Posts Tagged ‘ Pregnancy ’

Good News (Yes, Really!) About Morning Sickness

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

woman with morning sicknessBelieve it or not, there’s good news for moms-to-be who suffer from morning sickness: New research published in the August issue of the journal Reproductive Toxicology found that the often debilitating, sometimes-all-day nausea and vomiting that can affect as many as 85 percent of pregnant women actually offers a protective effect. According to the study abstract:

“Our analysis reveals a consistent favorable effect of NVP [nausea and vomiting of pregnancy] on rates of miscarriages, congenital malformations, prematurity, and developmental achievements. The effect size was clinically important for miscarriage, malformations and prematurity. In a few studies the protective effects were more prominent in women with moderate–severe NVP than among those with mild or no NVP.” In other words, as bad as those barfy first weeks and months can be, they could mean good things for your baby.

The study isn’t the first to find a protective effect from morning sickness—in fact, the research in Reproductive Toxicology is a meta-analysis of 10 previous studies, reports the Wall Street Journal, that were conducted between 1992 and 2012.

More from WSJ:

The studies involved an estimated 850,000 pregnant women. They examined associations between nausea and vomiting and miscarriage rates, prematurity, birth weight, congenital abnormalities such as cardiac defects and cleft palate, and long-term child development.

The risk of miscarriage was more than three times as high in women without symptoms of nausea and vomiting as in those with symptoms. Women 35 years old or older, who generally have a relatively high risk for miscarriage, appeared to benefit the most from the “protective effect” associated with morning-sickness symptoms, the study said.

It’s important to note, however, that it can be perfectly normal to not have morning sickness, as well.

Morning Sickness During Pregnancy: When to Worry
Morning Sickness During Pregnancy: When to Worry
Morning Sickness During Pregnancy: When to Worry

Image of woman with morning sickness courtesy of Shutterstock

Add a Comment

Mom-to-Be Stress Linked to Higher Rates of Asthma

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Don’t freak out: Scentists are finding that a mom-to-be’s stress levels can have significant effects on a child’s future health, including delays in cognitive development, behavioral issues, and even an increased risk of autism. The latest link? Scientists have found that maternal stress could increase the risk that babies develop allergy-induced asthma.

The study, produced by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, focused on mice, and found that even a single stressful situation could flood the baby’s bloodstream with stress hormones like corticosterone, and lead to a greater chance that the baby develops allergy-based asthma after birth.

What’s the takeaway? Do what you can to relax, unwind, and reduce stress throughout your pregnancy, to help protect your baby’s health.

To keep up with the latest news for your kiddo, sign up for our Parents Daily newsletter.

Stress During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Stress During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Stress During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?

 

Add a Comment

Study: Babies Worldwide Are Strikingly Similar in Size—If Mom’s Healthy

Monday, July 7th, 2014

How do babies worldwide measure up? Pretty strikingly similar, if the baby’s moms are healthy, according to a new international study by INTERGROWTH-21st, led by Oxford University.

The study, published in The Lancet, Diabetes & Endocrinology, showed that while there’s a huge disparity in newborn size that’s often been attributed to race and ethnicity, the bigger factors in determining a healthy newborn size are a mother’s health, educational level and nutritional status. In 60,000 pregnancies reviewed, from urban areas in Brazil, China, India, Italy, Kenya, Oman, the UK and USA, only 4 percent of the growth and birth size difference could be attributed to the baby’s ethnicity. Instead, the mother’s health, nutrition and education directly impacted the baby’s growth during gestation, and after birth.

According to Science Daily: “Currently we are not all equal at birth. But we can be,” said the lead author Professor Jose Villar of the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Oxford. “We can create a similar start for all by making sure mothers are well educated and nourished, by treating infection and by providing adequate antenatal care.”

Keep up with the latest pregnancy news by signing up for Parents newsletters.

Watch Your Baby Grow
Watch Your Baby Grow
Watch Your Baby Grow

Image: Newborn baby by  Ventura/ Shutterstock.com

Add a Comment

Autism Linked to Pesticide Exposure During Pregnancy

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Pregnant women who are exposed to chemical pesticides, especially those used to treat large farm fields, may be more likely to have babies who are later diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other developmental delay.  A new study conducted at the University of California Davis reported these findings–the third major study to link pesticide exposure with autism rates–but stopped short of saying that pesticide exposure is definitely a cause of ASD.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest numbers suggest that 1 in 68 American children has an autism spectrum disorder, with its causes remaining one of the most vexing mysteries in modern medicine.  The debate over whether vaccines cause autism is ongoing despite copious research disproving any link, and a recent British study found that genetics may play as much of a role as whether a child is autistic as environmental exposure does.

Reuters has more on the new study, which was conducted in California where agricultural pesticide use is carefully reported and mapped:

For the new study, the researchers used those maps to track exposures during pregnancy for the mothers of 970 children.

The children included 486 with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), 168 with a developmental delay and 316 with typical development.

….

In the new study, about a third of mothers had lived within a mile of fields treated with pesticides, most commonly organophosphates.

Children of mothers exposed to organophosphates were 60 percent more likely to have an ASD than children of non-exposed mothers, the authors report in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Early Signs of Autism
Early Signs of Autism
Early Signs of Autism

Image: Tractor spraying a field, via Shutterstock

Add a Comment

Nutrition May Make ‘Neural Tube’ Birth Defects More Common Among Hispanics

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

A set of birth defects of the brain and spine, called neural tube defects, have been found by a new study to be more common among babies with Hispanic mothers.  The March of Dimes report also found that Hispanic mothers are more likely to give birth prematurely–both findings are possibly linked to nutritional deficiencies more common to that community.

More from HealthDay News:

This report, updating a similar 2008 paper by the nonprofit foundation, also highlights the fact that a greater proportion of Hispanic women have babies each year than any other population in the United States, making it the fastest-growing ethnic group in the country.

“One of the things that caught our eye was, while Hispanics represent 17 percent of the population, 24 percent of premature babies are Hispanic,” said Dr. Edward McCabe, senior vice president and chief medical officer of the March of Dimes, an organization aimed at improving the health of mothers and babies.

Hispanic women may be more prone to giving birth prematurely — defined as before the 37th week of pregnancy — because of risk factors such as being three times as likely as white mothers to be younger than 17 years old. They are also less likely to have graduated from high school and more likely to lack health insurance. The rate of preterm births among Hispanics was about 12 percent higher than that of white mothers in 2012, the report said.

Neural tube defects, which include conditions such as spina bifida and anencephaly, are malformations of the brain and spinal cord that can cause death or disability.

Experts suggested that Hispanic mothers are significantly more likely to give birth to babies with these birth defects than white or black women because corn masa flour is a staple of the diet of a majority of Hispanics. Corn masa flour, used to make tortillas and other foods, is not fortified with folic acid, a B vitamin that can help prevent neural tube defects. Wheat flour manufacturers are required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to fortify that type of flour with folic acid, also called folate.

Also, Hispanic women are less likely to report taking a multivitamin containing folic acid prior to becoming pregnant, according to the report.

“This is why the March of Dimes is striving to have masa cornmeal fortified with folate,” said Dr. Diana Ramos, an associate clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles.

“Corn masa flour is not part of the standard American diet, so, since 2012, we’ve been working on this, making progress slowly,” added Ramos, co-chair of the newly established March of Dimes Hispanic Advisory Council.

McCabe said the March of Dimes has launched a Spanish-language site, Nacersano.org, that offers information about the specific health needs of Hispanics. He said a variety of outreach efforts, including the website and new advisory council, are needed to help raise awareness in the Hispanic community about the need for folic acid consumption and prenatal health.

Image: Pregnant woman, via Shutterstock

Add a Comment