STUDY – Vitamin D deficiency linked to primary C-section rate

image-3931619-35797336-2-websmall_0_dd0f5a04af6e73346ed777299ec88556_1A small study found that twice as many women (28%) who were vitamin D deficient at the time of giving birth had a Caesarean delivery compared with those with normal levels (14%).

Read the article from Medscape

Karen Robinson, a local Certified Professional Midwife, said the following about the benefits of vitamin D during pregnancy:

Vitamin D is getting a lot of scrutiny lately and is being found to be a superstar vitamin that we haven’t paid enough attention to.

Vitamin D supplementation can help increase immunity and decrease the impact and frequency of colds and common viruses.

Its role is also being looked at closely in the implantation of the placenta, how well the placenta functions, and therefore prevention of pre-eclampsia.

In our world of indoor jobs and layers of sunscreen when we do go outside, it’s easy to see how the majority of us may be deficient in Vitamin D.

The best places to get Vitamin D include a bit of sun exposure every week (so that the body can manufacture its own Vitamin D), fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, etc), fish oil (especially cod liver oil) and beef liver.

So, one thing doulas can do for their clients is to encourage good diet (lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, clean meats and plenty of fats) and suggest they consider supplementation of Calcium/Magnesium, Folic Acid, and Vitamin D.

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Mar 14 – Movie Screening: “What Babies Want”

Join New Body Balance for a screening of the film “What Babies Want” starring Noah Wyle!

Saturday, March 14
4:00pm – 6:00pm
$5 per person
REGISTER

Tickets must be purchased in advance as space is limited.  No children please but nursing babies are always welcome.

“This innovative film is about the profoundly important and sacred opportunity we have in bringing children into the world.  Surprising and sometimes shocking it challenges our beliefs about what infants are thinking and doing.  It includes ground-breaking information on early development as well as appearances by the real experts: babies and their families.”

Narrated by: Noah Wyle

Featuring interviews by:
Joseph Chilton Pearce
Sobonfu Some
David Chamberlain
Mary Jackson
Jay Gordon
Barbara Findeisen
Marti Glenn
Ray Castellino
Wendy Anne McCarty

Funds raised from this event will help build our “non-profit support group fund” and will help make future events like this possible.

Octuplets Born!

A California woman just gave birth to the second set of octuplets in the US nine weeks early!  The greatest thing about it?  Mom plans to breastfeed all eight babies.  It’s possible, the Harris sextuplets were breastfed exclusively for 6 months.  When they were little in the NICU mom would pump between 50-60 bottles a DAY!  Read all about it…

A US woman has given birth to eight babies, becoming just the second person recorded in the US to have delivered a set of living octuplets.

The six boys and two girls, who were nine weeks premature, were delivered by Caesarean section in the hospital near Los Angeles, California.

The babies weighed in at between 1lb 8 ounces (820g) and 3lb 4oz (1.47kg) and are all said to be doing well.

They were screaming and kicking around very vigorously, a doctor said.

The mother, whose identity has not been revealed, has asked that limited information be released about the births.

MULTIPLE BIRTHS
US first live-born octuplets delivered in Texas, 1998; seven survive
Octuplets born in Italy, 2000; two die shortly after delivery
Octuplets born in Mexico City, 1967, but all died within 14 hours, according to Encyclopedia Britannica
World’s first surviving set of septuplets born in Iowa, US, 1997
First all-female surviving sextuplets born in the UK, 1983, to the Walton family

She checked in to the hospital 23 weeks into her pregnancy and gave birth seven weeks later.

A spokeswoman at the Bellflower medical centre described the deliveries, which took place in the space of five minutes, as “truly amazing”.

The medical team had scheduled a Caesarean section for seven babies, but doctors were surprised when an eighth came out.

“Lo and behold, after we got to Baby G, which is what we expected, we were surprised by Baby H,” said Dr Karen Maples.

Three of the babies needed help breathing, but all were otherwise doing well, a doctor said.

The babies will be in incubators for at least six weeks and the mother is planning to breast feed them all, the hospital officials said.

“She is a very strong woman, so she probably will be able to handle all eight babies,” said Dr Mandhir Gupta.

He added that the mother was “doing very, very well” and was “really excited that she got all of these babies, and that they’re doing good so far”.

The team did not give any more details about the mother’s identity or say whether she had used fertility drugs.

‘Just enjoy it’

The US’s first live-born set of octuplets was delivered in Houston, Texas, in 1998.

The seven surviving children of the octuplets born to Nkem Chukwu are pictured with another unidentified child and their mother as they celebrate their 10th birthday in Houston, Texas, 20 December 2008

Octuplets mother Chukwu said the new parents had much to look forward to

One baby died about a week later – but the surviving children celebrated their 10th birthday in December.

Their Nigerian-born mother, Nkem Chukwu, said the new parents had much to look forward to, the Associated Press news agency reported.

“Just enjoy it. It’s a blessing, truly a blessing,” Mrs Chukwu was quoted as saying. “We’ll keep praying for them.”

Mrs Chukwu and her husband had tried for a long time to have children before turning to fertility drugs.

Scheduled Inductions/C-sections – Why Every Week Counts

I recently read a great article in the Wall Street Journal about some new trends to induce or schedule c-sections prior to an estimated due date.  Past 34 weeks the baby’s lungs are done “cooking” and the chance that Baby will survive is pretty good, but scientists are finding more and more evidence that those precious few weeks mean more to fetal development than we previously thought.

A word on starting labor:

  • Labor is usually started by the BABY when Baby’s lungs are ready and Baby has reached good maturity in the womb
  • It is well within normal limits for babies to be born healthy anywhere between 37 and 42 weeks (and sometimes beyond!)
  • The average length of pregnancy for a first time mom is 41 weeks, 3 days (or 10 dates past estimated due date)
  • Methods of induction can seriously mess up natural body chemistry and function and cause other serious measures (failed induction, infection, c-section, etc.)
  • If your body isn’t ready to go into labor, it won’t.  Oftentimes inducing labor (either natural remedies or with drugs) will fail if your body and your baby aren’t ready

Here is that great article from the Wall Street Journal:

This time of year, some hospitals see a small uptick in baby deliveries thanks to families eager to fit the blessed event in around holiday plans or in time to claim a tax deduction. Conventional wisdom has long held that inducing labor or having a Caesarean section a bit early posed little risk, since after 34 weeks gestation, all the baby has to do was grow.

But new research shows that those last weeks of pregnancy are more important than once thought for brain, lung and liver development. And there may be lasting consequences for babies born at 34 to 36 weeks, now called “late preterm.”

[Why Every Week of Pregnancy Counts] New research shows that the last weeks of pregnancy are more important than once thought for brain, lung and liver development.

A study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in October calculated that for each week a baby stayed in the womb between 32 and 39 weeks, there is a 23% decrease in problems such as respiratory distress, jaundice, seizures, temperature instability and brain hemorrhages.

A study of nearly 15,000 children in the Journal of Pediatrics in July found that those born between 32 and 36 weeks had lower reading and math scores in first grade than babies who went to full term. New research also suggests that late preterm infants are at higher risk for mild cognitive and behavioral problems and may have lower I.Q.s than those who go full term.

What’s more, experts warn that a fetus’s estimated age may be off by as much as two weeks either way, meaning that a baby thought to be 36 weeks along might be only 34.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the March of Dimes are now urging obstetricians not to deliver babies before 39 weeks unless there is a medical reason to do so.

“It’s very important for people to realize that every week counts,” says Lucky E. Jain, a professor of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine.

It’s unclear how many deliveries are performed early for nonmedical reasons. Preterm births (before 37 weeks) have risen 31% in the U.S. since 1981 — to one in every eight births. The most serious problems are seen in the tiniest babies. But nearly 75% of preterm babies are born between 34 and 36 weeks, and much of the increase has come in C-sections, which now account for a third of all U.S. births. An additional one-fifth of all births are via induced labor, up 125% since 1989.

Many of those elective deliveries are done for medical reasons such as fetal distress or pre-eclampsia, a sudden spike in the mother’s blood pressure. Those that aren’t can be hard to distinguish. “Obstetricians know the rules and they are very creative about some of their indications — like ‘impending pre-eclampsia,'” says Alan Fleischman, medical director for the March of Dimes.

Why do doctors agree to deliver a baby early when there’s no medical reason? Some cite pressure from parents. “‘I’m tired of being pregnant. My fingers are swollen. My mother-in-law is coming’ — we hear that all the time,” says Laura E. Riley, medical director of labor and delivery at Massachusetts General Hospital. “But there are 25 other patients waiting, and saying ‘no’ can take 45 minutes, so sometimes we cave.”

There’s also a perception that delivering early by c-section is safer for the baby, even though it means major surgery for the mom. “The idea is that somehow, if you’re in complete control of the delivery, then only good things will happen. But that’s categorically wrong. The baby and the uterus know best,” says F. Sessions Cole, director of newborn medicine at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

He explains that a complex series of events occurs in late pregnancy to prepare the baby to survive outside the womb: The fetus acquires fat needed to maintain body temperature; the liver matures enough to eliminate a toxin called bilirubin from the body; and the lungs get ready to exchange oxygen as soon as the umbilical cord is clamped. Disrupting any of those steps can result in brain damage and other problems. In addition, the squeezing of the uterus during labor stimulates the baby and the placenta to make steroid hormones that help this last phase of lung maturation — and that’s missed if the mother never goes into labor.

[Why Every Week of Pregnancy Counts] Gail Zuniga/WSJ

“We don’t have a magic ball to predict which babies might have problems,” says Dr. Cole. “But we can say that the more before 39 weeks a baby is delivered, the more likely that one or more complications will occur.”

In cases where there are medical reasons to deliver a baby early, lung maturation can be determined with amniocentesis — using a long needle to withdraw fluid from inside the uterus. But that can cause infection, bleeding or a leak or fetal distress, which could require an emergency c-section.

Trying to determine maturity by the size of the fetus can also be problematic. Babies of mothers with gestational diabetes are often very large for their age, but even less developed for their age than normal-size babies.

Growing beyond 42 weeks can also pose problems, since the placenta deteriorates and can’t sustain the growing baby.

Making families aware of the risks of delivering early makes a big difference. In Utah, where 27% of elective deliveries in 1999 took place before the 39th week, a major awareness campaign has reduced that to less than 5%. At two St. Louis hospitals that send premature babies to Dr. Cole’s neonatal intensive-care unit, obstetricians now ask couples who want to schedule a delivery before 39 weeks to sign a consent form acknowledging the risks. At that point, many wait for nature to take its course, says Dr. Cole.

Join a Discussion

Are parents too eager to induce labor or schedule an early C-section for sheer convenience? Are doctors too willing to go along? Share your views.

VIDEO – Vaginal Breech (WHO)

Here is an absolutely fabulous video put out by the World Health Organization’s Reproductive Health department.  It details the indications and counter-indications for a vaginal breech birth, methods of birthing a breech vaginally (totally FASCINATING), as well as symphiostomy (when the head becomes entrapped and you cannot perform a c-section).

who-breech

(Windows Media Player Required)

NOTE:  In the United States, OB/GYNs typically aren’t trained in these techniques (despite detailed models that can train them) and usually just decide to do a c-section.  If this is not something you’re ok with, talk to your provider beforehand and/or consider transferring to a care provider skilled in vaginal breech (where indicated).  In Denver, Dr. Hall at Swedish has been known to do vaginal breech births.