27 February 2009

Octuplet mum a pregnancy addict?

“I loathe pregnancy. I hate it more than anything else in the world,” Nadya Suleman told Dr. Phil on her continuing tour de media.

For a woman who is now in the possession of 14 young children, it is hard to believe that someone would choose to endure the physical hardships of pregnancy if they hated it that much. There has been some speculation that Suleman is 'addicted' to pregnancy, although there is no known condition. Rather, some experts have been suggesting that Suleman is in denial about her ability to parent these children appropriately when in fact, the reality is that she will need her own entourage to manage her brood. Dr. Drew Pinsky, best known for his love advice on MTV, but whom also is a psychiatrist and a parent of triplets himself, told Matt Lauer on Today that the situation that Suleman has found herself in is actually far more grave than has been reported:

"It’s not mere speculation, but a matter of life and death...With octuplets, you have to have six or seven people going 24/7 in order to prevent, frankly, the death of one of these children. It’s a really serious issue."

Source: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/29405752/

26 February 2009

Denny's harasses breastfeeding mum

One more reason why you should never go to Denny's:

In Asheville, NC, Crystal Everitt, 28, was approached by an employee of the food chain asking her to move to a more 'private' area while she was breastfeeding her 1 year old son. Everitt claims she was harassed and garnered the support of local mums who are holding a 'nurse-in' outside the restaurant.

Bring in the hooter hiders, Denny's is anti-boobs.....

Source: http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2009902210340

25 February 2009

Hide your hooters with an enthusiastically patterned bib

Bebe au Lait (also known as Hooter Hiders) for 'discrete nursing': What do we think?

Source: http://shop.bebeaulait.com/shop/originals/sevilla

24 February 2009

Education begins in the womb?


Behold 'The Fetal Educator Strap', a belt with a cassette player and some transmitters. Apparently foetuses get smart when you play them music.

Source: http://inventorspot.com/articles/education_begins_womb_great_idea_24138

Letters! We get letters! Stacks, stacks, stacks of letters!

I love getting nice emails:

"I always felt really good about being a mother even though my body had changed and I did want to lose a little weight. I started to have ladies around me that either had no children and still had the great body or that by crash dieting they became skinny very quickly after birth. At first it had very little effect on my additude about being a mother, but it seemed that they bought into the whole "I look better than you and I am winning some weird contest "thing and eventually I had severe problems ( still do) with celebrities and the flaunting of their million dollars spent on the perfect body. Now everytime I see them I am disgusted and envious because of how my friends acted and how the tv warps your way of thinking about how life works. Even though I lost all the weight (too much got to 105 and I am 5'4") I did do it in a pretty healthy fashion, lots of excercise and well balanced nutritional diet ( unlike some people) I still wanted to have flawless skin and great breasts. I even considered after two girls to never anymore children and when I did decide to try for a boy (now soon to have another child) I decided that breast feeding would only increase the damage and that one day I would fix those and the ugly stretch marks with breast surgery and laser surgery!! Now that I only have 1 month of pregnancy to go and I have a wonderful family which includes my very supportive husband, I am considering breast feeding because I did so well before and once you are a mother, giving that up is only going to hurt the child not improve your breasts!! I now realize how ridiculous I have been by reading your blogs about celebrities and their unrealistic opinions of what the female's body is "supposed to look like", There IS NO SUCH THING!! thank you for the website and best wishes to other mothers who are always beating theirselves up to look perfect."

23 February 2009

British mothers receive advice on sensible weight loss

I never thought I'd see the day. It seems that western governments are finally cottoning on to the fact that post-baby weight loss is a dangerous stressor for women who as they try to manage motherhood in cultures riddled with the presence of hot celebrity mums. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is concerned that British mums are trying too hard to copy celebrity slimming techniques and are pushing for new mothers to receive official guidance when it comes to safe and effective post-birth weight loss. Doctors are increasingly worried about women who are resorting to crash diets to bounce back, perhaps unknowingly impairing their ability to breastfeed for lack of calories to produce good milk.

Rosie Dodds, of the National Childbirth Trust, said: 'The message we want to get across is for women not to rush into it. Start with gradual exercise which is free and which can boost mood and confidence - such as simply walking with the baby in the pram or in a sling. Weight loss should also be gradual because that is the best way to keep it off.

'The last thing you need after you have had a baby is some unrealistic pressure to get back to a particular size or shape. Society should value women for being mothers.'

A good point, but nevertheless is this really new information? Even when women are not pregnant they know on some level that crash dieting is never a good thing and yet, the dieting industry in the US, Australia and the UK is thriving because women continue to buy into quick and seemingly simple but dangerous schemes for dropping weight. Is merely telling new mums that crash dieting is wrong an effective solution when our globalised world relies on and upholds celebrities and their bodies as the templates for daily life?

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1152439/New-mothers-receive-official-guidance-losing-weight-giving-birth.html

Sunday Life magazine: Mummy makeovers

For those of you that may have missed it, my story about post-baby plastic surgery in Thailand was published yesterday in the Sunday Life magazine of The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. I've had some really interesting reader feedback already and for those of you who may have read the story, I'd be grateful for your thoughts as well.

Nicole Richie with child

*drum roll please*

Nicole Richie is pregnant with her second child. Joel Madden announced the news on the Good Charlotte website in a message titled “Better than winning an OSCAR!,” he wrote on Saturday night, “I am so happy to tell everyone that Harlow is going to be a big sister! God has truly blessed my family. Hope your [sic] all feeling as good as I am right now.”

We can all look forward to another year of baby bump scouting, maternity fashion and Paris Hilton saying she wants to be pregnant too.

Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29332814/

21 February 2009

Midwives given expanded role in new report

According to The Age, a report written by Commonwealth chief nurse and midwifery officer Rosemary Bryant, due to be released today, suggests that new funding arrangements could support the expansion of midwives' roles in Australia's failing maternity system. Under the new scheme, midwives would have access to indemnity insurance, Medicare numbers and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Of course, many obstetricians are upset by this prospect. More than 900 submissions from health professionals, individuals, researchers, industry groups and professional organisations have been received. In submissions, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said midwives should not be given Medicare numbers and the Australian Medical Association said independent midwifery care would jeopardise the care of mothers and babies.

The report states that midwives must meet an advanced level of professional education and experience before being given greater access.

What do we think?

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/national/report-urges-expanded-role-for-midwives-20090220-8dqz.html?page=-1

Painted lady lumps: pregnant body art

Fancy a decorated baby bump?

An artist in the UK is offering her services to pregnant women as part of growing trend of bump painting or bump art. Erica Norman of New Brighton gives pregnant mums a 2hr bump painting session plus photo shoot. She says: "I want to offer it as a service to pregnant women. It's a little bit different and it's nice for mums-to-be because it's a chance for them to sit back and relax."


Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/7899618.stm

Laila Ali happy not to look like she's had a child

If losing baby weight is hard for the everyday women of the world, how does it feel to gain weight when you are a professional boxer?

Laila Ali opened up to The Insider to say that losing weight has been extremely difficult. Almost to her pre-pregnancy weight since giving birth to her son Curtis six months ago, Ali is working on the last 10 pounds.“It takes nine months to put the weight on, so you just have to know it’s going to take time to get it off, which I do,” but says she is “not crazy about it like some people are.”

Nevertheless, a seemingly 'healthy' attitude to weight loss is punctuated by a disappointing summation of her post-bab body: “My body didn’t get stretched out too much to the point where it looks like I had a child, so I’m very lucky,” she explains.

God forbid you actually look like you gave birth after giving birth! Oh the horror!

Source: http://www.theinsider.com/news/1703657_Video_laila_Ali_And_Son_Curtis_Fun_Photo_Shoot

20 February 2009

Elective caesars on the way out in the UK

It is no secret that caesarean rates are rising rapidly in the western world (currently 23% in Britain). In a bold move, the NHS (UK) has barred women from routinely having elective caesars because they are too expensive and strain the national health care budget. In Greater Manchester, elective caesars are being limited to women that can demonstrate specific health problems.

Some obstetricians, however, are firmly against the move. Dr Christoph Lees, an obstetrician and gynaecologist at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge, said: “I strongly disagree with this prescriptive condition setting. Sometimes well-informed women, often older and very unlikely to have further children, do request caesarean sections and it is unreasonable to refuse if they are fully informed.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. Although the rates of caesareans are ridiculously out of control at present, is it productive to limit women's choices even further? Sure, I would never choose to have a caesarean unless medically necessary but what's right for me isn't necessarily the right choice for everyone else.

What do we think? Is this something that should be implemented in the US, Canada and Australia?

Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/health/article5734096.ece

Conjoined twins die after one month

It wasn't long ago that I wrote about the conjoined twins born to a UK couple who caused a stir for choosing to keep their babies un-ironically named Hope and Faith, in spite of the fact that they were only given a 20% chance to live:


Well, there are lots of people saying I told you so because tragically, the babies have died one month after being born, unable to survive separation surgery.

"When Hope was in the operating theatre and we got rushed down to see them and they were trying to keep her alive, I just thought it was time for her to go because it wasn't fair on her.

"Her lungs weren't big enough to take the oxygen in so everybody had done what they could.

"With Faith, she had been through so much in four weeks, we just didn't expect her little body to go through that. The time we spent with her was the most precious to all of us."

The parents say they don't regret their decision to have the babies. Would you?

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/shropshire/7899061.stm

19 February 2009

Naomi Watts: on breastfeeding

On Ellen the other day, Naomi Watts mentioned that her partner Liev Schrieber was having a little breastfeeding envy:

"He does take care of Sasha [their nickname for Alexander] in the night, but he can't do Sammy because I'm breastfeeding," she says. "Although with the first one, he was like, 'I want the man boob.'"She added: "You can get those things. You can attach them and they feed through a tube!"

Any of your male partners out there feeling the same way? Has anyone used those man boob things?

Source: http://www.usmagazine.com/news/naomi-watts-liev-schreiber-wants-breastfeed

Cardio dance your baby weight off

Tracy Anderson, the woman who helped Gwyneth Paltrow lose her pregnancy pounds, is opening up a gym in TriBeca with Paltrow as her silent partner. Remember when I posted a video clip of Paltrow bouncing around like a complete idiot doing her 'cardio dancing' on Oprah a while back? (If you have since forgotten, here is a refresher: http://babybumpproject.blogspot.com/2008/09/jlo-and-gwyneth-working-it-out.html

Anyway, you can have Paltrow's post-baby body if you are willing to pay $900 month in gym fees. In addition to the monthly dues, members must pay an initiation fee of $787.50 for six months or $1,500 for a year. Actually, you can't really get Gwyn's bod even if you pay. Tracy Anderson basically lives with Paltrow and Madonna depending on whose career is in higher gear, while working with the other through video chats and custom DVDs, or by dispatching one of her associate trainers. Last summer, she trained Madonna during the day in Manhattan and took the train almost every day to the Hamptons to put Ms. Paltrow through a workout in the evening.

Um yeah...

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/08/fashion/08trainer.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Isla Fisher: fat thighs, no good

Isla Fisher was chatting to Page Six about her new movie, Confessions of a Shopaholic and just happened to drop a juicy tidbit about pregnancy:

"I never work out. I just don't enjoy it. I gained 60 pounds during my pregnancy, so [producer] Jerry Bruckheimer hired me a trainer for Confessions of a Shopaholic. But the trainer said I had a bad attitude. He told me I was genetically blessed because I'm little, but he did warn me that it was gonna catch up with me.

Just when you start to think that she's refreshingly 'normal', she goes on to say:
"I didn't feel self-conscious about my body until I had a baby, and now I think, 'Thank God there's a photograph of my thighs when they looked like that."

Aw. It's sort of like putting ketchup on an expensive steak. Can you just admit that like most other women and celebrities for that fact, you do care about your weight? The whole 'I never exercise or worry about my weight' thing is so old it's like 1985 and we're all wearing leg warmers.

Source: http://www.nypost.com/pagesixmag/issues/20090215/Enchanted+Isla

Bristol Palin: motherhood is hard

Bristol Palin, 18, is back in the news following her candid comments about life with her baby Tripp. Have to give the girl credit, with a mother who bangs on about the importance of abstinence, when asked if she used contraception, Bristol declined to give details. Abstinence, she said, is the best option but "not realistic at all."

Apparently, her boyfriend Levi loves parenthood as well. According to People, "He has been staying at [the Palins' home] a lot with Bristol and helping her out," a pal of Levi's said. "He really likes being a father." Of course he likes being a father. Not having to wake up in the middle of the night, worry about losing the baby weight and dealing with the stigma of being a young mum is a pretty good deal.

Bristol, on the other hand, wants to be an advocate against teen pregnancy. "I'd love to [be] an advocate to prevent teen pregnancy because it's not, like, a situation that you would want to strive for, I guess." Ya think?

Sources: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/reliable-source/2009/02/bristol_palin_on_abstinence_mo.html?hpid=topnews
Photo by: FOX News / AP

18 February 2009

Pre-conception care: useful or a crock?

In an interesting study recently published in the British Medical Journal, it seems that women of childbearing age in the UK (20-34 years old) are less likely to follow pre-pregnancy recommendations such as decreasing the consumption of alcohol, taking folic acid supplements and quitting smoking. Of the 12, 445 women in the study, only 2.9% were taking folic acid supplements and having fewer than 4 drinks per week three month before conception. The authors of the study pin this down to young women being less inclined to want to change their pre-pregnancy lifestyles. The authors also suggest that public health messages about pre-conception care are not getting to women. I wonder if it's really just a lack of appropriate communication of public health messages or if women are just actively resisting the overly prescriptive rules and regulations surrounding pregnancy (from pre-conception to post-birth). Increasingly, women are being told to treat their bodies as if they could be pregnant at any time and I think this fits in nicely with all of the moral panics about motherhood and fertility for young women in their 20s.

I'm interested as to whether any of you following pre-conception care closely or if you think it's all a load of bollocks?

Source: British Medical Journal, Online First, February 13, 2009.

17 February 2009

Brangelina trying to make it seven

According to new reports (from highly reliable *cough* sources), Angelina Jolie is already trying for baby number 7.


Angie is doing everything she can to get pregnant,” a source close to the actress tells OK!.

“She’s taking prenatal vitamins, has dramatically cut down on her junk-food consumption, and is seeing her obstetrician regularly whenever she’s back in L.A.”

I don't know if seven children at different ages is necessarily better than octuplets? Still a case of too many children if you ask me.

Source: http://www.ok.co.uk/okusa/view/7287/Angelina-s-baby-diet/

Kate Moss sporting a bulge

Poor Kate Moss. The gal puts on a little bit of weight and everyone thinks she's pregnant. This situation nicely encapsulates the research about the meanings of fat and pregnancy I've been doing for the past few years. Women can never be 'in between' as it were: they are either 'fat' or 'pregnant'. A belly is only acceptable when it is flat or pregnant; a little pudge is no good.

Of her changing shape, Kate Moss told New York Magazine:

"I am a woman now! It’s true. No, honestly, I’ve never worn a bra in my life. Ever! It’s so awful, even my friends are phoning me up and saying “Are you pregnant?” And I’m like, “No! I just put on a couple of pounds, and they went in the right place.” Isn’t that weird? And how perfect for lingerie."

Sources: http://nymag.com/fashion/09/spring/54319/index1.html

15 February 2009

Motherhood and ballet do mix

I've written about pregnant ballet dancers before but would you ever believe that the Australian Ballet has introduced one of the country's most flexible family/maternity leave policies?

As pregnancy can be the ultimate career-ender for dancers, the Australian Ballet has introduced 14 weeks post-natal paid leave; leave for fathers, flexible safe duties for pregnant dancers, the opportunity for families to travel and stay together on tour, assistance with air fares and accommodation, and support in maintaining peak fitness in preparation for a return to their previous dancing roles.

Now Australian ballerinas do not have to worry as much about choosing between motherhood and dancing. This is great news considering most dancers leave at the peak of their careers in order to have families.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/national/ballet-dancers-keep-in-step-with-family-life-20090214-87q2.html?page=1


Octuplets mum, Nadya Suleman just days before giving birth.

There are no words.

Source: http://www.tmz.com/2009/02/12/octomom-it-was-a-very-goodyear/

12 February 2009

On the Loos

Remember Rebecca Loos?

Yeah, the bisexual woman that David Beckham had an affair with a few years ago.

Well, she's pregnant to an unnamed new boyfriend:

"We're both delighted with the pregnancy. He wasn't a fling, he's my boyfriend and I hope to spend the rest of my life with him."

She tells the Daily Mail her 'crazy days' are over.


Source: http://tinyurl.com/b7eoee

11 February 2009

Hello, I'm in labour.

I'm still trying to understand the appeal of Twitter. Micro-updating, however, thanks to Facebook and other technological annoyances that come with this postmodern life is here to stay. Just this week rapper Erykah Badu and her partner twittered her labour and birth. Her last tweet before handing over the updating to her partner, Jay Electronica was "contractions are 3 min. apart..... breathing". Hours after her daughter was born, she wrote "I can't believe it's over. Home birth, no painkillers, about five hours, she was a little past due date, but I didn't mind waiting. Breath."

Badu isn't the first woman to tweet her birth. Back in August, one woman in Denver twittered her way through labour and was made fun of on a number of websites including Gawker: http://twitter.com/ginnycase/statuses/900727494.

Another woman used to Tumblr to describe her experience of abortion:

Is this the way of the future or a case of too much information?

Sources: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2009/02/05/my-body-my-tweets

Naomi Watts: Postbaby confessions

Prepare yourself to hate Naomi Watts just a little more.

She tells Ok!, "I eat more now than I did when I was pregnant! With breastfeeding, you have to eat... and you're always hungry."

And then the kicker.

"I haven't even done much exercise yet, but I intend to."

Another day in celebrityville.

Source: http://www.okmagazine.com/news/view/11858

10 February 2009

M.I.A's baby getting his swagga on

M.I.A. is now being referred to as the 'hero' of the Grammy's for getting her rap on while 9 months pregnant. In fact, not only did she manage to make it to the show, she actually performed on her due date. She wore an outfit that was clearly meant to draw attention away from the pregnancy

In response, she said, "
I just don't know what labor is. It's my first baby. So I'm not walking around going, 'Maybe this is it.' The baby is just moving around, getting his swagga on."

There you have it.

Source: http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1604583/20090209/mia__4_.jhtml

09 February 2009

Pregnancy brain: myth or reality?

Alyson Hannigan of 'How I Met Your Mother' recently noted that being pregnant makes her feel like a stoned Koala bear. "I get tired a lot and I have pregnancy brain, which I never realized was a thing but it is," the expectant mom said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Friday.

Contrary to popular belief, however, a new study reveals that having babies actually SHARPENS women's brains. A 10-year study into the phenomenon by scientists at the Australian National University in Canberra concludes that "baby brain" is an urban myth. Instead of suffering a slump in mental and verbal abilities during the early stages of motherhood, women's cognitive abilities improve when they become pregnant.

"We found that women who were pregnant during the second or third batch of interviews performed the same on tests of logic and memory as they did before, and there was no difference between the pregnant women and the controls," said Professor Helen Christensen, who is director of the centre for mental health research at the university in Canberra.

"It really leaves the question open as to why [pregnant] women - and, often, their partners - think they have poor memories, when the best evidence we have is that they don't," she said. "Perhaps women notice minor lapses in mental ability and then attribute it to being pregnant because that is the most significant thing in their mind at the time. Or sleep deprivation could mask the positive cognitive effects." Christensen believes the improvements in mothers' mental abilities could be permanent.

What do you think? Does pregnancy brain exist?

Sources: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/feb/08/pregnancy-maternity-sharpen-womens-brains

More restrictions on abortion.

And another bad start to your Monday.

According to reports in USA Today, lawmakers in 11 states are considering bills that would require ultrasounds before a woman is permitted to have an abortion. The most stringent laws are being proposed in Nebraska, Indiana and Texas, which would require a doctor show the ultrasound image of the foetus to the woman. Oklahoma's law is currently being challenged in court after it has been deemed to infringe on women's rights to privacy and assault dignity.

"They really do not even veil their goal, which is to make a woman feel badly and to make her change her mind," said Celine Mizrahi, a lawyer for the New York-based center. "It really is a ridiculous position to put the doctor and patient in."

Even bills that are considered 'less restrictive' are still problematic. South Carolina is trying to require that women must wait 24 hours before being permitted to have an abortion and women are given the option of viewing the foetal photograph one hour before the procedure. Mizrahi notes that women women may be referred to a centre that performs ultrasounds for free. This is a problem because many of these clinics are considered pregnancy 'crisis centres' and are run by pro-life groups which actively discourage women from having abortions.

Source: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-02-08-abortion-laws_N.htm

Jennifer Aniston: on baby watch (on film)

Hmm. Considering Jennifer Aniston claims to be sick of having her womb stalked for any evidence of pregnancy, one wonders why she has decided to sign on to a new movie with Jason Bateman called 'The Baster', which as you might have already guessed, is about a woman who gets pregnant via artificial insemination. I don't know what's more disturbing, the plot line in which Bateman, playing her best friend, swaps the donor sperm with his own and later has to live with the reality that the baby is his child or the headlines accompanying the press release for the movie including beauties such as 'Jennifer Aniston Fertilizes The Baster', 'Jennifer Aniston to get inseminated' and 'Jennifer Aniston to get basted'.

Um, ew?

Source: http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/b98768_Jennifer_Aniston_Fertilizes_The_Baster.html

06 February 2009

Jessica Alba: weight loss is hard

Jessica Alba reveals to Elle this month that losing her baby weight was more than just hard. In a race to get fit for the sexy photo shoot for Campari (above), she says,"[The workouts] were horrible. I cried. And I haven't worked out since."

Looks like the life of a celeb mum isn't so easy after all. But do we believe she hasn't worked out at all since then?

Source: http://www.usmagazine.com/news/jess-alba-i-cried-trying-to-lose-baby-weight

02 February 2009

Octuplets mum raises vexing questions

I've avoided talking about the octuplets mum..until now. For those of you who have been outside the realm of the mass media, a California woman has given birth to octuplets by caesarean section. It has been revealed, however, that this woman has six children already. Having conceived through IVF, when given the option to selectively abort some of the implanted embryos, she chose to keep all of them. I won't get into the ethics of this on the part of the doctor as this has been written about extensively elsewhere. I find two things very interesting.

1) I wrote about infertility the other day and how the pressure for women in their 20s to start thinking about their ticking biological clocks is a precedent established historically by the new 'empowerment' brought to women in a post-feminist world. I noted that as soon as certain groups of women gain power in the public sphere, institutional powers-that-be remind women of their 'duties' as wives and mothers and all of these moral panics about fertility start to emerge. Ironically, the next day, we hear about the octuplets mum and her growing brood of 14 children. If this women, is clearly, if not a little overzealously, fulfilling her procreative 'duty', why is it that the many commentators have gone to great lengths to establish this woman's insanity? It seems that fertility is only desirable when you are a 'good' woman or a desirable candidate for motherhood.

2) Although the octuplets mum has wanted to remain nameless, according to The Australian today, the unemployed woman is seeking $2 million from commercial sponsorship and media interviews in order to defray the costs of her children. She apparently has Oprah and Diane Sawyer on board for interviews.

What do we think? Would the picture be different if the octuplets mum was 38, happily married and employed?

Source: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24993121-2703,00.html
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The Baby Bump Project by Meredith Nash is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.