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.
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.
Today I spent the day with about 50 breastfeeding experts and advocates from around the nation, including representatives from key US government agencies. As I sat and listened to the latest research, current community initiatives and strategies from lactation consultants; I found myself having to sit on my hands. While I am very much an advocate of breastfeeding and truly believe breast is best for our infants, there were a few things my colleagues were saying that I did not agree with 100%. There were staunch breastfeeding advocates and I did not want to get put out of the room, so I never went to the mic or raised my hand. Surprisingly, the MEN had the loudest voices in the room today.
So I would like share my two cents on the subject with all of you:
Breast is best! Research shows this is true and that the benefits of breastmilk are profound. Not to mention the unique bond that is established between mom and baby when they are skin to skin. In addition, there are great benefits for mom too. So new moms and moms-to-be, I urge you to learn about breastfeeding during pregnancy and do all that you can to not only initiate breastfeeding, but maintain it for at least 6 months.
Breastfeeding takes time, patience and support. Many people think, “oh it just comes naturally.” Uh NO, it does not. Even a lactation consultant will tell you this. Is it a natural and biological thing for moms? Yes, but I repeat, it takes time, patience and support. I have watched so many of my girlfriends struggle through tears, guilt and anxiety as they initiate breastfeeding and fail the first few times. They want to breastfeed but the overwhelming feeling of wanting to ensure their baby doesn’t starve, takes over. So they begin to lean towards the solution of giving the baby formula. I think lactation consultants in the hospital could offer different methods to breastfeeding, ways to soothe mom and more support. As a result, Mom, may not give up so quickly.
Dads’ support is key to breastfeeding. So many women find it difficult to breastfeed because they don’t have support from their partner. He may not understand the importance or significant benefits that breastfeeding has on the baby short and long term, as well as for mom. If Dad is not supportive, this can cause additional stress for mom as she focuses on trying to breastfeed. If she doesn’t have support at home, she will find it increasingly difficult to do it. On the other hand, if Dad is very supportive then great! But he should also not “browbeat” mom if she cannot breastfeed or is having difficulty breastfeeding. This will only make things worse and make her feel more guilty as well as anxious. So to my men, participate in learning about breastfeeding, be there for her and do everything possible to understand that this is not as easy as you may think.
Mom, it really is okay if you cannot breastfeed! SCREECH!! Nails going down a blackboard. The needle on a record player stopping! Yes, me, the SavvyHealthGirl said it! The breast advocates are going to shoot me! But, I never want any mother to ever believe that she is a bad or awful mother because she was not able to breastfeed her child. A woman goes through enough as it is over nine months of carrying a human being and then having to figure out what to do with it now that it’s out! So making her feel guilty because she didn’t produce enough milk, is cruel. Many of us were not breastfed and we were healthy, intelligent and well adjusted children. Let me be clear, I am not saying not that you should not try to breastfeed, but if you try and are not able (for whatever reason) your baby can still be healthy. You will still be a good mom.
There are so many resources out there for moms on breastfeeding. I have listed some below. You can find out if your city has a Baby Friendly and/or a Breastfeeding Friendly Hospital. You can get also find out where lactation consultants are in your area who can help you ease into breastfeeding.
This post is dedicated to all of my friends who are either pregnant, trying to get pregnant or think they may want to get pregnant some day. For those of you outside of the world of public health, there has been a new focus since 2006 on preparing a woman’s body BEFORE she thinks about getting pregnant. It’s called preconception health and health care. Naturally, when most women hear the word “preconception” they automatically break it down in their minds and think this doesn’t apply to them because they are not thinking about being pregnant anytime soon. But that is the key — having a healthy body BEFORE you even begin thinking about getting pregnant or planning to get pregnant. Because 50% of the U.S. pregnancies are unplanned, it is even more important for a woman to be healthy NOW and not when it’s too late. It’s simple actually — healthy women=healthy babies and healthy babies=healthy communities. It’s a cyclical effect.
Generally, a woman doesn’t know she is pregnant until after 4 weeks of gestation which is the most critical period of development. This is why preconception health trumps prenatal health and care. By taking of your body in advance, you can feel a little better about that 4 week period of development, that you may not be aware of, because you know you were eating healthy, exercising, less drinking of alcohol and not smoking.
Here is an idea of what is happening during those first 4 weeks:
Neural tube forms - It will develop into the nervous system (Brain, spinal cord, hair, and skin). The baby already has the foundation for thought, senses, feeling, and more!
The heart and primitive circulatory system rapidly form – While still in its beginning stages, this is the very life support system that will carry the baby throughout his or her life.
So ladies (and men), I ask that you if you are thinking about having a baby next month or two years from now, that you do some simple things today to help you have a healthy baby and healthy pregnancy. It will make a difference!
- Get a check-up for high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, seizures and thyroid disease.
- Get tested for HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
- Take a vitamin with folic acid every day.
- Eat healthy, with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Be active! Exercise at least 30 minutes a day.
- Keep stress under control and do pleasant things that will keep you in good spirits.
- Don’t smoke, drink or use drugs.
There is nothing worse than dry, itchy skin in the winter. It’s uncomfortable and quite unattractive when you are wearing something sleeveless. So what can you do about it? Exfoliate!!! Scrub, scrub, scrub all of the dead skin away.
I become a fanatic when it comes to searching for the best exfoliation product. I probably have at least 4 different types in my bathroom right now. From over the counter to the ones from the kiosk in the mall outside of Nordstrom’s. Yes, I got sucked into buying a sea salt scrub once the demonstration was done on my hand. It was January and I was desperate! I have yet to use it yet, but I will. Right after I use the other 4 jars I already own.
The best thing about exfoliating is it removes the dead skin cells to prepare for new and fresh cells, as well as it repairs that dull appearance your skin has with dead cells. Who doesn’t want to look younger? Exfoliate your skin and you will be doing something great for your skin. Taking care of your skin, is one of the best things you can do for yourself. I have listed a few of my favorites below and those that actually work well. They range in price and size. I am sure there are ones out there I have yet to try, but start here and get to scrubbing!
Quick exfoliant tip: In this winter weather, your lips take a beating. Outside of keeping lip balm on it, you can quickly exfoliate with couple of drops of olive oil and some sugar. This is a simple and cheap home remedy to get dead skin off of your lips. Rub in well, rinse with water and then apply with lip balm. End result: soft and supple lips.
I don’t know about everyone else, but it has come to my attention that my scale . . . the one I hide behind the bathroom door is officially a LIAR (and evil)! Maybe that’s it. It’s upset with me because I keep it hidden and out of sight and it’s getting revenge. There is no other reason why it would want to lie to me like this when I step on! Oh and it is such a BIG lie too! All women know exactly what I am talking about because I know your scale has probably lied to you at least once if not twice. It’s Monday morning, you are about to get in the shower (so you have nothing that could cause unnecessary weight), you step on the scale and BAM it spits out a complete untruth. A boldface lie! You are wondering why it would deceive you this way. Right? Everyone knows the best time to weigh yourself is first thing in the morning when your stomach is empty. So you’re not sure what went wrong. You did everything right and you get this lie. It is definitely angry with you about something!
Well, I am going to do something about mine. I will not stand for this treatment anymore and I am going to make the scale my friend again. First, for the next month it is going in the closet. We need some time apart for a while. There will be no more play time with me getting off and on at least 5 times, shifting feet, or alternating foot positions. I’m done with that!
Next, I am going to show that scale. I’m cutting out all of those holiday sweets that I have been consuming since Thanksgiving. Ha, take that scale! You’re gonna want to be my friend. Only apples and grapefruits for me. Yeah!
Did you say wine, margaritas? You got it, cutting back on that too and juice (especially Mango Lemonade and Trader Joe’s Pink Lemonade Italian Soda). That scale doesn’t know who it’s messing with. 100% pure aqua, H20, good ol’ fashion faucet fluid. Okay well maybe filtered.
Oh I am not done yet. No more french fries (for now)! Yep, I am getting out the big guns to take down the scale and it will begging for us to be friends again. I will not succumb to the fries calling my name or the delicious smell wafting from the door as I walk pass Five Guys.
Croissants for breakfast? No way! Who cares if they are buttery, flaky, come with different fillings and melt in your mouth. (Oh my!) They are out too and nothing but multigrain toast will do. Next thing I know, that scale will be rushing to be underfoot.
Finally, and this is huge. This will surely get me back into the good graces of the scale. I am going to start running, spinning and yoga-ing again!! Apparently, you lose tons of calories and fat from exercising! Who knew? If that doesn’t win it over, then nothing will.
I sure hope this works because I would hate to have to throw that scale out of the window and watch it splatter into tiny pieces. So, if you are fighting with your scale, maybe you too should try getting back into its good graces. But remember, everything in moderation.
As I approached the new year, I focused on searching for a renewed sense of balance in my life. With a new job that is both challenging and often stressful, I was beginning to lose my balance. I am a true Libra (if you believe in Zodiac signs, et al) and when my scales are crooked, so am I. If my work life is off, then so is the rest of my life. I pride myself on remaining positive, keeping positive people around me and maintaining a positive outlook. But for the past 6 months I have begun to lose that and it scares me. It makes me feel emotionally and psychologically helpless and I don’t like it. And I needed to do something about it quick if I am going to survive this job and be successful and if I want to remain sane. So I began looking at ways in which I can do this fast and economically. I am sure I am not alone and hope you too can use my “balance” tips:
Yoga: I am convinced that Yoga can cure a lot of things. Staying focused, breathing and being in a quiet space is the best for getting in tune with YOU! Identify a good studio with a variety of classes and levels. There are varying types and you want to ensure you partake in the one best for you. It really does help you regain focus. It doesn’t hurt that you are getting in shape too.
Meditation: Ah, this is always tough for me because I am always trying to do something or squeeze in another task during the day. Sitting still with my eyes closed, thinking and focusing is a challenge unless I am in on a plane (that is where I do my best thinking.) But, meditation is so great for the body and soul. It does help you get “in tune” with your life. Take a few moments a day to just sit and release. You will be amazed at how that can help you find clarity.
Exercise: Yes I know, I know, the dreaded new year’s resolution that we all make come January 1. But, research has shown that exercising or doing some form of physical activity helps reduce anxiety and stress. Upload some new tunes to your I-POD, take advantage of the deals gyms are running this month or buy some Tae-Bo tapes, and find an ideal time in your schedule. Get off the couch and get moving! I am going to take my own advice.
Create a vision board: I am a firm believer in positive thinking and visualizing what you want. It has worked for me before and so it is time to create a new one. Think about what you want today, next month or over a lifetime. Jot them down on paper and then grab magazines or newspapers and cut out symbols or visual objects of what you have written. Turn your words into a vision. Be specific. Place it somewhere you can visualize what’s on your vision board everyday.
Do absolutely NOTHING: The only thing that has helped me survive these past few months is I literally do nothing on the weekends. It would hinder me at times, but it was necessary to remain sane. Take one day and just do mindless things — go to the movies, play a board game, or do a puzzle. By Monday, you will have some renewed clarity and can make better decisions as well.
Here’s to you and me finding a new sense of balance in 2010. I will keep you posted on my progress.