Entries in Delivery (12)


Men Suffer Pregnancy Pains in Labor Simulation

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Labor is the type of pain that even makes grown men cry.  

But now, two Dutch television hosts, Dennis Storm and Valerio Zeno of the show Guinea Pigs, can vouch for the fact that all the screaming isn’t just an act -- giving birth really hurts.

As part of a stunt for their show, Storm and Zeno were hooked up to a machine with electrodes stuck to their abdomens to simulate labor pains.  And just like the real thing, the cramping of the “contractions” got stronger, longer and closer together.

The men say they did it so they could better empathize with women.  But not all women are buying it.

“You can think of this as a very strong Charley horse,” said Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News senior medical contributor.  “Is it as painful as labor?  My opinion would be it isn’t.”

The average labor lasts 12 to 14 hours, but Storm and Zeno only lasted two hours.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Moms Push to Have First Babies of New Year

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Sarah Grillo was lying on an operating table last New Year's Eve as doctors prepared for her cesarean section when she heard people singing "Auld Lang Syne" down the hall.

"I thought, 'Oh my gosh, they could really be New Year's babies," she said, adding that her water had broken about five weeks before her twins were due.  "We weren't looking to be the first of the year."

Ten minutes later, baby Grace and her one-minute-younger brother, Luke, became Boston's first babies of 2012.

But in other cities, like Chicago, a 12:10 a.m. baby would probably be too late to be crowned first baby of the year, said Dr. Karen Deighan, the director of OB/GYN at Gottleib Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

"People will be, like, 12 midnight and two seconds," she said.

Since so many babies seem to be born seconds after midnight in Chicago, Deighan said she thinks it's probably "a little artificial."  A normal day will have eight deliveries over 24 hours in her hospital, though a day without births isn't unheard of.

Dr. Lauren Streicher, who was an OB/GYN for more than 20 years in Chicago, said she'd left a party to deliver a baby one New Year's Eve and realized it was close to midnight.  She told her patient she had a choice: She could either give one final push or wait five minutes.

At midnight, the mother gave one last push, but she was a few seconds too late, Streicher said.  Another baby made it out first because that mother was holding back, too.

"They were all doing it.  They were all panting, panting, panting," said Streicher, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University's medical school.  "Particularly if someone has had an epidural, they can hold back.  Many times, someone is trying not to deliver, waiting for the doctor to get there, waiting for the husband to get there.  In most times, there's more control than you think."

Although most years Streicher's patients aren't interested in having the first baby, she said she recalls one other patient who wanted to wait the 30 seconds before midnight to deliver.

"She wanted me to put a hand on the baby's head and hold it," Streicher said, adding that the patient was having a hard time controlling her pushing.  "It was 30 seconds.  The baby's heart rate was fine."

The odds of having a baby in the first minute of the year aren't far from the odds of getting struck by lightning, said Dr. Jennifer Austin, an OB/GYN at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco. 

According to the National Weather Service, the odds of getting struck by lightning are 1 in 775,000.  Because there are 526,600 minutes in a year, the odds of giving birth at 12:01 on Jan. 1 are 1 in 526,600.

"Unless you're having a scheduled c-section, it's impossible to predict exactly when and where your baby will come," she said.  "And no doctor is going to do a scheduled c-section in the middle of the night.  It's not safe."

Births are rarely scheduled for New Year's Eve because hospitals have reduced holiday staffing, Streicher said.  More likely, they're scheduled for the last few days of the year so mommy and daddy can get a tax break.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Hospitals Offer First Class Deliveries to Those Who Can Afford It

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- There's special delivery and then there's extra-special delivery.  When pop star Beyonce gave birth to her daughter Blue Ivy at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City earlier this year, news sources reported that she commandeered a $1,700 a night maternity suite complete with catered meals, a flat-screen TV and round-the-clock nursing care.

Offering luxury maternity rooms to women who can reach deeper into their pockets than the insurance co-pay demands seems to be a trend at large city hospitals.

At Mount Sinai Medical Center, also in New York, private maternity rooms run an extra $500-$850 per night depending on the size of the room and the view from the window.  Pampered new moms can order in-room gourmet meals, pedicures and luxury spa services.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles offers deluxe rooms for $2,673 a night that come with a personal care aide to attend to the needs of mom and baby.

Many of these rooms do their very best to impersonate a five-star hotel room.  The bathrooms in Mt. Sinai private rooms are described on their website as "spa-inspired" with "decidedly female private baths," featuring Italian glass tile, elegant sconces, and decorative mirrors.

New moms can even rent "Beyonce rooms" if they give birth outside of celebrity-magnet cities like New York and L.A.  Medical City Hospital in Dallas, for example, offers private rooms with a foldout guest bed and large screen TV for $250 a night over and above insurance coverage.

It's not as if giving birth isn't expensive enough already: The average hospital birth now costs around $10,000, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  For more complicated deliveries involving cesarean sections, the price tag can climb to over $20,000.  For some women, part of these costs will be covered by insurance.  But any added cost for special services and extra amenities are not.

Wealthier mothers are snapping up private maternity rooms as fast as they're being offered.  Often there are waiting lists.  But there is some grumbling that these posh postpartum services come at the expense of other newborns.

Kathleen Flynn, vice president of the New York Professional Nurses Union, which represents nurses employed at Lenox Hill, said that luxury suites were having a negative impact on the quality of care elsewhere on the hospital's maternity ward.

"The hospital wants to make money and we have no problem with that.  But we do have a problem when they pull staff off the regular ward to staff the executive suites," she said.

A group of anonymous Lenox Hill nurses recently told the New York Daily News that while affluent women and their bundles of joy enjoy nearly one-to-one attention, sometimes as many as 18 newborns in the regular maternity ward are monitored by a single nurse.  By contract, nurses are supposed to take care of no more than eight babies at once.

Flynn said the fancier rooms are only staffed when a patient purchases a luxury package.  Whenever that happens -- about 80 percent of the time according to the hospital -- she said a nurse must be taken off shift from the main maternity ward.  That's when nursing shortages arise.

Barbara Osborne, a media relations manager for Lenox Hill denies the allegations.

"At no point has our maternity unit been understaffed, as was reported," she said.  "As a matter of fact, in the last two years, we've hired about 240 new nurses, representing about 20 percent of the nursing staff.  We are dedicated to providing a single standard of high-quality medical care to all of our patients, regardless of accommodations."

But Flynn said the issue is so well known that some moms of means are passing up the chance for a pampered birthing experience for fear of being viewed as elitist.

"They don't want to be seen as taking away care from the other families," she noted.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NY Mom on Way to Hospital Delivers Twins on Two Different Highways

Declan (L) and Gavin (R). (Courtesy Deirdre Shea)(NEW YORK) -- Before a very pregnant Siobhan Anderson left her Amityville, N.Y., home early Saturday morning to deliver twin baby boys, her mother told her, "You'd better not give birth on the Northern State Parkway."

She didn't.  Instead, she gave birth on two other Long Island highways -- Southern State Parkway and Wantagh State Parkway.

Siobhan and Bryan Anderson expected to welcome their twin baby boys next Friday, but Siobhan's water broke at about 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning -- nearly a full week early, Bryan said.

Heeding their doctor's advice not to rush or panic, they took their time and got into the car at about 7 a.m.

Siobhan said she felt a big contraction, and suddenly felt the baby's head a few minutes after they pulled onto Southern State Parkway.  She told her husband he was going to have to deliver the twins right there on the side of the road.

"She kept screaming, 'The babies are coming,'" he said.  "I was like, 'I think we have time to at least get to the hospital.'"

Siobhan told Bryan to pull over near Exit 30, where he called 911.  Once EMTs arrived, Siobhan told them she couldn't move from the car because she was "holding the baby in," but they didn't believe her because even most emergency births aren't immediate, she said.

"They were helping her out of the car and into the stretcher and that's when Gavin was born," he said.  "Born right there on Southern State Parkway."  It was 7:35 a.m.  Gavin was 6 pounds, 12 ounces.

"As soon as I moved, he came out," she laughed.  "He was born at 7:35 in the open air."

Once Siobhan delivered the first baby, EMTs got her in the ambulance.  The plan was to drive to the nearest hospital in time for her second son to be delivered.

Meanwhile, Bryan got back in his car and followed the ambulance, calling his brother-in-law to calm himself down.

But less than 10 minutes later, the ambulance pulled over on Wantagh State Parkway.

Confused, Bryan said he jumped out of the car.  EMTs told him "baby number two" was coming, and let him in the back door of the ambulence.

At 7:46 a.m., Declan was born at 5 pounds, 15 ounces.

"I sat right behind her," he said.  "It was an unbelievable experience."

They walked into the Nassau University Medical Center with both babies in-hand.

"We were just in shock," Siobhan said.  "I'm still in shock that it happened.  I can't believe I was able to do that."

She said the scariest part was that she knew she had to give birth naturally, even though she'd thought that she needed an epidural before she even left the house.

Siobhan, Gavin, and Declan will be able to go home Friday to be with Dad and their big brother, Dylan.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Baby's Birth Captured by MRI, Creating Time-Lapse Movie

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BERLIN) -- This is not your average video of a live birth. German researchers have used Magnetic Resonance Imaging to peer inside a woman's body during labor, a medical first that sheds light on the birth process.

The researchers, from Charité University Hospital in Berlin, created the 30-second movie using cinematic MRI, a technique that strings together snapshots from deep inside the body.

"Knowledge about the mechanism of labor is based on assumptions and radiographic studies performed decades ago," the researchers wrote about in their story published in the June issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The video shows the mother's final push and her baby's swift arrival in the world, providing anatomical clues that could help guide doctors during tricky deliveries.

"For the vast majority of women, letting nature take its course is a pretty good way to give birth," said Dr. Marjorie Greenfield, division chief of general obstetrics and gynecology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland. "But it's interesting to find ways to understand it better. And if this helps us learn ways to avoid Cesarean section and have babies come out vaginally, there could be some benefit."

"It's just so generous that she would be willing to support science by sharing something so personal and private," Greenfield said. "I imagine she'd had lots of babies before she knew how she was going to handle it."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Surprise Delivery: When Babies Are Born in Strange Places

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A train and an elevator were just two of the unlikely places where babies were born this week.

Rabita Sarke of Harrison, N.J., surprised morning commuters on Monday when she gave birth to a boy on a PATH train.  And Katie Thacker of Spanaway, Wash., delivered son Blake on Wednesday in a hospital's stuck service elevator.

While most moms-to-be make it to the delivery room with time to spare, experts say a quick labor can surprise even the most practiced of parents.

"The vast majority of women have plenty of warning before their baby is going to come," said Dr. Marjorie Greenfield, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.  "But some people have very, very rapid labors."

Other unplanned labor locales include a Baltimore airport bathroom, a Denver library, a McDonald's in Vancouver, Wash., and an airplane en route to San Francisco.

Despite having a due date -- an estimate based on the time of conception -- babies tend to come out when they're ready, regardless of whether the parents feel the same.  But several warning signs signal the start of labor, which for first-time moms lasts an average of 16 hours.

"About 1 percent of women break their water before they go into labor," said Greenfield.  "It's usually a big gush, but sometimes it's more of a constant trickle."  Either way, "you can usually tell."

There are other, more ubiquitous signs that a baby is ready to go: Contractions that start out feeling like menstrual cramps and steadily grow more intense; a tightening feeling across the lower back; and the sensation that the baby is curling up inside. But there are false alarms, too.

"I think that's part of what keeps people from acting at first," said Greenfield. "People sometimes feel crampier and have more pelvic pressure" late in pregnancy.  "And there's the bloody show -- mucus and blood coming out of the cervix.  But they're not very predictive of labor."

Some women are caught off guard because they don't feel pain with contractions.

"Everyone's been telling them, 'Pain, pain, pain,' and they don't recognize what contractions feel like," said Greenfield of the women some would call lucky.  "But that's pretty rare."

Others fail to recognize the signs of labor because, as Greenfield puts it, they're in denial.

"I've certainly seen moms who don't accept they're pregnant," she said.  "They kind of know but are really in a state of denial.  That's one situation where we see deliveries outside the hospital."

And even for veteran moms who've been there, done that, labor can be sneaky.

"If their first baby came in two hours, the next baby may be the one they're going to deliver in the car on the way to the hospital," said Greenfield. "The second delivery, on average, is usually half the length of the first."

Although few women would choose a train or elevator over a hospital or midwife-assisted homebirth, Greenfield said quick labors are usually a sign that everything is going smoothly.

"This is the way nature intended," she said. "Labor wasn't intended to happen in hospitals hooked up to IVs."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Canadian 12-Year-Old Delivers His Baby Brother

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(CAMPBELL RIVER, British Columbia) -- Gaelan Edwards first met his new brother in an unusual way: The 12-year-old actually helped deliver the baby after his mother couldn't make it to the hospital in time.

Danielle Edwards, 30, of Campbell River, British Columbia, told Canada's CTV she woke up on Saturday around 2 a.m. already in labor.  That's when she called for her son, Gaelan.

"Gaelan, when you see the shoulders, I need you to hang on to the shoulders and I need to you pull them out," Edwards instructed her son.

Gaelan, who said he'd seen TV shows on childbirth and had read a few medical books his mother kept in the home, remembered what he learned.

He took the baby's shoulders and eased him out.  He then went to get scissors, a clamp and a blanket, and cut the umbilical cord.  After that, he wrapped his new baby brother in a blanket.

The family then went to the hospital where mother and baby got a clean bill of health.

Dr. Salih Yasin, associate professor and vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine, said women can sometimes go into labor very quickly, especially if they've previously given birth, as Edwards had four other times.

And if there are no complications, delivery isn't as daunting as it may seem.

"Birth is a natural process that the human body is made to take care of on its own," he said. "There are many stories of babies being delivered in cars or in parking lots."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Childbirth at Home on the Rise, Says Report

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- More women are opting to deliver their babies at home, according to new research published Friday in the journal Birth.

Using birth certificate data, researchers from the National Center for Health Statistics report they saw a 20 percent rise in home births between 2004 and 2008.

"I think there's a variety of reasons for the increase," said Marian MacDorman, a statistician and lead author of the report.  "The desire for a low-intervention birth in a familiar environment surrounded by family and friends, lack of transportation in rural areas, and cost factors could all factor in."

The total cost for a home birth, MacDorman said, is roughly one-third the cost of a hospital birth.  So for women who don't have insurance, delivering at home is cheaper.  On the other hand, not all insurers cover home births.

Another factor contributing to the rise in home births could be the simultaneous rise in C-sections -- the focus of the 2008 documentary, The Business of Being Born.  The film, produced by actress and talk show host Ricky Lake, suggests childbirth was transformed into a highly medicalized procedure in the twentieth century, citing reports that 95 percent of U.S. births took place at home in 1900.

Despite the hefty boost in recent years, home births still account for less than one percent of all deliveries.  And while acknowledging that the risks associated with home births are low, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology does not support the practice.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Most Women Experience Complicated Deliveries, AHRQ Says

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- More than nine out of every 10 women giving birth in the U.S. had complications in 2008, according to data released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Premature labor, urinary infection anemia, diabetes, vomiting, bleeding and hypertension were among complications experienced by 94 percent of women hospitalized for pregnancy and delivery, the federal agency reports in its latest News and Numbers.

AHRQ also found that complications during delivery also made up nearly five percent of total U.S. hospital costs at $17.4 billion.  Hospital stays for complicated pregnancies cost almost 50 percent more than those without complications, the agency says.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mothers Support Midwife Who Pleaded Guilty to Negligence During Delivery

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock (ALEXANDRIA, Va.) -- Karen Carr has won the thanks and praise of many moms by delivering more than 1,200 babies during her 25-year career as a midwife.

But last week Carr, 44, pleaded guilty to two felony charges in an infant death that she attended during a home delivery in Virginia last September. The state of Virginia argued that Carr was negligent during the home birth after the baby's head became entrapped for more than 20 minutes during the delivery. The baby died two days later.

Despite the charges and Carr's guilty plea, her fans still stand by her -- even raising money for her on a Facebook page created by In Service to Women, a group that supports midwifery and now hopes to help pay for Carr's legal fees.

Carr faced several charges, including involuntary manslaughter, according to the Washington Post. By pleading guilty, Carr accepted that her negligence contributed to the baby's death that and she was not licensed to attend a delivery in Virginia, the state that brought the charges against her.

It was the state of Virginia, not the parents of the baby who died, that brought the charges against Carr. The parents filed a request for confidentiality throughout the trial.

John Zwerling, Carr's attorney, said the parents were well aware of the risks involved with a vaginal breech home birth, but the mother was "desperate not to have a c-section."

Carr is a licensed midwife in Maryland but not in Virginia, which technically made it illegal for her to deliver the baby there.

"The hospital brought it to our attention, and we filed charges, brought by the Commonwealth," said Krista Boucher, chief deputy commonwealth's attorney in Alexandria, Va. "We were delighted that she acknowledged that she was criminally negligent in open court."

During the pregnancy, the baby was in a breech position, and the parents hired Carr to attend the home delivery. In the breech position, babies enter the birth canal feet -- or buttocks -- first, not head-first.

The baby boy's head was stuck for nearly 20 minutes before it was pulled out. Carr performed CPR, but the baby was soon transferred to Inova Hospital in Alexandria and died two days later, according to court documents.

"Breech deliveries, in general, are done by Caesarean section for exactly the reason that happened in this case," said Dr. Jacques Moritz, director of gynecology at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. "The chance of head entrapment is small, but when it happens, it is devastating."

Moritz was quick to note that breech births can be difficult in hospitals, too, but "there are more things you can do in a hospital" to fix it.

"I'm as midwifery-friendly as they come, but a breech home delivery is just stupid," said Moritz, who was featured in the pro- midwifery documentary The Business of Being Born.

When head entrapment does occur, Dr. Manuel Porto, professor and chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California Irvine Medical Center, said there are a series of procedures available.

Patients interested in midwifery are informed of the benefits and risks before deciding on a home birth. Licensed midwives are trained in normal patterns of labor, Moray said, but if something becomes abnormal during the delivery, the midwife transfers care to physicians.

Had the mom in Carr's case been in a hospital, Moritz said, doctors probably would have performed a C-section to take out the baby, or, if the head was stuck while trying to deliver vaginally, special forceps could have been used to pull the baby. Midwives do not have such tools available to them.

When asked whether the outcome would have been different in a conventional hospital setting, Porto responded, "Yes, with little doubt."

Despite it all, Carr's backers still sing her praises. The Facebook page contains messages that express thanks and support from mothers who hired Carr as their midwife.

"Karen was such a blessing in my first pregnancy and birth that I went on to have 2 more homebirths," one woman wrote. "The peace and words and knowledge she shared with me -- I continue to share with other expectant mothers."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio