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Ob/Gyns Warn Against ‘Vaginal Seeding’ Trend for Newborns

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Special thanks to our friends at HealthDay for providing this story.

 

The U.S.’s leading group of obstetricians and gynecologists is warning against a new trend where babies born by C-section are “seeded” via cotton swabs with vaginal microbes from the mother.”Vaginal seeding” is growing in popularity because it’s thought that babies born through Cesarean-section miss out on certain “helpful” vaginal microbes that might shield the infant from asthma, allergies and immune disorders.

“Vaginal seeding has become a rising trend for patients,” noted Dr. Jennifer Wu, an ob/gyn at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “Patients read about the benefits of a vaginal delivery and hope to replicate these benefits with vaginal seeding.”

As explained by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), it’s thought that contact with healthy vaginal bacteria helps stimulate the infant immune system, prevents the growth of dangerous bacteria and regulates the gut.

That contact doesn’t happen for babies born via C-section, however, so in vaginal seeding, a cotton swab with vaginal fluids from the mother is used to transfer vaginal bacteria to a newborn.

But in a statement issued Oct. 24, ACOG — the nation’s largest ob/gyn organization — said the procedure is not recommended because the known risks outweigh any potential benefits.

“Due to the lack of sufficient data, the very real risks [of vaginal seeding] outweigh the potential benefits,” Dr. Christopher Zahn, ACOG’s vice president of practice activities, said in a college news release.

“By swabbing an infant’s mouth, nose or skin with vaginal fluid after birth, the mother could potentially, and unknowingly, pass on disease-causing bacteria or viruses,” he explained.

Wu agreed. “There are very real risks attached to this practice,” she said. “Certain viruses, such as group B strep and herpes, can cause serious illnesses such as meningitis in newborns.”

And Zahn stressed that there’s a much safer way for a new mom to transfer her helpful bacteria to her newborn: Breast-feeding.

“Breast-feeding for the first six months is the best way to overcome the lack of exposure to maternal vaginal flora at birth,” Zahn said. “The bacteria present in breast milk and on the nipple is sufficient for natural colonization or seeding of the gut. There may be some initial difference in the gut [microbes] of infants based on mode of delivery, but research has shown that difference disappears after about six months,” he added.

If a woman does insist on vaginal seeding, her ob/gyn needs to make sure the patient understands the potential risks, ACOG said.

Dr. Mitchell Kramer is head of obstetrics and gynecology at Huntington Hospital in Huntington, N.Y. He agreed that breast-feeding is a good means of transmitting healthy microbes from a mom to her baby, but that “the jury is still out on [vaginal seeding] and further study is necessary before this is recommended as a routine protocol.”

SOURCES: Jennifer Wu, M.D., obstetrician/gynecologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Mitchell Kramer, M.D., chairman, obstetrician/gynecologist, Huntington Hospital, Huntington, N.Y.; American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, news release, Oct. 24, 2017.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Today at 7:00 pm in all time zones, families around the United States will light candles in memory all of the precious babies who have been lost during pregnancy or in infancy.  Too many families grieve in silence, sometimes never coming to terms with their loss.

If you or someone you know has suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss due to SIDS/SUID, prematurity or other cause, we hope you will join us in this national tribute to create awareness of these tragic infant deaths and provide support to those that are suffering.

More information can be found here.

October 15th, 2017|Infant Multiples, Multiples in the NICU, Preemies|

Maureen D. Boyle honored with HOPE Award

feet in colorIt is our pleasure to share with you the news that Maureen Boyle received the HOPE award earlier this month.  Maureen was honored by Graham’s Foundation for her work with higher multiples over a 25+ year period.  Raising Multiples was originally known as MOST (Mothers of Supertwins) when it was founded by Maureen and other mothers in 1987.  Maureen dedicated over 25 years to children, parents and caregivers. It is nice to see her recognized for her hard work and dedication.  In addition to the print work cited below, she also helped write Raising Multiples/MOST’s book Expecting Multiples: The MOST Comprehensive Guide to High-risk Twin & All Triplet, Quadruplet or More Pregnancies.  

Maureen, earlier this year, officially stepped down as Raising Multiples’ Executive Director. (more…)

November 30th, 2016|Articles, Parents of Multiples, Preemies|

A Roadmap for Grieving Loss of Multiple-birth Children


infants-by-graveThis article by Elizabeth A. Pector, M.D., a Family Physician of Naperville, IL, discusses how the loss of a child or children (during pregnancy, at birth, or in infancy) affects the family of multiple birth children. Dr. Pector is an active member of the MOST Professional Advisory Board and a mother to two sons: one a surviving twin.

 

Intro by Dr Pector:

The death of multiple-birth children is a tragic event for parents and families.  This article, shortened from an original written in 2001, is a broad overview of the journey toward healing from loss of one or more children from a multiple pregnancy, based on expert opinion from clinicians, perinatal bereavement support professionals, and peer support organizations for multiples and bereaved parents. Every situation and every person is different. Complex considerations within twin or higher-multiple pregnancies make it even harder to predict what you might feel, and when. As you read this, focus on what applies to your situation.  (more…)

Are you ready for RSV season?

Preemie NICUAlthough RSV is the most common cause of respiratory tract infection in children under five years of age, most people are unfamiliar with the disease. RSV can be particularly serious in infants born prematurely, which of course, means most multiple births. Find information and resources on our PreemieCare page.