Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Movie Pick of the Week

Tonight I watched a National Geographic film called "In the Womb". It is a fascinating documentary of conception to birth. Although I don't agree with some of the things they were advocating, such as 3D and 4D ultrasounds, I found it to be a great education resource. The woman had a natural birth on her hands and knees with a midwife. I believe it was filmed in the UK.

Some take aways from the documentary:
  • 500 million sperm are produced with each ejaculation. Only one gets in and once it does and the egg is fertilized, it produces a hormone that will not allow any more sperm to penetrate.
  • Only 50% of fertilized eggs develop into a baby.
  • An early miscarriage may look like a heavy period, and the mother may never have known she was pregnant.
  • Progesterone is produced in high levels by the mother during pregnancy so that no eggs are released.
  • At 23 weeks, babies have been known to survive birth. The lungs of a baby this small are severely underdeveloped. The baby may be left with minor to severe brain damage or learning disabilities.
  • At 24 weeks, the sensory organs are starting to develop. The baby now has all of the organs and functions it needs to survive. At this point it is just growing.
  • At 26 weeks, the heart can be heard through the mother's abdomen when an ear is placed next to it.
  • One theory about babies having hiccups is that they do so as a reflex in order to be able to latch onto the nipple to feed once born.
  • A 33 week old fetal brain and a newborn brain are believed to be at the same developmental level.
  • Only 5% of babies are born on their "due date".
  • The lungs are the last organ to fully develop.
  • The lungs and the placenta determine the timing of birth. When the lungs are mature, they secrete a hormone to the placenta to slow the release of progesterone and triggers the release of Oxytocin which initiates uterine contractions.
  • The pain of child birth can be eased by giving birth squatting, sitting, or standing. Lying on your back will increase the need for medical intervention and Cesarean sections. (I personally like that they added this one!)

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