Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Waterbirth on "Private Practice"

I've just learned that Wednesday's episode of Private Practice (ABC @ 8 PM CST; watch the trailer here) will include a water birth in a La Bassine tub. The La Bassine is the tub that my youngest son was born in, and which I currently rent out. Let's hope it is a positive/accurate portrayal of birth! But as they say, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

You can see a photo of me in the tub here. And for more information about the La Bassine, visit Yourwaterbirth.com , the US distributor. For general information on waterbirth, Waterbirth International is a great resource.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Birth & Pregnancy Briefs

US among worst in world for infant death:

The United States ranks near the bottom for infant survival rates among modernized nations. A Save the Children report last year placed the United States ahead of only Latvia, and tied with Hungary, Malta, Poland and Slovakia.

The same report noted the United States had more neonatologists and newborn intensive care beds per person than Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom — but still had a higher rate of infant mortality than any of those nations.

And Memphis fights its infant mortality rate, nearly twice that of the national average.

The risks linked to caesarean births from a study published in the British Medical Journal:
They found that a woman having a caesarean delivery had twice the risk of illness and mortality (including death, hysterectomy, blood transfusion and admission to intensive care) as a woman having a vaginal delivery.

There was a five times higher risk of having to have antibiotic treatment after birth for women who had a caesarean delivery (elective or decided by clinicians) than those who had a vaginal delivery.

Risk of having to stay in a neonatal intensive care unit for newborn babies who were born head-first was doubled after a caesarean delivery compared to a vaginal birth.

The authors also found that the risk of neonatal death was also significantly increased (more than 70% higher) up to hospital discharge for babies who were born head first from both an elective and a clinician chosen caesarean delivery, compared to a vaginal delivery.

However, caesarean delivery had a large protective effect in preventing foetal deaths in cases of breech born babies and reduced overall risks in those cases.
Elective Caesareans put mums and babes at risk of death:
According to a new British study women who opt for non-emergency Caesareans double their risk of dying or developing severe complications following the procedure.

The study by researchers at the University of Oxford has also found that in some cases Caesareans increased the risk of death to newborn babies by as much as 70 per cent.

Common Drug For Stopping Preterm Labor May Be Harmful For Babies

Dozens of studies have been done, but none have had a large sample size or a definitive outcome on the effects of indomethacin. The new analysis of a collection of studies, or a metaanalysis, by University of Rochester Medical Center researchers pulls together enough data to conclude that there is an association between use of indomethacin and babies experiencing periventricular leukomalacia (white matter injury by decreasing blood flow in the brain, which may lead to cerebral palsy).

The analysis also showed an association between indomethacin and necrotizing entercolitis (a condition in which intestinal tissue dies, which can sometimes be successfully treated with antibiotics but can require surgery and even cause death), especially for those babies who were exposed to the drug within days of birth.

And, no surprise, Diet Affects Fertility.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Breastfeeding Briefs

New this week:

Breastfeeding reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease later in life:

Having been breastfed in infancy is associated with a lower average body mass index (BMI) and a higher average HDL (high-density lipoprotein or “good” cholesterol) level in adulthood, even after accounting for personal and maternal demographic and CVD risk factors that could influence the results,” said Nisha I. Parikh, M.D., M.P.H., author of the study and a cardiovascular fellow at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Mass.

A lower BMI and high HDL both protect against CVD.


Breastfeeding & IQ are genetically linked - This study shows that breastfeeding increases I.Q. for most children. For around 10% of children, however, breastfeeding has no effect on I.Q. due to a lack of a particular gene variant:
This study looked at how long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAS), which are present in human milk but not in cow's milk or most infant formulas, are metabolized. LC-PUFAS in breast milk, the authors said, is believed to enhance cognitive development because the fatty acids are required for efficient neurotransmission and are involved in neuronal growth and regeneration.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Cord Clamping

Soon after a baby is born, the umbilical cord is clamped, and then cut. Research continues to show what many have long believed, that delayed cord clamping is beneficial to the infant. However, current obstetrical practice is to clamp the cord right away. As long as the cord is pulsing, the baby is continuing to receive blood and oxygen from the placenta. For babies who are born healthy and crying, it may not make much of an apparent difference. But for babies who do not breathe right away, clamping the cord means that they must breathe - or else be deprived of oxygen. Delayed clamping eases the baby's transition into the world. In fact, cutting the cord at birth is not necessary at all - the cord will clamp itself off when it stops functioning.

For research into cord clamping, try these sites:

Gentlebirth Archives - Perhaps the most comprehensive list of resources on cord clamping available, but you will also get about 50 different opinions.

Cordclamp.com - Lots of good, technical info, but advocates the idea that premature cord clamping is responsible for autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and the fact that more women than men get college degrees. Also contains the archives of the now-defunct, oft-linked-to cordclamping.com.

Cochrane Review information on Cord Clamping in Preterm Infants, Cord Clamping in Term Infants, and Topical Cord Care.

Lotus Birth from Answers.com

Lotus Birth from Wikipedia.

Umbilical Cord from Wikipedia.

And for the last word on the issue, a recent study published in the JAMA - Late vs Early Clamping of the Umbilical Cord in Full-term Neonates: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Controlled Trials (March 21, 2007):
Delaying clamping of the umbilical cord in full-term neonates for a minimum of 2 minutes following birth is beneficial to the newborn, extending into infancy. Although there was an increase in polycythemia among infants in whom cord clamping was delayed, this condition appeared to be benign.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Breastfeeding Briefs

I'm hoping to make this a weekly feature. In the news:

Research confirms what breastfeeding and childbirth professionals have been saying for years, Breastfeeding Does Not Create Sagging Breasts:
However, there are some factors that increase the chance of sagging breasts. A higher BMI and larger bra size before pregnancy increased the chance that the breast would sag. Also, smoking history, the number of pregnancies, and age also affected the risk factors of getting sagging breasts.

Factors that did not affect whether or not the women had sagging breasts were the number of children that were breastfed and the amount of time spent breastfeeding each child. Also, the amount of weight gained during pregnancy apparently had no affect on long term breast shape.
Breast milk helps lungs but not if mom has asthma - "Breast-feeding seems to protect children from asthma later in life, but only when the mother does not have the respiratory disorder herself."

News of the weird - Breastfeeding smell linked to higher sex drive.

The USDA announced this week a new MyPyramid for Pregnant and Nursing Moms. The website feature allows you to put in some information about you and your baby or pregnancy, and get recommendations on what you should be eating. Unfortunately, the website does not allow you to input dates for babies older than one year of age, nor does it account for women who are tandem nursing, or who are pregnant while nursing. Furthermore, it does so in a rather rude way, by stating that the date you have entered is "invalid". A better approach would be to refer mothers of older babies to the regular MyPyramid feature. If this irritates you as much as it does me, feel free to let the USDA know.

Here is the UNICEF Policy on Infant feeding and HIV:
UNICEF and other UN agencies recommend exclusive breastfeeding for HIV-infected women for the first six months of life unless replacement feeding is acceptable, feasible, affordable, sustainable and safe before that time. Such conditions are rare in much of the developing world. However, if they do exist, it is recommended that HIV-infected women avoid breastfeeding. [emphasis added]
The risk of a baby contracting HIV through breastfeeding from an infected, untreated mother is between 5-20%. However, the death rate of formula-fed babies in the developing world is approximately 33%. While formula feeding merely doubles the risk of death, compared with breastfeeding, for babies born in the US, babies in developing countries are ten times more likely to die within the first year. Given these numbers, a baby is better off getting milk from an HIV-infected mother unless the five UNICEF criteria can be met.

UNICEF also recommends exclusive breastfeeding of a baby already known to be HIV+.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

National Blog Posting Month

Angela at Breastfeeding 123 has issued a challenge to Breastfeeding and Mothering bloggers to participate with her in National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo). The idea is that you commit to write one blog post per day, for the entire month of November. Why do this? Cause, uh, you started a blog to make yourself write more often?

Anyhow, I'm in! If you haven't noticed, I am currently posting maybe every week or two. It's not that there's a lack of important things going which need to be blogged about, either. On the contrary; sometimes I feel overwhelmed by bad news and the amount of cruddy stuff still going on in the world.

I'm qualifying my participation by saying that since I have three blogs, I only plan to post to one of the three each day. Wish me luck!