Entries in Maternity (4)


Man Captures Daughter's Birth on Tape While Driving

Zachary Russell videotaped the backseat birth of his daughter while driving his wife to their Mansfield, Texas, birthing center. (ABC News)(MANSFIELD, Texas) -- A determined dad-to-be managed to videotape the backseat birth of his daughter while driving his wife to their Mansfield, Texas, birthing center.

Zachary and Jennifer Russell were 15 minutes into the 45-minute trip when Jennifer's water broke. Moments later, baby Willow was born.

"By the time my water broke, I pushed once and she was out," Jennifer Russell told ABC News affiliate WFAA-TV. "I didn't think it was going to happen that fast."

The first thing proud papa did was whip out his video camera.

"I just kept making sure the frame was good and that I was staying on the road," Zachary Russell told WFAA. "I'm surprised. I did real well!"

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 New Jersey PATH train, a stuck service elevator in Spanaway, Wash., 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."

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 the backseat of a Ford Compact over a birthing center, 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."

Wherever they're born, babies need to be dry and warm.

"The most important thing is to dry it off and put it skin-to-skin against mom," said Greenfield. The next step is to get mom and baby to the nearest hospital. "It's so dramatic and exciting," said Greenfield. "When it ends well, it's certainly a story to tell."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Maternal Health by the Numbers: 20 From '20/20'

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Around the world, statistics related to maternal health and mortality are staggering. Below, a look at 20 numbers that are a matter of life and death.

1. A woman dies every 90 seconds during pregnancy or childbirth.

2. That mortality rate amounts to more than 350,000 deaths per year or more than 1,000 a day.

3. Ninety-nine percent of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.

4. One woman in 11 dies in pregnancy or childbirth in Afghanistan.

5. The United States ranks 50th in the world in maternal mortality, with higher death rates than most European countries as well some in Asia and the Middle East, according to the World Health Organization.

6. One-third of all births worldwide are performed without a skilled professional.

7. In 2011, more than 50 million babies were delivered without the aid of a skilled birth attendant.

8. Adding 350,000 midwives overseas could save the lives of as many as 3.6 million mothers and children.

9. A 10 percent increase in skilled health workers corresponds to a 5 percent reduction in maternal deaths.

10. Eighty percent of maternal deaths could be prevented by cost-effective, timely health care before, during and after childbirth, including family planning, skilled attendance at birth, emergency medical services and care in the weeks after birth.

11. One in 7 girls in developing countries is married by the age of 15.

12. Girls younger than 15 are five times more likely to die while giving birth.

13. Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are a significant cause of death among adolescent girls, ages 15-19, resulting in nearly 70,000 deaths each year.

14. About 215 million women who want to control the size of their families don't have access to family planning.

15. Each year, modern contraceptive use prevents 188 million unintended pregnancies.

16. The use of contraceptives helps prevent a projected 150,000 maternal deaths.

17. Fulfilling the unmet need for family planning would reduce maternal mortality by 32 percent.

18. More family planning would also reduce infant mortality by 10 percent.

19. Programs that deliver health messages to women's mobile phones provide specific information about nutrition, prenatal care, immunization schedules and how to treat diarrhea and pneumonia in children. Nearly 25 million moms around the world are already receiving health messages delivered through the Internet and hundreds of thousands of mothers receive this information through their phones.

20. Despite advances such as mobile health messages, only 23 countries are on target to meet Millennium Development Goal 5, to reduce maternal mortality by 75 percent by 2015.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Maternity Advocates Challenge High Cost of Preterm Birth Drug

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The March of Dimes is teaming up with leading maternity experts to lobby for KV Pharmaceuticals to reconsider its decision to boost the price of a drug that prevents premature birth from $10 a shot to $1,500 a shot.

The drug company gained exclusive rights to produce a progesterone shot used to prevent premature births in high-risk mothers from the Food and Drug Administration in February. Soon after, it announced plans to list the drug at a price 150 times higher than the cost of the non-branded version women have been using for years. The shot has been available in unregulated form from specialty compounding pharmacies for years for $10 a pop for years, but now, marketed as Makena, the drug will cost $1,500 per dose -- an estimated $30,000 in total per pregnancy.

The pricing tactic has outraged doctors, patients, and leading maternity advocates. Several organizations and public officials have sent letters to KV Pharmaceuticals urging the company to amend its business plan. The March of Dimes, American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine will meet March 29 with the company to urge KV to reconsider their pricing.

"Progesterone is so cheap to make and we never had a problem with the compounding pharmacies making it. There's probably some variation between pharmacies, which nobody likes, but nobody likes $1,500 a shot either. That seems like highway robbery," says Dr. Jacques Moritz, director of gynecology at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York.

KV Pharmaceuticals plans to offer financial assistance to low-come households in need of the drug, but how private health insurance companies and Medicaid will respond to this price spike remains to be seen. Many doctors fearing that access to this treatment will become severely limited or interrupted for those currently mid-treatment.

And because FDA laws prohibit compounding pharmacies from making FDA-approved products, doctors will be legally obligated to stop using the cheaper version of this drug, a representative for the company told ABC News.

Doctors fear the financial burden this new pricing will place on the healthcare system as a whole. In a March 16 article on the issue in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Joanne Armstrong, a Texas-based obstetrician, wrote:

"[N]o program providing short-term financial assistance to some patients will mitigate the harm that this new cost will cause to publicly funded programs, including Medicaid, and the women who rely on them. Nor will it mitigate the cost to employers and individuals who purchase insurance coverage and therefore directly bear all increases in health care costs."

Armstrong estimated that preventing premature births with the old, non-branded version of the drug cost approximately $41.7 million a year, saving $519 million in medical costs that would have been incurred by caring for the pre-term babies. With Makena, the price of preventing the same amount of premature birth skyrockets to $4 billion annually.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pregnancy and Stilettos: Are They Safe?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- As a slave to fashion, celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe announced that she does not own a pair of flat shoes, and, even now, seven months pregnant, Zoe rocks thigh-high stilettos for an afternoon on the town.

Last weekend, the 39-year-old Zoe was photographed with her husband and friends strolling around Los Angeles. Along with her stiletto platform boots, Zoe wore a belted black shirt-dress with a knit bomber jacket. Stylish indeed, but some wonder if Zoe is risking safety of body and baby for her high fashion style.

"Stilettos in general are not dangerous," said Dr. Lauren Streicher, a staff obstetrician gynecologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. "We are fortunately long past the days when a pregnant woman had to wear a tent or a T-shirt with an arrow pointing to the belly."

Doctors say the main reason that high heels have gotten a bad rep is because a woman's body weight and shape change during pregnancy, and so does her center of gravity. Because of this, she may be more prone to falls, which could have dire consequences. But otherwise, a lot of the risk is to her own comfort.

"It's fine for a pregnant woman to wear stilettos, but she may find her balance is off, especially when she gets large," said Streicher. "If she were to fall, obviously she could break a leg, but there is no particular danger to that developing pregnancy."

Dr. Manuel Porto, professor and chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California Irvine Medical Center, also said that the arched back posture that is used by most pregnant women to accommodate the change leads to low back pain. Wearing high-heeled shoes and boots can exacerbate those problems, especially as feet start to swell in the later months.

"Most obstetricians recommend that patients wear flat shoes or those with less than a two-inch heel, especially in the third trimester," said Porto.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

ABC News Radio