Entries in Mother (10)


Mother's Obesity Surgery May Break Cycle in Kids

George Doyle/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Children born to mothers who have undergone weight-loss surgery weigh less than their siblings born before the mother's surgery.

According to a study published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, not only were children conceived post-surgery less likely to be obese, they also had fewer risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. Researchers believe that because mothers absorb less fat and fewer calories after their surgery, the nutritional environment in their womb may be altered, training their children's genes to work differently.

While obesity may pass along problems from mother to child, researchers are not yet certain whether the benefits seen by children conceived after weight-loss surgery are permanent.

Additionally, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists points out that a mother's weight when they conceive is not all that matters. While mothers are supposed to gain weight during pregnancy, packing on too many pounds can significantly increase the child's risk of obesity and diabetes.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Surrogate Mother, 61, Gives Birth to Her Grandson

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Kristine Casey is not just any grandmother to her grandson, Finnean. She is also his surrogate mother.

Casey, then 61, gave birth to Finnean in February 2011 after her daughter, Sara Connell, struggled with infertility. Connell’s egg and husband Bill’s sperm were used in the in vitro fertilization procedure, making the couple Finnean’s biological parents, and Casey the gestational carrier of their child.

“The idea, we never could have fathomed,” Connell, 36, said Tuesday on ABC's Good Morning America. “I felt so connected with Finn and with my mom and yet it was a completely surreal, really fantastic situation.”

Connell tells the story of their family’s unconventional journey to motherhood in a new book, Bringing in Finn: An Extraordinary Surrogacy Story.

Connell struggled for years with infertility before her mother stepped in as a surrogate. “My husband and I had always wanted children,” Connell said on GMA.

“We were ready to start a family. I came off the birth control pill and I wasn’t having a cycle, so we tried holistic treatments, acupuncture, yoga and then went to a fertility specialist who said, ‘You’re not ovulating, you’re likely going to need help having a child.’"

“We moved onto fertility treatments, IVF, I lost twins at almost the third trimester, late into the pregnancy, which was really hard. Then we got pregnant one more time and had a miscarriage,” she recalled.

Casey, who had given birth to Connell and her two sisters 30 years earlier and gone through menopause 10 years ago, offered to act as the surrogate.

After months of tests and soul searching, they decided to go ahead with in vitro and after the second IVF cycle, Casey became pregnant.

When it comes to surrogate parenting, the Connell’s arrangement is not as uncommon as one might think.  In August, 49-year-old Linda Sirois of Maine gave birth to her grandson Madden when her daughter Angel Herbert, 25, and son-in-law Brian Herbet were unable to conceive.

While age is a limiting factor for the safety of such late-in-life surrogacy, hormonal supplementation and the use of donor eggs make pregnancy possible even in women who have gone through menopause. (Click here to read more on the medical aspects of late-in-life pregnancies).

“The doctors were very clear that the percentages [of complications] did increase with my age being a factor, but still the odds were pretty overwhelming that we would be successful,” Casey said Tuesday on GMA. “I just felt like it was a journey we needed to take.”

Casey, who likened carrying Finnean to babysitting for nine months, said the late-in-life surrogacy was “amazing.”

“It was so amazing to feel that little heart beat and the little movements inside of me,” she said. “To feel, the confidence, for some reason, I felt confident I could do this and we could have this wonderful grandson.”

[Click here to see photos of Casey and Sara through the pregnancy.]

Nine months later, Casey delivered the greatest gift a mother could give -- a healthy, 7-pound boy who has grown from baby to toddler -- and created an infinite bond between a mother and daughter.

“My gratitude really can’t even be described in words,” Connell said.

Connell, a writer and life coach, lives with husband Bill in Chicago, Ill., where they are raising Finn. Casey lives in Alexandria, Va., but the families visit each other often. Although they have not decided when or how they will tell Finn about how he came into the world, Connell says it’s something they celebrate.

“This is really something we want to celebrate in our family,” she said. “It feels like a miracle that we got to really witness. So when he’s old enough to understand those things, we’d love to find a way to share what the experience was like, but it’s also just how he got here and his life is his own now.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Biological Mom Kept from Child in Florida Lesbian Legal Case

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Tina's biological daughter turned 8 this week, but she has not seen the girl since Dec. 22, 2008 because of a custody fight with her former lesbian partner.  The partner is unrelated to the child, but gave birth to her.

"I thought I'd have her back on her birthday," said Tina, a law enforcement officer, whose name was never on the birth certificate and who has been denied parenting rights under Florida state law.

For 11 years, the Brevard County couple forged a committed relationship, living together, sharing their finances and raising a daughter.  Tina's egg was fertilized with donor sperm and implanted in her partner's womb.

But when their romance fell apart when the child was 2, the Florida courts had to decide, who is the legal parent, the biological mother or the birth mother who carried the unrelated child for nine months in her womb?

A trial court summarily sided with Tina's ex-partner, citing Florida statute. "The judge said, 'It breaks my heart, but this is the law,'" according to the birth mother's lawyer, Robert J. Wheelock of Orlando.

But on Dec. 23, a state appeals court rejected the law as antiquated and recognized both women as legal parents.  Citing the case as "unique," the 5th District Court of Appeal ruled that both the U.S. and Florida constitutions trump Florida's law, according to the Orlando Sentinel, which first reported the story.

"I am elated and I am thankful," said Tina, now 41. "I am hoping things will run smoothly from this [point] forward, but it may not be the case.  She is appealing and trying to keep me away from my daughter."

Court papers identify both women only by their initials.  ABC News is withholding Tina's last name to protect her privacy.

Wheelock has asked for a stay of Tina's rights and said the case will surely go to the Florida Supreme Court and, he hopes, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

He would give no personal details about the birth mother, including where she is living with the child.  He said she could not be available to talk to ABC News on "such short notice."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New York Mom of Twins Born Via Surrogate Denied Leave

John Guillemin / Bloomberg News(NEW YORK) -- A woman who used a surrogate to give birth to her twins is suing her employer in the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts for refusing to grant her paid maternity leave.

Kara Krill, a clinical business manager on New York's Long Island, has claimed breach of contract, breach of good faith and fair dealing, and negligent misrepresentation against Cubist Pharmaceuticals, headquartered in Lexington, Massachussetts.  She seeks an injunction and compensatory and punitive damages for employment law violations.

Krill, who developed a reproductive disability called Asherman's syndrome after she gave birth to her first child in June 2007, and her husband hired a surrogate mother, or gestational carrier, to carry and deliver their second child.  After learning the gestational carrier was pregnant with twins in November 2010, Krill informed her employer that she expected to be on maternity leave when the twins were born in May 2010, according to the suit.

Krill and her husband also obtained a prebirth order that "established the legal and genetic parentage of Drill's twins without having to institute adoption proceedings," according to court documents.

When Krill had her first child in June 2007, she received 13 weeks of paid leave under Cubist's maternity leave policy.

But a Cubist human resources employee informed Krill she would be entitled to adopting parents' leave of five days.  The company provides adopting parents who work 20 hours or more per week five paid days of leave plus up to $4,000 in expenses for the adoption, according to court documents.  The company's paternity leave policy also provides male employees who work 20 hours or more per week five paid days of leave.

In an email to the human resources employee, Krill complained about what she said was discriminatory treatment.

"As we have previously informed you, the children being born are mine and were conceived with my husband.  They are only being carried by [a gestational carrier] as a result of my physical disability... Cubist's treatment of me differently than other employees having babies is not fair and is placing me in an untenable condition," she wrote, according to the lawsuit.

The suit also claims that Krill's direct supervisor subjected Krill to "verbal harassment and other adverse treatment," "frequently" patronizing Krill about her disability.  That employee "told her pointedly on several different occasions that she should not be entitled to any leave from Cubist for the birth of her children, whether paid or unpaid," according to court documents.

When Krill informed her boss she was required to be with her newborn children for a minimum of 12 weeks, her boss told Krill that she could "'put [her] twins in daycare,' so she could come back to work sooner.'"  Her boss also informed Krill she was "changing her sales quota expectations and taking away one of Krill's largest customer accounts and assigning it to another Cubist employee who was not disabled, and not going out on maternity leave."

Francis McLoughlin, director of corporate communications at Cubist, said the company could not comment on ongoing litigation but that it "tries to maintain positive work relations at the company."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


First US Postpartum Depression Clinic Opens in North Carolina

Photodisc/Thinkstock(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) -- The dread and sadness felt by some new mothers is usually diagnosed as postpartum depression.  It can not only paralyze a woman, but endanger the life of her newborn.

To that end, the University of North Carolina hospital in Chapel Hill has opened the first U.S. free-standing perinatal psychiatry unit designed to care for women suffering from postpartum depression.

UNC's Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program offers those diagnosed with the condition both individual and family therapy sessions since fathers can also be prone to depression with the arrival of a new child.

Mothers who are hospitalized can continue breastfeeding and pumping milk and visit their infants so as to establish a routine that can be used once they are released from care.

While the program at UNC is brand new, it has already gotten a huge response from other medical personnel across the country who are asking how they too can start specialized clinics to treat mothers with postpartum depression.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Influence Your Child's Palate Before Birth

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- Want to instill in your child a love of vegetables? Start early. Very early.

New research by the Monell Chemical Senses Center finds mothers can influence a baby's palate and food memories before it is born. The study finds that what a woman eats during her pregnancy shapes the baby's food preferences later in life.

In the womb, the baby is surrounded and nourished on the amniotic fluid, which is filled with the flavors of what the mom has eaten.

"Things like vanilla, carrot, garlic, anise, mint -- these are some of the flavors that have been shown to be transmitted to amniotic fluid or mother's milk," Julie Mennella, a researcher at Monell, told National Public Radio.

The babies are feasting on the flavored amniotic fluid, forming memories of these flavors even before birth. These memories result in preferences for these foods or odors for a lifetime.

For example, eating broccoli while pregnant means there's a better chance your baby will like broccoli more than another baby whose mother did not eat broccoli.

Very early exposure to flavors, before and after birth, and reinforcement of those flavors make it more likely that children will accept a wide variety of flavors.

Researchers say this helps explain why kids from countries with more adventurous menus enjoy more diverse foods than a child exposed to American peanut butter and jelly and chicken nuggets.

The lesson: If you want your children to eat a healthy diet or more adventurous diet, you should expose them to all the right, healthy flavors early on. Very early on.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Rado


Mother Loses Custody of Infant over Poppy Seeds?

Zedcor Wholly Owned/Thinkstock(NEW CASTLE, Pa.) -- Eileen Bower of Pennsylvania is suing the Lawrence County Department of Children and Youth Services for taking custody of her newborn son after she tested positive for opiates, a result -- her lawyer says -- of her eating poppy seeds.

Stanley T. Booker, Bower's attorney, told ABC News that Bower gave birth to her son on July 13, 2009.  A routine blood test performed by Jameson Hospital uncovered the presence of opiates in her system.

"They contacted Lawrence County Children and Youth Services and got a court order to take custody of her child on July 15," Booker said.  Bower regained custody of her child 75 days later.

But before giving birth, Bower ate a salad with dressing that contained poppy seeds, which Booker believes led to the positive test result.

"There were only trace amounts of opiates -- they couldn't even put a range on the amount," Booker explained.

After the initial blood test, the hospital sent the blood to an outside laboratory to confirm the result, which came back the same.

"But even before the confirmatory test results, they contacted CYS and there was an order to take custody," Booker said.

Neither Jameson Hospital nor the Department of Children and Youth Services returned phone calls from ABC News, but according to the American Civil Liberties Union's web site, the hospital's policy is to perform drug tests on all new mothers and submit positive results to the Department of Children and Youth Services.

Both Jameson Hospital and the county's child protection agency are involved in a nearly identical case involving another woman whose child was taken as a result of a positive drug test.  Elizabeth Mort said she ate an everything bagel with poppy seeds on it shortly before she gave birth to her daughter.  She filed her lawsuit last October.

Toxicologists said that if trace amounts of opiates were found in Bower's blood, they didn't necessarily come from poppy seeds.

"It depends on the nature of the hospital's test, but when it comes to poppy seeds, you would have to eat a lot more than salad dressing to get a positive presumptive test," said Chip Walls, director of the Forensic Toxicology Laboratory at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine.

"A positive blood test is more than likely not from consuming poppy seeds, but it's not out of the question," said Bruce Goldberger, director of toxicology at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville.

Both experts emphasized that it didn't mean there was an illegal drug present, either.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sextuplet's Mom Needed 6,000 Calories a Day While Pregnant

Amanda Helms, RN, Brookwood Medical Center(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) -- When a woman is eating for seven, nutrition becomes a battle.  This is the lesson Heather Carroll, mother of the Alabama sextuplets born over Father's day weekend, learned.

The 5 feet, 2 inch, 30-year-old from Plantersville packed away 6,000 calories a day -- the same as a Navy SEAL in training -- just to keep her six babies alive until her scheduled Caesarean section last Saturday.

"It was very hard.  All of the snacks...every day they would start bringing me snack foods and desserts.  I mean it was very good, but I can't imagine doing that again," Carroll said at a press conference Tuesday.

Though the six infants were scheduled to be delivered two months ahead of schedule, Carroll still had to spend the month leading up to the C-section on bed rest at the Brookwood Medical Center in Birmingham. While hospital staff ran drills to prepare for her multiple birth, Carroll was hooked up to an IV drip and chugged vitamin-enriched milkshakes just to get enough nutrients to her babies.

"We think she's the smallest girl in the U.S. to carry sextuplets with survivability," says Carroll's OB/GYN, Dr. Bill McKenzie, at Brookwood.  "She's just a little hiccup of a girl and had no real fat stores starting out, so I told her we needed to be as aggressive as we could with nutrition."

The hard work paid off on Saturday when, despite the high risk inherent in carrying and birthing sextuplets, five baby girls and one baby boy, all under two-and-a-half pounds, entered the world between 8:05 and 8:08 a.m.  All six infants are currently doing well at Brookwood Medical Center, and Dr. McKenzie says they can probably go home around Labor day.

The idea behind the "aggressive nutrition" was to increase the infants' chance of survival, and McKenzie believes it paid off.

"They really act like they're older [than 28 weeks].  Their lungs are more mature.  They've surprised us all with how quick they came off of ventilators and were breathing on their own."

Heather Carroll's herculean nutrition needs highlight an area of maternal fetal medicine that is relatively new: with the increased popularity of fertility treatments that can increase the incidence of multiple births, obstetricians and maternal fetal medicine experts must tackle the dilemma of how to correctly gauge high multiple birth nutrition.

To some extent, it can be guesswork, estimating the extra needs according to how many calories women carrying one child need, says Dr. James Lemons, professor of pediatrics at Indiana University.

"Generally, we say that the average singleton pregnancy requires the woman to eat an extra 300 calories per day after the first trimester.  So with six babies, that would be an extra 1,800 calories," he says.

But when one gets past quintuplets, McKenzie says the math behind calculating calories breaks down.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Shorter Maternity Leave Conflicts with Suggested Breastfeeding Time

George Doyle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for about six months, but U.S. law requires that employers provide no less than three months of maternity leave, without any specification of whether it has to be paid leave.

As such, most women aren't home for six months with their infants, and many take even less than three months leave, possibly due to financial reasons.  So how does this impact breastfeeding?

Not surprisingly, researchers at Georgia Department of Community Health surveyed over 6,000 new moms across the U.S. and found that breastfeeding duration was linked to the length of time the moms took off from work.  Specifically, compared to women who took only one to six weeks maternity leave, those who spent three or more months at home had higher odds of breastfeeding their babies past three months of age.

The authors of the study, which was published Monday in Pediatrics, argue that if new moms could delay their return to work, the duration of breastfeeding may lengthen.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study Finds Breast-Fed Babies Have Fewer Behavioral Problems

George Doyle/Thinkstock(HELSINKI, FINLAND) -- A new study from Finland provides more evidence in favor of breast feeding.

Published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, this study says that breast milk is best for babies. 

Many studies have shown that breast feeding beats formula for infant development when it comes to growth, cognitive function and immune response.

Researchers at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health looked at more than 10,000 mothers and their children in the United Kingdom.

They found that babies who were breast-fed for at least four months are less likely to exhibit behavioral problems as 5-year-olds compared to infants who were fed formula.

The authors also note that breast feeding means more involvement between mother and child, leading to better learning of acceptable behaviors.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

ABC News Radio