I just learned November is Prematurity Awareness Month with November 17 being World Prematurity Awareness Day.
I’m not big on the idea of having months set aside for causes because there are so many worthy causes that usually what happens is that the message ends up being lost with so many vying for attention.
For instance, November is also “Adopt a Senior Pet Month,” “National Adoption Month,” “National Family Caregivers Month,” and that just a few from a long list of worthy causes that claim November as their month.
They are all important, but really prematurity is worth talking about whether it is November or not because it remains the number one cause of newborn mortality in the United States.
Since this month is suppose to be about awareness, it’s important to note that 1 in 8 babies in the U.S. are born too early. In some cases it’s not preventable, but moms can reduce their risk of preterm birth by making some changes to their behavior.
For instance, moms-to-be should stop smoking and avoid the use of alcohol or drugs.
While that might seem like a no-brainer, taking care of yourself in general can help make a difference. This includes getting regular prenatal care throughout your pregnancy, eating healthy, taking prenatal vitamins, and controlling diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.
While these things all smack of common sense, in general staying healthy while pregnant can reduce the risk of a preterm birth. So that should be a mom-to-be’s goal
Prematurity Awareness Month is the brainchild of the March of Dimes. Their goal is to focus the nation’s attention on premature birth and to educate the public.
Be sure to visit their website to see how your state rates when it comes to premature births. They along with their partner organizations around the world are asking everyone to help spread the word on the serious problem of premature birth and what can be done to help prevent it.
Photo credits: wikimedia
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has new recommendations for the way teens practice safe sex.
It’s just kind of sad to me that pediatric experts have to have recommendations for safe sex, and leads to the question of what that term really means. I use to think it meant ways to prevent STDs, but in this case what they are talking about is birth control to more effectively prevent teen pregnancy.
The AAP previously recommended birth control pills and condoms, but now suggests the use of IUDs and other long-term contraceptive devices instead.
These recommendations line up with the current recommendations made by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the reason behind them is that oral contraceptives have shown to be the least effective option for adolescents because they tend to not be consistent in taking them.
The problem is the cost. Birth control pills can cost anywhere from $15 to $50 a month while an IUD, which can provide birth control for up to 12 years, can range in cost from $500 to $1,000.
The IUD is the least expensive, long-term birth control option that is reversible and could cut pregnancy rates by almost 80 percent for sexually active teens.
A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that educating teen girls about all forms of contraception and then providing them for free is the way to really curtail unwanted pregnancies.
I agree that would probably work, but it leads to the question of who will pay for free medical treatment. We already see how well that doesn’t work in our attempt to provide Affordable Care.
Statistics show that teen pregnancy has declined almost continuously for the last two decades with a 51 percent decline between 1990 and 2010. These numbers include live births as well as pregnancies terminated through abortion or miscarriage.
This improvement is attributed to an increased number of adolescents waiting to have sex as well as the increased use of contraceptives. That sounds like a sensible approach that’s working, doesn’t it?
Photo credits: wikimedia
What causes autism is a debated issue. Some think it’s an environmental issue involving exposure to pollution, some household chemicals, and other environmental factors. Many also think it is directly linked to vaccinations.
I have friends in both camps, and I’ve thought it could be both. However, at this time no one can point to a specific, provable cause of what is now commonly known as autism spectrum disorders. What we do know is that currently one in 68 8-year-old children in the U.S. have an autism spectrum disorder! Those numbers really shine a light on how many kids and families are dealing with this, and makes one wonder why we don’t have definite answers to the cause.
It turns out that one new study that looks directly at the brain might provide some answers but also more questions.
Researchers studied brain samples of autistic children who died young, and they found differences on the genetic level and in the physical structure of the brain. They concluded that autism starts with disrupted genes that somehow interfere with brain development. That means it happens in the womb.
“The changes look like patches of arrested development deep in the brain.” — Eric Courchesne of the University of California, San Diego’s Autism Center of Excellence
Eric Courchesne told NBC News that there are “too many cells” and that the cells have not developed properly. “Brain cells are there but they haven’t changed into the kind of cell they are supposed to be. It’s a failure of early formation.”
These findings support the theory that genetic changes leading to autism occur in the second and third trimester of pregnancy.
While this highlights the genetics of autism, it still doesn’t tell us why it happens. However, IF it starts during pregnancy, then it couldn’t be linked to vaccinations. That doesn’t jive with much of the uncorroborated experiences recorded by parents and others.
I’m afraid we are still left with a ton of questions and looking for help. Autism Speaks is currently funding a similar study in South Carolina.
Photo credits: wikipedia
It’s been well documented that drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to all sorts of problems for your baby.
A glass of wine or a cocktail once every couple of months probably isn’t anything to worry about but daily drinking is – and apparently the women in affluent middle class are ignoring warnings and putting their babies at risk by drinking more than they should.
First of all, I was personally shocked to hear that there still was an affluent middle class. I thought they’d gone the way of the Tyrannosaurus Rex and gasoline for under $2.00 a gallon. So the good news is that the middle class does still exist somewhere.
Aside from that, it makes you wonder why women who are presumably more highly educated than lower income brackets as a general rule drink more than the recommended limit of two ounces of alcohol a week during the first trimester of pregnancy.
According to the Telegraph older white women with degrees were not as likely as other groups to comply.
Women who drink more than the recommended amounts are more than twice as likely to have premature babies than women who didn’t drink at all. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is also a risk no matter who you are. It’s important to note that there is no verified safe alcohol level during pregnancy.
I wonder why this is? Is it because when we get older, have money, and are well educated we get the idea that the rules don’t apply to us? Or, maybe it’s the fact that older, middle class women are becoming more and more likely to use wine to get them through the week.
What are your thoughts?
First birthdays are special, but for 25-year-old Rachel Crockett, the celebration for her son Conner marked a milestone many said would never happen.
Back when her water broke at 23 weeks, doctors delivered the bad news. Her baby was going to die. But when she saw his heartbeat on the scan, she knew differently. She knew she could save him.
Studies show that babies born at 39 to 41 weeks of pregnancy do better than those born 37 or even 38 weeks. When Rachel’s water broke at 23 weeks, her doctors told her she would miscarry.
In the UK, abortion is limited to 25 weeks or less. Rachel and her partner Craig Walkow told the doctors they wanted to save the baby, but even though Conner’s heart still beat, they were told her “case” would be treated as a miscarriage.
Desperate, they knew they had to find a specialist hospital to save their baby. They found one 39 miles away, but doctors said she couldn’t be transferred unless the hemorrhaging stopped.
Time was running out. She did the only thing she could think. She lied and said the bleeding had stopped.
They made the transfer to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford and a day later she gave birth to Conner. She was only 23 weeks and two days along and the baby came into the world weighing only 1 pound 2 ounces.
“We thought we would never get the baby we always wanted, but I pushed them.” Rachel Crockett via the Daily Mail
Conner celebrated his first birthday in October, 2014. It was a milestone many didn’t think would ever happen.
Conner was in the hospital for the first 7 months of his life. He suffered many setbacks including fungal meningitis, perforated bowels, and a brain bleed. He also had to undergo eye surgery to have his retinas reattached after they started to detach due to a condition brought about by the ventilators.
While Connor has already faced more challenges than many children face their entire childhood, with more undoubtedly in the future, Rachel doesn’t regret her decision. In fact, now she calls on maternity units to do more to save babies who are routinely considered “unviable.”
She is also pushing to have the abortion limit amended to 20 weeks. She says, “I think the abortion limit should be lowered to 20 weeks – especially considering what happened with Conner. By then, you can see their sex – they are a person.”
Photo credits: wikimedia
Today’s link round-up has tips for avoiding toxins while pregnant, treats, healthy meals, a new fingerpaint idea, and more.
A Beautiful Mess shared a giant skillet brownie recipe.
Mind Body Green shared 14 tips for minimizing toxins while pregnant.
Bitz n Giggles showed us how to make a Snicker caramel apple dip.
Life a Little Brighter showed us how to make Starburst fingerpaint (that’s one idea for getting rid of the Halloween candy!).
Luv a Bargain shared a cilantro lime chicken with zucchini and spinach recipe.
Play Dates on Fridays took a look at some of the insecurities we have as parents and how they sometimes show up in daily conversations.
Photo credit: A Beautiful Mess and Uncommon Designs Online
Prince William and his wife Kate have formally announced their second child is due in April.
That ends speculation as to when, and amid rumors of a baby girl on the way, they did not reveal whether they are expecting another son or a little girl. However, the formal announcement did rule out twins by using the singular word “baby.”
Kate has been out of the public eye with severe morning sickness since September 8 when the world found out she was expecting again. Since then, royal watchers have been waiting for any bit of news or a glimpse of the popular Duchess of Cambridge.
As for the due date, now, we can quit guessing and mark our calendars for April, the same month the royal couple will celebrate their fourth wedding anniversary on the 29th.
“Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to confirm they are expecting a baby in April 2015.” – official palace press release
As for Kate’s morning sickness, Kensington Palace has said that her condition is “steadily improving,” and if all goes according to plan she will return to her schedule of engagements on Tuesday, October 21, when she is to accompany her husband, the Duke of Cambridge, to welcome the president of Singapore and his wife.
The Duchess usually keeps quite a busy social schedule, so her absence has left a big hole. Along with greeting the President of Singapore and his wife, she is also planning to attend the Wildlife of the Year Awards Ceremony at the Natural History Museum on Tuesday evening. Only time will tell if she is really up to it.
Now that she will be back in the public eye, I’m sure we’ll be seeing every phase of royal baby bump number 2 and the Duchess’ maternity fashion choices highlighted at every occasion.
The baby will be a brother or sister to one-year-old Prince George and will be fourth in line to the British throne following Prince Charles (grandfather), Prince William (father), and Prince George (brother). While Prince George is a direct heir to the throne, the new baby is considered his alternate.
Photo credits: Paulo Carvalho
Back when I had my first baby, the doctor told me to keep my weight gain to 15-18 pounds for the entire pregnancy. Amazingly I did it.
Yet even with that, I’ll never forget lying on the hospital bed after giving birth, turning on my side and realizing that my flabby belly was resting on the bed beside me. As a first-time mom riding a hormonal roller coaster of happiness mingled with uncertainty that I was up to the job, it was a mental adjustment to say the least.
Would my body ever return to pre-baby fitness? What would I wear home from the hospital? Nothing would fit, so it was maternity clothes.
I can’t imagine what I would have done if had come home to a husband who called me “fat” or told me to quit being lazy so I’d burn calories. And all this when my daughter was two days old!!
No that didn’t happen to me, but that’s exactly what happened to one Georgia woman. She and her husband got into an argument after the dog pooped in the house and he told her to “quit being lazy and burn some calories” by cleaning it up. Remember we’re talking two days after giving birth.
During the exchange he told her he didn’t take off work to help her out after giving birth, but to have a “vacation.” He went on and threatened to leave her because she was fat!
She walked out the door and went to a neighbor’s house where she called the police for help in removing her personal belongings and the baby from the home. When the police arrived, the husband said his wife was only acting like that because of “female problems.”
These situations can be tricky for the police, but it turns out that when the husband told the wife to go f*** herself, he was taken away in handcuffs and charged with disorderly conduct. I have some good ideas for an “appropriate” sentence for this guy, how about you?
Photo credits: wikimedia
Kate Middleton has been out of the public eye since Kensington Palace made the official announcement that she is expecting her second child with Prince William last month.
Just like when she was expecting Prince George, she is suffering from a severe form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum. It’s caused her to cancel multiple royal engagements including her first solo tour to Malta at the end of September.
However, it looks like she’s ready to step back into the limelight.
According to Us Weekly, the “Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expected to greet the President of Singapore and his wife during a royal engagement on Oct. 21.”
The royal couple is scheduled to meet with their guests on behalf of Queen Elizabeth at the Royal Garden Hotel in London and as of now it looks like Kate plans to be there.
A Kensington Palace source told Us that the intensity of the Duchess’ sickness took everyone by surprise, but that the baby is well and that Kate Middleton is doing her best to stay healthy.
During her absence, she has written letters of apology. One such letter written when she had to cancel her appearance for the launch of The Art Room’s ninth center in the U.K. In it she says, “I am truly sorry that I cannot be with you all today as you celebrate this milestone. As patron of The Art Room, I feel great pride to see the work that the charity is doing. Vulnerable children flourish in the safe havens that The Art Room provides; this highlights just how important it is to support children at a time when they most need help and support.”
I hope she feels well soon as she presses forward to meet all her obligations. Part of me wonders if she is having another boy since this pregnancy is mimicking her first. I only say that because I experienced heartburn with my daughter but not with my son.
Time will tell, but I’d love to see them have a little Princess, wouldn’t you? No one knows officially how far along Kate is, but rumor has it the baby is due in April 2015.
Photo credits: The Incredible World