Posts Tagged ‘
March of Dimes ’
Thursday, June 6th, 2013
Today, I had the honor of going to a March of Dimes editorial luncheon that focused on the risks and benefits of mental health medications during pregnancy. March of Dimes is an organization that is near and dear to our hearts, as our very own American Baby/Parents editor-in-chief Dana Points is the chair of its National Communications Advisory Council. This year, March of Dimes is celebrating its 75th anniversary and continues to work toward helping women have healthy, full-term babies.
Mental health medications, and medications in general, have become more common in our society, and that extends to pregnant women. According to the CDC, about 90% of women take at least one medication during pregnancy. Roughly 70% percent take at least one prescription medication. But just how safe is it to take medications, specifically mental health medications, when you have a baby on the way? There is no concrete answer to this question.
According to Dr. Christina Chambers, director of Clinical Research at Rady Children’s Hospital and the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California San Diego, it can be difficult to know for sure what role any given drug may have played in causing a birth defect. One out of every 33 babies has some type of birth defect regardless of whether Mom took any prescription drugs.
The decision to take these medications should be made on a case-by-case basis, and pregnant woman should only stop taking them with their doctor’s approval. Dr. Kimberly Yonkers, director of the PMS and Perinatal Psychiatric Research Program at Yale University, emphasized the importance of balancing possible risks and benefits of any medications given to the mother and the baby. For some women, it may be best to stick to their regimen, while other women can go off their medication under close supervision.
For more information about drug use during pregnancy, you can visit the March of Dimes page.
Image: Closeup portrait of a 4 month old baby via glayan/Shutterstock.com
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Thursday, January 17th, 2013
Yesterday we brought you flu advice for kids, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Today, we’re focusing on what pregnant women need to know, thanks to the March of Dimes. This post was written by Siobhan Dolan, M.D., M.P.H. Dr. Dolan is the author of the upcoming Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby: The Ultimate Pregnancy Guide, to be published on January 29 by HarperOne.
Flu is back in the headlines again. Epidemics, Emergencies, Shortages ……… the publicity can scare folks, especially pregnant women. Flu is taking its toll in 2013 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting widespread illness reported in 47 states and 20 pediatric deaths.
The concerns for pregnant women are real: Flu increases their risk for respiratory complications, preterm labor and delivery, and ICU admission. Newborns are also at an increased risk of severe illness and even death from the flu.
But the message for pregnant women is really clear: Prevention with a flu shot and early treatment of women with influenza-like illness is the best course of action. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), March of Dimes, and CDC all endorse this message, so women should not feel uncertain.
The March of Dimes web site has practical information for women here.
The Immunization for Women website from ACOG reinforces the message:
“All women who will be pregnant during influenza (flu) season (October through May) should receive the inactivated influenza vaccine. The live attenuated influenza vaccine is contraindicated for pregnant women. The influenza vaccine is safe for pregnant women and their unborn children as well as postpartum and breast feeding women and can be given during any trimester. Immunizing pregnant and postpartum women against seasonal influenza can protect the mother and may help her baby by preventing the spread of the flu from mother to child following delivery. The seasonal flu vaccine has been given safely to millions of pregnant women over the past 45 years.”
Women are listening, with 47 percent of pregnant women surveyed by CDC in early 2012 reporting getting their flu shot, up from less than 30 percent four years ago.
So go get your flu shot. And tell your pregnant sister-in-law or co-worker to get hers, too. Let’s help keep pregnant women and newborns out of the headlines by spreading the word.
Photo: Pregnant with a cold via Shutterstock.
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Monday, November 19th, 2012
This post is written by Dana Points, editor in chief of Parents.
Watching a nurse change what must surely be the world’s smallest diaper will do more to motivate you to want to prevent prematurity than reading troubling statistics about early birth. Nevertheless, I’ll share some: Worldwide, 15 million babies are born preterm each year. 1.1 million die and many others are disabled. The rate of preterm birth in the U.S. has dropped over the last five years, but we still have the highest rate of any industrialized country.
I saw the diaper change–and incubator after incubator holding the tiniest babies, often attached to ventilators and monitors–during a visit to the neonatal intensive care unit at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, which is affiliated with Stanford University School of Medicine. There, the March of Dimes has funded a unique research center where scientists from across a wide array of specialties are examining the causes of prematurity in hopes of finding cures. (I had the opportunity to make the visit because I am a March of Dimes trustee.)
Researchers are looking at the role microorganisms that live in our digestive tract, on our skin and elsewhere in the body play in prematurity; at the connections between genes and the environment; and at the way data can be used to examine why some hospitals have higher rates of early births and what doctors can do to bring down the numbers. Here at Parents we have “bagel Wednesdays” when our staff shares breakfast and conversation. But at the MOD’s Prematurity Research Center they have “preterm Wednesdays” where scientists share findings and ideas. Pretty humbling to think about the difference.
The scientists and the babies are heroic here, but so are the California moms-to-be and moms who are participating in the center’s research by giving weekly samples scraped from their gums and skin, as well as urine and blood samples, which scientists are using to help identify possible causes of prematurity. The lab’s giant freezers are crowded with 10,000 samples. The vials arrive in thermal lunch bags like the kind my kids use. These are bright red so as not to be confused with…lunch (photo to the right).
The goal of the Prematurity Research Center is essentially to put the NICU out of business, and the doctors who spend their days treating these babies say their top priority is prevention. Until that goal is achieved, we’ll keep World Prematurity Day on the calendar as a reminder so the tiniest babies won’t be forgotten.
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Sunday, May 6th, 2012
This post was written by our friends at Celebrity Baby Scoop.
TV host Samantha Harris loves the “profound” experience of motherhood! The Dancing with the Stars alum took part in Saturday’s March for Babies walk in Los Angeles. A “longtime supporter” of March of Dimes, Samantha says the money raised will “help all moms, including at-risk women, have healthy full-term pregnancies.”
Samantha opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about being a “strong advocate for anti-hunger issues” and “empower[ing] women to have healthy, full-term pregnancies.” The mom-of-two also talks about her “completely different” daughters Josselyn, 4, and 15-month-old Hilary, the joys of motherhood, and the possibility of baby No. 3: “Never say never!”
CBS: Tell us about partnering with March of Dimes and their March for Babies walk in LA.
SH: “I’m a longtime supporter of the March of Dimes. Their mission is to empower women to have healthy, full-term pregnancies. They’ve been around for years, and the work they do for women is unprecedented. The March of Dimes raises money to help all moms, including at-risk women, have healthy full-term pregnancies.
The March of Dimes has raised millions of dollars during their March for Babies walks across the country. I’m honored to be part of the Los Angeles walk at Exposition Park this weekend. It’s an amazing event and I’m so excited to host the morning’s opening ceremonies.
There are so many stories of poverty, malnutrition and inadequate healthcare all over the word. And really, all those things also exist right here in our backyards. Many women right here in the USA are giving birth to premature babies. The March of Dimes raises millions of dollars through the March for Babies walks across the U.S. to benefit all babies.
And not to mention, they’re an amazing online resource for women everywhere! There is a ton of information for expectant moms on their site [MarchOfDimes.com].”
CBS: How are Josselyn and Hilary doing? What are they into?
SH: “They are great! Hilary is now 15-months and Josselyn is 4-years-old. They’re both so bright and completely different personalities! Hilary goes head-first into everything – she has no fear! She will jump off everything and just go full-force ahead.
Josselyn is the cautious one and always considers safety first. It’s funny, I thought she was like that because I was an over-protective first-time mom. But then when Hilary came along and showed her daredevil personality at such a young age, I realized it’s just a part of who they both are. I’m constantly amazed as I watch them grow into their own.”
CBS: What are some of your favorite mommy memories with your girls?
SH: “There are so many, so I’ve actually decided to start writing down their special moments into a journal. I plan to give it to them when they’re older. Whether it’s something funny they just said, or a milestone, or a special day we’ve just had, I write it down and post it in their book. I’ve realized I’m not used to handwriting anymore, so I might resort to writing something quickly on my phone or on the computer and printing it off.
I just remember how special it felt to look back at the baby albums my mom made for me, and I want my girls to have that. Of course, my older sister has millions of photos of her every move and there’s barely any pictures of me, so I want to make sure Hilary has something to look back onto [laughs]!”
CBS: What is your favorite part of motherhood?
SH: “I love how my girls use the word ‘love.’ Both of them tell me they love me and it melts my heart. ‘I love you’ was Hilary’s first 3-sentence blurb. I will tell her ‘I love you’ and she replies now with ‘I yuv yu.’ And for Josselyn, ‘love’ was the second word she learned how to spell. The first was her name. Just hearing that word and feeling the unconditional love between us is beyond amazing.”
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Thursday, November 17th, 2011
Today is the first-ever World Prematurity Day, meant to raise awareness about the dangers of premature birth–and to honor the one million babies worldwide who die as a result of it.
Preterm birth is defined as birth before 37 weeks gestation and it’s the leading cause of newborn death. Babies who make it, though, may have lifelong challenges including breathing problems and learning disabilities. A new report out today shows that just under 12 percent of babies in the U.S. are born premature. The figure has been dropping for each of the past four years, but of course too many babies are still at risk.
What’s important to note is that even babies born a few weeks early–say, between 34 and 36 weeks–have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants. For anyone who’s nearing the end of her pregnancy, you’re probably so ready to be done. You might even have a doctor who’s willing to induce or schedule an early c-section. The March of Dimes has worked tirelessly to spread this message: If you don’t have any medical reason to have an early delivery, aim for at least 39 weeks. Those last days and weeks are vital to the development of a healthy brain and lungs.
The March of Dimes is asking that everyone change their Facebook status today to share a message of support for prematurity prevention efforts–or your own experience with the issue. At the very least, you might want to Like their page and read the inspiring, heartwarming, and sometimes heartbreaking posts and photos parents have left about their preemies.
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Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011
School Lunch Proposals Set Off a Dispute
A proposal to cut back on potatoes and sodium in the federal school lunch program is being met by fierce resistance from agricultural and food service interests.
Surgeons Separate California Conjoined Twins
Twin 2-year-old girls who were joined at the chest and abdomen were separated Tuesday during a lengthy, complex procedure at Stanford University’s children’s hospital.
In Trimming School Budgets, More Officials Turn to a Four-Day Week
Pressed for dollars, a growing number of public schools are doing what many educators once considered unimaginable: eliminating an entire school day each week.
Fewer U.S. Babies Being Born Early, Report Says
When it comes to babies being carried to full term, the United States is improving, according to the most recent March of Dimes report card.
Report Slams Makers of Sugary Drinks for Targeting Kids
A new report claims that the makers of sugar-laden drinks such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks and fruit drinks take direct aim at children, particularly black and Hispanic kids, in their marketing campaigns.
Donated Breast Milk for Needy Babies Runs Low
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Milk does the body good, but milk banks around the country are running low on the goods.
Friday, August 26th, 2011
In our September issue, we have a timely story by Parents advisor and pediatrician Wendy Sue Swanson, M.D., on how to prepare for an emergency. It’s an incredibly helpful piece; Dr. Swanson breaks down the exact steps we should all take and the supplies—there are many—we should have on hand to get through three days. For all of you on the east coast, it’s worth reading the story and seeing which supplies you already have in your home, and which you may need to collect before the storm hits.
You may be especially nervous if you’re pregnant or home with a newborn. With that in mind, our friends at the March of Dimes shared some helpful preparation tips geared toward exactly those families:
1) Pregnant women should know the signs of labor, and if they experience any of these symptoms, should not wait for them to just go away. They should seek immediate medical care. Preterm labor is any labor before 37 weeks gestation. The signs of labor are:
• Contractions (the abdomen tightens like a fist) every 10 minutes or more often
• Change in vaginal discharge (leaking fluid or bleeding from the vagina)
• Pelvic pressure—the feeling that the baby is pushing down
• Low, dull backache
• Cramps that feel like a period
• Abdominal cramps with or without diarrhea
2) Pregnant women should pack prenatal vitamins, or perhaps an extra supply of over-the-counter vitamins, along with extra maternity clothes.
3) Fill prescription medications in advance.
4) Have bottled water and non-perishable food supplies on hand. Try to stock food that is high in protein and low in fat.
5) New parents who may need to stay in a shelter should consider bringing a safe place for their baby to sleep, such as a portable crib, as well as extra diapers and other basic medical supplies.
6) New parents also should take special steps to ensure they have food for their infants. The stress of a hurricane may affect lactating women’s milk supply, although breastfeeding can be calming for both mother and baby.
7) In the rare instance it becomes impossible to continue to breastfeed, mothers may consider weaning their baby. If they choose to switch to formula, parents should use pre-prepared formula because there may be concerns about the quality of the water supply. Do not use water treated with iodine or chlorine tablets to prepare powdered formula.
8) Pregnant women should do their best to eat regularly and nutritiously and remain hydrated. They also should do their best to get enough rest.
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Monday, January 3rd, 2011
Let me guess: If you made a resolution this year, it involved getting in shape, or becoming more active, or being more charitable, or all of the above (that’s what my list looks like, anyway!). Here’s a way to work on all three goals: Sign up for the March of Dimes March for Babies. This annual event, held in the last weekend in April, raises money for the March of Dimes’ primary missions: to support research on preventing and helping babies born prematurely, or with birth defects, as well as to assist families whose babies are in intensive care, among other worthy causes.
This year’s walk will take place in more than 900 communities on Saturday, April 30, and Sunday, May 1. Every walk is a different length, ranging from three to six miles, so no matter what kind of shape you might be in now, you should have no problem completing it. Find the walk closest to your town by clicking here, and then sign up today. Good luck!
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