The Lonely Terror of Postpartum Anxiety

https://www.thecut.com/2017/08/the-lonely-terror-of-postpartum-anxiety.html

(click link to read this really important piece on thecut.com)

I’m lying awake, gazing at the gentle rise and fall of my 3-month-old’s chest. He’s a delicate infant, constantly surprising me with his smallness, like his sister did when she was born four years earlier. In recent weeks, my son has begun stretching out the number of minutes between nursing sessions. He can go for two hours without eating now, or two and a half if I’m lucky. This means I have more of a chance to sleep, at least in short spurts. But every time I drift off, I jolt awake in a sweaty panic.

I am on high alert all the time these days. I tell myself that this panicky feeling is normal — I have a new(ish) baby, after all. But it doesn’t feel normal. I have constant visions of my son suffocating in the night. I think of waking up to his cold body. I spend nights imagining a thousand unlikely, tragic things that could happen to him.

HERE’S HOW TO HELP A NEW MOTHER (ESPECIALLY WHEN SHE DOESN’T ASK)

http://raisedgood.com/how-to-help-new-mother-especially-when-doesnt-ask/

As a new mother, I had a knack for giving the impression that I didn’t need help.

My village lives on the other side of the globe, so it was borne out of necessity, but I wonder if it was more than that. As new (or not so new) mothers, I wonder if we feel as though we’re letting ourselves down if we show that we’re vulnerable. Are we falling short if we admit that we simply can’t do this alone?

That we have one hairy leg because our survival strategies have devolved into shaving one leg one day, and the other the next. And we forgot the second leg…for a week. That we eat breakfast for dinner on a semi-regular basis. And that if one more well-meaning person tells us (as if we’ve forgotten) that we really need to take care of ourselves, we’ll scream.

Because, before becoming mothers we were used to feeling productive. To meeting deadlines. To getting the job done and feeling like a valued team member.

But motherhood shatters that reality. And although it’s bittersweet, thank goodness it does. It softens us. Slows us down. Stops the treadmill of a results driven society, forcing us to reassess what we truly value in this one short life of ours. As parents, we need to redefine success in the context of a journey, with a destination we will never see.

(click to read on raisedgood.com)

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)

4 HUGE BENEFITS OF AN UNDISTURBED FIRST HOUR AFTER BIRTH

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2017/05/02/4-huge-benefits-of-an-undisturbed-first-hour-after-birth/

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.

“Because the first hour after birth is so momentous, we have named it ‘The Sacred Hour’ at our hospital,” explains Raylene Phillips, MD.

(click link at top to read the rest of the article on collective-evolution.com)

Scientists Create Artificial Womb That Could Help Prematurely Born Babies

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/04/25/525044286/scientists-create-artificial-womb-that-could-help-prematurely-born-babies

 

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.”

(click link at top to read on NPR.org)