All things in moderation, the saying goes, but if you are a pregnant woman no amount of alcohol is known to be safe for the developing baby.
“When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol so does her baby,” said Kenneth Lyons Jones, MD, chief of the Division of Dysmorphology and Teratology in the Department of Pediatrics at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. “So why take the risk?”
To help get the word out that alcohol and pregnancy don’t mix, volunteers with the Southern California affiliate of the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (SoCal NOFAS) are handing out “Pregnant? Don’t Drink” coasters to San Diego area bars and restaurants on Tuesday, September 9th as part of International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day.
International FASD Awareness Day is held annually on the ninth day of the ninth month to urge women not to drink during the full nine months of pregnancy.
CDC: Tips From Former Smokers - Amanda’s Ad
Smoking while you’re pregnant can cause serious health problems for you and your baby. In this TV ad for CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers campaign, Amanda talks about the time her baby spent in a hospital incubator. Amanda had tried to quit smoking, but she was unable to overcome her addiction to cigarettes. Her baby was born 2 months early, weighing only 3 pounds.
Pregnancy and alcohol consumption in the Ukraine
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is broadly considered to be a pointless health risk for both mother and unborn child. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are no established safe levels of alcohol use during pregnancy. Drinking during pregnancy has been linked to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) – a wide range of physical and mental disabilities, plus lasting emotional and behavioral problems.
In a 2012 CDC study, just under 8 percent of pregnant women (1 in 13) reported consuming alcohol within the past 30 days (compared to 51.5 percent of non-pregnant women). For binge drinking (six drinks on one occasion), the percentages were 1.4 percent and 15 percent, respectively.
These are numbers that experts and advocates alike say should be reduced in the U.S. The problem is even more daunting elsewhere.
In a recent paper published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, Christina Chambers, MPH, PhD, and Wladimir Wertelecki, MD, both in the UC San Diego School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics, report that alcohol consumption among pregnant women in the Ukraine is alarmingly high.
The study, which included nearly 12,000 pregnant women in two regions of the Ukraine, found that among regular alcohol consumers, more than half (54.8 percent) of the women surveyed drank some alcohol in the month surrounding conception and 12.9 percent reported drinking three or more drinks on at least one occasion during the early months of pregnancy.
Consumption rates declined only slightly at mid-pregnancy. Nearly half of the women in the study (46.3 percent) reported consuming some alcohol in the most recent month of pregnancy and 9.2 percent said they drank at least three servings of alcohol at a sitting.
“What this tells us is that the women in the study did not avoid alcohol entirely during their pregnancy, and substantial numbers drank at risky levels,” said Chambers.
“The findings of both these studies suggest there is a need and opportunity for prevention in both in the Ukraine and the United States. It is so important that we continue to raise awareness of FASD and educate all women of reproductive age that prenatal alcohol can be harmful to the developing baby.”
The Ukraine survey was conducted in collaboration with Omni-Net for Children, a not-for-profit international non-governmental organization in the Ukraine involved in birth defects prevention. The study was part of an ongoing research effort funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse and the Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, which promotes research on the mechanisms and prevention of FASD.
Smoke-Free Baby PSA
Analysis of women’s pregnancies in Scotland highlights problem of obesity during pregnancy and growing financial costs to NHS
The health of pregnant women and their babies is jeopardised when the mothers are obese or underweight, according to a new study that also points to the growing financial costs to the NHS.
The number of women who are obese during pregnancy continues to rise, say the authors of a study published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
An analysis of the pregnancies of nearly 110,000 women in Scotland between 2003 and 2010 finds that the risk of complications increase in women with a higher body mass index (BMI) – a measurement relating weight to height. Compared to normal weight women, severely obese women (with a BMI over 35) have a threefold increased risk of hypertension (raised blood pressure that is dangerous in pregnancy) and gestational diabetes, which can affect mother and baby.
Underweight and overweight women are more likely to be re-admitted to hospital with problems after the birth – underweight women (BMI below 18.5 and more often smokers) are 8% more likely than normal weight women to be re-admitted, while overweight, obese and severely obese women are 16%, 45% and 88% more likely to return, the study finds.
The authors say that the NHS could save money by helping women attain a normal weight before pregnancy. If, for example, there were a reduction of 2.5% in the proportion of overweight and obese pregnant women in Scotland, increasing the normal weight population by 5%, and the corresponding drop in admission costs were extrapolated to the UK as a whole, “the anticipated cost savings to the UK for inpatient admissions alone would be £12,702,278”. The better health of the babies and mothers in the long term would add to the savings.
In a conflict zone, getting the basics — food, water, shelter — is a constant challenge. And it likely involves being on the move.
Now imagine pregnancy. There might not be a functioning medical facility for miles. And the environment makes the woman and her baby more susceptible to complications.
Aid groups are increasingly relying on conflict midwives to help women in these situations. In dangerous and unstable regions, midwives’ jobs are more than delivering babies: They often have to help women who have experienced sexual violence and have reproductive health issues.
Take Emily Slocum, a midwife with Doctors Without Borders who worked with women affected by the violent conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some women traveled days to reach her.
Slocum worked at a hospital in South Kivu, where the conflict still lingers, from November 2011 to May 2012. She tells Shots that one of the challenges was keeping underweight newborns warm. Without an incubator, the best practice is to have the mother hold the baby to her skinto keep its body temperature up, she says. She had to teach nurses and mothers to do that when she arrived
Photograph by Jonathan Saruk for International Medical Corps
The royal birth cost $15,000. The average American birth is billed at $30,000.
Via Elisabeth Rosenthal at the New York Times:
Rosenthal wrote a lengthly, excellent article for the Times last month detailing the extremely high costs of giving birth in the United States compared with most other developed countries.
The $15,000 figure comes from estimates of how much one would have to pay to deliver in the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital, where the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a son on Monday. This is expensive for the United Kingdom, but, here in the United States, it would actually be a pretty great deal!
“The average total price charged for pregnancy and newborn care was about $30,000 for a vaginal delivery and $50,000 for a C-section,” Rosenthal reported, “with commercial insurers paying out an average of $18,329 and $27,866.” That data comes from a Truven Analytics report that recently looked at the high cost of pregnancy in the United States.
The comparison isn’t totally apples to apples; Truven includes the full cost of pregnancy care, not just the delivery. But even when you compare delivery costs, as the International Federation for Health Plans does, you see that the United States is (no surprise!) far and away the most expensive place to deliver a baby.
(From The Washington Post)
Victims of a culture that puts their needs last, more women die from childbirth in India than anywhere else in the world.
The operating room was chilly on a grey morning in Bihar, Northern India. Tile floors did nothing to insulate from the thick, damp cold seeping through the blankets on rickety hospital beds.
Sugia Devi was spread on the operating table like a martyr, arms wide. But Devi wasn’t dead; she was active and flailing in pain. Throughout her caesarean section she responded to each incision, each stitch, jerking her face away and moaning ghoulishly.
India’s other sexual violence is the failure to care for pregnant women, medically and socially.
The doctors working on her abdomen, distracted by pulling out the baby and answering a phone call, ignored her cries. But the junior doctor standing next to her face, heard. He held down the thin gauze strip covering her eyes, pressing so strongly he indented the mounds of her cheeks. The cover was ineffective; beneath the thin cloth her eyes were visible, darting in fear.
The doctor pumped Devi full of pain medications during the surgery, and he said that after that she was moaning out of fear. Devi, however, blatantly disagreed: “I remember that I was shouting out of pain.”
See 30 sec. video of the C-section here http://bcove.me/mgf51u03
(From The Atlantic)