Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Wrap-up: Parenting and Pregnancy News

'My First Hardcore Song' by 8 yr old Juliet OFFICIAL [YouTube]

Home Births Grow More Popular In U.S. [NPR]

Lindsay Sloane Welcomes Daughter Maxwell Lue [People]

Babies understand gravity and other properties of physics [NYDailyNews]

Early sign of autism may be found in babies' gaze [LATimes]

Erica Atkins-Campbell Welcomes Baby No. 3: Zaya Monique [CelebrityBabyScoop]

The Stroller Burn Workout [babyzone]

Diaper bag that's also a nursing pillow? Genius. [babycenter]

Homeless dad's message of hope: 'Never give up' [Today]

Baby No. 2 on the Way for Jay DeMarcus [People]

Danish Princess Gives Birth to a Daughter [ABCNews]

2012 Olympics Organizers Discriminating Against New Mothers?

If you have tickets to an event at the 2012 Olympics in London you won't be able to bring your newborn along, unless you happen to have an extra ticket. Even though the majority of tickets were purchased 15 months in advance, organizers are telling parents with babies that they need to buy an extra ticket, even if the baby will be seated on their laps. Many ticket holders are furious and the move is being cited as discriminatory against new mothers.

Babies who will enjoy the games from a parent's lap will need a ticket for a seat in the arena, even if the seat is nowhere near where the parents are sitting. For those who bought their tickets before becoming parents, the policy has put them in a situation where breastfeeding mothers are excluded from the events unless they can find and afford a spare ticket. The situations has raised red flags for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which stated:

"A business must not do something which has a worse impact on you and on other people who share a particular protected characteristic, such as gender, than it has on people who do not share that characteristic. Unless the business can show that what they have done is objectively justified, this will be what is called indirect discrimination. It could be argued that women are more likely to have child caring responsibilities and thus this policy might have more of an impact for women, but as stated above the business might be able to justify this potential discrimination."

A spokesman for organizers of the 2012 Games said they are reviewing the policy.

Do you think parents of newborns are being discriminated against?

London 2012 Olympics: Sex Discrimination Case Emerges For Banned Mothers And Babies [HuffPo]

Photo Credit: Graham Hogg

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Children's Immune System at Risk from Common Chemicals

In case you weren't paranoid enough about common household items exposing your child to harmful chemicals, a new report will only add to that fear. A new study has found that perflourinated compounds (PFCs) can reduce the functioning of a child's immune system, consequently making vaccines less effective. PFCs are ubiquitous in the American household - they are found in rain gear, grease-resistant food packaging (such as microwave popcorn bags and pizza boxes), non-stick cookware, shampoo, dental floss, stain-resistant carpeting and many other common items.

Despite numerous studies on the health effects of exposure to PFCs, this study is the first to show a detrimental health effect in humans (previous studies have only been able to demonstrate ill health effects in animals). Danish researchers found that children with the highest levels of the compounds in their bloodstream had less infection-fighting antibodies and exhibited the weakest reaction to vaccines. Prenatal exposure was also implicated in the study - children of mothers with high levels of PFCs during pregnancy were more likely to have less antibodies at the age of five.

Philippe Grandjean, lead author of the study, conveyed a deep sense of alarm at the results. He says that a weakened immune system in young children can produce effects that last a lifetime and a weakened response to vaccines is evidence of an emerging public health threat. He likened the lower levels of antibodies his team discovered to levels found in patients undergoing radiation and other cancer treatments.

PFCs are cumulative in the body, water resistant, grease resistant, and toxic. Their use is restricted by the Environmental Protection Agency, but they are still widely used for processing in many industries. They are easily transferred through the placenta and breast milk. The study authors are advising parents to avoid buying products containing the compounds in order to send a message to companies that PFC-free items are important to consumers.

Do you look to avoid PFCs when making a purchase?

Common Chemicals in Products May Harm Children’s Immune System [Bloomberg]
Long-Chain Perfluorinated Chemicals Action Plan [EPA]
Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs) [WTC]

Photo Credit: Jim Grandy

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Best of the Web: Parenting and Pregnancy News

Mom Gives Birth In Car, Dad Films The Whole Thing (VIDEO) [HuffPo]

Aaron Johnson, Sam Taylor-Wood Welcome Daughter Romy Hero [People]

Delivery room rap: New dad freestyles to the fetal monitor [Today]

The Return Of Wet Nursing [AOL]

The Year of the Dragon May Spur a Baby Boom in Asia [Time]

Parents Who Hid Child's Gender for Five Years Now Face Backlash [Time]

Can You Find the Hidden Mothers in These Old Photographs? [Gizmodo]

The Top Nine Videos Of Babies Farting And/Or Laughing With Kittens [Gawker]

Angelina Hits the Farmers Market With Shiloh, Pax, and Knox [PopSugar]

Drew Brees Expecting Third Child

Saints Quarterback Drew Brees and his wife Brittany are expecting their third child! The famous football player tweeted on January 20th: "Thanks for the well wishes to Brittany and Baby #3. She is 2 1/2 months. Training camp baby. Bowen wants a lil bro, Baylen a lil sis"

The newest addition will join big brothers Baylen Robert (3) and Bowen Christopher (15 months) and it looks like no matter what, one of the boys will get the sibling he wants!

Congratulations to the happy family!

Were you rooting for the Saints to get into the Super Bowl?

Baby No. 3 On the Way for Drew Brees [People]
drewbrees [Twitter]

Photo credit: US Navy

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler are Expecting!

Photo credit: jingdianmeinv1
Former star of The Hills, Kristin Cavallari (25) and Chicage Bears quarterback, Jay Cutler (28), are expecting their first child together. They released a statement to People: "We are thrilled to announce we are expecting our first child together. It's an amazing time in our life and we can't wait to meet the new addition to our growing family."

The couple has had their ups and downs - they first started dating in the fall of 2010, were engaged in April 2011 and the engagement was reportedly called off by Cutler in July 2011. They became engaged again in November of 2011. Despite the publicity that once surrounded their broken engagement, Jay Cutler took to Twitter this week to dispel break-up rumors:

"Thanks for all the tweets. We couldn't be more excited. We don't usually comment on our relationship but for the record I never broke up with Kristin. Its unfortunate some people are saying hurtful things during such a joyous moment in our life."

Cavallari tweeted this week: "Thanks for all the sweet messages! We are so excited for this little bun in the oven."

Lots of luck to the happy couple!

Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler Are Expecting! [People]
kristincav [Twitter]
jaycutler6 [Twitter]

Monday, January 23, 2012

Umbilical Cord Blood: Cure for Diabetes?

Scientists from the University of Illinois at Chicago may be onto a cure for Type 1 diabetes using umbilical cord blood. Dr. Yong Zhao and his team were able to "kickstart" the pancreas, reducing the need for injected insulin in diabetics. Stem cells from umbilical cord blood appeared to "re-educate" the T-cells, which help to counteract damaged cells in the body. The treatment was successful in reducing the need for insulin by 38% over a period of 12 weeks.

The authors wrote: "This trial provides powerful evidence that exposing a patient's lymphocytes to [cord blood stem cells] can achieve the two essential outcomes required to cure T1D: reversal of autoimmunity and regeneration of islet beta cells. Importantly, the trial provides additional support for the mechanisms of [cord blood stem cells]-mediated immune response and demonstrates these mechanisms are apparent and lasting in patients."

The study is published in BMC medicine.

Does anyone in your family have Type 1 Diabetes?

Stem Cells May Help in Type 1 Diabetes [medpageToday]

Fetal Development - Week Five (Video)

This week, your baby is no bigger than the tip of a pen, but its little heart begins to beat and its blood vessels complete a circuit, making the circulatory system the very first functioning organ system. An ultrasound may be able to detect the movement of your baby's little beating heart, although it will still be a few more weeks before it's loud enough for you to hear.