Archives for August 2008

Maternity Insurance: Protecting your baby and yourself!

Being pregnant (not to mention actually having a baby) can be expensive! In addition to the physical, emotional and lifestyle changes new parents have to deal with, the financial burden can put a strain on even the most excited parents-to-be.  Maternity clothes, check ups, vitamins, and labor coaches are only few of the expenses. To help expectant mothers get through this very important stage in her life, insurance companies provide assistance through maternity insurance plans.

Getting a maternity health insurance, or pregnancy health insurance, is one of the best ways one can take care of her unborn baby. With the help of a dependable maternity insurance company, the couple can  eliminate worries about how to pay for pregnancy and childbirth expenses, and focus on getting the proper care. Without these worries, mother can focus on being as physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy as possible.

Make sure to see about getting maternity benefits before you actually become pregnant. If you already have a maternity insurance plan, study it to see what kind of health insurance maternity coverage you have. Getting maternity health insurance will be difficult if you’re already pregnant.

Prior to choosing your hospital and OBGYN, go over the names of providers in your plan’s network. Make certain that you have the latest directory listings provided by your insurance company as well as any updates. It’s important that your directory of providers is up to date because doctors and hospitals are constantly being picked up and dropped from network lists. You should also find out when your medical provider’s contract expires with your insurance company.  If your provider’s contract expires before your expected date of delivery, you should look for another provider in your directory’s network.

Pregnancy and childbirth can involve some risks. That is why getting a maternity insurance is a wise decision to make.  To prevent future problems, make certain to rely on a reputable insurance provider. This will help you enjoy peace of mind during what should be an exciting and joyful period of life!

Source:Maternity Insurance Guide

Photo: Childbirth connection. org

6 Ways to avoid depression during pregnancy

Pregnancy can make you vulnerable to emotional swings, which are caused by hormones and physical changes, as well as psychological change. Bouts of depression may increase during pregnancy. Much depends on how the pregnancy effects you emotionally, what the pregnancy means to you, how you deal with your new body image, and the state of your support system. However, how well you take care of yourself physically and emotionally, throughout the course of your pregnancy, can greatly improve your over-all mood. Watch this video to learn about six tricks to help you during this monumental year.

Pregnancy pick-me-ups: A relaxing morning face mask

As you may know, keeping your stress levels low has beneficial effects on your unborn baby. So perhaps we can consider pregnancy one of the few times when you’re actually encouraged to indulge yourself. Here’s a great way to start a relaxing day: treat yourself to this incredibly soothing facial mask designed to help dry skin feel baby-soft. Compliments of ivillage!

1 cup of rolled oatmeal
2 tablespoons of powdered milk
1 tablespoon of water
2 or 3 gauze squares
1 rubber band

Blend the oatmeal in a food processor until it becomes a fine powder. Put it in a bowl and add powdered milk. Gradually stir in the water until the mask reaches a creamy consistency. Unfold the gauze squares and position them on your face so that your eyes, nose and mouth are exposed. Generously apply the oatmeal mask on top, taking care to overlap the edges of the gauze so that the mask sticks to your face. While you can apply this mask directly to your face, the gauze makes for more even coverage.

Draw a hot bath while you’re waiting; the steam will enhance the effects of the mask. After 15 minutes, remove the mask by lifting up and removing the squares of gauze. Fold them so that the oatmeal is contained, seal with a rubber band, and drop into the bath for an all-over skin-softening effect.

Have a wonderful, relaxing, beautiful day!!

Should You Avoid Nuts During Pregnancy?

Scientists now know that what a woman eats during pregnancy has long-lasting effects on her baby. The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care recently studied mothers’ consumption of a variety of foods such as vegetables, fish, eggs, milk products and nuts. Nearly 3,000 mothers participated in the study, with children from birth to 8 years of age. Researchers concluded that mothers who ate nuts daily increased their baby’s chance of developing asthma symptoms by 47%. (Not so with any of the other foods on the list.)

Based on the results of this study, there appears to be a pathway for allergy antibodies to pass from mother to baby. Researchers do not recommend that mothers completely eliminate nuts from their diet, but limiting your intake of highly allergenic foods, such as nuts, may be a good idea. Additionally, if you have a strong family history of allergies, experts recommend reducing the amount of nuts you eat during pregnancy.

Pediatrician recommended that children under the age of three not be given nut or nut products. And since the proteins from peanuts can be carried through breast milk, nursing mothers should try to reduce or eliminate nuts from their diet.

For more information, see Suite 101.

Morning Sickness: What it is & What to do

Morning sickness is often one of pregnancy’s first symptoms, starting as early as 2 weeks after conception. Despite the name, pregnant women can feel ill at any time of the day. (An empty stomach may be a trigger, so morning is a common time when nausea is experienced.)

Some lucky women don’t experience morning sickness at all, and some feel only a nausea or queasiness (that’s me!). Then there are those unlucky women who are unbearably sick and unable to keep any food or liquids down. One friend of mine was so ill throughout her pregnancy, that after she gave birth her stomach was actually concave!

It’s not known exactly what causes it, but changes in hormone levels are one factor. Pregnancy hormones can change the way your digestive system works, which can lead to higher levels of acid.

A heightened sense of taste and smell while pregnant can bring on nausea as well, especially in the presence of a strong odor.  Fatigue and stress may also contribute to morning sickness

Often morning sickness dissipates around 14 weeks, as hormone levels in the body stabilize.

There are lots of things that women claim helps them bear the nausea. Here are some simple things that might help you feel better.

  • As previously mentioned, an empty stomach can be a cause, so snack little and often to keep hunger at bay, and keep some healthy snacks by your bed… you will find yourself waking up ravenous during the night!
  • Suck on an ice cube.
  • Drink something fizzy.
  • Try fresh ginger, which is reputed to calm the stomach. You can make a tea from crushed root ginger. You can buy candied ginger to snack on, I have a friend who swears by it!
  • Remedies for travel sickness can also help, such as magnetic wristbands. Never take any medication without consulting your doctor.

Morning sickness is a natural part of pregnancy and will not do any lasting harm. In severe cases you may be unable to keep anything down, leading you to become dehydrated, which is very dangerous for you and the baby. If your urine starts to become very dark in color this is a sign that your fluid levels are too low, and you should speak to your midwife or doctor.

Finally, when you’re dealing with a bout of morning sickness, don’t worry about what you’re eating. Getting enough energy is more important than a balanced diet, so if a donut makes you feel better, go for it! You can always stock up on healthier foods later, when the sickness has abated.

Read more at Baby University (Article Source: parentingarticlelibrary.com)

Abortion does cause emotional and physical damage, contrary to APA report

The American Psychological Association (APA) has announced that women who have one abortion do not experience any more mental problems than women who decide to give birth. But women who have had abortions, as well as other scientists and pro-life advocates are joining forces to refute these findings.

Alveda King, niece of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., has had two abortions and a miscarriage related to those abortions. She echoes her famous uncle’s call for civil rights for all people, saying that abortion “violates the civil rights and human rights of the baby in the womb and then it hurts the mother,” In her experience, most post-abortion women claim to have suffered irrevocable damage.

“The (APA) wants to say we are the exception to the rule … but for every one woman they can find that says they weren’t harmed by abortion … they could find 10 women who were,” said King.

King works on pro-life causes with Priests for Life, and was one of 2,000 women who signed sworn affidavits of the harm caused them by having an abortion. The affidavits were a project of the Justice Foundation, a non-profit public interest litigation firm, which responded to the APA report by posting a press release on its Web site naming 100 medical and mental health professionals who spoke out against the report.

According to these experts, choosing abortion can lead to “severe depression and loss of self-esteem,” and caution medical professionals not to ignore the “significant numbers of women who suffer serious physical, mental or psychological trauma as a result of abortion.”

“I think the study is flawed,” says Peggy Hartshorn, president of Heartbeat International. In addition to ignoring many credible studies that show a distinct link between abortion and mental health problems, she points out that the lead author is a recognized pro-abortion advocate.

“The study has to be politically motivated to perpetuate the myth that abortion is a helpful and positive choice for women,” Hartshorn said. “(The study) ignores the testimonies of women who have had several psychological and emotional issues after having an abortion.”

Also outraged by the APA’s announcement is Leslee Unruh, whose decision to have an abortion inspired her to found the Alpha Center pregnancy resource in her home state of South Dakota. She now dedicates her life to helping other women who have lived to regret their decision to have an abortion, and have suffered both emotional and physical damage as a result.

Then there is Theresa Burke, the founder of Rachel’s Vineyard, a Christian recovery program for post-abortive women. She also speaks out, saying, “The APA should advocate a closer examination of the grief and warn women of the well-documented dangers (of abortion)…  Instead, the APA continues to censor information, de-legitimize research, prohibit opposing points of view, obstruct discussions, avoid scholarly debates and promote intolerance of those who are negatively impacted by abortion.”

“It’s one thing to take our money and do what they did to harm us,” says Unruh. “It’s another to dismiss our grieving. That is the ultimate slap.”

Source: CNS News Read more here!!

Pregnancy and Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism doesn’t have to mean you can’t have a fabulous, healthy pregnancy! Although it may slightly complicate your pregnancy, in the end, your pregnancy could be as uneventful as that of a woman with a normal functioning thyroid.
Thyroid problems affect an estimated 59 million Americans, the vast majority of them women. Few women, however, are aware of the critical relationship between the thyroid gland – our master gland of metabolism – and nearly every aspect of child-bearing. As a woman, your thyroid can affect your fertility, your ability to become pregnant and maintain a healthy pregnancy, postpartum health, successful breastfeeding, and even the health of your baby.
Answers to many of your questions related to hypothyroidism and pregnancy are available online at Pregnancy and Hypothyroidism/Frequently Asked Questions, including the following:

  • How do I know if I’m hypothyroid?
  • What can I do to ensure my health – or my baby’s health – doesn’t suffer due to my hypothyroidism?
  • Why is early medical attention during pregnancy so important?
  • Am I taking a big a risk in becoming pregnant with a dysfunctional thyroid?
  • How do I deal with my special needs for medical advice about medications and managing my thyroid during pregnancy?
  • I really want to have a drug-free pregnancy. Should I stop taking my thyroid medication?
  • Will my thyroid medications interfere with breastfeeding?
  • What is the risk that my baby will inherit my Hashimoto’s disesase?

“It’s heartening to note,”says Mary Shomon, the author of this article, “That most women with thyroid disease are able to have an uneventful pregnancy and healthy baby. I did myself, back in 1997!”

Mary Shomon’s Thyroid Guide to Fertility, Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Success, the popular 40-page mini-guide, is now incorporated into her new 406-page book: The Thyroid Hormone Breakthrough: Overcoming Sexual and Hormonal Problems at Every Age.

Among other topics relating to hypothyroidism, it contains information on:

  • Pregnancy Challenges
  • Infertility and Miscarriage
  • Post-Partum and Breastfeeding Challenges
  • Video: What happens during an epidural?

    If you ask me, you must be crazy to let someone stick a huge needle into your spine. Who in their right mind would willingly undergo – ok, BEG and PLEAD for –  such a procedure? Oh wait… I did. On two seperate ocasions.  Oh yes, it’s coming back to me, I think it had something to do with the excruciating pain of labor. No I wasn’t crazy and I wasn’t going out of my mind with pain. I just figured, well if I can have this baby without all the blood, sweat, and tears, let’s do it the nice way. And by “nice” I mean “medicated.”

    That whole warning they give you before the epidural (you have one in a million chances of being paralyzed for life, yada yada yada) didn’t deter me, although my husband looked like he as about to faint. I happily signed my life away and prepared for blissful numbness to descend…

    Having survived two epidurals unscathed, by the grace of God, I really think that is the optimal way to birth babies. After watching this video, the super queasy might not think so, but then I’d say they have never actually been in labaor. For anyone who’s curious about what happens during an epidural, here’s a nifty little video:

    What Happens During an Epidural?

    The perfect signal: Why your baby cries & What to do about it!

    If you are expecting your first baby, there are many things to look forward to… but also a few things you might find yourself dreading.  Like one of those babies who seems to cry all the time!  Unfortunately that imaginary dream land where babies never cry is not where you’re headed. Every baby fusses and cries, but there’s a good reason for that! If you learn what a baby’s cry means and how to respond, you will come to appreciate what scientists have dubbed “the perfect signal”: an infant’s cry.

    The following information is from Dr. Sears’ website, one of my very favorite sources of information on childcare and the art of attachment parenting!

    Did you know that an infants cry is a reflex? A baby doesn’t think, “What can I do now to get Mom’s attention?” His cry is automatic and is easily generated. Once his lungs are full of air, the infant can initiate crying with very little effort. This is an important point, as some people will tell you not to run to comfort your baby every time he cries. “He’s just crying because he knows you’ll come running to you. He’ll learn to manipulate you!” This is not true. A baby’s cry is an automatic response to some sort of need. If he’s crying, he needs you!

    A mother is biologically programmed to respond to baby’s cry and give a nurturing response. Fascinating biological changes take place in a mother’s body in response to her infant’s cry. One thing that happens is increased blood flow to a mother’s breasts, accompanied by a biological urge to “pick up and nurse.” Oxytocin, the hormone that causes a mother’s milk to letdown, brings feelings of relaxation and pleasure; a pleasant release from the tension built up by the baby’s cry. These feelings help you love your baby. A mothers who tries to ignore her baby’s cry may find herself getting frustrated and angry. Ignoring your baby’s cry goes against all your natural instincts! It’s easy for someone else to say, “Just let him cry, it won’t hurt him!” They don’t have that biologically connection with your baby that you have.

    What happens if you DO ignore your baby’s cries? It depends on your baby’s personality.  A more compliant baby gives up and stops crying… yay, you win! But this baby eventually realizes that crying is not worthwhile, and loses the motivation to communicate with his parents. The baby becomes withdrawn and unresponsive. The parents also miss out on opportunities to nurture and get to know their baby.

    A baby with a more persistent personality (most high-need babies) does not give up so easily. Instead, he cries louder and keeps escalating his signal, making it more and more disturbing. If you wait it out until he stops crying and then pick him up (thinking that you’ll show him it’s not his crying that got your attention)  you will teach the baby that you’re in control, but you also teach him that he has no power to communicate.

    The mother responds promptly actually teaches her baby to “cry better!” This baby learns that when he cries, Mommy comes right away, and so his cries are less frantic and disturbing.  His environment is sturctured so that there is less need for him to cry; a sensitive mother learns to recognize when he’s tired and ready to sleep, when he’s hungry, bored, or just wants some loving! (And yes, sometimes babies do seem to cry for “no reason”! But at least you’ll know its not because he’s neglected!!)

    Studies show that babies who developed a secure attachment and had their cues responded to in a prompt and nurturing way actually became less clingy and demanding as they grow older. There is also no medical evidence that “crying is good for a baby’s lungs.” In fact, the oposite seems to be true. Remember, you can’t spoil a baby by too much loving! Responding quickly and sensitvely to your baby’s cry is the best thing you can do for them at that moment, and it creates healthy communication patterns and a trusting bond that will be enjoyed for the rest of your lives.

    Here’s more important information from Dr. Sears on comforting your baby:

    11 Ways to Soothe a Fussy Baby
    A Checklist of 36 Time-Tested Baby Calmers
    3 Reasons Why Babies Fuss
    7 Things Parents Should Know About Baby’s Cries
    Letting Baby “Cry-it-out” Yes, No!
    4 Ways to Teach Baby to “Cry Better”
    The Shutdown Syndrome
    Comforting the Gassy Baby
    8 Dance Steps to comfort baby
    6 Ways to Make Baby Dancing Fun

    Motherhood isn’t always pretty: Can you be a dedicated mother AND feel like a beautiful woman?

    There was a time when eyebrow-tweezing and leg-shaving was part of my daily routine. I straightened my hair and actually thought about what I would wear each morning, instead of groping blindly among the pile of laundry that I hadn’t had time to put away yet.  I always wore at least a little bit of make-up.  And sometimes I even painted my nails!

    And then what happened? It’s not that I stopped caring. It’s just that I had kids, and like many other women, there were no longer enough hours in the day to do everything.  Some things had to give.  Now, a hungry baby or a toddler with a dirty diaper takes precedence over my personal toilet. These days, I’m lucky if I can brush my teeth and remove my contact lenses before I drop into bed at night, totally wiped out from the day’s activities.

    At least I’m in good company.  A new report reveals that 77% of moms don’t do enough to take care of themselves:

    For many women, an important rite of passage for womanhood is becoming a mother. However all too often, after the baby is born, the focus quickly shifts and the routines that were once rituals are buried in the bottom of the family laundry basket. While it’s not surprising that their children and families come first, a new report of 3,000 U.S. moms reveals that although most (76 percent) agree it’s just as important for mothers to take care of themselves as their families, nearly eight in ten moms don’t do enough.

    One of the first things that falls to the wayside seems to be a woman’s personal needs, including the time to indulge in things that make her feel beautiful. 84% of women polled admit that they have let their appearance slide since becoming a mother.

    So, can motherhood and womanhood co-exist?

    Beauty brand Suave developed the Suave Motherhood vs. Womanhood Report to investigate the trade offs women face when they become moms, the consequences of these sacrifices, and the benefits that occur when moms put themselves back on the to-do list.

    The Motherhood vs. Womanhood Report found that:

    • Although 67 percent of moms would rather get their pre-baby body back than their pre-baby sex life, exercise opportunities are tough to come by. After shopping for themselves, exercise is the second most desired activity to pursue during coveted “me” time
    • 66 percent admit they sometimes don’t have enough time to take a shower or bath
    • Some 80 percent have gone weeks or months without a haircut (even though they felt they needed one)
    • Over half (53 percent) say that they’ve forgotten to brush their teeth in the morning

    “I’ve studied women and family dynamics for more than twenty years, and I’m not surprised that there’s a conflict felt between being a woman and being a mother,” says Professor Gerson. “Despite the rise of busier lives, mothers remain key family caregivers who are relied upon heavily by the whole family. So it’s not surprising that moms often set aside or even forget their own needs. But moms also need to look out for themselves, which means doing things that help them keep an identity of their own apart from the role of mom.”
    It’s not surprising that when moms do take care of themselves, they feel happier, more attractive, and more self confident. They feel more feminine and some even feel they are setting their children a good example (I agree!)

    Professor Gerson adds “Mothers are caregivers, and taking time for  themselves will not change that. Yet it’s important for moms to find  opportunities to put themselves on their list of priorities. It comes as no  surprise that moms feel happier when they do take this step, and that doing  so can have huge benefits for the entire family.”

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