Parenthood Isnt For Dummies

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It sounds absolutely terrifying.

Parenthood Not What You Expected?

We know that — numerous studies have looked at the issues that child-rearing can have on your health, and conclude that there are major impacts on things like your sleep and heart health. But this is even scarier. The study that the media is going crazy about is a piece of epidemiological research recently published in the journal Human Reproduction.

The researchers looked at a group of chemicals called telomeres , which are a group of substances that are involved in DNA replication. Basically, whenever your body makes new cells, telomeres are what stops the new cells from having DNA damage. There is good evidence that shorter telomeres are linked with aging: that as your body ages, the telomeres get shorter, and this may in fact be one of the reasons that old people are more likely to die.

Essentially, telomeres are important, and shorter ones are worse. This study analysed the data from 1, women, split into 2 groups; have or have not had a baby.

Opting Out of Parenthood, With Finances in Mind

The researchers concluded that the shortened telomere length was equivalent to roughly 11 years of life, making babies more damaging to your DNA than both smoking and obesity! The one thing that virtually no one mentioned — or, if they did, it was words into an word article — is that this was observational research.

The scientists looked back at a group of women, and compared an outcome — in this case telomere length — with a risk factor: babies. The issue with this type of research is that it can never prove causation.

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There are hundreds, if not thousands, of factors that may be associated with telomere length. It could just be that there is a factor that is associated with having kids and telomere length, which would mean that the observed association is actually caused by something other than the whole parenthood thing. Babies were associated with higher levels of smoking, poverty, old age, and irregular periods.

What this study found was that there was a 4. Telomere science is mind-bogglingly complicated, so the 11 years is basically just a guess at this point.


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Is there a chance that your DNA is damaged by the act of having kids? Is it much more likely that this is related to something in the environment than any medical problems children cause? However, keep in mind that these goals might change as the pregnancy progresses, says Jennifer Lane, a Certified Financial Planner and president of Compass Planning Associates in Boston.

If this is a priority, start saving now for the financial hit that will come from having just one source of income or none, if both parents stay home coming in. Lane recommends expectant couples begin living on whatever their income will be while Mom is out of work. Put whatever savings are leftover into an emergency fund. Expecting parents should have life insurance adequate to support their new family member in the event of a tragedy. Taking care of this early in the pregnancy will ensure your family is protected through the sometimes dangerous process of birth, Lane says.

If the stay-at-home parent dies, the other spouse will need additional funds to secure child care, Lane says.

Beyond Blue Support Service

A one-plus-one option allows an employee to extend health insurance coverage to another person. When interacting with your human resources department, it might be smart to play your cards close to the vest.

That means your good news might reach management before you intended. Also, find out when your open enrollment period takes place. If the open enrollment period happens during your second or third trimester, it may make sense to go ahead and sign up for a health or child care FSA at that time, Greenfield says.


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Be prepared to answer questions about your plans during and after the pregnancy. Offering to train a replacement or otherwise smooth the transition to a temporary or permanent substitute can help protect your relationship to the employer. Check with your health insurance plan to see how much of the anticipated cost of pregnancy and delivery will be covered by insurance, and how much will be out of pocket, Greenfield says.

For example, some insurance plans cover mainstream costs associated with cesarean sections or epidural anesthesia, but may leave patients to pick up the tab for less common costs such as doula fees or home births. Many women host baby showers early in the third trimester.

Beyond Blue Support Service

Instead, says Lane, ask for financial gifts that can be used to fund a savings account for the child. Unfortunately, this instinct often steers people in the wrong direction, Lane says. Finding a new place to live and moving can create unnecessary stress during an already stressful time.