An overview of folklore, religion and popular intuition surrounding childbirth, pregnant women, and young infants: abortion by aswang, blood-drinking Lilith, curses from witches, skeletal-faced spirits, and demonic births. content advisory: infant mortality [more inside]
Evidence Based Birth is a blog with articles by Rebecca Dekker, a PhD nurse and faculty member at the University of Kentucky, summarizing the best medical evidence for childbirth practices. To start, check out the table summarizing the state of US maternity care to see the differences between current standard childbirth practices and evidence based care. The topics page lists the currently available articles. [more inside]
"Postpartum depression isn’t always postpartum. It isn’t even always depression. A fast-growing body of research is changing the very definition of maternal mental illness, showing that it is more common and varied than previously thought." ‘Thinking of Ways to Harm Her’ and "After Baby, an Unraveling". [more inside]
Photographer Patrice Laroche has created an image series that answers, once and for all, how to make a baby. [sfw]
One in every 8 babies born in the US is premature. A new study (pdf/via) published online Wednesday in Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology indicates that vaginal progesterone gel can help women who are pregnant for the first time and at risk of premature birth extend their pregnancies, reduce potential complications and boost the health of their newborns. [more inside]
Invasive amniocentesis and chorionic villi sampling (CVS) tests are commonly used to determine the chromosomal, structural and genetic abnormalities in fetuses. But could they eventually become obsolete? A Chinese study has found that a complete copy of the fetal genome exists in the mother's blood, suggesting many prenatal diagnoses could potentially be performed noninvasively. [more inside]
Couples from Western countries, such as Australia, the US, and the UK are turning to surrogates in India to carry their babies. [more inside]
Let's Panic About Babies! "Fortunately for everyone in the whole wide world, Alice Bradley and Eden M. Kennedy have created the only website that accurately explains the journey from morning sickness to third-degree tears to keeping that baby alive for a year–or more! LET’S PANIC ABOUT BABIES will serve as a salve to the mystery and degradation of this most female of challenges. Its authors may not have 'science' on their side, but what they do have is far more valuable: a heady mélange of female intuition, sentence-forming know-how, and the achingly vivid memories of their own gestational journeys and unending motherhoods. So join Alice and Eden as they tell you exactly what to think and feel and do on every one of your 2,681 days* of pregnancy. They know everything! * 'Science' would tell you that human gestation is actually, on average, 266 days. This is one of many ways in which science is terribly wrong." [more inside]
"I don't think it's our job to tell them how many babies they're allowed to have." The woman who recently gave birth to octuplets already has six children. Multiple births increased 29% from 1995 to 2005. Why? What are the risks of multiple births? Despite the risks, some people WANT a multiple birth. If you are pregnant with more than one child, how should you prepare? How do you care for all those kids? What if you decide you don't want to have them all? A personal story of selective reduction. A personal story of having triplets.
Jamie Lynn's Reproduction Rap A slightly educational, slightly ridiculous look at where babies come from.
Best Cities to have a Baby Portland Oregon tops the list. Not surprisingly Detroit didn't fair so well
The ethics of infertility: After taking fertility drug Clomid, Ryan and Brianna Morrison conceived sextuplets. Their religious beliefs steered them away from undergoing a selective reduction procedure in favor of bringing all six fetuses to term. Four of their newborns have died; the remaining two are in critical condition. This mother of multiples says that while she's grateful that insurance and Medicaid covered her million-dollar hospital bill, her "quest to have a family resulted in a significant drain on society's resources."
Living With a Dying Baby. "Families can choreograph their child’s very brief life with their family . . . Sometimes they may have a matter of minutes, so they decide beforehand who can hold the baby, who will cut the umbilical cord, who will hold the baby when you know he is going to die."
Getting the Girl. The NY Times Magazine ran a great article awhile back on the emotional and societal consequences of being able to choose the sex of your baby. In the US, the ratio for the overall population is 0.96 males for every 1 female. But it has been changing over time and there's some controversy as to why this is.