Posts Tagged ‘ pregnancy ’

Finally, an Easy Way to Tell When Medicine Is Safe for You and Baby

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

fda-prescription-label-requirementsDo the letters A, B, C, D and X mean anything to you? Yeah, me neither. But apparently, prescription drug manufacturers have been using them on medicine labels since the ’70s to alert pregnant women and breastfeeding moms to the potential risks of taking certain medications.

Though ridiculously simple on the surface, the lettering system has been anything but effective. In fact, Sandra Kweder, deputy director of the Federal Drug Administration’s Office of New Drugs, said it “has been highly, highly inconsistent,” often contained outdated information and was confusing, the Washington Post reports.

Needless to say, it was time for a change.

So after six years of development, the FDA last week unveiled a shiny new set of requirements aimed at helping doctors and patients make more informed decisions about what they’re putting into their body (and their baby’s). Chief among them is that drug makers will be required to include information packets with the prescription that spell out any potential risks to pregnant or nursing moms, babies, and small children, or people considering getting pregnant — plus whatever research backs up those claims. Each packet will contain three clearly marked sections: “Pregnancy,” “Lactation,” and “Females and Males of Reproductive Potential” for easy skimming.

Starting June 2015, all new prescription drugs and biologics will be subject to the revised system, as will drugs approved by the FDA since 2001 that didn’t provide info related to about pregnancy and lactation. (Note that requirements don’t apply to over-the-counter meds.)

As someone who pestered her OB with frequent “is-this-safe-to-take” questions during pregnancy and nursing, I think the new rule can’t go into effect fast enough. While nothing can replace a quick convo with your healthcare provider, the information packet sounds like a great alternative. After all, when you’re pregnant or nursing — and extra conscious of what’s going into your body — having the most current facts about a medication at the ready can go a long way toward giving you peace of mind.

Now it’s your turn: What’s your take on the FDA’s new requirements for drug manufacturers? How likely are you to read the information packets before taking the medication?

Have questions about your baby? We have answers — just check out our comprehensive Baby Q&A. And be sure to like All About Babies on Facebook to keep up with the latest baby news!

Meds and Breastfeeding
Meds and Breastfeeding
Meds and Breastfeeding

Image of woman holding a pill bottle courtesy of Shutterstock

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What Do You Remember About Labor? Depends on How Painful It Was

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

A new study has confirmed what scientists have suspected: your memory of labor is influenced more by how painful it was than by how long it lasted. This makes perfect sense to me. I know the hard numbers of my labor: 23 hours in the delivery room, two(!) epidurals, one baby. But my recollection of the actual experience is a bit spotty, the most vivid moments being the epidurals, the stretches of excruciating back labor pain and the second my son entered the world.

Apparently, I’m not alone. The study’s team of scientists somehow got 320 pregnant women to allow a researcher into the delivery room with them, reports Science Daily. Every 20 minutes, the researcher asked the woman to rate her pain on a scale of 1 (no pain) to 100 (worst pain possible). (Side note: Can you imagine having a perfect stranger regularly quiz you on how much pain you’re in while you’re in labor?) The same tenacious researcher followed up with the new mom two days and two months after baby was born, asking her to use the same 1-100 scale to evaluate her labor pain from beginning to end.

For the most part, the pain ratings women gave postpartum were fairly similar to the ones they offered during the throes of labor.  Yet, how long they labored had no bearing on how much pain they remember feeling. This falls right in line with a phenomenon known as “duration neglect,” where we remember the pain of an event and ignore everything else, including how long it lasted.  (The study’s full results were published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.)

The scientists also found that an epidural can influence your memory of labor, since it effectively blocks the pain. Women who received one reported feeling relatively moderate pain when interviewed after the fact, this despite the fact that they were in labor for longer. Researchers point to two possible reasons for this: duration neglect and the fact that the epidural is already in effect by the end of labor, when pain is most intense. Or, as they wrote in the findings, “In practical terms, these results suggest that epidural analgesia is not only beneficial during childbirth itself but also effective in modulating memory of it.”

Tell us: What do you remember about your labor?

Have questions about your baby? We have answers — just check out our comprehensive Baby Q&A. And be sure to like All About Babies on Facebook to keep up with the latest baby news!

Birth Stories: Natural Pain Relief
Birth Stories: Natural Pain Relief
Birth Stories: Natural Pain Relief

Image of woman in hospital courtesy of Shutterstock 

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Would You Do THIS to Your Umbilical Cord?

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

paige-driscoll-cord-burningHang on to your scissors! The new trend in births is to…burn the umbilical cord?

As Today.com reports, some parents are embracing this age-old practice because it allows the whole family to help sever the physical connection between mom and baby. Typically, each person takes turns holding a lit candle under the foot-long umbilical cord for minutes at a time; the whole process can take up to 20 minutes to complete. Meanwhile, the baby is kept away at a safe distance and oftentimes nurses or snoozes through the whole thing.

But still. An open flame?! Near my brand-spanking-new baby? (shudder)

Still, seeing a cord burning in action was enough to convince Paige Driscoll, owner of Santa Cruz Birth Photography and a mom of four (soon to be five). After photographing a burning (one is pictured to the right) and seeing how much love was in the room, she decided to try it for the birth of her fifth son, due later this month. “Too many times during birth, everything happens so quickly, so this is a really slow and gentle process that slows everything down and makes it so memorable,” she explained to Today.com.

To be honest, while I’m not sure I would have burned the cord, I get where Driscoll is coming from. When I was in labor, I asked my doctor to hold off for a few minutes before clamping and cutting the cord. But for whatever reason, she did the deed right away. And it bugged me. A lot. As far out there as it sounds, at least with burning, you have control over when the final break happens.

Plus, there are the health benefits of a delayed cut. Because burning takes longer than the traditional clamp-and-cut, your newborn has a little more time to soak in the rich nutrients from your placenta. And those extra few minutes could have a lasting impact: Studies have found that waiting even an extra minute or two to clamp the cord can increase a newborn’s hemoglobin levels and make them less likely to have an iron deficiency within six months after birth, according to several news reports.

Something else to consider: If you decide to go the cord burning route, plan to deliver somewhere besides a hospital — there’s a strict policy against open flames in a hospital or medical setting.

Tell us: Would you try cord burning?

Birth Stories:
Birth Stories:
Birth Stories: "My Water Broke..."

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Images courtesy of Paige Driscoll of Santa Cruz Birth Photography 

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