Babies dying because of midwife shortage, says maternity report
BABIES are dying or suffering brain damage at birth through a shortage of midwives and consultants on NHS labour wards, according to a report on maternity care. It discovered that women giving birth in NHS hospitals get less care from midwives than they did 10 years ago. Even large maternity hospitals were found not to have consultants on labour wards 24 hours a day to help with complicated births. The authors - two NHS obstetricians and a senior NHS midwife - warn that the drive to shut smaller maternity hospitals and create larger units is not achieving its aim of providing safer births.

Banking Your Baby's Cord Blood
If you're expecting a baby, you might have thought about umbilical cord blood - along with the many other ways you can hope to make life safe for your child. Expectant parents do all kinds of things for safety's sake. They plug up empty electrical sockets, childproof their cabinets, pore over car seat research, and measure the space between the bars of hand-me-down cribs -- all months before their son or daughter is born. And some are now choosing a procedure that, they feel, could further protect their children from harm: umbilical cord blood banking.

Birth at Home or in the Hospital: What's Right for You
Carrie Hook had her first two babies in a Minneapolis hospital, where she was surrounded by obstetricians, nurses, and cutting edge technology. When she had her third baby, she was surrounded by a midwife, a house contractor (her husband, Joe), and a tarp to protect the living room carpet. Home births aren’t for everyone. But if Hook ever has another baby, she knows exactly where she wants to be: At home, not the hospital. “I loved the privacy of being at home,” she says. She could take a bath in her own tub, she could snack in her own kitchen, and, later, she could rock baby Julian on the exact spot where he was born.

Carrying Twins to Term
Then the stories started. "It seemed every person I met insisted on telling me a horror story about twin pregnancy, about someone they knew who had a long bed rest, terrible complications, or a premature delivery," says Silverberg. "I became very fearful that my babies would end up in the neonatal intensive care nursery." In fact, multiples are often born prematurely (before 37 weeks' gestation). "For every additional baby inside the womb, you can deduct three and a half weeks off of your due date," says Dr.

Cashing In On Medical Knowledge
Each year, nearly every pregnant woman in the United States takes a blood test to screen for the possibility that the child she carries will have a birth defect. By measuring the concentration of several substances in the pregnant woman's blood, the so-called multiple-marker blood screen can warn a woman that her baby likely has a birth defect such as Down's syndrome, a genetic defect that causes retardation. One of the substances measured in this way is human chorionic gonadotrophin, or HCG, a hormone that women produce in the days after conception.

Chance of premature birth increases after abortion
Washington, DC, Jun. 01 (Culture of Life Foundation/ - A French study of 2,837 births found that women who had abortions were one and a half times as likely to have premature births in subsequent pregnancies as women who hadn't had abortions. The study found that the increase was especially significant for those women who had multiple abortions. The report also revealed that extremely premature deliveries had an especially high association with previous abortions. The study suggests that surgical abortions may cause damage to the cervix and uterus that increase the risk for premature birth.

Cytomegalovirus during pregnancy
It depends on when you first catch the virus. Between 50 and 80 percent of women already have CMV before they get pregnant. Like other herpes viruses, it remains dormant in your body after your initial infection but can become reactivated if your immune system is compromised, resulting in what's known as a recurrent CMV infection. Fortunately, the risk of passing the virus to your baby during a recurrent infection is very low (less than 1 percent), and the risk of serious complications is even lower. So if you got your first CMV infection at least 6 months before you conceived, the risk to your baby from CMV is very small.

Discovery Health :: The Benefits of Folic Acid During Pregnancy
In addition, some foods are fortified with folic acid that your body can absorb more easily than natural folates. Foods that may be labeled "enriched" (required to have 140 micrograms of folic acid per 100 grams of grain) include: Breakfast cereals Pasta Rice Bread If you've already had a baby with an NTD, consult your doctor about how much folic acid you should take before your next pregnancy. Studies have shown that taking a larger dose (4 milligrams) beginning at least one month before pregnancy and during the first trimester reduces the risk of having another affected pregnancy by about 70 percent. Richard H.

Eight Conception Myths
If you're trying to get pregnant, chances are you've been overwhelmed with tips and advice. Books, magazines, Web sites, and well-meaning friends and relatives are full of suggestions. But how do you separate the myths from the facts? Here are some common misconceptions about conception. 1. You'll have a better chance of conceiving if you relax and stop worrying about it. Even assuming this were possible, there's no clinical evidence that it makes a difference.

Experts recommend obese women lose weight before planning a pregnancy
Highlight: Dr. Laura Riley, medical director of labor and delivery at Massachusetts General Hospital, advises that obese women may want to get their weight down before becoming pregnant, to reduce the risks imposed on themselves and their children. Original source:,0,3366341.story?coll=ny-homepage-bigpix2005 Summary: Their babies also face increased risks: they are more likely to be born prematurely and to suffer from debilitating neural tube defects such as spina bifida."There's ongoing data which suggests that, long term, the kids are more likely to be obese," said Dr.


Family planning, the process of delaying or accommodating pregnancy, is a growing concern for both health insurance companies and reproductive health advocates.  The main focus on both sides of the issue is what defines comprehensive care.  Traditionally, insurance companies have distinguished family planning care as providing customers access to contraception.  However, through activism and legislation, that definition is gradually expanding to encompass a wider range of preventative services.
In the current health insurance market, many states require private insurers who offer prescription drug coverage as part of their comprehensive health plans to include the full range of FDA-approved contraceptives.  This covers pills and injections as well as devices like birth control patches, rings and IUDs.  It is important to note, however, that 19 of the 27 states with these laws in place allow certain employers—like religious organizations or churches—to withdraw coverage for contraceptives for employees.  Furthermore, many health insurance plans do not offer equal coverage for these drugs; women may have to pay more out of pocket for birth control prescriptions than for other medications.
Perhaps the biggest complaint against private insurance companies is that the scope of coverage for family planning services is generally narrow and doesn’t include counseling, education, or many clinical procedures like contraceptive device implantation.  This often leads women to choose a method of contraception based solely on cost rather than suitability. 
While most private health insurance plans cover contraceptives on some level, all state-sponsored public plans are required by law to provide comprehensive family planning coverage.  These plans pay the full cost of prescriptions and many clinical services, allowing a large number of women, and especially the poor, greater access to care.  Yet these public health plans are not without their own problems. 
In many states the regular income levels for Medicaid eligibility are very low.  This excludes a large number of poor women simply because they are not “poor enough.”  Care is generally offered to women who already have young children, which does not help women who wish to avoid a first pregnancy.  Some states do offer Medicaid waivers that expand income limits and include women who do not already have children.  These waivers have proven moderately effective in reaching a greater portion of the population, but the area that remains lacking for Medicaid programs is provider reimbursement.  Delayed or incomplete payments negatively impact doctors and clinics, threatening the financial stability of these providers and their ability to care for patients.  Timely reimbursement would also encourage private physicians to work with Medicaid, thereby giving even more women access to quality family planning resources.
Family planning is a very personal issue that involves obtaining detailed information about a woman’s sexual history and reproduction objectives.  Services such as counseling, community outreach, education, language assistance and interpretation, and care that is sensitive to cultural differences are all integral to the process.  These services make up a more complete picture of family planning and reproductive care, and should be increasingly present as part of overall comprehensive health insurance packages, whether from private or public insurers. 

FDA Allows Emergency Contraception to be Sold Without a Prescription
On August 24, 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued its long-awaited decision to make the emergency contraception drug Plan B, commonly known as "the morning-after pill," available without a prescription. After all these years of the bait-and-switch games the FDA has played, reproductive health advocates are justifiably celebrating this incredible victory. Although we should congratulate those responsible for this hard-won accomplishment, let us take a moment to remember that our work has only begun.

Health News for Late February 2007 - MedHunters
A study published in the February 21 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience offers new hope for multiple sclerosis patients. In tests involving mice, injections of the pregnancy-related hormone prolactin resulted in repair of damage to myelin, a fatty substance that helps nerve fibers conduct electrical impulses. (In MS, the immune system is believed to attack the myelin protecting the nerve cells, which disrupts the ability of the nerves to conduct electrical impulses to and from the brain.

Health Tip: Is Your Infant Getting Enough Milk?
Health Tip: Is Your Infant Getting Enough Milk? 4/4/2006 (HealthDay News) -- Many new mothers who decide to breastfeed their babies worry if the infants are eating enough. Even if you can't measure the amount of milk your baby gets, there are other ways to be sure he has a healthy appetite. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a baby at least 3 or 4 days old should have a wet diaper at least six times a day. The urine should be pale yellow in color. Newborns should have at least two bowel movements per day until 1 week old, and at least five per day from ages 1 to 4 weeks.

Health Woes Linger for Tiniest Newborns
Researchers report that these health problems can persist to elementary school age, at least. "I think none of us were surprised at the finding," said Dr. Deanne Wilson-Costello, a co-author of the study and co-director of the neonatal high risk follow-up at Case Western Reserve University and Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, Cleveland. But it was sobering that the problems were still present at school age, she added. "Our hope was they would have the problems [only] as a small child." The study appears in the July 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. In the study, Wilson-Costello and a team led by Dr.

Introduction to plagiocephaly (Flat Head Syndrome)
We took Daniel to see a specialist Doctor in London today for the second time, and on this occasion he has been fitted with a special "helmet" which will rapidly help his condition. Ever since a few weeks old we noticed a distinct flattening on the right hand side of the back of his head. This was mentioned on several occasions to the Health Visitor who told us repeatedly that "it would get better", or "get him to look one way when led down" This information proved to be not only incorrect, but a waste of valuable time in treating the problem.

Life Before Birth: Prenatal Sound and Music
Music has played an important role in different cultures since time immemorial. It has profoundly affected human beings in their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being. But only in this century has music begun to attract scientific attention. The research at the University of California in Irvine has provided some information about the effect of Mozart on the spatial and mathematical intelligence of children. Recently, an article in the Los Angeles Times newspaper (11/9/98) reported neurobiological research to the effect that "undeniably, there is a biology of music.

Link between mothers' poor diets, kids' obesity
New work may have found the missing link between mothers' diets and obesity in kids. A study published in the June issue of Cell Metabolism suggests that a hormone may explain the connection between mothers who are poorly nourished and an increased risk of obesity in their children. The study reports evidence that a premature surge of the hormone leptin in newborn mice of underfed mothers leads to a remodeling of key brain circuits that contributes to obesity in the animals later in life. Moreover, the researchers found that the early leptin surge alone was enough to cause the accelerated weight gain.

Many Premature Babies Become Healthy Adults
"Against our expectations and many odds, a significant majority of extremely low-birthweight young adults have overcome earlier difficulties to become functional members of society," said the researchers, led by Dr. Saroj Saigal at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. The results "provide surprising and to a certain extent reassuring information," said the editorial in JAMA by researchers at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Moms-to-Be Need Vitamin D
Wellness & Pharmacy Homepage Healthnotes Newswire (February 9, 2006)—Mothers deficient in vitamin D during late pregnancy can determine their child’s bone health years later, according to research in the Lancet (2006;367:36–43). The new study shows that children of mothers with deficient vitamin D had lower bone mineral content at age nine compared with children whose mothers got enough vitamin D in pregnancy. Low bone mass in children may put them at higher risk later in life for osteoporosis and hip fractures.

More first-time mothers are choosing C-sections
Britney Spears chose to have a Caesarean section to bring her baby into the world. So did Catherine Zeta-Jones, Elizabeth Hurley, Madonna, Celine Dion and former Spice Girl Victoria "Posh" Beckham. Welcome to the new world of labor and delivery, where not only celebrities but more and more women are electing to opt out of hours of contractions - grunting and pushing for an elective C-section for their first pregnancy. It used to be that just the mention of "caesarean" would cause first-time mothers to panic. Some feared the healing process, others the scars.

Natural Birth Options
Jan Zeiger BellaOnline's Natural Living Editor g Natural Birth Options When I was pregnant with my first child, it never occurred to me that I could have the baby anywhere other than in a hospital. It wasn't until after my son was born that I found out about two birth centers in my area. I didn't see an ad on tv or on a local flyer; I learned about these alternatives from the mothers I met on the local natural parenting email group. This intrigued me so I toured the one closest to my house when I became pregnant with my second child. As I finished the tour, I knew I wanted to have my baby there.

obstetrical anesthesia
The birth of your child can be thrilling and gratifying. Our goal is to help you and your partner make this experience as safe and pleasant as possible. Each woman's labor is unique to her, so the amount of labor pain you feel will differ from that felt by other women in labor. For this reason, decisions regarding control of your labor pain must be made specifically for you. Many mothers are choosing to have pain relief during labor and delivery to help them experience a more comfortable childbirth.

Olin School of Business professors examine the economics of infertility treatments
Oct. 5, 2005 — After months of unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant, couples may turn to Assisted Reproductive Technology, or ART, to help overcome their infertility. However, at $10,000 - $15,000 for each round of treatments, access to ART is restricted to a relatively small portion of couples that seek it. Several state governments have turned to public policy in an attempt to make access to ART more widely available. But two professors from the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St.

Once a Cesarean...
Years ago, I attended a childbirth educators’ conference session on elective repeat cesarean delivery and vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). The speaker was a published expert on the subject and a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist affiliated with a highly ranked medical school. At the beginning of his presentation, as he adjusted his microphone, he asked, half joking, “Are there any physicians in the audience?” When no hands went up, he took a deep breath. “Alright, I can speak freely now.

One in Eight Births Is Preterm
Today, 1 in 8 infants, or about 13%, is born before the usual 40-week gestation period, according to the March of Dimes, compared with 9.4% in 1981. A baby born before 37 weeks of pregnancy is considered a preterm, or premature, birth. Preterm birth is the nation's leading cause of infant death, responsible for more than one-third of infant deaths before age 1, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "The rate of preterm births is going up, and we don't always know why," says Mary Ames-Castro, MD, an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Plan B: The Alternative Not Available to All Females
In Carey,30 the court decided that a statute requiring youth under sixteen to obtain contraception from physicians was not constitutional where “appellants assert[ed] no medical necessity for imposing a medical limitation on the distribution of nonprescription contraceptives to minors.”31 Without research to support the age distinction made by Plan B, the courts are left to conclude that the FDA's regulation of this contraceptive is based more on politics than actual concerns with the physical harm of minors.

Pregnancy - Information and expert advice on pregnancy and women's health
I guess I am a pioneer in Integrative Medicine. When I was a "young" obstetrician-gynecologist, newly in practice in the late 1980s, I found allies early on in "alternative" practitioners such as lay-midwives, nurse-midwives, doulas, childbirth educators, La Leche League, chiropractors, accupuncturists, yoga instructors, massage therapists, naturopaths, herbalists, Bradley Childbirth instructors, etc., etc. I was open to the support that these disciplines offered my patients that complemented the "allopathic" practice that I was trained to provide.

PRENATAL CARE: Changing lives
Nearly two-thirds of women covered by Medicaid nationally are of childbearing age, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a report, "Recommendations to Improve Preconception Health and Health Care." Since 1996, progress to reduce pregnancy outcomes has slowed, the centers reported. Examples are low birthweight, premature birth and infant mortality. Many low-income women do not qualify for Medicaid because they do not have children under 18 years old.

Prepregnancy Checklist
What you do before pregnancy can help you and your baby. 1. Take folic acid. Take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid every day before pregnancy and during early pregnancy when the baby’s brain and spinal cord are developing. Look on the label of the vitamin bottle to see if it contains the necessary amount of folic acid. Eat a healthy diet that includes foods that contain folate, the natural form of the vitamin. Such foods include fortified breakfast cereals, beans, leafy green vegetables and orange juice. 2. Get a pre-pregnancy checkup. Your health care provider can help you stay as healthy as possible.

Restricting fish in pregnancy diet may do harm
Two years ago, the United States government advised pregnant women to limit fish in their diet to three hundred forty grams a week. Women in some other countries get the same advice. The aim is to reduce the risk that mercury pollution in fish could harm the developing nervous system in children. But now an American government researcher says women who follow this advice may be harming their children instead of protecting them. Joseph Hibbeln [pronounced HIH-beh-lin] is a medical doctor who works at the National Institutes of Health.

Seeing double-double
According to, the odds of two sets of identical twins are more than 1 in 11 million. Without using fertility drugs prior to either pregnancy, Donald and Elizabeth Baucom of Harleyville beat those odds to become parents of two sets of identical twins. “Twins did run in the family. My grandmother was a twin,” Elizabeth Baucom says. “My first cousin had twins. Donald’s grandmother, who was a twin, had twins.” At the first doctor’s visit during Baucom’s first pregnancy, an ultrasound was performed.

Stress, Mood And Other Factors May Affect Mom's Diet During Pregnancy
“Our findings suggest that women who are more fatigued, stressed and anxious eat more food, particularly carbohydrates. While eating more food led to an increase in some important micronutrients, it also led to a decrease in others, like folate and vitamin C,” said the study’s corresponding author, Laura Caulfield, PhD, an associate professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Human Nutrition. “Psychosocial factors should be considered when counseling women with regard to diet during pregnancy.

Umbilical Cord Cells Bank on the Future
Blood. Thick, gelatinous, redder than a blushing bride, it's filled with substances that move oxygen and nutrients to the cells of the body, defend the body against foreign invaders, and help us to clot if we nick ourselves dicing onions for dinner. If you're pregnant or have had a child in the past few years, you've probably heard about cord blood banking, which allows umbilical stem cells to be stored cryogenically, under liquid nitrogen. Blood from the umbilical cord of a newborn baby is full of healthy, life-enhancing stem cells that are capable of turning into red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets.

Weight Gain in Baby's First Week Could Corrolate to Obesity Later in Life
A new study conducted by researchers at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Iowa shows a connection between a baby's weight gain in the first week of life and the likelihood of a person becoming obese later in life. Researchers now believe that metabolism may be determined as early as a child's first week after birth. The results of the study were published in 'Circulation,' the journal of the American Heart Association. The study examined 653 adults between the ages of 20 and 32 whose weight was carefully recorded as newborns during an infant-formula study conducted in Iowa.

When the baby's early, way too early ...
Jennifer Puetz tried not to blame herself. Her babies, twin boys born three months early, lay in the neonatal intensive care unit at Swedish Medical Center in a kind of limbo between her womb and the world. "I felt like I was robbed of a normal pregnancy," said Puetz, 29. "With a normal pregnancy, you go home the next day with a baby. "I blamed myself a lot. Did I exercise too much? Did I eat something wrong? I wondered if the nurses judged me." A new program at Swedish hopes to ease the fears and anxieties parents feel while their babies are critically ill.

Your Family Disaster Plan
Disasters can strike quickly and without warning. It can force you to evacuate your neighborhood or confine you to your home. What would you do if basic services--water, gas, electricity or telephones--were cut off? Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone right away. Families can--and do--cope with disaster by preparing in advance and working together as a team. Follow the steps listed in this brochure to create your family's disaster plan. Knowing what to do is your best protection and your responsibility.