Category Archives: Pregnancy & Fertility

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Newark, Delaware Opens Group Home for Pregnant Offenders

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A group home in Newark, Delaware houses pregnant, drug addicted offenders so they can give birth while in custody and bond with their babies after they are born.

New Expectations was created by the DOC and its healthcare provider, Connections Community Support Programs, as an alternative to detention in prison facilities, where a pregnant woman would be given a 24-hour leave to have her baby at a hospital before being put back into prison and having the baby given to relatives or put into foster care.

At the home, mother can be sentenced to stay there for the duration of her pregnancy plus up to six months after birth to allow for that critical post-birth mother-baby bonding before she has to go back to a regular prison.

State Correction Commissioner Robert Coupe said the criminal justice system struggles with how to handle pregnant female offenders who use drugs and he wanted to have a better way of handling it.

“The more I learned about it, the more I thought in my mind, ‘There’s got to be a better way,’” he said. “How do we help these ladies? How can we meet their needs without sending them to prison?”

The facility has been open since November and has room for up to 17 women and their children.

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Pregnancy & Fertility

Study Investigates Risk Factors For Death of Pregnant Women

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Childbirth is as delicate to the infant as the mother, and a recent study aims to look into some of the risk factors involved in maternal deaths.

pregnant womanAccording to a research conducted by the University of Oxford’s National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, the risk of maternal death is aggravated by six major factors, led by medical co-morbidities. The mother’s medical condition — which may include hypertension, asthma, mental disorders, and blood-related diseases — may constitute up to 49 percent of the risk of death.

Other factors include problems from a previous pregnancy, gestational hypertension, improper use of antenatal care, substance abuse, and Indian descent.

The study was based on data from the MBRRACE Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths as well as the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS). Deaths of women in the U.K. from 2009 to 2012 were studied, along with more than 1,600 women who survived a high-risk pregnancy complication.

Study co-author Marian Knight, who works at the university’s National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, said that while cases of maternal deaths in the U.K. are few and far between, the importance of maternal care should not be disregarded. “The findings highlight the importance of optimal care for women with pre-existing medical problems in pregnancy. We found that uptake of antenatal care was poorer among women with medical co-morbidities which could increase adverse effects associated with these conditions. It is therefore vital that this group of women receive pre-conception counselling and extra support throughout their pregnancy,” Knight said in a news release.

Pregnancy & Fertility

Mental Health Care Essential In Pregnancy and Parenting

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It might not seem as important as physical health, but the mental condition of the mother is important during pregnancy.

parent mental health childbirth pregnancyThis was identified through several research studies highlighted in the journal The Lancet, which recently released a series of articles that emphasized the importance of mental health care for parents. Abandoning the mental health of the mother may have adverse consequences on the child.

One of the papers examined factors that increase the likelihood of prenatal anxiety, depression, and other psychological and mental disorders. Study lead author Louise Howard — who works as a professor of Women’s Mental Health at UK’s King’s College London under the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience — said that anticipation during childbirth can be a very difficult time for any parent. “The stigma around [pre] and postnatal mental illnesses can prevent people from getting the help they need. It’s important that people seek treatment promptly to prevent suffering and distress for the whole family,” Howard said in a news release.

Another study discovered a link between mental health issues of the parent and a higher risk of physical and psychological problems on the child. University of Oxford Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit chief Alan Stein said, “parents at risk of mental health disorders during or after pregnancy need to be identified early to try to prevent symptoms from affecting offspring.” Apart from the mental health of the mother, depression by the father may also affect development of the child.

Meanwhile, another research from the UK — this time from Cardiff University’s Medical Research Council Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics — suggests that giving birth may lead to extreme mental disorders on the mother. Ian Jones, study lead author, said that the field is still wide open for further research in order “to understand what triggers psychotic episodes after childbirth so that we can predict women at risk and develop treatments that are safe to be administered for mother and baby.”

The series of articles suggests that identification and intervention are crucial in preventing negative effects on the parent and child due to mental disorders.

Pregnancy & Fertility

Women Consider Pregnancy As Perfect Time To Crave Chocolate Without Guilt

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If you’re pregnant and in dire need of chocolate, you’re probably one of the expectant moms who think that eating decadent foods at this stage will make you feel less guilty.

pregnant food cravingsThat idea was revealed by a recent study by researchers from the State University of New York. Study author Natalia Orloff attempted to debunk the age-old belief that cravings exist only as part of a pregnant woman’s natural hormonal changes. Instead, she hypothesized that food cravings during pregnancy are also caused by several other factors, including cultural and psychological factors.

“Conflicting attitudes toward foods like chocolate that are perceived to be simultaneously appealing and ‘forbidden’ have recently been hypothesized to be associated with a greater likelihood of craving,” said Orloff in the study published in Frontiers in Psychology. “Evidence suggests that efforts to avoid foods that cause these conflicting feelings may have the paradoxical effect of increasing the likelihood of craving.”

Orloff said that more studies need to be conducted to understand the psychosocial factors behind a woman’s cravings when she’s with child. “These views on cravings may leave pregnant women susceptible to overconsuming high calorie foods, resulting in excess weight gain, especially for women high in restraint and those with pre-existing eating disorder symptoms.”

According to the study, women in the U.S. are culturally pounded on the importance of staying away from unhealthy foods, and that’s why many pregnant females tend to increase their cravings during pregnancy.

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Pregnancy & Fertility

Breakthrough Operation Allows Women Without Womb To Conceive

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Stemming from a concept that womb transplantation can help women conceive, a novel experiment has successfully achieved the near-impossible: allowing a woman to bear a child after a womb transplant.

womb transplant successful pregnancyThe concept of transplanting a womb was implemented by researchers from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden over a ten-year span. The concept was initially tested on animals and then on human test subjects in 2013. Nine females diagnosed with absolute uterine factor infertility — a reproductive disorder without any known treatment — were the first people to undergo the operation of receiving a womb that is not theirs.

Tests showed that seven of the human test subjects received the organ well and experienced menstruation about two months after the operation. One of them was a Swedish female, age 36, whose womb donor was a family friend much older that she is. The woman was able to produce eggs, which were extracted for in vitro fertilization (IVF) before the transplant took place.

The baby was delivered via cesarean section at only 31 weeks due to preeclampsia, and was released from neonatal care ten days after.

Study lead author Prof. Mats Brännström emphasized the importance of their breakthrough operation. “Our success is based on more than 10 years of intensive animal research and surgical training by our team and opens up the possibility of treating many young females worldwide that suffer from uterine infertility. What is more, we have demonstrated the feasibility of live-donor uterus transplantation, even from a postmenopausal donor,” Brännström said in a news release. He also added that while two of the women experienced thrombosis and infection, the Swedish mother experienced “only one episode of mild rejection during the pregnancy that was successfully treated with corticosteroids.”

Pregnancy & Fertility

Fertility Problems May Affect Mental Health In Women

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Women who have difficulty conceiving a child have a higher risk of mental health problems if they cannot accept their infertility condition.

fertility treatmentsThis was revealed through a new study conducted by a team of researchers from the U.K.’s Cardiff University School of Psychology. Dr. Sofia Gameiro, lead study author, said that while previous studies have been conducted to link infertility issues with mental health concerns (such as this one in 2012), their study looked into additional factors that might worsen or relieve the effects.

One of the factors that the study identified was whether the women already has children or none. “The strength of this association varied according to whether women had children or not. For women with no children, those with a child-wish were 2.8 times more likely to have worse mental health than women without a child-wish… For women with children, those who sustained a child-wish were 1.5 times more likely to have worse mental health than those without a child-wish. This link between a sustained wish for children and worse mental health was irrespective of the women’s fertility diagnosis and treatment history,” Gameiro said in a news item.

In contrast, women experienced better mental conditions if the cause of infertility was either the partner male or another undetermined reason.

The study involved a survey on more than 7,000 females who underwent treatments to correct their fertility concerns from 1995 to 2000. The study proponents were quick to clarify that the link between fertility and mental health is not a direct cause-and-effect relationship.

Health & Wellness Pregnancy & Fertility

9/11 Attack Caused Pregnancy-Related Health Concerns

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The World Trade Center attack has not only claimed lives, but also affected the health of babies whose mothers were near the collapse of the Twin Towers.

world trade center twin towers collapse dust cloud affect pregnancy healthAccording a study posted in the National Bureau of Economic Research, the events that unfolded on 9/11 “released a million tons of toxic dust into lower Manhattan, an unparalleled environmental disaster.” The study was conducted by Janet Currie and Hannes Schwandt of Princeton University, and is currently on working development mode.

The study’s abstract describes the results of the initial investigation. “Using all births in utero on 9/11 in NYC and comparing them to their siblings, we show that residence in the affected area increased prematurity, low birth weight, and admission to the NICU after birth, especially for boys.”

The entire world bore witness to the Twin Towers’ destruction, where a huge dust cloud emerged from the collapsed structures. Various reports have revealed that the cloud unleashed massive amounts of asbestos, gypsum, cement dust, lead, and glass fragments. Aside from earlier reports that the dusty environment triggered asthma and respiratory complications in emergency response staff and nearby residents, this new study infers that the toxic fumes have also affected the health of pregnant mothers and their babies.

As reported in a news release, the study suggests that premature deliveries doubled in number due to the mothers’ exposure to the dust. Meanwhile, low birth weight as a result of the catastrophe increased by 5 percent, and NICU admission by 7.6 percent.

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Pregnancy & Fertility Real Drug Stories Twitter Summaries

Missouri Continues to Baffle Law Enforcement by Refusing to Keep Prescription Drug Database

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Missouri is the lone state in the country that refuses to keep a database of the drugs that are prescribed to patients, much to the chagrin of the people who are tasked with trying to stop the prescription drug abuse epidemic in the United States.fighting prescription drug abuse

Not having such a database hampers Missouri’s ability to combat prescription drug abuse and also attracts people from neighboring states looking to stockpile pills and bring them home to either abuse or sell to others, according to law enforcement officials, legislators and data compiled by a prescription drug processing firm.

Drug monitoring program procedures and powers vary from one state to another, but they all require doctors, pharmacists or both to enter all prescriptions into a database that can be consulted later to make sure patients do not get excess medication. In some states, checking the database is mandatory.

Missouri has been urged to put a database into effect by Missouri medical associations, members of Congress from neighboring states, the White House and even Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, the St. Louis-based manufacturer of oft-abused prescription painkiller oxycodone.

But attempts to establish one so far have been blocked by a small group of lawmakers led by State Senator Rob Schaaf, a family physician who argues that allowing the government to keep prescription records violates personal privacy.

“There’s some people who say you are causing people to die — but I’m not causing people to die. I’m protecting other people’s liberty,” Schaaf said in a recent interview in his Senate office. “Missouri needs to be the first state to resist, and the other states need to follow suit and protect the liberty of their own citizens.”

Schaaf’s opposition has come under sharp criticism from fellow Republicans, including representative Harold Rogers of Kentucky, one of eight states that borders Missouri.

“It’s very selfish on Missouri’s part to hang their hat on this privacy matter,” Rogers said. “The rest of us suffer.”

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Study Raises Concerns Over Acetaminophen Use During Pregnancy

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Acetaminophen use during pregnancy may be associated with a higher risk of attention-deficity/hyperactivity disorder and hyperkinetic disorder, a new study has found. pregnancy

The study, done by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health in collaboration with the University of Aarhus in Denmark and published in the current online edition of JAMA Pediatrics, used the Danish National Birth Cohort, a nationwide study of pregnancies and children, to examine pregnancy complications and diseases in offspring as a function of factors operating in early life.

The researchers studied 64,322 children and mothers who were enrolled in the Danish cohort from 1996 to 2002 and obtained diagnoses of hyperkinetic disorder among the cohort’s children (at an average age of 11) from the Danish National Hospital Registry or the Danish Psychiatric Central Registry.

The researchers found that children whose mothers used acetaminophen during pregnancy were at a 13% to 37% higher risk of later receiving a hospital diagnosis of hyperkinetic disorder, being treated with ADHD medications or having ADHD-like behaviors at age 7. The longer acetaminophen was taken the stronger the associations. The risks for hyperkinetic disorder/ADHD in children were elevated 50% or more when the mothers had used the common painkiller for more than 20 weeks in pregnancy.

“The causes of ADHD and hyperkinetic disorder are not well understood, but both environmental and genetic factors clearly contribute,” said Dr. Beate Ritz, professor and chair of the department of epidemiology at the Fielding School and one of the senior authors of the paper. “We know there has been a rapid increase in childhood neurodevelopmental disorders, including ADHD, over the past decades, and it’s likely that the rise is not solely attributable to better diagnoses or parental awareness. It’s likely there are environmental components as well.”

ADHD, one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders worldwide, is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, increased impulsivity, and motivational and emotional dysregulation. Hyperkinetic disorder is a particularly severe form of ADHD.

Health & Wellness Pregnancy & Fertility

Teens with Mental Illness More Likely to Become Pregnant

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Young girls with mental illness are much more likely to become teenage mothers than girls without a major mental illness, according to a Canadian study.teenage pregnancy

In the study, published Feb. 10 on the website of the journal Pediatrics, researchers examined live birth rates from 1999 to 2009 in 4.5 million girls ages 15 to 19 in the Canadian province of Ontario. The researchers found young girls with a major mental health illness were three times more likely to become teenage parents. These major mental health disorders included: depression, bipolar disorder and other psychotic disorders.

Birth rates in both girls who had a mental illness and those that didn’t decreased during the 10-year study period, however, the gap between the groups appeared to be increasing slightly. Among girls with a major mental illness, live births decreased by only 14% during the study period, compared with a 22% drop among girls without a major mental illness.

“Although we do know some of the risk factors behind why girls with mental health illness may be at increased risk of becoming pregnant, pregnancy prevention programs in most developed countries have not traditionally considered mental health issues,” Simone Vigod, MD, a psychiatrist at Women’s College Hospital and an adjunct scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto, said in a news release.

The authors suggest targeted school-based programs are needed along with greater integration of reproductive healthcare into adolescent mental healthcare programs.

“Interventions that target and integrate reproductive and mental healthcare for young women are crucial to ensure we are providing the best care possible for adolescent mothers,” Cindy-Lee Dennis, PhD, senior scientist at Women’s College Research Institute and a Canada Research Chair in Perinatal Community Health, said in the news release. “Having these programs and offerings in place will also help reduce teenage pregnancy and improve mother and child health outcomes.”

The study is described as the first to examine trends in fertility rates among girls with mental illness.