Focus on adolescent pregnancy and childbearing: a bit of history and implications for the 21st century.
Early childbearing in the United States has roots in the past; is the focus of intense partisan debate at the present time; and will have demographic, social, and economic ramifications in the future. It is an extremely complex issue, for which its associated problems have no easy or simple answers. Early parenthood is viewed as a social problem that has defied public policy attempts to stem its growth. It has become the focus of concern primarily for three reasons: (1) sexual activity has increased sharply, most recently among the youngest teens; (2) out-of-wedlock childbearing has risen among all teenagers, regardless of age; and (3) the issue of welfare. A review of statistics highlights the problem and discussion focuses on means of mitigating the negative effects of early childbearing. (+info)
Driving through: postpartum care during World War II.
In 1996, public outcry over shortened hospital stays for new mothers and their infants led to the passage of a federal law banning "drive-through deliveries." This recent round of brief postpartum stays is not unprecedented. During World War II, a baby boom overwhelmed maternity facilities in American hospitals. Hospital births became more popular and accessible as the Emergency Maternal and Infant Care program subsidized obstetric care for servicemen's wives. Although protocols before the war had called for prolonged bed rest in the puerperium, medical theory was quickly revised as crowded hospitals were forced to discharge mothers after 24 hours. To compensate for short inpatient stays, community-based services such as visiting nursing care, postnatal homes, and prenatal classes evolved to support new mothers. Fueled by rhetoric that identified maternal-child health as a critical factor in military morale, postpartum care during the war years remained comprehensive despite short hospital stays. The wartime experience offers a model of alternatives to legislation for ensuring adequate care of postpartum women. (+info)
Preterm birth (birth at <37 completed weeks of gestation) is the second leading cause of neonatal mortality in the United States. Preterm birthrates differ by race; in 1996, black infants were 1.8 times more likely than white infants to be preterm. From 1989 through 1996, the overall rate of preterm birth (per 1000 live-born infants) increased 4%, and the rate of multiple births (e.g., twins, triplets, or other higher-order births) increased 19%. Multiple births are associated with preterm birth; trends in preterm births independent of the influence of multiple births have not been fully explored. To characterize race- and ethnicity-specific trends in preterm birth independent of multiple births, data from U.S. birth certificates for 1989-1996 were analyzed for singleton births only. This report summarizes the results of this analysis and indicates that although singleton preterm birthrates are stable overall, substantial changes in rates occurred in some racial/ethnic subgroups. (+info)
Relation between size of delivery unit and neonatal death in low risk deliveries: population based study.
AIM: To examine risk of neonatal death after low risk pregnancies in relation to size of delivery units. METHODS: A population based study of live born singleton infants in Norway with birthweights of at least 2500 g was carried out. Antenatal risk factors were adjusted for. RESULTS: From 1972 to 1995, 1.25 million births fulfilled the criteria. The neonatal death rate was lowest for maternity units with 2001-3000 annual births and steadily increased with decreasing size of the maternity unit to around twice that for units with less than 100 births a year (odds ratio 2.1; 95 % confidence interval 1.6 to 2.8). Institutions with more than 3000 deliveries a year also had a higher rate (odds ratio 1.7; 95% CI 1.4 to 2.0), but analyses suggest that this rate is overestimated. CONCLUSION: Around 2000 to 3000 annual births are needed to reduce the risk of neonatal deaths after low risk deliveries. (+info)
Fertility rates in Denmark in relation to the sexes of preceding children in the family.
Analysis of the effect of sex combination of previously born children in the family on fertility rates was performed for 363,373 Danish families comprising a total of 613,900 children, to address the questions of sex preference and combination preference. The fertility rates were stratified by parental age, period and latency time to the next child, and fertility rate ratios were estimated using multiplicative Poisson regression models. Our results demonstrate a strong preference for a balanced composition of sexes in Danish families. In families with two or three children the highest fertility rates were seen in families who had same-sexed children. The lowest fertility rates were in families with two children of identical sex followed by a child of the opposite sex. A moderate sex preference for girls was indicated by higher fertility rates in two-boy families than in two-girl families. (+info)
Effect of labour induction on rates of stillbirth and cesarean section in post-term pregnancies.
BACKGROUND: Meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials suggest that elective induction of labour at 41 weeks' gestation, compared with expectant management with selective labour induction, is associated with fewer perinatal deaths and no increase in the cesarean section rate. The authors studied the changes over time in the rates of labour induction in post-term pregnancies in Canada and examined the effects on the rates of stillbirth and cesarean section. METHODS: Changes in the proportion of total births at 41 weeks' and at 42 or more weeks' gestation, and in the rate of stillbirths at 41 or more weeks' (versus 40 weeks') gestation in Canada between 1980 and 1995 were determined using data from Statistics Canada. Changes in the rates of labour induction and cesarean section were determined using data from hospital and provincial sources. RESULTS: There was a marked increase in the proportion of births at 41 weeks' gestation (from 11.9% in 1980 to 16.3% in 1995) and a marked decrease in the proportion at 42 or more weeks (from 7.1% in 1980 to 2.9% in 1995). The rate of stillbirths among deliveries at 41 or more weeks' gestation decreased significantly, from 2.8 per 1000 total births in 1980 to 0.9 per 1000 total births in 1995 (p < 0.001). The stillbirth rate also decreased significantly among births at 40 weeks' gestation, from 1.8 per 1000 total births in 1980 to 1.1 per 1000 total births in 1995 (p < 0.001). The magnitude of the decrease in the stillbirth rate at 41 or more weeks' gestation was greater than that at 40 weeks' gestation (p < 0.001). All hospital and provincial sources of data indicated that the rate of labour induction increased significantly between 1980 and 1995 among women delivering at 41 or more weeks' gestation. The associated changes in rates of cesarean section were variable. INTERPRETATION: Between 1980 and 1995 clinical practice for the management of post-term pregnancy changed in Canada. The increased rate of labour induction at 41 or more weeks' gestation may have contributed to the decreased stillbirth rate but it had no convincing influence either way on the cesarean section rate. (+info)
Regional variations in need for and provision and use of child health services in England and Wales.
An analysis of indicators of the need for and provision and use of child health services in the 15 pre- 1974 hospital board regions in England and Wales showed that need and provisions were badly matched. There was a high degree of correlation between the indices within each of the three groups, indicating that a region with a small provision in one area of child health services would tend to have few resources in other areas also. Statistics on the use of services relate more to the provision of those services than to the need for them. Regions with large resources will justify these resources by claiming that their use statistics indicate needs, whereas they really indicate met demands. It is more important to identify demands and needs that are not being met. (+info)
Births: final data for 1997.
OBJECTIVES: This report presents 1997 data on U.S. births according to a wide variety of characteristics. Data are presented for maternal demographic characteristics including age, live-birth order, race, Hispanic origin, marital status, and educational attainment; maternal lifestyle and health characteristics (medical risk factors, weight gain, and tobacco and alcohol use); medical care utilization by pregnant women (prenatal care, obstetric procedures, complications of labor and/or delivery, attendant at birth, and method of delivery); and infant health characteristics (period of gestation, birthweight, Apgar score, abnormal conditions, congenital anomalies, and multiple births). Also presented are birth and fertility rates by age, live-birth order, race, Hispanic origin, and marital status. Selected data by mother's State of residence are shown including teenage birth rates and total fertility rates, as well as data on month and day of birth, sex ratio, and age of father. Trends in fertility patterns and maternal and infant characteristics are described and interpreted. METHODS: Descriptive tabulations of data reported on the birth certificates of the 3.9 million births that occurred in 1997 are presented. RESULTS: Birth and fertility rates declined very slightly in 1997. Birth rates for teenagers fell 3 to 5 percent. Rates for women in their twenties changed very little, whereas rates for women in their thirties rose 2 percent. The number of births and the birth rate for unmarried women each declined slightly in 1997 while the percent of births that were to unmarried women was unchanged. Smoking by pregnant women overall dropped again in 1997, but continued to increase among teenagers. Improvements in prenatal care utilization continued. The cesarean delivery rate increased slightly after declining for 7 consecutive years. The proportion of multiple birth continued to rise; higher order multiple births (e.g., triplets, quadruplets) rose by 14 percent in 1997, following a 20 percent rise from 1995 to 1996. Key measures of birth outcome--the percents of low birthweight and preterm births--increased, with particularly large increases in the preterm rate. These changes are in large part the result of increases in multiple births. (+info)