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Mom Blogger and Burn Victim Survivor, Stephanie Nielson, Shares thoughts on Motherhood

As a Stay at Home Mom I am always looking for inspirational stories about mothering to inspire and motivate me to be a better mom. The other day I noticed a story about an amazing woman, Stephanie Nielson, who survived a plane crash with her husband, Christian Nielson, in 2008. Both Stephanie and her husband were badly burned by the fire from the plane explosion, with Stephanie sustaining burns of over 80% her body.

Stephanie was put in a medically induced coma for 10 weeks to survive the burns. Today she is alive and well as a mother of 5, but not without daily physical challenges and pain and scars from the accident, including significant burn scars on her face and hands.

Stephanie has a Mommy Blog called the NieNie Dialogues which she started before accident in 2005 as a 23 year old wife and mother of four. She continued with her blog after her accident when she could use her hands again to type and even published a memior about her experience, “Heaven is Here” in April 2012, the same day her fifth child, Charlotte, was born.

Recently Stephanie was the keynote speaker at a RootsTech Conference, a family history and technology conference. She spoke about the importance of documenting your lives.

“Document your families,” she said. “Document your life. You may not have been through a plane crash, but you do have a story. Everyone has a story, and it needs to be told.”

She also spoke about the preciousness of motherhood and how being a mother to her children was the driving factor in her survival and recovery from her accident. However her path to health and recovery was not easy.

“Each day, when I was in this excruciating, horrible pain, doctors and nurses would change my bandages, sometimes twice a week, and I still couldn’t move on my own,” Nielsen said. “Each day I was so discouraged. Each day I became a little more depressed, and my dream of being that mother I’ve always wanted to be my entire life was disappearing.”

When her kids first saw her after she awoke from her coma, she said they expected to see their mother the way she used to look and were shocked and frightened to find her disfigured and badly scarred. Her daughter, Jane, took one look at her and was too frightened to look at her again.

“After the visit I pretty much cried that entire day and night and weeks and days that followed,” Nielsen said. “I decided that I never wanted to be a mother again. But as the days went on, I thought a lot about our meeting. I think that meeting was both horrible as it was inspiring. I wanted my job back.”

Gradually she was able to get that job back of being a hands-on mother again. She was also able to get pregnant again and have another baby with her husband which was a dream of hers since before the crash.

Stephanie encouraged those at the conference to capture memories and document their family’s lives. It does not have to be through blogging as she does, but any tangible way – through scrapbooking, journaling, audio – and to never stop doing so. She told the people at the RootsTech conference that these documented memories will be a gift for their children and future generations.

“You are here today because you love your family, because you want a connection with your descendants,” Nielsen said. “I encourage you to find stories with your loved ones that can help you develop an attitude of gratitude for the ones who came before you. We are all survivors of something.”

This story inspired me not only to begin to scrapbook and start putting together those family albums and wall photo collages I have been promising myself to do since I first gave birth to my son 11 years ago, but also to take the time to actively appreciate my kids and the gift of motherhood more.

As Stephanie says, motherhood is “a job” and one that we are privileged to have. It’s not an easy job, but it can be a very fulfilling one and meaningful one if we take the time to appreciate the small moments of each day and to develop an attitude of gratitude. By taking the time to document and savor these experiences we help both ourselves be more joyful and grateful in our lives and provide our children with a wealth of experience, love and learnings to pass to future generations.

Like many of us, I am one of those moms who takes a lot of photos and captures a lot of images of my kids on my cellphone. We have literally thousands of photos stored on our computer of our children through every stage of their lives and then some – film is cheap, right? I am good about passing along a quick photo of my kids to grandparents and relatives or even a short video clip. However I have not been good about taking the time to put together something meaningful and accessible with all those photos for my immediate family, so we can enjoy the best of these cherished images on a daily basis and be reminded of the special moments we have had together in our lives.

There is a wealth of goodness in each day and we don’t need to be in a plane crash or to be a burn victim to begin to understand the messages that Stephanie’s inspirational story tells us. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday to do lists and the exhaustion of trying to keep up with the daily demands of parenting. Just taking a step back and altering our perspective a little to look for the light and goodness of each day and even just to be grateful for our physical abilities to be a mom, is something most of us can take to heart. I know I can.

Is the Uber-Fit Facebook Mom of 3 Sending the Right Message?

ExcuseA very fit mom of three has recently caused quite a bit of controversy over a photo of herself and her three young children she posted on Facebook. In the photo the 32 year old, Maria Kang, poses in a skimpy workout outfit to reveal washboard abs and an incredibly toned physique. Her three young sons surround her on the floor with ages attached to each, 8 months, 2 years, and 3 years.

However, the part that seems to have set off the viral spiral of this photo is the seemingly accusatory remark that looms over this attractive young family, “What’s your excuse?”

Since we now live in an age of social media where anything seemingly harmlessly posted on Facebook, tweeted or Instagramed is no longer personal and can quickly go viral in a cause an otherwise ordinary person to be an overnight web sensation with good or bad publicity. Maybe this young women did not mean to offend her followers but when a posting like this takes off to the mass public, people feel compelled to share their opinions and emotional reactions to it and the originator of the post/photo.

In my opinion, I do believe it’s commendable that this healthy mom has been able to achieve such an incredibly fit physique after having three young children in less than four years. However she is by far the exception to the average woman’s body after three kids and the caption, “What’s your excuse?”, comes off as accusatory and egotistical rather than inspiring as she says claims she intended it to be. Maybe a better caption should have read “You can do it too!” or “Love the Babies but shed the Baby Fat!”

She probably could have cashed in big on a postpartum exercise DVD or established a new career as a top personal trainer, inspirational speaker, blogger, etc. Instead a remark reading the wrong way seems to just add more shame to the rest of us with young babies, especially those of us who can never seem to kick those last 10 pounds (or more) of post baby weight.

Kang explains, “I wanted to inspire people,” she explains, adding that the “What’s your excuse?” part was simply a borrowed, popular phrase that’s been used in various “fitspiration” campaigns. “I wanted to say, ‘I know you think you don’t have time if you have kids. But if I can do it, you can do it, too.’” Maybe that caption would have translated better…

Kang, of Sacramento, California, is a former pageant queen and fitness competitor who founded the nonprofit Fitness Without Borders in 2007. Ironically, she’s also a recovering bulimic. Kang says she understands why some people reacted so defensively. “I think people struggle with their weight. When you add on being a mother — and the pressures we face to have it all and be everything, including fit — the expectations are so high. I think some moms saw the picture and just said, ‘This is ridiculous.’” But still, she says, “I felt really frustrated. Being called a bad mother and a bad person definitely hurts.”

Although Kang posted this photo a year ago to her Facebook page, it only recently went viral. She recently reposted it to her 72,000 followers along with a “sort of” apology.

“I’m sorry you took an image and resonated with it in such a negative way. I won’t go into details that I struggled with my genetics, had an eating disorder, work full time owning two businesses, have no nanny, am not naturally skinny and do not work as a personal trainer. What I WILL say is this. What you interpret is not MY fault. It’s yours. The first step in owning your life, your body and your destiny is to OWN the thoughts that come out of your own head. I didn’t create them. You created them. So if you want to continue ‘hating’ this image, get used to hating many other things for the rest of your life.”

This apology/response which started off well seemed to end with the same accusatory tone her initial photo caption embodied. Clearly this addendum did not help her case to water down the haters. On the other hand her critics have not been too tactful in their retaliation calling her a “bully” and blaming her for the body shaming problem in the country, etc.

I think the learnings we can take from this are that moms everywhere feel they need support not criticism, especially from other moms. Women have long struggled with body image, multitasking and balancing life with children, work and other demands, let alone working out to achieve their pre-baby body or better. It is encouraging and inspiring to see that it can be done, albeit by a gorgeous beauty queen mom who may be a few years younger than many of us middle aged moms who have to work harder with bodies that are less forgiving after multiple pregnancies. Now I too am going on a bit of a rampage, although hopefully not a hateful one. I do admire someone that can achieve this level of fitness with or without children and marvel even more that a mom of three young children who can accomplish this feat (assuming there’s not a lot of airbrushing going on here).

But again, I really don’t think her caption or tone of apology was appropriate. I also think that in this social media frenzy age we have regular ordinary people becoming celebrities overnight with viral photos and videos. These ordinary people are not used to this level of media attention and are usually totally blindsided and unprepared for the sudden level scrutiny and feedback that follows. Maybe we should think twice before tweeting or Facebook posting something that may sound hurtful or mean. Having babies and taking care of children is an amazing job and a tremendously challenging job that is a lifetime commitment. Most of us are surprised by the level of responsibility and commitment as well as the level of love and attachment we feel for our kids. It’s sometimes hard to find the time or justify the time to take care of ourselves, our health and our bodies. But we should take care of ourselves and we should support and not shame one another.

Learning To Say “NO”, Everyone Mom and Expecting Mom’s Right and Prerogative!

This week I was out sick with some version of the flu. Admittedly I got a flu shot a few months ago, so I’m not positive it was the flu, but it was not pleasant and had me coughing and sneezing in my bed for most of the week. I can only imagine that it would have been ten times worse if I had not gotten the flu shot. So at this point I am at a loss with how to qualify it, do I say “I have the flu” and provoke everyone’s sympathy and judgment (for assuming I did not get a flu shot) or just go with the generic “I’m sick” description to include any and everything and maybe leave some doubt as to how sick I truly am. The short and long of it is that I am really sick and should not be around the general public coughing and sneezing involuntarily and generally spreading my germs to innocent children, parents, preschool teachers and strangers alike.

I did find, however, there is a silver lining in this yucky sinus infection I am a victim to. That lining revealed itself with a “get out of jail free” card that I have been using like a madwomen on every single engagement and activity I have been assigned to this week. It has been nice to “just say no” and have no guilt for an entire week of getting out of an overbooked schedule of school volunteering, carpooling, field trips, gym classes, and even social engagements with friends. With the exception of getting my kids out the door in the morning to their respective schools and preschools and aiding with their homework and dinners in the evening, I largely have been at my own disposal for most of the week which has been nothing short of lovely. My husband has pitched in more to let me grab an extra 15 minutes or so of sleep in the morning. He has helped with my 4 year old’s transportation to preschool by re-arranging his business meetings. I opted out of the fieldtrip to the library, lunch with a friend, my scheduled workout at the gym, my hosting of a dinner with friends, a design meeting to redo my bathroom, volunteer ski coaching this weekend and some other volunteering at the school and church. Instead I have enjoyed some much needed time alone to read the news, a novel, a few self help books that I find interesting and insightful, some time to shop online for much needed furniture for the house and a great excuse to go to bed an hour earlier. Even my babysitter the other day took pity on me to do the extra dishes in the sink and vacuum all the kids’ rooms. Overall it’s been a pretty good deal. My mother even called worried about me and telling me “to get to the doctor right away!” I didn’t get to the doctor but I drank in the extra maternal attention and felt loved like child. Just this morning I felt like a real hero trudging to the bus stop with my kids. Wrapped in extra layers of clothes, hair array and clutching tissues in my hand, I greeted my fellow moms with my red nose and rasping voice, evoking sympathy and support from my neighbors for my mere effort of leaving my bed to accompany my kids out the door.

As a result of this greater restfulness and empowerment to make my own choices of spending time to recuperate I have felt like a better person and a better mom, more grounded than ever before. Why isn’t life always like this? Apart from the annoying hacking cough and nose drops throughout the night so I could breathe, it’s nice feeling more cared for and generally getting out of an overbooked schedule. It’s also nice to do this without feeling any major guilt, my main culprit in life since being a fulltime mom to three little ones and quitting my corporate job.

My take-away from this experience is that life goes on without me. I am needed and loved for what I can do and the relationships I have, but sometimes I overvalue my importance. I mistakenly feel that if I’m not fully present and perfect for every last demand made on my time, the whole world will collapse and my kids will suffer. The truth is that my kids learn a little more self-reliance when I am not 100% well and present in their lives and a little failure on their part, like forgetting to finish all their homework or practice their piano one week, may result in a lesson well learned- that of learning the ramifications of not doing their part and getting a bad grade or feeling embarrassed for not being prepared for class or a music lesson. The stakes are not high now, they are in elementary school and they can afford a few failures that may protect them from greater failures down the road when they do not have their mom hovering over them to assure they fail at nothing at all.

I also learned that saying “no” is very empowering. As a mom I often forget that “no” is even an option. Also, since I quit my fulltime demanding corporate job and work for myself , I often feel that I am at everyone’s disposal – any class that needs a last minute volunteer, that’s me. If the 3rd grade teacher needs an extra parent for the field trip, I’m there. If my friend needs me to carpool last minute and take her daughter across town to a girl’s scout meeting in the evening that’s totally inconvenient to my Friday night, sure I can do that! (We’ll just eat dinner a little later!) If my son’s preschool teacher needs someone to pitch in last minute for snack day, I can do it! In order to prove myself the ever mighty mom and community helper, I am generally at anyone’s disposal anytime of the day or week. Being sick has forced me to say “no” and surprisingly no one is angry about it, in fact they are quite sympathetic and caring about my condition. I can really lounge in bed all day and feel good about it. I just got my first full night’s sleep in over a year the other night as I woke up feeling slightly better. Then I thought, “oh no”, I’ll need to go to that PTC at the school tomorrow night and cook for that homeowner’s potluck on Saturday. Maybe I’m still sick enough to stay home?

I now realize how silly this all is. Does it really take coming down with the flu where I am not physically able to do as much to figure out that “no” is a word we are all capable of using when we need to/want to. Although it is good and admirable to pitch in over and beyond the call of duty now and then, it should not be a habit. Just being a mom is going beyond the call of duty every single day and just because we don’t get a paycheck or a pat on the back for that all consuming, most important job in the world, does not mean we don’t get to say “no” when we feel like it and take time out to refuel before we really are physically sick and emotionally drained. “No” is a privilege and a right we should remember to employ anytime we need to as it will allow us to draw boundaries to protect ourselves and make our own voluntary decisions more wholeheartedly. It also allows our “yeses” to be more real, more enjoyed and more purposeful. Yes, we do still have the right to choose what we do and don’t want to do, just maybe not when it comes to helping our kid in the bathroom!

Pregnancy is great time to gain experience at saying “no” if that’s something you need a little more practice at doing. Pregnancy affords you all kinds of luxuries you can and should take advantage of – like a more doting partner, unfamiliar men opening doors for you and giving up their bus seats. Morning sickness is no picnic, but it does afford you the right to say “no” to your well meaning family members who want you to attend a certain family wedding across the country or participate in the weekly family potluck. It even allows you the privilege of saying “no” to your employer regarding working overtime, travel or working at all. You have your doctor’s permission if need be to enforce that “no” to guard your health and that of your developing baby’s. Believe me, those “no’s” are worthwhile and will be excellent practice for you when you are a mom and find yourself becoming a professional juggler more often than not. If you want to be a really good mom, learn your “nos” now and make it a useful word in your vocabulary. Your friends and loved ones may be a little shocked at first if they are not used to hearing you say it, but it gets easier over time for them and you. My 4 year old knows about this magic word already and I guess he sees it works for him from time to time as he keeps using it unabashedly, maybe I should take some lessons from him!

Sophia and Aiden lead Top 100 Baby Names of 2010

.. Please step down, Isabella. Sophia is taking your place as the most popular girl’s name of 2010.

Congratulations, Aiden. You’ve held onto the number-one boy’s spot for the sixth year in a row.

Welcome to the pack, Liam and Abigail. You’re now officially a part of the coveted top 10.

BabyCenter released its list of the Top 100 Baby Names of 2010 today. The online parenting and pregnancy destination compiled some 350,000 baby names and combined those that sound the same but have different spellings (such as Sophia and Sofia) to create a true measure of popularity.

Top 10 Girls’ Names of 2010

1.Sophia
2.Isabella
3.Olivia
4.Emma
5.Chloe
6.Ava
7.Lily
8.Madison
9.Addison
10.Abigail

Top 10 Boys’ Names of 2010

1.Aiden
2.Jacob
3.Jackson
4.Ethan
5.Jayden
6.Noah
7.Logan
8.Caden
9.Lucas
10.Liam

What’s influencing baby-naming parents? Parents turned to pop culture, politics, a bygone era, and the ever-popular Old Testament for inspiration. Here’s a look at the Hottest Baby Name Trends of 2010:

•Glee’s cheerleader queen Quinn may be mean, but her name is certainly popular, jumping up in the ratings a whopping 60 percent. Finn, Jenna, and Lea are also singing a happy tune.

•The critically acclaimed drama Mad Men has struck a nerve with the American public. Dishy Don (as in Draper) inched up the charts, and his ex-wife is bringing the cool back to Betty. The silver-haired fox Roger rose 21 percent, while his wife, Jane, also gained popularity.

•The names of the moms on MTV’s reality show 16 and Pregnant are also popular: Maci, Farrah, and Katelynn are up by 60, 51, and 7 percent, respectively.

•Sarah Palin’s daughters’ names – Bristol, Willow, and Piper – are climbing the ladder, but the name Sarah is actually in decline.

•The golden age of film (think 1930 to 1959) played a starring role in this year’s list. Audrey, Ava, Scarlett, Evelyn, Vivien, and Greta all got rave reviews.

•Parents are reaching back for names…way, way back to the Old Testament. Jacob has made the BabyCenter top ten for the past ten years, while Levi, Caleb, Elijah, and Jeremiah are rising in the charts. For more about the hottest trends see BabyCenter’s Baby Names Special Report of 2010.

What about names below the top ten? Some are flying up the list, while others are spiraling downward.

•Newcomers who broke into the top 100 include Annabelle (69), Stella (72), Nora (83), Jeremiah (90), Hudson (96), and Ryder (97).

•Ellie, who leapfrogged 26 spots to come in at number 61, is a rising star.

•So is Charlotte, who was bumped up 20 to number 38.

•And then there’s Grayson, who enjoyed a 25-spot jump to land at number 66.

•Some names lost a lot of ground. Brooke shot down 23 spots to number 82, while Hayden tumbled 20 spots to number 91.

•Ashley and Brendan exited the top 100 entirely.

What’s up for next year? BabyCenter uses a top-secret algorithm to unearth the names that are likely to become even more popular in 2011.

•Of the top 100 girls’ names from 2010, it looks like Layla, Lila, Evelyn, Charlotte, Lucy, Ellie, Aaliyah, Bella, Claire, and Aubrey will continue to rise in 2011.

•Of the top 100 boys’ names from 2010, BabyCenter predicts that Eli, Colton, Grayson, Wyatt, Henry, Mason, Landon, Charlie, Max, and Chase will gain momentum in 2011.

And what about names that haven’t even broken into the top 100? Who will be next year’s newcomers?

•Among the less popular names now moving up the girls’ list are Isla, Adalyn, Giuliana, Olive, Kinsley, Evangeline, Paisley, Vivienne, Maci, and Kinley.

•And although Bentley, Kellan, Kingston, Aarav, Ryker, Beckett, Colt, Paxton, Jax, and Lincoln are well below the top 100 on the boys’ list, they’re all fast climbers.

10 quirky facts about kissing

By Laura Schaefer, author of Man with Farm Seeks Woman with Tractor: The Best and Worst Personal Ads of All Time.

Think you know a thing or two about kissing? You probably do. But the facts below are so off the beaten path, we’ll bet you don’t know them all — and they could come in handy. Not only could they provide some steamy “Did you know…?” small talk, but they’ll help you see all the benefits a satisfying liplock can bring into your life. Happy smooching!

1. Two out of every three couples turn their heads to the right when they kiss.

2. A simple peck uses two muscles; a passionate kiss, on the other hand, uses all 34 muscles in your face. Now that’s a rigorous workout!

3. Like fingerprints or snowflakes, no two lip impressions are alike.

4. Kissing is good for what ails you. Research shows that the act of smooching improves our skin, helps circulation, prevents tooth decay, and can even relieve headaches.

5. The average person spends 336 hours of his or her life kissing.

6. Ever wonder how an “X” came to represent a kiss? Starting in the Middle Ages, people who could not read used an X as a signature. They would kiss this mark as a sign of sincerity. Eventually, the X came to represent the kiss itself.

7. Talk about a rush! Kissing releases the same neurotransmitters in our brains as parachuting, bungee jumping, and running.

8. The average woman kisses 29 men before she gets married.

9. Men who kiss their partners before leaving for work average higher incomes than those who don’t.

10. The longest kiss in movie history was between Jane Wyman and Regis Tommey in the 1941 film, You’re in the Army Now. It lasted 3 minutes and 5 seconds. So if you’ve beaten that record, it’s time to celebrate!

Hopkins Looks Into Fitness Guidelines For Pregnant Women

This article by Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun

Study to see how much exercise is healthy for mom, baby.

Her Asics laced up and her water bottle at her side, Meredith Dobrosielski stepped onto the treadmill for a robust half-hour walk.

For the Towson runner, this wasn’t just any trip to the gym. The session took place in a lab at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore. And each step offered information on the impact of exercise on her fetus. Dobrosielski is about 8 months pregnant.

Doctors expect the information collected to fill in some gaps in the data on how much pounding is OK for a developing baby. Eventually, they hope to be able to develop personalized workout schedules for women in different states of fitness.

“We do know that not only can exercise be done, it should be done,” said Dr. Andrew J. Satin, professor and vice chairman of the department of gynecology and obstetrics for the Hopkins School of Medicine. “But the level of fitness should impact the individual’s prescription.”

Not too long ago doctors used to tell all women not to exercise when they became pregnant, but that advice has changed, said Satin and Dr. Linda Szymanski, a fellow in maternal fetal medicine helping conduct the research. But there still is little data about what’s too much for the elite athlete verses the couch potato and those in between. Satin said much is based on “opinion and common sense.”

They believe research is limited because doctors fear testing pregnant women. But nine months into the study, there have been no adverse reactions. As a precaution, the hospital’s labor and delivery area is close by.

About 60 women in their third trimester of pregnancy take turns on the treadmill. Some are regular runners and others are sedentary. Everyone takes a moderate walk, and the regular runners also run until they hit their peak capacity but don’t linger there. Several measurements are taken over the sessions from fetal heart rate and blood flow to the womb to fetal movement and amniotic fluid levels. The fetuses are examined by ultrasound before and after treadmill work.

Over time, the doctors plan to measure the impact on fetuses; partner with biomedical engineers to develop new ways to monitor the fetus, perhaps wirelessly during exercise; and collect long-term data on the pregnancy outcomes. The treadmill tests are the first step and some solid data should be available in a couple of months.

Doctors and groups such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Pregnancy Association now give blanket advice to pregnant women to get 30 minutes of exercise a day.

Potential benefits include improvement in general health and a decreased chance of gestational diabetes and hypertension, among others. Also, these groups say, that labor, delivery and recovery can be easier.

But the advice is based on recommendations from government and groups such as the American College of Sports Medicine that non-pregnant people get such exercise. And it’s filled with notes of caution for those who are just starting and those with certain conditions. The college suggests seeing a doctor first, starting slow and stopping when there’s pain or bleeding — advice Satin doesn’t dispute.

He added that doctors do know driving up a heart rate and maintaining it there for too long can cut off blood flow to the fetus. Getting overheated and dehydrated are also problems. Joints also can become lax and balance may be off, so some exercises should be avoided, such as street biking late in pregnancy. Contact sports, horseback riding and downhill skiing also may cause injury from blows or falls.

But he and others say not everyone has gotten the message that exercise is beneficial.

It was a big change in 2008 when physical guidelines were published for Americans, including pregnant women, said James Pivarnik, who works with the sports medicine college and is professor kinesiology and epidemiology and director of the Center for Physical Activity and Health at Michigan State University.

He said the guidelines do indicate “that the elite runner can continue doing what she is doing for a bit, provided her health care provider is in the loop, and that she has no warning signs or other issues.” But he said “boutique” recommendations are hard with so many possible circumstances.

“Pretty much the aerobic recs are the same as for anyone,” he said.

Pivarnik agreed more research is needed, such as Satin’s. He’s now looking at how much weight lifting is good for pregnant women.

Szymanski said the incomplete data has only confused the message. “[Pregnant] women express frustration because a number of doctors give different advice. Some still tell them not to exercise, especially if they haven’t been exercising.”

Outdated information and myths perpetuated by the Internet still mean many women who had been exercising — up to a quarter by some accounts — stop because they fear they will harm their babies, the doctors said.

Satin said it’s actually a really good time to suggest starting an exercise program. Women are more apt to take care of themselves when they are pregnant. They’ll quit smoking, eat better and exercise for the sake of the developing baby and then carry over the good habits, he said.

As long as jogging is comfortable, runners can keep at it. Stationary bikes and running in a pool also are good exercises, Satin said. And walking is safe for nearly everyone. The fetuses are not “flipping and flopping,” he said. In fact, the entire uterus is moving with the exercise motion, buoying the fetus.

Satin said his interest in pregnant athletes grew out of his work with women in the military who wanted to stay physically fit. He was formerly a professor and chair of the Uniformed Services University F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine in the obstetrics and gynecology department. Szymanski also is an exercise physiologist and collegiate athlete.

Dobrosielski, who is about to have her second child, said she decided to participate in the study because she wanted to help other women. She’s been running “forever” and played field hockey in high school and college. An ankle injury stopped her from running after 4 months, but everyday she runs in a pool, or does yoga, lifts weights or rides a stationary bike.

She knows she won’t lose as much of her fitness and will be able to return to running, even racing, quickly. Others should be able to find out what’s good for them, she said.

“It’s a special population and there’s so little time for study,” she said of pregnant women. “I felt comfortable exercising and I knew when I needed to stop. I think it’s important for all women to exercise and maybe this research will convince them to do that.”

Exercising while pregnant

Several medical organizations recommend 30 minutes of exercising a day for pregnant women.

•If you’re just beginning or have a condition, consult your doctor. Start slow and stop if you have pain or bleeding.

•Don’t get overheated, stay hydrated and take breaks.

•Your joints may be lax and your balance off, particularly in later months, so avoid unstable ground or consider a stationary bike or running in a pool.

•No contact sports, but some weight training is OK. Avoid lying on your back after the first trimester.

2 Studies Present New Data On Effects Of Alcohol During Pregnancy

 

These new studies have recently been reported.

Scientific data continue to indicate that higher intake of alcohol during pregnancy adversely affects the fetus, and could lead to very severe developmental or other problems in the child. However, most recent publications show little or no effects of occasional or light drinking by the mother during pregnancy. The studies also demonstrate how socio-economic, education, and other lifestyle factors of the mother may have large effects on the health of the fetus and child; these must be considered when evaluating the potential effects of alcohol during pregnancy.

A very large population-based observational study from the UK found that at the age of 5 years, the children of women who reported light (no more than 1-2 units of alcohol per week or per occasion) drinking did not show any evidence of impairment on testing for behavioral and emotional problems or cognitive ability. There was a tendency for the male children of women reporting “heavy/binge” drinking during pregnancy (7 or more units per week or 6 or more units per occasion) to have poorer behavioural scores, but the effects were less clear among female offspring.

A second study, published in Pediatrics, based on a population in Western Australia examined the associations between dose, pattern, and timing of prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) and birth defects and found similar results, that there was no association between low or moderate prenatal alcohol exposure and birth defects.

Data from a randomly selected, population-based cohort of non- indigenous women who gave birth to a live infant in Western Australia (WA) between 1995 and 1997 (4714 participants) were linked to WA Midwives Notification System and WA Birth Defects Registry data. Information about maternal alcohol consumption was collected 3 months after birth for the 3 month period before pregnancy and for each trimester separately.

Low alcohol consumption was defined as less then 7 standard drinks (10g) a week, and no more than 2 drinks on any one day. Women who consumed more than 70g per week were classified as heavy drinkers and women consuming more than 140g were classified as very heavy drinkers.

Overall, current scientific data indicate that while drinking during pregnancy should not be encouraged, there is little evidence to suggest that an occasional drink or light drinking by the mother is associated with harm. Heavy drinking, however, is associated with serious developmental defects in the fetus.

Maternal America Summer Maternity Clothes

With the official start of summer just behind us, the weather is heating up and it is time to get our summer wardrobe out of storage. From shorts to dresses and tanks to tunics, the warm weather brings with it many amazing clothing possibilities. For women who are currently pregnant, however, their wardrobe will be a little different than last year’s. Lucky for you, summer maternity clothes are both plentiful and stylish. Gorgeous beach dresses, cute tanks, and great shorts are available, designed with your changing baby body in mind. One brand which has truly mastered the fashionable design and functional execution of summer maternity clothing is Maternal America, a leading maternity brand. Combining the latest trends with classic designs, Maternal America’s summer collection is stunning. Choose a few key pieces which can be mixed and matched to create gorgeous outfits and you will look and feel great.

For those hot summer days when one is running errands around town or relaxing on the weekend, there is nothing more perfect than those perfect shorts and a cute tank. This look is classic and timeless while still being refreshing. I love pairing a solid tank, in either the classic white or a more vibrant deep hue, with a cute pair of denim shorts. When one is pregnant, finding a tank that is cut a bit longer in front is key, as it will be comfortable and is designed with your growing belly in mind. Maternal America’s Ribbed Cotton Tank does this perfectly. With a scoop neck and fine ribbing, it is super cute. The soft fabric will not irritate your skin and it will keep you cool in the warm weather. Pair this cute tank with a great pair of denim shorts, such as Maternal America’s Megan Denim Shorts. Aside from the super comfortable stretch waist band (perfect for your changing body), these shorts are virtually undetectable as being maternity clothing! The slightly faded jean enhances the feeling of these shorts, cut in the trendy bermuda style. Pair this outfit with cute gladiator sandals or a great pair of espadrilles, and you have your go to weekend outfit!

A sundress is must have option for the summer months, and Maternal America designs cute and breezy dresses perfectly. One gorgeous option is their Ombre Cotton Dress. The multi layered tiered design brings this season’s hot stripe trend in a cute and flattering way. Lightweight cotton is cool and comfortable, ensuring that you will feel great even on the hottest summer days. Whether you choose to wear this dress to your baby shower or a brunch with friends, you will feel comfortable and look stunning. Another cute option for a great sundress is the Garment Dyed Maternity Dress. Simply adorable, this dress is lightweight and super comfortable. A gentle scoop neck frames your face and stylish pockets and a tiered hem add great detailing. Summer dresses are great as they are easy, one piece options which are instantly stylish. Maternal America’s selection is both vast and stylish!

A final summer essential is the lightweight, short sleeve, summer gop. A breezy top is fashionable and versatile, as it can work with a skirt, capris, or shorts. It also can be dressed up or down with the addition of jewelry. One super cute option is Maternal America’s Crochet Top. A fun colorful pattern is combined with a gorgeous crochet neckline. It looks great with jeans or black or white capris, and is perfect for anything from a day at the park to a dinner out. I love it paired with some gold bangles and capri jeans! The Diamond Tank Top is another great option, as it is work appropriate while also being great for an evening out. The deep v-neck, coming together at a diamond shaped centerpiece, is incredibly flattering. The fabric flows gently over your skin and stretches throughout your pregnancy. Maternal America’s summer tops fashionable, flattering, and comfortable! They are so cute you will want to wear them long after your baby is born.

Overall, Maternal America’s summer collection brings color, patterns, and great designs into play. You will feel and look great in whatever you choose to wear. Getting a few versatile pieces for your wardrobe is a great idea, many of which can be worn after pregnancy!

Nursing Tops You Deserve

If you just had your baby you are no doubt unable to fit back into your pre-pregnancy clothes and not too excited about wearing your maternity clothes too much longer. Sure it’s fun to look pregnant when you are pregnant, but who wants to be asked “when are you due” at 3 weeks postpartum? What’s more, if you plan to nurse, the last thing you want to do is flash your postpartum belly to the world while trying to unhook a new nursing bra for your hungry baby. You deserve better than this for all the work you have been through in birthing and nurturing a newborn plus 9 months of pregnancy, so treat yourself to some fashionable but very useful nursing tops that make you feel pretty and make nursing on-the-go a much easier task.

There’s no need to wear a frumpy 2 fabric layer old-school nursing top in the middle of summer or ever. Now a-days there are a ton of cute and hip nursing top styles on the market that don’t look a thing like a nursing top. Look for a neck style that flatters your face shape. This is a time to play up your neckline as well as your bust line while it is in full bloom. So pick a style that flatters your face and figure.

Olian Maternity has some great new styles to choose from this summer such as their Round Neck Maternity/Nursing top. This pretty lipstick shape empire waist top can be worn for either maternity or postpartum for nursing. The back sash tie makes it easily adjustable to your shape and the front pleats do wonders to disguise a postpartum belly while not tenting out. Attention is drawn to the pretty neckline, cap sleeves and fitted ruching empire waist style while the belly area is completely camouflaged. Nursing access is under the empire waist which makes nursing a breeze without showing any skin.

Another great look is the deep V-neck top with a faux pick-a-boo cami to make discreet nursing easy the fabric lightweight cool for hot summer months. Take a look at Maternal America’s Combo Maternity/Nursing top which is cut extra long for style and comfort and could even be worn with leggings in early pregnancy and postpartum. The faux cami is a sailor stripe while the rest of the tunic is navy. The adjustable sash tie makes this style an easy fit for all stages of your body’s metamorphosis through pregnancy and nursing. The mock cami provides nursing access from the deep V-neck without you missing a beat to your busy day or prolonging a baby’s hungry cry.

If your maternity leave is over and you are ready to head back to the office but don’t have a suitable top to wear, much less one that looks good on and fits your changing shape, then check out Japanese Weekend’s nursing tops which make for excellent transition wear to the office or out on the town in the evening. Their D&A (during and after) line of maternity/tops provide a lot of sophisticated styles in cool prints and solids. In particular, their D&A ¾ sleeves Sash Tie in pretty Teal is a great all-season look for any workplace. This top is a front cross-over empire waist design with a V-neck that hits high enough not to reveal cleavage while still flattering your shape. Nursing access can be made under the empire waist sash or above from the cross over front design. You can dress this top up or down for day or night.

Another great choice for work by Japanese Weekend is the D&A cami which comes in a variety of colors. Similarly this cami works great during and after pregnancy and nursing access is from under the empire waist stretch band which provides an overlay of fabric across the bust. The cami also has a stylish bottom band which works great for both a blooming belly (by keeping the fabric from tenting out) and for postpartum wear as the pleats work to disguise a postpartum belly. You can layer this cami under a jacket or cardigan for a sharp professional look or wear alone with pants for a more casual look in the evening. Many women find this cami so useful and flattering that they stock up on it in a variety of colors.

So whether you are a stay-at-home mom in need of better style or fit in your top selection or a professional on the go who’s just had a baby, treat yourself to a few good transition wear tops to take you through the next several months in style and comfort.

Summer Maternity Swimwear Styles

Summer has officially begun, so it’s time to hit the pool or the beach to soak up the sun or cool off in the water. Pregnancy is no time to hide in the house or shy away from the pool just because you don’t have a swimsuit that fits or you feel too big for the beach. Now is the best time ever to be pregnant with tons of cute maternity swimsuit styles to choose from to complement your unique shape and your personal style. Even better, since summer is already underway, many maternity stores are discounting their maternity swimwear so you can find super chic maternity designer swimwear for super cheap prices! Here are a few recommendations of sexy and fun summer swimsuit styles to check out:

Maternal America’s Jenni Tankini is a surefire bet to flatter almost any body shape. This suit offers a flirty cut and a fun fiesta print. The halter style is always flattering and slimming to your upper body giving a sexy look to the shoulders and bust. The Jenni Tankini offers supportive padding and shape to the bust with an attractive O-ring halter style which also gives a pretty ruching effect. The cute side sash tie bottoms fit under the belly and allow the perfect fit to your changing shape to fit throughout your entire pregnancy (and beyond!).

If you are looking for a tropical escape, take a peek at Prego Maternity’s South Seas Strapless Mini. Prego Maternity makes high quality and superior supportive strapless suits for maternity swimwear. This summer’s South Seas print in chocolate brown and turquoise flowers with chocolate bottoms will put you in a laid back island mood in no time at all. The bottoms fit over the belly but are fully covered with the strapless mini dress style top. An optional halter string is included for an alternate look and for a little added insurance and support when lap swimming.

Whether you are pregnant or nursing postpartum, the BelaBumBum Nursing Tankini is a sexy and flattering suit for both during and after pregnancy. This summer’s black and white floral pattern is classic, tropical and timeless. You will love the stretch and feel of this maternity and nursing swimsuit with adjustable tank straps and discreet nursing access under the black empire waist sash tie. This top even looks great out of the pool and worn casually with jeans or capris.

Finally don’t forget your beach cover-up. Maternal America has a super cute sash tie cover-up in both white and black with a deep V-neck and pretty pleats across the belly that is especially designed for maternity. This cover-up is so versatile you can pair it with pants or capris for casual wear too. If you are looking for a more festive pattern, then check out Maternal America’s Mesh Carnival Print cover-up in strapless. This cover-up has pretty front smocking and an optional halter string tie. The light mesh fabric is perfect for hot days and an airy breezy feel and look.

So grab a towel and beach bag and head to the sand or water. You have no excuse not to hit the beach or pool this summer once you are suited up in style!