Friday, May 06, 2011

Friday Wrap-up: Parenting and Pregnancy News

No Doubt's Adrian Young Expecting a Daughter [People]

New Study Finds Gender Bias in Children's Books [NyTimes]

No More Infant Dose of Over-the-Counter Acetaminophen [ABC]

Emma Bunton Welcomes Son Tate [People]

FDA Warns About Teething Gels for Babies [WBAY]

Sex After Pregnancy [AskMen]

10 Best Ways to Avoid a Cesarean Section [HealthNews]

Mother's Day Gift Guide from Bon Appetit [Yahoo]

Cluster Feeding And The Breastfeeding Blues [Babble]

24 Hour Fitness Hosts Special Mother's Day Weekend [SunHerald]

A Cheap, Portable Way to Monitor Unborn Babies [technology review]

Bryan Adams Is a Dad! [People]

Breast Milk Programs Metabolism in Newborns

Most mothers know that breast milk is the best food for newborns, but a new study has revealed that a baby's first nutrition actually "programs" their metabolism. The results may provide the answer to why breastfed children are less likely to become obese and develop diabetes.

Reviewing three years of data following 234 children, French researchers honed in on the differences between children who were fed breast milk or formula in the first four months of life. The metabolic profiles of the children who were breastfed were markedly different than the ones who were formula fed. The researchers also noted that just 15 days after birth, the breastfed babies had lower blood insulin levels than the formula fed group. However, this distinction disappeared by nine months of age. By three years of age, the breastfed children had lower blood pressure than the formula fed children, although still in the normal range.

"It appears that formula feeding induces differences in some hormonal profiles as well as in patterns of growth compared with breastfeeding," study co-author, Dr. Guy Putet, said. "The long-term consequences of such changes are not well-understood in humans and may play a role in later health.”

The findings add to a long list of reasons to breastfeed and may help explain some of the benefits of breast milk for babies, such as a lowered risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Were you breastfed or formula fed as a child?

Breast-feeding appears to program an infant's metabolism, study says [LaTimes]
Early nutrition has a long-term metabolic impact [Eurekalert]
7 Ways Breastfed Babies Become Healthy Adults [AskDrSears]

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Best of the Web: Parenting and Pregnancy Links

Kate Hudson in Versace for 'Something Borrowed' premiere [Celebitchy]

Women Who Start Period Earlier More Likely To Have Girls [Jezebel]

Video Of Baby Blinking And Moving Underwater During Birth [Babble]

Mariah Carey, Nick Cannon parents of twins [Associated Press]

Grandma was right: Infants do wake up taller [Eurekalert]

Equal Opportunity Policy Now Includes Pregnancy [MsMagazine]

10 Mother's Day gifts for less than $10 [MSN]

Mother's Day Gifts That Keep on Giving [lilsugar]

2011 World Mothers Index says Norway best place for moms [Newser]

Carla Bruni Pregnant? French First Lady Addresses Rumors [HuffPo]

New Gay Adoption Bill Bans Discrimination [Jezebel]

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Keep Cribs Clear

Stuffed animals, baby blankets and cute printed bumpers all make the crib look like a picture-perfect resting place, but they are making it a potential hazard for babies across the United States. Crib bumpers in particular have been increasingly implicated as suffocation hazards.

Many parents are left wondering why crib bumpers weren’t deemed unsafe before now. Apparently, in 2006, when 17 infants died from what appeared to be suffocation due to crib bumpers, investigations were never made by the Consumer Safety Product Commission. Now that the American Academy of Pediatrics and other groups have warned of the dangers of crib bumpers, the CSPC is looking into the claims.

Crib bumpers were originally used to cover slats in the crib that were too far apart – an issue which is no longer relevant since cribs are made with specific measurements to ensure that the slats won’t allow a child’s head through.

Crib bumpers aren’t the only hazard to infants. Any extraneous items in the crib can pose a suffocation hazard. Pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals should not be placed in the crib with a baby under 12 months old. There are no established safety standards for crib bedding and new products that claim to be safe in the crib are usually not. In fact, positioning pillows used to keep a baby from turning over in the crib have actually caused several infant deaths. Many baby monitors were recalled last year due to a strangulation hazard from the cord. Even bedside sleepers can be dangerous and have caused some infants to get caught between the sleeper and the bed.

The best way to keep your baby safe at night is to put her in a separate crib either in the same room or a separate room. The crib should be completely bare. Babies can be outfitted in footed sleepers for warmth or swaddled with a receiving blanket as long as the blanket does not come up higher than the child’s arms.

Has anyone given you extraneous items for the crib?

When a Cuddly Crib Puts the Baby in Danger [Wall Street Journal]
Crib bumpers present risk and little likely benefit, safety advocates say [USAToday]
Crib deaths and bumper pads [LATimes]
Sleep Safety [BabyWeekly]

Monday, May 02, 2011

Medications and Pregnancy

According to a recent report, a high percentage of pregnant women continue to take medication during their pregnancy despite the lack of evidence regarding their safe use. The ethical problem with studying the effects of medications on pregnant women and their babies has left a giant gap in the safety data for common prescriptions.

The report, which appeared in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, found that 70-80% of women have taken at least one medication during the first trimester of their pregnancy and 50% of women are taking prescription medication. These results are troubling because the possibility of developing birth defects is highest during the first trimester. The study did not specify which medications the women were taking.

The research raises many common questions, such as which medications are safe to take during the first trimester? In which cases is it better to accept the risks of the medication than to try to forgo it?

As women continue to take medications through their pregnancies, new data is emerging. Recent revelations include:
  • Topamax, a popular epilepsy drug that is often used for migraines, can cause oral clefts.
  •  Topical steroids/corticosteroids increase the risk of fetal growth retardation.
  • Opioid painkillers such as codeine and oxycodone were recently linked to a variety of birth defects including spina bifida.
(You can use the “Medication” tag listed on the right side of the blog to keep up with any new information regarding medications during pregnancy.)

Avoiding over-the-counter medications during the first trimester is the best way to ensure that your baby develops safely. Consult your doctor and pharmacist about taking any prescription medications throughout your pregnancy. In some cases, such as severe depression or high blood pressure, the benefits of taking medication could outweigh the risks. However, in many situations there are natural ways to manage common ailments. Learn more about natural remedies for common ailments here.

Some over-the-counter medications have been deemed safe to take after the tenth week of pregnancy. However, even mild pain killers, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, that were previously deemed safe have recently been under fire for possibly causing reproductive defects. Since almost half the population of the US is on some type of medication, the situation remains very confusing for many pregnant women. If you find you are pregnant and on medication, talk to your doctor first and foremost. You also might want to do an internet search for any recent information regarding the safety of the drug during pregnancy. Use the drug index at the FDA website to locate a particular drug. The “Medication Guide” listed for the drug will provide an updated list of counter-indications, including pregnancy.

Are you taking any medications during your pregnancy?

Drugs@FDA [FDA]
Researchers report widespread use of medications among pregnant women [Eurekalert]
Medicine and Home Remedies [PregnancyWeekly]
FDA: migraine drug ups risk for oral birth defects [Reuters]
Topical Steroids Found to Double Fetal Growth-Retardation Risk [Internal Medicine News]
CDC: Some Painkillers Linked to Heightened Risk of Birth Defects [Fox News]
Prescription Drug Use Continues to Increase: U.S. Prescription Drug Data for 2007-2008 [CDC]
Aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen during pregnancy can cause reproductive problems in male offspring [LATimes]