Thursday, March 6th, 2014
The number of babies being born outside of hospitals–either at birthing centers or at home–is on the rise, according to new numbers released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More from Yahoo News:
In 2012, 1.36 percent of all U.S. births occurred outside of hospitals — either at home, or at a birthing center — up from 1.26 percent in 2011, according to the report.
Home and birthing center births have been on the rise since 2004, and the 2012 level is the highest since 1975, the report said.
Out-of-hospital births were more common among white women compared with other races: About 1 in 50 births to white women, or 2 percent, were outside of a hospital, compared to 0.54 percent of births to Asian or Pacific Islander women, 0.49 percent of births to black women and 0.46 percent of births to Hispanic women.
Northwestern states tended to have the highest percentage of home and birthing center births. More than 3 percent of births took place outside of a hospital in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska, and also in Pennsylvania.
Out-of-hospital births had lower rates of some complications, compared with births that took place in hospitals: The percentage of babies born preterm or at a low birth weight was lower among out-of-hospital births compared to hospital births, according to the report, from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.
This finding suggests that women who have a low risk of pregnancy complications (such as preterm birth) are making up a relatively larger proportion of out-of-hospital births than hospital births, the researchers said. In other words, women at higher risk for these complications are appropriately giving birth in hospitals instead of in other settings.
The report comes at a time when home vs. hospital birthing is a highly controversial topic. Recent data, also released by the CDC, found a growing number of infant deaths among babies who are birthed at home.
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Image: Pregnant woman being examined, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
New Yorker Polly McCourt was taken by surprise as her labor progressed so quickly she didn’t have time to make it to the hospital to deliver her baby Monday. She wound up delivering the babe–a girl and her and her husband’s third child–at the crosswalk between East 68th Street and 3rd Avenue, with the help of a number of kind passersby. More from MyFoxNY.com:
The doorman had walked Polly McCourt to the corner to grab a taxi, but the baby wouldn’t wait. Polly got down on the ground in the crosswalk as several passersby stopped to help until police and medics arrived and took care of her.
“She was like, ‘oh, my God, the baby’s coming’,” one witness said. “And then I could see the baby’s head coming out.”
Several women offered their scarves to wrap up the newborn. One woman, believed to be named Isabel, gave Polly her coat to keep her warm.
A Fox 5 News crew just happened to be driving by as this unfolded on East 68th Street and 3rd Avenue on Monday afternoon at about 3:30 p.m.
“A miracle on 3rd Avenue,” a woman who helped in the delivery said.
Polly was seen smiling as she was loaded into the back of an ambulance.
A day later, Polly and her baby girl were doing well at Lenox Hill Hospital.
Image: Busy city crosswalk, via Shutterstock
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Friday, December 6th, 2013
Though they are far from typical, male doulas–professionals who help women through pregnancy and with labor and delivery–are seen more and more at hospitals across the country, The New York Times reports:
Meet David Goldman of Bellingham, Wash., the … “dude-la”? Mr. Goldman was certified as a doula last year by DONA International, the largest accrediting body of doulas worldwide. Although the group doesn’t track how many men have completed the training, officials there are aware of just a handful of male doulas among the 8,500 birth attendants it has certified since launching two decades ago.
The scarcity of men reflects a widespread perception that the role of a doula is seen as women’s work, even among many who wouldn’t hesitate to champion egalitarianism elsewhere in the workplace. Indeed, the topic of male doulas frequently draws skepticism — and sometimes biting criticism — in online discussion groups.
Some women say the presence of another male in the delivery room would just stress them, or their husbands, out. Others say that only women who have gone through the birth experience themselves can properly serve as birth assistants. Women are also typically seen as more nurturing than men, and thus better able to fulfill the emotional requirements of a doula’s job description.
A recent thread about male doulas on the DONA Facebook page showcased the sensitivity around this issue, drawing some uncharacteristic “disrespectful commentary,” said Sunday Tortelli, the group’s president and a doula in Cleveland, with many commenters saying it just didn’t “feel right.”
But Sharon Muza, who has instructed three men in the nearly eight years she’s been training doulas, among them Mr. Goldman (the other two men went on to become midwives), said that “men can be nurturing and caring and loving and bring every quality I would want in a doula.” She also noted that men may have a physical advantage. “They’re really strong and can apply counterpressure to a woman’s back or support someone who needs to be held up. That’s a wonderful bonus.”
Image: Male nurse, holding newborn, via Shutterstock
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Friday, November 15th, 2013
An Argentine car mechanic has developed a device to help deliver babies who are trapped inside the birth canal–and the World Health Organization has taken notice and endorsed the product, and an American medical technology company has licensed it for production. More from The New York Times:
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Mr. [Jorge] Odón, 59, an Argentine car mechanic, built his first prototype in his kitchen, using a glass jar for a womb, his daughter’s doll for the trapped baby, and a fabric bag and sleeve sewn by his wife as his lifesaving device.
Unlikely as it seems, the idea that took shape on his counter has won the enthusiastic endorsement of the World Health Organization and major donors, and an American medical technology company has just licensed it for production.
With the Odón Device, an attendant slips a plastic bag inside a lubricated plastic sleeve around the head, inflates it to grip the head and pulls the bag until the baby emerges.
Doctors say it has enormous potential to save babies in poor countries, and perhaps to reduce cesarean section births in rich ones.
“This is very exciting,” said Dr. Mario Merialdi, the W.H.O.’s chief coordinator for improving maternal and perinatal health and an early champion of the Odón Device. “This critical moment of life is one in which there’s been very little advancement for years.”
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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