Posts Tagged ‘ Angelina Jolie ’

Take THIS to Reduce Your Risk of Preeclampsia

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

If you’re like I was when I was pregnant, I was reading everything about pregnancy that I could get my hands on. It was great to be informed, but at times I thought I’d drive myself crazy trying to self-diagnose what I was feeling after reading all of the various ways pregnancies can be complicated (for the record I developed gestational diabetes but otherwise had a healthy pregnancy, and a very healthy son).

One of the big baddies is preeclampsia, a condition usually occurring after 20 weeks of pregnancy and characterized by high blood pressure, protein in the urine, liver disease and blood-clotting abnormalities. Nearly seven million pregnant women suffer from it a year (including stars like Angelina Jolie, Faith Hill and Jennifer Lopez and rumor has it Kim Kardashian and Britney Spears had it too), and it’s the leading cause of death in pregnant women.

When a pregnant woman develops preeclampsia in the second trimester, her infant often must be delivered prematurely to avoid severe maternal complications, like stroke (similar to the eclampsia death on Downtown Abbey).

But there’s a silver lining to this Debbie Downer of a disease. To prevent the dangerous disorder, The U.S. Preventative Service Task Force is recommending 81 milligrams of low-dose aspirin daily—after 12 weeks of gestation—for pregnant women at high risk. Women are considered high risk if they’ve had preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy, are expecting multiples, or if they have a history of diabetes, hypertension or kidney disease.

This recommendation follows other medical organizations like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Heart Association , which have also advised that high-risk women use low-dose aspirin.

However, the task force also recommends that expectant women with multiple moderate-risk factors may also benefit from low-dose aspirin. These risks include obesity, a family history of preeclampsia, women older than 35, and African-American women.

Research shows that “low-dose aspirin every day lowers the risk of preeclampsia by 24 percent,” says Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, the co-vice chair of USPSTF. “And it lowers the risk of pre-term birth by 14 percent.”

As always, consult your doctor before taking any medicine—including over-the-counter drugs—while pregnant.

TELL US: Have you ever developed preeclampsia while pregnant? Share your story.

Find out when you are most likely to conceive with our quick quiz.

Swelling During Pregnancy: When to Worry
Swelling During Pregnancy: When to Worry
Swelling During Pregnancy: When to Worry

Image of pregnant woman courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Which Stars Aren’t Getting Any Pregnancy Sex?

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Pregnancy sex can be a bit of a tug-of-war. Most men think it’s creepy to be getting it on when there’s a baby on board. Meanwhile, pregnant women’s hormones are at an all-time high, making their sex drives even greater than usual. While I was pregnant, I thought I finally knew what it would be like to be a man: I thought about sex all of the time!

Unfortunately for two pregnant celebrities it seems their husbands’ need to do the deed isn’t as strong when she’s with child. Kristen Cavallari recently told Fit Pregnancy that her football player husband, Jay Cutler, is weirded out by pregnancy sex. “Sex is funny when you’re pregnant,” said Kristin. “Guys get weird about it. I’m like, ‘Oh Jay, the baby’s kicking!’ and he’s like, not wanting to know about it.”

Her advice to women in the same boat? “It’s important for women to realize—if your guy is a little weirded out but isn’t good at expressing that, it can be isolating.” She also says that taking baths together and a little sexy lingerie can help smooth things over.

Kendra Wilkinson-Baskett can relate. In a recent blog for People, she confessed her hubby Hank Baskett has refused to have sex with her during the third trimester. In true TMI form, Kendra wrote: ‘I’m round, tired, grouchy, smelly and horny! Why would he want to touch me?!. When I cough, I either fart, pee or cramp!” Totally gross, but totally true! Lots of things become out of your control once you’re pregnant—including bodily functions.

But it’s not all bad news, ladies. Some men seem to get even more turned on when a woman is pregnant, like Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell’s husband. She said on an episode of Conan that he loved pregnancy sex because, “he felt like he was with a completely different woman.” She went on to say that it was like “legally cheating.” “I was also involved and he kind of got a freebie that didn’t hurt anybody’s feelings.”

And apparently Dax isn’t alone. Angelina Jolie told Entertainment Weekly that pregnancy sex is “great for the sex life. It just makes you a lot more creative so you have fun.” And Jessica Simpson confessed to Ryan Seacrest that when she’s pregnant her sex drive is unstoppable. “The Big O is, like, the biggest O ever,” she said (I agree that pregnancy sex can be some of the best sex ever: Read this).

Only time will tell how you, your body, and your baby daddy will feel about pregnancy sex throughout your pregnancy (it could change from trimester to trimester and your sex positions will likely need to change, too), but please promise me you’ll try to push negative thoughts out of your head about how big you’ve gotten and how if your guy isn’t into pregnancy sex, it’s because he doesn’t find you attractive. That is so not true! More often than not, the guy just feels like he and his enormous manlihood could somehow harm the baby, or that it’s the same as having sex in front of your kid after he or she’s born. So just talk to him, calm his fears, and get busy. You know you wanna!

TELL US: Are you and your guy on the same page with pregnancy sex, or does one of you want it more than the other?

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Image of pregnant couple in bed courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Is It Important to Get Married Before Having a Baby?

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

get married before having a babyJennifer Love Hewitt told People magazine that she’s delaying wedding plans until after she gives birth and loses the baby weight. Putting “carriage before marriage” seems to be a new trend, especially in Hollywood. Jessica Simpson and fiancé Eric Johnson still haven’t said “I do” and they now have two kids—Max, 15 months, and Ace, nearly 2 months old. Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard have been engaged for four years, now have 5-month-old daughter Lincoln, and still haven’t tied the knot. Kristin Cavallari wed Jay Cutler 10 months after baby Camden was born.

But celebrities aren’t the only ones who are choosing to have babies without a marriage certificate. As of 2012, more than half of the babies born to American women under 30 are born out of wedlock. Is marriage a thing of generations past?

Lots of couples —young and old—now think, Why do you need the piece of paper to have a commitment? And with marriage failure rates being so high anyway, many feel that living together and having a family only gets more complicated—and more expensive—if you get married and end up splitting.

I think it’s a very personal choice, and don’t think having kids without being married should be looked down upon like it once was (though I was admittedly married before getting pregnant myself). I was surprised to read that there do seem to be downsides to these new, modern families. According to the New York Times, “researchers have consistently found that children born outside of marriage face elevated risks of falling into poverty, failing in school or suffering emotional and behavioral problems.”

So are married couples who have kids more committed to their families? Do the kids feel more secure and stable knowing that mom and dad are married? This reminds me of another celebrity pair: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who have been together over eight years and have always said that marriage wasn’t a priority for them. That is, until their kids started asking why they weren’t married, and encouraging them to wed. So it will be interesting to see If they ever do walk down that aisle, and it will be interesting for me to hear if you think you should be married before you bring kids into this world.

TELL US: Do you think it matters if family comes first—literally—before marriage?

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Everyone’s Having Twins (& It’s Not Just IVF!)

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Fertility infertility twinsI’m sure I’m not alone in noticing there’s a major twin trend happening right now. I have three friends who’ve all given birth to twins within the last year, and stars like Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, and Angelina Jolie’s twins are paparazzi favorites. We as a society just can’t seem to get enough of twins. Why? It’s simple. Because there’s twice as much to love!

The double baby boom has been a long time coming. Between 1980 and 2009, the rate of multiple births increased by 76 percent. As of 2012, about one in 30 babies born in the United States is a twin. Two-thirds of the increase is likely due to the growing use of IVF. The remainder is mainly attributed to a rise in the average age women give birth. Older women are more likely to produce more than one egg in a cycle, and 35 percent of births in 2009 were to women over age 30, up from 20 percent in 1980 (This age-induced increase applies only to fraternal twins, though; the rate of identical twin births does not change with the age of the mother).

Due to IVF, many moms-to-be are faced with the question: How many fertilized eggs do I want implanted in my uterus? One is the safest for both mom and baby, but many couples who’ve suffered with infertility are afraid to rely on a single egg per try. Aside from it being a costly process (usually around $10-15k per cycle), the thinking is the more embryos the higher chance of pregnancy. But according to Dr. Amos Grunebaum, a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist at Weill Cornell, having multiple embryos implanted during IVF doesn’t necessarily increase your chances of pregnancy, it simply increases your chances of being pregnant with multiples.

In fact, when a woman carries more than one fetus, it’s less likely that she’ll be able to carry that pregnancy to term. Dr. Grunebaum thinks mothers should ask for only one embryo to be implanted because of the health risks involved with having multiples for both the babies and the moms (In some European countries it’s actually illegal for docs to implant more than one embryo because of the risks it poses to the mother’s health).

About 60 percent of twins are born prematurely (at an average of 35 weeks). More than half of twins are born at less than 5.5 pounds. Low birthweight babies—especially those born before 32 weeks and/or weighing less than 3.5 pounds—are at an increased risk for breathing, vision, hearing and heart problems.

Mothers expecting twins are in danger too. They are more than twice as likely to develop preeclampsia, a mix of high blood pressure, protein in the urine and general swelling that can be dangerous for both mom and baby. Gestational diabetes—which can cause the baby to be larger—is also common, and can increase risks of injury to mom and baby during vaginal births, and can lead to poor feeding, jaundice, breathing problems and seizures in infants. And, finally, women due with twins are more likely to need a cesarean section, which is a more evasive birth with a higher chance of hemorrhaging during and after delivery, and requires a longer period of recovery.

The stress of twins is not over once they’re born, either. Two babies at the same time means more feedings, diaper changes, and temper tantrums. More clothes, gear and childcare, which can add up to be very pricy. But it also means twice the smiles, hugs and giggles too. While the moms of twins I know love having twins, they’ll be the first to tell you it’s an awful lot of hard work—that goes far beyond picking out perfectly coordinated outfits. So think twice before you decide to implant yourself with more than one egg. You might not be ready for what you’re wishing for.

TELL US: Would you want twins? If you have them, how are you dealing with double the work, double the pleasure?

Image of twins courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Terminate Your Pregnancy or Your Life? A Breast Cancer Dilemma

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Mastectomy, double mastectomyMy heart absolutely broke when I came across the story of Laura Richards in the Birmingham Mail. She was eight weeks pregnant when the doctors told her not only did she have breast cancer, but she had to make a decision quickly: terminate her pregnancy or most likely die. That must have been the single worst conversation of her life. How do you not have a complete breakdown right on the spot?

Angelina Jolie has been all over the news for choosing to have a preventative double mastectomy after finding out she carries a mutation of the BRCA1 gene that drastically increases ones risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Her six children were a major factor in her decision to have the surgery. She didn’t want them to have to grow up without a mom. What woman would? As soon as you find out you are pregnant you will do anything and everything to ensure your child is healthy and safe.

But Angelina’s not the only one making harrowing decisions about her children and her health. One of the many nameless, faceless stories—until now—is that of Laura. At 31, the British mom of three felt a small lump in her breast that she chalked up to scar tissue from a recent breast reduction (three kids can cause you to need one!). But the lump continued to grow and just eight weeks after finding out she was pregnant with her fourth child, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. It turns out the pregnancy’s high estrogen levels had fed the cancer and caused it to spread rapidly.

“The doctors said I could carry on with the pregnancy—and there would be an extremely high risk I wouldn’t survive because it was so aggressive—or I could terminate the pregnancy and fight it,” she told the Birmingham Mail. Laura was faced with the heartbreaking decision no mom would ever want to have to make: Know she’s saying goodbye to a fourth child she’ll never get to hold, name, and hear laugh. Or have the baby, but most likely die of breast cancer.

“I was absolutely devastated, but I already had three children who needed me here and I didn’t want to leave four behind,” she explains. So Laura made the painful decision to terminate her pregnancy in an effort to save her life. Making that heart-wrenching decision “was harder than being told I had cancer,” she says. “It was the most awful thing I have ever gone through.”

After dealing with the heartbreak of losing her baby, Laura went through 15 weeks of chemotherapy and then made another life-changing decision to remove her breast. Her reasoning: Doctors can make a new breast, but no one can make a new mom for her children. As soon as she had her mastectomy, she says a feeling of relief came over her that she knew her kids would be taken care of.

I’m glad Laura had a happy ending, if you can call it that considering her great loss. But I’m sure her decision will continue to weigh on her. I hope she’s able to find some inner peace and comfort, and that every time one of her children smiles or gives her a bear hug, she’ll know that even though it was a horrible decision to make that it was the right one for her family.

TELL US: How would you have handled Laura’s situation?

Image of the breast cancer ribbon courtesy of Shutterstock. 

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