Moms and Babies

...j e r e m y... / flickr

On a rainy Tuesday morning in May, social worker Meghan Bragers drove up to Ferguson, Mo. to visit a 23-year-old expectant mother named Marie Anderson.

Anderson, who was 33 weeks pregnant at the time, was having a particularly difficult pregnancy.

“She’s been in a car accident, her car has been totaled, she’s having back issues, she’s having increased depressive symptoms,” Bragers said en route to the visit. “Things have gotten pretty difficult.”

Difficult, or as Anderson herself called it, “a tornado.”


MSU medical school students observe a surgery in Cuba
Michigan State University

Health care is considered a human right in Cuba, and it's free. The country spends far less than the U.S. on health care, yet Cubans have the same life expectancy as Americans.
 
But after students from Michigan State University's medical school were embedded in Cuban clinics and hospitals, they discovered the situation there is complicated. 

In LA, Moms-To-Be Share Appointments

May 13, 2016
Anjik Butler and Alexandria Smith share their pregnancy concerns during a group session at the Eisner’s Women’s Health Center in Los Angeles. Shared medical appointments are becoming more common as a way to cut costs and improve efficiency.
Heidi de Marco / KHN

LOS ANGELES — The women sat in a circle and bemoaned their sleepless nights. It seemed unfair: Their babies weren’t even born yet.

Mayra Del Real’s daughter turned somersaults in her belly every few hours. Alexandria Smith lay awake with heartburn. When she wasn’t propped up with every pillow in the house, she was making bleary-eyed trips to the bathroom.

Sofia Mejia, pregnant with her third baby, laughed knowingly.

“It’s really priceless — those moments in the middle of the night,” she said. “You get used to it.”

These moms-to-be weren’t just commiserating over coffee. They were at a routine prenatal visit — all five of them at once.

One year ago, while reporting on infant mortality rates in Kennett, Missouri, I met a 27-year-old expectant mother named Marylouisa Cantu. She was pregnant with her seventh child.

Her sixth child, a daughter named Alyssa, was born two years earlier and had spent two weeks in a neonatal intensive care unit due to complications from premature birth.


Teen Moms Trust Their Gut, Even When It Puts Their Babies At Risk

Apr 21, 2016

Does mother always know best? As a mom, I try to create the healthiest environment possible for my kids. I like to think my decisions are based on fact, but emotion plays a role, too. What happens if my choices aren't supported by medical research, and could even put my children at risk?

Pregnancy Fairness Act Protects Illinois Women, But Justice Moves Slowly

Apr 19, 2016
FRANK DE KLEINE via FLICKR

Bene’t Holmes was four months pregnant when she had a miscarriage at work. It happened the day after her manager at a Chicago Walmart denied her request for lighter duties. According to her account, a doctor had told the then-25 year-old that she should no longer lift 50-pound boxes as her job demanded. But she needed the job.

Holmes told her story in a July 2014 blog post for the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. A month after she wrote that post, the Illinois General Assembly approved a measure that requires all employers provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers or those who have childbirth-related conditions. The law came too late to protect women like Holmes, but its backers hope it will prevent other women from facing the same wrenching choice: Put your unborn child at risk or lose your job?

Coming Soon To A Tortilla Near You: A Vitamin To Prevent Birth Defects

Apr 19, 2016

Foods made with corn masa flour — like tortillas, tacos and tamales — could soon play a critical role in the health of babies born to Latina mothers in the U.S.

That's because, as of today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is now allowing manufacturers to fortify their corn masa foods with folic acid. That's a synthetic form of folate, a B vitamin that helps prevent severe defects of the brain and spinal cord when consumed by women before and early in pregnancy.

States Start to Let Pharmacists Prescribe Birth Control Pills

Feb 18, 2016
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Since January, Charley McGrady has been doling out hormonal contraceptive pills and patches to women who come to her Eugene, Oregon, pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription for birth control.

young woman and man drinking
Paul Holloway via Flickr

The CDC's announcement that women of childbearing age who are not using contraception should completely avoid alcohol raised eyebrows and tempers in the  media and online Thursday. 

Atlantic health reporters Olga Khazan and Julie Beck break down the CDC's advice, look at the research behind it, and offer the CDC some advice of their own. 

About half, (yes, half!) of pregnancies are unplanned. With that in mind, the CDC is advising women of childbearing age to completely abstain from drinking, unless they're using birth control. As USA Today reports, the government wants to stop women from risking fetal alcohol syndrome by drinking when they don't yet know they're pregnant.

Wanda Filer, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians told USA Today she hopes the report will make women stop and think, but it's a bit of a tough sell:

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