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Happy Mother’s Day!

Just in time for Mother’s Day: a cute picture of daddy with our 8 1/2-month-old Baby G 🙂

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We hit the mall last weekend to buy mom some clothes in her (ahem) new size.

If that’s my Mother’s Day present, I’ll take it. It’s worth it to feel good about yourself in new clothes that fit well — not wasting time trying to shoe-horn yourself into old outfits if it’s just not going to happen. A wider rib cage and pelvis is a small price to pay for that lovebug up there.

What are you all doing for Mother’s Day? I hope my fellow moms get to relax, and maybe take some time for themselves.

If I get to sleep past 6:30 and maybe read the newspaper, I’ll be happy! Speaking of which….I saw this interesting series on pregnancy health in the Boston Globe last month, and I really wanted to share it. Some of its findings were astounding (at least to me). In particular, the advice on what the flu or a high fever can do to mom and baby when you’re expecting shocked me. Not surprisingly, it says the biggest problem in maternal medicine right now is the fact that two-thirds of expectant moms are overweight or obese. yikes.

But the article said a few more nuanced things, too. One doctor pointed out that simply avoiding the flu while pregnant by getting your flu shot prevents a five-fold increase in the risk of baby having a psychiatric illness, such as schizophrenia, later in life.

Another explained that recent findings show children of women who spike a high fever in pregnancy are more likely to develop autism, among other conditions, and that prenatal vitamins taken just before pregnancy, along with spacing pregnancies out by at least a year, can help reduce the likelihood that a child will develop autism. 

Really?

These are hefty claims. I’m no doctor, but I read the article with my mouth hanging open. It left me kind of frightened, to be honest. At least it was accompanied by a checklist for maximizing baby and mom’s health that I found helpful…

 Maximizing fetal and maternal health

  • Quit smoking, drinking, and drug use before getting pregnant. This includes second-hand smoke.
  • Get regular, moderate exercise before and during pregnancy. (Couldn’t agree more).
  • Eat a diet based largely on fruits and vegetables; if obese, reduce weight before pregnancy and limit weight gain during pregnancy.
  • Avoid eating fish that have high mercury levels.
  • Get illnesses such as diabetes, seizure disorders, sexually transmitted diseases, and auto-immune conditions, under control.
  • Prevent infections by getting immunizations, particularly against the flu, hepatitis, pneumonia, and pertussis, which can be dangerous for baby.
  • If you get a fever, take anti-fever medications.
  • Take prenatal vitamins, starting at least 3 months before pregnancy.
  • Space pregnancies allowing enough time for your body to recover. At least 36 months between pregnancies is ideal.
  • Consider tapering off any anti-depressant medication.
  • Eat organic whenever feasible.
  • Try to stay clear of insecticides and chemicals such as solvents and paint removers. When possible, minimize exposure to air pollution from traffic and fires; BPA, found in some plastics and canned foods; phthalates, in cosmetics and beauty products; and flame retardants in furniture and clothes.

I love these organic plant-based prenatals and these cleaning supplies. Of course, you can always go with things you already have on hand, like baking soda and vinegar. We also made the switch to glass bottles and lunch containers before we had Georgia. I even went the extra mile and made my husband start cleaning the cat box … just to be extra safe 🙂

I also read this awful article about how many toxic chemicals are in products marketed to babies and families. I know it’s an issue, and it’s why we’ve avoided certain brands, but I was still surprised at how pervasive the problem is, and how little some stores and sectors of government seem to care.

How about you — what do you do to avoid toxins? Do articles like this make you feel scared? or empowered to keep your family safe?

I’ll leave on an inspiring note. If you haven’t seen this beautiful photo series by Jade Beall on real women in all stages of pregnancy, nursing and beyond, it’s worth a look. Here’s one of my favorite images.

The photographer’s new book of photographs, “The Bodies of Mothers,” comes out on Mother’s Day, May 11, 2014.

I hope you all have a restorative, restful Mother’s Day full of MANY cuddles, NO chores, NO cooking (who’d ever think I would say that??) and, if you’re lucky, some PAMPERING in the form of a bath, a pedicure, an exercise class, or whatever makes you feel relaxed and loved.

Cheers to all my fellow moms. Shouldn’t every day be Mother’s Day?

 

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