Thursday, June 20, 2013

Home Births May Be Safer Than Hospital Births

This may simply show that it is mainly very healthy women who choose homebirth

A new study has found that mothers experiencing low-risk pregnancies and who are planning home births may have an overall lower risk of birth complications than those who plan their births in hospitals.

LiveScience is reporting that just 1 in 1,000 of the mothers monitored for the study suffered from severe complications during their home births, as opposed to 2.3 in every 1,000 who gave birth in a hospital.

The study, conducted by researchers in the Netherlands, additionally noted a marked decrease in incidents of postpartum hemorrhage in mothers who gave birth at home – 19.6 out of 1,000 compared to 37.6 out of 1,000 respectively.

A reported 146,000 women took part in the study. Of those, 92,333 were said to be giving birth at home, while 54,419 chose the option of giving birth in a hospital.

Researchers told LiveScience that their findings likely only apply to regions where midwives are fully qualified to assist in a home birth.

They added to the science news website that the dearth of severe complications in planned home births should not lead to a general lack of concern surrounding home births for families weighing their options, as “every avoidable adverse maternal outcome is one too many.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control in Prevention in Atlanta, the amount of home births in the United States went up last decade.

“Home births are still rare in the United States, comprising less than 1 percent of births, however they have been increasing since 2004,” they noted on their official website.


How a cup of hot chocolate before bedtime could PREVENT diabetes  -- if you are a mouse

Amazing what mice get up to these days

Forget everything you've been told about hot chocolate being an indulgence: a cup before bedtime could fend off diabetes, a study has found.

Mice fed a high fat diet that causes type 2 diabetes - the obesity-related form of the condition - suffered less inflammation when given cocoa powder as well.

Researchers believe their findings, published by the European Journal of Nutrition, may apply to humans.

Dark chocolate is rich in flavanols, plant chemicals that boost blood flow by widening vessels.  They have previously been linked to a host of health benefits.

In the study the mice ate the human equivalent of 10 tablespoons of cocoa powder, about four or five cups of hot cocoa, during a ten week period.

Professor Joshua Lambert said: 'What surprised me was the magnitude of the effect.  There was not as big of an effect on the body weight as we expected, but I was surprised at the dramatic reduction of inflammation and fatty liver disease.'

Several indicators of inflammation, which causes type 2 diabetes by prompting insulin resistance, were much lower in the mice fed the cocoa, and almost identical to a control group that just received low fat foods.

For example, they had about 27 per cent less insulin in their plasma, high levels of which suggest a patient may have diabetes, than those on the high fat diet without the supplement.

The cocoa powder also reduced amounts of harmful liver fats called triglycerides by about a third.  Too much of these are a sign of fatty liver disease and are related to inflammation and diabetes.

Prof Lambert, of Pennsylvania State University, said the mice also saw a slight but significant drop in their rate of body weight gain.

Cocoa has been used in a medicinal capacity for more than two thousand years.

The Mayans and Aztecs civilisations were convinced it relieved a host of ailments including fever, heart pain and bowel complaints.

Although generally thought of in the modern world as an indulgent food, there is growing evidence to suggest these ancient civilisations were onto something.

In recent years scientists have established regular consumption of flavonoid rich fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease.

Now the biological activities of cocoa flavonoids are being associated with combating inflammation and impaired immune function.

Prof Lambert said he looked at cocoa because it contains a lot of flavonals, like green tea and wine whose health benefits have been studied for a long time.

Cocoa, although commonly consumed in chocolate, actually has low calorie and fat content, and is high in fibre.

Prof Lambert added: 'Most obesity researchers tend to steer clear of chocolate because it is high in fat, high in sugar and is usually considered an indulgence. However, cocoa powder is low in fat and low in sugar.'

He expects future research will follow to better identify why cocoa powder is effective at treating inflammation, as well as determine if the food works just as well in humans.


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