Archive: The World of MCH

May 2011

New Commitments to Save Women and Children

May 20, 2011
UNFPA Press Release

Today, 16 countries announced new commitments to dramatically reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality, as part of the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health.

Maternal health in the spotlight during UN chief’s four-nation trip

May 18, 2011
UN News Centre

Maternal health will be the focus over the next week when Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon begins a four-nation trip that will take the United Nations chief to Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Ethiopia and France, his spokesperson said today.

The trips to Nigeria and Ethiopia are part of the “Every Woman, Every Child” global health effort, which Mr. Ban launched in September last year during the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) summit at UN Headquarters in New York.

Average infant mortality rate down 30% in past 10 years

May 18, 2011
The Times India
Subodh Varma

Recently released data on infant deaths across states in India has thrown up surprising results, leaving health experts puzzled. Average infant mortality rate for the country as a whole stood at 50 in 2009, down by 30% compared to a decade ago. The rate is much higher than developed countries but the pace at which it is declining is encouraging. But the surprises lurk in state level data.

Racial health care gap deadly, women told

May 16, 2011
The Journal Gazette

Devon Haynie

Obstetrician and gynecologist Lauren Dungy-Poythress started her speech on black infant mortality rates Sunday with a series of facts that made those in her audience shake their heads.

According to research, she said, infant mortality rates among black women are two to three times higher than those among white women.

Where Alabama stands: National rankings show slight improvements for State of Alabama

May 15, 2011
The Anniston Star

Tim Lockette

“Thank God for Mississippi.”

It might as well be Alabama’s state motto. Many Alabamians are familiar with the saying — an acknowledgement of the widespread belief that the state ranks 49th in every measure of well-being. Alabama consistently occupies the bottom rungs of the quality-of-life ladder, the theory goes, with its mirror-image neighbor just one spot lower.

Infant mortality — a count of infants who are stillborn, or who die in the early months of life — is one of the most heart-wrenching of all statistics. It’s also one of the most telling. For decades, sociologists have used infant mortality as a measure of the most crushing kinds of poverty, because high mortality rates are common in the world’s poorest countries.
May 20,2011

In honor of Mother’s Day and National Women’s Health Week, today NACCHO announced its participation in the text4baby State Enrollment Contest, a national competition to enroll pregnant women and new mothers in the text4babyprogram.

Text4baby, the country’s first free, health education program in the form of text messages, provides timely tips and expert advice sent directly to the cell phones of pregnant women and new moms. Pregnant women and new mothers who text “BABY” (or “BEBE” for Spanish) to 511411 receive weekly text messages, timed to their due date or their baby’s birth date through the baby’s first year. The messages, which have been developed by government and non-profit health experts like the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics, and March of Dimes, deal with nutrition, immunization and birth defect prevention, among other topics.

Maternal and child health in Brazil: progress and challenges

May 9, 2011
The Lancet

In the past three decades, Brazil has undergone rapid changes in major social determinants of health and in the organisation of health services. In this report, we examine how these changes have affected indicators of maternal health, child health, and child nutrition. We use data from vital statistics, population censuses, demographic and health surveys, and published reports.

Reducing infant death rates

May 3, 2011

Nicole Harrison, Midland-Kalamunda Reporter

A MATERNITY service based in Midland since February aims to reduce infant mortality rates in Aboriginal babies.

The Aboriginal Maternity Group Practice has received Federal funding until June 2014 under Closing the Gap, a Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs initiative.

Kansas worst for black infant deaths

May 1, 2011
The Wichita Eagle

Fred Mann

A Wichita mom put her healthy 4-month-old daughter down for a nap on May 27 last year. When she checked later, the baby wasn’t breathing. Attempts by doctors to revive her failed, and Mariah Thomas was pronounced dead, a victim of sudden infant death syndrome.

April 2011

Fighting disparities in infant mortality

Empty Cradles | Q&A with Michael Lu
April 18, 2011
Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel

Michael Lu, an obstetrician and public health professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, has spent the last 15 years studying why African-American women have two to three times the rate of infant mortality and prematurity as their white counterparts. Lu spoke with freelance science writer Tia Ghose in his Los Angeles office about the causes of that disparity and how it can be fixed.

MDG poverty goals may be achieved, but child mortality is not improving

IMF and World Bank advocate ‘performance-related’ pay for medics to improve maternal and child mortality, but the greatest threat to MDGs remains the ‘cycles of violence’ in fragile states

April 18, 2011

Claire Provost

Two-thirds of developing countries are on track or close to meeting the millennium development goal (MDG) targets for extreme poverty and hunger, say the World Bank and the IMF.

According to the Global Monitoring Report, released on Friday in Washington during the Bretton Woods spring meetings, the number of people living in extreme poverty – on less than $1.25 per day – will drop to 883 million by 2015, from 1.4 billion in 2005 and 1.8 billion in 1990.

Stillbirths: how can health systems deliver for mothers and babies?

April 14, 2011
The Lancet

The causes of stillbirths are inseparable from the causes of maternal and neonatal deaths. This report focuses on prevention of stillbirths by scale-up of care for mothers and babies at the health-system level, with consideration for effects and cost. In countries with high mortality rates, emergency obstetric care has the greatest effect on maternal and neonatal deaths, and on stillbirths. Syphilis detection and treatment is of moderate effect but of lower cost and is highly feasible.

Counting stillbirths: women’s health and reproductive rights

April 14, 2011
The Lancet

Maureen Kelley

Most of the world’s 2·6 million stillbirths occur every year in low-income and middle-income countries. One of the most devastating myths that surrounds stillbirth is that women who are accustomed to high infant mortality and high rates of stillbirth somehow feel the individual loss of a wanted pregnancy less than women living in high-income countries.

January 2011

Groups Reach Out To Teens

Volunteers tackle infant mortality, teen pregnancy and inspire teens

January 29, 2011
Channel 3 News WREG Memphis

Stephanie Scurlock

With 60 degree temperatures on a January day, many folks spent the day enjoying the parks or other outdoor activities. News Channel 3 found a group of about 40 people spending the day helping others and spreading the word about infant mortality. Volunteers with the county’s, ABC Program, All Babies Count, went door to door in the 38127 zip code, the zip code with the highest infant mortality rate in Memphis.

Mayor Tom Barrett announces Prematurity Summit detailed analysis of Milwaukee infant deaths released

January 29, 2011
Milwaukee Courier

Improving access to and the quality of women’s healthcare, screening and treating pregnant women for infections and chronic medical conditions, and helping women and their families quit smoking are three key steps to help reduce infant mortality rates in Milwaukee, according to a comprehensive report released this week by the City of Milwaukee Health Department (MHD).

Maternal death rates are higher after in vitro fertilization

January 27, 2011
Los Angeles Times

Shari Roan

Maternal mortality is rare. But the rates are increasing in the United States and elsewhere for a number of reasons. In an editorial published Thursday, British researchers point out that in-vitro-fertilization-related pregnancies are an additional risk factor for maternal death.

Spotlight on Mom: Georgia Louise Gilbertson

January 27, 2011
The Commercial Appeal

Sonja Lueck

A newspaper article on Memphis’ high rate of infant mortality moved homemaker and involved volunteer Georgia Louise Gilbertson and her husband, Dr. Richard Gilbertson of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, to action.

Maternal obesity ‘linked to prolonged gestation’

January 27, 2011
International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics

Women who have a high body mass index during pregnancy are likely to have a longer gestation period, a new study has revealed. Maternal obesity can also increase the chance of a woman having an induced delivery and experiencing complications during delivery, the UK study published in BJOG found. Researchers from the University of Liverpool and Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust looked at 29,224 deliveries over four years.

MDGs’ achievement must for reducing child mortality

January 26, 2011
Business Recorder
Muhammad Saleem

LAHORE: Speaking at the inaugural session of a three-day workshop on ‘Basic Minimum Family Planning Content Package for Medical Colleges,’ health professionals have said the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) needs to be achieved for reducing child mortality and improving maternal health.

March for Babies to kick off in greater Lake City area

January 25, 2011
SC Now

LAKE CITY — The March of Dimes will kick off its 2011 March for Babies fundraising campaign in the greater Lake City area at the Lake City Public Library at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 1.

City vows to fight infant mortality
Health official makes it priority; Barrett urges community effort

January 24, 2011
Journal Sentinal
Crocker Stephenson

Milwaukee Health Commissioner Bevan K. Baker vowed Monday to place infant mortality at the top of the city’s health agenda, and Mayor Tom Barrett called for a communitywide effort to reduce the rate at which Milwaukee children die before their first birthday.

More cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome reported

January 20, 2011
ABC-12 News Michigan

Matt Franklin

Officials in Genesee County say they are seeing more cases of babies who are the victims of infant mortality and child abuse. This week alone, two baby girls were rushed to Hurley Medical Center after police say they were shaken by their fathers. One of the girls died as a result of her injuries.

March of Dimes ambassador a fighter

January 20, 2011
The Charolotte Post

Sommer Brokaw

Lauren Fleming’s first six months of life were spent in neonatal intensive care. Now 6, the Marvin. N.C., girl is the March of Dimes’ 2011 national ambassador.

Bill Gates Wants to Use Phones to Track Babies for Vaccines

January 20, 2011

Peter Ferenczi

In a keynote address at the mHealth Summit, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates proposed a plan to use cell phones to register births with the aim of increasing vaccination rates and decreasing population growth in the developing world.

Infant CPR program labeled a success

January 19, 2011
The Chatham Daily News
Bob Boughner

A Canadian pilot project of the infant CPR Anytime Personal Learning Program in Chatham-Kent has been a “huge success.”

Paula Morrison, program manager of infant health with the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit, provided health board members Wednesday with an update on the program.

Western Health implements Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program

January 15, 2011
The Western Star

Diane Crocke

There’s no doubt that baby Lily LeCoure’s has no trouble hearing. At just under 24 hours old she showed signs of reacting to the voices and sounds of a camera and flash going off around her. Her parents, Nicole Bullen and Guy LeCoure of Lourdes, are confident Lily’s hearing is just fine, but they were still interested in finding out how she would do on a hearing test.

Health dept. delivers layoff notices; maternity services hardest hit

January 13, 2011
The Seatlle Times

Keith Ervin

King County public-health managers Thursday notified 123 employees — nearly 10 percent of the department — that they will lose their jobs at the end of February unless the state restores funding for a highly-regarded pregnancy-health program.

Prenatal blood test for Down syndrome shows high level of accuracy

January 11, 2011
Los Angeles Times

Shari Roan

Prenatal testing to detect Down syndrome is carried out with amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling. Both are invasive tests that carry about a 1% risk of miscarriage. Researchers said Tuesday, however, that they were developing a simple maternal blood test that can detect Down syndrome with a high rate of accuracy and greatly reduce the number of cases requiring an invasive test. Down syndrome occurs in about 1 in 800 births.

Maryland Highlights Forum On Children And Health
Governor Martin O’Malley has convened the fourth of five forums, designed to elicit feedback and ideas from stakeholders in preparation for a second term as Maryland’s Governor.

January 11, 2011

Today’s forum focused on children and health, keeping Maryland competitive, expanding opportunity for our children, and serving as a national model for the implementation of federal health care reform. Today’s forum gathered the input from approximately 400 stakeholders, including recommendations for legislation and actions related to childhood hunger, health information technology, substance abuse, infant mortality, lead poisoning, and HIV/AIDS.

Parents, professionals strive to continue decline in infant mortality

January 10, 2011
Magic Valley

Ariel Hansen

Sometimes there’s nothing a parent or doctor can do — a baby dies.

But over the past decades, fewer have been doing so in Idaho, thanks to better education, more research into the causes of fetal and infant death, and improved health care for mother and child.

Survey offers a snapshot of how teens are faring

January 9, 2011
Rapid City Journal

Kayla Gahagan

More teenagers are having babies, and more children are living in poverty, according to a survey that studies child poverty, infant mortality, teen birth rates and other risk factors.

Idaho lacks child mortality review board

January 8, 2011
Magic Valley

Ariel Hansen

“Idaho is now the only state lacking an infant and child mortality review board.”

That blunt appraisal was from the 2010 Maternal and Child Health Five Year Needs Assessment from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, and it underlines a gap in how the state approaches the deaths of babies and children.

Father’s diet can affect future child’s health, UT study says
Study suggests new way in which traits are transferred and has implications for evolution, researchers and experts say

January 8, 2011
The Statesman

Mary Ann Roser

A father’s poor eating habits could make his future children sick, suggests new research on mice involving the University of Texas. The study, recently published in the journal Cell, found that male mice who ate a low-protein diet passed on to their offspring cellular changes in their livers that affect fat and cholesterol metabolism. This passing on of traits linked to an environmental factor such as diet, using sperm as the vehicle, is one of the theories championed by researchers in the relatively new field of epigenetics.

Orange County’s infant mortality rate lowest in 10 years

January 6, 2011
Orlando Sentinel

Linda Shrieves

The number of babies dying before their first birthday dropped in Orange County in 2009 — and the county’s infant mortality rate reached its lowest level in 10 years, according to a county task force.

Mobile Health Department gets $4 million grant for teen pregnancy prevention

January 6, 2011

Casandra Andrews

The Mobile County Health Department has been awarded landmark funding by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reduce teen pregnancy rates, local health officials said today.

Maternal depression adversely affects quality of life in children with epilepsy

January 5, 2011
Science Centric

A study by Canadian researchers examined the prevalence of maternal depression and its impact on children newly diagnosed with epilepsy. Prevalence of depression in mothers ranged from 30%-38% within the first 24 months following a child’s epilepsy diagnosis. The mother’s depressive symptoms negatively impacted the child’s health-related quality of life, but the effects were moderated by the amount of family resources and mediated by how well the family functions and the extent of family demands.

Finding cause, cure for infant deaths

January 5, 2011
The Virginian-Pilot

Black infants die disproportionately, especially in Virginia, especially in Hampton Roads. Those are deeply discomfiting words with disturbing implications. Just witness some of the conversation that greeted reporter Elizabeth Simpson’s story on the subject in Monday’s Pilot.

Reduce Birth Defects with Folic Acid

January 4, 2011
NJ Today
Richard N. Waldman

Approximately 2,500 children each year in the US are born with defects of the neural tube—the part of a growing fetus that will become the brain and spinal cord—which can cause severe mental and physical disability or death. Spina bifida, the most common form of neural tube defect, occurs when the bones of the spine do not completely form around the spinal cord. Anencephaly, another defect, is a fatal condition in which an infant is born missing parts of the brain.

Study: Traditional Care Of Late-Preterm Infants Detrimental To Child’s Health

January 3, 2011
Loyola University Medical Center

In the last 15 years, the U.S has seen a sharp increase in the number of babies born as late-preterm infants, between 34 and 37 weeks’ gestation. This is approximately 400,000 children each year, comprising over 70 percent of all preterm births. Often, late-preterm infants are treated the same as full-term infants since they are commonly a similar size and weight. But more research is showing that this can be detrimental to a late-preterm infant’s health and frequently results in hospital readmission within the first month of life.

Less wheezing in babies with high vitamin D

January 3, 2011
Boston Globe
Elizabeth Cooney

A new study links higher vitamin D levels at birth to lower rates of respiratory infections and wheezing in early childhood.

Dr. Carlos Camargo Jr. of Massachusetts General Hospital led a study following 922 newborns, whose umbilical cord blood was tested for signs of vitamin D. Parents were asked about illnesses at 3 and 15 months and annually up to age 5.

December 2010

More Babies Die New Year’s Day Annually; Alcohol Maybe To Blame

December 31, 2010
Medical News Today
Sy Kraft

The number of babies who die of SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome increases by one third, or 33% on New Year’s Day and the believed cause is excessive alcohol consumption by caretakers the night before. SIDS is the sudden death of an infant under one year of age which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of the clinical history. Also known as “crib death” and “cot death” because it strikes seemingly healthy babies in their sleep, SIDS is usually ruled the cause of death only when other causes are ruled out.

US teen birth rate still far higher than W. Europe

December 30, 2010
Washington Post
Mike Stobbe

ATLANTA — The rate of teen births in the U.S. is at its lowest level in almost 70 years. Yet, the sobering context is that the teen pregnancy rate is far lower in many other countries. The most convincing explanation is that contraceptive use is much higher among teens in most Western European countries.

Edward Hospital pushing full-term pregnancies
Facility among six in Illinois that will counsel expectant mothers to carry at least through 39 weeks — unless there is a medical necessity or labor occurs naturally

December 29, 2010
Chicago Tribune
Jack McCarthy

Early elective childbirth may be convenient for a doctor or mom, but officials at Edward Hospital in Naperville say the practice is too risky for a baby.

Citing a baby’s critical development late in pregnancies — even one extra week makes a difference — the hospital early next year will end elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks.

As early elective births increase so do health risks for mother, child

December 26, 2010
San Jose Mercury News

Nathanael Johnson

A dramatic increase in the number of U.S. women and physicians choosing an early childbirth comes with new health risks for mothers and newborns, experts say.  The average time a fetus spends in the womb has fallen seven days in the United States since 1992, according to researchers and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers see an “evolutionarily dramatic event” in the trend, and perinatal health experts see dangers. Shortening gestation could affect lung development and some fine-tuning of brain functions, they say.

December 24, 2010

Bonnie Rochman

Searching for the perfect last-minute gift or a worthy effort deserving of some end-of-year giving? The New York City Health Department is trying to raise $25,000 to purchase 250 cribs for babies who don’t have them.

Baby Weight
Report highlights racial disparities in prematurity and birth weight

December 23, 2010
Memphis Flyer
Bianca Phillips

African-American babies born in Shelby County are more than twice as likely to be born at low birth weights than white babies, according to a new report by the Urban Child Institute. The report, which was released in early December, focuses on the black-white gap as it relates to low birth weight and prematurity, both factors in Shelby County’s high infant mortality rate.

Gaps seen in pregnancy-related diabetes screening

December 22, 2010
Reuters Health

Anne Harding

Just over two-thirds of pregnant women undergo screening tests for gestational diabetes, according to a new analysis of nearly one million patient records.

Among the five percent of women who tested positive for pregnancy-related diabetes, just one in five were screened again within six months of giving birth, Dr. Jon M. Nakamoto of Quest Diagnostics Nichols Institute in San Juan Capistrano, California, and his colleagues found.

Polk Bucks National Trend; Teen Births Up in 2009

December 22, 2010
The Ledger

Robin Williams Adams

Births increased last year for Polk County teens ages 15 to 19, counter to a nationwide decline that brought the birth rate for older teens to a historic low. Discouraging as that may seem locally, teen pregnancy prevention advocates have reason to celebrate: Polk girls between the ages of 10 and 17 had a significantly lower rate of births in 2009, more in keeping with national numbers that found lower rates among older teens, women in their 20s and 30s and in the nation’s fertility overall.

Chicago adding in-school health centers
Center provide free care to underserved areas

December 22, 2010
Chicago Tribune

Michelle D. Anderson

At first glance, this health care center on the city’s Northwest Side looks like any other facility offering medical care to young patients: In the waiting area, children will find a basket of books on a small table, toys on the floor and a chalkboard.

But the facility is inside Hibbard Elementary School in Albany Park and is the latest health center to debut inside a Chicago Public Schools facility.

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month
The Theme for 2011 Is: “Medication Use Before, During, and After Pregnancy”

December 20, 2010
Associated Content of Yahoo

Grace M. Drake

According to materials published by the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN), birth defects are a leading cause of infant mortality. Birth defects account for nearly 20 percent of all infant deaths in the U.S. Each year, across the country, 120,000 affected babies are born.

Breast Feeding Benefits Boys’ Brains

December 20, 2010
Medpage Today

Kristina Fiore

Breast feeding for at least six months has been associated with enhanced immunity and other benefits for children — but a prospective study from Australia suggests breast feeding may also yield academic benefits later in a child’s life, at least for boys.

U.S. Trends Show C-Sections Up, Births Down

December 20, 2010
Medpage Today

Crystal Phend

Fewer American women are having babies — except unmarried women and those in their 40s — while the number of cesarean deliveries (C-sections) continues to climb, according to CDC vital statistics for 2008.

Michigan fails to meet breastfeeding goal

December 20, 2010
The Michigan Messenger

Eartha Jane Melzer

State health officials say that Michigan fell short of its goal of having 75 percent of new mothers initiate breastfeeding by 2010. Nearly 71 percent of Michigan mothers do start out breastfeeding, but around a quarter of them give up on it within four weeks, often when they return to work.

Birth Rates Fall, As Do Death Rates in Children

December 20, 2010

Compared to the previous year, 2008 found birth rates falling in teens and women, preterm birth rates and infant mortality rates decreasing, and death rates for children and teenagers also falling, according to a summary of vital statistics published online Dec. 20 in Pediatrics.

High Rates of Gestational Diabetes Spikes Costs, Poses Health Risks

December 19, 2010

Kathleen Blanchard

A recent analysis from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) shows high rates of gestational diabetes among women who gave birth in 2008. The condition that can develop during pregnancy increases hospital costs and poses risks for the mother and newborn.

Infant mortality: Absentee leaders

December 19, 2010
The Florida Times-Union

Small, but meaningful improvements in reducing the needless deaths of its youngest and most vulnerable residents have been made in Duval County. The rate of infant mortality, which is death before the first birthday, has been declining since 2005, when this editorial page produced a three-part series on this local tragedy titled “Too young to die.”

Scott County to step away from WIC

December 18, 2010
Quad-City Times

Deirdre Baker

Although the Scott County Board of Health has decided to drop its contract for the Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, program that has operated in the Iowa Quad-Cities since 1974, the health and nutrition program itself will not be affected, officials say. The state will issue requests for a new contract during the first part of 2011, said Brenda Dobson, the program’s Iowa director. It involves a competitive bidding process with the next contract to begin Oct. 1.

GE Healthcare To Distribute Infant Warmers In Partnership With Embrace

December 18, 2010

Piyush Divan

With the intention to ameliorate infant care in rustic regions, GE Healthcare in partnership with social enterprise ‘Embrace’ will distribute low-cost baby warmers in rustic parts of the country early next year.

Infant mortality rates in Cabarrus County one of the lowest in the nation

December 18, 2010
Independent Tribune

Robin Gardner

The Child Fatality Prevention Task Force was established in 1993 under the North Carolina Child Fatality Prevention Team. Task forces like this one, and various other programs, have helped to lower the rate of infant deaths in the state and in the county.

Mapping the problem of infant mortality

December 17, 2010
The Journal Times

Janine Anderson

People working to reduce the city’s black infant mortality rate know stress contributes to poor birth outcomes, and on Friday they saw maps that showed what stressors are present in the neighborhoods with the most infant deaths.

Prenatal care in the Black Belt

December 17, 2010

Jason Cannon

One of every six pregnant women in Alabama’s Black Belt fails to get proper prenatal care, nearly twice the rate for the rest of Alabama. Demographics and economics certainly have a role to play in that statistic, but – somewhat surprisingly – so do the doctors; or the lack thereof.

Teen Pregnancy Rate in Virginia Falls

December 16, 2010

State Health Commissioner Karen Remley, M.D., MBA, FAAP, announced Thursday a decline in both premature births and teen pregnancies in Virginia. In the last five years, 1,085 more babies were carried to term, over 39 weeks of gestation, and the teen pregnancy rate in Virginia decreased 22 percent between 2000 and 2009.

Yale Study Says Vaccinated Mothers Have Healthier Newborns
Flu shots during pregnancy leads to fewer hospitalizations

December 15, 2010
LA Times
William Weir

Getting a flu shot during pregnancy is an effective way for mothers to prevent their newborns from getting the flu, according to a new Yale study.

The three-year study showed that mothers who were vaccinated while pregnant successfully kept their newborns from being hospitalized with influenza 91.5 percent of the time. The study looked at the hospitalizations of infants up to 6 months old. There are currently no flu vaccines for children under 6 months of age.

Report: Efforts helping to reduce Jacksonville infant death rate

December 15, 2010
The Florida Times Union
Jeremy Cox

Two years after a landmark report called attention to Jacksonville’s intractable infant death rate, some positive signs are emerging, child advocates said Tuesday.
For the first time, the number of infants who died before their first birthday in Duval County dipped below nine per 1,000 births. The 2009 rate, though, remains higher than the Florida average, which is higher than the U.S. average.

Depression During Pregnancy Might Affect Baby

Higher levels of stress hormones, weaker muscle tone noted, but significance is unclear

December 14, 2010
US News

Babies born to mothers who are depressed during pregnancy have higher levels of stress hormones, decreased muscle tone and other neurological and behavioral differences, a new study finds.”The two possibilities are that [the infants] are either more sensitive to stress and respond more vigorously to it, or that they are less able to shut down their stress response,” lead investigator Dr. Delia M. Vazquez, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Michigan School of Medicine, said in a school news release.

Healthcare delivery: Lanka on top

December 14, 2010
Daily Mirror
Sandun A. Jayasekera

Sri Lanka has once again emerged as the most successful country in South Asia in healthcare delivery, recording low indicators in Maternal Mortality and a high rate of  Life Expectancy , ‘The State of World Population 2010’ (Report) issued by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said today.

Volunteers canvass Frayser area, warn parents of high infant mortality rate

December 12, 2010
The Commercial Appeal

Sara Patterson

Walking past one abandoned house after another as rain drizzled in the neighborhood across from Frayser High School, Sweeti Bhakata saw a Christmas tree in an apartment window and raised her eyebrows.

“Let’s go to the second floor, I bet someone is there,” the second-year medical school student told her canvassing partner, Reginald Johnson. The duo leapt over a deep puddle blocking the entry to the Whitney Manor apartment complex, and, like 32 other volunteers in Frayser Saturday morning, knocked on a stranger’s door.

Infant mortality slightly down in 2008

The following is cited from a report released on Dec 9 from the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall, the infant mortality is slightly down compared to that for 2007.

December 10, 2010
Food Consumer

The preliminary infant mortality rate for 2008 was 6.59 infant deaths per 1,000 live births (see Tables A and 4). This represents a decrease of 2.4 percent from the 2007 rate of 6.75. With the exception of 2002 and 2005, the infant mortality rate has statistically remained the same or decreased significantly each successive year from 1958 through 2008 (13,28).

Number of Premature Babies Drops

December 10, 2010
All News Wire

J Howell

A federal health survey from the National Vital Statistics Report shows that the amount of babies being born prematurely has gone down considerably. There were 23,500 less premature births in 2008 than there were in 2007. The Births Final Data from the Report showed that 2007 had a record high number of preterm births, 546,602, before the 37th week of pregnancy. This decreased to 523,033 in 2008.

Nurse program helps moms through their babies’ first two years

December 9, 2010
Sun Sentinel

Erika Pesantes

Nurses have provided guidance for a mother as young as 11 in the state’s only Nurse Family Partnership program, for first-time moms in Palm Beach County.

The $1.5 million maternal and early-childhood health program — part of a national initiative funded by the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County — currently helps 200 needy women and their babies. They are eligible before their 28th week of pregnancy.

Buprenorphine treatment in pregnancy: less distress to babies

NIH study compares buprenorphine to methadone in opioid addicted pregnant women

December 9, 2010
NIH News

Stephanie Older

Babies born to women addicted to opioids fare better when their mothers are treated with either the addiction medication buprenorphine or methadone than babies whose mothers are not treated at all. In this comparative effectiveness trial, buprenorphine was found to be superior to methadone in reducing withdrawal symptoms in the newborns, according to a recent study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of the National Institutes of Health. The study, conducted by a multi-disciplinary team of researchers from North America and Europe, was published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Babies’ DNA profiled in the womb

The entire DNA profile of an unborn child has been mapped from the blood of its mother for the first time in a breakthrough that could allow parents to safely check for a host of genetic and inherited disorders.

December 9, 2010
The Telegraph

Richard Alleyne

Researchers hope it will provide a better and risk-free alternative to the current invasive tests which increase the chance of the mother suffering a miscarriage. However it also raises ethical concerns that it could eventually be used to select “designer babies” and screen out offspring with less serious abnormalities. At the moment the only way to scan for genetic defects in the womb is to carry out operations which involve scraping away a sample of cells from the placenta (chorionic villus sampling) or removing – via an injection – fluid from the womb (amniocentesis).

U.S. Life Expectancy Drops Slightly
Deaths from stroke, infant mortality decline, federal report finds

December 9, 2010
US News Report

Steven Reinberg

Life expectancy dipped slightly in the United States from 2007 to 2008, according to a new federal report — the first decline of its type in 25 years.

Life expectancy for Americans in general declined by a little more than one month, from 77.9 to 77.8 years. For women, the average life expectancy dropped by a tenth of one year, to 80.3 years; for men it also dropped by the same amount, to 75.3 years.

Nonprofits, agencies get CareFirst cash

December 8, 2010
Washington Business Journal

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield announced more than $3 million in grants to D.C. and Maryland health care nonprofits and government agencies, as part of an effort to improve health and safety for mothers and their children.

Muslim Charity UK to Build Maternity Hospital in Limbe

December 8, 2010
The Nation
Emmanuel Muwamba

Muslim Charity UK says it will build a 25-bed maternity hospital at Maone Park in Limbe to help in reducing infant and maternal mortality.

The charity’s country director Altaf Gani made the remarks on Monday at the opening of the organisation’s offices in Limbe, which also marked its launch in Malawi.

Study: Restless Leg Syndrome During Pregnancy May Recur

December 7, 2010
Meredith Melnick

Of all the conditions that appear during pregnancy — from gestational diabetes and acne to foot growth and intense cravings — transient restless leg syndrome (RLS) doesn’t get a lot of attention. But according to new research published in the December 7 issue of Neurology, it should get its due for at least one reason: it may come back later in life.

Cell Phone Use in Pregnancy: Risks for Child?

Study Shows Possible Link Between Prenatal Cell Phone Exposure and Childhood Behavior Problems

December 6, 2010
Denise Mann

Exposure to cell phones before birth and afterward may increase a child’s risk for developing certain behavioral problems, including hyperactivity, inattention, and problems getting along with peers, a study suggests.

The study is published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The new research does have limitations; the study researchers point out that there aren’t enough data to say how, or even if, cell phone exposure may cause any behavioral problems in children.

Group focuses on reducing infant deaths in area

December 5, 2010

Mark Taylor

Standardizing hospital emergency codes and improving infant safety are the latest projects undertaken by the Northwest Indiana Patient Safety Coalition, a group including health care professionals from rival local hospitals and nursing colleges collaborating to protect patients, instead of competing.


“We’re community focused on patient safety and are looking at issues like infant safety, for example,” said David Milen, manager of safety and security at St. Margaret Mercy Healthcare Centers in Dyer and Hammond. “Obviously, with one of the state’s highest infant mortality rates here in Northwest Indiana, we really need to focus on that issue. All the people here are contributing. Everything has been a group effort.”

Moms’ smoking in pregnancy tied to girls’ puberty

December 3, 2010

Alison McCook

Women who smoke heavily during pregnancy tend to have daughters who start menstruating months earlier than the daughters of women who didn’t smoke while pregnant, a new study finds.

Pregnancy-related deaths rise in the U.S.

December 2, 2010

Amy Norton

While it remains rare for a woman in the U.S. to die from pregnancy complications, the national rate of pregnancy-related deaths appears to be on the upswing, a new government study finds.

November 2010

Pakistan ‘tackling maternal and infant mortality’

November 30, 2010
International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics
David Smith

The government in Lahore, Pakistan, has pledged to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates in areas affected by floods, which have spread across the region.

A scheme, called 24/7 Basic Obstetric Care Services, has been launched with funding from children’s charity Unicef, reports the Express Tribune.

Few bright spots in new Kids Count report

November 30, 2010
Fort Scott Tribune
Ruth Campbell

Although Bourbon County surpasses its peers and the state in percentage of mothers who get prenatal care and has a lower percentage of low birth-weight babies than the rest of Kansas, its infant mortality rate rate is among the worst in the state, according to data from a Kids County report released Tuesday.

Heart pump boosts survival rate of babies with birth defects

November 30,2010
Journal & Courier
Taya Flores

Thousands of babies are born each year with heart defects, according to the American Heart Association. Some of these defects result in a condition called univentricular circulation where the baby has only one functioning pump or ventricle in the heart, instead of two.

Change afoot for non-profit that provides wide range of maternal health services?

November 29, 2010
North Jersey

Harvy Lipman

A Paramus non-profit that for nearly 20 years has worked to reduce health problems among pregnant women and newborns is facing potential changes in the way it provides services as a result of the state’s financial crisis. The Northern New Jersey Maternal Child Health Consortium, which educates young mothers in low-income communities about everything from breast-feeding to postpartum depression, is one of six across the state.

Maternal smoking, passive smoking boost risk of neural tube defects

November 28, 2010
Food Consumer

Smoking cigarettes causes more than lung cancer.  A new study in the Nov 15, 2010 issue of Birth Defects Research. Part A, Clinical and Molecular Teratology suggests that passive smoking during pregnancy can boost risk of having a baby with neural tube defects or NTDs.

State rises in ranking of health care quality
Its dedication to collecting hospital data and keeping it in the public eye encourages improvements, experts say.

November 26, 2010
Portland Press Herald

John Richardson

Mainers enjoy some of the best health care in the country, according to federal data. And some experts here say one big reason is that Maine patients, employers and insurance companies are learning to shop around for high-quality care.

Weathering health inequality

November 26, 2010
Huffington Post

Philip Cohen

In the early 1990s, Arline Geronimus proposed a simple yet profound explanation for why Black women on average were having children at younger ages than White women, which she called the “weathering hypothesis.”

Black babies in Michigan 70 percent more likely than white to be born prematurely: Prematurity is single greatest cause of infant deaths, report says

November 25, 2010

Margaret DeRitter

A new report reveals that black babies born in Michigan are about 70 percent more likely to be born prematurely than white babies. The report — released Nov. 16 by the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation, in Ann Arbor — shows that 18.9 percent of black infants in the state are born prematurely, compared to 11.2 percent of Hispanic infants, 11.1 percent of white infants and 9.9 percent of Asian infants.

Statewide Systematic Evaluation of Sudden, Unexpected Infant Death Classification: Results from a National Pilot Project

November 24, 2010
Maternal and Child Health Journal

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded seven states, including Kentucky, to clarify statewide death certification practices in sudden, unexpected infant death and compare state performances with national expectations. Accurate assignment of the cause and manner of death in cases of sudden, unexpected infant death is critical for accurate vital statistics data to direct limited resources to appropriate targets, and to implement optimal and safe risk reduction strategies.

Born too soon: Moms’ health, steady care are vital to end prematurity

November 24, 2010
Tennessee Opinion

Kendall Graham

Last week, the March of Dimes released a Prematurity Birth Report Card for the state of Tennessee. The report delivered some sobering news: Tennessee was one of 13 states to earn an “F” for our premature birth rate of 13.5 percent. That means that one in seven babies in Tennessee is born too soon.

A Baby Incubator Made From Car Parts

November 23, 2010
New York Times

Jonathan Schultz

It is said that coffee, Coke and cigarettes can be found anywhere in the world. The presence of another C — car parts — recently led a team of industrial designers, doctors and rural heath care experts to conceive a device that could significantly lower infant mortality rates in developing nations.

Capital Health helping new parents minimize the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

November 23, 2010

A new initiative at Capital Health is helping new parents minimize the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by providing specially designed wearable blankets for their babies. SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants between 1 and 12 months old and the third leading cause overall of infant mortality in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

U.S. Death Rate From Congenital Heart Defects Continues to Decline

November 22, 2010
PR Newswire

A congenital heart defect was the underlying cause of 27,960 deaths — an age-standardized rate of 1.2 deaths per 100,000 people — based on data from death certificates. In a comparable study published in Circulation in 2001, deaths due to congenital heart defects dropped 39 percent from 1979 to 1997.

Move Over, Milk Banks: Facebook and Milk Sharing

November 22, 2010

Matthew Alan

In one of the photos that keeps getting Emma Kwasnica’s Facebook account suspended, the Montreal-based mother and breast-feeding activist is tandem nursing, with a newborn at one breast and a two-year-old at the other. Classical art and public health be damned, Facebook has censored countless breast-feeding photos for violating the company’s terms of use, a policy that has inspired more than 250,000 people to join a Facebook group called “Hey Facebook, Breastfeeding Is Not Obscene!”

New sleep cycle discovery explains why fatty diets during pregnancy make kids obese

November 22, 2010
Science Daily

The link between sleeping and obesity is drawn tighter as a new research published online in the FASEB Journal study shows that what your mother ate when she was pregnant may make you obese or overweight by altering the function of genes (epigenetic changes) that regulate circadian rhythm. In the report, pregnant primate females consuming a high-fat diet altered the function of fetal genes that regulate circadian rhythm (including appetite and food intake) during development. The offspring also had non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Find ways to protect our children

November 22, 2010
Daily World

Imagine that an epidemic has hit Louisiana. The disease is particularly hateful because it affects children, killing about 640 babies under 1 each year in our state. (For comparison, AIDS, about which songs, books and movies are written, killed about 500 Louisiana people in 2007.) Our imaginary disease leaves thousands more children with physical and developmental obstacles against which they’ll struggle all their lives. Even more galling is the fact that other states, and especially other countries, are better at fighting the disease than we are. Statistics suggest that at least half those 600 babies could be saved. But they’re not.

Online map of maternal health to inform and influence world leaders

November 18, 2010
Alpha Galileo

University of Southampton

Researchers from the University of Southampton have helped construct an online interactive world map which gives stark facts and figures about the health of women during pregnancy, childbirth and following the birth of their child.

Saving Infant Lives Around the World

Study findings support training midwives and other birth care providers as a way to reduce infant mortality in resource-poor countries

November 17, 2010
National Institute of Child Health & Human Development

Infant mortality is a difficult problem not only in the United States, but also in many resource-poor countries throughout the world. Although activities in the United States have made progress in reducing many causes of infant death, developing countries continue to see alarming infant mortality rates.

U.S. earns ‘D’ for premature births

November 17, 2010
Paula Wessmann

The United States is getting a “D” grade for its preterm birth rate, even though it is improving in most states, according to the March of Dimes.

The organization released its 2010 report card on Wednesday, the eighth annual Prematurity Awareness Day.

The March of Dimes compared the U.S. and each state with the target set in “Healthy People 2010.” That report is issued every decade by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The target rate for preterm births is 7.6 percent or less. There are currently no states that meet that. The current nationwide rate based on the report card is 12.3 percent.

Study: Moms Who Smoke During Pregnancy Might Have Criminal Kids

November 16, 2010
Meredith Melnick

Betty Drapers of the world, listen up. While research has already shown a link between maternal smoking in pregnancy and attention and behavioral problems in kids and teens, a new study from the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health finds a longer-term correlation: between smoking during pregnancy and eventual criminality in adult children.

CHRT Report Shows Pre-term Births are Leading Cause of Health Problems in Infants and Significant Contributor to Health Care Spending

November 16, 2010
PR Newswire

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Nov. 16, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation (CHRT) based at the University of Michigan today released its Prematurity Issue Brief that shows pre-term births — births at less than 37 weeks of gestation — are the leading cause of health problems in infants and estimated to cost the U.S. more than $26 billion annually. In addition, the report shows that a black infant in Michigan is 70% more likely to be born prematurely than an infant of any other race.

Why the health of pregnant women matters to us all

November 14, 2010
The Washington Post

Annie Murphy Paul

“Pregnant Is the New Sexy,” read the T-shirt a friend gave me when I was a few weeks away from my due date. With my swollen ankles and waddling walk, I wasn’t so sure – but it’s hard to deny that pregnancy has become rather chic. Glossy magazines flaunt actresses’ and models’ rounded, half-clad bellies on their covers. Inside they chronicle celebrities’ pregnancies in breathless detail, from the first “bump” sighting to the second-trimester weight gain to the baby-gear shopping spree. And now comes the news that “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” – the advice bible that has sold more than 14 million copies – will be made into a feature film.

Tennessee jumps five spots in national child rankings

November 14, 2010
The Daily Times

Matthew Stewart

Tennessee has jumped five spots in the national Kids Count rankings, but is still well below the national average. The state is currently ranked 41st among all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Tennessee was ranked 46th last year and 42nd in 2008. The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth recently released the Kids Count: The State of the Child in Tennessee 2009 report. Most of the data is from 2007.Tennessee has made considerable gains since 1999, said Pam Brown, the state’s Kids Count director. “We’re moving in the right direction, but we still have a while to go.”

It’s time to stem tide of premature births

Infant mortality and long-term health and developmental disabilities are just part of the huge costs to society.

November 13, 2010
Memphis Commercial Appeal

Ramasubbareddy Dhanireddy

One in every eight infants born in the United States is born preterm — before 37 completed weeks of gestation. Preterm birth and its consequences are a major health problem in the United States and worldwide, with societal costs in the United States exceeding $26 billion (2005 dollars) annually and $51,500 per preterm infant.

Iron supplements can reduce infant mortality: study

November 10, 2010
The Nation

Iron supplements given during pregnancy are known to prevent deaths in newborns, which has been validated by studies in China. “After comparing our results with other studies in Indonesia, India, the US and Bangladesh, it appeared the reduction in neonatal mortality was related to the increased duration of pregnancy from the iron in the supplements,” said Michael Dibley of the University of Sydney, who was associated with the study.

Alabama infant death rate falls, foundation reports

November 9, 2010
Birmingham Business Journal
Ben Piper

Alabama’s infant mortality rate has fallen to its lowest point in history, the number of kids incarcerated has dropped by 44 percent and fewer establishments have been caught selling tobacco to minors, the Children First Foundation reported Tuesday.

Genetic link to morning sickness

November 9, 2010
International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Carla Mackenzie

Morning sickness appears to be a hereditary condition which is carried by the genes, new research has found. US researchers found women whose mothers, sisters or grandmothers suffered from severe symptoms during their gestation were 17 times more likely to suffer from it than other mums-to-be.

Could Painkiller Use in Pregnancy Cause Problems in Baby Boys?

November 9, 2010
Bonnie Rachford

There are plenty of medications pregnant women are advised to avoid, but over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol and Advil are not among them. Now new research published online Monday in the journal Human Reproduction suggests that mild painkillers such as aspirin, acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) and ibuprofen (the active ingredient in Advil and Motrin) may be linked to an increase in male reproductive disorders.

mHealth Alliance to Receive $1 Million from HP to Improve Health through Mobile Technology

November 8, 2010
The San Francisco Chronicle

The mHealth Alliance today announced a two-year, $1 million aggregate donation from HP to help improve health care and health systems around the globe using mobile technology. The announcement was made at the opening of the mHealth Summit, a three-day event bringing together leaders from the global health and technology communities to explore ways mobile technology can increase the access, quality and efficiency of healthcare to communities in the U.S. and abroad.

Smart Beginnings of Franklin Patrick partners to address rising infant mortality rate

Text4baby service provides health tips to pregnant women, new moms

November 8, 2010
The Franklin News Post

Smart Beginnings of Franklin Patrick is now an outreach partner of text4baby — a free mobile information service providing health information to pregnant women and new moms from pregnancy through a baby’s first year.

Arsenic Exposure in Drinking Water Increases Risk of Stroke, Infant Mortality

November 8, 2010
EMax Health

Denise Reynolds, RD

Arsenic, an odorless and tasteless metal, enters drinking water supplies from natural deposits in the earth or from agricultural and industrial practices. The element has been linked to several health concerns, including new research that indicates that elevated levels in the drinking supply may have an increased risk of stroke and infant mortality.

Dr. Hugh Mighty: Billions spent have not lowered infant and maternal mortality

November 7, 2010
Shreveport Times

Dr. Hugh Mighty is the new vice chancellor for clinical affairs at LSU Health Sciences Center and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology in its School of Medicine. He most recently was chairman of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive services at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and chief of obstetrics at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Mighty comes to a community that has serious prenatal health challenges. Shreveport leads Louisiana in the percentage of women who don’t get prenatal care early in their pregnancies and in the infant mortality rate. A lack of medical care in the first three months of pregnancy increases the risk of low birth weight babies, premature births and birth defects.

Minnesota Thrive Initiative: Early childhood mental health conference held in Bemidji

November 6, 2010
The Bemidji Pioneer

Anne Williams

Asking for help while raising a child is healthy, not a sign something is wrong, according to Lin Backstrom, early childhood specialist with the Northwest Minnesota Foundation.

Backstrom and a team of others coordinated the first conference in the state focused exclusively on infant and early childhood mental health. The conference was held Friday at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Bemidji.

Indonesian ‘Facts for Life’ aims to boost infant, maternal health

November 4, 2010
The Jakarta Post
Dina Indrasafitri

The Health Ministry on Wednesday launched the Indonesian version of the fourth edition of Unicef’s Facts for Life, to improve public awareness of healthy habits and Indonesia’s infant and maternal health indicators.

Facts for Life is a guidebook promoting methods developed by the United Nations’ Children’s Fund (Unicef) and other agencies.

Panel of Global Experts Recommends Best Practices to Combat Postpartum Hemorrhage, the Primary Cause of Maternal Mortality Worldwide

“Lively Discussion Encourages the Public and Private Sectors to Put More Resources behind Issue “as Important as Cancer Research”

November 4, 2010
Enhanced Online News

BARCELONA, Spain–(EON: Enhanced Online News)–Cook Medical recently hosted a roundtable discussion with a panel of international obstetrics and gynecology specialists on maternal mortality rates in conjunction with the first Global Congress of Maternal and Infant Health. The expert panelists addressed the risk factors, causes, and treatment options for postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), which causes the death of 140,000 women annually, and equates to one death every four minutes across the globe1

Study Examines Corn Contamination, Birth Defects

Creighton Researcher Part Of Team Granted $2.7M

November 2, 2010

OMAHA, Neb. — A Creighton University researcher is part of a team getting more than $2 million to study a possible connection between contaminated corn products and birth defects.

Much more needs to be done to augment Title V achievements

November 1, 2010
Tennessee Opinion

Mary Theresa Urbano

Much like today, 1935 was char­ac­ter­ized by social uncer­tainty and sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic chal­lenges. As fam­i­lies faced eco­nomic inse­cu­rity, Con­gress and Pres­i­dent Franklin Roo­sevelt cre­ated a national pro­gram to ensure bet­ter child and fam­ily health. The result, Title V of the Social Secu­rity Act, con­tin­ues today as the longest-standing pub­lic health legislation.

Research ranks counties in terms of child well-being

November 1, 2010
University News, Appalachian State University

BOONE — A child well-being study has ranked all N.C. counties in terms of overall child well-being and component categories such as health, safety, education, and economic well-being.

Conducted by Dr. Yongbeom Hur, assistant professor in Appalachian State University’s Department of Government and Justice Studies, and Robin Testerman, executive director of the Children’s Center of Surry (County) in Dobson, the study was initiated by a simple question, “What are the best counties to raise children?”

October 2010

Pryor, Lincoln, Berry, Snyder, Ross Announce $1.2M for Maternal and Child Health Services

Senators Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln and Representatives Marion Berry, Vic Snyder and Mike Ross announced that the Arkansas Department of Health will receive a $1,241,740 grant

October 30, 2010

Washington – U.S. Senators Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln and U.S. Representatives Marion Berry (AR-01), Vic Snyder (AR-02) and Mike Ross (AR-04) announced that the Arkansas Department of Health will receive a $1,241,740 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) grant to support programs that help improve the health of mothers and children.

Racial Differences by Gestational Age in Neonatal Deaths Attributable to Congenital Heart Defects — United States, 2003—2006

October 30, 2010

Congenital heart defects are diagnosed in approximately 1% of births in the United States (1) and account for the largest proportion of infant mortality attributable to birth defects (2). Congenital heart defects are multifactorial in origin and have several recognized genetic causes (e.g., DiGeorge and Williams-Beuren syndromes) (3) and noninherited risk factors (e.g., maternal pregestational diabetes and rubella infection).

Bay area hospitals make room for babies born just a little bit too early

October 24, 2010
St. Petersburg Times

Letita Stein

The smallest and most fragile patients in the Tampa Bay area are driving a multimillion-dollar hospital building boom.

Next month, Tampa General Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit begins its move into a waterfront suite the size of a football field. All Children’s Hospital dedicated an entire floor in its year-old building in downtown St. Petersburg to these babies. St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa is building an expansion that will raise the bar even higher on parent-friendly touches.

Bee Exclusive: 2 neighborhoods highest in infant deaths

October 24, 2010
St. Petersburg Times

Bobby Calvan and Phillip Reese

It’s a grim distinction no community would want. In our own backyard, in the Sacramento neighborhoods of south Oak Park and Del Paso Heights, babies have been dying at the highest rate in all of urban California.

In Oak Park and nearby areas, the infant mortality rate is twice that of the rest of the state, with 36 infant deaths – or one of every 95 babies dying before his or her first birthday – according to a Sacramento Bee analysis of state health data between 2004 and 2008.

Guest columnist: Title V protects women, children

October 24, 2010
Mansfield News Journal

Alvin Jackson

In 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law Title V of the Social Security Act, which is now the longest-standing public health legislation in the United States. Title V was designed to ensure child and family health in every state and continues today as the only national program accountable for comprehensive systems of preventive, primary care and specialty services.

Teen birth rates vary by state

October 20, 2010
The Washington Post
Rob Stein

While teen births remain a national concern, the rate at which young people are having babies varies significantly from state to state, according to a new federal report.

The rate in 2008 ranged from a low of 19.8 per 1,000 girls ages 15 to 19 in New Hampshire to a high of 61.8 in Arkansas, according to the report from the National Center for Health Statistics. Generally, the rates were highest in states across the south and lowest in the Northeast and upper Midwest. The rates were 33.5 in Virginia, 32.8 in Maryland and 50.9 in the District.

Effect of DHA Supplementation During Pregnancy on Maternal Depression and Neurodevelopment of Young Children

October 20, 2010
Maria Makrides, BSc, BND, PhD; Robert A. Gibson, BSc, PhD; Andrew J. McPhee, MBBS; Lisa Yelland, BSc; Julie Quinlivan, MBBS, PhD; Philip Ryan, MBBS, BSc; and the DOMInO Investigative Team

The use of DHA-rich fish oil capsules compared with vegetable oil capsules during pregnancy did not result in lower levels of postpartum depression in mothers or improved cognitive and language development in their offspring during early childhood.

Newborn Hearing Screening vs Later Hearing Screening and Developmental Outcomes in Children With Permanent Childhood Hearing Impairment

October 20,2010
Anna M. H. Korver, MD, PhD; Saskia Konings, MD; Friedo W. Dekker, PhD; Mieke Beers, PhD; Capi C. Wever, MD, PhD; Johan H. M. Frijns, MD, PhD; Anne M. Oudesluys-Murphy, MB, PhD; for the DECIBEL Collaborative Study Group

Compared with distraction hearing screening, a newborn hearing screening program was associated with better developmental outcomes at age 3 to 5 years among children with permanent childhood hearing impairment.

Milwaukee’s bewildering infant mortality rate

October 18, 2010
Milwaukee Magazine – News Buzz

Matt Hrodey

The results run contrary to what you’d expect: Middle-income black mothers in Milwaukee actually have a higher infant mortality rate than low-income black mothers. These results come from a surprising new study by the Milwaukee Center for Urban Population Health, which attempted to determine why Milwaukee’s infant mortality rate is so high compared to other cities.

At NICHD’s Infant Mortality Awareness 5K One Mother Speaks from Experience for Infant Health

October 16, 2010
NIH Record
Valerie Lambros

To raise awareness about infant mortality, NICHD sponsored a 5K run-walk-roll on Sept. 16 in conjunction with Infant Mortality Awareness Month. Many NIH’ers showed up to loosen their limbs, learn from speakers including NICHD director Dr. Alan Guttmacher and then hit the trail, which circled the campus.

One participant’s story, however, stood out on a day of mostly light-hearted camaraderie.

Mums’ obesity may have role in baby deaths

October 16, 2010

Kate Newton

Nearly half of all newborn babies that die are born to overweight or obese mothers, prompting concerns that increasing obesity rates could spark a rise in the number of baby deaths.

A Health Ministry report on maternal and perinatal deaths – babies who die after 20 weeks in the womb and up to seven days after birth – found that 657 babies died during 2008.

September 2010

In contraception, the U.S. is far behind the developing world

A woman needing help would do better in India than in Baltimore

September 26, 2010
Baltimore Sun

Amy Tsui

Today, on World Contraception Day, the Surya clinic in Patna city in the Indian state of Bihar will, as always, be full of women, their children and their travel companions, waiting to see the doctors for family planning services. The female doctors are young, many recent graduates of the medical colleges, and sometimes pairing up to counsel clients on contraceptive methods. The government of India has accredited this private clinic run by the Janani network so that women opting for birth control pills, a 10-year IUD, or a three-month injectable contraceptive pay nothing. The government reimburses private clinics offering these services.

Every 90 seconds a pregnant mother dies

September 19, 2010
Radio Netherlands Worldwide
John Tyler

More than 1,000 women die every day from complications around childbirth or pregnancy – that’s one death every 90 seconds. Reducing this number is one of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, and the Dutch government has made it a priority.

Maternal deaths worldwide drop by third
UN estimates reveal fewer women dying from pregnancy-related causes, but 1000 still die a day and more needs to be done to achieve set targets

September 15, 2010
World Health Organization

GENEVA – NEW YORK — The number of women dying due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth has decreased by 34% from an estimated 546 000 in 1990 to 358 000 in 2008, according to a new report, Trends in maternal mortality, released by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Bank.

Rat study links maternal illness to schizophrenia risk

September 15, 2010
Otago Daily Times
Eileen Goodwin

Health authorities have another reason to extol the benefits of flu jabs – they might prevent your child from developing schizophrenia.

In a world-first study, University of Otago psychology PhD student Desiree Dickerson has found immune responses caused by bacterial or viral infections in pregnant women increased by three or four times the risk of developing brain-wave patterns associated with schizophrenia

Brazil on course to hit child mortality target as living standards improve

Brazil slashed its infant mortality rates by 50% between 1990 and 2006 thanks to rising incomes and better healthcare.

September 14, 2010
The Guardian
Tom Phillips

The woman at the door furrows her brow and breaks into a giggle. “What’s broccoli?” It’s early afternoon in Ipuca, a rural shantytown in one of the most deprived corners of Rio de Janeiro state, and Lucileide Alves Costa, a 25-year-old mother of two, is receiving a visit from members of the Pastoral da Crianca, an outreach group devoted to fighting infant mortality.

The ‘urban advantage’ in health care is more complex than it seems

September  14, 2010
PLoS Medicine
Matthews Z, Channon A, Neal S, Osrin D, Madise N, et al.

As the global urban population surpasses the rural, continuing growth in most developing countries means an inevitable increase in urban births. The majority of births in many countries will not be in remote rural areas, but in towns and cities. Far from being good news for the twin Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of maternal and child health—neither of which is currently on track for success —high levels of urbanization are likely to be associated with increased exclusion from care for many mothers in poor countries, and continued high maternal and newborn mortality among the urban poor. Health and social services in urban areas have not kept pace with urban population growth. Women in slum communities can find care difficult to access even though a well-functioning health infrastructure is located nearby, and in some cases the urban poor have less access to services than people who live in rural areas.

Is high cholesterol linked to mom’s smoking?

September 14, 2010
Reuters Health
Lynne Peeples

The notion that small babies are at an increased risk of developing high cholesterol as adults may only hold true for children of moms who smoked during pregnancy, according to a new study.

Increasing evidence points to a link between being born small-for-gestational-age (SGA) — smaller than the norm for the baby’s sex and the week of pregnancy during which he or she was born — and having high cholesterol in adulthood, Xiaozhong Wen of Harvard Medical School, in Boston, told Reuters Health in an email.

Bredesen addresses infant mortality at Memphis summit

September 13, 2010
Action News 5 (WMC-TV)
Kontji Anthony

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) – Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen visited Memphis Monday to address the state’s troubling infant mortality rate.

In his last visit to Shelby County as governor, Bredesen joined Mayors A C Wharton and Mark Luttrell for the “Infant Mortality Staying the Course Summit.”

June 2010

Global Maternal Health Gets 2nd Big Checkup

June 10, 2010
Women’s eNews
Linda Kramer

A second major global gathering on women’s maternal health wrapped up in Washington, D.C., June 9. Participants celebrated progress and a huge new funding infusion and focused pressure on the G-8 summit in Canada later this month.

WASHINGTON — More than 3,500 women from 146 countries converged on the nation’s capital this week for a second major conference on maternal mortality.

May 2010

From rats to heaters, doctor-lawyer team fights barriers to family health care

May 26, 2010
The Washington Post
Lena H. Sun

Thirteen-year-old Haji Conteh had all the irritating symptoms of seasonal allergies when her father took her to see a pediatrician at a D.C. clinic last summer.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation pledges $75 million to promote racial healing

May 19, 2010
Oakland Tribune
Tammerlin Drummond

AMERICANS TEND to be an impatient people.

We demand snap solutions to complex problems.

“Why hasn’t President Barack Obama solved the economic crisis?” people whined before the new first family even had a chance to unpack the moving vans.

Never mind that former President George W. Bush had been the one to bankrupt the nation, then handed over the helm to Obama, seconds before the ship struck the iceberg.

We have very short, selective memories when it suits us.

Nowhere is this more true than when it comes to race.

February 2010

Voxiva launches U.S. text service to aid pregnant women

February 9, 2010
The Washington Post
Mike Musgrove

A D.C.-based mobile technology firm is behind a new government effort to educate and encourage healthy habits in pregnant women.

Launched last week, the free “Text4baby” program sends tips to expectant mothers who opt in to receive pregnancy-related text messages on their cellphones. Voxiva, the firm administering the service, is hoping that the project will raise the profile of such messages as a tool for delivering health services in the United States. Launched on Thursday, the service reported 6,500 takers in the first 24 hours.

Kansas babies dying at rate 20 percent higher than national average

February 4, 2010
The Topeka Capital-Journal
Barbara Hollingsworth

An infant mortality problem that has Kansas babies dying at a rate 20 percent higher than the national average has drawn concern from officials who say the Sunflower State must do better.

Pregnancy-related death rate on the rise

February 3, 2010
San Francisco Chronicle
Nathanael Johnson

The mortality rate of California women who die from causes directly related to pregnancy has nearly tripled in the past decade, prompting doctors to worry about the dangers of obesity in expectant mothers and about medical complications of cesarean sections.

February 1, 2010
Jamaica Observer
Donna Hussey-Whyte

HAITIANS were dealt a heavy blow by the January 12 earthquake that killed more than 150,000 and left more than a million in desperate need of such basic human amenities as food, clothing and shelter. But the women and girls of the French-speaking country are having an especially difficult time as they tackle life after the disaster.

Children suffering health problems in Port-au-Prince camps

February 3, 2010
The Washington Post
Peter Slevin

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI — Children are increasingly suffering health problems in Port-au-Prince’s crowded encampments, say international medical workers, who predict the situation will worsen as Haiti continues to reel from the Jan. 12 earthquake.

Haiti Food lines ‘Women Only’

February 1, 2010

Video – CNN’s John Vause takes a look at the new “women-only” rule used by groups giving out food in Haiti.

January 2010

Giving Life in a Land Overflowing With Pain

January 29, 2010
The New York Times
Damien Cave

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Biology and the earthquake dictated that Roseline Antoine would give birth at 9:42 a.m. Thursday to a healthy baby girl who has no home but the street. The same irrevocable forces left Delva Venite naked a few feet away, in pain, waiting nearly a day for doctors to deal with the stillborn son inside her.

With few resources, Haiti’s women and children at a disadvantage

January 28, 2010
The Washington Post
Theola Labbé-DeBose

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI — The labor pains started before dawn. Marie Delise sat up on the thin blanket she was sleeping on in the middle of a street and shook her husband awake. It was time.

Haitian girls face increased vulnerability after quake

January 21, 2010
Laurie Goering
LONDON (AlertNet) – Girls have long been vulnerable to violence and neglect in Haiti, a nation with high rates of rape and HIV/AIDS and a tradition of sending poor rural girls to cities to work as domestic servants. But last week’s devastating earthquake has dramatically increased their risks, human rights and child protection experts say.

Haiti’s outdoor maternity ward

January 20, 2010
BBC News – Video

Women are giving birth in the open in Haiti’s capital and staff are working with little equipment as hospitals were evacuated due to aftershocks.

Volunteer doctors and nurses struggled to cope without sufficient equipment or sterilising facilities.

Born amid the ruins: Going into labour on Haiti street

January 19, 2010
BBC News – Video

A week after a devastating earthquake hit Haiti, people are still battling for daily survival among the wreckage of their homes.

Matthew Price follows a group of survivors when one family member goes into labour.

Rise in teenage pregnancy rate spurs new debate on arresting it

January 26, 2010
The Washington Post
Rob Stein

The pregnancy rate among teenage girls in the United States has jumped for the first time in more than a decade, raising alarm that the long campaign to reduce motherhood among adolescents is faltering, according to a report released Tuesday.

Birth Weights Fell From 1990 to 2005
Researchers Can’t Explain the Two-Ounce Decline in U.S., Worry the Trend Could Lead to Increase in Health Problems

January 22, 2010
The Wall Street Journal
Shirley S. Wang

Mothers are giving birth to lighter babies in the U.S., and no one is quite sure why.

The finding, published Thursday in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, has potentially troubling public-health implications, if the trend continues. Low-birth-weight babies are at higher risk for a host of health problems.

In Sierra Leone, Government Scores Success as Maternal Death Reduces

January 8, 2010
Awareness Times – Sierra Leone News & Information
Augustine Samba

Stakeholders in the Health Sector of Sierra Leone have yesterday Thursday 7th January 2010 held an orientation dialog meeting with specialists and other development partners from the National Maternal Death Review Committee on the reduction of Maternal Death Rate in Sierra Leone.

H1N1 Flu Fatal for 28 Pregnant Women

January 7, 2010
Women’s eNews
Diane Loupe

ATLANTA–When obstetrician Stuart Pancer advises his pregnant patients to get the H1N1 shot, he’s unusually persuasive.

“I tell my patients that I’ve seen a woman die from this and I haven’t seen very many women die,” said Pancer, who has been a specialist in reproductive health care for 14 years and practices in suburban Atlanta.

Safe Motherhood Revisited

January 2, 2010
Elayne Clift

In a village in rural Indonesia, a woman lies dying from infection after giving birth, unattended, two days earlier. Last year the daughter she delivered prematurely was stillborn and the low-birth weight baby she had before that died when he was a week old. In Sub-Saharan Africa another mother labors for two days and nights. When her baby is finally born, she suffers a hemorrhage and dies.

December 2009

Deep South calls in Iran to cure its health blues

December 20, 2009
Times Online
Christina Lamb

AS Marie Pryor shuffles along a Mississippi roadside collecting discarded drink cans to sell for a few cents, her breath comes in short puffs caused by a congenital heart defect. The same condition caused her granddaughter’s death earlier this year.

The last place on earth she would look for help is Iran, a country widely regarded in America as the enemy. The US and Iran have not had diplomatic relations for 30 years and the two governments trade daily insults over Iran’s nuclear programme. Last week Tehran charged three American hikers with espionage after they apparently strayed across the border.

New Study Finds that Dramatic Reductions in Maternal and Newborn Deaths Are Within Reach

December 3, 2009
Press Release

NEW YORK – Maternal deaths in developing countries could be slashed by 70 per cent and newborn deaths cut nearly in half if the world doubled investment in family planning and pregnancy-related care, shows a new report by the Guttmacher Institute and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. Currently, more than half a million maternal deaths and 3.5 million newborn deaths, many of them easily preventable, occur each year in developing countries.

St. Francis Hospital’s Trinity Center for Women opens today

December 1, 2009
Lily Gordon

St. Francis Hospital’s Trinity Center for Women — a new facility with services geared toward expecting mothers — was born of some pretty dire statistics.

The infant mortality rate in Columbus is almost 50 percent higher than the national average and the number of low birth weight babies is about 33 percent higher than the national average, according to the Georgia Department of Community Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Preterm births higher among deprived mothers, despite equal care

December 1, 2009
British Medical Journal

Despite improvements in obstetric care services, women from deprived areas are still more likely to give birth to a very preterm baby compared with mothers from more affluent areas, finds a study published on today.

November 2009

State’s infant mortality rate devastating

November 27, 2009
Rep. Debra Maggart

The National Center for Health Statistics, an arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ranks the United States 30th in terms of infant mortality.

While that number may sound dismal, Tennessee’s numbers are even worse. Our state is ranked 47th in the country, putting us well above the national average. In fact, Tennessee has a higher infant mortality rate than 42 other countries around the world. These statistics are devastating, but your Tennessee General Assembly has been working to change those numbers.

Trying to Explain a Drop in Infant Mortality

November 26, 2009
The New York Times
Erik Eckholm

MADISON, Wis. — Seven and a half months into Ta-Shai Pendleton’s first pregnancy, her child was stillborn. Then in early 2008, she bore a daughter prematurely.

Soon after, Ms. Pendleton moved from a community in Racine that was thick with poverty to a better neighborhood in Madison. Here, for the first time, she had a full-term pregnancy.

Women Giving Birth at Home Without Midwives

November 23, 2009
Baltimore Sun
Jeff Barnard

When Jennifer Margulis went into labor with her fourth child, she sent her husband off to take the kids to school, then waited at home for her body to do what she felt confident it had evolved over millions of years to do on its own.

Study Identifies Promising Data Elements for Environmental Public Health Tracking of Reproductive Outcomes

November–December 2009
Public Health Reports

“The addition of data elements (e.g., length of maternal residence) to birth and fetal death certificates may be a useful and cost-effective means of enhancing the ability of state health departments to track adverse reproductive outcomes and assess associations with environmental risk factors, if their accuracy and completeness can be demonstrated and they are shown to reduce misclassification of exposure,” state the authors of an article published in the November-December 2009 issue of Public Health Reports.

Oklahoma infant mortality program receives grant from the CJ Foundation for SIDS

November 10, 2009

The Oklahoma City-County Health Department announced Nov. 10 that its Central Oklahoma Fetal and Infant Mortality Review program has received a $3,750 grant from the CJ Foundation for SIDS, the largest SIDS organization in the country.

Women deprived of health care at key moments of life: WHO

November 09, 2009
Agence France Presse (France)

GENEVA — Women are often deprived of health care in the crucial years of adolescence and old age due to social inequalities and neglect in male dominated decision-making, the World Health Organisation said Monday.

Blog: Using science to save lives of mothers and children in Africa

November 9, 2009
Machines Like Us

The lives of almost 4 million women, newborns, and children in sub-Saharan Africa could be saved every year if well-established, affordable health care interventions reached 90 percent of families, according to a joint report by the national science academies of seven African countries.

Water Is Key to Reducing Maternal Mortality

November 5, 2009
Womens eNews
Latrice Davis

Knowledge has long been cited as the tool most needed to lower maternal mortality rates, but Global Water, a volunteer organization based in Oxnard, Calif., says what women in developing countries also need to combat this problem is water.

Women and health care

November 4, 2009
The Washington Post
Terry O’Neill

Women have far different interactions with the health-care system than men. Profit-driven insurance companies are allowed to charge women higher premiums than men because women’s reproductive health-care needs are more costly. Even women who never experience pregnancy or childbirth may pay higher premiums.

October 2009

Saving our mothers
UNFPA meet highlights plight of women worldwide

October 30, 2009
Nepali Times

ADDIS ABABA – Ending the needless death and suffering of women during pregnancy is one of the greatest moral and development challenges of our time and requires concrete action, agreed more than 150 delegates that met here yesterday.

H1N1 vaccine a tough sell to pregnant women

October 23, 2009
Los Angeles Times
Shari Roan

Because of the risks from flu, they should be among the first in line to get both the H1N1 and seasonal influenza shots, medical experts say. Yet many are averse to vaccinations or medication.

Budget Cuts Threaten To Increase Infant Mortality

October 21, 2009

The state budget is already squeezing some programs and cutting others altogether, but some warn that budget cuts could claim lives. Some advocacy groups say the 39 percent cut in maternity care coordination services will hit the women served by local Health Departments, and their babies, hard. The past president of the North Carolina Pediatric Society, Dr. Olson Huff says, “”Pregnancy is such a critical time. Women and families need all the support they can get during this period. Maternity Care Coordination has been extremely effective, not only in reducing infant deaths, but Medicaid costs for infant intensive care.”

Filmmaker Tonya Lewis Lee Tackles the Black Infant Mortality Crisis in a New Documentary

October 21, 2009
Francesca Biller-Safran

African-American babies are more than twice as likely to die before their first birthdays as white babies.

These are cold, grave facts, according to national statistics.

Commissioner admits increased maternal mortality rate

October 21, 2009
Sudan Tribune

October 21, 2009 (KHARTOUM) — Aweil East county commissioner, Diing Aher Ngong, Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, today acknowledged increased maternal mortality rate in the area.

Speaking from Aweil town, he said maternal mortality has remained a great challenge in rural and poor communities across his county territorial borders.

Bringing world-class healthcare to Texas women

October 18, 2009
Margery Engel Loeb and Camille D. Miller

Texas is home to world-class medical schools and institutions that are known far and wide for their state-of-the-art treatment and expertise.

However, many Texans, and especially Texas women, do not have easy access to this remarkable resource.

CDC: 28 Pregnant Women Dead From H1N1

October 2, 2009
Karlie Pouliot

A stark reminder about how deadly the new H1N1 virus can be. During a news briefing Thursday, U.S. health officials said the virus has hit pregnant women especially hard.

“The CDC is aware of about 700 cases of 2009 H1N1 in pregnant women since late April or early May,” Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention told “There have been about 100 pregnant women admitted to intensive care units and there have been 28 pregnant women who have died from 2009 H1N1.”

September 2009

Maternal Mortality, a Human Rights Catastrophe

September 17, 2009

The right to the highest attainable standard of health: not the most fashionable of human rights, but the limits on people’s enjoyment of their right to health often coincide with continuing inequalities behind claims of economic growth or political reform.

CSOs to help strengthen immunisation, health systems Declaration of commitment signed; $4.5 million to be disbursed for project

September 16, 2009
The News International
Shahina Maqbool

Islamabad – Bringing 15 civil society organizations (CSOs) on board to support the Ministry of Health in its efforts to overcome existing gaps in the health sector vis-a-vis delivery of immunisation services and health systems strengthening, a new initiative of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) was launched here on Tuesday, with $4.5 million having been allocated for this public-private alliance.

Poor Maternal Health, Poverty, Illiteracy Slowing Development of Women in Sierra Leone

September 15,2009
ADRA International
For more info, contact John Torres

SILVER SPRING, Md. —In Sierra Leone, women are disproportionately affected by economic, social and health issues that contribute to the continued slow development of a country that is ranked as the poorest in the world, reported the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).

Students’ Invention Aids Safe Childbirth

August 18, 2009
Tulane University News
Keith Brannon

A group of Tulane bioengineering graduates and a professor have applied for a patent for an inexpensive device that could prevent millions of infection-related neonatal deaths in developing countries.

When Planning a Pregnancy Can Save a Woman’s Life

September 14, 2009
The Huffington Post
Dr. Ana Langer

A new UNICEF report released last week is the latest in a series of drumbeats for a concerted, large-scale campaign to save the lives of mothers and newborns worldwide, far too many of whom are dying today from entirely preventable causes. With Congress back in session, a first order of business should be to approve a spending increase for maternal health and family planning in the FY10 Foreign Operations Bill.

New study explores approaches to reducing maternal exposure to hazardous environmental toxicants

Grason HA, Misra D. “Reducing Exposure to Environmental Toxicants Before Birth: Moving from Risk Perception to Risk Reduction.” Public Health Reports, September/October 2009; 124(5): 629 – 641.

This study considered approaches to reducing maternal exposure to hazardous environmental toxicants, focusing on risk communication to pregnant women and providers, and considering identification of environmental toxicants in the community and reduction of environmental toxicants. The following questions were addressed: (1) What do pregnant women and their providers know about environmental toxicants and perinatal health? and (2) What policy strategies are needed (should be considered) to move forward in risk reduction in this area?  This article also describes a wide range of policy strategies that could be implemented to address environmental toxicants in the context of perinatal health.

GLOBAL: 10,000 fewer children dying daily

September 11, 2009
Irin News

DAKAR, 11 September 2009 (IRIN) – The number of children worldwide dying before age five dropped 28 percent between 1990 and 2008, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), or 10,000 fewer children are dying each day. UNICEF says while the trend is encouraging improvement is coming too slowly.

Pregnant women taking part in new H1N1 vaccination trials

September 10, 2009
USA Today
Steve Sternberg

Pregnant women this week will offer up their arms for the start of the latest trial of a new swine flu vaccine, the government said Wednesday.

BPA in baby bottles, formula liners causes an array of health problems

September 4, 2009
Capitol Weekly
Fran Pavley

On two Wednesdays in August, in two California cities, I was joined by hundreds of mothers from backgrounds as varied and diverse as their children’s faces.

August 2009

Reformers Say Maternity Benefits Make Dollar Sense

August 30, 2009
Women’s eNews (U.S.)
Sharon Johnson

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLaurio, the Democratic lawmaker from Connecticut, says gender discrimination is rampant in the individual insurance market and the treatment of pregnant women is the leading example.

Health Fracas Slows Pro-Woman Changes by Obama

August 28, 2009
Women’s eNews (U.S.)
Rich Daly

Since mid-summer, the political uproar over health-care reform appears to have sidetracked the Obama administration’s pro-woman appointments and initiatives.

Push Is On to Cover Prenatal Care in Health Plan

August 27, 2009
Women’s eNews (U.S.)
Sharon Johnson

As President Obama and Congress battle over the fate of health care reform, advocates for women’s health are working hard to ensure that the final bill will prohibit gender discrimination in insurance coverage that can prevent pregnant women from obtaining obstetrical care.

Health Care Reform Will Improve Maternity Care

August 27, 2009
RH Reality Check
Maureen Corry

As the nation’s media remain thoroughly transfixed by health care reform and battles over expanding health coverage, containing costs, wild allegations about death panels and the like, H.R. 3200, the House’s version of health care reform, currently ordered to be reported (amended) by voice vote, remains a solid piece of legislation.

Push Is On to Cover Prenatal Care in Health Plan

August 27, 2009
Women’s eNews (U.S.)
Sharon Johnson

As President Obama and Congress battle over the fate of health care reform, advocates for women’s health are working hard to ensure that the final bill will prohibit gender discrimination in insurance coverage that can prevent pregnant women from obtaining obstetrical care.

Health Care Reform Will Improve Maternity Care

August 27, 2009
RH Reality Check
Maureen Corry

As the nation’s media remain thoroughly transfixed by health care reform and battles over expanding health coverage, containing costs, wild allegations about death panels and the like, H.R. 3200, the House’s version of health care reform, currently ordered to be reported (amended) by voice vote, remains a solid piece of legislation.

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