Archive for the 'Health' Category

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Sucking Your Child’s Pacifier Is Not A Bad Thing!

Most parents have done this on the sly, but now you can do it openly, go ahead and suck that baby pacifier that fell to the ground before popping back into your baby’s mouth. Most feel guilty for not boiling the pacifer or trashing it. However, that parental instinct to just use your own spit is really the best thing you can do for your baby . A new study tells us that this practice will actually help reduce your baby’s chance of allergies later on.

“It’s really an interesting study, because it supports the theory of the hygiene hypothesis,” said Dr. Samuel Friedlander, an allergy specialist at University Hospital in Cleveland. “It’s a theory that state that our world is too clean. The immune system is like an army, and if the army doesn’t have anything to fight – like germs – it fights allergens.”

The study showed that toddlers were less likely to develop eczema and asthma if their parents were shared by their parent as the saliva on pacifiers appeared to help promote a bacterial diversity and stimulate the child’s immune system. In the same way, babies delivered vaginally benefitted from increased exposure to bacteria in the birth canal as newborns.

Of course there are times when this practice can be detrimental to a child’s health, such as when a parent is sick, has a virus or cold sores. However for the healthy parent it appears sharing a little saliva on a pacifier or utensil may be helpful to your child’s immune system.

Looking For A Satisfying And Healthy Pregnancy Snack? Try An Avocado!

Avocados are one of those foods that everyone in my house can enjoy without complaining. Avocados are available and tasty year round thanks to growing in various regions including California, Florida, Mexico and Chile. My finicky 8 year old daughter will eat them sliced up any day of the week and positively gleams when she sees them on her plate, as if I slaved in the kitchen to prepare something extra special for her. As a toddler she would stuff them to her mouth so quickly that they would end up smeared all over her face and hands while perched in her highchair. We joked that her creamy smooth complexion was result of her daily avocado facial masks during mealtime.

Avocados are one of those foods that don’t take a lot of preparation to taste good. You can slice them up for sandwiches are salads. You can puree them for a healthy smoothie or throw them in cooked dishes. Avocados are so versatile with a mild flavor and smooth texture that they compliment just about anything from chips, salad, poultry, fish or beef. Whether you are a meat-eater, fish veggie or a vegan, avocados are usually allowed on the menu.

Odd fact – although you will usually find avocados stacked next to the vegetables in the grocery store, they are actually a fruit. Avocados are native to South and Central America. The two most common varieties are Hass and Fuerte and over 90 percent of the nation’s avocados are the Hass variety from California. Florida produces the Fuerte varieties that are larger and have more water and less fat than the Hasses.

Avocados are a suburb healthy treat for anyone and especially good for curbing that afternoon snack attack that many pregnant women often feel in even greater force than the rest of humanity and that a carrot or celery stick just won’t satisfy (although maybe when dipped in some salty guacamole). Although a medium avocado has about 30 grams of fat, it’s mostly the monounsaturated “good fat” that boosts good cholesterol and lowers bad cholesterol. A typical serving of avocados is about 1 ounce, which is approximately 3 slices and only 5 grams of “good” fat. Avocados are also a good source of lutein, an antioxidant that is good for the eyes.

Popular Super Bowl Treat:

The Hass Avocado Board estimates that over 71 million pounds of the purple-black Hass avocados will be consumed during this year’s Super Bowl parties. That equates to more than 27 feel of avocados, enough to cover an entire football field “end zone to end zone.” We can assume that most of those avocados will be consumed in the form of guacamole dip.

The most important element in making really good guacamole is using very good, ripe avocados. To find just the right ripeness, press the outside of the avocado gently. If there is a little bit of give, then the avocado is perfectly ripe. If it is hard, it is not ready and if there is too much give, then the avocado is probably too ripe and will not taste good. If you have your “perfect” ripe avocados, all you really need is salt and lime juice (lemon juice is also good if you don’t have a lime). The other good ingredients to add are cilantro, chiles, onion and tomato. However if you are prone to morning sickness, simpler is better, just use the ingredients that don’t make you avert your ever powerful nose during pregnancy (although many pregnant women swear that spicier is better when they are expecting).

Here’s a good recipe I found with these very ingredients which serves 2-4. Double or triple for larger servings and adjust the chiles portion of the recipe for your level of preferred spiciness.

Prep time: 10 minutes,

INGREDIENTS

2 ripe avocados

1/2 red onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)

1-2 serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed, minced

2 tablespoons cilantro (leaves and tender stems), finely chopped

1 tablespoon of fresh lime or lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

A dash of freshly grated black pepper

1/2 ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped

Garnish with red radishes or jicama. Serve with tortilla chips.

METHOD

1 Cut avocados in half. Remove seed. Scoop out avocado from the peel, put in a mixing bowl.

2 Using a fork, roughly mash the avocado. (Don’t overdo it! The guacamole should be a little chunky.) Add the chopped onion, cilantro, lime or lemon, salt and pepper and mash some more. Chili peppers vary individually in their hotness. So, start with a half of one chili pepper and add to the guacamole to your desired degree of hotness. Be careful handling the peppers; wash your hands thoroughly after handling and do not touch your eyes or the area near your eyes with your hands for several hours.

Chilling tomatoes hurts their flavor, so don’t chop the tomatoes or add to the guacamole until ready to serve.

Remember that much of this is done to taste because of the variability in the fresh ingredients. Start with this recipe and adjust to your taste.

3 Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole to prevent oxidation from the air reaching it. Refrigerate until ready.

4 Just before serving chop the tomato; add to the guacamole and mix.

Refrigeration Tips:

Only refrigerate ripe avocados as unripe ones will not ripen in the cold. You can store ripe avocados in the refrigerator up to 5 days. If you store too long, the flesh will darken and turn into flavorless mush.

Pureed avocados can be stored in the freezer up to 4 months for use in dips, sauces and spreads. Make sure you place pureed avocados in an airtight container leaving about an inch of head space. Also, for better flavor add a tablespoon of lime or lemon for each avocado you blend in your blender.

So go for that guacamole dip without guilt this Super Bowl Sunday, it’s good for you and your baby and yummy to boot!

Light During Pregnancy Is Important For Fetal Eye Development

A fascinating new study of mice during pregnancy, leads evidence that pregnant humans also need light during pregnancy to aid in proper fetal eye development.

A new study conducted by scientists from Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and recently published in the journal Nature, reveals information about the importance of sunlight during pregnancy for the eyesight of babies that are born prematurely. The study concluded that the eye, which requires light in order to see, also needs light to develop normally during pregnancy.

Co-author Richard Lang, PhD, a researcher in the Division of Pediatric Ophthalmology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center said:

“This fundamentally changes our understanding of how the retina develops. We have identified a light-response pathway that controls the number of retinal neurons. This has downstream effects on developing vasculature in the eye and is important because several major eye diseases are vascular diseases.”

Lang collaborated with David Copenhagen, PhD, a scientist in the departments of Opthalmology and Physiology at UCSF. Mouse models were used in their study which produced surprising outcomes:

Copenhagen commented, “Several stages of mouse eye development occur after birth. Because of this, we had always assumed that if light played a role in the development of the eye, it would also happen only after birth.”

The researchers in the current study revealed that the activation of the newly labeled light-response pathway must occur during pregnancy in order to achieve the precisely planned program that creates a normal eye. They point out that it is crucial for the right number of photons to reach the mother’s body by late term pregnancy.

The team of scientists completed several experiments using laboratory mouse models that let them look at the light-response pathway’s purpose and parts. Mice were raised in darkness, and in a regular day-night cycle starting at late term pregnancy to examine the comparative outcomes on vascular progression of the eye.

The scientists confirmed the purpose of the light response pathway by changing an opsin gene in mice known as Opn4 that creates melanopsin which stops the initiation of the photo pigment.

The melanopsin protein is there in both humans and mice during pregnancy. The authors say they will continue to examine how the light-response pathway might impact the probability of pre-term babies developing retinopathy of prematurity and its relatedness to other eye conditions.

So get outside and into the sunlight during your pregnancy as much as possible on a regular basis. The natural light not only helps your mood but is essential for your baby’s healthy eye development!

It’s Safe for Pregnant Women to Receive a Flu Shot, New Study Confirms

You’ve probably heard how bad the flu is this year with the particularly strong strain of the H3N2 virus. People tend to be sicker for longer periods of time and with stronger symptoms than normal. Already 47 states have reported widespread cases and the number of infected are rising fast.

“We’re seeing people, very high fever, often they’re laying down curled up, looking very unwell,” Dr. Michele Hayek reports with North Atlanta Urgent Care.

Apart from washing your hands frequently, the best thing you can do to protect yourself from the virus is to get vaccinated now. “It still offers a lot of immunity even getting it this time of the year,” Dr. Hayek says. “So, I would still definitely recommend getting a flu shot.”

A new large study released by the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday confirms that it is safe for pregnant women to get a flu shot. The research found no evidence that the vaccine increases the risk of losing a fetus and may prevent some deaths. Research shows that getting the flu while pregnant increases the risk if fetal death.

“This is the kind of information we need to provide our patients when discussing that flu vaccine is important for everyone, particularly for pregnant women,” said Dr. Geeta Swamy, a researcher who studies vaccines and pregnant women at Duke University Medical Center.

The new study was led by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. It tracked pregnancies in Norway in 2009 and 2010 during an international epidemic of a new swine flu strain.

The study focused on more than 113,000 pregnancies. Of those, 492 ended in the death of the fetus. The researchers calculated that the risk of fetal death was nearly twice as high for women who weren’t vaccinated as it was in vaccinated mothers.

The study also showed that infants picked up protection for the virus when their mother’s were vaccinated while pregnant. Infants cannot receive the flu shot until 6 months of age, so getting early protection is a huge benefit to protecting their health.

Influenza germs can live on a surface up to eight hours and also can be breathed in when someone coughs or sneezes and the virus is airborne.

Doctors recommend kids scrub their hands long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. Also, everyone should try to keep their hands away from their mouth, nose and eyes. Of course this is next to impossible for babies and young children, so the next best thing is to vaccinate.

“There is a long-standing concern about giving any medicine to a pregnant woman. But this study should ease any worries about the flu shot,” said Dr. Denise Jamieson of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The vaccine is safe,” she said.

Study Shows Exercise For Nursing Mothers Is Not Harmful

The Journal of Pediatrics has reported from a study that mothers can regularily exercise without hindering their babies’s growth.

They also addressed the issue of breast feeding women having a change in their milk if they exercised. There has been some controversity by conflicting reports about whether excessive exercise would decrease immune-boosting protiens or make the breast milk impalatable if the lactic acids would get too high.

The study looked at several clinical trials that measured growth among breastfed babies with mothers who execised and show no sign of their babies’ wetigh gain slowing. In fact, there was statistically no difference in breastfed babies who mothers’ exercised when compared to breast fed babies whose mothers did not exercise.

Still, one should be sensible about their exercising after childbirth. Be sure to get a good bond with your child and have a really strong breastfeeding routine. You will also be more tired and worn out, and with the possibility of engourged breasts, you many not want to do anything too vigourous. Walking for 15 minutes a day may be a good way to start out.

Health experts reccomend that babies should be breastfed exclusively for their first six months and then slowly introducing solids to the baby’s diet. They also recommend to try to breastfeed for the first year.

Pregnant Woman Struck By Lightening

A pregnant woman and her unborn baby were struck by lightening a few days ago.

The woman, Kelly Lough, was getting into her husband’s car during a storm while holding her umbrella.

There was a large flash and big boom, she stated, and she felt a jolt of electricity flow down her right arm and out the left as well as her toes.

The doctors think that maybe her old pair of rubber soled shoes that she had intended to throw away were what might have saved her life by providing a bit more insulation than the pair of high heels she had intended to wear.

Ms Lough was rushed to the hospital and she, as well as her unborn baby, were found to be both perfectly healthy. The weather officials believe that Ms Lough was probably struck by one of the minor side bolt and not the main branch.

The National Weather Service puts the odds of being struck by lightening are 1 out of 775,000. Our own TummyStyle statistician places the odds of a pregnant woman being struck by lightening at 1 in 100 million!

1 in 5 Canadian Women Having Babies Later In Life

The study by the Canadian Institute of Health Information notifies that one out of five babies born in Canada are of mothers who have given birth at around 35 years of age, and older.

According to the study, among babies born between 2006 and 2009, 17.9% of them were born out of mothers who were 35 or above. Also, it has been notified that the rate is highest in B. C. as compared to other provinces, as 22.3% of the babies were born to the mothers aged 35 and above.

It has also been revealed that B. C. has the highest rate of pregnant mom aged above 40, as 3.9 of the pregnant women fall in that age group.

Experts say that the women who become pregnant after 35 have twice more chances of suffering from gestational diabetes and those above 40 are thrice more likely to suffer from the ailment compared to the women who become pregnant at an early age.

Gestational diabetes results in delivery complications due to the high blood pressure condition and it can occur when pregnancy hormones obstruct the insulin from metabolizing sugar and other carbohydrates.

A study by the Canadian Institute of Health Information indicates that 20% of Canadian mothers are having babies when they are older than 35 years. British Colombia has a higher rate at 22.3% compared to the other provinces at 17.9%.

Studies have shown that women above 35 are twice as likely as other younger age groups in having gestational diabetes and women about 40 when pregnant are three times as likey.

Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that starts or is first diagnosed during pregnancy. While there may not be any symptoms present some symptoms may include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent infections, including those of the bladder, vagina, and skin
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weight loss in spite of increased appetite

Most women with normal pre-natal care should receive a gestational diabetes test if they are over 35.

Sex while pregnant is generally safe

 

Research has shown that having sex while pregnant is generally safe.

Published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the study showed that there are few complications involved in the practice.

Using current evidence, the team from Mount Sinai Hospital and the University of Toronto explained that the uncommon, but potential, risks involved in sex in pregnancy include premature labour, pelvic inflammatory disease, haemorrhage in placenta previa and blood clots.

Dr Clare Jones and her co-authors wrote: “Sex in pregnancy is normal.

“There are very few proven contraindications and risks to intercourse in low-risk pregnancies, and therefore these patients should be reassured.

“In pregnancies complicated by placenta previa or an increased risk of preterm labour, the evidence to support abstinence is lacking, but it is a reasonable benign recommendation given the theoretical catastrophic consequences.”

They concluded that comfort level and readiness to engage in sexual activity should be used as guides by the couple involved.

Women’s tears can have a negative effect on men’s sexual desire, a new study suggests.

Scientists at the Weizmann Institute in Israel found that women’s tears contain a “chemical signal”, which reduces arousal in men.

Prof Noam Sobel told BBC World Service radio that the signal reduced levels of testosterone and brain activity associated with sexual arousal.

His team now plan to study the effects of men’s tears on women and men.

Testosterone

The researchers collected tears from female volunteers who cried while watching sad films.

Male volunteers then had the tears or a salt solution, without knowing which, placed under their noses on a pad, while they made judgements about images of women’s faces. The experiment was then repeated, with those that had first been given the tears given the salt solution and vice versa.

The researchers found that the men who sniffed the tears judged the women’s faces less sexually appealing than they did when they sniffed the salt solution.

The levels of testosterone – a hormone related to sexual arousal – in the men’s saliva fell by 13% on average after they sniffed the tears, but stayed the same after sniffing the salt solution.

Their physiological state, as measured by skin temperature, heart rate and respiration, also fell after exposure to the tears.

MRI brain scans showed less activity in areas associated with sexual arousal after smelling the tears.

The researchers said the male volunteers could not distinguish the smell of the tears from that of the salt solution and that tears were odourless anyway.

“This study reinforces the idea that human chemical signals – even ones we’re not conscious of – affect the behaviour of others,” Prof Sobel said in comments published in the Science Express online journal.

He added that the results raised many questions, such as what the chemical giving out the signal was.

Pregnant Women Lie About Smoking

This article by By NICHOLAS BAKALAR of the NY Times

When pregnant women are asked if they smoke, almost a quarter of the smokers deny they have the habit. Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted from 1999 to 2006, researchers writing online in The American Journal of Epidemiology report that 13 percent of 994 pregnant women, and almost 30 percent of 3,203 nonpregnant women of reproductive age, were active smokers. (Rates among these women, 20 to 44 years old, are higher than rates for the general population of women.)

Among pregnant smokers, 23 percent reported that they did not smoke, despite high blood levels of cotinine, a biological indicator of tobacco exposure, that showed they did. More than 9 percent of the nonpregnant smokers also lied about it.

The authors acknowledge that cotinine levels can be increased by secondhand smoke, and that the exact blood level of cotinine that indicates smoking in pregnant women is not known. But pregnant women metabolize cotinine faster than nonpregnant women, so their smoking rate may actually have been underestimated.

The lead author, Patricia M. Dietz, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that the deceit probably stemmed from embarrassment. “Smoking has been stigmatized,” she said. “They feel reluctant to be chastised.” But concealing the addiction is not the answer, she said — quitting is. And, she added, “it’s never too late to quit.”