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2009 Cesarean Statistics: What’s Happening in the Lehigh Valley (1 of 4)

Early in my career in childbirth, I could expect to see the previous year’s release of “vital” birth statistics show up on the PA Department of Health website by July or August. In past years for some reason the release of this data has gotten slower and slower. You may recall that the data for 2008 was released just before Christmas 2009.

Well the 2009 data was not quite so prompt. I waited for it not so patiently. I finally decided about 2 weeks ago while looking for the data late in the evening that I would call the Department of Health–but obviously I couldn’t call right then. When I did call, I was told that it was just put on the website the previous day. Amazingly, it had been—I just had kept the webpage open on my computer for several days before I remembered to call, and had not refreshed it. I did ask the representative I spoke with why it was taking so long to publish data, and all she could tell me was what I was told a few years ago—“improvements” with the birth certificate in 2003 have changed how data is collected. Hmmm…interesting “improvements.”

Well, with no further ado, here is the beginning of my evaluation of the 2009 data. Continue Reading…

Posted 3 years, 1 month ago at 2:44 am.

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In the News: Prescription Pain Meds in Pregnancy May Cause Birth Defects

Today USA Today carried a report that the CDC has announced that certain prescription pain killers, when taken just prior to pregnancy, or during the first trimester, may double the risk of congenital heart defects in the infant.  These heart defects are often fatal in the first year of life, and if they aren’t fatal, they usually require many expensive surgeries to correct, and of course much pain and suffering for the infant.

However, the study authors noted that the risk from prescription painkillers in any one pregnancy is small.

“It’s important to acknowledge that although there is an increased risk for some types of major birth defects from an exposure to opioid analgesics, that absolute risk for any individual woman is relatively modest,” lead author Cheryl S. Broussard, of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, said in the news release.

In other words… Continue Reading…

Posted 3 years, 1 month ago at 9:33 pm.

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