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Monday, September 22nd, 2014
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that women breastfeed for at least their baby’s first year, but according to a recent survey, just over a quarter of moms nationwide hit that mark.
While overall breastfeeding rates are on the rise—79 percent of American women reported that they breastfed their newborn at some point during 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, this number drops off significantly as the child grows older. After six months, 49.4 percent of women continued to breastfeed, but after 12 months it was down to 26.7 percent.
Vermont, Alaska and Utah had some of the highest rates of breastfeeding at 12 months (between 40 and 45 percent participation) while Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana had some of the lowest rates (between 10 and 12 percent participation), though the study does not suggest a cause or explanation for this.
This data was compiled as part of the CDC’s annual Breastfeeding Report Card and is part of the breastfeeding goals explained in the Healthy People 2020 campaign that aims to have 81.9 percent of women breastfeeding by 2020 and 34.1 percent of women continuing to breastfeed through 12 months.
Breastfeeding has been shown to have many benefits for both baby and mom, like reducing the chance of your little one developing allergies and eczema, lowering the chance of SIDS and protecting against diseases like type 1 diabetes and spinal meningitis; meanwhile, it can help you lose pregnancy weight, decreases your chances of getting ovarian and breast cancer.
Having trouble breastfeeding? Read about the four most common breastfeeding discomforts and how to solve them. And also, take our quiz to find out your breastfeeding IQ.
Photo of baby nursing courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Thursday, September 18th, 2014
With flu season just around the corner, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases held a press conference today urging everyone older than 6 months of age to get a vaccine this season.
While flu vaccination levels are up overall in the past few years, they’re not at the levels health officials want them to be, the NFID reports. But the good news is that 70 percent of kids under age 5 received a flu vaccine in the 2013-2014 season. (The flu can cause serious complications even in kids and adults who are considered otherwise “healthy,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)
“Influenza vaccines are safe, plentiful and we have more vaccine options than ever before,” Dr. William Schaffner, past-president of NFID, said in a statement. “At least one is right for everyone.”
This press conference comes after a CDC recommendation last month that healthy kids ages 2-8 receive the nasal spray vaccine (pictured above) if it’s immediately available and there are no precautions for the specific child. (If it’s not available, don’t shop around—officials stress that getting any form of the vaccination is better than nothing.) It’s also important for kids younger than 9 to get vaccinated because some might need a second dose four weeks later to have “optimal protection,” the CDC stated in a press release.
Pregnant women are especially encouraged to get a vaccine because catching the flu “doubles the risk of fetal death, increases the risk of premature labor and increases the mother’s risk of hospitalization,” according to the NFID. And, the vaccine offers protection against flu to babies who are too young to get vaccinated.
In addition to the vaccination, it is still important to maintain proper hygiene and prevention practices like frequent hand washing, avoiding those who are sick, and staying home when you’re sick.
Have you and your children gotten vaccinated yet? If you’re on the fence about it, check out the four biggest flu myths and, if you’re not sure what kind of vaccine is appropriate for you or your family, always remember to consult your healthcare provider with any questions.
Photo of child receiving flu vaccination courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
Birth rates among teenagers have declined dramatically, according to new research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Since reaching a peak height in 1957, birth rates have generally fallen in the U.S. since then, including a whopping 57 percent drop from 1991 to 2013. This decrease translates to an estimated 4 million fewer births to teens over the course of those years.
The CDC attributes this decline to a number of factors including a higher likelihood and more frequent use of contraception as well as decreased sexual activity overall among teens.
Bill Albert, chief program officer of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, told CBS News that he believes popular MTV reality shows like Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant have actually encouraged teens to avoid pregnancy, rather than glamourizing it.
“Many teens have described these shows as far more sobering than salacious, and they are watched by millions,” he said.
USA Today reports that while the national average for teen birth rates is 29.4 births per every 1,000 girls ages 15-19, birth rates remain well over that average in states in the South and Southwest. New Mexico has the highest teen birth rate with 47.5 births per every 1,000 teen girls.
Think you might be pregnant? Consider one of these 10 at-home pregnancy tests.
Photo of teenage girls courtesy of Shutterstock
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Wednesday, August 13th, 2014
There are fewer people eligible to be on MTV’s Teen Mom, according to the latest stats from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report shows a continued decline in single motherhood, in all groups but the over-35 segment. Now, only 4 out of every 10 births occur out of wedlock—and more than half of those “single mom” births are within cohabiting couples who just haven’t decided to make their union official.
The biggest decline in birth rate occurred in the 15-to-17-year-old age bracket, where the number of births fell by almost a third over the last five years—and the older-teen birth rate also declined by more than 25 percent.
This slightly contradicts some earlier figures in a Johns Hopkins study, which showed that nearly 60 percent of births to the Millennial generation had occurred out of wedlock.
Still, both sets of data show that the wife-then-mom model may not be the scenario for many modern-day moms.
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Friday, June 27th, 2014
Believe it or not, flu season isn’t as far away as it seems, and now there’s good news for kids who hate getting an annual flu shot (and that would be all of them, right?): According to experts from the Centers for Disease Control, the nasal spray version of the flu vaccine is better at preventing the illness in kids ages 2 to 8. More from Time:
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a group of experts that makes recommendations to the Centers for Disease Control for which vaccines children and adults should get, voted to recommend the spray over the shot late Wednesday. The panel said studies show children who had the spray are half as likely to get the flu as those who had the shot.
So far, there is only one nasal spray flu vaccine available — AstraZeneca’s FluMist, which was approved in 2003 for people ages 2 to 49.
The spray differs from the needle-based vaccine in another important way — it’s made from a live, weakened influenza virus, while the shot drums up an immune response using killed virus. Studies have shown the spray can lead to a stronger immune response in children who have not had the flu before, but the same may not hold true for adults.
Of course, it’s important to note that the nasal spray version of the vaccine isn’t recommended for all kids (or adults, for that matter), so ask your pediatrician which version of the vaccine is best for your child.
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