Having Kids Later in Life? Read This First!

While the numbers certainly suggest that most married couples will at some point have kids, the actual parenting notion strikes some of us rather late. Whether it be schooling, a career focus, or just not believing that it’s the correct time either financially or emotionally in order to take on this momentous undertaking, some of us just wait longer in life to have children.

For your average dad, the reasons vary as to why you’d elect to have children later in life, but financial security, stability and job security are always among the top reasons. At some point in life, you’ll wake up, realize that you’re nearing middle age, and realize that it’s really now or never. While men can father children for most of their lives, their wives have far different complications with advanced age pregnancies. For those of you wondering about the term, “advanced age” it’s commonly accepted to mean age 35 and older when referring to women intending to start a family.

So, why is this such a problem?

Well, for one, risks of pregnancy complications increase significantly in women age 35 and older. Another contributing factor is fertility. Fertility rates begin declining in a woman’s late 20’s, although it’s not as drastic of a decline as we’ve been led to believe in previous years. That said, this decline certainly exists, and it picks up significant steam in a woman’s mid-30’s.

Fertility Concerns
Approximately 1 in 3 couples that feature women 35 and older have some form of fertility problem while trying to conceive. The most common cause of age-related declines in fertility among women 35 and over are less frequent ovulation, and egg quality. As women age, they begin to have less frequent ovulation, and the eggs that they do release are of a declined quality in their 30’s and 40’s. To increase your chances of successful conception, you and your wife should ask your doctor for a fertility evaluation if you have been trying for 12 months or longer to conceive. If your spouse is over 35, it’s often best to ask for this evaluation after six months.

While these numbers don’t lie, breakthroughs in medical technology, such as in vitro fertilization, fertility treatments, and intrauterine inception have helped many advanced age couples who were previously unable to conceive.

Pregnancy Complications
Women aged 35-45 have a 10 to 15-percent higher risk of miscarriage than mothers younger than 30. Additionally, research has found that advanced age pregnancies lead to a higher instance of premature birth, high blood pressure, and a need for delivery by Caesarean section. Ectopic pregnancies (a pregnancy that occurs outside the womb) are also quite common, and research shows that the majority of ectopic pregnancies occur in women between the ages of 35 and 44.

Birth Defects
The overall risk for having a child with a birth defect is rather small. However, the risk of genetic defects such as Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), Trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome), or Trisomy 13 (Patau Syndrome) increase significantly in advanced age pregnancies. Luckily, we now have a noninvasive prenatal test that screens for these trisomies. This test involves a small sample of the mother’s blood being sent to a lab for screening. You can view the results with your healthcare professional within 5 days from the date the lab receives the initial sample.

Is there anything I can do?

Aside from planning your family earlier in life, there isn’t really anything you – as a male – can do to lessen the impact of an advanced age pregnancy. For the mother, ensuring good health before and during the pregnancy can go a long way to minimize complications. Exercising and eating well can help to reduce the risk of diabetes and hypertension, which are two significant factors in conception, pregnancy and delivery. In short, keep your family healthy by taking care of your body. This is the biggest single item that you can do to reduce risk of complications.

Leading by Example: Fun Ways to Get Kids to Ditch the Electronics for Exercise

By Jereme Thomas

Kids these days. They spend way too much time indoors playing on their Xboxes, Nintendos, and iPads. How do you get them outside to rediscover the joys of kiddom? You have to make the experience exciting and relevant for the child. Here’s how.

Giving children a place to play is one of the most important things you can do to encourage them to move their activity outside (or get more movement in their day). Companies, like Totally Swing Sets, create an “instant park” in your back yard, eliminating excuses children often have for not going outside (“there’s nothing to do”).

If you live in a cramped area or don’t have much yard space, even a smaller swing set can help. Alternatively, take your child to the park.
[Read more…]

The State of the Family + The Parents’ Phrase Book

Richard Eyre, co-author of The Turning.
Topic:
Why the state of the family matters and what the world can do about it.
Issues: Everything starts with the family—and ends with the family; social problems that are crushing society; making your own family stronger than the competing cultures; how parents’ perspectives are distorted by false paradigms.



Whit Honea, author of The Parents’ Phrase Book.
Topic:
Easy, useful phrases, scripts, and techniques for every situation.
Issues: Words to help you discipline and enforce limits; build a child’s self-confidence; handle questions about life and death; talk to your kids about friends, bullies, and playing by the rules—or not.

Let the Kisses Fly

Valentine’s Day is no longer just for lovers and romantically significant others—today, people give Valentine’s gifts to their parents, close friends, and (of course) their children. And the children give us gifts too (we all wear our glitter-pasta necklaces with pride, don’t we?). If you’re still looking for the perfect gift for your little prince or princess, here are some nice ways to say “I love you” (in addition to the actual words).

skylanders love potionLove Potion Pop Fizz
If you’ve got a game enthusiast in the family, check out Skylander’s new Love Potion Pop Fizz.  Despite his name, this little guy is anything but mushy and sweet; instead of shooting Cupid’s arrows, he throws vials of strange substances. Still, he’ll be a cherished addition to your gamer’s Skylanders collection. Because he’s a seasonal limited edition, he’ll eventually be hard to find—but right now you can still get him at Amazon, Game Stop, or your favorite retailer for about $10.

cloud b cuddlesGlow Cuddles Bear
Dreamz to Go Groovy Globes
Cosmic UFO (Cloud b)
A well-rested child is a well-behaved child, and Cloud b encourages and facilitates sleep with a sweet line of creative nightlights and bedtime toys. One of our favorites is the adorable,  soft Glow Cuddles Bear.  Cuddles has a light hidden inside his chest and when he gets a hug, the light glows soothingly. There’s also a gentle, calming heartbeat sound that helps lull little ones to sleep.  Cuddles has two sleep timer options: 10 or 23 minutes. Because his facial features are sewn on, he’s perfectly safe for infants and toddlers. The only exception are the three AA batteries (not included), but those are encased in a parent-only-accessible hatch. Retails for $35.95 on http://cloudb.com.

If you’re considering a teddy bear for your child, you’ll want to stay far away from the 50 Shades of Grey Bear from the Vermont Teddy Bear Company, which comes with a variety of accessories, including blindfolds and handcuffs.  Definitely rated R.

For older children who still like to fall asleep with a nightlight, Cloud b has a couple of great options.  Dreamz To Go Groovy Globes have graphics of hearts, flowers, and peace signs etched into the globe. When you turn on the bulb, the light shines from inside and projects those groovy images onto your walls and ceiling. It’s a great way to move your little Valentine towards sleep. The Globes are available in pink or aqua, and require 3 AAA batteries (included). Retail is $25.95 on http://cloudb.com.

The Cosmic UFO is a fun addition to any child’s room.  Shaped (as you would imagine) like a UFO, it projects images of the Northern Lights and makes “intergalactic” sounds that make your child’s space look and feel like the great outdoors. The UFO’s brightness setting are adjustable and there’s a 23-mnute auto shutoff timer. Batteries are included. Retails for $44.95 on http://cloudb.com.

love popperLove Poppers (Hog Wild)
Adding a whole new dimension to the phrase “blowing kisses,” Love Poppers are fun, silly animals that shoot soft “kisses” (foam balls with lips on them) at their target (great for reaching your sweetheart from across the room). Pop the balls into the animal’s mouth, squeeze the belly, and watch the kisses fly and the laughter ensue.  The kisses are soft, but we recommend that you do your shooting outdoors, just to be safe. Poppers come in four flavors:  monkey, pig, squirrel, and cow, and each comes with six balls and retails for $10.95. Refills are sold separately in stores or at http://www.hogwildtoys.com

Road Safety: Setting a Good Example for Your Kids as a Good Driver

Remember way back to drivers’ ed and that long checksheet you had to go through before even starting the car? (Adjust all the mirrors? check. Put your seatbelt on? check. All passengers properly situated> check.) These days we just get in the car and go without thinking twice (or maybe even once) about the little things that keep us safe when we’re on the road.

Every year there are millions of car accidents, many of which are brought to you by driver who aren’t paying attention. Doing a safety check takes only a few minutes and it’s well worth it. We may think that we’re focused on the job at hand when we’re behind the wheel, but we’re often a lot more distracted than we know. For that reason, it’s never a bad idea to take a look at our habits and see whether there are any ways to improve our safety on the road.

Staying safe is everyone’s responsibility, but not everyone takes that job as seriously as they should. And even when they (and we) do, momentary lapses in judgment still happen.

1. Buckle Up
Maybe the easiest ways to improve safety is to wear your seatbelt. Yes, this seems like common sense, but as we’re backing out of our driveways or pulling out of our morning coffee stop, it’s easy to forget. A huge percentage of accidents happen in parking lots or very close to where at least one of the participants lives. Yes, they’re often pretty low speed, but without seatbelts, there’s still a lot of potential for serious injury. So before you put your car in drive, make sure everyone is buckled up.

2. It can wait
The number of accidents attributable to distracted driving is growing every year–and so is the number of fatalities. As a result, lawmakers around the country are coming up with new legislation designed to limit the use of mobile devices while in the car. Support the “no texting and driving” initiative by using a magnetic sign to show your support of the campaign. This also helps remind other drivers how dangerous it is to take your eyes off the road for even a second.

3. They’re watching our every move
Set a good example for your kids to help improve safety for the next generation of drivers. Technology will only increase how much activity can be performed while driving, so it’s important to let your young ones know that inattentive driving is dangerous. This includes not just texting, but messing with the radio dials or even using your hands-free phone devices while driving. Make your calls, enter addresses into your GPS, and send your texts while you’re parked.

4. It can wait–again
How many times a day do you check for email or texts or look up something on Google or Facebook? Those things are all fine and dandy when we’re sitting at home or at the office or standing in line at the post office. But when we’re moving a two-ton chunk of metal down the road, they’re anything but fine. So stand for road safety and make sure your kids see you doing it. The life you save could be theirs.