Entries in Pregnancy (146)


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


Prenatal Vitamins a Must for Kate Middleton

Samir Hussein/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- All pregnant women should take a prenatal vitamin, but it’s particularly important for someone like Kate Middleton, who has struggled to keep food down.

“Prenatals help to cover any areas of a mommy-to-be’s diet where she may not be eating important nutrients that are needed for baby’s development,” said pharmacist Sarah G. Khan of

Khan said a good prenatal pill should contain three big nutrients: folic acid, iron, and DHA/EPA.  She also recommended that all pregnant women take an additional calcium and vitamin D supplement because the fetus steals calcium from the mom to construct its skeleton.

A new JAMA report also highlighted the importance of prenatal folic acid. 

Using data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, researchers found that mothers who took folic acid four weeks before and eight weeks after pregnancy had a 40 percent reduced risk of giving birth to a child with autism.  That doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that folic acid taken during pregnancy will result in fewer autism cases.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


At Week 18, Kate Middleton’s Pregnancy Hormones Should Be Easing

LEON NEAL/AFP/GettyImages(NEW YORK) -- The raging hormones that probably made mum-to-be Kate Middleton so tired during her first trimester should have calmed down by now, experts contend. At this point in a pregnancy, hormone levels rise more slowly, which means increased energy during the day and better sleep at night.

Doctors will probably advise Middleton to sleep on her left side. Lying on her back once she’s passed into the second trimester can compress the pelvic veins, decreasing blood flow to the lower half of the body. Lying on the left side relieves this pressure and promotes normal blood flow.

Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News senior medical contributor and a practicing OB-GYN, says that if sleep eludes a woman at this point in her pregnancy, exercise can help her feel more relaxed and able to rest.

Avoid working out too close to bedtime, though. That, Ashton said, can rev you up.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Folic Acid Before Pregnancy Linked to Lower Autism Risk, Study Finds

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Folic acid has been recommended to pregnant women for years, usually as a way to prevent birth defects such as spina bifida.

But a new study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association found it may also prevent autism.

The JAMA study, which used data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, found that mothers who took folic acid four weeks before and eight weeks after pregnancy had a 40 percent reduced risk of giving birth to a child with autism. While the researchers found an association between folic acid deficiency and autism, that does not mean that folic acid taken during pregnancy would result in fewer autism cases.

The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study followed more than 85,000 babies born between 2002 and 2008, and their parents. About 270 babies whose parents participated in the study were born with a developmental disorder on the autism spectrum.

Mothers reported whether they were taking folic acid before and during early pregnancy before they found out whether their children had autism, which eliminated some potential bias, said molecular epidemiologist Rebecca Schmidt, a professor at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine. In 2011, Schmidt was one of the first scientists to publish a study that found that autism arises because of both genetic and external factors, including women’s prenatal vitamin intake before conception.

“Given the replication of findings showing reduced risk of autism associated with folic acid supplements taken near conception, more research is needed to investigate whether this association is casual,” she said. “Interestingly, both studies reported...a nearly 40 percent reduction in risk for autism.”

The number of children with autism spectrum disorders in the United States rose to one in 88 in 2012, up from one in 110 in 2006, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

Dr. Jennifer Ashton, a senior medical contributor to ABC News, said she tries to help the patients in her OB/GYN practice to weigh the benefits and risks of things that might affect their pregnancies, such as medications, chemical exposure, or consuming certain foods. She said she knows from her own pregnancy how confusing and frightening it can be, and she aims to alleviate some of that by reassuring mothers that fetuses are resilient.

“Society can sometimes do a really good job of laying blame and guilt, and when there is no medical proof that it is the mother’s fault,” Dr. Ashton said.  “I usually tell women pregnancy is no different than parenting.  There are never 100 percent guarantees of anything.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Mom Nearly Dies When Twins' Amniotic Fluid Leaks into Her Blood

Paul Lewis(NEW YORK) -- Angela Cottam was in the middle of heavy labor with a set of twins when she suddenly began choking and turned blue.

"I felt like I had a tickly cough," said the 32-year-old elementary school teacher from Flintshire in Wales.

She didn't know it at the time, but the amniotic fluid surrounding the babies in her womb had leaked into her blood system and was quickly killing her.  Cottam's lungs collapsed and she nearly bled to death.

Cottam and her twin girls survived, although she spent 22 hours in a coma at Countess of Chester Hospital in Britain.  She had a tube inserted into her throat so she could breathe, lost seven pints of blood and needed 22 transfusions.

Her family was told she might not live.

"As I lay in ICU, Peter, my husband, went to hell and back with thoughts about life alone with twins and our 4-year-old daughter to bring up," she wrote in an email to ABC News.

Cottam suffered a rare, but extremely dangerous event in childbirth -- an amniotic fluid embolism, which occurs only in about 1 in 10,000 pregnancies.

The fluid, filled with foreign cells from the unborn babies, traveled to her lung, setting off a quick chain reaction of events that could have led to cardiovascular collapse.

"It's a bad disease," said Dr. Maurice Druzin, chief of obstetrics at Lucille Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University.  "The bottom line is it's a sudden catastrophic event that causes mortality at a very high rate -- over 80 percent.  But it's not very common."

"Essentially, a large amount of amniotic fluid from the sac around the baby entered the maternal circulation.  It's actually quite complicated and the total reason for what happens is not 100 percent clear," he said.  "It usually kills you pretty quickly."

Cottam and her now 8-month-old baby girls -- Amelie and Ava -- are healthy.  But it was a frightening and grueling experience.  Ava went three minutes without oxygen and had to be resuscitated.

"My husband and parents feared the worst, but during the ordeal I was calm, as I knew I was in the best possible place," she wrote.  "The staff at the hospital were so calm and attentive and extremely quick to respond."

Cottam was told the amniotic fluid contained cells such as sloughed off skin, fingernail or hair from one of the twins.

"The consultant couldn't say what it was exactly, but said it was possibly one of those things," she wrote.  "The emphasis was that it was so rare."

The British newspapers exclaimed in their news coverage: "Mum almost killed by unborn baby's fingernail," a headline Druzin called, "ridiculous."

"Amniotic fluid contains fetal cells and hair and maybe a fingernail, but it's a stretch to say it caused the embolism," Druzin said.  "A relatively large amount of amniotic fluid is not supposed to be in the maternal circulation and it acts like a pulmonary embolism -- if it goes to the lungs it can cause an immediate reaction from a mechanical obstruction perspective."

In addition to hampering breathing, an amniotic embolism triggers an allergic reaction.

"Whether these two things happen simultaneously or one happens before the other is unclear," said Druzin.

Cottam went into the hospital suffering from pre-eclampsia, a potentially dangerous condition that causes high blood pressure.  That, and the fact she was carrying twins, may have been risk factors, according to Druzin, who did not treat Cottam.

"We see it when the amniotic fluid is under pressure in very active labor where there are lots of contractions," he said.  "Often the membranes are ruptured spontaneously or by the doctor and there is some entry into the circulation."

In most cases, according to Druzin, "the hole is never found."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Vitamin D Deficiency May be Tied to Lower Birth Weight, Study Says

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study finds that a deficiency in vitamin D may be tied to lower birth weight, Health Day reports.

Researchers examined vitamin D levels in blood samples collected from over 2,000 women in the United States who gave birth to full-term babies. The samples were originally taken between 1959 and 1965, but were well preserved. The study found that women with vitamin D levels less than .015 parts per million during their first 26 weeks of pregnancy had babies who weighed an average of about 1.6 ounces less than normal, Health Day says.

Also, women who were deficient in vitamin D during their first 14 weeks of pregnancy were twice as likely to have babies whose weight was in the lowest 10 percent, which raises the risk of dying in the first month or developing chronic conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes later in life. Study authors said a vitamin D deficiency could also cause a decrease in the hormones required to produce the glucose and fatty acids that provide the fetus with energy, according to Health Day.

The study was published in the January issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Sonogram Parties Are Popular, But Doctors Frown on Practice

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Chad Berry and his wife Camie of Fort Meyers, Fla., know from personal experience that having a baby is a miracle -- their own daughter is living proof.  Madisyn, now 14, was born after they lost five, two to ectopic pregnancies and three in miscarriages.

So today, they offer a "glimpse of your little miracle" in a low-cost ultrasound to couples who want to celebrate the joy of pregnancy in their own homes or at celebratory venues.

Camie Berry, 38, is a certified sonographer and her husband, who used to work as a lab technician, runs the business side of Miracles Imaging.  The couple is tapping into one of the latest trends in pregnancy, one that has been growing in popularity over the last several years -- sonogram parties.

Women who opt to get a 3-D image of their child at 23 weeks, moving and showing facial expressions, say they are a fun way to share the excitement of pregnancy.

As finger food and drinks are passed around the room, the mother-to-be stretches out on an examining table while the technician moves a wand across her belly.  Imaging equipment is hooked up to a TV screen or computer monitor for all the room to see.

Chad Berry, 37, said that the services he and his wife offer should never replace routine medical care, but it can be a more affordable way to see a 3-D image not taken during a routine prenatal exam.

A hospital-based ultrasound might cost up to $800 or more locally, according to Chad.  "We can do it 70 percent off because we run a small clinic," he said.

But medical experts caution against the experience.  The American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Food and Drug Administration, strongly discourage having ultrasounds purely for entertainment and not for a medical reason.

An ultrasound provides reassurance and some useful information for doctors on fetal development -- to confirm dates, detect a heartbeat and to check for certain genetic defects.

According to Austin, Texas, pediatrician Dr. Ari Brown, there is no "requirement" to have an ultrasound during a normal pregnancy and is up to a practitioner to determine if the woman is at high risk -- usually carrying multiples or a history of pre-term labor or diabetes.

"Some doctors don't do any," she said.

"Yes, it is pretty cool to see your baby that way, but not necessary," said Brown, the author of Expecting 411.

"In our book, we discourage couples from going to the mall and getting glamour-shots style ultrasounds," she said.  "There is no certainty of the technician's training or if the machine is properly maintained.  And, some of these photo shoots last three to four hours.  It is not worth the risk of exposing your unborn baby to several hours of sound waves and excess heat."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Identical Twins in Ohio Give Birth Two Hours Apart

Courtesy Marcella Farson(AKRON, Ohio) -- Call it a post-Christmas miracle, or an early New Year’s blessing.

Identical twins Aimee and Ashlee Nelson, 19, of Akron, Ohio, gave birth Dec. 31 to sons about two hours apart at Summa Akron City Hospital.

“I’m overwhelmed,” Marcella Farson, the twins’ mother, told ABC News. “It’s wonderful. This is the best New Year’s that anyone could have ever given me. I think I’m still in shock.”

Ashlee’s due date was Jan. 1, Aimee’s Jan. 6.  But the young women ended up having two baby boys on the same day. Donavyn Scott Bratten was born first, with Aimee delivering around noon. Not long after, around 2 p.m., Ashlee gave birth to Aiden Lee Alan Dilts, the larger of the two boys.

“She [Aimee] actually started calling me at 8:30 Sunday evening and said, ‘Mommy, I’m having these feelings, I’ve never had these feelings before.’ And I didn’t hear from her again until 2:30 in the morning. But by 3:30, we were on the way to the hospital. Things moved quite rapidly,” Farson said.

Ashlee was still at home at this point and had no idea her twin sister, who was due after her, was already at the hospital going into labor.

“Then I got a text from Ashlee,” Farson said. “I let her know we were at the hospital with Aimee. Then she calls me back 20 minutes later saying, ‘I’m going to go back to bed,’ and about five minutes later she thought her water broke. I said, ‘Sweetheart, get up and come join us.’ She got there about 6:30, quarter ’til seven. It just progressed from there.”

The nurses were joking with Farson, saying she needed roller skates to bounce back and forth between the sisters’ rooms.

“I am so blessed they both wanted me there. Someone was looking down on me, allowing enough time on the two of them for me to be able to experience it with both of them. It just makes me well up thinking about it,” Farson said.

The dads, Matthew Bratten, 20, and Cody Dilts, 22, are doing well, also.

“The dads are holding up wonderful. I was able to step out and get the boys a good meal,” Farson said. “They’ve not left the hospital. The dads have been right by their side. I know both of them have stepped up to the plate. They’re all doing wonderful and I’m very proud of all of them.”

When asked what the best part of being a grandmother to the new baby boys was, Farson said, “It’s a great addition because I’ve got all girls. They already had presents under the tree and both had stockings. They have their first ‘Hot Wheels’ sets waiting for them.”

The boys and their mothers were released from the hospital Wednesday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Pregnancy Revealed in 1,000 Pictures

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A stop-motion home movie made of 1,000 separate photos of a mom, Osher Grencel, during her pregnancy could be called the “prequel” for little baby Emma Grencel, who was born on July 3.

The video shows every step of the nine-month pregnancy process, including morning sickness, the first precious face scan images of Emma, and includes cameos from her dad, Tomer Grencel, 30, who put the entire video together.

In Tomer’s description of the video, he explains he was the photographer, Photoshop editor, director, script writer and proud dad of the entire production. He boasts, “Look at our 9 months pregnancy in 1,000 pictures! Each frame (picture) was separately taken, edited and uploaded! It was 9 months of a growing belly and 1 month of video editing… :-)”

The Grencels, who live in Tel Aviv, told ABC News they decided to take a photo of Osher’s pregnant belly each day so they could “see the belly grow!”

Tomer, a professional photographer, said he got the idea to create the video when “someone told Osher that because she is so skinny no one will know she is pregnant until relatively late stage of the pregnancy.” Tomer had known he wanted to do something special to document the pregnancy, but until that moment, wasn’t quite sure how yet.

The video, which has had more than 500,000 hits on YouTube, wasn’t originally intended to be used as anything more than a fun video to show friends and family.

“Actually it’s quite funny,” Tomer said. “In some of the days before taking the photo, Osher told me, ‘I don’t want to take the photo today, I look bad!’ And my answer was, ‘Come on, honey. You look great, and no one will see it anyway.’”

Tomer said he quickly learned one important rule throughout the pregnancy: SHE is not pregnant. You BOTH are.

When asked if the couple would recommend creating a video like this to other people, they replied, “Of course. It’s an amazing souvenir for the child … You have to be patient, it’s a long process and you must be consistent. But it’s sure worth it.”


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


How Jessica Simpson Lost 60 Pounds of Baby Weight

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Jessica Simpson Collection(NEW YORK) -- In just six months, singer, reality star and fashion designer Jessica Simpson has lost an astonishing amount of weight.

New photos taken over the weekend are the most revealing look at her post-baby body since Simpson was a special guest on ABC's Good Morning America in September.

“After having the baby, I’ve had to really, really focus and start training,” Simpson told GMA then.

And all that training now appears to be paying off.  Simpson says she’s shed 60 pounds since giving birth to daughter Maxwell in May.  That’s just 10 pounds shy of her pre-baby weight.

Simpson, also a Weight Watchers spokesperson, says that in addition to changing her eating habits, her personal trainer is her secret weapon.

Harley Pasternak trains Simpson, along with other stars like Megan Fox and Jennifer Hudson.  With a masters of science in exercise physiology and nutritional sciences from the University of Toronto, and an honors degree in kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario, Pasternak is a renowned fitness and nutrition expert and best-selling author.

Pasternak’s workout is made up of five phases:

  • Phase One: Cardio Warm-UP
  • Phase Two: Upper Body Strength Training
  • Phase Three: Lower Body Strength Training
  • Phase Four: Core Training
  • Phase Five: The Cardio Cool Down

Simpson says she’s not giving up on shedding those last few pounds, but she is giving up macaroni and cheese, her favorite pregnancy craving.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio