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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Thursday, July 18th, 2013
A regular regimen of exercise–two or three periods of moderately intense activity weekly during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy–could help protect women from delivering high birth weight babies, as well as lowering the likelihood they will require a Cesarean section, according to new research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. More from ScienceDaily.com:
The researchers contacted a total of 780 Spanish pregnant women attending two primary health care centres in Leganés (Madrid). Finally, 510 gave their consent to participate in the study. They all recognized they were sedentary — that is, that they exercised for less than 20 minutes on fewer than 3 days a week.
The intervention group followed a training program that consisted of 55 minute sessions of aerobic, muscle strength and flexibility exercises on three days a week from weeks 10-12 to weeks 38-39 of pregnancy, while the control group received standard recommendations and care.
The results showed the training sessions did not reduce the appearance of gestational diabetes mellitus but did diminish the incidence of two major associated risks: macrosomia [high birth weight babies] (down by 58%) and caesarean delivery (which fell by 34%).
These findings “reinforce the need to encourage more supervised exercise interventions during pregnancy to combat the negative effects of gestational diabetes mellitus,” says Jonatan Ruiz, researcher in the University of Granada Department of Physical and Sports Education and corresponding author of the study.
Image: Pregnant woman exercising, via Shutterstock
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Friday, June 28th, 2013
The number of American women who deliver their babies via Cesarean section has stopped climbing, according to a national study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but it is still quite high, with one in three babies being born by C-section. More from ABC News:
Roughly one in three American singletons is born by C-section, according to the study — up 60 percent from the most recent low in 1996. But the rate of C-section deliveries has steadied since 2009, a trend experts say is ”good news” for American moms and babies.
“It’s good news because there’s some inherent risks in C-section deliveries compared to vaginal births,” said study author Michelle Osterman, a health statistician at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “It’s a very invasive abdominal surgery, and with that comes risks to both mom baby as well as higher cost.”
But there are ups and downs buried in the apparent plateau. While the rate of C-sections performed at 37 or 38 weeks has fallen 4 percent since 2009, the rate of full-term C-sections performed after 39 weeks has increased 3 percent, the study found.
Osterman said the swings could stem from new guidelines issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which state that vaginal delivery is “appropriate and should be recommended” in the absence of maternal or fetal complications, and that C-section delivery on maternal request “should not be performed before a gestational age of 39 weeks.”
In another example of canceled out ups and downs, C-section rates decreased by 7 percent among women younger than 25 but rose by at least 3 percent for women 25 and older. The rates also varied by location, with some states, such as New York, Oklahoma and Oregon, seeing decreases in 38-week C-section rates since 2009, and others, such as Maryland, Michigan and California, seeing increases in 39-week C-section rates.
Image: C-section equipment, via Shutterstock
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Friday, February 22nd, 2013
In an apparent attempt to raise awareness and start conversations about what really happens during a Cesarean section, Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas took the unusual step of live-tweeting during an actual C-section procedure. More from CBS Houston:
The team began tweeting live at about 7 a.m. after promoting the online procedure for days. They even developed a Twitter “hashtag” of “#MHbaby” to gain followers and promote discussion about the procedure on Twitter.
During Wednesday’s procedure, the hospital gained hundreds of followers; it’s not clear how many people watched the surgery.
Memorial Hermann Hospital is no stranger to using Twitter as a vehicle to broadcast their medical procedures. The hospital live tweeted a brain surgery last year and said that they gained 7,000 followers and more than 230,000 people viewed that procedure.
Image: Doctor on mobile device, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, February 21st, 2013
A Texas mother gave birth to quadruplets — two sets of identical twins — in a single day earlier this month, something that only had a one-in-70-million chance of occurring. The Today Show has more on the couple, who conceived the quadruplets without any reproductive assistance:
They were born at 31 weeks by Cesarean section to Tressa [Molvanto], who is 36, The Woman’s Hospital of Texas in Houston says.
The couple had been trying for one brother or sister to keep their little boy Memphis, now 2 years old, company. At 10 weeks, they learned she was having twins. But when the couple went in for Tressa’s 12 week check-up, they learned she was carrying not two, but four babies.
“If I wasn’t already on the table lying down, I’m pretty sure I would have hit the floor,” Tressa told TODAY.
Manuel’s immediate reaction was jubilation.
“The first thing I said was ‘Home run!’ and then I started jumping up and down,” he said.
The Montalvo’s doctor says this delivery is a very rare event.
“The incidence of spontaneous quadruplets is somewhere of the order of 1 in 500,000,” said Dr. Brian Kirshon, a specialist in maternal and fetal medicine at Houston Perinatal Associates. “And then if you take two sets of identical twins in the quadruplet set, the incidence must be one in many, many millions. It’s an extremely rare occurence.”
Image: Quadruplets, via Shuttterstock
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