Thursday, February 26th, 2015
Not all births—especially premature births—are created equal. But in early December, a baby boy who was born 26 weeks premature amazed everyone.
The doctors at Maxine Dunitz Children’s Health Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles delivered Silas Johnson via C-section, and—much to their surprise—he was still fully encased in his mother’s amniotic sac. This is called an en caul birth and only happens once in every 80,000 births. This type of birth is so rare because, even in C-sections, “doctors frequently pierce through the sac as they make their incision to remove the baby,” reports Time.
In some cases, an amniotic sac may be intentionally left intact to protect a premature baby during delivery, but the doctors at Cedars-Sinai had not planned for this outcome.
“It was a moment that really did, even though it’s a cliché: we caught our breath. It really felt like a moment of awe,” said William Binder, M.D., who delivered the baby. “This was really a moment that will stick in my memory for some time.” He even took a moment to snap a photo of Johnson perfectly curled up in the fetal position.
A baby born en caul will continue to receive oxygen through the placenta, but only for a short amount of time, so doctors (or a midwife) need to puncture the sac soon after birth.
Johnson is doing well and is set to head home in less than a month.
Check out more real-life birth stories!
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: Screenshot of baby Silas courtesy of a CNN video
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Parenting News, Parents News Now
Thursday, October 24th, 2013
The definition of a “full term” baby is being honed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who are adjusting the definition in order to better equip parents and hospitals with the knowledge they need to care for babies born between 37 and 42 weeks gestational age. More from Reuters:
“We have increasingly recognized that newborn outcomes are not uniform between 37 and 42 weeks,” Dr. Jeffrey Ecker said.
Babies delivered between 37 weeks and 39 weeks of pregnancy will now be considered “early term,” according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
“Full term” infants will be those born between 39 and 41 weeks.
Babies born between 41 and 42 weeks of pregnancy will be thought of as “late term.” Finally, those born at 42 weeks or later will still be considered “postterm.”
Ecker is the chair of The College’s Committee on Obstetric Practice. He is also a high-risk obstetrician at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
“Language is important in communicating that it’s not just one period of time and to recognize that outcomes do differ,” he told Reuters Health.
A growing body of research has found babies born before 39 weeks are not as developed as those born later.
Babies born after 39 weeks have fewer poor outcomes such as breathing, hearing and learning problems, The College says in its joint statement with the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. The statement was published Tuesday in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
The brain grows by about a third between week 35 and week 39 of pregnancy, according to The College. And a layer of fat to help keep the body warm is added during the last weeks of pregnancy.
Pregnant? Calculate your due date, or find your due-date club.
Image: Pregnant woman’s belly, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012
Babies who are born at 37 or 38 weeks–considered to be “full term” but on the early end of the 37-41-week spectrum–may face increased risk of academic performance issues in school, a new study published in the journal Pediatrics has found. The Huffington Post has more:
The study involved 128,000 New York City public school children and included a sizable number of kids from disadvantaged families. But the authors said similar results likely would be found in other children, too.
Of the children born at 37 weeks, 2.3 percent had severely poor reading skills and 1.1 percent had at least moderate problems in math. That compares to 1.8 percent and 0.9 percent for the children born at 41 weeks.
Children born at 38 weeks faced only slightly lower risks than those born at 37 weeks.
Compared with 41-weekers, children born at 37 weeks faced a 33 percent increased chance of having severe reading difficulty in third grade, and a 19 percent greater chance of having moderate problems in math.
“These outcomes are critical and predict future academic achievement,” said Naomi Breslau, a Michigan State University professor and sociologist. Her own research has linked lower IQs in 6-year-olds born weighing the same as the average birth weights at 37 and 38 weeks’ gestation, compared with those born heavier.
Image: Girl in school, via Shutterstock.
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