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Health News Results - 201

Fertility Treatment Tied to Deadly Heart Problem in Pregnancy: Study

TUESDAY, May 28, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of a pregnancy-related type of heart failure is five times higher for women who undergo fertility treatment than those who conceive naturally, a new study says.

The condition is called peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM). It affects about 1 in 1,000 pregnant women worldwide and is life-threatening to the mother and baby.

This s...

Infant Pain Heightened After Opioid Exposure in Womb

THURSDAY, May 23, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Newborns who were exposed to opioids in the womb have stronger-than-normal reactions to pain and may require special care sooner than previously thought, researchers report.

Opioids include prescription pain medications and illegal drugs such as heroin.

The study included 22 newborns who were exposed to opioids in the womb and 15 wh...

Older Dads' Sperm Isn't What It Used to Be

TUESDAY, May 21, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Just because a guy can make babies later in life doesn't mean it's risk-free.

The partners and children of men who become fathers at an older age are at increased risk for health problems, a new study finds.

"While it is widely accepted that physiological changes that occur in women after 35 can affect conception, pregnancy and the h...

Low Birth Weight Babies a Worldwide Problem

THURSDAY, May 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- More than 20 million babies are born across the globe weighing far less than they should, and the problem isn't limited to low-income countries, new research shows.

In 2015, nearly three-quarters of infants with low birth weight (less than 5.5 pounds) were born in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. But low birth weights persist in high-i...

Anxiety Meds Like Valium, Xanax Could Raise Miscarriage Risk

WEDNESDAY, May 15, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnancy is often a time of heightened worry. But researchers warn that taking anti-anxiety drugs like Valium and Xanax may increase the risk of miscarriage.

Called benzodiazepines, these powerful drugs have long been prescribed to treat a variety of mood disorders. However, a new Canadian study finds that when taken in early pregnancy, t...

Many Pregnancy-Related Maternal Deaths Occur Months After Delivery: CDC

TUESDAY, May 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Too many women still die from pregnancy-related causes, some up to a year after delivery, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 700 pregnancy-related deaths occur in the United States each year, and 3 out of 5 are preventable, data show.

Nearly 31% of the deaths happen during pregnan...

Weight Before Pregnancy Most Important to Risk for Complications

TUESDAY, May 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Expectant mothers and doctors have focused a lot on how much a woman gains during pregnancy, but new research suggests how much a woman weighs before getting pregnant may be far more important.

The study found that the more a woman weighed at the start of her pregnancy, the more likely she was to experience complications such as high bl...

The Surprising Lead Cause of Death for Pregnant Women

MONDAY, May 6, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- A major medical group has issued new guidance on detecting and treating the leading cause of death in pregnant women and new mothers in the United States.

Heart disease accounts for 26.5% of pregnancy-related deaths, and rates are highest among black women and those with low incomes. On Friday, the American College of Obstetricians and Gyne...

Most States Restrict Pregnant Women's Advance Directives: Study

FRIDAY, April 26, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Laws in half of U.S. states override a pregnant woman's advance directive if she becomes incapacitated, a new study finds.

And most of those states don't reveal this in advance directive forms.

An advance directive is a legal document completed by a patient that appoints a surrogate to make health care decisions if the patient becom...

1 in 9 U.S. Women Drink During Pregnancy, and Numbers Are Rising

THURSDAY, April 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Even though the harms to babies are well known, one in nine pregnant women in the United States drinks alcohol, new research shows.

In one-third of those cases, frequent binge drinking is also often involved.

What's more, the rate of drinking during pregnancy is actually on the rise, with a slight uptick in the rate over the past ...

Pregnant? The Earlier You Quit Smoking, the Better

WEDNESDAY, April 24, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Quitting smoking during pregnancy reduces the risk of delivering preterm. And the earlier you stop, the better, a new study finds.

"Pregnancy can be a stressful time in a woman's life. And women who smoked prior to pregnancy may turn to smoking or continue to smoke as a way to mitigate this stress," lead author Samir Soneji said in a Dartm...

Herbals in Pregnancy May Endanger Mom, Baby

WEDNESDAY, April 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- During pregnancy, even harmless-sounding "natural" supplements should be avoided, a new research review suggests.

The review of 74 published studies found that a handful linked certain herbal products to increased risks of pregnancy complications -- including preterm birth and cesarean delivery.

That's not proof that the suppleme...

Pregnant Women Who Work at Night Face Miscarriage Risk

TUESDAY, March 26, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnant women who work at least two night shifts in a week may increase their risk of miscarriage in the next seven days, a new European study finds.

Danish researchers led by Dr. Luise Moelenberg Begtrup, from the Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital in Kobenhavn, analyzed data on n...

Smoking Around Expectant Moms Can Harm Babies' Hearts

SUNDAY, March 24, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Fathers-to-be who expose their pregnant partners to secondhand smoke put their babies at risk of heart defects, researchers warn.

For the new study, investigators in China reviewed 125 studies that included a total of nearly 9 million prospective parents and more than 137,000 babies with congenital heart defects.

Pesticides Tied to Autism Risk in Kids

THURSDAY, March 21, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Children who are exposed to common pesticides, either while in the womb or in the first year of life, may be more likely to develop autism, a new study suggests.

While the researchers stressed that it's premature to say that pesticide exposure actually causes autism, they pointed out that theirs is not the first investigation to sound alarm...

Three Clues to Raised Risk of Miscarriage

THURSDAY, March 21, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- A woman's age and previous pregnancy complications influence her odds of miscarriage, a new study says.

The findings suggest that miscarriage and other pregnancy complications share underlying causes that require further investigation, according to the researchers.

"More focused studies of these associations might lead to new ins...

Could Male Twin's Fetal Testosterone Bring Lasting Harm to His Sister?

MONDAY, March 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Having a twin brother could put a woman at a lasting disadvantage, and exposure to his testosterone before birth may play a role, a new study suggests.

Researchers analyzed data on 13,800 twin births in Norway between 1967 and 1978. Compared to women with a twin sister, those with a twin brother were 15 percent less likely to finish high sch...

Newborn Heart Problems Surged After Fukushima Nuke Disaster: Study

WEDNESDAY, March 13, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- There was a significant increase in the number of infants in Japan who had surgery for complex congenital heart disease after the nuclear accident in Fukushima, a new study finds.

The disaster happened in March 2011 after a tsunami and earthquake hit the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, causing a meltdown and release of radi...

Smoking While Pregnant Sends SIDS Risk Soaring

MONDAY, March 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking during pregnancy is never a good idea, but new research shows it might double the risk of a baby dying from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

"Any maternal smoking during pregnancy -- even just one cigarette a day -- doubles the risk of sudden unexpected infant death [SUID, another term for unexplained infant deaths]," said lead r...

How Soon Should You Conceive After a Stillbirth?

FRIDAY, March 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Women who get pregnant within a year of stillbirth have no higher risk of another stillbirth or other complications than those who wait at least two years, a new study says.

The World Health Organization recommends women wait at least two years after a live birth and at least six months after a miscarriage (loss of fetus before 20 weeks of pre...

Pregnant Women Should Delay Gallbladder Surgery, Study Finds

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 20, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Expectant mothers are susceptible to developing gallstones, but gallbladder removal surgery during pregnancy can be risky, researchers say.

In a new study, researchers found that women who had their gallbladder removed during pregnancy were more likely to have a longer hospital stay and be readmitted within a month. These women were also m...

Climate Change Could Bring More Infant Heart Defects: Study

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Climate change could lead to more U.S. babies born with congenital heart defects, researchers say.

Specifically, they concluded that hotter temperatures may lead to as many as 7,000 additional cases between 2025 and 2035 in eight representative states: Arkansas, Texas, California, Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia, New York and Utah.

...

IVF Won't Cause Birth Complications: Study

TUESDAY, Jan. 22, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- "Test tube" babies are more likely to be premature and have a low birth weight, but it's unlikely that assisted reproductive technology is the reason why, researchers say.

Their findings challenge the widely held belief that procedures such as freezing embryos, the delayed fertilization of eggs and hormonal treatments lead to these problems....

Opioid Use in Pregnancy Tied to Severe Birth Defects

THURSDAY, Jan. 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- More American infants are being born with their intestines outside of their bodies, and the disturbing trend might be linked to the opioid crisis, health officials reported Thursday.

The condition, called gastroschisis, is caused by a hole beside the belly button. The hole can be small or large, and sometimes other organs such as the stomac...

Mom-to-Be's Flu Can Harm Her Unborn Baby

FRIDAY, Jan. 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnant women who get a flu shot protect not only themselves, but also their developing baby, health officials report.

When a mom-to-be gets the flu, she can be so sick she needs to be admitted to a hospital's intensive care unit. And new research finds her baby then runs the risk of being born preterm, underweight and with a low "Apgar sco...

Use of Common Epilepsy Drug in Pregnancy Tied to ADHD in Kids

FRIDAY, Jan. 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- When a woman with epilepsy uses the anti-seizure drug valproate during a pregnancy, the odds that her baby will go on to develop ADHD rise, a new study suggests.

The Danish report can't prove that valproate causes attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in these cases, only that there's an association.

But in the new study, f...

Guidelines for a Healthy Pregnancy

FRIDAY, Dec. 28, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- If you're pregnant you already know the importance of eating a healthful diet and taking prenatal vitamins, including folic acid and possibly B12 and iron supplements.

What not to do isn't always clear, however.

There's no doubt about the hazards of smoking -- to you and baby.

But what about alcohol? While one drink during th...

Docs Should Screen for Depression During, After Pregnancy

MONDAY, Dec. 17, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors should screen women for depression during and after pregnancy, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says in an updated policy statement.

Undiagnosed and untreated depression among pregnant women and new mothers can put a baby's health at risk, and is one of the most common and costly pregnancy-related complications in the United St...

Scans, Ultrasound Spot Zika Brain Defects

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Ultrasounds and MRIs during pregnancy and after birth can detect most Zika-related brain abnormalities in infants, researchers report.

If a woman is infected with the Zika virus during pregnancy, her child can be born with microcephaly and other severe brain defects, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

The new...

Cost of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: $23,000 Annually Per Case

TUESDAY, Dec. 4, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- About 630,000 babies worldwide are born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) each year. They'll need care averaging $23,000 annually, new research suggests.

These children face a range of lifelong problems caused by alcohol exposure during pregnancy, according to the research review.

"People with FASD often require lifelong an...

Some Types of Epilepsy Pose More Risks During Pregnancy

MONDAY, Dec. 3, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Women with frontal lobe epilepsy are much more likely to have an increase in seizures during pregnancy than those with focal epilepsy or generalized epilepsy, researchers report.

"Physicians need to monitor women with focal epilepsy -- especially frontal lobe epilepsy -- more closely during pregnancy because maintaining seizure control is parti...

Meth, Opioid Use in Pregnancy on the Rise

THURSDAY, Nov. 29, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Methamphetamine and opioid use has soared among pregnant American women, putting the health of baby and mother at risk, a new study finds.

While addiction among pregnant women has dramatically increased across the country, it disproportionally affects women living in rural America, where access to addiction treatment and prenatal care is li...

Opioids Increasingly Tied to Deaths of Pregnant Women

TUESDAY, Nov. 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- As the U.S. opioid epidemic rages unchecked, new research shows that pregnancy-related deaths due to opioid misuse more than doubled between 2007 and 2016.

Deaths during or soon after pregnancy rose 34 percent during that time, and the percentage involving heroin, fentanyl or prescription painkillers (such as OxyCo...

Does Air Pollution Raise Autism Risk?

MONDAY, Nov. 19, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Traffic-related air pollution may play a role in development of autism, new research suggests.

A Canadian study found that exposure to a common air pollutant during pregnancy was tied to higher odds of a child being diagnosed with autism by age 5.

That pollutant, nitric oxide, is associated with traffic pollution, the researchers not...

AHA: Age, Race Are Leading Predictors of Heart Attacks in Pregnant Women

THURSDAY, Nov. 8, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- Heart attacks in pregnant women are rare, but the number is rising, particularly among older expectant mothers, according to a new study that looked at the most common factors behind the increase.

The number of women who had heart attacks during or after pregnancy rose 19 percent from 2005 to 2014, the study found.

"We...

Kratom Use in Pregnancy Spurs Withdrawal Symptoms in Newborns

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 7, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Although the herbal supplement kratom is still legal and widely available, its opioid-like effects have caused significant withdrawal symptoms in at least two newborns in the United States and that should raise concerns, researchers say.

A case study of a baby boy exposed to kratom during his mother's pregnancy -- only the second American ca...

Dad's Age May Play Role in Pregnancy Outcomes

THURSDAY, Nov. 1, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- More men are delaying fatherhood, and new research suggests that might raise the risk of both birth complications and infant health problems.

When new fathers are aged 45 or older, there's an increased chance of preterm birth, infant seizures and even gestational diabetes in the mother, the study found.

"When you think about fertili...

Take at Least a Year Between Pregnancies: Study

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 31, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Women should wait a year or more between having babies, to reduce health risks to themselves and their infants, researchers report.

"Our study found increased risks to both mother and infant when pregnancies are closely spaced, including for women older than 35," said lead author Laura Schummers, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of f...

Autism Risk: Mom's Health May Matter More Than Meds

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 31, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Many pregnant women may wonder if antidepressants -- or other drugs acting on the brain's neurotransmitters -- might raise their baby's odds of developing autism. Now, reassuring research suggests that's not the case.

But a mother's health before and during pregnancy may play a role in autism spectrum disorders, according to researchers fro...

Common Chemical Tied to Language Delay in Kids

MONDAY, Oct. 29, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Children may suffer delayed language skills if their mothers come in contact with common chemicals called phthalates in early pregnancy, new research suggests.

Phthalates are in countless products from nail polish and hair spray to food packaging and vinyl flooring. As plasticizers, they make things more pliable; as solvents, they enable other...

Pregnancy Complications Down for Women With Lupus

MONDAY, Oct. 22, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Deaths and complications among pregnant women with lupus have declined in the United States over the past two decades, a new study finds.

Lupus, also called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in many parts of the body, including the kidneys, skin and joints, as well as the tissue lining...

Preeclampsia Tied to Tripling of Dementia in Later Life

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 17, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- High blood pressure during pregnancy can be a sign of preeclampsia -- a potentially life-threatening complication. Now, new research suggests preeclampsia might also make women more vulnerable to a specific type of dementia.

Women with a history of preeclampsia were 3.4 times more likely to suffer from vascular dementia later in life, the r...

C-Section Rates Have Nearly Doubled Since 2000: Study

FRIDAY, Oct. 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- The number of women delivering babies via cesarean section has nearly doubled worldwide since 2000, to about 21 percent, new research shows.

That's significantly higher than the 10 percent to 15 percent considered medically necessary, researchers said.

When complications develop, C-sections can save the lives of mothers and their b...

Do Dimmer Days in Pregnancy Raise Postpartum Depression Risk?

FRIDAY, Oct. 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Women whose final stages of pregnancy occur during the short, dark days of winter may be at increased risk for postpartum depression, a new study suggests.

It has to do with reduced exposure to sunlight -- the same culprit that contributes to seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. That's a type of depression that usually starts in fall and winte...

Flu Shot in Pregnancy Lowers Risk of Flu Hospitalization

THURSDAY, Oct. 11, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- The flu shot reduces a pregnant woman's risk of hospitalization for flu by 40 percent, new research shows.

"Expecting mothers face a number of threats to their health and the health of their baby during pregnancy, and getting the flu is one of them," said study co-author Allison Naleway, of Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, in Po...

Major Childbirth Complications More Likely for Black Women

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 10, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Black women have the highest risk of life-threatening birth complications in the United States, a new study finds.

Compared to whites, black women had a 70 percent higher rate of major birth problems, the University of Michigan researchers reported.

"Celebrities like Serena Williams who have shared their birth-related emergency ...

Pregnancy Complications Tied to More Menopausal Hot Flashes

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 3, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Tough pregnancies might translate into tough times during menopause, new research suggests.

Women who developed complications during pregnancy -- including dangerously high blood pressure ("preeclampsia") and gestational diabetes -- were more likely to experience more hot flashes during menopause, the researchers found.

"This study...

Overweight in Pregnancy? Here's How to Keep Excess Pounds at Bay

TUESDAY, Sept. 25, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Heather Kinion never spent much time thinking about her weight. But when she got pregnant, that changed.

"My sister had a baby a few years before me and had gained a bunch of weight, and she still hadn't lost it when I got pregnant," Kinion said. So the Chicago-area mom-to-be was happy to sign up for a nutritional counseling program her doc...

Mom-to-Be's High-Gluten Diet Linked to Type 1 Diabetes in Baby

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 19, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- If a pregnant woman eats a lot of high-gluten foods, the odds that her child will have type 1 diabetes rise significantly, new research suggests.

In the study, pregnant women who had the highest consumption of gluten had double the risk of having a child with type 1 diabetes compared to those who ate the least gluten. Gluten is a protein f...

Air Pollutants Reach Placenta, Might Harm Fetus: Study

MONDAY, Sept. 17, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists warn that soot from polluted air is reaching the placenta of pregnant women, possibly harming the health of unborn babies.

Tiny carbon particles released by the burning of fossil fuels enter a woman's bloodstream when she breathes polluted air, said a research team at Queen Mary University of London in the United Kingdom.

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Wellness Library Results - 38

You're likely to hear it more than once during your pregnancy: "Go ahead, have a drink -- one little glass of wine won't hurt the baby." Older friends and relatives will insist that in their day, casual drinking was common during pregnancy. "And look at us," they'll add cheerfully. "We all turned out just fine." Are these well-meaning friends right? The answer is a resounding no. It may help you t...

Every mom-to-be hopes to give birth to a healthy baby. However, some women, due to age or genetic makeup, are at greater risk of having a baby with a birth defect. Amniocentesis -- or amnio for short -- is a prenatal diagnostic test that uses a sample of the amniotic fluid that surrounds your baby in the womb to test for specific abnormalities. Amnio can help rule out many potential problems, incl...

It takes strong building materials to make a healthy baby, and few things are stronger than iron. Iron forms the core of red blood cells, the vehicles that carry oxygen to every part of your body, including to your growing baby. If you don't have enough iron -- a common problem in pregnancy -- these vehicles will start to break down, leaving you and your baby deprived of oxygen. This condition, c...

Bed rest. On the face of it, it sounds so relaxing, almost like a vacation. Lie in bed or on the couch ... read or watch television ... take a little break from "real" life. But these are two words that no pregnant woman wants to hear -- whether the doctor's order comes at 16, 26, or 36 weeks of pregnancy. The need for bed rest is surprisingly common during pregnancy. Roughly one in five women spe...

Most women go through a battery of prenatal tests during the course of their pregnancy. But if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or too much or too little of the fluid that bathes the fetus and serves as a shock absorber (known as amniotic fluid), extra monitoring is called for. If you have preeclampsia, a potentially serious condition marked by high blood pressure and excess protein in your...

Light bleeding or "spotting" during pregnancy happens more often than you might think, with up to 25 percent of all pregnant women experiencing it. Spotting -- bleeding that isn't continuous and isn't enough to fill a tampon or pad -- is especially common in the first three months. In many cases there's no cause for alarm, but you should call your doctor whenever you have bleeding during pregnancy...

Now that you're pregnant, you've probably noticed that health professionals have taken a sudden, intense interest in your blood pressure. You can hardly drive past the clinic without somebody flagging you down for a quick checkup. You might get tired of having that cuff wrapped around your arm, but all of those blood pressure measurements are completely necessary. Your blood pressure is one of the...

As the tiny individual inside you grows, your body's organs are going to find the neighborhood increasingly more crowded. Your lungs and diaphragm will need to make room for this new resident, and as a result, you may feel a little out of breath -- usually starting in your second trimester. This breathless feeling will increase until your baby drops lower into your pelvis a few weeks before birth....

Babies have two basic options at birth: They can come out the hard way, or the really, really hard way. Ninety-seven percent of babies enter the birth canal headfirst, the safest approach for both mother and baby. The other 3 percent enter feet-first, bottom-first, or a combination of both. This is called a breech presentation. There are three different types of breech presentations. Some breech b...

What is a contraction stress test? In this procedure, your baby's heart rate is measured in response to the uterus when it contracts. These contractions are mild and induced. Every contraction you have squeezes the baby and gives the doctors a chance to see how he or she will stand up to the physical challenges involved in labor. As stressful as that may sound, for most babies the test presents no...

I've been feeling cramps in my abdomen. Is this normal? Pregnancy puts a major strain on your body, and nowhere is this more evident than in your expanding belly. As your baby grows, the added pressure on muscles, joints, ligaments, and surrounding organs can lead to cramping and discomfort. Knowing when and why cramps are likely to occur can help you recognize which ones are a normal part of preg...

In order to determine whether you've developed gestational diabetes during pregnancy, doctors may test your blood sugar level. The most common procedure is a glucose screening. Most women are tested between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy, the time when the body is likely to begin having greater difficulty processing glucose. If you are at high risk, your doctor will likely test you much ear...

Why should I have a blood test for hepatitis B? Like other forms of hepatitis, hepatitis B is a virus that can cause severe liver damage. Unfortunately, a third of the people who have hepatitis B fail to show any symptoms of the disease. (Doctors would say they are "asymptomatic.") In fact, they may not even know they have it. The danger during pregnancy is that the virus can be easily transmitte...

Scary stories about cats and babies abound, most nothing more than superstition. But there are real diseases associated with changing the kitty litter while you're pregnant. Fortunately, with a few precautions, you can minimize the risks and still enjoy your favorite feline. Why is kitty litter a potential danger during pregnancy? Cats can become transmitters of toxoplasmosis, a disease they can ...

Why am I nauseous? Do I have morning sickness? Morning sickness is one of the notable misnomers in medicine -- nausea during pregnancy can occur at any time of day. Although many women are queasiest when they wake up, others find that they suffer a daily bout of nausea in the late afternoon or just after dinner. As many women have found out, you can definitely experience morning sickness on an emp...

Bundles of joy just keep getting bigger. The March of Dimes reports that in the United States alone, twin births jumped 70 percent between 1980 and 2004. The rate of "higher order multiples" -- doctorspeak for triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets, and so on -- quadrupled between 1980 and 1998. Talk about a baby boom! The rate of multiple births appears to be leveling off in recent years, but still, ...

What is a nonstress test? A nonstress test is a simple, noninvasive procedure that involves monitoring your baby's heartbeat to make sure your baby is getting the oxygen he needs through the placenta. This test helps your doctor determine if your baby is distressed and make plans for delivery if he is. When is a nonstress test performed? The test is usually recommended in the third trimester i...

What is placenta previa? When the placenta, which conducts blood from the mother's body to the developing fetus, is located so low in the uterus that it lies across the cervix (the opening of the womb), the condition is called placenta previa. The placenta may cover part or all of the cervix, blocking the baby from coming out. In about one out of 200 births, placenta previa persists until birth. ...

Should I be worried about eating fish while I'm pregnant? Since fish is low in saturated fat and high in heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids, eating it during pregnancy is very important. But seafood is the only significant source of mercury in our food, and some fish have levels of mercury so high that it may be harmful to a developing baby. No more than two helpings a week of low-mercury fish ar...

Air travel is an integral part of modern life. Whether for business, pleasure, or simple convenience, more than 2 million people fly through U.S. air space every day. If you're pregnant, however, there are a few things to consider before you step onto that plane. Knowing when it's okay to fly and how to avoid potential health risks can help you have a safe, enjoyable flight. To fly or not to fly?...

Every year in America, more than 500,000 babies are born too early. They enter the world weeks or even months ahead of schedule, and they're more likely to suffer illness and disability. Premature babies are usually underweight -- some weigh three pounds or less -- and underdeveloped. Their lungs may not be developed enough to work on their own, and their immune systems may not be ready to fend o...

No matter how careful, healthy, or lucky a newly pregnant woman may be, there's no guarantee that she will actually have a baby. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, up to half of all pregnancies fail, usually before a woman realizes shes pregnant. In many ways, women who never know about the lost pregnancy are the lucky ones. After a woman gets a positive result on a pregnancy tes...

When you're pregnant, you could easily spend nine months worrying about everything that can go wrong. But there's another option: Instead of simply worrying, you can take these five crucial steps to protect your pregnancy. By following these steps, you can dramatically reduce the risk of miscarriage, premature delivery, birth defects, and other complications. As a bonus, you'll be giving yourself ...

My doctor wants me to have a procedure called percutaneous umbilical blood sampling. What is it? Percutaneous umbilical blood sampling (PUBS) is a diagnostic procedure that examines the blood of the fetus for abnormalities. The test also goes by the names cordocentesis, fetal blood sampling, umbilical vein sampling, and percutaneous umbilical vein sampling (PUVS). Doctors must be specially trained...

Your body goes through many changes while you're pregnant, some of them less welcome than others. For unknown reasons, a woman's blood pressure can climb during the second half of her pregnancy. If your systolic pressure (the upper number) is at or gets higher than 140 or your diastolic pressure (the lower number) is at or gets higher than 90, you have high blood pressure. If so, you may develop...

What is Rh factor? If you've ever had your blood type tested, you know whether you're A, B, O, or AB. You also probably know whether you're Rh positive or negative. The difference between B positive and B negative is a single protein called Rhesus (Rh) factor. If you have the protein sitting on the surface of your red blood cells, you're positive. If you don't, you're negative. What is Rh incomp...

If you saw Erinn and Rowan Cuddy a year after they were born, you would never guess they had had a rough start in life. The twins, who live in Redwood City, California, were hardy, healthy, and rambunctious. They were starting to talk, and they obviously had big plans for the future. When they were born, things didn't seem nearly as secure: Erinn and Rowan were born at just 33 weeks gestation (abo...

Now that you're pregnant, a healthy diet is doubly important. Whether you're sitting down for a meal or grabbing a snack from a vending machine, you have to think about how your choices will affect your baby. If you develop gestational diabetes, you'll have still more choices to make. Your doctor may advise you, for example, to use an artificial sweetener that won't increase the sugar levels in y...

Looking at most newborn twins squirm contentedly in their cribs, you'd never guess that some were recently in peril. That's because carrying multiples raises the risks that a woman can suffer complications before she actually delivers. Many twins are miscarried early in the pregnancy, often before a woman even knows she's pregnant. As reported in the International Journal of Fertility, only about ...

Now that you're pregnant, naturally you're paying closer attention to your body and taking better care of yourself. You're probably also marveling at your body's transformation. It's also wise to be aware of any signs of trouble. When the unexpected occurs, you may need prompt treatment to protect your baby. What are the warning signs? Here's a look at some potential warnings signs during pregna...

These days, more mothers-to-be are working right up until a few days, or even a few hours, before they go into labor. The fact that fewer than 40 percent of working women in the United States get paid pregnancy leave may have something to do with this trend. That's the bad news. The good news is that most women, depending on a few key factors, can actually work through their pregnancies without je...

Cesarean surgeries have saved the lives of many babies and their mothers, usually as a last resort in difficult birthing situations. In recent years, the number of children delivered by c-section has risen dramatically -- in 2005, about one in three children were delivered through c-section, the highest rate in the United States ever -- and the reasons for this increase remain controversial. A c-...

What is chorionic villus sampling? Chorionic villus sampling, more commonly called CVS, is a prenatal test used to identify birth defects and disorders. CVS is usually performed 10 to 12 weeks after your last menstrual period. Chorionic villi are microscopic, finger-like wisps of placental tissue formed from your fertilized egg. Because villi cells normally have the same genetic material as your...

What is preeclampsia? If you're ever tempted to skip one of your prenatal checkups, consider this: Checkups are often the only way to detect serious complications of pregnancy, such as preeclampsia, that show few outward symptoms. Preeclampsia is a toxic condition marked by increasing protein in the urine and hypertension (high blood pressure) which makes blood vessels tighten or constrict. The c...

Terry Sauer, RN, has spent her career surrounded by premature infants. As the manager of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Deaconess Billings Clinic in Billings, Montana, she cares for several babies at a time, each facing an uncertain future. Lifesaving technology has improved dramatically in the 25 years since Sauer first stepped into a NICU, but one thing has remained constant: Today's...

Premature babies often start life behind the curve. They are generally smaller than full-term babies, and their bodies may be less developed. From the very beginning, their parents watch them anxiously for signs of progress. They want their babies to grow larger and stronger, and the little ones usually oblige. According to a report from the American Academy of Family Physicians, most premature ba...

The first time Darcy Orr saw her newborn twins, they were sleeping in separate plastic incubators filled with monitors and wires. Born 10 weeks too early, Cassie and Caden each weighed less than three pounds and were unable to breathe on their own. Like other newborns in distress, the babies went straight from the delivery room to the neonatal intensive care unit or NICU (pronounced NICK-yoo). Or...

What is a multiple marker test? Your pregnancy produces certain substances -- or markers -- in your blood that contain information about your baby. A multiple marker test (also called a triple screen, quad screen, or maternal serum screening), is a blood test that measures three or four of these substances to find out whether your baby may be at risk for certain birth defects. The markers measur...

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