Tuesday, December 17, 2013

what we learned about having babies in 2013

this is a great article by the Huff post summarizing key research published about having babies in 2013. While there is so much information out there, it can hard to sift through and process all of it. But having knowledge is power and the key to making the right decisions for you and your family. 

"When it comes to pregnancy and childbirth, it seems like parents-to-be often fall into two camps: Those who devour every bit of information they can get their hands on about what to expect and how to prepare (heh), and those who take a less-is-more approach when it comes to the latest research.
But really, keeping up with all the information being thrown at you -- at the same time that you're doing the very hard work of growing your family, or trying to -- can be overwhelming. That's why we assembled this list of eight of the biggest health research findings about preconception, pregnancy and childbirth to come out in the last 12 months -- with the caveat that science is a process and any finding requires replication and verification before it's considered definitive. Because while we at HuffPost Parents support anyone's decision to put their heads down, ear-buds in and do this whole baby-having thing their own way, we also believe that being informed can help parents-to-be make decisions that feel right to them -- in consult with their doctors, nurses, midwives, etc.
So with that in mind, here are just eight of the most interesting things researchers learned about making and having babies in 2013:

1. Sleep and diet can affect fertility.
woman sleeping

What makes one couple particularly fertile, while another struggles for months or years to get pregnant is, in many cases, a mystery. And though infertility is often due to factors that are entirely out of a couple's control, more and more research suggests that, in some cases, certain lifestyle factors, like sleep and diet, can make a difference. One study found that women who do shift work (working outside of the typical 8 to 6 framework) may have disrupted menstrual cycles and reduced fertility, while another found that getting between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night was linked with the best outcomes among patients undergoing IVF. In terms of nutrition, one preliminary study suggested that women with polycystic ovarian syndrome hoping to conceive may benefit from eating a large breakfast and a smaller dinner in order to help with insulin levels, which can affect hormones.

2. Specific fertility treatments lead to more multiple births.
 twin babies
A major report that delved into why the number of twins and other multiples in the U.S. is so much higher now than it was four decades ago found that a third of all twin births, and more than three-quarters of all triplet and higher-order births (i.e. multiples of three or more) were due to the use of some form of fertility treatment. But notably, the report also found that in vitro fertilization -- often singled out as the main culprit -- was, in fact, no longer the greatest contributor to the rate of multiples. Instead, other treatments, such as ovulatory medications, were the top cause.

3. Miscarriage is more common than most people know.

When researchers with Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx polled a group of more than 1,000 men and women between the ages of 18 and 69, they found that they grossly underestimated how common miscarriage, or the loss of a fetus before the 20th week is: More than half said it occurs in fewer than 6 percent of all pregnancies, but estimates suggest it actually happens in roughly 15 to 20 percent. Moreover, many respondents wrongly identified the major causes, citing stress, oral contraceptives and physical exertion, when, in fact, chromosomal abnormalities are most often to blame. The study wasn't meant to stoke fear, but rather to point out how much misinformation there is about miscarriage, and how that can leave the women and men affected by it feeling very alone.

4. Maternal exercise benefits newborns' brains.
pregnant yoga
Exercise is, understandably, the last thing on many women's minds when they're exhausted, sick and can't remember the last time they saw their toes, but one study showed that just a bit of moderate exercise (in addition to helping with things like mood and sleep) might also boost babies' brain activity, by contributing to a healthy fetal environment. Babies born to women who clocked at least 20 minutes of moderate cardio three times a week appeared to be better at processing certain sounds, which may have implications for overall brain development. "Our results show that the babies born from the mothers who were physically active have a more mature cerebral activation, suggesting that their brains developed more rapidly," the study researcher told HuffPost.

5. Junk food addiction may start in the womb.
potato chips
It was a highly preliminary study done in rats, but an investigation out of Australia nonetheless raised interesting questions about what can happen when women eat a significant amount of junk food during pregnancy. Researchers found that rats whose mothers ate diets high in fat and sugar (think sweet cereals and potato chips) had a greater preference for high-fat foods after birth than those whose mothers ate a diet that was low in fat and sugar -- and the gene expression in the reward pathways of their brains was changed, so that they had a greater predisposition to a junk food addiction later in life. Though it's too early to say if the findings can be extrapolated to humans, the study's main researcher argued that the "take-home message for women is that eating large amounts of junk food during pregnancy and while breastfeeding will have long-term consequences for their child's preference for these foods."

6. Pregnancy interventions are common ... and not always welcome.
pregnant woman
Despite the fact that roughly 60 percent of moms in the U.S. who were included in a survey about birth practices and beliefs said they feel giving birth is a natural process that shouldn't be interfered with unless it's absolutely necessary for medical reasons. However, one-quarter of the women surveyed said they had at least three interventions during birth, from taking drugs to speed up or start labor to having a C-section. Twenty five percent of respondents who were induced or had an epidural said they felt pressured at the hospital to do so, as did 13 percent of those who had a C-section. 

7. Midwifery care is linked to better outcomes.
umbilical cord
Most women in the U.S. rely on doctors to provide their primary care during pregnancy and birth, but a growing minority rely on midwives, and a Cochrane review lent some serious support to that model. The review found that consistent midwifery care throughout pregnancy was linked to better outcomes for mothers and their babies, compared to women who saw family physicians, OBs, or some mix of health care providers. Women who worked with midwives had lower rates of episiotomy and epidural useand they were less likely to deliver their baby prematurely. None of the studies cited were conducted in the U.S., but the review's lead author argued that the findings are still relevant in this country.

8. Delayed cord clamping has benefits.
baby feet

The clamping and snipping of the umbilical cord can be a memorable post-birth moment -- particularly for hands-on fathers and partners -- but an investigation released in 2013 suggests its best done at least a minute or two after the baby is born. The review of 15 previously published trials from around the world found that delaying by just one minute can increase a newborn's iron supplies for up to six months post-birth." article source

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013

things you should never say to a pregnant woman

as I approach the end of this pregnancy and the glow from 2nd trimester definitely fading... 
I thought I'd share a list of things never to say to a pregnant lady. 
Actually some of these brought some serious LOL's, read the article here

“Was it planned?”
  Does it really matter? Whether it was planned or not, she’s obviously sharing the news because she’s happy and excited not because she wants to answer to nosy people. Questioning her decision-making is unnecessary (and kind of rude). What to say instead: “Congratulations, kids are great!” 

“Did you take fertility drugs?”
Getting pregnant isn’t easy for everyone and the struggle with fertility is emotionally and financially exhausting. When a woman is pregnant at a certain age or is carrying multiples, be mindful of the delicate story that may be behind her joy; intrusive questions just rain on her parade. What to say instead: “Do multiples run in your family?” 

“You look like you’re ready to pop!”
(What she’s thinking: What’s your excuse? I’m carrying a life!) Come on, women are self-conscious enough as it is and when she’s carrying an extra 20 or so pounds she’s extra sensitive about her looks (and everything else for that matter). What to say instead: “Do you know what you are having?” 

“Can I touch your belly?”
  (What she’s thinking: I don’t even know you!) Unless you’re a close relative or friend, this is just awkward for her. Just because a woman is pregnant doesn’t make her belly community property. What to say instead: “Wow, you look great! What a cute belly!” 

 “Have you picked a name yet?”
  It seems harmless, but trust us, she doesn’t want to answer this question and subject herself (and her partner) to your opinions. It’s hard enough agreeing on a baby name as a couple and input from strangers just makes the process more difficult. What to say instead: “Are you having fun picking a name?” 

“Enjoy ____ now because once the baby comes, you can kiss it goodbye.”
Pregnancy is an emotional time for a woman especially if it’s her first. She’s very aware that her life is about to drastically change. She doesn’t need you to suggest that she’ll never enjoy sleep, skinny jeans or a minute alone ever again. What to say instead: “Parenting is certainly full of ups and downs but it’s worth it!” 

 “You shouldn't be eating/drinking that.”
(What she’s thinking: Thanks Dr. Stranger, but I’ll eat and drink whatever I please and if you get in the way, you may lose a finger.) Pregnant women are well aware of their new dietary recommendations and restrictions and if you don’t trust she’s making wise decisions, keep it to yourself. What to say instead: “Boy, does that look delicious!”  

“I never had morning sickness.”
All pregnancies are different, so bragging to a mother who is sick as a dog about your lack of pregnancy symptoms is downright insensitive. What to say instead: “How have you been feeling? Any morning sickness?”  

“I was sick my whole 9 months.”
On the flip side, a pregnant woman doesn’t want to be any more terrified than she already is. Keep the horror stories to yourself. What to say instead: “Don’t worry, you will feel better soon enough!”  

“I was ripped open from end to end.”
 This falls into the horror story category. Like pregnancy, giving birth is different for every woman. And the fact is, most women don’t end up “ripped from end-to-end" — one bad experience shouldn’t set off panic in the mind of a new mother! What to say instead: “I had a rough experience, but not all women go through what I did.” 

“Get an epidural!”  
 Deciding how and where to give birth is extremely personal — it’s about what she wants, not what other people think she should want. Though hospital settings and epidurals are mainstream, not every mother chooses to go that route. Questioning her decision to do something you didn’t gives her zero credit for making an educated decision. What to say instead: “I decided to get an epidural because…but everyone is different.” 

But these have to be my absolute personal favourites from the article.....
  • “Are you still with the father?”
  • “When I told my boss I was pregnant (with my first child), the first thing he said was: “Are you going to keep it?””
  • “Although I had been with my husband for nine years, my MIL had the nerve to ask if the baby was his.”
  • “We were having our weekly ultrasound and my doctor didn’t say anything about the baby’s heart or lungs…instead, she said: ‘And there are his balls.’ Really? Is that the medical term?” 
  • “I was working in a restaurant and attempting to seat some people, when they requested a table on the opposite side of the restaurant and said: ‘You look like you could use the exercise anyway...’”
  •  “As a 44-year-old pregnant woman I often heard: ‘You know, the likelihood of Down's syndrome goes up as you get older.’ Nice, huh?”
  •  “When I told my MIL I would be opting for an epidural, she replied: ‘I hope the doctor doesn't paralyze you, that would make taking care of a new born really difficult.’ Ugh, seriously?” 
  •  “When I was seven months pregnant someone asked me if I’d ever considered losing weight.”
  •  “My OB was concerned that I was measuring very large as my due date was closing in and said: "I just want to make sure you're not having a monster baby."
  •  “I had someone tell me that they couldn't picture me as a mother. How do you even respond to that?”

song of the week

I love this song and this band
blue skies by Noah and the Whale

Monday, December 2, 2013

name game round three

the name game is proving to be just as challenging this time as ever before. 
we like to use family names, at least as a middle name and now even that is challenging to make sure all sides of the family are covered... and well some people just have better names than others. 

this time Oliver is weighing in and making contributions like Harvey, Cat in the Hat and Arva (the female version of Harvey?) while Georgie is holding out for Bebe either way. ha! 

We've done this before (here and here) and always come out with the perfect names
... ummm slightly biased! I can't believe in a few more weeks we will be a family of FIVE!

I can't believe I was 23 weeks pregnant in this picture! 
The belly sure has grown quite a bit since then.


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