Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My back aches from using a sling

If your back begins to feel strained, make sure your baby is pulled close to your body. Tighten the sling as necessary.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Nature tops nurture in childhood obesity

LONDON, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Diet and lifestyle play a far smaller role than genetic factors in determining whether a child becomes overweight, according to a British study of twins published on Thursday.

Researchers looking at more than 5,000 pairs of twins wrote in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that genes account for about three-quarters of the differences in a child's waistline and weight.

"Contrary to the widespread assumption that family environment is the key factor in determining weight gain, we found this was not the case," said Jane Wardle, director of Cancer Research UK's Health Behaviour Centre, who led the study.

Previous studies have pointed to environmental factors as the main cause of obesity, a major problem worldwide that increases the risk later in life of type-2 diabetes, cancer and heart problems.

The World Health Organisation classifies around 400 million people worldwide as obese, including 200 million children under the age of five.

The British team looked at pairs of identical twins who share all their genes and compared their measurements with those of non-identical twins who share only half their genes.

A statistical analysis found that the differences in the children's body mass index and waist circumference were 77 percent attributable to genes and 23 percent due to the environment in which the children were growing up.

BMI is calculated by dividing weight by the square of height.

"These results do not mean that a child with a high complement of 'susceptibility genes' will inevitably become overweight, but that their genetic endowment gives them a stronger predisposition," the researchers said.

The results suggest that parents whose children are at the greatest genetic risk may need support to make sure they provide a healthy environment, the researchers said.

"This study shows that it is wrong to place all the blame for a child's excessive weight gain on the parents," the researchers said.

(Reporting by Michael Kahn, Editing by Will Dunham and Tim Pearce)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

My baby doesn't seem to like the sling. Am I doing something wrong?

Most babies like the snug, cuddling feeling of being carried in a sling, but some take a little longer to get used to it. If your baby is fussy in the sling, here are a few suggestions:

Move around immediately
Eventually you will be able to be less active with your baby in the sling, but at first, and if the baby seems restless, start walking as soon as you have him secured in the sling. The rhythmic motion will be soothing, and your baby will enjoy all the sights from his new perspective.

Give her a few minutes to get used to it
As with anything new, being in a sling can take some getting used to. If your baby isn't crying, but is just a bit fussy, give him a few minutes to adjust to being inside the sling. If he becomes very upset, take him out and try again later. This might mean in an hour, a few days, a week or even a month later. A baby who seemed to hate being in the sling at 2 months old may surprisingly enjoy it at 3 months old. I found with my daughter that positioning was what made the difference. She didn't like the cradle hold when she was newborn, but did enjoy the vertical position with her head only slightly covered for support. (I used my hand to provide all the support she needed until she could hold it up herself.) We still use our sling daily, and she's 17 months old.

Your baby will sense your tension. If you are frustrated with not being able to expertly tighten the sling, take a deep breath, or try again later when you are feeling more relaxed. It may be that just a change in position will make the difference with how your baby reacts to being inside the sling.

Hold your baby through the sling
Put the sling loosely around your baby. Continue to hold her with your arms. As she begins to relax, gradually tighten the sling until she is being completely supported by it.

Feed your baby
Your little one may be more accepting of the sling if she is being nursed.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A fight with your spouse could be good for health

CHICAGO, Jan 23, 2008 (AFP) - A good fight with your spouse could be good for the health, a new study has found.

Couples who suppressed their anger have a mortality rate twice as high as those in which at least one partner stands up for themselves, according to the study which tracked 192 US couples for 17 years.

"When couples get together, one of their main jobs is reconciliation about conflict," said lead author Ernest Harburg, an emeritus professor with the University of Michigan.

"The key matter is, when the conflict happens, how do you resolve it?" he said.

"When you don't, if you bury your anger, and you brood on it and you resent the other person or the attacker, and you don't try to resolve the problem, then you're in trouble."

Previous studies have shown that suppressing anger increases stress-related illnesses like heart disease and high blood pressure.

This study looks at how suppressed anger and the resulting buildup of resentment in a marriage affects overall mortality rates.

It adjusted for age, smoking, weight, blood pressure, bronchial problems, breathing, and cardiovascular risk.

Harburg and his colleagues used a questionnaire to determine how the spouses responded to behaviour that they perceived as unfair.

Both spouses suppressed their anger in 26 of the couples while at least one spouse expressed their anger in the remaining 166 couples.

At least one death was recorded in half the couples who suppressed their anger, whereas only 26 percent of the other couples suffered from the death of a spouse.

And the anger-supressing couples were nearly five times more likely to both be dead 17 years later, the study found.

Harburg cautioned that the results are still preliminary and do not constitute a representative sample of current marital relationships.

The study period covers couples interviewed in 1971 and measures survival through 1988.

It was carried out in a small, predominantly white and middle class town in Michigan and most of the women were "housewives" born before the sexual revolution.

An upcoming analysis of survival rates 30 years later will yield more reliable results, Harburg said.

The paper will appear in the January edition of the Journal of Family Communication.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Here's how to get helpful exercise during pregnancy


Cox News Service

DAYTON, Ohio -- It was once believed that pregnant women should refrain from physical activity during pregnancy, but it is now known that exercise is good for both mothers-to-be and babies during this time. Virtually every ache, pain and discomfort that goes along with pregnancy can be alleviated or lessened with exercise.

Lisa Druxman, founder of Stroller Strides and author of "Lean Mommy," states that most women find that they can continue with their pre-pregnancy workout routine throughout pregnancy, although they may have to make certain modifications to make it more comfortable.

"To keep mom and baby safe, it's important to create a workout that is geared for pregnancy," Druxman writes. "It is essential to continue to strengthen the abdominals during pregnancy for example. Stronger abs can help prevent back pain, make carrying around a baby more comfortable and may even help in labor. Core exercises are also great, especially standing ones. Not all exercises are appropriate, such as traditional crunches, which are ineffective when the muscle tissue is stretched. After the first trimester, it is not recommended that mom lay on her back when exercising, as this may affect oxygen and blood flow to the baby."

Later in pregnancy, exercises that cause the center of gravity to shift forward, such as cycling, are not recommended.

How often to exercise? Druxman offers this advice:

"Moderate physical activity is recommended on most, if not all, days of the week. This moderate exercise would be equivalent to walking at about 3-4 miles per hour. Higher intensity workouts are considered safe three to five days per week, but not recommended two days in a row. Women who exercised before pregnancy can generally continue throughout, while women who were totally inactive should wait until their second trimester to begin. It is agreed by most authorities that consistency is most important. Women should begin with three times per week and work up to 4-5 times per week. Anything less than that is inconsistent and could potentially do more harm than good."

As for type of exercise, most women can engage in both cardiovascular and strength workouts, with focus on activities that will help adjust for postural changes that occur in pregnancy.

Just about any aerobic activity is appropriate if comfortable. Non-weight-bearing exercises are usually most comfortable, especially in later stages of pregnancy.

Any exercise that poses risk of falling (such as skiing or mountain biking) or trauma to the abdomen is not appropriate due to possible injuries. The general consensus amongst experts is that sessions of 30-60 minutes of activity are appropriate for prenatal exercise. The two primary concerns in relation to long-duration exercise (more than 45 minutes) are energy deficit and thermoregulation.

The saying "eat for two" is no longer considered appropriate, Druxman adds. In fact, new recommendations by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are to eat to appetite. However, it is necessary to make sure you are taking in enough calories if you are exercising, particularly for long sessions.

All pregnant women should get their doctor's approval before beginning any exercise program. It is important to establish a safe, fun and comfortable routine, one that you will want to continue throughout your pregnancy. Listen to your body and pay close attention to warning signals.

You should stop exercising and seek medical advice if you experience any of the following symptoms:

-- Dizziness

-- Headache

-- Chest pain

-- Muscle weakness

-- Calf pain or swelling

-- Preterm labor

-- Decreased fetal movement

-- Amniotic fluid leakage

-- Bleeding

-- Dyspnea prior to exertion (out of breath, prior to exercise).

Marjie Gilliam is an International Sports Sciences Association Master certified personal trainer and fitness consultant. E-mail: OHTrainer AT aol.com. Her Web site is at www.ohtrainer.com.