What Pregnant Travellers Need to Know About the Zika Virus

Countries to Avoid if you are Pregnant 

What Pregnant Travellers Need to Know About the Zika Virus

Zika Virus Travel Advisory | YummyMummyClub.ca

In case you haven't heard, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued an alert that warns pregnant women against travelling to countries affected by a Zika outbreak.

If like me, Zika is not on your radar, here's what you need to know:

Much like malaria, Zika is transmitted by mosquitoes and has caused birth defects and deaths in newborns in Brazil. But Brazil isn't the only country where the virus has been detected. The following countries have all reported cases of Zika:

  • Colombia
  • El Salvador
  • French Guiana
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Martinique
  • Mexico
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Suriname
  • Venezuela
  • Puerto Rico

Zika was discovered in the amniotic fluid of pregnant women in Brazil. It's believed that the virus can lead to a congenital brain defect called microcephaly or death of newborns. So while more research is necessary, the CDC warns pregnant women, as well as women trying to become pregnant to avoid travel to all of the above 14 countries - particularly the Americas, where the virus is rapidly spreading.

Those who plan to travel to the affected areas should contact their doctors. Other travellers should wear repellent and wear long sleeves.

Though Zika has been around for decades, it wasn't really been on the map prior to the outbreak in Brazil, where an estimated 1.5 million have had it this past year alone. 

In most people, Zika triggers mild symptoms - including a rash, joint pain, headaches, and fever - between three to 12 days after mosquito bite. The symptoms typically fade within a week, and one in four people don’t even become ill after being infected. 

But given the incidence in Brazil this past year - and the ensuing increase in the related birth defect - public health officials are taking Zika more seriously, hence the CDC's alert. 

Tragically, two babies with Zika detected in their brains died within 24 hours of being born. 

Until more research has been conducted, please exercise caution if you are travelling to affected countries. Please share this information with anyone who may be considering a trip south, particularly women who may become pregnant.

 RELATED: Your Top 5 Pregnancy Questions Answered 


Toddler Pretends to Breastfeed Baby Sister

Sweet or sick?

Toddler Pretends to Breastfeed Baby Sister

Toddler pretends to breastfeed baby sibling | YummyMummyClub.ca

Usual story: a photo guilelessly posted to Facebook - this one of a toddler pretending to "breastfeed" his baby sister - sparked outrage.

“Don’t worry mom. I got you covered!” That was the caption of an image posted on the breastfeeding group page, Mama Talk. 


Your kid might be breastfed when...

Posted by Breastfeeding Mama Talk on Thursday, January 7, 2016

But instead of viewing it as a sweet attempt of a typical toddler to mimic what mommy does, many viewers took issue with the photo, calling it "disgusting," "sick," and even  “pornographic.” 

This is a toddler and a baby we're talking about. 

Some viewers even suggested "those children need to be taken away from the parents and the photographer arrested.” Seriously?

Others panicked about safety, claiming the baby could be suffocated. “Then you've hurt two children. I guess common sense isn't common.”

No, common sense is certainly not common. 

It's funny how two people can look at the same picture and see two very different things going on. I personally don't see sick or sexualized when I look at that photo. Nor do I see neglectful mom, that baby is going to DIE.

What I do see, however, is a typical toddler doing what typical toddlers do - they imitate what they see their parents doing. And in this case, it's feeding a younger sibling.

As imitation goes, I think this is innocent and perfectly harmless. After all, if we want to normalize breastfeeding across generations to come, then this is how it starts. 

When children grow up watching other children nurse, it becomes a ritual that's as much a part of the day-to-day fold as brushing teeth or drinking water.

The only sad and sick attributes of this photo are what we as viewers project onto it. 

 RELATED: Backlash Over Photo of Mom Nursing on Santa's Lap 


What Causes Some Parents (And Not Others) to Break up?

Seven deadly divorce factors

What Causes Some Parents (And Not Others) to Break up?

Factors for Divorce | YummyMummyClub.ca

Nothing puts a strain on a relationship quite like having a kid. But what causes some couples to break up while others manage to weather the storm wreaked by the pitter patter of tiny feet?

Researchers in Sweden analyzed data from 2012 that found as many as one in three couples with young children separates. Parents in the study were questioned at three points after the birth of their first child: 6 months old, 4 years-old, and 8 years-old. 

After the four-year mark, many of the couples had split. 

By comparing their answers with those of couples who stayed together, researchers came up with seven factors that ultimately drive a wedge between parents: 

  1. Parenting strains
    Being a first-time parent is tough. Actually, that's a ridiculous understatement; Adele was right. Being able to share the many responsibilities that come with raising a little person is huge. Imbalance in the load parents carry can create tensions that escalate over time. Think divide and conquer the To Do list.
  2. Stress
    The most stressful time - that's how researchers describe the period when young children are at home. It goes without saying, when we are under the most pressure that we need the most kindness, appreciation and understanding. Even if it's just for changing a diaper.
  3. Lack of intimacy
    The biggest drops in sensuality and sexuality were reported by surveyed parents when their child was four years old. (Tellingly, that was also the average age at which most couples separated or divorced.) And by intimacy we don't just mean sex, but lots of touching, hugging, kissing, etc. Any form of physical contact at the end of a long day helps cement the bond and can actually lead to intercourse. Even if it only lasts 3.5 minutes...
  4. Lack of communication
    While it's normal to dial down communication in the early years, out of sheer exhaustion or exasperation, couples should keep talking. If the relationship "downturn" is ignored, claim researchers, trouble will brew. They recommend conversations that begin with "I feel..." instead of the accusatory-sounding, "You never...". Trust this mama. Nothing ever good came of a "You never..." sentence.
  5. Different interests
    Pre-kids, there was so much time, wasn't there? Time for his interests. Time for hers. Post-kids, and you question there are still in fact 24 hours in a day because you swear some invisible and insidious force gobbled up at least six of those hours. Post-kids, your window of downtime dwindles, so it's important that couples agree on how best to spend it. Of course we all need time to pursue individual passions, but couple time has to figure, too.
  6. Lack of commitment
    Don't wait to get help. Researchers claim many separated couples swept their issues under the rug to avoid conflict. And by the time they finally got counselling, they were too estranged as a couple to find their way back to each other.  
  7. Addiction
    Another situation in which outside intervention may be necessary, but substance abuse doesn't have to lead to a breakup. 


 RELATED: When Couples Live Together But Sleep Apart