Posts Tagged ‘ Full-Term Pregnancy ’

Preterm Births in the U.S. Hit a 17-Year Low! (But It’s Not All Good News)

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Because I carried multiples—and a major risk in such pregnancies is preterm delivery—early labor was very much on my mind this year. And that’s why today, I’m especially happy to report some real good news from the March of Dimes.

According to the org’s annual Premature Birth Report Card, the national preterm birth rate fell to 11.4 percent last year. That’s the lowest in 17 years—and the figure means we as a nation met the federal Healthy People 2020 goal seven years early. Hooray for us mamas!

More than 450,000 babies were born premature in 2013, compared to 2006′s figure of 542,893; that’s when the unfortunate stat peaked. The March of Dimes attributes the improvement to sustained interventions put in place by states, saving close to $12 billion in healthcare and other costs—given that medical expenses for the average premature infant are about $54,000 versus $4,000 for a healthy newborn baby.

Preterm birth is the leading cause of newborn death, by the way, and babies who survive after early delivery aren’t out of the woods, of course, with many suffering problems with breathing, jaundice, development, vision, and cerebral palsy.

So the reduction in premature births is a terrific thing. But unfortunately, the news isn’t all good. The U.S. still received a “C” grade on its report card because it missed the ambitious 9.6 percent goal set by the group.

“I’m proud to report that the national preterm birth rate fell for the seventh consecutive year [and was] the lowest in 17 years! We’re celebrating,” March of Dimes president Dr. Jennifer L. Howse told Parents.com exclusively. “[But] we still have a long way to go before every baby gets a healthy starts in life.”

On the state level, 27 states and Puerto Rico saw their preterm birth rates improve between 2012 and 2013. Five states earned an “A,” including my home of California (woo hoo!), plus Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Vermont. Sadly, three states and Puerto Rico, received an “F.” See the full details of the report card here.

With its “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait Campaign”—including a fun bump-selfie PSA—the March of Dimes taken a creative approach to encouraging mamas-to-be to make it to 39 weeks unless an early delivery is medically necessary. And apparently it’s working! Let’s keep at it.

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!

Labor & Delivery: Preterm Labor
Labor & Delivery: Preterm Labor
Labor & Delivery: Preterm Labor

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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Watch a Woman Become a Mom in 6 Seconds

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Written by Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow

Is it just me, or does pregnancy play around with your sense of time? The first trimester feels pretty normal, the second moves at warp speed, and the third? Well, it slogs along like a chain gang on its way to the gulag.

In what can only be described as a flash of genius, one savvy expectant couple compressed their entire nine-month journey into a six-second Vine video that’s already received over 9 million views. Even though it’s over almost as soon as it begins, the video titled “The 9 Month Vine” was a real labor of love for Ian Padgham and wife Claire Pasquier. Padgham, who creates Vines for various brands, asked Pasquier to stand in the same spot in the bathroom each month while he captured two frames of video, reports Yahoo! News. He spliced the shots together to create one awesome video. And the Vine has a happy ending, of course — the final second or two shows the new mom cradling her newborn. Aww.

Check out the entire Vine video below:

Wondering how big your bump will get? Check out the Your Growing Belly photo gallery to get an idea. Then head over to Everything Pregnancy on Facebook to read up on the latest pregnancy news!

Robyn Moreno: What Surprised Me About Pregnancy
Robyn Moreno: What Surprised Me About Pregnancy
Robyn Moreno: What Surprised Me About Pregnancy

Video of “The 9 Month Vine” courtesy of Ian Padgham via Vine

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A New Definition for Full-Term Pregnancy?

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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