Archive for the ‘ Pregnancy News ’ Category

Give a Mother’s Day Present of a Safe Childbirth!

Friday, May 9th, 2014

As your birth may be fast approaching, you might be getting palpitations (I’m not talking about contractions!) about whether the nursery will be done in time, if you’ve picked the best name for your baby, what labor might be like, how you’ll manage money while on maternity leave, or even whether you’ll be passed up for a promotion while you’re at home taking care of your newborn. It can be super-stressful just thinking about it!

But now imagine living in a developing country where just being pregnant is risky. Globally, 800 women die each day during pregnancy and childbirth, and 99 percent of all maternal deaths are in developing countries. (Pause a minute to let that sink in.) Less than half of pregnant women in developing countries visit a doctor, midwife, or trained birth professional during their pregnancy or childbirth because it’s just too expensive. But for the amount you spend on your weekly coffee fix, you can change that.

Kangu—a non-profit organization that crowdfunds safe births for women in underserviced communities in India, Nepal and Uganda (and which will soon expand to parts of Latin America)—gives you an opportunity to donate as little as $10 towards a woman’s birth in a clean, safe facility as well as prenatal and postnatal care.

The idea for the organization came to founder Casey Santiago, a mom of two, when she was in labor with her first son. “I imagined all the women around the world laboring at the same time,” she says. “It was a very intense feeling—I really felt like we were all in it together, helping each other through the contractions and comforting each other in between them.”

After giving birth, savoring every minute with her son in her arms, she was also haunted by the knowledge that so many women—those mamas that she had imagined laboring with—didn’t have access to the services that she did, and might die as a result. “I knew that I had to find a way to connect with those women and direct resources their way,” she says. “And so, Kangu was born.”

Sadly, most of these deaths are completely preventable, she says. “Many women deliver without proper lighting in unclean environments, with an unprepared family member. The majority of maternal deaths come from excessive bleeding, infection, and high-blood pressure, all of which can be prevented with access to a clean birthing place and a skilled helper by your side.”

To me, though, one of the coolest parts of Kangu is that, instead of just giving to a faceless charity, Kangu allows you to virtually meet the pregnant women who are in need of your help, by giving you their country of origin, names, photos, and stories about their lives and hopes for their babies. While you can give year round, this Mother’s Day, when you give a donation to a mom in need, Kangu will also send an electronic Mother’s Day card to the mama you love, telling her you’ve given your present in her honor. And the gift keeps giving! After your sponsored mom gives birth, “you get updates on the mama and baby, often with a photo,” says Casey, so you can see “how you’ve made an impact on the woman’s life and her baby. You’ve become a part of someone else’s birth story—which is very moving.”

Image of flowers courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Good News! Teen Pregnancy Is at an All-Time Low

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Just when Bill O’Reilly was complaining that Beyoncé’s provocative new album, with its songs like “Drunk in Love,” was influencing teens—especially black teens—to have sex and get knocked up, news hits that teen pregnancy is actually at an all-time low and has fallen by 56 percent for African-American teenagers in the past two decades.

According to a study released this week by Guttmacher Institute, a non-profit reproductive health group, from 1990 to 2010 the U.S. pregnancy rate for 15-to-19 year olds fell by 51 percent, with approximately 614,000 occurring in 2010. A drop in pregnancies was seen across racial and ethic groups, though as Time reports, Hispanic and black teens got pregnant at nearly three times the rate of their white peers. In 1990 the white-teen pregnancy rate was 86.6 per 1,000 vs. 223.8 per 1,000 for black teens. In 2010 the rates had fallen to 37.8 per 1,000 for whites and 99.5 per 1,000 for blacks. Among Hispanic teens, the pregnancy rate fell from a high of 169.7 per 1,000 in 1992 to 83.5 per 1,000 in 2010.

And in other good news: Teen abortions were also on the decline, down 66 percent from 1998 to 2010, when there were reported 14.7 abortions per 1,000 women. Meanwhile, teen birthrates fell by 44 percent from 1991 to 2010, with about 34.4 births per 1,000 women.

The reason for the decline? Knowledge of birth control, and access to it—so fewer teens are getting pregnant in the first place, says lead author Kathryn Kost, which is interesting since as the LA Times points out, just last month the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that 83 percent of sexually active women between 15 and 17 didn’t learn about abstinence or birth control in sex education until after they had lost their virginity.

As reported by MSNBC, despite the ongoing declines, Guttmacher researchers found that New Mexico has the nation’s highest teen pregnancy rate with 80 per 1,000 women, followed by Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. New Hampshire had the lowest teen pregnancy rate with 28 pregnancies per 1,000, followed by Vermont, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Maine.

TELL US: Are you surprised by the findings?

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Inducing Labor Could Save You From a C-Section?

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

There has been an ongoing debate over whether inducing labor really increases or decreases your chance of having a C-section. According to a new study conducted at Queen Mary University in London, forget everything you’ve read about inducing labor (which is when a doctor gives you medicine like pitocin, or other drugs, to artificially start or speed up your contractions) boosting your chances of needing a C-section.

In fact, according to their analysis of 157 studies involving 31,000 births, pregnant women whose labor is induced are 12 percent less likely to need a cesarean delivery than those whose doctors take a “wait-and-see” approach.

According to Health Day, “the 12 percent lower risk of cesarean delivery was seen in term or post-term pregnancies that were induced, but not in preterm births, the authors noted.

Inducing labor lowered the chance of cesarean delivery in both high- and low-risk pregnancies, and it also reduced the risk of fetal death and complications in mothers, the findings showed.

The researchers also found that the widely-used drug prostaglandin E2 was linked to a reduced risk of cesarean delivery. However, use of the hormone oxytocin, and amniotomy (the deliberate rupture of the amniotic sac) did not lower the chance of C-section.

Labor is induced in about 20 percent of deliveries, for myriad reasons—including (but not limited to) being one to two weeks past your due date; having gestational diabetes (and your doctor fears your baby may be getting too big); having too little amniotic fluid, or your baby isn’t growing as it should; if your water breaks but your labor doesn’t start on its own; or if you develop preeclampsia.

In other great induction news, last week the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists debunked a recent study by Duke University’s Medical Center that stated that women who had induced labors were more likely to have newborns on the autism spectrum. ACOG claims there is insufficient evidence to support this theory, and therefor doctors should not change their practice of using inductions when needed. As with all things, speak to your doctor if you’re concerned about your chances of being induced so you have all of the facts about the risks and benefits.

On a personal note, being induced isn’t as scary as it sounds—though I understand being freaked out about it. My ob-gyn induced me at 39 weeks—my water had broken at 4:00 am, and by 8:00 am I was still just dilated one measly centimeter. I also had gestational diabetes, so she worried that I could end up having to have a C-section if all did not go well. Luckily, all did go well. In fact, after getting the pitocin at around 9:00 am, I went to sleep and when I woke up at noon, I was fully dilated. I couldn’t believe I had slept through most of my major contractions! If you have to be induced, I hope things go equally well for you!

When is your due date? Check our due date calculator!

TELL US: Have you ever had to be induced in one of your pregnancies? Share your stories.

Labor & Delivery: Inducing Labor
Labor & Delivery: Inducing Labor
Labor & Delivery: Inducing Labor

Image of woman in labor courtesy of Shutterstock.

 

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How Fertility-Friendly Is Your State? Find Out!

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Though infertility is often kept hush-hush, it’s more prevalent than you might think: It turns out that one in eight couples has trouble getting pregnant.

If you’re struggling with infertility, one of the first things you probably think is: What am I doing wrong? (We always blame ourselves, don’t we?) But surprisingly, where you live might play a role in how successful your attempts to conceive may be. RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, recently released its second annual Fertility Scorecard, which sheds light on the discrepancies between access to fertility treatments and support by state.

The report found that the most “fertility-friendly” states to live in are Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. The reason? According to RESOLVE, they have better insurance coverage of in vitro fertilization, a higher number of fertility specialists relative to the state’s infertile population, more infertility support groups, and less of a history of trying to pass laws that negatively impact infertile couples. Therefore, they all received an “A” grade.

Meanwhile, Alaska, New Hampshire and Wyoming are pretty much the exact opposite—with little insurance cover for IVF, few infertility specialists and support groups, and more laws that hurt infertile couples in the long run, which is why they earned an “F” grade. The majority of northern states scored a B or C, while most southern states were more likely to earn a C or D. (For a closer look at your state’s rating, click here.)

With this being National Infertility Awareness Week, RESOLVE is hoping their findings will “bring attention” to these state-by-state discrepancies. And wouldn’t it be nice if every state eventually earned an “A”? I think we all know someone who has struggled to get pregnant, and they definitely need plenty of support—both emotional and financial—while going through expensive and trying rounds of IUI (intrauterine insemination) and IVF.

Trying to conceive? Talk to other women who are, too!

TELL US: What grade did your state get on RESOLVE’s scorecard?

Trying to Conceive: 5 Ways to Get Pregnant Faster
Trying to Conceive: 5 Ways to Get Pregnant Faster
Trying to Conceive: 5 Ways to Get Pregnant Faster

Image courtesy of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association

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Want to Conceive a Baby Girl? There’s an App for That!

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

In a time where there’s an app for just about anything (including the best time to go to the bathroom during a big-screen movie—which comes in very handy while you’re pregnant!—now a brand-new app called StorkDiet Guide to Conceiving Girls claims to be able to tell you how to give birth to the baby gender of your choice. The secret, they say, is what you eat!

According to Business Insider, the app, which costs $9.99, is based partly on a study of 740 first-time mamas done by the Universities of Exeter and Oxford that found women who ate more calories, sodium, and calcium were more likely to have boys, while women who ate less of those things were more likely to have girls. The study proved not to be 100 percent fail-proof (surprise, surprise!). In fact, just 56 percent of the women who ate the “boy” diet had sons.

The app’s creators claim that their 9-week diet and conception-timing program has a higher success rate of 81 percent.

This is the third time in just over a week that I’ve heard something about wanting to choose your baby’s sex. First, Snooki said that she really hopes she has another boy, because she’s “not ready for a diva mini-me.” Then came the news that Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis and his girlfriend chose to have IVF so they could choose the sex of their babies and screen for genetic diseases. The couple says they wanted girls because that’s what they know (both only have sisters).

As much as I’d like for my son to have a little sister, I don’t think I would ever go to great lengths to make that happen. I guess I’m old fashioned in that I’d rather leave it to chance, and be surprised on that awesome day when you finally find out your baby’s sex. It seems a bit like a bad science fiction movie to me to be able to decide what you do or don’t want to have (cut to the scene when there are no women left on the planet). But to each her own! That’s the wonderful thing about life—and this app: the choice is yours.

Wondering if you’re having a boy or a girl? Check out our Ancient Chinese Birth Chart!

 

Boy or Girl: How Genetics Determine Your Baby's Gender
Boy or Girl: How Genetics Determine Your Baby's Gender
Boy or Girl: How Genetics Determine Your Baby's Gender

TELL US: Would you buy an app to try to conceive a girl?

Image of babies courtesy of Shutterstock.

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