Friday, May 2nd, 2014
Almost a third of mothers say they like their bodies–stretch marks, scars, and all–after having had babies more than they liked their bodies before pregnancy, according to a new survey of 3,000 moms. More from Today.com:
Although 70 percent of women said they feel worse about how their body looks after having kids, 30 percent of moms like their body better and feel more “powerful and confident” in their looks, according to a 2013 TODAY.com survey of more than 3,000 women.
“I went through the body image thing a lot of girls go through in college, when I was fixated on my body and my weight,” says Leslie Goldman of Chicago, mom of a 2-year-old daughter who is expecting her second child in six weeks. “None of that was a part of my life after my late twenties, but postpartum is still so freeing and empowering for me to watch my body in a whole new light, healing from surgery and still producing food to feed my baby.”
While Goldman felt a bit self-conscious about her C-section scar in the beginning — when it was “very red and kind of puckery” — now, in the gym locker room, she’s happy she has a physical sign of motherhood and views other women with C-section scars as kindred spirits. “I’m sure many women working out are moms,” Goldman says. “But when I see the C-section scar, I know we went through the same thing and it’s a signifier we’re all in this together.”
Image: New mom, via Shutterstock
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Friday, April 4th, 2014
A number of programs that send trained volunteers to the homes of new moms to help out and dispense advice and support will receive federal funding for another 6 months, following a Congressional vote to extend the funds. More from The New York Times:
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Similar community models [to a New Hampshire program called Good Beginnings] make the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs funded through the federal-state partnership successful, said Kris Perry, executive director of the First Five Years Fund. “In Utah, state organizations noticed a high rate of infant mortality among the Asian Pacific Islander population. For that group, the best messenger is the aunt or grandmother — a registered nurse might not be as effective as a trained parent educator.” Federal funds went to a program designed to understand the community it was trying to reach. “They were able to greatly reduce infant mortality rates,” Ms. Perry said. In the mid-2000s, the infant mortality rate for Pacific Islander families in Utah was more than double the statewide rate. Just a few years later, it was lower than the rate in the rest of the state, with nearly 48 percent more babies living.
In a bipartisan vote, Congress approved a six-month extension of the federal funding that goes to the programs, which would have run out in September 2013. That means it will be months before program directors and employees will once again have to turn their attention to securing their funding for another year — months that can be spent on work that increases family self-sufficiency, reduces medical costs and even lessens the need for remedial education for the children in participating families.
Monday, December 17th, 2012
An innovative new program in New York City is offering nurses special training to offer support and guidance to low-income, first-time moms who may be uneducated on how to give their babies–and themselves–the crucial care that can keep them healthy and thriving. The New York Times reports:
“The program, which was started in upstate New York in the 1970s and has been adopted in 42 states, is one of the rare public initiatives that have shown consistent and rigorously tested benefits for the mothers and children, as well as significant savings for taxpayers.
In different studies on different demographic groups, women in the program have had fewer premature deliveries, smoked less during pregnancy, spent less time on public assistance, waited longer to have subsequent children, had fewer arrests and convictions, and maintained longer contact with their baby’s fathers. Their children have had fewer language delays and reported less abuse and neglect, slightly higher I.Q. scores, fewer arrests and convictions by age 19, and less depression and anxiety.
A 2011 study of New York City’s Nurse-Family Partnership program, which currently has 91 nurses serving 1,940 families, projected that by the time a child in the program turns 12, the city, state and federal governments will have saved a combined $27,895, with additional savings thereafter — more than twice the program’s cost per child. The study was conducted by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation using data from the Nurse-Family Partnership’s research at three locations, then extrapolated to New York.
This fall, I attended a dozen home visits, all in the Bronx, with five nurses — three from the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, which contracts with the city to provide service in the Bronx, and two, including Ms. Schmidt, with the health department’s Targeted Citywide Initiative, which tackles the most at-risk cases. The nurses’ styles and backgrounds varied; the families’ needs and challenges even more so. Each mother participated voluntarily and at no cost.
The problems were many: violence on the street, abuse in the women’s past, illness, anger, obesity, insecure housing or financial circumstances. Most of the women had the poor luck to have been born in poverty. Like their middle-class counterparts, none came into the world knowing how to raise a baby.”
Image: Young mother and baby, via Shutterstock
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Monday, July 16th, 2012
A new study has found that breastfeeding–even for just six months–not only can help new mothers lose weight after giving birth, but it can also help women keep weight off for decades. From MSNBC.com:
Researchers found that women who had children tended to have higher body mass indexes later in life than did women with no children; however, the researchers were able to associate every six months of breast-feeding with a 0.22 drop in BMIs among the women in their 50s and early 60s.
This translates to a 1 percent drop in BMIs for every six months of breast-feeding, the researchers said.
“We already know breast-feeding is best for babies, and this study adds to a growing body of evidence that the benefits extend to the mother as well, even 30 years after she’s given birth,” said study researcher Dr. Kirsty Bobrow, a researcher at the University of Oxford.
Image: Mother breastfeeding newborn, via Shutterstock.
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Thursday, June 21st, 2012
A new study has found that new mothers who either read or write blogs report feeling less lonely, isolated, and stressed than mothers who don’t. The study, performed by researchers at Penn State University and Brigham Young University, found that the emotional support mothers get from blogging benefits them in many areas of life.
“It looks like blogging might be helping these women as they transition into motherhood because they may begin to feel more connected to their extended family and friends, which leads them to feel more supported,” said Brandon T. McDaniel, graduate student in human development and family studies at Penn State in a statement “That potentially is going to spill out into other aspects of their well being, including their marital relationship with their partner, the ways that they’re feeling about their parenting stress, and eventually into their levels of depression.”
Social networking, including Facebook, did not appear to have the same benefits as blogging, the study found. And blogging, though, helpful, was not an antidote to the stress of new motherhood.
“We’re not saying that those who end up feeling more supported all of a sudden no longer have stresses, they’re still going to have those stressful moments you have as a parent,” said McDaniel. “But because they’re feeling more supported, their thoughts and their feelings about that stress might change, and they begin to feel less stressed about those things.”
Image: Woman at a computer, via Shutterstock.
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