This week the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) held their annual conference in San Francisco, where OB-GYNs from around the country meet to discuss the most important topics in gynecology and obstetrics — and WhatToExpect.com was there. Some of the trends we heard were a bit surprising, reassuring and even hopeful. Here are five things OB-GYNs were talking about at the ACOG conference and what they mean for moms.
1. There Are Two Surprising Reasons More Women Are Getting C-Sections
The World Health Organization says that any rate over 15 percent “shows overuse” of the procedure.
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2. Vaginal Breech Birth Might Be Coming to a Hospital Near You
Vaginal Breech Initiative at George Washington University Hospital, where doctors are trying to deliver breech babies vaginally whenever possible.
On that note, C-sections are common today among babies who are breech at birth, since few physicians are currently trained at vaginal delivery of breech babies — but the tide may be turning.
Exhibit A: the Vaginal Breech Initiative at George Washington University Hospital, where doctors are trying to deliver breech babies vaginally whenever possible. An unpublished, preliminary observational report on the project found that among the over 40 attempts at vaginal breech birth at the hospital, more than 90 percent were successful, said Kathryn Isabel Marko, M.D., a study author. She said each patient is reviewed first to be sure she’s a good candidate. Both a midwife and an OB-GYN are present at almost every delivery (when they work together, they researchers found, the outcomes are better). And reassuringly, Dr. Marko said that episiotomies so far haven’t been more common than with normal births (and the rate of episiotomies these days is very low).
3. There’s a Lot of Misunderstanding About Exercise During Pregnancy
The babies of women who exercise have a healthier cardiovascular system and a healthier body composition.
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There are lots of benefits of exercise during pregnancy (reduced risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, among many others). What’s more, the babies of women who exercise have a healthier cardiovascular system and a healthier “body composition” (i.e., less unnecessary body fat) at birth, said Linda Syzmanski, M.D., Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. Still, research has shown that less than 16 percent of pregnant women are physically active enough to meet the current recommendation of 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week — and nearly 25 percent of previously active women actually stop working out during pregnancy, she said.
4. Acupuncture May Be As Effective as Antidepressants at Treating Prenatal Depression
A 2010 study by Stanford University found that 63 percent of women who received acupuncture designed to treat depression had a reduction of symptoms.
An estimated 40 percent of all women experience an episode of depression during or after pregnancy, said Emily S Miller, M.D., Assistant Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology-Maternal Fetal Medicine and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. The good news? There are lots of safe treatment options. A 2010 study by Stanford University found that 63 percent of women who received acupuncture designed to treat depression had a reduction of symptoms — a rate which is similar to antidepressants, said Katherine Wisner, M.D., Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University. But that shouldn’t stop you from taking antidepressants if your practitioner prescribes them to you. The doctors also stressed that studies have overwhelmingly found that antidepressants are safe to use during pregnancy — and that even among the babies who experience neonatal adaptation syndrome (i.e. fussiness from withdrawal to antidepressants after birth), symptoms go away within two weeks.
5. Keep Your Birth Plan Focused and You’ll Be More Satisfied
Keep your must-have list short and to the essentials and you might end up feeling more satisfied with your birth.
Making a birth plan? Keep your “must-have” list short and to the essentials and you might end up feeling more satisfied with your birth. A study presented at the ACOG conference and in the May 2015 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology surveyed 302 women at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center who had birth plans and uncomplicated births. Surprisingly, only about 10 percent of all women at the center had a birth plan, estimated study author Jenny Y. Mei, a medical student at David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles.WebMD Article Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD
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