Monday, October 21st, 2013
The causes of miscarriage are commonly misunderstood by many Americans, a new national survey has shown. For example, most respondents said they believe miscarriage is rare, and that emotional stress is the major cause of miscarriage–two incorrect notions. More from LiveScience:
These false beliefs often lead to feelings of guilt or blame in parents who experience a miscarriage, according to the researchers.
“Miscarriage is a traditionally taboo subject that is rarely discussed publicly – even though nearly 1 million occur in the U.S. each year, making it the most common complication of pregnancy,” study researcher Dr. S. Zev Williams, an OB-GYN at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, said in a statement.
Williams and his colleagues surveyed 1,083 men and women in the United States about their personal experiences and beliefs about miscarriage, the causes and frequency of miscarriages and their emotional impact on people who experience them.
About 65 percent of those surveyed said they thought miscarriage was rare, when in fact, it occurs in one out of four pregnancies, the researchers said. However, 66 percent reported that the emotional impact is severe and potentially equivalent to losing a child, which is a reality for many people who experience one.
Chromosomal abnormalities are in fact the most common cause of miscarriages, accounting for 60 to 80 percent. But among the survey respondents, 76 percent listed a stressful event as a common cause, 74 percent cited longstanding stress and 64 percent cited lifting a heavy object. Forty-one percent said they believed miscarriages may be due to sexually transmitted diseases, 31 percent cited previous abortions, and 28 percent cited implanted long-term forms of birth control.
Nearly a quarter of those surveyed falsely believed that a mother not wanting the pregnancy could result in a miscarriage.
Results of the survey were presented Oct. 17 at the meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) in Boston.
Image: Sad woman, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, October 15th, 2013
The chemical compound called bisphenol-A (BPA), which is found in many plastics and food can linings, has been linked to a heightened miscarriage risk in women who struggled to conceive or have experienced repeated miscarriages. The finding comes from a new study presented this week to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. More from The Associated Press:
The work is not nearly enough to prove a link, but it adds to ‘‘the biological plausibility’’ that BPA might affect fertility and other aspects of health, said Dr. Linda Giudice, a California biochemist who is president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. The study was to be presented Monday at the group’s annual conference in Boston. Last month, ASRM and an obstetricians group urged more attention to environmental chemicals and their potential hazards for pregnant women.
BPA, short for bisphenol-A, and certain other environmental chemicals can have very weak, hormone-like effects. Tests show BPA in nearly everyone’s urine, though the chemical has been removed from baby bottles and many reusable drink containers in recent years. The federal Food and Drug Administration says BPA is safe as used now in other food containers.
Most miscarriages are due to egg or chromosome problems, and a study in mice suggested BPA might influence that risk, said Dr. Ruth Lathi, a Stanford University reproductive endocrinologist.
With a federal grant, she and other researchers studied 115 newly pregnant women with a history of infertility or miscarriage; 68 wound up having miscarriages and 47 had live births.
Researchers say it is virtually impossible to avoid exposure to BPA completely. The AP offers some tips on how to minimize exposure:
To minimize BPA exposure, avoid cooking or warming food in plastic because heat helps the chemical leak out, she said. Don’t leave water bottles in the sun, limit use of canned foods and avoid handling cash register receipts, which often are coated with resins that contain BPA.
Image: Food can, via Shutterstock
Get our Everything Pregnancy blogger’s take on the link between BPA and your miscarriage risk here.
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Thursday, August 15th, 2013
With many women waiting to get married and have children, the number of couples who pursue medical treatments to become pregnant seems to be growing exponentially. But new data from federal researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics shows that the national infertility rate has remained virtually unchanged for the past 20 years. More from NBC News:
“Infertility rates have come down a little bit,” says Dr. Anjani Chandra, researcher at the NCHS, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “That surprises people because they think it is going up. In fact, it really hasn’t been the case.”
Chandra and colleagues looked at data from the National Survey on Family Growth, in which more than 22,000 people were interviewed face to face between 2006 and 2010. The survey was also done in 1982 and 2002.
The surveys showed that 8.5 percent of married women aged 15 to 44 were infertile in 1982 – defined as having been married and having unprotected sex for 12 months without becoming pregnant. This fell to 6 percent of the same age group, married or unmarried, in 2006-2010.
When they added in women who could finally get pregnant but who miscarried before giving birth, the number rose to 11 percent
“Contrary to popular perceptions based on infertility service use and media coverage about biological clocks, we still don’t see that,” Chandra told NBC News.
It hasn’t changed for men, either.
“Some form of infertility … was reported by 9.4 percent of men aged 15–44 and 12 percent of men aged 25–44 in 2006–2010, similar to levels seen in 2002,” Chandra’s team writes in the report.
One obvious answer would seem to be increased use of fertility treatments. Since 1982, in vitro fertilization or IVF has been perfected, and more than 163,000 treatments were done in 2011 – just about double the number done a decade before. Federal law requires doctors and clinics to report fertility treatments and success rates to the CDC.
But this data doesn’t show whether 163,000 separate people were treated, and the new statistics suggest that in fact more people aren’t being treated. Instead, individuals may be undergoing more treatments in the same year, says Chandra.
That’s because the percentage of women who have ever gotten fertility services was the same in 2006-2010 as compared to 2002 – 11.9 percent in both times.
Dr. Richard Reindollar of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine said the findings were encouraging.
“Even though the ages at which women in the United States have their children have been increasing since 1995, the percentage of the population suffering from infertility or impaired fecundity has not increased,” Reindollar said in a statement.
Image: Fertility lab, via Shutterstock
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Monday, March 18th, 2013
The Academy Award-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow suffered a miscarriage while trying to add to her family, she told The UK newspaper Daily Mail’s Sunday magazine in an interview. Paltrow, 40, is married to to Chris Martin, the lead singer of the rock band Coldplay. The couple has two children, Apple, 8, and Moses, 6. PEOPLE.com has more:
“My children ask me to have a baby all the time. And you never know, I could squeeze one more in,” she says. “I am missing my third. I’m thinking about it.”
Without elaborating on when her pregnancy troubles occurred, she adds, “I had a really bad experience when I was pregnant with my third. It didn’t work out and I nearly died. So I am like, ‘Are we good here, or should we go back and try again?’ “
However, Paltrow, who also recently told InStyle she was open to the idea of having more children, finds more certainty in the man behind her family.
“Regardless of what happens in our marriage, I chose the best father,” she says of her rocker husband. “He is so good to the children, and to know that you had kids with such a good man is like a real weight off you. We are committed co-parents, we make all decisions together, and we lean on each other for support as well.”
Image: Gwyneth Paltrow, via DFree / Shutterstock.com
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Wednesday, March 13th, 2013
Bill Arnold and his wife, Dr. Jennifer Arnold, have adopted a little boy who was born with dwarfism, a condition that the Arnolds both live with and chronicle in their TLC reality show “The Little Couple.” They had been attempting to have a biological child using a gestational surrogate, but their surrogate suffered a miscarriage in November 2011. More from PEOPLE.com on the Arnold’s son, William, who is 3 years old and is from China:
“We are thrilled to announce that we have adopted a beautiful young boy from China,” the couple said in a statement to PEOPLE. “We are so proud to welcome William to our family and look forward to bringing him home.”
On their TV series last March, the couple explored adoption after their surrogate suffered a miscarriage.
“My entire life, even before I met Bill, I always thought, ‘Oh, I’d love to adopt a child who is another little person,’ ” Arnold said on the episode. “And Bill and I talked about it after we got married, and I think we both realized we both would like that.”
The new season of “The Little Couple” will premiere on April 30 at 10 p.m. EST.
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