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UMN expert: Prevention and treatment key elements to reduce infant mortality rates

A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found infant mortality rates in the U.S. declined 2.3 percent between 2013 and 2014, reaching a new low of 582.1 infant deaths per 100,000 live births (about 22,000 deaths a year).

In a recent New York Times article, CDC demographer T.J. Mathews said, “This is potentially the best news we’ve had yet.”

Despite the drop in rate, the U.S. has a higher infant mortality rate than many Western or developed countries.

Health Talk spoke with Wendy Hellerstedt, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor of epidemiology and community health in the University of Minnesota School of Public Health to better understand infant mortality and what can be done to help decrease infant mortality in the U.S.

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In the News: Getting your baby to sleep through the night

One of the trickiest parts of parenthood, especially new parents, is getting your baby to sleep through the night. Not only is it important for your little one to get the sleep they need, it’s important for parents to get enough rest so you can continue to care for your new addition.

University of Minnesota neurologist, sleep expert, and father of three, Michael Howell, M.D., combined personal experience and years of research to develop a five step process to keep babies sleeping throughout the night.

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U of M research: Early elective deliveries make up nearly 4 percent of U.S. births

While the past several years have seen a decline in the rate of elective labor inductions and cesarean deliveries between 37 and 39 weeks gestation, early elective births are still happening nation-wide. Labor induction or cesarean delivery without medical reason before a baby is considered full-term at 39 weeks, or an “early elective delivery,” is associated with health problems for mothers and babies.

New University of Minnesota research published in this month’s edition of the journal Medical Care is the first of its kind to show who is having early elective deliveries, and whether these deliveries happen following labor induction or cesarean.

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How do I get my baby to sleep through the night?

The answer to the question, “How do I get my baby to sleep through the night?” has been the proverbial unicorn or Bigfoot for many parents, probably for many centuries: easy to imagine but much harder to find.

And while parents search for the magic formula to get their little bundles of joy to finally sleep through the night, Health Talk is here to offer five tips and suggestions from our resident sleep expert, Michael Howell, M.D.

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Postpartum Stomach – how soon will you “bounce back?”

After the pregnancy belly gives way to a new bundle of joy, what happens to the postpartum stomach? Does a woman’s body just bounce back after baby?

If you’ve ever walked through a grocery store checkout, passed the smiling faces of celebrities baring their slim postpartum stomachs on the covers of glossy magazines, you’d think bouncing back was the norm.

“As with many things in fashion magazines (hyper-thin models, Botox, plastic surgery and Photoshop to name a few) these kinds of “celebrity success articles” can decrease a woman’s self-esteem and create expectations that we just can’t fulfill,” said Carrie Ann Terrell, M.D., director of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School and director of the Women’s Health Specialists Clinic.

According to Terrell, how quickly a new mom recovers really varies from woman to woman.

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New baby, new worries

Whether British royalty, sports hero, or average Joe, new parents are bound to have plenty of questions about their new babies.

Baby news from both the royal family and Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins has newborns on the minds of many, so to get a few tips on making the transition home a little easier, HealthTalk spoke with Emily Borman-Shoap, M.D., medical director for newborn care at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital.

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