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Importance of Carrying Infants to 40 Weeks

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I remember, when I was pregnant, thinking that once I got to 37 weeks all was safe.  And when one of our kids was born at 38 weeks, and the other at 36 weeks, I really didn’t think much of it at all.  And fortunately, everything was fine.

But new research is showing the risks to babies born in the 37th or even 38th week of pregnancy.  They have a higher risk of dying before their first birthday than babies who are carried full term.  From the New York Times:

Pregnancies lasting at least 37 weeks are regarded as safely full-term, but new research finds that babies born in the 37th or 38th week of pregnancy have a higher risk of dying before their first birthdays than those born after 39 weeks of gestation…

The new analysis, published online on May 23 in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, is among the first to examine differences between so-called early term births and later births. In 2006, infants born at 37 weeks were twice as likely to die in the first year of life, with 3.9 deaths per 1,000 births, as those born at 40 weeks, with 1.9 deaths per 1,000 births.

The study was done by researchers at the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and the March of Dimes.  The group looked at data from 1995 to 2006.  During that time, the number of infants born before 39 weeks of gestation increased to almost one in three births, up from more than one in five.

NYT: Some Baby Products Contain Chemicals Suspected to Cause Cancer

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It’s hardly a surprise when you hear that common household products contain potentially hazardous chemicals. But it’s especially disturbing when it’s baby products… especially ones you use everyday like car seats, high chairs and nursing pillows. The New York Times today has a story about chemicals that are in the foam on these products. (Important to note: No companies are pin-pointed). Here’s a quote:

More than 30 years after chemical flame retardants were removed from children’s pajamas because they were suspected of being carcinogens, new research into flame retardants shows that one of the chemicals is prevalent in baby’s products made with polyurethane foam, including nursing pillows, car seats and highchairs.

The research does not determine if children absorbed the chemical, chlorinated Tris, from the products. But in an article to be published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, the researchers suggest that infants who use the products have higher exposure to the chemical than the government recommends.

Earlier research by one of the article’s authors, Arlene Blum, a biophysical chemist, contributed to the elimination of Tris flame retardants, including chlorinated Tris, in children’s pajamas in the 1970s. Although the chemical was not banned at that time, the Consumer Product Safety Commission now says that it “may pose a significant health risk to consumers.”

The new research found that foam samples from more than a third of the 101 baby products that were tested contained chlorinated Tris. Over all, 80 of the products contained chemical flame retardants of some kind, some of which are considered toxic, though legal to use. In one instance, flame retardants represented 12 percent of the weight of the foam in a changing pad; most products were closer to 3 to 5 percent.

Among the products examined were changing table pads, sleep positioners, portable mattresses, baby carriers, rocking chairs and highchairs.

Tina Fey and Maya Rudolph Saturday Night Live Duet

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