As I have been experiencing my first pregnancy this summer, my mother and I have been discussing how similar it is to women “getting old.” Her words not mine. But as the days pass and I tell her about a new challenge I have or a new ailment, I am thinking she is on to something. It is funny to us, but also kind of sad, because that means I have to go through this again and it’s going to last a whole lot longer than just nine months. Gee, I have something else to look forward to in about 20-25 years.
We have come up with a list of items to share with you that demonstrate how being pregnant is a lot like getting older. These are in no particular order and I am sure there are a few that will make you laugh out loud, especially if you can personally relate:
- Your hormones are raging, they are all over the place and you don’t know whether you are coming or going on some days. Everybody beware!
- You are hot all of the time. Hot flashes are a regular occurrence, you are constantly taking off clothes, kicking off covers at night and sleeping with the fan on full blast. Everyone else in the house is freezing while it is 80 degrees outside on an August evening.
- You need to hold onto a wall, bed post or counter to put on your underwear, pants, skirt or anything that goes on your bottom half. A new form of a balancing act is an understatement as you use one hand to do all of this. SIGH!
- You walk slower, move slower, bend slower, get up out of a chair slower and walk up the stairs slower. Your limbs have all of sudden turned against you and it’s so not fair.
You need one of those rubber mats in the bathtub to keep from slipping, grabbing the shower curtain and almost killing yourself as you get in and out of the shower! Did I mention your equilibrium is shot?
- Incontinence has become your new friend. You sneeze, you pee. You laugh too hard, you pee, You cough, you pee. You drink ANYTHING, you are running to find restroom at the nearest mall or store. You may even have to pull over while driving to go because you know you will not make it another 5 blocks. Yes, I have done this on a few occasions.
- Mexican, Jamaican, Indian, and well just about anything with a kick is SO not your best friend. Spicy food gives you heartburn ALL of the time and will keep you up at all hours of the night popping TUMS.
- You can’t bend over to pick things off of the floor. You realize you are very creative in picking up things you drop by using broom handles, shoes, umbrellas, your feet/toes or getting into a very awkward squatting position.
- Eventually, you can longer see your toes because of your stomach. Pregnant belly or muffin top…enough said.
- You are in need of a new wardrobe because your current clothing doesn’t fit your expanding mid-section.
- You don’t sleep through the night because of many trips to the bathroom and naps during the day are the next best thing to a slice of chocolate cake.
- Did I mention chocolate cake? You could care less if you indulge and eat all of those calories. All you care about is you want it, you need it, you have earned it and quite honestly who is going to stop you from eating it?
- You go to more doctors’ appointments, take more tests/screenings and give blood than you have ever in the past.
- Memory? What memory? You don’t even remember what you did 5 minutes ago or what you were planning to do in the next 5 minutes.
Now if this list hasn’t convinced you of the odd similarities of being pregnant and getting older or at the very least made you chuckle, then you are just clueless and hopeless. Regardless, I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as we enjoyed creating this list all summer. I am sure there are more similarities, but we can start with these.
During the month of September, maternal and child health organizations, communities, families and social service entities will be working together to commemorate National Infant Mortality Awareness Month and bring attention to this critical health issue. The infant mortality rate (6 in 1,000 live births) in the U.S. is one of the highest among developed nations. The rate is dismal and is not only higher compared to other countries, but our rates are increasing while theirs decrease. Additionally, health disparities within the U.S. linger with black babies dying at a rate more than twice that of their white counterparts regardless of socio-economic and educational levels.
One way that the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition is working to address this critical issue is by getting more pregnant women and mothers connected to high-quality health information and health care. The text4baby program achieves this by sending free, accurate, and easy-to-understand health information via text message.
This month, in honor of National Infant Mortality Awareness Month, text4baby is also partnering with the National Healthy Start Association, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Minority Health, and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc on a contest to help more moms connect with text4baby’s quality information. Pregnant women and moms with infants under age one who sign up for text4baby between September 1 and September 30 will be entered to win a year’s supply of Johnson’s Baby products. Moms can enroll online, via Facebook or by texting BABY (or BEBE in Spanish) to 511411 and all enrollees who are still active as of 11:59pm EST on September 30 will be entered to win. For more information, see contest rules.
Text4baby was developed as a true public-private partnership in 2010 and more than 400,000 moms have enrolled since then. A program of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition and sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, text4baby is completely free to moms who sign up. To learn more about the program, visit www.text4baby.org.
Join HMHB and text4baby and help raise the awareness of infant mortality!!
Check out this piece on the DailyGlow.com website for the cities noted as the best and worst for skin. I am loving that my hometown (Chicago) is in the top 10 best. At least DC wasn’t in the worst. But Baltimore made the top 10 best and I am only 25 minutes from there, so that has to count for something, right???
Ladies, remember to keep that skin healthy this summer by drinking lots of water and not eating a lot of junk food. Remember to use a moisturizer with at least SPF 30, exfoliate at least once a week, and wear a hat when you are directly in the sun for a long period of time. Just a few tips to keep your skin happy and healthy.
It is no secret that I have been “MIA” on the blogging front since November but I have a really good reason. Despite the fact that work was kicking my butt after Thanksgiving last year, I found out on January 2 that I would soon be a mommy come September. Needless to say these last six months have been a whirlwind for me as I prepare for this new phase of my life. In those first few months I really wanted to blog about my new experience of being newly pregnant, but between hugging the porcelain goddess for 5 weeks straight and trying not to fall asleep at my desk or lose my EVERY thought during meetings; I just physically could not do it. Just a few of the many things no one can really prepare you for as it relates to pregnancy. Oh the list goes on and on. But, I digress.
So yes, my dear readers, I will soon be adding another set of letters behind my name — MOM– and I do hope now that I have begun to master this pregnancy thing and I am able to focus a little better, that I can blog more often about what I am experiencing. Talk about real life maternal and child health information. But please know that I will continue to blog about women’s health in general especially as I prepare to turn 40 in September. (That is a whole other life experience unto itself). Just because I am about to be a mom, I am a woman first and staying on top of my health is important to me. So while I will talk about pregnancy and the like, know that I will not forget the purpose of my blog.
I must now prepare for an evening of slight insomnia because of the 100 baby related things on my mind, the constant flipping from my right to left side every two hours because I can no longer sleep on my back or stomach, the trips to the bathroom every 3 hours and oh my favorite the wonderful leg and hip cramps I get because I am sleeping on my side. Ah yes, I know it is all worth it in the end when that tiny hand goes into yours, but right now…not so much. I would pay so much money right now for just one night of sleeping on my stomach for the next 8 hours.
Live Life, Live Healthy!
Wishing everyone a wonderful, happy and healthy Thanksgiving. While we should be thankful and grateful every day, I really love taking time one day out of the year to spend time with family and friends, and sharing with them why we are grateful to have them in our lives. So on this day, take time to tell your loved ones at least one thing, one reason why you are thankful for them, Trust me, this will make their day and make them smile.
To help you get through this year’s Thanksgiving, enjoy the 2010 Dos and Don’ts for Thanksgiving.
Live Life, Live Healthy!
Every year, an estimated 13 million babies are born too soon and too small. More than a million of these tiny babies do not survive. Premature birth is a big problem in the United States. In other parts of the world, where hospitals and health providers may be ill-equipped to care for preemies, or the nearest hospital is days away, the problem is even more serious.
This blog is dedicated to one of my favorite little girls Maiya, who lights up a room every time she walks in, makes you laugh hysterically and has more personality at the ripe age of 4 than most adults I know. She is truly a fighter, strong willed and very determined. Much like she was on the day she was born.
Maiya was born 8 weeks premature with underdeveloped organs, a lot of hair and so small that I could literally hold her in one hand. Her mother, one of my best friends, spent weeks at the NICU, waiting to hear the words from the doctor — “You can take her home.” When that day finally arrived, we were all overjoyed with an enormous amount of faith that Maiya would grow strong and develop into the amazing little girl she is today. My girlfriend did everything she thought was right — early prenatal care, healthy diet, no smoking, no drinking, etc. But we also know that prematurity can be caused by so many different things. So, while we may not have the answer to the question “why this baby?” we do know she is a survivor.
As one of her many Aunties, I am so thankful to not only Maiya’s NICU nurses but to all of the nurses around the country. Your job is so critical and I wonder if you truly know how much relief you provide to families every day. It is because of you that babies are strong enough to go home sooner rather than later.
I encourage you all to spread the word about prematurity and help increase the awareness so we can reduce then number of babies that are born too soon. We need to fight ― because babies shouldn’t have to.
For the last 40 years, sugar has gotten a really bad rap. I can remember when I was six years old, my father reading this book called “The Sugar Blues.” All I remember is he said I couldn’t drink Nestle’s Quick chocolate milk, eat Fruity Pebbles, or have candy anymore. I was beyond devastated! How could a six-year old in 1978 be denied SUGAR? Pixie sticks and freeze pops were the highlight of my summer days!Well father knows best and he didn’t stop there. I could only eat non-sugared cereals which meant either Chex or Rice Krispies. I also could not put sugar on the cereal to sweeten it, only honey. Let me tell you that is an acquired taste. The honey never quite melted and often stuck to the cereal. Sigh. Instead of the chocolate milk, my dad came up with the “honey milk” creation. That was the way it was until I was 18. I didn’t eat white sugar or sugared cereals again until I went away to college.
Some of you may think my father went to the extreme and I did too, at the time. However, now that I am in the health field I believe he was on to something by being strict about what I was eating . I was rarely sick as a child. I was always energized, never lethargic. And I had really good skin as a teenager. (SUGAR=ACNE). Within the last few years many studies have surfaced about white sugar and the negative impact it has on the body. So I have begun to resort back to my old eating habits I had as a child and try to limit my white sugar intake. Of course my father, still a proponent of no “white sugar,” turned me on to agave.
I began using it in hot tea, on toast, in oatmeal and in baked goods. This new (but old) sugar substitute has become very popular but I wonder is it actually better than sugar or is it just as bad? I decided to do some research and look at the pros and cons of agave, as well as if it is truly healthier than sugar.
What is agave?
Agave nectar is a real sugar, as opposed to an artificial or non-nutritive sweetener. It has properties similar to many sugars with one important exception: its glycemic index is significantly lower. This makes it a healthier alternative to many processed AND natural sweeteners. Because agave is 1.5 times sweeter than sugar; you will not need as much.
Agave or Sugar?
Looking at the chart below, you can see that they measure up about the same to each other nutritionally. But what you are not able to see, is how they affect your body. Agave gets high marks for being low on the glycemic index (GI) rating, which means it won’t cause a spike in your blood sugar levels the way sugar does. High-GI foods like white sugar tend to make us feel hungry sooner since they are digested quickly. Therefore foods made with agave nectar may keep you feeling fuller longer than foods made with white sugar which translates to eating less.
|One tbsp sugar||One tbsp. agave nectar|
It is really important to read the labels and buy raw agave nectar when possible. A lot of brands of agave nectar are highly refined, containing almost 100 percent fructose, which is a higher percentage than that found in high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Fructose is a sweetener known to raise triglycerides, promote belly fat, and contribute to fatty liver, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Some distributors of agave nectar have been labeling HFCS as agave nectar, so the FDA recommends looking for labels that say “hydrolyzed insulin syrup,” which they say means it is real agave. Sugar, on the other hand, is low in fructose, and high in glucose. It is easily absorbed into the bloodstream, which gives you a rush of energy. As this energy begins to wear off you find yourself craving more, but fructose will help to balance your energy levels, as well as your appetite.
Cons of Agave
If you are pregnant you should use agave with caution, as some species of agave contain anordin and dinordin steroids, which can lead to a miscarriage.
Even though agave does not spike blood sugar levels, it does make its way into the bloodstream as triglycerides. These can cause the arteries to harden, and eventually may cause heart attacks and strokes. So if you have any kind of heart problems you may want to stick with sugar.
While FDA says that hydrolyzed insulin syrup means real sugar, it has been said that its true name is “hydrolyzed high fructose insulin syrup.” And we all are familiar with the ongoing studies around the negative impact high fructose has on our bodies.
Just like sugar, agave nectar is an addictive sweetener, and you should always use it sparingly and in moderation.
I am not sure if this is what I wanted to hear about agave, but definitely information I needed to know. Some say organic raw brown sugar or organic white sugar is still a better option than agave syrup, or artificial sweeteners. What do you think?