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Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015
In vitro fertilization is becoming increasingly popular in the United States, especially in millennial women, according to a new report by the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART).
In 2013, 2,000 more babies were born through the use of IVF than in 2012. Approximately 175,000 cycles of the treatment led to more than 63,000 infants being born. The report also notes that more women, especially those under 35, are choosing to transfer a single embryo, rather than multiple embryos—which eliminates the possibility of multiple pregnancies through one IVF cycle.
“The goal of reducing the incidence of multiple pregnancies is extremely important, and patients can see from the data that fewer embryos transferred do not mean a lower chance of pregnancy,” said James Toner, M.D., president of SART.
Since fewer women are transferring multiple embryos, twin and triplet birth rates resulting from IVF have noticeably decreased. The report also states that from 2012 to 2013, the number of twins dropped from 12,436 to 12,085, and the number of triplets fell from 411 to 376.
These trends are likely to continue along the same patterns in the coming years—especially with more advanced IVF techniques, like Britain’s newly approved “three-parent” IVF technique and the newest stem cell and IVF technology that may lead to same-sex couples having a biological child.
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn
Image: Pregnant couple via Shutterstock
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New Research, Parenting News, Parents News Now, Pregnancy
Friday, October 24th, 2014
Is your child a May or a December babe? And what does that mean for his future? Astrologists and researchers alike have long looked to when a baby is born to answer questions about a range of medical and mood issues and personality traits.
Now, according to new research from the Semmelweis University in Budapest, the season in which your child is born may play a role in his affective temperament. In a news release about the study findings, lead researcher Assistant Professor Xenia Gonda explained that serotonin and dopamine levels can be influenced based upon the season a baby is born, which has been shown to potentially have a long-lasting affect into adulthood.
The study was conducted by asking more than 350 university students to fill out a questionnaire about decision-making processes and temperaments, collecting their answers and then connecting those results with each participant’s birthday, The Atlantic reported.
The paper’s findings found these statistically significant trends:
cyclothymic temperament (characterized by rapid, frequent swings between sad and cheerful moods), is significantly higher in those born in the summer, in comparison with those born in the winter.
Hyperthymic temperament—a tendency to be excessively positive—were significantly higher in those born in spring and summer.
Those born in the winter were significantly less prone to irritable temperament than those born at other times of the year.
Those born in autumn show a significantly lower tendency to depressive temperament than those born in winter.
Of course, it’s both nature and nurture that plays a role in your baby’s temperament and development, and this study was unable to explain the mechanisms involved in causing these differences, so being born in the winter versus the summer shouldn’t be your only rule of thumb for thinking about how your child will grow up.
Pregnant? Try out our Mom & Baby Horoscope Finder.
Photo of babies making faces courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
Getting your due date is like the ultimate countdown—everything from setting up your nursery to having your baby shower to scheduling doctor’s appointments all revolves around that big day. And now, a group of medical societies have come together to provide specific recommendations for determining a mom-to-be’s due date in order to ensure the best prenatal care for mom and baby.
The guidelines, which aim to standardize how health care providers determine a pregnant woman’s due date, were released on Monday by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other pregnancy-related medical societies. A news release outlined the following guidelines:
“High-quality ultrasound measurement of the embryo or fetus in the first trimester is the most accurate method to establish or confirm gestational age.
“If a pregnancy resulted from assisted reproductive technology (ART), the ART-derived gestational age should be used to assign the estimated due date (EDD). For instance, the EDD for a pregnancy resulting from in vitro fertilization should be established using the age of the embryo and the date of the transfer.
“As soon as data from the last menstrual period (LMP), the first accurate ultrasound examination, or both are obtained, the gestational age and the EDD should be determined, discussed with the patient, and documented clearly in the medical record.
For the purposes of research and surveillance, the best obstetric estimate, rather than estimates based on the LMP alone, should be used as the measure for gestational age.
“Subsequent changes to the EDD should be reserved for rare circumstances, discussed with the patient, and documented clearly in the medical record.”
Accurate estimated due dates determine “quality prenatal care, which includes timing of obstetric care, scheduling and interpretation of antepartum tests, and evaluation of fetal growth,” and also help to prevent pre- and post-term births, the news release states.
“For some women, especially ones with early labor or other complications in the past, like a prior vertical cesarean incision, having an accurate due date is very important for making safe plans for care during their current pregnancy and for timing delivery,” Dr. Joshua A. Copel, ACOG’s Liaison Member from AIUM, said in the release.
Just find out that you’re expecting? Try out our due date calculator.
Photo of calendar courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Tuesday, August 12th, 2014
While many experts are concerned with the rise in C-section rates, there’s one situation where C-section is called for—when the baby is in breech position. That’s the latest finding in a Dutch study published in the journal of the Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Breech babies (those who present feet or buttocks first, rather than the head) who are born vaginally are 10 times more likely to die during childbirth as their counterparts who were born via C-section. In the retrospective study of 58,320 of breech births, the researchers found that as elective C-sections for breech births have increased, from 24% to 60%, that resulted in a decrease of infant mortality from 1.3/1000 to 0.7/1000.
The takeaway? According to lead study author Dr. Floortje Vlemmix from the Department of Obstetics and Gynecology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, ”While elective C-section has improved neonatal outcomes there is still a good number of women who attempt vaginal birth. Our findings suggest there is still room for improvement to prevent unnessary risk to the infant. We recommend using measures to turn the baby (external cephalic version) to prevent breech presentation at birth and counselling women who want to proceed with a vaginal breech birth.”
Find out more about breech birth, and learn how to build a birth plan that covers emergencies.
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Child Health, New Research, Parents News Now, Pregnancy
Tuesday, May 6th, 2014
Brain injuries suffered by newborns at the moment of their birth have long been thought to be the result of insufficient oxygen during delivery, with doctors often held responsible by parents. But a new report by a committee of experts in obstetrics, pediatrics, neurology and fetal-maternal medicine has found that the full cause of such injuries, which can result in serious complications, are far more complex than that. The New York Times has more:
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The document, called Neonatal Encephalopathy and Neurologic Outcome, updates a version published in 2003 that focused on oxygen deprivation, or asphyxia, around the time of birth. The new report, which highlights significant advances in diagnosis and treatment in the decade since, was published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Brain injuries affect about three in 1,000 babies born full-term in the United States, but only half of these cases are linked to oxygen deprivation during labor and delivery, according to the new report. And even in those instances, a problem that occurred long before birth might have exaggerated the effects of a reduced oxygen supply that would have not otherwise caused a lasting brain injury.
According to the 2003 report, fewer than 10 percent of children with cerebral palsy, the most severe such brain injury, showed signs of asphyxia at birth. Unless certain clear-cut symptoms are present then, brain abnormalities are probably not the result of a complication during labor or delivery, the new report states.
Rather, there may be other reasons for neonatal encephalopathy, as brain disorders in full-term newborns are called. These include genetic factors and maternal health problems like hypothyroidism, placental abnormalities, major bleeding during pregnancy, infection of the fetal membranes and a stroke in the baby around the time of birth.
“We know that neonatal encephalopathy has a variety of causes, and we hope this report will enable us to provide more accurate information to affected families and devise better methods of prevention and treatment,” said Dr. Mary E. D’Alton, chief of maternal-fetal medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, who was chairwoman of the task force.
Neonatal encephalopathy is a syndrome of disturbed neurological function that occurs in full-term baby’s first days. It is characterized by impaired consciousness or seizures, often accompanied by breathing difficulties and poor muscle tone and reflexes.
To determine whether an insufficient supply of oxygen and blood during labor and delivery is the likely cause, several factors should be considered together. These include a low Apgar score at 5 and 10 minutes after birth; high acid level (called acidemia) in the umbilical artery; major organ failure; and an M.R.I. scan showing a particular pattern of cerebral injury, according to the new report.
The more of these conditions that are present, the more likely that insufficient oxygen during the birth was responsible for the injury.
Reassuringly, the report pointed out that most infants with low Apgar scores will not develop cerebral palsy. “Even in the presence of significant acidemia, most newborns will be neurologically normal,” the committee said. (A doctor evaluates a newborn on five criteria to arrive at the Apgar score, a fast way to gauge the baby’s well-being.)
The experts noted that “there are multiple potential causal pathways that lead to cerebral palsy in term infants, and the signs and symptoms of neonatal encephalopathy may range from mild to severe, depending on the nature and timing of the brain injury.”
For example, the injury might occur as a result of risk factors at the time of conception or from conditions that develop during pregnancy, like fetal growth retardation or placental lesions.
At this time, there are few effective remedies for those problems, but if certain abnormalities in the fetal heart rate are present when a woman goes into labor, the doctor may be able to prevent a serious brain injury by doing a cesarean delivery.