Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 8th 2013 Contents B28
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, August 8, 2013
If you're one of the 300,000
citizens of T&T who are experiencing
the inconvenience of not having their
first names recorded on their birth
certificates, the Registrar General's
Department, Ministry of Legal Affairs is
happy to announce your hardship is over!
No more swearing to affidavits!
No more time lost verifying your identity!
The law has been amended so that you can have
your first name inserted on your birth certificate.
Simply call 623-2683 to find out what documents
you will need to bring. Then come in to the:
First Names Unit
Registrar General's Department
72-74 South Quay
Port of Spain
Hot Mouth Granny says
It's easy to have your
first name inserted on
your Birth Certificate
Hot Mouth Granny
Gladys Sylvia Seraphina
For newborn babies, taking ethnicity into consid-
eration may help determine how small is too small,
according to Canadian researchers.
They found that birth-weight standards based on
population averages did not predict which babies born
at or near full term were likely to suffer problems
associated with being small for their gestational ages.
"The results are not necessarily surprising, but there
has been controversy regarding whether customising
growth distributions is necessary," said lead author
Gillian Hanley of the School of Population and Public
Health at the University of British Columbia in Van-
Based on these results, adjusting the standards may
be necessary, she told Reuters Health.
Many factors influence birth weight, including a
mother s weight and height, whether she has given
birth before and her ethnicity.
Conditions that restrict a baby s growth during
pregnancy can also cause a newborn to be smaller
than usual. Babies who are not premature, but still
small compared to other full-term infants are at higher
risk for longer hospital stays, infections and other
Hanley and co-author
Patricia Janssen looked at
data on more than 100,000
singleton babies born in
Washington state between
2006 and 2008, 93,000 of
whom were born at a
healthy weight based on
general population averages
and ethnicity-specific stan-
dards. The infants belonged
to white, Chinese or South
Asian ethnic groups. The
researchers used the babies
weights to try to predict
complications after birth, including an Apgar score---
which measures heart rate, breathing, muscle tone,
reflexes and colour---of less than 7 out of 10 at five
minutes after birth.
They also examined admissions to the neonatal
intensive care unit, the need for ventilation, extra long
hospital stays, hypothermia, low blood sugar and infec-
tion, all of which indicate newborn distress.
Newborns considered small at birth, meaning they
were in the lowest 10 per cent of birth weights for the
whole group, tended to have the most problems in
their first days, the team reports in the American
Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
But based on size alone, the researchers were only
able to predict a baby s risk of hypothermia and needing
to stay in the intensive care unit after birth, whereas
considering size in combination with ethnicity predicted
all of the potential problems.
"It s now well known that ethnicity plays an impor-
tant role in foetal growth and that weight references
must be developed and adapted to local populations,"
said Cyril Ferdynus, a biostatistician in Reunion, France,
who was not involved with the study but has researched
Special ethnicity-specific birth weight charts are
already common in hospitals in some countries.
"In UK, over half of hospitals have already introduced
customised charts, and more and more are coming
on board," said Jason Gardosi, director of the Perinatal
Institute in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
But in the US, specialised charts are only used in
research and not yet in clinical care, largely because
clinicians are slow to make changes to practice, Gardosi
said. Other variables should be combined with ethnicity,
he said, since mothers within specific ethnic groups
also come in different shapes and sizes.
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and advice
Based on these results, if more US hospitals incor-
porated ethnicity-specific ranges into charts, they
could more accurately identify the infants that need
to be watched more closely for complications, Hanley
"By more accurately identifying the babies at risk
of these complications, hospitals could save resources
(by not investigating small but healthy infants) and
save a lot of parents the anxiety of being told that
their small but healthy baby is small for gestational
age," she said. (Reuters Health)
Healthy newborn size
can vary with ethnicity
"It's now well
ethnicity plays an
important role in
foetal growth and
references must be
adapted to local
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