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COVID Shot Earlier in Pregnancy Better for Baby: Study

The sooner a pregnant woman gets a COVID-19 vaccine, the more likely she is to transfer protective antibodies to her baby, a new, small study suggests.

"This just gives extra fuel for people who are on the fence or just think, 'Maybe I'll wait until after I deliver,'" said study co-author Dr. Emily Miller. She's an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and a maternal fetal medi...

Stillbirths, Other Pregnancy Complications Up During Pandemic

THURSDAY, April 1, 2021 (HealthDayNews) -- The ripple effect of the COVID-19 scourge has led to more complications among pregnant women worldwide, including an increase in stillbirths, a new study says.

The research review also found higher rates of maternal deaths and depression in the first year of the pandemic.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on health care syst...

Even a Little Coffee in Pregnancy Could Impact Newborn's Weight: Study

As little as half a cup of coffee each day might be enough to stunt the growth and birth weight of a baby in the womb, a new study claims.

Women who consumed an average 50 milligrams of caffeine per day -- equivalent to half a cup of coffee -- had infants that were 2.3 ounces lighter than babies born to women who didn't drink any caffeine, researchers report.

That amount is a fracti...

Pregnant Women Pass on COVID Vaccine Protection to Newborns

In some good news to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, new research shows that pregnant women and new breastfeeding moms have a strong immune response to COVID-19 vaccines and can transfer that immunity to their infants.

The study included 131 women of reproductive age (84 pregnant, 31 lactating and 16 not pregnant) who received one of two mRNA vaccines: Pfizer or Moderna.

Vacc...

Drug Used to Prevent Miscarriages May Be Upping Cancer Rates Decades Later

Kids born to moms who took a drug widely used to prevent miscarriages in the 1950s and 1960s may be twice as likely to develop cancer in adulthood.

The drug in question, hydroxyprogesterone caproate, also known as OHPC or 17-OHPC, is a man-made version of the hormone progesterone. It is no longer used to reduce the chances of miscarriage, but it's still prescribed to prevent preterm birth...

Why 'Night Owl' Women Might Be at Higher Risk During Pregnancy

Women who develop diabetes during pregnancy have a higher risk of complications for themselves and their babies if they're night owls instead of early birds, a new study finds.

Gestational diabetes increases the mother's risk of premature delivery and preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced high blood pressure). It also raises the baby's risk of growing too large in the womb or having breathing p...

Pandemic Has Pregnant Women 'Really Stressed,' Survey Shows

The pandemic is turning what should be a joyful time for pregnant women into a stress-filled experience.

Why? Fears that their infants might catch COVID-19 is one of the main reasons anxiety levels are soaring, a new survey finds.

Researchers from Washington State University analyzed responses from more than 160 pregnant and postpartum women (those who'd recently delivered) from Apr...

Common Household Chemicals Tied to Preemie Births

Even when women do their best to have a safe pregnancy, chemicals commonly found in the home could still raise their risk for premature delivery, a new study shows.

The chemicals -- called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) -- are used as flame retardants in items like furniture and carpets.

For the study, researchers analyzed blood samples from over 3,500 pregnant women, includ...

'Birthing Girdle' Shows Traces of Medieval Women in Labor

In medieval Europe, when childbirth was highly perilous for both mother and child, women and those caring for them used various talismans to try to influence a safe delivery.

Not many of those relics have survived, but scientists have been studying one -- a parchment "birthing girdle" -- using non-invasive sampling and protein analysis.

"Although these birth girdles are thought to h...

THC From Pot Lingers in Breast Milk for Weeks: Study

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, remains in breast milk for up to six weeks and may be harmful to infants, a new study warns.

The researchers said the finding supports recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and others that women shouldn't use marijuana while pregnant or breastfeeding.

"Just as we now caution mothers to avoid toba...

High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy Is Linked to Shorter Life Spans for Women

High blood pressure during pregnancy may lead to early death from heart disease, a new study suggests.

There are several types of high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) during pregnancy. Chronic hypertension means high blood pressure was already present before a pregnancy, but in gestational hypertension readings rise during pregnancy. A third form, called preeclampsia, occurs w...

Eviction During a Pregnancy Is Dangerous for Women and Newborns

Being pregnant triggers a lot of feelings. For many, there is joy, expectation and sometimes a little nervousness about what's to come.

Yet not all pregnant women start this journey on the same footing, and for some, such as those who are facing eviction while pregnant, there's a tremendous amount of stress.

That prenatal stress is associated with lower infant birth weight, gestatio...

Reassuring News for Women Taking Epilepsy Meds While Pregnant

Toddlers whose mothers took certain epilepsy drugs during pregnancy are unlikely to have development delays, researchers say. The study may help clear up lingering doubts about use of the drugs by moms-to-be.

Controlling seizures is crucial, of course.

"Having a seizure during pregnancy may not only harm the mother but possibly the baby as well, so seizure control is an important pa...

Women With Type 1 Diabetes May Have Fewer Childbearing Years: Study

Women with type 1 diabetes may have a shorter length of time to conceive and bear children compared to those without the disease, new research suggests.

The hormone insulin plays an important part in regulating female reproductive function, and people with type 1 diabetes don't make enough insulin on their own. But little was known about how type 1 diabetes affects the start of menopause,...

High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy Could Affect Women's Hearts Long Term

Pregnancy-related high blood pressure can lead to long-term heart risks, new research shows.

Compared to those with normal blood pressure during pregnancy, women who developed blood pressure disorders such as preeclampsia and gestational hypertension had significant differences in heart structure and function a decade after giving birth.

These differences mainly affect the heart's l...

COVID in Pregnancy Tied to Higher Odds for 'Preemie' Delivery

In this pandemic era, moms-to-be understandably worry about the risks COVID-19 might pose to their baby. A new study offers some answers.

Pregnant women with COVID-19 may be more likely to have a preterm birth. But they don't have an increased risk of stillbirth or baby death soon after birth, researchers found.

"The finding that COVID-19 infection does not increase the risk of stil...

Pregnant Women Face Higher Odds of Coronavirus Infection

Pregnant women have high COVID-19 infection rates -- especially women of color -- and they should be near the front of the line for vaccines across the United States, researchers say.

"Our data indicates that pregnant people did not avoid the pandemic as we hoped that they would, and communities of color bore the greatest burden," said senior study author Dr. Kristina Adams Waldorf, an ob...

Fertility Treatments Might Affect Kids' Growth, But Not for Long

The growth patterns of kids born through fertility treatment differ initially from those conceived naturally, but those growth rates do catch up over time, a new study finds.

In-vitro fertilization and other forms of "assisted reproductive technology" (ART) has long been associated with lower birth weights in babies, but it wasn't clear how long differences in growth continue.

To fi...

Mom's Heart Health While Pregnant Could Influence Her Child's Health for Years

In a finding that suggests heart health starts in the womb, a new study shows that the state of a woman's heart during pregnancy may predict her kids' health by the time they reach adolescence.

Researchers found that when mothers' weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels were less healthy during pregnancy, their children were at heightened risk for those same issues.

The reason...

Is Any Amount of Coffee Safe for Baby During Pregnancy?

Too much coffee during pregnancy could lead to kids with behavior problems later on.

That's the key takeaway from new research that examined 9,000 brain scans from 9- and 10-year-olds as part of the largest long-term study of brain development and child health.

"The goalposts are moved by caffeine, and there are subtle, but real changes in behavioral outcomes in most kids who were e...

AHA News: Hoping to Find Out Her Baby's Sex, She Learned of a Serious Heart Defect

Latisha Wilborne was excited. She and her husband had tried for a year to get pregnant, and now, 20 weeks pregnant, she was at a doctor's visit with her two sisters where an ultrasound would determine if she was having a girl or boy. A party to celebrate the news was just days away.

The happy mood changed when the doctor told Latisha they detected a problem with the baby's heart.

"I...

Many Babies Acquire Oral HPV, Probably From Mom

Cancer-causing human papillomavirus (HPV) is considered a sexually transmitted infection, but a new study shows that many babies are born carrying the virus in their mouths.

"In brief, HPV infection can be acquired at early age or even at birth," said lead researcher Dr. Stina Syrjanen, head of oral pathology and oral radiology with the University of Turku's Institute of Dentistry in...

Antibiotics in Pregnancy Tied to Higher Odds for Asthma in Kids

Children whose mothers used antibiotics in pregnancy may have a slightly heightened risk of asthma, a new study suggests.

Experts were quick to point out the finding does not prove cause and effect, and the reasons for the antibiotic use -- rather than the drug -- might explain the link, said lead researcher Cecilie Skaarup Uldbjerg, of Aarhus University in Denmark.

"Previous studie...

Prescription Opioids, Antibiotics in Pregnancy Won't Raise Birth Defect Risk: Studies

Taking prescription opioid painkillers or a common class of antibiotics during pregnancy doesn't increase the risk of major birth defects, according to two new studies.

Both are often prescribed to pregnant women. Some studies have linked them with certain birth defects, but findings have been inconsistent.

These new studies -- published Feb. 10 in the BMJ -- sought to clar...

Diabetes While Pregnant Ups Odds for Heart Disease Later

Developing diabetes during pregnancy may increase a woman's risk for heart disease later in life, according to a new study.

It included about 1,100 women without type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Those who developed diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) were twice as likely by mid-life (average age: 48) to have calcium in their arteries, a strong predictor of heart disease.

This...

MS Doesn't Put Women at Higher Risk During Pregnancy

In a finding that should reassure women with multiple sclerosis (MS) who want to have a baby, new research suggests the disease doesn't raise the risk of pregnancy complications.

"Women with multiple sclerosis may be understandably concerned about the risks of pregnancy," said study author Dr. Melinda Magyari, from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

"While previous research h...

For Women Who've Miscarried, Aspirin Before, During Pregnancy Could Improve Outcomes

Could something as simple as taking a low-dose aspirin once a day guard against pregnancy loss among women who have already suffered miscarriages?

New research suggests that's the case, though exactly how low-dose aspirin helps stave off miscarriages is not fully understood yet.

But "aspirin is anti-inflammatory and in a certain subset of women, miscarriage may be the result of an u...

COVID-19 Ups Complication Risks During Childbirth

Women who have COVID-19 during childbirth are more likely to face complications than moms-to-be without the coronavirus, researchers say.

Fortunately, the absolute risk for complications for any one woman is very low (less than 1%). But the relative risks for problems -- such as clotting and early labor -- are significant, the new study found.

Still, "the findings here, truly, are t...

Pot Might Impair a Woman's Fertility: Study

Though using marijuana for medical or recreational reasons is legal in a growing number of U.S. states, it may come with some unexpected side effects.

A new study found that women who use cannabis may be reducing their fertility.

"Cannabis use has continued to climb. More and more states have legalized it in recent years," said Sunni Mumford, an investigator at the U.S. National Ins...

As Lockdowns Keep Pregnant Women From Exercise, Depression Rates Rise: Study

The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on the emotional health of pregnant women whose exercise routines have been disrupted because of the coronavirus, new research shows.

Those women had higher depression scores than their counterparts who were able to exercise as usual, the researchers found.

"Our results demonstrate that the COVID-19 pandemic may exacerbate the elevated risk tha...

Even Rich Americans Don't Get World-Class Health Care: Study

THURSDAY, Dec. 31, 2020 -- Even the most privileged people in the United States with the best access to health care are sicker and more likely to die than average folks in other developed nations, a new study finds.

People living in the highest-income counties in the United States are, on average, more likely to die from a heart attack or cancer, during childbirth, or to lose an infant th...

Toxic Metals Might Affect Pregnancy, Study Finds

Exposure to metals may disrupt pregnant women's hormones and boost the odds of complications such as preeclampsia, preterm birth and low birth weight, according to a new study.

Metals such as nickel, arsenic, cobalt and lead have been associated with pregnancy complications, but it's been unclear why.

"A delicate hormonal balance orchestrates pregnancy from conception to delivery an...

Dads' Health Linked to Odds of Pregnancy Loss in Moms-to-Be

A large new study suggests that men who plan to be fathers should try to get themselves in shape first.

Researchers found that when fathers-to-be had health conditions like high blood pressure or obesity, the odds that their partner might experience miscarriage or stillbirth increased.

The findings do not prove that a father's health directly affects his partner's pregnancy, experts...

COVID Doesn't Pass From Mom to Fetus During Pregnancy: Study

A new study may prove reassuring for expectant moms: Pregnant women who are infected with COVID-19 during their third trimester appear unlikely to pass the infection to their fetuses.

This study was conducted between April and June 2020 among women who came to one of three Boston area hospitals either for treatment of COVID-19 or for delivery.

None of the newborns of the 127 pregnan...

Most Pregnant Women With COVID Are Asymptomatic

Most pregnant women infected with the new coronavirus don't have symptoms, a new study shows.

Researchers analyzed data from a coronavirus screening program in the labor and delivery unit of Elmhurst Hospital in New York City during March and April.

Of the 130 pregnant women screened, one-third tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Of the women who tested positive, 72% didn...

Black Women at Higher Heart Risk During Pregnancy

Although heart problems are rare complications of pregnancy, Black women face a heightened risk -- even if they have comfortable incomes and health insurance, a new study finds.

It's well established that the United States has a higher maternal mortality rate than other wealthy nations, and Black women are at greater risk than white women.

Less has been known about whether Black wom...

Many Breast Cancer Survivors Have Healthy Babies: Study

When a young woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, many questions go through her mind.

What treatments does she need? Will she survive? And will she still be able to have a baby?

In a review of recent research, an international team of investigators say the answer to that critical third question is yes. Though breast cancer survivors are less likely to become pregnant than the ave...

COVID Fuels Depression Among Pregnant Women, New Moms

COVID-19 may be behind a concerning rise in the number of women suffering anxiety and depression before and soon after childbirth, a new study says.

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston surveyed more than 1,100 pregnant and postpartum women between May 21 and Aug. 17. They found that 36%, or more than 1 in 3, had significant levels of depression. Prior to the pandemic,...

U.S. Moms-to-Be Are Much Less Healthy Now

In the past 30 years, U.S. women have been in progressively worse physical shape as they become pregnant, a new study finds.

A combination of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and having children later in life have led to potentially more complications, and even infant and maternal death, researchers say.

Obesity is a major driver of these complications, said lead researcher Dr...

Frozen Eggs Help Breast Cancer Survivors Conceive

Freezing their eggs or ovarian tissue before breast cancer treatment increases survivors' chances of having children after recovery, a new study finds.

Nearly 10% of breast cancer cases occur in women younger than 45 years of age, some of whom haven't yet had children, according to researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

Treatment often includes chemotherapy, which can da...

More Childbearing Women Having Suicidal Thoughts: Study

The number of women who contemplate suicide or self-harm during or after pregnancy may be on the rise, a large, new study suggests.

Among nearly 600,000 U.S. childbearing women, researchers found that close to 2,700 were diagnosed with suicidality in the year before or after giving birth. And the diagnosis -- defined as suicidal thoughts or intentional self-harm -- grew more common over t...

COVID in Pregnancy Won't Affect Obstetric Outcomes: Study

Pregnant women with COVID-19 have little risk of developing severe symptoms, as do their newborns, a new study finds.

In fact, 95% of these women have good outcomes, and just 3% of their babies test positive for COVID-19, researchers say.

"For 5% of COVID-19-positive pregnant women, however -- those who get very sick -- the risks to both mother and baby are significant," said study ...

U.S. Leads Wealthy Nations in Pregnancy-Related Deaths

American women are far more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than women in other wealthy countries -- and a national shortage of maternity care providers bodes ill for the future.

Those are some of the findings from a new report on maternal mortality by the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund, which compared the United States with 10 other high-income nations.

It found what the r...

Are We Getting Closer to a Herpes Vaccine?

Scientists are reporting early success with an experimental herpes vaccine that uses a genetically modified version of the virus.

The gene edit prevents the virus from performing its normal evasive maneuver: hiding out in nervous system cells in order to elude the immune system.

So far, the vaccine has only been tested in lab animals. But scientists hope the genetic tweak will ...

Pre-Pregnancy High Blood Pressure Rates Rising

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 11, 2020 (HealthDay) -- The number of women entering pregnancy with high blood pressure has nearly doubled in a decade, new research finds.

The study found that 2% of women living in urban areas and 2.4% of women living in rural areas had high blood pressure as they started their pregnancies in 2018. When the researchers looked back at 2007, those numbers were 1.1% and 1.4...

Global Warming Could Bring Added Risks for Pregnant Women

Global warming could increase rates of serious pregnancy problems, researchers warn.

They analyzed 70 studies from 27 countries that reported associations between high temperatures and preterm birth, birth weight and stillbirths.

"Given increases in the frequency and intensity of heat waves, the number of pregnant women exposed to these conditions worldwide, and the significant...

For Some Women, Postpartum Depression Lingers for Years

Many women have depression symptoms after giving birth, but for some postpartum depression hangs on for years, a U.S. government study finds.

Of nearly 4,900 new mothers researchers followed, one-quarter had depression symptoms at some point in their child's first three years. And for about half of them, the symptoms either started early on and never improved, or took time to emerge.

...

Heart Conditions Could Raise Risk of Torn Aorta During Pregnancy

Pregnancy can increase the risk of a rare, dangerous heart condition called aortic dissection, researchers report.

This is especially true for women with underlying heart conditions that can go undetected.

Aortic dissections -- which affect 3 in 100,000 people per year -- cause the layers of the aorta to tear, and blood to pool or leak instead of flow normally. Patients requ...

COVID-19 More Common in Pregnant Hispanics Than Other Moms-to-Be: Study

Hispanic mothers-to-be in the southern United States are almost twice as likely to have COVID-19 as non-Hispanic women, a new study finds.

The researchers also found that those with government health insurance were more likely to test positive for the coronavirus than women with private insurance.

For the study, pregnant women were routinely tested for COVID-19 as they wen...

Could Mom's Thyroid Levels Influence ADHD in Kids?

Low levels of thyroid hormone during pregnancy may contribute to the development of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in the child, new research suggests.

The study found that children born to mothers with low thyroid hormone levels during the first trimester of pregnancy had a 28% increased risk of being diagnosed with ADHD later.

Thyroid hormones play an impor...