Tuesday, January 28th, 2014
About half of American women who are of reproductive age don’t discuss reproductive issues with their doctors, compounding some misinformation and confusion around fertility and pregnancy, according to new research published in the journal Fertility and Sterility. More from Time.com:
As a result, the researchers, from the Yale School of Medicine, found that women between ages 18 and 40 weren’t aware of some the important factors that influence fertility and their ability to get pregnant, as well as about basic prenatal practices once they were expecting.
Among the most notable findings, which were published in the journal, Fertility & Sterility :
- 30% of the women reported that they only visited a reproductive health provider less than once a year or not at all.
- 50% of the women did not know that taking multivitamins and folic acid are recommended to avoid birth defects.
- A little over 25% of women did not know that things like STDs, smoking and obesity impact fertility.
- 20% did not know that aging can impact fertility and increase rates of miscarriage
- 50% of the women thought that having sex multiple times in a day increased their likelihood of getting pregnant
- Over 33% of women thought that different sex positions can increase their odds of getting pregnant
- 10% did not know that they should have sex before ovulation to increase the chances of getting pregnant instead of after ovulation
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Image: Pregnant woman, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
Pregnant women should all be screened for gestational diabetes, a government task force advised this week, lending support to a practice that many obstetricians already follow. More from NBC News:
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force found an overall benefit to screening and treatment, including a reduced risk of preeclampsia in pregnant patients and of having an overly large baby and birth-related injuries to the newborn.
The task force’s recommendation, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, noted that 96 percent of obstetricians screen for the condition, and that other medical groups also recommend screening. The group said women with no history of diabetes should be screened after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
This was the panel’s first statement on gestational diabetes since 2008, when it found insufficient evidence to make a recommendation on screening. Since then, further studies have showed that the benefits outweigh the harms, said Dr. Wanda Nicholson, a past task force member who was instrumental in the recommendation.
“Now we have well-conducted clinical trials that clearly show a benefit for screening, where the results show a benefit for mom and baby,” she said. “The additional studies that have been done now clearly show a benefit and minimal harm.”
About 240,000 of the 4 million women who give birth each year develop gestational diabetes, a condition on the rise as obesity and other risk factors increase among pregnant women, the task force said. The condition occurs during pregnancy when the body does not produce enough insulin or use it correctly, leaving the body unable to convert starches and sugars from food into energy.
What you NEED to know about Gestational Diabetes.
Image: Pregnant woman, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, January 9th, 2014
A Texas woman who collapsed and was declared brain dead after suffering an apparent blood clot in her lungs is remaining on life support despite her family’s wishes, the hospital citing Texas law prohibiting removing a pregnant woman from the machines. Thirty-three year-old Marlise Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant at the time of her collapse. More from The New York Times:
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Mrs. Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant, the doctor said, and Texas is one of more than two dozen states that prohibit, with varying degrees of strictness, medical officials from cutting off life support to a pregnant patient.
More than a month later, Mrs. Munoz remains connected to life-support machines on the third floor of the I.C.U., where a medical team monitors the heartbeat of the fetus, now in its 20th week of development. Her case has become a strange collision of law, medicine, the ethics of end-of-life care and the issues swirling around abortion — when life begins and how it should be valued.
“It’s not a matter of pro-choice and pro-life,” said Mrs. Munoz’s mother, Lynne Machado, 60. “It’s about a matter of our daughter’s wishes not being honored by the state of Texas.”
Mrs. Munoz’s father, Ernest Machado, 60, a former police officer and an Air Force veteran, put it even more bluntly. “All she is is a host for a fetus,” he said on Tuesday. “I get angry with the state. What business did they have delving into these areas? Why are they practicing medicine up in Austin?”
Mrs. Munoz’s parents said they wanted to see the law overturned, but they have not sought any legal action against the hospital, though they have not ruled it out either.
The hospital maintains that it is following the law, although several experts in medical ethics said they believed the hospital was misinterpreting it. A crucial issue is whether the law applies to pregnant patients who are brain-dead as opposed to those in a coma or a vegetative state. The law, first passed by the Texas Legislature in 1989 and amended in 1999, states that a person may not withdraw or withhold “life-sustaining treatment” from a pregnant patient.
Mr. and Mrs. Machado said the hospital had made it clear to them that their daughter was brain-dead, but hospital officials have declined to comment on Mrs. Munoz’s care and condition, creating uncertainty over whether the hospital has formally declared her brain-dead.
A spokeswoman for the J.P.S. Health Network, the publicly financed hospital district in Tarrant County that runs the 537-bed John Peter Smith Hospital, defended the hospital’s actions. “In all cases, J.P.S. will follow the law as it applies to health care in the state of Texas,” the spokeswoman, Jill Labbe, said. “Every day, we have patients and families who must make difficult decisions. Our position remains the same. We follow the law.”
Friday, January 3rd, 2014
A new study has found that women who use long-term birth control methods like intrauterine devices (IUDs) after having a baby are less likely to become pregnant again quickly than women who rely on other methods of birth control. More from Reuters:
The World Health Organization endorses a two-year period between birth and a woman’s next conception.
Still, one third of all repeat pregnancies in the U.S. occur within 18 months of the previous child’s birth. And a growing body of evidence shows this close timing increases the risk a baby will be born early or at a low birth weight.
The time between pregnancies “cannot be explained only by the mother’s preferences,” Heike Thiel de Bocanegra said.
She and her colleagues from the University of California, San Francisco investigated the link between access to birth control or family planning services and pregnancy spacing.
In the current study of 117,644 California women who’d had at least two children, 64 percent waited 18 months or more between pregnancies and the rest did not.
All women included in the study filed claims through the state’s Medicaid program for the poor, called Medi-Cal, or through health providers offering state-funded family planning services.
The researchers matched data on claims for contraceptives to California’s birth registry.
“We assumed that access to contraception . . . would improve birth spacing,” Dr. Anitra Beasley wrote in an email to Reuters Health.
“This study actually examines this assumption,” she said.
Beasley, who studies family planning at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, was not part of the current research.
Women who used long-acting reversible contraception, including IUDs or implants, were four times more likely to wait at least 18 months to conceive again, compared to those who only used “barrier” contraceptives like condoms or spermicide.
More than half of women started using birth control pills, the ring or the patch after giving birth. They were twice as likely to wait at least 18 months between pregnancies as condom users.
Those relationships stood firm even when the researchers looked at possible influences like the mother’s race, education, age and whether she was born in the U.S., according to the report published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Image: Birth control words, via Shutterstock
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Monday, December 30th, 2013
Women who regularly eat tree nuts or peanuts during pregnancy may be less likely to give birth to babies who later develop nut allergies, a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has found. More from CNN.com:
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is the first to demonstrate that a mother who eats nuts during pregnancy may help build up a baby’s tolerance to them after birth, its lead author, Dr. Michael Young, told CNN.
The effect seemed to be strongest in women who ate the most peanuts or tree nuts — five or more servings per week, according to the study, which controlled for factors such as family history of nut allergies and other dietary practices.
Peanut and tree nut allergies tend to overlap, according to the researchers.
Earlier studies indicated that nut consumption during pregnancy either didn’t have any effect or actually raised the risk of allergies in children.
However, the authors of the latest study say those studies were based on less reliable data and conflict with more recent research suggesting that early exposure to nuts can reduce the risk of developing allergies to them.
There is currently no formally recognized medical guidance for nut consumption during pregnancy or infancy.
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Image: Pregnant woman eating nuts, via Shutterstock
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