SMART MOTHER'S BLOG
Eight months of torture caused the death of 8-yr old Gabriel Fernandez. Kira Dixon Johnson bled to death shortly after giving birth because her husband’s pleas and concern were ignored. A busy clinic missed an important risk factor of first-time mother, Amber Rose Isaac who hemorrhaged to death a late diagnosed HELLP Syndrome immediately after her son was delivered. What do these tragedies have in common? They were all victims of system failures.
Are you tired of witnessing these disasters because I am. As an OBGYN physician for over 30 years and a former social worker, here are my proposals for change regarding missed diagnosis of child abuse and OB risk factors:
May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month, which brings both sadness and joy. It is the second most common cause of maternal death, but gratefully we are a lot closer to understanding what causes it, which means we will be closer to finding a cure.
A few months ago, I was on a social media platform of a support group for pregnant women who were sharing their feelings and concerns about their high-risk condition. While I was trying to remain unobtrusive, one woman’s story was compelling. With her permission, I have included our online conversation to demonstrate that small acts of kindness can result in huge dividends for all.
The good news: One person can be with you in labor and delivery but he or she will have their temperature taken prior to approval. Each hospital has their own policy regarding the temperature cutoff.
Not so good news: The 4/30/2020 JAMA article reports evidence of SARS COV-2 was found on the placenta of a 22 week stillbirth infant. The mother was described as having COVID-19. Although it was initially reported the COVID-19 does not affect the unborn, now we are unsure if this is still correct.
This is even more reason to stay inside and continue to wear masks outside.
A preventable tragedy in childbirth always breaks my heart. Do you think you have a “low risk” pregnancy and, therefore, home-free from potential complications? Please listen to this video. What you don’t know could hurt you.
#HighRiskPregnancy #LowRiskPregnancy #homebirth #birthcomplications #childbirthinjury #neonataldeath #shoulderdystocia #KaraBosworth #KaraKeoughBosworth #KaraKeough #DrSkeeteHenry
So, you are determined to have a homebirth for fear of getting COVID, but what about the baby?
Both the American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) do not approve homebirths because of increased neonatal infection and death however AAP has listed some guidelines if you still want to proceed:
1. There should be TWO healthcare providers present at birth, not just the midwife. The second person should be present to exclusively take care of the baby and be well trained in performing a full resuscitation of the infant in accordance with the principles of the Neonatal Resuscitation Program. Emergency equipment should be tested to ensure that it is working as well as communication devices such as the telephone. The weather should also be monitored.
In this episode of "Ask An Expert", Dr. Linda Burke, Ob/Gyn and author of The Smart Mother's Guide to A Better Pregnancy, chats with CEO Eleni Tsigas about what expecting moms need to know to navigate pregnancy during COVID-19.
When you call your healthcare provider and are informed that you can no longer come to their office, please do not be alarmed. As a result of the quarantine and social distance policies related to the coronavirus pandemic, more healthcare providers are shifting to telemedicine office visits.
What is telemedicine or telehealth? It is a way of taking care of patients when the physician or healthcare professional is in one location and the patient is in another. I have been advocating for the development and use of telemedicine to manage pregnant women since 2001 and am happy that it is finally being integrated into mainstream healthcare. The American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologists (ACOG), has given their stamp of approval so this is here to stay.
Those of you who know me well know that I have been advocating for the use of OB Telemedicine since 2001. I’d like to share some inexpensive but innovative ways of conducting prenatal visits in your office or institution. You do not have to contract with “virtual” companies that have overinflated prices and are trying to make profits for their shareholders rather than administer quality care to your patients. Your hard-earned money would be better spent taking care of your families and office staff, so please read on:
Is Telemedicine approved by ACOG?
What is the best way to conduct a Telemedicine visit?
If your patient is greater than 12 weeks, a virtual exam is preferable over a telephone “visit” because you are able to document more objective evidence in real time, i.e., visual inspection of pt’s extremities and face to r/o edema, size of abdomen, etc.
I have waited for you for twenty years, and now that you have been approved and adopted into mainstream obstetrical care, I’m practically in tears.
I knew you were coming when software developed back in the late nineties that allowed remote viewing from a computer. Having been an ob-gyn physician for almost ten years at that time, I visualized how helpful you would be in reducing preventable medical errors, which, as you know, remains my passion.
Along my journey to bring you to life, I met a kindred spirit named Dr. Curtis Lowery, Chairman of the OB-GYN Department at the University of Arkansas Medical School. Dr. Lowery developed the telemedicine ANGELS program, which provided virtual services to high-risk pregnant women in the entire state of Arkansas, which was unprecedented. It was also paid for by his state Medicaid program.
Before everyone stampedes to their local or wholesale pharmacy to purchase Hydrochloroquine in hopes of preventing COVID-19, please hit pause. A scientific journal states that the SAFETY and EFFECTIVENESS of this drug have yet to be proven safe, and further clinical trials are needed.
Are there studies that demonstrate the safety of Hydrochloroquine for unborn babies? – No, however, there is at least one incident where a COVID-19+ pregnant woman who was less than term, was given this medication as treatment.
The picture represents how things are rapidly changing in healthcare because of the Coronavirus pandemic. It was recently designed through 3-D printing to protect both patient and anesthesia physician in the event a patient needs intubation.
How else has things changed, particularly for pregnant women?
a. Blood pressure
b. Weight gain, especially if it’s greater than 3-5 lbs. in one week
c. Decreased movement of the baby
What is accomplished by Social Distancing? Let's do a little microbiology here:
Viruses are Obligate Intracellular Parasites. That means they are OBLIGATED, they ABSOLUTELY MUST, reside in a living cell to survive and increase their numbers.
Covid-19 has decided that the cells that they MUST live in are respiratory droplets.
Every time you speak, sing, cough, sneeze, sniff, yawn, laugh you release little tiny drops of saliva from your mouth or secretions from your nose into the air.
Out of concern and respect for pregnant mothers, this author is sharing the ACOG protocol which outlines EXACTLY how your OB care provider should manage your pregnancy in the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you have any specific questions, feel free to refer to this algorithm when speaking to your physician, midwife or nurse practitioner.
Wishing everyone a safe pregnancy journey.
Pregnancy can be a daunting experience, especially if there are risks or complications. While efforts to enhance awareness regarding maternal mortality are appreciated, they should not create an atmosphere of fear. Fear creates confusion, worry, doubt and on occasion, inaction. The key to a healthy pregnancy is risk recognition, proper treatment, heightened fetal and maternal surveillance and maternal confidence and compliance.
As a mother of two cross country runners and basketball players, I prayed neither one of my sons would have a severe accident and fracture a limb. So far, the Universe has been kind.
Here are the fast facts about the article:
· Pregnant women between 24 weeks and one week postpartum who took high doses of Vit D had children with stronger bones from infancy up to age 6 yrs of life
As a former infertility patient, I know first-hand how bumpy that roller-coaster infertility ride can be. For me, infertility represented shame (I was less than a woman), anger (my body betrayed me) and depression (I was unworthy). I never once considered conceiving through IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization) because as an OBGYN physician, I was fully aware of the inherent risks. I eventually became a mother through the gift of adoption, and I couldn’t imagine life without my sons.
Unlike me, many women opt to have IVF but even in medical school and during residency training, no one ever mentioned the sticker price. The New York Times recently published several vignettes about what families paid for IVF or surrogates which I found both fascinating and sad.
February is a time not only to celebrate the romantic heart but the human heart as well. In celebration of National Heart Month, let’s raise awareness regarding cardiac risk, especially as it relates to pregnancy.
Historically, pregnancy and heart disease are part of my family's medical and social history. My grandmother died at age 39, nine months after giving birth to my aunt from post-partum cardiomyopathy, a form of congestive heart failure that affects pregnant women. Neither my youngest aunt nor her grandchildren got an opportunity to know her because of this tragedy.
We have entered a new decade and yet have made limited progress regarding eliminating calamities that occur in our “OB Space.” Einstein stated the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” A paradigm shift has begun regarding childbirth and obstetrics. Pregnant women are more proactive regarding their healthcare. They seek answers and demand respect.
Pregnant moms, please be assured that there are OB healthcare professionals who hear you. See you. Respect you and are ready to empower you with tools you need to bring your unborn babies into the world safely. Rest assured, change is coming. Please, stay tuned.
At present, the coronavirus has claimed 80 deaths in China (where the virus originated) and 63 persons are being examined in 22 states in the U.S. according to CDC.
Are pregnant women at risk?
The short answer is yes. During pregnancy, the mother’s immune system is altered so that it does not attack the unborn fetus (which is a foreign object) but it still maintains the ability to protect the mother against infection.
Here are five things that a pregnant woman should know about the Coronavirus:
Happy Holidays from Dr. Linda and The Smart Mother’s Guide team. While we want you to have a joyous holiday season, here are a few tips to keep in mind to avoid unwanted disappointments or unexpected surprises regarding your pregnancy:
Have a beautiful holiday and a healthy and prosperous New Year.
Please like and share if you found this information helpful.
This week, The Smart Mother’s Guide would like to introduce you to our guest blogger, Dr. Amanda Tavoularis:
Dr. Amanda Tavoularis has been committed to excellent dentistry for over 20 years. She studied at the University of Washington School of Dentistry and the prestigious Kois Center located in Seattle. She belongs to numerous dentistry networks include the American Dental Association and the Wellness Dentistry Network. Dr. Amanda can provide her expertise for dental care for women as well as expecting mothers. She has a son of her own and is committed to providing the most accurate information possible for patients.
Although marijuana is legal in many states, it might not be a good idea for pregnant women to use it.
Here are 7 facts pregnant women should know about marijuana:
Should Pregnant Women Smoke Marijuana?
I'm happy to be back and I want you to know that my first priority is and has always been keeping pregnant women and their babies safe from harm's way. With this in mind, I'm excited to announce that I will begin mentoring pregnant mothers, pre-med and med students, ob-gyn residents, colleagues in need of support, and in this video I forgot to mention doulas and midwives. More information will become available in the next few weeks, and feel free to comment below or through my website if you are interested in learning more.
Congratulations! You’ve reached a defining moment in your life. You’ve decided to have a baby. Although not yet pregnant, there’s a lot of work that has to be done in order to achieve your goal of having a healthy baby. Unlike the 2 million women who have unplanned pregnancies in the United States each year, yours will be different because it involves strategic planning, so let’s get busy.
The old saying “fail to plan means plan to fail” holds true, especially if you have decided to have a baby. The decisions you make will not just involve what color to paint your baby’s nursery or who to invite to a baby shower. You will have to decide whether to see a midwife, a family practice doctor or an obstetrician for prenatal care. Each one of those providers has a different level of training and education.
One of the most important decisions you will make as a pregnant woman is where to have your baby. Most women will select a hospital although other options for birth include delivering at a birth center or for others, to deliver at home. Should you decide to give birth at a hospital, it is important for you to select the right one because they are not all made equal. Some look very pretty on the outside but have some patient safety concerns on the inside. Others might not look attractive externally, but you’ll receive the best care possible.
So, you’re having a baby and need to select a healthcare professional to take care of you. Selecting the proper healthcare provider for your
pregnancy is an epic event, not a minor detail.
Sadly, some women invest more time in selecting a dress than choosing a physician. Everything worthwhile in life depends upon the choices we make; the challenge is to make the right ones. One of the most important choices you will make during your pregnancy is which health care provider will attend to you. If you live in an urban community, you might have lots of providers to select from. But if you’re in a rural area, your choices might be limited.
The last few weeks of a pregnancy is both a time of excitement and caution as you approach the sacred date of your baby’s birth. In the last four weeks of the pregnancy, it is important to make certain that both the mother and baby are free from infections and the baby’s in the correct position before delivery. It is also important to make certain that you will be diagnosed properly when you go to the labor room for potential problems, including labor pain.
A University of Central FL research study proves preservatives damage brain cells which may be the reason why autism has increased. Pregnant moms, you are eating for two.
Please read labels before you eat that bread or cheese. It could affect your unborn baby.
Sixteen year old Erica Byrom’s refusal to have a C-Section, despite having severe preeclampsia made history when a Baltimore jury awarded her the largest medical malpractice verdict in the U.S. however, there is no reason to celebrate. Her daughter has significant brain injuries and will need round-the-clock care for the rest of her life.
The question is: does a 16-year-old teenager have the maturity to make a life and death decision?
Celebrating holidays with friends and family can be fun, and the Fourth of July is no exception. Here are seven tips pregnant women should remember as they celebrate:
Drink plenty of fluids and come in from the hot sun if you feel dizzy or short of breath
4. Make certain all grilled food is well cooked before eating.
5. Avoid inhaling smoke from a grill
6. Avoid direct exposure to loud fireworks. Sound travels through your body and reach your baby. According to CDC, exposure to loud noises could potentially damage your unborn baby’s hearing.
7. Enjoy your day with friends and family. When your happy, your unborn baby is happy too!
In the state of Alabama, a pregnant goes to jail for being shot in the abdomen which resulted in the death of her unborn baby.
Has Alabama gone too far? I'd love to hear your perspective.
reference article: nytimes.com
Update to previous blog post
I’m humbled and happy to share my interview with the esteemed John L. Hanson Jr., the host and producer of “In Black America" a nationally syndicated NPR program that is dedicated to looking at all aspects of the African American experience.
Now, more than ever it’s important to share this perspective and the challenges of health equity for all, as well as maintaining women’s health benefits presently in the Affordable Care Act. During this interview I shared my insight regarding the alarming rise in maternal mortality rates as well as how patients can be the best health advocates regarding their healthcare.
I hope you will listen to this podcast and share your perspective.
According to new research released in the American Heart Association’s Hypertension Journal Report, the answer is yes. A new study has highlighted the use of functionalized magnetic beads to reduce blood levels of a harmful molecule by 40%.
During pregnancy the placenta produces molecules that can damage the mother’s blood vessels. When blood vessels are damaged, the blood pressure increases. These harmful molecules are called SFIL-1.
In our continuing series regarding preeclampsia, some clues are warning signs of worse things to come. Pregnant women are often misdiagnosed because some healthcare providers focus on the patient’s blood pressure and either ignore or are not aware of these other vital signs. Please don’t ignore the symptoms listed below. They could potentially save your life.
1. Headaches that don’t go away with over-the-counter meds such as acetaminophen (or Tylenol®) could be an early warning sign of high blood pressure. Please do not ignore a headache, especially if you are in the late third trimester (36 to 40+ weeks). Untreated high blood pressure can lead to stroke.
This is what life looks like when people have mothers. Can you imagine what it's like to grow up without one? An immense thank you to the Rockefeller Foundation for producing this amazing video. Mothers are precious and we can't afford to lose one.
Mothers fight for us their whole lives. Now is the time to fight for moms. We hope you will join us, so that we never have to imagine a world #WithoutMom.
Each year almost eight hundred pregnant women die in the U.S. and frequently from undiagnosed preeclampsia. May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month and the Smart Mother’s Guide will be presenting strategies and tools to reduce maternal mortality as it relates to preeclampsia, so let’s begin.
Preeclampsia is a clinical condition that occurs during pregnancy and involves high blood pressure, protein in the urine and swollen areas of the body that can include the legs, ankles, feet and sometimes face. However, one does not need to have all these symptoms at the same time in order to be diagnosed with preeclampsia. Unfortunately, preeclampsia is sometimes misdiagnosed during pregnancy which, if left untreated, could cause a stroke, very low platelets, seizures and death. Although preeclampsia usually occurs in the late 2nd or early 3rd trimester, it can occur any time after twenty weeks and yes, it IS possible to be diagnosed with preeclampsia as early as twenty-two or twenty -three weeks.
Although most women will spontaneously develop labor by their due date, there are exceptions to the rule. Some women may have to be delivered earlier because of complications such as high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, diabetes, poor fetal growth or low amniotic fluid. Other women may have to be induced at 39 weeks which is the new standard of care.
Why are inductions of labor necessary? When the conditions within the uterus or a medical condition pose a threat to either the baby or the mother, the baby must be delivered. While most labor inductions are successful, there are some questions that pregnant moms need to ask in order increase their chances of having favorable outcomes.
My colleague Dr. Donna Adams-Pickett is giving excellent advice on how the "TEAM" approach can help reduce maternal mortality. Pregnancy, labor, and delivery are "team" activities. Do you have a good prenatal team for your pregnancy?
You all know that I am passionate about the accurate diagnosis and treatment of preeclampsia so you can imagine how excited I am about “Congo Red.”
According to an article in USA Today, researchers have created a test called “The Congo Red Dot” (CRD) test that can potentially save lives by detecting preeclampsia earlier in pregnant women.der text
I’m humbled and looking forward to my interview this week with the esteemed John L. Hanson Jr., the host and producer of “In Black America" a nationally syndicated NPR program that is dedicated to looking at all aspects of the African American experience.
Now, more than ever it’s important to share this perspective and the challenges of health equity for all, as well as maintaining women’s health benefits presently in the Affordable Care Act. I will be sharing my insight regarding the alarming rise in maternal mortality rates as well as how patients can be the best health advocates regarding their healthcare.
I hope you will listen to this podcast and share your perspective.
According to a recent research study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), induced labor after 39 weeks in healthy women may reduce the need for a C-section and might offer additional health safety benefits to the mother and newborn. In fact, the recent study results suggest inducing labor early in healthy women may also reduce the risk of preeclampsia, and the need for infant respiratory support.
In my near three-decade- career as a practicing ob-gyn, I can attest that in the past doctors did not recommend inducing labor for convenience and inductions were typically were only done for medical reasons and only at 41 weeks of pregnancy and beyond.
Too often we hear about maternal mortality and the disproportionate number of African-American women who die from preventable deaths while pregnant.
Today though, I want to acknowledge and celebrate the gifted obstetricians and midwives who perform miracles, manage complicated pregnancies and save lives. In the coming weeks and months, I will be sharing some of these incredible stories.
On March 12, 2019, I was among 700 OBGYN physicians from across the country who descended onto Capitol Hill with the American College of Obstetrician-Gynecologists (ACOG) to preserve the lives of pregnant mothers, to protect women’s healthcare benefits under the Affordable Care Act and advocate extending Medicaid postpartum benefits for twelve months rather than the traditional 6-week period.
ACOG invited five Congresswomen to speak at the conference including the Honorable Lauren Underwood, the youngest African American woman elected to Congress and the first nurse; the Honorable Ayanna Pressley and the co-sponsor of the postpartum Medicaid expansion bill, Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Ph.D.
March 10-12, 2019 - 37th Annual Congressional Leadership Conference, the President’s Conference in Washington, DC
OB-GYN physicians from across the nation learn how to better lobby their U.S. Senators and Representatives on behalf of ACOG and their individual communities. Dr. Burke will use this opportunity to discuss strategies for reducing maternal mortality – especially as it relates to African-American women whose death rate is 3X greater than non-black women in the United States, according to the CDC.
What are your pregnancy concerns? I want to hear from you: https://www.smartmothersguide.com/survey
As Black History Month comes to an end, I would be remiss if I didn’t honor the memory of my maternal ancestors, Emerline and her daughter Mariah Jones, who was my great-great grandmother and passed their gift of “birthing” onto myself and cousin, Dr. Sheryanne Wade.
Through ancestry research, I discovered that Emeline was born in 1820 and her ancestors originated from the same South African community as Nelson Mandela. You can't imagine the pride I experienced knowing that I am a descendant of Nelson Mandela. It explained why the women in my family were advocates who were fierce and feisty.
Can Extreme Heat Exposure Harm Your Pregnancy?
The short answer is yes.
The earth is getting warmer, and everybody should be concerned, including pregnant women. According to a published study by The Journal of American Heart Association (JAHA), climate change does affect reproductive health and specifically, pregnant women.
Here are the facts:
I have been invited to attend a Congressional Leadership Conference in Washington by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
I'll be with ACOG, U.S. Senators and Congressional Representatives on Capitol Hill working on behalf of pregnant women, and I want to hear from you. What are your concerns as an expecting mother? What information and can I share with them and what can I bring back to you?
I'm passionate about preventing maternal deaths and the health of pregnant women. Your voice is vital, and I am honored to represent your unique point of view.
Click this link to complete the 2-question survey. As a thank you, you will receive 'The Smart Mothers Guide Pregnancy Organizer' for free.
With gratitude and enthusiasm about this opportunity,
According to the Washington Post, there have been 19 suicides on VA campuses, and seven of them have occurred in parking lots.
Justin Miller, a 33-year-old Iraqi vet and trumpet player, entered a Minnesota veteran's hospital for treatment of PTSD. He was discharged home on his fourth hospital stay, got into his truck and committed suicide with a firearm. A VA Inspector General's report found several preventable le mistakes that were committed at Miller's discharge. The operative word is "preventable."
In celebration of , let’s talk about the heart as it relates to pregnancy.
The heart is one of the hardest working organs in the body. It functions like a pump to deliver oxygen to all the organs and cells in the body as well as nutrients. However, when the heart is diseased, it becomes the number one killer for both women and men in the U.S.
While 800,000 federal workers were kept hostage for over 30 days missing two pay checks because of a wall intended to keep brown people from entering the United States, pregnant women from the world’s third largest country crossed the Pacific, paid travel agents $100,000 for a travel visa and were instructed to tell Immigration officers they were staying at a Trump Hotel to improve their chances of successful entry into the U.S.
It’s a multimillion-dollar industry called “birth tourism” run by Chinese travel agents who boast a “success” record of 8,000 babies born in the US who are now U.S. citizens. According to the LA times, the owner of one of these lucrative tourist companies was able to purchase a 2.1 million-dollar home in cash in addition to purchasing a $118,000 Mercedes Benz. A conservative think tank group estimates that over 30,000 of these births have occurred.
I cannot remain silent about this - I have to speak my truth about Jessica Simpson's pregnancy. Someone needs to advocate on behalf of her unborn child.
Jessica Simpson, who’s in the third trimester of her pregnancy, shared a shocking pic of her swollen foot asking for ‘remedies.’ HL spoke to two obstetricians who think the actress should contact
her doctor ASAP.
Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway, board-certified OB-GYN and author, spoke to Hollywoodlife.com EXCLUSIVELY about why Jessica should seek immediate help.
“Preeclampsia is a disease of the placenta, so the strict cure is to deliver the baby and get rid of the placenta,” she explained. “Something in the placenta causes constriction of blood vessels and makes blood pressure go up. If left untreated, preeclampsia and progress and women can have a stroke, a seizure, or a pulmonary edema, which is too much fluid in the lungs.”.
No, it is not cool.
As legalization of marijuana hits the mainstream and marijuana shops start to increase in numbers, pregnant moms, beware. it is not OK to expose newborn or unborn babies to the harm associated with cannabis use, even if it falls under the heading of “legal” and “medical use.”
Christmas represents special meaning for me because it is the story about a miraculous birth. A first-time pregnant woman name Mary was carrying a special gift to the world and pregnant moms, so are you.
The journey and adversity that a sperm experiences to get to an egg, is humbling.
Scientific literature says that fifty percent of pregnancies are “unintended” or an “accident”, but I beg to differ. There are no “accidents” in the mind of God. Each one of us possesses a gift and a purpose that will potentially serve humanity. Some of our greatest gifts came from humble wombs like Mary of Nazareth, whose birth produced The Messiah.
On Thanksgiving Day, Ms. Vernita Lee took her last breath and then flew home to be with the Lord, but she left behind her legacy, Oprah Winfrey.
Women like Ms. Lee, remind me of my mother, whose humble wombs produced some of God’s greatest gifts, in the form of women and men who do extraordinary things that no one could ever imagine.
As I watched the People Magazine Interview of Oprah describing her mother’s final days, I kept nodding my head in recognition because one “good daughter” recognizes another and I too, had played Mahalia Jackson’s music at my mother’s transition.
Meghan Markle, 37, has broken royal tradition plenty of times before, so what’s to stop her from doing it again? The mom-to-be may decide to do a home birth, sources tell Vanity Fair. Either that or she
might opt for a hospital in Windsor, which is where she and her husband Prince Harry, 34, will reportedly be living by her spring due date.
Not only has she never given birth before, but “her age and being a woman of color would be risk factors, as well” Dr. Burke-Galloway said. Women of color have a higher chance of suffering
from preeclampsia, the same pregnancy complication that led Kenya Moore, 47, into an early labor last month.
Approximately 10% percent of all women living in the United States have infertility. While the news can initially be devastating, did you know it might just save your life?
Women over age 30 typically have infertility problems but they also have high risk pregnancy complications that sometimes lead to death. In this video, Dr. Linda Burke shares her insight. Listen and be inspired.
Many years ago, one of my best friends had a baby and it was a life-altering moment, not just for her but for me as well. At the time, we had been friends for approximately 15 years and had witnessed the milestones in each other’s lives. Marriage, divorce, acceptance and graduation from business and med schools, caring for aging parents and even their burials – we had been through it all. However, now, things were different. She had given birth to a beautiful baby girl and had joined a club called “Mothers.” I would join that club much, much later through the gift of adoption but I remember her trials well: the baby throwing her pacifier out of the crib a zillion times. Her leaking breasts. Her insecurities about whether she was doing the right thing as a mother.
Can you have a postpartum exam without leaving the comfort of your home?
Listen and find out more. Do you agree? Let me hear from you! Your opinion matters!
While Cardi B, Shakira and Mariah Carey have all performed pregnant, touring with a baby in your belly is an entirely different story — yet so many celebs have done it. Here’s how, according to
The best time to tour is probably in the second trimester, between 13 weeks and 23 to 24,” Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway, board-certified OBGYN physician, author and blogger, explained. “At this point, you’ve usually escaped the increased risk of a first trimester miscarriage.
Can camera phones help diagnose preeclampsia? The answer is a resounding, YES!!
Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway empowers pregnant woman by sharing vital information so that they begin to think like a doctor, not a patient. Her book and blog with the same title, ‘The Smart Mother's Guide to a Better Pregnancy’ teaches expectant parents how to avoid preventable medical errors and have a successful childbirth experience.
The ABC News segment, Dying to Deliver was well appreciated by yours truly and a woman named Anne Garrett,
who has been sounding the alarm about this devastating problem for over two decades.
Garrett, is a mom who had not one, but two near-death experiences due to preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome shortly after giving birth to her sons. The experience of nearly dying – twice compelled her to start the Garrett Singh Family Foundation which ultimately was converted from a private family foundation to a public charity known as the Preeclampsia Foundation to help increase awareness of the potentially devastating effects of preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome.
Long before the acclaimed article, The Last Person You Would Expect to Die by NPR and Nina Martin came to light (for which I am eternally grateful), an article written by Amnesty International, entitled Deadly Delivery, addressed this same issue. Garrett and I both read that article back in 2011 although we didn’t know each other at the time. She ultimately reached out to me based on my prenatal book, The Smart Mother’s Guide to a Better Pregnancy, and my description of the maternal death of one of my sorority sisters, Dawn Fleming from preeclampsia. In addition, she reached out to me because I am an African American OB-GYN physician and she knew that women who look like me die from preeclampsia at a disproportionate rate in compared to others. Her honesty and transparency are commendable.
Congratulations, dear Duchess of Sussex on your beautiful marriage to Prince Harry but now the pressure begins for you to produce an heir. Here are some issues you might want to consider as you continue your journey as a wife and future mother:
As we celebrate Mother’s Day across the U.S. are you aware that there are approximately 800 families representing children who never met their mother because she died while giving birth?
I witnessed maternal death up close and personal only once as a resident physician in training but it’s an experience I’ll never forget.
The patient was in her late thirties, in labor with no apparent complications but in hindsight, her age and race (African American) were risk factors. Her blood pressure was normal, there was no unusual bleeding but when she became fully dilated and we wanted her to push, she stopped breathing. We rushed her from the labor room into the OR that became pure bedlam. A code was called, and an army of physicians rushed in and frantically pumped her chest, while my chief resident’s shaking hands grabbed the scalpel and delivered the baby at Olympian speed. The baby made it. The mother didn’t, and I collapsed into one of the nurses’ arms and burst into tears. The look on the husband’s face upon learning his wife died still haunts me to this day.
As a young girl growing up in a small Long Island town called Amityville, Memorial Day was a huge holiday filled with parades and barbecues. I would inevitably end up at my friend Diane’s backyard eating a hotdog along with the rest of the kids on our block. It was also a day when we made our annual trip to the cemetery to place American flags on the graves of veterans and flowers on the graves of the deceased.
In honor of both Memorial Day and Preeclampsia Awareness Week, I’d like to take time to remember all mothers and their babies who died during childbirth, especially from preeclampsia.
What is preeclampsia and why is it so deadly? Preeclampsia is a condition of pregnancy in which there is high blood pressure; swelling of the ankles, feet, or face; protein in the urine; and abnormal kidney function. This condition requires the delivery of the baby in order to preserve the mother’s life and prevent seizures and strokes. The old fashioned term for preeclampsia was toxemia and it affects 1 out of 12 pregnancies each year. Approximately 76,000 women die annually from this disease and most people know of at least someone that it has affected during pregnancy.
Pregnancy affects multiple organs in a woman’s body and the back is no exception.
Here are a few facts about the back during pregnancy:
The shape of your back changes (inward curve, aka lordosis) during pregnancy as well as your center of gravity because of hormones and chemicals in the body.
As the baby grows larger, the lordosis increases and right before the baby is born, your walking (or gait) is wide-base and you “waddle” as you walk.
Collaborative Blog Post
Discovering you’re pregnant can be one of the most exciting and beautiful times of a mother’s life. But does the fact you’re expecting mean you can’t travel for the next nine months? Not at all! However, there could be some things you need to look out for when planning your last vacation before welcoming a new addition to the family.
Before jetting off, here are five things to look out for if you’re a pregnant traveler.
As an obstetrician, I am in awe of Mrs. Beyoncé Knowles Carter (aka Queen Bey), not only as one of the greatest performing artist of all times but also as a mother. She was a high-risk OB patient because of her twin pregnancy, yet you would never know the way she defied gravity during her 2017 Grammy Performance. We all know that she is incredibly beautiful and exquisitely creative, but her pregnancy glow on the Grammy’s stage set a new standard.
Fast-forward to 2018. Beyonce’s original performance in 2017’s Coachella was postponed because of her maternal state, however, she certainly made up for the delay according to the rave reviews that are lighting up the social media space. The festival was renamed “Beychella” and rightfully so. Her ten-month postpartum performance was visceral. You felt it and she owned it. Can you believe that less than a year ago, two beautiful human beings emerged from those swaggering hips? Whether she had a c-section versus vaginal delivery, is really none of our business. Her babies are healthy. She is obviously healthy and above all, happy.
Gonorrhea is the #2 sexually transmitted infection in the United States and affects 800,000 people annually. The bacterial infection continues to spread because only 50% of people are tested and treated. Long term risks include: infertility, preterm (premature) labor and birth, and ectopic or tubal pregnancies for women, and arthritis and complications with the brain and heart in men.
Congratulations to the state of South Dakota for improving their infant mortality rates which is an outstanding accomplishment. South Dakota holds a special place in my heart
because it was where I performed my last Cesarean Section on a Native American reservation called Pine Ridge.
I have always respected Native American culture because of their profound respect for Mother Earth.
That last delivery in South Dakota was memorable for numerous reasons. The mother had 9 previous vaginal deliveries and wasn’t convinced that she needed a C. Section, however the baby was in the “sunny side up” position also known as occiput posterior with the chin as the presenting part. She had pushed for hours with a midwife and was not making progress when I was called for assistance. The baby was born healthy and the mother cried tears of joy.
Blood pressure is an extremely important “vital sign” taken during an office and prenatal visit.
Why? Because it represents how well our heart is functioning and if we are at risk for having a stroke.
At some point, your healthcare provider might ask you to take your blood pressure.
Here are 5 things you should do to take it accurately:
It is said that art imitates life and the episode “Personal Jesus” in Season 14 of Grey’s Anatomy revealed some hard-core facts: patients die unnecessarily because of missed diagnosis.
Three patients entered the fictitious Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital and none of them left alive, including a woman who had just given birth to a healthy baby at 37 weeks. She was in labor at 37 weeks with a “normal” blood pressure but died of something called the “HELLP” Syndrome that is associated with pre-eclampsia.
“HELLP” is an acronym for hemolysis (breakdown of red blood cells), elevated liver enzymes and low platelets which help the blood clot thereby avoiding hemorrhage.
Do you know that we almost lost Serena Williams after she had her baby?
Fact: Serena is well versed about pulmonary embolism because she had one before.
Fact: Her postpartum nursing staff thought she was hallucinating when she requested a diagnostic study and an IV drip. Fact: Serena was right -- and saved her own life.
Fact: MY MEDICAL COLLEAGUES NEED TO START LISTENING TO PATIENTS.
A picture’s worth one thousand words and if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I could never imagine that such a travesty of justice could occur within a United States healthcare system and hospital.
On a cold, January night, mental health worker, Imamu Baraka was walking down a Baltimore street and witnessed hospital security cards dumping a confused, mentally impaired woman who was wearing nothing but a thin, yellow hospital gown onto the street.
The American College of Obstetrician/Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) say yes in written opinions in 2017, and here’s why:
These words are a direct quotation from a pregnant woman who almost died.
I want to personally thank Steph Montgomery for writing one of the most honest articles about the dangers of pregnancy, something that very few of my OB colleagues have been willing to do.
In her blog, Pregnancy Almost Killed These 8 Women and Here’s What They Want You to Know, Montgomery describes the challenges of eight women who had pregnancy complications that nearly killed them. Their stories bring to light something that all OB providers know but rarely say in public: pregnancy can be lethal if people aren’t paying attention.
Women in one of the poorest communities in the District of Columbia will no longer be able to deliver babies at their community hospital, United Medical Center. Why? Please keep reading.
I will not address the absence of clinical standards performed by the staff that led to a newborn baby being infected with HIV and an obese preeclamptic patient with a severe breathing disorder being harmed. Go deeper into the root cause analysis and you will find politics and money as the culprits.
Re-posted with permission from:
I took part in a leadership workshop where I was asked to write a mission statement for my life. This was the FIRST time anyone has asked me to do this. It was a great exercise that I would suggest others to take part in. Have you ever tried this? Well, this is what happened when I wrote my mission statement.
Congratulations are in order.
The Carter twins have arrived and we can all breathe a sigh of relief.
Although twins represent “two unique souls united by one birth,” their prenatal course and birth at times are not without risks. Twins come earlier than expected. Their umbilical cords may become entangled if they are identical. Their placentas can prematurely separate too soon and there are other risks that I won’t even bother to mention. From what we know thus far, these complications have eluded the Carter pregnancy.
The tragic death of Judge Glenda Hatchett’s daughter-in-law is yet another reason why people shouldn’t think of pregnancy as a condition without risks.
Hatchett’s daughter-in-law, Kyira Dixon Johnson was 39 years old and pregnant with her second child. She had a repeat cesarean section that had been scheduled in advance at the prestigious Cedar Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, California. The cesarean procedure went smoothly and took approximately 30 minutes. Johnson gave birth to a baby boy and was taken to the recovery room in stable condition. Three hours later, an astute nurse noticed that Johnson had blood in her Foley catheter (a tube that drains the urinary bladder) and allegedly informed the physician. A CT scan was ordered but not done.
Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway, author of the Smart Mother's Guide to a Better Pregnancy discusses the interview she had with Hollywoodlife.com about the hit series, Downton Abbey and the eclamsia episode where Sybil Crawley dies in childbirth.
I have incredible respect for Jimmy Kimmel for baring his soul in front of millions of people and crying unabashedly at the thought of losing
his infant son. Kimmel’s son was born with a congenital anomaly called Tetralogy of Fallot which causes a
lack of oxygen to reach the lungs. The story had a happy ending because the problem was corrected with a surgical procedure.
As I listened to Kimmel’s ultimate triumph, I thought back to an HBO show I saw years ago called “Something the Lord Made.”
The month of May has always been special; it is the month that I officially became a physician exactly 30 years ago; it is the month that we celebrate Mother’s Day but unfortunately it is also a month that makes us aware that some mothers are no longer with us because of a pregnancy related condition called pre-eclampsia.
As a fan of both Beyoncé and Serena, I am overflowing with excitement for their pregnancy as they embark on the mystical and magical journey called pregnancy for the first and second time
in their lives. However, as an obstetrician, I’d like to share a few pearls of wisdom to ensure that the pressure gift that they carry, arrives safely.
Serena and Beyoncé are both 35 years old which is considered advanced age in pregnancy. While age 35 is a great time to have a baby because of presumed maturity, it is also a time to exercise precaution. Queen B, you are blessed to be carrying twins, but please be aware that twins can come earlier than expected. Preterm labor is sometimes sneaky and rears its ugly head as back pain. Therefore, if you are experiencing back pain for greater than one hour, please call your pregnancy provider immediately who should advise you to go to the labor and delivery to be checked.
“To everything there is a season” and I am happy to report that my season of discontent, health challenges and yes, even dissolution of a 25-year marriage is over and I am REALLY back this
I have missed you, my faithful readers, pregnant moms and followers who continued to come to my website even though it had been unattended to for months . . . no . . . actually a few years. I hadn’t planned on staying away for so long but like John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” In 2014, I had a vision problem that prevented me from seeing things at a distance and I had stopped driving for a year. I was visually disabled and scared. During this crisis, there were people who ran TO me in my time of need and those who ran FROM me. One day, I will delve deeper into this topic but I’m so grateful to report that my vision has improved and so has my life.
Most women look forward to having a baby but no one wants to feel pain. In recent years, having a baby in a pool of water has become a popular trend because it allegedly reduces the need for pain meds and anesthesia however not so fast, says both obstetricians and pediatricians. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have issued a formal opinion (Committee Opinion #594 April 2014) that does not support “immersion” (aka underwater) births because of its associated complications while a mother is pushing to deliver her baby. The “pushing” part of childbirth is also known as “second stage labor.”
Thank God for common sense. For once, the state of Florida has done something right and kept Ebony Wilkerson, (the 32 year old pregnant mom who drove her kids into the ocean) into a hospital
where she rightfully belongs. Wilkerson is 7 months pregnant and certainly doesn’t need to be in a jail where the chances of her having a healthy baby are greatly diminished. Had it not been for
good Samaritans who ran into the Atlantic Ocean and rescued Wilkerson, three innocent children and an unborn baby would have met an untimely demise.
What is it about our country that prevents us from recognizing mental illness when it smacks us dead in the face? The fact that Wilkerson was interviewed and released by law enforcement agents three hours before she drove into the ocean is troubling. Mental illness is a public health disease and yet it’s treated as an afterthought in a “too-busy-society” that focuses more on entertainers’ wardrobes and scandals as opposed to its citizens that need immediate attention and intervention.
The next time you see one of those You Tube® videos singing the praises about water births, Amy Stenton wants you to think again. She had one and now wants them stopped. She sued The Legacy Healthcare system for 35 million dollars as a result of the injuries incurred by her son who now has significant disabilities including cerebral palsy and hearing problems. He will need life-long care. We often hear about patients suing for damages but when patients demand that the hospital program be shut down because it’s dangerous, it gives us reason to pause.
Stenton and her spouse, Matthew Marino, read the hospital’s website and assumed water births were safe. Allegedly the website read: “European studies have shown a lower use of pain medication, decreased need for medicines to stimulate labor, decreased perception of pain, and high patient satisfaction, among other benefits, during labor and delivery in a birth tub."
Sometimes a woman marries the wrong man. And then things become more complicated because there are children involved. This man that you should have never married is now looking for a big pay day. However, please do not allow innocent children and babies to suffer because of a highly contentious divorce and certainly do no drag the surrogate mother into your mess.
Surrogate parenting (aka Gestational Carriers) is tricky. A woman is hired to have a baby for a couple with the expectation that the couple will pay her and take responsibility for their child. She is screened very carefully to make sure that she’s healthy enough to carry a pregnancy and that there is mutual agreement with the intended parents. It is a gift not to be abused. It seems that is not the case regarding Sherri Shepherd, former co-host of the popular show, The View.
The holiday season is a time of both joy and sorrow. Tomorrow a childhood friend will be laid to rest; one of my favorite artists, Teena Marie, died unexpectedly two days ago and at least six
other people have made their transitions as well. My own father died unexpectedly on Christmas Eve in 1981 leaving a great void in our family life. Why do people leave us during the holiday
season? It has been said because they want to be remembered.
While I lamented about all the transitions that occurred in the past two weeks, one of my best friends announced that she had a new granddaughter that was born on Christmas Day. She stated that this was part of the “Life Cycle or Circle of Life.” Her comments gave me reason to pause and reflect.
It’s a sad commentary when human beings have to be reminded how to act like human beings, especially when they’re in the helping profession. Loni Hildebrandt was a 29 year old certified nursing assistant who was pregnant with her first baby. Make that two babies because she was pregnant with twins. Hildebrandt considered her pregnancy miraculous because she had infertility and was a diabetic since the age of one. Together, she and her boyfriend saved their money and obtained fertility treatments. Her mother, Jo Novtny, a nurse of 30 years was ecstatic when she saw the ultrasound of her two grandbabies but her happiness was short-lived. One day after the procedure, Hildebrandt began to bleed so they went to Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Florida.
Infertility or the inability to have a baby can be devastating and affects approximately 10 percent of the female population. There are many conditions that prevent women from having children including and Mayer Rokitansky Kuster Hauser Syndrome (or MKHS). MKHS is a rare disorder that affects a woman’s ability to conceive. At present, for every 10,000 women, only 1 to 2 will be affected. Both Sara Ottoson of Sweden and Melina Arnold of Australia have this condition. MKHS is characterized by the absence of a vagina and part of the cervix. Patients with this condition have normal breast development and functioning ovaries. Genetically, they also have female or double X-chromosomes and look like normal women. The problem comes to light during adolescence when a teen fails to have a period. The condition is also known as Vaginal Agenesis because they are born without a true vagina, a problem that can be corrected through surgical and non-surgical procedures. Unfortunately, they are unable to have children and usually adopt or use a surrogate mother. Those options, however, might soon change.
The MSNBC story, Wrong-Embryo Baby’s Parents Laud Guardian brings to mind a line from Tina Fey’s movie, Baby Mama: “Life is messy.” Fey plays the character of a thirty-seven year old woman who
was informed that she only has a million-in-one chance of conceiving because of an abnormal uterus. She hires a surrogate who unknowingly is not pregnant with Fey’s child but her own. When the
surrogate discovers the error, she must break the news to Frey who is of course, devastated. Art imitates life.
Carolyn Savage was a 40 y.o. woman who received in Vitro-Fertilization and on the third attempt, successfully conceived a baby. Unfortunately, it was the wrong baby; a nightmare no one should ever experience. Savage was carrying a baby who belonged to the Morrell family who had frozen embryos at the same infertility clinic.
So here we go again! First a dollar pregnancy test and now an ovulation test for the
same great price ($1.00)
Three cheers for SCI International, the manufacturer of these super products.
After the tremendous positive response to my earlier post regarding the $1.00 pregnancy test, I received a phone call from SCI’s Vice President, Mr. Abedi. He was delighted that the blog was well received and I in turn was delighted with his product. He explained that the company’s only makes a few cents above its production cost but that they deal in volume. It was so refreshing to hear about a company that wasn’t going to bankrupt its customers in order to make a profit. Abedi continued to describe the company’s array of products including an ovulation kit for $1.00. You can only imagine how far my jaw dropped. As a former infertility patient, I am well-versed with ovulation kits and could not believe they were being sold for . . . a dollar? Abedi quickly added that the ovulation kits were only available at the Dollar Tree store. So, off I went to my local Dollar Tree store to see for myself.
Journalist Nicholas Bakalar of the New York Times wrote an article that addressed a profound issue regarding pregnancy: Does Fear
Make Labor Longer?
Over 2,000 pregnant women in Norway were given a questionnaire at 32 weeks to determine if they had a fear of labor. These women were then followed to determine how long they were in labor and according to the study, there was a 47 minute difference in the length of labor of 165 women who feared childbirth compared to those who don’t. Why is this important? It’s important because fear is something that we can control.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and The Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine (aka high-risk obstetricians) have issued a new recommendation that is a game-changer in the manner that obstetrics is practiced: allow low-risk first-time pregnant moms more time in labor. This is assuming that the fetal tracing is normal and the mother does not have a fever, high blood pressure or a condition that could compromise her life or the life of her unborn baby. This recommendation is based on new evidence that demonstrates contradicts the old school Friedman Curve theory that active labor begins at 4 centimeters. It actually begins at 6 centimeters. This would be especially helpful to first-time teenage moms who might be forced to have future cesarean sections based on hospital rules and physician opinions if their first delivery was a cesarean section. The “once a C-section, always a C-Section” culture hits this particular group the hardest.
Today will be a day of mourning for pregnant women who are uninsured and receiving Medicaid in Houma, Louisiana. Their local hospital closed its maternity and neonatal units because of a $2.9 million dollar budget cut. Over 100 employees will lose their jobs, many whom have held their positions for over 20 years. This closing will have a ripple effect and is an increasing phenomenon that has besieged many hospitals across our nation. Over thirteen hospitals in Philadelphia closed their labor and delivery departments and in my own backyard, South Seminole Hospital in Florida did the same. What’s going on? Hospitals claim they’re losing money and government insured and non-insured pregnant women are feeling the aftermath. These are some very scary times.
It’s an obstetrician’s worst nightmare and it continues to happen on a daily basis. The story of Michal Lura Friedman brings tears to my eyes. After 7 years of trying, the 44 year old songwriter finally became pregnant –with twins. Her husband, Jay Snyder, a free-lance voice-over artist, describes the 9 months of Friedman’s pregnancy as pure bliss. However towards the end, her blood pressure became elevated so she was scheduled to have a C. Section the day after Thanksgiving.
I love my local dollar stores. It’s one of my favorite places to shop when I want to reward my sons inexpensively and have fun in the process. My husband often calls me the “queen of the deals”
because saving money always gives me an adrenaline rush. So imagine the rush I felt when I discovered that dollar stores now sell pregnancy tests and are giving name-brand competitors a run for
According to the August issue of Ob.Gyn. News (Volume 44, Issue 10, page 10), Dr. Sunaina Sehwani and associates at St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem, PA. tested twenty-seven dollar-store pregnancy tests and compared the results with the early-response name brands that are commonly used in physician and clinic offices. The article states that the dollar store brand was 100% accurate. Can you imagine? These pregnancy tests were also evaluated to determine if they could be easily interpreted and passed with flying colors.
In Native American culture there is a premise that Nature thrives on order but it is man who creates the disorder. That thought came to mind last month when I presented yet another malpractice case for review with a panel of colleagues. A patient wanted to be induced at 39 weeks and inevitably had significant complications with a poor birth outcome. In my expert opinion, I suggested that the physician should have waited until the patient was 41 weeks before she attempted an induction and one of my colleagues thought that I was vehemently wrong. “She was full-term and entitled to an induction” he practically shouted in my ear. “That’s not the point,” I countered. There was no reason to do the induction except for physician and maternal convenience. I reminded him that most high-risks specialists will start fetal monitoring and nonstress tests (NSTs) at 40 weeks to document fetal well being and then induce labor at 41 weeks if it has not started spontaneously.