Weekly Parenting News Roundup

Cross-posted at Daily Kos. Please recommend so people get directions to the Hard Rock Cafe this Thursday! Thanks, Elisa

Hello fellow moms, dads and caregivers!

I am back with your weekly parenting news update. Here are some topics we recently discussed here at MotherTalkers:

Girl Scouts and their moms are rightfully upset to learn that Wal-Mart was at the BlogHer conference last week giving away samples of its own version of Thin Mints and Tagalongs. You can read about it here and here.

Parenting magazine ran an article about the difficult decision facing couples who have conceived through IVF: What to do about the leftover embryos? Some parents, including a mother quoted in the article, shared their stories here at MotherTalkers.  

P.E. injuries are on the rise, according to an article by the Associated Press. The injuries are not due to rigorous exercise, but a lack of adult supervision as staff like nurses are laid off and class sizes grow.

Here is one last important news story I want to highlight: Drinking and driving is up among women, according to an Associated Press report. Even more disturbing, drunk women are more likely than inebriated men to drive with children in the backseat. This story was covered in light of the tragedy that occurred in one of New York’s highways, in which an intoxicated mother caused a one-way crash that claimed 8 lives, including her own.

I hate to end on that note, but I am off to the east coast to visit my parents in New Hampshire and attend Netroots Nation in Pittsburgh. In the meantime, I want to alert you of some important dates so please pull out your calendars:

I am helping MomsRising.org pass important legislation in California that would ban the toxic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) from baby and toddler products like bottles and sippy cups. The chemical and canned goods industry, including the formula companies, are fighting this bill. We are holding two important rallies to let the state Assembly know that families in our state support this bill.

The first one is in Los Angeles on Wednesday, August 19. Check out the Facebook page on it and pass along to all your family and friends in SoCal!

The second one is in front of the state capitol in Sacramento on Wednesday, August 26. Again, please see the Facebook page here and forward to all your family and friends in northern California.

It is important that Assemblymembers see a lot of us at these rallies as they will be heavily lobbied by the chemical industry.

Now onto other fun events: I will be hosting the Netroots Nation Parents Caucus at the Hard Rock Cafe this year on Thursday, August 13 at 1:30 p.m.. A group of us will meet in front of the convention center between 1 and 1:15 to share cabs or take public transportation. Here are directions to get to the Hard Rock Cafe via the “T” public transit station: Exit the convention center and walk up 10th Street away from the river. Walk 3 blocks and take a right on Liberty Avenue. Walk 2 long blocks up Liberty — the cross-streets will be 9th and 8th streets — and on your left will be the Wood Street Galleries at the intersection of Wood Street and Liberty Avenue. The T station is down the escalator.

You will take the “outbound” train. The train numbers are 42S or 47L, but the sign should say “to Square Station” or “to South Hills.” It is easy in that the T has only one line in town. The train comes every 8 minutes and it is a 5-minute trip to Station Square. Expect to travel like 3 stops. Once you get to the Station Square stop, cross the street (Carson Street) and head towards the river where you will see the Hard Rock Cafe. You will walk about a block to get there.

I will make sure to re-post these directions before the event on Thursday. Hope to see you there! Remember, the first 20 people to arrive will receive swag bags.

One last event I want to highlight: DH will be signing books at our Katie’s bookstore. Come out to meet the snark queen herself! Here are the details:

When: Monday, August 24
Time: 7 p.m.
Where: Gibson’s Bookstore, 27 S. Main Street, Concord, NH

The whole family will be there, including the kiddos. Please do come and bring your families!

What’s up with you?


Late-Night Liberty: Birth Control Edition

A friend and I recently discussed this New York Times story about a study actually showing that pulling out before ejaculation is almost as effective as condoms in preventing pregnancy. From the Times:

So reproductive experts were taken aback by a paper in the June issue of Contraception magazine. Based on an analysis of studies, the paper pronounced withdrawal “almost as effective as the male condom — at least when it comes to pregnancy prevention.“

“If the male partner withdraws before ejaculation every time a couple has vaginal intercourse, about 4 percent of couples will become pregnant over the course of a year,“ the authors write.

For condoms, used optimally, the rate is about 2 percent. But more significant, the authors say, are the rates for “typical use,“ because people can’t be expected to use any contraception method perfectly every time. Typical use of withdrawal leads to pregnancy 18 percent of the time, they write; for typical use of condoms 17 percent of the time.

(There are other, more effective methods. Failure rates for the pill and the patch are about 8 percent; for Depo-Provera injections, about 3 percent; and for diaphragms, about 16 percent. Intrauterine devices fail less than 1 percent of the time.)

The lead author, Rachel K. Jones, a senior research associate at the Guttmacher Institute, which studies reproductive health matters, said she and her co-authors were motivated to write the paper because it seemed to them the pullout method was getting short shrift.

My friend was concerned that women would encounter assholish guys who would not want to put on condoms because of this research.

I was surprised by the findings, although I also wondered how common this form of birth control is. My confession for the day: In college when my husband and I were shacking up, I got an earful from Planned Parenthood and friends for “pulling out.” It was only a few times and I got on the pill fairly quickly, thanks to Planned Parenthood. But, still, surely I was not the only woman who had ever done this.

What do you think of this research? Should the Times have published it?


Misconceptions About Conception

Parents recently debunked three myths surrounding conception. They were:

Myth: Having too much sex could hurt your chances of conceiving.
Truth: Don’t let this rumor ruin your fun. Unless your husband has been diagnosed with a low sperm count, you two can get busy whenever (and wherever) the mood strikes.

Myth: The best time to try for a baby is the day you ovulate.
Truth: You’re actually more fertile during the five days preceding it. Use an ovulation kit to predict the day, then aim to have sex at least every other day for the five days up to it.

Myth: Using lube makes it harder to get pregnant.
Truth: Some studies suggest that lubricant can slow your guy’s swimmers, but most couples shouldn’t stress over it. “If you’re having fertility issues, your doctor may recommend using Pre-Seed, a brand that doesn’t affect sperm,” says Dr. Hutcherson.

What other myths and truths have you heard about conception? Here is another list of myths like standing on your head will make you pregnant or simply “relaxing” will help you conceive.