Friday, October 23, 2009

Baby Born on a Plane!

A mother and her baby boy will both receive free flights for life after the woman went into labor aboard an AirAsia flight 2,000 feet in the air.

The Malaysian woman, Liew Siaw Hsia, 31, was just 27 weeks pregnant and wasn’t expecting for about another three months when she boarded the flight from Penang to Kuching.

According to AirAsia officials, the pilots diverted the flight to Kuala Lumpur for an emergency landing shortly after Liew started going into labor.

Fortunately, there was a doctor onboard who was able to help Liew deliver the boy, with the assistance of the flight attendants, while the plane made its final descent.

Officials say Liew and her son are in stable condition after being rushed to a hospital upon landing.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Stress During Pregnancy Linked to Long Term Effects on Male Fertility

A surprising new study has found that exposure to a combination of excess stress hormones and chemicals while in the womb can affect a man's fertility in later life. The researchers, from the University of Edinburgh, looked at the effect of glucocorticoids (stress hormones) combined with a common chemical (dibutyl phthalate) used in glues, paints and plastics. They found that the combination dramatically increased the likelihood of male reproductive birth defects.

The defects included cryptorchidism, when the testes fail to drop, and hypospadias, when the urinary tract is incorrectly aligned. In recent times these conditions have become the most common birth defects in male babies - and the rates of incidence are still climbing.

"What the study shows is that it is not simply a case of one factor in isolation contributing to abnormalities in male development but a combination of both lifestyle and environmental factors, which together have a greater impact," explained researcher Dr Mandy Drake.

In most studies to date, reproductive disorders have only been seen in connection with extremely high levels of chemicals, which most humans are not exposed to in everyday life. But this new study shows that the additional exposure to stress combined with lower levels of chemicals can cause adverse affects.

Specifically, the study found that; "exposure to dibutyl phthalate had some effects on reproductive development, [which] was significantly increased with simultaneous exposure to stress hormones." The stress hormones had no effect on male fetal development on their own, although raised levels led to lower birth weights.

The study, published in the journal Endocrinology, noted that between eight and 12 weeks into pregnancy is a crucial period for male reproductive development. During this timeframe, testosterone is produced which affects development of male reproductive organs and fertility in later life.


Pocket-sized Ultrasound Available Soon

In a wide-ranging interview at the Web 2.0 Summit, Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric, announced a low-cost and very portable ultrasound scanner called the Vscan.

"This is Moore's law," he said, saying that the device had the same power as a console ultrasound from two to three years ago that would cost $250,000.

The price of the device was not revealed, but Immelt asked the audience to imagine these devices going to Africa and helping health care providers there determine "if a baby is breech," for example. "This could be the stethoscope of the 21st century," he said.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Twin Gender May Affect Pregnancy Outcome

The outcomes of a twin pregnancy -- including the infants' size and delivery date -- might be affected by whether a woman is carrying boys or girls.

Sharing the womb with a female produces better results, in terms of birth weight and other factors, than sharing it with a male, whether the other twin is male or female, according to researchers from the Helen Schneider Hospital for Women and the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

"A male fetus affects his co-twin negatively, probably due to the interfetal transport of substances, mainly hormones," said Dr. Marek Glezerman, a university professor and chairman of the hospital's obstetrics and gynecology department and a co-author of the study.

But a U.S.-based expert who reviewed the study calls it interesting but no cause to change the way pregnant women are followed during their pregnancies, regardless of whether they are carrying two girls, two boys or one of each.

The study is published in the November issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The researchers evaluated 2,704 twin pregnancies, looking only at twins within separate placentas born from 1995 through 2006. Previous studies had not differentiated between twins with common or separate placentas, Glezerman said, and this could have blurred the effect of the fetus's sex on the outcome of the pregnancies.

About 16 percent of the pregnancies involved female-female twins, 70 percent were male-female and 14 percent were male-male.

Preterm deliveries were most common among women carrying male-male twins, the study found. Of the male-male twins, 9.2 percent were delivered at less than 31 weeks, compared with 7.5 percent of the male-female twins and 5.5 percent of the female-female twins. Earlier studies have found a higher risk for premature delivery for a male fetus compared with a female.

In the new study, birth weight was higher, on average, for boys than girls: 4.95 pounds, compared with 4.75. But boys in the boy-boy pairs had lower average birth weights than boys in the boy-girl pairs: 4.85 pounds versus 4.99. Boys in the boy-boy pairs also had lower growth rates than boys in boy-girl pairs.

Girls in the girl-girl pairs had fewer respiratory and neurological problems than those in the girl-boy pairs.

The researchers attribute the findings to what they call a "male offending factor," which means that the presence of a male fetus negatively affects the prospects of the co-twin in the womb, whether that co-twin is a sister or a brother.

However, the reasons for this aren't clear. The researchers speculate that one possibility is that male fetuses who share the womb with females could be more successful in competing for nutrients because females tend to grow more slowly. As a result, a boy in a boy-girl pair might end up weighing more than one in a boy-boy pair. Hormonal influences might help explain the differences, too.

None of this should worry expectant mothers, says another U.S. expert.

"Look at this study with a grain of salt and move on," said Dr. Abdulla Al-Khan, director of perinatal diagnostics and therapeutics in the maternal-fetal medicine division at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. The study's findings have not been noticeable, he said, at his hospital. They deliver more than 6,000 babies a year, including twins, he said, and women carrying twins are already followed closely to monitor the babies' progress.

Both Al-Khan and Ory also pointed out some of the study's limitations. It is retrospective, looking back, which they said makes it subject to bias. And, Al-Khan said, it's not clear whether the twins were conceived spontaneously or through fertility treatments, which might have affected the results.


No Weight Gain Needed for Obese Pregnant Women

Gaining no weight during pregnancy or even losing a little weight may be healthier for obese women and their babies than gaining too much weight.

In research made public today, the investigators from Kaiser Permanente confirmed that obese women who gain more weight than they should during pregnancy are more likely to keep the weight on.

Nearly three out of four women in the study gained more than 15 pounds during pregnancy, and, on average, these women retained 40% of the extra weight a full year after giving birth.

"Younger women and first-time mothers were the most likely to gain too much weight," obstetrician/gynecologist and study lead author Kimberly K. Vesco, MD, tells WebMD. "The extra weight increased the risk for complications like hypertension, diabetes, preeclampsia, C-sections, and birth injuries."

Nearly half of pregnant women in the United States today are either overweight or obese -- up from about 25% four decades ago.

Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more, and for most women that means carrying at least 30 extra pounds. A BMI of 18.5-24.9 is considered normal weight, and 25-29.9 is considered overweight.

For example, a 5-foot, 2-inch-tall woman who weighs 135 pounds would be considered at the upper limit of the normal range (BMI = 25), and she would be considered obese at 165 pounds (BMI = 30).

A 5-foot, 7-inch woman would be considered normal weight up to 160 pounds (BMI = 25) and obese at 195 (BMI = 30).

The independent health policy group Institute of Medicine now recommends that normal-weight women gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy, overweight women gain 15 to 25 pounds, and that obese women gain between 11 and 20 pounds.

Some studies suggest that babies born to obese women who don't gain much weight during pregnancy have fewer delivery complications and better outcomes than babies born to women who gain more weight than is recommended.


This Week's Celebrity Baby Bumps

Padma looked red hot at the Keep a Child Alive benefit, Lisa Loeb gives us a rarely-seen view of her bump in a cute green dress, Kourtney Kardishian rocks the boots in a sleek blue and white outfit, Judy Reyes makes a joyful appearance in a yellow top, Gisele continues to keep it as comfortable as possible, and Rebecca Gayheart wears a cute black dress with some nice sandals.

Source Source

Kendra Dishes on Pregnancy Weight Gain, Cravings and More!

An expectant Kendra Wilkinson rocks a bikini on the new cover of In Touch. The 24-year-old mom-to-be says she's never felt more beautiful: “The reason I feel so beautiful is not because of my looks, it’s because of my bond with the baby.” Kendra and her hubby, NFL star Hank Baskett, 27, talked about the highly anticipated arrival of son Henry Baskett IV due to arrive on Christmas Day. “He’ll be a momma’s boy!” Kendra insists adding, “We are so excited. This bundle of joy will make us one big happy family!”

"The greatest thing is probably just feeling like a queen. Everybody does everything for me. And Hank is always just giving me unconditional love - that different type of love that I've never felt before."

On how pregnancy has changed her sex life: "Yes, it's changed our sex life -- for the worse [laughs]. I am a wild girl in bed and I can't really be that wild anymore because I have limits now. I have 40 extra pounds in my belly, so I get tired easily. But no, of course, it's still great. I have a great man in bed, he definitely knows how to please me. But, yeah, we'll be better after when we have more energy!"

On if she feels beautiful while pregnant: "I have never felt this beautiful! The one thing I love about being pregnant is my skin, I used to have the worst acne. My whole life it's been horrible - on the Girls Next Door, it was disgusting. This is the best skin that I have ever had in my life!"

On her biggest cravings: "I've been eating a lot of breakfast - eggs, bacon and cheese sandwiches with wheat toast, a lot of waffles with peanut butter. Peanut butter is my biggest craving. I actually put bananas and syrup all over it, too. Even though I don't usually eat much meat, I've been eating a lot of ribs with barbecue sauce and steak. Also, my craving for chocolate came back. I never ate it before because it gave me migraines."

On what kind of dad Hank will be: "The best role model in the whole world! I am so happy we're having a boy first because I am excited to see the relationship between little Hank and Hank. I want him to be himself, but also have the same characteristics as Hank."

On how much weight she has gained so far: "I have gained 40 pounds. I still have a month-and-a-half to go. I was 110 or 115 and now weigh 150."

On how she feels about the weight gain: "There are things I love about it. I love that my hips are growing, even though it hurts. I want that butt and am starting to get it, so I'm excited."


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Why are preemies more likely to develop autism?

Researchers have long seen signs of autism in children born prematurely, and some studies have suggested that such signs can develop into full-blown autism in childhood. A study out Monday suggests that complications during pregnancy and early life may be responsible for this early risk.

It's unclear just how many children born prematurely will develop autism. The study, in the November issue of Pediatrics, included 1216 children with autistic disorders and 6080 without.

When Dr. Susanne Buchmayer and colleagues from the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, took various factors into account, children who were born at 31 weeks of pregnancy or earlier were about 1.5 times as likely to develop autism compared to babies born at full term. Those born from 32 to 36 weeks were about 1.3 times as likely to develop the condition.

However, when they took complications of pregnancy and early life into account, there were no significant differences between babies born at 36 weeks and earlier and those born later, suggesting that the complications themselves, and not the prematurity, were the link.

For example, preeclampsia - a life-threatening condition marked by high blood pressure, fluid retention and protein in urine -- was associated with greater than 50 percent increased risk of an autistic disorder in children.

Other complications linked to an increased risk: babies born small for the length of pregnancy, low infant blood sugar, birth defects, and infant seizures.

The also authors point out that the majority of children with autism were born at term, and call for research into whether preventing the complications of birth could prevent the disorder.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Transplant May Treat Metabolic Disorders in Womb

U.S. researchers are testing a new approach in cord-blood transplants to treat genetic metabolic disorders in babies while they're still in the womb.

The new method uses a small, select number of therapeutic stem cells that have been treated to speed and improve engraftment (acceptance of the transplant by the body), explained Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg, a professor of pediatrics and pathology and director of the pediatric blood and marrow transplant program at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

She and her team are studying the new procedure in a pilot trial open to pregnant women at risk for having children with fatal metabolic disorders, including Krabbe disease, metachromatic leukodystrophy, Pelizaeus-Maerzbacher disease, Tay-Sachs disease and Sandoff disease.

If untreated, these metabolic disorders can lead to bone, brain and central nervous system problems, and early death, the study authors noted in a Duke news release.

Donor cells used in the study will be made by the biopharmaceutical company Aldagen, Inc, which is a partner in the trial.

In many cases, cord-blood transplants after birth have proven successful in treating inherited metabolic disorders. Transplant timing is critical, Kurtzberg stressed.

"The idea is to give the baby cord-blood stem cells from a healthy donor that have the potential to provide healthy genes that can replace the ones that aren't working properly in the baby's own cells," Kurtzberg said in the news release.

In general, the earlier the transplant, the more likely it will work. That means that performing the transplant before the baby is born is ideal, she explained.

During the procedure, donor cells are injected directly into the fetus's abdomen at 12 to 14 weeks' pregnancy. At birth, the baby will be tested to see if the donor cells are present, and if they're fixing the malfunctioning genes. If not, the baby would be eligible for conventional cord-blood stem cell transplant within a few weeks.


Toys 'R' Us & Babies 'R' Us Offer Layaway

Retailers Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us are offering parents an in-store layaway program to help them pay for Christmas gifts this year.

The program is designed to help customers pay for the "big gifts." It allows them to make small payments on items like bikes, pools and televisions over time. They are then able to pick up the presents once the payments are complete.

The "Big Gift" Layaway program launches today at Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us stores nationwide. However, it is not available in Maryland.

Customers can use the program on the following products at Toys "R" Us:

  • Bikes
  • Battery-Powered Ride-On Vehicles
  • Dollhouses
  • Play Kitchens
  • Outdoor Play Equipment and Playsets, including metal gym sets, wood gym sets, trampolines, houses, teeter-totters and climbers
  • Pools and Water Slides
  • Preschool Ride-Ons, such as cozy coupes, horses, metal tricycles and wagons
  • Basketball Systems
  • Karaoke Machines
  • Keyboards and other Musical Instruments for toddlers to teens
  • Televisions
  • Indoor Table Games, including air hockey, foosball and table tennis

The program also applies to the following products at Babies "R" Us:

  • Infant and Toddler Furniture
  • Car Seats
  • High Chairs
  • Play Yards
  • Strollers and Travel Systems
  • Bassinets

To take advantage of the program you must make a 20% deposit, including all applicable taxes and a $10 service charge. Payments can then be made at any time at the store by using cash, check, credit card, debit card or gift card.

The final payment is due by December 6 to ensure that the gift is available in time for Christmas. Once the final payment is made, the merchandise will be available within 7-10 days.


Love for Veggies Begins in the Womb

Emerging research now suggests that parents can begin to shape a child's palate even in the womb, says Stanford University pediatrician Alan Greene, author of Feeding Baby Green, published this month.

Babies actually have more taste buds before birth than at any other time of life. They can detect subtle flavors from their mothers' diet through their amniotic fluid, Greene says. These early exposures create a lasting "imprint" on children's tastes, Greene says. One study showed that babies of women who drank carrot juice while pregnant were more likely than others to enjoy carrots when they were 6 months old.

Infants are surprisingly adventurous from the age of 6 months to 13 months, a critical time for the formation of their future preferences. They can learn to like almost anything, although it may take six to 10 tastings, Greene says.

Yet few parents make the most of this crucial window. Research shows that 94% of parents give up offering new foods after only five tries, Greene says. While children's diets have improved modestly in recent years, a new study of kids under age 4 shows that nearly a third eat no vegetables a day.

Introducing new flavors and textures gets harder as kids grow. After age 2 or 2½, when food preferences solidify, it could take 90 attempts to get a child to like something new — at least until puberty, when some kids rediscover their love for new things, Greene says.

Picky eaters often develop bad habits, filling up on familiar fast foods instead of eating more wholesome family meals, Greene says. That helps explain a worrisome trend: Nearly 25% of our meals today come from fast food, compared with 10% of meals two decades ago, Jana says.

Many parents don't realize the problem with letting babies have sweets. "If you start potato chips and sweets early, then everything else will taste bland," says Atlanta pediatrician Jennifer Shu, co-author of Food Fights. "It trains their taste buds."

Preparing homemade baby food with a food grinder is far cheaper than buying jarred foods, says Greene, who carries a small food mill to show parents how to do it.

Because these purees taste more like the "real" food eaten by adults, they help babies make the transition eating a family meal, says Annabel Karmel, author of Top 100 Baby Purees.

"We're conditioning our children to like something that doesn't taste like real food," she says. "Parents think they're saving time, but they're really causing themselves trouble down the line."

Children are more willing to try something if they've had a hand in preparing it, Karmel says.

Training toddlers to enjoy the family meal also saves parents time in the long run, because it keeps them from becoming short-order cooks, Greene says.

"Every bite of food is either an investment in your child's body, or a debt that we'll have to repay somehow," Greene says. Teaching children to love healthy food, he says, "is such a wonderful gift for the rest of their lives."