Cost-effectiveness of betamethasone therapy for women at risk of delivering a premature baby (between 34 and 36 weeks)

Premature babies often have numerous health problems, and require extensive, costly treatments (1). Their underdeveloped organs and general fragility make them especially susceptible to birth injuries, infections, and other neonatal complications. In the United States, 70% of premature births occur between weeks 34 and 36 of pregnancy, or the “late preterm period” (2) These infants…

Journalists release shocking rates of childbirth complications in hospitals across the U.S.

The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed country in the world (1). There are myriad reasons for this devastating fact, one of which is that hospitals across the country can be terribly unprepared for maternal emergencies. In a recent USA Today story, journalists examined billing records from seven million births in…

Researchers identify pregnancy conditions that increase the risk of neonatal hypoxia

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a type of newborn brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation during or around the time of birth, has been linked to a variety of pregnancy conditions. Inna Skarga-Bandurova and colleagues in the Ukraine recently published a study on risk factors for chronic fetal hypoxia (i.e. long-term oxygen deprivation). They analyzed data from…

Covering the cost of a NICU stay

When a baby requires care after birth, they will be transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or the NICU. Babies may require a NICU stay if they were born prematurely, had problems during delivery, or experienced complications after birth. The cost of a NICU stay depends on a number of factors including duration, treatments,…

Research on babies and children in South Carolina reveals decline in the incidence of cerebral palsy

In Australia and Europe, researchers have been able to use population-based registries to extract data on the incidence of cerebral palsy (CP) over time. However, the U.S. does not have a similar registry, and therefore research on the prevalence of cerebral palsy in American babies and children has produced more nebulous results. This lack of…

Study of birth injury cases sheds light on medical errors responsible for cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy often stems from medical malpractice around the time of birth (making it a birth injury), and many parents choose to sue the doctors or hospitals that are responsible. Information collected from these legal cases could shed light on the types of medical errors most likely to contribute to a cerebral palsy diagnosis; however,…

New studies on Sildenafil treatment in babies with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)

Sildenafil is the phosphodiesterase-V inhibitor more commonly known as Viagra (1). It has been successful in treating pediatric pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) because it increases blood pressure in the lungs. It has grown in usage and is now the major treatment option for PAH in babies, even though it is still used off-label and requires…

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…