Category: Health

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

Woman Catches Rouge Bat to Protect Baby

Posted on May 29, 2014 by No Comments

While I’m not a die-hard baseball fan, I am married to one. And because I love him, I have spent more time than I’d like to say in the stands watching the game. I’ve even been known to wear a jersey. In fact, I’ve even had friends tell us they’ve seen us on TV! One time my sister said, “It looked like you were reading a book.” The truth is I was.

I do watch the game some, but some baseball games are about as exciting as watching the grass grow. Like I said, I go to games more for my husband than for entertainment. However, even when reading a book I do pay attention to what’s going on.

If I’m sitting on the first base side and a left handed hitter comes up to the base, I’ve learned there is a greater chance of a foul ball coming my direction…or a piece of bat…or even the whole bat if it happens to slip from the batter’s grasp.

At one game, I saw a woman taken away on a stretcher after being hit by a bat. It is important to pay attention and be aware of what’s going on.

This weekend when Eileen Depesa was at an Indians/White Sox game, she had a rouge bat fly straight at her. It hit the top of the dugout and ricocheted straight at her. What did she do? The man beside her ducked, and in his defense, that’s what I would have done.

But Eileen knew there was a baby sitting behind her. Her brain didn’t have time to think about all her options. She only had time to react one way…and for her that ended up being a one-handed grab and catch. And she did it with style!

Why would she do such a foolish thing and risk her safety? According to she said, “I was more concerned with protecting the baby seated behind me.”

Photo credits: MLBTube

Signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children and Teens

Posted on May 21, 2014 by No Comments

If you’re like most people, you probably associate Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with military veterans returning from service in a combat zone.

However, PTSD is an anxiety disorder that some people may experience after living through any sort of  traumatic event. This includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, a natural disaster, or even the sudden death of a loved one.

It is important to realize that PTSD can occur at any age. In fact, because their brains are still developing and they have not yet developed strong coping mechanisms for dealing with a personal crisis, children may be even more vulnerable to PTSD after experiencing traumatic events.

Signs a child may need help include bedwetting, acting out in school, refusal to speak, or being unusually clingy with parents and other trusted caregivers.

In older children, teenagers, or adults, the following symptoms may indicate a person is suffering from PTSD if they are occurring regularly more than six to eight weeks after the traumatic triggering event:

  • Flashbacks
  • Bad dreams
  • Angry outbursts
  • Changes in appetite
  • Loss of pleasure in daily activities
  • Feelings of extreme guilt
  • Feelings of emotional numbness

Cognitive behavioral therapy, in which patients learn ways to cope with triggering events, is the most common form of treatment for PTSD. Play therapy may also be used to help very young children process their emotions after a traumatic event.

The most common medications prescribed for PTSD are the antidepressants sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil), but most physicians are reluctant to prescribe medication for young children due to the potential for long term side effects.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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