Authors: Sorry to Rain on Your Twin Obsession Parade, But Twins Are Risky, Period

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Twins are always considered a blessing and lately, they’ve been getting even more glorification, especially with celebs like Beyonce and Amal Clooney making recent headlines for the fact they are carrying twins.

But as with any celebration, there are those who will swoop in to offer a reality check. Like one Daily Mail columnist, Jill Foster, herself a mom, who wrote about how twin pregnancies are high risk and come with a boat load of additional concerns, cautions and care that mom (and dad) must undertake.

“Multiple births are fraught with risk, no matter how rich you are,” Foster writes in a recent column. “Carrying my twin girls was the most arduous and terrifying thing I’ve done — and the professionals agree with me.”

She quotes consultant obstetrician and gynecologist Shazia Malik, a sub-specialist in reproductive medicine at London’s Portland Hospital, who said that “people underestimate the risks of a multiple pregnancy.”

There is a risk “of miscarriage, stillbirth or pre-term birth is around five times higher than a singleton pregnancy. Once premature babies are born, they may spend several weeks or even months in Special Care and may have growth restriction, brain damage, problems with vision and later have developmental delay,” Malik said.

She adds: “There’s a higher risk to the mother, too, of developing gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia, which could lead to death.”

Foster says her identical twin daughters were conceived without medical intervention but that she went thru her pregnancy in fear because her twins developed in the same sac, increasing the chances of dual death were something to go wrong.

“At 11 weeks’ pregnant, I’d learned that the babies were growing in the same amniotic sac. Called a mono-amniotic pregnancy, it meant their umbilical cords could easily become entwined and strangulated.

“Not even one baby would survive if this happened. They would live or die together, and death would be sudden or spontaneous. I lived my pregnancy on a knife edge. It seemed sensible to only tell my closest family and friends.”

She also thinks she suffered post partum depression which is common among moms of multiples.

According to the Twins and Multiple Birth Association (TAMBA), mothers of multiples have almost twice the average risk of postnatal depression and it tends to last longer and can still require treatment up to seven years after the birth.

Then there are the myths of twin pregnancies.  In a new book Twin Mythconceptions: False Beliefs, Fables, and Facts about TwinsDr. Nancy L. Segal attempts to bust over 70 myths regarding twin pregnancies.


Here are some of the top 10 Myths, (many of which we have blogged about before here on Bellyitch), Dr. Segal has identified:

the “Top 10” myths or beliefs about twins, which include:

  • Identical twins can communicate by extrasensory perception or ESP (False)

o   There is no scientific evidence that twins exchange thoughts or ideas by reading each other’s minds—identical twins’ social closeness is better explained by studies showing that their common genes underlie their within-pair communication skills.

  • Older mothers are more likely to conceive fraternal twins than younger mothers (True)

o   Since releasing two eggs at the same time is not typical, this is possibly a reflection of the aging process.

  • Identical twins have identical fingerprints (False)

o   These features, which develop between the 10th and 25th gestational week, are affected by factors such as temperature, intrauterine position and density of amniotic fluid near the fingers.

  • Your consumption of yams and other dietary choices increase the chances of conceiving fraternal twins (True)

o   It is thought that the white yam contains fertility-inducing properties that trick the female body into releasing hormones that promote ovulation–this may partly explain the high fraternal twinning rate among the Yorùbá of western Nigeria.

Dr. Segal is currently Professor of Psychology at California State University, Fullerton and Director of the Twin Studies Center. She has authored more than 200 scientific articles and book chapters, as well as four highly acclaimed books on twins.

The moral of the story is celebrate twin births. Admire them. Dote on moms carrying twins. Offer help and support to family and friends who deliver twins, especially afterwards, given the higher PPD risk. But certainly, be very aware that they are risky pregnancies and deserve extra care and consideration before venturing into IVF in hopes of carrying them if you cannot conceive a set without medical intervention. Don’t let these celebrities out here lull you into a fairy tale la la land.

Trend: Parents are Giving Their Kids Posh Easter Baskets

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Posh parents are foregoing the traditional Easter baskets  filled with candy, plastic toys, and bubbles and opting for baskets with more expensive items inside.

One New York City mom, Laura Rolston, told local station CBS that she is having her son Christopher’s picture taken with the Easter Bunny at Roosevelt Field Mall and then giving him a basket of clothes and more elaborate gifts.

“Stuffed animals and bath toys and stuff like that,” the Patchogue resident told the station. “Little clothing for him. It’s definitely a little more than when I was a kid. I’m a new parent and I’m excited and I don’t mind spoiling my little boy a bit.”


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It’s part of a new trend to make Easter baskets that rival the best birthday and Christmas presents — complete with clothing, toys, and even electronics.

Some parents say the extravagant and gift filled Easter basket are a result of parents’ tried to steer their kids away from eating so much candy. Still, others say it’s gone too far.

“We hear that these baskets, parents are putting them online and saying, ‘Look at my basket, my basket is bigger and better than the other basket’ and again, at the end of the day, it should be about tradition, should be about a holiday, shouldn’t be about who has the biggest, better, most awesome, expensive basket,”  Lyss Stern of the DivaMoms.com blog told a local Fox station.

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“We hear that these baskets, parents are putting them online and saying, ‘Look at my basket, my basket is bigger and better than the other basket’ and again, at the end of the day, it should be about tradition, should be about a holiday, shouldn’t be about who has the biggest, better, most awesome, expensive basket,” Stern told MyFoxZone.

VIRAL: Australian Mom Delivers 13 Pound Baby Boy with No Epidural

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Very exciting to hear that Australian Natashia Corrigan welcomed her third child, son Brian Liddle Jr, without an epidural. The mom, who also has two daughters, is making news recently because of the fact that her baby weighed 13 pounds and 4 ounces at birth and she delivered him without the use of an epidural!

Wowza!

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Brian compared to another newborn around his age.


According to CBS News., Corrigan’s two daughters weighed around 8 pounds at birth. On a Facebook post on January 24 with photos after the birth at Mercy Health, she said she “never dreamed he’d be this big, thought he’d be an 11 pounder at the max! But we’re blessed with a safe delivery of a 13.5 pounder! I’m still in shock!”

He is a beauty. We love a baby with lovable rolls. More to love!

Mediocre Rich Kids Will Earn More Than Poor Bright Kids, Education Secretary Admits

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High achieving smart but poor kids wind up earning significantly less salary as adults than children with mediocre academic abilities who were born to parents that are professionals or managers.

This inequity is apparent even when the workers have the exact same position, work experience and education attainment, UK’s Education Secretary recently admitted.


 

“Children from high-income backgrounds who show signs of low academic ability at age five are 35 per cent more likely to become high earners than their poorer peers who show early signs of high ability,”  UK Education Secretary Justine Greening said at a conference on social mobility last month.

She added: “Graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds who do make it to the top jobs still earn, on average, over £2,200 a year less than their colleagues who happen to have been born to professional or managerial parents – even when they have the same educational attainment, the same role and the same experience.”

In singer Lorde’s song “Royals”, she sings about “postcode envy” which is a real thing and then there is the “Postcode lottery” which children who go to school in wealthier areas benefit from.

During the conference, Greening blamed the current school funding system for contributing to inequity in opportunity for equal pay.

We have that same “postcode lottery” here in the US. With much of school funding coming from property taxes of the surrounding homes, naturally, schools in areas sign high home values will be better funded than those in poorer parts.

Brits agree that one’s parents’ socioeconomic standing benefits how well a person does in life.

A Social Mobility Commission poll conducted last year found that 45% of Britons believed “where you end up in society is mainly determined by your background and who your parents were”. Just 29% of people bought into the idea that success is based on merit alone.

Unlike our Education secretary in America who only has experience attending and sending her own children to private school’s, UK’s Greenfield went to public schools, called a comprehensive school in England. Also, she was the first in her family to go to university so she can relate.

“I’m not someone who ever planned to go into politics,” she said. “Far from it. Actually, some of my earliest memories of politicians are of my father shouting at politicians who turned up on the news, frustrated that he felt they didn’t really talk about his life.”

 

Nation Siblings Day; Survey Says that Sibling Rivalry Thing’s A Myth

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Today is National Siblings Day!

It’s a day to celebrate your brother and sister by posting a photo of yourself and/or with your siblings with the hashtag, #NationalSiblingsDay to post on social media.


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The day was started by native New Yorker, Claudia Evart in 1995 to honor and celebrate siblings.  After losing her two siblings early in life in separate accidents, she knew how important siblings could be in our lives.

Claudia created the Siblings Day Foundation (SDF), a tax-exempt organization, whose goals included the establishment of National Siblings Day.  Claudia selected April 10 in honor of her late sister, Lisette’s birthday.

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The folks at NationalToday.com learned from a recent survey that the concept of sibling-rivalry is a myth.

Only 3% of Americans hate their siblings while 92% of the 1,000 Americans surveyed said they do not fight with their siblings. Only 8% of Americans report having physically fought with their siblings.

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Few siblings carry long-term grudges against each other. Only 3% of male subjects surveyed still hold a grudge over a childhood fight, while females are half as forgiving: 6% still feel a bit bitter.

Some people have best friends in their siblings. One in 10 American siblings are best friends. About 8% of Americans talk to their siblings every day, while another 8% say their siblings know them better than anyone else.

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If given a choice, more Americans (36%) would chose to be an older sibling  versus being an only child (15%), while  1 in 3 would enjoy being the youngest.

OTHER SIBLINGS DAY INSIGHTS
#1: We shared—or still share—clothes (7%)
#2: We are in a group text (6%)
#3: We share the same friend group (5%)
#4: We’ve embarrassed each other on social media (5%)

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To learn more about National Siblings Day, you can visit [nationaltoday.com/us/national-siblings-day/].

Study: No Allergies or Obesity for Babies Born to Homes with Dogs

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A new study finds that babies born into homes that have pets, especially dogs, are less likely to have allergies or suffer from obesity.

Children born into a house with pets are more likely to be immune to certain allergies and less likely to be obese, a new study finds.

Researchers from the University of Alberta discovered that babies in homes with pets had greater levels of “gut microbes” that prevent allergic disease and obesity. This was especially true in households with dogs, which accounted for 70 percent of the participants.

Gut microbes are identified as “microorganisms or bacteria that live in the digestive tracts of humans and animals,” according to a university release.


But the team warned that the benefits identified for the children in the study occurred when they were exposed to pets during a certain timetable early in their lives.

“There’s definitely a critical window of time when gut immunity and microbes co-develop, and when disruptions to the process result in changes to gut immunity,” says Anita Kozyrskyj, a pediatric epidemiologist at the university and one of the world’s leading researchers on gut microbes, in the news release.

The study examined fecal samples from babies who are part of the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development study, which is comprised of 3,500 children born after 2010. The study monitors the children to help figure out the various genetic and environmental influences that may lead to allergies and asthma.

Prior research has found that children in homes with dogs are less likely to be asthmatic because of their exposure to bacteria carried by the pets in their fur or on their paws.

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Study: Most Child Flu Deaths Occurred in Unvaccinated Kids

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A new study of deaths in children from influenza analyzed over four flu seasons found that most deaths occurred in unvaccinated children.

The study, “Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Against Pediatric Deaths: 2010-2014,” to be published in the May 2017 issue of Pediatrics (April 3 online) analyzed 291 deaths of children between ages 6 months through 17 years.


About one-fourth (26%) of the children who died had been vaccinated against influenza before illness onset. Among 153 deaths of children with underlying high-risk medical conditions, 31% had been vaccinated. Vaccine-effectiveness was higher (65%) among children without high-risk medical conditions.

Though uncommon, influenza-associated deaths among children occur annually, with varying incidence depending on the severity of the flu season.

Since 2004, the number of influenza-associated deaths among children younger than age 18 has ranged from 37 in the 2011-2012 season to 358 during a 2009 pandemic.

The study supports current recommendations for annual flu vaccination for all children age 6 months and older.

read the report here

‘Raising Arizona’, ‘The Princess Bride’ in 30 Movies That Turn 30 in 2017

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Can you believe it has been thirty years since Nicholas Cage’s character in the hit award-winning cult film Raising Arizona stole a baby for his barren wife?

I don’t know about my younger readers, but in my youth 30 years ago, Hollywood delivered some amazing and memorable movies.


They define a generation, for aure

The Princess Bride, Dirty Dancing, The Lost Boys, Adventures in Babysitting, La Bamba, Mannequin and Fatal Attraction all turn 30-years old this years, 2017.

My fave celeb websites Zimbio did an awesome roundup of 30 notable movies that turn 30!

check it out here!

Children’s History Book Editors Struggle On Framing the Trump Presidency

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Makers of children’s non-fiction history books are struggling to create editions for the current president because they are unsure how to include all the controversial statements and positions Mr. Trump has made and whether to include them at all.

“After an election cycle whose divisive effect on voters is still being felt, publishing books for classroom use has been unusually perilous,” New York Times journalist Katherine Rosman writes today. “For Ms. [Beth] Sutinis [executive editor for the children’s division of Time Inc], the difficulty went beyond the time crunch to finding concise quotations from Mr. Trump’s campaign appearances that didn’t include contentious remark.”

One book had to edit its initial entry in one passage about Trump, “Troubling Statements.”


It initially read “Some of Trump’s biggest supporters were white nationalists. Their comments and actions during and after the campaign were racist and often dangerous. Trump did little to speak against them.”

The finished book was changed to  “Campaign Statements.” The section about discrimination was modified to read, “Some of Trump’s critics felt he did not speak out against prejudicial people and groups strongly enough.”

Are We Doing Autism Awareness All Wrong?

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Yesterday was Light It Up Blue day for Autism Awareness, but today in Forbes, science, health and parenting columnist Emily Willingham writes that we should forget about the gesture. One, she says it supports Autism Speaks which Willingham has claimed in the past stigmatizing and demonizes autistic people.

Second, beyond Willingham’s personal and controversial thoughts on this matter, she has a point about awareness campaigns in general that aim to accomplish the basic minimum: Awareness but nothing more. She writes:


In the case of autism, the exhortation of the day, courtesy of Autism Speaks, will be to “light it up blue,” and powers that be around the globe will cause world-famous landmarks to do just that. Because nothing says, “I really care about autistic people,” like going to the trouble to install blue lights on tall buildings and then flipping them on for a few hours. Presumably, the world will then be led to wonder, “Why is the Leaning Tower of Pisa blue today?” and eagerly turn to the Internet for answers, learning for the first time that a condition called “autism” exists. Awareness achievement unlocked. All done.

But you can do some real work that can make a real difference for autistic people (read here on using “autistic”), something that goes beyond sartorial expression, social media tricks or light bulb purchases….

..you will encounter many a call for “autism awareness.” Have you heard about autism yet? OK. So you’re aware. Step one is low, and you’ve mastered it. Now for the steeper climb. For autistic people, awareness is not the goal at this point–acceptance is.

We can see her point.

A lot of adults without children with Autism do not really understand it. A recent survey of parents reveal that 92% of parents without learning disabilities harbor severe misconceptions. It’s unfortunate given the fact that 20% of Americans have a learning disability, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

The survey of 1,000 parents conducted in March 2017 compared the responses of parents of children with and without difficulties. The study was released by Brain Balance Achievement Centers,a holistic, non-medical, drug-free approach to addressing behavioral, social, or learning difficulties

Asked what they think causes these difficulties, 46% of parents of children with difficulties say nature is the root cause of the difficulties while 24% think their child’s difficulties are hereditary, and another 22% think they arise from developmental delays. Only 7% say they’re caused by bad parenting.

Compare this to what parents of children without difficulties think:45% think that parents are to blame for difficulties and  27% of parents whose children don’t have learning difficulties think they’re caused by a lack of discipline, while 18% think they come from bad parenting. (In reality, learning, social, and behavioral difficulties can have many sources, including neurologically based processing problems.)

Parents who are curious about learning, social, and behavioral difficulties, or who think their child might have one, can take this online assessment:  After years of helping children with behavioral and social challenges, the experts at Brain Balance have developed a cutting-edge (and drug-free) program combining sensory motor stimulation, academic stimulation, and nutrition to correct brain imbalance and improve achievement.

Given that 7% of children with difficulties are bullied at school, it leaves one to wonder if kids are getting those misconceptions from their parents at home.

Correcting wrong perceptions is essential as is moving past basic awareness and more towards acceptance.

Check out the rest of Willingham’s piece HERE!