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Entries in Pregnancy (146)

Friday
Aug312012

Oldest US Mom of Twins Is 65 and 'More Excited' Than Ever

Frieda Birnbaum(NEW YORK) -- When it comes to taking motherhood to an extreme, Frieda Birnbaum is unsurpassed -- literally.  In 2007, at age 60, she became the oldest American woman to give birth to twins.

Today, at age 65, the New Jersey woman says she's still going strong, chasing after her two five-year-old boys -- Josh and Jarrett -- and also caring for her 12-year-old son, Ari.  Birnbaum had her first child when she was 26, but says she feels more energetic now than she did back then.

"I am definitely more energetic," she told 20/20's Elizabeth Vargas.  "We have to redefine age, 'cause it's changed."

Although Birnbaum may be an outlier, it's clear that the average age of motherhood is on the rise.  As more women focus on their careers in their 20s and 30s, they are increasingly putting off motherhood, and the overall U.S. birth rate has declined.  But women in their early 40s are bucking the trend, seeing the highest birth rates for their age group since 1967, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Birnbaum and her husband, Ken, first became parents 35 years ago, when she gave birth to their son Jaeson.  Four years later, she had her second child, Alana.

After their children grew up, the Birnbaums became empty-nesters -- and they didn't like it.

"I had this biological urge that couldn't be stopped.  When I saw a baby, I just wanted to take that baby away and run. You know, hold it and hug it," Frieda Birnbaum said.  "As you get older, I've found I have more of an urge to have children than when I was younger."

Birnbaum says she became pregnant naturally in her forties but miscarried.  Then she began in vitro fertilization treatments; she will not disclose whether she used her own eggs or donor eggs.  At 53, she gave birth to her third child, Ari.

"It was just such a wonderful experience.  I said, 'You know what?  I mean, we could do it again,'" said Ken Birnbaum.

The Birnbaums decided to pursue IVF again when Frieda was in her late 50s, but there was a hitch.  Doctors in the United States refused to perform the procedure because of her age.

And they weren't the only ones voicing disapproval.

"Jaeson was angry at me," Frieda said of her oldest son, who is now in his 30s and has two children of his own.  "(He) said we were crazy."

Birnbaum was able to get pregnant with the twins at age 59 with the help of a clinic in South Africa, where she said doctors seemed less concerned about her age.  When pressed, Birnbaum admits she "may have" told doctors that she was younger than she was.

Watch the full story Friday night on ABC's 20/20 at 9 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug292012

Trainer Defends Claim Moms Use Pregnancy as Excuse to Gain Weight

David Livingston/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson has raised the bar for the celebrity “momshell” in the race to lose weight after giving birth, and has recently come under scrutiny for her claim that women use pregnancy as an excuse to pack on the pounds.

“A lot of women use pregnancy as an excuse to let their bodies go, and that’s the worst thing,” Anderson told DuJour magazine for its September issue.  “I’ve seen so many women who come to me right after [having children] with disaster bodies that have gone through hell, or they come to me years later and say, ‘Oh, my body is like this because I had three kids.’”

Anderson, who has famously whipped Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow into shape, revealed to the magazine that she has lost nearly all her baby weight six weeks after giving birth to daughter Penelope in May.

She spoke with ABC's Lara Spencer Wednesday morning to clear the air on her remarks that have sparked conversation among mothers.

“What I mean is that pregnancy is difficult,” Anderson said on Good Morning America.  “And every pregnancy is completely unique.  We crave a lot, and I think in today’s society women have all this pressure to look a certain way or they feel as if they have to look a certain way.  I think that they turn to diet a lot because that’s what works for them, because fitness routines usually let them down.”

The former dancer said she put on a healthy 30 pounds during pregnancy by avoiding overeating and working out during her pregnancy.

“We do have to be conscious of it,” she said.  “Our instinct is the most important thing, though.  We as women have to listen to our own bodies, have to listen to our cravings.  Our bodies will tell us what we need for sure.  And I exercised very conservatively through my pregnancy.”

Anderson’s quick rebound only highlights the pressure many moms feel reading about Hollywood mothers or “momshells” (mother-as-bombshell) who seem to jump right back into their busy Hollywood careers looking svelte and stylish with no signs of baby weight.

More magazine editor-in-chief Lesley Jane Seymour told Good Morning America last week that ordinary women need to remember that celebrities aren’t just like us.

“Nobody can live to that standard,” Seymour said.  “[Celebrities] have $40,000 exercising gurus. You’re not being paid for that. That is not your job. They have to get in shape in two weeks because they’ve got to go on the set. That is not the normal human being.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug272012

Celebrity Trainer Tracy Anderson Ups Ante for Losing Baby Weight

David Livingston/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson has raised the bar for the celebrity “momshell” in the race to lose weight after giving birth.

Anderson, who has famously whipped Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow into shape, revealed to DuJour magazine that she has lost nearly all her baby weight just six weeks after giving birth to her daughter Penelope in May.

“A lot of women use pregnancy as an excuse to let their bodies go, and that’s the worst thing,” Anderson told the magazine for its September issue.  “I’ve seen so many women who come to me right after [having children] with disaster bodies that have gone through hell, or they come to me years later and say, ‘Oh, my body is like this because I had three kids.’”

The former dancer said she put on a healthy 30 pounds during pregnancy by avoiding overeating and working out during her pregnancy.

Anderson’s quick rebound only highlights the pressure many moms feel reading about Hollywood mothers or “momshells” (mother-as-bombshell) who seem to jump right back into their busy Hollywood careers looking svelte and stylish with no signs of baby weight.

More magazine editor-in-chief Lesley Jane Seymour told ABC's Good Morning America last week that ordinary women need to remember that celebrities aren’t just like us.

“Nobody can live to that standard,” Seymour said.  “[Celebrities] have $40,000 exercising gurus.  You’re not being paid for that.  That is not your job.  They have to get in shape in two weeks because they’ve got to go on the set.  That is not the normal human being.”

Before she became a trainer to the stars, Anderson struggled with her weight, especially after her first pregnancy with son Sam in 1988.  The exercise guru said she packed on twice the amount of pounds she did with her daughter, giving in to cravings for milkshakes and hot dogs.

“I feel like I’ve lived an entire lifetime since then,” said Anderson, who produced the Pregnancy Project, a series of nine exercise DVDs for pregnant women -- while she was pregnant with Penelope.

But even Anderson admits it was hard to lose the weight after giving birth to her daughter.

“For 13 years I’ve been jumping around, dancing at such high levels all over the world and with no sleep for multiple hours a day.  I thought, ‘Please, I can bust out an hour of dance aerobics, no problem.’  Wrong!” she said.

With 10 pounds to shed until she gets to her pre-pregnancy weight, Anderson said, “I know that the journey of getting back to your best level of performance physically is very hard, but it’s an incredibly empowering place to be.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug212012

Todd Akin Challenged by Doctors on Rape and Pregnancy

Michael Tullberg/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Missouri Representative Todd Akin contradicted medical statistics with his statement that “women who are victims of ‘legitimate rape’ rarely get pregnant.”

After a media storm — during which Mitt Romney called his words “indefensible” and President Obama said “rape is rape” — Akin has now released an ad in which he admits, “The fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy.”

There are also numerous studies regarding rape and pregnancy.  Some data show that rape can not only result in pregnancy, but it may even lead to higher rates of pregnancy than consensual sex.

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) reports someone in the United States is sexually assaulted every two minutes, and on average there are 207,754 victims (age 12 or older) of sexual assault every year.

How many become pregnant?  A 1996 study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) reported that “among adult women an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year.”  This study said the rate of becoming pregnant after sexual assault is considerable, estimating that “the national rape-pregnancy rate is 5.0 percent per rape among victims of reproductive age (aged 12 to 45).”

In response to Akin’s comments, ACOG released a statement on Monday: “Each year in the U.S., 10,000-15,000 abortions occur among women whose pregnancies are a result of reported rape or incest.”

The statement said this is a fraction of the total number of rape-pregnancies, given that “an unknown number of pregnancies resulting from rape are carried to term.”

A 2003 study using data from the United States National Violence Against Women survey found that the rate at which women get pregnant after an incident of sexual assault is more than double that of a single act of consensual sex.  In this report, published in the journal Human Nature, the per-incident rape-pregnancy rate was 6.42 percent, and as high as 7.98 percent with statistical correction. Of women having consensual sex, the per-incident pregnancy rate was 3.1 percent.

Dr. Lauren Streicher, an assistant professor at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, said she was not surprised by the data.

“Women that have consensual sex are usually aware of where they are in a cycle…part of consensual sex is being able to say no.  It makes sense,” she said.

In response to Akin’s statement that “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down,” Streicher said, “You let me know if you find the doctor that knows how a uterus knows which sperm to ward off.”

In its statement, ACOG refuted Akin’s original comment: “To suggest otherwise contradicts basic biological truths.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug162012

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

Thursday
Aug092012

Louisiana Charter School Will No Longer Expel Pregnant Girls

Hemera/Thinkstock(DELHI, La.) -- Pregnant students or those suspected of carrying a child are no longer being singled out by a charter school in Delhi, Louisiana.

The American Civil Liberties of Louisiana said Monday it had gotten word that the Delhi Charter School had a policy in place that allowed educators to expel girls who were pregnant and force them to take classes at home.

Meanwhile, the ACLU said the same policy also mandated tests for girls believed to be pregnant.  Refusal to submit to the pregnancy test also meant girls could be kicked out of school.

With the ACLU threatening to sue under the federal education law that requires equal opportunities for both sexes, Delhi board chairman Albert Christman said on Wednesday that the policy at the school with an enrollment of 700 children was being rescinded.

According to Christman, he and the other board members were unaware that such a policy was against the law.

The policy as written stated, "Delhi Charter School has established an environment whereby the conduct of its students must be in keeping with the school’s goals and objectives relative to character development.  The Delhi Charter School curriculum will maintain an environment in which all students will learn and exhibit acceptable character traits that govern language, gestures, physical actions, and written words."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug012012

Seven Babies in Seven Months for Seven Neighbors

File photo. Photodisc/ThomasNorthcut/Thinkstock(HASTINGS, Minn.) -- If there really is something “in the water” when it comes to getting pregnant, then seven women in a block of seven yard-to-yard homes in a Minn., neighborhood must be chugging it.

Come February, all seven women will have delivered babies within a span of seven months.

No one was more surprised by this baby boom in a neighborhood in Hastings, Minn., than the seven moms and moms-to-be themselves.

“We all found out [we were pregnant] between January and June so by the time summer came and we all went outside, we all discovered that a lot of us were pregnant all right next to each other,” one of the expectant moms, Jackie Bauer, told GoodMorningAmerica.com.  “First it was one girl who was pregnant and then another came out and announced it and then it was just one after another.”

“It took the seventh person to really think this was weird,” said Bauer, 32, who is expecting her third child with husband Scott in October.

The backyard of the Bauer’s home touches the backyard of the home of Amanda Cavness, 26, who just delivered her second son, Alex, last month. Their backyards touch the yard of Lynette and Dean Peterson, expecting their third baby in February. Their backyards back up to the home of Amber and Dustin Strong, expecting a girl in October.  Amber, 27, is also a registered nurse at the hospital where six of the seven babies are scheduled to be born.

“It’s kind of like we all just understand exactly what each are going through,” she said.  “Through the happy and sad moments we’ve formed an unforgettable bond.”

Also in the middle of the baby-boom pod of homes are Nikki Krauth and her husband, Mike, expecting their second child in mid-October, and Sam and Joe Perreault, who will have their second child in December.

Erica Kunert, 28, holds the distinction of being both, along with her husband, Darren, the newest neighbor – they moved in in May – and the newest mom. She gave birth to her first child, a son, Graham, three days ago.

“My reaction to the baby boom was excitement for my baby’s childhood,” Kunert wrote in an email from her hospital room. “He is going to have a lot of very close friends having known him since birth.”

The moms say the reaction from their neighbors has been comical. “I’ve noticed the big eye look a lot as people try to count who’s pregnant,” Cavness noted, as everyone tries to figure out whether it’s just a happy coincidence or something, really, in the water.

“I have been wanting a baby for almost three years and had decided it wasn’t going to happen when, suddenly, I discovered I was pregnant,” Peterson said.  “So maybe there is something with the science or the water.”

“For me, personally, [getting pregnant with] my other two kids took much longer than this time,” Bauer said.

While the moms, all friends beforehand, have enjoyed watching their bond grow along with their bellies, what they’re really looking forward to, they say, is the neighborhood come February once all the babies are born and the years of fun they envision after that.

“I think our kids are meant to grow up together,” said the newest mom, Kunert.  “I foresee lots of backyard activity with all our families, bonfires, baseball and hockey games, hanging out by kiddie pools and sprinklers in the summer and grill-outs.”

Peterson said, “The always say, ‘It takes a village.’ And now we have a village.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul312012

"Fifty Shades of Grey" Series Behind a Baby Boom?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It’s one of the hottest and best-selling book series of all time.  The erotic trilogy, Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed, by British author E. L. James has sold 20 million copies in the last four months alone.

The books’ contents -- the relationship between protagonists Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele and their very explicitly detailed sadomasochistic sexual encounters -- are said to have sparked a “mommy porn” revolution.  The revolution has been whispered about among friends and spilled out online on discussion boards like those of the popular pregnancy and parenting website BabyCenter.com.

Now, the revolution is coming to the delivery room, where a baby boom sparked by the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon is predicted.

“Reading Fifty Shades of Grey is acting like an aphrodisiac for women,” Linda Murray, Global Editor in Chief of BabyCenter.com, told ABC's Good Morning America.  “It’s putting them in the mood more frequently and they’re having more sex and they’re ultimately getting pregnant faster.”

While the Fifty Shades baby boom theory will only be proven months from now, GMA spoke with a trio of couples to see if a book really could start a new population burst.

Carly and Leroy Gibson of Spokane, Wash., said 14 months spent trying to have another baby had taken the sexy out of sex.

“I think the fun was taken out of it at that point in time because you’re like, ‘Okay, here it is.  Day 14.  We’ve got five days to go.  Go strong.  I don’t care if you’re tired…it’s time to go to work,’” Carly said.

After Carly began reading Fifty Shades, Leroy says he noticed a change in his wife.

“She just put down the book and she was all over me,” he told GMA.  “It was nice and enjoyable.”

For Scott and Danielle Olszewski of New York City, getting pregnant with a third child was proving difficult after they’d had their first two kids with relative ease.

“I’m blessed that I have two healthy kids but I wanted that one more and I was sad,” Danielle said.  “Then Christian Grey entered my life.”

A third couple, Michelle and Michael Burdick of Brockton, Mass., suffered a miscarriage and various health problems that made it difficult to add to their family of four.  Then, a girlfriend of Michelle’s recommended the Fifty Shades series.

“I started telling him [Michael] about it, bits and pieces, here and there,” Michelle said.  “Then I started taking pictures of the book and sending them to him.”

“I opened up the email and I go, ‘Okay, umm, are you suggesting something?,’” Michael said of his response.

The results for all three couples?

The Gibsons are due on Feb. 15; Michelle and Michael are due Feb. 20; and Scott and Danielle Olszewski are due Feb. 1.  February is nine months after the Fifty Shades trilogy saw its biggest spike in sales this past May.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jul292012

Working After Eight Months of Pregnancy is as Harmful as Smoking a Study Reports

Comstock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- A new study reports working after eight months of pregnancy is as harmful as smoking, according to The Guardian.

Supposedly babies born to women who work after eight months pregnant are 0.5 lb lighter than those women who stopped work earlier.

Research has revealed that on average babies with low birth weights are more prone to slow development and at higher risk for poor health.

Three economists from the University of Essex, Emilia Del Bono, John Ermisch and Marco Francesconi, published their research in the July edition of the Journal of Labor Economics.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul242012

After 30 Years, Unintended Birth Rate Still Almost 40 Percent

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- About 37 percent of births in the United States are the result of unintended pregnancies, a proportion that has remained fairly steady since 1982, according to new research from the National Center for Health Statistics, a branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The numbers are not surprising to many doctors and researchers, and many said it's discouraging that they have not improved in three decades.

"Trying to prevent unintended births is sort of an increasingly difficult task," said William Mosher, a statistician at NCHS and the study's lead author.

Researchers interviewed more than 12,000 women from 2006 to 2010 who had given birth to live babies.  Their findings showed changes in who is giving birth in the U.S., planned or not.  In 1982, white, married women accounted for 66 percent of births in the United States; today, that group accounts for 43 percent of total births.

But the findings also portrayed sharp demographic contrasts in women who have unintended pregnancies.

About 23 percent of married women had an unintended pregnancy, compared with 50 percent of unmarried women who were living with their baby's father and 67 percent of unmarried women not living with the baby's father.  Nearly 77 percent of teens' pregnancies were unintended, compared with 50 percent of women ages 20 to 24, and 25 percent of women ages 25 to 44.

Almost 17 percent of women with a college degree had unintended pregnancies, compared with 41 percent of women without a high school diploma.

Nearly 54 percent of black women reported an unintended pregnancy, compared with 43 percent of Hispanic women and about 31 percent of white women.

"These are staggering statistics," said Sheryl Kingsberg, a professor of reproductive biology and psychiatry at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, who was not involved in the study.  "Here we are with various means of effective birth control at our fingertips, but it's not reaching the population that needs it the most."

Previous studies have found that about half of unintended births come from ineffective use of contraception -- not wearing a condom or inappropriately taking birth control pills, for example.  Others simply don't use contraception at all.

Some doctors say a lack of education about and access to contraception through the health care system are the prohibiting factors driving those behaviors for many women, especially teens and women with lower incomes and education.

In the current study, more than one-third of women who had unintended births reported that they didn't think they could get pregnant.  Mosher said that points to a serious sex education problem among American women.

"Basically what that suggests is that many women think that because they have not used a method and have not gotten pregnant in two or three or four acts of intercourse that they're sterile.  And of course, that's not how it works," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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