October 18, 2015


Incredible! First ever babies born after uterine transplants

Little Miracle - Uterine Transplant Success Story
photo credit: Daily Mail UK

 

In 2014, 9 women underwent uterine transplants in a medical trial. Historically, this procedure has had a high rejection rate with tissues from deceased donors. This new trial instead used the tissues of living donors and the results are amazing. Considered a major success, 77% of the transplants were accepted by the women's bodies and at this point 55% of the women went on to deliver babies.

What an incredible advancement for women who were born without a uterus, or have other uterine issues that prevent either becoming pregnant, or carrying to term.

Huge congratulations to the families who were able to have their dreams come true with this groundbreaking new procedure.

Read the incredible story of Malin Stenberg and the first baby born after a successful uterine transplant in this Daily Mail article (click here).

October 01, 2015


Advancements in the treatment and prevention of heart defects in newborns

There is a great article in TIME about an advancement for newborns with congenital heart defects (heart defects that occur before birth) requiring surgery. A researcher/inventor created a glue that will create a seal without damaging surrounding tissues.

Did you know???... "nearly 1 in every 100 babies is born with a congenital heart defect, and it’s a leading cause of infant deaths in the U.S."

So can we prevent it from happening int he first place?

Possibly...

The baby's heart develops in the first trimester. Research suggests that an intake of vitamin E over 15 mg/ day during the first trimester can lead to a 9 fold increase in the incidence of Congenital Heart Defects. The average prenatal vitamin has over 10 mg and the average American woman consumes 9 mg of vitamin E in her food. That's 19mg of vitamin E. Well over the 15mg benchmark that leads to a 9 fold increase in congenital heart defects.

***Check your prenatal vitamins***
If you are in your first trimester, you may want to throw them out if they have more than 5mg.

Good news if you are in your 3rd trimester though, the baby's heart is fully formed, and you and your baby both really benefit from this incredible nutrient, some studies have indicated it may help strengthen the bag of water preventing some preterm labor and it may even help prevent pre-eclampsia.

Timing matters... and trimester specific vitamins are the next generation in prenatal vitamin. They are so important for delivering optimal nutrients at critical stages of pregnancy. Explore Bellamins Trimester Specific Blends here.


(For citations of research, visit our heart and science page)

September 02, 2015


Loving C-Section

 

 

We at Bellamins love birth. Birth stories, birth photos and videos — we love ‘em! And we love the many ways women give birth: in a hospital, in a birth center, at home, in water, standing up, squatting, by cesarean…

Wait. Cesarean? Yes, we said we love cesareans. Maybe that’s surprising, since we’re so passionate about natural sources of nutrition, allowing pregnancy to progress naturally, and, yes, natural birth, too.

But what always comes first for us is mothers and babies, and we are so grateful that cesareans are available for moms and babies who truly need them. So when we read A Love Letter to C-Section Moms (That Everyone Should Read) (thestir.cafemom.com), we gave a cheer.

A mama is a mama no matter how her baby arrived! As the author says, “You see, some people seem to think there are two kinds of moms -- those who have c-sections and those who do not. This ‘battle’ divides us, and makes one side feel like a mother who didn't do the right thing.

Women who have had c-sections for reasons beyond their control need to feel the love that moms who got to have the natural birth they wanted are allowed to feel. Moms who have had c-sections need and deserve respect and love for the way they birthed. We need to honor all ways of birth, even the ones that didn't go as we planned. Because it is still the way some children are brought into our lives. Hear me out. This isn't about being pro-cesarean. This is about being pro-mom."

We couldn’t agree more.

There's definitely a lot of room for improvements to the practices of c-sections, so keep an eye our for upcoming posts about seeding and mother/baby friendly initiatives, but for now, we are going to start with simply loving on moms.

 

Bellamins: Prenatal Vitamins for Each Trimester

May 13, 2015


Incredible Birth Story

 

We at Bellamins love birth and we love birth stories. When we came across this beautiful birth story online, we knew we had to share! A Beautiful Day in May: The Birth of Matilda (thebirthstory.com)

The story begins from the perspective of birth photographer Breanna Gravener, who happened to be following her clients to the hospital when their car pulled to the side of the road. Running to join them, she was just in time to witness — and photograph — the arrival of baby Matilda, born right in the front seat of the car!

Her beautiful photographs are followed by the mother’s telling of Matilda’s birth story. Giving birth in a car on the way to the hospital might sound scary, but this amazing family not only took it in stride, they experienced it with confidence and joy:

Every time I share my perfect little girl’s birth story, there are faces filled with concern or amazement at the drama that unfolded. To me, and my family, there was no drama, only beauty. She came when she was ready, we couldn’t plan that, and we did what we needed to do, we were calm and collected and at no time were any of us worried or concerned for the safety of our baby or myself. Everything was perfect.

What a beautiful testament to trust in a healthy birth process!

See the full story here: A Beautiful Day in May: The Birth of Matilda (thebirthstory.com)

 

 

Bellamins: Prenatal Vitamins for Each Trimester

May 07, 2015


Oxytocin, Vasopressin, Prolactin, and More: The Chemistry of Attachment

We at Bellamins are constantly amazed as science reveals the intricacies involved in creating and nurturing a new human life. We’re fascinated by the information in articles like The Chemistry of Attachment (theattachedfamily.com), which discusses some of the neural and hormonal interactions between babies and their parents that help create the bond that is essential for babies’ wellbeing.


Many are familiar with oxytocin as the hormone responsible for contractions and for milk production. But did you know that oxytocin also causes a mother to recognize and prefer the odor of her baby? Or that fathers, too, experience higher oxytocin levels when their partners are pregnant and when they are in contact with their infant?

Less familiar than oxytocin is vasopressin. This hormone plays a bigger role in fathers, promoting bonding and protective behavior between the father and mother and between father and baby. It also tempers testosterone, reducing aggression and libido.

Another hormone that promotes nurturing behaviors in both mothers and fathers is prolactin. Interestingly, in children and non-parents prolactin is considered a stress hormone (in addition to being naturally released during sleep). In parents, however, it promotes caregiving and may also contribute to enhanced bonding between the parents — but reduced libido, encouraging parental attention and energy by reducing the likelihood of closely-spaced siblings.

Other naturally-produced chemicals discussed in the article are opiods, which help parents enjoy nurturing and babies enjoy being nurtured; norepinephrine, which helps organize babies’ stress control systems; and pheromones, which are like a nonverbal communication system between mother, father, and baby to facilitate the work of all the other chemicals.

All this science leads to a conclusion urging parents to heed their instinctive wisdom: “If we allow ourselves to listen, our neurons and hormones encourage us in the proper response [to our babies].” We couldn’t agree more!

Bellamins: Prenatal Vitamins for Each Trimester

April 14, 2015


Boy or Girl? Or the best kept secret?

 

This family wanted to wait and be surprised about their baby.

And they wanted their friends and family to be surprised, too.

The reactions are priceless.

WARNING: This video has a high probability of making you smile.

 

 

 

 

January 25, 2015


Why Can’t We Remember Being a Baby?

 

Why Can’t We Remember Being a Baby?

Scientists, psychologists, and philosophers have long wondered why we can’t remember being babies. Freud thought we repressed our early memories. Others have theorized that we can't remember our early life because we couldn't yet speak. Some have said that it is because babies lack a sense of self. But it turns out that other animals are also missing memories of their infant lives, a discovery that sent scientists looking for another explanation.

Recent research may have found the answer, as reported in Scientists Have Discovered Why You Can't Remember Being a Baby (mic.com): “When new cells sprout in young brains, they crowd out the circuits where memories are formed.”

 

So the reason you remember your best friend's wedding day but can't seem to recall the time you decorated your hair with mashed potatoes is because making new memories destroys the older snapshots.

 

When researchers experimented with mice, they found that when they slowed down their ability to make new brain cells, they helped them craft more solid memories. Conversely, when they sped up their brain-cell-generation, the critters had a harder time remembering. In other words, more new brain cells meant fuzzier memories, and less new brain cells meant clearer ones.

 

This may seem backward, but the study’s leader, Dr. Paul Frankland, explains, “Some kind of forgetting is important for memory. There's finite capacity. You want to get rid of all the junk, and you want to remember the important features and important events.”

 

Bellamins Belly Blends: Prenatal Vitamins for Each Trimester

January 24, 2015


What is “Full Term”?

What is “Full Term”?

 

A “full term” pregnancy used to mean anywhere from 37 to 42 weeks. But recently the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists divided that period into new groups (‘Full Term’ Pregnancy: Newly Defined (health.clevelandclinic.org)):

 

* 37-39 weeks – “Early term”

* 39-41 weeks – “Full term”

* 41-42 weeks – “Late term”

* 42 weeks or more – “Post term”

 

During the last weeks of pregnancy, a baby’s body is still undergoing tremendous changes. The lungs, brain, and liver are among the last organs to fully develop. During weeks 35 to 39, the baby’s brain grows by about one-third, and layers of fat develop under the baby’s skin to keep her warm after birth.

 

It’s not surprising, then, that every day and week spent in the womb makes a difference in how a baby fares after birth. A major importance of the new terminology is to inform women of the differences between the stages, which could make moms-to-be reconsider elective induction before week 39. Babies born in the “early term” have higher rates of respiratory, blood sugar, and infection issues than babies born at 39 weeks or later.

 

At Bellamins, we believe that almost all babies come when the time is right. Your baby can’t read a calendar and doesn’t know that a date has been assigned for his arrival! If it is at all possible to be patient and let nature take its course, consider letting your baby choose her own birthdate.

 

Bellamins Belly Blends: Prenatal Vitamins for Each Trimester

January 23, 2015


What Google Can Tell Us About Pregnant Women Worldwide

What Google Can Tell Us About Pregnant Women Worldwide

 

We at Bellamins love pregnant women, and we love learning about the experience of pregnancy all over the world. So we also love stories like this one: Google reveals what pregnant women really want to know (blogs.babycenter.com).

 

Not surprisingly, women (and their partners) all over the world turn to Google to research answers to their questions about pregnancy. An analysis of search terms submitted in different countries reveals some interesting trends. For example:

 

In the United States expecting moms want to know if they can safely “eat shrimp,” “drink wine,” “drink coffee,” or “take Tylenol?”

 

In Canada, Britain and Australia the alcohol issue doesn’t even make the top-10 list for inquiries, but the latter is particularly concerned with the safety of soft cheeses, especially cream cheese.

 

In Nigera the top search is from women wondering if it’s safe to drink cold water while expecting.

 

Meanwhile, searches by the partners of pregnant women are equally interesting:

 

Men in Mexico are prone to searching for information on “my pregnant wife” along with the phrase “frases de amor para mi esposa embarazada” (words of love to my pregnant wife) and “poemas para mi esposa embarazada” (poems for my pregnant wife).

 

While in the United States, men tend to opt for the phrases ”my wife is pregnant now what” and “my wife is pregnant what do I do.”

 

Follow the link to see more!

 

Bellamins Belly Blends: Prenatal Vitamins for Each Trimester

January 22, 2015


The Indispensable Rice Sock

The Indispensable Rice Sock

 

Maybe you’ve encountered rice socks before. The idea is simple: they are, quite literally, uncooked rice in a sock, which you can heat or chill and use to provide comfort. But did you know how useful they can be in pregnancy, birth, and beyond?

 

Rice socks are so versatile — they can be heated or chilled, they can mold to any part of your body, and you can include herbs or essential oils for an extra boost. Here are three links filled with ideas for how you can use them.

How To Make a Rice Sock (pregnancy.about.com) suggests rice socks to help moms during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period with back pain, pubic bone pain, round ligament pain, and headaches, plus as an all-around relaxation aid.

A Best-Kept Secret...The "Rice Sock" (the-natural-mama.blogspot.com) tells you how to use a warm rice sock to help your newborn stay happily asleep. The rice sock stands in for your arm, helping your baby feel like mama is still right there. We love the extra tip to add some calming lavender oil to the rice!

How To Make Your Own Rice Sock (thehappyhousewife.com) lists the many ways that rice socks come in handy for a family, like kids’ growing pains and boo boos, teens’ menstrual cramps, and for warming up cold beds and car seats.

 

Rice socks are so easy and inexpensive to make. It would be easy to make one for every member of the family with their favorite herbs or essential oil, plus one or two to keep in the freezer (perfect for engorgement!).

 

Bellamins Belly Blends: Prenatal Vitamins for Each Trimester