Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag:

Chelsea Clinton Gives Birth To Daughter

New York (AFP) – Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton on Saturday announced that she has given birth to her first child, daughter Charlotte, in comments promptly retweeted by her proud parents.

“Marc and I are full of love, awe and gratitude as we celebrate the birth of our daughter, Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky,” Chelsea Clinton wrote on Facebook.

The message was also posted on Twitter, after the baby’s birth Friday.

The former first daughter, 34, frequently tipped to follow her parents into politics, left her position as NBC special correspondent in August to focus on her pregnancy and the birth of her daughter.

Clinton, who is married to investment banker Marc Mezvinsky, had announced that she was pregnant in mid-April.

Even President Barack Obama offered due-date jokes this week while attending the Clinton family’s foundation even in New York, offering his motorcade if needed to speed through the Big Apple’s gridlock to give birth.

Obama played on the preoccupations of two proud grandparents-to-be and their only daughter and poked fun at New York motorists who chafe every year at traffic nightmares brought on by the annual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

“I was just discussing with president Clinton — if Chelsea begins delivery while I am speaking, she has my motorcade and will be able to navigate traffic,” Obama said, drawing chuckles at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting.

“Actually, it’s pretty smooth for me during the week. I don’t know what the problem is — everybody hypes the traffic…. I haven’t noticed.”

Chelsea Clinton’s parents have made no secret of their joys of becoming grandparents for the first time, with Hillary saying she was calling her daughter “every five minutes” to get an update.

Bill Clinton, the former president, spoke of high hopes for his future grandchildren earlier this week.

“I want them to get up every day and look at the world with wonder and reverence. I want them to respect everyone they meet, whatever their background. I want them to be aware of all the people that make their world and not just the people that they are introduced to,” Clinton told ABC News.

“I want them to really love being alive. It’s my first and whatever other grandchildren I have — that’s what I want. And when they grow up, I want them to believe they have certain obligations to people who don’t have all the opportunities they’ll have and to the larger society.”

Chelsea Clinton began work as a special correspondent with NBC in 2011. Reports of her $600,000 salary sparked a backlash earlier this year, fueling complaints that it was inflated and unfair.

Educated at Stanford, Columbia and Oxford Universities, she runs the Clinton Foundation with her parents Bill and Hillary.

Her mother Hillary is widely anticipated to launch a second bid to become the first woman president of the United States by contesting the 2016 Democrat nomination for the White House.

Her father Bill served as the 42nd U.S. president, from January 1993 to January 2001.

Photo:Travelin’ Librarian/Flickr

Consensus Grows That Bed Rest Could Hurt Pregnant Women

By Marie McCullough, The Philadelphia Inquirer

For much of his 20-year career as a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, Anthony J. Sciscione has been criticizing something obstetricians routinely prescribe to try to prevent premature birth: bed rest.

Studies consistently show that pregnant women who lay around for hours at a time, day after day, are just as likely to deliver too early as women who carry on with their normal activities.

Now, Sciscione and like-minded iconoclasts are hammering the mounting evidence that activity restriction during pregnancy is not just unhelpful, but harmful.

Last year, for example, University of North Carolina obstetrician-gynecologist Christina McCall published a paper that concluded bed rest is “unethical.”

“Since then, it’s gotten a lot of notoriety,” said Sciscione, who directs maternal-fetal medicine at Christiana Care Health System in Wilmington, Delaware.

The latest sign of a shift came last month, when the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine issued a new guideline and patient handout written with Sciscione’s help.

Citing the many ways that immobility is physically, mentally, and economically risky, the society for obstetricians who specialize in high-risk births recommended “against the routine use of activity restriction or bed rest during pregnancy for any” therapeutic purpose.

Each year, research suggests, about 18 percent of pregnant women in the United States are placed on bed rest — although the definition ranges from resting for an hour several times a day to uninterrupted confinement except for bathroom breaks.

This does not mean that specialists have faith in bed rest. A 2009 survey found that while 71 percent would prescribe it for women in preterm labor and 87 percent for premature rupture of membranes (the woman’s “water breaks”), most said they expected little or no benefit.

And in 2012, when the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued the only other United States guidelines, it said bed rest should not be routinely used because it hasn’t been shown to work.

So why do doctors persist in prescribing it?

Mostly because they have little else to offer. Despite all the advances in medicine, the underlying causes of preterm labor and delivery remain mysterious. The only thing proven to reduce the chance of preterm birth — and only in women with certain risk factors — is supplementation with the hormone progesterone.

The problem is that prolonged inactivity is not benign. The new guidelines, and an article reviewing the medical literature that Sciscione published, cite the growing list of documented dangers:

— Lack of weight-bearing activity results in loss of muscle mass, bone mass, blood plasma volume, and cardiovascular conditioning. Measurable harm can occur after only a few days. After giving birth, one study found, 71 percent of women had trouble with stairs, and 14 percent needed help walking.

— Despite burning up fewer calories, restricted women typically lose weight, probably because of muscle loss. Their babies also have lower birth weights compared with unrestricted women. And while most studies found bed rest makes no difference in rates of birth before 37 weeks, one study found it was more common with bed rest.

— Higher rates of gestational diabetes and life-threatening blood clots in the lungs and legs are linked to bed rest.

— Depression and anxiety are far more common when stuck in bed. Women who have to take prolonged leaves from work worry about lost income and possible job loss.

The emotional toll on the rest of the family “is also high,” Sciscione says. One study found children were frightened or confused about the health of their mothers and unborn siblings.

Photo: The Jordan Collective via Flickr

Interested in health news? Sign up for our daily email newsletter!

For U.S. Mothers, Conservative Policies Can Be Deadly

This post is the first in the Roosevelt Institute’s National Women’s Health Week series, which will address pressing issues affecting the health and economic security of women and families in the United States. Today, a look at why conservative policies at the state level are leading to increased maternal mortality rates.

For much of the last decade, maternal mortality rates (MMRs) have declined globally. But in the United States, they have consistently increased and are now at one of the highest points in the last 25 years. If conservatives have their way with social and economic policy, it’s unlikely the U.S. will make significant strides to improve the health of mothers in the near future.

According to a report released last week in the The Lancet, the U.S. now ranks 60th out of 180 countries for maternal deaths. China is number 57. Only seven other countries experienced an increase in MMR over the past 10 years. They include Greece, Afghanistan, and South Sudan. The report estimates that for every 100,000 births, 18.5 mothers die in the U.S. By comparison, 13.5 women die in Iran, 6.1 in the United Kingdom, and only 2.4 in Iceland.

It is no coincidence that the U.S. MMR has increased as poverty rates have steadily climbed. In 2010, Amnesty International released a report that showed women living in the lowest-income areas were twice as likely to suffer a maternal death. States with high rates of poverty were found to have MMRs 77 percent higher than states with fewer residents living below the federal poverty level. Women of color have poverty rates more than double those of white women, and black women are 3-4 times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes.

The numerous factors that contribute to the high U.S. MMR are complex, as are the solutions required to effectively address the problem. However, one solution is already in place and is working. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will significantly improve maternal health by mandating coverage of pre-natal, maternity, and post-partum care in all insurance plans. But some of the women in greatest need will remain uninsured and at increased risk because of the refusal of 21 states to expand Medicaid. Many of those states have among the nation’s highest rates of poverty and maternal mortality.

Expanding Medicaid would save women’s lives. A 2010 study conducted in New York City showed that the MMR for women with no insurance was approximately four times higher than for insured women, and that the rate for women insured by Medicaid was comparable to that of women with private insurance.

Many states have higher Medicaid eligibility limits that enable pregnant women with incomes above the standard Medicaid threshold to receive coverage. However, that coverage does not begin until women are already pregnant, and it is often terminated soon after their babies are born. This short coverage period leaves women uninsured for much of their lives and places them at higher risk for health problems that can lead to complications during and after pregnancy. Following implementation of the ACA, some states reduced eligibility limits for pregnant women, and loopholes in other states will leave many women without coverage during this critical time. Expanding Medicaid would provide continuous coverage for women whose incomes exclude them from the program and who do not qualify for subsidized insurance through the exchanges.

Despite the maternal health crisis unfolding in many states, conservative state lawmakers stand firm in their refusal to expand Medicaid, even though the federal government will cover 100 percent of the cost for the first three years and a minimum of 90 percent thereafter. Some states, like Georgia, are so intent on undermining the ACA that they have passed laws to prevent state employees from advocating for expansion and have made it more difficult for people who already qualify for Medicaid to enroll.

Conservatives do not have plans to solve this crisis. In fact, their plans will only make it worse. Family planning cuts and abortion restrictions in places like Texas have shuttered women’s health clinics and obliterated the health infrastructure on which poor women relied for their basic needs. And while many women and their families are still reeling from the recession, cuts to safety net programs like food stamps have led to greater insecurity in health, income, and food than ever before.

Last week’s Lancet report is a stark reminder that women suffer heavy casualties in the partisan battles raging in states across the country. But what we are witnessing today is more than a nasty game of politics: it is a violation of women’s human rights. We should be ashamed and outrage.

Andrea Flynn is a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. Follow her on Twitter @dreaflynn

Cross-posted from the Roosevelt Institute’s Next New Deal blog.

The Roosevelt Institute is a non-profit organization devoted to carrying forward the legacy and values of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Photo: SEIU International via Flickr

Cuba Sells Condoms After Expiration Dates To Address Shortage

By Juan O. Tamayo, The Miami Herald

Hoping to resolve a shortage of condoms that has sparked complaints around Cuba, the island’s public health system has approved the sale of more than one million prophylactics with apparently expired dates.

Pharmacy sales personnel must explain to the buyers that the condoms are good and simply have the wrong expiration dates, said a report Saturday in Vanguardia, the newspaper of the Communist Party in the central province of Villa Clara.

A Vanguardia report April 3 on the shortage said that the government agency in charge of certifying medical items in 2012 had noticed erroneous expiration dates on the “Moments” prophylactics imported from China.

The agency ordered the that the condoms be repackaged with the correct dates, the newspaper reported. But the state-run enterprise repackaging the more than a million condoms in stock does not have enough workers to process the 5,000 condoms per day required just in Villa Clara province.

Vanguardia did not publish the “wrong” dates, but its report hinted that they showed the prophylactics had expired or would soon expire. The shelf life of condoms is very long, it said.

“Although the lots are in optimal conditions, under the certificate of the Center for the State Control of Medicines and Medical Equipment the condoms could not be sold without the new expiration date, December of 2014,” Vanguardia reported Saturday.

“Due to the irregularities in the re-packaging, which has provoked prolonged absences of the prophylactics throughout the country, the Public Health Ministry authorized the sale of the ‘Moments’ condoms in their current packages,” on April 4, the newspaper added.

Several Cuban bloggers commented on the shortage long after April 4, with some noting that it could lead to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases as well as unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

The Cuban government, meanwhile, also published a list of companies around the world that are authorized to ship packages to the island, a business hit routinely with complaints of lost packages, high prices and outright fraud.

The list “will allow those who send these types of shipments from abroad to confirm that the agency they plan to use is among those authorized to carry out those operations with Cuba,” said a report in the government-controlled Cubadebate website.

The U.S. companies listed were: Wilson Int; Service Inc; Machi Community Services; Va Cuba; Caribe Express; Vía Cuba; Flor Caribe Inc; Caribbean Family And Travel Services Inc; Aztec Worldwide Airlines Inc; Procurements Systems Inc; Crowley Logistics Inc; Frontline Cargo Logistic; International Port Corp; Ez Shipping Llc; Centrotrading Llc; and V.I.P INTL INC.

The list, compiled by Cuba’s customs agency, also included Cugranca, a Spanish firm as approved to provide delivery and currency exchange services for people in the United States.

JTF Guantanamo photo by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Gino Reyes