Posts Tagged ‘ news ’

Why C-Sections Should Only Be Performed When Medically Necessary

Monday, April 13th, 2015

In delivery roomThe number of women giving birth via cesarean section has been on the rise for many years now: Approximately 33 percent of births in the United States are C-sections, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO); however, WHO recently released a statement saying this procedure should only be performed if it’s absolutely medically necessary.

Physicians often turn to C-sections as the safest option when the baby is in an abnormal position or if the mother has been in labor for too long, but they are often performed when vaginal birth could still be viable option.

“For nearly 30 years, the international healthcare community has considered the ideal rate for cesarean sections to be between 10 percent and 15 percent,” the WHO report states.

Related: All About C-Sections: Before, During, and After

Although C-sections are one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the world, they can be harmful when unessentially performed. “As a country’s rate moves to 10 percent the rate of mother and child deaths decreases, but there’s no evidence to show that rates over 10 percent have any effect on mother and child mortality.”

The report also emphasizes the importance of doctors treating every situation individually, and confirms that C-sections effectively save maternal and infant lives when medically required. “Every effort should be made to provide cesarean sections to women in need, rather than striving to achieve a specific rate.”

Plus: Sign up for our daily newsletters to keep up with the latest news on child health and development.

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

Birth Stories: Emergency C-section
Birth Stories: Emergency C-section
Birth Stories: Emergency C-section

Image: Pregnant woman in delivery room via Shutterstock

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Want to Know Your Child’s Potential Risk for Diseases — Years Before a Diagnosis?

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

If given the choice, would you want to know about your child’s risk for hereditary diseases years before they surface?

A new advancement in technology, called whole genome sequencing, will now make that possible—and 58 percent of parents surveyed have already expressed interest in testing their children, according to a study conducted by the University of Michigan Health System.

Whole genome sequencing examines DNA using a small amount of blood or saliva in order to determine a risk of genetic disease, or to diagnose active diseases or their symptoms. The technology is currently being used for patients who have yet to be diagnosed but who are displaying symptoms.

The research, which appears in the journal Public Health Genomics, was conducted to gauge the population’s interest in using whole genome sequencing to discover their potential for certain genetic diseases (such as cancers or Alzheimer’s) in the future—and around 59 percent of the total population confirmed their interest while almost 62 percent showed interest for themselves, reports Science Daily. Also, nonparents who were planning to have their first child within the next five years were more interested in whole genome sequencing than current parents were.

As with the introduction of any new medical technology, there are always additional factors to consider. “While sequencing could reveal risk of a handful of rare and preventable diseases, authors note there is concern for how accurately the information would be interpreted and how useful it will actually be for patients,” notes Science Daily.

When it comes to testing children, some experts believe it should be delayed until the child is old enough to understand and participate in the decision themselves. Because a disease your child may be at risk for—but may not even end up having—could take years to emerge and certain cures may still be unavailable, early knowledge may not be beneficial. Instead of dwelling on an uncertain reality, making more healthful choices may be beneficial.

“We want our patients to be active participants in their health; however, the value of genome sequencing in helping individuals understand their disease risks is still controversial, especially for children,” said Daniel Dodson, the study’s lead author.

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

Rosie Pope Solves Your Parenting Dilemmas
Rosie Pope Solves Your Parenting Dilemmas
Rosie Pope Solves Your Parenting Dilemmas

Image: DNA strand via Shutterstock

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Are You Raising Narcissistic Kids?

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Girl looking at self in mirrorParents are wired to love their children unconditionally and to believe they’re extra special (and who can blame them!), but according to research, “overvaluing” your child may hurt them in the long run.

A new study shows that children whose parents think they are “more special than other children” or “deserve something extra in life,” display more narcissistic characteristics and behaviors.

Researchers collected data from 565 children (ages 7 to 11) and their parents in order to find out how narcissism develops. Over the course of a year and a half, participants completed four surveys that measured children’s levels of self-esteem and narcissism, as well as parents’ emotional warmth and their tendency to overvalue their children’s abilities.

The difference between high self-esteem and narcissism was clearly evident. Children who had high self-esteem reported being happy with themselves without believing they were better than others. Narcissists believed their worth was higher than others, which can contribute to aggression and violence later in life.

Parental warmth was also associated with higher self-esteem, while overvaluation was linked with higher levels of narcissism. According to the study, which appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “parental overvaluation was connected to narcissism even after the researchers took into account the narcissism levels of the parents.” Put another way: narcissistic parents don’t always have narcissistic children; instead, excessive praise and compliments are strong influencing factors.

This study expands on earlier research that aimed to show the degree to which some parents overvalue their children. Parents who overestimated their children’s worth claimed they had an abundance of knowledge, even about topics that didn’t actually exist. But overvaluation is not the only factor that causes narcissism; individual traits and genetics are also important to consider.

Since beginning research on this topic, Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University, has altered his own parenting style to avoid treating his three children like they are extra special. “Children believe it when their parents tell them that they are more special than others. That may not be good for them or for society,” Bushman says.

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

What's Your Parenting Style?
What's Your Parenting Style?
What's Your Parenting Style?

Image: Girl looking in mirror via Shutterstock

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Are Teachers’ Prejudices Affecting Your Daughter’s Math and Science Grades?

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Female studentGirls can do anything boys can do, especially in math and science, but what if teachers, whose goal is to educate and empower kids, are discouraging girls from these subjects without knowing it?

This may be the case, according to new study conducted by the American Friends of Tel Aviv University and published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The research suggests that the perceptions elementary school teachers have about what girls can and can’t do in math and science might be causing female students to shy away from those areas. Their unconscious biases are negatively impacting girls and unintentionally affecting the academic and career choices that female students make later in life.

Three groups of students, from sixth grade through the end of high school, were asked to take two exams. The exams were then graded by two different people: one who didn’t know their names and one who did. The results showed that girls were scored higher than boys only when their tests were graded by the objective scorer versus the familiar scorer, reports Science Daily.

Researchers in Tel Aviv continued to follow the students and also noticed a pattern: if a girl was discouraged by an elementary school teacher, they were less likely to register for advanced-level science and math courses. But boys who were encouraged, despite being scored lower, actually began to excel more and more.

“It isn’t an issue of discrimination but of unconscious discouragement,” said Dr. Edith Sand, an economist at the Bank of Israel and an instructor at TAU’s Berglas School of Economics. “This discouragement, however, has implications. The track to computer science and engineering fields, which report some of the highest salaries, tapers off in elementary school.”

Women around the world are still underrepresented in multiple fields, especially ones related to math and science. Although strides have been made in the U.S. to help young girls have a more STEM-focused education, to play with more toys related to science, technology, engineering, and math, and teach them how to code with HTML, there is still more to be done so that they won’t face inequalities in the future.

As parents, it’s important to continue encouraging kids, regardless of gender, to pursue all endeavors, which will definitely be a step in the right direction.

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

What Parents Don't Need to Do (When it comes to school)
What Parents Don't Need to Do (When it comes to school)
What Parents Don't Need to Do (When it comes to school)

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How Do Parents Really Choose Their Children’s Schools?

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Children going to schoolParents want what’s best for their children—they want to provide them with the best chance for success and the best opportunities, which means picking the right school is a priority.

However, a new study published by the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans suggests that parents don’t always choose schools solely based on academic prestige. Research found that “parents, especially low-income parents, actually show strong preferences for other qualities like location and extracurriculars,” according to NPR.

The majority of New Orleans children attend charter schools—9 out of 10—which leaves more room for choice than areas where public schools are most popular. Researchers established a few key findings when they analyzed the schools parents actually picked: distance from home, extracurriculars (especially for high schoolers), and available before- or after-school programs. These three factors were especially important for low-income families. Parents still cared about academics—but not as much as they said when interviewed about the topic.

While this study only reflects the choices of New Orleans parents, it’s likely that parents in other areas of the country make very similar decisions. Further research by the Education Research Alliance is in the works to establish if the same trends occur in other cities.

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

Helping Your Child Succeed At School
Helping Your Child Succeed At School
Helping Your Child Succeed At School

Image: Children getting on school bus via Shutterstock

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