Archive for December, 2007

More Bad News For C-Babies

A large Danish study found that babies born by “elective” or planned cesarean are four times more likely to have trouble breathing than those born vaginally or even by emergency C-section. The study (one of many to show a connection between cesarean section and respiratory problems) is further evidence that babies benefit from normal, spontaneous labor. The researchers conclude: “It is plausible that hormonal and physiological changes associated with labour are necessary for lung maturation in neonates and that these changes may not occur in infants delivered by elective Caesarean sections.” More reason to encourage VBAC — and at the very least not to ban it. Read more on the BBC.

U.S. C-Rate Hits Record High, More Biz for C-Panty

I C London, I C France...

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced yesterday that the number of women giving birth by cesarean section has risen 50% in the last decade, to a record 31.1% of all births in 2006. The New York Times attributes this to the decline in VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), “and there is some evidence that a growing number of women are requesting Caesareans.” The Times fails to mention the rising number of women being pushed into the operating room after a failed induction, the overall lack of support for physiological birth, and the impact of defensive medicine, heightened by rising malpractice premiums. At least C-moms can get more support these days — literally. Check out the new C-Panty (pictured above), a patent-pending “after cesarean underwear” its maker promises isn’t your granny’s girdle.

“Crack Babies” a Myth, Yet Mothers Charged With Murder


First we feared “crack babies,” now “meth babies,” but it turns out that fetuses exposed to narcotic drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine in utero don’t develop much differently than those who aren’t exposed. That was the main message of a public forum held last month titled, “Women, Pregnancy and Drug Use: Medical Facts, Practical Responses and the Well-Being of Children and Families.” One of the panelists, Dr. Barry Lester, Director of the Brown University Center for the Study of Children at Risk, presented research debunking the myth (click here to access the full Powerpoint presentation.) The research evidence notwithstanding, women across the country have been charged with child abuse and even murder for being addicted while pregnant. Instead of treatment, they get jail time (and the prospect of criminal charges hardly encourages an addict to seek treatment).

The forum was held in Oklahoma City, where Theresa Hernandez has been imprisoned for four years, facing charges of first-degree murder, with the possibility of life imprisonment, for suffering a stillbirth. Hernandez was charged for using methamphetamine while pregnant, though there is no evidence tying the substance to stillbirth. The National Advocates for Pregnant Women, which cosponsored the Oklahoma City forum, is working to help women like Hernandez. “There is no justice when a woman does time for a non-existent crime,” writes NAPW director Lynn Paltrow. “But NAPW will keep doing everything possible to help Ms. Hernandez and prevent future similar prosecutions.”

For more about Ms. Hernandez, read this. Feeling generous this holiday season? Make a donation to NAPW.