Archive for the ‘ Must Read ’ Category

Here’s Why a Doctor Denied a Baby Healthcare

Friday, February 20th, 2015

stuffed puppyChoosing the right pediatrician to care for your newborn can be nerve-racking for any parent who wants to make sure they pick a nurturing and thorough doctor.

Like many parents, one couple in Michigan interviewed a number of pediatricians before the birth of their daughter, Bay. Months before she was born, Krista and Jami Contreras decided on Dr. Vesna Roi, and six days after birth, they arrived at the doctor’s office for Bay’s first appointment.

But much to their surprise, the parents were turned away for one reason: they are a lesbian couple.

After spending time in “much prayer,” Dr. Roi concluded that she would not be the best fit for Bay. Another doctor at the practice actually delivered the unexpected news. He offered to take Bay on as his patient, but that did not make the situation any less shocking for the Contreras.

I was completely dumbfounded,” said Krista, Bay’s biological mother. “We just looked at each other and said, ‘Did we hear that correctly?’” Jami, put it more simply and accurately when she said, “You’re discriminating against a baby? It’s just wrong.”

Months later, Dr. Roi sent a handwritten letter to the parents. The letter did not directly state that she made her decision based on their sexual orientation, but she did explain that she did not judge the couple’s “free choice.”

Krista and Jami did not immediately reach out to the media about their experience, but they finally chose to speak out so that others are aware that instances like this still happen.

Although Dr. Roi’s actions may be discriminatory, they are not illegal. “Currently, 22 states have laws that prohibit doctors from discriminating against someone based on their sexual orientation. Michigan is not one of these states,” reports USA Today. Also, there is currently no federal law protecting LGBT individuals from discrimination.

This is not the first time a child has been refused something because of a parent’s sexual orientation. Just last month, Brian Copeland and Greg Bullard’s visit with a private preschool was canceled once the administration learned that they were a married couple raising children.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Your First Prenatal Visit and Tests
Your First Prenatal Visit and Tests
Your First Prenatal Visit and Tests

Image: Stuffed puppy with stethoscope via Shutterstock

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Body Image Issues Begin as Early as Age 5

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

girl looking in mirrorIt’s well known that many Americans, especially women, dislike their bodies. Much of the blame for this problem is placed on the media for airbrushing models and celebrities into unrealistic, typically unattainable beauties — and on society for glorifying these retouched versions of people.

We usually assume that the battle with negative self-image begins when adolescents hit puberty, but a new report from Common Sense Media suggests that these issues are beginning even earlier than that. Although the report is not comprehensive, information was compiled from numerous body image studies to determine what influences a child’s attitudes and behaviors, and at what age.

Researchers discovered that children begin to express concerns about their bodies as young as age 5. And at this young age, parents usually play a role in influencing their kids — as Common Sense Media notes, “you are your child’s first teacher,” meaning that kids can still pick up on subtle but negative body image message you give (even if you’re not harshly criticizing your body).

Even though body image research is often focused on girls, boys are influenced, too. According to the report, one-third of boys (and more than half of girls) between the ages of 6 and 8 believe an ideal body is thinner than their current body size. And 1 in 4 kids have already tried dieting by age 7. And get this—while a Barbie-like physique is knowingly unattainable, the measurements of male action figures surpass the measurements of even the largest bodybuilders!

To counteract the negative body image, Common Sense suggests that you talk openly about appreciating your body, steer clear of commenting on others’ appearances, and participate in healthy habits for your well-being (and not just to look better in the dress you’re wearing soon!).

“A lot of the negative body image comes from internal views of oneself, and when you can really shift that conversation from how someone looks to how someone feels, then kids can really start to think about what their choices are, and how they have control over how they feel, and that brings positive self-esteem and self-awareness,” says Seeta Pai, vice president of research for Common Sense Media and author of the report.

Also: Read these tips on how to talk to your kids about body image.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids
How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids
How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids

Image: Girl looking in mirror via Shutterstock

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Three IUDs and Implants Can Still Be Used Past End Dates

Friday, February 6th, 2015

Woman with IUDWomen who opt for intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants as birth control may be able to use the contraceptives longer — and with the same effectiveness — than the recommended end date, according to a new study.

The research, published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, confirms that three types of hormonal IUDs and implants (Mirena, Implanon, and Nexplanon) can last a year longer than what is currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

An IUD (like Mirena) is a small T-shaped piece of plastic that is inserted directly into the uterus for up to five years; implants (like Implanon and Nexplanon) are matchstick-sized plastic rods that are inserted into the arm for up to three years.

“Both implants and IUDs work by releasing small doses of a synthetic version of the female sex hormone progestin, which keeps ovaries from releasing eggs,” notes CBS News. “There’s only a certain amount of a progestin available in these devices, which is why the FDA sets an expiration date.”

By extending the lifetime of these devices, women and health care companies could save money, but manufacturers may be reluctant to endorse extensions that could cause them to sell fewer contraceptives.

Researchers followed 800 women between the ages of 18 and 45, which included 263 women with IUDs and 237 with implants. The women were examined for one year after their device expired. “There were no pregnancies in the implant group and only one pregnancy in the IUD group, a failure rate similar to that of hormonal IUDs within the approved five years of use,” reports Health Day.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her adorable baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

How to Take a CVS Pregnancy Test
How to Take a CVS Pregnancy Test
How to Take a CVS Pregnancy Test

Image: Woman holding IUD via Shutterstock

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Do YOU Need a Measles Booster?

Friday, February 6th, 2015

Woman Getting VaccineAs the recent measles outbreak that began at California’s Disneyland spreads to more than 100 people in a dozen states, you may be wondering about your own immunity, as well as that of your kids. Do you have the protection you need?

Before the 1990s, the measles vaccine was given as one shot, but the recommendation changed to two after an outbreak in 1989, so you may be among those who never received that second dose and are now wondering whether you should get a so-called “booster shot” to protect yourself from this highly contagious respiratory disease.

Fortunately, if you received the measles vaccine in childhood, then you’re well protected as an adult. Even with just a single dose in your system, you’re still 95 percent protected, says Amesh Adalja, M.D., an infectious disease physician and a member of the public health committee at the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). “Immunity does wane a bit as we age, but at this point the recommendation for a measles booster doesn’t extend to the general public,” he explains.

Of course, getting a measles booster won’t hurt—adding a second dose can increase its effectiveness to about 98%—and there are certain high-risk groups who need two doses, including health-care workers, college students, and those who plan to travel where measles is still a serious health problem. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supports the IDSA’s recommendation: if you had a single dose but don’t fall into one of these specific groups, you don’t need a second one.

And if you’re wondering about your own parents or grandparents, rest assured: Anyone born before 1957 is likely immune, in part because this population lived through several years of epidemic measles.

Related: The 6 Vaccines All Parents (and Grandparents!) Need

The bottom line? If you’re unsure about your immunity, your doctor can perform a simple blood test to determine whether you have the necessary protective antibodies. But the priority now is not necessarily for adults to receive a booster, but rather to vaccinate all children with the two-dose shot at age 1 and again before kindergarten. —Jennifer Kelly Geddes

Jennifer Kelly Geddes is a New York-based writer and editor who specializes in parenting, health and child development. She’s a frequent contributor to Parents.com and the mom of two teen girls.

More About Measles

Image: Shutterstock

The Vaccine Schedule
The Vaccine Schedule
The Vaccine Schedule

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Secondhand Smoke Decreasing, But Kids Are Still at Risk!

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

NoSmokingThe amount of Americans who are exposed to secondhand smoke has decreased by nearly half in the past 12 years, reports the CDC.

The decline— from 53 percent in 2000 to 25 percent in 2012—is due to many cities and states banning cigarettes in public areas, which has also led smoking to become increasingly less socially accepted.

But secondhand smoke is not entirely a thing of the past—1 in 4 nonsmokers (or 58 million Americans) are still being exposed to these harmful chemicals.

And even more alarming is this statistic: 2 in 5 children, between the ages of 3 and 11, are still exposed to secondhand smoke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts also estimate that secondhand smoke has caused more than 400 infants to die from SIDS each year.

“Children are often exposed to smoke in their homes, and the report speculated that the sluggish decline in exposure of children might have to do with the fact that the fall in the adult smoking rate has slowed,”  reports The New York Times.

Infants and children are dependent on others to keep them out of harm’s way, so avoid smoking and exposing them to secondhand smoke at all costs—especially if they suffer from asthma—and everyone will be healthier as a result.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Baby Care Basics: What is SIDS?
Baby Care Basics: What is SIDS?
Baby Care Basics: What is SIDS?

Image: NO Smoking via Shutterstock

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