Posts Tagged ‘ pregnant women ’

Why C-Sections Should Only Be Performed When Medically Necessary

Monday, April 13th, 2015

In delivery roomThe number of women giving birth via cesarean section has been on the rise for many years now: Approximately 33 percent of births in the United States are C-sections, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO); however, WHO recently released a statement saying this procedure should only be performed if it’s absolutely medically necessary.

Physicians often turn to C-sections as the safest option when the baby is in an abnormal position or if the mother has been in labor for too long, but they are often performed when vaginal birth could still be viable option.

“For nearly 30 years, the international healthcare community has considered the ideal rate for cesarean sections to be between 10 percent and 15 percent,” the WHO report states.

Related: All About C-Sections: Before, During, and After

Although C-sections are one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the world, they can be harmful when unessentially performed. “As a country’s rate moves to 10 percent the rate of mother and child deaths decreases, but there’s no evidence to show that rates over 10 percent have any effect on mother and child mortality.”

The report also emphasizes the importance of doctors treating every situation individually, and confirms that C-sections effectively save maternal and infant lives when medically required. “Every effort should be made to provide cesarean sections to women in need, rather than striving to achieve a specific rate.”

Plus: Sign up for our daily newsletters to keep up with the latest news on child health and development.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Birth Stories: Emergency C-section
Birth Stories: Emergency C-section
Birth Stories: Emergency C-section

Image: Pregnant woman in delivery room via Shutterstock

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Good Timing and New IVF Test May Boost Pregnancy Success Rates

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Embryo CulturesIVF success rates depend on a number of factors such as the woman’s age, reproductive history, and lifestyle. In Britain, more than 60,000 cycles of IVF are performed every year, but only about a quarter (24 percent) of those treatments are successful.

Scientists believe that bad timing can be one reason for the lack of success, because an embryo wasn’t transferred to a woman’s body at the right time. To help improve IVF success rates, scientists in Madrid have now created a test that will identify the ideal window of time for transferring an embryo.

This test will analyze genes within the woman’s womb lining to determine when they have entered into a receptive phase.

“For most women there is a two to four day stretch when the lining, or endometrium, sends out crucial chemical signals that allow the embryo to attach. For some women the fertile window is shifted earlier or later in the cycle or is unusually brief, however,” reports The Guardian.

A preliminary study was conducted on 85 women who had previously gone through multiple rounds of IVF with no success. But when gene analysis was used, one-third of the participants became pregnant.

If approved, this test is likely to increase IVF success rates significantly, which may be beneficial for millennial women who are choosing IVF.

“I think it will make a significant difference in the expectations of couples and how we can explain failures,” said Professor Juan Garcia-Velasco, who is currently leading an international trial of the test. “Until now, the endometrium was kind of a black box. Now we can say this was the problem and this is what we can do about it.”

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Trying to Conceive: 5 Common Fertility Mistakes
Trying to Conceive: 5 Common Fertility Mistakes
Trying to Conceive: 5 Common Fertility Mistakes

Image: Preparing cultures via Shutterstock

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Pregnant Women Are Gaining More Weight Than Needed

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Pregnant BellyGaining weight during pregnancy is inevitable—after all, your body is carrying another human—but moms need to be careful about packing on unneeded pounds or extra “baby weight.”

New research confirms that nearly half of women (47 percent) gain more than they should while pregnant, which can have a potentially negative impact on both the infant and mother.

Many professionals, including Dr. Karen Cooper, ob-gyn and director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Be Well Moms program, believe misconceptions are to blame. “Most women feel that pregnancy is the time when weight does not matter and it is an opportunity to eat as much as desired,” she said. “Most believe the myth that the weight will be lost quickly and easily after delivery.”

The study, which was published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, collected information from more than 44,000 mothers who gave birth between 2010 and 2011. The women were separated into categories based on whether their body mass index (BMI) were deemed underweight, at a normal weight, overweight, or obese.

Only 32 percent of the study’s participants gained an amount that fell within the recommended guidelines for their weight category. According to Health Day, the “Institute of Medicine guidelines recommend gaining 25 to 35 pounds if normal weight at the start of pregnancy; 28 to 40 pounds if underweight; 15 to 25 pounds if overweight; and 11 to 20 pounds if obese at the start of pregnancy.”

The findings showed a direct relationship between high BMI and more weight gain during pregnancy than was recommended. Those who were overweight or obese prior to becoming pregnant were two to three times more likely to gain excess weight, than those at a normal weight.

Not only does a mother’s weight influence how large the newborn will be, but gaining too much weight can increase the risk of premature birth. The newborn is also more likely to develop conditions like hypertension and gestational diabetes, according to Dr. Cooper.

Experts do not recommend dieting during pregnancy, so it’s best to regulate your weight by making health-conscious choices when it comes to eating food and staying active—and to not let any weight worries get the best of you.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Weight and Pregnancy: Gain Only What You Need
Weight and Pregnancy: Gain Only What You Need
Weight and Pregnancy: Gain Only What You Need

Image: Pregnant belly via Shutterstock

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ANOTHER Reason to Avoid BPA During Pregnancy

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

PregnantBellyNew research suggests that prenatal exposure to bisphenol A, or BPA, may cause your child to develop health issues, like diabetes and heart disease, later in life. BPA is an hormone-disrupting chemical used to manufacture plastics, such as plastic bottles, metal cans, and even cash register receipts.

The study, which was published in the journal Endocrinology, reveals that exposure to the chemical can potentially cause a type of oxidative stress, called nitrosative stress, in the mother and unborn baby. Oxidative stress occurs when the body cannot neutralize free radicals (or highly-reactive chemicals) quickly enough to correct an imbalance.

Data was collected from 24 pregnant women to measure the effect of BPA exposure. During the first trimester, blood was drawn to evaluate the women’s BPA levels. Then the women were divided into two groups—those with low levels of BPA and those with high levels. After the babies were delivered, blood from the umbilical cords was tested to conclude how much chemical byproduct was created.

“The blood analysis revealed that the human mothers exposed to higher levels of BPA, and their infants, showed signs of oxidative stress caused by overexposure to nitric oxide-derived free radicals,” reports ScienceDaily.com. There were large amounts of chemical byproducts in the blood.

The FDA states that BPA is not harmful at the current levels that it occurs in our foods, but many studies provide evidence to dispute this claim. A recent study noted the dangers of prenatal exposure to phthalates, another chemical found in plastics. All in all, it’s better to be safe, and expecting moms should limit their exposure to the chemical until there is firm scientific consensus about BPA’s affects.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Pregnancy Myths: What Should You Believe?
Pregnancy Myths: What Should You Believe?
Pregnancy Myths: What Should You Believe?

Image: Pregnant Woman via Shuttershock

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Should Pregnant Women Avoid Eating Tuna?

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Should Pregnant Women Eat TunaConsumer Reports published a special report today saying that women who are pregnant or nursing should avoid eating all forms of tuna due a high potential for mercury exposure.

These remarks come after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published a combined statement in June suggesting that pregnant women eat between 8 and 12 ounces (that’s 2 to 3 servings) of fish per week.

This was the first time either organization had ever recommended a minimum amount of fish that should be consumed, LA Weekly reported, though they have made maximum consumption directives in the past. Their guidelines cited important nutritional benefits that can come from eating fish such as improving growth and development before birth and during infancy.

While the FDA and EPA recommendations do say that pregnant women should monitor the types of fish they’re eating to limit mercury exposure, Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives for Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, told The Washington Post simply, “We encourage pregnant women to avoid all tuna.” Mercury exposure before birth can result in neurological disorders and impair development of a baby’s brain and nervous system, among other potential risks, the EPA states.

Not surprisingly, the National Fisheries Institute took issue with CR’s conclusions. In a statement, it said: “Though we urged CR to do a thorough, balanced and science-based job, that obviously did not happen. Minimal research would have presented reporters literally hundreds of independent seafood studies from the FDA to the World Health Organization that clearly demonstrate the net benefit gained from eating seafood, like tuna.”

Confused now? If you’re pregnant, ask your healthcare provider about what’s best for you and your baby. And read about these five simple ways to eat healthier during your pregnancy.

How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy: Making a Healthy Snack
How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy: Making a Healthy Snack
How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy: Making a Healthy Snack

Photo of tuna courtesy of Shutterstock.

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