Archive for July, 2004

Lessons in parenting ‘vital for all families’

Sarah Womack in The UK Telegraph reports:

Parenting skills have worsened considerably in the past 30 years, the Professional Association of Teachers’ conference was told yesterday.

Paul Ennals, the chief executive of the National Children’s Bureau, a children’s charity, blamed the fragmentation of society and said new parents were having to turn to the internet for advice rather than their parents.

He called for parenting classes to become a normal part of life for all families, regardless of social class.

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How smoking can affect a pregnancy

The Boston Globe reports:

The nicotine in cigarettes may cause constrictions in blood vessels of the umbilical cord and uterus and thereby decrease the amount of oxygen available to the fetus.

Babies of mothers who smoked during pregnancy have lower birth weights, a leading cause of infant deaths.

Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of pregnancy complications, premature delivery, stillbirth, and sudden infant death syndrome.

The good news is women who quit before becoming pregnant reduce many of these risks to that of women who’ve never smoked.

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Get ducks in a row before divorce

Candace Bahr in North County Times reports:

If divorce looms in your future, it is important to take steps to prepare for what may lie ahead. Statistics show that in the first year after divorce, it’s not uncommon for the wife’s standard of living to drop almost 27 percent. Some advance planning can go a long way to ease the transition.

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Debate emerges over child computer use

Journal Now reports:

There’s no shortage of sites and software aimed at very young kids and even toddlers.

But there’s growing debate over whether children should be exposed to technology so early. Some parents and scholars see no benefit, and a handful even warn of a hindrance to child development.

“Mental ability is gained from manipulating the three-dimensional world at that age and (from) managing your own mind and not having it managed by an electronic machine,” said Jane M. Healy, the author of Failure to Connect: How Computers Affect Our Children’s Mind.

Healy said that computers take children away from other developmental activities more appropriate for their brains and can “easily become a habit for both parent and child.”

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Health Tip: Prevent West Nile Virus

Anne Thompson in Forbes reports:

Keeping the bugs away is the best way to prevent West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these suggestions…

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Study finds health-giving bacteria

John Miner in The London Free Press reports:

A pair of London scientists on a 22-year quest to find bacteria capable of keeping people healthy instead of making them sick have finally seen their work rewarded. Bacteria isolated by Dr. Gregor Reid and Dr. Andrew Bruce, scientists at the Lawson Health Research Institute, are now being put into capsules and sold to women to help fight off bladder infections and bacterial vaginosis.

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Test may prevent premature births

BBC News reports:

Pregnant women can be screened for infections which might help prevent premature births, say US scientists.

A simple test detects these infections say US researchers at Oregon Health & Science University in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Early testing for infections followed by treatment where necessary could prevent numerous premature births, Dr Michael Gravett and his colleagues believe.

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The Smile Train

The Smile Train is a wonderful organization that provides cleft lip surgery for children in developing nations. Getting this surgery is not only important for social reasons, it’s also important for overall physical health. It’s more difficult for a child with a cleft lip to thrive, because their inability to suck and eat well often leads to malnutrition.

It only cost $250 for each surgery. I encourage you to give to this organization if you can. http://www.smiletrain.org/

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Women lobby for adoption

Kathleen D. Bailey in The Exeter News-Letter reports:

In an effort to get the country of Romania to amend an adoption law that bans the adoption of Romanian children by non-Romanians, Schaaf, of Stratham, and Carla Boudreau, of Milford, traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to meet with Romanian Prime Minister Andre Nastase and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mircea Geoana.

Although the Romanian officials didn’t make any promises, they did show sympathy and interest in the women’s cause, according to Schaaf. In her view, the trip was successful in adding two more advocates for the 250 Romanian children who are in the process of being adopted by non-Romanians.

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Parents-to-be debate breast-feeding vs. bottle-feeding

T. Berry Brazelton, M.D. with Joshua Sparrow, M.D. in Houston Chronicle reports:

DURING the last few months of pregnancy, most parents-to-be come to a decision about whether they will breast-feed or bottle-feed their baby.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast-feeding for the first 12 months, and we agree with this recommendation — if the mother is able to do it. Here are some of the reasons…

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