Archive for the ‘ Pregnancy News ’ Category

Kids Before Marriage? It’s Totally Normal for the Newest Generation of Parents

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Regardless of your personal feelings about pregnancy outside of marriage, it’s apparently time to accept that it’s the new reality in America.

We’ve all seen anecdotal evidence of this—including all kinds of examples set by Hollywood types—but new research findings make the trend officially, statistically clear: According to a new Johns Hopkins University study using results from millennial parents, 64 percent of all mothers gave birth out of wedlock at least one time. Yes, that’s well over half. It’s approaching two thirds. So it’s safe to say, it’s a completely ordinary lifestyle across the entire category that includes the newest generation of parents—like it or not.

Drilling down a bit, the paper shows the biggest divide along the lines of education: People with four-year college degrees more typically had children later in their 20s, and most were married at that time. Women without such degrees were typically younger when they delivered, and three-quarters of those were not married at the time of at least one child’s birth.

Even more specifically, in the category of women who dropped out of high school, 87 percent had at least one birth outside of marriage. But in the category of four-year-degree holders, it was just 25 percent.

Further parsing the data, Slate points out that many of the non-wedlocked women in the study were not single, but living with partners at the time—so the kids were technically born into two-parent households. But, “the problem is that cohabiting couples don’t always last. Their relationships fare better than parents who aren’t living together at all, but frequently the mother ends up raising a child alone,” Slate notes.

The fact is, the youngest generation of parents is playing by different rules than their own parents and grandparents. And instead of debating whether or not it’s right for them to make the choices they are making with respect to their reproductive timelines, our efforts as a country are probably better spent figuring out how to channel resources to modern families—the kind of families that actually most commonly exist, not the kind of families that people with outmoded philosophies wish could still be the norm.

Pregnant? Estimate the big day with our due date calculator. And don’t forget to like Everything Pregnancy on Facebook to keep up with the very latest in pregnancy news and trends!

Pregnancy Month by Month:  Preparing for Labor
Pregnancy Month by Month:  Preparing for Labor
Pregnancy Month by Month: Preparing for Labor

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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Some Moms Opting for Early Delivery—But at What Cost?

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

As a worrier, my twin pregnancy arc has looked something like this: Without too many real symptoms in the early stages, I worried I might not really still be pregnant. Following that, I coasted seamlessly into the stage of worrying about delivering dangerously early.

Now, at nearly 34 weeks, I’m hoping I can continue to cook these nuggets until they’re really big and strong — a chance many multiples moms I know would have given almost anything to have. Alas, in particular when it comes to carrying multiples, the threat of pre-term labor is very real, and the fear of it — or the reality of it — consumes many parents to be.

Despite that, and despite growing evidence that supports the idea of better health outcomes for babies who reach full term, it turns out that many women are delivering early electively.

According to new research from the University of Minnesota and published in the journal Medical Care, more than 3 percent of babies delivered in the U.S. are coming into the world early and without valid medical justification; if that doesn’t seem like a huge figure, consider it’s about 120,000 babies across the entire population each year.

So what does early mean? A baby is considered full-term at 39 weeks of pregnancy. And the study showed that early delivery without medical reason “at between 37 and 39 weeks is associated with health problems for mothers and babies” alike, according to HealthDay News.

According to the study, women were more likely to opt for early induced labor if they were 35 or older, were white with higher education, were insured privately, and delivered their babies in rural or non-teaching hospitals.

Those choosing to deliver early by C-section tended to be younger than 20 or older than 35, black, have higher educations, and gave birth at smaller hospitals.

The study further suggested that babies born early by elective C-section were much more likely to have longer hospital stays as well as respiratory issues than babies born at full term. Further, babies born early after elective induced labor also faced longer hospital stays.

“There are misunderstandings about when a baby is ready to be born,” study leader Katy Kozhimannil said in a news release. “Since our findings show there are differences in who is having an early elective delivery, the importance of a full-term birth needs to be communicated to all women, not just those who may traditionally be considered high risk for elective procedure or high risk for poor outcomes.”

Pregnant? Estimate the big day with our due date calculator. And don’t forget to like Everything Pregnancy on Facebook to keep up with the very latest in pregnancy news and trends!

Pregnancy Month by Month: Month 9
Pregnancy Month by Month: Month 9
Pregnancy Month by Month: Month 9

Premature baby image courtesy of ShutterStock

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Do Pregnancy Tests Belong in Bar Bathrooms?!

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Home pregnancy test commercials would have us believe that every one of those products is used in a sparkling clean residential bathroom, with two smiling partners sharing big news. But life is rarely so cut and dry.

Exhibit A: In an effort to combat Alaska’s problem with fetal alcohol syndrome—the highest of any state in the union—a new state-funded program will offer free pregnancy tests in the bathrooms of 20 bars and restaurants starting at the end of this year, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Binge drinking is epidemic in Alaska, with women 20 percent more likely to do so in their child-bearing years compared to other places around the country. And according to the Daily News report, the program will attempt to study if posters that warn women against drinking during pregnancy work better when they are plastered to pregnancy test dispensers instead of just posted on a wall. The messages will be two feet tall.

“This is not a strategy for the chronic alcoholic who is drinking regardless of whatever message they see,” Jody Allen Crowe, whose Minnesota organization is involved with the program, told the Daily News. “This is really focused on the 50 percent of unexpected pregnancies, to find out they are pregnant as early as possible.”

While the program struck me as pretty shocking at first, there’s plenty of evidence out there in the world to suggest it’s just the kind of thing that might work. For instance—and I think this is a fair comparison—only a few days ago, The New York Times reported that new legislation in Australia that replaced logos with gruesome health warnings on cigarette packs appears to have reduced household consumption of tobacco by close to 5 percent over the last year ending in March.

Drastic times call for drastic measures, as they say, and it seems to me that shocking messages just might reach a set of temptation-prone but otherwise rational people—and those without cases of clinical addiction.

But I’d love to hear your take on it: Are pregnancy tests in bar bathrooms a good idea?

Think you might be pregnant? Answer a few questions and find out. And don’t forget to like Everything Pregnancy on Facebook to keep up with the very latest in pregnancy news and trends!

Tips for Taking an At-Home Pregnancy Test
Tips for Taking an At-Home Pregnancy Test
Tips for Taking an At-Home Pregnancy Test

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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Would You Give Birth in the Wild—and on TV?

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Lifetime has had a full slate of questionable reality shows for a while, including the painful-to-watch therapy session of True Tori and the bitter backstage griping at Dance Moms. But the latest show they’re developing may just go a bit too far—called “Born in the Wild,” the show will chronicle women who decide to take home birth a few million steps further, and take their birth outdoors and into the woods. (Want to see the video that inspired it? Check it here!)

OB/GYNs, as you can imagine, have been extremely critical of the idea of the show, and the potential risks to both mom and baby should something go awry when they’re out in the middle of nowhere. (Heck, even home births have been shown to be more risky than their medically assisted counterparts—and those don’t include giving birth on a grassy knoll in the rain.) But the producers say that they have many safeguards in place, including requiring the birthing place to be a short distance from a hospital, having an EMT on site with the camera crew to intervene if needed, and casting only low-risk moms who already have an uneventful birth or two under their belts.


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Should Anyone Be Forced to Take a Pregnancy Test?

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Home Pregnancy TestShould anyone be forced to take a pregnancy test? That’s the question on my mind now that three women have filed a lawsuit against the Alameda County, California, sheriff over a policy requiring all female inmates 60 or younger to submit to pregnancy tests, Huffington Post reports.

The ACLU of Northern California filed the lawsuit on behalf of the women yesterday. “Being forced to submit a pregnancy test against my will was not about my health. It was invasive, offensive, and humiliating,” said one of the women, Nancy Mancias, in a statement released by the organization.

According to the statement, arrestees in neighboring San Francisco “are given the option to take a pregnancy test as a part of a broader medical screening” but—and here’s the important part—they can decline to do so after they’ve met with a medical professional.

“If the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department is genuinely concerned about the health of women in their custody, voluntary pregnancy testing should be administered as part of a comprehensive health exam,” said Elizabeth Gill, Senior Staff Attorney at the organization. “Forcing a woman to take a pregnancy test is a clear violation of a person’s constitutional rights, as well as a violation of other state law.”

Not surprisingly, the Sheriff’s Department doesn’t see it that way—and as HuffPo reports: “[T]he Alameda County Sheriff’s Department told the San Francisco Chronicle that it’s been sued over this before—and last time, they were on the other side of the coin. The department was sued for not conducting the pregnancy tests. As part of the settlement, they agreed to make the tests mandatory.”

I don’t agree with the policy—especially considering, as the statement goes on to say, arrestees aren’t forced to take many other types of medical tests. To me it’s invasive, unfair, and unnecessary to force women (especially older women—because let’s face it, how many 59-year-olds turn up in jail pregnant?) to take a pregnancy test. So let’s review: offering the option? Great? Forcing it? Um, nope. I’m with the ACLU on this one.

Tell us: Do you agree with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department policy?

Are You Pregnant? How to Know for Sure
Are You Pregnant? How to Know for Sure
Are You Pregnant? How to Know for Sure

Image of a home pregnancy test courtesy of Shutterstock

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