Archive for January, 2009

Vitamin D Deficiency May Boost C-Section Risk

This little article on WebMD immediately caught my attention, because I had a C-Section, and I didn’t want one.

I was the woman who planned a full-on natural childbirth. I was the woman who fought my ob when she wanted to induce my labor because of borderline high blood pressure and borderline gestational diabetes. I knew it would increase the risk of c-section. I was the woman who did about ten hours of induced labor without pain meds (they catheterized me and broke my water, too! Ouch!), hoping my baby would agree to come out the old fashioned way.

I was the woman who couldn’t have a c-section fast enough when labor was becoming too hard on my baby, and we needed to get her out. Right away.

I am also the woman who — should she ever be blessed with another pregnancy — hopes to have a vaginal birth after a c-section.

I’m so thankful for my c-section. I’m so thankful my baby was born strong and healthy. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel a little wistful, sometimes, that I didn’t share an experience my mother had (four times), and her mother before her (six times), and so on.

So. Vitamin D, huh? Hmmm….

My baby and me just after our c-section. I’m swollen, but over the moon!
Here’s what the WebMD article says, quoting a vitamin D researcher (Vitamin D researcher? We didn’t have one of those at my high school career day!)

Vitamin D researcher Michael Holick, MD, PhD, and colleagues from the Boston Medical Center report that women in their study who were severely vitamin D deficient during childbirth were about four times more likely to deliver by cesarean section as women with higher vitamin D levels.

and…

“We are just beginning to recognize that a large percentage of pregnant women are vitamin D deficient and that being on a prenatal vitamin is totally inadequate to bring levels up to where they need to be,” Holick tells WebMD.

There are many ways to increase your vitamin D intake. You could try cod liver oil as your fish oil supplement. Researchers say it can increase your baby’s IQ, like other fish oil supplements, but it has the added benefit of high levels of vitamin D. Nordic Naturals CLO is purified (no, I’m not on their payroll!). It says it tastes good, but I’ve found the texture of CLO kind of nasty. If you hate it, try mixing it in a smoothie! I sneak all kinds of healthy things into my daughter’s morning smoothie.

By the way, research has shown that taking cod liver oil during pregnancy may also reduce your child’s risk of Type 1 (insulin dependant) Diabetes.

The National Institutes of Health has a list of good sources of Vitamin D:

Cod liver oil
Salmon, cooked
Mackerel, cooked
Tuna fish, canned in oil
Sardines, canned in oil
Milk, nonfat, reduced fat, and whole, vitamin D-fortified
Margarine, fortified
Ready-to-eat cereal, fortified with 10% of the DV for vitamin D
Egg, 1 whole (vitamin D is found in yolk)
Liver, beef, cooked
Cheese, Swiss

For the suggested portion sizes for the above listed foods, and much more info on Vitamin D, visit the NIH page on the topic here.

You could also take a Vitamin D supplement along with your prenatal vitamin. Dr. Holick suggests additional 1,000 IU of the vitamin. IU stands for International Units, and will be listed on the bottle.

Now, this article makes clear that more research needs to be done before any kind of official recommendation might be made with regard to Vitamin D and pregnancy, but since research also suggests that many pregnant women are vitamin D deficient, it couldn’t hurt to have an extra egg or two every now and then!

If I get pregnant again, I will. Bring on the VBAC!

Please check out our free podcasts for much more on cesarean sections and vaginal births after a c-section.

-Bonnie

Babies!


A friend of mine JUST had a baby. She is perfect and beautiful and YAY! Another is going to give birth any minute. At home! You go, brave girl.

Of course, this gives me serious baby fever. But then when don’t I have serious baby fever?

The pic above is my baby and me on her birthday. What a day.

These exciting births have reminded me of how much I enjoyed doing the Pea in the Podcasts for new mommies. After my little one came, I couldn’t believe they were going to send her home with me without a very large handbook. If this will soon be you, or someone you know, why not give the podcasts a listen or pass them on? Hopefully they will ease your/their terror a little, although nothing could possibly alleviate it completely.

Here they are:
Caring For Your Newborn
Baby Boot Camp

Now…off to find some sort of medication to cure this baby fever….

-Bonnie

A Past Miscarriage May Put You At Risk For Future Miscarriages

This is a scary one, even though — as the article clearly states — the risks we’re talking about here are small.

It’s scary because miscarriages are gut-wrenching. Even if your baby is unplanned, a miscarriage can turn your heart inside out and upside down. For many women, deciding to try to get pregnant after a miscarriage is akin to deciding to leap off a cliff. They are simply terrified to go through that again.

Then you read this, and you’re saying to yourself, “Thanks, Bonnie. Remember that short pier? Why don’t you go for a long walk.”

I’ve always thought, though, that information can only be good. That’s true here, as well.

Why? Well, remember, I’m NOT A DOCTOR, but I’ve interviewed a couple. I also know far too many women who’ve miscarried, and I’ve taken their stories into my heart.

When I hear about a woman having recurrent miscarriages, my mind immediately goes a couple of places.

1) Hormones

I have PCOS — Polycystic Ovary Syndrome — and have been active in the PCOS community for years. I’ve made some of my best friends at PCOS Place. Miscarriages are far more common in women with this syndrome. A couple of theories about why this might be are suggested here (scroll to the last section at the bottom of the page). It doesn’t suggest low progesterone, but many women with PCOS have had healthy pregnancies after miscarriages with the use of progesterone supplements during the first trimester.

This is controversial.

Many docs I have spoken with say low progesterone is a symptom of an unviable pregnancy, and that progesterone support simply prolongs a pregnancy which will end in miscarriage, no matter what. They suggest that progesterone supported pregnancies that end with healthy babies would have ended with healthy babies, regardless.

But I’ve heard so many stories about women who have had recurrent miscarriages finally having a healthy baby after progesterone support. Go ahead and talk to your doctor about it.

By the way, you don’t have to have PCOS to have hormonal issues, but PCOS is common, and often undiagnosed.

2) Immune Disorders

I have a very good friend who is a survivor of recurrent miscarriages. She now has two beautiful, healthy children after fighting for a long time to find out why her babies were dying. Finally, after becoming suspicious that she had antiphospholipid antibodies, during her next pregnancy, she gave herself shots of blood thinner and took baby aspirin. The results speak for themselves. Hear her story — and others — in this Pea in the Podcast.

So, yes, this is sobering information. But it can also be helpful. If you’ve had a miscarriage, put your fears on the table with your doctor. There may be measures you can take to minimize your risk of losing your next pregnancy. My favorite OB, Dr. Laurie Swaim, talks more about miscarriage here.

…and remember, if you’ve had a miscarriage, the chances of you having another one are so very small.

Be well.

-Bonnie

Twins: As Different As Day And Night

Of course, moms of twins will tell you they are all distinct individuals, not halves of a whole. But with a set of twins born in the U.K., it’s easier to see they are distinct individuals, because they appear to be of different races. The same parents had another set of twins with similarly distinctive appearances seven years ago. How cool is that?

I gotta tell you, this kind of stuff fascinates me. When carrying my daughter, I spent hours wondering what she looked like in there, considering the cards available to her in her genetic deck. After all, while her father and I share fair coloring, both of our fathers are darker, with black hair. I wondered if my girl might be born with black hair and a natural tan. I actually was quite enchanted with the idea. But one thing I knew for sure. Her eyes were blue, no question, as both her father and I have blue eyes.

When she arrived, my girl was as fair as both of her parents…and perfect. In fact, it thrills me when people say she looks just like me, because I think she is the most beautiful thing on this beautiful Earth!

…but those blue eyes of which I was so certain? They were as grey as a stormy sea. Like slate. Like steel.

Like my sister…:)

The genetic lottery is fun for everyone, and it doesn’t even cost you a dollar!

The fact is, though, these two sets of twins are not of different races, as every story I’ve read about them implies. There is not one “black” twin and one “white” twin. To say so turns a spotlight on our perceptions about race and culture, and how outward (skin deep) appearance often defines who we are at the expense of evaluating the whole person.

All four of these girls are sisters, born of the same mother and father. Born with the same genetic cards in their decks. They are four multi-racial girls, not two “black” girls and two “white” girls. To distill their identities down to color, alone, is actually quite offensive.

But I’m glad people are hearing this family’s story! It highlights the rich tapestry of ethnicity that makes this Earth so beautiful, and reminds us that we are all sisters under the skin, no matter how different we may appear!

Are you carrying multiples? We have everything you need to about the unique journey of moms carrying and giving birth to multiples in our Pea in the Podcast: Twins and Multiples

-Bonnie

God Awful They Must Be Joking Or Maybe They Hate Children Celebrity Baby Names 2008

We begin 2009 today, so I thought we’d start off with a little fun. After all, mommying is not all about mercury and lead and melamine! Sometimes it’s about tsk tsk tsking celebrities, many of whom are clearly eating too much tuna sushi when they pick their children’s names.

Would someone please tell the rich and the beautiful that human babies should not be given dog names? It’s not natural! Kthxbai. ;)

So Jennifer Moss — founder and CEO of BabyNames.com — is Pea in the Podcast’s resident expert on baby naming. She polled 5,000 members of her website, and came up with the most God Awful celebrity baby names of 2008.

Let’s start with the girls….

Oh, Punky Brewster, What Were You Thinking?
Soleil Moon Frye and Jason Goldberg this year named their daughter Jagger Joseph Blue Goldberg. BabyNames.com members hated this name. A lot. At the risk of destroying my credibility as a mommy blogger, I will admit I think this name is not completely God Awful. I think it’s kinda cute. Just me. Oh, and Soleil and Jason. ;)

The second and third most awful girls’ names of 2008 — according to BabyNames.com members — were Luisa Danbi Grier-Kim (David Alan Grier, Christine Kim) and Atalanta Baez (Carolina Herrera, Miguel Baez).

On to the boys!…

It’s A Jungle Out There!
At least if you’re Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz’s kid. His name is Bronx Mowgli Wentz. Yes, Mowgli. Yes, the boy from The Jungle Book. I can deal with “Bronx”. Maybe they’re big Yankees fans. But Mowgli? That’s God Awful.

The folks at BabyNames.com say that is the worst celebrity boy’s name of the year, followed by Sophocles Iraia Clement (Jermaine Clement, Miranda Manasiadis), and Barnaby Borstein Douglas (Alex Borstein, Jackson Douglas). Both God Awful.

However, Moss says, all in all, celebrities did pretty well this year in baby naming. Members picked Harlow Winter Kate (Nicole Richie, Joel Madden) as their favorite girls’ name, and Caleb James (Bo Bice, Caroline Bice) as their favorite among the boys’.

Moss says “Harlow Winter Kate is a glamorous name, without being too unusual. Caleb James is a solid, old-fashioned name—Biblical, but not overused.”

BabyNames.com’s complete list of good and bad celebrity baby names for 2008 can be found here.

Are you having trouble coming up with a “just perfect” name for your baby? Jennifer Moss has some great advice for you in our Pea in the Podcast Baby Names: What’s In A Name. Check it out!

-Bonnie