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More C-Sections at For Profits

California women who gave birth at for-profit hospitals were 17% more likely to have a C-section than women who went to nonprofit hospitals, according to an analysis by California Watch. “This data is compelling and strongly suggests, as many childbirth advocates currently suspect, that there may be a provable connection between profit and the cesarean rate,” Desirre Andrews, president of the International Cesarean Awareness Network, told the watchdog group. The analysis was based on state birthing records. Data and charts from the report are available at

Morning Sickness Doubts

A review of drugs and alternative therapies for morning sickness showed a lack of high-quality evidence to support advice on which treatment to use. Published by the Cochrane Library, the findings were based on an examination of 27 randomized controlled trials that included data on 4,041 women in early pregnancy. The review found that most of the studies had a high risk of bias and that they measured symptoms in several different ways. “Given the high prevalence of nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy,” health professionals need systematically reviewed evidence by which to guide women, the authors said. However, they found “very little information on the effectiveness of treatments for improving women's quality of life.”

Breastfeeding Rates Vary

Nearly 75% of babies born in the United States in 2007 were breastfed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2010 Breastfeeding Report Card. However, that rate dropped to 43% by the time babies reached 6 months of age. Although the rate of women initiating breastfeeding in newborns has risen steadily, the proportion of babies being breastfed at 6 and 12 months remained stagnant for the third straight year, according to the report. Only 43% (1.8 million) of U.S. mothers were breastfeeding at 6 months and only 22% (fewer than 1 million) at 12 months, the researchers found. “We need to direct even more effort toward making sure mothers have the support they need in hospitals, workplaces, and communities to continue breastfeeding beyond the first few days of life,” Dr. William Dietz, director of the CDC's division of nutrition, physical activity, and obesity, said in a statement.

Alternative Birthing Rooms Safe

Homelike birthing rooms within hospitals, including bed-free rooms, are as safe for healthy women in labor as are rooms with traditional hospital beds, according to another Cochrane Library report. After reviewing nine studies of more than 10,000 women, researchers found that alternative birthing rooms reduced use of epidural and other anesthesia by 18% and the need for oxytocin by 22%. The probability of mothers breastfeeding at 6-8 weeks increased by 4% among those using the alternative rooms. “Birth environment affects not only the women who are laboring but also the behavior of care providers,” said lead author and registered nurse Ellen Hodnett, Ph.D., chair of perinatal nursing research at the University of Toronto, in a statement. “Providers should think creatively about how to use the environment that they have to promote the message that they want to send, and, hopefully, that message is that birth is a normal experience.”

AMA Opposes Tax Change

The American Medical Association and 90 medical organizations, including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, have written to the Department of the Treasury urging it not to allow trial lawyers to deduct court costs and other expenses. Making such a change to tax law could encourage trial lawyers to file more claims, the organizations claimed. “Even though a substantial majority of claims are dropped or decided in favor of physicians, the cost of defending against meritless claims averages over $22,000,” their letter said. The organizations urged the Treasury Department to reconsider rumored plans to change current policy, which does not allow such tax deductions.

Alaskans Vote for Prenotification

On the day Alaskan Republicans turned out incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski for Tea Party candidate Joe Miller, more than half of the primary voters said “yes” to a ballot measure that would require notification of parents or guardians before minors can receive an abortion. The 69,012 votes in favor of Ballot Measure 2 made up 56% of the turnout on the state's primary day, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families. The law would take effect 90 days after the election is certified, or about mid-December. If so, doctors who fail to comply could face felony charges and prison sentences of up to 5 years, according to the advocacy group. In a statement, it added that teens can circumvent the parental notification requirements if they appear before a judge or provide the abortion provider with a notarized statement attesting to abuse at home. Currently, 34 states require parental consent or notification before minors can obtain abortion services, according to the partnership.

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