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Thursday, November 15th, 2012
In September, actress Melissa Joan Hart gave birth to her third child, Tucker. After giving birth, Hart teamed up with Merck for Mothers’ “Once Upon a Birth” campaign to raise awareness about maternal mortality worldwide and to find solutions for safe and healthy pregnancies. Recently, Parents.com had a few moments to chat with Hart about the partnership, her recent pregnancy and birth, and what it’s like to raise three boys.
Tell me about your partnership with the “Once Upon a Birth” campaign.
I partnered with Merck for Once Upon a Birth. Eight hundred women die every day as a result of pregnancy and childbirth, mainly because of hemorrhaging and preeclampsia, and 90 percent [of those deaths] are preventable with the right prenatal care and knowledge. For every story shared on the Merck for Mothers Facebook page, Merck will make a donation to Join My Village, one of the many programs that will help reduce the risk of maternal mortality. The UN wants to reduce the rate of maternal mortality by 75 percent by the year 2015, so Merck has made a pledge to commit 10 years and $500 million to this cause. They’re going to train women, husbands, and midwives in villages around the world so they can be more educated. Children won’t have to grow up motherless, and mothers won’t miss watching their child grow.
What’s the birth story you shared with Merck for Mothers?
I was trying to be really well prepared [about giving birth to newborn son, Tucker] for weeks beforehand. Every Sunday, I’d go get my nails done, and I’d put on mascara. I don’t wear makeup when I’m not working but I thought, “I’ll put on mascara, a little concealer, in case I go to the hospital and the baby comes out real quick, so I can take a cute picture.” My doctor wanted me to go walk on the beach to move my labor along and on that day, September 18, there was a big storm, with 40 miles per hour winds. My water broke [when I was] on the beach, so I ended up in the hospital with windblown hair that I never brushed, and my feet were muddy when I put them up on the stirrups. So it didn’t turn out the way I thought. But what was amazing was that my husband delivered the baby. The doctor handed him scrubs, said “Get ready, come on down here,” and then [my husband] pulled the baby out—head, shoulders, body—and placed him on me.
Was that his first time?
The first time [when I gave birth to Mason], he swore he wouldn’t cut the cord. He was, like, “I don’t want to be involved. I can’t, I’ll pass out.” But he did end up cutting the cord. The second time [when I gave birth to Braydon], he grabbed the baby’s shoulders and pulled him out. With Tucker, my husband advanced in the medical arena.
What are some of the most difficult things you experienced during your pregnancies?
Nothing life-threatening. With the first birth, I had complications with the epidural, and the Pitocin, because I wanted to induce, and Mason was just a big baby, so it was just hard to get him out. I would not allow a C-section unless it was an emergency. With my second son, I did a natural birth, and that was a really, really exciting experience. But it was extremely painful and I had a little hemorrhaging. With Tucker, there was a moment where his heart rate dropped during a really severe contraction, and that scared me. [The staff] put oxygen in me and flipped me over, so it was a little scary for a moment. I’m really lucky — I’ve had very healthy pregnancies, very healthy deliveries.
Do you have tips for women for a less stressful pregnancy?
I did study hypnobirthing to learn about a more natural approach to childbirth. It educates you a lot on what is and isn’t necessary during a delivery. It teaches you great relaxation techniques and meditation, and you get soundtracks to help you relax. It really helps with labor. I would play music for the baby while doing my relaxation techniques. One of the things I recommend for expecting moms and dads is to go see movies because that’s something they won’t do again. Going to the movies is something I miss a lot. My husband and I would go on date nights to the movies, but now with Tucker, it’s going to be a while until we see anything but a kid’s movie again. And before you get pregnant or at the very beginning of pregnancy, travel because you really won’t get to go anywhere, like Italy, for a while.
What’s the best or worst parenting advice you’ve ever received?
The best was from my mom, when I had my first child. I would get a lot of advice from different people, including strangers, and I was second-guessing things that I was doing. She said, “You have great instincts, you’re a wonderful mother, do what you feel is right.” And that was the best advice. The worst advice is putting rice cereal into milk to try to make kids sleep longer. It doesn’t work when they’re not ready, not when they’re under 4 months old. They keep you up all night screaming and yelling because their stomachs are not ready for it and it upsets them more.
Has there been anything challenging or surprising about raising three boys?
Not yet; it’s just the energy level. I grew up with all girls. I don’t have to worry about doing the boys’ hair, and they’re easily entertained in a mud puddle; they don’t sit and color like girls. They want to run and jump and splash and throw things, so you have a lot of Band-Aids around and a lot of ice packs, because they’re always getting banged and bruised.
What are some of the best things you’ve learned from motherhood? What are some things you think will be easier with Tucker, because you’ve already had two boys?
Something that I’ve learned is, you can never be completely prepared for any situation, and it’s amazing how far your instincts will take you. Just being able to handle a situation when it arises is pretty incredible, as a mother. I’ve learned that you never know what to expect. Every little thing changes so quickly, but at the same time, each milestone is so amazing.
Image: Melissa Joan Hart with newborn son Tucker, courtesy of Merck for Mothers, Once Upon a Birth
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Wednesday, November 14th, 2012
US Preterm Birth Rate Lowest in a Decade
The percentage of babies born early in the United States in 2011 was the lowest in a decade, according to a new report from the non-profit March of Dimes. (via NBC News)
Fantasy-Reality Confusion a Primary Cause of Childhood Nighttime Fears
In a new study, published in Child Psychiatry and Human Development, researchers found that preschoolers with persistent nighttime fears were far less able to distinguish reality from fantasy compared to their peers. (via ScienceDaily)
When Babies Eat Fish Could Be Link to Asthma
Babies who first ate fish between the ages of six months and one year had a lower risk of developing asthma-like symptoms later on than babies who ate fish before six months or after their first birthdays, according to a Dutch study. (via Reuters)
Road to Language Learning Is Iconic
Languages are highly complex systems and yet most children seem to acquire language easily, even in the absence of formal instruction. New research on young children’s use of British Sign Language (BSL) sheds light on one mechanism — iconicity — that may play an important role in children’s ability to learn language. (via ScienceDaily)
Preschool Education Deserves Expansion, Investment: National Education Policy Center Brief
In a brief released Tuesday, National Education Policy Center managing director Dr. William Mathis urges policymakers to invest in high-quality preschool education, citing its universally acknowledged economic and social benefits. (via Huffington Post)
Columbus Officials Will Likely Face Criminal Referrals For Falsifying Ohio Student Data
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As state officials said there’s a “strong likelihood” they’ll refer Columbus school employees for criminal prosecution at the end of their student-data probe, the district confirmed yesterday that federal authorities also are investigating. (via Huffington Post)
asthma, Babies, childhood, education, fish, language learning, learning, nightmares, Noelia de la Cruz, Parents Daily News Roundup, preschool, preschoolers, preterm birth rate | Categories:
Tuesday, November 13th, 2012
Mobile Apps Make Reading Fun for Children With Dyslexia, Occupational Therapist Says
Mobile apps and daily visual activities can encourage children with dyslexia to participate in reading exercises, says Lenin Grajo Ed.M., instructor of occupational science and occupational therapy at Saint Louis University. (via ScienceDaily)
Acetaminophen in Infancy Again Tied to Asthma, Study Suggests
Babies given acetaminophen for fevers and aches may have a heightened risk of asthma symptoms in their preschool years, according to a Danish study. (via Fox News)
Dance Intervention Improves Self-Rated Health of Girls With Internalizing Problems
A dance intervention program improved the self-rated health of Swedish girls with internalizing problems, such as stress and psychosomatic symptoms, according to a new study. (via ScienceDaily)
CPS ‘Healthy Snack And Beverage’ Proposal Could Ban Gatorade, Whole Milk, Sugary Drinks
Chicago Public Schools this week could move to ban the sale of a swath of snacks and drinks deemed unhealthy as part of its broader “Healthy CPS” initiative. (via Huffington Post)
Kansas Board Of Education To Discuss Role Of Cursive Writing In School Curricula At Tuesday Meeting
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The Kansas State Board of Education will discuss the role of cursive handwriting in school curricula during its monthly meeting on Tuesday, the Wichita Eagle reports. (via Huffington Post)
acetaminophen, asthma, Babies, Chicago Public Schools, cursive writing, dyslexia, girls health, handwriting, healthy eating, healthy snacks, Kansas State Board of Education, mobile apps, Noelia de la Cruz, Parents Daily News Roundup | Categories:
Friday, November 9th, 2012
Preschoolers’ Counting Abilities Relate to Future Math Performance, Researcher Says
New research suggests reciting numbers is not enough to prepare children for math success in elementary school. The research indicates that counting, which requires assigning numerical values to objects in chronological order, is more important for helping preschoolers acquire math skills. (via ScienceDaily)
Malaria Vaccine a Letdown for Infants
An experimental malaria vaccine once thought promising is turning out to be a disappointment, with a new study showing it is only about 30 percent effective at protecting infants from the killer disease. (via NBC News)
Leftover Newborn Blood Samples Need Better Regulation, Ethicists Say
The tiny spots of blood left after routine tests on newborns could provide valuable information for researchers, but clear policies that govern their use are needed so that the samples are not destroyed or otherwise lost entirely, experts say. (via Fox News)
Iron, Omega-3s Tied to Different Effects on Kids’ Brains
For children with low stores of two brain-power nutrients, supplements may have different, and complex, effects, a new clinical trial suggests. (via Reuters)
Chocolate Nesquik Mix Recalled for Salmonella Risk
Chocolate giant Nestle USA is recalling some lots of its Nesquik chocolate powder drink mix because it might be contaminated with salmonella. (via NBC News)
Socioeconomic Status Linked to Childhood Peanut Allergy
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Peanut allergies are rising among American children and one reason might be due to economic status. According to a new study, greater rates of peanut allergy are found in families with higher economic status. This supports the “hygiene hypothesis” of many allergists. (via ScienceDaily)
allergies, Babies, brain development, Brain Function, iron, malaria, math, math skills, Nestle USA Nesquik, Noelia de la Cruz, omega 3, Parents Daily News Roundup, peanut allergy, preschoolers, salmonella, vaccine | Categories:
Monday, October 29th, 2012
With Microsoft officially unveiling its latest Windows 8 operating system and new Surface tablet on October 26, Parents is happy to announce the launch of its Windows 8 Pregnancy & Baby Guide!
The app provides a fun interactive experience for new and expectant parents—week-by-week guides are packed with helpful information and photographs for pregnancy and baby’s first year, while another month-by-month section guides parents to age 2.
Other cool features allow users to track their baby’s development and share photos with friends.
The app is free. Click here to get it today!
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Friday, October 26th, 2012
Good Bacteria During Pregnancy May Ward Off Eczema
Babies were less likely to get an itchy skin rash when their mothers took probiotics during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, according to a new study. (via Reuters)
Parents Who Argue Over Money Connected to Overspending by Kids
In a new study, students who specifically responded that “my parents usually argued about finances” were twice as likely to have more than two credit cards than those who said their parents didn’t argue over money, and three times as likely to have a large amount of debt. (via Time)
Texas Schools Begin Tracking Students With Computer Chips in ID Cards
Two schools in San Antonio have begun tracking students using radio-enabled computer chips embedded in their ID cards, allowing administrators to know the precise whereabouts of their charges on campus. (via NBC News)
Why Fertile Women Are More Aloof
According to a new study, ladies who settled down with Mr. Stable over Mr. Steamy are less likely to be sexually attracted to their partner during their most fertile period than women who paired up with sexually-desirable men. (via Time)
Pregnant Mothers on Anti-Depressants Are Putting Babies At Risk, Warn Scientists
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Thousands of women who take anti-depressants during pregnancy are endangering their unborn babies, researchers have warned. (via Daily Mail)
anti-depressants, Babies, eczema, Fertility, money, money management, Noelia de la Cruz, Parents Daily News Roundup, Pregnancy, schools, students | Categories:
Friday, October 19th, 2012
Pediatricians Call For Strict Gun Laws to Protect Kids
Pediatricians are calling for the strictest possible regulation of gun sales, as well as more education for parents on the dangers of having a gun at home, to prevent deaths of kids and teens. (via Fox News)
Genes and Immune System Shaped by Childhood Poverty, Stress
A new study has revealed that childhood poverty, stress as an adult, and demographics such as age, sex and ethnicity, all leave an imprint on a person’s genes. And, that this imprint could play a role in our immune response. (via ScienceDaily)
Laundry Detergent Pods an ‘Emerging Public Health Hazard’ Among Kids
There’s a new warning for parents who use laundry pods about how kids are mistaking them for bright, colorful candy and eating them. (via ABC News)
Family Whooping Cough Shots May Protect Babies
Vaccinating moms and older siblings against whooping cough may prevent infants from coming down with the infection, a new study suggests. (via Reuters)
Smucker’s Uncrustables Sold to Schools Recalled
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Officials have told school lunch programs across the country to check to see whether they have any Smucker’s Uncrustables sandwiches that might contain peanut butter made by a New Mexico company that is being recalled because of potential salmonella contamination. (via AP)
Babies, childhood poverty, genetics, gun laws, immune system, laundry detergent pods, Noelia de la Cruz, Parents Daily News Roundup, peanut butter, pediatricians, recall, salmonella, Smucker's Uncrustables, stress, whooping cough | Categories:
Tuesday, October 9th, 2012
New Field of Developmental Neuroscience Changes Our Understanding of Early Years of Human Life
For the first time, scientists have amassed a large collection of research that looks “under the skin,” to examine how and why experiences interact with biology starting before birth to affect a life course. (via Science Daily)
Mother’s Fish, Mercury Intake Tied to Kids’ ADHD Risk: Study
Children’s risk of developing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) later in life may be tied to how much fish their mothers ate while pregnant, according to a U.S. study. (via Reuters)
New Test Can Diagnose Genetic Disorders in Infants in 50 Hours
Too often, newborns die of genetic diseases before doctors even know what’s to blame. Now scientists have found a way to decode those babies’ DNA in just days instead of weeks, moving gene-mapping closer to routine medical care. (via AP)
Meningitis Outbreak Stirs Calls for FDA Pharmacy Oversight
A deadly U.S. meningitis outbreak tied to contaminated steroid shots should spur new legislation to regulate how pharmacies mix and dose drugs, experts said on Monday. (via Reuters)
CT Scans of Kids in ER With Stomach Pain Skyrockets
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The use of CT scans on children being brought to emergency rooms with abdominal pain has skyrocketed, new research reveals. (via U.S. News and World Report)
ADHD, Babies, emergency room, genetic disorders, infants, meningitis, mercury, neuroscience, Noelia de la Cruz, Parents Daily News Roundup, stomach pain | Categories: