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Let Labor Begin Naturally: Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait

PHOTO: With greater risks of health issues for babies born prematurely, a push is on across the country to get expectant mothers to wait for labor to begin on its own. Photo credit: "Vanessa P."
PHOTO: With greater risks of health issues for babies born prematurely, a push is on across the country to get expectant mothers to wait for labor to begin on its own. Photo credit: "Vanessa P."
March 31, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. - Every single day can make a difference in the healthy development of a baby, so mothers across the state and the country are being urged to wait until labor begins on its own. Christian Emmert is a mother of two and a leader with Attachment Parenting International. She said a lot of important development happens in the last few weeks and days before birth - so if the pregnancy is healthy, it's best to let nature run its course.

"It's been sort of common to start scheduling births, to make it a little bit more planned and convenient," Emmert said, "but the longer you can let the baby stay in, the better the outcome on the outside with brain development, with healthy lungs, things like that. So, it's better if baby can come when baby is ready and when your body is ready."

With the latest science showing that babies are not fully developed until they reach at least 39 weeks, Emmert said the it is also important to educate health care providers.

"If you've got a doctor that's been out there delivering babies for 30 or 40 years, the things that he was taught in medical school are going to be a little bit different than the things that are coming out now," she said. "So, even the doctors need to be educated about this."

In North Dakota, about 10 percent of all babies, or nearly 1,000 each year, are pre-term, meaning they were born before 37 weeks.

More information is available at www.marchofdimes.com.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND