In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Thursday, July 31, 2008

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms, July 31, 2008

News of interest:

Mom's diabetes hikes risks of birth defects
New research suggests diabetic women who get pregnant are three to four times more likely to have a child with birth defects than other women.
The study lists nearly 40 types of birth defects -- including heart defects, missing kidneys and spine deformities -- found to be significantly more common in the infants of diabetic mothers than in those who weren’t diabetic or who were diagnosed with diabetes after they became pregnant.

Eat well, extend fertility, author suggests
Drastic changes in diet boost a woman's chances of giving birth into her 40s and 50s, according to Sarah Dobbyn, a nutritionist and author of The Fertility Diet.
Dobbyn recommends cutting out alcohol. smoking, articifical sweeteners and sugar and eating more organic foods. She encourages unlimited quantities of beans, organic herbs, spices and nuts. Fruit and vegetables should be eaten raw to help balance the body's hormones.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Two Things, No Make That Three

My caboose kiddo, Christa, is experiencing day camp this week.

She's have a blast with her friend Miranda and a bunch of other new friends.

Yesterday as I hugged her goodbye, I said, "There are two things I want you to do today."

Christa looked up at me and said, "You want me to have fun."

"That's one," I said.

I was thankful she knew that having fun was in my Top 2 Things To Do list for her.

"You want me to be nice."

"Yep!" I agreed. "But I guess I want you to do three things."

I confess, I hadn't thought about reminding her to be nice. But I didn't mind expanding my list.

"Okay, what else, Mom?"

"Be safe, too."

"Alright, I'll do that too!"

I gave her another hug and kiss and watched her run off to play with the other campers.

To be honest, I was going to tell Christa to be safe and to have fun, in that order.

My 7-year-old daughter's priorities are better than mine.

Have fun.

Be nice.

And, oh yeah, be safe while you're having fun and being nice.

Our little interaction today reminded me of the movie Finding Nemo. In the beginning of the movie, Nemo's dad is all about keeping his young son safe. And who can blame him? Nemo's dad has learned that life is dangerous.

But by the end of the movie--and after having quite the daring adventure in the big wide under the sea world--Nemo's dad encourages his son to go have fun.

I'm a mom. I know the world is a dangerous place. But I need to be reminded that I have a choice. I can either focus on all the fun that's waiting for me or I can focus on all the danger--real or imaginged--waiting for me.

I like Christa's perspective.
Have fun.
Be nice.
And, oh yeah, while you're having fun and being nice--be safe too!


Monday, July 28, 2008

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms July 28, 2008

News to know:

Kids' cell phones: Cancer caution adds to debate
Last week, the head of a prominent cancer research institute advised his faculty and staff to limit cell phone use because of the possible cancer risk.
The warning gave parents another reason to resist their children's demands for cell phones.

FDA, CDC back Gardasil shot as safe
After reviewing more than 9,700 reports of health problems, U.S. officials say the Gardasil vaccine is safe and effective for protecting women and girls from a virus that causes cervical cancer.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said the most serious adverse events did not appear linked to the vaccine.
Gardasil, manufactured by Merck and Co., targets four strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexually transmitted virus that causes genital warts and most cases of cervical cancer. It is approved for women and girls ages 9 to 26.

'Most Prolific Mom' gives birth to 18th child
Livia Ionce, 44, gave birth to her 18th child July 22nd, according to her husband Alexandru. The Ionces are Romanian immigrants living in British Columbia, making her the province's most prolific mother in 20 years. Including their newest daughter, the family now has 10 girls and 8 boys. The 17 other children range in age from 20 months to 23 years old.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms, July 25, 2008

News of interest:

New celebrity Mommy-Come-Lately: Actress Marissa Jaret Winokur
Tony award winning actress Marissa Jaret Winokur, 35, and her husband Judah Miller, a sitcom writer, welcomed their first child on Tuesday.
Zev Isaac Miller was born via a surrogate mother and weighed 8 pounds, 7 ounces. Winokur was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2000 while rehearsing for her role as Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray. Winokur recently earned fourth place on Dancing With the Stars.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms, July 24, 2008

News to know:

Twin sisters "Team" has triplets
Darla and Mark Pritchard struggled with infertility for five years. Her twin sister, Dana, volunteered to be a surrogate. Both Darla and Dana, 39, got pregnant when Mark's fertilized eggs were implanted.
On Feb. 27, Darla gave birth to twins, Mallory and Wesley. Six weeks later, Dana had a girl, Mattie. They're considered triplets and biological siblings. All three will be raised by Darla and Mark, who will adopt Mattie.
To see a video of an interview with Darla and Dana on the Today show, go here.

Cord blood choices: Private fears vs. public good
Parents-to-be have to decide what to do with their child’s cord blood, a rich source of stem cells, the building blocks of blood that can potentially be used to treat certain cancers and other diseases.
About 97 percent of these moms and dads will do nothing, and the umbilical cord and the cells it contains will be discarded as medical waste. The other parents will be caught in the debate between private cord blood firms vying to cash in on an estimated $1 billion industry and public registries trying to boost diverse donations to fuel research and save lives in the community at large.

Baby bottle chemical levels safe, EU agency says
The amount of a controversial chemical bisphenol A (BPA) found in baby bottles is tiny and cannot harm human health, the European Union's top food safety body said.
A scientific panel of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) studied how people metabolize BPA and concluded that tiny amounts of the chemical to which humans are exposed leave body quick enough to cause no harm.

Soy-based foods may lower sperm count
Eating a half serving a day of soy-based foods could be enough to significantly lower a man's sperm count, according to U.S. researchers who studied 99 men who went to a fertility clinic between 2000 and 2006.
The serving amount, based on isoflavone content, equaled one cup of soy milk or one serving of tofue, tempeh or soy burgers every other day.
Men in the highest intake category had 41 million sperm per milliliter less than men who ate no soy foods. A normal sperm count ranges from 80 million and 120 million per milliliter, and a sperm count of 20 million per milliliter or below is considered low.
The researchers found the association between soy foods and lower sperm count was stronger in overweight men, suggesting hormones are playing a role.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms July 21, 2008

News to know:
Scientist predicts pregnancy at 100 and as a newborn possible in 30 years
Advancements over the next 30 years should make it possible for women at any age to give birth, according to an article in the journal Nature.
If scientists continue advancing germ cell technology means every person regardless of age will be able to have children. Newborn children could have children and 100-year-olds could have children, according to Davor Solter, a developmental biologist at the Institute of Medical Biology in Singapore.

Preemies may grow up to be shy, unmarried adults, studies say
Babies born early, even those without physical problems, are more likely to have problems socializing, including shyness, and taking risks, according to several studies.
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine, which looked at one million Norwegians ages 20 to 36, found that the earlier babies are born, the less likely they are to marry, have children and earn high salaries.
Preemies were less likely to leave home, live with a romantic partner or be sexually active, according to two studies of people in their 20s published in Pediatrics.

Low-fat milk recommended for some toddlers
Some babies as young as 12 months of age should be given reduced-fat (2 percent) milk instead of whole milk, according to newly revised guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Reduced-fat milk would be appropriate for children between 12 months and 2 years of age who are at higher-than-normal risk of becoming overweight, or have a family history of high cholesterol, obesity, or heart disease.

Dietary fiber cuts risk of developing preeclampsia
Eating more fiber during the first trimester of pregnancy seems to reduce the risk of developing preeclampsia, a potentially fatal condition characterized by elevated blood pressure, according to a study published in the online edition of the American Journal of Hypertension.
More than 1,500 pregnant womem responded to a questionnaire. Those who consumed 21.2 grams a day or more of fiber were 72 percent less likely to develop preeclampsia compared with women who ate less than 11.9 grams a day, the researchers found.

Breast-feeding triggrs pulses of feel-good hormone
Breast-feeding triggers a flood of the hormone oxytocin, releasing milk from the mammary gland and a feeling of love and trust in the mother that ensures the baby's needs are met.
Researchers from China, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom say they now understand how this process works.
Their study suggests that breast-feeding not only taps the normal brain cells involved in secreting oxytocin.It also recruits dendrites -- used to create communication channels between brain cells -- into secreting the hormone.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Older Moms Factor into Possible New Baby Boom

The USA could be facing a baby "boomlet", according to federal data that shows a record number of babies were born in 2007.

The National Center for Health Statistics reported the 4,315,000 births in 2007 as "provisional" data.

One expert attributed three factors to the potential baby boom:

1. More immigrants having children

2. Professional women delaying childbearing until their 40s

3. More women in their 20s and 30s in the population, keeping the fertility rate high.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms July 16, 2008

News to know:

Asthma risk from eating nuts during pregnancy
Pregnant women who eat nuts or nut products like peanut butter daily increase the risk their children will develop asthma by 50 percent, according to a Dutch study.
Moderate amounts did not seem to have an effect, suggesting it is too soon to say whether pregnant women should give up nuts, researchers said.

Background TV harms tots' attention spans
Keeping the television on in the background while preschoolers play disrupts their abilityto focus and may harm their development, according to research in the current issue of Child Development.

Peru embraces vertical births to saves lives
In Peru, at least 185 women die per 100,000 births, many of them in their homes. It is one of the highest rates in the world. Health centers in Peru are making health services more accessible and accommodating for women.
Peru has opened 390 birthing houses over the last decade where women from tiny hamlets can stay for free while waiting to deliver. Moms-to-be can bring family members and even animals while they wait. Some health clinics serve teas made with herbs traditionally served to help induce labor. The centers let women squat, sit or leave their long skirts on during childbirth -- another typical Andean practice -- instead of putting on a hospital gown.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms July 13, 2008

News to know:

British woman, 55, who advertised for egg donor on buses, gives birth
Linda Weeks and her husband Richard tried for 14 years to have a baby, according to BBC News reports.
After Linda turned 55, the cut-off age for fertility treatments in England, the couple spent almost $4,000 advertising for an egg donor on the sides of London buses before an anonymous donor offered to help them.
Almost 100 women responded to the 50 ads placed by the couple, but only one followed through with the donation. She was not paid for the procedure.

Another reason to watch your waist: Bad sperm
Obese men have worse sperm quality than normal-weight men, according to research presented at a recent meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.
Experts aren't sure if that necessarily means obese men face major difficulties having children, saying a healthy woman's fertility may compensate. However, if both partners are heavy, there could be a problem, since obesity is known to decrease women's fertility.

Actor Brad Pitt: Repeater Daddy-Come-Lately, 44, with Actress Angelina Jolie, 33
Brad Pitt was at Angelina Jolie's side on Saturday during the delivery of their twins--a son and a daughter--looking on as the doctor performed a Caesarean section. Son Knox Leon weighed 5.03 pounds and daughter Vivienne Marcheline weighed 5 pounds.

Are home births dangerous?
The American Medical Association (AMA) has agreed to back a measure called "Resolution 205," a request to support the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' (ACOG) position that home births are not safe.
The AMA and ACOG are at odds with those who say women should have the choice to give birth at home or in a hospital.
The American College of Nurse-Midwives issued a statement supporting planned home births, citing a study in the British Medical Journal that showed home births to be no riskier than hospital births.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Midweek News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms

My news blog is usually limited to Monday. But there's alot of newsworthy items this week, so I opted for a midweek post.

News to know:

Babies from frozen embryos are just as healthy
Babies conceived in test tubes might be just as healthy as those conceived naturally, according to researchers.
In-vitro fertilization (IVF) and the freezing of embryos did not significantly increase the babies' chances of medical problems, according to two studies presented at a meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.

Doctors offer $200 IVF in Africa
Doctors plan to offer a cheap in-vitro fertilization procedure across Africa, where more than 30 percent of women on the continent are unable to have children, experts say. Women often are ostracized as witches or social outcasts if they cannot have children, according to an official with a task force at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology looking into infertility in developing countries.
The cheap version of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) costs less than $200. Standard IVF treatments in the West cost up to $10,000. The success rate would also be lower because fewer eggs would be produced by using the cheaper drugs.

Parents of twins more prone to mental issues
Parents of twins are more likely to have mental health problems than those of single-born babies, researchers said. Finnish experts found that the parents of twins had more depression, anxiety and other problems than parents of single-born babies.

Baby's first smile gives mom's brain a buzz
Scientists at the Baylor College of Medicine say that seeing your own child smile actually activates the pleasure receptors in the brain typically associated with food, sex — and drug addiction.
Researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging to scan the mothers' brain reactions to photographs of their own 5-month to 10-month-old babies and those of others in three emotional states: happy, neutral and sad. Seeing their own happy babies sent blood rushing to the moms’ brain regions associated with dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in addiction. The spike rewarded the mothers with a neural kick prompting them to want to care for their babies, according to the study.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Grandma, 70, Gives Birth to Twins

A 70-year-old woman from India is now the world's oldest woman to give birth.
Omkari Panwar, the wife of a retired farmer, delivered twins — a son and a daughter — via Caesarean section. Panwar has no birth certificate, but if her age is proven it would make her the world's oldest mother.
Why, you might ask, would Panwar's 77-year-old husband Charam Singh mortgage his land, sell his buffalos, spend his life savings and take out a credit card loan to finance in-vitro fertility treatment (IVF) for his wife?
Although the couple has two adult daughters and five grandchildren, they had no male heir.
"We already have two girls but we wanted a boy so that he could have taken care of our property. This boy and girl are God's greatest gift to us," Omkari said.


Monday, July 07, 2008

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms July 7, 2008

News to know:

Congratulations to new celebrity Mommy-Come-Lately Nicole Kidman! Her daughter, Sunday Rose, was born today. Kidman, 41, is married to country recording star Keith Urban, 40.

Men past 40 can face fertility problems
Couples trying to have a baby when the man is over 40 will have more difficulty conceiving than if he is younger, according to researchers.
The data, presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference, provides evidence for a strong paternal effect on IUI (intrauterine insemination) outcome on both pregnancy and miscarriage rates. The researchers do not know exactly why,
but said a link between a man's age and DNA decay in sperm that causes it to fragment could be a likely explanation.

Cholesterol drugs urged for some 8-year-olds
The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that some children as young as 8 be given cholesterol-fighting drugs to ward off future heart problems.
The new advice is based on mounting evidence showing that damage leading to heart disease, the nation's leading killer, begins early in life.

Haywire brain chemical linked to SIDS
There is new evidence that the brain chemical best known for regulating mood also plays a role in the mystifying killer of seemingly healthy babies — sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Experts suspect that an imbalance in serotonin might be behind SIDS. Italian researchers engineered mice born with serotonin that goes haywire — and found the brain abnormality is enough to spur sudden death, in ways that mesh with other clues from human babies.

Baby's temperament can predict later behavior
Research suggests both parents' interactions with their baby during the first year of life and the baby's natural temperament can predict the odds of behavior problems later on.
The study, which followed nearly 1,900 children from infancy up to age 13, had the following findings:
  • Children whose mothers gave them plenty of intellectual stimulation in the first year of life — reading to them, talking to them and taking them out of the house — were less likely to have serious behavioral problems.
  • The odds of behavior problems were also linked to certain measures of the children's temperament during infancy, such as how "fussy" they were, or whether they had a generally happy or more moody disposition.

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Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July!
And thank you to our men and women in the military--and their families--for their service to our country.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Surrogacy and Genetic Selection

I ran across two news stories that kept me pondering for the past couple of days. One involving surrogacy and one involving genetic selection.

Story #1

A 52-year-old woman served as a surrogate mother for her daughter and gave birth to two of her own grandchildren, a set of twins, in late June.

Crystal Sirignano offered to become a surrogate for her daughter after her daughter Kendra went through several failed infertility treatments and surgeries.

The healthy babies, a boy and a girl, were delivered by Caesarean section. Domenic weighed 6 pounds, 11 ounces. His sister Mia weighed 5 pounds, 4 ounces.

Story #2

British doctors report they helped conceive a child genetically incapable of developing hereditary breast cancer.

A British couple agreed to go through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) although they had no problem conceiving. They produced 11 embryos, which doctors tested, and found five to be free from the gene, the Times of London reported. Two of these were implanted in the woman’s uterus, and she is now 14 weeks pregnant.

The 27-year-old woman — who wanted to remain anonymous — decided to undergo the procedure because her husband's sister, mother, grandmother and cousin have all had the disease, according to the paper.

Both news stories beg the question: Just because we can, should we?
Each decision is obviously and individual's decision. I understand that.
But those little babies' have a complicated family tree.
And genetic selection is a slippery slope that makes me wonder what other parents will want to pick and choose for their unborn children.

Anybody else care to share their thoughts?

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