Archive for December, 2009

Party in the New Year!

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

partyWoohoo, it’s party time!  Got your bling out?  Got your party hat dusted off and your fancy feathers fluffed and ready?  Go for it, have fun, ring in a wonderful New Year with family and friends!

If you’re pregnant and not sure how to celebrate cocktailwise, read up on bodacious beverages and mocktails.  And if you wake up feeling like you swallowed a cow over the holidays and want to shed a pound or two, remember that now’s not the time to wrestle with your weight.  Once the partying is past, go back to your healthy eating habits and don’t forget to exercise.  Tonight, you can enjoy the goodies and burn up some calories on the dance floor.  Have a blast!

Dorel play yards with bassinets recalled

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Dorel has recalled over 200,000 Safety 1st Disney Care Center Play Yards and Eddie Bauer Complete Care Play Yards. The metal bars supporting the floor of the bassinet can come out of the fabric sleeves and create an uneven sleeping surface, posing a risk of suffocation.

The play yards were sold at several different retail stores beginning in 2007.

For more info, see the statement from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. To learn more about safety and play yards, read the article from Consumer Reports on the March of Dimes Web site.

Chillax – my New Year’s resolution

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

smileYup, it’s that time for resolutions.  Anne’s post yesterday had lots of good ideas and I’m going to keep rereading it for a while and incorporate some of her suggestions into my daily routine.  But I’m also going to do my best to relax, chill out, “chillax.”

Do you folks find yourselves often focused on something to the point that you’re up tight about it?  Maybe you’ve decided that now is when you want to have a baby – it hasn’t happened yet and you’re stressing over it?  Or you didn’t get the raise/bonus you thought you’d need to be financially ready to start a family.  Or a parent is sick and requiring help from you while you’re busy working and raising your kids and how the heck can you, the human sandwich, possibly do everything?

I’ve got to tell you, a lot of us find it ridiculously easy to hop up on that hamster wheel of worry and spin ourselves into a frenzy.  I’m going to make a real effort to take a deep breath, look for a positive cast to things, start every reply to upsetting news with, “well, the good news is…” and then try to find it.  It’s exhausting to be heavily laden with “issues.”  Sure, I have some majorly serious stuff happening in my life right now (we all do), but I don’t want it to control me, define me, take away my freedom to laugh at life.

Guess what I’ve learned – the human race has been around for a LONG time and most of the time my stressing and worrying about things won’t matter a hill of beans or change anything, except possibly to give me a headache.  And why should I want to bring that into a new year?  I’m thinking faith, hope and the promise of good things will serve me in much better stead.  How ‘bout you?

New Year’s Resolutions

Monday, December 28th, 2009

30320866_thbNew Year’s is a time for reflecting on the past, and more importantly, looking forward to the coming year. For some, it’s about making a fresh start. It’s a time to think about the changes we want or need to make. Change is never easy. Whether it’s loosing weight, eating healthier, or quitting smoking, here are some tips for following through on those resolutions.

Be realistic by setting achievable goals. Winning the lottery, for example, is out of your hands. Instead, give to others. Be a better neighbor or volunteer at a local charity.

Describe your resolutions in specific terms. Instead of “I don’t want to be lazy,” opt for “I want to exercise regularly” or “I will cut back on watching TV.”

Break down large goals into smaller ones. For instance, commit to losing weight by resolving to join a gym and improve your eating habits. Buddy up with friends for support.

Find alternatives to a behavior that you want to change, and make this part of your resolution plan. You want to quit smoking, but you smoked to relax yourself. What other forms of relaxation are available to you? Talk to your health care provider about it, too.

Above all, aim for things that are truly important to you, not what you think you ought to do or what others expect of you. This is especially important if you want the change to last over time. Do it for you. You’re worth it.

Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Fever, acetaminophen and pregnancy

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

digital-thermometerFever during pregnancy can be dangerous for the baby, especially during the first trimester when the baby’s organs are taking shape. What’s a woman to do?

It’s usually best to avoid over-the-counter medications during pregnancy. This is because we often know very little about the possible harm these drugs can cause during pregnancy.

But sometimes the woman and her health care provider must weigh the possible risks with the benefits of taking a medication. When mom is sick, her illness may threaten the baby she’s carrying.

Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Tylenol and other painkillers. It’s also used to treat fever.

A new study of over 11,000 children has found that acetaminophen taken during pregnancy did not increase the risk of birth defects. In fact, it seemed to lower the risk of birth defects when a woman had fever during the first trimester. In this research, acetaminophen was given by itself and not combined with other meds.

Taking medications during pregnancy is a balancing act. What’s the risk? What’s the benefit? Before taking any medication during pregnancy, talk to your health care provider.

The new research study appears in the January issue of the medical journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

What is chlamydia?

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Chlamydia is a bacterium that causes a sexually transmitted infection (STI). A chlamydial infection contracted before or during pregnancy can be the cause of reproductive problems, so it’s important to clear it up a.s.a.p. About 2.8 million new cases of this infection occur every year in the U. S. in both sexes, making this one of the most common STIs. It occurs most frequently in people under age 25.

Chlamydia usually has no symptoms, although some infected women experience vaginal discharge and burning on urination. Untreated, chlamydia can spread to the upper genital tract (uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries), resulting in pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), often with a superinfection with other bacteria – so not nice!  And PID can damage a woman’s fallopian tubes and lead to ectopic pregnancy or infertility.

About 10 percent of pregnant women in the United States are infected with chlamydia. Untreated, they face an increased risk of premature rupture of the membranes (PROM) (bag of waters) and preterm delivery. Babies of untreated women often become infected during vaginal delivery, and infected babies can develop eye infections and pneumonia, which require treatment with antibiotics.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all pregnant women be screened for chlamydia infection at the first prenatal visit. Testing is easy and is done on a urine sample or vaginal fluid obtained with a swab. The good news is that chlamydial infection can be cured with antibiotics that prevent complications for mom and baby. It’s important to note that the partner of an infected woman also should be treated, because the infection can be passed back and forth between sexually active couples.

Dorel car seats/carriers recalled

Monday, December 21st, 2009

dorel-carrierOver 400,000 Dorel car seats/carriers have been recalled because the child-restraint handle can loosen and come off. As a result, the infant may fall.

A repair kit is available. The handle of the seat/carrier should not be used until it has been repaired.

The car seats/carriers have been sold by Costco, Eddie Bauer, Disney and others.

For more about the recall, see the news release from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. To learn more about safety and car seats, read the March of Dimes article.

Recall: Vicks Dayquil Cold & Flu Liquicaps

Monday, December 21st, 2009

dayquil-24Procter & Gamble has recalled about 700,000 packages of Vicks Dayquil Cold & Flu Liquicaps (24 count) because the packaging is not child-resistant. The capsules contain acetaminophen and could cause serious health problems, including death, in children.

The capsules were sold at drug stores, grocery stores and other retailers between September 2008 and December 2009.

To read more, see the news release from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Safety tips for the holidays

Monday, December 21st, 2009

20987026_thbThe holidays are an exciting time of year for kids, and to help ensure they have a safe holiday season, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). 

Toy Safety
• Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills and interest level of the intended child.  Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards for younger children.
• Before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy that he has received as a gift, read the instructions carefully.
• To prevent both burns and electrical shocks, don’t give young children (under age ten) a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet.  Instead, buy toys that are battery-operated.
• Children under age three can choke on small parts contained in toys or games. Government regulations specify that toys for children under age three cannot have parts less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long.
• Children can have serious stomach and intestinal problems – including death — after swallowing button batteries and magnets.  Keep them away from young children and call your health care provider immediately if your child swallows one.
• Children under age 8 can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Remove strings and ribbons from toys before giving them to young children.
• Watch for pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies.

Food Safety
• Bacteria are often present in raw foods.  Fully cook meats and poultry, and thoroughly wash raw vegetables and fruits.
• Be sure to keep hot liquids and foods away from the edges of counters and tables, where they can be easily knocked over by a young child’s exploring hands.
• Wash your hands frequently, and make sure your children do the same.
• Never put a spoon used to taste food back into food without washing it.
• Always keep raw foods and cooked foods separately, and use separate utensils when preparing them.
• Always thaw meat in the refrigerator, never on the countertop.
• Foods that require refrigeration should never be left at room temperature for more than two hours.

Happy Visiting
• Clean up immediately after a holiday party.  A toddler could rise early and choke on leftover food or come in contact with alcohol or tobacco.
• Remember that the homes you visit may not be childproofed.  Keep an eye out for danger spots.
• Keep a list with all of the important phone numbers you or a baby-sitter are likely to need in case of an emergency. Include the police and fire department, your pediatrician and the national Poison Help Line, 1-800-222-1222. Laminating the list will prevent it from being torn or damaged by accidental spills.
• Traveling, visiting family members, getting presents, shopping, etc., can all increase your child’s stress levels. Trying to stick to your child’s usual routines, including sleep schedules and timing of naps, can help you and your child enjoy the holidays and reduce stress.

 

Congenital heart defects

Friday, December 18th, 2009

There have been some painful posts and resulting discussion this week on congenital heart defects (CHD) on Twitter. So I thought it would be a good idea to provide some background information about these conditions and what the March of Dimes is doing to help.

About 35,000 infants (1 out of every 125) are born with heart defects each year in the United States. The term congenital heart defect is a general term used to describe many types of rare heart disorders. The term congenital heart defect is not a diagnosis in itself. Some of the most common heart defects include: patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), septal defects, coarctation of the aorta, heart valve abnormalities, tetralogy of fallot, transposition of the great arteries, and hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Click here to learn more.

Over the past ten years, the March of Dimes has invested over $36 million in heart related research, including CHDs.  A number of scientists funded by the March of Dimes are studying genes that may underlie specific heart defects. The goal of this research is to better understand the causes of congenital heart defects, in order to develop ways to prevent them. Grantees also are looking at how environmental factors (such as a form of vitamin A called retinoic acid) may contribute to congenital heart defects. One grantee is seeking to understand why some babies with serious heart defects develop brain injuries, in order to learn how to prevent and treat them.

If you have questions or concerns about a specific birth defect, please drop us a note at AskUs@marchofdimes.org and we’ll gladly provide you with information.