Another Score for Public Health Nurses and Midwives

This article is filled with good news. I love good news. Apparently there has been an ‘unexplainable’ drop in infant mortality rates in one certain county (Dane) in Illinois over the last 20 years and they are just scratching their heads even though all the ‘evidence’ as to why is sitting right there in front of them. DUH.

One huge issue in our country is the very high infant mortality rate among African American women due to premature deliveries. Nationwide for 2007, according to the latest federal data, infant mortality was 6 per 1,000 for whites and 13 for blacks-up to 20 per 1,000 in some areas. Dane county was hovering around 19 deaths per 1,000 births back in the early 1990’s. Now it is down to 5. “The steep decline, reaching parity with whites, is particularly intriguing, experts say, because obstetrical services for low-income women in the county have not changed that much.” according to the article.

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Don’t take Sulfa During Pregnancy

As a women who used to get chronic urinary tract infections, the news from the Center of Disease Control (CDC) was a bit alarming.  Apparently, they recently conducted a study which links certain antibiotics to birth defects.  The two antibiotics, nitrofurantoins and sulfonamides (typically called ‘sulfa’ drugs) have been found to increase risk of anencephaly, (a fatal malformation of the skull and brain), congenital heart defects, and various other soft-tissue defects.

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H1N1 and Pregnancy. Get the shot?

The first priority group for the H1N1 flu vaccine will be pregnant women.  The outbreak in pregnant women is quite a bit higher than the general population and there have been a greater number of deaths in the pregnant population-all were in women who had developed pneumonia and subsequent acute respiratory distress syndrome requiring mechanical ventilation.

Pregnant women typically have weakened immune systems due to the pregnancy and have less lung capacity because the growing baby is taking up space.  These factors make them more vulnerable to pneumonia.  Pneumonia can lead to systemic infection and possibly death.  I don’t mean to be alarmist, but this is serious business.

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