Health Check

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    The summer my daughter was born was a hot one. As I sweated buckets and downed gallons of Poland Spring to stay hydrated, I couldn't help but look quizzically at my infant and wonder: Does a breastfeeding baby need to drink water, too? At the time, my daughter was nursing exclusively, but that just didn't seem sufficient in this sweltering heat. Was she slowly dying of dehydration? After all, don't all living things need water?

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    Mackenzie Douthit is one hot mama, for sure. For good reason too -- this Teen Mom 3 star not only has youth on her side, but she is constantly working out and staying active to maintain her trim physique. Between sessions at the gym, her competitive cheerleading, and chasing after two little ones at home, it's no wonder she manages to stay slim and strong!

    But there comes a point where working out too much becomes hazardous to your health, especially when you have serious medical conditions to consider. Mackenzie has Type 1 Diabetes, which means she constantly has to monitor her blood sugar levels. This weekend she ran a 5K, and what she tweeted about her health was just a little bit shocking.

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    If you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), you've probably heard it could be tougher to get pregnant. One in 10 women have the condition that can stand in the way of ovulation -- and babymaking.

    But just because it's tough doesn't mean you can't get pregnant with PCOS. If you've been diagnosed, here's a look at what the experts say you can do to up your fertility:

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    Parents have faced the age-old challenge of coaxing their kiddos to eat their vegetables in so many different ways. We've hoped for years that promises of Popeye-like strength if they eat their greens will do the trick, but believe it or not, that may be exactly what's turning children against the nutrient-packed food group. A recent study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that kids may be more likely to eat their fruits and veggies if they don't know how good they are for them. In other words, ignorance is bliss.

    Researchers from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business found that when food is presented to kids aged 3 to 5 as making them strong or as a tool to help them reach a goal (like learning how to read or count), they were more likely to decide that the food wasn't tasty. In turn, they would eat less of it.

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    Kids who wander into a patch of poison ivy can pay dearly for this mistake ... only if you're a parent keen to ease your child's suffering, never fear -- there's plenty you can do. Follow these guidelines to get the details on how to treat poison ivy on kids, from how to I.D. the rash to ways to alleviate the itch.

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    Though it's one of the most joyful times for a woman, pregnancy may also cause uncomfortable symptoms -- from morning sickness to swollen ankles and all manner of annoyances in between. Making matters worse: You may want to avoid over-the-counter treatments, preferring instead to take the more natural route to feeling your best. 

    Thankfully, aromatherapy is an unsung hero that can offer various benefits for expectant moms, from pure stress relief to keeping issues like nausea or backaches at bay. But a word of warning: "When considering plant oils in pregnancy, one should approach them in the same way as any other medication," says reproductive endocrinologist Anate Aelion Brauer, M.D., OB/GYN with Greenwich Fertility & IVF Center in Connecticut. "Although essential oils are natural, it is important to use caution, as many effects in pregnancy are unknown."

    Here, the "dos and "don'ts" of using essential oils during pregnancy.

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    Nothing can put a damper on summer fun faster than a sunburn. And as hard as moms try to keep it from happening, sooner or later, your kids are bound to come home looking like lobsters. Then what? Luckily there are plenty of ways to treat sunburn and ease their discomfort. Here are a few things that can provide some relief.

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    While most pregnant women have heard they shouldn’t drink tons of coffee, decaf isn’t so clear-cut. Decaf, after all, still has some caffeine, and certain studies (though not all) have linked this stimulant to higher miscarriage rates. Further complicating matters is the fact that the amount of caffeine varies widely in both decaf and regular. Still, that doesn’t mean pregnant women must abstain from this beverage completely.

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    One of my earliest (but definitely not fondest) childhood memories occurred at age 4 when a bee whizzed by and stung me on the face. Granted, I'd swatted at it first, so I guess I had it coming to me. Needless to say, bee and wasp stings can be terrifying for kids, and many parents don't know the right way to treat them. Here's how to minimize the damage:

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    Used to be that when you started to think about trying for a baby, you'd do a bit of genetic testing, and maybe get a recommendation on a prenatal vitamin. But preconceptual wellness has come a long way! Whether you want to lay a solid foundation well before whipping out the ovulation calculator or you've been trying to get pregnant for a while, there's more to it than popping a supplement and eating your veggies.

    Nutritionist Carolyn Gundell, who leads the Fertility Nutrition Program at Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT), works with reproductive endocrinologists to help women lead a more "fertile lifestyle." "Before pregnancy, this can really help patients improve not only their ovulatory function, but optimize their overall health," Gundell says. "And [the message] is let's not just adopt these behaviors to get pregnant, but for life. Because our health is the best gift we can give our children."

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