Archive for the ‘
Pregnancy ’ Category
Thursday, January 17th, 2013
Yesterday we brought you flu advice for kids, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Today, we’re focusing on what pregnant women need to know, thanks to the March of Dimes. This post was written by Siobhan Dolan, M.D., M.P.H. Dr. Dolan is the author of the upcoming Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby: The Ultimate Pregnancy Guide, to be published on January 29 by HarperOne.
Flu is back in the headlines again. Epidemics, Emergencies, Shortages ……… the publicity can scare folks, especially pregnant women. Flu is taking its toll in 2013 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting widespread illness reported in 47 states and 20 pediatric deaths.
The concerns for pregnant women are real: Flu increases their risk for respiratory complications, preterm labor and delivery, and ICU admission. Newborns are also at an increased risk of severe illness and even death from the flu.
But the message for pregnant women is really clear: Prevention with a flu shot and early treatment of women with influenza-like illness is the best course of action. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), March of Dimes, and CDC all endorse this message, so women should not feel uncertain.
The March of Dimes web site has practical information for women here.
The Immunization for Women website from ACOG reinforces the message:
“All women who will be pregnant during influenza (flu) season (October through May) should receive the inactivated influenza vaccine. The live attenuated influenza vaccine is contraindicated for pregnant women. The influenza vaccine is safe for pregnant women and their unborn children as well as postpartum and breast feeding women and can be given during any trimester. Immunizing pregnant and postpartum women against seasonal influenza can protect the mother and may help her baby by preventing the spread of the flu from mother to child following delivery. The seasonal flu vaccine has been given safely to millions of pregnant women over the past 45 years.”
Women are listening, with 47 percent of pregnant women surveyed by CDC in early 2012 reporting getting their flu shot, up from less than 30 percent four years ago.
So go get your flu shot. And tell your pregnant sister-in-law or co-worker to get hers, too. Let’s help keep pregnant women and newborns out of the headlines by spreading the word.
Photo: Pregnant with a cold via Shutterstock.
Categories: Babies, GoodyBlog, Health & Safety, News, Pregnancy, Pregnancy, Your Life | Tags: flu, flu shot, flu vaccine, influenza, March of Dimes, Pregnancy
Wednesday, November 14th, 2012
Today is World Diabetes Day, which aims to spread the word about diabetes advocacy and awareness. This is also part of the mission of the staff of Diabetic Living, one of our sister publications. If you or anyone in your family is affected by diabetes, particularly (but not exclusively) type 2, diabeticlivingonline.com is an amazing resource, with advice on how to control blood sugar levels, use the sometimes-confusing equipment, and manage your diet. (It has endless delicious recipes, all taste-approved by the Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen.)
Earlier in the year we ran an article called “Could Your Child Have Diabetes?” The answer isn’t as straightforward as you may think. In fact, our piece featured the story of a 7-year-old girl whose father is a family physician and even he missed the signs of type 1 diabetes, which included unquenchable thirst and increased urination. It’s definitely worth a read for every parent.
For anyone living with diabetes, it’s very helpful to work with a diabetes educator, who focuses on helping people better understand the condition and learn how to adjust their lifestyle and behavior so that they can successfully manage their diabetes. Diabetes educators typically work in hospitals, doctor’s offices, pharmacies, or home health care agencies; find ones nearest you at diabeteseducator.org. This is what Teresa Pearson, R.N., a diabetes educator in Minnesota, wants parents to know to make insulin injections less scary:
When your child has diabetes it can be challenging and even frightening, especially if your child needs insulin. It’s really common for kids to be afraid of needles; many of the children that I have spoken with about diabetes become anxious when they see a needle. In addition to keeping your child calm before an injection, it is important to also remember to change injection sites on the body. Repeatedly using the same spot can cause a condition called lipohypertrophy, which is a lump that forms under the skin. This can affect the body’s ability to absorb insulin and can take several months to disappear, depending on how large the lump is. One study from El-Chatby University Children’s Hospital in Egypt, which studied kids living with diabetes aged 2 months to 21 years, found that more than half had lipohypertrophy. When the insulin is not absorbed consistently, you may notice that blood glucose values are higher than you would expect and your child may need more insulin just to compensate for the effects of lipohypertrophy. The best way to avoid this is by keeping injection sites two inches apart from one another.
Here are a few tips to consider from the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) to help better manage your child’s diabetes:
• Insulin needles range in length from 4mm to 12.7mm. Children should use the shorter 4 mm needles, with a narrow gauge (32G), because these have been shown to reduce pain. You can put pressure on the injection site for 5-8 seconds after the injection if your child continues to experience pain.
• For younger children, try making injections less scary by helping your child first inject saline into a stuffed animal, a diaper or even you! If your child is particularly anxious, ask your doctor about using a covered safety needle to conceal the needle.
• Children tend to feel most comfortable injecting in the same part of the body, but because of the risks of lipohypertrophy I explain above, help your child get used to injecting in different places.
• It’s important to involve caregivers and school personnel in your child’s diabetes care by teaching them about insulin administration, the importance of blood glucose monitoring, and what to do about hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
That last tip can be the most difficult one. Parents have told me that school personnel can be uncomfortable around needles and are unsure how to support their child’s condition. So find a diabetes educator near you who can help you lead school-based discussions with principals, teachers, and school staff about insulin therapy and your child. This person can talk about the symptoms of low and high blood glucose and what to do in an emergency.
Monday, June 11th, 2012
Last Thursday I had the pleasure of attending a Women’s Health Town Hall at The White House. The goal was to discuss the many ways that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has benefited Americans, particularly women and families. As Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius described life before ACA, “Insurers could deny women coverage for being a breast-cancer survivor, for having had a c-section, for being a victim of domestic violence. In effect, being a woman was a pre-existing condition. The Affordable Care Act has put basic fairness in place.” Some of the health care law’s biggest benefits, all in effect right now:
Insurance companies are no longer allowed to deny coverage to children because of pre-existing conditions, such as asthma or diabetes. Considering that there are 7 million children in the U.S. with asthma, and another 215,000 people under age 20 have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, this provision is vital. In 2014, ACA will make it illegal for anyone to be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition, not just children.
Insurers can’t put a lifetime limit on how much they will pay if you become ill. We saw the importance of this provision firsthand, when we met 8-month-old Jax, a twin who was born with a genetic disorder. The cost of his first day in the NICU alone was $150,000–imagine . Because there’s no lifetime limit on his healthcare coverage, his parents have one fewer concern (and a gigantic one at that) to worry about. Watch this video to meet Jax and his mom, Robyn.
Children younger than age 26 can stay on their parents’ plan. Again, we saw precisely how crucial this is when Abby spoke to us. A 20-year-old student at the University of Minnesota with a rare congenital disease, Abby doesn’t have to stress over how she’ll pay for her preventive care and any upcoming surgeries she’ll need (she’s already had the shunt in her head replaced four times.) I was touched when we saw a video with Abby’s story and her mom said, “There’s things I can’t do about the future, but this has really helped her future.” It made me think about how powerless and scared I would feel if one my daughters had a lifelong health condition–and how grateful I would feel to know I could actively help her by providing her with healthcare for years after she graduated college.
Of course, the ACA is in real danger of being overturned by the Supreme Court because the requirement for minimum health-insurance coverage and the expansion of Medicaid is considered by some states to be unconstitutional. The Supreme Court could strike down those two provisions, or they could wipe out the entire law, or they might do something else altogether. A decision is expected by the end of the month.
If you’ve been confused by what the ACA offers, and how it might help your family, go to healthcare.gov. You’ll find lots of information, including a timeline of what’s changing and when. And if you want to share your story of how ACA has made a difference in your life, go to the MyCare section of the site. The Department of Health & Human Services definitely wants to hear from you.
Shameless personal photo op: me at the iconic podium of the press briefing room!
Categories: Babies, GoodyBlog, Health & Safety, News, Pregnancy, Pregnancy, Your Child, Your Life | Tags: Affordable Care Act, Health Care, insurance, Kathleen Sebelius, pre-existing conditions, The White House
Thursday, January 26th, 2012
Got an iphone? This is what registering could look like!
I’m going to get right to the big news: Giggle, which includes 13 stores and Giggle.com, now has a mobile app for their baby registry. It just launched this week, and I got to play with it here in the American Baby offices. Can I tell you how cool it is? I’m sure it’s something that other stores will launch, eventually. Someday it will be normal to make wedding and baby registries on your phone or tablet. But kudos to Giggle for being the first that I know of!
Here are some things you can do with the registry app: personalize a baby registry, look at Giggle’s well-edited list of things you need and put them on your registry, browse Giggle.com at whim and add whatever you’d like, purchase stuff for yourself, share things you find or your list via Facebook and Twitter, and also, if you’re in a Giggle store, you can scan bar codes and have items added to your registry that way. Check out the free app here!
It's some fun shopping!
Registering for a baby is always top-of-mind at our magazine because we have so many pregnant readers. But even our new mommies like free stuff! So (drumroll), to help launch their new app, Giggle is giving away a big ole’ basket of some of their best stuff. One person who leaves a comment at this post will be chosen at random to get a $140 package that includes Giggle Better Basics items (a sun hat, footie outfit, stuffed giraffe, and more) all tucked into a storage box to help keep your nursery organized. We like the Better Basics line, by the way, because Giggle uses organic cotton and sustainably sourced materials for much of it. (See all their Better Basics here.) You have until the end of day on Thursday, February 2nd to comment; the full rules are here. Goody luck!
The signature stripes on their Better Basics collection
Thursday, December 15th, 2011
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Rosie Pope over the phone for our February issue, and last week, I got to meet her in person. If you haven’t seen her Bravo show Pregnant in Heels, it’s a reality show where Rosie helps out-of-touch pregnant couples, mostly New Yorkers, get ready to have their baby. She’s filming a new season—and pregnant with her third child, due in May!
The “pregnant” part is relevant because Rosie is very open about her fertility struggles. She has used IVF; she’s had to terminate an ectopic pregnancy. Her current pregnancy came more or less “naturally,” though she jokes that having been “jacked up on fertility drugs” in the recent past probably played a role. Her candor and honesty about it all makes you feel like, in her, you have a girlfriend you’ve known all your life. (Albeit one with a funny hybrid American-English accent and crazy long dancer’s legs…in other words, much more glamorous than most girlfriends.) So if you’re looking to hear from someone who has been on the front lines of fertility struggles, perhaps because you’re going through them yourself, I highly suggest you check out her blog which describes some of her heartache and hope.
Here are 3 things I learned from my time with Rosie and also with Susan Wysocki, a renowned nurse practitioner:
1. We take home-pregnancy tests for granted. Like, ridiculously for granted. It wasn’t so long ago that a doctor would have to inject an animal with a woman’s urine to know, early on, if she was pregnant! But the fact that we have easy tests doesn’t seem to make us any more relaxed. We expect to get pregnant as soon as we start trying, and we’ll test ourselves six times, as if we’ll get a different answer. Testing is simpler and more private now, but getting pregnant is still the same “miracle,” as Rosie says, it has always been.
2. Nosiness is at an all-time high. It’s tempting to shake a finger at the tabloids and their overzealous “is she pregnant?” speculation (poor Kate Middleton!), but my coworkers and I were tracking Jessica Simpson as if we couldn’t help it. We were waiting for Beyonce’s announcement with baited breath too. But Rosie pointed out that it’s the real-world nosiness that really gets to you; the people who ask “Are you trying?!” over Christmas dinner. (Her response: “That’s private,” said firmly but with a smile, ends the conversation…unless maybe you’re talking to your mother or mother-in-law.)
3. More pregnancies happen over the holidays than any other time, according to Susan, who was at our soiree as a spokeswoman for Clearblue. Why? Who knows! But many of us have extra time off, and nice meals at home, and maybe alcohol gets involved…at any rate, a lot of babies are born in August and September, nine months after the Thanksgiving-to-New-Years run.
And on that note…maybe you’re trying for a baby in 2012? In case you are, the folks at Clearblue are generously providing three goody bags that I can give to three very lucky people. Each bag has one of their highly rated Clearblue fertility monitors, 30 fertility monitor test sticks, 7 ovulation tests, and 2 pregnancy tests. That’s $350 worth of pregnancy tools per bag! Interested? Post a comment here; don’t be shy, we’re a whole community of parents and we get it. You have through the end of the day on Wednesday, December 21st, to post, and are allowed to post once a day. For the full rules, click here. Goody luck!
Categories: Giveaways, GoodyBlog, Health & Safety, Pregnancy, Pregnancy, Shopping & Gear, Your Life | Tags: baby, Clearblue, fertility monitor, getting pregnant, Giveaway, Pregnancy, pregnancy test, pregnancy test results, Rosie Pope
Thursday, November 17th, 2011
Today is the first-ever World Prematurity Day, meant to raise awareness about the dangers of premature birth–and to honor the one million babies worldwide who die as a result of it.
Preterm birth is defined as birth before 37 weeks gestation and it’s the leading cause of newborn death. Babies who make it, though, may have lifelong challenges including breathing problems and learning disabilities. A new report out today shows that just under 12 percent of babies in the U.S. are born premature. The figure has been dropping for each of the past four years, but of course too many babies are still at risk.
What’s important to note is that even babies born a few weeks early–say, between 34 and 36 weeks–have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants. For anyone who’s nearing the end of her pregnancy, you’re probably so ready to be done. You might even have a doctor who’s willing to induce or schedule an early c-section. The March of Dimes has worked tirelessly to spread this message: If you don’t have any medical reason to have an early delivery, aim for at least 39 weeks. Those last days and weeks are vital to the development of a healthy brain and lungs.
The March of Dimes is asking that everyone change their Facebook status today to share a message of support for prematurity prevention efforts–or your own experience with the issue. At the very least, you might want to Like their page and read the inspiring, heartwarming, and sometimes heartbreaking posts and photos parents have left about their preemies.
Thursday, September 8th, 2011
If you have a new baby or one on the way you’re probably planning the nursery. How would you like to win a set of furniture to make it easier on your budget? Right now BSF Baby is giving away their popular Grace 3-in-1 Lifetime Crib 3-Piece Set in Espresso.
The durable nursery furniture set includes all of the essentials you need for Baby’s room — a crib, changing table with vinyl pad included, and a 3-drawer dresser. Even better, the 3-in-1 Lifetime Crib offers three mattress positions and grows with your child right on into adulthood because it can later be converted to a day bed or full-size bed. So by winning this nursery set, you’ll essentially be good to go with a bed and dresser for your kid’s lifetime.
Enter to win by posting a comment below by 11:59 EST on September 21, 2011. For extra karma, like BSF Baby on Facebook. We will pick one lucky reader at random. Read the full rules here. And Goody Luck! *This giveaway is now closed*
Categories: Babies, Giveaways, GoodyBlog, Pregnancy, Shopping & Gear | Tags: bsf baby, changing table, crib, Giveaway, nursery furniture, nursery giveaway, nursery set
Friday, August 26th, 2011
In our September issue, we have a timely story by Parents advisor and pediatrician Wendy Sue Swanson, M.D., on how to prepare for an emergency. It’s an incredibly helpful piece; Dr. Swanson breaks down the exact steps we should all take and the supplies—there are many—we should have on hand to get through three days. For all of you on the east coast, it’s worth reading the story and seeing which supplies you already have in your home, and which you may need to collect before the storm hits.
You may be especially nervous if you’re pregnant or home with a newborn. With that in mind, our friends at the March of Dimes shared some helpful preparation tips geared toward exactly those families:
1) Pregnant women should know the signs of labor, and if they experience any of these symptoms, should not wait for them to just go away. They should seek immediate medical care. Preterm labor is any labor before 37 weeks gestation. The signs of labor are:
• Contractions (the abdomen tightens like a fist) every 10 minutes or more often
• Change in vaginal discharge (leaking fluid or bleeding from the vagina)
• Pelvic pressure—the feeling that the baby is pushing down
• Low, dull backache
• Cramps that feel like a period
• Abdominal cramps with or without diarrhea
2) Pregnant women should pack prenatal vitamins, or perhaps an extra supply of over-the-counter vitamins, along with extra maternity clothes.
3) Fill prescription medications in advance.
4) Have bottled water and non-perishable food supplies on hand. Try to stock food that is high in protein and low in fat.
5) New parents who may need to stay in a shelter should consider bringing a safe place for their baby to sleep, such as a portable crib, as well as extra diapers and other basic medical supplies.
6) New parents also should take special steps to ensure they have food for their infants. The stress of a hurricane may affect lactating women’s milk supply, although breastfeeding can be calming for both mother and baby.
7) In the rare instance it becomes impossible to continue to breastfeed, mothers may consider weaning their baby. If they choose to switch to formula, parents should use pre-prepared formula because there may be concerns about the quality of the water supply. Do not use water treated with iodine or chlorine tablets to prepare powdered formula.
8) Pregnant women should do their best to eat regularly and nutritiously and remain hydrated. They also should do their best to get enough rest.