Mom's Health

parenting through chronic illness

Healthy Advice for Parenting Through Chronic Illness

I was a reasonably healthy person up until my mid-20s. It was around age 26 that I started to feel as though something was off. I experienced a deep fatigue more appropriate for someone four times my age, had bizarre fainting spells and strange reactions to the sun. By my late 20s, I’d had a kidney biopsy, multiple gastroenterological tests and about five different diagnoses.   My bizarre symptoms came to...

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Beth Ricanati

Baking Your Way to Better Health

Ten years ago, Beth Ricanati, M.D., found herself running in place in her bathroom late at night (while sorting the family mail) to get her 10,000 steps in for the day. She describes herself at the time as a “frantic, frenetic busy mom-wife-physician hyphenate” trying to do it all. It wasn’t working. Then Ricanati, who practiced at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and the Cleveland Clinic before moving to L.A., started baking...

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mindfulness for moms

Mindfulness for Busy Moms

When I opened the door to DEN Meditation on a recent Saturday morning, feeling victorious because I found a parking space right in front (no easy feat on busy La Brea Avenue), I was greeted by the smell of essential oils and fresh flowers. My senses were awakened, which I learned is one of the central goals of a meditation practice. This would be my first meditation class, and I...

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parenting classes in Los Angeles

Helping Families Take Root and Parents Take Wing

When you walk into Malibu’s new holistic wellness nonprofit, Roots & Wings, you might feel like you’ve walked into a cocoon of warmth, peace and acceptance. You’re greeted immediately with “How can I help you?” And a smile. There’s no request for a doctor’s referral or diagnosis. Roots & Wings invites you just as you are. “We don’t care about any diagnosis or previous treatment. We take families who need...

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3 Simple Hydration Rules: Drink more water. Mostly tap. Sometimes filtered.

Suffering from headaches? Drink more water. Feeling tired? Drink more water. Fighting the flu? Drink more water. Trying to lose weight? Drink more water. As pediatricians, we advise our patients to “drink more water” all the time – a recommendation that sounds so simple, yet is so often under-recognized. More than half of the children in the U.S. do not drink enough water and one-fourth do not drink any water...

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Parents Caring for Special Kids Should Take Special Care of Themselves

You need to make the gluten-free, casein-free lunches for your kids’ nut-free campus and get your pet to the vet. You really should reply to those emails from last week and finish the paperwork to approve your son’s speech therapy before you take his sister to gymnastics class. Did you even remember to tell your husband to get dinner? The demands of family life make it hard to juggle everything...

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Calling All Sporty Moms in Los Angeles

As a child, I took to sports with enthusiasm and fortitude. While I was never the strongest member of my teams and I was usually the shortest, the one thing I had on my side was speed. My pint-size demeanor combined with a lifetime of walking twice as fast to keep up with the longer legs in my life to create an all-star soccer and softball player.   But that was...

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For Parents of Teens With Autism, Optimism Buffers Stress

The fact that mothers of teens experience stress is no surprise to anyone who has parented – or even met – a teen. The fact that moms of teens who are on the autism spectrum or have intellectual disabilities face more stress than their peers with typically developing teens is also no great surprise. Studies have shown that parents of teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders (AD) or Intellectual Disabilities (ID)...

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cold and flu

Cold and Flu Myths and Tips for Prevention

Each year, there are millions of cases of the common cold in the U.S. The CDC reports that adults average two to three colds per year, and children experience even more. Still, misconceptions about proper management of cold symptoms persist.  A survey released last week from the Merck Manuals – publishers of the world’s best-selling medical textbooks – found that 88 percent of Americans are confident when it comes to...

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family mental health

A Mental-Health Checkup for Los Angeles Families

Now that the holidays are behind us, it is time to think of New Year’s resolutions. In January, people contemplate their physical health, making goals to exercise regularly, eat healthier, sleep more, get physicals and take better care of themselves. But how often do families consider the state of their mental health? The truism, “Prevention is better than cure,” applies to mental well-being as well as physical.   Here’s some wisdom...

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family fitness

Family Fitness: Making the First Move

Phil and Michelle Dozois of South Pasadena have been in the fitness game for decades. Michelle got hooked with her first gymnastics and dance classes at age 5, and went on to win gold medals in the National and World Aerobic Championships and create top-selling fitness DVDs. Her husband, Phil, has been a personal trainer for 25 years, and together he and Michelle opened their own health club – Breakthru Fitness – in 1998.  They are also parents of a 14-year-old...

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Parenting in Los Angeles

LOOM Puts Parents’ Wellness First in Community Hub

When you think of parenting classes, is your first thought learning how to address your baby’s needs or your own? Given the child-focused way parenting is addressed in our society, the answer is rarely the latter, but LOOM, a new community hub in L.A., is aiming to change that.  The company’s mission is to exist as “an inclusive, inviting and judgment-free space for both birth and non-birth outcomes.” To fulfill...

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Time to Collect Your Family’s Health History

With the holidays upon us, here’s a new topic for your family gatherings: your family’s health history. When multiple generations get together, Sylvia S. Estrada, DNP, who provides genetic counseling and testing at the Saul and Joyce Brandman Breast Center at Cedars-Sinai, says you have a perfect opportunity to gather information that will help your healthcare provider better screen against diseases that can run in the family.  From which family...

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postpartum depression screening

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Launches Postpartum Depression Screening Program for New Mothers

Every year, more than 6,500 women give birth at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Now, all new mothers are being screened for one of the most under-diagnosed and under-treated medical conditions in women: postpartum depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 percent of women who give birth each year report symptoms of postpartum depression. Only a small number ever get help, leaving many with the serious, untreated condition....

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Why Summer Vacation is Important for Family Health

To kids, summer vacation means time off from school. To many parents, vacation of any kind seems like a luxury they can’t afford. But Krikor Deramerian, M.D., a pediatrician and “Wellness Champion” at Kaiser Permanente’s Baldwin Park Medical Center, says you can’t afford not to take a break. Hectic work and school routines cause the body to pump out the stress hormone cortisol. “When this is sustained, it has effects...

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spa le la

Spa Le La Makes Me-Time Sitter-Free

As I parked, pattering hail created a strange white noise against my windshield. This probably helped all three of my children enjoy an extended nap in the back of my minivan. It was a week before Mother’s Day and there was no sitter in sight. None of this sounds like the start of a spa day, but alas things have changed. Enter Spa Lé La, a luxurious spa with a...

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An L.A. Mosquito and Zika Virus Update

Summer vacation is upon us and mosquito season will last until November. That means the mosquito borne zika virus known to cause birth defects if a woman is infected during pregnancy will be in the news once again. Diana Ramos, M.D., director for reproductive health at the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, says we all need to protect our children's health and our families by making smart travel decisions, but...

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congenital heart defects

Women With Congenital Heart Defects Can Become Moms

For generations, doctors told women who were born with complex congenital heart defects that the physical demands of pregnancy and delivery would be too difficult for them, and that they should not have babies. That mindset has shifted. New recommendations for health care providers, published in the American Heart Association journal “Circulation,” offer a road map to helping women with congenital heart disease have successful pregnancies. “There is a burgeoning...

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Depression in Moms Goes Beyond Baby Blues

“I’m depressed.” How often have we heard a fellow mom say that? We commiserate, give her a hug and move on. After all, the phrase is used quite casually these days. It might indicate sadness – the loss of a job, the death of a loved one or a sense of stagnation – or it might indicate hormonal shifts. Unless that mom says she has been clinically diagnosed with depression, there is a chance we won’t treat her comment with gravitas, ask questions or steer her toward professional help. Experts say we should. Depression in moms is not always definable, not always evident, not always diagnosed. Women suffer from mood...

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la families

6 Free Workouts for L.A. Families

Whether your goals for 2017 involve a narrower waistline, speedier 5K or just a longer and happier life, they’ll be well served by getting out and getting active with your family. Though the Southland has no shortage of gym memberships and specialty fitness classes, it also offers plenty of free – and fun! – workouts you and your kids will love. This might sound great when the fresh calendar year...

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pregnant moms in la

Pregnancy Is a Great Time For a Massage

Pregnancy is a time of great joy and excitement. It’s also a time of many physical, mental and emotional changes for a woman. Some of these changes, such as a growing belly and hormonal shifts, can create discomfort for the mother-to-be. Getting massages during and after pregnancy can help to alleviate some of these discomforts by relaxing tense muscles, increasing circulation and soothing the nervous system. During pregnancy, many women...

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family loss

When a Baby Dies: Honoring Pain & Healing Hearts

I know firsthand the pain that comes from the death of a child. Thirty-five years ago, I said goodbye to my beloved daughter Jasmine. I will never forget the privilege of carrying life within me, feeling her every move, giving birth, nursing her at my breast and having her be an important part of our family for six months. Jasmine’s death is one that I still grieve, but as a perinatal education specialist, it’s one that guides me and helps me...

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family fun magazine

Swimsuit Shopping for Moms in LA

It's officially summer and the need for a swimsuit can no longer be ignored. Whether it’s an anniversary trip, beach day with the kids or a girls-only retreat, you may want to wear something new in the water. But for some Moms, the challenge of swimsuit shopping is one we'd rather avoid. Whether you struggle to find the right fit for your post-baby body or your focus on function has...

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women's health - heart matters

Heart Health For Moms – Don’t Miss a Beat

Kathy Magliato and a 35-year-old named Cristin technically never met, but the thin and lovely blonde made an impression on Magliato anyway. Cristin arrived at Providence Saint John’s Health Center direct from the treadmill at a Santa Monica gym in full cardiac arrest. She died. In her 2010 book “Heart Matters: A Memoir of a Female Heart Surgeon,” Magliato, a cardiothoracic surgeon on staff at Saint John’s, shares Cristin’s story...

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Green Beauty and Home Care Products For Your Family

We all want to avoid exposing our families to harmful chemicals, whether they come in the form of airborne environmental toxins, pesticides in our food or toxic ingredients in our personal-care and household-cleaning products. The biggest offenders may be petrochemicals, which are derived from petroleum, oil and coal and have been linked to birth defects, endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity and cancer. These widely used offenders can be found in just about...

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South Bay Moms Can Work Out – And Give Back

Baby Boot Camp has long relieved moms of an excuse for not working out by letting them bring their kids and baby bumps along for some exercise. Now three locations in the South Bay are giving them some extra incentive as well. This supportive community of moms working out with their kids in tow has partnered with Sweat Angels, which allows businesses to use Facebook check-ins to donate to charity....

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Zika Feb. 2016

Calming the Buzz About Zika

Since the first reports of a potential link between infection with the mosquito-borne Zika virus in pregnant women and severe birth defects in their babies, the media has been buzzing with updates. Zika infections have been connected with cases of microcephaly, a birth defect that causes a baby’s head and brain to be underdeveloped. L.A. County’s first case of Zika was in an adolescent girl, who was infected on a...

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Eyeing Digital Device Safety

Nearly 64 percent of parents spend more than five hours a day looking at digital screens. And if we’d put down our smart phones and tablets long enough, we would notice that our kids are right behind us, with 65 percent connected two hours a day or more. Those figures are from a recent report by The Vision Council, a vision care industry group. The report, “Eyes Overexposed: The Digital...

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USC Telehealth Offers Free Help For Special-Needs Caregivers

Mary Ann Frattarole thinks it was early 2012 when she started getting desperate calls from parents and caregivers of children and adults with special needs. “I got some heart-wrenching calls from parents that had a special-needs child,” she says, including one mom who also had a husband with a disability for whom she was the only caregiver. “She said, ‘I don’t know how I can make it another day. Can...

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products - beauty

Beauty Products We Love

For the last six months, the staff and parent testers at the National Parenting Products Awards have examined and experimented with an abundance of creams, gels, lotions and potions in search of beauty products that actually deliver results. Here are our favorites. (See more beauty product reviews at

CDC Issues Travel Warning for Pregnant Women

Planning a “babymoon” cruise to the Caribbean or a Mexican getaway? Take note of a CDC travel alert that is especially directed at pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant traveling to countries where Zika virus has become a threat: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. This alert follows reports in Brazil of microcephaly...

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Wellness, Didi Hirsch

Local Center Wins Grant For Disaster Distress Helpline

Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services’ Suicide Prevention Center, one of only three in the U.S. with 24-hour English- and Spanish-speaking crisis counselors, won a highly competitive federal grant to continue operating the national Disaster Distress Helpline. The free, confidential helpline provides 24-hour crisis support services for people struggling emotionally because of natural or man-made disasters, including earthquakes, wildfires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, severe storms, drought and incidents of mass violence. The...

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Motherhood and Managing the Holiday Blues

Most of us have an image in our minds of the perfect family holiday: Sitting together around a table eating a delicious meal and sharing family stories, or maybe cuddled in front of the fireplace with beautiful decorations all around, exchanging gifts. But these pictures often aren’t as close to our reality as we would like. The pressure to create beautiful holiday memories, coupled with the everyday pressures of being...

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Tips For Health Insurance Open Enrollment

If you dread your health insurance plan’s open enrollment period, with its fine print to read and new plans to ponder, Elizabeth Abbott can tell you why. “The reason it’s hard is that you know it’s important,” says Abbott, director of the California Office of the Patient Advocate (OPA). “This is a decision that has consequences for you and your family.” You shouldn’t put this decision off until the last...

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Actress Fran Drescher Leads Summit Urging Focus on Cancer Prevention

She is best known for her humor and signature voice, but actress Fran Drescher is using her star power to raise awareness about potentially cancer-causing toxins in our food, cosmetics and cleaning supplies. Drescher, a cancer survivor and comic actress best known for hit TV series “The Nanny,” hosted the inaugural Cancer Schmancer Women’s Health Summit at Oct. 13 at Skirball Cultural Center. The day-long conference included panel discussions on...

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This Service Brings Healing To Your Home

Renee Dua is a doctor – and a busy L.A. mom of two. And after an exceptionally long night in a hospital emergency room with her infant, to receive medical attention for something that any pediatrician could have handled, she’d had enough. “We spent eight hours of our day sitting there,” Dua says. So in mid-February she founded Heal, a service that brings doctors to see patients at home. All...

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Try This Fun Fall Workout With the Kids

It’s that time of year. The kids are back in school, and suddenly, life is crazy busy again, which means getting in a workout can be even more challenging. As a mom of two and pre/postnatal exercise specialist, I’ve found the best way to do this is to involve your kids. I hope you and your little ones will find this 10-minute workout fun and effective! Sara Haley is an...

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My City Bikes App Is Health On Wheels

There are lots of reasons for you and the kids to hop on a bike – whether for the ride to school and work, or just for some family fun. The city where nobody walks is really quite bikeable, but taking to two wheels can be daunting for beginners. A new app is designed to make it easier. “It’s really common for people to just kind of be at a...

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Hundreds Get in Shape Through Free Cedars-Sinai Exercise in the Park Program

Every summer, hundreds of people participate in Cedars-Sinai’s free Exercise in the Park program led by health educators at two locations in underserved neighborhoods in the West Adams district. The workouts — a combination of stretching, calisthenics and dance moves — attract many regulars who have participated since the program started in 2012. They show up Mondays through Thursdays with bottled water, enthusiasm and commitment. One young mother, who works...

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5 Tips for Relaxed Real-Food Mornings and Evenings

It’s dark and a bit chilly in your bedroom, which gives your warm and cozy covers more power to pull you in. Then you feel a small finger tapping your shoulder and you hear, “Mommy?” With your eyes half open, you stumble into the kitchen to take breakfast orders. The frantic routine of preparing breakfast, unloading dishes, packing lunches and attempting to feed yourself begins. Oh, and forget about drinking...

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children's health packaged foods

Tips For Skipping Packaged Foods

If we are what we eat, then most of the packaged foods on grocery store shelves will turn your family into a salt shaker. A government report published in April found that more than half of these foods – including more than 70 percent of pizza, pasta and meat dishes and 50 to 70 percent of cold cuts, soups and sandwiches – contain more salt than U.S. dietary guidelines consider...

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Diagnosis: Hope

Race to Erase MS founder Nancy Davis talks about how parenting with MS can be done, and why May is the month to wear orange. I was a mom with three young children when I got the news. An avid skier, I had been on the slopes in Aspen. There was an accident, and I wound up in a local hospital. Three weeks later, I began to experience numbness in...

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Five Rejuvenating Tips for Moms

Many moms feel guilty for taking some time to themselves when there is always so much to do but taking some quiet “you” time will completely benefit your body, mind and soul. And taking care of yourself is part of positive parenting. Here are a few tips that moms can do regularly to get some well-deserved peace of mind and mental space. Cultivate a morning practice. By carving out 20...

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5 Top Tips for Mom’s Mental Health

While raising children can be extremely rewarding, it can also be highly stressful. Mothers are caretakers, teachers, chefs, chauffeurs, cleaning ladies, counselors, personal shoppers, stylists and nurses to their children — in addition to any jobs they have outside the home. Moms need to remember that in addition to caring for their children’s well-being, they need to take time to nurture their own mental health and emotions. As mother to...

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10 Quick Healthy Tips for Busy Moms

It may be difficult for moms to set aside time for themselves. They are often more focused on their children's health, and the thought of sticking to New Year’s Resolutions may add to stress rather than alleviate it. However, eating well and exercising benefits moms and everyone in the family. As a physician practicing at Kaiser Permanente in Panorama City and a working mom to active preschool twins, I know...

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Parenting - Preventing Preeclampsia

Pregnant Moms Can Help Catch Preeclampsia Early

For most women, being pregnant is a wonderful experience. Getting prenatal care, eating healthy and exercising regularly are all important to help maternal health and delivery of a healthy baby. While physicians are always checking to make sure that mother and baby are healthy, expectant mothers can help be on the lookout for signs that they may need medical attention. High blood pressure disorders are among the most common medical...

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Brooklyn Abbott: Blogging For Colitis Awareness

Not many people fully understand what it means to struggle with Crohn’s Disease or colitis (forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease) on a daily basis. Symptoms can range from pain to anemia, severe fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite and joint pain. December is Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Month, so we talked with Brooklyn Abbott, a former L.A. television producer, patient with colitis, single mom, advocate and popular blogger who gave...

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