Blog Posts by Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine

  • Women Who Are Scared of Childbirth Spend More Time in Labor (STUDY)

    Women who are scared of childbirth spend more time in labor, a new study has found.We tend to expect to be scared about giving birth. Movies and TV shows offer up worst-case scenarios, horror stories about hospital births and home births abound, and we hear plenty about how painful labor can be. But all that focus on fear may be making things worse for moms-to-be: A new study shows that pregnant women who are afraid of childbirth end up spending more time in labor than women who aren't.

    Related: What does a contraction really feel like?

    In the study, published on Wednesday in "BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology," researchers analyzed data from more than 2,206 patients at a hospital in Norway who took a survey about fear and childbirth when they were 32 weeks pregnant. Women who indicated a high level of fear spent, on average, one hour and 32 minutes longer in labor than those who weren't as afraid of giving birth -- 8 hours with contractions coming at least every 3 or so minutes, compared with 6 hours and 28 minutes for those who were less

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  • Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare: What Does it Mean for Women?

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi watches the breaking news from the Supreme Court which upheld the Affordable Care Act on Thursday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)The Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act -- also known as "Obamacare" -- in its entirety on Thursday, preserving access to health care for millions of people who would otherwise be turned away because of preexisting conditions or forced to pay higher premiums based on gender.

    "No illness or accident should lead to any family's financial ruin," President Barack Obama said after the ruling was announced.

    Related: A look at the health care law in all 50 states

    Others were dismayed by the decision, pointing out that it amounts to a tax increase on the middle class and insisting that it would raise health care costs for everyone.

    "This bill was sold to the American people on a deception," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said after the ruling was announced. "But it's not just that the promises about this law weren't kept. It's that it's made the problems it was meant to solve even worse."

    Given that most of the major provisions of the law haven't yet gone into effect

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  • Ann Romney and Michelle Obama Face Off Over... Cookies?

    Forget about health care mandates, helping military families, and fighting childhood obesity. It's time to focus on something we can really relate to right now: Baking.

    Every year since 1992, "Family Circle" has asked the wives of presidential candidates to submit their favorite cookie recipe for the magazine's Presidential Cookie Bake-Off. This year, first lady Michelle Obama pits Mama Kaye's White and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie against Ann Romney's M&M's Cookies. Readers test out the treats and vote (via Facebook) on the winner.

    "Every evening, Barack, the girls and I sit down for a family dinner with good conversation and healthy food," Mrs. Obama writes in the introduction for her recipe. "If we want to splurge, these White and Dark Chocolate Chip cookies, created by the girls' godmother, are the perfect special treat."

    "Mitt and I love spending time with our children and grandchildren," counters Mrs. Romney in hers. "Whenever we get together you can be sure that we'll mix up a

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  • Why Are We Blaming Feminism for Our Inability to Have it All?

    When it comes to juggling career and family, is it feminism's fault that women can't have it all?Anne-Marie Slaughter's article, "Why Women Still Can't Have It All," struck a chord among men and women struggling to juggle their careers and their families. In it, she seems to say that feminism has pulled a fast one on us, encouraging her -- and millions of other working moms -- to believe that they could hold down high-powered jobs and still successfully raise well-adjusted kids when, realistically, having it all is next to impossible.

    "I was increasingly aware that the feminist beliefs on which I had built my entire career were shifting under my feet," Slaughter wrote. "I had always assumed that if I could get a foreign-policy job in the State Department or the White House while my party was in power, I would stay the course as long as I had the opportunity to do work I loved. But in January 2011, when my two-year public-service leave from Princeton University was up, I hurried home as fast as I could."

    It's a rude awakening. But why blame feminism for it?

    "Let's start by

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  • Nora Ephron: Writer, Filmmaker, Heroine of Her Life, Dies at 71

    Nora Ephron died Tuesday in New York. She was 71. (2010 file photo Charles Sykes/AP) Nora Ephron, known for her hit romantic comedies "Sleepless in Seattle," "When Harry Met Sally," and "Julie & Julia," died Tuesday night in Manhattan. She was 71.

    Her son, Jacob Bernstein, told The New York Times that she died from pneumonia brought on by acute myeloid leukemia.

    "Nora Ephron was devastatingly funny, extremely witty, and was ALWAYS one of the kindest people I have ever met," actor Colin Hanks, son of Ephron's friend and colleague Tom Hanks, wrote on Twitter Tuesday night.

    The daughter of two Hollywood screenwriters, Ephron was born on May 19, 1941, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and grew up in Beverly Hills, California. She graduated from Wellesley College in 1962, worked briefly as an intern in John F. Kennedy's White House (where he never hit on her, she has said), and moved to New York to become a journalist.

    Though she's best known for writing romantic comedies for the silver screen -- "I try to write parts for women that are as complicated and interesting

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  • Study: 70 Percent of Teens Hide Their Online Lives from Their Parents. How?

    How are kids hiding their online activity from their parents?A new study commissioned by internet safety giant McAfee shows that 70 percent of teens are hiding their online behavior from their parents, up from 45 percent in 2010. But half of parents surveyed think their teens tell them about everything they do online.

    Related: 10 things you don't know about teens and social networking

    It's no surprise that teens try to keep their private lives away from their parents' prying eyes. But when it comes to social media and the issues associated with it, the question isn't why they do it, but how.

    The activities go way beyond flirting on Facebook. According to the study, "The Digital Divide: How the Online Behavior of Teens is Getting Past Parents", 51 percent of teens admit that they've broken the law by hacking into someone else's social network account, and 31 percent say that they've pirated movies and music online. Forty-eight percent have admitted to looking up test answers online (16 percent from their smart phone), and 32 percent say that

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  • Pixar's "Brave": Feminist Fable or Just Another Pretty Princess?

    Princess Merida in Pixar's new movie, Brave.When Pixar first announced plans to feature a female protagonist back in 2006, critics and moviegoers alike had high hopes for "The Bear and the Bow," as it was then called. Six years later the movie, now titled "Brave," has hit the theaters, and some are saying that it doesn't live up to the hype -- not because it's not visually stunning (it is, reviewers agree), but because its heroine, Scottish warrior-wannabe Merida, is yet another princess.

    "You can't help wishing they'd thought a little further outside the box. A princess, really? They couldn't have bestowed girlhood on an inanimate object? An alien? A micro-pig?" writes Sarah Stewart at the New York Post. (You can watch the trailers here.) "This Celtic-themed story hews so closely to classic fairy-tale tropes, it's the studio's most Disney-fied production yet."

    But did Pixar really miss the point with their red-headed heroine? Over at Slate's XX Factor, Hanna Rosin says that "Brave" is more radical than one might think.

    "The

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  • Do Women Today Take Title IX for Granted?

    The co-author of Title IX says that it may be a good thing that kids take gender equality for granted.It may be best known for giving female athletes an equal shot on the playing field, but Title IX -- which was passed 40 years ago on June 23 -- was actually intended to give girls more opportunities in education.

    "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance," the law reads in its entirety. Those 37 words opened up a world of opportunity for American women.

    Related: What Title IX means to 3 women in one family

    Inequality in the classroom may seem like a strange concept to kids today, but some of us remember being told that math and science were "too hard" for girls or having to take home-ecoomics instead of woodworking. In 1972, the year the law passed, women earned just 7 percent of all law degrees, The National Organization for Women points out; by 2008, thanks in part to Title IX, 45.7 percent

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  • Sunburned Kids at School: Who's to Blame?

    Violet and Zoe Michener came home from school sporting these severe sunburns. (Photo: Jesse Michener/lifephotographed.com)It was raining when her children left for school on Tuesday, so Jesse Michener did not slather them in sunscreen, even though she knew they'd be outdoors for field day later that afternoon. But the sun came out around noon and, when the kids came home, two of them were so severely sunburned that they had to go to the hospital.

    "We've never done a field day at the school before," Michener told Yahoo! Shine in an interview on Thursday. "They were outside for over five hours."

    A freelance photographer, she posted pictures and described her daughter's sunburns on her blog. "Two of my three children experienced significant sunburns. Like, hurts-to-look-at burns," Michener wrote. "Violet is starting to blister on her face." Both Violet, 11, and her sister, Zoe, 9, "have headaches, chills and pain" and had to stay home from school the next day. (Her youngest daughter, 7-year-old Eleanor, was also sunburned, but not badly.) The girls did not stay overnight at the hospital, and Michener said

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  • Happy Martini Day! 5 Great Martini Recipes to Try

    Happy Martini Day! Shaken, or stirred? James Bond took vodka martinis mainstream in the 1960s. "Sex and the City" made them fruity and flirty. Thanks to "Mad Men," the iconic cocktail came back, all retro-chic. However you like them best -- shaken, stirred, dry, dirty, or spiked with juice or flavored vodkas -- stock up on supplies and get ready to celebrate, because June 19th is National Martini Day.

    Personally, we prefer the classic: Dry gin and white vermouth, with a twist of lemon. At least, it's what we think of as the classic; it actually showed up on the bar scene sometime in the 1940s.

    The martini's roots go back to the 1600s, when both gin and vermouth were invented. Gin was created by Francois de Boe Sylvius, a Dutch medical professor who mixed grain alcohol with juniper berry oil, called it "genever," and used it to purify the blood and treat kidney disorders, stomach aches, gout, and gallstones. Vermouth was born in Italy; it also contains juniper, but back then it was a sweet, concoction of white wine

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