 31-year-old singer and her 35-year-old husband Carey Hart are expecting their first child.

Congratulations to Pink and Carey!


Nicotine Linked to SIDS

 U.S. researchers say the greater risk of sudden infant death syndrome in babies of mothers who smoke may be linked to nicotine.

Hemant Sawnani and colleagues at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center reviewed human and animal studies concerning SIDS and concluded nicotine may negatively affect the development of the brain centers regulating breathing.

The study, published in Pediatric Allergy, Immunology and Pulmonology, noted infants of mothers who smoked during pregnancy had more pauses in breathing -- infant apnea -- and were less able to wake up from sleep in response to low oxygen.

"These findings highlight the importance of public health policies to prevent the development of tobacco dependence in adolescent girls and the importance of treatment of maternal tobacco dependence prior to pregnancy," the journal's editor, Dr. Harold Farber of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, says in a statement.

Farber explained SIDS is also known as crib death. He says an infant's risk of SIDS -- the leading cause of death during the first year of life -- is increased two- to five-fold by smoke exposure in utero.


Vera Farmiga Welcomes a Baby Girl

Up In The Air's Vera Farmiga is celebrating the birth of a healthy daughter.

'Happy and healthy' Gytta Lubov Hawkey arrived on November 4, according to a spokeswoman for the star.

She is a second child for the Academy Award-nominated actress and husband Renn Hawkey.

Gytta joins big brother Flynn, 22 months.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Parents turn a cold shower on pre-baby tradition

It was just like any other open house: A couple dozen men and women popping in and out, snacking on sandwiches and sipping beer and wine. But something besides pita and pulled chicken was being passed around during the get-together last fall: the hostess' 2-week-old daughter, Ella, the star of the party.
Known as meet-the-baby bashes, welcome-to-the-world parties or sip-and-sees - as in, sip some Champagne, see what the stork brought - this newfangled way of celebrating a new arrival is just one example of how the traditional, ladies-and-onesies baby shower is getting a makeover.

There are coed "pregnancy parties" that take place in dark hipster bars. There are necessities-only "sprinkles" (vs. showers) in which parents-to-be request diapers and wipes as opposed to rompers and rattles. There are "favorite book-showers" that have guests springing for copies of Goodnight Moon. And there are casual Sunday afternoon, watch-some-football-and-play-some-pool couples' affairs where the guest of honor just happens to be a woman with a swollen belly.

"There's nobody on the planet that's like, 'I'm so excited! I get to go to a baby shower today,' " says Carley Roney, editor in chief of baby website TheBump. "For years, they've had a reputation for being sweet for the family but boring" for everyone else who has to sacrifice their Saturday. "They've been ripe for a change for a while."

Especially after, like their wedding cousins, baby showers reached bloated, pre-recession proportions. Roney remembers professionally planned, $100-a-head affairs at four-star restaurants, complete with goody bags, thanks in part to the rise of the highly publicized celebrity baby extravaganza. Moms-to-be were having multiple, bottles-to-bassinets showers thrown for them — for multiple babies, not just their first. "It all got kind of out of control," Roney says.

Second- — and third- and fourth- — baby showers seem especially unseemly nowadays, say moms and motherhood experts. Even if baby No. 2 is a different gender, "you would use the same gear," says Amy Tara Koch, a mother of two daughters and the author of Bump It Up: Transform Your Pregnancy Into the Ultimate Style Statement.

Credit not only the downsized economy but also the increased age of parenthood for the shift toward scaling back. The proportion of first births to women 35 and older has increased nearly eight-fold since 1970, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and "the older you get, the less comfortable you feel with people buying you gifts in the first place," Roney says — and with being the center of attention. By your mid-30s, you're more secure in your style, you know what you want and you have your own income — and these days, "it seems too obnoxious to put a $750 stroller on your registry," Roney says. Between the awkwardness and pickiness, "there's just general discomfort anyway, and with the recession, there's triple discomfort, which is really instigating this backlash."

So now there's an emphasis on no gifts, group gifts, generic-brand gifts and gifts that are gently used or creative (handmade quilts and blankets, IOUs for babysitting or a tray of lasagna), not to mention dollar-store decorations and electronic invitations — and a resolutely relaxed feel.

With her first child and due in April, Abby Schiller is going for "more of a hangout session" at a friend's or relative's house, where male and female guests will cradle margaritas and gaze at her baby. She doesn't intend to put gift-unwrapping on the agenda. "I'll want to enjoy my time after being cloistered."

Melisa Coburn was able to bundle in other excuses for celebrating Magnolia, her latest bundle of joy: big brother Jasper's second birthday and the end of a major house renovation. So on a Saturday afternoon in September 2006, about two dozen guests came by for a gander at her new Brooklyn backyard and 8-week-old baby. "It just seemed like a nice confluence of events," says Coburn, 43, a parenting lifestyle blogger and stay-at-home mom.

But there's another basis for the increasing popularity of the post-birth party: Parents are getting the memo that dealing with a wellspring of well-wishers can be just as much of a headache as dealing with a colicky newborn. And that, really, it's all about the baby, not the mom.

"Everyone's like, 'I want to come see!' " says Ruthie Manna, who threw a sparkling wine-and-antipasto meet-the-baby party for daughter Eva in December, when she was about a month old. "But it's impossible when the baby's born to appease everybody" and prevent random drop-ins. "Plus, I'm not always presentable," jokes Manna, 27, who works in health behavioral research and lives in Glen Ridge, N.J.

Babytalk magazine executive editor Megan Padilla, who has seen the trend toward couples' cocktail parties-cum-pre-birth showers grow over the past two years, has reservations about sip- and-sees. "It's a lot of people to expose your baby to," she says. And guests "don't fess up that they have runny noses or diarrhea. They don't really think about the impact their health could have on this baby," whose immune system is still developing.

Schiller isn't worried. If one of her invitees comes down with, say, the flu, she'll politely ask them to stay home. And for everyone else, "I have no problem saying, 'Hey, welcome. Let me squirt your palms with Purell.' "

Carrie Prejean is Pregnant

Beauty queen Carrie Prejean and her husband, Oakland Raiders quarterback Kyle Boller, are expecting their first child together, the couple told in an exclusive interview.

"We are just so excited," the three-months-pregnant Prejean told on Wednesday. "I'm due in May on my grandmother's birthday. She recently passed away, so that's very special to us."

Boller, 29, and Prejean, 23, tied the knot in July and told Fox they started trying for a family about a month after their big day. They said the journey so far has had its challenges.

“I’m trying to stay healthy, but it has been tough. I’ve been getting night sickness,” Prejean said. “We’ve started thinking about names, but we are keeping it to ourselves for right now. It has been fun looking at baby books.”

The couple intends to find out the sex of their unborn child next week. 

Boller said he couldn’t be more ecstatic about becoming a father.

“I have the most beautiful pregnant wife ever, we are so in love and this was just the best news when we found out a couple of weeks ago,” Boller said, adding that they celebrated with a big hug and shed a few happy tears.

Prejean initially shot to fame in the Miss USA pageant in April 2009, when she voiced her stance against same-sex marriage during the interview portion of the contest. After a tumultuous few months in the media spotlight, the San Diego native, who was named first runner-up in the Miss USA pageant, was stripped of her Miss California sash over claims she failed to meet her contractual obligations.

Special Infant Formula Might Help Shield Babies from Type 1 Diabetes

Offering your baby a special formula when weaning off breastfeeding may offer some protection against the development of the antibodies associated with type 1 diabetes, if you have a family history of the disease, new research suggests.

When Finnish researchers randomly assigned 230 babies at high risk of type 1 diabetes to receive either a regular infant formula, or one that was extensively hydrolyzed - which means the proteins in the formula are already partially broken down and more readily available for digestion - they found that the extensively hydrolyzed formula cut the rate of developing diabetes-linked antibodies in the blood by about half.

"We observed that early dietary intervention [with extensively hydrolyzed formula] decreased the frequency of diabetes-associated autoantibodies, which are markers of an ongoing disease process, by about 50 percent by the age of 10 years," said the study's lead author, Dr. Michael Knip, a professor of pediatrics at the Hospital for Children and Adolescents in Helsinki, Finland.

The results of the study were published in the Nov. 11 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Five immune system autoantibodies have been linked to type 1 diabetes. Having one of these antibodies isn't a guarantee that you'll develop type 1 diabetes, but it does indicate an increased risk for the disease. People who have two or more type 1 antibodies have between a 50 and 100 percent risk of developing type 1 diabetes, according to background information in the study.

Previous research has suggested that breastfeeding may offer some protection against the development of these antibodies, possibly because breastfeeding delays the introduction of infant formula, which contains complex proteins. Formula may somehow trigger the development of autoantibodies as these proteins are broken down for digestion.

The current study was randomized and double-blind (meaning neither the parents nor the researchers knew who was getting what), and compared regular baby formula to one that was made easier for babies to digest because the proteins were broken down (extensively hydrolyzed).

Babies were offered the formula during the first 6 to 8 months of life, any time breastfeeding wasn't available. They were then followed till they were about 10 years old, according to the study.

After adjusting the data to try to account for the duration of exposure to one of the study formulas, the researchers found that the extensively hydrolyzed formula reduced the risk of having one diabetes autoantibody by 49 percent, and the risk of having two or more autoantibodies by 53 percent.

How the highly hydrolyzed formula might reduce the risk of developing diabetes-predictive antibodies is unknown, but the researchers speculated that it might contribute to reduced gut permeability or changes in gut microflora, among other things.

"I think the authors designed this study to address their hypothesis that proteins present in non-hydrolyzed formula might incite an immune response, and by breaking them down, you might eliminate the immune response. But, there are quite a few steps between that and how the immune system or diabetes are triggered," added Dr. Mary Lee, a professor of pediatrics and cell biology and chief of the pediatric endocrine division at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center.

Experts stressed that there is currently no definitive evidence to suggest that the use of standard cow's milk formulas leads to an increased incidence of diabetes compared to breastfeeding. The hydrolyzed formula is also considerably more expensive than standard formula, experts point out.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

This Week's Celebrity Baby Bumps

Alanis Morissette bares her bump on the beach, and later she smiles in a cute black dress, Ali Larter is bumping it up in black on two separate outings, Penelope Cruz stays close to Javier during a stroll, and Toni Collette wears a white and blue ensemble with cowboy boots.

5 Breastfeeding Myths

While 25 percent of American women never initiate breastfeeding, another 75 percent do, and yet by 6 months, only 13 percent of babies are still breastfed, despite the fact that the recommendation is that all babies be exclusively breastfed until at least that age. What goes wrong in such a short period of time in our country?

Some is just a choice by Mom, but most commonly, it's a combination of poor support combined with bad information: difficult obstacles for anyone to overcome to accomplish anything, really. Here are five myths about breastfeeding that stand in the way of successful nursing relationships.

Myth 1: Jaundiced newborns need to be supplemented with formula to lower bilirubin levels.
This is one of the most common reasons that newborns are given formula -- the doctor sees elevated bilirubin levels (common in half of babies!) and says the mother needs to supplement formula, as breastfeeding "raises the levels," or because it's lasted longer than a week. The jaundice level (a byproduct of the breakdown of red blood cells) is removed from the body via the liver, so a baby needs to poop to lower the levels. As breastfed babies poop more frequently, their levels actually drop quicker, but it can take 5-10 days in a full-term infant for the liver to develop a little more to properly excrete the blood-cell byproduct. The biggest factor in breastfed babies having jaundice is actually poor breastfeeding initiation -- in order to poop it out, they have to have good intake. Hospitals that promote immediate, on-demand, frequent breastfeeding and provide lactation consultants have much less problem-babies with jaundice, and in a situation where a well-fed infant still has worrisome levels, very frequent breastfeeding in addition to bilirubin lights is the most effective combination -- no formula necessary.

Myth 2: A mother who needs to undergo anesthesia for surgery must temporarily/permanently stop breastfeeding.
Plenty a mom has said she needed to stop/pause nursing due to anesthesia, but once you are awake enough to hold and nurse your baby, the level of anesthesia in your body is little enough that it no longer has an effect. Not to mention that in cases of surgery on a pediatric patient, they receive way more anesthesia medication than is in your milk. Also, there's a huge list of acceptable antibiotics and good pain killers for you post-surgery that are totally acceptable while nursing -- no need to wean at all.

Myth 3: If you can't pump an ounce in a day, that's a good sign that you don't have enough milk.
Heard the saying, "A pump is not an indication of your supply"? If not, now you have. Your baby is much better at getting milk out than a pump. Considering breast shape and size vary so much, it's common that women have issues with pumps without more custom pieces and then think that because they don't yield 6 ounces, that their body isn't making milk. Not true! In fact, your baby could be eating 30 ounces a day from your body, but you might only be able to pump half an ounce, even if you try all day long. It is normal for it to take 2-3 pumping sessions to produce enough milk for just one feeding. Never assume that the pump tells you anything about your supply. The only indication of supply is baby's behavior and output. If baby is peeing and pooping enough, you're making enough.

Myth 4: A newborn who hasn't regained their birth weight by two weeks old needs supplementation.
IV fluids during your birth can give an artificially high initial birth weight, since baby is filled with saline, too. That is why weight gain after birth should be counted from the lowest weight after birth. Do NOT measure from the weight at birth. Up to a 10 percent initial drop is acceptable, and it generally takes 10-14 days to regain that weight, but can take three weeks or sometimes even more. As long as baby is still pooping and peeing at appropriate levels, generally it can be safe to assume your child is just intended to weigh less or is taking longer to gain. Four to 7 ounces per week is a wide accepted range for gain in the first month.

Myth 5: A baby who nurses frequently is doing so because there isn't enough milk to satiate them.
Eight to 12 nursing sessions in one day sounds like a lot, right? Every two hours, from start of one feeding to the next? You can nurse for 15-45 minutes, so sometimes with a newborn, you are going to almost literally be nursing them for a few hours straight. Learn how to nurse while walking and holding the baby with one arm, or even put the baby in a wrap so you can nurse and walk, hands-free. But never think that a baby who nurses 12 times or is hungry every hour isn't getting enough breast milk -- check the output!


First five years of life events linked to pregnancy age

A lack of maternal involvement with young girls can lead to them having babies at a younger age, a new study has suggested.

Experts from Newcastle University found this to be one of the early life factors which seem to have an impact on the age at which girls give birth.

Other links included short duration of breast feeding, frequent family housing moves and lack of paternal involvement.

Researchers studied the records of nearly 4,500 women for all backgrounds and regions of the UK.
They found that girls who were separated from their mothers for a period of time in their first five years of life were likely to give birth to their own first child more two years earlier than those who had been in full contact throughout early childhood.

Dr Daniel Nettle, lead author of the study and reader in psychology at Newcastle University, said: "Interestingly, where the separation from the mother was more permanent, such as over 24 months, the effect goes away.

"The child whose mother has been away for 24 months or more is likely to have been adopted into a more stable family.

"This suggests that it is the security of attachment which has important effects on the developing child."
He added: "It is hard to show causality, we have controlled for various factors as much as we can and we believe these links are clear.

"The next step will be to examine the men from the same cohort."


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Common pain relief during pregnancy linked to reproductive problems in male babies

Taking mild painkilllers such as aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen during pregnancy, especially during the second trimester, can cause a sharp increase in reproductive problems in male offspring, researchers from Denmark, Finland and France reported Monday. The team found that women who used two of the drugs simultaneously during the second trimester were as much as 16 times as likely to bear a son with undescended testicles, a condition known as cryptorchidism. Cryptorchidism is known to be a risk factor for poor semen quality and testicular germ cell cancer in later life.  The researchers demonstrated in rats that the drugs block the production of testosterone, which is necessary for the formation of male sex organs.

Reproductive biologist Henrik Lefferts of the University of Copenhagen and his colleagues questioned 834 pregnant women in Denmark and 1,463 in Finland about their medication use, then examined their sons at birth. The Danish women received only a written questionnaire, while the Finnish women received both a written questionnaire and a phone interview. The women were more likely to say they had taken the painkillers in the phone interview, apparently not considering them to really be "medications."

The team found that women who used more than one painkiller simultaneously had a seven-fold increase in risk of having a son with cryporchidism compared with women who took nothing. The second trimester appeared to be particularly sensitive. Any painkiller use during this period doubled the risk of cryptorchidism. Ibuprofen or aspirin quadrupled the risk, while acetaminophen doubled the risk. Using more than one painkiller simultaneously led to a 16-fold increase in risk. Overall, the researchers said, the incidence of cryptorchidism in Denmark during the study was 8.5%, compared with 1.8% in a similar study in 1959 to 1961. "Moreover, this finding is in accordance with the reported decline in reproductive health in the adult male population in the last five decades," they wrote in their report in the journal Human Reproduction.

As part of the same study, biologist Ulla Hass of the Technical University of Denmark in Soborg and Bernard Jegou of the University of Rennes in France found that the analgesics disrupted the production of androgenic hormones in rats, leading to an insufficient supply of the male hormone testosterone during the crucial early period of gestation when the male organs were forming. The effects were comparable to that caused by similar doses of known endocrine disruptors such as phthalates, whch are used in the manufacture of plastics like PVCs.

In a statement, Lefferts said that, "Women may want to try to reduce their analgesic use during pregnancy. However, as biologists, this is not something we can advise women about. So we recommend that pregnant women seek advice from their physician before using mild analgesics and in general follow the advice to use as little medicine during pregnancy as possible."


Babies' brains 'resemble those of Neanderthals'

The differences between our brains and those of our extinct relatives take shape mainly after birth and in the initial 12 months, a report in Current Biology said.  

The findings are based on comparisons of virtual imprints of the developing brain and surrounding structures, called endocasts, derived from the skulls of modern and fossilised humans, including that of a newborn Neanderthal.

Dr Philipp Günz of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, who undertook the study, said the differences researchers observed in early brain development were thought to reflect changes in the underlying brain circuitry. It is this internal organization of the brain that matters most for cognitive ability.

He said: ''In modern humans, the connections between diverse brain regions that are established in the first years of life are important for higher-order social, emotional and communication functions. It is therefore unlikely that Neanderthals saw the world as we do.''

The new findings show that, at the time of birth, both Neanderthals and modern humans have elongated braincases, but only modern human endocasts change to a more globular shape in the first year of life.
Dr Günz added: ''The distinct globular braincase shape of adult humans is therefore largely the result of an early brain development phase that is absent from Neanderthals.''

The research team had earlier found the developmental patterns of chimpanzee and human brains are remarkably similar after the first year of life, but differ markedly immediately after birth.

The latest study therefore shows the ''globularization phase'' of brain development distinguishes modern humans not only from chimpanzees, but also from Neanderthals.



Breast Milk Low in Vitamin D

More new mothers today choose to breastfeed their children, as this is the most natural way to go about taking care of the young ones. But breast milk does not provide sufficient amounts of vitamin D.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a newborn needs to receive as much as 400 international units (IU) of the chemical each single day. Breast milk doesn't come even close to supplying that amount of the stuff.

In adults, simple exposure to sunlight for 10 minutes each day leads to the creation of sufficient amounts of vitamin D in the skin, but infants need to be protected until they are six months old, due to the fact that exposure to sunlight increases skin cancer risk.
AAP recommendations show that newborns need to be administered extra vitamin D shortly after birth, in the form of droplets. But only 5 to 13 percent of new moms know this when they give birth, LiveScience reports.

“I think that the perception that 'breast is best' leaves people just giving the breast milk and thinking that there isn’t anything else that the breast milk might be missing,” explains University of Michigan pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Joyce Lee.

He says that statistics for 2007-2008 show that only half of pediatrics experts recommend vitamin D supplements for newborns. The literature new moms usually read before giving birth is also scarce in mentions of these supplements.

The reason why vitamin D is so critically important is because it facilitates the absorption and fixation of calcium and phosphorus from food into bones, making them stronger. Without the vitamin, calcium deposition patterns go haywire, and the chemicals in unevenly distributed, and also poorly absorbed.

This can over time lead to skeletal deformities, and bones that are a lot easier to break or fracture. The vitamin also provides a boost for the children's immune systems, which will come in handy later in life.

One of the reasons why pediatricians do not recommend supplements is because they fear that mothers who want to breastfeed may be deterred from doing so when they learn about the vitamin D deficiency.

“We really want parents to breastfeed, and if we're saying the breast milk really isn't complete, that you need something extra, then that might be an inhibition to breastfeeding,” explains Dr Kenneth Feldman.

He holds an appointment as a pediatrician at the Seattle Children's Hospital. “So those folks who place a greater importance on having the breastfeeding itself […] might elect not to do anything that would dissuade families from breastfeeding,” he adds. 


Monday, November 08, 2010

Breastfeeding Moms Get Same Amount of Sleep as Formula Feeding Moms

Mothers hoping to get a little more shut-eye by formula-feeding should put that notion to bed. It's just not true, according to a new study in the December issue of Pediatrics published online Monday.

No matter whether moms breast-fed, formula-fed or did a combination of both, they got the same amount of sleep and considered themselves equally exhausted. This study gives women on the fence another reason to commit to breastfeeding, conveying well-documented health benefits for baby - and mother. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies be exclusively breast-fed for six months and continue to receive breast milk for at least a year.

The research, from West Virginia University (WVU), also turns another new motherhood truism on its head — that annoying and completely unrealistic admonition to “nap when baby naps.”

“When a woman has a baby, she is given a whole Welcome to Motherhood basket of advice,” says Hawley Montgomery-Downs, an assistant professor of psychology and coordinator of WVU's behavioral neuroscience program. “A lot is anecdotal and very little is supported by empirical evidence.”

Most new mothers have likely heard that formula-feeding — and maybe a touch of rice cereal, as my grandma insisted — will help their babies sleep longer. It's true that formula takes babies longer to digest, while breast milk is processed more fully and quickly because of its composition. But even if bottle-fed babies are sleeping longer, their moms are not, say the researchers.

Miriam Labbok, director of the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill calls the results a “helpful finding for the field.”

“The perception is that the breast-feeding mom is up day and night, always breast-feeding,” says Labbok. “But when you're bottle-feeding, you're up day and night always bottle-feeding, too.”

That was borne out by the data collected from the new mothers, who were tracked from the beginning of the second week after their baby was born until the end of the twelfth week. The women — divided into groups who breast-fed, formula-fed and alternated back and forth — wore wrist actigraphs, a watch-like device that records movement to determine when sleep occurs. Each morning, they used a PDA to rank their sleep quality from 0 to 100. They also shared how many times they thought they awoke during the night and how long they thought they stayed awake. To top it off, whenever they fed their baby during the day, they would use the PDA to enter how sleepy they felt right then.

This wealth of postpartum data yielded a surprising conclusion: there was no difference among the groups.
That, of course, raised other questions. “If it's true that breast-feeding infants wake up more often but their mothers don't, there has to be something going on,” says Montgomery-Downs.

Maybe breast-feeding moms wake only to latch their babies on, then return to dreamland. I can certainly vouch for that happening. Or maybe formula-feeding moms catapult themselves into a more alert state as they pad downstairs, flip on the light to prepare a bottle and move around more than a breast-feeding mom.

Yet even though these new moms are certifiably wiped out, they're not sleep-deprived: the 80 mothers surveyed reported getting 7.2 hours of sleep a night.

Yet even if they're not technically deprived of sleep, they are legitimately being deprived of good sleep. The moms tell of sleeping in bursts, a phenomenon the researchers refer to as “sleep fragmentation.” “This is not a sleep disorder,” says Montgomery-Downs. “This is what new moms do.”

Since sleep fragmentation is the main issue with new moms' sleep, it makes little sense to nap alongside your baby — unless you know your baby is likely to snooze for at least 90 minutes, which is how long an adult's sleep cycle lasts. It's better to just go to bed early and take advantage of the longer chunks of sleep an infant typically experiences at night.

For those breast-feeding moms who crave the occasional night off that formula-feeding provides (since anyone can give a baby a bottle, while only Mom, obviously, can breast-feed), Montgomery-Downs suggests pumping in between sleep cycles, then handing off a bottle of breast milk to dad.

Montgomery-Downs called the study's results “good, objective research” to fend off well-intentioned naysayers such as “practitioners and friends and mothers-in-law who say, 'We know it's hard, we know you're exhausted.'”

“It ought to be reassuring to breast-feeding moms,” she says. “Stopping breastfeeding is not going to be the answer.”

Read more:

10 Biggest Pregnancy Myths Debunked

People have been providing pregnant women with all kinds of advice - welcome and unwelcome, true and superstitious - since the beginning of recorded history (and probably before then, too). Most moms-to-be are familiar with the seemingly unending list of things they're not supposed to do or should always do offered up by doctors, nurses, mothers-in-law, friends and even people on the street. Yet not all those dos and don'ts, myths and recommendations of pregnancy are necessarily true. Here are some of the biggest pregnancy myths and the truth that underlies them so new moms can make up their own minds about what's fact and what's fiction.
  1. You can't eat fish while pregnant. It's true that some types of fish contain mercury, which can be harmful to both you and your developing baby, and fillets that have been improperly prepared or stored can cause food poisoning. Yet that doesn't mean that women should avoid all fish during pregnancy. If it was as harmful as this myth leads pregnant women to believe, there'd be a lot more trouble with child birthing in places like Japan where fish-based dishes are a common practice. Instead of eliminating all fish from your diet, eat smart and stick to smaller fish and those that have been frozen first to kill any parasites that could make you sick. Fish are packed with valuable Omega-3 fatty acids that will enhance the development of the baby's brain and help you from going into premature labor. If you're still uncomfortable with the idea, stock up on fish oil supplements instead.
  2. Dying your hair while pregnant will hurt the baby. In times past, this myth may have been entirely true. But since the 1980's, hair dyes have been free from the many of the harmful substances that could injure your developing baby. Of course, each brand is different and some will contain more ingredients you'll feel safer avoiding than others, so you'll need to shop around or ask a professional for help. The greatest risk of exposure to the child is during the first trimester, and most doctors will green light hair coloring from the second trimester on. If you seek out eco-friendly and non-toxic dyes, you should be able to dye your hair without worry throughout your pregnancy – though these vegetable-based solutions may not last as long. If you want to avoid chemicals contacting your scalp, switch to simple highlights or lowlights, which can be applied without touching your scalp. With so many options these days, women don't have to give up looking good to keep their babies healthy.
  3. Carrying high means a girl, carrying low means a boy. This is one of the most widely spread myths about pregnancy and one that is based on absolutely zero medical evidence. It gets passed on because, very often, it is right. But that's not because it's sound from a scientific standpoint. That's because it has a fifty-fifty chance of being right, pretty good odds when you think about it. Moms-to-be should just keep in mind that there's no way to tell the sex of a bay without and ultrasound or until he or she is actually born. The shape of your belly is determined by your muscle tone and how close you are to delivery, not the sex of the baby.
  4. Babies should be kept indoors after birth. There are many people out there who believe that babies should be kept indoors for the first few months after birth to protect them from the elements and any potential illness they might contract. The reality is, they have just as much of a chance of getting sick inside the home as out – especially if you have a lot of guests coming to see your little one. Your baby will be born with an immune system in place, but it does take some time to develop fully, so make sure anyone who touches your baby washes their hands first and keep the little one away from those who are sick. As long as you bundle your little one up if it's chilly out, avoid big crowds where your child could be coughed or sneezed on and use your common sense, you should feel safe taking your baby with you anywhere and everywhere.
  5. You shouldn't take baths or go swimming while you are pregnant. It's unclear whether this myth is rooted in the fear that women will contract an infection or because, more ridiculously, that she'll drown the baby by submerging herself in water above the waist. Both fears, however, have no scientific evidence to back them up, and healthy pregnant women should feel free to swim and bathe as they see fit. The only time pregnant women should skip the submersion? When the water is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and in cases where she has lost the mucus plug protecting her baby – which could invite infection. Women may even find that taking a bath or getting in the pool helps them relieve some the stress carrying around that extra baby weight puts on their bodies.
  6. Pregnant women shouldn't sleep on their backs. This myth states that pregnant women cannot sleep on their backs because it will close off the blood flow to the uterus and slowly kills the developing baby. It is true that laying on your back to sleep can cause reduced blood flow. Will this kill your baby or cause permanent damage? It's incredibly unlikely. A pregnant woman's body warns her of decreased blood flow long before it can become an issue, making her uncomfortable enough to change positions. A pregnant woman who has a healthy pregnancy should feel free to lay however she feels comfortable, including on her back, without worrying about any long-term damage to her child. After all, if laying on your back was so bad, why would women deliver babies that way in the hospital?
  7. Avoiding spicy food will help protect your baby. If spicy foods meant premature labor or trouble for a developing baby, then women in a wide range of cultures around the world would be in a lot of trouble. Spicy food is perfectly safe for women to eat no matter where they are in their pregnancy and will not send them into labor, impede development or in any way harm the baby's skin. The only real side effect from eating spicy foods? Heartburn. Many women already suffer from it and spicy foods can make it worse. If they don't bother you then feel free to eat away.
  8. Lotions can help prevent stretch marks. Think rubbing that cocoa butter or vitamin E lotion on your belly will prevent stretch marks? No matter what advertisements on TV tell you, this simply isn't the case. While the lotion might help soothe your skin as it is pulled taut by you rapidly expanding mid-section, it won't keep those stretch marks at bay. The only factor that determines whether or not you'll get stretch marks is your genetics. Some people will have skin that's elastic enough to stretch without damage and others will get highly visible marks even when they're carrying a small baby. While it won't hurt to put lotion on your belly, the best it can do is to help keep your skin moisturized and as healthy as possible so you'll lessen the impact of any scarring that might occur.
  9. Pregnant women should avoid travel. This myth is two-pronged. For airline travel, some think that the x-rays and sensors of airport security systems will harm the baby. The amount of X-ray radiation used is incredibly minimal and should not hurt you or your developing child. Secondly, some people think women just shouldn't travel at all while pregnant. If you can't bear to think of a nine month hiatus from going pretty much anywhere other than to run simple errands, then you're in luck since this is just another pregnancy myth. Up until 34 weeks, healthy women with a normal pregnancy should feel free to travel just as if they're not pregnant. This limit isn't because it isn't safe to travel afterwards, but because you probably don't want to end up giving birth while away from home and your own doctor or somewhere where there might not be immediate medical care. Like a plane, for instance.
  10. You shouldn't pet your cat while pregnant. This pregnancy myth is rooted in good intentions, as contact with cat litter can cause a woman to contract a parasite known as toxoplasma gondii. This parasite can cause serious deformities in a developing fetus, so pregnant women should enjoy a blissful nine months of getting someone else to do the work. Other interactions with your cat, however, should be perfectly safe. Mothers shouldn't feel wary petting, feeding, playing and cuddling with their cats, especially since they'll soon have little time for them when the new baby arrives. For those who are worried, make sure to wash your hands after contact with your furry friend and you should be in the clear. Additionally, the risk of contracting the illness from an indoor cat is pretty small, as the parasite is transmitted to the cat by eating prey already carrying the parasite– something your cat food only eating cat probably doesn't have to worry about.
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The Latest Figures on American Motherhood

First, the bad news: 1 in 4 women who had a baby between June 2007 and June 2008 were living in poverty, according to the most recent Census figures. Then, the not-so-bad news: of the 1.5 million unmarried mothers who gave birth that year, a quarter were actually cohabiting with a partner, so perhaps they weren't exactly "single" moms. And last, the percentage of working women who gave birth grew between 2007 and 2008, from 57% to 61%.

These findings are contained in the latest report from the Census Bureau, Fertility of American Women: 2008, which also found that between June 2007 and June 2008, about 4 million American women aged 15 to 44 gave birth. Fertility data are collected every two years, but this is the first report to publish cohabitation data.

Most of the trends identified in the new report are familiar. Blacks and Hispanics have more kids than whites and Asians. Women who have more education delay childbirth and are usually married when they have kids. About 25% of all children who took their first breath in the 12 months before June 2008 were the offspring of foreign-born women, most of whom were not citizens. A quarter of those non-citizens lived in California.

But keeping an eye on Census figures is sometimes like watching an incredibly slow car crash. Consider that more than a half-million women under 30 with less than a high school education had babies in 2007-2008. Almost 57% of them were living without a partner. Then consider that two of the biggest preconditions for poverty are low levels of education and single parenthood.

At the other end of the spectrum, nearly three quarters of a million women older than 30 with a college degree had children. And 93% of them were living with their husbands.

The more education women had, the more likely they were to return to work within the first year of their child's life. And divorced women were marginally, by 10 percentage points, more likely than married women to have returned to full-time work.

While cohabiting without marrying is becoming increasingly common, the trend hasn't yet shown long-term legs among parents. Although about a fifth of moms under 30 with a high school education and 14% with some college lived with someone, most of the mothers over 30, no matter their level of education, were married.

Significantly, however, this data was collected in June 2008, before the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the recession, which, some experts have suggested have pushed people to live together at higher rates than before.

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