Friday, March 04, 2011

Friday Wrap-up: Parenting and Pregnancy News

5 Unique Ways to Save Baby's First Lock of Hair [LilSugar]

Mike Huckabee Attacks Natalie Portman For "Glamorizing" Single Motherhood [Jezebel]

E. coli found on 50 percent of shopping carts [MSNBC]

Some Painkillers Linked to Heightened Risk of Birth Defects [Fox News]

Elizabeth Banks is expecting a baby via surrogate [Celebitchy]

Topical Steroids Found to Double Fetal Growth-Retardation Risk [Internal Medicine News]

Baby born stillborn, amazes doctors by coming back to life after 25 minutes [Daily Mail]

Research Uncovers Clue to SIDS [Health Day]

Migraine drug ups risk for oral birth defects [Reuters]

NY City Council Favors Pregnancy Center Disclosures [NYTimes]

Depression After Miscarriage Can Linger [WebMD]

Mom and Dad Kid Themselves Over the Joy of Parenting [LiveScience]

The Stigma of Single Mothers

Being a single parent is one of the toughest jobs on the planet and yet, many children with single parents become successful and well-adjusted. The President of the United States, Lance Armstrong, and Eleanor Roosevelt were all raised by single parents. So why, when Americans took part in a large poll were they so intolerant of single mothers?

According to the Pew Research poll of nearly 3,000 Americans, 70% said single mothers are “bad for society,” ranking them below interracial and gay parents. The results have many pundits surprised and confused.

Rich Moran, Senior Editor of the Pew Research Center puts forth a few reasons for these results on NPR news: “…people who study family dynamics have some answers. The big one is that people know single mothers. And they read about single motherhood, and they see the consequences of it…Then they look at things like gay couples, and they see children being raised by loving parents, financially secure. When they look at the outcomes of single motherhood, you know, they see increase in drop-out rate, increase in poverty and an increase in children who go - who have their first child before 20 without being married.”

One caller on the same NPR show said: “I took that Pew poll, and I answered that single moms were bad for society. My reason was that I know how hard it is to be the sole economic and nurturing support and that our society does so little help.”

Are you a single parent? Do people treat you differently than other parents?

For single mothers, stigma difficult to shake [NPR]

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Would you eat your placenta?

The practice of consuming placenta after giving birth is not new, in fact it’s been followed for hundreds of years in Traditional Chinese medicine, but its popularity is increasing among some mothers in Western countries. No studies have confirmed the usefulness of the practice, called placentophagy, and many medical professionals scoff at the idea. Still, some mothers swear by the positive effects on their healing time and depression.

The idea behind eating the placenta is to replace some of the hormones that are suddenly depleted after giving birth, a drop that some people believe is the root of the baby blues. Proponents of the practice are quick to point out that all mammals in the animal kingdom eat their placenta. However, animal researchers believe that consuming the placenta helps animals to relieve pain and avoid leaving a scent for predators. Nevertheless, one study of rats found that eating their own placenta caused their bodies to increase production of prolactin, the hormone responsible for lactation.

Human placenta is usually dried, ground, put into capsules and taken like a vitamin; although some women actually cook with it, mix it into smoothies or even eat it raw. This unique method of preparation has been making the rounds on message boards, attributed to midwife Janneli Miller:

“After the placenta is prepared it is taken in capsule form, 2 capsules at a time, with white wine. The wine is said to help disperse the energy of the placenta throughout the body. Women can take this dose up to three times a day... Remaining placenta can be saved and used homeopathically for those times when the child undergoes a separation from the mother…To cook, wash excess blood from the placenta. Place it in a steamer over water. Place with it fresh ginger slices, half a lemon and a hot pepper…. After steaming, slice the placenta in 1/8" strips…Place the strips on a cookie sheet and place it in an oven on the lowest possible setting for several hours until completely brittle-dry…Powder the strips in a coffee grinder, and encapsulate.”

Midwives and birth centers sometimes preserve or even process the placenta for the mother, but some hospitals won’t even release the organ, deeming it medical waste. It’s interesting to note that a study released in 2009 found that stem cells in the placental tissue are identical in nature to umbilical cord blood stem cells, which has led to a new industry of placenta banking.

Would you eat your placenta?

Would you eat your own placenta? [Colorado Connection]
Ingesting the placenta: Is it healthy for new moms [USA Today]
Eating your placenta to prevent PPD [Mothering Forums]
Placenta: New source for harvesting stem cells [Science Daily]
Effects of placentophagy on serum prolactin and progesterone concentrations in rats after parturition or superovulation [Reproduction-Online

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Best of the Web: Parenting and Pregnancy Links

Couple speaks about viral video [KSDK]

Smoking Early in Pregnancy Raises Risk of Heart Defects in Infants [HealthNewsDigest]

New Device to Prevent Hemorrhoids during Vaginal Birth [medGadget]

Princess Mary of Denmark Releases Photos of Twins [Sky News]

Toddler Wanders into Bank Vault [11 Alive]

Trendy Tummy Maternity Announces 7 Outfits in 7 Days Giveaway [Trendy Tummy Maternity]

Fetus to "Testify" In Support Of Ohio Heartbeat Bill [Jezebel]

Tom Hanks Parodies Toddlers and Tiaras [YouTube]

High sugar diet in pregnancy affects girls more than boys [the medguru]

X-Rays and Unshielded Infants [NYTimes]

Babies Need More 'Tummy Time'

Some experts are calling babies who spend too much time in car seats and not enough time on their tummy "bucket babies." Medical professionals are blaming a lack of 'tummy time' for a substantial increase in developmental delays among children across the United States.

Babies who don't spend enough time on their bellies tend to experience a reduction in fine and gross motor skills, and even sensory development. Building up strength in the upper body early in life contributes to skills such as writing, using tools and climbing. The exercise helps babies to develop neck muscles, which are necessary for the most basic functions such as speaking, eating, and even visual focus. Without tummy time, babies are more likely to skip the crawling stage altogether, which experts once thought was a benign milestone to miss; however, they are now discovering that crawling contributes to core strength throughout life, an essential component for athletics and even good handwriting.

The reason that babies aren’t getting the necessary developmental practice is two-pronged. For one, the “Back to Sleep” campaign that was launched in an effort to reduce the number of babies dying from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), led many parents to hesitate to put their babies on their bellies. The other is attributed to modern devices such as swings, bouncy seats and other popular devices that encourage babies to sit or lie on their backs. While these devices are largely used by parents, caregivers and daycares to keep babies safe they limit movement and exposure to the environment around them, delaying development of the senses.

You can start putting your baby on his or her belly as soon as you get home from the hospital. Playing and engaging with your baby 2-3 times a day for short periods is enough to start developing the right muscles. In the beginning, putting the baby on your chest might be more fun because the baby can see you without lifting the head very high. As your child grows accustomed to the practice, you can increase the duration. Try using mirrors and toys to spice it up.

Is your baby getting enough tummy time?

Tummy Time [BabyWeekly]
Experts: Lack of ‘tummy time’ causes development delays in children [KY3]

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Recent Advancement of Cord Blood Stem Cell Research

For many people, if not most, one of the biggest reasons for banking their baby's cord blood is for the sheer treatment possibilities, and the past 12 months have been a landmark time for research into the possible uses of cord blood.

In early 2010, an FDA-regulated trial began at the Georgia Health Sciences University to determine the possibility of improving quality of life in children diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Some of the parents with children taking part in studies such as this have publically shared their amazement at the positive results. The study is on-going, recruiting children ages 1-12 who have their cord blood banked with Cord Blood Registry.
In January of this year another FDA-regulated trial began at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston to study the use of cord blood stem cells to treat traumatic brain injuries in children. The study is the first of its kind, using stem cells to hopefully provide a better quality of life for those suffering from this condition. Children ages 18 months- 17 years old, who have their cord blood banked with Cord Blood Registry could be eligible to take part.

For inquiries about possible entry into the trials, contact CBR. You can also learn more about research involving the use of cord blood to treat various conditions at the Center for Regenerative Medicine.

Advancing Cord Blood Stem Cell Research – One Clinical Trial at a Time [The Stem Cell Source]

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Development of Taste Buds in Babies

Why will one person eat just about anything and another only eat pizza? It's probably determined by what their mother ate while breastfeeding, at least according to one new study. The results of the study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, conclude that babies develop their taste buds between 2 and 5 months of age, possibly influencing their food choices for life.
Researchers made the results pretty clear by feeding one group of babies a bitter substance in the first few months of life and then re-introducing the bitter food repeatedly until adolescence. The babies fed the bitter substance continued liking it. Babies that were not introduced to the formula until 6 months of age rejected it.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Gary Beauchamp said of the results, “By exposing infants at this very sensitive period it appears to be possible to make them like something that they would otherwise deem to be horrible…If we could enhance consumption of vegetables amongst pregnant and nursing women, it ought to impact their children's later food choices and result in healthier eating."

However, the foods that people like are not solely determined at infanthood, as previous research has revealed. Some studies have found a correlation between what mothers eat during pregnancy and children’s tastes. Others have revealed taste preferences in the genes.

Nevertheless, this study emphasizes the importance of a healthy diet while breastfeeding in encouraging children to choose healthy foods as well.

The study also raises questions about the limitations of formula. Dr. Beauchamp said, “In the breast fed infant, they are routinely exposed to variation in flavors through their mother’s milk. In the typical formula milk fed infant, they are exposed to an extremely bland and constant tasting food…One concern we have with formula feeding is that infants do not get the varied sensory experience that children who are breast fed get…Nutritionally the formula milk is almost identical to human milk as is possible, but from a sensory point of view formula milk is impoverished.”

Do your kid’s tastes reflect what you ate while breastfeeding?

Flavours in mothers milk may determine the foods children like [Telegraph UK

New York Attempts to Build School for Teenage Parents

New York City is hoping to pave a new path to education for teenage parents living there. In 2009, nearly 7,700 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 gave birth to children in the city. And since finishing school is nearly impossible for many of these teenage parents, some Brooklyn educators are hoping to provide a specialized school for them.

The group trying to open the school, New Directions, has made attempts to do it before with dismal results. Schools opened in 2007 were eventually closed due to the poor credit accumulation and low attendance. Currently, New Directions provides free day care, health care and other social services in 38 facilities near high schools around the city for teen parents. A school for teen parents would be unique in a few ways but most importantly, child care would be made available while the teenagers take classes.

Returning to a normal school environment as a teen parent can be difficult for many reasons, but there are still opponents to the proposed school model. "I don't think that we should be creating schools that segregate young women or men based on their parenting status," says Benita Miller, executive director of Brooklyn Young Mothers Collective. Proponents of the new school cite the stigmatization that teen parents experience at traditional high schools, which can be a deciding factor in finishing school.

If plans can successfully pass through the chartering process, the school would open by 2012 in Bedford-Stuyvescant and enroll more than 300 students.

Do you think schools that cater to young parents are a good idea?

School of hard knocked [NYPost]