Archive for August, 2007

U.S. MATERNAL MORTALITY RISES

News broke with this Associated Press article and is making headlines across the country this week: the rate of women dying in childbirth in the United States has officially increased for the first time in decades. Why? One of the main reasons given by experts is the rising number of cesareans, particularly repeat cesareans. Most shocking element? Black women are nearly four times more likely to die than white women.

Read more about this woman, who died after her labor was induced with the drug Cytotec, which has been implicated in several maternal and baby deaths.

Tatia Oden French

Five Ways to Avoid A C-section

A great, quick read courtesy of CNN. Really quickly: induce only when medically necessary, labor at home until 3 centimeters dilated, choose your provider wisely, ask questions, and get a doula.

Two quibbles: “medically necessary induction” is left undefined, but many reasons called “medical” are in fact unsupported by the evidence, such as being overdue, or carrying a baby thought to be large. Quibble #2: women are advised to labor at home until they are in “active labor,” which involves more than just centimeters (and how are you supposed to know how much you’ve dilated until somebody checks?). Active labor generally means contractions that are less than five minutes apart, lasting about 60 seconds, and demanding your attention.

Post-Cesarean Painkillers Can Harm Baby

mother's helper?

Women often need prescription meds to cope with the pain following a cesarean section or even an episiotomy. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is now warning nursing moms about codeine, which the body metabolizes into morphine. “Ultra rapid” metabolizers can pass on deadly amounts to the baby via breast milk. “The morphine is excreted into breast milk in amounts that can cause limpness, excessive sleepiness, feeding difficulties and breathing problems in newborns,” according to this article in the Washington Post. Last year, a 13-day old Toronto infant died of a morphine overdose that was traced to his mother’s codeine.

Hospitals saying “enough” with inductions

The L.A. Times reports that hospitals are rethinking the induction craze and cites a large Utah hospital chain that “reigned in” the practice with strict guidelines for doctors to follow.

The before: nearly 30% of women were induced into labor prior to 39 weeks gestation (when babies lungs may be immature.)

The after: “Hospital administrators no longer see sudden spikes in deliveries before major holidays, three-day weekends and Jazz basketball playoff games. The program has resulted in plunging C-section rates, fewer newborns in intensive care and fewer medical interventions in delivery. Length of labor has decreased by an average of two hours per patient.”

Other large hospital companies are taking similar action to both lower costs and increase patient safety. “Some doctors do many elective labor inductions at 38 weeks,” one doctor said. “But if you do them long enough, eventually you’re going to have a baby with respiratory distress and complications. And that can be very serious.” Read the full article.

You think your baby was big?

Did he weigh a stone? This one did — 14 lb 7 oz — and his mother pushed him out with the help of four midwives. “Shaune is still less than a week old and is already the size of a six-month-old,” says this article, titled “Boyzilla!” Why not “Superwoman?”

Shaune a.k.a.