It seems to me, as a female we spend a large part of our lives trying very hard not to get pregnant only to discover that when we think the time is right that Mother Nature has other ideas. [Read more...]
She and I had never met.
One day she just called. Out of the blue. Said her name was Gail. Said she had heard about us from a friend of a friend and that she liked what she heard, had liked what she read about us in the letter I so painstakingly composed and typed all those months ago then mailed, along with a wish and a prayer, to every single person I could think of.
Somehow, she got one. Read it. Liked it. Then she called us.
Then she chose us. [Read more...]
‘Just a minute before 7 pm Samsara grabbed a mirror from the wall in the hallway and with me squatting on our nest, Dave behind me and Samsara and the midwives in front, we all witnessed the miracle of Pear being born. It was AWESOME. I was so glad for Samsara’s quick thinking as I was able to see Pear’s head then body slip out like a dream. We had him straight on my tummy and he just looked right at me and we fell in love instantly’. [Read more...]
MONDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) — Stress experienced by a mother during the first trimester of pregnancy can lead to iron deficiency in her newborn, putting the infant at risk for physical and mental development delays, a new study says.
Iron is important in organ-system development, especially for the brain. Risk factors for iron deficiency in newborns include iron deficiency and diabetes in their mothers, as well as smoking during pregnancy. Preterm birth, low birth weight and multiple pregnancy are also well-known risk factors for low iron.
There are many known challenges for breastfeeding moms. Nipple soreness, low milk supply, poor hygiene in public nursing facilities, straight-up societal ignorance… The list goes on. But, money? Despite all of these other roadblocks, most new moms have heard someone herald the benefits of “free milk.” Now, according to a new study by sociologists Phyllis Rippeyoung and Mary Noonan, it looks like that sound-bite is inaccurate — economics may be to blame for mothers not being able to nurse their babies for as long as they should.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for one full year, but government statistics show that only 23.8 percent of moms do so — 74.6 percent start off nursing, and only 44.3 percent make it to the six-month mark. And while there are doctors, lactation consultants and a host of products to help moms overcome the physical hurdles, there has been little research into how to help them with other roadblocks.
E! News anchor, Giuliana Rancic, will become a mother at last. She and husband Bill have tried to making a baby for a long time. They even faced in vitro-fertilization on more than one occasion. While Giuliana got pregnant, the baby miscarried, further dashing their dreams. Then last year, they had to stop trying so she could battle breast cancer. Now all of that bravery and determination has paid off at last.
Giuliana and Bill have become one of America’s favorite couples through their television reality show. They’ve fallen in love with the couple because the Rancics always stick together and approach things together. It hasn’t always been easy, but they’ve always come out on top. If two people ever deserved the blessed miracle they will soon receive it, it is surely them.
“We’re so thrilled that our prayers have been answered,” said Giuliana. “We are absolutely ecstatic to be sharing this with everyone who has been following our journey.”
Giuliana Rancic credits her legions of fans for helping her through her cancer battle. No doubt, she knows they’ll be thrilled at her most recent news. Baby Rancic will be born via a gestational surrogate. That means, while another woman will carry the child to term, she’ll be using Bill and Giuliana’s genetic material.
The newest member to the family should make his or her appearance sometime in late summer. An exact date and the baby’s sex are unknown at this time. Mom and dad may opt to keep certain specifics as a surprise.
Today I am excited to be sharing advise from Dr. Robin Walsh, a Naturopathic Doctor and Nutritionist who has inspired thousands of people (including me!) to optimize their health through lifestyle changes.
Dr. Robin was my Naturopath when I was trying to conceive my daughter at 42 and continues to take care of me, and my family, in the most natural way possible. She is also Mom to a beautiful little girl who is nearly 2.
I asked Dr. Robin, who interestingly specializes in optimizing fertility, to share with my After Forty Moms what she felt were the top five foods that should be part of our diets when we are pregnant in this “slightly” later stage of life.
For moms battling depression, a first-of-its-kind psychiatric unit at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers intensive, inpatient care.
Jenna Zalk Berendzen gave birth to a son in June. It was a difficult labor, and after Maxwell was born, Berendzen “just felt different.” She was anxious and had trouble sleeping. When she told the nurses, they soothed her, saying, “Oh, it’s just new motherhood.”
But Berendzen, a nurse practitioner herself, suspected it was much more. And she was right. “The night I got home, I started to feel I was going to die,” says Berendzen, from Cedar Falls, Iowa. “I felt maybe I shouldn’t be here so my son could have a better mom. “
Over the next few months, Berendzen, 36, started on antidepressants and antipsychotics. At one point, she had up to 15 bottles lined up in her bathroom. Despite the medications, she still felt overwhelmed. She told her husband she thought she needed to be hospitalized in a psychiatric unit, but being separated from Maxwell — whom she continued to breast-feed and care for — only exacerbated her precarious emotional state. “I knew I wasn’t safe at home, but I also didn’t feel safe there because I was away from my son,” she says. “Being in the hospital perpetuated my feelings that I’m a bad mom because I was away from him.”
It’s a crossroads faced by the sickest mothers who struggle with depression both during and after their pregnancy: a general psychiatric ward that treats drug addicts and schizophrenics doesn’t feel welcoming to moms whose mental health struggles have a very clear cause, the birth of their child. Historically, they’ve had no place to turn.
Then last year, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) opened the nation’s first stand-alone inpatient psychiatry unit specifically for expectant or new mothers struggling with depression and anxiety. It’s not somewhere moms hope they’ll ever end up, but for those who need round-the-clock care, it’s a place where treatment focuses on the needs of both mother and baby. Perhaps most significantly, a hospitalized mom is able to be with her baby most of the day, which stands in contrast to many general psych wards that don’t allow infants.
There’s weekly therapy from psychologists who practice mother-infant attachment therapy, which works on how mom relates to her baby and reads her baby’s cues, and there’s partner-assisted psychotherapy, which helps dad understand how he can be most effective. Moms learn stress-management skills, practice yoga and participate in biofeedback sessions and mindfulness-based stress reduction groups. They have access to lactation consultants and hospital-grade breast pumps if they want to express milk. Coping skills and medication help get these moms back on track; counselors help connect departing mothers with hometown resources or transition them to outpatient programs.
Outpatient programs serve the majority of mothers who battle postpartum depression. Up to 15% of moms are thought to be affected, but most experience mild to moderate symptoms that don’t require intensive therapy. About 5% of those who become ill are affected so severely that they need to be hospitalized. Think of it like heart disease, says Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody, director of the perinatal psychiatry program at UNC and an associate professor of psychiatry. Most of the time, the condition can be successfully managed with outpatient therapy; in the event of a heart attack, however, patients will need state-of-the-art care in a cardiac intensive care unit (ICU). “This is our ICU,” says Meltzer-Brody.
The unit evolved from a pilot program launched in 2008; it was so successful — attracting hundreds of women from across the country — that hospital administrators were persuaded to carve out a separate space for the program. They set aside five patient beds and have treated 61 women since August, when the unit opened.
Decorators have tried to mirror what a lot of labor and delivery units across the country have done in recent years, swapping cold tiles for warm Pergo floors and making rooms pretty and welcoming. Rooms are designed to feel more like a comfy and serene space than an institution. Walls are painted cream and blue; artwork features seascapes and mountains. There are gliders in each room, along with baby bassinets and cuddly blankets.
The real attraction, however, is the camaraderie. “To be there with people who are going through the same thing is hugely important,” says Meltzer-Brody. “You don’t feel alone.” For many women, being surrounded by others experiencing the same struggles is akin to opening the floodgates. “Everyone is in there because things are really not going well,” says Meltzer-Brody. “There is a rawness.”
By the time they check in, women are beyond the point of acting as if everything’s fine. “There is a stigma around postpartum depression, but by the time they are that bad that they need to be in the hospital, they can’t pretend any more,” says Meltzer-Brody. “There’s an enormous relief in being able to be honest with their experience.”
Insurance typically covers the cost of hospitalization as a mental health stay, assuming a woman’s symptoms are severe enough. But still, the average stay of seven to 10 days can be prohibitively expensive, after factoring in travel for mom, dad and baby.
Berendzen was lucky; her sister-in-law lives in Chapel Hill and provided family support for her husband and baby. She was admitted the day after Labor Day and quickly noticed the difference between her hospitalization in Iowa and the specialized focus on moms and babies at UNC. Maxwell was able to visit so she could nurse him. Yoga helped relax her. Meeting other women like her made her feel less alone. “I didn’t feel crazy,” says Berendzen.
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By Frederik Joelving
NEW YORK | Mon Mar 19, 2012
U.S. families with autistic children earn nearly $18,000 less than parents of normally developing kids, according to a new report.
The gap is mainly due to mothers not having a job or working fewer hours, researchers found.
“The needs of children with autism really straddle a number of service systems and there is a tremendous amount of finger pointing in terms of who’s going to pay,” said David Mandell, associate director of the Center for Autism Research at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“Mothers are leaving the workforce to cobble this care together for their kids,” he added.
Autism spectrum disorders, which range from mild Asperger’s syndrome to severe mental retardation and social disability, affect about one in 110 children in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As more and more kids are diagnosed with the disorders, the nation is grappling with how to pay for the extra care these children need, which may cost as much as $3.2 million over a lifetime.
Mandell said that until now, the impact on individual families in terms of employment and earnings had not been clear.
For the new work, Mandell’s group used data from national household surveys done yearly between 2002 and 2008, including 261 children with autism and more than 64,000 without health problems.
After accounting for factors such as parents’ age, race, education and health, fathers of kids with autism were just as likely to be employed as fathers of typically developing children. The same was true for how much fathers worked and earned.
For mothers, however, there was a marked difference. Compared with mothers of kids without disabilities, those who had autistic children were six percent less likely to be employed, worked seven hours less per week and had less than half the annual income.
All told, households with autistic children earned $17,763 less a year.
The researchers couldn’t say for sure that the gap is caused by having a child with autism. But Mandell said today’s system means families have to shuttle their kids between several different providers.
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