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Study: Eating Fish While Pregnant is Good for Baby’s Brain, Reduces Autism Spectrum

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When mothers eat three sizeable servings of fish each week during pregnancy it may benefit children’s brains for years to come, according to a large study in Spain.

Researchers followed nearly 2,000 mother-child pairs from the first trimester of pregnancy through the child’s fifth birthday and found improved brain function in the kids whose mothers ate the most fish while pregnant, compared to children of mothers who ate the least.

Even when women averaged 600 grams, or 21 ounces, of fish weekly during pregnancy, there was no sign that mercury or other pollutants associated with fish were having a negative effect that offset the apparent benefits.

“Seafood is known to be an important source of essential nutrients for brain development, but at the same time accumulates mercury from the environment, which is known to be neurotoxic,” lead author Jordi Julvez, of the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona, said in an email….

….The researchers also saw a consistent reduction in autism-spectrum traits with increased maternal fish consumption.

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Social Media & Moms Force Scholastic to Pull ‘Happy Slave’ Books Released on MLK’s Birthday

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Scholastic interrupted!

The instructional and educational materials company announced today that it will no longer release the books about happy slaves it released a week before Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s birthday.

An Atlanta teacher and blogger Kia  Morgan Smith, of Cincomom.comwas among those behind a successful campaign  to yank the books “A Birthday Cake for George Washington” and “Happy Birthday Mr. President“.

The problem?  Both books centered on a reportedly true tale about George Washington‘s head chef Hercules, who is portrayed in the books as a jovial and happy character despite the fact he is a slave.

The books were both illustrated by  a famed African American artist Vanessa Brantly-Newton and edited by an African American woman Andrea Davis-Pinkney. (Both who have released wonderful books featuring African American children and families that we love)

American author Ramin Ganeshram, who is of Trinidad and Iranian heritage,  wrote both books.

The vibe of the stories, Morgan Smith said, was revisionist in that they portrayed slavery as an era that was “not that bad.”

Smith coordinated a Change.org petition on behalf of an organization she founded with her daughter, Brown Girls Magic asking for the company to pull the two titles.

“Slaves were not happy,” the petition reads. “Slavery is not a HAPPY event no matter which way you slice it! Slavery can’t and won’t be NORMALIZED!”

In the books, Hercules, the real chef owned as a slave by George Washington, faced the dilemma of making a cake for Washington’s birthday after discovering he was out of sugar. The story is told from the perspective of Hercules’ young daughter Delia.

But despite the happy spin the book places on the “loving exchange between a very determined father and his eager daughter,” Hercules was not indeed happy to be a slave. In fact, though not explained in the books, he ran away in February 1797 and left his 6-year old daughter behind who would never see her dad again, the petition notes. Not a “happy” tale at all.

The petition, which eventually grew to over 1800 signatures in two short days, garnered tons of attention and support in social media and was even the subject of a SheKnows.com article.

Morgan states she was moved to act after reading an article about the books in Clutch.com.  That piece highlighted one reviewer who encapsulated well the problem with the books:

One spread depicts dancing feet and the hems of fancy dresses and shoes of the white revelers at the very top of the page. Hercules, Delia, and the other slaves are seen in the kitchen below, smiling with glee as they work on the cake, evoking a strangely cheerful and exuberant scene reminiscent of a Disney film. Later, when Washington congratulates Hercules on a job well done, Hercules responds, “An honor and a privilege, sir.” Young readers without sufficient background knowledge about the larger context of American slavery may come away with a dangerously rosy impression of the relationship between slaves and slave owners, and those with a deeper understanding are likely to find this depiction offensive. (emphasis added)

One book received more than 100 one-star reviews on Amazon.com and the trade publication School Library Journal called it “highly problematic” and recommended against its purchase, a NY Daily News  report about the book reported.

Oy!

Well, it’s all over now. The petition, media and social media out-roar was a success. Today, Scholastic announced that it will not be further distributing  the books.  Fox and CBS news covered the reversal.

“Scholastic has a long history of explaining complex and controversial issues to children at all ages and grade levels,” the company’s statement read. “We do not believe this title meets the standards of appropriate presentation of information to younger children, despite the positive intentions and beliefs of the author, editor, and illustrator.”

However, before it was yanked, it became the #1 best seller children’s book despite the overwhelming number of 1 star reviews. We suspect purchased, significantly as well,  by people who are offended by the “political correctness” of people being offended by this book.   * Dizzy *

And that was that.

7 Last Minute Ways You and Your Kids Can Celebrate the #MLKDay of Service

MLK Day   1.18.2016   Corporation for National and Community Service

Today, Monday, January 18, 2016, is the MLK Day of Service.

A few Hollywood celebrities including our Bellyitch Bumpwatch alum Kerry Washington took the time today to recognize Martin Luther King, Jr and the service holiday today in his honor.

  1. As the award-winning actress suggest, take some time off today to get the kids the listen to at least one or a snippet of the Civil Rights hero’s famous speeches.

 

 

If you didn’t enroll you or your children to participate in one of the  many service activities organized around the nation, there is still time for you and the children to do something kind on their own for their neighbors or fellow man.

Here are a 6 other  suggestions besides watching a speech and reflecting on its meaning:

  1. Take garbage bags down to the town creek or some other littered area near your home and clean it up.
  2. Make sandwiches and pack fruit and a snack into about a few dozen brown bags and pass them to homeless people in the closest town or city to you.

  3. Gather old toys and bag them up to donate to Goodwill or a local family shelter.

  4. Call a local home for the elderly and ask if you can come by and play cards and/or board games with the residents.

  5. Make Homemade colorful Get Well Greetings cards to send to a local children’s hospital/

  6. Make Festive Thank You Cards to send to the local USO to ship off to military serving abroad.

Good luck and Happy MLK Day of Service!

CDC: Do Not Travel to These 13 Countries if You’re Pregnant

World In Your Hands Concept Map

If you are pregnant or think you may be, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has just issued a travel alert warning pregnant women to avoid 13 countries in the Americas currently experiencing outbreak of a mosquito-born virus, Zika, that is in linked to an epidemic of birth defects in Brazil.

In the past few months in Brazil, there has been a report of over 3,500 cases of microcephaly, a rare birth defect, compared to the normal 100-200 cases revealed in that massive South American country each year. Some of the babies have died.

For that reason, the CDC issued a travel alert Friday evening, warning people about the risk and suggesting that pregnant women, in particular, avoid Brazil and twelve other nations in the Americas that have had high cases, according to  the Pan American Health Organization: Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname and Venezuela

The CDC said women who cannot avoid traveling should consult their doctors and take steps to avoid mosquito bites, such as wearing long sleeves and pants. Women thinking of becoming pregnant should also consult their doctors before traveling to outbreak zones.

For the US, only the property of Puerto Rico has had a reported case, its first of Zika in December. The case was diagnosed in someone who had not traveled outside of Puerto Rico, suggesting that Zika is spreading there.

The symptoms of the virus are mild but the link to birth -defect makes it more serious.

Brazil also has reported dozens of cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare immune system disorder that can cause temporary paralysis, that appear related to Zika virus.

Yikes! Be careful, TTC moms and moms-to-be!

Let Adam Levine Bring a Celeb Event-Crasher to Surprise Your Fam or Friend (NOW CASTING)

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Remember that popular Maroon 5 video for the group’s hit song, Sugar, which featured the band showing up and crash performing at a half a dozen weddings on December 6, 2014 in LA?

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Well the video has become a reality TV show and is casting for a show being executive produced by frontman and The Voice coach Adam Levine and the director of Wedding Crashers David Dobkin.



Our friends casting for the upcoming NBC show,  CELEBrations, want you to nominate a person having an event whose mind would be blown to have a certain celebrity, movie star, athlete, or musician crash the party!

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If you have a family member, friend, co-worker, relative or other acquaintance who is having a celebration this March 2016 in the LA-area, Adam Levine wants to help you surprise the deserving guest of honor with an appearance by a fave singer, actress, celebrity or other public figure.

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The show is being produced by NBCUniversal and will be a complete surprise to the fortunate person or persons who will get cast to star in this show (without their knowledge but) with your help!

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You must be over 18 to nominate but the guest just has to be at least 14 years of age! Sweet! Apply HERE!

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STUDY: There’s a Potatoes and Gestational Diabetes in Pregnancy Link

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Women who eat lots of potatoes before pregnancy appear more likely to develop gestational diabetes, a new study suggests.

A woman’s risk of gestational diabetes seemed to increase by 27 percent if she regularly consumed between two and four cups of potatoes a week before pregnancy. Five or more cups a week appeared to increase risk by 50 percent, even after researchers accounted for pre-pregnancy obesity and other potential risk factors, the study found.

“The more women consumed potatoes, the greater risk they had for gestational diabetes,” said senior author Dr. Cuilin Zhang, a senior investigator with the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. “Potatoes are regarded as a kind of vegetable, but not all vegetables are healthy.”

However, it’s important to note that this study only showed an association between potato consumption and the risk of gestational diabetes—a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. The study wasn’t designed to prove cause-and-effect.

Findings from the study were released online Jan. 12 in the BMJ.

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What do you Think about MTV launching a New Teen Mom in the UK?

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MTV is taking its hit show Teen Mom across the pond. The music cable network, known more for its revolutionary and break-thru reality Television shows, announced that it will launch its Brit version in Autumn 2016.

“We’ll use this expertise to give Teen Mom a fresh lease of life, combined with a unique British twist, which we’re confident will have massive appeal to local audiences,” MTV UK‘s Jill Offman said.  “MTV UK has a great track record of re-versioning hit shows from our sister channel in the U.S. – we turned Jersey Shore into Geordie Shore and smashed ratings records in the process.”

There have been 12 seasons of Teen Mom, which started as a short run docu-series called 16 and Pregnant, and it has spun off several celebrities: Farrah Abraham,  Jenelle Evans, Caitlynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra, Amber Portwood, Maci Bookout and Leah Messer.

If you’re biggest star from the show is beefing with Nicki Minaj, that’s winning, um…we guess. (snark)

And MTV is asking for Brit teen moms to apply. Oh boy!

What do you think? Excited? Bad idea?

CES 2016: These 2 Health Tech Wearables for Kids could Provide Peace of Mind to Parents

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The Consumer Electronics Show (“CES”) continues

to crank out some pretty neat tech for parents and babies. A couple of companies have announced remote app-based baby vitals monitors that let parents track their children’s temperature, heart rate and oxygen levels from another room.

The Owlet Smart Sock Baby Monitor could be beneficial for that new mom who is deathly afraid of SIDS. The $249 wearable is a smart sock that the baby wears at night and monitors the baby’s heart rate or oxygen level,  its makers say.  If there is a problem, there will be a local alarm that is also uploaded onto the parents’ smart phone. That way if they are away on date night, they can know to contact the baby sitter to check in on the baby.  It isn’t FDA approved and is not the same thing as the pulse oximeter that hospitals use. Still, it sounds like a pretty cool invention for first time worrying parents.

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Also, for older kids maybe, the TempTraq could be a God-send way to monitor a sick child’s temperature while he/she sleeps.  No need to wake them from their slumber to take an under-the-tongue or arm temperature. The bluetooth-equipped single-use patch, which is  a modestly-priced $20, goes under the arm and monitors the child for 24 hours.  It feeds the information n to a smart phone. It’s great because if you’d need to eventually call the doc or go in, you can give a very accurate reading to the pediatrician of the temperature. This monitor IS cleared by the FDA. It changes colors as the fever rises or falls to let a passing parent know at a glance if there is cause for concern. It comes with a free downable app for Android and Apple products.

Nice!

h/t Fortune

So um…There’s a Bluetooth App-Based Pregnancy Test Now

BLUE TOOTH

This week at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, pregnancy test maker FirstResponse released the first ever Bluetooth pregnancy test.

The First Response Pregnancy PRO Digital Test & App Access runs about $20. Download the app which is available on iOS and Android, activate Bluetooth on your smart phone, launch the app, follow the on-screen instructions, then take out the one-time use test, pee on it and then wait. While you wait, the app has entertainment, news, calming messages and other options to take your mind off of the wait.

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Then once you get the results, you enter a code and store it on your app.

“The First Response Tracker App is a women’s health tool, customized to help you get more in tune with your body,”states the description of the app in iTunes. “The App eliminates guesswork by forecasting your next period, calculating your most fertile days, estimating how far along you are and predicting your due date. Knowing your cycle and identifying the days you’re most likely to conceive is very important. If you are trying to conceive, predicting these days can help you get pregnant sooner.”

Is something like this needed? meh. Slate.com says no. We say it’s a cute gimmick but the Dollar Store sells perfectly good tests for a buck and you have enough money to buy a magazine to keep you mind off the 5 minute wait.  snark

STUDY: Prescription Yeast Infection Medicine Linked to Miscarriage Risk

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A prescription drug for yeast infections may increase chances for miscarriages when used early in pregnancy, a large study in Denmark suggests.

The 17-year study involved oral versions of fluconazole, available in pills or liquid. It doesn’t provide any proof of harm, although the drug has been linked with other problems when used in high doses in pregnancy.

The researchers looked at more than 1 million pregnancies in Denmark, comparing outcomes among women who used oral fluconazole and those who didn’t.

Women who used the drug during the first six months of pregnancy were almost 50 percent more likely than nonusers to have a miscarriage. Women at increased risk included those on a low 150-milligram dose; those on higher doses faced greater miscarriage risks.

While fewer than 10 percent of women in each group had miscarriages — they totaled 710 — the researchers said doctors should use caution in prescribing the drug early in pregnancy.

The study, by researchers at State Serum Institute in Copenhagen, was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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