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Thursday, May 9th, 2013
The drug Pitocin, which is used to induce labor or keep labor going when it has slowed or stopped, has been found in a new study to have adverse effects on newborn babies. The study, which was presented this week at the Annual Clinical Meeting of The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, was the first to report a negative effect of the widely-used drug.
The study was based on data collected from 3,000 women who gave birth between 2009 and 2011. The results showed that women who were given oxytocin (Pitocin is the most common brand name of this type of drug) were more likely to deliver babies who were unexpectedly admitted to the NICU after birth, and that those babies were more likely to remain in the NICU for more than 24 hours. Babies born from Pitocin-augmented labors were also more likely to score less than 7 on the Apgar test, the standard test that evaluates a newborn’s physical condition at one and five minutes after birth based on appearance (skin coloration), pulse (heart rate), grimace response (medically known as “reflex irritability”), activity and muscle tone, and respiration (breathing rate and effort). An Apgar score of 8 or higher is generally regarded as the standard for a baby in good health.
Researchers insist that they are not advocating for Pitocin to be eliminated from the labor room, but instead that the drug should be used only when strongly indicated, not, for example, for an elective labor induction.
“We don’t want to discourage the use of Pitocin, but simply want a more systematic and conscientious approach to the indications for its use,” Dr. Michael S. Tsimis, the study’s primary investigator, said in a statement.
Image: Woman with IV in hospital, via Shutterstock
Monday, August 27th, 2012
Actors Anna Faris and Chris Pratt have welcomed a baby boy, People.com reports.
Faris, 35, and “Parks and Recreation” star Pratt, 33, named their son Jack. The baby was born prematurely; Faris had been due this fall.
“He arrived earlier than expected and will be spending some time in the NICU. The happy parents thank you for your warm wishes and ask that you honor their privacy during this time,” their rep told People.com.
Faris, who recently starred in the film “The Dictator,” wed Pratt in 2009.
Image: Chris Pratt and Anna Faris via s_bukley / Shutterstock.
Monday, January 23rd, 2012
Melinda Star Guido, one of the world’s smallest babies, is heading home after a long stay in a Los Angeels neonatal intensive care unit, The Associated Press reports:
Melinda Star Guido weighed only 9 ½ ounces at birth- less than a can of soda. After spending her early months in the neonatal intensive care unit, a team of doctors and nurses will gather Friday to see her off.
Melinda has been growing steadily and gaining weight since she was born premature at 24 weeks in August at the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. She is the world’s third smallest baby and the second smallest in the U.S.
Now weighing 4½ pounds, doctors said Melinda has made enough progress to be discharged. It’s too early to know how she will fare developmentally and physically, but doctors planned to monitor her for the next six years.
Most babies this small don’t survive even with advanced medical care. About 7,500 babies are born each year in the United States weighing less than 1 pound, and about 10 percent survive.
Image: Premature baby in incubator, via Shutterstock
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011
New password-protected webcams are coming online at hospitals across the country, with the goal of allowing parents to keep a constant, loving eye on their NICU-bound premature babies. CNN.com reports on how the new technology is helping families bond during a time that’s marked by stress, worry, and sometimes limited NICU visiting policies:
St. Jude Medical Center [in Fullerton, California] is one of the first hospitals in the country to implement a webcam system called NICVIEW, which gives parents a virtual window to their newborns. Most of the babies in St. Jude’s neonatal intensive care unit, which has 14 incubators, are born prematurely and are released within four or five days. Some, however, stay for months.
The password-protected webcam system is also being used at a handful of hospitals across the country, including UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, and Deaconess Women’s Hospital in Newburgh, Indiana. Parkview Community Hospital Medical Center in Riverside, California, expects to introduce the system in the next few weeks.
Numerous other facilities are exploring the idea or looking for funding. Cameras run about $1,000 each in addition to an annual service fee that covers technical support and other costs.
Those who have used the system said it is well worth the investment.
“The family feels that they are really connected to their infant, which is important for bonding. In the past, the bonding process had to be instituted every few days,” said Dr. David Hicks, medical director of the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Jude Medical Center. “The family dynamics are improved.”
Image: Camera, via Shutterstock.