Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Scheduling babies

News reported in the New York Times today says Caesarian births (C-sections) are at an all time high in the US and now comprise the most common surgical procedure over here.  I read the headline and had three questions on why this might be: 1) Are US pregnant mothers less healthy than other country counterparts (maybe due to lack of good healthcare?); 2) Do US mothers choose C-sections more often as elective surgeries?; 3) How does this affect the health of the baby?
The article answered these questions reasonably well and also gave me some surprises.  It seems that C-sections are going up in all countries but the US and China appear to be among the biggest fans. China's rate is approaching 50% (!) and there is a suggestion that a major driver is increased income for doctors who perform the surgeries. Here in the US it seems the causes of C-sections are many-fold. The main reasons however, appear to be elective procedures called for in the name of convenience, and fear of liability issues on the part of the doctors.  Caesarians are about twice as expensive as normal deliveries and, unless there is a specific risk to the mother and/or child, the babies are not healthier.  In addition the risks of the surgery include abnormalities of the placenta and as with any surgical procedure, the risk of infection.  The latter may be of particular concern as hospital acquired infections that are resistant to antibiotics seems to be on the rise too.
In other news it appears the trying to get weight under control in school aged children may be too late to off-set the increased risk of obesity later on.  Chubby babies may be cute, but so-called baby fat may not be as innocuous as once thought, leading to obesity in adults and increased incidence of type 2 diabetes.   An additional report from the LA Times suggests that women can prevent the normal 1-2lbs of body weight gain that occurs per year between the ages of 25 and 50 by simply exercising for 1 hour per day.  Sounds delightful--but who has time?  I think we probably all do if we prioritize the activity but then again....Those are also the child-bearing years and this factors in in more ways than one.  Pregnancy related weight gain and the the complete lack of time for anything but baby and work for working moms makes a whole 60 mins of me-time out of the question for most.  Still, its a nice ideal and something to aspire to.

Three snippets:
Cool position advertised:
Head of McGovern Family Center for Venture at Cornell.  Wish I loved closer to Ithaca, NY.

Cool organization found:
Bravewell consortium for integration medicine I would love to work with these guys somehow.

It's World Water Week!
Unicef's tapproject.org
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