Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Wrap-up: Parenting and Pregnancy News

Get the Look: Selma Blair [CelebrityBabyScoop]

5 Tips for Making the Most of Your Maternity Leave [MomLogic]

9 Stylish Flats Perfect for Pregnancy at $40 or Under [Babble]

Help for Birth Defect Victims of Anticonvulsant Medication [SFGate]

Government issues mandatory rules for toddler beds [SeattleTimes]

Kids May Mimic How Parents Handle Pain [USNews]

What Medications Are Safe During Pregnancy? [Babyzone]

Cindy Dandois has MMA fight while pregnant, wins [NBC]

Obesity, Disparities in Care Help Drive U.S. Stillbirths: Studies [HealthDay]

Omega-3 during pregnancy curbs risk for PPD symptoms [Eurekalert]
Babies Need Measles Vaccine Before Trips Abroad [USNews]

More Reasons to Exercise during Pregnancy

Exercise during pregnancy was once believed to be harmful, but over the last few decades studies have uncovered a slew of benefits. Most recently, a study revealed that exercise improves the cardiovascular health of mothers and their developing babies.

Researchers at Kansas City University found that babies whose mothers exercised during pregnancy had lower heart rates that persisted one month after birth. "This exposure to maternal exercise has influenced the way that the nervous system and the way that the heart has developed, so that even after the baby is born and is not being exposed to mom's exercise anymore, you still see differences," said Linda E. May, exercise physiologist and anatomist. The exercising group among the 61 women who took part in the study engaged in activities like walking, yoga, running and weight lifting at least 30 minutes a day, three days a week.

Previous studies have shown that exercise during pregnancy reduces back pain, lowers blood pressure, improves mood, and provides a host of other great benefits including a smoother postpartum recovery. Talk to your doctor about exercising during pregnancy, then visit PregnancyWeekly’s 40 weeks of fitness for safe exercises you can take part in. Activities such as scuba diving or some extreme sports are not safe during pregnancy.

What kind of exercises do you engage in?

Exercise During Pregnancy Benefits Baby's Heart [My Health News Daily]
Forty Weeks of Fitness [PregnancyWeekly]
Benefits of Prenatal Exercise [PregnancyWeekly]

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Natalie Portman, Alicia Silverstone and Veganism during Pregnancy

Vegan diets have proven to be healthy for the planet as well as for the human body in most cases. People on vegan diets tend to have lower rates of obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and certain types of cancers. During pregnancy, vegan diets can provide all the nutrients you need but it will require conscious meal plans.

The main concern that most health professionals have when their patients decide to become vegan is  whether they are getting enough iron, calcium, vitamin B12, zinc and omega 3’s. In order to make sure you are getting adequate amounts of these nutrients, you typically need to consume fortified foods, nutritional supplements and learn more about alternative food sources. It requires quite a bit of work and that’s why many pregnant women opt to give in to cravings for meat and dairy during their pregnancies. Actress Natalie Portman has been a notorious vegan but recently decided to give in to some of her cravings. She said during a recent phone interview: "I actually went back to being vegetarian when I became pregnant, just because I felt like I wanted that stuff. I was listening to my body to have eggs and dairy and that sort of stuff."

Another well-known vegan who is pregnant is Alicia Silverstone, who has decided to stick to her vegan diet. She has been posting some good information on her blog throughout her pregnancy, including excerpts from Your Vegetarian Pregnancy, and a recipe from Alicia’s own vegan cookbook.  Her new blog is a fairly good resource for vegan mothers.

If you decide to eat vegan throughout your pregnancy and while breastfeeding, please take the time to research what nutrients you will need to pay special attention to and where to get them.  Taking a prenatal supplement will often fill in many of the gaps. This article from Medicine Net is a great place to start. Also, the Vegetarian Resource Group has a section specifically for pregnant and nursing mothers.

Are you a vegan?

What are the benefits of a vegetarian and vegan diet? [MedicineNet]
Pregnant Natalie Portman: No Longer Vegan [US]
Pregnancy and the Vegan Diet [The Vegetarian Resource Group]

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Best of the Web: Pregnancy and Parenting News

Tori Spelling: I'm Pregnant! [People]

Video of French Woman Giving Birth With Joy [Babble]

Complaint filed to FTC over 'Your Baby Can Read' [MSNBC]

More Interventions at Delivery Not Linked to Healthier Newborns [URMC]

Tina Fey: Mom crush [Today]

Couple Beats Medical Odds by Conceiving Two Sets of Identical Twins [Aol News]

Boost Your Body Confidence [Parents]

Steroid medications not tied to oral birth defects [Reuters]

Tenor helps deliver his baby half an hour before taking the stage [Daily Mail]

Kimberly Stewart is pregnant after secret fling with Benicio del Toro [Daily Mail]

'Sister Wives' Star Kody Brown Expecting Baby No. 14! [CelebrityBabyScoop]

New Parents Pick up Unhealthy Habits

 A new study reveals what most parents were already aware of: parenting often takes precedence over personal health. New mothers in particular tend to neglect their own health by eating unhealthy foods and not exercising enough.

Over the course of ten years, 1520 young adults were surveyed three times for the study that appears in this month’s issue of Pediatrics. Of the participants 149 were parents. Although many moms in the study made healthy meals for themselves, both parents were apt to eating their children’s leftovers that tended to be unhealthy foods such as macaroni and cheese or chicken nuggets and fries. The study found that mothers consumed an average of 400 more calories a day than their childless peers. The calories were usually from sodas, sugary foods or foods high in saturated fat.

Mothers also missed out on the amount of time spent exercising. On average, they lost approximately 50 minutes of exercise time compared to those without children. Fathers maintained a comparable amount of clocked exercise time, except they participated in less moderate to vigorous exercise – the best kind for heart health.

The researchers conclude the study by emphasizing the importance of focusing on personal health, because the health habits of parents generally determine the health of the entire family. They recommend asking for help from friends and relatives in order to carve out the time needed to exercise and further point out that exercise can encompass the whole family. Park walks, playing tag and other family-friendly activities can help the whole family stay fit.

Do you find ways to exercise with the whole family?

Does Parenthood Hurt Your Health? [WebMD]

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tips for Returning to Work Postpartum

Barbara Hannah Grufferman is a mother of two and author of "The Best of Everything After 50." She quit as president of a small business in order to stay home with her daughters, after over a decade of career building. When she did return to the workforce, she was over 50 and had been out of the business world for almost seven years.

In an article for the Huffington Post, Barbara provides some wonderful insight for other mothers returning to the workforce.

Create your own board of directors. Barbara proposes meeting with a group of friends each week to serve as an accountability board. They give you input and feedback on decisions before you make them. She recommends giving each person 15 minutes to pitch their life changes, whether starting a business, leaving a relationship or just small life issues. The group provides feedback and each person leaves with a to-do list to be completed by the following week. The group is there to keep you motivated and on the right track.

Network. Meet new people and put your plans out there. Learn as much as you can about the people you meet. You never know when the right connection is going to surface.

Review your appearance. For mothers returning to the workforce, this is tough but helpful. Who cares about their appearance when they’re busy running after a toddler? However, when you feel good about the way you look, you’ll feel more confident in interviews. Put yourself together in a clean, professional fashion and make sure you feel great.

Know yourself. Knowing what kind of person you are can help you figure out your next move. Are you a people person? Detail-oriented? A numbers person? A creative powerhouse? Let your strengths and weaknesses determine which job is right for you.

List your skills. It’s been awhile since you’ve used your work skills, but you’ve probably added a few just by being a mom. Keep a running list of what you’re capable of.

Learn new skills. Sometimes learning how to use a specific program can improve your marketability significantly. If you want to enter a new field entirely, don’t be afraid to test the waters with some classes on subjects you’ve never tried.

Research companies. Instead of searching out companies that are looking for employees, figure out which companies you would love to work for. Seek out companies that are known for treating women well in the workplace; many such ratings can be found online.

Have no regrets. Everyone has regrets but there comes a time when you need to let go. Forget the person you used to be and be proud of who you are now. Leave your guilt and regret at the door and present yourself as fully accepting of your life decisions.

Life After 50: Derailed by the 'Mommy Track'? 10 Tips to Get Back to Work [HuffPo]

How do you plan to get back in the workplace?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Grandparents Raising Children Face Health Insurance Hurdle

The new health care plan implemented by Obama (dubbed "Obamacare" by conservatives) has provided relief for many parents with children who have preexisting conditions such as autism. Unfortunately, in tacit protest of the legislation, insurance companies have removed child-only plans, leaving many children without any options for coverage, particularly those being raised by retired grandparents.

The report of this news comes out of Texas, where it’s estimated that thousands of children are without insurance. Executive director of Texas Association for Health Care explains the situation in these terms: the pre-existing condition language has been interpreted as meaning that insurance companies will need to write plans for any child who applies and the companies assume parents will wait until their child is sick to apply for benefits. Therefore, they have just stopped offering plans altogether.

States are introducing legislation to force insurance companies to review applications of children under 19 years of age. Unfortunately, laissez-faire republicans in Texas would like to see the market take care of itself, so passing legislation is not in their interest. Putting “Obamacare” under the test of free markets is most likely their way of working on an argument for repeal of the legislation.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas released a statement that they were working on providing a child-only plan that would have “benefits and rates appropriate to the new market requirements.” It’s unclear what kind of coverage will eventually pop-up, if any does at all. For parents and guardians who want to ensure their child, the hurdle could prove insurmountable until insurance companies offer some kind of plan or states successfully legislate to require child-only plans be provided. Currently, California, Kentucky, Washington and New Hampshire have all passed legislation that ensures a child-only plan is available to state residents.

Have you had trouble finding a child-only health insurance policy?

Insurers Drop Child-Only Plans, Blame Health Reform [Texas Tribune]