Moms who get pregnant between April and July: Take your folic acid! A huge new study is linking babies conceived during those months with an increased risk of birth defects. A possible reason? Those are the same four months when levels of farm chemicals — pesticides — are at their highest in surface water. Researchers at Indiana University say that they don’t have proof of a direct link yet, but it’s a big coincidence. While they’re deciding, you can be taking folic acid like a good girl; studies show it can help prevent certain birth defects.
Hardware that can loosen and fall out unexpectedly is prompting a huge high-chair recall. The screws and fasteners that allow certain Evenflo chairs to recline can detach, allowing the chair backs to fall back or off completely without warning. Several babies have been hurt, but none seriously. So far, the recall affects two models: the Evenflo Envision and the Evenflo Majestic. If you have one of these chairs, stop using it immediately and visit evenflo.com (click “product support”) to request a repair kit.
A remarkable rise in baby suffocations is causing a new flap over bed-sharing. A study, in Pediatrics, finds that infant deaths due to “accidental strangulation and suffocation in bed” (ASSB) have quadrupled since 1984, about the time that bed-sharing became more popular. ASSB deaths happen when a sleeping adult rolls onto a baby, when a baby suffocates under a pillow or blanket, or gets trapped between a mattress and wall. Co-sleeping supporters say it’s not dangerous if you take certain precautions, like keeping soft bedding away from baby and avoiding alcohol before bed. Visit cosleeping.org for more.
Here’s one startling result of our tanked economy — vasectomies appear to be on the rise! Doctors say more men are coming in for the procedure since last November — and some say they’re worried about losing their jobs, health care or both. The evidence is anecdotal, since no one tracks the surgery, but demographers say troubled economies usually result in lower birth rates.
More cool news from the world of baby brain science: It now looks like babies are actually born with a sense of musical rhythm. Brain scans show that babies as young as two days old can perceive musical patterns — and even notice when a drummer misses a beat. Researchers say this suggests that rhythm may be an innate hard-wired ability; not as taught as was once thought
Feeling blue after giving birth is very common among moms, at least for a short time. But moms of multiples are more likely to stay depressed, according to a new study in Pediatrics. About 19 percent of moms who deliver two or more babies have moderate or severe depression within the nine months after birth. That’s compared to 16 percent for single babies. Sixteen percent? Worse still, only 27 percent of all depressed moms actually ask for help. Moms: You are not alone! Visit postpartum.net or talk to someone at 800-994-4PPD.