Pregnancy

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‘Baby Panic’? Women Over 35 May Be Quite Fertile After All

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

I walked into the newsroom today startled to see the TV screen tuned to ABC’s Good Morning America streaming (or screaming?) “Baby Panic: How long can you wait to have a baby?” across the bottom of the screen.

I wondered why this discussion was suddenly news again.

I hate the “baby panic” story. I got pregnant easily for the first time at 39. Right on my block, I can quickly count a number of women who also had their first child after 35. Many of us also had children in our 40s. Most of us did this without fertility treatments. I always thought baby panic was a way to get women to “lean out” of their careers.

So it was with some trepidation that I discovered The Atlantic article that appears to be driving this new media frenzy. But this article is different. It debunks the conventional wisdom about women over 35 facing a steep and rapid decline in fertility.

In her piece, Jean Twenge weaves in her personal story: divorced at 30, longing for children, worrying she’d never have them.

Then she dives into the data. For example, where does the statistic showing that one-third of women 35 to 39 will not be pregnant after a year of trying come from? Continue reading

Unnecessary Early Deliveries Plummet in Multi-State Study, Includes California

American children are less likely to live to age 5 than children in other high-income countries. (Photo: Comstock)

The rate of early elective deliveries dropped from about 28 percent to under 5 percent. (Photo: Comstock)

Hospitals in California were part of a multi-state approach designed to dramatically reduce early elective deliveries of babies. The result? In one calendar year, early deliveries — those without a medical cause for doing so — dropped from about 28 percent to just under 5 percent.

“What everyone is amazed about is we did it in a year,” said Leslie Kowalewski with the California chapter of the March of Dimes, which helped hospitals in setting up the new protocol for the study.

The findings from the study were published this week in Obstetrics and Gynecology. For more than 30 years, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has recommended that women and their doctors wait until at least 39 weeks of gestation to deliver a baby. Delivering earlier is associated with health complications for the babies, including breathing and developmental problems.

Slippery Slope With Early Deliveries

But a “slippery slope” had developed around early elective deliveries, says Dr. Elliott Main, a high-risk obstetrician and director of obstetrics quality at Sutter Health. “Your due date was 40 weeks, and then we thought 39 was just as good. Then it became 38 and a half, then 38, and that’s the slippery slope.” Continue reading

Akin’s Rape Remarks Refuted by Science, Supported in Anti-Abortion Circles

Rep. Todd Akin in television interview Sunday, made remarks about rape and pregnancy.

I’m sure you’ve all heard by now about Representative Todd Akin’s statements about rape. (If not, you can watch here.)

In less than 30 seconds of a television interview, he articulated two viewpoints that have riled just about everyone — including many members of his own party.

First, he suggested that rape can be either legitimate or illegitimate. Second, he said that if a woman is a victim of the former, “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” and she will not get pregnant.

Today, in a new ad, Representative Akin is asking forgiveness, saying he used the wrong words in the wrong way.

While I had thought this was one guy with a crazy idea, the New York Times reports today that the idea rape cannot end in pregnancy has circulated in anti-abortion circles for more than 25 years. Continue reading