Mamas on Bedrest: How Healthy Is Your Home?

March 30th, 2011

I am still reeling from the shocking near death experience of little Oliver Gibson. It is every parent’s nightmare to think that their home could be a toxic environment for their children. And while most families take precautions with their pets when they are bringing baby home, (When I was having my children, I had an indoor cat and both she and I had to be tested for Toxoplasmosis, a parasite commonly found in cat feces. Adults with competent immune systems generally ward off Toxoplasmosis quite well. Infants with congenital toxoplasmosis may have permanent disability, such as blindness or learning disorders. In individuals with compromised immune systems, toxoplasmosis can be deadly.) who would have thought that pet turtles, housed in an aquarium in another room in the house, could pose such a deadly threat as infant botulism?

The Gibson story is a very somber reminder that toxins can exist everywhere and we parents have to be ever vigilant about what comes in and around our children and our homes. I cite this story to in no way point a finger of blame. The Gibsons, like all of us, did the best they could with the information with which they had to work. Even federal authorities in both the United Kingdom and other countries were equally baffled. It just goes to show how difficult it can be to know what is potentially harmful.

So I was really excited to receive a copy of  The Healthy Home by Dr. Myron Wentz and his son David Wentz. Dr. Wentz is a microbiologist and immunologist who developed the first commercially available diagnostic test for the Epstein-Barr Virus.  He has dedicated his life to studying first what makes us sick and now in his later years, what can make us well. He has taken his years of scientific expertise and compiled a small “handbook” in The Healthy Home of potentially harmful substances around the home.

This topic has really gotten my attention, so I am going to read the book, divided by rooms of the house, and blog about each section.  I am also going to gift 5 copies of the book, one for each room of the house (Bedroom, Bathroom, Kitchen, Living areas, Garage and Yard) to readers who posts interesting comments to my blog posts and complete a 30 Minute Complimentary Bedrest Breakthrough Session.

The story of little Oliver Gibson really blew me away, but I do believe that everything happens for a reason. Oliver’s mama, Kris (Our Mama on Bedrest in Ireland) told me that because of Oliver’s case, authorities in the UK were able to finally solve another case of infant botulism in which there was no readily available cause. That infant had also been exposed to the particular kind of turtle Oliver had been exposed to and had also made a full recovery. So while devastating, Oliver’s ordeal has provided scientists around the world with new information.

I hope to raise awareness of potential dangers in the home with these blog posts based on The Healthy Home. For some of us, this will likely be a mind-blowing read. For others, it will be confirmation that what you are already doing is the best possible thing. In any event, knowledge is power and my goal is to empower every mama on bedrest-and beyond-to do the best possible for herself, her baby and her family. So watch for the blog posts and even if you don’t win one of the books, sign up for a 30 Minute Complimentary Bedrest Breakthrough Session Today!

Mamas on Bedrest:Older & Black Women More Likely to Die From Ectopic Pregnancy.

March 28th, 2011

Older women and African American Women are more likely to experience and die from ectopic pregnancies than other groups of women.

The April 2011 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology has published a retrospective study analyzing rates of ectopic pregnancy and deaths from ectopic pregnancy from 1980 to 1997. Researchers analyzed nation-wide records of all births and deaths between 1980 and 2007. The good news is that death rates from ectopic pregnancy dropped from 1/90,000 in the early 1980’s to 1/200,000 in 1997. The not so good news is that older women over age 35 had  a 3-4 fold increase of dying from ectopic pregnancy than a woman 25 or younger. Even worse, African American women of all ages are 7 times more likely to die from complications of an ectopic pregnancy than their white counterparts. The study was headed by Dr. Andreea Creanga from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The declines in deaths from ectopic pregnancies was not entirely a surprise. With improved prenatal care and advances in ultrasound technology, ectopic pregnancies are detected early and the complications (including deaths) are subsequently averted. Likewise, researchers were not surprised at the higher number of ectopic deaths in older women as there are physiologic changes in the fallopian tubes as a woman ages. But researchers were not at all prepared for the gaping difference in ectopic death rates between African American women and white women, and they have no concrete explanation for the disparity.

In a editorial published in Reuters,  Kurt Barnhart, MD, an obstetrician at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia commented on the study and noted that many inner city women have difficulty accessing prenatal care and even when care is available, they often have difficulty getting to prenatal appointments. As many African American women are in this situation, they start prenatal care later than their white counterparts. “The key to cutting down the risks of ectopic pregnancies is to catch them in the first 2 months – after that, the chances of severe complications go way up,” Barnhart said.

Barnhardt and Creanga agree that this study must be one of many in evaluating death rates as a result of ectopic pregnancy. In the mean time, both suggest that women seek prenatal care as soon as possible after learning of a positive pregnancy, and that women know the signs and symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy and seek medical care immediately when symptoms are noted. Barnhardt and Creanga also encourage health care providers to have a low index of suspicion for ectopic pregnancy,  and to evaluate for ectopic pregnancy sooner rather than later when a woman complains of symptoms because of the risk of death if treatment is delayed.

Sources

Obstetrics & Gynecology: April 2011 – Volume 117 – Issue 4 – pp 837-843
doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3182113c10
Reuters Health By Genevra Pittman, New York, March 25, 2011

Signs and Symptoms of an Ectopic Pregnancy

Early signs and symptoms may be the same as those of any pregnancy

  • a missed period
  • breast tenderness
  • nausea and fatigue

The first warning signs of an ectopic pregnancy often include

  • Light vaginal bleeding
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Cramping on one side of the pelvis

If the fallopian tube ruptures, symptoms may include

  • Sharp, stabbing pain in the pelvis, abdomen, or even the shoulder and neck
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness

Contact your obstetrics care provider or call 911 if you have

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding
  • Shoulder pain
  • A strong urge to defecate without results
  • Extreme lightheadedness, fainting or shock

Mamas on Bedrest: An interview with Beth Jackson Gagne, Creator of Baby Stay Asleep

March 25th, 2011

Beth Jackson Gagne is a mama, Licensed Pediatric Occupational therapist, entrepreneur and the creator of the Baby Stay Asleep infant sleep system. Jackson Gagne created Baby Stay asleep after her then 6 month infant son was diagnosed with GERD.  To accommodate his frequent feedings and to enable him to sleep comfortably without reflux or rolling to the foot of his elevated crib Jackson Gagne created a secure “harness” that fits around an infant securing him on his back while maintaining his sleep position at a 30-45 degree angle. Jackson Gagne shares with us her expertise in infant developmental sleep patterns,  as well as the road to creating Baby Stay Asleep.