Monday, March 10th, 2014
Babies who are born by c-section may be at higher risk of being overweight or obese later in their lives, according to a new study published in the journal PLOS One. The New York Times has more:
Researchers pooled data from 15 studies with a combined population of 142,702 for their analysis. The studies classified overweight as a body mass index of 25 or higher and obesity as 30 or higher, and covered various types of vaginal and cesarean deliveries.
Compared with babies delivered vaginally, those delivered by C-section were 26 percent more likely to be overweight and 22 percent more likely to be obese. The type of vaginal or cesarean delivery — natural, forceps or vacuum extraction vaginal births, or pre-labor or in-labor cesarean deliveries — made no difference.
The analysis, published in the February issue of PLOS One, included a large sample from 10 countries, which gives it considerable strength. At the same time, all studies were observational, and the authors write that further study would be required to establish a causal connection between birth method and adult B.M.I.
“Of course if a C-section is needed for clinical reasons, you’ve got no choice,” said one of the authors, Matthew J. Hyde, a research associate at Imperial College London. “But a woman cannot make a reasoned choice unless she’s fully informed not only about the short-term outcomes, but also the long-term outcomes. We want to give you the data you need to make an informed decision.”
Image: C-section tools, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, February 20th, 2014
A Mississippi woman and her husband were prepared for identical triplet girls–a rarity especially given that the couple conceived naturally–but as she delivered her babies by Cesarean section, a surprised doctor discovered “more feet.” Triplets were actually quadruplets! Today.com reports:
Born early by C-section at 28 weeks and a day at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, the babies were whisked off for care. That’s when [Kimberly] Fugate overheard the unlikely discovery of another baby, one who had evaded detection on ultrasound imaging during Fugate’s pregnancy.
“They had delivered three and I heard the doctor say, ‘I have more feet,’ and I just hollered ‘No,’” said Fugate, 42. “If it was more feet, I knew it was another baby.”
In that moment of shock, she went from being the mother to 10-year-old Katelyn, to the new mother of rare identical quadruplets, all from a pregnancy that the Fugates had not planned.
“I wasn’t trying to have another child, but a child is God’s blessing so that was his will,” she said. “I feel like God has truly blessed me.”
The girls, Kenleigh Rosa, Kristen Sue, Kayleigh Pearl and Kelsey Roxanne, each weighed between 2 and 2 ½ pounds when they were born by cesarean section on Feb. 8. They are likely to remain in the neonatal intensive care unit until about Fugate’s due date of May 2.
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Friday, January 17th, 2014
The cost of having a baby ranges from $3,000 to $37,000 in the state of California, a new study published in the journal BMJ Open has found, with no apparent logical explanation for the wild range or the high costs. The study highlights some of the issues with soaring health care costs in the U.S. More from NBC News:
“Even after adjusting for patient characteristics like their length of stay and their age and even adjusting for hospital characteristics and things like the cost of living, we found significant variations in price,” said Dr. Renee Hsia of the University of California, San Francisco, who led the study.
For a simple, uncomplicated vaginal delivery, prices ranged from $3,296 to $37,227, Hsia’s team found. For a C-section, women were billed between $8,312 and nearly $71,000.
“This is, unfortunately, the appalling state of affairs of health care in the United States,” Hsia said.
Even getting the prices wasn’t easy. Hsia’s team had to tease it out from state data on each patient admission. They figured out which ones were for childbirth, and then eliminated any complicated cases.
“Of course we would expect that if woman is in the hospital for six days as opposed to for two days, she would have larger charges,” Hsia said. “And if you deliver a baby in San Francisco, it will be more expensive than if you deliver in a cheaper suburban area.”
But the prices her team found — they are not naming individual hospitals — varied way more than these differences should account for.
The main problem is that patients do not know how much their insurers are paying on their behalf, and they certainly don’t know the price up front, Hsia says.
“This study shows that the market doesn’t take care of health care the way that we would like,” Hsia said in a telephone interview.
“If I go to buy a dozen eggs at the grocery store, I know if they are cage-free,” she added. “As a consumer, I know what I am buying and why there might be price differences. But as a patient, I don’t even know what things cost.”
Health experts say this is one of the main reason U.S. health care is so much more expensive than in other countries — $8,915 per person in 2012, for a total of $2.8 trillion. Of that, $882 billion is spent on hospitals services, like giving birth.
In May, the federal government said it would start publishing data on hospital charges. Their first numbers confirmed what health reform advocates complained about for years: The charges vary enormously, and for seemingly unclear reasons.
The Obama administration hopes that publishing prices will help force health care providers to be more consistent in their billing.
Image: Woman giving birth, via Shutterstock
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Friday, October 4th, 2013
A large new study of twin births in the U.S. has concluded that most are safe without requiring mothers to have Cesarean sections. More on the study from NBC News:
Studies increasingly are challenging long-held beliefs about Caesareans, such as that women who had one need to deliver future babies the same way.
Now doctors are looking hard at C-sections for twin births, which are on the rise because of infertility treatments. Twins have more risk for birth complications and some studies suggest C-sections lower that risk, but this had not been put to a rigorous test.
Dr. Jon Barrett of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto, led a study in 25 countries of 2,800 women pregnant with twins. All of the first of the twins to be delivered were in good position for birth (most doctors still recommend a C-section if the first twin is in feet-first or breech position).
Half of the moms were scheduled to have C-sections and the rest, vaginal births. About 40 percent of the latter group wound up having C-sections, and 10 percent of those scheduled to have Caesareans ended up giving birth vaginally.
About 2 percent of newborns died or had a serious problem, but the manner of birth made no difference. Nor did it affect the rate of complications in moms.
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research paid for the study. Results are in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine.
Image: Twin babies, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
Over the past 15 years, the cost of delivering a baby vaginally in a hospital has more than doubled, and the cost of Cesarean sections–which have also increased in frequency–have skyrocketed by 70 percent during that period. More from NBC.com:
Over the last 15 years, the cost of vaginal deliveries has practically doubled in the United States, shooting up from $4,918 to $9,294, while the cost of C-sections has increased 70 percent from an average of $8,268 to $14,055, according to Truven Health Analytics.
By contrast, the average cost for an uncomplicated vaginal delivery last year in Switzerland was $4,039 and the average cost in France was $3,541, according to the International Federation of Health Plans (IFHP). That’s nearly half to a third of what it cost in the U.S.
In fact, the United States is the most expensive place in the world to give birth, according to the IFHP. The reason, experts say, has to do with the way hospitals calculate our bills.
“Every time you walk into the hospital, they look at everything that happens to you and say, ‘Can I bill for that?’” explained Gerard Anderson, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Hospital Finance and Management.
“So, if you get an aspirin, they’re going to bill for that. If you get seen by a specialist, they’re going to bill for that.”
Even when families do have insurance, their portion of the bill can be staggering.
Image: Pregnant woman in the hospital, via Shutterstock
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