Pregnancy

News and updates about pregnancy, health and medicine.

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New mom Briante Melton of Indianapolis met her best friend at her lowest moment.

“I just felt kind of like hopeless,” she said. “Like I was going to feel like that forever.”

After her one-year-old son Isaiah was born, she says she suffered post-partum depression. When she didn’t always feel like getting outdoors, help came to her inside her own home through the Nurse Family Partnership at Goodwill Industries.

Justin Hicks, Indiana Public Broadcasting

Systemic racism has a huge impact on the health of African-Americans in the U.S. It's literally a problem from cradle to grave, affecting everything from infant mortality to life expectancy. And now, COVID-19 is taking a disproportionate toll on the community. Here's a sampling of Side Effects  stories highlighting the health care divide — and potential solutions.

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Continuamos respondiendo a tus preguntas acerca del coronavirus y la COVID-19. Si tienes preguntas, envíanos un correo electrónico a health@wfyi.org, un texto con la palabra “salud” al 73224 o déjanos un mensaje de voz en el 317-429-0080.

¿Qué precauciones extra debe tomar mi obstetra y el hospital cuando tenga a mi bebe?

Arianna Thompson of South Bend, Indiana, is pregnant with her first child, a girl she's naming Heaven Noelle.
Courtesy of Arianna Thompson

Arianna Thompson had big plans for her pregnancy. A photoshoot. Two baby showers – one in South Bend, Indiana, where she lives, and one with family in Chicago. 

Everything has been cancelled. 

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We're continuing to answer questions about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19. If you have a question, email health@wfyi.org, text “health” to 73224 or leave a voicemail at 317-429-0080.

"Sick," a new podcast from Side Effects, is examining an Indianapolis fertility doctor who made headlines -- for all the wrong reasons.

In an eight-part serial, reporters Lauren Bavis and Jake Harper explore the fertility industry and one doctor's abuse of power — as well as the mothers, fathers and children living with the consequences of his actions.

Check Out The 'Sick' Podcast Trailer

Oct 4, 2019

Sick, a new podcast From Side Effects, examines what goes wrong in the places meant to keep us healthy.

In season one, that place is an Indianapolis fertility clinic. Reporters Lauren Bavis and Jake Harper explore the complications of the fertility industry and one doctor's abuse of power — as well as the mothers, fathers and children living with the consequences of his actions.

Lauren Bavis/Side Effects Public Media

Melody Lynch-Kimery had a fairly routine pregnancy. But when she got to the hospital for delivery, she says things quickly turned dangerous.

Rural Hoosiers Face Long Drives To Reach Prenatal Care

Oct 23, 2018
Zach Herndon, WFIU/WTIU News

Indiana’s maternal and infant mortality rates are far higher than the national average. Experts say one of the reasons is a lack of access to care providers. 

It’s a problem statewide, but it's especially felt in rural areas.

Driving Hours To Reach OB Care 

Deidra Firestone is expecting a child this year. This time, she says she’s blessed with a ‘normal pregnancy.’ But last year, she wasn't so lucky.

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A new report found that more than 3,700 pregnant women and new mothers were hospitalized in Missouri for opioid abuse in the past two years.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Missouri Hospital Association research indicates that the number of babies born suffering withdrawal symptoms could be underreported. State data has identified more than 1,080 newborns diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome during 2016 and 2017.

Babies with the syndrome are more likely to be small and have respiratory issues, feeding problems, jaundice and seizures.

Lauren Bavis / Side Effects Public Media

Courtney Reimlinger was breastfeeding her week-old son last year when she felt a pain in her chest.

The pain was excruciating, the 23-year-old Indianapolis native remembers, much worse than the 10 hours in labor she'd spent a week before. It spread up her neck and into her head, and soon she was slipping in and out of consciousness.

State and health leaders met at an Indianapolis hospital Monday to announce a new project to help pregnant Hoosier mothers who are addicted to opioids, the effort expands a pilot to reduce neonatal abstinence syndrome or NAS.

NAS happens when a baby is exposed to drugs in the womb.  Providers at Community East Hospital addressed this issue in response to the rise in cases that they were seeing says OBGYN Anthony Sanders. 

On a melancholy Saturday this past February, Shalon Irving's "village" — the friends and family she had assembled to support her as a single mother — gathered at a funeral home in a prosperous black neighborhood in southwest Atlanta to say goodbye.

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Intense stress faced by new moms can also affect the emotional development of their baby. That's a good reason to expand Medicaid coverage to low-income mothers in states like Missouri, which didn't expand the program under the Affordable Care Act, a St. Louis child psychiatrist argued Tuesday.

What Can Britain Teach Americans About How To Keep Pregnant Women Safe?

Sep 1, 2017
Federica Bordoni / ProPublica

This story was co-published with NPR.

At 11:58 p.m. this past June 25, Helen Taylor gave birth to her first baby, a boy, at West Suffolk Hospital in the east of England. At 11:59 p.m., with 15 seconds to spare before midnight, his sister was born. The obstetrician and her team were pleased; the cesarean section was going smoothly, fulfilling Helen’s wish that her twins share a birthday.

Emily Forman

Tia Hosler woke up at 7:35 a.m. on a friend’s couch next to her newborn son’s crib after an overnight babysitting gig.

The 26-year-old had slept through her alarm and was late for the bus, her ride to group therapy in Fort Wayne, Indiana. And now she had to scramble. She tied her Kool-Aid-red hair into a tight bun and kissed her 2-month-old, Marsean. 


Esparta Palmer

Every other week Cassidy Linnemeier carpools with a friend to their OB-GYN in Indianapolis from Seymour Indiana, where they live. The drive is about an hour and 20 minutes with traffic.

They drive this far because they can’t find a doctor nearby who will prescribe the addiction medicine they need to keep them healthy during pregnancy — and who also takes their insurance, a Medicaid plan.


In LA, Moms-To-Be Share Appointments

May 13, 2016
Anjik Butler and Alexandria Smith share their pregnancy concerns during a group session at the Eisner’s Women’s Health Center in Los Angeles. Shared medical appointments are becoming more common as a way to cut costs and improve efficiency.
Heidi de Marco / KHN

LOS ANGELES — The women sat in a circle and bemoaned their sleepless nights. It seemed unfair: Their babies weren’t even born yet.

Mayra Del Real’s daughter turned somersaults in her belly every few hours. Alexandria Smith lay awake with heartburn. When she wasn’t propped up with every pillow in the house, she was making bleary-eyed trips to the bathroom.

Sofia Mejia, pregnant with her third baby, laughed knowingly.

“It’s really priceless — those moments in the middle of the night,” she said. “You get used to it.”

These moms-to-be weren’t just commiserating over coffee. They were at a routine prenatal visit — all five of them at once.

Pregnancy Fairness Act Protects Illinois Women, But Justice Moves Slowly

Apr 19, 2016
FRANK DE KLEINE via FLICKR

Bene’t Holmes was four months pregnant when she had a miscarriage at work. It happened the day after her manager at a Chicago Walmart denied her request for lighter duties. According to her account, a doctor had told the then-25 year-old that she should no longer lift 50-pound boxes as her job demanded. But she needed the job.

Holmes told her story in a July 2014 blog post for the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. A month after she wrote that post, the Illinois General Assembly approved a measure that requires all employers provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers or those who have childbirth-related conditions. The law came too late to protect women like Holmes, but its backers hope it will prevent other women from facing the same wrenching choice: Put your unborn child at risk or lose your job?

Foods made with corn masa flour — like tortillas, tacos and tamales — could soon play a critical role in the health of babies born to Latina mothers in the U.S.

That's because, as of today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is now allowing manufacturers to fortify their corn masa foods with folic acid. That's a synthetic form of folate, a B vitamin that helps prevent severe defects of the brain and spinal cord when consumed by women before and early in pregnancy.

Florida Governor Ramps Up Mosquito Fight To Stay Ahead Of Zika

Feb 8, 2016

Florida is one of several U.S. states now reporting a few isolated cases of people infected with the Zika virus. In response, Florida's Gov. Rick Scott has declared a public health emergency in five counties in hopes of getting ahead of the virus's spread.

So far, just 12 cases of the mosquito-borne illness have been reported to health authorities in Florida, all of them among travelers who contracted the disease outside the U.S. But Scott figures it's only a matter of time before the virus starts showing up among mosquitoes in some regions of the state, too.

young woman and man drinking
Paul Holloway via Flickr

The CDC's announcement that women of childbearing age who are not using contraception should completely avoid alcohol raised eyebrows and tempers in the  media and online Thursday. 

Atlantic health reporters Olga Khazan and Julie Beck break down the CDC's advice, look at the research behind it, and offer the CDC some advice of their own. 

About half, (yes, half!) of pregnancies are unplanned. With that in mind, the CDC is advising women of childbearing age to completely abstain from drinking, unless they're using birth control. As USA Today reports, the government wants to stop women from risking fetal alcohol syndrome by drinking when they don't yet know they're pregnant.

Wanda Filer, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians told USA Today she hopes the report will make women stop and think, but it's a bit of a tough sell:

Combined Effects Of Maternal Obesity, Diabetes ‘Substantially’ Raise Autism Risks

Feb 1, 2016

While the incidence of autism spectrum disorder has increased in recent years, what’s behind it remains relatively mysterious and even controversial. But a major study could shed new light on some of the maternal health factors that may increase children’s risk of developing the condition.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder marked by difficulties with communication and social interaction as well as repetitive or obsessive behaviors. The range and severity of symptoms can vary widely.

Depression Screening Recommended For All Pregnant Women, New Mothers

Jan 28, 2016

Pregnant women and new mothers need more attention when it comes to screening for depression, according to recommendations issued Tuesday by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

That came as part of the panel's recommendation that all adults should be screened, in a situation where they can be provided treatment or get a referral if they are clinically depressed.

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