Entries in Newborn (14)


When Is It OK for a Parent to Leave a Newborn?

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Parents with young children always face the dilemma of when they can leave them with others to have a little “me time.”

For Rebecca Eckler, a Canadian journalist, it was after 10 weeks when she took a vacation and left her newborn son with her fiancé’s mother and the nanny.  Eckler never thought taking a vacation would generate the backlash from readers of her recently published article.

“My fiancé runs a charity golf tournament every summer in Mexico,” she wrote in an article for  “I will be tagging along, not to golf, but to lie around, read, visit the spa, and eat a lot of guacamole.”

Eckler told ABC News, “I think a happy mom makes a happy child and you know your child better than anyone else.  Everybody’s going to have an opinion about something including this.”

Eckler admitted that her six-day trip was “… a vacation for me … since I can’t read the mind of a 2-month-old baby, I’m not sure he’s really going to miss me.”

She added: “Yes, I’m ditching my baby… I think that, even from his early age, I’m teaching him a sense of independence.”

Fellow blogger Lindsay Cross had a different opinion.

“When my daughter was young, spending a night away would have been more stressful than relaxing,” she said.

One reader said Eckler is “self-indulgent,” adding that “if you need a weekend away after only 10 weeks, you weren’t ready to become parents.”

This is Eckler's second child and she admits in her story that she didn’t leave her daughter for a night until she was 3 months old.

“I spent my night looking at photographs of her, calling my parents every 30 minutes to see if she was all right,” she wrote.  “But I was a first-time mother then."

“Nine months of pregnancy is a very long time and is very hard on a woman’s body,” Eckler said.  “Pretty much by two weeks in I think most women actually do need a vacation.”

Eckler has authored three books on parenting and her work has been published in The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, according to her website.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study: Chemotherapy During Pregnancy Doesn't Cause Complications

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- There is growing evidence that pregnant women with cancer aren't putting their babies at risk by undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

A new study that followed more than 400 pregnant women in Europe who were diagnosed with breast cancer, found little to no evidence of negative health effects on infants whose mothers underwent chemotherapy -- good news for the one in a thousand women who are pregnant and also suffering from cancer.

Infants whose mothers were treated with chemotherapy weighed less than those that weren't exposed to chemotherapy, but they were not at higher risk of birth defects, blood disorders or loss of hair.

According to the German Breast Group, which led the study, premature birth -- not the chemotherapy treatment -- was responsible for babies being born at a low birth weight and with other complications.

"More complications were reported in the group of infants exposed to chemotherapy than in the group not exposed to chemotherapy," the study said.  "However, most complications were reported in babies who were delivered prematurely, irrespective of exposure to chemotherapy."

Incidences of pregnant women with cancer are growing and it may be because many women are delaying childbirth until later in their lives.

"I would say it is an increasing problem because people are generally delaying pregnancy," said Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.  "Women want to have careers before they start a family, so women are getting pregnant later."

Additionally, pregnant women are often diagnosed with cancer at a more advanced stage because cancer symptoms can sometimes be mistaken for signs of pregnancy, making treatment more complex, Bernik said.

In the past, women have been told by their doctors that chemotherapy could harm their baby and were sometimes advised to terminate the pregnancy.  However, recent studies have found that chemotherapy treatment after the first trimester -- when most of the baby's critical growth occurs -- can be safe for baby and mother.

It was also initially feared that the high hormone levels present during pregnancy could cause a specific kind of hormone-sensitive breast cancer to reoccur.  But a recent, first-of-its-kind study found that it is safe for women to become pregnant after they were treated with this form of cancer -- which accounts for about 60 percent of all breast cancer cases.

The study by the German Breast Group confirmed other research indicating that chemotherapy treatments carry fewer risks to an unborn child than was originally assumed.  But more research needs to be done on the potential physical and mental effects of chemotherapy drugs on a child later in its life.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Phoenix Mother Passes Cancer Through Placenta to Baby

Courtesy James Cox(PHOENIX) -- Briana Cox had a malignant skin melanoma removed in 2006 and was assured by her doctors that the cancer had not spread and all her margins were clear.

The Phoenix police detective went on to have a son David, now 3, and became again pregnant with her daughter Addison.

But just two months after her daughter was born in June 2011, Cox had a seizure and collapsed during a run.  Scans revealed her brain and other parts of her body were riddled with advanced cancer.

Months later, when four dark bumps appeared on baby Addison's forehead, she too was diagnosed with the same stage-four melanoma.

Cox died in February at the age of 33, but her last wish was to tell her family's private, but painful story to help others better understand the dangers of the disease.

Her doctors were baffled by this medical anomaly -- Cox's cancer cells had metastasized during her pregnancy and crossed the placenta to her developing fetus.

"It was like running into a brick wall," said James Cox, who was in the Azores serving in the U.S. Air Force when his wife was diagnosed.  "It knocks the wind out of you.  It was like being punched in the chest.  And when Addison was, it was like being ejected from a car.  You wonder, what's next?"

The phenomenon has only been recorded "a handful of times" in medical literature, according to Dr. Pooja Hingorani, a pediatric oncologist who is now treating Addison at Phoenix Children's Hospital.

"All cancer can happen in pregnancy," she said.  "But melanoma is the most common cancer to pass through the placenta from the mother."

About 30 percent of all mother-to-fetus cancers are melanoma, according to Hingorani, who said she has only seen four to five cases ever.

"When it is in the blood stream, it can go everywhere," she said.

Melanoma is a virulent form of skin cancer that begins in the cells that make the pigment melanin, but it can also begin in the eyes or intestines.  According to the National Cancer Institute, about 76,000 new cases are diagnosed each year and 9,100 die of the disease yearly.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Baby Born with Organs Outside Body Receives Rare Surgery

UT Health Science Center at Houston(HOUSTON) -- Kelly Davis' first ultrasound results seemed to take longer than the others during the routine 12-week visit.  As moms came in and out of the waiting room, elated by the first grainy images of their growing babies, Davis was anxious as she waited for the results.

Finally, doctors told her the news: Baby Hayes' organs were developing on the outside of his body.

The condition, known as an omphalocele, is a birth defect in which the fetus' intestines and other abdominal organs stick out from the belly button.  A thin membrane that keeps the organs intact usually covers the omphalocele.  While the condition can range in size and severity, the intestines, and sometimes the liver and spleen, protrude outside the baby's body.

About one in 10,000 births result in some form of an omphalocele, and about 25 to 40 percent of infants with an omphalocele have other birth defects, as well.  It is unclear why the condition forms in some babies.

While it is normal for organs to develop outside of the abdomen of the fetus up until the 10th week in utero, an omphalocele might develop if they do not return to the abdomen after that initial period.

After a pregnancy with seemingly endless appointments and ultrasounds, Davis gave birth to Hayes on March 25, 2011, via Cesarean section at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.

The nurses secured the omphalocele after delivery and immediately took Hayes to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  During the weeks that followed, Davis and her husband learned how to take care and treat the omphalocele.  Hayes was luckier than many babies born with the condition.  He did not have a heart defect or other birth defects in relation to the condition.

But it was bigger than most omphaloceles and there is usually not enough tissue to surgically put the organs back in the body and sew the skin up, said Dr. Kuojen Tsao, professor of pediatric surgery at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

"We can do an operation known as component separation," said Tsao, who treated Hayes. "It's not necessarily a new technique, but it is new to these problems in babies."

Component separation allows for reconstruction of a large defect without requiring a separate flap of skin, and it restores the structural support of the abdominal wall.

Traditionally, the condition requires several operations to tighten up the abdomen and bring the edges of the skin fully together, but Tsao believed the component separation was possible for Hayes because the doctors had waited several months for him to grow and develop more skin and tissue to work with in covering the organs.

After his mom spent months treating the condition and even documenting her world on her blog, "O Baby," Hayes underwent surgery Friday to correct the organs.

"The surgery went perfectly," Davis said.  "Both surgeons were incredibly pleased.  We're looking forward to a simpler way of life."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Newborn Nearly Dies After Contracting Whooping Cough

Dr. Lisa Farkouh(DENVER) -- Leena was born a happy, healthy baby, but two weeks into her life, she developed a severe cough.  Doctors told her mother, Dr. Lisa Farkouh, that Leena only had a cold, but the symptoms continued and worsened.

After a battery of tests and a cough so severe that it would leave Leena unable to breathe, she was diagnosed with whooping cough -- an extremely contagious bacterial disease that causes violent coughing -- and pneumonia at 6 weeks old.  She was admitted into the neonatal intensive care unit.

"Death rates are so high in babies who get whooping cough because they have no immunity and they haven't started their vaccinations," said Farkouh, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Denver.  "She coughed for six months, but luckily she's now a healthy 2-year-old.  My concern is that other babies out there won't be as lucky."

Whooping cough is a highly contagious upper respiratory bacterial infection that causes violent and uncontrollable coughing.  The disease is easily spread from person to person when tiny droplets containing the bacteria move through the air.

Farkouh said she has racked her brain trying to figure out how Leena contracted whooping cough.  She said the baby was not exposed to unhealthy people who visited.  She assumes that someone in the community exposed Leena to it.

Dr. Anne Gershon, director of pediatric infectious disease at Columbia University Medical Center, confirmed Farkouh's belief that babies often come down with whooping cough, also called pertussis, through others in the community.

"These days, adults are getting pertussis and some doctors are unaware of this or don't think it is possible for an adult to have this infection," said Gershon. "Today, a lot of pertussis probably spreads from teenagers and adults who have lost immunity to this infection. We have also come to realize that having had pertussis once in the past does not necessarily mean that it won't occur again."

Farkouh, who has become an advocate for whooping cough vaccinations, said pertussis, the medical term for whooping cough, saw a 2,000 percent increase in the U.S. in 2010.

In response to the push for vaccinations, California and nearly a dozen other states recently passed laws that require parents to prove that their middle and high school aged children received a whooping cough vaccination.  The law was prompted by a whooping cough outbreak that killed 10 babies and sickened about 9,000 people in California last year.

Copyright 2011 ABC NEws Radio


First Babies Born Amid Hurricane Irene

BananaStock/Thinkstock(WILMINGTON, N.C.) – Some newborns have made quite the entrance into the world, arriving in the middle of a hurricane.

New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, N.C. reported Saturday that 12 babies were delivered during Hurricane Irene’s fury.

Among the “hurricane babies,” the name “Irene” is being considered as a middle name.

Eight pregnant women were reported to be awaiting delivery, according to the hospital’s public affairs department.

The hospital typically delivers 4,000 newborns a year, but estimates that the recent 12 deliveries in that short time period is about 30 percent higher than usual.

The hospital is currently on lockdown so no visitors are allowed in.

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


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


Preemie Parents More Likely to Feel Depressed

Photodisc/Thinkstock(PRINCETON, N.J.) -- Even after their babies make it home from the hospital, many parents of premature newborns are far from relaxed.

"These parents lose any sense of a normal pregnancy," said Discenza, co-author of The Preemie Parent's Survival Guide to the NICU. "They likely didn't have a baby shower, and that normal exciting baby feeling is tossed out the window and replaced with doctors appointments, home nurse visits, medical equipment going off, and wondering whether they should call 911."

"There's a whole spectrum of inappropriate comments while a preemie is in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) and when the baby is finally out," said Discenza.

A new report from, an online patient community website, found that those insensitive or ignorant comments have a very real impact on the parents of premature infants. Out of 630 preemie parents who responded to an online survey, more than half said they had experienced insensitive comments about their baby, contributing to feelings of stress and isolation.

"We really felt like this is one of those things that you don't know about it until you're involved in it in a very personal way," said Brian Loew, CEO of Inspire.  "We hope that the rest of the world will see this and understand that this is an important issue."

"We also hope that others will get a sense that their own experience is not all that unique, and they're not the only ones dealing with this," he said.  "That can help enormously."

About 20 percent of the respondents said that they had lost relationships with one or more people who were important to them.  And experts said women who gave birth to children prematurely were at a much higher risk of experiencing postpartum depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

"For most families of premature infants, the birth of a new child is no longer just an exciting event, but a complex event that mixes joy with fear, concern [and] disappointment," said Dr. Ian Holzman, chief of the division of newborn medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.  "Most of their friends and relatives have little concept of either life in a NICU or the future uncertainties that face premature infants as they grow and develop."

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

ABC News Radio