The Neonatal ICU Gets a Makeover

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-neonatal-icu-gets-a-makeover-1498443000

Hospitals are taking premature infants out of isolated incubators and into rooms where they can have close contact with their parents.

Hospitals are rethinking the way they care for premature babies.

The traditional neonatal intensive-care unit puts preterm babies—those born before 37 weeks—into incubators in a room with six to eight other infants. But hospitals are starting to realize that premature infants benefit from close physical contact with their parents.

One of the latest NICUs, in Beacon Children’s Hospital of South Bend, Ind., was designed around this idea. There, families can stay together for weeks or months in private rooms that facilitate skin-to-skin contact—also known as kangaroo care—between parent and baby.

(click to read on WSJ.com)

Saving Babies’ Lives by Carrying Them Like Kangaroos

Skin-to-skin contact sustains premature babies where incubators are limited. It may even be the best form of neonatal care, period.

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/02/kangaroo-care/515844/

Carmela Torres was 18 when she became pregnant for the first time. It was 1987 and she and her now-husband, Pablo Hernandez, were two idealistic young Colombians born in the coastal region of Montería who moved to the capital, Bogotá, in search of freedom and a better life. When Torres told her father she was expecting, so angered was he by the thought of his daughter having a child out of wedlock that they didn’t speak to each other for years.

Before she had a chance to hold him, her baby was whisked off to a neonatal intensive-care unit. Torres was simply told to get dressed and go home. “I didn’t even get to touch him,” she says. “They said I could come back and see him but the visiting times were very restricted—just a couple of hours a day. When I did visit I was allowed to look but not touch.”

(click link above to read the story on theatlantic.com)

 

OB-GYN Group Issues Major New Cord Clamping Recommendation

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ob-gyn-group-issues-major-new-cord-clamping-recommendation_us_585acaabe4b0de3a08f3de4b?ir=Entertainment&

More and more research has said there are benefits to keeping the umbilical cord attached for several minutes after childbirth ― a practice known as “delayed cord clamping.” But the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has held off from endorsing the practice, saying there was insufficient evidence to support it universally.

This week ACOG issued new guidelines changing its stance. In the first policy opinion on the topic issued since 2012, the group now recommends that doctors and midwives hold off on clamping all healthy newborns’ cords for at least 30 to 60 seconds.

“While there are various recommendations regarding optimal timing for delayed umbilical cord clamping, there has been increased evidence that shows that the practice in and of itself has clear health benefits for both [all] infants,” Dr. Maria Mascola, lead author of the new ACOG opinion, wrote in a press release. “And, in most cases, this does not interfere with early care, including drying and stimulating for the first breath and immediate skin-to-skin contact.”

(click link to read the entire article on HuffingtonPost.com)

Your baby does NOT need to ‘learn to self-settle’

http://www.kidspot.com.au/baby/baby-development/baby-behaviour/your-baby-does-not-need-to-learn-to-self-settle

If you’re questioning the rightness of your desire to pick up your baby when he cries, or lie beside him as he falls to sleep, read this.

“He’s got you wrapped around his little finger.”
“She’ll never learn if you do whatever she demands.”
“He needs to learn to self-settle.”

These are phrases every new parent is inundated with by well-meaning strangers. Despite the journey to becoming parents being one filled with much anticipation and joyful excitement, we live in a world that seemingly undervalues normal physiological behaviour in babies, and places way too much emphasis on the quest for them to be independent in their own entities. We are warned of creating “bad habits” with our children by being there for them when they need us, and we are chastised for wanting our babies in our beds near us at night time or for feeding overnight.

(click link above to read the rest of this post)

Can Mental Illness Be Prevented In The Womb?

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/10/22/498843225/can-mental-illness-be-prevented-in-the-womb

(click link above to read on npr.org)

Every day in the United States, millions of expectant mothers take a prenatal vitamin on the advice of their doctor.

The counsel typically comes with physical health in mind: folic acid to help avoid fetal spinal cord problems; iodine to spur healthy brain development; calcium to be bound like molecular Legos into diminutive baby bones.

But what about a child’s future mental health? Questions about whether ADHD might arise a few years down the road or whether schizophrenia could crop up in young adulthood tend to be overshadowed by more immediate parental anxieties. As a friend with a newborn daughter recently fretted over lunch, “I’m just trying not to drop her!”

Yet much as pediatricians administer childhood vaccines to guard against future infections, some psychiatrists now are thinking about how to shift their treatment-centric discipline toward one that also deals in early prevention.

In 2013, University of Colorado psychiatrist Robert Freedman and colleagues recruited 100 healthy, pregnant women from greater Denver to study whether giving the B vitamin choline during pregnancy would enhance brain growth in the developing fetus.

(click link at top to continue reading)

Childbirth: What to Reject When You’re Expecting

http://www.consumerreports.org/doctors-hospitals/childbirth-what-to-reject-when-youre-expecting/

10 procedures to think twice about during your pregnancy

Despite a healthcare system that outspends those in the rest of the world, infants and mothers fare worse in the U.S. than in many other industrialized nations. Infants in this country are more than twice as likely to die before their first birthday as those in Japan and Finland. And America now ranks behind 59 other countries in preventing mothers from dying during childbirth and is one of only eight countries in the world, along with Afghanistan and El Salvador, whose maternal mortality rate is rising.

Why? Partly because mothers in the U.S. tend to be less healthy than in the past, “which contributes to a higher-risk pregnancy,” says Diane Ashton, M.D., deputy medical director of the March of Dimes.

But another key reason may be that medical expediency appears to be taking a priority over the best outcomes. The U.S. healthcare system has developed into a labor-and-delivery machine, often operating according to its own timetable rather than the less predictable schedule of mothers and babies. Keeping things chugging along are technological interventions that can be lifesaving in some situations but also interfere with healthy, natural processes and increase risk when used inappropriately.

(click link at the top to read on Consumerreports.org)

Moms Share How Counting to 10 During Pregnancy Saved Their Babies

Moms Share How Counting to 10 During Pregnancy Saved Their Babies

**This purpose of this post is to educate & inform, not cause scare pregnant mamas!

If we could just save one baby, it would all be worth it.

That was our wish for the Count the Kicks campaign that started in Iowa in 2009.

We were five Iowa moms determined to make a difference. We met after we lost daughters within months of each other due to pregnancy complications or stillbirth. Through a series of conversations with doctors and each other, we realized one thing that could help save babies: Counting Kicks.

Our public health campaign, Count the Kicks, teaches expecting parents to track their baby’s movements daily during the third trimester of pregnancy. Scientific studies indicate that in addition to prenatal visits, keeping a daily record of baby’s movements (kicks, rolls, punches, jabs) during the third trimester is an easy, free and reliable way to monitor baby’s well-being and can reduce the rate of stillbirth, which occurs in one in every 160 pregnancies in the United States. (click link to read on Huffington Post)