Archive for March, 2009

Eggs : Healthy or not?

March 31st, 2009

omelet-healthy-main_full

It wasn’t that long ago that eggs were considered a dietary no-no. But if you’ve been avoiding the humble egg for health reasons it is not what it is cracked up to be. Eggs went out of favor because of the cholesterol in their yolks. After all, cholesterol is the stuff that builds up in our blood vessels increasing our risk of heart attacks and strokes.

But we now know that eating cholestrol isn’t the main thing that makes cholesterol in our blood go up. Eating saturated fat which are found in butter and other animal fats has a far greater effect. If you are otherwise healthy, and have a reasonably balanced diet, cholesterol in foods like eggs isn’t such a worry. One exception though is when your cholesterol level is already high. Then, you respond differently and eating cholesterol becomes more of a problem.

While there is fat in eggs themselves, it’s only around five grammes. And more than half of that is unsaturated, the good type that actually helps counterbalance cholesterol’s artery clogging effects.

The take home messege is not only are eggs not ‘bad’ for you, they’re nutritious. They are packed with protein, vitamins and antioxidants. They’re actually one of the rare sources of Vitamin D, something many of us are lacking. If you have heart disease or you’re at increased risk of it because of existing high blood cholesterol or other factors, then you might need to limit how often eggs are on the menu. But for most healthy people, up to four eggs a week isn’t just OK, it’s great! In fact, like my English teacher used to say ” It’s smashing! “.

Born too soon? Know what to expect if you baby’s born premature

March 29th, 2009
Little angel :)

Little angel :)

No woman ever expects to give birth prematurely, yet almost 10-15 percents of babies are born before 37th week of gestational age and that are in developed country. While in undeveloped places the percentage are up to 55%. Shocking! I suppose. The minute preterm babies are born, they have many special healthcare needs that make their care different from that full-term infants. Preemies often begin their lives after delivery in a neonatal intensive care unit ( NICU ). The NICU is designed to provide an atmosphere that limits stress to the infant and meet basic needs of warmth, nutrition and protection to assure the proper growth and development.

Thanks to development in neonatal science, even the smallest of the preemies has a better chance to thrive. Here’s how:

  • WARMING PREEMIES in a flatbeds with a heater above them or in incubators with humidity regulators to maintain optimum body temperature.
  • HOOKING THEM up to finely tuned, computerized neonatal monitors and ventilators.
  • VITAL SIGNS MONITORS Various machines might be used to keep track of baby’s heart beat, breathing rate, blood pressure and temperature. Wires from the monitor are stuck to the baby’s chest with pads. The monitor alarms can sound off quite often.
  • BLOOD SATURATION MONITOR This measures how much oxygen is in the baby’s blood. It might be strapped to her foot or hand.
  • VENTILATOR Helps her lungs do work of breathing. This machine pushes air into the lungs, through a tube that has been passed into the windpipe.
  • CPAP ( Continuous Positive Airway Pressure ) Some babies can breathe on their own with help from CPAP machine. It gently inflates the lungs and helps keep them open. Air goes in through a mask or via tubes in your baby’s nose.
  • DRIPS, LINES AND CATHETERS Tubes are placed in the baby’s veins to deliver fluids, medicines or nutrition. Tubes are placed in her arteries to test her blood pressure or oxygen levels.
  • INFUSION PUMP This machine makes sure that medicines and fluids are delivered into the baby’s veins at the right rate and speed.
  • FEEDING ( GASTRIC TUBE ) Babies who are well enough to receive milk are fed through a tube into their stomach. The tube goes in through their mouth or nose.
  • SIMPLE STRATEGIES provides relief from pain such as shifting babies’ position, swaddling them, giving them a pacifier or if necessary by administrating opiate medication such as morphine.
  • COATING PREEMIES’ lungs with surfactant, a soap-like substance that makes breathing easier and giving prenatal steroid to speed by lung development.

PARENTS’ ROLE

parents

In the hospital, your baby will appear very small and fragile. In the early days, the nurses might do everything for her. It’s easy to feel that your baby doesn’t need you. But she does of course you are still her parents. You are making important decisions for her and you can comfort her just by being there beside her.

Researchers have found that an important factor in how well a pre-term infant develops is very much dependent on the parents’ attitudes and behaviours. Parents who are persistently interact more with their babies eventually are rewarded by their babies’ response and healthy development. Parents can do the following for their tiny miracle:

  • Introduced pumped breast milk, along with a nutritional supplement withing the first few days. Giving premature babies breast milk can stimulate her immune system and help her fight illness. Mothers can express their milk and later breastfeed their child when the baby’s strong enough.
  • Encourage kangaroo ( skin-to-skin ) care with mothers, who hold their infants on their breast to soothe them and encourage better growth. “The more skin-to-skin contact, the better. It should ideally start at birth, but it is helpful any time,” says Dr. Nils Bergman, a senior medical superintendent of Mowbray Maternity Hospital in Cape Town, where doctors deliver 7,000 children a year.
  • Physiology and research provide overwhelming evidence that Kangaroo Mother Care is not only safe but superior to the use of technology such as incubators. Studies have shown that skin-to-skin contact can help baby maintain body warmth, gain weight, sleep deeply and reduce stress. Plus, it gives parents the perfect opportunity to bond with your newborn.
  • If you can’t hold your baby yet, you can still help your baby feel safe with a technique called ” containment holding “. To do this, while she’s in her cot, place one hand on her back or tummy. Just hold your hands still, with a gentle but steady touch. Containment holding can also help your baby cope if she becomes distressed during treatment or tests.
  • Bond with baby by singing to them, telling them stories, feeding them, touching them and comforting them with the familiar sound and presence of parents.

Though the hurdles premature infants face are still daunting, the standards of care for them have never been higher and their chances of growing into strong, healthy kids are better than ever.

Boost your baby’s health before birth. Even with the significant breakthroughs in neonatal care, prematurity is still a serious health threat – it’s the leading cause of death in the first month of life. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of premature delivery.

Have a preconception checkup

If you are considering getting pregnant, see your doctor now to get screened for any health conditions that may threaten a full-term pregnancy. Known risk factors include diabetes, anemia, high blood pressure, hypothyroidism, obesity, STDs and urinary tract infections. Get these conditions under control before conceiving.

Practice good prenatal care

Keep your ob-gyn appointments, eat right and get regular exercise. If you’ve delivered early before or you’re over age 35, it’s especially important to be monitored closely.

Stay away from alcohol and cigarettes

Women who drink, smoke or abuse drugs during pregnancy are more likely to deliver prematurely. Also consult your doctor about any medications you’re taking if you’re pregnantor trying to conceive.

De-stress

Continual, low-grade stress can increase the risk of pre-term labor. Yoga, meditation and a daily walking regime can help you relax.

Know the signs of preterm labor

If you notice frequent, regular contractions ( 10 minutes or less apart ), vaginal bleeding,watery discharge, a low backache or cramps that feel like your period, call your doctor immediately. Labor can sometimes be stopped or slowed with medication and even a few extra days in the womb can make a difference for your baby.

Are you ready to tie the knot?

March 25th, 2009

wedding-ring1

Do you hear wedding bells and think about walking down the aisle? Well, before you say “ I do”, it’s best to find out if you are truly ready for marriage. Getting married is a beautiful thing but it does take a certain maturity in a relationship to handle the concerns that come with that amazing diamond ring. It really does take two to tango so it’s best to find out if you and your partner are truly ready to commit.

Be brutally honest and evaluate the reasons behind your engagement. I f you need to, write list of pros and cons about your partner and your relationship. If you find yourself having to rationalize that you are doing the “right “ thing by marrying your partner , then you should re-evaluate your relationship. And if you have to talk to your fiancé into marriage then it’s not a good sign either. Ask yourself why are you taking the big step – is it out of convenience? Or you simply think it’s time since most of your friends are either married or about to? Make sure you are getting married for the right reasons and if you look forward to spending the rest of your life with your partner, then you guys are all set! But, if that thought makes you feel slightly nauseous or anxious, it’s time to take a closer look at your relationship.

Sometimes bygones are not bygones. History plays a large role in forming future behaviours and expectations so if you are walking down the aisle promising to spend “sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live” , it’s essential for you to find out about his relevant past relationships. The best predictor of future behavior is relevant past behavior so learn from it.

Take note on how your partner handles disagreements or issues during past relationships and you will have an idea on how he will be with you in the future. But, you ought to realize all this before getting engaged as you two should have spent a large amount of time getting to know each other. It’s also a good idea to find out what your partner has learnt about marriage from his or her parents. Dating and getting married are two different stages in a relationships, and that change can shape expectations so it’s best not to assume anything. A good idea is to look closely at your partner ‘s parent – children learn what they live. Even mundane things like sharing housework could be a great source of distress if expectations are not correctly dealt with!

Do you want a wedding or a marriage?

It’s so easy to get carried away with the whole beautiful ceremony and wedding preparation. Cake, flowers, and fine china are all exciting, but there’s more at stake than that one day. It’s all too easy to get caught on choosing the perfect gown, doing your hair and having that lovely outdoor wedding you have always dreamed of. However, it pays to take a step back to realize that your wedding is a day but your marriage is a lifetime. You don’t just want to be married, you want to be happily married.  Think about the next 50 years. Put at least the same amount of time and effort that you are using to plan your wedding  into planning your marriage. There are lots going on after the “big day ” . Have a sit down with your partner and develop an emotional prenuptial agrrement outlining how you’ll handle children, discipline, money, housework, religion, careers, in-lows, geography, and other less romantic but necessary areas of your life. If you don’t plan for and discuss these topics you won’t be able to successfully merge two lives together. Remember, you two are literally going to be sharing lives, and it’s no easy feat having to combine two individual’s lifestyles into one.

Weighing your relationship

Look at what your relationship will cost you, and we are not talking about your financial cost here. We are talking about what your marriage will cost you in terms of your life overall. If you have to give up your friends, career or family, fro example, the cost is too high. If it all falls apart, are you going to be emotionally bankrupt? It is better to be healthyy to give up all jparts of your life for one person. If your partner truly loves youhe wouldn’t want you to do that either. However, there are always expectations and there are always exceptions and there are no rights and wrongs to this equation but it’s safe to say that if your beloved wants you to give up everything that makes who you are as individual, you are in for a rough ride. It’s time to re-evaluate the relationship if that happens because marriage and relationship are a lot abour compromise when it comes to giving….

Know thyself

You have to know what you want because you can’t determine if somebody is good for you. If you don’t know your own needs. So, be clear about your wants and expectations and remember it’s not selfish to have goal s within a relationships. Express your needs and expectations now… not when you are already in the marriage. You and your partner should communicate honestly about each other’s wants and expectations. For example, what are your absolute deal breakers? You will be amazed how talking about your needs and expectations can help you both put relationship and future marriage in perspective.

Are you ready to get married?

Take out quick quiz and find out!

  • Are you both independant financially and emotionally?
  • Are you getting married for the right reasons?
  • Do you look forward to your life together?
  • Do you believe whole-heartedly he or she is the one?
  • Do you two communicate well?

If you answer ” yes” to three out of that five questions, then start planning that wedding! But if you answer ” no” to more than three of the questions, you might want to ask yourself if you really want to get married at all.