November 24, 2013 at 1:00 am Comments (0)
If it’s not obvious to or known by most women, wrong lifestyle choices could lead to risks in pregnancy and giving birth.
This revelation, although not surprising anymore, was confirmed by a group of international researchers. The group’s study, published in BMJ via Medical News Today, cites a number of lifestyle factors that women should consider changing for the sake of their babies.
Researchers from Ireland, New Zealand, and the UK revealed some of the factors that could prevent risks during pregnancy:
- Eating fruit seems to be one of the factors that results in a healthy pregnancy. The study found that women who ate more fruit a month before pregnancy had lower risks during labor.
- Women who continue to work under paid employment 15 weeks into pregnancy were also found to have lower probability of developing complications during childbirth.
- Keeping healthy blood pressure also helps. For those who are not yet hypertensive, a healthy lifestyle must be maintained: reduce weight, exercise, lower salt intake and alcohol use. The study further deduced that a drop of 5 mm Hg in blood pressure could result in as much as a 3% decrease in pregnancy risks.
The study looked into more than 5,600 pregnancy cases where monitoring was performed at 15-20 weeks of gestation for any signs of birthing risks. Out of the respondents, 61% were found to have healthy and uncomplicated pregnancies. On the other hand, risks that stood out were smaller-sized babies in comparison to their age, high blood pressure during pregnancy, preeclampsia and premature births.
November 23, 2013 at 1:00 am Comments (0)
Children born prematurely are given injection shots of glucocorticoids to ensure that their lungs develop properly. These substances have the same function as cortisol, a hormone naturally present in the body.
A recent study discovered a link between these steroid injections and a heightened risk of developing attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as well as other similar conditions. The research team, led by Alina Rodriguez of the Imperial College London’s School of Public Health, released the results in the journal PLoS One last November 22.
The scope of the study included 222 children who were born prematurely, 37 of which were from mothers who received glucocorticoid shots prior to giving birth.
Rodriguez explained the reason behind the study. “There are a lot of studies that have found links between stress in pregnancy and effects on children’s mental health, especially ADHD, and this might be related to cortisol,” said Rodriguez in a news item. She also shared the team’s insights on the link between ADHD and the steroid shot. “Synthetic glucocorticoids mimic the biological reaction when the mother is stressed, so we wanted to see if babies who were exposed to this treatment are affected similarly in terms of mental health outcomes.”
The study found a link but not a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Because the scope was limited to only a few babies, Rodriguez hopes that more studies related to this condition will arise in the future.
November 18, 2013 at 4:28 pm Comments (0)
If you think your eyes have absolutely no relation to your reproductive health, think again.
Results from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2005 to 2008 showed that females who take birth control pills for at least three years are more likely to contract glaucoma. Survey respondents included about 3,400 females 40 years old and above.
Study team lead Dr. Shan Lin of the University of California, San Francisco said that this finding should not make women panic, but rather provide the necessary information to go through preventive screening. “Women who have taken oral contraceptives for three or more years should be screened for glaucoma and followed closely by an ophthalmologist, especially if they have any other existing risk factors,” Dr. Lin said in a news item.
While the exact science behind the correlation between the eye disease and the contraceptive pill have not been identified yet, earlier studies suggested that one of the factors that could cause glaucoma is estrogen. Most birth control medications contain a combination of progestin and estrogen. In addition, researchers recommend that the findings be a basis for more studies to establish a causal relationship between the two health conditions.
Other factors that could lead to glaucoma include being black, regularly applying pressure on the eye, defects in vision, and family history.
Findings of the study were released during the American Academy of Ophthalmology yearly meeting conducted today.
October 31, 2013 at 8:22 pm Comment (1)
A little over a month after news broke about heavily pregnant bodybuilder Lea-Ann Ellison still lifting weights at eight months pregnant, a new study confirms the benefits of exercise to rearing healthy children.
A joint study by scientists from the U.S. and Germany discovered that children born of mothers who exercised while pregnant will grow up to have healthy hearts during adulthood. Team leads Dr. Sean Newcomer (from California State University) and Dr. Martin Bahls (from Universitätsmedizin Greifswald in Germany) shared the breakthrough discovery in a news release.
“Our study was the first to demonstrate that maternal exercise during pregnancy significantly impacts vascular function in adult offspring,” the doctors said. The scientists believe that the benefit of exercise lies in the fact that the child’s arteries are developed to become more resistant to potential heart problems.” A second important aspect of the findings in our study is that previous research identified the endothelium, which is the single-cell layer lining all blood vessels, to be susceptible to foetal-programming interventions.”
While their experiment was conducted in pigs, the researchers are positive that the same effect would be translated to humans. According to the scientists, a pig’s body responds to physical activity in the same way as humans, hence their hope that this development will also apply to the human body.
The study was published recently in the journal Experimental Physiology.
October 15, 2013 at 12:41 am Comments (0)
Reproductive breakthroughs have gone far and wide since the inception of the test tube baby in the late 1970s. Now, a comprehensive report has stated that the world has produced about 5 million children out of fertility treatments.
The report, released October 14 at this year’s conference by the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS), revealed how data has ballooned from only short of a hundred thousand assisted fertility cases in 1990 to the current number. Richard Kennedy, board member of IFFS, said in a news report that this is breakthrough data for the medical world.
“The number of babies born through [assisted reproductive technologies] is now about the same as the population of a U.S. state such as Colorado, or a country such as Lebanon or Ireland,” Kennedy shared.
Assisted reproduction techniques, such as in vitro fertilization, have spread across the globe rapidly. In fact, Kennedy shared further that “half of [the assisted reproduction cases] have been born in the last six years.”
In related news, also presented during the annual conference of IFFS and the American Society for Reproduction Medicine was a study that showed how extracting above 15 eggs from a woman could do more harm than good. A medical condition known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome could result from harvesting too many eggs from the female body as part of fertility treatment procedures.
September 26, 2013 at 4:03 am Comment (1)
Photo: Lee-Ann Ellison via FB
Who knew that a photo of a heavily pregnant woman lifting a barbell could cause such buzz in social media?
That’s exactly what California former bodybuilder Lea-Ann Ellison, 35, stirred last week when a photo of her pregnant frame lifting weights surfaced in CrossFit’s Facebook timeline photos.
Ellison captioned the photo taken by Nick Stern this way: “8 months pregnant with baby number 3 and CrossFit has been my sanity. I have been CrossFitting for 2 1/2 years and … strongly believe that pregnancy is not an illness, but a time to relish in your body’s capabilities to kick ass.”
The photo has generated thousands of Facebook likes and shares, and has been discussed heavily in Twitter. Here are some of the comments from some Twitter users, both impressed and disturbed:
September 14, 2013 at 2:00 am Comments (0)
Andropause, touted as the male version of a women’s menopause, has now been linked not only to a decrease in testosterone, but also to a decline in the female-dominant hormone estrogen.
This finding was revealed in a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last September 12, giving rise to additional information about the so-called “male menopause“. The team, led by Massachusetts General Hospital Bone Density Center associate director Dr. Joel Finkelstein, said that the changes in body functioning in men as they age could be triggered by estrogen.
According to the study, some of the testosterone produced by the male body changes to estrogen. Therefore, as testosterone production decreases during andropause, so does the amount of estrogen, as posted in a news release.
In addition, the study also declared that the term “low testosterone” is more complicated that what most people think. In fact, researchers said there is no clear-cut set of symptoms for a particular range of testosterone levels. Dr. John Amory, who works in Seattle’s University of Washington as professor of medicine, said that “different functions of testosterone start to deteriorate at different levels.”
Hormone replacement therapy in the form of testosterone supplements have been embraced by many patients diagnosed with “low T”. However, with the results of the study, it’s now unclear whether the supplements could really help or not.
September 8, 2013 at 12:00 am Comments (0)
The Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky metropolitan area aims to get serious in preventing drug-related complications for newborn children, as it starts to subject expectant moms to drug testing.
As bizarre as it may sound, Greater Cincinnati has already begun the controversial practice of checking pregnant women for drug use. This stemmed from earlier studies that a woman who immerses herself in drugs might affect the growth of the child while inside her womb.
Greater Cincinnati Health Council spokesperson Brenda Yablonsky shared in a news report that health experts are concerned about the increase in occurrence of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) in babies, primarily caused by the dependence of the mothers on drugs. In their locality, Yablonsky said NAS cases shot up in three years. In 2009, NAS incidents were 11 in every 1,000 births. However, the number alarmingly increased to 36 per thousand.
Critics and human rights activists need not panic, though, as the drug testing is not mandatory. All expectant mothers will be given the information prior to testing, and they can say “no” to the procedure.
The council, however, recommends the drug testing to all moms not to screen them, but rather to proceed with steps necessary to prevent the child from developing NAS. The symptoms of this condition can manifest as early as the first week of birth, and early diagnosis can help a lot in the child’s future life.
September 6, 2013 at 12:00 am Comment (1)
It’s a natural occurrence for some pregnant women to experience difficulty in breathing within the nine-month duration of their pregnancy. Earlier studies revealed that this is due to hormonal changes happening in a woman’s body during the first few months. Meanwhile, the growing size of the woman’s belly and the weight of the fetus make it harder for the expectant mother to breathe normally.
Some are even more unfortunate to be suffering from asthma, and are therefore more likely to experience even more difficulty. It is therefore crucial for the mom-to-be to have her asthma condition monitored, because the lack of oxygen could result in complications not only for the mother but for the growing baby inside her tummy, according to a literature research by Medical Daily.
Meanwhile, a recent study by the Baby Center reiterated the well-known fact that smoking and pregnancy should never go together. Aside from worsening the mother’s asthma attacks, it has adverse effects on the child — even resulting in fetal death!
In addition, other studies have tied smoking during pregnancy with labor complications such as urinary tract infections, low birth weight, and even premature labor. This was revealed through a study by the Robinson Institute in the University of Adelaide, wherein about 170,000 pregnancy cases in Australia from 1999 to 2008 were assessed. The study’s lead researcher Dr. Nicolette Hodyl said, “we know that smoking poses risks to both the mother and the baby. But now we also know that the combination of these conditions represents a very dangerous situation.”
August 31, 2013 at 12:00 am Comments (0)
It’s a pretty common notion that alcohol and pregnancy don’t mix. Now, a recent study declares that drinking alcohol before a woman’s first pregnancy could increase the probability of getting breast cancer.
This is touted as the first research to look into the effects of alcohol consumption on the health of a woman between her first menstruation and her first baby.
Lead researcher Dr. Ying Liu of the Washington University School of Medicine Public Health Sciences defines “one drink” as “one bottle or can of beer, a 4-ounce glass of wine or a shot of liquor.” In comparison with non-drinkers, the risk of getting breast cancer “increased by 11 percent for every 10 grams a day of intake, about six drinks per week,” according to Dr. Liu as stated in a news item.
The study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute last August 28, and involved data analysis of over 90,000 females who were diagnosed to be free of cancer. Respondents were given questions regarding their alcohol intake in 1989, and checked for breast cancer occurrence by 2009.
Results of the study were significant: more than 1,600 incidents of breast cancer were recorded. The correlation suggested that alcohol consumption before the first pregnancy led to a higher cancer risk. The researchers clarified, however, that only a link was identified and not a direct cause-effect relationship.