Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
A recent Gallup poll has found that they a majority of Americans believe that age 25 or younger is the ideal time for women to start a family, while men should wait until they are age 26 or older. More from Today.com:
The majority of Americans, 58 percent, believe the ideal age for women to start having children is 25 or younger, while the majority, 52 percent, said men should start having children at 26 or older, a recent Gallup poll found.
The average perceived ideal age for each gender to have children differs only slightly: 25 for women and 27 for men, Gallup found. Some 5,100 U.S. adults took part in the survey.
Gallup acknowledged “tension between biology and societal norms” in the results, noting young women may have the best odds of conceiving a healthy child but that rushing to become a parent “doesn’t square with modern Western sensibilities about pursuing higher education and career goals, finding the perfect partner, or simply relishing the experience of young adulthood.”
Gallup also found “significant differences by education and race” in the poll. The proportion of respondents saying the ideal time for a woman to have her first child by age 25 was greater among blacks and Hispanics than among whites.
Image: Expectant couple, via Shutterstock
Add a Comment
Monday, November 4th, 2013
Babies who are exposed to melodies while still in the womb may be able to learn it–and to recognize it when they hear it after they’ve been born, according to a new Finnish study published in the journal PLOS One. More from The New York Times:
For the study, published online last week by PLOS One, Finnish researchers divided 24 pregnant women into two groups. Five times a week, the “learning group” played a CD that included a one-minute rendition of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” which the unborn children heard an average of 170 times before birth. The control group did not hear the recording.
Then the scientists did EEG tests on the children at birth and again at 4 months as they listened to the original tune and a version in which several notes were altered.
The learning group had a larger response to the melody than the control group did, and the difference was still apparent at 4 months. And the amplitude of response to the changed melody correlated with the number of times the infants were exposed to the original melody in utero.
Image: Pregnant woman with music, via Shutterstock
Add a Comment
Friday, November 1st, 2013
A team of researchers from a number of top Boston medical institutions are working together on new research that could help the best sperm from a man’s sample travel better through fluid, increasing its chances of successfully finding and fertilizing a woman’s egg. The research, if successful, could increase the chances of success for couples who undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF). More from Boston.com:
Physicist Erkan Tuzel works in a field that seems just about as far removed as possible from delicate questions about human reproduction; his lab at Worcester Polytechnic Institute develops algorithms to describe the behavior of complex fluids. But after he heard a talk by Harvard Medical School bioengineer Utkan Demirci, who carves microscopically small channels and then allows fluids to flow through them, the two began to talk about collaborating. Their common ground? Designing technology that could cull the healthiest, fastest-moving sperm from the slowpokes.
Doctors trying to help couples reproduce through in vitro fertilization would like to have an easy way to identify and isolate the sperm most likely to result in a baby. Figuring out how to reliably do that, however, may have as much to do with physics as it does with biology.
In real-world experiments, sperm can swim through tiny channels created by Demirci at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Computer modeling by Tuzel could be used to understand how to design those channels so that they select the right sperm.
“Sperm cells interact with each other when in confined geometries,” Tuzel said. “Just like birds when they fly in formation like a flock, similarly through the fluid, the sperm cells interact with each other and they synchronize their tails—they start beating in phase. … How can we use this information to learn from it and utilize it?”
Tuzel was recently awarded a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to build computational tools that could help design systems that sort sperm in real life.
Image: Sperm collection container, via Shutterstock
Add a Comment
Thursday, October 24th, 2013
The definition of a “full term” baby is being honed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who are adjusting the definition in order to better equip parents and hospitals with the knowledge they need to care for babies born between 37 and 42 weeks gestational age. More from Reuters:
“We have increasingly recognized that newborn outcomes are not uniform between 37 and 42 weeks,” Dr. Jeffrey Ecker said.
Babies delivered between 37 weeks and 39 weeks of pregnancy will now be considered “early term,” according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
“Full term” infants will be those born between 39 and 41 weeks.
Babies born between 41 and 42 weeks of pregnancy will be thought of as “late term.” Finally, those born at 42 weeks or later will still be considered “postterm.”
Ecker is the chair of The College’s Committee on Obstetric Practice. He is also a high-risk obstetrician at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
“Language is important in communicating that it’s not just one period of time and to recognize that outcomes do differ,” he told Reuters Health.
A growing body of research has found babies born before 39 weeks are not as developed as those born later.
Babies born after 39 weeks have fewer poor outcomes such as breathing, hearing and learning problems, The College says in its joint statement with the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. The statement was published Tuesday in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
The brain grows by about a third between week 35 and week 39 of pregnancy, according to The College. And a layer of fat to help keep the body warm is added during the last weeks of pregnancy.
Pregnant? Calculate your due date, or find your due-date club.
Image: Pregnant woman’s belly, via Shutterstock
Add a Comment
Monday, October 21st, 2013
The number of women who become pregnant using donor eggs has risen in the last decade, although the number of healthy babies born on time and at a healthy weight remains less than ideal for that group. More from The Associated Press:
That ideal result occurred in about 1 out of 4 donor egg pregnancies in 2010, up from 19 percent a decade earlier, the study found.
Almost 56 percent resulted in a live birth in 2010, and though most of these were generally healthy babies, 37 percent were twins and many were born prematurely, at low birth weights. Less than 1 percent were triplets. Low birth weights are less than about 5½ pounds and babies born that small are at risk for complications including breathing problems, jaundice, feeding difficulties and eye problems.
For women who use in vitro fertilization and their own eggs, the live-birth rate varies by age and is highest — about 40 percent — among women younger than 35.
Women who use IVF with donor eggs are usually older and don’t have viable eggs of their own. Because the donor eggs are from young, healthy women, they have a good chance of success, generally regardless of the recipient’s age.
The average age of women using donor eggs was 41 in 2010 and donors were aged 28 on average; those didn’t change over 10 years.
The study, by researchers at Emory University and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was published online Thursday in the Journal of the American Medical Association and presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s annual meeting in Boston.
Image: Pregnant woman, via Shutterstock
Add a Comment