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John Hopkins Researchers Propose New Strategy for Protecting NICU Babies from Parental Bacteria

For babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), contact with parents can be calming and promote good health. However, a parent’s touch can also increase their risk of contracting a potentially dangerous neonatal infection, such as Staphylococcus aureus. Researchers from John Hopkins Medicine (headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland) recently conducted a preliminary clinical trial on…

Compound presentation

Compound presentation occurs when the part of the fetus closest to the birth canal (usually the head) presents with an extremity next to it (usually hand or arm) (1). It has been estimated to affect less than 0.004% of pregnancies. What are the causes of compound presentation?  Compound presentation can occur as a result of…

Thyroid issues during pregnancy

The thyroid is a small gland in the neck that produces thyroid hormones, which affect heart rate and metabolism.  A thyroid disorder occurs when the thyroid makes too much or too little of certain thyroid hormones (1).  Hyperthyroidism: This condition occurs when the thyroid is overactive, or makes too much thyroid hormone. It can cause…

Maternity Care Shortages and Birth Injuries

One of the major risk factors for birth injuries, such as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), is lack of access to high quality healthcare. This means that births may be more dangerous if the mother does not live near a hospital with trained and qualified staff, or if she is uninsured/unable to afford care.  Additionally, some states…

Medical Malpractice News: Scandal Rocks UNC Health Care’s Pediatric Heart Surgery Program

A recent New York Times investigation revealed shocking rates of mortality in children who underwent pediatric heart surgery at North Carolina Children’s Hospital, which is part of the University of North Carolina (UNC) health system.  The exposé (1), written by Ellen Gabler and published on May 31st, 2019, details how UNC higher-ups repeatedly dismissed cardiologists’…

Episiotomies: Uses, Guidelines, and Recent Findings

A recent story in HuffPost entitled “Why Are We Still Cutting Women’s Vaginas During Birth?” tells the story of a woman named Rachel who experienced an episiotomy during childbirth (1). An episiotomy is an incision made to the perineum, the area between the vaginal opening and the anus, to aid in delivery (2).  Rachel heard…

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…