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Risk of Pulmonary Hypertension in Newborns

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December 11th, 2006, 10:40 AM
wonderfullymade's Avatar Doula & MW Apprentice
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Risk of Pulmonary Hypertension in Newborns

The use of over-the-counter pain killers among pregnant women is high and is associated with the development of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), according to a study published in the March issue of Pediatrics, the peer-reviewed, scientific journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

The study reports that the use of these medications - particularly aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen - during pregnancy is significantly underreported and is significantly associated with PPHN.

Also known as persistent fetal circulation (PFC), PPHN results when a newborn is unable to successfully transition from a fetal circulatory system to an adult circulatory system at birth due to an abnormally elevated pressure and narrowing of the arteries that feed the lungs. The exact causes of this condition are often unknown and can result from any number of physical abnormalities or conditions. Newborns with this condition usually become ill in the delivery room or within the first 12 hours of life and usually need assistance breathing until the condition can be corrected.

A second study in the March issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the journal of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), found that the incidence of pulmonary hypertension among newborns delivered by cesarean section is almost five times higher than the rate for babies delivered vaginally.

The researchers urge obstetricians to consider vigilant monitoring of cesarean-delivery babies and discuss this neonatal risk during the informed consent process with mothers. They hypothesize that labor and vaginal delivery may have some benefit for the lungs of the newborn.

(Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)

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