The first hours after a baby is welcomed into the world may have short- and long-term consequences. Evidence has shown that newborns who are placed skin to skin with their mothers immediately after birth have better respiratory, temperature, and glucose stability, and significantly less crying that stipulates less stress.
An illustration of a fetal lamb inside the “artificial womb” device, which mimics the conditions inside a pregnant animal.- The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Scientists have created an “artificial womb” in the hopes of someday using the device to save babies born extremely prematurely.
So far the device has only been tested on fetal lambs. A study published Tuesday involving eight animals found the device appears effective at enabling very premature fetuses to develop normally for about a month.
“We’ve been extremely successful in replacing the conditions in the womb in our lamb model,” says Alan Flake, a fetal surgeon at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who led the study published in the journal Nature Communications.
“They’ve had normal growth. They’ve had normal lung maturation. They’ve had normal brain maturation. They’ve had normal development in every way that we can measure it,” Flake says.
Flake says the group hopes to test the device on very premature human babies within three to five years.
“What we tried to do is develop a system that mimics the environment of the womb as closely as possible,” Flake says. “It’s basically an artificial womb.”
I am pleasantly surprised that we may be FINALLY turning a page in the her-story of medicalized maternity care. While most fields of medicine base their practices on the latest and best science, maternity care has been in the dark ages, leaving a huge gap between what science knows and what we practice. This gap puts MotherBabies at risk, creates birth trauma and ultimately has added to the growing FEAR of childbirth that many expectant parents and even some providers feel.
Don’t make a birth plan, it’s pointless, because birth is completely unpredictable.
If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard a woman being given this crappy nugget of pseudo-wisdom, I’d be rich enough to start my own luxury birth centre in St Lucia.
It’s fabulously convenient to tell women this, actually, because not only does it totally discourage them from researching their birth options, making a plan and thus becoming one of those ‘tricky customers’ in the birth room who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to ask.
But also, once birth is over, if the birth was difficult or even downright unpleasant, you can ask her, “Did you make a birth plan?”, and if she says yes you can shake your head and say, “Oh dear”, in a way that basically implies, “I told you so”, and bingo, the whole sorry mess is her fault and everyone else is off the hook.
Actually, making a birth plan is one of the very best moves a pregnant woman can make.
Dr. Stuart Fischbein chuckled when he read the title of the press release: “Women with a fear of childbirth endure a longer labor.”
The release was promoting a study published this week in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Researchers at Akershus University Hospital in Norway found women who feared giving birth were in labor for 1 hour and 32 minutes longer, on average, than those who had no fear.
“I’m glad there’s now evidence to say that,” Fischbein said, “but it’s obvious.”
For those of us who aren’t OB/GYNs, it may seem more like a cruel joke. Women who are afraid of the pain and the possible medical complications associated with giving birth have to suffer through it longer?