Monday, June 23, 2008

Worrisome rise in underweight babies

This is interesting given that low-birthweight babies are most often an indicator of poor prenatal conditions, something we would associate with underdeveloped countries. Is it possible that our crappy food, over abundance of chemicals, lack of green space, heavy reliance on drugs (including IVF drugs) etc., is doing this? Also, instead of letting people have their babies naturally, c-sections are on the rise!

We are 32 out of 33 countries in term of child well being? Starting to sound a little Third Worldy to me!


By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer Thu Jun 12, 7:59 AM ET

NEW YORK - The percentage of underweight babies born in the U.S. has increased to its highest rate in 40 years, according to a new report that also documents a recent rise in the number of children living in poverty.

The data on low birth weights is worrisome because such babies — those born at less than 5.5 pounds — are at greater risk of dying in infancy or experiencing long-term disabilities.

The findings were released Thursday in the annual Kids Count report on the health and well-being of America's youth, which measures the states in 10 categories. Overall, the report found progress, as well as some setbacks.

"Well-being indicators have largely gotten better for teens, and they've gotten worse for babies," said Laura Beavers, coordinator of the Kids Count project for the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The report documented improvements in the child death rate, teen death rate, teen birth rate, high school dropout rate, and teens not in school and not working. There was no change in the infant mortality rate, while four areas worsened: low-birthweight babies, children living in with jobless or underemployed parents, children in poverty, and children in single-parent families.

In composite rankings for all 10 indicators, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Utah ranked the highest, while Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, Alabama and South Carolina ranked the lowest.

Beavers noted that in many categories, the United States compares poorly to other developed countries. A recent study released by UNICEF ranked the U.S. second worst out of 33 industrialized nations in a composite index on child well-being, and it was 29th in regard to the percentage of babies with low birth weights.

According to Kids Count, the latest available federal data, from 2005, showed that 8.2 percent of U.S. babies were born at low birth weight, a level not seen since 1968.

The worst rate — 11.8 percent in Mississippi — was nearly twice the 6.1 percent rate in the best states — Alaska, Oregon and Washington.

Beavers said part of the overall increase in low-birthweight babies was due to a rise in multiple births as more older women use fertility treatments to conceive. But she said the birth-weight problem also has been worsening for single-baby deliveries.

The rate of low-weight births is sharply higher for blacks (13.6 percent) than for whites (7.3 percent) or Hispanics (6.9 percent). One important factor, Beavers said, is the mother's overall health at the time of pregnancy and her access to good prenatal care.

Dr. Alan Fleischman, medical director of the March of Dimes, said the increase in underweight newborns is closely linked to a rise in premature births.

He agreed with Beavers that better socio-economic conditions for pregnant mothers would help. But Fleischman also said the U.S. medical profession should be more rigorous in encouraging women to continue their pregnancies as close to term as feasible, and reduce the number of early, induced deliveries, often caesarian, that frequently produce underweight infants.

read more here.


tejanamama said...

The docs don't though! The culture really pushes the csections and sometimes without ANY need. An 8 lb baby is considered HUGE and a RISK! This is what happened with me! :( My first was a C and i'm ttc and hoping for a vbac but its hard to find ppl willing to do this. Love the blog. Just found you this weekend. Mind if i link?

GreenFertility said...

That would be great if you link. Do some digging and I'm sure you could find someone to do a VBAC--they (ACOG) are actually now recommending VBAC bec. of hemhorrage risk from repeat C's, btw.

tejanamama said...

I actually did find a group of midwives but it will depend on my medical records. They say it depends on my incision closure type. Hoping I have the double closure so that I can try for a VBAC! Nice meeting you and love the blog! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Green Marie
I'm actually responding to a post I read in your archives--I'm doing some research on hypothyroid and early miscarriages. I know you had this condition and were able to correct it. Could you tell me---were your miscarriages 1st trimester or later? I've had 2 at about 6 weeks and have subclincial hypothyroid. Not out of range but higher than Dr. Beer would like it. Thanks for your blog--great, free-thinking information here.


BTW I went to Brown-grad. in 1990. Loved it!

GreenFertility said...

Hi Elizabeth,

Sorry to hear about your m/cs, they can be hard. I had a bunch of them all 1st trimester. I wouldn't even get pg unless my TSH was under 2, preferably under 1 a la Dr. Beer, but for a long time I had these doctors who wouldn't treat when it was at 4 or even 5!

If you have antithyroid antibodies, I'd highly suggest looking into Dr. Beer's work. --->ATAs are often indicative of other autoimmune issues. Good luck and glad you're doing your own research (a very Brown like thing to do)

p.s. I'm class of 86!


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Marie.

I'm using Armour and have my thyroid around 1 now. (it was up around 3 after my last m/c in Feb) I'm clear for antibodies. As is common with thyroid issues, my adrenals were also way out of whack and my ferritin very low but everything's balancing out now.

So...our next strategy is just to relax and enjoy the summer!

thx again

Anonymous said...

Hi again Marie...
If you've got the time & inclination, I have another question or 2 for you... When you were under the treatment of Dr. Beer, did you ever investigate endo or uterine abnormalites? It is our biggest wish to avoid unnecessary surgeries, but I am wondering about a lap. I have had a hysterosalpinogram and hysteroscopy (both normal), but am wondering also about an MRI.

I have read Dr. Beer's book and filled out all the paperwork for his practice, but have stopped just shy of going all the way through with it. I'm hoping with my cooperative docs up here (who found some blood clotting mutations and prescribed lovenox with a + test)and my own research to see things through.


GreenFertility said...

Hi Elizabeth,

Wow, I haven't had any of the structural things. As you did, we get pg fairly easily, so there's no issue of tube blockage, etc. Also, no symptoms of endo. I generally suggest being wary of surg bec. it activates the immune system (it IS an assault) but and An MRI is fine--but what'll it do?

Anonymous said...