Expecting Multiples

/Expecting Multiples

It’s Important to Babble Back to Your Baby

When parents listened and responded to a baby’s babbling, infants began to form complex sounds and started using language more quickly, according to a study published recently in the journal Infancy.

Language skills developed more slowly in babies whose parents didn’t make as much effort to understand their babbling, but instead sometimes directing their infants’ attention to something else.

“It’s not [just that] responsiveness matters. It’s how a mother responds that matters,” study corresponding author Julie Gros-Louis, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Iowa, said in a university news release.

The study shows that “social stimulation shapes at a very early age what children attend to…they are learning how to learn,” study co-author Andrew King, a senior scientist in psychology at Indiana University, said in the news release.

Full Story

April 7th, 2015|Expecting Multiples, Infant Multiples|

IVF Advances

In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is one method couples experiencing infertility use to try to have a baby. But a single IVF cycle is expensive and only has about a 32% success rate. So, doctors often implant multiple embryos to increase the odds of conception, also unwittingly increasing the chance of a multiple birth. Multiple birth pregnancies are high-risk and can have serious complications for both mothers and babies.

Two new techniques may improve the chance of conception from implanting a single embryo.

The first technique is pre-implantation genetic screening. In this procedure, cells are removed from the embryo on day five to see if the normal amount of genetic material is present. Embryos with extra or missing chromosomes are considered less viable because studies have shown they can cause miscarriage. This process is different from genetic screening for specific diseases or disorders, called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis.

The second technique is time-lapse imaging, a less invasive method of evaluating embryos. With time-lapse imaging, thousands of pictures are taken to record a fertilized egg cell dividing. Eggs dividing atypically are unlikely to survive. “The embryo’s fate can be determined very early in development,” says Barry Behr, director of Stanford University Medical Center’s IVF laboratory.

Dr. Behr co-wrote a study identifying three markers that determine if a four-cell embryo (on day two) is likely to reach blastocyst, a critical stage where it has divided into about 120 cells (on day five) and has a better chance of implanting in the uterus.

Time-lapse imaging may also work in tandem with chromosomal screening, since it provides information about an embryo’s metabolisms unavailable through genetic testing. Both of these techniques are expensive and more research is needed.

Adapted from the Wall Street Journal, September 14, 2014

March 17th, 2015|Expecting Multiples|

Medical Updates for Moms and Babies

Single-Family Room NICUs Benefit Babies

Most of us do not have access to a single-family room (SFR) style NICU. But a recent study in Pediatrics certainly makes it seem worth advocating for! The study reveals significant benefits for infants in NICUs with single-family rooms compared to infants in shared, open-bay arrangements. The SFR babies weighed more at discharge, gained weight more rapidly, required fewer medical procedures, had increased attention, and had less stress, lethargy and pain. According to the study’s lead author, the privacy, lighting, and having nurses who work one-on-one with the mothers in the SFR facility made for a more relaxed environment. Further, he explains, “there’s more maternal involvement than in the open bay and more maternal involvement leads to better behavioral and medical outcomes.”

Routine Bed Rest No Longer Advocated    Please check with your doctor. Many perinatogists for HOM pregnancies DO advise bed rest.

Were you on bed rest during your pregnancy? It has long been recommended for a number of potential complications, such as preterm contractions, short cervix, preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), preeclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction, placenta previa, and multiple gestation. The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) recently released a new guideline that recommends against the routine use of bed rest in pregnancy. The recent guideline references the results of several studies that did not find an improvement in maternal or neonatal outcomes with the use of activity restriction, but did find an increase in maternal morbidity. The guideline cites numerous side effects of restricted activity including loss of muscle and bone mass, cardiovascular capacity, and an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

Thanks to our friends at the National Premature Infant Health Coalition for passing along this information!

March 3rd, 2015|Expecting Multiples, Infant Multiples|

Raising Multiples…..Our new name!

  Maureen Boyle has been with MOST since its start in 1987. She serves as the Executive Director and has talked to countless parents, many doctors and professionals, and has participated in     quite a few media events.  Maureen shares her thoughts about the new name and logo.

   Have you seen this?   What do you think?     I LOVE it!      MOST (Mothers of Supertwins) is updating, growing and changing to continue to meet the needs of families RAISING MULTIPLES.

Introducing our new name, Raising Multiples (a MOST Community); and our new logo, a quilted heart. Both represent a beautiful balance between ingenuity, hard work, skill and perseverance in light of obvious adversity which has grown into something solid, sustainable and still after almost 30 years simple and grassroots rich in tradition and able to adapt.

The quilt reminds me of the networking that is so important for expectant and all parents of multiples to do in order to learn how to better meet the unique needs of our families. This quilted heart we call a MOST community makes me think that; not just as an organization but also in each of our families, there is room enough for ALL. We are all so very, very different from each other and all still very much connected & a part of something so truly unique and beautiful and so much bigger than any one piece.  We each have something important, genuine and unique to offer each other and to share within our MOST community- RAISING MULTIPLES.

Often when we speak with expectant parents they are concerned that they will just not be able to love each of their children as much as each may need. I hear this especially from parents who have one older child. They know already the deep unconditional love they have for their firstborn and are so afraid that they will just not be able to bond as deeply with each of their unborn babies. Just like with this quilt, we see that there is truly room enough for all to grow. Each has something important, genuine and unique to share and it is our responsibility as parents to help them; and each of our family members, to discover what this may be and to cherish each other for this quality that only they can share. Each of our parts; the obviously beautiful, the perfect human flaws, the seemingly broken yet perfectly shaped piece. Each of which makes our own family quilt unique and perfect in its own way. The quilt is stronger and bigger and richer because of each of the pieces. Our love for each of our children is just as deep and interestingly so different from the other.  A parent’s heart has room enough for all. It grows exponentially as needed.

What may have looked like a mismatched, blemished, odd or worn out item when seen  as a single piece has been changed into something truly beautiful, albeit possibly too colorful for some but completely perfect for those who are able to see it as a whole.  Each family quilt is a work of art, a masterpiece and when joined together, through MOST we become something even more interesting, unusual and perfectly awesome. We are stronger because we are part of this patchwork and our connections run deep regardless of the different paths we may have taken to get to this place.

A quilt makes me think of something that is filled with so many, many stories each important and worth not only saving but also savoring and sharing. Each piece was once something else and has now become a part of something so much bigger. It is filled with tradition and longevity (much like MOST!) Our families are the heart of MOST and what they share in support of each other is what brings us together and so much bigger than any one person.

And now we are changing to Raising Multiples. This  community of families is here to advocate for quality prenatal care, promote healthy deliveries, and supply information to all multiple birth families in order to support successful parenting through every phase of their children’s development. 

Have Scientists Found the Key to Preventing Preeclampsia?

Doctors and scientists have been trying for years to learn what causes preeclampsia, a common complication of pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine, and a major cause of premature delivery and maternal and fetal deaths. A new study found that molecules that send detrimental signals are abundant in the placentas and umbilical cords of preeclampsia patients.

During pregnancy, the placenta functions like a trading post of sorts: Inside the pancake-shaped organ, maternal and fetal blood is trucked through, nutrients and oxygen are delivered to the developing fetus, and waste products are shipped out for disposal. All of that life-sustaining traffic requires a multitude of molecular signals, and the study zeroed in on the bad signals that may be involved in preeclampsia.

Researchers compared protein levels in samples from placentas and umbilical cords of 10 women who had experienced preeclampsia and 10 who had not. They found that proteins that signal both cell stress and cell death were significantly higher in samples taken from the women who had experienced preeclampsia. The researchers say that the increase in those factors could reduce nutrient transport and send bad signals to the maternal vascular system, which circulates blood. These circulating factors may also pass the placental barrier and affect the fetus.

In addition to analyzing which molecules were more pronounced in preeclampsia, the researchers looked at the effects of the syndrome on study participants’ babies. They found that the average hospital stay for preeclampsia babies was significantly longer: Those newborns stayed six days on average, while the babies born to mothers without preeclampsia stayed a little over three days on average.

Now that the molecular signal problems have been discovered, the focus will shift to finding ways to therapeutically block them one day to prevent preeclampsia.

Full story.

Annals of Internal Medicine article Sept 2014 Low-Dose Aspirin Use for the Prevention of Morbidity and Mortality From Preeclampsia: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement


September 9th, 2014|Expecting Multiples|