Sunday, February 19, 2012

Testing times



The routine pregnancy tests that are important for you and your baby
As a mum of two, I can clearly remember each time I discovered I was pregnant. 
The little test showing a positive result fills your heart with an incredible joy, excitement, sometimes fear, sometimes anxiety, but an overwhelming feeling that your life will never be the same again.
That test is also the first of many tests that will take place during your pregnancy that are important for your health and the health of your baby.
The aim of all of these tests is to identify any potential or existing health concerns before any obvious physical signs are present as early treatments can help prevent or minimise the effects of a condition.
Some tests are essential components of your regular pregnancy visits with your caregiver (midwife, obstetrician or GP), such as blood pressure, feeling your belly and estimating the fundal height, and listening to your baby’s heartbeat.
While other tests may be required to be sent to pathology for examination such as blood tests, vaginal swabs or urine tests.
Some tests are used only for women in certain circumstances, and you can decide to decline having the test if you so wish.
Blood tests are not much fun, but are vital during pregnancy.
First of all, it is important for your caregiver to have a formal, written report stating what your blood group is in case you require a blood transfusion at any stage during the pregnancy or after birth, due to excessive bleeding or haemorrhage.

W is for Web



The Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in Brisbane may well be a long way from the Far North, but discovering many of the art works is just a click away.
Head to the Children’s Art Centre on the QAG website and you’ll find lots of information about current and upcoming exhibitions, as well as a games section – and this is where the fun starts!
Kids can learn about Andy Warhol while playing an amusing guessing game; draw like Matisse; laugh at the surrealist newspaper articles; and fill a room with coloured dots just like artist Yayoi Kusama.
But the best interractive game is Pip & Pop’s We Miss You Magic Land!
In the GOMA gallery, this is a series of large scale fantasy worlds created from intricate layers of fluorescent-coloured sugar.
Audiences encounter a magical forest filled with strange flowers, vines, mushrooms and animals; a cosmic universe condensed into a darkened room with twinkly stars; and a volcanic lake with crystals and pools (pictured above).
It is truly magical, and best of all, it is also on the web. The online game is so enchanting, I found myself playing for ages, delighting in all the little details.
If you have little girls in your house, they will absolutely love it!

Lives cut short



For boys born with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, playing ball would be a dream come true
Imagine your baby son learning to sit up, crawl and take his first steps.
It’s milestones like these that parents remember forever, but for some parents it’s a joy short-lived as their son is headed for a life in a wheelchair due to muscular dystrophy.
Muscular dystrophy is a neuromuscular, genetic disorder which results in the progressive deterioration of muscle strength and function.
The most common form in childhood is Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), and it’s the number one genetic killer of boys in the world.
Next week is Duchenne Awareness Week, so I hope today’s column raises your awareness and perhaps inspires you to help in some way.
DMD occurs when there is a mistake in the gene responsible for producing dystrophin, the protein that maintains the structure of our muscle membrane. 
“Genetic” does not mean it is confined to certain family trees.
In more than a third of cases, the genetic mutation happens spontaneously, without any previous family history.
DMD affects one in every 3500 boys around the world.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Are you a good sport?



Good sporting parents support their little athletes in positive ways, not through bad behaviour
With school starting back this week, soon there will be plenty of sporting clubs holding sign-on days.
And just as I wrote last week about how I encourage all children to learn music, I also encourage them to participate in sport.
Sport gives children so many benefits from learning about teamwork and discipline, regular exercise, sportsmanship and having fun.
You may remember in the news last month about former Labor leader Mark Latham’s outburst at his child’s swimming teacher, Bev Waugh (the mother of cricketers Steve and Mark).
Mrs Waugh, aged 65, runs a free government swimming program that aims to teach a broad range of skills with an emphasis on water safety.
On the second day of the program Mr Latham, however, verbally attacked Mrs Waugh in an intimidating manner, saying his two children had learned nothing.
The incident has since been reported to the Department of Education, though I doubt it will go any further.
Just what Mr Latham thought he could achieve by intimidating his child’s coach is beyond me.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bad sporting parents.