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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Never thought I would be pondering this...

So... a year ago, with the passing of the harvest moon and the longer evenings, which Stout to sample first at the pub would be the extent of my consumer comparison. And now, today, I caught myself staring deeply into the world of diapers, contemplating "cloth, or disposable?" And after much reading, I have decided, much to my sister's chagrin... but my mother's delight... that cloth diapers are my choice for the little pollywog. Initially, my main concern about disposable diapers was just that... they are disposable. Like everything else, they can certainly be tossed out of sight and out of mind, but left to fester for someone to happen upon them 100 years from now. Yuck. Mother Earth has enough to contend with, as far as I am concerned.

Now... there are Biodegradable varieties of diapers available that you can order in bulk that harbor the convenience of the disposable (and the cost is comparable to the regular disposable that I am more comfortable condoning-order directly here)

Still, I have opted for the cloth variety after much deliberation. I just like the idea of hanging the Nappies out to dry!

Below is a very informative article on the matter that perhaps you'd care to peruse -

Diapers, Diapers & More Diapers
"Cloth vs. Disposable"
compliments of

Which is Best?

The debate between which type of diaper is best is not an easy question to answer. The reusable cloth diaper isn’t what it used to be. Some cloth diapers now have double or triple layers and a multiply, fiber-filled strip, making them more absorbent than older styles. Some styles of cloth diapers now come with Velcro strips, eliminating the need for those large safety pins. You can launder them at home or turn the job over to a diaper service.

There are also various types and styles of disposable diapers, ranging from simple plastic covered paper diapers to the newest high-tech, cartoon covered, absorbent gel material filled, elastic legged disposables.

With so many different choices, here are some things to take into consideration.

Skin Care & Health concerns:

The greatest concern for parents is to keep their baby’s skin dry, healthy and free from diaper rash. Many things can cause diaper rash. Prolonged wetness, lack of air circulation, soap, chemical and dye allergies, ammonia formed by bacteria that interacts with urine left sitting against the skin and the growth of microbes in the diaper area can all be irritating and cause rashes.

Some concerns about disposable diapers have been about dyes, sodium polyacrylate (the super absorbent gel), and dioxin, which is a by-product of bleaching paper. Sodium polyacrylate has been linked in the past to toxic shock syndrome, allergic reactions and is very harmful and potentially lethal to pets. Some dyes and dioxin according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is known to cause damage to the central nervous system, kidneys, and liver. The (FDA) Food & Drug Administration has received reports that fragrances in disposables caused headaches, dizziness and rashes. Problems reported to the Consumer Protection Agency regarding disposables include, chemical burns, noxious chemical and insecticide odors, babies pulling disposables apart and putting pieces of plastic into their noses and mouth, choking on tab papers and linings, plastic melting onto the skin, and ink staining the skin. Plastic tabs can also tear skin if the diaper is not properly put on the baby.

According to the Journal of Pediatrics, 54 % of one-month old babies using disposable diapers had rashes, 16 % having severe rashes. A study done by a disposable diapers manufacturing company (we won’t name the company, but it's one of the largest manufacturers) shows that the incidence of diaper rash increased from 7.1% to 61% with the increased use of throwaway disposable diapers.

Keep in mind that each baby is different; some parents will find their baby does perfectly fine with disposables while other parents may find their baby has some type of reaction to disposables.

On the other hand cloth diapers can cause rashes by not being changed enough or properly cleaned and sanitized after becoming soiled.

It is all a matter of personal preference, how your baby is reacting to a particular diaper and how you feel about other factors that come into play when deciding between cloth and disposables.

The best way to prevent diaper rash is to change diapers, cloth or disposable, frequently. While disposable diapers can hold large quantities of urine, this slight wetness is still against your baby’s skin, which can lead to rashes. Cloth diapers should be changed every time your baby wets and then the diaper should be properly cleaned so all bacteria that may be in the cloth is killed.


The cost of diapers is usually a great concern for most parents. Cost estimates* show that disposable diapers will run approximately $50 to $80 per month, using a diaper service will cost approximately $50 to $80 per month and laundering your own cloth diapers will cost slightly less at approximately $25 to $60 per month.

The cost of disposable diapers varies due to the wide range of disposables on the market. Some name brands are very expensive, while some store branded disposables can be half the price of name brands. The cost of a diaper service mainly varies because of two factors. One factor being the amount of competition in your area (number of diaper service companies) and the second being the quality of diapers that you choose to use. The cost of laundering your own cloth diapers also varies because of many factors. One factor is the quality of the cloth diaper. Some parents will initially purchase very high quality cloth diapers which will last several years, while other parents might buy low quality diapers which only last for a short time. Another factor is the amount of laundering that is done for each load of dirty diapers. Some parents will only do a minimal amount of cleaning and sanitizing, while other parents will go through many steps to clean a load of dirty diapers. The more cleaning and sanitizing that is performed for each load of diapers the higher the cost. Other factors are your time to launder the diapers, cost of electricity, soap, water, and wear on your washing machine and dryer.

In general, if you compare the cost of the fancier high tech disposable diapers to the cost of laundering your own cloth diapers, you will save money by using cloth diapers and laundering them yourself. If you decide to go with disposable diapers, here are a few tips on how to save money on disposable diapers.


There has been much debate over the impact of disposable diapers and cloth diapers on the environment. The pro-disposable diaper advocates say that the extra water used to wash cloth diapers is just as much of an abuse to the environment as the production and disposal of disposable diapers. But taking into consideration the following estimates you will probably agree that disposable diapers are much more harmful to the environment than cloth diapers.

It is estimated that roughly 5 million tons of untreated waste and a total of 2 billion tons of urine, feces, plastic and paper are added to landfills annually. It takes around 80,000 pounds of plastic and over 200,000 trees a year to manufacture the disposable diapers for American babies alone. Although some disposables are said to be biodegradable; in order for these diapers to decompose, they must be exposed to air (oxygen) and sun. Since this is highly unlikely, it can take several hundred years for the decomposition of disposables to take place, with some of the plastic material never decomposing.

The untreated waste placed in landfills by dirty disposable diapers is also a possible danger to contaminating ground water. Pro-disposable advocates say that cleaning cloth diapers uses more energy and contributes to the load on sanitary sewer systems and potential water pollution. This view really makes no sense if you think about it. The amount of water used per week to wash cloth diapers at home is about the same amount consumed by an adult flushing the toilet four or five times daily for a week. Also, the greater amount of water and energy being used by diaper service companies to wash large amounts of cloth diapers multiple times; the per diaper impact on energy and water supplies is actually less than home washing.

Finally, when flushing solids from a cloth diaper down the toilet and washing the diapers in a washing machine, the contaminated, dirty water from both toilet and washing machine go into the sewer systems where they are properly treated at wastewater plants. This treated wastewater is much more environmentally friendly than dumping untreated soiled disposable diapers into a landfill.


With the newer style of cloth diapers that are on the market, disposable diapers are not much more convenient that cloth diapers. The new multiple layer, Velcro fastening cloth diapers are just as easy to put on and take off as disposables. Cloth diapers do not really need to be presoaked, or even rinsed out. Flushable liners can be used with cloth diapers that let you lift the soiled liner off the cloth and flush the liner and the poop down the toilet. If you don’t use liners, you can just dump the older baby’s solids down the toilet. Cloth diapers usually only add about 2 extra loads of laundry a week to your schedule.

Disposable diapers are more convenient when traveling because you can just throw the dirty diapers away without carrying them around for washing. Disposables also require fewer changes because of the super absorbent materials; but taking into consideration the increased risks of rash and the extra impact on the environment, your decision should be made with much thought.


The choice between the different types of diapers available is a matter of personal preference while taking into consideration all of the topics discussed above. There really is no one best type of diaper that is good for every baby. Deciding to use cloth or disposable diapers depends on your lifestyle, personal preference, finances and your concern for the environment. Some parents combine the two, using cloth at home and disposable when they are going to be out all day. The choice that is right for you and your baby may be different from the one that's right for your friend and her baby. The best thing to do is know the advantages and disadvantages between cloth and disposable diapers, talk with your doctor, discuss it with your wife or husband and make a decision on what you think is best for your baby. Whichever diaper you decide on now, you may find that your baby develops diaper rash more frequently later or has some type of allergic reaction. This could be sensitivity to your choice. If this occurs, don't fight it, just switch. Try a different type of diaper, a different brand or go from cloth to paper or vice versa. If your baby ever shows signs of having a reaction to a diaper you should always notify your doctor. The reaction you might be seeing could just be a small rash, but it could be a more severe allergic reaction. Your doctor can tell you exactly what it is and what you should do.

*estimates based on random sampling between 1999 and 2001

In addition, if you are interested in a great read that broaches the subject and many others in this realm, in addition to a BEAUTIFUL gift idea... Check this out!


xo Amanda

ps don't forget to check out Ana...

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Aesthetics and superficialities

I stare down at my knobby knees with the excess skin... genetically gifted to me from my father, and my misshapen feet, more like paws... ergonimically designed for barefoot beach walks... gratefully granted to me from my paternal Dutch grandmother, Kae. Arms stretched, delicate wrists granted to me from my mother, but large hands and long fingers... perhaps paternal? My freckly, sensitive face framed by a monstrous, yet fine mane of multicolored locks are definitely from Edna, my Scotch/Irish maternal grandmother, but my yellowy skin is definitely from the darker-complected paternal side. Pickle green eyes...maternal, weak ankles...not sure. Predisposition to mental afflictions, coupled, gratefully, with a keen imagination... I lucked out on both sides!

Genetics are fascinating! With the pollywog's introduction to Mother Earth just around the corner, I muse with thoughts of what she will look like... and what gifts franks and myself will bestow upon her. Franks is dark... tall, dark and fact. Austrian, Scottish, Irish, etc.... a mixed bag, just like me. His complexion is dark, very olive, his thick hair is almost black, and his large, soulful eyes are what I so fondly refer to as melting topaz (kind of amber... sometimes greenish.. lots of yellow and rusty undertones). He is muscular and lithe, yet quirky and fine-featured. Combine his yin with my yang... and the outcome is a big mystery... a wonderful one. We both are VERY independent, have strong personalities, are riddled with oddities and stimulated by artistic and intellectual stuff. He harbors patience... whereas I do not. He is mechanically inclined, whereas I have never taken the time to try. We are both in love with music,are both dreamers, and both perpetual children at times... to a fault. And this is just the tip of the tipofthetippity top of the iceberg. I am air (Gemini) and he is earth (Virgo).

So... what will it be? Something to ponder in these loooooonnnnnnnnngggg Autumn days of waddling and discomfort.

Read on....

Genetics and Your Baby
How genetics influence your baby's looks and personality.
By Denise Porretto

"As you wait for baby, you've probably tried to picture what he might look like. Will he be tall like his father? Will he have curly hair like yours? Or is he going to inherit his grandfather's sense of humor?

Experts estimate that there are 60,000 to 100,000 genes (made up of DNA) in a human being's 46 chromosomes. A baby gets 23 chromosomes from his mother and 23 from his father. With all the possible gene combinations, one pair of parents has the potential to produce 64 trillion different children. This probably gives you an idea of how impossible it is to predict just what your baby will look like. The science of genetics is complicated, but with a short course you can get some information to guide your imagination.

Remember learning about genes and fruit flies in high school biology? Back then, you were told that the dominant gene always beats out the recessive one. Well, scientists have always known humans are more complicated than fruit flies. But in recent years, they've learned just how much more complicated.

As it turns out, most human traits are polygenic -- the result of many genes acting together. To complicate things even further, for some traits -- such as height, weight, and especially personality -- environment also has a significant influence on which genes are expressed and which remain muted.

Eye Color
If there were just one pair of genes involved in selecting eye color, there would be at maximum three shades of eye color -- brown, blue, and perhaps green. But human eyes come in a whole spectrum of different shades of these colors. That's because eye color is a polygenic trait.

Eye color is determined by the amount of melanin, or brown pigment, in the iris. Dark eyes have large amounts, blue have very little, and other colors -- green, hazel -- have varying amounts. Because different genes are probably responsible for how much brown pigment you inherit and where it shows up in the eye (more brown or blue can fall in the center or outer edges of the eye) there's a great possibility for a wide variety of hues. It's even possible for two blue-eyed parents to have brown-eyed offspring.

Facial and Body Features
Certain facial characteristics such as dimples, widow's peak, and facial symmetry (a high eyebrow on one side of your face, for instance) are believed to be dominant and filter down through the generations. Hand shape, finger shape, toenail shape, and unusual traits such as hair with double cowlicks often appear over generations.

Fingerprint patterns have been shown to run in families. And crooked teeth can be inherited too, because the configuration of the jaw and the tilt of the teeth are genetically determined. There's even a specific gene for "gap tooth" that's been discovered and is believed to be dominant.

To get an idea of what quirks and facial features your child may inherit, examine photos of relatives over generations. If it turns out most family members have a prominent chin or a round face, these are fairly strong traits that are likely to be passed on.

Height and Weight
For a rough estimation of adult height, take the average of Mom's and Dad's height. Then add two inches for a boy or subtract two inches for a girl. So if you're 5 feet 2 inches and your husband is 5 feet 10 inches, the average between you is 5 feet 6 inches. Therefore, your son will likely grow to be 5 feet 8 inches, your daughter, 5 feet 4 inches. Of course, genetics being what it is -- unpredictable -- this gauge is not ironclad. Your child may turn out to be taller than the taller parent or shorter than the shorter one.

Other powerful factors in your child's ultimate height are nutrition and health. If your baby's genes are programmed for 5 feet 5 inches, she may not get there if her diet is inadequate or if something else interferes with her growth. On the other hand, she may grow to be taller than expected, as studies have shown that improved diet has contributed to greater height over the centuries.

How slim or overweight your child will be is impossible to guess. Genes will only predispose a child to be a certain weight -- they don't guarantee it. When both parents are obese, the child will likely be overweight too. A child may become obese because of her genes, the family's eating habits, or a combination of both factors.

Hair Color
In general, dark hair is dominant over light. But as with eye color, your baby's hair can turn out to be a beautiful range of shades between your hair color and that of your partner. It depends on the colors, or pigments, you both have in your hair and how they mix. Parents with similar hair color may have a baby with a hue that's slightly different, but within their color range.

But surprise colors can certainly appear from parents with different hair colors. This usually occurs when a recessive color gene in one parent comes through and mixes with another one. So a black-haired parent carrying a recessive gene for blond hair could potentially have a blond child if that gene is expressed and mixes with a blond gene from the other parent.

As for red hair, which was once considered recessive, it's now believed to be dominant over blond. You can even be a redhead and not know it. Your hair may have a reddish hue that's masked by a stronger brown or black pigment.

Experts say there's no doubt that many personality tendencies -- for instance, how she reacts to noise -- are genetically hardwired in baby from birth. But experts also agree that environment has a huge influence on behavior. For instance, a child may inherit the tendency to jump into risky activities (a "novelty-seeking" gene has been identified). However, your influence on her and her environment may cause that adventurousness to be expressed to a lesser degree, in a different way, or not at all.

In the same way, children who inherit a creative bent or perfect pitch (also proven to be genetic) will bloom in an encouraging environment. But if they're not exposed to art materials or musical instruments, the talent may lie fallow. Luckily, it works in reverse too -- a child born without that genetic endowment can still, through work and determination, learn to paint or develop good pitch. There's hardly any trait that's entirely genetic or environmental."

...who knows...
Amanda xo

Monday, September 20, 2010

"The Dark Closet of Pregnancy" - Carole Kohn

In a conversation with my dear friend Carole yesterday... shaman, psychic therapist, healer ... she referred to the darkness I am feeling during my Seventh Month as "The Dark Closet of Pregnancy." "Amanda, in all my years ...I've never met a pregnant woman who hasn't been there to one degree or another." To Carole I am forever grateful for the insight and the strength that her words provide. Her wisdom continually reminds me that we are all part of the same tapestry.

It has been very difficult for me to fathom that regardless of the miracle that is taking place inside my body... darkness is still imminent. Like clockwork, the autumn has historically been a trigger for (clinically speaking) depressed episodes; it creeps, snakelike, up my spine into the solar plexus when the leaves begin to float down toward the earth. SSRI's, vitamins, and walking outdoors are usually the magic braid that keeps me afloat, but pregnancy has thrown a stick in my spokes. In fact, I was confident that I would elude the unwelcome plummet ... which is probably a large percentage of the looming disappointment. Alas, I was wrong. But "woe is me" is not even an option; the pollywog NEEDS to swim about in a sea of positivity, and there is no doubt in my mind that she is innately aware of my emotional state; I am sure that you can relate to this inexplicable phenomena.

I'd like to share an insightful article that I found that talks about this issue ( I know that even at my most reclusive, I find comfort in knowing that I am not alone. Perhaps you will, too.

Treatments for Pregnancy Depression
How Expectant Mothers Can Cope With Anxiety and Depressed Feelings
Feb 10, 2010 Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

"Treatments for Pregnancy Depression - Taking antidepressants or other medications for depression isn't an option for some pregnant women. Here are other pregnancy depression treatments, such as acupuncture.

Finding the best pregnancy depression treatments can be challenging! For some expectant mothers, taking antidepressants in pregnancy won’t harm the baby, while other women are advised not to continue taking medications for depression or anxiety. It depends on each woman’s circumstances and genetic makeup; different people find different treatments for depression effective.

Anxiety and Depression in Pregnancy
According to the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, about 10% of pregnant women meet criteria for major depression and almost 20% have increased symptoms of depression during pregnancy. The rates of depression in pregnant women are similar to non-pregnant women, and among women during the postpartum period.

There are far fewer treatment studies of pregnancy depression than during the postpartum period. Further, dealing with depression is difficult for many pregnant women because the use of anti-depressants can pose concerns to the developing fetus.

Why Treatments for Pregnancy Depression Are Important

A mother who is seriously depressed or anxious may not be available emotionally for her baby, which can interfere with their developing relationship. However, taking prescription antidepressant medications during pregnancy is usually avoided because of the risks of exposure for the fetus and breastfeeding baby.

In some situations, with a doctor’s guidance, it may be better to treat symptoms of depression with antidepressant medication. Discussions about how to treat anxiety and depression in pregnancy need include the expectant mother, her partner, the doctor, and perhaps a family member. Also, having a list of questions to ask before taking antidepressants is valuable when talking to a doctor.

The good news? There are effective treatments for expectant mothers who struggle with depressed or anxious feelings! Three options are cognitive-behavioral therapy, acupuncture, and herbal remedies for depression.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Depressed Pregnant Women

Specific types of counseling or psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavior therapy and interpersonal therapy, can teach depressed women skills to deal with situations that trigger or increase their sadness or anxiety. Women with depression learn how their thoughts and behaviors contribute to their depressed feelings, and learn how to change their thoughts to improve their moods.

Natural Help for Anxiety and Depression

These types of therapies can be done individually or in groups, and usually take place weekly for 6-12 sessions. Group or individual cognitive-behavioral or interpersonal therapy can be offered by a doctor, psychologist, social worker, midwife or trained nurse.

Other types of psychotherapy requires longer term treatment. Some therapists will work with the mother and baby together or with both parents together. Couple counseling can be useful for problems in the parent’s relationship including communication problems and sexual difficulties.

Acupuncture as a Treatment for Pregnancy Depression

A new research study shows that acupuncture may be an effective treatment for depression during pregnancy. "Depression during pregnancy is an issue of concern because it has negative effects on both the mother and the baby, as well as the rest of the family," said Dr. Schnyer, who co-authored a study about how acupuncture affects pregnant women with depression.

The results showed that the women who received acupuncture specifically for depression experienced a significantly greater decrease in symptoms of depression than pregnant women who did not receive acupuncture and pregnant woman who received massage. 'The results of our study show that the acupuncture protocol we tested could be a viable treatment option for depression during pregnancy,' said Dr. Schnyer.

Natural Herbal Remedies for Expectant Mothers

'St John's wort is particularly effective for depression, particularly for mild to moderate symptoms without the side effects often associated with drugs," writes naturopathic doctor Michelle Schoffro Cook in The Brain Wash."Ginkgo biloba improves neurotransmitter production in the brain and helps bring oxygen-rich blood to the brain to improve functioning.'

These herbal remedies may not be as effective for severe depression or anxiety, depending on symptoms and cause of the depression. However, if an expectant mother doesn’t want to take antidepressants during pregnancy, natural treatments for depression are worth investigating.

St John's wort, ginkgo biloba or any natural herbal remedy for depression should not be combined with antidepressants like Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil or Effexor. A doctor should always be consulted before natural remedies are taken – especially for pregnant women!

There are treatments for pregnancy depression; the key is finding the best, most effective treatment for individual women. And, what works for one expectant mother might not work for another."

Amanda XO

In addition, if you are interested in some remarkable advice/insight through the gifted mind of my friend Carole Kohn, Read On:

Carole Kohn has been providing unparalleled professional psychic guidance for over thirty years. Based in Las Vegas, Carole's accurate, skillful psychic readings have helped clients all over the world with making important life decisions.

International acclaimed, many know Carole from her years at the Excalibur Hotel or have come to learn about her through the her thousands of satisfied clients who speak with Carole regularly due to her accuracy and true clairvoyant abilities. Read some testimonials from those who have experienced Carole's God-given gift.

If you've experienced a loss, are in need of guidance, or looking for a new direction in life, you can finally get the answers you need to help you find success in love, health issues, soul mate relationships, and careers. Carole is a God-loving woman who can help you!

Please explore our website and see what Carole can do for you, and feel free to send her an e-mail if you need additional information:

OR simply call one of the numbers below to schedule an appointment-
(702) 617-3725 or Toll-Free (877) 728-4321
Copyright © 2002-2010 A Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Itching For A Scratch...

A quick quip about allergies and pregnancy... as I have never, ever experienced anything much like it! For about three weeks, I have been coping with ragweed/early Autumn allergies that I normally experience every year during the Summer to Autumn change. Although this time... WATCH OUT!!! I sneezed 13 times today, consecutively, in front of my Creative Writing class (they counted). Good thing I was wearing an "Oops..I crapped my pants" protective undergarment (hehehe). Wow... allergies are definitely exacerbated by pregnancy hormones. Yikes! I have been burning through tissues and hankies, and have even taken to stuffing my nostrils with tissues between classes. I felt some relief during a lunch period yesterday, and decided to step outside and enjoy the 11:00 sunlight while I dined. I perched myself in a sunny spot behind th High School, resting my bulbous belly on my legs, and my sandwich on my bulbous belly. There were bees swarming about, chanting their summer goodbye... and the occasional buzz of a yellow jacket, circling my apple juice. Sneeze free, I yawned, cleaned up my goodies and pried myself off of the step to venture inside, only to discover... much to my chagrin... that a lone yellowjacket had been nestled into the back of my knee. I was stung in the crease, and I immediately attempted to yank out the stinger and danced around a bit. I'm sure that it was quite a scene for any student onlookers.

Within an hour... pain was not the issue, but the elephantitis of the knee was of some concern. Historically, I had never had any sort of weird reaction to stings or bites in any capacity; times have changed, as the leg tightened, swelled, hurt and itched horribly by the close of the school day. I'm chalking the bizarro reaction, yet again, up to chaotic pregnancy hormones.

The following is an article that broaches the subject of seasonal allergies during pregnancy that you may find interesting:

Allergies and Pregnancy
Tips on Handling Allergies During Pregnancy
By Dr. David L. Wertheim

Being pregnant in the summertime can be terrific. No more bundling up in sweaters that could double as king-size blankets. And now you can get outside to take walks for your much-needed exercise.

But braving the outdoors can be challenging if you suffer from seasonal allergies. Allergies at this time of the year are caused by tree pollen in April and early May, grass pollen in May and June and molds, which are present once the weather warms consistently above the freezing point and persist through the hot summer months. Ragweed and other weeds that can trigger allergies are present in the late summer and last into October. If you have these allergies, the best time to be outside is right after it rains, as the pollen gets "washed out of the air" for a while.

Some women report the severity of their seasonal allergy symptoms actually changes during pregnancy. Women in general do suffer from more nasal congestion due to hormonal influences during pregnancy. Allergies compound these symptoms, and sinusitis is about six times more common in pregnant women according to a Finnish study. In general, one-third of women state that their allergies worsen during pregnancy, one-third report that their symptoms stay the same and about one-third say they actually get better. No one can predict into which group you might fall!

Which Medications Are Safe?
When allergy symptoms spring up during pregnancy, the only thing most women would rather reach for is another tissue. Many would rather not take allergy medications. Sneezing, coughing and watery eyes were accepted as yet more symptoms of pregnancy that would be tolerated for the good of the baby, but do they need to be?

The reality is most allergy medications are safe for pregnant women. In 1979, the FDA divided all medications into categories based on their safety for pregnant women. Many over-the-counter and prescription allergy medications are Category B, which means studies in animals have failed to link any increased risk of medical problems to the fetus. Other allergy medications are Category C, wherein no studies have been done as of yet, or there were studies which showed potential problems in animal fetuses but not in humans. Category C medication may be considered safe to use but should be used under the guidance of your doctor.

As always, you need to check with your doctor before taking any medication because your individual medical history may warrant a different recommendation.

Dust and Allergen Dangers
If you experience allergy symptoms, talk to your OB/GYN to determine your options and your comfort level with medications. But even if you get the go ahead, there are many women and physicians who feel it is better to be safe than sorry and not use any medications. Either way, by reducing the allergens in your home, you can help alleviate or prevent allergy symptoms. Some things you can do include:

Wrap mattress and pillows with zippered covers, and use pillows filled with synthetic fibers.
Replace carpeting with smooth-finish wood or vinyl flooring. If you have carpeting, use a vacuum and make sure it has a HEPA filter system.
Dust hard surfaces in the home with an electrostatic cloth, like Swiffer, to help remove dirt, dust and hair from hard surfaces.
Wash bedding in hot water, as it kills dust mites.
Avoid storing books in bedrooms.
Keep windows closed.
Remove pets from the home if at all possible.
If pets must remain at home, keeping them out of the bedroom, washing them weekly and getting a HEPA filter for the bedroom will help lessen the effects of animal dander.

The Heredity Factor
If you and your husband have blue eyes, there is a very good chance that your baby will have light eyes as well. Just like your children can inherit physical traits, they can also inherit allergies. If neither parent has allergies, the baby's chance of being allergic is equal to the incidence of allergies in the general population: 20 percent. If one parent suffers from allergies, the child has up to a 40 percent likelihood of having allergies. If both parents are afflicted, the risk in children rises to 70 to 80 percent.

You must remember that this will not tell you which allergic trait your child may inherit. For example, you may have an allergic nose, but your child might have eczema (skin allergy) or asthma but not have nasal allergies. Furthermore, if you have a penicillin allergy, there is no guarantee that your child will be allergic to penicillin as well. If you are peanut allergic, it does not mean your child will definitively be peanut allergic as well.

It is currently believed that you can delay the onset of allergies by breastfeeding your baby. However once you stop breastfeeding (which you eventually will), your child's risk for developing allergies will return to the original odds. Interestingly, if you avoid certain foods that are highly allergenic (tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, eggs, milk) while you are breastfeeding, you may actually prevent these allergies from showing up in your child.

Testing Your Baby for Allergies
If you believe your child might have allergies, consult your doctor. Many pediatricians may not be aware that you can evaluate a child for allergies even before their first birthday. Testing is done most accurately by skin pricks. While blood tests may be done, they are not considered as accurate.

Animal allergies and dust mite allergy can be diagnosed by 6 months of age, and food allergies can be detected at any age. A child probably needs three seasons of pollen exposure to develop pollen-related allergy symptoms, so a runny nose during the spring in a 1-year-old is probably due to an infection or an indoor allergy, not due to the pollen.

Some signs that your child may have nasal allergies are a persistent runny nose, nasal congestion, coughing or wheezing. The other diagnosis that can cause these symptoms is an infection (such as sinusitis). Food allergies present symptoms as hives, vomiting or explosive diarrhea after ingesting the suspected food. About one-third of children with eczema may have a food trigger. If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, visit your medical provider and discuss the possibility of allergies.

Today there are many safe and well-tolerated medications for children to treat allergies. Allergies often have a significant medical impact, but treating them on an emotional level is important, too. Children with untreated allergies may find it difficult to visit relatives and friends with animals, be unable to partake in class trips to the zoo or the circus and be unable to play organized, outdoor sports at their best level because of discomfort from allergy symptoms. While some children outgrow their allergies, it is important to address these problems when they flare.

This too shall pass...
Amanda xo

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Aqua Baby!

The long, taxing, arduous summer complete with laziness and impatience exacerbated by a brewing pollywog has been replaced by the world of education... and I couldn't be more content! High School kids have so much to share, and their energy is remarkable! Alas, there is one thing that I miss...PROFOUNDLY! My body misses water... and the pollywog is most at peace when submerged in it in any capacity. Really! I feel this incredible sense of calm every time! Perhaps it has to do with her prospective astrological sign? Scorpio's are water babies. Something to ponder...

Today I daydreamed of diving into a pool, perhaps inspired by the tremendous weight that I feel like I am carrying in my abdomen. It is like a bowling ball, really. Weightlessness sounds delightful! So, in addition to researching a place to swim until the pollywog arrives, I have decided to have a water birth! Simply thinking of this prospect makes the experience feel ...softer, both emotionally and physically.

My decision is based on intuition; if it feels right, do it. This has worked in my favor more times than not in my 37 years. Read on, and tell me what you think:
(Yhe following is borrowed

"It isn't often that a genuine breakthrough occurs, with major significance for all humanity, unless, of course, it's in the realm of technology. Yet this subject, although completely untechnological, has the potential for widespread use and benefits to millions of people and to society at large. It is exciting the imaginations of forward looking thinkers, parents and expectant parents, humanist psychologists, nurses, midwives and progressive doctors worldwide. I'm referring to the newest form of gentle delivery, which honors the spiritual and emotional, as well as the physical aspects of birth, and incorporates the use of water into obstetrics - waterbirth, also known as underwater birth.

Why Is Gentle Birth Essential?

When gentle birth is experienced as a shared miracle, it enhances the bond of love in a family. The powerful memory of it may serve to sustain the couple through difficult times. Yet, too often parents allow the miraculous quality of their birth experiences to be taken away from them, as they give up all control and place themselves in the hands of doctors and hospitals concerned solely with the physical aspects of birth.
When that occurs, birth can become something that happens to the parents, rather than a miracle in which they fully participate and from which they derive an overwhelming sense of joy and personal empowerment.

What Does Gentle Birth Feel Like?

Imagine then, a gentle introduction to the world by being born in water. Warm fluid is the element most familiar and comfortable to the fragile infant, so he or she does not experience fear or pain when coming in contact with it. The room is semi-dark, to avoid a shock to the baby's eyes, and quiet, except for some soothing music. Mother is in the warm tub feeling relieved, her weight supported by the water. The comfort of the bath relaxes her tension and eases her labor pains, while providing the freedom to move into whatever position is most comfortable.
Water is such an effective painkiller that only about 10% of women who enter the tub during labor request painkilling drugs. Father may also be in the tub, holding or massaging mother. Ideally, the midwife, nurse or doctor waits patiently nearby, offering the mother encouragement and support whenever it is needed. Together they wait for the baby to emerge.
After the infant has descended through the birth canal into the warm water, the mother can even choose to deliver the infant herself, as the birth attendants wait nearby in case they are needed.

It is a remarkably simple matter for the mother, after she has the last contraction which expels the baby, to reach down, take it in her arms and bring her child up out of the water and to her breast.
Typically, women who deliver in water report a feeling of excitement and lasting personal empowerment that simply cannot be matched by standard hospital birthing procedures.Within seconds, because of air touching the skin and cord, the physiological system is signaled, and the baby easily begins to use its lungs for breathing, without being slapped or roughly stimulated. Since the cord is usually not cut for several minutes, the baby's transition to air breathing is gradual and non-traumatic, and the newborn can take its time to become familiar with using its lungs.

This gentle, slower approach is in sharp contrast to the more common but questionable practice of cutting the cord immediately after the baby is out. Cutting the baby off from its lifeline to the mother so quickly and abruptly creates a breathe or die situation, which can cause a panicky feeling in the infant. In the worst case, if there is an undetected problem and breathing is not well established before the cord is cut, cerebral palsy could result because of oxygen deprivation to the brain.

An Easy Transition

With a water birth, the baby is not taken away from the mother at birth, which can result in the infant experiencing fear, confusion, feelings of abandonment and even terror. Instead, the baby stays with the parents and is held and cuddled by both of them, so that it will feel secure and nurtured, and the important bonding process can take place.
Is it not intuitively obvious and perfectly logical to conclude that a child born in such a gentle manner will feel comfort, security, love, and be likely to have positive feelings about its parents and the world? Humanist psychologists know, all other things being equal, that such an individual is more likely to grow up to be happy, self-confident and more prone to non-violent behavior than one whose birth was not gentle; one who experienced fear, pain, confusion, trauma, feelings of abandonment or panic during birth.

Water's Great Gift: Pain Relief
When a woman experiences intense pain or fear during labor or delivery, her body involuntarily tightens up and pulls inward - an automatic, self-protective response. Yet, birth requires the exact opposite - an expansion and release. Since these two conditions are mutually exclusive, the fearful mother's body may be unable to progress to full dilation and her labor may go one for many, many hours as her body tries in vain to both close up in fear and open to release the baby simultaneously.

In this situation the benefit of warm water may be most valuable, because the comfort it provides helps the mother to relax very deeply and assists her body in stretching slowly and gently to accommodate the baby's emergence, usually without tearing. It is because of this deep relaxation that water labor and/or waterbirth often functions as an effective and important cesarean prevention method.

Without exception, the water birth mothers I interviewed all spoke of easier and/or quicker labors, profound relaxation, alleviation of pain and the excitement and empowerment they felt being in total connection to the process of birth and to the baby. Women who deliver in water evidently feel a strong affinity to their own female power and to the experience of motherhood." Copyright (c) Karil Daniels, 1991-present
All Rights Reserved

Recommended Reading...

Splish Splash.
Amanda xo

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I apologize for the hiatus.... readjusting to school, seven months prego in the heat... and being uncomfortable... but pretending not to be... and feeling homeless...but not ... and grateful... but highly confused and agitated is taking its toll on my psychi. My presence is not MY own presence. Complicated, yes. Typical...yes. This too shall pass as it always does. And I will continue to research enlightening things for the sake of you...readers and comrades who could use a lift, or a laugh, or simply a distraction.

xo Amanda be continued
In the interim... PLEASE don't forget to spend a few moments with Ana...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

... do you mean like "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest?"

As of late, I have had some very interesting conversations online with a woman named Mary who is 35-years-old, resides in Sydney, Australia... and is very anxious to start a family with her partner-in-crime. Her only deterrent...she is bipolar; the only mental and emotional solace that she has found is in a cocktail of antipsychotics, a popular anticonvulsant, and a seratonin reuptake inhibitor. She wrote to me with some interesting commentary about "Pendulum Pregnancy" and expressed her concern about medication, and the like.

Mary shared that "Working and living is taxing enough when dealing with this tempermental affliction. I commend you on your bravery for embarking on a journey into motherhood. I, too, want desperately to have a child, but my partner is a bit hesitant because of my mood instability. He fears that hormonally I will fall to pieces, and will not be able to be consistent as a mother if I stop taking my meds as doctors prescribe in the first trimester."

For Mary and everyone else with this concern, I'd like to share a few options that I have happened upon in my experience and research. I'd also like to take this opportunity to remind Mary that SHE knows what is best for her and should listen to her intuition. Don't you agree? Also, it takes two to tango; if her partner is quick to point the finger and "ass"ume that she "will not be consistent as a mother" if she stops taking her meds, perhaps he needs to reevaluate his thinking and remember that HE is the father... and the responsibility will rest on both of their shoulders. And if this is not an option for him... perhaps Mary needs to find another partner to share the experience with who appreciates her for her whims and inconsistencies that will make her an even more awesome mother. What do you think?

For Mary and those of you who are in a similar situation, I want to share some information about a very common procedure that many pregnant women undertake in lieu of medication for the first trimester and beyond if needed, called ECT (Electoconvulsive Therapy). I "tried" ECT after MUCH stalling, and discontinued it because I felt that it was not for me. I struggled through the first trimester as a result, and have been taking a very small dosage of fluoxetine since I was into my second trimester which has been an emotional saving grace. I think that the small dosage of the seratonin reuptake inhibitor combined with pregnancy hormones has cradled me through some rough swings.

Although, many women swear by ECT, and feel that it is THEIR saving grace during pregnancy complicated by mental illness... and beyond. Kitty Dukakis Wrote a book that helped to convince me to give it a try that
I highly recommend:

Although still seemingly ominous, ECT has evolved from the archaic days and shock treatment reminiscent of "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest." I'd like to share and article published in January of 2008, followed by sources for your perusal:
"Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is one of the most effective treatments for depression, with response rates that are consistently higher than those observed in clinical trials of antidepressants. Furthermore, ECT may be more effective than medications for treatment-refractory depression. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) recommends ECT for patients who have had previous positive response to ECT or who are non-responsive to pharmacological treatments, as well as for those patients who experience severe psychiatric symptoms, including depression with psychosis. suicidal ideation, and mania.

ECT has also been shown to be relatively safe during pregnancy and may offer some advantages over antidepressants in minimizing exposure to psychotropic medications during pregnancy. (Kasar et al 2007, Miller 1994, Repke and Berger 1984). Extra precautions have been suggested for ECT treatment in pregnant patients, including the addition of an obstetrician to the psychiatrist and anesthesiologist team. Before ECT, a pelvic examination should be performed on the patient to check for vaginal bleeding or cervical dilation. Because pregnancy increases the risk of gastric regurgitation and pulmonary aspiration during ECT, some anesthesiologists prefer to intubate the patient after the first trimester in order to maintain a clear airway. Additionally, a pregnant patient should be kept well-hydrated throughout the ECT procedure. A fetal heart monitor is often used, and oxygen administration adjusted accordingly. (Miller 1994, Walker and Swartz, 1994).

Overall the risk to the fetus is low. In a meta-analysis of 300 cases of ECT use during pregnancy (Miller 1994), four cases of premature labor (1.3%) were reported. In all cases, the clinician determined that the premature labor was not related to the ECT. The miscarriage rate for women receiving ECT during pregnancy (1.6% of cases) was not significantly higher than the rate of miscarriage in the general population. Two cases (0.6%) reported uterine contractions directly after ECT, but neither resulted in any significant consequences to either the mother or fetus. Recent case studies of ECT treatment and premature delivery have underscored the need for close monitoring of the mother and fetus but have not lead clinicians to conclude that ECT increases the risk of premature delivery (Kasar et al, 2007). Typically if a patient develops uterine contractions or any signs of preterm labor during or after ECT, treatment with ECT is postponed.

Despite evidence that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a safe and effective treatment for many psychiatric illnesses during pregnancy, many clinicians and patients are still reluctant to pursue this option, concerned that it will harm the fetus or incur extra risk for the patient. Ultimately, the clinician must weigh the risks to both mother and fetus involved in not treating a woman who suffers from severe psychiatric symptoms against the risks involved in ECT treatment, and facilitate the most appropriate clinical intervention for the individual patient."

Erica Pasciullo, BA

Kasar M, Saatcioglu O, Kutlar T. Electroconvulsive therapy use in pregnancy. J ECT. 2007 Sep;23(3):183-4.

Miller LJ. Use of electroconvulsive therapy during pregnancy. Hosp Community Psychiatry. 1994 May;45(5):444-50.

Repke JT, Berger NG. Electroconvulsive therapy in pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol. 1984 Mar;63(3 Suppl):39S-41S.

Walker R, Swartz CM. Electroconvulsive therapy during high-risk pregnancy. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 1994 Sep;16(5):348-53.

Other ECT Resources:

Massachusetts General Hospital Somatic Therapies Unit

American Psychiatric Associatiton Information on ECT

Shock: The Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy by Kitty Dukakis and Larry Tye. Kitty Dukakis is the wife of former Governor of Massachusetts Michael Dukakis. She spoke recently at Mass General Hospital Psychiatry Grand Rounds about her experience as an ECT patient and advocate.

...till next time - Amanda xo

p.s. Has Ana undergone shock treatment as of late?