Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Wrap-up: Parenting and Pregnancy News

Lauryn Hill's Probably Pregnant [Fader]

Highest BPA level found in mother's urine linked to infant problems [EmaxHealth]

Best Bathing Suits For New Moms [lilsugar]

Mike Myers and Wife Expecting Baby No. 1![CelebrityBabyScoop]

New Findings on Autism [io9]

Are C-sections fueling the obesity epidemic? [Reuters]

Expectant Fathers Should Receive Prenatal Care, Support [HealthCanal]

Obese Woman Can Safety Shed Pounds While Pregnant [MSNBC]

When Do Kids Form Their First Memories? [WebMD]

Phoenix gay dads adopt, raise 12 happy kids [azcentral]

Bird-Themed Nursery Decor [lilsugar]

Natural Mothers of Twins Live Longer

Researchers have discovered that women who naturally conceive twins tend to live longer and might be more fertile than mothers of single babies. The finding is surprising considering prevailing beliefs about conception of multiples and the high-risk nature of a twin pregnancy, but apparently the women who conceive twins naturally are equipped for the experience.

The study reviewed data from over 58,000 women born between 1807 and 1899, effectively removing the increased incidence of multiples from fertility treatments. Over 4,000 women in the group were mothers of twins. The women born before 1870 who had twins lived longer than mothers of singletons and had a 7.6% lower mortality rate after menopause. The University of Utah researchers also found that mothers of twins had more babies than mothers of single babies overall and not just by virtue of having multiples, with more single babies in their lifetime as well. They also had a shorter interval between children and had children later in life than mothers who never had twins. However, the difference in the women born before 1870 wasn’t significant; women with twins had children an average of four months later in life and an average interval of two weeks less between children. Women of twins born after 1870, on the other hand, were an average of 14 months older when they had their last child.

Twin pregnancies have been largely associated with obesity, fertility treatments and pregnancy over the age of 40; are considered high risk, and can often be the catalyst for long-term health issues. This study seems to fly in the face of all that, suggesting that the natural occurrence of twins could actually be an indicator of good health and fertility.

Are you a mother of twins?

Mothers of twins may live longer [LATimes]

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Season of Birth Related to Lifelong Traits

Many people are skeptical of astrology - how could the time you are born determine your personality for life? However, research has found many similarities in children born around the same time of year. The reasons for these differences appear to have little to do with the positioning of the planets and more to do with when pesticides are sprayed or the changing amount of sunlight affecting a person's vitamin D levels. Past research has uncovered seasonal birth trends among children with schizophrenia, allergies, and depression. The newest diseases to be attributed to the time of year when a child is born are celiac disease, autism and anorexia.

Children born in the spring and summer are apparently at risk for a range of issues. A recent study found that the incidence of celiac disease is very high among children born during this time of year. The study looked at over 300 children with celiac disease of varying ages in Massachusettsand found that the majority were born between March and August. It’s unknown what causes celiac disease, but scientists seem to suggest that summer and spring born babies are introduced to gluten (usually around six months of age) during the flu season, which raises the risk of developing the autoimmune disease presumably because the immune system fighting the flu perceives the gluten to be the newly introduced enemy. Follow-up studies are needed, but parents of children born in the spring and summer may want to delay the introduction of gluten during the height of flu season.

Another day, another study linking something to autism. This time children conceived during winter and born in the spring and summer months are found to have a higher occurrence of autism.  Similar to the celiac disease study, the timing of viruses and changes in diet may be the reason. The study was quite large, monitoring 6.6 million children up to the age of six that were born in California from 1990-2002. The children were more likely to be diagnosed with autism if they were conceived from December-March. Children conceived in December were 8% more likely to develop autism and children born in March were 16% more likely.

Research has also discovered links to anorexia based on the time a child is born. A review of anorexia studies looked at 1,293 children who developed anorexia. A surprising spike in anorexia was found in children born from March-July and a strong dip in the number of anorexics born in October.

Past research has found that babies born in the spring also have a higher incidence of schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis and Type 1 diabetes. Lower vitamin D levels during pregnancy in the winter months have largely been believed to be the culprit. In contrast, babies born in the fall and winter have been found to have increased risk of autoimmune issues such as wheezing, eczema and food allergies. Increased pesticide use during the growing season coinciding with fetal development is believed to be a factor.

Knowing what to do with this information can be confusing. There’s no reason to try to change the timing of your child’s birth out of fear of these problems. However, being aware of your vitamin D intake and exposure to pesticides are both healthy ways to reduce the risk of problems with your pregnancy and your baby’s development. You can learn more about pesticide exposure here. Direct exposure to sunlight is the best way to ensure adequate vitamin D levels (about 20 minutes a week is all you need), or eating foods high in vitamin D, such as salmon, fortified cereals and dairy products.

Do you believe that the season your child is born in could determine their health?

Winter Conception Tied to Raised Risk for Autism [USNews]
Kids' Birth Month Seems to Be Linked to Celiac Disease: Study [USNews]
Season of birth and anorexia nervosa [BJPsych]
Season of Birth May Affect the Rest of Your Life [FoxNews]
Pesticides and Pregnancy Don't Mix [PWBlog]
The Great Outdoors [BreathingSpace]

Best of the Web: Parenting and Pregnancy News

Will Emily Deschanel’s pregnancy shut down production of ‘Bones’? [Celebitchy]

TSA responds to baby-frisk uproar [Boston Globe]

Risks of Taking Hormones [NYTimes]

Should Photographing Other People’s Kids Be Illegal? [Jezebel]

Kings of Leon's Matthew Followill Welcomes First Child [CelebrityBabyScoop]

Cut Carbs to Avoid Gallstones in Pregnancy [MedPageToday]

Let Kids Play With Fire, and Other Rules for Good Parenting [The Atlantic]

Def Leppard to release album of rock lullabies for babies [NME]

Moms holding babies can reduce depression [Toronto Sun]

Drug trial to prevent obese kids [BBC]

The 8 Best Mothers In The Animal Kingdom [Neatorama]

Mother gives birth to boy to help save other son's life with cord blood [Daily Mail]

Mothers Deserve a Premium Salary

Let's face it, sometimes being a parent can seem like a thankless job. Mothers typically spend over 40 hours a week taking care of the kids and the household. There are so many jobs that motherhood entails, and learning and mastering new skills is a constant necessity. According to a new study, if mothers were paid for all their work, they would be making over $60,000 a year.

An insurance website released the study, which reviewed the jobs that moms usually take on and then referenced the Bureau of Labor statistics for what it would cost to hire another person to do the same jobs. Examples of jobs included child care, activity and party planning, homework help, cooking and driving. The authors asked mothers how many hours per week they spent doing a list of 14 jobs to determine their annual salary. The cost of full time childcare was $20,696 annually, a cook cost $6,938 a year; it’s $4,888 for a cleaner, and $6,285 for a personal chauffeur. A summer activity planner would cost $8,726 and a party planner $1,479. The cost for “nursing wounds” was worth $480 a year. Other figures included were the salary for an interior designer and a hair dresser.

Previous estimates have put the proper salary for mothers at six figures and included jobs such as psychologist, janitor, computer operator, CEO and laundry machine operator. Again mothers were asked how many hours they acted as CEO, for example, to figure out what the annual rate would be.

Obviously these jobs change according to the situation and in many cases fathers are taking over some of these tasks. Nevertheless, it puts into perspective exactly how much mothers work and reveals the wide range of skills required to be a parent.

What do you think you would get paid for your parenting?

Why mothers are worth $61,436 a year (and that's without love and affection) [Daily Mail]
Being a mom could be a 6-figure job [CNN]

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Alicia Silverstone Gave Birth

Alicia Silverstone (34), star of the hit 90's movie Clueless, has given birth to a baby boy. The actress revealed on her website that he was born on May 5th and named Bear Blu. Her rep reported to People that he weighed 7 lbs., 15 oz. Bear is the first child for the actress and her husband Christopher Jarecki (40). The couple wed in 2005 after eight years together.

Alicia has been actively engaging with fans on her blog The Kind Life, where she blogs about living sustainably with a focus on veganism. She posted some valuable information relating to her pregnancy over the last nine months. You can read her posts here.

Congratulations to the eco-friendly couple!

What do you think of the name Bear Blu?

The Kind Life [Website]
It's a Boy for Alicia Silverstone [People]

Monday, May 09, 2011

New Ways to Receive Pregnancy Info via Text

The newest frontier in disseminating information to people who need it is through text messaging, particularly among expectant moms. After the largely successful "text4baby" program that began in the United States, Hilary Clinton has announced that a texting service for expectant mothers will soon be provided globally. In the next few weeks, PregnancyWeekly will also be offering a service providing weekly pregnancy tips via text message.

The US “text4baby” program was started by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in 2010, offering free informative text messages three times a week to expectant mothers and mothers of babies under one year old. It began with the goal to lower preterm birth rates attributed to poor nutrition, stress, smoking and alcohol.

This new worldwide program comes naturally with the understanding that the best way to reach mothers who need prenatal information the most is through cell phone communication. Guiding this global initiative is The U.S. Agency for International Development and Johnson & Johnson in collaboration with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Department of State. The new program is called Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) and it will test in India, South Africa and Bangladesh over the next three years as a precursor to the global program.

Within the next few weeks, PregnancyWeekly will be offering its own weekly text messaging service. The PW program will feature pregnancy tips on a wide range of topics, including how to relieve common pregnancy symptoms and what to expect during each week of your pregnancy.

Would you be interested in a weekly text that provides you with current pregnancy information?

Hillary Clinton: Health info via cellphone [UPI]
Text message service sends health tips to pregnant women [CBCNews]

Top Baby Names of 2010 Released

The top baby names of 2010 have been released by the Social Security Administration, and while the list hasn't changed much from 2009, people are beginning to notice the influence of on-screen characters on parents' choices. The top two names were Jacob and Isabella, the names of the lead characters in the Twilight book and movie series. Fictitious characters weren't the only names that got a nod from parents across the United States though; reality TV is leaving its mark as well. Maci and Bentley appeared on the list, which are the names of a teenage mother and her son on the show Teen Mom.

Studying past trends in baby names, the high rank of the names Jacob and Isabella actually predates the publication of the Twilight series. Jacob has been one of the top 20 names for 20 years. The name Isabella made its first appearance on the top 20 in 2001. In general, names with the sound “ella” have been growing in popularity since about 2001.

However, some names didn’t make the cut this year. Elvis’s moniker dropped off the top 1000 list for the first time since 1954.

Other names just can’t be budged. Emily, Madison and Olivia have been hovering in the top notches for over a decade.

Top Girls Names for 2010:
  1. Isabella 
  2. Sophia 
  3. Emma 
  4. Olivia 
  5. Ava 
  6. Emily 
  7. Abigail 
  8. Madison 
  9. Chloe 
  10. Mia
Top Boys Names for 2010:
  1. Jacob 
  2. Ethan 
  3. Michael 
  4. Jayden 
  5. William 
  6. Alexander 
  7. Noah 
  8. Daniel 
  9. Aiden 
  10. Anthony
Are your children’s names in the top ten lists?

Popular Baby Names [SSA]
Jacob, Isabella top baby names [Today]