Archives for July 2008

Omega 3 Fats: Alternative medicine during pregnancy

“The demands on a woman’s body during pregnancy often leave her feeling depleted, physically and emotionally,” says NaturalNews.com, and “depression is common among pregnant women.” However, care-takers have expressed concern about the possible harmful effects of anti-depressants on both mother and child, and so the search is on for an alternative to pharmaceuticals.

A possible lead appeared when researchers at China Medical University Hospital in Taiwan noted that depression is often associated with lower levels of Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). So Dr. Kuan-Pin Su and colleagues performed a study to test this out, and found that two thirds of the women consuming PUFAs showed significant improvement, compared with 27 per cent of the control group.  “The best news came when researchers noted the absence of negative effects on either mothers or their newborn babies. A few mothers experienced minor stomach upset the first few days while their systems got used to the new substances.”

NaturalNews goes on to say that,  “In an effort to provide for the baby’s needs, a woman may lose 3 percent of her brain mass during the last trimester.” (Side point: I knew it! I always said that, in addition to making me forgetful, each pregnancy makes me a tad less intelligent than I used to be. No, seriously! I wasn’t always like this…) This loss is also thought to be responsible for postpartum depression.

The American Chronicle claims that Omega-3s consumed during pregnancy are also beneficial for the baby, assisting with the development of baby’s brain, nervous system, and the retinal tissue of the eyes.  If you want to go back further, the benefits of PUFAs begin even before conception. Omega-3 oils are required to produce healthy and vigorous eggs and sperm.

It is worth noting that the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obsterticians and Gynocologists cautions women in regards to certain nutritional suppliments. “There is a deficiency of high quality evidence that would support the use of other nutritional suppliments in pregnancy eg. omega 3-fatty acids. In the absence of such evidence, the best advice would be to avoid such suppliments, particularly in the first trimester of pregnancy, where any unanticipated adverse effects would be most likely to occur.” The safest thing to do is to consume your omega 3’s as part of a nutritious diet, including things such as whole flax seed, certain types of fish, spices, nuts, and soy products.

For more information on Omega-3’s and what foods you can eat to incorporate them into you diet, visit NaturalNews.com.

A chocolate a day keeps the doctor away!

If you’re craving something sweet, indulging in some dark chocolate may be satisfying and good for you! Not only has dark chocolate been found to be full of mood-enhancing chemicals, a new study reports that chocolate could help ward off preeclampsia, a condition during pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine.

Next Nine Months quotes Rueters as saying:

Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is rich in a chemical called theobromine, which stimulates the heart, relaxes smooth muscle and dilates blood vessels, and has been used to treat chest pain, high blood pressure, and hardening of the arteries, Dr. Elizabeth W. Triche of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut and colleagues write.

The study finds that women eating five or more servings of chocolate each week during the first trimester were at 19 percent lower risk than those who ate chocolate less than once a week. Good news for the chocoholics!

According to The Current Online, “Dark chocolate has a stronger, more intense chocolate flavor and a hint of bitterness that not everyone prefers. Ironically, the bitterness is associated with some good things.”

Pregnant or not, here are some purported benefits of dark chocolate:

  • Chocolate releases endorphins, hormone-like natural substances that produce a feeling of pleasure.
  • Chocolate contains caffeine and antioxidants, which are found to produce a feeling of relaxation (compared to coffee, which also has caffeine and antioxidants, but creates tension.) The lower levels of caffeine improves alertness, and the mild stimulate theobromine relaxes the smooth muscles of the lungs.
  • Chocolate contains magnesium and iron, which may explain why women, who need more of these nutrients, crave chocolate.
  • Chocolate contains tryptophan, which is one of the building blocks that the body uses to make serotonin. Serotonin is a neurochemical associated with pleasure.
  • Chocolate contains two other neurotransmitters. Phenylethylamine stimulates the body’s pleasure centers. Anandaminde targets the same brain structures as the active ingredient in marijuana, THC. These two substances inhibit the breakdown of anandamide, which prolongs its pleasurable effect.
  • Chocolate contains polyphenols, chemicals that act as antioxidants. Antioxidants have been associated with cell-protection, anti-aging and other health benefits. They gobble up free radicals, destructive molecules that are implicated in heart disease and other ailments
  • Dark chocolate lowers high blood pressure (But you have to balance the extra calories by eating less of other things.) This is due to compounds called plant phenols– in this case cocoa phenols.

Just remember that these benefits come with dark chocolate only… the darker the better!

And More Maternity Belly Bands! Now in more colors and prints

I was really excited when I found the maternity BellaBand, a great stretchy lace-trimmed band to hide your expanding tummy and rolled-down, unbottoned pants and skirts! The Bella Band comes in white, black, and chocolate, so I thought I’d let you know that I found a similar item that comes in a few more colors and patterns!

The Baby Be Mine Maternity Belly Band is a favorite maternity accessory. Soft and easy to wear, it solves so many pregnancy wardrobe issues.

  • Conceals those unsightly elastic waistbands and expandable panels on maternity trousers and skirts
  • Doubles your wardrobe. You don’t have to worry about that in-between stage when nothing fits – your regular clothes are too small and your maternity clothes are too big
  • Keeps your tummy under wraps as it becomes beautifully round – covers any gaps between your tops and bottoms
  • Wear your favority pre-pregnancy clothes longer.
  • Add length to your pre-pregnancy tops
  • Cover undone buttons on trousers and skirts
  • Get back into pre-pregnancy clothes sooner after birth
  • Make your maternity clothing more comfortable instantly – just fold your waitband under your belly and cover with the belly band. Perfect while you recuperate post-natal, and as a breastfeeding cover-up, too.
  • Size 1 – Up To 10
    Size 2 – Size 12-14
    Size 3 – Size 16+

    At just $12.99 each, the Baby Be Mine Maternity Band comes in 5 solid colors (white, black, pink, stone, cocoa) and three patterns (black/white, brown/cream, brown/pink).

    Order yours today!

    Baby Name Finder: From Aaliya to Zara

    One of the most exciting parts of planning for your new arrival is picking out the name! You’ll want a name that works well with your last name, looks pretty painted on her toy box, and sound sweet when whispering good night. And of course, you’ll be yelling it a few times a day, when your innocent cherub becomes a mischievous toddler!

    Here’s a Baby Name Finder with over 10,000 names!

    Find Baby Names Fast

    Select at least 1 search criteria and click “Find It!”
    Gender:
    GIRL
    BOY
    Beginning with:

    Special Meaning:
    (Optional)
    Enter a word you want included in the meaning of the name we find: e.g., “peace,” “strong,” “bright.”
    Baby Names Special Meanings
    Find Baby Names
    Find Meaning of Baby Name
    Enter a baby name you would
    like to find the meaning of:

    Find Baby Names

    Staying fit and energetic, throughout pregnancy

    When you are feeling nauseous or lethargic or just huge as a hippo, exercising may be the last thing you feel like doing. But as the Pregnancy Zone reminds us, “Regular exercise is the best way to build your bones, muscles, and to boost your energy levels to keep yourself healthy.”

    You can get various benefits even from mild to moderate fitness routines.  Check with your doctor to make sure your planned activities are safe in your personal condition.

    Helpful guidelines for exercising during pregnancy:

    Staying consistent:

    Regular exercising is the best way, but not occasionally. It is better to exercise three days a week. Maintain your fitness routine in the mild-moderate range.

    Choose easy steps to practice:

    Don’t do the activities that need jumping motions or sudden changes in the direction as they can strain your joints and injure you.

    Observe your back carefully:

    Avoid exercising on your back after the first trimester of your pregnancy. Avoid motionless standing for longer periods. Both these activities can diminish the amount of blood flow to the uterus.

    Don’t do too much:

    You must be aware that you have very less oxygen available for exercising. Stop doing the exercises if you become fatigued and don’t attempt to exercise to that extent of exhaustion.

    Maintain your balance:

    Don’t try to do the activities that cause a rapid loss of balance or mild shock to your abdomen.

    Consume a healthy diet:

    Ensure that the diet you consume causes you to gain 25-35 pounds during the nine months period. Most of you need 300 calories additionally per each day. If you exercise regularly, then probably you need to consume more. Consume the diet that is rich in carbohydrates, because a pregnant woman uses up this fuel source more quickly during exercise than a normal woman.

    Drink more and more water:

    Drinking plenty of water is very essential to keep yourself hydrated and to prevent from overheating.

    Wear comfortable clothing:

    Make sure that while exercising, you are comfortable in your clothes and the clothes should be easy to remove. Wear a supportive bra that fits properly to support the breasts.

    Try to keep cool as possible as you can:

    Don’t become overheated, particularly in the first trimester of your pregnancy. Overheating during the first trimester causes to develop birth defects. Take lots of fluids before and during the workout session.

    Avoid risky activities:

    Pregnant women should avoid the activities like climbing, snowboarding, horseback riding, waterskiing, and scuba diving. During diving activities, your oxygen intake will be compromised and puts pressure on yours and your baby’s organs.

    Limitations and warning signs of exercise during pregnancy:

    Though moderate exercise is safe, it is not suitable for all pregnant women. Pregnant women with any of the following conditions should avoid exercise during pregnancy. They include:

    • Premature rupture of membranes
    • Pregnancy induced hypertension
    • High blood pressure
    • Vaginal bleeding
    • Early contractions
    • Heart disease

    If you suddenly notice any of the below mentioned conditions, stop immediately doing the exercises and consult your doctor:

    • Heavy discharge or vaginal bleeding
    • Rapid heartbeat – The heartbeat of a pregnant woman should not exceed 140 beats per minute
    • Fainting or dizziness
    • Beginning of pain anywhere in your body
    • Increased and pronounced shortness of breath

    Walking is the best exercise during pregnancy. Those who are at a risk of above mentioned conditions can do walking for at least 30 minutes in a day.

    Confusion reigns: Food for the mom-to-be

    In her tongue-in-cheek article,

    Judith Woods “raises a glass (of fish oil) to commonsense advice on what she can and can’t consume while she is pregnant.”

    If you feel yourself being slowly driven mad by all the headlines dictating what a pregnant woman should or should not eat, you will enjoy this commentary on the “daily cascade of health warnings, and nutritional do’s and don’ts,” which are definitely promoting the belief that “there’s never been a more terrifying time to be pregnant.”

    Six years ago, when the author was pregnant with her daughter, things were different. More relaxed. Of course she knew enough to cut out the cigarettes, and she even avoided peanuts for fear of allergies. But that was the extent of many women’s awareness of proper pregnancy nutrition.  (You may be horrified to know that she was even “known to indulge in the occasional glass of celebratory champagne.” *GASP*)

    “But times have changed, and, in 2008, it’s a very different story…. We must apparently ditch our coffee habit (risk of miscarriage), avoid chocolate (too much caffeine), eschew burgers and chips (sumo baby syndrome, culminating in a whopping 13lb-er with a lifelong obesity problem), give a wide berth to swordfish (high levels of mercury) and, my favourite; steer clear of killer milk (unpasteurised milk can contain salmonella) – although short of driving to Hertfordshire and hijacking a Holstein friesian with a bucket in my hand, I have no idea where I might ever come across it.”

    And to make matters more confusing: “We are now being encouraged to eat peanuts by some experts, who believe that exposure to nuts while in the womb will prevent rather than cause allergies.”

    Tap water, alcohol, olive oil, broccoli, and spicy food (“toddlers who turn up their noses at spicy food are likely to be branded racist”)… Eat a lot? Eat a little? Don’t eat at all?  Wherever you turn someone else is offering new (and often conflicting) advice!

    What’s the bottom line?

    “It’s true that we are getting bombarded by more and more health stories about pregnancy, which can make women feel very stressed – my daughter went through hell when she was pregnant,” says Peter Bowen-Simpkins, medical director of the London Women’s Clinic and spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists…. “It’s important to remember that the risks are very low… Yes, you should take basic precautions, but not to get so fixated that you don’t enjoy your pregnancy.”

    Practical Pregnancy Tips for the Working Woman

    Many women find themselves juggling the “job” of growing a baby and their professional job in the workplace. For some, work is a welcome way to wait out the nine months, and they envision themselves working right up until the first contraction. Other women may need time to prepare their nest and focus on the life inside; they often plan to stop working in the last trimester. Some mothers, due to pregnancy complications, need to quit even in the early months.
    Whatever your pregnancy situation and your job, here are 10 Tips to Working while Pregnant. This article is from Dr. Sears’ website and it’s pretty long, but definitely worth reading! You can read the original story here.
    Tip #1: Inform your employer.

    If you intend to stop working after your baby comes, give your employer plenty of time to find a replacement, and yourself enough time to finish up important projects. Tell them when you plan to quit and ask how they would like you to help make the transition a smooth one. You will act responsibly, but your stated intention to quit makes it clear that your pregnancy and family come first.

    Tip #2: Keep your options open.

    If you want to return to your job after the baby is born, use caution. You want to keep your options open for a satisfactory maternity leave and at the same time protect your position. While it is illegal to discriminate against someone who is pregnant, the corporate world is often confused by a worker becoming a mother. A promotion you are in line for may be jeopardized by the fact of your pregnancy. You may risk being given less challenging assignments because of your “condition.” You may be uncertain how your coworkers will take the news. Some may be sympathetic to your occasional memory lapses and your first trimester miseries. Others, you fear, will be worried about having to “cover” for you on days when you aren’t at your best.

    Tip #3: Use good timing.

    The best time to tell is just after people begin to suspect you might be pregnant and before they are sure. Although you are excited about your news, most women recommend against revealing a pregnancy in the early months. Be careful not to wait too long to tell, either. You don’t want to give your employer any reason to think you are untrustworthy; any suggestion that you concealed your pregnancy for your own gain may make you look as though you are not a “team player.”

    Tip #4: Do some homework.

    Don’t expect to function every day on your job at the same level as you did before you were pregnant. If you want to stay employed yet find your current position too strenuous, ask for a temporary transfer to a less demanding job. Better to be honest with your supervisor than be disgruntled and inefficient. If you don’t want to change jobs, ask if you could work part-time, do some of your work at home, or have flexible hours where you could work harder or longer on more comfortable days.

    Tip #5: Explore your options.

    Interview yourself. If you truly know what you want, you are more likely to get it. Determine what you ideally want, what you can afford and what’s best for your pregnancy and your family. Can you grow a baby and do your job? Do you want to? Bear in mind that complications or situations during your pregnancy (or after delivery) may make some of these decisions for you. Unless your doctor or your baby determines otherwise, could you work through most of your pregnancy? Would you rather start maternity leave early? Continue your job on a part-time basis from home? After the baby is born, do you want to come back to your present job, or one that is more compatible with family life? Do you want full-time work or part-time?

    Tip #6: Enjoy the best of both worlds.

    Working while pregnant should not mean being torn between protecting your job and mothering your baby, you can do both. Whether you want to take off and return as soon as possible or work as long as possible and return as late as possible, you should be able to work out the best plan for you, your baby, and your family. That plan may be very specific or quite general. One mother we know was certain that she was more committed to her baby than her job, so she had nothing to lose. Not knowing how she’d feel about working, she asked her employer if they could negotiate after the baby came. In the meantime, she offered to keep up with projects from home on an hourly pay basis. After the baby was born, she worked a few hours a week from home, came in for meetings at four and six weeks (with the baby) and at eight weeks knew enough to negotiate a continuation of work from home for an hourly wage — that way she felt neither party would be short-changed. She worked 10 to 20 hours a week from home for the company for four years.

    Tip #7: Know your rights.

    Know what your company’s maternity leave policies are (you should have been given a copy of them when you were hired) and what the laws allow. If you know and trust a coworker who previously negotiated a leave package with this company, ask what she did, what she got, and what she’d advise you to do. If you do not have a copy of the maternity leave policy, you can get one from the personnel director. (However, he or she may also inform your boss.) If the company does not already have a maternity leave policy and is small enough not to be legally required to have one, you may have to be a pioneer, negotiating the policy for the benefit of your future pregnant coworkers. If you can, check out the maternity leave policies of other companies before you talk to your supervisor.

    Tip #8: Review your company’s policy.

    When reviewing your company’s policy, be sure you understand:

    • Whether maternity leave is paid, unpaid, or partially paid
    • Whether you are eligible for disability insurance benefits, complete or partial.
    • Whether the company has a medical disability insurance policy that pays a portion of your salary while on leave. Pregnancy is legally considered a medical disability. Find out which forms you have to complete, and where to send them. Follow up: has the appropriate office received, processed, and finalized your application? Be sure your doctor has signed and completed the appropriate forms stating when you are able to return to work.
    • Whether the company’s policy guarantees you can return to your same job or one that is equivalent in pay and advancement possibilities.
    • How much time off you are allowed.
    • Whether you may use your present benefit days (sick leave, personal leave, vacation time) to extend your paid maternity leave.
    • What the company’s provisions are for extended maternity leave — paid, unpaid, partially paid, working from home?
    • What the possibilities are of continuing your present job during and after your pregnancy by working part-time at home and being tied into the office by phone, fax, or computer.
    • What options are available should medical complications or maternal desires necessitate a change in plans.
    • Whether your health plan is still in effect while you are on extended leave, and whether it is partial or full coverage. How long will they keep you on the medical insurance policy at full or partial benefits? Do you share the cost?
    Tip #9: Select the right way to tell.

    After selecting the time and person to tell (and preferably when that person is having a good day), present your case. How to tell depends upon your pregnancy, your job, your wishes, and the reception you imagine you will get from your supervisor and coworkers. As in any negotiations, consider where the other person is coming from. Your supervisor wants to know when you are leaving, when you are coming back, and how best to fill in the gap while you’re gone. Be ready with those answers. Realistically, your supervisor is more concerned about the company’s operations than your personal needs. Your employer must consider the possibility that you may later decide not to return to work (although studies show that attractive maternity leave policies and a family-friendly workplace make it more likely that women will return).

    Tip #10: Work out the right maternity leave package for you.

    Only you can guess how much maternity leave time you need; only your company can guess how much time they can afford to be without you. Remember, your bargaining power depends not only on how you present your case, but also on your value to the company. If you have a unique skill required for a special job, you have more clout than if there are many others within the company who can do your job just as well. Be realistic about your needs, your negotiating power, and the needs of the company, but remember, too, that companies want to be seen as family-friendly in their maternity leave policies.

    Surprising research shows link between father’s age, pregnancy, and miscarriage

    For the first time ever, research shows that the age of the man has just as much relevance as the woman’s age when it comes to conceiving a baby. According to Medical News Today, “Researchers in France studying over 12,000 couples with fertility problems found that when the man was over 35 pregnancy rates fell and perhaps more surprisingly, miscarriage rates rose.”

    The effect of the mother’s age on conception and miscarriage rates is already well known to scientists. And though studies have shown that sperm count and quality declines as men get older, until now there has been no clinical evidence that the age of the man impacts a couple’s ability to have a successful pregnancy.

    The study provides clinical evidence to support the notion that DNA damage in older men reflects in fertility.  Hopefully, this research will provide important information for couples wanting to start a family and those dealing with infertility.

    You can read more on this study here.

    BellaBand: A Maternity Wardrobe Must-Have

    The belly’s cute, maternity clothes are fun, and all that good stuff, but there will be a number of times that you will despair because nothing in your closet fits you.  There’s the day you wake up somewhere near the end of the first trimester, and realize that you “popped” over-night and your favorite jeans just won’t button up. There’s the day sometime in your third trimester when you realize even your roomiest shirt doesn’t quite meet the top of your pants. And there’s that thrilling moment after the baby is born, when you realize your maternity clothes are too big on you… and you can’t believe you were ever able to fit into those pre-pregnancy clothes stashed in the back of your closet.

    What’s a girl to do? Thanks to Modern Moms I discovered a product that I wish I’d known about two pregnancies ago!! (But it’s never too late!  Hopefully I’ll be in a position to need one in the near future…) It’s one item that can help solve all of the above-mentioned problems! Sounds too good to be true…?

    Introducing Ingrid & Isabel Women’s Maternity Lace BellaBand!

    Ingrid & Isabel Women's Maternity Lace BellaBand
    Simply the most versatile maternity essential during and after pregnancy. Slip this ultra-soft, seamless knit band around the waistline, over unbuttoned jeans, skirts and shorts. Instant comfort. Instant hold. Instantly smooth. And no one will know your pants are undone! The BellaBand works throughout your entire pregnancy when pants, skirts or shorts aren’t fitting quite right. It’s ideal mid-pregnancy over too-loose maternity or snug-fitting transition wear, in late pregnancy as an extra-hold accessory for under-the-belly styles that fall down around the hips when the belly pushes them down, and after pregnancy when maternity becomes big and pre-pregnancy is bit snug.
    Ingenious!!!!! Although I haven’t had the chance to try it yet, I certainly plan to get one (or two!) in the future. The BellaBand comes in black, white, and chocolate, so it’s sure to become a welcome addition to any pregnant woman’s wardrobe!

    Social Networkers share the good news: I’m having a baby!

    So what photo did you choose for your Facebook profile? Is it black and white and kind of hard to make out? Do people have trouble telling if you are male or female? Do you think you might be sharing too much information??

    Some women are using their ultrasound pictures as their Facebook and MySpace icons. The Sydney Morning Herald calls this “Social networking with a foetal attraction, and describes the reactions of various people.

    Some women think it’s a fun way to announce their exciting news and update family and friends of their pregnant status.

    Others think that sharing foetal pictures could be oversharing – and worry about what happens if the pregnancy goes wrong.

    Some think that it brings people closer to each other when they share their intimate trials and joys. However, many expectant mothers take advantage of privacy filters and other measures so that only designated readers can view the photos.  And some people feel that ultrasounds are too private to share on the world wide web. The sensitivity of the subject matter leads one woman to joke about how inappropriate it is to post pictures of one’s uterus online.

    What is your opinion??

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