“The birthing plan: Whether it’s set at home with a doula or in a hospital surrounded by family members, many expecting women have their perfect version in mind. And the location and company one keeps during delivery are just the beginning—with highly curated extras like pressure-relieving birthing balls and soothing “push playlists” growing in popularity. But the reality is that when it comes to child birth, there’s only so much you can control.”
The answer to the disparity in death rates has everything to do with the lived experience of being a black woman in America.
Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants — 11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data — a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were considered chattel. In one year, that racial gap adds up to more than 4,000 lost black babies. Education and income offer little protection. In fact, a black woman with an advanced degree is more likely to lose her baby than a white woman with less than an eighth-grade education.
(click link above to read this powerful piece on NYTimes.com)
For more than 60 years, it has been the standard of care to try to speed up childbirth with drugs, or to perform a cesarean section if labor was seen as progressing too slowly.
Now a new set of recommendations is changing the game.
In February, the World Health Organization released a set of 56 recommendations in a report called Intrapartum Care for a Positive Childbirth Experience. One key recommendation is to allow a slow labor to continue without trying to hurry the birth along with drugs or other medical interventions. The paper cites studies showing that a long, slow labor — when the mother and baby are doing well — is not necessarily dangerous.
A little history is required to understand the importance of that one recommendation, says Dr. Aaron Caughey, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Oregon Health & Science University, who did not work on the report. In 1955, Dr. Emanuel Friedman studied 500 women and concluded that labor is normal when, during the intense phase of contractions, the cervix opens at a rate of at least one centimeter (about 0.4 inches) an hour. “Dr. Friedman showed that 95 percent of women progressed” at this rate, says Caughey. “And that became the standard of care.”
On its face, Joseph’s prenatal and postpartum clinic might not seem unusual. But when you look into her statistics, you find something quite rare: Almost all of her patients give birth to healthy, full-term babies. Again, maybe not surprising until you learn that the majority of them are low-income African-Americans, Haitians and Latinas.
African-American women in the United States are four times more likely than their white counterparts to die during pregnancy or childbirth. Their infants are also twice as likely to die in their first year as white infants, and two to three times more likely to be born premature or underweight — a sign of insufficient development that can lead to a lifetime of health difficulties. Native Americans also suffer from higher rates of these problems than whites, as do some groups of Latinas.
Women struggling in labour should be given bicarbonate of soda to boost their chances of a safe and natural birth, a study suggests.
British researchers say the commonly available chemical, given in drink form, rectifies acidity around the womb and could significantly reduce the number of women forced to undergo emergency caesarean sections.
Ahh, new motherhood. You go from dreaming of the day your baby will arrive to holding that tiny, wriggling bundle in your arms and thinking, “What the heck do I do now?” Hang tight, mamas! We’re here to help. We asked women to tell us one thing they wish they’d known when they first became a mommy. Read on for mom wisdom on sleep, self-care, getting perspective on those intense early days, and much more.
(click link at top to continue reading on redtri.com)
If it baby announcements seem to come all at once from a close group of friends, research shows there may be a reason: Pregnancy can be contagious.
“A friend’s childbearing positively influences an individual’s risk of becoming a parent,” concluded the authors of a 2014 study published in the journal American Sociological Association.
For the study, the researchers analyzed data on 1,720 women who participated in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (ADD Health) in the United States from the mid-1990s to mid-2000s. Tracking female participants who were at least 15 years old in 1995 with home interviews throughout the next decade, the researchers saw that roughly half of the women had a child by the time the final interviews were conducted in 2008 or 2009.