The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy. (SLNYT article on selective reduction) [more inside]
"Americans who carry a firearm are often viewed as rough, gruff, middle-aged men
with over-developed trigger fingers. [more inside]
30 and Pregnant "How did this happen?" he said. I couldn't believe he didn't know. "We were so careful." I sighed heavily, twirling a piece of spaghetti around my fork, feeling overwhelmed that now I would officially have to come down on one side of the cloth versus disposable diapers debate.
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]
Can I sit down, please?
Elizabeth Carey Smith of The Letter Office
charted her progress in the subway while pregnant and presented the results in graphic form
. The WSJ is there.
injections have been used to reduce the likelihood of premature births in at-risk pregnant women for years. Up until now, the drug was custom-compounded by wholesale and specialist pharmacies, legally, but without federal approval. These injections cost between $5 and $15 a dose and were regularly reimbursed by insurance companies and Medicaid.
Last month, the FDA announced their approval
of a commercially produced version of the compound, to be marketed under the brand name Makena by a company called KV Pharmaceuticals.
No stranger to controversy and trouble, KV barely survived a rash round of layoffs and wrongful termination lawsuits
. Their former chief executive now faces criminal charges
surrounding the company's failure to notify the FDA that they were producing oversized morphine tablets. (He could also do for a shave, it appears.)
Now, KV has announced that the new drug will be available at a cost of $1,500 per dose
, bringing the total pregnancy term cost of treatment to $25,000-$30,000
, from its former cost of $250-$300, a 100-fold increase
—but it gets worse... [more inside]
It's Only Rape if They Say So
House Republicans decide to fight abortion access by redefining rape.
"Nearly half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion.... At least half of American women will experience an unintended pregnancy by age 45, and, at current rates, about one-third will have had an abortion." Abortion is one of the most common medical procedures in the U.S., but it can be very difficult to get unbiased information about the procedure. From Jezebel: The Girl's Guide to Having an Abortion
"Normal" human pregnancies last 40 weeks, right? Well, no; they can vary quite a bit by the mother's race
, number of previous children
, family history of delivering early or late
, home state
, work habits
, and even the fetus' HLA type
. So where does that "40 week" thing come from? Oh, dear.
So check out this super-nerdy pregnancy statistics
website, from an engineer mom who is collecting data from the public
(see the raw data
and auto-generated graphs
, and read the FAQ about the survey, with more cool graphs
). Looking for day-by-day
probabilities on when that baby's due? This would be your stats table with daily prediction
(adjust dates at top of page as needed). Of course, you could always shut up your constantly inquiring relatives and friends another way
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]
A D.C. couple wants children, but not now, and are worried about infertility creeping up on them as they get deeper into their thirties. They came up with a novel solution -- donating frozen embryos to their future selves
. The procedure is not uncommon for couples with fertility problems
; will it become a popular insurance option for young couples who just aren't ready for kids? They might want to think about what to do if they have more embryos than they want
. Or what happens if they get divorced
Should we start doing medical research on pregnant women?
In the wake of the H1N1 epidemic, in which pregnant women had a disproportionately higher risk of death
, the question of including pregnant women in clinical trials has begun to be tentatively breached. [more inside]
Abortion Drugs Given in Iowa via Video Link.
"The situation has played out hundreds of times. From his office here, a doctor asks a woman on the computer screen before him one final question: Are you ready to take your pill? Then, with a click of his mouse, a modified cash register drawer pops open in front of the woman seated next to a nurse in a clinic
— perhaps 100 miles from this city — with mifepristone, the medicine formerly known as RU-486, that is meant to end her pregnancy." [Via]
Marie Stopes International
will tonight screen the first pro-choice Television advert to air in the UK - you can watch it on YouTube here
Debate on the appropriateness or otherwise if the advert has been predictably fierce
. Meanwhile, Channel 4 have chosen not to screen the advert in Northern Ireland, prompting further arguments
Provoking pro-choice advocates,
Oklahoma passed two highly restrictive abortion laws
on Tuesday. One (rtf file)
requires doctors to show women an ultrasound of their fetus and point out its physical characteristics — even if the patient was impregnated through rape or incest. The second (rtf file)
stipulates that doctors cannot be sued if they decide to lie to an expectant mother regarding her baby's birth defects. A third requires clinics to post signs
telling patients they cannot be forced to have an abortion. The first law prompted
an immediate lawsuit
from Tulsa's only abortion clinic
. [more inside]
In the US, the conservative movement’s latest rallying cry against abortion
claims pro-choice groups are conducting a systematic eugenics
campaign to turn African Americans into an "endangered species
." The idea is finding renewed traction and condemnation in Black communities.
Several bloggers at RHRealityCheck are offering counter
. [more inside]
This year's winners of the Ig Nobel prizes are a bumper crop of wild and crazy SCIENCE!,
featuring sword-swallowing, knuckle-cracking, benefits of cow-naming
, pregnant women NOT tipping over
, a household use for giant panda poop
(take that, Packham
), diamonds made from tequila
, a brassiere that can be used as TWO gas masks
, "Ireland's Worst Driver"
, Icelandic banks, Zimbabwean currency, and a 'Peace Prize' earned by hitting people over the heads with beer bottles (and comparing the effects of empty vs. full bottles
) (related inquiry
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]
William Saletan has been writing about abortion for a while
. In Slate
he recently discussed the Preventing Unintended Pregnancies, Reducing the Need for Abortion, and Supporting Parents Act
, and some hard line pro-life groups resistance to this bill. Doug Johnson, the National Right to Life Commitee's legislative director responds stating that the bill is a "prop in a political charade"
to "provide camouflage for pro-abortion politicians". Saletan tears holes in Johnson's stated objections
, calling out the NRLF's unstated objection to contraception.
Does it cause hairy palms?
(No, that is a myth.) Will it make you go blind?
(No, though zinc deficiency can be detrimental to one's vision, and semen contains a small amount of zinc.) Are you going to hell for it?
(Maybe, maybe not.) But what if it helps with conception?
(well, the men doing it, anyway)
already have laws
[PDF] related to abortion ultrasounds
. Eleven more states have recently introduced bills that demand that a woman who wants an abortion be forced to look at the ultrasound, while a doctor describes what she is seeing. All of these bills are because the legislators believe that adoption is the only choice a woman should make. This essay, On Living Pro-Lifer's Choice for Women
, explores the difficulties faced by birth mothers who choose that path.
Evangelicals are very good at articulating their sexual ideals, but they have little practical advice for their young followers. Social liberals, meanwhile, are not very good at articulating values on marriage and teen sexuality—indeed, they may feel that it’s unseemly or judgmental to do so. But in fact the new middle-class morality is squarely pro-family.
The New Yorker discusses the red-state/blue-state divide in attitudes about premarital sex, sex education, and teen pregnancy: Red Sex, Blue Sex
What to Expect When You're Aborting: I'm 23. I'm knocked up. And I don't want to keep it. You can fuck yourself, Judd Apatow.
Your unborn child as produce
- You'll never look at chard the same way again.
: the ultimate expression of a lifestyle. Being deceived into raising another man's child would be a nightmare for most men
. For other's, it's the ultimate hot fantasy
. Taking it to the extreme of having your wife bear another man's child
is a suprising (to me) twist on the Cuckhold fantasy
. Interestingly, it seems to dovetail with another sexual fetish previously discussed
on Metafilter. Oh yeah, NSFW !!!!
Jamie Lynn's Reproduction Rap
A slightly educational, slightly ridiculous look at where babies come from.
Pregnancy Boom at Gloucester High
As summer vacation begins, 17 girls at Gloucester High School are expecting babies—more than four times the number of pregnancies the 1,200-student school had last year. Some adults dismissed the statistic as a blip. Others blamed hit movies like Juno and Knocked Up for glamorizing young unwed mothers. But principal Joseph Sullivan knows at least part of the reason there's been such a spike in teen pregnancies in this Massachusetts fishing town.
What happens when oral sex leads to pregnancy?
Apparently, this can happen
2.5% 0% of the time
, although in this case, the father, Dr. Richard O. Phillips is claiming
the mother, Dr. Sharon Irons secretly kept the sperm to artificially inseminate herself. He sued for emotional distress (as well as theft, though the theft charge was thrown out); Sherry Colb
has written an interesting article on the bizarre case. [Colb previously on MeFi]
Best Cities to have a Baby
Portland Oregon tops the list. Not surprisingly Detroit
didn't fair so well
Wombs for rent:
"Anand's surrogate mothers, pioneers in the growing field of outsourced pregnancies, have given birth to roughly 40 babies. More than 50 women in this city are now pregnant with the children of couples from the United States, Taiwan, Britain and beyond. The women earn more than many would make in 15 years."
is a site devoted to providing support, both emotional and practical, to people struggling with infertility issues. The immediately apparent benefits to visiting would be their informational documents and errata, but of at least equal value are the bulletin boards where you can talk with other people dealing with infertility, whether it's for the sake of venting, chatting or just to have someplace you can go where you don't have to hear the words "well, adoption isn't so bad..."
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."
Pregnant in America
. A trailer from a documentary ("coming 2007") about contemporary US birth practices, which may not be best practices. The politics
make for interesting reading. See also: Monty Python's The Miracle of Birth
Outstanding collection of 18th century obstetrical models
at the Anatomical Museum in Modena, Italy. NSFW
, the teratology section at the end is especially gruesome. [via
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."
The Shape of a Mother
There are a lot of sites out there that document the changes a woman's body goes through during pregnancy. The goal of Shape of a Mother (picture-heavy, NSFW) is to document what also happens afterwards
. Women from all over the world submit stories and pictures of how their bodies changed after giving birth and how it affects their self-image. From the site's creator: "It occurred to me that a post-pregnancy body is one of this society's greatest secrets; all we see of the female body is that which is airbrushed and perfect, and if we look any different, we hide it from the light of day in fear of being seen."
The CDC has released guidelines
for improving the "preconception health" of all women of childbearing age whether they plan to have children or not. From the the WaPo article: "among other things, this means all women between first menstrual period and menopause should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control."
So ladies, don't even think of touching the litter box
. You know, just in case.