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pregnancy

Thursday the King County Board of Health approved a new regulation for pregnancy resource centers, otherwise known as limited service pregnancy centers.

Under the rule, they need to post signage saying "This facility is not a health care facility."

Courtesy of Clayressa Borland

As I walked up to her house in Tacoma, Clayressa Borland met me with a tight hug. We hadn’t seen each other in two years, so we couldn’t stop smiling.

We met in a psychiatric hospital. 


When you're pregnant, going to the doctors can be exciting. You get to find out if you're having a boy or a girl. Maybe hear the baby's heart beat.

But in southern Africa, many women find out something else.

Allison Groves at American University recently ran a study in a town outside Durban, South Africa. They followed about 1,500 pregnant women. The results left her speechless.

Flickr Photo/Agnieszka (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/8Ton8p

Miscarriage: you probably know what the word means, and given that one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage, you likely know someone who’s gone through one.

But for Angela Garbes, it’s a highly problematic term.


The definition of postpartum depression is broad. The symptoms can range anywhere from feeling exhausted and disconnected from your baby to paranoia that someone else might hurt your child or, even worse, that you yourself might do your baby harm.

While this wide-ranging spectrum makes it hard to diagnose, the CDC says between 8 percent and 19 percent of women suffer from postpartum depression.

This is a story about two people sharing one body. Maybe even three people. Or four.

Back in the late 19th century, a German scientist named Georg Schmorl made a remarkable discovery: Cells from a baby can hide out in a mother's body, after birth.

Over the last few years, Oregon has quietly become something of a center for women willing to carry children for those unable to get pregnant. There are several reasons for that: lenient laws, a critical mass of successful fertility clinics and a system for amending a birth certificate pre-birth.

But surrogacy arrangements are often informal agreements and they can go wrong. A surrogate may face unexpected medical bills, or the intended parents may change their mind.

Women in the U.S. are having more babies — exactly 3,985,924 last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preliminary data show that birth rates in the U.S. were up by 1 percent last year from 2013. It's the first increase in seven years.

But teenagers aren't having as many babies. The birth rate in that group dropped by 9 percent in 2014 compared with 2013. For context, teen births have been on the decline since 1991.

Although the federal government recently clarified that most insurance plans must cover prenatal care as a preventive service without charging women anything out of pocket, it didn't address a crucial and much pricier gap in some young women's coverage: labor and delivery costs.

Perhaps that shouldn't come as a surprise.

Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can be harmful to the developing fetus. Pregnant women who suffer from serious depression face a difficult dilemma: Should they continue taking medication and risk unknown side-effects to the fetus, or go through their pregnancies trying to handle their depression without medication?

Melissa and her husband started trying to have a baby right after they got married. But nothing was happening. So they went to a fertility clinic and tried round after round of everything the doctors had to offer. Nothing worked.

"They basically told me, 'You know, you have no chance of getting pregnant,' " says Melissa, who asked to be identified only by her first name to protect her privacy.

But Melissa, 30, who lives in Ontario, Canada, didn't give up. She switched clinics and kept trying. She got pregnant once, but that ended in a miscarriage.

The Obama administration often touts the health benefits women have gained under the Affordable Care Act, including the option to sign up for coverage outside of open enrollment periods if they're "having a baby."

Women's reproductive rights are once again before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday. Only this time, pregnancy discrimination is the issue and pro-life and pro-choice groups are on the same side, opposed by business groups.

Why It's Good To Talk About Miscarriages

Jul 17, 2014

Miscarriages are fairly common. One in seven pregnancies end in miscarriage and the number increases as women age.

Many women experience great emotional loss with miscarriage and despite the fact that miscarriage is a very natural part of pregnancy, it is widely misunderstood and rarely talked about.

Karen Gibbons was 29 when she had her first miscarriage and she says that she and her husband felt very much alone because they did not tell anyone about it.

The Truth About Miscarriages

Jul 16, 2014

More than one in seven pregnancies result in miscarriage. But miscarriage is still often misunderstood by many couples — some of whom become discouraged and may seek help though reproductive technology such as drug and IVF treatments, when there is no need to do so.

Miscarriages may be widely misunderstood because they are not often talked about by people who have experienced them.

“Virtually every woman has either had one or has a friend who has had one.
– Dr. Michael Greene

on miscarriages

Discrimination against female workers who might get pregnant in the future, or have been pregnant in the past, is against the law, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said this week. For the first time in 30 years, the agency has updated its rules against pregnancy discrimination.

The agency clarified several policies, including one that spells out when businesses may have to provide pregnant workers light duty and another that bans employers from forcing a pregnant worker to take leave even in cases when she's able to continue on the job.

Marcie Sillman talks with Washington State Department of Health's Dr. Kathy Lofy about the work the state is doing to figure out why south central Washington is experiencing a surge of fatal birth defects.

The Mother Of Midwifery

Jan 24, 2014
Flickr Photo/TEDxSacramento

Ross Reynolds talks with Ina May Gaskin, the so-dubbed "Mother of Midwifery," about childbirth practices around the world.

Moms-to-be are often reminded that they're eating for two. It's tempting to take this as an excuse to go for that extra scoop of the ice cream. (Believe me, I've been there.)

But a solid body of research suggests that expectant mothers should be walking away with the opposite message: Pregnancy should be a time to double-down on healthful eating if you want to avoid setting up your unborn child for a lifetime of wrestling with obesity.

Let's be clear: Olympians handle the physical challenges of childbirth differently than most of the rest of us.

Aretha Thurmond is a discus thrower who'd already competed in two Olympics when she went to the hospital in labor.

"So I get there and they're like, 'Yeah, whatever, you're 4 centimeters dilated. Go walk around the hospital and come back,' " she says.

Thurmond's hospital was part of a university, so she headed straight for its track, where she power-walked for the next two hours. Then the school's discus throwers came out.

Alan Alda, Natural Birth And Paula Poundstone

Aug 28, 2013
Flickr Photo/Frank de Kleine

Alan Alda On Making The Most Of Life

Our time here on Earth is limited. One day we will all be gone, passing into history. It is something we consciously know, but frequently ignore. Award-winning actor Alan Alda doesn't forget anymore — not after nearly dying on a mountaintop in Chile. You might know Alda from “M*A*S*H” or “The West Wing.” Alda is also the author of “Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself.”  Marcie Sillman talked with Alda in 2007 about life, work and not wasting time.

 A Story Of Natural Birth

Giving birth in American comes with many options: doctors, doulas, midwives, induction, cesarean. Only very few opt for natural births, a birth with no drugs and little to no intervention. Producer Katy Sewall brings an intimate look at one couple’s decision to go that way.

Paula Poundstone: On Writing, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder And TV

Paula Poundstone is known for improvising with the audience so well it seems planned. She’s a stand up comedian, winner of an Emmy Award and author of the book “There is Nothing in this Book that I Meant to Say.” In addition to comedy, Poundstone is a mother to three, a regular on television and radio, and a writer. Steve Scher talked with Poundstone back in 2007 about writing her book. Poundstone also answered listener calls.