Expecting? Expect a Surprise
If you live in the United States, and are pregnant or planning to be pregnant, Mother Nature may have a surprise for you.
If you are a career woman, taking a break to start that all-important family, the surprise may pack a real punch. According to the Center for Health Statistics (a division of the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC), twin births in the U.S. have increased “dramatically”.
Of course, multiple births have been on the rise since the 1980s, but 2009 saw the first statistical shocker. One in every 30 infants was a twin. By comparison, in 1980, twins occurred in only one of every 53 instances. To demonstrate what the CDC called “dramatic”, twin birth rates rose 76 percent from 1980 through 2009!
The trend was greatest among women over 40, where 7 percent of deliveries resulted in twins – or an increase of 200 percent. Conversely, the rate among women under age 25 was a modest 2 percent. Twin births were also higher among African American women – at 38 percent in 2009 as compared to 24 percent in 1980 - and lowest among Hispanics (22.5 percent in 2009, up from 16.8 percent in 1980).
Scientists ascribe at least one-third of the overall increase to improvements in reproductive technology. This is because older women are the largest group to use said technology (in vitro fertilization, for example) to get pregnant. A reduction in larger multiple births (defined as four or more) is also being attributed to those same improvements.
The same scientists, however, are reluctant to ascribe the other two-thirds of the bump in multiple baby births to any other cause, whether environmental (i.e., pollution), societal (waiting longer means more eggs ready and waiting), or medical interventions like improved prenatal care and screening for at-risk mothers (and babies).
Whatever the cause, today’s mother-in-waiting would do well to go for that ultrasound as soon as possible, because what was supposed to be an only child may well turn out to be a ready-made, 21st century family.
If so, it’s definitely time to plan ahead. Way ahead. Starting with soft, colorful, environmentally friendly crib sheets and blankets, and not forgetting the little things like sensitive skin baby wipes, Fairtrade Organic bibs, BPA-free baby bottles, and those ever-popular onesies – also made from Fairtrade Organic fabrics.
While shopping, don’t forget the bio-based cleaners : good for babies, equally as good for the earth, and now you have a vested interest in protecting both. If you don’t have a lot of time to shop, choose a home cleaning kit enough variety for whole-house cleaning and more than enough to last those critical first three months).
Heirloom cribs are wonderful, but remember that they do not meet the established U.S. standard, and can be hazardous to your baby’s health. Great grandma’s rocking chair is equally charming, but before you sit down and rock in it with one, or both, of your new family, check it out using someone at least 20 pounds heavier than you are, and with enough muscle mass to loosen weak joints or deteriorating woven/leather/cloth seats. Also, make sure that new crib mattresses are organic and do not emit the volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that have recently been implicated in SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Whatever you do, don’t panic. Just take some good advice from your doctor. These tips may include:
- Taking more folic acid – you really are eating for two (not counting yourself)
- Visiting your obstetrician more often, because twins need more monitoring than singles
- Taking extra precautions – the risk of miscarriage after an amniocentesis test is higher with twins (up to twice as high in some cases)
- Preventing morning sickness, which may be worse with twin pregnancies. Stock up on saltines and 7-up, or whatever cuts your nausea. Doctors recommend avoiding acidic foods and beverages like coffee, hot chocolate, tomatoes, sugar and sweeteners, salt, blueberries, cranberries, plums, corn oil, processed foods, corned beef, processed meats, and beans or peas.
- Recognizing the greater risk of developing gestational diabetes, and taking measures (diet, exercise, even monitoring) to prevent it. Gestational diabetes can lead to larger babies and a mandatory C-section.
Recognizing that spotting is more common during twin pregnancies, particularly in the third trimester. Again, don’t panic, but do see a doctor ASAP if you are also experiencing cramping or passing blood clots, even if you have to go to the ER. Labor often comes early in multiple pregnancies.
This post was posted in Blog and Green Library, Childcare and was tagged with CDC, environmental products, folic acid, gestational diabetes, green baby, HEALTH SENSITIVE, in vitro fertilization, multiple birth, ORGANIC, pregnant, prenatal care, reproductive technology, trimester, twins