Monthly Archive for November, 2010

Tip of the Day: Pregnancy-friendly Caesar salad

This delicious article from JILL REED at the OC Register

I didn’t have too many cravings when I was pregnant with Ben.

I mostly craved salsa. Which was fine until heartburn set in during the third trimester. Then even oatmeal was painful.

But I also had a pretty consistent craving for Caesar salad. Of course, the traditional preparation with raw eggs was out of the question. And anytime I asked about it at a restaurant they said that they did indeed use raw eggs.

So I decided to experiment a bit using mayonnaise. Because of how it is processed, store-bought mayo is OK to eat if you are expecting.

I had great success. And, even though I am not pregnant anymore, I still use this recipe because it is easy and it keeps well for a few days in the fridge.

I do use anchovies in this. I know some people are not really fond of those funny little fish. I like the layer of flavor they add to a Caesar, and they get pulverized when this dressing is blended. But if they are not your thing, just leave ‘em out.

By the way, anchovies are low in mercury and high in all sorts of other good stuff. Anchovies are OK in moderation for pregnant women.

Pregnancy-friendly Caesar salad
(makes 6-8 servings, depending on how large of a salad you like)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use light mayo and it works great)
4 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
Your favorite croutons
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. In a food processor (I use my mini processor for such a small batch) or a blender, combine the mayonnaise, anchovies, lemon juice, garlic and mustard and blend until smooth. With the processor on, slowly pour in the olive oil and blend until smooth and combined. Season the dressing with pepper to taste.

2. In a large bowl, toss the romaine with the croutons. Add the dressing and toss. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the salad, toss again and serve right away.

3. Leftover dressing will keep in the fridge for a few days. Just give it a quick whisk before you use it.

BREASTFEEDING exposes babies to a variety of flavours

This article from Australia.

BREASTFEEDING exposes babies to a variety of flavours, making them more accepting of different foods as they grow

CSIRO research psychologist Dr Nadia Corsini said studies showed breastfeeding provided infants with a greater variety of tastes compared with formula, which was beneficial when weaning them on to solid foods.

“Exposure to flavours takes place in utero and via breastfeeding, where the baby is exposed to flavours in mother’s diet,” she said.

“A lot of people might not realise this is one of benefits of breastfeeding, the exposure to different flavours.

“Research suggests children with exposure to different flavours are more accepting of different foods as they grow older to those who didn’t have exposure.”

According to a European study of 147 mothers and their infants, both breastfeeding and daily changes in vegetables offered early in weaning increased the child’s acceptance of new foods for at least up to two months.

Dr Corsini said breastfeeding versus formula was a sensitive issue, but mothers shouldn’t feel they are disadvantaging their child if they do not breastfeed.

“Even though these processes exist it doesn’t mean you can’t change or influence your children’s acceptance of different foods after that stage,” she said.

“That’s why it’s important to offer children a wide variety of healthy foods early in life. It is such an important influence on the variety in their diet later.”

Gordana Hopping, 33, is breastfeeding her five-month-old daughter Filipa and mindful of eating well.

“I’m staying away from soft drinks and sugary foods,” she said. “I have a healthy diet so Filipa is too.”

The Advertiser and Sunday Mail Healthy Eating project continues this week, encouraging children to learn more about balanced diets and cooking nutritious meals.

Students can collect daily panels featuring the different food groups as well as recipes courtesy of the CSIRO.

Alaska Airlines Agrees to Reimburse Couple in Diaper Dispute

by Fran Golden at AOL Travel News

Alaska Airlines has agreed to reimburse a Canadian couple after they were bumped from a flight in an incident that started with a smelly diaper, and that the carrier calls “rare.”

Colleen Roberge and Dan Blais had just gotten married in Las Vegas and were on their way home to Edmonton, Alberta. But when they were about to board the plane their baby son had an explosive dirty diaper.

Roberge tells CTV Edmonton she left the gate to change the baby’s diaper, leaving her husband behind to explain the situation. But when she returned she was told her ticket had been given to another passenger on standby.

The couple was not allowed to board the flight, and Roberge says a customer service agent even told her she should have boarded the plane before changing the soiled diaper.

After being bumped, the couple was left with the option of spending up to two days on standby for another Alaska Airlines flight or paying about $1,000 for tickets home that day on another airline. The couple chose the latter, and got home on WestJet.

The upset couple blogged about the incident, and Alaska Airlines left a comment explaining its stance. “Reservations are subject to cancellation if customers aren’t ready at the gate within specified times,” the carrier says. “If we accommodate people who arrive late, we risk arriving at the destination late.”

But the carrier now says it will pay for the couple’s flight home.

“It goes to show that one employee’s actions doesn’t always represent the whole company and it seems Alaska Airlines didn’t thoroughly understand exactly what happened at the gate that day,” Roberge and Blais say on their blog.

The Lucky One

By Jenny Feldon, blog post at Pregnancy.com

35 weeks. It seems almost impossible that this much time has gone by since I first saw that pink plus sign on a white plastic stick. Holiday decorations are already in store windows; by Christmas I could have a weeks-old infant cradled in my arms. Sometimes I look back and think “How did I get here? And how did it happen so fast?”

Along with my rapidly approaching due date, there’s another date permanently engraved on my mind. A day on the calendar that was supposed to mark the same kind of joy for one of my dearest friends that my own due date promises for me. But that date is empty now, a blank spot where there used to be a big red exclamation point. Because I am the lucky one, the one who gets to keep her miracle. And my friend—an amazing woman, a phenomenal mother—is grieving not one, but two pregnancies she’s lost in the same 35 weeks I’ve been happily, uneventfully pregnant.

It’s at her recommendation—and with her blessing—that I write this very difficult post. Miscarriage is a very common, very real part of many women’s journeys toward motherhood. I’m particularly inspired by Project Pregnancy blogger Lexi Walters Wright, whose beautifully written, brave posts remind me how incredibly fortunate I am—how fortunate every mom is—to have a healthy child growing up before my eyes, and even luckier to have rolled the dice and conceived a second time. But remembering how lucky I am is not enough to provide support to my friend, to help her through her grief without being a living, breathing reminder of her pain. What do you say when you desperately want to ease a friend’s pain—but can only make things worse?

We met when our babies were just a few months old, and it was instant friend karma. Our daughters are less than two weeks apart, and we’ve tackled every challenge of new motherhood together, from breastfeeding to pureeing broccoli to those first trips down the big kid slide. We made stay-at-home mommyhood into an adventure, with coffee playdates, music classes and field trips to the aquarium. She has parented my daughter almost as much as I have; she is one of the reasons my long months with J out of town have been bearable.

Around the same time, we decided it was time for #2. My friend had lost a pregnancy before her daughter C was born, and was considerably more cautious—and anxious—about the conception process than I was. Still, we bought ovulation sticks together, peed on pregnancy tests together, and looked at each other wide-eyed with shock and joy when we realized we’d both hit the jackpot—and were expecting our #2s just two days apart.

I had complications early in this pregnancy I hadn’t experienced with E. Bleeding started around 6 weeks, and I would sit in the bathroom, terrified and alone, wondering what was happening. She was my sounding board, my reassuring voice. When she also started first trimester bleeding, I blithely assured her everything would be fine. Wasn’t she just being overly neurotic because she’d had a miscarriage before C? If she was allowed to reassure me, I was allowed to poo-poo her fears too. Or so I thought.

Just before our 12-week milestones, my friend’s ultrasound showed no heartbeat. In an email more concerned with my feelings than her own, she broke the news, letting me know she and her husband were drowning their tears in sake and sushi, and were focused on being grateful for the gorgeous, smart toddler they had at home. They were optimistic about trying again. Typically brave, typically cheerful. Heartbreakingly honest.

I cried for hours. Why her? Why not me? Suddenly, irrevocably, my joy and her pain were inextricably woven. And there was nothing I could say, no help or soothing words I could offer her, that could excuse the fact that I was still pregnant and she was not. I desperately wanted to trade places. At least if it were my pain, I could deal with it, be in control of it. But to watch someone so close to me suffer and not be able to a single thing to help—it was intolerable.

Selfishly, I was grieving a little bit for me, too. I wanted to take this journey with one of my dearest friends. Everything was supposed to work out perfectly. I’d envisioned joint baby showers and shuffling down the hospital hallway with my IV pole to have the world’s first post-partum slumber party—just her, me, and our newborns. Our #2s should have had birthday parties together, gone to the DMV together to get their driver’s licenses. All those silly, selfish dreams were shattered. I wanted to be unequivocally elated and excited about the new life inside me. Instead I felt sad, lost, and so, so guilty.

My friend is one of the strongest and bravest people I know. But no amount of bravery can take away her pain, and I hate that my own healthy pregnancy is a constant reminder of what she should have had—twice, now, since I conceived #2. Our conversations have become an elaborate dance, with her asking me about the pregnancy to prove she’s OK with it, and me trying everything to avoid the topic entirely so as not to cause her any more sorrow. If I could make my growing belly disappear in her presence, I would. I do my best to pretend there’s nothing more important going on in my life than preschool and potty training, because those subjects are things we can still share. But despite our best efforts, the chasm between us grows ever wider. It‘s the exact distance between the baby that is, and the baby that is no longer.

Is there ever a right thing to say to a friend or loved one that has suffered this kind of loss? Can women who haven’t had fertility problems ever say the right thing to a woman who has? Even with the best of intentions, every word out of my mouth is potentially the most wrong thing I could say. I can’t understand what it feels like. I can’t make any of it better. And what I am doing—growing bigger and more pregnant by the minute—is, in some ways, the worst thing of all.

I know how genuinely happy my friend is for me, and how much she hates that I feel guilty when I should be celebrating this upcoming new life. I believe with my whole heart that she will have another child, one as healthy and precocious and absolutely perfect as her sweet daughter C. She is an incredible friend, a loving wife, an amazing mother. She doesn’t deserve the sorrow she’s been dealt (who does?) but she’ll triumph anyway, because that’s who she is. She inspires me every day.

And so do all the other women who have struggled with the pain and loss of infertility and miscarriage. To all of you out there who have suffered like my sweet friend: Is there anything us “lucky ones” can do, or say, to support you the way we so desperately want to? Or at the very least, minimize the damage our happily pregnant selves can inflict on still-raw wounds? Nothing can take away the pain of loss, and in many ways that chasm will always exist. But I’d love to hear advice on what to do, what not to say, and how to bridge the gap that inevitably grows between women whose paths have turned away from each other.

Alanis Morissette decorates pregnant belly with Henna tattoos during ‘heart-warming’ ritual with friends

AM BellySince first sharing her pregnancy news with Us Weekly in August, Alanis Morisette has been feeling the love — literally!

On Thursday, the 36-year-old singer posted a photo of her growing baby bump adorned in Henna tattoos on Twitter. In the pic, Morissette is surrounded by several friends, who were also decorated in the ceremonial paste.

“Some rituals surprise in the heart-warming department,” Morisette explained of the design.

In Arabic culture, the temporary skin decorations are typically applied during the seventh month of pregnancy.

On Wednesday, the “Hands Clean” singer exclusively confirmed she and husband MC Souleye are expecting a boy. Their son is due in early 2011.

Rachel Zoe Confirms: I’m Pregnant

This from By Sarah Michaud at People Magazine

Rachel Zoe literally has a new project: her baby on the way!

The stylist, 39, and husband Rodger Berman are expecting their first child next year, she announced via Twitter Wednesday.

“Hey everyone! I want to officially confirm to my loyal friends and followers that I am pregnant!” Zoe wrote.

“I feel great, Rodger and I are beyond excited and so thankful for all of your love and support.”

The couple chronicled their struggle to decide if they should become parents this past season on their Bravo reality show, The Rachel Zoe Project.

Pink Confirms: I’m Pregnant!

This from Us Weekly.Get this party started!

A week after Us Weekly first reported the news, Pink confirms she’s going to be a mom!

On Wednesday’s Ellen DeGeneres Show, the singer, 31, explains why she’s “glowing”: “I’m eating for two these days,” she coos.

It’s the first child for Pink and her husband Carey Hart. She tells Ellen DeGeneres why she kept her pregnancy secret.

“I was just really nervous,” Pink admits to DeGeneres. “I have had a miscarriage before, but if I was going to talk about it with anyone, it was going to be with you.”

And the “Raise Your Glass” singer’s baby-to-be was definitely planned, she says. “I worked for it…It was not an ‘Oops.’”

She and hubby Hart, 35, aren’t sure if they want to know the gender of their child in advance. “But the doctor kind of told me what she thinks,” the star says, explaining that doctors noticed an anatomical detail in her ultrasound. “I’m terrified because she thinks it’s a girl!”

“My mom has always wished me a daughter just like me,” she jokes. “I’m terrified one of us will go to jail.”

Pink and daddy-to-be Hart are stronger than ever since their 2008 separation, she adds. “I never had anything in my life that I didn’t work hard for and my relationship is that,” she gushes.

“We worked really hard and we had our little meltdowns, a couple of them…we both needed to do that and come back together. It’s just yummy!”

Jumbo Ultrasound Shows Zoo’s Baby Elephant

George the elephant now weighs 640 lbs. Pic: ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

George the elephant now weighs 640 lbs. Pic: ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

An incredible ultrasound image of a baby elephant in utero has been released by ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

Incredibly his trunk is already visible.

The Zoo used 3D ultrasound scanners to monitor the health and well-being of mum and baby.

Now six months old, George weighs around 840 lbs and is part of the herd of Asian elephants at the Zoo in Dunstable.

His keepers say he loves to play in the seven-acre paddock with his big sister Donna.

Why the health of pregnant women matters to us all

By Annie Murphy Paul,author of “Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives.”

“Pregnant Is the New Sexy,” read the T-shirt a friend gave me when I was a few weeks away from my due date. With my swollen ankles and waddling walk, I wasn’t so sure – but it’s hard to deny that pregnancy has become rather chic. Glossy magazines flaunt actresses’ and models’ rounded, half-clad bellies on their covers. Inside they chronicle celebrities’ pregnancies in breathless detail, from the first “bump” sighting to the second-trimester weight gain to the baby-gear shopping spree. And now comes the news that “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” – the advice bible that has sold more than 14 million copies – will be made into a feature film.

There’s something wrong with this picture. Even as Americans fuel a rapidly growing pregnancy industry of designer maternity jeans and artsy pregnancy portraits, we’re ignoring the real news about these nine months. An emerging science known as the developmental origins of health and disease – DOHaD for short – is revealing that the conditions we encounter in the womb can have a lifelong impact on our health and well-being, affecting everything from our appetite and metabolism to our susceptibility to disease to our intelligence and temperament.

The more we learn about these effects, the clearer it becomes that investing in maternal health would return larger and longer-lasting dividends than almost any other comparable public health investment. But as a nation, we’re heading in exactly the opposite direction, spending more and more of our limited resources on the later stages of life instead of where they can make the most difference: at the very beginning.

Take obesity. Many anti-obesity initiatives concentrate on changing adults’ behavior, trying to persuade us to eat less and exercise more. But research shows that these efforts have limited effectiveness. A recent analysis of U.S. obesity-prevention campaigns, conducted by Olaf Werder of the University of New Mexico, concluded that their “overall impact on obesity has been negligible.”

Even public health programs aimed at school-age children come too late: Almost a third of American children over age 2are already overweight or obese, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Clearly, the conditions that contribute to obesity must begin exerting their influence very early in children’s lives – as early as their time in the womb.

DOHaD research shows that the intrauterine environment of a woman who is significantly overweight when she conceives – or who puts on excessive weight during pregnancy – affects the developing fetus in ways that make it more likely to become overweight itself one day. Scientists are still figuring out exactly why this happens, but it appears that prenatal experience may alter the functioning of organs such as the heart and the pancreas, may shift the proportion of lean and fat body mass, and may influence the brain circuits that regulate appetite and metabolism.

In a cleverly designed study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2009, researchers compared children born to the same mothers before and after they’d had successful anti-obesity surgery. Children born after their mothers’ surgery weighed less at birth and were three times less likely to become severely obese than their older brothers and sisters. Weight-loss surgery isn’t for everyone, of course. Still, what if before conceiving, overweight women were routinely counseled by their doctors about the effects of their weight on future offspring? And what if women who were gaining weight too rapidly in pregnancy were offered more help in controlling it?

The results might look something like those found in studies of diabetes treatment during pregnancy. Research shows that the children of diabetic women are more likely than others to develop diabetes – in one recent study, seven times more likely. Like obesity, diabetes has a strong genetic component, but scientists are also beginning to focus on the effects of a diabetic intrauterine environment. For example, a long-running study of the Pima Indians of Arizona, who have one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world, concluded that exposure to the disease while in the womb was responsible for about 40 percent of the diabetes cases studied.

A pregnant woman’s diabetes can also affect the odds that her child will become obese. In a study of almost 10,000 mother-child pairs, researchers from the Center for Health Research at Kaiser Permanente Northwest found that women who developed diabetes during pregnancy and were not treated had children who were twice as likely to become obese as the children of women without that illness. Pregnant women whose diabetes was treated with insulin, however, had children with no additional risk of obesity. Simply by controlling their mothers’ blood sugar during pregnancy, in other words, the expected doubling of these children’s obesity risk was completely reversed.

Even the mental health of a pregnant woman can have a long-term impact on her offspring. A 2008 study by researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center in California found that women with even mild symptoms of depression are 60 percent more likely to deliver early than other women; those who are severely depressed have double the risk of premature birth. The babies of depressed women are also more likely to have low birth weight, to be irritable and to have trouble sleeping.

Of course, these complications may come about in part because many depressed women don’t take good care of themselves: They may eat poorly, smoke or drink alcohol, or fail to get prenatal care. But depression itself may shift the biochemical balance in a woman’s body in a fateful manner. For one thing, the stress hormone cortisol, which is often elevated in people with depression, may cross the placenta, directly affecting fetal development, and it may also affect a pregnant woman’s blood vessels, reducing the oxygen and nutrients that reach the fetus.

The case seems pretty clear: We should make a nationwide effort to ensure that every obstetrician checks every pregnant patient’s mental state, along with her weight and blood pressure. Women who show signs of depression should be offered therapy or, in cases that warrant it, carefully administered antidepressant medication.

Adult behavior can be difficult to change, as we know from the general ineffectiveness of anti-obesity campaigns. But pregnant women are a special case: They’re usually highly motivated, they’re typically in regular contact with health-care providers, and they have to keep up their efforts for only nine months. Pregnancy therefore offers a singular opportunity to improve lives for decades to come, via interventions that cost little compared with the enormous price tags for obesity, diabetes, low birth weight and premature delivery.

So why isn’t this critical window one of our top health-care priorities?

Part of the reason may simply be our preference for quick fixes and for dealing with only those problems that exist in the here and now. It can be hard to wrap our heads around the notion that a woman’s diet or mental state today will have a serious effect on her children’s health many years out. But there’s a less obvious reason that resistance to maternal health initiatives might crop up among the liberal-leaning individuals who typically support public health initiatives and women’s health-care issues: abortion politics.

Caring for the fetus, protecting the fetus from harm – to abortion rights advocates, such measures sound like the steps antiabortion forces have taken to try to establish a fetus’s rights. What’s the difference between controlling a diabetic pregnant woman’s blood sugar and, say, charging a pregnant woman who uses drugs with child abuse? Between telling an obese pregnant woman that her weight may predispose her child to obesity and requiring a woman to look at an ultrasound of her fetus before proceeding with an abortion?

The crucial difference lies in the intent behind the intervention and in the way it’s carried out. Help in achieving a healthy pregnancy must be offered to pregnant women, not forced upon them. And the aim behind such efforts must be to foster the health and well-being of the woman and her fetus, not to score political points.

Ultimately, research on the developmental origins of health and disease should lead us to a new perspective on pregnancy, one that’s not about coercing or controlling women – nor about ogling or fetishizing them – but about helping them, and their future children, be as healthy and as happy as they can be.

Pink Pregnancy Rumors

This from CBSNews

Speculation that singer Pink may be pregnant spread like wildfire after a TV personality posted the alleged baby news on her Twitter account.

“Good Day L.A.” co-host Jillian Barberie Reynolds congratulated the pop star and husband Carey Hart, tweeting: “Hey, Pink, I’m sooooo happy for you lady!!! Congrats on baby!!!” She also wrote: “Ps. You know your man whispered it to us at dinner. See I CAN keep a secret!!”, according to People.

After her message became the tweet heard around Hollywood, Reynolds posted another message, recanting.

“So @pink hasn’t confirmed. My bad!! Hubby says that I must have been tipsy that night cuz that’s not what Carey said!! My complete apologies,” she wrote.

Rumors that the 31-year-old may be expecting first surfaced after paparazzi photos supposedly showed the singer sporting a baby bump.

So has the outspoken pop-rock star responded to the baby rumors?

Not yet. Reps have not respond to People’s requests for comment, and Pink’s own Twitter page hasn’t fluttered a single tweet on the matter.