Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Wrap-up: Parenting and Pregnancy News

When Bollywood's pregnant heroines went to work [rediff]

Preferring Boys to Girls [NYTimes]

Collectors Reflect on Hobby as Pregnant Midge Doll Is Reported Stolen [ABC]

Some small risks to antidepressants in pregnancy [Reuters]

Curtis Stone and Lindsay Price Expecting a Baby [People]

TSA changes policy on child pat-downs [USA Today]

Smoking during pregnancy raises heart disease risks in children [ScienceCodex]

Japanese Scientists Design Suit to Simulate Baby's Kicks [Inhabitots]

Babies pick Picasso, study finds [MSNBC]

The Breast Milk Cure [NYTimes]

Book Review: Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life

If you've ever been pregnant or tried to conceive then you know how important hormones are in your daily life. However, much of how hormones work in the body continues to be shrouded in mystery for most women. This informative book by Dr. Claudia Welch seeks to dispel common misconceptions about hormones and helps the reader understand how to make changes in their life that will keep their hormones in balance.
Probably the most eye-opening piece of information you can garner from the book is the way stress hormones and love hormones interact. It’s fascinating to know that stress hormones not only send the body and the mind into a tailspin of symptoms but they actually deplete your body’s ability to produce sex and love hormones as well. Armed with this knowledge, it becomes easy to understand how important it is to reduce stress in your life and Dr. Welch provides a full course on how to do just that.
Despite the fact that Dr. Welch cites many Western studies to show the reader how the body works, she follows Ayurveda (an ancient Indian healing system) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). By using the concepts of body types from Ayurveda, she lays out an individualized plan for creating a balanced lifestyle. Foods are categorized as “hot” and “cold” according to both Ayurveda and TCM and types of exercise are recommended based on your Ayurvedic body type.
Whatever stage of life you are in – teen years, trying to conceive, pregnant, postpartum or past menopause- there is great advice in this book that could potentially change your life. Even a woman well-versed in nutrition and natural healing can learn a lot and gain inspiration to take better care of herself by reading this book. It is easy to read even though it presents advanced concepts to the reader. Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life is a must-read for any woman looking to lead a healthier life. You can pick up a copy on Amazon

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Are Babies on the West Coast Dying from Radiation?

An alarming statistic has been making the media rounds: the infant mortality rate in West Coast cities of the United States spiked by 35% in the weeks following the Fukoshima nuclear disaster in Japan. The statistic is attributed to doctor and author Janette D. Sherman, M.D. in collaboration with Joseph Mangano. A quick look at their conclusions convinces most people; however, looking closer reveals an obvious flaw in their data.

Dr. Sherman reviewed the weekly CDC reports from four weeks before the disaster (March 11th) and ten weeks after. These reports are publically available and provide the number of infant deaths in cities across the United States. She states that the average number of infant deaths rose from 9.25 per week to 12.5 in the West Coast cities of Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Boise, Berkeley, San Jose, Santa Cruz and Sacramento.

Michael Moyer of The Scientific American saw these statistics and decided to do a little fact-checking. Immediately he was thrown off by the small pool of data used by the report’s authors, so he used a much larger period of time to determine a trend. He used the same CDC reports and graphed them in a couple different ways. The graphs pretty clearly show that while infant deaths did spike in the time that the Dr. Sherman and her colleague reviewed, that they were not significantly higher than average infant mortality rates in the two months prior to the incident.

The real damage of the Fukoshima disaster is yet to be determined but certainly safeguards should be taken to avoid radiation exposure, particularly if you are pregnant. Consuming foods that have iodine in them can help protect the thyroid from radioactive matter (table salt usually has iodine in it unless you specifically buy the kind that doesn’t have it added). Eating sea vegetables is an excellent way to consume protective ingredients like iodine and sodium alginate. Apples, carrots, beans and the peels of citrus fruits contain pectin, which has been found to pull radioactive material through the body.

Are you concerned about radiation exposure on the West Coast?

Is the Dramatic Increase in Baby Deaths in the US a Result of Fukushima Fallout? [PRN]
Are Babies Dying in the Pacific Northwest Due to Fukushima? A Look at the Numbers [The Scientific American]
Is The West Coast At Risk For Radioactive Contamination? How Your Diet Can Help You Avoid Radiation Poisoning. [Foods For Long Life]

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Best of the Web: Parenting and Pregnancy News

Obama Is a Baby Whisperer [Gawker]

Pink's Daughter Willow Sage's First Photo [People]

The Sun Is the Best Optometrist [NYTimes]

Aishwarya Rai: Pregnant! [Just Jared]

Study: Mountaintop coal mining raises birth defect risks [USAToday]

New Link between Food Issues and Post-Partum Depression [GoodTherapy]

10 Signs Your Child May Be Gifted [lilsugar]

NFL player starts bus firm to take children to school after funding pulled [Daily Mail]

Urinary incontinence doubles risk of postpartum depression [Eurekalert]

How to Know If Your Baby Is Dehydrated [lilsugar]

Mother of sextuplets reveals lengths she went to keep babies alive [Daily Mail]

Best Adult Albums for Babies [Babble]

Who Does Your Baby Look Like?

Does your baby look more like mom or dad? For decades, a scientific theory has surmised that babies look more like their fathers for evolutionary reasons but recent research suggests that babies usually have a mix of the two parent's appearances and no consensus on the issue has been reached.

The concept that babies look more like their fathers was part of an evolutionary hypothesis – if babies look more like their dads, fathers can confirm the paternity of the child. A study completed in 1995 seemed to support this idea because people who took part in the study were better able to match a photo of a baby with the father than the mother. However, scientists have been hard-pressed to replicate these findings. In fact, studies undertaken since then have generally shown that babies look like both parents and some studies have determined that babies look more like their mothers.

While strangers may feel that babies resemble their mothers or both parents, mothers seem to have an entirely different perception of their offspring’s looks. In one study, babies were perceived as resembling their mothers more than their fathers in the first few days of life, but the mothers still believed that their babies most closely resembled the fathers. The researchers from Georgia Southern University involved in the study said of the finding: “The bias in how mothers remark resemblance does not reflect actual resemblance and may be an evolved or conditioned response to assure domestic fathers of their paternity.”

Other scientists have speculated that babies specifically don’t resemble their fathers, since undetermined paternity could ensure that another male would be willing to take care of the child. Despite many hypotheses, it seems that the scientific community continues to be torn on who babies resemble more.

Which parent does your baby resemble most?

Fact or Fiction: Do Babies Resemble Their Fathers More Than Their Mothers? [Scientific American]

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Introducing Weekly Pregnancy Tips on Your Mobile Phone

PregnancyWeekly has unveiled its mobile pregnancy tips program! Subscribers can now sign up to receive free tips about baby development, safety and much more every week on your cell phone (standard text messaging charges from your network provider still apply).

Signing up to receive the weekly texts is easy. If you’re new to PW, when you create an account you’ll be asked if you want to take part in the new texting program. If you’re already a subscriber, simply visit the My Account page and opt-in at the bottom of the page. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll receive a confirmation text with instructions on how to confirm the subscription.

Making changes to your personalized weekly texts is also simple. If you want to change your due date, reply to a text with your new due date in the correct format (MM/DD/YYYY). If you want to cancel your subscription, just reply to a text with “Stop.”

The service is only available to phone numbers in the United States at this time. Tips will continue until you reach your expected due date.

Have you signed up for the new weekly pregnancy texts?

PregnancyWeekly Mobile Tips [PregnancyWeekly]

Monday, June 20, 2011

Are "Dadchelor" Parties the New Trend Among Expectant Fathers?

It's a baby shower for the expectant mother and perhaps a "dadchelor" party for the expectant father. Much like a bachelor party, the dadchelor party is thrown for a new dad by his buddies as a last hurrah before he must buckle down and take responsibility for another life. Reportedly, guys are heading to a game or out for a pub crawl to say goodbye to their pre-father days.

A dadchelor party can take many forms and is sometimes referred to as a daddymoon or a man-shower. More often than not, the celebration includes lots of drinking and sometimes entails a trip to another city. A diaper keg, where guys exchange a diaper for a beer, is one possible activity. Although the idea is to have one night without responsibility, there are still certain constraints. The party has to occur at least one month before the baby’s due date, to avoid having a drunken father find out his wife is in labor and the new father should not have to pay for any drinks.

Carley Rooner, editor of the, believes that the dadchelor party is a result of the changing roles of fathers. She’s seen a takeoff of such festivities in the last couple years, which has coincided with an increased number of fathers getting more involved in their parental roles. She also credits the advanced age of parents nowadays. Couples who have enjoyed their freedom longer than their peers tend to panic a bit more about losing the things that other parents have warned them about, such as sleep, sex, and money.

What do you think of dadchelor parties?

'Dadchelor Parties' Celebrate First Time Fathers [HuffPo]

Dads Struggle for Work/Life Balance

A poll of nearly 1000 fathers has revealed that mothers aren't the only ones struggling to find balance between work and family. For decades, the traditional dynamic of parents has been changing, with fathers taking on more of the child-rearing duties and more mothers working outside the home. This recent study suggests that parents have come to a remarkably similar position as the traditional roles have shifted.

The fathers interviewed for the survey were all “white-collar” workers for large corporations. The majority of the respondents felt that they were trying to share the caregiving duties equally in their household, but still felt like they weren’t living up to their own standards. In addition, 70% of the respondents wished they were able to spend more time with their kids and 57% of the fathers said they were unable to get everything done at home because of their jobs. More than 75% of the respondents said they took one week or less off for the birth of their child.

These numbers aren’t going to surprise many parents, but hopefully they paint a vivid picture for legislators and employers. Parents are increasingly finding it difficult to raise their children well and retain good-paying jobs in order to live. Paid parental leave laws would go a long way towards solving this dilemma.

Does the father in your family have trouble finding work/life balance?

US dads torn between children, career: study [AFP]