Archive for the ‘ Everything Pregnancy ’ Category

Want to Conceive a Baby Girl? There’s an App for That!

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

In a time where there’s an app for just about anything (including the best time to go to the bathroom during a big-screen movie—which comes in very handy while you’re pregnant!—now a brand-new app called StorkDiet Guide to Conceiving Girls claims to be able to tell you how to give birth to the baby gender of your choice. The secret, they say, is what you eat!

According to Business Insider, the app, which costs $9.99, is based partly on a study of 740 first-time mamas done by the Universities of Exeter and Oxford that found women who ate more calories, sodium, and calcium were more likely to have boys, while women who ate less of those things were more likely to have girls. The study proved not to be 100 percent fail-proof (surprise, surprise!). In fact, just 56 percent of the women who ate the “boy” diet had sons.

The app’s creators claim that their 9-week diet and conception-timing program has a higher success rate of 81 percent.

This is the third time in just over a week that I’ve heard something about wanting to choose your baby’s sex. First, Snooki said that she really hopes she has another boy, because she’s “not ready for a diva mini-me.” Then came the news that Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis and his girlfriend chose to have IVF so they could choose the sex of their babies and screen for genetic diseases. The couple says they wanted girls because that’s what they know (both only have sisters).

As much as I’d like for my son to have a little sister, I don’t think I would ever go to great lengths to make that happen. I guess I’m old fashioned in that I’d rather leave it to chance, and be surprised on that awesome day when you finally find out your baby’s sex. It seems a bit like a bad science fiction movie to me to be able to decide what you do or don’t want to have (cut to the scene when there are no women left on the planet). But to each her own! That’s the wonderful thing about life—and this app: the choice is yours.

Wondering if you’re having a boy or a girl? Check out our Ancient Chinese Birth Chart!

TELL US: Would you buy an app to try to conceive a girl?

Image of babies courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Pregnancy Weight Gain: Too Much OR Too Little Could Lead to Childhood Obesity!

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

File under Pregnant Women Just Can’t Catch a Break! It seems pregnant women need to follow the message from Goldie Locks and the Three Bears: You don’t want to be eating too much food or two little food, you want to be eating just the right amount—unless you want your kids to be overweight.

You probably already know that research says that if you gorge yourself on junk food while you’re pregnant, your child has a bigger chance of getting addicted to junk food, and to grow up to be obese. But now a new study in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which observed 4,000 pregnant women and their children, says that eating too little while pregnant can have the same effect. So as much as it is important to curb your crazy pregnancy cravings (but do let yourself indulge in some!), you don’t want to overdo it with a restrictive diet while you’re pregnant either.

Not only do you need to make sure you’re getting all of the nutrients you need to have the energy to carry your baby, but he or she needs a healthy diet in utero as well. Otherwise, there could be long-lasting consequences to the child’s metabolism, appetite control, and fat storage. So you could be contributing to childhood obesity before you even have your baby!

According to the study, children of women who were a healthy weight before getting pregnant ended up being affected the most by what their moms ate while pregnant. A slim woman who ate too much in pregnancy was 80 percent more likely to have a heavy child than one who ate the right amount. That may not surprise you. But a woman who was a healthy weight before pregnancy, who ate too little, was still 63 percent more likely to have an overweight or obese child. Say what? It seems virtually impossible to know how much to eat!

Talk to your doctor about what is the right amount of weight gain for you, as each woman is different, but here are some general guidelines. If you were a normal weight before pregnancy, a 25-35 pound weight gain is best. If you were underweight, you should gain 28-40 pounds. If you were overweight, you should only gain 15-25 pounds. If you were obese, 15 pounds is sufficient, and if you are carrying twins, aim to gain 35-45 pounds.

How much will you gain? Check out our pregnancy weight gain calculator!

Pregnancy weight gain: What’s normal, what’s not?

TELL US: How much weight did you gain while pregnant?

Image of child on scale courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Prescribing Narcotics to Pregnant Women: Is it Safe?

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Pregnant women are being prescribed opioid painkillers—a narcotic!—even though the risks to the developing fetus are still pretty unclear. Findings from two different studies show that as many as 23 percent of pregnant women may be taking opioids (most commonly for back or abdominal pain). Meanwhile, pregnancy is a time when women tend to be super-cautious in pretty much every other area of their pregnant lives, giving up alcoholcaffeine, sushi, soft cheeses and cold cuts. Um, which sounds like a bigger health risk to baby: a heavy-duty narcotic or a piece of fish?

As reported in the New York Times, “in both studies, the opioids most prescribed during pregnancy were codeine and hydrocodone. Women usually took the drugs for a week or less; however, just over 2 percent of women in both studies took them for longer periods.” Some doctors and scientists are now speaking up because they are seeing a connection between first trimester use of opioids and neural tube defects. According to the Times article:

“Mothers of children with neural tube defects reported more early opioid use—3.9 percent—than mothers of children without such congenital defects—1.6 percent.”

“Opioid use in very early pregnancy is associated with an approximate doubling the risk of neural tube defects,” said Martha M. Werler, the senior author and a professor of epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health. “About half of pregnancies are not planned, so that’s a big chunk of women who may not be thinking about possible risks associated with their behavior.”

Particularly at the end of pregnancy, prolonged use of opioids can also lead to addiction in infants, a problem known as “neonatal abstinence syndrome.” A 2012 study in JAMA suggested the incidence of babies born addicted is on the rise.

It sounds like doctors are just blindly overprescribing to me. In the past 30 years, the use of prescription medicine by pregnant women in their first trimester has increased more than 60 percent, while the use of four or more medications has more than tripled, according to a 2011 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

I don’t mean to sound insensitive to those in real and chronic pain, but women have been having babies since the beginning of time and general pregnancy pains likely haven’t gotten any worse. So do so many moms-to-be really need to be taking these super-strong painkillers? I would rather live with the annoying back pain—a short-term problem—than know that something I took while pregnant contributed to a life-long health problem for my child. But according to research, that may just be me.

TELL US: Do you think doctors should be prescribing narcotics to pregnant women?

Image of pregnant woman courtesy of Shutterstock.

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What One Mom Said to Insult ALL Pregnant Women

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Oh no, she didn’t! Yes, she did! Australian blogger Loni Jane Anthony, who made news for going on an extreme diet that consisted almost exclusively of fruit, has opened her big mouth again, and this time she’s managed to insult pregnant women everywhere! After she displayed what many critics considered to be an eating disorder while pregnant, often called pregorexia, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy, weighing in at 8 pounds, 7 ounces (thank God!). So, of course, outspoken Loni is now saying she is “living proof you don’t have to become a whale while you’re pregnant.” Exqueeze me!

I think I speak for any woman who has ever been pregnant when I say, “How dare you?” When you’re pregnant you are no longer in control of the shape of your body. Yes, it’s smart to watch what you eat when you’re pregnant, and too much overindulgence in those out-of-control pregnancy cravings can be bad news (leading to bigger, heavier babies, which equals a harder labor for you, and possible obesity in your kid’s future). But enough of the fat shaming! It’s bad enough when it comes from the media. I don’t think women should be doing it to each other!

I also don’t think most women want to hear the criticism from Loni, whose radical fruit diet sounds a little nuts. She admitted to eating mostly bananas (up to 20 a day!), drinking fruit smoothies and occasionally pairing it with a salad for dinner. Mom to new son Rowdy, Loni says, “You don’t have to put on heaps of weight and never bounce back—you can stay really healthy.” She gained about 37 pounds while pregnant, and says she lost 22 pounds within days of giving birth. Loni says her son is the picture of health—”feeding like a machine,” “sleeping,” and “happy.” She also says she’s making plenty of breast milk, so that her diet is completely fine.

While I completely believe you can be a healthy vegetarian or vegan with a bun in the oven, I still wouldn’t advise any other mom-to-be to follow Loni’s lead with her extreme dieting. The Mayo Clinic says the diet of a pregnant woman should consist of nutrients like folic acid, calcium, vitamin D, protein, and iron, which can be obtained through the consumption of foods such as spinach, beans, milk, yogurt, salmon, eggs, lentils, and poultry. It is suggested that pregnant women have a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.

Since Loni’s diet is short in protein—which helps with growth and repair of tissues—and several essential vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, and zinc, it can lead to the baby taking calcium from her bones and leaving Loni susceptible to osteoporosis later in life.

According to the New York Daily News, Loni says, “I’m consuming more good fats because I’m breastfeeding, but other than that, I’m eating the same.” And she plans to raise son Rowdy with the same diet. “I’m thriving on a plant-based diet, so why wouldn’t (my baby)? If I believe that the way I eat is the best way possible, then why would I let him eat any other way?”

TELL US: Do you think Loni’s diet is healthy for her and her son?

What is your ideal pregnancy weight? Click to find out.

Image of Loni Jane Anthony and son Rowdy via Instagram.

Exercise With Baby: Quads, Hamstrings and Butt
Exercise With Baby: Quads, Hamstrings and Butt
Exercise With Baby: Quads, Hamstrings and Butt

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Obese Dads Could Raise Baby’s Autism Risk

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

While a mom’s weight before and during pregnancy is often a hot topic (we worry about eating enough of the right things and as few of the bad things as possible), we often forget that it takes two (at least) to make a baby. So how much does the dad’s health and DNA contribute to your baby bundle? Researchers at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health found that obese fathers up the risk of autism in their children more so than obese moms. That’s right—the dad-to-be’s weight seems to be more of a contributing factor than the mom-to-be’s!

They studied nearly 93,000 Norwegian children at three, five and seven. The mothers answered detailed questions about their own—and their children’s—mental and physical health, while the dads completed a questionnaire about their mental and physical health while their partners were pregnant. The researchers also collected data from the Norwegian Patient Registry and from studies of children who were referred for evaluation and treatment of possible autism or Asperger’s syndrome.

The researchers adjusted for variables that may also be associated with the development of autism in the child. In addition to adjusting for maternal obesity, they considered education, age, smoking, mental disorders, hormone therapy before pregnancy, use of folic acid, maternal diabetes, preeclampsia and the baby’s weight at birth. The researchers found that the risk remained unchanged when adjusted for socio-demographic and lifestyle factors.

The findings say that maternal obesity has little association with the development of autism in the child. However, they found a doubled risk for development of autism and Asperger’s syndrome in the child if the father was obese, compared with a normal weight father. (But note, the odds are small: just under 0.3 percent of kids with obese dads were diagnosed with autism, versus 0.14 percent of kids with fathers at healthy weights.)

Doctors still don’t know why a father’s obesity could cause a higher rate of autism in his kids. There could be an indirect association with certain gene variations, or obese men might be more likely to have certain environmental exposures that contribute to autism. But there also might be a direct tie, like the extra weight might actually alter sperm quality, leading to malformations that would cause autism. More research needs to be done on the subject to find a definite cause and effect, but all signs point to the fact that both mom and dad’s health contribute to whether you’ll have a healthy baby. So if you’re trying to get pregnant, set a standing date for a couple’s workout!

TELL US: Are you surprised to hear that a dad’s weight could raise his baby’s autism risk?

How much do you know about toddler nutrition? Put your IQ to the test.

Early Signs of Autism
Early Signs of Autism
Early Signs of Autism

Image of man’s belly courtesy of Shutterstock.

 

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