Entries in Child Birth (3)


Unaware She Was Pregnant, Woman Delivers 10-Pound Baby

Comstock/Thinkstock(JACKSON, Mich.) -- A woman who said she didn’t know she was pregnant arrived at the hospital and, hours later, delivered a 10-pound baby girl, a Michigan newspaper reported.

Linda Ackley, 44, said she thought she had a hernia. She’d been told she couldn’t bear children.

“She is our miracle baby,” the stunned new mother, who gave birth on Feb. 8 by emergency C-section, told the Jackson Citizen Patriot. The couple named the little girl Kimberly Kay.

Her husband, Mike, got the news over the telephone.

“Some people have nine months to prepare. I had [15] hours,” he said. “I wish someone would have taken a picture of my face.”

Surprise births occur regularly, an OB-GYN in Cleveland told ABC News.

“It happens more than you would think,” said Dr. Kimberly Gecsi, who works at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.

“Every time it does  there’s always the, ‘How could they not have known? It seems crazy.’”

Gecsi gets two or three cases of this type on average every year, she said. It occurs mostly among young women, who she said are in denial.

“Teenagers will until the day they die say I don’t have sex, so it just doesn’t occur to people,” she said.

But sometimes even doctors miss the seemingly obvious.

“I’ve had patients sent to me by family practitioners convinced the patient had cancer,” Gecsi said.

Though babies born to unprepared mothers are often born healthy — as the Michigan baby was last week — missed prenatal care isn’t a good thing, said Dr. Jennifer Ashton, a senior medical contributor for ABC News who has a private OB-GYN in New Jersey.

Her advice to women of child-bearing age: “Be familiar with your own body and pay attention to the way in which it talks to you. Prenatal care is really important for not just the baby but the mother also,” said Ashton, an OB-GYN at University Hospitals Case Medical Center.

Last Friday morning, Linda Ackley arrived at the hospital, Allegiance Health, for a CT scan to check the supposed hernia. She said she had a “bloated abdomen” a week earlier.

An initial scan revealed she was pregnant. Doctors told Ackley she would deliver in three to four weeks. But a second scan taken soon after showed that she had carried the baby to full term, 40 weeks.

So hospital staff wheeled Ackley in for an emergency delivery. The baby was born Friday night.

The surprise birth follows a medical scare in 2011 for the Ackleys, high school sweethearts who had been married for 24 years. Linda Ackley contracted necrotizing fasciitis, a bacterial infection that attacks soft tissue. After spending a week in a coma, doctors had to remove some of her stomach muscles.

She had been told she might not live. Now looking back, she views the illness in a new light.

“God wanted me here for something,” she said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


'Obese & Expecting': Weight Ups Risks for Mom, Baby

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- One more worry in the country's obesity crisis: a new documentary highlights the perils of extra pounds during pregnancy.

The TLC special, Obese & Expecting, follows four obese women through complicated pregnancies and painful deliveries that put mom and baby at risk.

"We know that obesity during pregnancy increases the risk of diabetes and preeclampsia," said Dr. Marjorie Greenfield, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland. "And when the mom is big, the baby can be big, raising the risk of birth injury and C-section."

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A scene from the documentary shows doctors struggling to give one woman an epidural through the fat in her back.

"We spent 45 minutes attempting to put the spinal in," said Dr. Charles Hux, a New Jersey OB/GYN featured in the documentary. "With so many layers of fat, it's difficult to be certain that the needle went into the exact space it should go in."

After several tries, the team gave up, deciding instead to give the woman a general anesthetic and a C-section.

"Going to sleep carries significant risks, even for a slim pregnant woman," said Greenfield, calling the decision a last resort. "And the risk goes up significantly in a woman who's overweight."

Studies suggest nearly half of U.S. women who are of child-bearing age are obese, a problem that weighs heavily on doctors.

"It's harder to provide excellent care to someone who's obese because a lot of things we do are not as accurate," said Greenfield, explaining how ultrasounds and other tests to gauge the baby's growth can be skewed by the mother's fat. "It's also harder to feel the position of the baby."

That fat, and the fact that obesity can cause irregular periods, also means women might not realize they're pregnant.

"If you don't know you're pregnant, you might not avoid things that are toxic, like alcohol, smoking and certain medications," said Greenfield, adding that prenatal vitamins are also important. "And a lot of what we do in prenatal care depends on knowing exactly how far along a woman is. If you don't have a sense of gestational age, it's harder to provide the right care."

Obesity has also forced hospitals to adapt, adding delivery tables that can be made wider and hold up to 600 pounds, Greenfield said.

"The old tables only went up to 450 pounds," she said. "That's just not realistic anymore."

Weight gain during pregnancy is normal. But obese women should gain no more than 15 pounds, roughly half the amount recommended for women of normal weight.

"For someone with bad eating habits, that's going to be really hard," said Greenfield, describing how pregnancy cravings and the "eating for two" mentality can conspire to pack on the pounds. "Lifestyle change is always hard. But during pregnancy, I think women are more motivated to do it for themselves and their baby."

Obese & Expecting premiered Thursday night at 9 p.m. on TLC.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Death After Home Birth Raises Questions

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Before hospitals became the go-to places for giving birth, having a baby at home was considered the norm. Now, with celebrities including Giselle Bundchen and Jennifer Connelly publicly announcing they opted for a home birth, the method is increasingly becoming more popular.

Recent studies show that home births are up 20 percent. But even with this renewed interest, less than one percent of babies in the United States are born at home.

However, the death of a respected home birth advocate in Australia as she herself gave birth at home resurrects the question of how safe home births are.

Caroline Lovell, 36, once advocated for midwife funding and legal protection in Australia. But in January, Lovell died of a heart attack just one day after giving birth at home to her second daughter, Zahra, the Australian newspaper Herald Sun reported.

One of the main appeals of home birth is the woman’s comfort from being in her own surroundings, according to Brad Imler, president of the American Pregnancy Association.

“The families that tend to elect home birth favor a natural birth,” said Imler.

The report sparked a burst of comments among mothers and mothers-to-be on online chat boards -- some of whom strayed further from the idea.

“Just one reason why I would never feel comfortable planning a home birth,” one mother commented on the online community “Nothing against those that choose to, but this is too scary to convince me.”

Imler said that he found cardiac arrest an extremely uncommon complication, and it should not be attributed to the fact that Lovell had a home birth.

“Having birth at home or at a hospital does not trigger the heart attack itself,” said Imler. “We don’t really know that the home birth brought it on.”

A majority of mothers who commented on agreed.

“Things can go wrong in childbirth regardless of where you give birth,” one mother wrote.

But the difference between home birth and hospital birth lies in having quick access to care should an unforeseen complication emerge.

“The question would be: Had she been in the hospital, would there have been ample time to resuscitate and save her life?” said Imler.

The American Pregnancy Association doesn’t advocate a mother choose one birthing method over another, as long as a mother is educated about the risks and benefits. The Lovell case certainly doesn’t change its stance.

However, Imler said, there are many women who choose birthing centers that try to recreate the full home birth feel but are more medically equipped with staff and services.

“Labor and delivery is not a condition, and that tends to be one of the connotations of the hospital,” said Imler.

Many hospital maternity wards are starting to provide a more comforting feel to the birthing process.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), hospitals and birthing centers are the safest places to have a baby.

Evidence suggests home births carry a two- to three-fold increased risk of newborn death compared to planned hospital births, ACOG said in a public statement.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio