More Top Parenting News Stories
7. New In Vitro Fertilization Techniques Increase Success Rates
The fertility treatment called IVF reached a milestone in October, when it was announced that 5 million babies had been born through the procedure, most within the past six years. IVF has been used for 35 years and become increasingly common in the last decade, even though the national infertility rate has remained unchanged for the past 20 years. New trends and techniques are factors in the positive spike, which this year include an embryo-tracking process that allows doctors to select the highest-quality embryos for transfer into a woman's body, the increasing use of donor eggs to help older mothers conceive, and better knowledge of how diet can affect a man's sperm count.
8. BPA Linked to Miscarriage Risk
The hazards of the chemical compound bisphenol-A (BPA) came to the forefront again when the American Society for Reproductive Medicine released a study linking the chemical (found in many plastics and food can linings) to a heightened miscarriage risk. Although there is no definitive link, the findings did indicate a "biological plausibility" that BPA can cause miscarriages and that women who already have trouble conceiving or who have experienced repeated pregnancy losses had a higher risk of miscarrying. BPA is also known to affect the endocrine system, to cause increased obesity in girls, and to elevate childhood asthma risk, but it is nearly impossible to avoid. But experts says women can limit their exposure to BPA by avoiding canned foods, refraining from microwaving food in plastic containers, and keeping water bottles out of direct sunlight.
9. Half of New Moms Breastfeed
About half of new mothers in the United States breastfeed their babies for six months, the CDC reported in August. The new data revealed an increase from 35 percent in 2000, a bump that is likely the result of widespread efforts by pediatricians and public health groups to encourage breastfeeding as the healthiest way to nourish a newborn. Also released this year was positive research linking breastfeeding to improved brain development, better social standing later in life, and a lower risk of ADHD for babies. Even though breastfeeding also lowers a mother's risk of developing breast cancer, heart disease, and hypertension, it is still a challenge for working moms, especially as the number of women shortening their maternity leaves increased. In October, an alarming report revealed a growing problem of bacteria-tainted commercial and donated breast milk.
10. Bassinets and Cradles Get New Federal Safety Standards
A sweeping new series of federal safety standards for bassinets and cradles was released in October by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The updated standards came about after more than 130 deaths and 426 incidents involving those products occurred between 2007 and 2013. Under the new guidelines, the CPSC clarified the definition of bassinet or cradle as a small bed designed primarily to provide sleeping accommodations for infants (no older than 5 months), supported by free standing legs, a stationary frame or stand, a wheeled base, a rocking base, or a swing relative to a stationary base. A main focus of the new rules addressed the regulation of mattress flatness and stability.
11. Boy Scouts Vote to Allow Gay Members
After several delayed votes and years of debate, The Boy Scouts of America's National Council voted in May to allow openly gay boys to become members. Openly gay men, however, are still prohibited from being Scout leaders or officials. The move was hailed by many as an important step toward inclusion by an organization that fosters friendship, loyalty, and moral values. Others, mainly religious conservatives who believe that homosexuality is counter to religious teachings, expressed anger and disappointment over the decision. The Southern Baptist Convention, whose churches host nearly 4,000 Scout units for100,000 boys nationwide, threatened to leave "en masse." The denomination passed a resolution in June supporting churches that chose to drop Boy Scout groups but didn't pursue an official boycott of the Boy Scouts of America.
12. Concussions, Sports Injuries Get More Serious Attention
The safety of youth sports came under major scrutiny as medical professionals and educators joined forces to urge better procedures for preventing and treating concussions, head injuries, and the cuts and scrapes that send 1.35 million American kids to emergency rooms each year. In March, the American Academy of Neurology issued new guidelines recommending that kids and teens who sustain concussions during athletic play should sit on the bench until they have been evaluated -- and cleared -- by a medical professional. In October, the AAP added a guideline that kids delay returning to school after a concussion and take a prolonged "cognitive rest" to recover from any side effects of injury. The Institute of Medicine also announced in October that female athletes should take concussions as seriously as their male counterparts do, adding that a "culture of resistance" is holding back widespread action or even awareness of the seriousness of sports-related injuries.
Copyright © 2013 Meredith Corporation.