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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.
Image of woman in labor courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Monday, February 10th, 2014
For years there have been the two camps of mamas-to-be: Those who want a completely natural birth, free of all drugs, and those who can’t get an epidural fast enough. Now French researchers who’ve studied pregnant mice are suggesting that there is a link between women getting an epidural during childbirth and their children developing autism.
The reason being that when you’re given an epidural, it is blocking your body’s natural release of oxytocin—which helps your uterus contract; is considered the love hormone because it helps you bond with your baby post-birth; and serves as a diuretic, reducing chloride levels. According to the Independent, chloride ions are kept deliberately high in the neurons of the fetus while developing in the womb. But in a natural birth the mother’s production of oxytocin lowers the chloride levels quickly during labor. In the pregnant mice studied, when the oxytocin was blocked similarly to what an epidural does, chloride ions continue to remain high after birth, leading to developmental brain disorders and autism.
However, the study doesn’t answer what happens when synthetic oxtytocin, called pitocin, is introduced into the system. Pitocin is usually given to a woman to help induce labor, either because she is past her due date or the doctor thinks the labor needs to be sped up in order to have a safer delivery.
Another recent study sings the praises of inducing a pregnancy (which is when a doctor gives you medicine like pitocin, or other drugs, to artificially start or speed up your contractions) as a major way to stave off the need for a C-section. Though this is contrary to a British study from two years ago that said the use of pitocin doesn’t lower the risk of a Cesarean section. Their findings stated that the use of pitocin sped up labor by about two hours, but that it did not lessen the need for a C-section or increase the number of unassisted births.
Meanwhile, an anxiety-inducing study was also recently published in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics, that says inducing a pregnancy can increase a child’s chance of having autism. Researchers say the method used to kick-start the labor process likely doesn’t cause the autism, but it comes from a larger underlying problem with the pregnancy. Studies have found that children are at higher risk for autism if they are born early or very small; if they are in medical distress during delivery; if they have older mothers or fathers; or if they are born less than a year after an older sibling. Autism risk also goes up if a mother has diabetes or high blood pressure; is obese; is exposed to significant air pollution during pregnancy; had low levels of folic acid; or makes antibodies toxic to the fetal brain.
So what’s a pregnant woman to do? Freak out, it seems! And of course, talk to your doctor, read up as much as you can, and make informed decisions about what’s right for you. Epidural or no epidural? To induce or not to induce?
TELL US: Are you planning on having an epidural? Why or why not? If your child has autism, did you have an epidural? Please share your stories below.
Image of woman with newborn courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Wednesday, September 25th, 2013
Would you say “I do” when you’re “eating for two”? Not only did Teen Mom 2 star, Kailyn Lowry, do just that, but she was eight-months-pregnant as she walked down the aisle in a bump-hugging wedding gown—praying she wouldn’t go into labor early.
For some pregnant women, it’s important to be married before having the baby, even if that means being a bumpalicious bride. Getting married while pregnant can be extremely romantic. Taking your vows while feeling your little bundle of joy inside you? It doesn’t get much better than that, especially with all of the feel-good oxytocin rushing through your body while you’re pregnant. It makes you extra-passionate so you feel truly, madly, deeply in love. And the silver lining of having a sober wedding? You’ll be sure to remember every last detail of your magical night!
But lots of other moms-to-be, like Jennifer Love Hewitt and Jessica Simpson, have chosen to wait to tie the knot until after becoming a mom. Let’s face it, for most the biggest reason to wait is vanity. Who doesn’t want to look ah-mazing on her wedding day? For many that means getting back down to her pre-baby body, and not having any limitations when it comes to finding a dream gown (maternity dresses can be beautiful too, but there aren’t as many to choose from).
If you wait till after the baby comes, then he or she can be part of your big day and be in the photos with you—memories that will last a lifetime. But waiting also means planning a wedding could be super-difficult with a newborn in tow—no sleep, feedings every few hours, you barely have time to take a shower, let alone plan one of the most important days of your life. There’s no right answer for everyone. You have to decide what’s most important to you, and how you envision your wedding day, then go for it—without getting cold feet!
TELL US: Would you/Did you get married while pregnant? Or would you/Did you wait until after having the baby to get married? Share the pros and cons of your choice.
Image of pregnant bride courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Wednesday, September 18th, 2013
Let’s get one thing straight: Rachael Leigh Cook is terrific as the skeptical FBI agent on TNT’s Perception, but she will forever be the lovable nerd, who gets a makeover, and the guy (ah, Freddie Prinze, Jr, where have you been?) in 1999’s She’s All That.
In fact, Rachael has more in common with her classic character, Laney Boggs, than you might think—the pregnant star is having her own fish-out-of-water moment now that she’s a mom-to-be. She’s admittedly clueless about all of the changes her body is going through, but she can rest assured that everything she’s experiencing is totally normal for a pregnant woman (well, almost everything).
The actress—who is married to The Vampire Diaries’ Daniel Gillies (aka Elijah)—told People’s celebrity blogger, and her The Babysitter’s Club co-star Marla Sokoloff, that now that she has a baby on board, she’s been known to spontaneously cry to sad songs and news items (we’ve all been there) and is going into a serious nesting mode, recently cleaning out her garage and basement. She must be feeling oxytocin, the feel-good love drug, kicking in too, because she said: “I know (from reading too much online) that my husband is supposed to be getting on my nerves because of the hormones, but I have never loved him more.” Aww! But her most interesting pregnancy side effect (which I’ve never actually heard of): “Everybody—who I know to be normal sized—now looks positively emaciated to me,” she said.
I like her way of thinking: She’s not getting bigger; everyone else is getting smaller! Though Rachael knows she has obviously put on weight—after all she’s due this fall—she stopped counting just how much. “After I gained 30 pounds I stopped checking and started stepping on the scale backwards at my appointments,” she said. “I just don’t care how much I gain at this stage as long as I know that the little stowaway is okay.” (Stowaway? Can she get any cuter? I think not!)
Though Rachael wants to give her little guy or girl the best (btw, her family and close friends know which she’s having, but she’s otherwise keeping it a secret), she’s not sure if she buys into all of the prep work pregnant women get pressured into. “Do I really need to go on a hospital tour?” she pondered. “I’ve heard it’s not really necessary. Ditto birthing class. I am more of the, ‘Just give me the drugs and let’s do this’ school.” You gotta love this girl!
TELL US: Can you relate to Rachael when it comes to your pregnancy?
Image of Rachael Leigh Cook courtesy of Shutterstock.
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