Placental Screenings: The Future of Prenatal Care?

The placenta, or “afterbirth,” was previously considered a simple, relatively unimportant organ. However, over time, researchers have realized that it plays a critical role not only in fetal development and maternal health during pregnancy, but also in the long-term well being of both mothers and their children. Although its importance is now generally recognized throughout…

Bulging Fontanelle

What is a bulging fontanelle? The human skull is made of many bones, which join together to protect the brain. The lines at which they fuse are called sutures. When a baby is born, these sutures are not yet all firmly joined together. This allows the head to be a bit more flexible as it…

Research Update: Vacuum Extractors and Forceps Are Both Associated with a Higher Risk of Shoulder Dystocia

Vacuum extractors and forceps are both tools that can be used to assist with a vaginal birth. In developed countries, vacuum extractors have become much more commonly used than forceps, and in certain situations are the safer choice. However, this tool also involves serious risks. For example, some studies have found an association between the…

Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS)

Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), previously called hyaline membrane disease (HMD), is a newborn health condition characterized by breathing difficulty. It occurs when a baby’s body does not produce enough of a lung-lubricating substance called surfactant. Babies with RDS have trouble expanding their lungs, which can make it difficult for them to take in oxygen and…

What is G6PD Deficiency? How Does It Impact Newborn Babies?

Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, or G6PD, is an enzyme in the body that helps protect red blood cells from injury. When an individual suffers from G6PD deficiency, a genetic disease, he or she fails to make an adequate amount of this enzyme, thereby putting red blood cells in danger of cell death (1). While this condition ranges…

Leaking Amniotic Fluid

If amniotic fluid begins leaking during pregnancy, this can be cause for concern. Read on to learn more about the purpose of amniotic fluid, normal levels at various stages of pregnancy, and what leakage can indicate. What is amniotic fluid? During pregnancy, the baby floats in amniotic fluid, which is contained inside of the amniotic…

Language Barriers and Medical Malpractice

One misunderstood word resulted in 18-year-old Willie Ramirez becoming quadriplegic. It was the year 1980. Ramirez had been enjoying a night out when he felt a sudden, sharp pain.  “It felt like someone was sticking a needle through my head,” he recounted in a recent interview for Health Affairs. Ramirez managed to drive himself to…