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Friday, June 28th, 2013
“Where do babies come from?” is a question that most parents may not feel equipped to answer on the spot. Thankfully, “What Makes a Baby” by Cory Silverberg recently came across my desk, and the picture book immediately grabbed my attention (and the attention of several colleagues) with its bright colors.
The book starts with the basics of conception by introducing an egg and a sperm and explaining how both are needed to create a baby. In a smart move, the story avoids elaborating on the physical ways babies are made (i.e. through sex, IVF, and surrogates) and focuses instead on the behind-the-scenes biological process. Short and breezy sentences explain the fertilization of the egg and sperm (“When an egg and a sperm meet, they swirl together in a special kind of dance. As they dance, they talk to each other.”), the baby’s gestation period in the uterus, and the baby’s eventual birth. While it may feel odd to read and say words like egg, sperm, uterus, and vagina out loud to your kids, the book presents these natural terms in a matter-of-fact way to temper any squeamishness and embarrassment.
Silverberg, a sex educator, started a Kickstarter campaign to fund the book and to cover the cost of illustrations and the printing. Good thing he surpassed his goal since the drawings by Fiona Smyth really give the book an extra special zing. Even though there are drawings of a uterus and two birth scenes (vaginal and C-section) that may also seem jarring at first, the round cartoon shapes and the neon colors give the book a fun, happy, and modern feel. The book is appropriate for ages 4-8, and you can find it on Amazon.com and BN.com.
Now parents can have easy-going, straightforward, and (hopefully) painless discussions with kids about the miracle of birth!
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Thursday, April 5th, 2012
Studies Show Genes Play Major Role in Autism
A sweeping study of hundreds of families with autism has found that spontaneous mutations can occur in a parent’s sperm or egg cells that increase a child’s risk for autism, and fathers are four times more likely than mothers to pass these mutations on to their children, researchers said on Wednesday.
Birth Control Shots Tied to Breast Cancer Risk, Study Says
Recent use of the injectable contraceptive Depo-Provera for at least a year was associated with a doubling of young women’s breast cancer risk, a new study has found.
Washington Boy, 9, Writes Apology to Girl He Shot
A 9-year-old boy in Bremerton, Wash. wrote a letter apologizing to a classmate who was seriously wounded after a gun discharged from his backpack, lodging a bullet in her spine.
Maid’s Cries Cast Light on Child Labor in India
A 13-year-old girl who worked as a maid reportedly led a life akin to slavery, in a symptom of India’s growing middle class and its demand for domestic workers, jobs often filled by children.
Frozen Assets: Why American Sperm Is a Hot Commodity
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The U.S. is by far the largest exporter of human sperm in the world. Every year tens of thousands of vials go to more than 60 countries.
Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
AIDS Prevention Inspires Ways to Make Circumcisions Easier
Donors are pinning their hopes on several devices being tested in efforts to increase speed and reduce pain.
Don’t Blame C-sections for Fat Children, Study Says
Past research from Brazil had found a link between excessive weight and C-sections, leading some scientists to suggest that not being exposed to bacteria from the birth canal could make children fatter, but the latest findings — published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition — suggest this doesn’t appear to be the case.
More Newborns Suffering Drug Withdrawal at Birth
A dramatic rise in newborns experiencing drug withdrawal after being exposed in the womb poses challenges for clinicians on how to detox these tiny victims, a new report indicates.
‘Sonicated’ Sperm: Could Ultrasound Be the Next Male Contraceptive?
Condoms aren’t foolproof, and vasectomies may be too much so. Now researchers say they’re working on another contraceptive option for men that offers them more flexibility and control over their fertility. It’s based on ultrasound.
Pneumonia Bug Evolves to Evade Vaccine, Study Says
Bugs that cause childhood pneumonia and meningitis have evolved to evade vaccines by swapping bits of their genome with other bacteria, according to a study published Sunday.
Teen Wishing to Donate to Locks of Love Is Suspended for Violating School’s Hair Policy for Boys
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Michigan high school student J.T. Gaskins, a leukemia survivor, was recently singled out for perfect behavior. Now he’s suspended, caught up in a face-off with his school, Madison Academy, near Flint, Mich., for violating the dress code for boys as he grows out his locks for a cancer charity.
Thursday, October 20th, 2011
Fitting In Exercise, Between Math and English
Amid budget cuts and testing pressures, some New York teachers and principals have stretched money, space and time to prioritize movement during the school day.
Steroids Given to Preemies May Harm Their Brains
Steroids given to premature babies to help them breathe and maintain normal blood pressure may impair the development of a part of their brains, a new study shows.
1 in 25 Adolescents Takes Drugs for Depression
A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the first to offer statistics on how many kids ages 12 to 17 take antidepressants.
Girls’ HPV Vaccination Rates Falling Short
Close to half of U.S. girls ages 13 and 17 have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV), but there is still a way to go to improve those numbers, according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Sarkozy Has Baby Girl in First French Presidential Birth
President Nicolas Sarkozy’s wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy had a baby girl yesterday, the first birth for a French incumbent head of state since Empress Eugenie had Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte 155 years ago.
Could a Healthy Diet Boost Sperm?
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Two new studies suggest that eating a healthy diet may be linked to stronger and more abundant sperm.
Thursday, October 6th, 2011
You Got Your Sperm Where?
In lifting the fog around infertility, doctors have moved nature’s most intimate act deeper into the lab, and created a population of prospective parents—straight, gay, single, and married—who crave a more human connection. That need is now being met by sites like the Free Sperm Donor Registry (FSDR), which joins a global boom in the exchange of free, fresh sperm between strangers.
iPads May Help Kids with Severe Vision Impairments
The iPad has the potential to increase communication skills in kids living with severe vision problems and become a “life-changing therapy” tool, according to research conducted at the University of Kansas.
Can Banning Hand-Raising Promote a Calmer Classroom?
Another school in the U.K. is jumping on the ‘banned’-wagon, eliminating a very basic classroom tradition: raising your hand.
Are TV Shows Making Girls Mean?
It seems one of television’s favorite tropes, that of women behaving badly, may actually affect the young girls who tune in to see all of the outrageous acts.
Online Textbooks Moving Into Washington Area Schools
Online books are seeping into schools. Starting this fall, almost all Fairfax middle and high school students are using online textbooks in social studies.
Do Thin Parents Pass On Skinny Genes?
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People with thin parents are more likely to be thin themselves, a new study has found. But don’t go chalking up weight woes to bad genes just yet.
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Friday, January 7th, 2011
New look at study shows facts linking MMR vaccine to autism may be altered
Consider that from A British study linking autism to childhood vaccines is reportedly a fraud. According to the British Medical Journal, Dr. Andrew Wakefield altered information in the 1998 study. Unfortuantely, the scare is still very real to some families. More cases of measles and mumps have been reported in the last 10 years, than any other year since 1997. Dr. Katherine Burns is a developmental pediatrician for UAMS. She says after Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s false study in 1998 linking autism and vaccines — parents have been unnecessarily cautious before vaccinating their children. (Today’s THV)
Regrets of a stay-at-home mom
We had wonderful times together, my sons and I. The parks. The beaches. The swing set moments when I would realize, watching the boys swoop back and forth, that someday these afternoons would seem to have rushed past in nanoseconds, and I would pause, mid-push, to savor the experience while it lasted. Now I lie awake at 3 a.m., terrified that as a result I am permanently financially screwed. As of my divorce last year, I’m the single mother of two almost-men whose taste for playgrounds has been replaced by one for high-end consumer products and who will be, in a few more nanoseconds, ready for college. (Salon.com)
China: Pollution in China: Hundreds of children poisoned by lead
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A factory in the eastern province of Anhui operated illegally for years a few feet away from homes. In 2010 they nine cases of lead pollution were officially recorded. The government is in trouble, as evidenced by the conviction of the activist who exposed the scandal of melamine-tainted milk. (Speroforum.com)
Wednesday, October 27th, 2010
Yesterday, we told you about Edward Nejat’s research that suggests type O blood may be a possible barrier to fertility in women.
Well, another day – another study. And this time, we’ve got something for the guys.
Today, researchers are reporting from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine conference in Denver that men who consume high levels of saturated fats may produce fewer sperm. A study, helmed by experts from Harvard Medical School, monitored dietary patterns in 91 men seeking fertility treatment and found “men in the highest third of saturated fat intake had 41% fewer sperm than those in the lowest third.”
As for the reason for the link between fat intake and sperm count, additional research is required, but according to Dr. Tony Rutherford of the British Fertility Society, these findings should encourage people to eat healthily. [The Independent]
Tell us: Will this news affect your family as you try to get pregnant, or is a healthy lifestyle a no-brainer? Let us know in the comments below!
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American Society of Reproductive Medicine, Denver, Dr. Tony Rutherford, Fertility, fertility in men, Harvard Medical School, sperm, statistics, studies | Categories:
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