Why more and more Indians can't have kids

Mumbai resident Janhavi climbed several rungs of the corporate ladder before deciding to have a baby three years back. Months however turned into years as Janhavi, now 38, spent lakhs of rupees at various infertility clinics to get pregnant. “I have tried as many gharelu nuskas (home remedies) as tests looking for genetic abnormalities and ovarian antibodies, but without success,” she says.

Janhavi isn’t the only one. Infertility experts say a growing number of career women come to them in their late thirties and forties wanting a baby . “Women now get married at a later age. They are well qualified and have economic as well as career compulsions that lead them to delay childbearing,” says infertility specialist Dr Aniruddha Malpani. And, while it is not uncommon to hear about women having their first baby at 35, a percentage of them have problems conceiving. “With increasing age, the quality of eggs decreases and so do the chances of pregnancy,” says specialist Dr Hrishikesh Pai. The typical corporate lifestyle -with both wife and husband busy with work-related tours – affects quality time that a couple spends with each other. Couples don’t get an opportunity to try at the most fertile period of the month, say doctors.

It is estimated that infertility affects 10 to 14% of the Indian population. “The figure has more or less been steady, with the main addition being the group of career women who try for a baby later than women in previous generations did,” says Dr Duru Shah, president of ISAR (Indian Society for Assisted Reproduction). ISAR secretary-general Dr Ameet Patki fears the numbers could be higher in India’s urban addresses: one in every five to six couples could have some fertility – related problem.

Medical science has advanced so much that men with poor sperm count can now father a baby, but experts blame unhealthy lifestyle choices -smoking, alcohol and recreational drugs – among Indians for the queues at infertility clinics. Age is just one of the culprits, as Dr Shah puts it. “Smoking is one of the worst as it reduces the quality of eggs,” he says, adding that surveys have shown that more women smoke than before.

Why more and more indians can't have kids

Incidentally, the reason female infertility is more talked about is because it is more common, say doctors. Male infertility is responsible for 40% of the infertility cases. And, like with women, male fertility too is affected by lifestyle and environmental factors. “Men take supplements for body building which is known to reduce the sperm count,” says Dr Patki. Thanks to environmental pollution caused by plastics, there are also chemicals that can interfere with the endocrine (or hormonal) system; many studies have linked these endocrine disruptors to male children suffering from undescended testes or hypospadia (a congenital condition in males in which the opening of the urethra is on the underside of the penis).

“Many couples we counselled confessed that they were into recreational drugs and didn’t realise that taking these would affect their fertility,'” says Dr Patki. The urban phenomenon of processed food, too, contributes to infertility as it lacks folic acid.

“Obesity and polycystic ovarian (PCOD) also lead to infertility,” says Dr Pai who has clinics in both Mumbai and Delhi. Studies have shown that PCOD is more common in north India than in the south. “In some north Indian cities, where I have clinics, I found that every second patient has PCOD,” says Dr Pai. “Some overweight women undergo bariatric surgery in order to get pregnant,'” he adds. While urban India has lifestyle to blame for infertility, infection is still the big causative factor in rural India. “In rural areas, women undergo abortion or even delivery at unhygienic centres that could cause infection in the fallopian tubes, leading to infertility,” says Dr Shah. Tuberculosis is another major reason for fallopian tube-related complications.

Dr Malpani, however, offers a different view. “Victim blaming is a big issue across India. People tell women that they are unable to conceive because they don’t eat healthy or work too much. It is unfortunate that women feel stressed and inadequate due to the inability to have babies,” he says. “I have had women crying and asking if they are too fat or if the anti-acne medicine they used previously is responsible for infertility.”

6 Immunity-Boosting Foods for Kids This Monsoon

While we want to make the most of the rainy season, the thought of catching infections and flu persistently lurks at the back of the mind and the concern grows even greater when it comes to children. Children with their developing immunity system are especially prone to catching such infections in this weather. The damp weather makes them susceptible to many diseases which are commonly associated with the monsoon season like cold and flu, throat infections and stomach problems.

According to Bangalore-based Nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood, “During the monsoon season, your immunity goes down as the microorganisms have sufficient moisture to grow and therefore, you become more susceptible to diseases. Since children are more carefree and like to stay mostly outdoors, they are definitely more vulnerable to infections and health issues. To keep them healthy, powerful antioxidants are needed which are rich in vitamin C. Staying hydrated at all times, eating green leafy vegetables and loading up nuts and seeds daily are some preventive measures.”

 6 Immunity-Boosting Foods for Kids This Monsoon

Shilpa Arora, Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner also believes that parents must exercise extra care for children during the monsoon season. She suggests, “A pinch of turmeric in a glass of lukewarm water first thing in the morning especially in this season can work well to build a stronger immunity. It must be ensured that you keep them away of all processed and fast food items and the worst health enemy – white sugar. Stay clear of white flour, it affects the health and immunity of your child in way more ways than you think. Research has shown that having a teaspoon of extra virgin coconut oil daily can also boost your immunity.”

Immunity-boosting foods that your children should have right now

1. Turmeric

Turmeric is a great immunity boosting spice which should be included in your daily diet. Nutritionist Meher Rajput of FITPASS explains, “Turmeric’s active component ‘curcumin’ makes it a powerful antioxidant. Add pinch of turmeric to milk and give it to them before bed time. Adding some saffron (kesar) will further enhance the healing properties of the milk.”

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2. Vitamin C rich foods

According to Shilpa Arora, “Seasonal veggies and fruits have phytonutrients which are needed to fight bacteria and infections. Jamun, cherries, peaches and guava have abundant vitamin C.”

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3. Dry fruits and nuts and seeds

Children can be fussy about fruits and vegetables, but they may like to chomp on crunchy dry fruits and nuts like cashews, almonds and walnuts. You can make an interesting trail mix for them. Nutritionist Meher Rajput also backs the idea of loading up on nuts, “Have them in any form, dry or roasted. Walnuts, almonds, dates and raisins are good sources of vitamins and antioxidants. They are high in protein and sources of good fats which would also ensure that the energy levels of your child are always high.”

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4. Mushrooms

According to Nutritionist Meher Rajput, mushrooms are loaded with vitamin D and antioxidants which play a role in building immunity. To make it fun for children, include them in sandwiches and spruce them up with other seasonal veggies. You can also give them a hot mushroom soup to slurp on.

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5. Meat and Fish

Have them in soups, curries, sandwiches or salads. Whether it’s chicken, mutton or fish and seafood, all of them are rich in protein. Not only does our body need protein to build and repair its tissues, but it also plays a vital role in boosting white blood cells that are responsible for fighting infections. Meat also supplies Vitamin B, zinc, iron and even Omega-3 fatty acids (from fish and seafoods) -our body uses in keeping up its defense mechanism.

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6. Dairy Products

Milkshakes, smoothies and fruit yogurt can break the monotony of having to gulp down a tall glass of milk while boosting their immunity.

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Make monsoon fun for you kids by keeping them safe, protected and energised with these nutritious foods.

Parent moves Madras HC, says TN Class 11 public exam to put extra burden on kids

Madurai A Madurai resident on Wednesday moved the Madras High Court challenging the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to hold “public examination” at Class 11 level akin to the CBSE-held class 10 and 12-level board examinations.

A Madurai bench of the high court posted the matter for detailed hearing on July 19 after a brief hearing on the issue.

Petitioner K K Ramesh submitted to the bench of justices S S Sasidharan and G R Swaminathan that the government’s move to bring Class 11 students under the ambit of public exams, would put an additional burden on the pupils who work hard to score high marks in Class 10 and, then again, in Class 12.

This would mean hard work for three years successively from Class 10 onwards, leading to sleepless nights and frustration, he said while pleading with the court to quash the government order.

A parent has pleaded that bringing Class 11 students under the ambit of public exams would put an additional burden on the pupils who work hard to score high marks in Class 10 and, then again, in Class 12.

To this, the government counsel submitted that under the present system of examination, the students end up focusing only on plus two syllabus (Class 12) in order to secure engineering and medical seats in reputed institutes, ignoring the plus one (Class 11) syllabus.

By not paying attention to the plus one syllabus, they feel the burden after getting admitted to engineering colleges like Anna University, he said.

He argued that an expert committee set up to analyse the performance of the students during the first year of engineering courses also came to the same conclusion.

Accordingly, the government has decided to hold “public examination” at Class 11 level.

The Tamil Nadu government had in May this year issued orders for conducting public examination for students of Class XI, and proposed to revise school education syllabus “on par with CBSE standards” in the coming years.

 

 

Talking to the Doctor May Prevent Antibiotic Overuse in Kids

“Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today,” WHO. One of the primary factors contributing to the rising trend of antibiotic resistance is the overuse of such drugs. Bacteria and viruses are growing more potent and resistant with time rendering the current strain of antibiotics of no use. Experts therefore develop stronger antibiotics that not only aim to kill the potent strain of antibodies but also end up harming the body.

As per a recent study published in the Journal Applied Communication Research, simply talking with the medical expert can help prevent your child’s dependence on antibiotics. If parents try and communicate with the medical professional and decide to delay the course of antibiotics, it can help prevent the child from the unnecessary exposure and ill-effects of antibiotics. Delaying antibiotic administration gives a chance for the child’s body to heal on its own and withstand similar bacterial or viral invasions in the future.

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Even if a person begins to feel better after a course of antibiotics, the strongest strain of the antibody stays alive with a possibility to resurface the sickness in the future. Experts therefore encourage parents to communicate and talk in detail with the medical expert to understand the role of antibiotics better and how delaying the course can be a viable option in curing the child from the ongoing ailment.

Antibiotic abuse is becoming rampant. According to the World Health Organisation, some of the most widespread ailments like tuberculosis and pneumonia are getting difficult to treat as the current strain of antibiotics become less effective.

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“Antibiotics are medicines used to prevent and treat bacterial infections. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of these medicines. Bacteria, not humans or animals, become antibiotic-resistant. Antibiotic resistance is accelerated by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, as well as poor infection prevention and control,” WHO.

 

The World Health Organisation also shares some important tips on how individuals can take small steps to avoid antibiotics abuse.

 

– Practice basic hygiene and sanitation to avoid falling prey to bacterial viral invasion.

 

– Wash hands regularly, prepare your food with utmost hygiene, keep yourself vaccinated and avoid getting in touch with people suffering from communicable diseases.

 

– Keep Your environment clean

Improved Sleep Pattern May Help Kids With ADHD: Beware of Foods That May Kill Sleep

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is categorized as a developmental and behavioral disorder that affects the learning and behavioral ability in children. Kids with ADHD also depict signs of impaired attention. A latest study compiled by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) establishes a link between sleep and ADHD symptoms. “Simple adjustments to the bedtime routines of children with ADHD” could make a significant difference, said lead researcher Melisssa Mulraney. Sleep deprivation or irregular bedtime routine has previously been linked to triggering health issues in kids triggering irritability, attention problems, learning difficulties among others.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine notes positive bedtime routines to facilitate proper sleep which helps keep children fresh, focused and energetic throughout the day. In another study, experts from the Saint Joseph’s University in America aimed at understanding the role of bedtime routines and sleep pattern in children. Institution of a regular bedtime routine was seen to be associated with decreased sleep problems and daytime behaviour problems in kids.

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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

While regular bedtime routine may help your child sleep better, tweaking your kid’s diet with food items that promote sleep may also help. Some of the most common ingredients may help your kid doze off in peace; however, you must be wary of foods that you include in your child’s diet. A host of items can mess with your little ones’ sleep; we list down some of those below:

Spicy foods

 

Spices are hot in nature and tend to raise the body’s temperature. In kids, consumption of spicy foods right before bedtime may make them feel restless.

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Steer clear of spice

Processed food items

The ratio of processed or packaged food items in your child’s diet should naturally be as low as possible. Make sure your child’s last meal of the day is not laden with extra oil, spice or fat as it may hamper the digestion, cause bloating and make it difficult to fall asleep.

junk foodSay no to junk

Sugar

Ever heard of the term ‘sugar rush’? That’s exactly what is going to happen if you let your kid binge on heavy desserts post dinner and before turning in. Always monitor the portion size of your kid’s meals.

HC notice to CBSE rule saying teachers not to accompany kids in school buses

New Delhi The Delhi High Court on Monday issued a notice to the city government and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on a plea challenging the board’s amended rule that teachers will not accompany students in school buses and not be allotted non-academic work.

A division bench of acting chief justice Gita Mittal and justice C Hari Shankar sought a response from the CBSE and Delhi’s Directorate of Education (DoE) by November 6.

The plea filed by NGO Angika Development Society through advocate Arjun Harkauli challenged the CBSE’s October 2016 circular and sought its quashing.

Schools

The CBSE, the country’s biggest school board, had asked private schools affiliated to it to ensure that their teachers are not saddled with non-teaching duties such as travelling with children in buses and managing canteens.

Harkauli argued that pursuant to the Supreme Court directives, the Delhi government had already formulated detailed directives that “teachers and bus monitors should accompany students in school buses and hence it is not the domain of the CBSE to issue any directives on this subject as it merely an examination board”.

The plea said that the administration of school and terms of service of teachers does not fall within the domain of the CBSE but under the authority of the administrator under the Delhi School Education Act.

“Similarly in the respective state the relevant state school education Act applies. The impugned circular suffers from the vice of ‘excessive legislation’ beyond the scope of its authority,” the plea added.

“In any event, even the government resolution that created the CBSE does not grant it powers to frame rules regarding administrative running of school, service conditions of teachers and safety of children.”

It added that teachers are the qualified persons to travel in buses for the safety of the students as children have inherent confidence and trust in a teachers.

“Parents feel confident when there is teacher in charge of a school bus, who can handle child psychology and well equipped to deal with emergencies and capable of effectively communicating with parents, school, local authorities, bus staff in case of an emergency,” the plea stated.