Until recently, the prevailing scientific habit has been to treat the earliest period of human development – from conception to birth, as an insensitive, unconscious, period of physical growth.
The belief which has blocked understanding is that no intelligence is possible and no learning or memory can occur until after birth, when the construction of the brain is more advanced. If this were the case, it would follow that unborn babies cannot care about anything, know anything, or learn anything.
Newborn babies have been (and still are) getting a raw deal. Belief still exists that baby brains are not yet grown and therefore not much use at birth. In spite of abundant new research and knowledge about infant senses, we find that obstetricians, paediatricians and other professionals remain unconvinced. Birth practices today remain largely the same: bright lights, cold rooms, procedures that are painful for the baby, procedures that are invasive and uncomfortable and all too often professionals blunder through the birth process violating a baby’s senses, believing that they don’t exist. Parents today are in danger of blundering through pregnancy, unaware that the baby’s senses are already working.
The medical term for big baby is macrosomia, which literally means “big body.” Some researchers consider a baby to be big when it weighs 4 000 grams or more at birth, and others say a baby is big if it weighs 4 500 grams or more. Babies are called “extremely large” if they are born weighing more than 5 000 grams.
A baby is also called “large for gestational age” if its weight is greater than the 90th percentile at birth, in other words, if it is bigger than 90% of all other babies born at that same gestational age.
When a pregnancy is considered healthy and low-risk, when is the best time for a baby to be born? According to research cited by Dekker in her 2019 updated article, The Evidence on Due Dates, 50% of all women giving birth for the first time gave birth by 40 weeks and 5 days, while 75% gave birth by 41 weeks and 2 days. Although experts define pregnancies lasting between 37 and 42 weeks as “term” and as “normal,” many healthcare providers and organizations recommend routine induction for healthy pregnancies earlier than 42 completed weeks of gestation.
In the first hours after your baby is born, immediate and uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact contact is something all hospitals, birth centers, and at-home births should be practicing. Unless of course, there is an urgent medical issue for parent or baby that requires separation. Unfortunately, this beneficial practice is not prioritized, especially in the hospital setting.
Why is it so important to keep your baby with you skin-to-skin in the first hours after birth? Newborns go through an amazing transition immediately after birth. Imagine going from a secure, dark, and quiet place, like the womb, to a new world with bright lights, noises, and new people.
Many mothers feel guilty for breastfeeding their baby for
comfort or as they drift off to sleep. Breastfeeding your child to
sleep and for comfort is not a bad thing to do - in fact, it’s normal, healthy, and
developmentally appropriate. Most babies nurse to sleep and wake 1-3
times during the night for the first year or so. Some babies don’t do this, but
they are the exception, not the rule. Many children, if given the choice,
prefer to nurse to sleep through the second year and beyond.
While it is true that every family is different, there are some experiences, observations, and feelings about parenting that go without saying - literally. And although you can't really comprehend them until you've actually been there, it seems like no one warns you ahead of time about these universal truths either.
So, whether you're a first-time parent or you're expecting your fourth kid, you'll likely be able to identify with several, if not all, of these startling, and sometimes funny, truths about parenting. Check out our list of cold, hard parenting facts that no one warns you about.
Pregnant women are at greater risk of severe COVID-19 than non-pregnant women. Despite limited safety data on use of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy, many international societies have recommended their use when pregnant women are at particularly high risk of acquiring COVID-19, or have suggested that vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant women where no other contraindications to COVID-19 vaccination exist. A number of vaccines, including those against influenza, tetanus and pertussis, have been shown to reduce both maternal and infant morbidity and mortality when used antenatally. We explore the role of COVID-19 vaccination in the setting of pregnancy, discuss the limited data available, and summarise current international guidelines.
Pregnancy is a special time for a woman, but it can also be difficult and stressful, especially with the added uncertainties around the safety of the Covid-19 vaccine. The South African Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (SASOG) provides the following advice on the use of the Covid-19 vaccine by pregnant and breastfeeding women.