Thursday, August 28, 2014

How to Deal With Pregnancy Brain

WebMD explains that pregnancy brain is common especially around women who are not getting enough sleep and are stressed.

Helen Christensen, PhD, of The Australian National University, says, "If you read pregnancy manuals and listen to pregnant mothers -- yes, there is such a thing as pregnancy brain or momnesia. And there is also evidence from research showing deficits in memory."
But, she adds, "the evidence from our study shows that the capacity of the brain is unaltered in pregnancy."

It’s 100% normal to have memory lapses or be forgetful when you’re busy, stressed, or short on sleep, Christenson says.

Jane Martin, MD, director of the Neuropsychological Testing and Evaluation Center at New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center, agrees. "When you are not getting enough sleep and are multitasking, nobody's memory is good," she says. "You are not cognitively sharp when you haven't slept well."

Surging hormone levels and new priorities may help explain why pregnancy brain happens.

"There is 15 to 40 times more progesterone and estrogen marinating the brain during pregnancy," Louann Brizendine, MD, director of the Women's Mood and Hormone Clinic at the University of California, San Francisco, says. "And these hormones affect all kinds of neurons in the brain. By the time the woman delivers, there are huge surges of oxytocin that cause the uterus to contract and the body to produce milk -- and they also affect the brain circuits."

"You only have so many shelves in your brain, so the top three are filled with baby stuff," Brizendine says.

“Your IQ doesn't change, but your priorities do.

If you are suffering from pregnancy brain and forgetting details
here are some ways to help you cope:

  • Make a To Do List:  Every morning make a to do list over your morning tea.  Write down anything that HAS to be accomplished that day.  Then in another column or on the back of the paper write down anything you WANT to accomplish but isn’t a top priority.  Finish the HAS before you get to the WANTS.
  • Use Technology: With smartphones these days there are a ton of apps that can help you set reminders.  Use apps to remember appointments, grocery lists, and to check your email while on the go.  There are even apps that can help track your water drinking and exercise.  We love Google Keep for reminders and you can even sync it up with your GMAIL account.
  • Write it Down: If you are forgetting things at work or not remembering deadlines, write it down.  Carry around a legal pad or small notebook and write down anything that you feel is important; have it on your desk, at your house and put one in your purse and car for when you are out and about.  If you really don’t want to forget something invest in some neon post-its and scatter them around your house and cubicle. 
  • Delegate: If you need help ask for it; if you can’t take on that big project at work then don’t volunteer.  If you are too exhausted to cook, ask your partner to do it or order take out.  You can only do so much in one day. 
  • Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: Do you really need to dust behind the washer today?  If the answer is no then put it off til you have some more time.  Pregnancy is a fun time so have a sense of humor if things don’t go as well as expected. 
  • Relax: Stress is one of the top causes for pregnancy brain so by relaxing you might remember more.  If you are really stressed we recommend looking into a prenatal yoga class that focuses on mediation and breathing. 
  • Sleep: Consider going to bed an hour earlier or taking a nap if you get too overwhelmed.  An extra hour of sleep per day makes a huge difference in terms on energy and memory recollection.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Should Doctors be Drug Tested?

The New York Times recently posted an article on drug testing doctors in the state of California.  It seems contradictory to test someone who has taken a pledge to help, serve, and heal the sick but the statistics of medical professionals who use and abuse drugs or alcohol is close to 18%.  Many point out that the doctors that put patients in extreme danger such as surgeons, obstetricians, anesthesiologists and other high-risk doctors should be randomly tested while general practitioners should be randomly tested just not as regularly.  Proposition 46—as it is known as comes from the large number of medical malpractices suits that are appearing in California every year. 

Daniel R. Levinson, the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services, said in an interview that there should be random drug testing across the medical profession, given the access in hospitals to controlled substances. “I don’t think that a carve-out when it comes to the medical field is sensible public policy,” he said. “No one should be above suspicion or below suspicion. I think we all need to play by similar rules.”

In California, major laws are routinely made at the ballot box, and initiatives like this can be as hard-fought as a race for governor. Both sides expect this contest to dwarf anything else on the ballot, including the lopsided race for governor (Jerry Brown, a popular Democrat, is widely expected to win re-election).

“From a national perspective, this is really historic,” said Jamie Court, the president of Consumer Watchdog, one of the groups supporting the initiative. “It will give the public a chance to put doctors in the same category as pilots and truck drivers and other workers who are tested for impairment because they have public-safety jobs. That will spread like wildfire if the voters of California give it a nod.”

Dr. Thorp of the California Medical Association said the issue was so important that the coalition opposing it was “very committed to ensuring that this ballot initiative doesn’t get passed.”

Consumer Watchguard, the lobbying group for this initiative even put together a YouTube campaign called “Pee in a Cup, TheMusical”.  The video ends with the statistic that 18% of medical professionals abuse alcohol or drugs. 

The new proposition will be voted on with the other ballots in November.  If passed, experts say that the drug testing of doctors will spread like wildfire to the rest of the union.   

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pregnant smoking could affect grandchildren

That cigarette could affect grandchildren you don’t even have yet.

The effects of smoking during one's pregnancy can span generations, according to new research published in the American Journal of Human Biology.

The study, carried out in the U.K., found that smoking during pregnancy has effects on the growth of a woman's future grandchildren.

In nonsmoking mothers who had a paternal grandmother who smoked, granddaughters tended to be taller. Grandsons and granddaughters also were more likely to have greater bone mass and lean muscle mass.

If a maternal grandmother smoked while pregnant, though, her grandsons were heavier during adolescence but had better cardiovascular fitness.

When both moms and maternal grandmothers smoked, girls had reduced height and weight compared with girls whose mothers, but not grandmothers, smoked.

"These likely transgenerational effects from the grandmothers' smoking in pregnancy need to be taken into account in future studies of the effects of maternal smoking on child growth and development. If replicated, such studies could be a useful model for the molecular analysis of human transgenerational responses," senior author Prof. Marcus Pembrey said.

This story is based off of a longer abstract found in the American Journal of Human Biology that can be found here

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

15 ways to reducing Pregnancy Stress

Last week we talked about how being stressed during pregnancy can affect up to four generations down the road.  To help cope with a stressful pregnancy, we have put together our top 15 ways to reduce stress during pregnancy.

1.              Practice Saying “No” — Pregnant women tend to try to work much harder at the beginning of their pregnancy to compensate for the fact that they might not be able to do as much later on and when little one arrives.  So if you really can’t do it don’t take on that extra project at work and don’t volunteer to make 100 cupcakes for the bake sale when you know you can’t.  It will be a lot less stressful and you will thank yourself later on.   
2.              Limit “information overload”— Reading a few pregnancy blogs and books will help you prepare for the future but reading too much or reading the scary (and probably unlikely) stories might just stress you out a little too much. 
3.              Rest—If you need to take some extra time to take that nap at 2pm then do it.  Consider calling on close family and friends to help you if you need it.
4.              Mediate—If you are beginning to come undone, take 10 minutes are relax.  Shut your eyes and just imagine your future child. 
5.              Asking for advice—If you want the best advice ask your friends, mom, aunt, MIL, or even your grandparents.  The best advice tends to be from your close friends and family. Remember though, even though you asked you are not required to take any advice if you don’t feel that it is right for you.
6.              Talk to your baby—Starting at just 23 weeks your little one can hear you.  Make the time count by talking to your baby throughout the day or putting headphones on your bump.  Your soothing voice will comfort the baby when he is out of the womb and in your arms.   
7.              Go to bed early—There is nothing wrong with going to bed at 7pm after dinner.  You don’t need to stay awake to see the newest episode of “So You Think You Can Dance” if you would rather sleep.
8.              Talk about it—If you have any concerns about your pregnancy talk to your partner about it.  Keeping these fears in will only build up stress and hurt you later on.   
9.              Consult your doctor/ midwife—If you have a feeling that something is wrong with your or your baby talk to a professional about it.  A professional will also help you with any questions you have about the labor itself. 
10.          Visit with friends—Go to your local coffee shop with friends and get some green tea and a slice of shortcake.  Talk about anything under the sun and just relax.  If you are on bed rest or extremely tired at the end of your pregnancy have a few friends come over and bring the coffee shop to you… and don’t worry about the dirty laundry on the floor, they don’t care!
11.     Do regular exercise—Try to go for a walk at least three times a week and do some prenatal yoga or light swimming a few days a week. Check out our Pinterest board for more prenatal exercises. 
12.          Go shopping—There’s nothing less stressful than shopping for cute little baby clothes and accessories.  Who doesn’t love onesies with monkeys on them and hats that have Minnie Mouse ears on them?
13.          Eat a well-balanced diet—Even though you are craving Buffalo wing pizza with a side of mac and cheese try to eat a well-balanced diet when you can.  Eat lots of fruits, veggies, healthy fats, and grains.  It’s ok to give into cravings here and there but for the most part try to eat healthy.
14.          Decorate the nursery—Once you find a designated area in your home for a nursery start planning it out.  For more information on decorating your nursery see our top ideas on Pinterest.  
15.          Pamper yourself- Being pregnant is stressful so consider making yourself an appointment at your local salon.  Make sure to tell them you are pregnant when booking the appointment.  Consider making your appointment early in the morning so you can avoid the chemical smells in the salon that build up over the course of the day.   

Monday, August 18, 2014

Bump on a Budget- Week of August 18th

Signing up for email lists can be great; you can get coupons, free samples, and lots of valuable information.  However if you sign up for too many emails you run the risk of getting your information sold to other companies and then the 5 emails you signed up for daily become 50 or 100 emails. Before even getting pregnant consider creating a separate baby coupon email using Yahoo or Gmail.  If you get too many emails you can simply just ignore them or close the account when baby comes.  You also don’t have to worry about your personal account getting flooded with emails that you didn’t ask for and don’t want. … First time email subscribers get a 20% off one item in-store Savings Certificate

AmazonMom… If you have an Amazon Prime account join Amazon Mom for discounts on baby essentials

Enfamil… Free samples of formula and coupons when you sign up for Enfamil’s website 

SeventhGeneration… sign up for their email list and receive coupons for cleaning supplies as well as diapers!

Gerber’s Start Healthy Stay Healthy Program offers free 15-minute phone consultations with one of their board certified lactation consultants.  Just click here to make an appointment and choose "Breastfeeding Education".

Earth’sBest… has a separate promotions and offers tab on their website so check that weekly 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Bi Weekly Baby Bump- Week of August 14th… on why holding your baby front wise isn’t a good idea… apparently pregnant women shouldn’t use antibacterial soap
Parade… Savannah Guthrie has last day of Today show before going on maternity leave
Gluten-FreeGal… How to be pregnant with celiac disease… Nightclub refused flat wearing pregnant women to come in… Edinburgh's giant panda Tian Tian is pregnant and could have her cubs before September
HuffingtonPost… This #Shareacoke pregnancy announcement went viral
EOnline… Hayden Panettiere's Real-Life Pregnancy Is Being Written Into the Nashville story line 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Stress can be inherited through Pregnancy

In today’s modern world it seems that pregnancy is as stressful as ever. The high levels of preterm birth in Alberta Canada is

If the stress affected the rats this much it makes sense that this same logic is applicable to pregnant women.  Something to keep in the back of your mind

"I think if you understand the mechanisms of how this is being generated — the footprint of stress — we have a means of predicting the risk of pre-term birth in future generations and finding certain interventions," said Gerlinde Metz, a professor of neuroscience and Alberta Heritage Foundation Medical Senior Scholar at the university and one of the researchers on the team.

“Researchers subjected rats to stress late in pregnancy and observed their offspring. They found that the daughters of stressed rats had shorter pregnancies than the daughters of rats not subjected to stress, and that the grand-daughters of stressed rats also showed shorter pregnancies even if their mothers had not been stressed.”

The study looked at four generations of maternally-related rats.
It found the stressed rats and their offspring also gained less weight during pregnancy and had higher blood glucose levels. As well, their offspring were smaller and had delays in behavioral development, all effects which were amplified over successive generations.

The researchers believe that these changes are due to epigenetics - the arrangement and expression of our genes.

Future research is planned to understand the mechanisms that generate these epigenetic signatures and how they are passed down from generation to generation.

With more knowledge of these mechanisms it may be possible to predict and prevent preterm pregnancy but also other diseases.

Prof Metz added: 'Preterm births can be caused by many factors, in our study we provide new insights into how stress in our mothers, grandmothers and beyond could influence our risk for pregnancy and childbirth complications.

The study appeared in the journal BMC Medicine.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

New Tennessee Law knocks 4 people off of Benefits list

Right in the middle of the Bible Belt in Tennessee there are now four less people on state benefits.  These four people refused to take the drug testing that Tennessee is starting to offer for welfare applicants.  According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the new practice in Tennessee and at least 11 other states require drug screening or testing for public benefits. 

A recent legal challenge to a Florida law requiring drug testing of all applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families — in Tennessee, Families First — was upheld by a federal appeals court, which ruled that the law violated constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Tennessee's law differs from Florida's in that it requires applicants to first fill out a brief written questionnaire about drug use, rather than testing all who apply. 

Applicants who answer "yes" to any of the questions — if they have used illegal drugs, lost or been denied a job because of drug use, or had any scheduled court appearances related to drug use in the prior three months — are then asked to take a drug test. The Department of Human Services pays for the tests, which cost $20 to $35 each.

Applicants who refuse to take the written test or the drug test are disqualified from receiving benefits. Applicants who test positive are required to take a second confirmation test. If the results are positive again, the applicant is given a referral to a drug abuse treatment or recovery support group and has 10 days to verify enrollment or placement on a waiting list.
Applicants can receive benefits as long as they continue in the program and test negative once it is completed. The department provides necessary child care during the drug treatment program.

What Tennessee asks?
Tennessee's drug testing questionnaire for applicants for cash assistance has three questions:

1. In the past three months have you used any of the following drugs?

2. In the past three months have you lost or been denied a job due to use of any of the following drugs?

3. In the past three months have you had any scheduled court appearances due to use or possession of any of the following drugs?
• Marijuana (cannabis, pot, weed, etc.)
• Cocaine (coke, blow, crack, rock, etc.)
• Methamphetamine/amphetamine type stimulants (speed, meth, ecstasy, X, ice, etc.)
• Opioids (heroin, morphine, methadone, opium, buprenorphine, codeine, etc.)

Source: Tennessee Department of Human Services

802 answered no to all questions
4 refused to take the questionnaire and were disqualified
5 passed drug tests after answering yes on the questionnaire
1 tested positive for drugs

The legislative body in Tennessee has been busy the last few months.  In July, a law was passed that made it possible for pregnant women to be "prosecuted for assault for the illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant”. 

This new law regarding welfare has eliminated five people from the public benefits and we can only assume more are to come. 

Photo Source: World Atlas
To learn more about this law go to WBIR

Monday, August 4, 2014

Rio without a drug testing lab

Rio de Janeiro’s anti-doping lab was stripped of its accreditation by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) last year; Brazil is still without a certified drug testing laboratory two years out from the next Olympics, which it will host.  The lab lost its accreditation because of the large number of false positives and "repeated failures" test results that the lab found. Apparently, the lab had somewhat of a record for producing “false positives” – in 2012 it produced a positive test for testosterone on Brazilian beach volleyball player Pedro Solberg Salgado that was later shown to be false.

More recently, the lab saw its positive test on now-retired Chelsea soccer star Deco overturned when his sample was retested in Lausanne. Deco originally tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide, a masking agent for steroids, and tamoxifen, often used to lessen the side effects of steroids, but he was officially cleared of the charges after the Lausanne re-test.

Rio, Brazil is set to host the Summer Olympics in 2016 and is now without a drug testing facility to test the athletes with.  For this year’s World Cup that was hosted in Brazil there was no drug testing facility.  All of the samples had to be shipped to a lab in Lausanne, Switzerland according to Inside the Games.  The cost of shipping these samples were close to 250k.

According to CNN Money, the cost of hosting the Olympics is rising and making a profit is harder.  There is even the cautionary tale of Greece who spent close to 11 Billion Euros (double the amount the Government budgeted for) on the games and now the country and most of the EU is in financial distraught.  The cost of sending samples to Switzerland could be possibly double the cost the World Cup spent.  Spending a possible 500K on shipping drug testing samples isn’t feasible for Rio.   The anti-doping lab in Rio needs to get its accreditation back by the time 2016 rolls around.  Brazil is starring to rush but it is running out of time for the 2016 Olympics.  

This article is a summation of an article on that can be found here. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

The growth rate of IVF in America

The number of IFV treatments in America is growing.  This growth is not only from American couples attempting to conceive but also British couples as well. 

“Dr. Daniel Potter, who runs the largest fertility clinic on the West Coast of America, has delivered 750 babies to UK mothers since he started in 1997. Visits from UK women have risen by 20 per cent year on year to the IVF specialist, which allows them to choose the sex of their baby using a process currently banned in Britain. Dr. Potter says he sees around ten patients a month from the UK for his £7,600 treatment, with 80 per cent of potential parents opting for a girl and 20 per cent a boy.”

Dr. Potter said “'I'm here to educate the British public on gender selection, explain the process and address some of the misconceptions surrounding the treatment. With more and more of my patients coming from the UK, I wanted to meet people face to face and explain that gender selection is a tested, trusted resource available to families.”

UK couples have also been having theirissues with IVF. A recent Magazine article by Lisa Jardine about the frequency with which In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) fails prompted readers to send in their own experiences.
Five million babies have been born worldwide since 1978 thanks to IVF. But few people talk of the many more times the treatment doesn't work, said Lisa Jardine, the departing chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), in the article.
Fertility problems are estimated to affect one in six or one in seven couples in the UK - approximately 3.5 million people .
Around 60,000 fertility treatments are performed in UK licensed clinics per year, with the live birth rate after IVF about a quarter, according to latest figures (2010) from the HFEA.
The latest HFEA figures show that for every cycle of IVF, fewer than a third of patients under the age of the 35 will be successful. And the percentages decrease as women get older.
Moreover, costs are high - 60% of IVF treatment in Britain is carried out in private clinics
Here are some UK women and their opinos on IVF: 
Donna, UK: Several years ago, my husband and I embarked on consultations and investigations, then minor operations and IVF to be able to conceive. We had no choice but to go privately - at 34, I was the wrong age to get IVF on the NHS in our area. Having had the initial consultations and started a course of treatment we were told that IVF was not going to help us at all. In a way, we were lucky as our clinic was honest with us and did not try to "sell" us any more treatments or give us false hope - we had only spent £500. This enabled us to cope with the "loss" more easily at this early stage. Our expectations were well managed by our clinic, although I understand that this is not always the case. We have since gone on to adopt a beautiful boy who has made our family complete for the past three and a half years. I hated the invasive nature of IVF, and although I am glad we tried, I would never turn back the clock. We are financially secure now and would have had no savings for a rainy day if we had continued down the route of IVF.
Beth, Sussex: Having been through IVF four times, I can honestly say that all these clinics are after is your money. I've never received a phone call or letter after a failed cycle. In fact, the last clinic in Brighton thought we had miscarried but my twins are now six months old. The clinic made no effort to contact us. It's shocking.
Diane, York: I think it's quite naive to think that couples who embark on IVF don't know the odds of success. By the time they reach the decision of going down this route, they already know their chances are low. My husband and I certainly did. However, for us, it was a case of not looking back in 30 to 40 years' time, and saying that we wished we had at least tried. We were lucky, we are very proud parents of a lovely little boy at our third attempt, and we don't regret what we went through for one moment.

What do you think about IVF?

Would you travel across the Atlantic for it?

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