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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Friday, August 10th, 2012
Babies who are born vaginally have been found in a new Yale University study to have higher levels of important proteins that help their brains begin to grow and develop. The Huffington Post reports on how vaginal (also called “normal”) birth may be important to brain development, at least according to this preliminary study:
“We were looking at the protein, and we realized that if you take a ‘normal birth’ mouse and compare it to a ‘c-section mouse,’ there are very different levels in the hippocampus,” Tamas Horvath, a professor of biomedical research and chair at the department of comparative medicine at the Yale School of Medicine, told The Huffington Post. The findings were published in the online research journal PLoS One, Wednesday.
The “uncoupling 2 protein,” or UCP2, is important to the development of the circuitry in the hippocampus, which helps with the formation and storage of memory. Development, he said, was “very important for behavior in the long run.”
But because the research was done in mice, it is highly preliminary. The research also looked at vaginal birth broadly, not at whether anesthesia use could influence protein production.
Researchers do not yet know why different delivery modes influence the protein, although Horvath guessed that the pressure and stress of traveling the birth canal may trigger it.
Image: Mother in labor at hospital, via Shutterstock
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Friday, June 29th, 2012
The live birth of a child is a little bit less of a scientific mystery, thanks to a new video that was taken inside an open MRI machine. From MSNBC.com, which has posted part of the video:
The baby was born in November, 2010 at Charité University Hospital in Berlin, Germany; photos of the MRI images were published earlier, but the video was just published this month in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynocology.
The video shows the final 45 minutes of labor. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is safe for pregnant women and babies; the main hazard was the loud noise the machine makes. Mom wore headphones to protect her hearing, and the baby’s ears were protected by amniotic fluid — they turned the MRI machine off when the baby’s head started to come out.
To this day, many aspects of birth remain a medical mystery — one that researchers are hoping to unravel.
“The main reasons for the research are to answer the question of why a birth may stall and to visually capture the birthing process and any complications,” Dr. Christian Bamberg, who led the research team, told Reuters in 2010. “The images are spectacular. They show which movements the fetus makes in the birth canal, how its bones move and how its head changes shape during birth.”
Mom and baby were healthy, and they both left the hospital two days after the birth.
Image: Newborn baby, via Shutterstock
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Friday, May 18th, 2012
The number of mothers worldwide who die during pregnancy or childbirth has plunged over the past two decades, a new report released by a consortium of United Nations agencies has found. The New York Times reports:
Maternal deaths fell to about 287,000 in 2010, the report said. The decline is attributable to increases in contraception and in antiretroviral drugs for mothers with AIDS, and to greater numbers of births attended by nurses, doctors or midwives with medical training.
The agencies said the deaths had fallen by 47 percent from the United Nations’ 1990 estimate of 543,000, but the organization has been revising its historical estimates in response to skeptical research by a rival group of epidemiologists at the University of Washington.
Image: African mother, via Shutterstock.
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Tuesday, March 13th, 2012
A 9-year-old girl has reportedly given birth to a baby boy in China, news sources are reporting. According to Yahoo! Shine, the 6-pound baby was delivered Sunday by Cesarean section in Changchun in northeast China.
The identity of the father has not been released, but Yahoo reports that police have been contacted.
[CORRECTION: A number of astute readers correctly pointed out that this Yahoo! story was from 2010 and is not, therefore, "news." PNN apologizes for the error.]
Image: Ambulance, via Shutterstock.
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