Monday, February 19, 2018

Exercise During Pregnancy


Exercise on a regular basis not only helps you overcome many of the physical challenges but also offers many health benefits throughout your pregnancy.
    
Exercise increases the brain’s production of serotonin, dopamine and endorphins, which are brain chemicals to balance mood swings, reduce stress, and promote positivity.
Exercise enhances body posture, which ultimately affects breathing.
Exercise improves heart and lung functions.
Exercise reduces digestive discomfort.
Exercise strengthens muscles, relieves muscle aches and cramps.
Exercise controls weight gain.
Exercise provides stamina to get through the long hours in labor.
Exercise helps faster recovery from childbirth.

The Dos and Don’ts of Exercise

Do exercise on a regular basis.
Do exercise safely based on your physical fitness level.
Do exercise to maintain, and not to improve, your physical fitness.
Do exercise preferably with a friend or your partner.
Do keep your breathing even and regular throughout the exercise.
Do maintain a healthy body temperature throughout the exercise, especially in the first trimester (why: a core temperature of over 39.2°C may harm the baby).
Don’t over-exercise or push yourself to the limit.
Don’t exercise with the intention of losing weight.
Don’t exercise with reduction in fetal movement.
Don’t exercise with respiratory disorders, or cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure.
Don’t exercise when bleeding occurs.
Don’t exercise when diagnosed with severe anemia (due to lack of iron in the blood).
Don’t exercise when diagnosed with placenta previa (a low-lying placenta, diagnosed in routine scan after 20 weeks).
Don’t exercise when diagnosed with an incompetent cervix (a high risk for miscarriage in the second trimester).
   
Do Select the Right Exercise

Stretching
   
Stretching is one of the best exercises during pregnancy. It focuses on flexibility, which plays a pivotal role in body balance, posture, physical fitness, and overall well-being. Flexibility, one of the essential components of fitness, is much needed during pregnancy. Unlike many other physical exercises that emphasize fitness strength and endurance, stretching focuses on reducing muscle tension and the potential for fall. Stretching also emphasizes correct breathing which is essential to a healthy pregnancy, especially during labor.
  
Do get the book STRETCHING by Simon Frost (Barnes & Noble).The book provides many simple and easy-to-follow illustrations of how to perform many different stretch exercises to attain total flexibility of different types of muscles to help labor and childbirth.
    
Yoga

Yoga is an ancient exercise that teaches body awareness through breathing and relaxation, thereby instrumental in facilitating labor and childbirth.

Yoga poses relax the mind and relieve muscle tension. Certain yoga poses also help indigestion and constipation frequently experienced during pregnancy.
       
Walking

Walking is an ideal exercise, especially during the first two trimesters.

Do practice awareness walking, which is walking with full attention to what you are doing—noticing the movement of your limbs, the shifting of your body weight as you move your right and left foot. Awareness walking enhances your concentration and mental focus, which play a pivotal role during labor and childbirth.

Don’t walk while talking on the cell phone, or listening to music. Avail the opportunity to focus on your body, or any subliminal message you have created, such as “I’m going to have a healthy baby.”
    
Weight Training

Weight training is ideal for building strength and toning muscles.

Do breathe out when exerting muscles, and do breathe in when relaxing.

Don’t overstrain muscles, and don’t overdo it.
    
Kegel Exercise 

Do exercise your pelvic-floor muscles throughout your pregnancy by doing Kegel exercise. To locate your pelvic-floor muscles, try stopping the flow of your urine midstream.

Do squeeze your Kegel muscles anytime and anywhere—even while driving. Squeeze, hold for a count of 5, and then let go.

Don’t do the exercise during urination.

Kegel exercises has many benefits for labor and delivery, including:
    
Strengthening the muscles in the vagina area to prepare for the birth of the baby.
Strengthening the perineal area to avoid tearing of the vaginal opening during delivery.

Stephen Lau

Friday, February 16, 2018

Food Aversions and Food Cravings During Pregnancy


Overcome Food Aversions and Food Cravings
   
Certain food aversions and cravings may develop around the second trimester (why: change of hormones changes food taste and smell).

Do overcome food aversions and cravings (why: they may lead to problematic stealth nutrients).

Do overcome healthy food aversions and unhealthy food cravings by:
    
Eating mild-tasting vegetables, such as mash potato and sweet yam

Pureeing cooked legumes and strong-tasting vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower

Whipping up a healthy smoothie
    
Observe Food Safety
    
Food is never completely sterile and safe (why not: food has nutrition, water, and warmth—an environment for germs to grow). Contaminated food may result in listeriosis, causing miscarriage, preterm delivery, and low-birth-weight baby with symptoms of fever, chills, muscle aches, diarrhea; E. coli infection from contaminated sprouts and vegetables causing kidney dysfunction with symptoms of abdominal cramps and bloody diarrhea; and salmonella poisoning with severe symptoms of eye irritation and painful urination.
    
Do handle and store food safely to avoid bacteria, parasites, and viruses.

Do reheat hot dogs, luncheon meats, ham, and turkey until steaming hot.

Do keep your hands and utensils clean.

Do keep separate cutting boards for meat and vegetables.

Do keep your foods fresh.

Do sanitize the kitchen countertops with homemade cleanser (small amount of chlorine bleach with water).

Do cook food thoroughly.

Do refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food, and leftovers within two hours.

Do read food labels to avoid additives and chemicals as much as possible.

Do reduce the consumption of fruits, such as cherries, grapes, pears, and strawberries; and vegetables, such as bell peppers, celery, lettuce, spinach, and potatoes (why: they are more vulnerable to pesticides, according to the Environmental Working Group; do consume their organic counterparts).

Don’t eat smoked seafood unless they are thoroughly cooked.

Don’t eat soft cheese made with unpasteurized milk.

Don’t reuse a marinade on cooked food.

Don’t take unpasteurized milk or foods that contain them.
    
Stephen Lau



Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Discipline and Your Smart Baby

Discipline and Your Smart Baby

Children need discipline, including babies and toddlers. Discipline is a process of teaching your baby to be an independent being through self-control and self-regulation by establishing certain boundaries and reinforcing them so that he has a mental pattern of what he should or shouldn’t do.

Studies have shown that the way parents handle discipline can affect positively or negatively the IQ of their children. Children growing up in a hostile and restrictive home tend to have a lower IQ than those who come from a loving and democratic one. Drawing the fine line may not be easy, but it is not impossible. 

Do establish discipline based on your beliefs and values.

Do explain the rules, and why those rules are there. Do make sure your child understands them.

Do make your instructions clear and authoritative. Don’t put them in the form of a request, such as “Can you, please, stop that?”

Don’t give out too many rules at one time. Saying “No” is ineffective; your baby might even think that his name is “No.”

Do be firm. A loud “No!” or “Don’t do that!” is okay with a toddler or child; for a baby, use sign language.

Don’t spank your toddler. Why not? It only shows you’ve lost control yourself, and you’re also showing your child that it’s okay to use force to dominate others. Don’t let your child model your improper conduct.

Don’t inflict any physical punishment. Don’t shake your baby or toddler. There are many instances of death resulting from shaking babies and toddlers. Shaken babies may experience brain damage, resulting in mental retardation and even blindness.

Do be consistent with your reaction to certain unwanted behavior. Any inconsistent discipline only confuses your child.

Do discipline immediately, and not after the fact.

Do give your child a good reason to obey, such as “Go to bed now, and I’ll tell you a story.” But don’t make it bribery.

Do show yourself as a loving and affirming parent. Do offer reassurance to your child that you still love him even though his behavior may be unacceptable, requiring discipline.

Discipline plays a pivotal role in the emotional and intellectual development of your baby, toddler, and child. Remember this: babies are egocentric, and they think the world revolves around them. Introduce discipline at around nine months of age, and not before that.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau



Monday, February 5, 2018

Food Addiction and Food Safety for Healthy Pregnancy


Food Addiction

Certain food aversions and cravings may develop around the second trimester (why: change of hormones changes food taste and smell). Do overcome food aversions and cravings (why: they may lead to problematic stealth nutrients).

Do overcome healthy food aversions and unhealthy food cravings by:
    
Eating mild-tasting vegetables, such as mash potato and sweet yam

Pureeing cooked legumes and strong-tasting vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower

Whipping up a healthy smoothie
    
Food Safety
    
Food is never completely sterile and safe (why not: food has nutrition, water, and warmth—an environment for germs to grow). Contaminated food may result in listeriosis, causing miscarriage, preterm delivery, and low-birth-weight baby with symptoms of fever, chills, muscle aches, diarrhea; E. coli infection from contaminated sprouts and vegetables causing kidney dysfunction with symptoms of abdominal cramps and bloody diarrhea; and salmonella poisoning with severe symptoms of eye irritation and painful urination.
    
Do handle and store food safely to avoid bacteria, parasites, and viruses.

Do reheat hot dogs, luncheon meats, ham, and turkey until steaming hot.

Do keep your hands and utensils clean.

Do keep separate cutting boards for meat and vegetables.

Do keep your foods fresh.

Do sanitize the kitchen countertops with homemade cleanser (small amount of chlorine bleach with water).

Do cook food thoroughly.

Do refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food, and leftovers within two hours.

Do read food labels to avoid additives and chemicals as much as possible.

Do reduce the consumption of fruits, such as cherries, grapes, pears, and strawberries; and vegetables, such as bell peppers, celery, lettuce, spinach, and potatoes (why: they are more vulnerable to pesticides, according to the Environmental Working Group; do consume their organic counterparts).

Don’t eat smoked seafood unless they are thoroughly cooked.

Don’t eat soft cheese made with unpasteurized milk.

Don’t reuse a marinade on cooked food.

Don’t take unpasteurized milk or foods that contain them.
    
Have a healthy pregnancy!

Stephen Lau

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Teach Your Smart Baby to Count


Counting

Teach your smart baby the mathematic concept of numbers, even long before he can speak.

Show your baby your one finger, and say: “ONE.” Then show him your two fingers and say “TWO.” If your baby begins to show his interest in language, he will look at your mouth and watch how you articulate clearly and slowly those words. Repeat the process with two similar objects, such as two balls, saying “ONE” and “TWO.” At first, you baby may think that the sounds of the two words refer to the balls and the fingers. But, as soon as he knows what “balls” and “fingers” are, he will then perceive the abstract concept of numbers. Then proceed to counting other numbers, and play some simple board games, during which he learns to read the numbers on the dice as he moves his playing piece over the board.

The bottom line: expose your baby to the mathematic concept, and let him relate or understand the concept when he is mentally ready. Recognition of objects is the first step, and understanding the mathematic concept of numbers will follow suit.

To illustrate, “Chaser” is the name of the dog belonging to a retired psychologist John Pilley, who has successfully trained his dog to recognize over one thousand toys or items by their name and retrieve them at his command. It was shown on TV that Chaser has the largest tested memory of any non-human animal. If a dog can do it, a smart baby may have the super memory to remember everything. All he needs to do is to harness his mental skills to put everything in the right order through mental perception, and then relate them to some abstract concepts he has experienced or has been exposed to—this mental visualization and subsequent profound understanding is a testament to his intelligence.

My Reflection

When my daughter was only eight months old, I began to teach her how to read. One of the early stages to master reading skills is the recognition of words in relation to objects. That was how I started the teaching: as I was carrying her in my arms, I pointed to a TV set, and said: “TEE-VEE” She looked at how I slowly articulated the word, while pointing to the TV. I repeated the process every day. Before long, when I uttered the word “TEE-VEE,” she immediately turned her head to the direction of the TV without my pointing at it. If I could do it, you can do it too.
Math and science are interesting and fun if you allow your baby to experience the natural world firsthand. Don’t feel you must teach your baby specific facts and scientific principles; instead, let him explore and experience everything firsthand. Do teach him the specific skills of awareness and asking questions. Let your baby discover the answers through his own experience.

Stephen Lau  
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, January 22, 2018

Live Your Life As If Everything Is A Miracle

Human life is complex, and living is complicated, especially when you are a parent. In order to truly understand what life is all about, you must distill life to one simple but difficult question: “Am I happy?”

This is a simple question, but the answer may not be as simple and straightforward as you may think. This simple question is about life, which is never simple; living for life may, indeed, be very complicated, especially for those who are always unhappy.

If your life is getting more complicated, you may have problems with life and living. If, on the other hand, you never have problems with feelings of anger, fear, frustration, or you never have felt that life is meaningless, you are probably not human.

Generally speaking, the purpose of living is two-fold: to enjoy life, and to expand happiness.

But how can one enjoy life if one is not happy by nature, or how can one expand happiness if one has no idea what happiness is all about? Indeed, living for life begins with that simple question: “Am I happy?”

You may want to ask another poignant question: “Why would one even bother to ask or answer that question if one is already unhappy with life?”

So, if you wish to be happy, you must ask yourself on a regular basis that one simple question: “Am I happy?”

The desire to live well is as old as age. Everybody desires a life that is happy and well lived.

To live well, however, one must ask questions about life; after all, life is about asking questions and finding intelligent answers to the questions asked. Living for life is never easy because it requires wisdom, which is essentially finding answers to questions about life and living. In the Bible, Jesus said: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find . . .” (Matthew 7:7) In real life, we must ask ourselves questions at all times.

Now is as good a times a parent—as any to live your life on your own terms, instead of someone else's terms. Now is the time not just to think out of the box, but to create your own box. THEBOOK OF LIFE AND LIVING was written just for that specific purpose to inspire you with the wisdom in living, based on conventional wisdom, ancient wisdom, and spiritual wisdom.

Stephen Lau  
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Some of the Dos and Don'ts During Pregnancy

Do Overcome Food Aversions and Cravings
   
Certain food aversions and cravings may develop around the second trimester (why: change of hormones changes food taste and smell). Do overcome food aversions and cravings (why: they may lead to problematic stealth nutrients).
Do overcome healthy food aversions and unhealthy food cravings by:
    
Eating mild-tasting vegetables, such as mash potato and sweet yam

Pureeing cooked legumes and strong-tasting vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower

Whipping up a healthy smoothie
    
Do Observe Food Safety
    
   Food is never completely sterile and safe (why not: food has nutrition, water, and warmth—an environment for germs to grow). Contaminated food may result in listeriosis, causing miscarriage, preterm delivery, and low-birth-weight baby with symptoms of fever, chills, muscle aches, diarrhea; E. coli infection from contaminated sprouts and vegetables causing kidney dysfunction with symptoms of abdominal cramps and bloody diarrhea; and salmonella poisoning with severe symptoms of eye irritation and painful urination.
    
Do handle and store food safely to avoid bacteria, parasites, and viruses.

Do reheat hot dogs, luncheon meats, ham, and turkey until steaming hot.

Do keep your hands and utensils clean.

Do keep separate cutting boards for meat and vegetables.

Do keep your foods fresh.

Do sanitize the kitchen countertops with homemade cleanser (small amount of chlorine bleach with water).

Do cook food thoroughly.

Do refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food, and leftovers within two hours.

Do read food labels to avoid additives and chemicals as much as possible.

Do reduce the consumption of fruits, such as cherries, grapes, pears, and strawberries; and vegetables, such as bell peppers, celery, lettuce, spinach, and potatoes (why: they are more vulnerable to pesticides, according to the Environmental Working Group; do consume their organic counterparts).

Don’t eat smoked seafood unless they are thoroughly cooked.

Don’t eat soft cheese made with unpasteurized milk.

Don’t reuse a marinade on cooked food.

Don’t take unpasteurized milk or foods that contain them.
    
Stephen Lau