It's being reported that award-winning actress Natalie
Portman (30) has given birth to a baby boy! However, no other details have been
released at this time. It's possible that we won't hear an announcement of the
child's name until a circumcision ceremony takes place eight days after birth, as is the Jewish custom for baby boys.
The father of the child is ballet dancer Benjamin Millepied. The couple met on set while filming Black
Swan. They announced their engagement in December.
Congratulations to the talented couple!
Benjamin Millepied, Natalie Portman Welcome Son [People]
Participants in the Federal government's Women, Infants, and
Children program (WIC) might find less assistance in the near future. The House
is currently debating over budget cuts that could result in $650 million less
WIC grants states funding in order to provide supplemental
foods, nutritional information, and health care referrals for low-income mothers
and mothers-to-be. Pregnant and breastfeeding women often utilize the program’s
discounts on whole foods such as vegetables and dairy products at grocery
stores. New mothers can utilize WIC’s helpful nutrition classes and formula is
provided to babies in need.
House republicans want to cut $650 million from the WIC
program, a move they claim will not affect the number of people able to receive
these services, adding that other services similar to WIC are available for
those in need. However, Betsey Clarke, the WIC program director in Minnesota
refutes the claim and says people will be turned away without the necessary
funding. Over nine million people relied on WIC services in 2010. Liberal
Democrats are saying that approximately 200,000 people could be turned away if
food prices rise as expected.
Do you use WIC?
House Debates Funding Cuts For Food Safety, Nutrition
U.S. House debates cuts to domestic nutrition programs [MPR]
House to boost veterans' programs, cut food aid [Seattle
An 18-year-long study has concluded with good news for pet-owning
parents. Babies exposed to pets within the first year of life appear to be less
likely to develop allergies to the animals.
Researchers from the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit studied
566 boys and girls from birth until age 18 in order to look for a connection
between lifelong pet exposure and allergies. The families involved completed
annual surveys divulging the status of their pet ownership. Then the children
were tested for allergies when they reached age 18. The children who were
exposed to dogs and cats in the first year of life were about half as likely to
develop allergies to the particular animal they came in contact with. Exposure
during any other time of their life seemed to have no protective effect.
Ganesha Wegienka, Ph.D. said of the results: “Dirt is good.
Your immune system, if it's busy with exposures early on, stays away from the
allergic immune profile.”
UK singer Lily Allen (26) was married to Sam Cooper (32) this past Sunday, where the couple shared the news that they are expecting
their first child! Lily sported a tiny bump under her long, lace wedding gown
and was glowing with joy. She and Sam have been together since 2009 and were
engaged last Christmas.
The wonderful news follows months of heartbreak following
the loss of her pregnancy last November, at six months along.
Congratulations to the overjoyed newlyweds!
Lily Allen ties the knot... as it emerges she's
Two studies have brought the dangers of genetically
engineered crops into the spotlight. The primary dispenser of genetically
engineered seeds, Monsanto, has been accused of hiding study results that
revealed an increase in birth defects due to exposure to their primary
herbicide called Round-up (chemical name glyphosate). Monsanto's genetically
modified crops are also under fire because a toxin inserted into them for pest
control has now been found in the bodies of babies whose mothers consumed
genetically modified food.
To clarify, genetically modified crops are not the cleverly
cross-bred plants of centuries past. Genetically modified organisms, GMOs, are
engineered at the molecular level in a lab. The most common GMO’s are
conventionally grown corn, soy and cotton in the United States. When GM foods
are engineered as seeds, they are typically manufactured to resist an herbicide which would otherwise kill the plant and they are inserted with a toxin called
Bt toxin so that pests will be killed upon eating the plant, enabling the plant
to require less chemical spray. These practices are receiving strong scrutiny due
to the results of an independent Canadian study and a review of studies by
doctors and researchers from around the world.
A group of independent doctors from the University of
Sherbrooke Hospital Centre in Canada recently found Bt toxin in 24 out of 30
cord blood samples taken from newborns. They took blood samples from 30
pregnant women and found Bt toxin in 28 out of 30 mothers. The researchers
believe that the toxin is entering the bloodstream through the consumption of
meat, dairy and eggs of farm animals fed GM corn. Monsanto has previously
stated that the toxin breaks down in the digestive system, a claim which this
study directly refutes. The harm that could come from consuming Bt toxin is
unknown, but it is suspected to possibly induce miscarriage, cause allergies
In addition to the dangers of Bt toxin, GM foods also carry
the herbicide Round-up, which is being implicated in causing birth defects by a
group of researchers and doctors. The publication called “Round up and birth
defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?” was released by Earth Open
Source. In 52 pages, the review of information concludes that Monsanto knew of
the increased incidence of birth defects from low doses of glyphosate since
1993 and deliberately misled the public to believe otherwise. The group is
calling for an immediate review of independent research on glyphosate.
These recent findings are particularly significant for pregnant
women. GM foods are not required to be labeled and conventionally raised
animals are generally raised on a GM food diet. The only way to avoid consuming
GM foods is to buy organic. However, the cost of organic food is not practical
for many families. Sticking to organic meat and dairy is a good way to avoid
consuming toxins used in GM foods, but skipping processed foods is even better.
Up to 70% of processed foods in the supermarket contain GM foods. In fact, it’s
likely that any product (not organic) that contains soy, corn and canola or
cottonseed oils is made from GM ingredients.
Do you try to avoid
GM food toxins found in the blood of 93% of unborn babies [Daily
Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark? [Scribd]
The US Department of
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has taken note of lenders that are
discriminating against women on maternity leave. A case in Washington State brought
the unfair practice to light and many more cases are now coming forward.
A ten-month investigation into the case of 33-year-old
Elizabeth Budde was undertaken by HUD in response to a lender denying her a
loan based on her email auto-reply, which indicated that she was on maternity
leave. Budde had a stellar credit score and was receiving full salary while on
leave. However, the lender claimed she did not have a reliable source of income
for three years because she wasn’t currently on the job. She eventually had to
get her employer to write a letter to the lender but not without alerting HUD.
Because of the Fair Housing Act, lenders are not allowed to
ask a borrower whether she is pregnant. The act also provides protection
against lending discrimination based on sex, race and disability. As a result
of the investigation, Cornerstone Management Company has provided monetary
relief to Budde, has changed company policy, and is providing $750,000 to any
other borrowers who were discriminated against in the past two years.
Others have come forward across the country with similar
stories. HUD most recently charged Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation for
denying mortgages to mothers until they returned to work from maternity leave. Similar
cases are continuing to surface and HUD is continuing its investigations.
Have you been turned
down for a loan because you were on maternity leave?