Are you looking for a keepsake of your baby before he or she is even born? Try a belly cast.
To help preserve the memory of your pregnancy, Sacred Journey presents the Belly Cast Kit, which creates a cast mold of your growing belly. “It was a great bonding experience for me and the baby, something to look forward to,” Marina says after having her 29-week pregnancy bump immortalized. She says her friends are planning to sign the cast to make it even more memorable.
You can also add some flair to your pregnancy with belly painting. Katie, who is seven months pregnant, had colorful flowers painted on her expecting tummy.
“[The experience] was fabulous,” Katie says. “It was very relaxing, and actually the brush was very cool, and the baby started kicking in response to the brush. It sort of accentuates my femininity that I feel like I’m naturally exuding right now.”
“The more you can decrease stress in the pregnancy, the better it is for the baby,” Dr. Lisa says. “They have better growth, the moms are happier; it decreases postpartum depression. It’s wonderful.”
Use water-based paints for belly painting, Dr. Lisa cautions, because acrylic paints can be absorbed into the blood stream and potentially affect the baby.
• Learn more about body paining at enchantedbrushstrokes.com.
Headphone Hearing Loss
The overwhelming popularity of portable music devices is apparent almost everywhere, including gyms, college campuses and even in the workplace. But can listening to your favorite tunes be harmful to your hearing? If you’re using the wrong headphones, it can.
Many new music players come with earbud headphones, which sit inside the ear. Studies have shown that the use of these earbuds can lead to sensorineural hearing loss because they increase the amount of noise transmitted into the inner ear.
Noise-reducing headphones are available and can limit hearing damage. Dr. Ordon advises reducing the volume levels and the amount of time spent using earbud headphones.
21 For 21
A dangerous trend is sweeping college campuses called “21 for 21.” Young adults attempt to drink 21 shots of alcohol on their 21st birthday, but this kind of binge drinking can lead to dire consequences.
Brittney and Tricia are 20-year-old college students who plan on carrying out the task together on their 21st birthdays. They say they are going to have a big party and go to a number of different clubs in their attempt to drink 21 shots.
“I don’t really care what people think about the whole 21 shot thing,” Tricia says. “I’m going to just do it.”
Dr. Travis explains to Brittney and Tricia that drinking large amounts of alcohol can be extremely dangerous. “People go into a ritual like this, and it’s supposed to be fun; ‘I’m 21. This is going to be such a great night,’” he says. “And before you know it, you don’t remember a thing. You don’t realize how much alcohol is in 21 shots.”
He demonstrates the overall amount to be consumed by filling 21 shot glasses with alcohol. A bottle and a half later, the glasses are full.
“It’s scary,” Brittney says. “But there are people who have done it.”
Dr. Travis tells the girls that after just a few shots, their reflexes will begin to slow down, and they may become sleepy. “As it goes on and on, everything slows down,” he says. “You start having more trouble breathing. You may even forget to breathe.
“And the scariest thing about this for me, as an E.R. doctor, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had women come into the E.R. the next morning and say ‘I think I may have been raped, but I don’t even remember,’” Dr. Travis continues. “That’s not fun on your 21st birthday.”
To give Brittney and Tricia another dose of reality, John, 26, shares his harrowing story about drinking too much on his 21st birthday. John says he went out with friends to celebrate the occasion, and the 21 shots were lined up for him to drink … one after another. He consumed so much alcohol that within an hour, things became hazy. He confides that the last thing he remembers from that night is taking a shot of rum. The next thing he knew, he was in a hospital bed.
“It was like waking up in a nightmare,” John recollects. “The best way I can describe it is imagine waking up out of a bad dream. I was on life support in the ICU. My arms were tied down, my legs were tied down, I had tubes in my throat. I was this close away from death.
“It was not fun. I don’t remember anything from the night prior,” he continues. “It was probably the worst experience of my life.”
John was diagnosed with alcohol poisoning and lost the ability to breathe on his own.
“That is not how you want to remember your 21st birthday,” John tells Brittney and Tricia. “You want to have a good time. You want to remember, ‘Hey, I woke up alive.’ That’s probably the biggest thing you want to do. Waking up in the E.R. is not the way you want to go, especially for something stupid like drinking 21 shots. And I didn’t even make it to 21 shots!”
Effects of Alcohol Poisoning
• Choking on vomit
• Breathing slows, becomes irregular or stops
• Irregular heartbeat or heart failure
• Hypoglycemia, which can lead to seizures
• Brain damage
Christine and Michael join The Doctors to raise awareness about the dangers of binge drinking. They share the tragic story of their only son, Christopher's, death. He had indulged in binge drinking, and the morning after celebrating his 22nd birthday, Christopher’s roommate found him unconscious. His roommate called an ambulance, and Christopher was rushed to the hospital and put on life support. By the time his parents arrived, he had no brain function at all.
“When I first got to the hospital, I knew,” Michael says in a video segment, struggling to hold back tears. “I knew right there. There was no spark left in Christopher at all. His eyes were just dull.”
A toxicity test indicated that Christopher had a .456 blood alcohol concentration -- nearly five times the legal limit -- and he died from alcohol overdose.
“These kids don’t know what they’re doing when they’re doing this,” Michael declares. “Christopher was a talented young man, but this got him. What do we have to do to keep somebody else’s father from sitting here?”
Michael looks directly at Brittney and Tricia and asks, “Are you prepared to go to her funeral? That is the question you have to ask yourself before you get ready to do this. Are you prepared, personally, to live the rest of your life knowing that you helped your friend do this?”
After hearing Michael and Christine’s story, Dr. Travis asks Brittney and Tricia if they’re still interested in attempting 21 for 21.
“No,” Brittney says. “Not [after] seeing the pain on their faces.”
“Partying should be fun; it shouldn’t be deadly,” Dr. Travis says. “When you get to the point where you’re drinking 21 shots, it becomes deadly.”
Mom’s Home Remedies
Erin, 49, is a mother of six who has developed a number of not-so-common home health remedies. The Doctors assess a few of the cures that Erin swears by:
To Reduce a Fever: Soak two washcloths in egg whites, wrap them around the bottom of the feet and put socks over them.
The Doctors are not sure whether this works or not, but Dr. Jim says “I’d be skeptical for a really high fever. Pretty much anything over about 102, 103 [degrees], then you’re getting in the high fever range, and that’s when it becomes a little more likely that this is a serious thing.” He advises medicine and a doctor’s visit for high fever.
To Stop a Nosebleed: Tear a piece off of a brown paper bag and place under the upper lip.
“This makes sense, because you are putting pressure on the branches of the artery that go up to the end of the nose,” says Dr. Ordon.
Dr. Travis disagrees and shares his more clinical nosebleed remedy. “Pinch [the nose], hold for 10 minutes, and don’t let go. And don’t tilt your head back, because if you do, all the blood goes to the back of your throat. Put your head forward. That will stop 90-plus percent of nosebleeds.”
To Cure Pink Eye or an Eye Infection: Put a few drops of fresh breast milk in the eye.
“That’s a great one,” Dr. Jim says. “In our office, we recommend that all the time, actually, for mild eye infections. Just squirt a few drops of breast milk, and the antibodies in there actually work.” But Dr. Jim warns, for severe eye infections, call your doctor.
Imagine if your child could read before his or her first birthday. Most children learn to read by age 6 or 7, but Dr. Robert Titzer’s “Your Baby Can Read!” program claims to teach children by the time they are 9 months old. Dr. Titzer began using the program with his 17-year-old daughter, Aleka, when she was just 3 months old, and says she is now as avid and advanced a reader as anyone he knows.
The interactive program uses a combination of books, flash cards and DVDs, which display the word followed by a picture relating to it. The practice also encourages the parent and child to perform physical activities related to the word, such as clapping when the word “clap” appears.
“All babies can learn the written form of language, just like all babies can learn the spoken form,” Dr. Titzer says.
In a video segment, parents ask their children which card has a specific word printed on it, and the children point to the correct one.
“You’re using the term ‘read,’ but we saw some very, very young kids saying words from a card,” Dr. Travis says. He asks Dr. Titzer if the children are just memorizing, or if they are actually learning what they practice.
“We have both,” Dr. Titzer says. “We have some children who are just starting the program, where they’ve only memorized the words, the shape of the word. But over time, the baby figures out that the ‘B’ makes the ‘bah’ sound, just like they figure out all the patterns of the spoken language by listening to the language. If you allow them to memorize enough words, then the babies figure out that the ‘ap’ makes the ‘ap’ sound, so they’ll read ‘clap,’ ‘tap,’ ‘nap,’ and then they can start to read new words they’ve never seen before.
“The earlier the child is taught to read,” Dr. Titzer continues, “not only the better the child reads -- even if you control for IQ and socioeconomic status -- but also the earlier the child is taught to read, the more likely the child will enjoy reading.”