Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Wrap-up: Parenting and Pregnancy News

Brenda Song and Trace Cyrus Expecting Baby No. 1 [CelebrityBabyScoop]

Vitamins May Lower Risk of Birth Complication [WebMD]

Shift work may have little effect on pregnancy [Reuters]

Lindsay Sloane Is Pregnant! [CelebrityBabyScoop]

Real Dad Secrets: Fathers like to think we're above all that, but... [Today]

'Smallest baby' undergoes open heart surgery [TelegraphUK]

Danish Prince Joachim and Princess Marie Expecting [CelebrityBabyScoop]

Totally Weird Baby Products [Parenting]

Parents who know of preemies' pain more confident [Reuters]

Jason Bateman Expecting Baby No. 2

Actor Jason Bateman (42) and wife Amanda Anka (42) are expecting their second child! Singer Paul Anka, father of the expectant mother, revealed to ET Canada that the couple will be welcoming their second girl. The newest addition will join 4-year-old sibling Francesca Nora. No other details have been released at this time.

The famous couple have been married for 10 years.

Congratulations to the happy couple and overjoyed grandfather!

Daughter No. 2 On the Way for Jason Bateman [People]

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What You Need to Know About the Fetal Heartbeat

Hearing the baby's heart beat for the first time is often the first bonding experience for many parents. The sound of the "galloping" heart can be enough to put many parents to tears. For doctors, monitoring the fetal heart is one of the simplest ways to determine the health of your unborn baby.

The embryonic heart starts beating 22 days after conception, in the fifth week of pregnancy. It is too small to hear at this early stage but can sometimes be viewed as a flicker on an ultrasound as early as four weeks. If the doctor can’t see a heartbeat, it could just mean that the dating of the pregnancy is incorrect and he might suggest you come back at a later date. At 9-10 weeks you might be able to hear the heartbeat using Doppler but it depends on your weight, the position of your uterus and the instrument. By week 12-14, you should be able to hear it consistently with Doppler.

The technician will assess the fetal heartbeat, sometimes referred to as fetal heart tones, by counting how many beats are in a minute. They might listen for a full minute, for 15 seconds and then multiply by four, or just be attuned enough to listen for a normal rate. Some instruments are already equipped to provide a reading so that the technician doesn’t need to count. It’s not uncommon for the Doppler to pick up the mother’s heart beat instead of the fetus. A medical professional might check the mother’s heartbeat to see if it matches what they are hearing. The mother’s heartbeat should be under 100 bpm (beats per minute) but the baby’s will be between 120-180 bpm. The fetal heart typically starts beating at 80-85 bpm, then spikes up to180 bpm and then gradually slows to 120-160 bpm by 12 weeks gestation. It typically slows again before birth to a range of 120-140 bpm.  Some fetal heartbeats past term might drop to 110 bpm. The male and female heartbeats exhibit no differences, contrary to the popular myth.

When listening to the heartbeat using a Doppler ultrasound fetal heartbeat detector, it won’t be the actual heartbeat that you are hearing. What you hear is an amplified “beat frequency,” that is the interaction between the response and the frequency used by the Doppler. As the outgoing frequency (sent by the Doppler) runs into the physical movements of the heart, the closer the heart is, the higher the frequency. A quiet or loud heartbeat is not an indicator of abnormalities, it just depends on the distance between the fetus and the instrument.

Twin heartbeats can be hard to distinguish. Placing the instrument at two different places over the uterus can usually allow a technician to hear the two different beats, however, an ultrasound might be required to be sure. 

Once you reach 20 weeks, Doppler is no longer necessary to hear the heartbeat. A fetoscope can be placed on the uterus, much like a stethoscope used to hear the heart in adults. It might be hard to hear if you are overweight or if the placenta lies in the way. Sometimes a fetoscope can be used to hear the heartbeat as early as 16 weeks. As the pregnancy progresses, it will be easier to hear using this instrument.

Some parents purchase Doppler to use in the home. If you decide to purchase one of these, be aware that the heartbeat can often be hard to find and picking up the mother’s heartbeat is not uncommon. In other words, if you don’t find the heartbeat right away, it is not a cause for panic.

The fetal heartbeat may react to chronic anxiety of the mother and other heart rate changes in the mother. A wide-range study revealed that hearing the voices of strangers can decelerate the heart rate and hearing the mother’s voice can accelerate it. If the fetal heart rate does not change, is too low or too high (outside a range of 110-180 bpm) it could indicate a problem. When giving birth, the fetal heart rate will respond to the contractions with a pattern. Deviance from this established pattern could indicate a problem as well. However, fetal heart beat changes do not always indicate a problem. About 14% of normal babies have irregular heartbeats (a skipped beat or extra beat) during their time in the womb and there is only a 1-2% chance of finding something wrong, according to a Yale University study. If fetal heart rate variances present themselves during labor you may be asked to change positions, take medication to relax the uterus, be given an IV or oxygen through a mask.

Listening to a baby’s heart beat can be a heart-warming experience. Conversely, when problems present themselves it can be emotionally challenging. Hopefully, fueled with the knowledge of how the fetal heartbeat develops, you will be prepared for whatever a Doppler or fetoscope reveals and be able to enjoy it as the miraculous sound of life that it is. 

Have you heard the baby's heartbeat?

Baby's Heart Beat [About]
Fetal Heart Rate [iampregnant]
Fetal Heart Beat [Military OB-GYN]
Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring during Labor [ACOG]
Understanding Early Pregnancy / First Trimester Ultrasound Results [About]

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Best of the Web: Parenting and Pregnancy News

William Petersen Welcomes Twins [People]

Extreme morning sickness could lead to emotional disorders in kids [HealthCanal]

Tips to Help Get Your Children Out of Your Bed and Into Their Own [ABCNews]

12-Year-Old Boy Delivers His Baby Brother [Jezebel]

U.S. News Rates Top 20 Vehicles for Families [WSJ]

13 Ways To Include Your Partner In Your Pregnancy [Babble]

The 'Secret' Perks Of Being A Middle Child [NPR]

A family's guide to healthy food substitutes [CNN]

Nearly 90 percent moms judge other moms: But why? [ajc]

Trying to Be 'Supermom' Can Raise Risk for Depression [USNews]

Kimberly Stewart Gives Birth To A Baby Girl [CelebrityBabyScoop]

The Infant Sucking Reflex and Toddler Sucking

All infants are born with a natural reflex referred to as the "sucking reflex." In fact, babies develop this reflex in the womb, evidenced by ultrasound images of many babies sucking their thumb in utero. The act of sucking requires coordination between sucking, breathing, and swallowing. It requires the muscles of the lips, throat and tongue to work. Medical professionals will often gauge a newborn’s neurological capacity and maturity by measuring the sucks and bursts of an infant's suck. Premature infants and babies of diabetic mothers are common groups that experience a weak sucking reflex. 

There are two types of sucking: nutritive and non-nutritive, defined by the presence or lack of fluid. When fluid is present, the infant must have the palate stimulated to evoke the reflex, which is why the mother’s entire areola should be used to breastfeed and not just the tip of the nipple. Nutritive sucking is slow and rhythmic, while non-nutritive sucking moves at a faster pace. Non-nutritive sucking can help the infant to learn and maintain the sucking knowledge. Sucking is also a soothing practice for the baby.

The infant’s first experience with feeling relaxed and happy comes from sucking on a nipple and receiving food. Sucking on the thumb or pacifier causes the brain to release endorphins similar to when they are sucking for nutrients. Those who figure out how to self-soothe by sucking on their fingers early on, tend to be calmer in general. Babies who suck their thumbs tend to fall asleep faster, fall back asleep in the middle of the night, and sleep through the night earlier than babies who do not suck their thumbs. 

Babies learn about the world primarily with their mouths, researchers have found. Thumb-sucking is usually their first real experience that they can always fall back on. It’s because of this comfortable situation, that putting things in their mouth and sucking on them is a way to gauge differences between that object and their thumb or pacifier. Many parents are alarmed by this behavior and concerned that the baby will ingest germs and microbes that could be harmful. Researchers theorize that all that sucking on possibly dirty, germy items could be actually training the immune system. They believe that the dirt and germs teach the immune system how to respond to and identify threats. Researchers postulate that auto-immune disorders are a product of overly good hygiene, which blocks the immune system from this supposed learning process.

The sucking reflex usually fades at six months but in some cases babies will choose to continue to suck. The duration of time that most babies suck varies. A study of infants found that 94% of them stopped sucking their thumb before they reached their first birthday. Most children will stop sucking their thumb by the time they are four or five years old. Sucking on the thumb or a pacifier can become an issue once the permanent teeth come in because it can lead to dental problems.

Stopping a small child from sucking can be problematic because it often serves as the most reliable form of self-soothing behavior. Pulling a baby’s thumb out of their mouth, might actually end up encouraging the behavior. A better deterrent is to hand them something that they need both hands to hold. Once the child is able to be reasoned with, other ways of deterring the behavior can be used, such as offering new ways for the child to self-soothe. Once the child enters a school situation, they often stop due to peer pressure.  

Does your child self-soothe with sucking?

Infant reflexes [BabycareAdvice]
Thumb Sucking [smartmomma]
The 'Anatomy' of Infant Sucking [health e-learning]
Why Infants Suck Their Thumbs [Dr.Greene]
Thumb sucking in Children [Scribd]

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jennifer Garner is Pregnant!

Actress Jennifer Garner (39) and director Ben Affleck (39) are expecting their third child together. The actors are "thrilled" to have another on the way. The couple are already parents to 5-year-old Violet and 2-year-old Seraphina.
The news comes after months of speculation by gossip outlets trying to determine whether Garner was concealing a baby bump. The couple released the news to the Associated Press exclusively on Monday.

Congratulations to the happy couple!

AP Exclusive: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, parents of 2 daughters, expecting 3rd child [WashPo]

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Nation's First Postpartum Depression Clinic

It's not uncommon for women to experience what's known as "the baby blues" after giving birth - a sudden drop in hormones combined with the adjustment to caring for another life is a lot for any person to handle. It is less common for women to experience postpartum depression (PPD), which can last months or even years after giving birth and can be particularly hard to talk about due to the public perception of it. The first postpartum depression clinic in the United States has opened its doors, hopefully, helping to bring this stigmatized condition into the spotlight and allow more women to get the help they need to overcome it.

The University of North Carolina hospital in Chapel Hill opened the first postpartum depression clinic last Monday. The hospital previously placed women who suffered from PPD in their psychiatric unit, an ill-fitting place for someone who is simply overwhelmed with motherhood. The doctor’s at the psychiatric unit found it hard not to act upon hearing mothers speaking about thoughts of hurting their babies, even though these thoughts are common among those who suffer from PPD and rarely lead to a dangerous situation. The new inpatient clinic provides breast pumps, rocking chairs, family therapy, and extended visiting hours for babies. Mothers and their children are encouraged to establish a routine even as she is hospitalized. Individualized therapy and support groups provide women with the help they truly need.

The hospital is reportedly receiving calls from individuals all over the country interested in opening similar clinics. These clinics would be an asset for any medical establishment and could help improve the lives of all the family members that are affected by PPD.

Have you or anyone you know suffered from postpartum depression?

Postpartum Depression Clinic The First Of Its Kind [NPR]

Preggie Pops and Drops for Morning Sickness

One of the worst symptoms of pregnancy is morning sickness. Despite the name, the nausea associated with elevated hormones during pregnancy can appear at any time of the day and seems to always hit when you least expect it. There are many articles on the internet that share home remedies, but the only thing that gets most women through morning sickness is getting past the first trimester - still, there is hope! Preggie Pops and Drops are specially formulated hard candies which can help relieve nausea as soon as it hits, whether you're in the first trimester of pregnancy or about to give birth.

Preggie Pops and Drops are lollipops and individually-wrapped candies that help to relieve the nausea associated with pregnancy. The tasty morsels were developed by healthcare professionals and are made with natural flavors and essential oils that provide quick relief from nausea. They can also be helpful aids during labor, because they deliver quick energy and nutrients when you need them. Three Lollies, the maker of Preggie Pops and Drops, also makes Queasy Pops and Drops, which can be used in any situation where nausea persists and are also available for kids. Three Lollies also sells Smoking Sucks to aid smokers that want to quit. The pregnancy lozenges come in a variety of flavors: peppermint, spearmint, lavender, ginger, sour lemon, sour tangerine and sour raspberry. All of the products are inexpensive and can be ordered on the company’s website.

PregnancyWeekly will be giving away free samples of Preggie Pops and Drops to a lucky winner on our Facebook page. Become a fan, so you can enter the contest once it’s posted.

Have you found any morning sickness remedies?