Snapshot on Science & Sensibility: A Review of Recent Pregnancy & Birth Research

Science & Sensibility_Square.pngIf your new to this blog or Lamaze, you may not know that we have a sister blog written for researchers and maternal-child health professionals called Science & Sensibility. From time to time, we'll review their posts and write up summaries that are more accessible to parents. Today, we're sharing three of the most recent posts from Science & Sensibility that pregnant families would be interested in learning about. 


External Version for Breech After Prior Cesarean - When Evidence and Standard Practice Collide

External Cephalic Version (ECV) is a procedure used to turn babies who are head up/butt down -- otherwise known as "breech" -- during pregnancy to avoid a cesarean or giving birth vaginally to a breech baby. While some women are told of this procedure and know it is an option, others are not and instead are scheduled for cesarean. ECV carries very little risk and is a reasonable alternative to avoiding a cesarean for a breech baby. 

In this article on Science & Sensibility, contributor Pam Vireday, who is a childbirth educator and blogs at Well Rounded Mama and Plus Size Pregnancy, discusses the little known option to perform ECV on someone who has had a previous cesarean. Currently, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) do not endorse the procedure on the grounds that there is not enough research to determine its safety. In her review of the current research, Pam shares that we do have more data on the procedure than is being acknowledged, and while the studies have been relatively small, the results and positive. As Pam states, 

"Although more research is needed, the bottom line is that the accumulating evidence certainly suggests that an ECV after a prior cesarean is not unduly risky and is a reasonable choice that should be offered to those who want it."

Find out more about the research and data by reading the full piece on Science & Sensibility, including how the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) have moved to support the procedure stating, "external cephalic version is not contraindicated in women with a previous Caesarean birth."


Marijuana Use During Pregnancy - An Update

It's become common knowledge to know the warnings and risks of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use during pregnancy. But what happens when a previously illegal drug, marijuana, becomes legal to use both for medicinal and recreational purposes? In this review of the research and facts, blog administrator Sharon Muza reports on the rising percentage of pregnant people who use or have used marijuana during pregnancy, as well the evidence we have on its side effects. 

In short, we have research from both human and animal studies that point to poor outcomes in children when marijuana is used during pregnancy. Due to this mounting evidence, doctors and care providers are urging pregnant people to abstain from using marijuana, whether it's for recreational use or to prevent nausea caused by "morning sickness." Sharon reports, " First trimester marijuana use is of great concern due to the possibility of serious and potentially lifelong negative consequences on the developing embryo."

Read more details about the research and stats on the full post from Science & Sensibility


A Research Review - Exercise in Pregnancy: An Association with Placental Weight?

In this new research review, contributor Maura Shirey, RN, CPFE, who specializes in prenatal and postpartum fitness, reports on findings from a new, large study that show that exercising more than six times has not been found to be harmful to pregnancy, and that current recommendations of 20-30 minutes a day of moderate intensity exercise is a good recommendation. However, the author also reports that "those participants engaging in both high impact and high frequency exercise showed a notable decrease in placental weight. A large percentage of those high-impact exercisers were also exercising at a high-frequency level." Low placental weight is associated with adverse outcomes for babies. Maura is encouraged by the new research; she says, 

"It’s encouraging to witness the increased availability of research of this kind, especially on a large-scale. As the pendulum swings, more pregnant individuals will likely feel empowered to maintain high levels of activity during pregnancy... Despite the research, there’s no one size-fits-all recommendation for exercise during pregnancy. With provider clearance, it must always come back to the individual’s comfort level with guidance from a perinatal exercise specialist; someone who truly understands the nuances of the body during pregnancy."

Read the complete review on Science & Sensibility.

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