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Centers for Disease and Control Prevention

Survey: New Parents Are Still Uninformed On Preemie Birth Risks


A new survey finds that new parents are not well informed about the risk of premature births.

Miracle Babies Foundation, the nonprofit organization founded to support Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) families, along with Sera Prognostics, a women’s healthcare company, recently released the results of its recent survey titled ‘Premature Risk Education to Empower Moms-to-be with Information Early’ (PREEMIE), conducted in the U.S. among 140 (118 mothers and 22 fathers of premature babies) participants.

From the findings, the researchers found that  while parents are not as informed as they should be, they do want to be empowered with information about the possibility and risks associated with delivering a premature baby to better prepare and educate themselves if it were to happen to them.

Amost 1 in 10 babies is born premature in the U.S.—one of the highest rates in the world, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The tough part is that it can be hard to tell if you’ll have a premie because there are really no pre-existing standard.

Up to 50% of these premature babies are born to mothers with no obvious risk factors and sadly, premature babies face immediate and long-term health challenges, including cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, and other chronic conditions.

Per a press release about the survey, the majority of survey respondents said that they wish they had known more about the risks so that they could have researched both premature birth and interventions, and discussed it with their doctors.

Meanwhile, other responsdents said  they would have wanted to be able to have better prepared family and friends, and forewarned employers about possible missed work resulting from increased office visits and therapies that premature babies often require


“As physicians, we never want to alarm patients, specifically if we can’t guarantee we can change outcomes – as is the case with informing patients about increased risk of preterm birth. The survey findings demonstrate that expecting parents want to arm themselves with as much information as possible. In preparation of preterm delivery, parents want to prepare themselves for the many dynamics that can accompany a premature delivery: financial planning, logistical details and research on lifestyle changes or behavior modification that may prolong pregnancy,” said Sean Daneshmand MD, and Founder of Miracle Babies. “Moreover, it is important to be proactive and speak to your doctor, who may suggest interventions that have the potential to help improve outcomes and give your baby the best possible start in life.”

Key Survey Findings

  • 95% of respondents said they would have wanted to know if their baby was at an increased risk of being born prematurely
  • Of the 95% who would have wanted to know, 97% still would have wanted to know, even if their doctor couldn’t change the outcome
  • 79% of respondents didn’t know that women without risk factors account for up to 50% of preterm births
  • 77% of respondents didn’t know that premature birth is the #1 cause of infant death and illness
  • More than half (53%) of participants did not discuss preterm birth with their healthcare provider
  • Two-thirds (68%) did not know they were at risk until they went into premature labor

“My son Elijah was born after only 30 weeks and spent 91 days in the NICU; I felt so alone and unprepared,” survey participant Lucy Loomis said. “No one in my immediate circle of family or friends had experienced a preterm birth – I didn’t know who to turn to for advice. It would have been great to have known during my pregnancy that I was at risk for a preterm delivery. The information would have been useful to prepare for my pregnancy and delivery journey, including the possibility of being on bedrest for a long period of time, or that my baby might need to be intubated. It would have alleviated some of the fear, trauma and anxiety that I went through.”

Knowing some of the factors associated with delivering prematurely, including previous preterm birth, prior miscarriage, IVF, family history and health and lifestyle factors are important to discuss during an office visit. For those who don’t have symptoms, there is a blood test that can help determine an individual’s personal risk for preterm birth. Early prediction may allow parents and healthcare providers to modify individualized treatment during pregnancy and better plan for post-delivery care for preterm babies.

For more information to help determine the risks of premature birth and how you can help raise awareness, please visit https://www.miraclebabies.org/.

For more information about Sera Prognostics and its test to predict preterm birth risk, please visit http://www.pretrm.com/.

Despite Record Flu Deaths Among Kids, Parents Are Still Skipping Family Flu Shot

At least 30 children across the country  have died of the flu during a particularly dangerous season which has left a spike of cases among  older people and children being hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Though the flu season typically peaks in February, the outbreak is already one of the worst on record, as the flu has touched every U.S. state, with 32 states reporting severe flu activity.

We get the shot because I have had family members who didn’t get inoculated from common illnesses actually die after contracting them.

So my family doesn’t  mess around and accept any risks even when one of contract the flu anyway.

A Facebook friend of mine recently polled her wide and expansive followers and friends querying whether they or their children get the flu shot.

I was amazed that the overwhelming majority, close to 90 percent, of her respondents said no to both.

No no judgment here but still I was amazed by the number of families who, for varying reasons I’m sure, decide against it.

The American Journal of Infection Control study, designed to shed light on why influenza vaccines are not more widely used, enrolled 131 of 140 eligible patients (9 months to 18 years of age) who were tested for influenza in a single, small suburban pediatric practice during the 2012-13 influenza season. Parents completed a written questionnaire asking about previous history of influenza, vaccination at other facilities, reasons for not vaccinating, and intention to vaccinate next year.

In this study, influenza vaccines were accepted less frequently than the hepatitis A vaccine, despite the fact that hepatitis A is a relatively low risk disease compared to influenza. The study also looked at the effect of birth dates on vaccination, noting that parents of children whose birthdays fell outside of the favorable vaccination season (August 1 — December 15) may forget to come back to the doctor to get their children immunized. The author says that larger studies may find this to be of greater significance.

“The first and most common reason could encompass a belief that risk for contracting influenza is low in their family as well as that the vaccine offers little protection,” explains study author Scott Field, MD, of the University of Alabama Schrool of Medicine. “A reason rarely discussed in the medical literature relating to why many parents do not think influenza vaccines are needed is the infrequency with which many individuals and families experience influenza first hand.” Most influenza positive patients (59 percent) and controls (89 percent) in the study had no prior influenza history, and those with previous influenza had significantly more risk of being positive.”

Interesting, no!?

STUDY: Excessive weight gain During Pregnancy Could Lead to Lifelong Obesity

Gaining excessive weight during pregnancy can lead to obesity issues throughout life for women who are already at risk, according to a new study.

Researchers found that putting on too much weight while pregnant can cause excess body fat and pounds that remain, as reported by AJMC.

Columbia University researchers evaluated about 300 women, all of whom were African-American or Dominican, between the years of 1998 and 2013. The study group was at risk of becoming obese due to socioeconomic factors and unhealthy dietary patterns, according to the authors.

The participants had an average body mass index (BMI) of 25.6 prior to being pregnant, just slightly above the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention guidelines for being overweight. Five percent of participants were underweight, 53 percent were at a healthy weight, 20 percent were overweight, and 22 percent were obese.

The study suggests that 64 percent of these women put on more weight than the 15 to 20 pounds recommended by health officials. The women were then monitored for seven years after giving birth.

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