Prematurity

Mamas on Bedrest: ATX March For Babies 2015

May 11th, 2015

Good Morning Mamas!!

The Austin/Round Rock March of Dimes March for Babies was this past Saturday, March 9th. It was a wonderful event with over 6000 participants here in the Central Texas area. There were several corporate groups, hospital groups, families and yes, little ole me, representing Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond. It was fun to be out mingling with all the families and learning about what is being done by the March of Dimes to support families of Preterm infants. It was also really interesting to hear the stories and as you’ll see, meet beautiful little ones who fought tenaciously and made it! It is also very sobering to meet families who are walking in memory of their precious babies.

When I was leaving the event, they announced that this particular walk had raised about $280,000, but there  were still monies coming in so that number is sure to climb. How fantastic for Central Texas families! I also know that a few other Mamas on Bedrest were walking in their areas. Former Mama on Bedrest Parijat Deshpande was walking out in Silicon Valley California with her family as the Ambassador family for that particular walk. Charisse Mora Medina was (or will be) walking in Southern California. I also know that KeepEmCookin and Better Bedrest both support the March of Dimes March for Babies in Maryland.

I also want to take a moment to thank those of you who graciously donated to our March for Babies campaign. We raised $205 dollars for the Central Texas March for Babies and I am very grateful for your support on behalf of Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond.

And just to give you a little taste of what the walk was like, I collected the photos that I took into a short video montage. Enjoy!!

Mamas on Bedrest: Can routine cervical measuring and treatment with progesterone as indicated reduce and/or eventually eliminate bed rest?

January 6th, 2015

Hello Mamas and Happy New Year!!!

Right before we all took a much anticipated holiday break, The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) added their voice to those of  The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), The American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM), The March of Dimes, Medicaid and The Perinatal Research Branch of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Institute to recommend that preterm birth risk screening include cervical length measurements and for those women at increased risk, treatment with progesterone injections.

Why is this important? Well, if you visit our Facebook page, you will notice that a large number of the mamas in our community are on bed rest for cervical insufficiency or incompetent cervix. Cervical insufficiency is one of the leading causes of preterm labor in the US and one of the leading causes of infant mortality (infant death). The United States ranks 55th globally in infant mortality, with 26,000 infants dying annually before their first birthdays. This is a horrendous and utterly embarrassing statistic given that the US is one of the richest countries in the world with some of the most advanced health care, yet we can’t seem to save our babies. What is worse, infant mortality in the United States for African American babies is twice that of Caucasian babies, so deaths among little black infants is disproportionately high in the US.

But despite all this doom and gloom, the upside is that all of these medical societies have looked at the data as well as at available treatments and they have all come to the same conclusion: If there is more screening for preterm labor in pregnant women-measurement of the cervix and in those women at risk, the initiation of progesterone injections-the rates of preterm labor can be reduced 40-50% in mamas having just one baby and no prior history of preterm birth. And if every pregnant woman is screened for shortened cervix and those at risk identified and started on progesterone shots, medical costs associated with preterm labor, premature birth and subsequent medical and developmental support could be reduced by $750 million annually. Given that preterm labor and prematurity currently costs the US in excess of $26.2 billion annually, this is substantial savings. All of the medical societies are also in agreement that if a woman is noted to have a shortened cervix and is less than 24 weeks gestation, she should have a cerclage (a surgical stitich placed to hold the cervix closed) placed.

Preterm labor and prematurity are major issues in Maternal and Infant health and the leading cause of infant death before one year in the United States. If by simply screening and measuring cervical length early on with ultrasound and providing treatment with progesterone and cerclage can reduce preterm labor and prematurity and save the lives of babies, then we should be adopting these recommendations.

The elephant in the room for us here is will these practices negate the need for prescribed bed rest? That subject was not addressed in these recommendations, however, many of these same professional medical societies are recommending that bed rest not be routinely prescribed due to the negative effects that is has on Mamas’ bodies. So it will be very interesting to see how these recommendations are implemented and their effect on the overall preterm labor and prematurity rates. My guess is that if rates start dropping, we my in fact see a reduction in the bed rest prescription. Now wouldn’t that be exciting???

Mamas, share this information with your health care providers and see what they have to say. If you’ve been screened for a shortened cervix and started on progesterone, let us know in the comments section below. We would love to share the journey with you (join our Facebook Community!!)! And if you are prescribed the progesterone and/or cerclage without bedrest, do let us know how you fare and when you deliver your baby.

Reference

Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine Joins with Other Organizations to Brief Congress on Need for Medical Protocols that will Save the Lives of Infants in the US by Reducing Preterm Birth. (Press Release December 17, 2014, Washington, D.C. Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. www.smfm.org

Mamas on Bedrest: This is how it’s done! An Interview with “Former” Mama on Bedrest Karen Gates

December 15th, 2014

Good Monday Morning Mamas!

Today we have a treat! While trolling the posts on our community, I came across a post by this very knowledgeable “Former Bedrest Mama”, Karen Gates. Her post was so full of good information, tips and triumph that I just HAD to speak with her! Being the gracious mama that she is, she agreed and here she shares her story of being on bedest for Placenta Previa with her second son. Listen to how Karen was able to intuit and support the needs of her husband, to receive help from friends and family and to overall Thrive while on bed rest!  It’s an interview you won’t want to miss-especially if you are on bed rest during the holidays!