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Duggar Family Expecting 20th Baby: Obstetrician Offers Advice

OMG, Michelle Duggar is pregnant again.  Is she competing with the wife of Feodor Vassilyev?  Vassilyev was pregnant 27 times between 1725 and 1765 and gave birth to 16 pairs of twins, 7 sets of triplets and four sets of quadruplets. 67 children survived infancy making her the woman who had the most documented number of children in the world. Vassilyev had a history of multiple births. What’s Duggar’s excuse?

I’ve written about Duggar before out of genuine concern and received over 2,000 comments on the Basil and Spice website.  Many were unkind.  People like Duggar because of her affable personality but want to ignore the facts: with each subsequent pregnancy, her life becomes fraught with danger.  Her last pregnancy was extremely high-risk, complicated by pre-eclampsia and the emergency premature delivery of her daughter who only weighed 1.3 pounds at birth. It was a very close call. According to Answers.com, the Duggar family gets paid an estimated $25,000 to $75,000 per episode on the reality television show on Channel TLC. So, is it perhaps the show’s ratings that have prompted this 45 year old mother of 19 children to have yet another child? Is it the Baby-Doll syndrome where women have multiple children because they like the baby doll effect of having a newborn? I’m still scratching my head. However, I would be remiss if I did not, as an obstetrician offer some advice (albeit unsolicited) regarding the dangers of extreme parity (aka a great number of pregnancies). It was the same advice I offered almost 2 years ago:

  1. Mrs. Duggar, you are 45 years old and have what’s known in obstetrics as Advanced Maternal Age. This condition predisposes you to several high-risk conditions including pre-eclampsia, preterm labor and a host of other issues.
  2. You’ve carried 19 children in your uterus and its muscles are stretched to the max. Post-partum hemorrhage lies high on the list as a future complication and is the most common cause of maternal death in the industrialized world.
  3. You’ve also had a cesarean section and now have the potential to have a placental abruption (early placenta separation from the uterus) as well as a placenta accreta (the placenta sticks to the uterine incision and is extremely difficult to remove).

The Bible says to go forth and multiply and you’ve followed directions well. Now pat yourself on the back and give your body a well deserved rest. You escaped serious harm because of Divine Intervention and a skilled medical staff. Please, do not push the envelope.

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway*


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4 Responses to “Duggar Family Expecting 20th Baby: Obstetrician Offers Advice”

  1. crystal kleist lea says:

    o love you people keep ot up have baby you are my favorite people

  2. Elena says:

    …and yet, as a physician you should know that every pregnancy is different. I had a stillbirth of my sixth child at age 42. But my full term seventh baby at 46 was born just fine with no complications and a fairly easy pregnancy. Instead of chastising Mrs. Duggar, maybe you OB’s could figure out what it is that makes conception so easy for you so you could pass it along to your other patients who have been contracepting for 20 years and now want medical science to give them a baby.

  3. Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway says:

    Thank you for your comment, Elena. Yes, every pregnancy is different and unique. I often tell patients, they have the same uterus but there’s a different baby occupying it when they compare present pregnancies to those of the past. I am not judging Mrs. Duggar, I am simply stating facts regarding the extremely high-risk conditions associated with a uterus that’s been stretched during 19 previous pregnancies. Mrs. Duggar has also experienced pre-eclampsia and premature birth. Because she developed pre-eclampsia at such an early gestational age (25 weeks), the chances that this will recur again in a subsequent pregnancy is extremely high at a rate of 20%. Ultimately, it is Mrs. Duggar who will make the decision to conceive again but I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss issues that she should be made aware of. Thanks again for your comments.

  4. anonymo says:

    Duggars are nasty. They don’t have time for their kids and keep making more. And jimboob is on a “free” healthcare package left over from his days of helping santorum write crappy legislation. That’s right. They live on welfare and exploiting their own lil muppets.

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