Category: Health

Should Adults Be Drinking Breast Milk?

Posted on Jun 26, 2014 by 1 Comment

We all know that breast milk is the ideal choice for babies, but some adults say that the benefits reach into adulthood.

In a recent interview with New York Magazine men who consume breast milk talked about why they drink it. They reported significant health benefits like boosted energy levels and improved immune systems. One dad even said that breast milk eased his nausea during chemotherapy treatments.

It’s touted as “God-given” and “natural” and is bought and sold on sites like Only the Breast. Mainstream sale sites like eBay and Craigslist ban the sale of bodily fluids, but Only the Breast co-founder Glenn Snow says that his site concentrates on mothers but that they “do not mind men seeking milk for health or wellness needs.”

Part of me thinks about how calves drink milk when they are young, but then they outgrow it. They need the nutrition in milk to meet their growth and energy needs when young.

Isn’t it the same for human babies? Infants are delicate and susceptible to disease, and their bodies are not fully developed. Breast milk offers them specific nourishment that helps them resist disease and infection early in life.

It turns out that this isn’t anything new. According to the Telegraph, men in China have been drinking breast milk for its nutritional value. Before we let the creepy factor cloud our thinking, we have to ask if there is a nutritional value that should be considered.

Breast milk is a unique combination of nutrients essential to a child’s health, and it is natural.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, breast milk contains fats, proteins, carbohydrates and special immune-boosting cells, and scientists hope to take the beneficial qualities of breast milk and to create a treatment for adults who suffer from a wide range of illnesses including chronic conditions like Crohn’s disease.

In light of this, it makes me think of all the times supplements are created to mimic the real thing, but don’t quite match up to the full potential of that real thing. Could this be the case with breast milk? Might it be beneficial to those suffering from chronic conditions? Of course mainstream medical experts are skeptical, but so far the anecdotal evidence is mounting.

Photo credits: wikihow

Woman’s Ovary Removal Turns into C-Section

Posted on Jun 24, 2014 by No Comments

When I hear stories of women who don’t know they are pregnant, it just amazes me, but this one is more astounding than most.

New Zealand doctors had run multiple tests on 25-year-old Rebecca Oldham to see if they could find the cause of her painful cramping. But after running multiple tests on the mother of one, they had no conclusive answer. As a matter of deduction, they decided to remove her ovaries in November, figuring they were the most likely cause of the problem.

She was wheeled into surgery knowing she wouldn’t be able to have any more children. Little did anyone know the course that trip to the OR would take.

What was scheduled as surgery for removal of her ovaries turned into an emergency Cesarean section as the doctors delivered a 9 pound baby boy! Rebecca was 32 weeks pregnant! Instead of having her ovaries removed, she brought home a healthy baby boy they named James.

I’m stunned. Not only did the mom not know she was pregnant with a nine-pound baby, but she was undergoing tests and the doctors didn’t pick up on that fact either! According to Rebecca Oldham, I’m not the only one left with questions. Rebecca told Newser that “People say ‘how could you not know?’ But I really didn’t.”

Doctors are puzzled over how they didn’t detect the advanced pregnancy after completing three scans, two blood tests, and six pregnancy tests. Now in hindsight, they have told Oldham that her cramps were likely caused by the baby being so tightly lodged along her back.

“I was facing not being able to have any more children because they thought there were problems with my ovaries and all of a sudden we had a son.” – Oldham via the New Zealand Herald.

It took a while for her to wrap her head around the idea. She said when James cried at night, she’d wake up and say “Ssshhh Hayley,” and then remember it wasn’t her daughter crying but her newborn son.

Oldham is awaiting findings from the hospital’s investigation and hopes it will give her some of the answers she’s looking for. If I were here, one of the big questions would be, “Can this happen to me again?”

Photo credits: wikipedia

Moms Using Hypnobirth to Avoid Drugs and Pain During Childbirth

Posted on Jun 23, 2014 by 1 Comment

Can childbirth really be a pain- and drug-free experience? For those who have tried hypnobirthing, the answer is yes.

Hypnobirthing allows women to give birth calmly and in many cases without pain or drugs. It removes the drama often associated with getting to the hospital, and eliminates things like screaming and yelling. Instead, it transforms giving birth into a quiet, loving experience.

When it comes to hypnosis, if you think of someone waving a pocket watch in front of your face telling you “you’re getting sleepy” you’re not alone, but the techniques used during hypnobirthing are nothing like that.

It’s not like moms-to-be are under a spell. Instead, couples are taught techniques of hypnosis to help them relax and focus. It’s not a form of sleep or something you won’t remember. Couples are focused and fully aware of what is happening.

How does it work? Couples learn hypnosis techniques in class and practice them at home. These hypnobirthing techniques help couples release endorphins (the hormones that allow us to experience pleasure) and to block catecholamines which are hormones released when a person is under physical or emotional stress.

When the body goes into labor, these catecholamines naturally kick in as the mind alerts the body of a life-threatening situation. Blocking the catecholamines allows women to relax and stay calm during the birthing process, and the endorphins work as natural pain killers.

When the time comes to give birth, hypnobirthing is not always 100 percent pain free, but many mothers using this technique say they feel pressure but no pain. They are able to go through the delivery without the use of drugs, and deliveries are often quick, too.

For people who don’t want to put chemicals in their bodies and who want to take a more natural approach to having a baby, hypnobirthing offers ‘training’ to help control or eliminate the pain. It uses visual imagery and other techniques to help keep the body completely relaxed during labor.

To find a practitioner near you, check the hypnobirthing website.

Photo credits: salimfadhley, Amazon

Germoaphobes May End Up with Sicker Kids

Posted on Jun 20, 2014 by No Comments

I’m not a germophobe, except in places like public bathrooms. And when my kids were younger, I didn’t freak out if they got dirty.

Maybe it’s because I was that kid who played in the dirt. When it rained, we had a puddle in front of the bank of mailboxes at the street. It became the cauldron in which I made a stew with ingredients like grass and weeds. And yes I actually remember tasting it one time. Not tasty enough to go back for seconds.

I was also one of those kids who didn’t care about grass stains, I expected them. With that said, I guess that mindset wore off on my parenting. The kids were bathed each night, started out the day in clean clothes and all that, I just didn’t fret over whether or not they looked perfect all the time.

I thought it was important to have some fun. After all that’s what kids do.

Now a new study has come out that says shielding infants from bacteria and other possible triggers for illness and asthma may actually be a disservice to them. The results suggest that it is better to expose our kids to cat dander and a wide variety of household bacteria…even rodent and roach allergens, because it may help protect them against future allergies and wheezing.

Okay, I admit, the rodent and roach allergens creep me out a bit. But this study which was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reports that contact with the bacteria and dander after age one was not protective and actually increased the risk. So all the beneficial exposure happens within the first year, when they learn to crawl around on the floor and put everything in their mouth.

Dr. Robert Wood, chief of the division of allergy and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and co-author of the study said, “It was the opposite of what we expected. We’re not promoting bringing rodents and cockroaches into the home, but this data does suggest that being too clean may not be good.”

Photo credits: Michael Beck

Baby’s Busy Birth Day: Apgar Score and More

Posted on Jun 16, 2014 by No Comments

We all know babies are born in the birthing room and as a mom whose just given birth, we lie there happy that it’s over and even happier to hold our baby, but what of all the activity surrounding us? Do you really know what happens to your baby in the birthing room?

In the first minute of life outside the womb, a nurse determines your child’s Apgar score and does the same again at 5 minutes. If the score is low and raises concerns about the baby’s condition, the test may be administered again at 10 minutes.

That’s right, the Apgar score is our baby’s first test. It was developed in 1952 and is designed to quickly evaluate the baby’s physical condition and alerts medical staff to any immediate need for extra medical attention or emergency care.

While it is named after the anesthesiologist, Virginia Apgar, some also refer to it using an acronym to describe the five factors used to determine the baby’s score.

  • Appearance: skin coloration
  • Pulse: heart rate
  • Grimace response: reflex irritability
  • Activity: including muscle tone
  • Respiration: breathing rate and effort

Each factor is scored on a scale between 0 to 2 with two being the highest score for each factor with a possible total score of 10 being the highest.

Along with the Apgar score, your baby will also be given a shot of vitamin K soon after birth (usually within the first hour). Vitamin K improves clotting and helps prevent bleeding that can occur following birth and the first several weeks of life. An eye ointment is also administered to prevent eye infections.

Other assessments are also made to determine gestational age and look at weight in relation to that age because babies that are too big or too little for their gestational age may have additional medical risks that will have to be monitored or addressed.

All that makes for a busy birth day. All of the above happens quickly and can seem like a lot of activity, but it’s routine. In most cases, before you know it, baby and mom are snuggling. A hearing test and metabolic screen are also conducted before the baby leaves the hospital.

Photo credits: kellyv

Home Remedies for Seasonal Allergies

Posted on Jun 13, 2014 by 1 Comment

I know from personal experience that seasonal allergies can make the spring and summer months absolutely miserable, but there are several home remedies you can try to ease the discomfort of nasal congestion and watery or itchy eyes. These remedies can be used on their own or in conjunction with your favorite antihistamine medication.

Local honey that is made from bees visiting plants that are found in your community can be a very effective home remedy for seasonal allergies. Look for local honey by visiting a nearby farmer’s market. If you don’t want to try a spoonful of honey straight, try sipping a medicinal tea made from two cups hot water, two tablespoons local honey, and two teaspoons dried sage.

Starting your day with Greek yogurt may help your allergies by providing you with a dose of probiotics that benefit immune health. Add fresh strawberries, raspberries, cherries, or other fruits high in vitamin C to provide additional immune system benefits. “Medicine” never tasted so good!

Using a humidifier can sometimes be a helpful way to treat seasonal allergies, but you must remember to clean and change the filter often in order to prevent dust and mold from accumulating. It’s also best to use only distilled water in the humidifier, since tap water has a high mineral content that can encourage bacterial growth.

If your allergies bother you at night, try placing a diffuser by your bed and adding a few drops of lavender essential oil before you sleep. Lavender is a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory agent that also provides calming aromatherapy benefits.

During the daytime hours, peppermint essential oil can be used to provide similar allergy relief with an energizing aromatherapy benefit.

Photo credit: mcfarlandmo via Flickr

Link Roundup: Smoothie, Stir Fry, Father’s Day Card, Baby Blanket, and More

Posted on Jun 10, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has a smoothie recipe, “mancakes” for Father’s Day, a stir fry, and more.

A Beautiful Mess shared a recipe for red cabbage stir fry.

If you love a glass of wine after a long day of kid-wrangling, you may enjoy Mind Body Green’s post on why you should switch to organic wine.

Spoonful offered a pop-up King Triton Father’s Day card printable.

link ru pb banana smoothie
Chocolate Covered Katie offered a recipe for a filling, delicious breakfast smoothie.

Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons showed us how to make “mancakes” for a Father’s Day breakfast.

Sew 4 Home gave us the how-to for a cute cabana-like playhouse.

MADE shared a video on how to create an easy, soft, and cozy baby blanket.

Photo credit: A Beautiful Mess and Chocolate Covered Katie

Pregnancy Increases Risk of Motor Vehicle Accidents

Posted on Jun 2, 2014 by No Comments

I’m short, and when I was pregnant with my second child I had to give up driving when my belly made it impossible to reach the clutch and gas pedal safely. According to a recent study, that may have actually helped to keep me safe!

The study published in CMAJ shows pregnant women were 42 percent more likely to be involved in an accident that sent them to the emergency room compared to when they weren’t pregnant. What does one have to do with the other?

According to Dr. Donald Redelmeier, the study’s lead author from the University of Toronto, “A normal pregnancy is usually accompanied by a lot of fatigue, nausea, mood fluctuations, anxieties and distractions which may all contribute to distracted driving.” The study also suggests that women are at increased risk for serious injury during a motor vehicle accident during their second trimester of pregnancy.

For this study, they looked at data on all adult women who gave birth in the Canadian province of Ontario from April 2006 to March 2011. During that time more than half a million women gave birth and were responsible for about 8,000 crashes during that time.

Dr. Redelmeier is an internist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, and he became curious about the risk of vehicle crashes during pregnancy, because pregnant patients often asked about dangers related to other activities like riding a rollercoaster.

He said that none of the women ever asked about road safety even though it is a larger risk to both the mother and child. He and his colleagues analyzed the data available and compared crash rates before and after pregnancy to see if there was a difference.

The findings showed that the rate of accidents was around 4.6 crashes per 1,000 women before pregnancy, but the number rose to 7.7 crashes per 1,000 women during their second trimester. This increase existed regardless of background and demographics and didn’t seem to be affected if the women already had other children.

While they can’t say absolutely why the risk of car accidents increases during the second trimester, Redelmeier thinks it may have to do with the symptoms that result from wide hormonal fluctuations.

Photo credits: Erik Starck

Increasing Number of Moms Using Alcohol to Deal with Parenting

Posted on May 30, 2014 by 1 Comment

After a long day with the kids what do you do to relax?

If you are like 40 percent of the other moms, you pour yourself a glass of wine or fix a cocktail.

According to women are increasingly reaching for a glass of wine during the day, sometimes more than once, just to take the edge off. Wine is served at play dates, and more than once a mom has been a little more relaxed than she probably needed to be.

Wine companies are jumping on the trend and naming their wines cute little monikers that seems to empathize with stressed out mommies. The labels have images that women are drawn to — vintage images of women, similar to the Anne Taintor cards, are especially popular.

The labels carry names like Sassy Bitch, Mommy’s Time Out, Skinny Girl, Mad Housewife, and Mommy Juice. Some wines are appealing to our cravings with names like Cupcake and Red Velvet Cake. Wine has become approachable, friendly, and comforting like a long talk with your best friend and a half gallon of mint chocolate chip ice cream. It’s left elegance and black tie dinners far behind.

Some play groups take precautions to ensure that there are no problems. Moms are limited to one glass and they serve plenty of snacks. Everyone walks home to further ensure safety for everyone.

So, a glass of wine in the afternoon isn’t a big problem. It is a nice way to put the work day behind you. Still, more than one-third of women who enjoy a little wine therapy said they have mom friends who they think have a problem with alcohol. Experts are concerned that as more women use alcohol to deal with parenting stress they put their children at risk.

Do you enjoy a little wine at the end of they day? Do you ever worry that you might have a problem?

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism suggests these questions to ask yourself:

  • Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
  • Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
  • Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
  • Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?

One yes may mean that you have a problem and should talk to your health care provider. Even if you answered no to the questions, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your relationship with alcohol.  If you regularly have a glass of wine in the afternoon and one day you realize that you are having three or four, it might be a good idea to ask yourself if something is going on.

Being a mom is stressful, maybe more stressful than in past generations, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Look for a variety of ways to combat your stress levels. Long baths, working out in the gym, or yoga can help. Keep wine and other alcoholic beverages in their proper place.

photo credit: muitosabao via photopin cc

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