Are Black babies at a higher risk of hypoglycaemia?

In this study Tamarra James-Todd, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, led a team of researchers looking into whether different races have a greater risk of developing hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) when they are born prematurely. The researchers studied 515 premature babies whose ethnic composition was as follows:

  • White        61%
  • Black         12%
  • Hispanic   7%
  • Asian         7%

Among the 66% spontaneous pre-term births 63% of the Black babies experience hypoglycaemia, compared to between 22 and 30% of the other racial groups. When mothers’ education, age, multiple gestations, delivery type, gestational age, birth weight and babies’ sex were taken into account premature Black babies who had been delivered spontaneously were 61% more likely to suffer from hypoglycaemia.

You can see the abstract of this article here.

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Nasogastric feeding and gastric reflux

Premature babies are sometimes fed using a tube fed through their nose and into their stomach. In this study Swati V. Murthy, from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, led a team of researchers looking into whether nasogastric feeding was linked to an increase in gastro-oesophageal reflux (acid welling back up the windpipe from the stomach). The team looked at the medical records of 83 babies, half of whom had had a nasogastric tube and half of whom hadn’t. They found that the group without a nasogastric tube had significantly more reflux.

You can read the abstract of this article here.

 

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Vitamin D in pregnancy. Does it do any good?

In this study Daniel E. Roth, from the University of Toronto, led a team of researchers looking into the effectiveness of vitamin D supplements during pregnancy at improving the health of babies and small children. The researchers looked at previous studies and found 43 that met their quality criteria. These showed that, overall, vitamin D increased baby’s birth weights and reduced the risk of small-for-gestational age births as well as children having a wheeze by the time they got to three. However, vitamin D was found to have no effect at reducing the incidence of premature birth.

If you have a subscription to the British Medical Journal you can read the whole of this article here.

 

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Diabetes, big babies and health problems

Women who have diabetes often have larger babies than normal. In this study Zachary B. Jenner, from the University of Texas Health Science Centre, led a team of researchers looking into the links between big babies and mothers’ and babies’ health problems. 967 babies were included in the study of whom 113 were bigger than normal. The study found that women who had big babies were four times as likely to have health problems while the big babies themselves were 77% more likely to have health problems. For a baby being bigger than normal was associated with an increased risk in admission to a neonatal intensive care unit, hypoglycaemia and hyperbilirubinaemia.

You can read the abstract of this article here.

 

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Do Caesareans make it easier for tiny babies?

When unborn babies are very small their mothers are often given a Caesarean in the belief that their babies won’t be able to cope with conventional labour. But is this really true? In this study Sima H. Baalbaki, from the University of Alabama, led a team of researchers trying to find out. They studied 101 unborn babies who had grown less than expected, 75 of whom had been delivered by a Caesarean. Delivery by a Caesarean was not associated with a decreased risk of health problems and the researchers concluded that “in otherwise appropriate candidates for vaginal delivery, fetal [sic] growth restriction should not be considered a contraindication to trial of labor [sic].”

You can read the abstract of this article here.

 

 

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Melatonin and Caesareans

Melatonin is a hormone that plays an important part in regulating people’s body clocks. In this study Muberra Namli Kalem, from Liv Hospital in Ankara, led a team of researchers looking into the differences in melatonin levels in the colostrum of mothers who had had their babies conventionally compared to those whose babies had been delivered by Caesarean section. 139 women took part in the study. 60 had had their babies delivered conventionally; 47 had had elective Caesareans and 32 had had an emergency Caesarean. The melatonin levels were highest in those who had had their babies conventionally, lower in the elective-Caesarean group and were lowest in the emergency-Caesarean group.

You can read the abstract of this article here.

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Drug addicts and nappy rash

In this study Anuj Malik, from West Virginia University School of Medicine, led a team of researchers looking into the incidence of nappy rash (perianal dermatitis) and the use of products designed to deal with it in a level IV neonatal intensive care unit. The study found that out of 1,241 admissions to the unit 56.2% had at least one nappy-rash cream ordered for them during their NICU stay while 52.6% had more than one type of nappy-rash cream ordered for them. However the ordering of the creams was only properly recorded for 23% of the babies. Babies born to mothers who were addicted to opiates and who were themselves suffering from withdrawal symptoms (neonatal abstinence syndrome) were three times more likely to have nappy-rash products ordered for them than babies unaffected by this problem.

You can read the abstract of this article here.

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