Archive for the ‘Conception’ Category
Rates of premature births are increasing throughout Europe, according to a recent Reuters piece. The U.K. is seeing, perhaps, the largest amount, and for those of us in the United States, our rates are on par with the English-speakers across the Atlantic. Another side of greater premature births is improved survival, but along with this comes greater chances of learning disabilities, lung problems, and cerebral palsy. No matter if a parent is using insurance, can take advantage of a universal healthcare system, or is looking for accommodations in school, this issue brings up a significant concern: if increased premature births correlates with greater disability rates, how will society respond to care for such individuals?
Supporting this assertion are two medical studies, published in the British Medical Journal, that involve two groups of children born prematurely: one in 2006, consisting of those born at 22 to 26 weeks, and one in 1995, born between 22 and 25 weeks. In the first study, looking at children right after they were born, found that admittance to an intensive care unit was 44 percent greater. For the older age group, survival went up 13 percent, although there were no improvements for children born before 24 weeks.
What happened when the children were older? A second study looked at the two groups, comparing the 2006 babies three years later with those born in 1995. While, on a positive note, 11 percent more survived without sign of severe disabilities, children who were born earlier had a greater chance of being afflicted with one of these conditions.
Even with just a smaller increase, these two studies show, beyond intensive care and immediate survival, handling increased cases of disabilities must be addressed, by parents, medical professionals, and the rest of society.
- Premature births highest in Alberta (metronews.ca)
- You: Survival rates for premature babies on rise, study shows (guardian.co.uk)
- Reauthorizing PREEMIE Act will help reduce premature birth rate (thehill.com)
More jobs could save the economy, but more babies? Don’t count on it. When jobs are scarce, few adults want to take the leap into parenthood, and who can blame them? If you can’t feed yourself or pay for a roof over your head, how can you do the same for a child?
Yet, roughly two weeks ago, writer Ross Douthat ignited a string of disagreements online, particularly regarding women writers and bloggers. His piece about declining U.S. birth rates being the fault of women’s choices and “decadence” resulted in a series of editorials calling out his fallacy, not to mention his backward, sexist stance.
One of those retorts was a piece in Salon.com, claiming, in general, that Douthat’s support of conservative policies does more harm to children, lower or higher birth rate. A thinner social safety net, they argue, keeps adults and their children in the cycle of low-wage jobs, rather than allowing them to take advantage of educational opportunities. Another result stemming off from this? Increased incarceration.
Instead, Salon.com proposes, investing in existing children, through more accessible education and better public assistance, can break the cycle, and lead to an innovative workforce able to contribute to the economy. Do you agree?
On the other hand, lower birth rates are an indicator of the economy – not a woman’s selfishness or sacrifice. Bloomberg Businessweek points out that birth rates have steadily been falling since 2007, which, if you can recall, is when the economy began to go south. And, not surprisingly, those adversely affected by the economic conditions have chosen to hold off on parenthood. While birth rates for women, on average, declined six percent, the amount for immigrant women in the U.S. dipped 14 percent. Along with this, areas of the U.S. hit harder have had lower birth rates than average.
The current economic slump, which unofficially began in 2007 and prematurely ended in 2009, negatively affected employment and the housing market. A recent study indicates that its effects were far-reaching, even influencing family planning. Specifically, starting in 2007, U.S. birth rates dropped, with amounts now at 1998 levels.
Between 2011 and 2012, the amount declined one percent. However, this decrease is less than the amounts from the three previous years. 2012’s data is not complete, so there’s hope that this current year could reverse the trend – which, births aside, points auspiciously to economic recovery.
Births correlate with economic conditions, and as the study pointed out, rates steadily went up throughout the 1990s – a time, at least in recent memory, that seemed more stable than the past half decade. The increase reached an apex in 2007, when Americans saw 4.3 million births. The 2011 to ’12 period, by contrast, only saw 4 million.
But although a poorer economy sets up a road block in family planning, multiple factors appeared to be at work. Birth rates were down, specifically, across significant demographic swaths: single women, who saw a three percent decline last year; Hispanic women, who saw a six-percent drop and were disproportionately affected by the economic collapse; African-Americans, with a two-percent decline; women in their early 20s, whose rate is now at 1940s levels; and teens, whose pregnancy rates have continued to lessen since the early 1990s.
But, not all groups experienced negative trends. Instead, married women saw a one-percent uptick, while women in their late 30s, likely in a better economic position, also experienced an increase. Rates for Asians and Pacific Islanders also went up, while amounts for women in their early 30s stayed the same.
For those concerned about the fourth year of declines, the study sheds light on past trends, stating that lower birth rates eventually increase with time.
- US Birth Rate Drops as Economy Struggles (abcnews.go.com)
- US birth rates down for 4th straight year (vancouverdesi.com)
- Fewer babies signals more than effects of recession (usatoday.com)
Childhood obesity has tripled over the past 30 years, and in the present, one-third of teens and children are overweight or obese. But while schools and parents can tell children to exercise more and eat better, is there another cause? Could obesity be genetic, or is the condition simply related to lifestyle, and if so, how? Childhood obesity likely points to multiple factors, and birth, according to two studied published over the past week, may be one.
A mother’s weight can directly affect her child’s, according to a Canadian study. Mothers already overweight or who gained excessive weight in pregnancy have a 12- to 16-percent chance of giving birth to a larger infant. The child’s weight and size, however, do not correlate to a mother’s higher glucose levels, which indicate gestational diabetes.
Larger infants, who are nine pounds or heavier, have health complications additional to obesity. Broken bones during a standard birth procedure are one significant concern. To prevent this, mothers of any weight opt for C-sections.
But, while C-sections circumvent the broken bone concerns, this birth procedure has also been correlated with childhood obesity. A study published in the BMJ Journal shows that babies born from C-section have a greater chance of childhood obesity than those born from standard birth procedures. Regardless of the mother’s size or infant’s size, 15.7 percent of children born from C-section were obese by age 3. On the other hand, only 7.5 percent of children born from a standard procedure birth were obese by this age.
Although mothers, from the results of these two studies, should consider whether or not a C-section is necessary and should watch their health, these findings are likely not the be-all-end-all of childhood obesity research.
For about the past week, rumors circulated of Jersey Shore star Snooki being pregnant, but the pint-size reality TV personality also known as Nicole Polizzi was evasive. Until Friday, that is. Coinciding with her official announcement, Us Weekly broke the news that the star’s 15 weeks along and is engaged to boyfriend Jionni LaValle, who reportedly bought her a $50,000 ring. Regarding the news, the four-foot-nine star told the press: “I don’t care what anybody else thinks. As long as I know I’m ready and he’s ready.”
Snooki might not care, but will the Jersey Shore’s viewers? Could getting pregnant be a major ratings killer for the show, which is about to start its fifth season? Reports are varied. Costar Vinny Guadagnino told the Huffington Post that Snooki will be back. While he hadn’t heard the news until the press broke it, he said the Shore cast will try to help her as must as possible: “We all get into our hardships with each other and petty arguments but this is real life. She is pregnant and we are there for each other…”
Other castmembers were equally in the dark, including Deena Cortese, who admitted that on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show. Nevertheless, she also stated that the star known for her fondness for pickles and slippers will be a good mother: “I think this has been her dream: getting married and having kids. She’s really happy and I’m happy for her. I’m going to miss my little partner in crime, but I’m happy for her!”
Contrary to what Guadagnino says, unidentified sources said that MTV plans to cancel Shore over Snooki’s condition. After all, she can’t be replaced as well as former castmember Angelina Pivarnick, who, too, announced a pregnancy. What do you think MTV should do – keep Shore with a less party-hardy Snooki or scrap it all together? Then again, cancelation may just be a rumor, as Polizzi and Shore castmember J-Woww have been spotted filming their spinoff in Jersey City.
- Angelina Pivarnick Offers To Babysit For Snooki (huffingtonpost.com)
- Snooki: “I’m Pregnant and Committed” (socyberty.com)
- Snooki Pregnant Jokes Continue on Twitter Over ‘Jersey Shore’ Star (celebs.gather.com)
Parents may no longer need to wait 20 weeks for the ultrasound or amniocentesis to find out the gender of their unborn child. According to recent news, tests for detecting a child’s gender at seven weeks are available in the U.S. and other parts of the world. While such a test can only be purchased through private companies in the U.S., it can be found over the counter in a handful of other nations. Because of sex-selective abortions, however, such tests in India and China are banned.
But, with easier availability of such a test, could the U.S. and other developed nations fall into the same pattern as India and China? An editorial on Babble implies that, because of the growing number of American men and their preference for male offspring, this could happen, and, in many years down the line, the U.S. may face the same gender imbalance that China and India are currently experiencing.
According to a Gallup poll, American men between the ages of 18 and 29 years would prefer to have a boy over a girl by a 40- to 28-percent margin. However, women’s opinions, even from a potentially-shrinking population, are not taken into account. Additionally, while minimal data for sex-selective abortions in the U.S. is available, the insistence of having a male child is not as pervasive in the U.S., and restrictions, such as China’s one-child policy, are nonexistent.
At the same time, such tests are not solely for determine a fetus’ gender but, instead, are used for finding if the child is carrying any sex-linked genetic diseases, such as hemophilia in males.
Do you think that favoritism, while not influenced by population restrictions or tradition, when combined with early sex detection tests could result in a growing number of sex-selective abortions in the U.S.?
Some say yes, and others say no. While being a stay-at-home mother is difficult with two-income families being the norm, women choosing to have a career and child – essentially “having it all” – find it even more straining to balance their lives. But, in this latter category, a recent study suggests that many women, regardless of career path, wish they had their children earlier. As women have entered the working world, having children in the early to mid-20s is far less common, particularly as this period is seen as an extension of the teen years. College and “finding yourself,” in addition to finding financial stability, seem to take up a significant portion of the 20s, and bringing another person in the world is put on the back burner.
The study linked above suggests that those who had children in their 30s wish they had them younger – particularly during the “ideal” fertility period of 25 to 29 years of age. Other findings from this study include:
• Those who had children at 30 to 34 years of age wish they had them younger, most likely during the period of 25 to 29 years.
• Both financial security and emotional maturity are important and, with a career, most women don’t reach these until their 30s.
• The period of 25 to 29 is considered the “perfect” age to have a child by women in their 30s. Those above 38 years of age think that the period of 30 and 34 years is better.
• A large percentage – 60 percent – of stay-at-home and career mothers thinks that having a baby has a negative impact on a woman’s career.
• Additionally, those with an established career who has a child noticed negative emotions and a lack of caring upon returning to the job.
Essentially, this study indicates that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence and, as a result, there is no “right” age to have a child.