Exposure to nicotine in womb raises obesity risk.

Not smoking or drinking during pregnancy is one of those “everyone knows” affairs. But not everyone abides by those rules. Health Canada estimates that around 20% of expectant mothers continue smoking.

And some that do abide use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), which could be in the form of a gum, lozenges, sprays or transdermal patches.

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Low vitamin D levels increase risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy

Getting the right nutrients and eating well when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding is vital to your baby’s growth and development. If you don’t get enough vitamin D, the baby’s bones can become soft and more vulnerable to breakage and rickets. Breastfeeding provides the baby with the most nutrients, including most vitamins and minerals, and foods gets their nutrients from healthy soil. So, how do you know what you’re getting if it comes from polluted soil? How do you know if you’re getting any vitamin D at all from your food? Do you need an organic supplement? These questions MUST be answered.

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SSRIs taken during pregnancy may cause autism

A study of nearly 1,000 mother-child pairs by researchers at the Bloomberg School of Public Health has found that prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, otherwise known as SSRIs — which are frequently prescribed for depression, anxiety and other mental disorders — was associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and developmental delays in boys.

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Men’s testosterone levels determined in mother’s womb

An unmarried and undecided man is on his way home when he receives a phone call from his girlfriend. They’ve been dating on and off for many months now; she wants a commitment. He’s undecided. When he hears her voice come through the line, it’s unsteady, but giddy with excitement. For a month now, she has thought of ways to make him want a more committed relationship — hoping he’d propose. Instead, he’s been nonchalant.

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BPA exposure during pregnancy raises miscarriage risk

The adverse reproductive effects of the plastics chemical bisphenol A (BPA) have once again been demonstrated in the scientific literature. Researchers from Stanford University in California found that the more BPA circulating in a pregnant woman’s bloodstream, the greater her chances of having a miscarriage.

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Healthy diet before pregnancy significantly lowers risk of having preterm birth later.

New research conducted at the University of Adelaide and published in The Journal of Nutrition has shown that women who consumed a poor diet before conceiving had roughly 50 percent higher risk of having a preterm birth as compared to those who ate a healthy diet. This is the first piece of research to look at what women ate before becoming pregnant and how it affected birth outcomes.  Read more »

Taking antidepressants during pregnancy doubles child’s autism risk

Antidepressant medications like SSRIs detach users from reality by modifying neurotransmitter levels of serotonin. According to a new study, if these brain chemistry manipulators are taken during pregnancy, they may also detach offspring from reality, inviting newborns into a new age of autism spectrum disorders.  Read more »

Using antidepressants while pregnant raises child’s risk of obesity, diabetes, and more

New research from McMaster University in Canada has uncovered a correlation between fluoxetine, a chemical in popular antidepressants like Prozac, and pregnant woman.

Researchers recently discovered that pregnant women on antidepressants could be unknowingly jeopardizing the health of their unborn infants by predisposing them to obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life. PhD student Nicole De Long presented the research findings at the International Society of Endocrinology and The Endocrine Society:  Read more »

Tips for safe bathing

baby bath3

Bath time can be a fun, special time to share with your baby. It’s also a time for caution, though. Keep these bathing tips in mind so your little one stays safe while he gets squeaky clean:

  • The first and most important rule is this: Never, ever leave your baby unsupervised, even for a minute. Children can drown in less than an inch of water. So gather all the supplies (soap, towel, clean diaper, clean clothes, etc.) you’ll need ahead of time, and keep at least one hand on your baby while he’s in the water. If the doorbell or phone rings and you feel you must answer it, scoop up your baby in a towel and take him with you. 
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Baby Grooming Basics Tips and Advice

Parent

From nail trimming to bathing, here’s what parents need to know and do when it comes to healthy bath time and hygiene routines for infants.

EMILY MORMAN

When Lillian was 3 and her baby brother, Joel, was 9 months old, nail trimming time was “not good,” says mom Christy Nader of Wyandotte. “They both hate it with a passion.”

The only way to get through it, she says, is just to chug on, assuring them that “You’re almost done, you’re almost done.” <!–more–>

Maintaining your baby’s hygiene can be one of the most unpleasant parts of parenting if your little one decides he’s not in the mood. It is, however, one of the most important keys to keeping your baby healthy.

Nail trimming

While cutting tiny nails, parents need to be careful not to over-trim. Dr. Dan Frattarelli, a pediatrician at Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn, recommends using tiny scissors and to keep a thin white area extending from the nail.

“You’re never going to get those nails short enough so the baby can’t scratch his face,” he says.

Bath time 101

Not all grooming habits are necessarily a struggle, though. Bath time is fun for Lillian and Joel, Nader says – especially for Lillian, who loves to play with her bath toys.

Nader and her husband bathe their kids two to three times a week to prevent dry skin, and they particularly focus on the face, hands and diaper area. That’s exactly what parents should be doing, Frattarelli says.

“Just wash the dirty areas,” he says. Parents should concentrate on the mouth and diaper region, and a cleaning around every three days should be sufficient.

Infants don’t require full baths; wiping them down with a washcloth is fine. For babies whohaven’t lost their umbilical cord yet, hold off on getting that area wet until a few days after it comes off.

For hair care, Frattarelli recommends using gentle shampoos and reminds parents: “You’re not going to wash off cradle cap.” Trying to scrub it off will only irritate the skin.

Keeping kids relaxed

For babies who get upset every time bath time comes around, Frattarelli recommends trying to determine the cause of the baby’s anxiety.

“Sometimes, the babies feel vulnerable because they’re slipping around a lot,” he says – in which case, parents need to keep a firmer grasp on the child. Other times, cold air might be a factor; Frattarelli solved this problem for his son by putting a space heater in the bathroom.

Rubbing lotion on the kids after bath time stops tears in their tracks, says Nader. Using a lavender-scented baby product appeals to both parent and child and helps make time in the tub more relaxing.

Staying calm, Frattarelli says, helps the entire process go more smoothly. “Kids are very good at picking up on their parents’ anxiety,” he says. Chill out during bath time, and your child most likely will, too.

Nader and her husband tag-team bath time – one washes the kids while the other gets pajamas and lotion ready to roll. It’s a calming way to end the day without noisy toys or distractions, she says.

“It’s just a relaxing, enjoyable family event,” she says.

Baby bathing safety tips

Of course, keeping your baby safe during bath time is paramount. And Frattarelli has a few tips to make sure your little one gets clean, accident-free.

When it comes to water temperature, parents need to be careful that they don’t accidentally burn the child. Parents should turn their home’s water heater down to the energy saving level, and always test the water before putting the child in the tub. Frattarelli recommends parents hold a hand under the water for at least five seconds to make sure the temperature is OK.

Make sure the floor is dry, so you don’t slip while carrying the baby. Keep all electronic devices away from the water and never, ever leave the baby unattended. Accidental bathtub drownings accounted for two-thirds of the at-home drowning deaths among children reported to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission between 1996 and 1999.

While bathing a young child, a good way to hold the child is to reach around the back and hold the child under his or her armpits. Frattarelli recommends that parents keep a good grip on two parts of the child while carrying him or her. If a new parent is unsure how to hold a child, his or her pediatrician’s office can show them how.