Monday, November 15, 2010

Worth the weight?

Increasing numbers of British women are dieting during pregnancy, putting their children at risk of serious illness in later life, according to this article by Anita Chaudhuri. According to a study by Barker et al. for the Medical Research Council (MRC), pregnant women in Britain are dieting like never before, and the health implications are alarming. The findings indicated that four out of ten women eat a diet that is likely to deprive a child of essential nutrients.

Worried doctors opt for caesareans

The Observer of 23/10/04 features an unpublished Cambridge University survey which suggests that that fear of legal action is a major factor behind the rising number of caesarean sections performed during childbirth. The high rates of caesarean sections in the UK , which are up to 28 per cent of all births in some trusts, may have less to do with women choosing an operation, and more to do with doctors' anxieties about being sued. Two-thirds of obstetricians admitted that such anxieties influenced their decision.

However, the perception that patients are becoming more litigious is a myth not born out by the statistics, according to experts. The number of legal claims against NHS trusts actually fell by 20 per cent last year.

Baby sex link to domestic status (BBC News 20/10/04)

The living arrangements of parents at the time a baby is conceived may play a role in determining its sex, research suggests. A US study found parents who were married or living together before conception were slightly more likely to have a boy than those who were not. The study, by the US National Bureau of Economic Research, is based on data from 86,436 births. Details are published in Proceedings of The Royal Society.

Overall, the study found that 51.5% of babies born to couples living together at the time of conception were boys, compared to 49.9% among parents who were not.

Pregnant to be questioned on home violence (Independent 20/10/04)

Pregnant women are to be routinely asked by doctors and midwives if they have been beaten up by their partners in a new drive to tackle domestic violence. The move follows evidence that women are more vulnerable to domestic violence during pregnancy. Melanie Johnson, the Public Health minister, will announce plans today for questions to be put to women during their first NHS ante-natal visits.

The initiative means that health service professionals will play a vital role in rooting out hidden domestic violence. At NHS appointments during the early stages of pregnancy, such as for foetal scans, they will inquire whether women are being abused. Sufferers will be referred to appropriate support and counselling services or the police if it emerges that they need protection or want charges to be pressed.

New Chief Nursing Officer appointed (DH 19/10/04)

Health secretary John Reid has announced the appointment of Christine Beasley as England's new chief nursing officer.

For those of you who are not familiar with Christine Beasley she has held a wide range of nursing roles in hospitals and the community. Her most recent roles were as the NHS modernisation agency's Director of Partnership Development and then interim head of the agency.
On accepting the appointment Christine Beasley said that she was delighted to take up the post and was "looking forward to the challenge of ensuring all staff put hospital cleanliness and infection control at the top of the agenda".

The RCM welcomed this announcement, and said we are looking forward to working with the new chief nursing officer on a number of issues, including the extension of midwifery led care and further action to address the recruitment and retention of midwifes.

Risks of second caesarean studied (BBC News 19/10/04)

A study is being carried out to help women who have given birth by caesarean decide how to give birth the next time. The DiAMOND study - Decision Aids for Mode of Next Delivery - will question 600 pregnant mothers in Bristol, Somerset and Dundee. Researchers have developed two different methods of giving women information on the risks and benefits of natural and repeat caesarean. They will be compared to women who are given standard information. The joint Bristol and Dundee University study will measure if the new methods either prompt women to take a second caesarean or opt for natural birth.

Aerosols 'harm mother and baby'

A paper by Farrow et al., Farrow A, Taylor H, Northstone K, Golding J, Symptoms in mothers and infants and use of aerosols and air fresheners, has just been published in the journal Archives of Environmental Health. It is part of the ALSPAC 'Children of the 90s' study in Bristol. The work is featured on the BBC News and IC Wales web sites. Air fresheners and aerosols used in the home can cause diarrhea and earache in youngsters and depression in their mothers, according to the researchers.