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Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
With IVF treatments, twins have basically become the new norm—46 percent of IVF births are multiples, mostly twins. But now fertility experts want to change that. The new goal: single births, even when using IVF. Why? Twins have a much higher risk of being preemies and having serious health problems that could potentially last a lifetime.
The most recent info from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that 37 percent of IVF babies, who are multiples, are born premature, while only 3 percent of babies born without fertility treatments are twins, and of those about 12 percent are preterm.
Many women who’ve struggled to have kids are excited to have twins—even asking their physicians for twins—because they may not have the money for multiple IVF treatments (each round can cost up to $20k!), or they would love to have two kids at once, and never have to go through pregnancy again! But doctors fear that couples are making a rash decision without really knowing the increased medical risks for babies and moms (risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia are higher).
The American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s recent guidelines state that women should be counseled on the risks of multiple births and embryo transfers and that this discussion should be noted in their medical records. According to the guidelines, “for women with reasonable medical odds of success, those under 35 should be offered single embryo transfer and no more than two at a time.” They are open to more embryos being implanted, if the woman is over 35.
According to Valley News, with stronger screening of embryos, success rates for single embryos could be nearly as good as when two or more are used, say experts. The new techniques include maturing the embryos a few days longer, improving viability and allowing cells to be sampled for chromosome screening. Embryos can be frozen to allow test results to come back and more precisely time the transfer to the womb.
Taking these steps with single embryos results in fewer miscarriages and tubal pregnancies, healthier babies with fewer genetic defects and lower hospital bills from birth complications, many fertility specialists say.
I’m really torn on this subject, because I don’t think any of us want more Octomoms running around out there, or kids with health problems. But—and it’s a big but—all of the women I’ve known who’ve had IVF (and I should note that all of them have been over 35), have had twins, and are beyond thrilled with their decision to have multiple embryos implanted. Many of them did have complicated births—including extended bed rest, spotting, C-sections, and breathing problems in the children that caused them to stay in NICU for weeks, up to months after their births.
All of that said, as far as I know every single one of them is a happy, healthy kid with no lingering medical issues (at least so far—fingers crossed!). And even though the pregnancies and births were more complicated, required more doctor visits, and now they have twice the expenses with two little ones running around at the same time, the parents’ love for their two cuties made all of that initial anxiety worth it for them, and they would never, ever want to have traded that experience in for a single birth.
TELL US: Do you think women should be discouraged from having twins? Do you have twins? Tell us your story!
Use our Ovulation Calculator to see when you’re most likely to get pregnant. Then, see the 13 tell-tale signs you’re expecting.
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Baby Names: How To Name Twins and Multiples
Bed rest, C-section, Cesarean Section, fertility, Gestational Diabetes, In Vitro Fertilization, infertility, IVF, Multiples, Preeclampsia, Preemies, pregnancy, pregnant, Spotting, Twins | Categories:
Monday, December 2nd, 2013
The Huffington Post UK is reporting that a pregnant 35-year-old Italian woman in England for a work trip was ordered by Essex’s Court of Protection to have a Cesarean section against her will. And it gets worse! She was then forced to put her child up for adoption. Scary, right? The court says it was all done to protect her unborn child. Why? The woman—who is the mom to two other girls—has Bipolar disorder, and if she fails to take her meds she can have manic episodes and paranoid delusions.
She had what appears to be a breakdown at a hotel and was taken into custody. The court ordered the C-section, and the baby was taken by social workers the following day. Another judge began the adoption process for a British couple to take full custody of the child—despite the mom being back on her meds, with a job, home, and family support (her 11 and 4 year old are being raised in Italy by her parents). She testified that having her daughter taken away is what finally made her accept that she is in fact bipolar, and got her back on her medication.
The mom, whose daughter is now 15 months old, plans to continue to challenge the adoption, in hopes that she and her baby can return to Italy, so her entire family can be together. I know the intention was to “save” the baby, but this sounds like a total violation of the mom’s human rights to me. A forced Cesarean section? That sounds like something that would happen in a barbaric nation, not England!
Mental health is a serious issue—and more help and insurance coverage should be devoted to it, IMHO—but why not notify the woman’s parents in Italy, so the baby could grow up with her sisters? Why rip her from the arms of her mom, and out of her siblings’ lives? I don’t get it! Where’s the common sense here? They are supposed to be the family court, but they clearly don’t value the importance of family.
TELL US: Do you think the Court of Protection did the right thing, or was it a huge human rights violation?
See how your baby is developing from conception to birth. Then use our week by week calendar to track your pregnancy.
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Friday, November 15th, 2013
Of course it’s smart to watch what you eat when you’re pregnant, too much overindulgence in those out-of-control pregnancy cravings can be bad news (leading to bigger, heavier babies, which equals a harder labor for you; and possible obesity in your kid’s future). But a blogger named Loni Jane Anthony has taken the idea of eating well while pregnant to the extreme into totally unsafe territory. The 25-year-old Australian woman, who is 26 weeks pregnant, has come under fire for following a radical fruit diet, eating mostly bananas (up to 20 a day!), drinking fruit smoothies and occasionally pairing it with a salad for dinner.
The super-skinny mom-to-be—who has nearly 120,000 followers on Instagram—is being called “irresponsible” and “narcissistic” by critics who think her diet is incredibly dangerous for her baby, because it’s not being given enough proteins or a variety of nutrients. According to Medical Daily, Loni wakes up every morning between 4:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. to drink two liters of warm water with lemon. A typical breakfast includes either having half a watermelon, a banana smoothie, or whole oranges. She is following the 80:10:10 diet made up of 80 percent carbs, 10 percent fat, and 10 percent protein, which mainly consists of fruit and water.
The Mayo Clinic says the diet of a pregnant woman should consist of nutrients like folic acid, calcium, vitamin D, protein, and iron, which can be obtained through the consumption of foods such as spinach, beans, milk, yogurt, salmon, eggs, lentils, and poultry. It is suggested that pregnant women have a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
Since Loni’s diet is short in protein—which helps with growth and repair of tissues—and several essential vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, and zinc, it can lead to the baby taking calcium from her bones and leaving Loni susceptible for osteoporosis later in life.
While Loni denies she is on this diet because she’s afraid of gaining weight during her pregnancy, that’s certainly what it looks like to the outside world. And while it is completely unhealthy, with all of the “weight shaming” women receive in the media, especially while pregnant (like Kim Kardashian and Jessica Simpson), I can understand how women who may already have an addictive personality or have had a previous eating disorder could take things to the dangerous extreme. Approximately 10 million women struggle with an eating disorder, and pregnant women with active eating disorders—often referred to as being pregorexic—are at a much higher risk of delivering a preterm baby or baby with low birth weight; having to have a C-section; and suffering from postpartum depression after delivery.
If you’re battling with an eating disorder, it’s best to seek help for you and your baby’s health. For more info from the National Eating Disorders Association, click here.
TELL US: Do you think “weight shaming” women leads to eating disorders? Do you think Loni Jane Anthony needs a food intervention?
Image of Loni Jane Anthony via Instagram.
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80:10:10 Diet, C-section, Eating Disorders, Fruit Diet, Jessica Simpson, Kim Kardashian, Labor, Loni Jane Anthony, Obesity, pregnancy, Pregnancy Diet, pregnant, Pregnorexia | Categories:
Monday, November 4th, 2013
When you’re pregnant, you’re pretty much worrying every waking moment wondering, Are you eating the right foods? Getting enough rest? Working out as many times as you should? Will you be a good mom? The list of internal questions goes on and on. Well now apparently there’s a reason to be worried when you’re sleeping too!
According to research from the University of Michigan, published in the journal Sleep, moms-to-be who snored three or more nights a week “had a higher risk of Cesarean sections and babies with lower birth weights. Moms who snored before and during pregnancy are two thirds more likely to have a baby born below the tenth percentile for babies the same gestational age (that means they’re smaller than 90 percent of other babies in that group). They are also more than twice as likely to need an elective C-section, researchers found.“
The study included 1,673 pregnant women who were recruited from prenatal clinics by the university between 2007 and 2010, with 35 percent of the women reporting they regularly snored.
Snoring is a key sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep-related breathing problem that can reduce blood oxygen levels during the night and cause serious heart conditions. This study’s findings follow another just a year earlier that found that women who begin snoring during pregnancy are at high risk for high blood pressure and preeclampsia.
Dr Louise O’Brien, from the University of Michigan’s Sleep Disorders Center, and one of the lead researchers of the study says the findings are so important because: “If we can identify risk factors during pregnancy that can be treated, such as obstructive sleep apnea, we can reduce the incidence of small babies, C-sections and possibly NICU admission that not only improve long term health benefits for newborns but also help keep costs down.”
The good news is that sleep apnea can be treated with CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), which involves wearing a machine during sleep to keep the airways open. So if you are diagnosed early on in your pregnancy and are treated, you lower the risks of a C-section for you or low birth weight for your baby.
TELL US: Have you developed a snoring habit while pregnant?
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C-section, Cesarean Section, High Blood Pressure, Low Birth Weight, Preeclampsia, pregnancy, pregnant, Sleep, Sleep Apnea, Sleep Disorders, Snoring | Categories:
Thursday, October 24th, 2013
A full-term pregnancy used to mean 40 weeks from the first date of your last menstrual cycle, and anything between 37 to 42 weeks was once considered a perfectly healthy outcome for babies. But now the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) have joined super-doctor forces to create four new more specific terms to describe the length of a woman’s pregnancy: early term, full term, late term, and post term.
The thinking is that the last few weeks of gestation are crucial, because that’s when major things develop, like the baby’s brain and lungs, so any baby born before 38 weeks and six days is considered pre term. Full term is 39 weeks to 40 weeks and six days. Late term is from 41 weeks to 41 weeks and six days, and post term is anything over 42 weeks.
The organizations are hoping that physicians will start adopting the terminology in order to not only improve the care given to pregnant women and their newborns, but to also find more precise data in research on newborn health. Of course, if you go into labor early, there’s nothing you can do about it. But based on this new terminology, the organizations are encouraging doctors to wait to perform planned C-sections until a woman is at least 39 weeks along.
A spokesman for The March of Dimes Foundation said the new terms will be helpful in ‘eliminating confusion about how long an uncomplicated, healthy pregnancy should last.” Aside from the health issues involved with pre-term pregnancies (breathing issues, infections, feeding difficulties, vision problems, and gastrointestinal illnesses), The Daily Mail reports that “a joint study published last year by Columbia University Medical Centre and the New York Presbyterian Hospital, children born at 37 or 38 weeks did worse in academic tests than those born just a week or two later. The additional time in the womb results in more brain development and, in later life, better scores in mathematics and reading tests.”
The 2012 study compared birth records and test scores for 128,000 eight year olds born in New York City in the late 1980s and early 1990s, who were all born between the normal 37 and 41 weeks of gestation. Compared with those born at 41 weeks, children born at 37 weeks faced a 33 percent increased chance of having severe reading difficulties and a 19 percent greater chance of having moderate problems in maths. Those born at 38 weeks fared only slightly better than those born at 37 weeks.
So the takeaway here is that no matter how much we’d like to hurry up our pregnancies and have the baby already (oh, those last weeks are hard!), the more time your little one is inside you, the better for his or her development.
TELL US: How far along were you when you went into labor, or had a C-section?
Image of pregnant woman courtesy of Shutterstock.
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