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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...

THURSDAY, March 28, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Having a fussy baby doesn't just rob a new mother of sleep -- it can also increase her risk of depression, a new study finds.

That fussiness, combined with premature birth, may significantly affect a new mother's mood.

"We found that maternal depression risk varied by gestational age and infant fussiness," said senior study author...

MONDAY, March 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Racial segregation starts early in a child's life, with vulnerable black "preemies" receiving worse hospital care in the United States than white, Hispanic or Asian infants, a new investigation finds.

Researchers looked at segregation and the quality of care at more than 700 neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), focusing on babies born very ...

THURSDAY, Feb. 28, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Tiny premature babies are often swamped by the sensors that monitor their health, attached to a mass of wires sometimes bigger than the newborns themselves.

These bundles of wired sensors can impede the baby's medical care, damage their fragile skin with adhesive patches, and prevent parents from nurturing their newborn.

New mother...

MONDAY, Jan. 14, 2019 (American Heart Association) -- For women who use in vitro fertilization to get pregnant, particularly those who find success with frozen embryo transfers, recent studies have found they have an increased risk of preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication and serious blood pressure condition.

Now, academic researchers may have uncovered why.

"Many have r...

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...

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 14, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Head-size measurements can help screen for long-term IQ problems in very premature or very low birth weight babies, researchers say.

"Measuring head circumference and thus head growth in early childhood is a proxy measure of brain volume growth in early childhood," said study senior author Dieter Wolke, of the University of Warwick in Engla...

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 26, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Breastfeeding premature babies could boost their brain development, new research suggests.

Preemies are at risk for long-term problems with thinking and learning. Pre-term birth is believed to affect the brain's white matter, which helps brain cells communicate with each other.

This new, small study found better brain-cell conne...

MONDAY, Aug. 27, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- More and more pregnant or breastfeeding women are using marijuana, and U.S. pediatricians are pushing back against the notion that the drug is "safe."

There's evidence that exposure to marijuana compounds might harm the fetus, and these compounds might also find their way into breast milk, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says in a new...

MONDAY, Aug. 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- A substantial number of pregnant women may be turning to marijuana to ease morning sickness, a new study suggests.

The study of more than 220,000 pregnant women found that more than 5 percent had recently used marijuana. And it was more common among women who'd been suffering from morning sickness.

Of those with milder symptoms, just...

THURSDAY, Aug. 9, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- The number of pregnant women addicted to opioids as they give birth has more than quadrupled since 1999, a disturbing new report shows.

In 2014, for every 1,000 hospital deliveries, 6.5 were mothers who arrived at the hospital with opioid use disorder, up from 1.5 per 1,000 in 1999, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research...

FRIDAY, Aug. 3, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- People often urge moms-to-be to get plenty of sleep before the baby comes. Now, researchers report that good sleep during pregnancy might also lower the risk of premature delivery.

The review of published studies provides important information for pregnant women and their doctors, said lead researcher Jane Warland, an associate professor at th...

FRIDAY, Aug. 3, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- If you love fish and you're pregnant, new research suggests eating lots of it might help you avoid delivering your baby too soon.

The researchers found that women who had the lowest levels of fatty acids from fish during their first and second trimester were 10 times more likely to have a preterm birth than women who had the highest levels of t...

WEDNESDAY, June 27, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Taking vitamin D supplements does not reduce the risk of pregnancy-related high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia, a new study finds.

High blood pressure that develops during pregnancy is called gestational hypertension. Pre-eclampsia is the development of high blood pressure and elevated protein in urine during pregnancy. It can cause stroke...

MONDAY, June 18, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- The soothing sound of their mother's voice may help improve sleep for babies in hospital neonatal intensive care units, researchers say.

This section of the hospital, called the NICU, provides around-the-clock care to sick or premature babies. But the hospital environment can hinder newborns' ability to have normal sleep, said study lead autho...

MONDAY, June 18, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- Higher weight gain during pregnancy increases the risk of preeclampsia in women giving birth for the first time, new research shows.

The study explored how weight affects preeclampsia, a serious pregnancy condition related to gestational high blood pressure. Ten million women around the world develop preeclampsia each year, result...

FRIDAY, June 15, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- A number of infection control measures need to be taken when giving "kangaroo care" to premature babies in the neonatal intensive care unit, researchers say.

This approach -- which involves meaningful touch and skin-to-skin contact between parents and babies -- is increasingly encouraged in hospitals to aid the infant's development.

...

THURSDAY, June 7, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have developed a blood test that can predict a pregnant woman's risk of preterm delivery with up to 80 percent accuracy.

The test is not ready for prime time, stressed senior researcher Stephen Quake, a professor at Stanford University in California. It still has to be validated in larger studies of more diverse groups of women, h...

WEDNESDAY, June 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Babies born prematurely or very small may not fare as well in life as those born full-term, a new research review suggests.

Adults who were born tiny or early may be more likely to lag behind educationally and professionally. They're also more likely to use social services, according to the review of 23 prior studies from eight countries.

TUESDAY, May 22, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Closing coal and oil plants may lead to fewer premature births and improved fertility in neighboring communities, according to two new studies.

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley found that preterm deliveries dropped 20 percent to 25 percent in California after eight power plants closed down between 2001 and 2011.

...

WEDNESDAY, April 25, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Most potential explanations of premature birth revolve around the mother, and what might cause her body to reject her developing fetus.

But what if it's the other way around?

A new study suggests some preterm births occur because the fetus rejects the mother, after its immune system is triggered too early and senses maternal cell...

FRIDAY, March 23, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- The hearts of adults who were premature babies pump less blood during exercise than adults who were full-term babies, a small study finds.

That might help explain why some people born prematurely are at greater risk for heart failure later in life, the study authors said.

The study included 47 adults who were born prematurely (befo...

FRIDAY, March 2, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- American soldiers who have babies after a recent deployment are at increased risk of preterm birth, a new study suggests.

The finding comes from the analysis of data on nearly 12,900 births to U.S. soldiers from 2011 to 2014. Overall, just over 6 percent of the births were premature -- three or more weeks early. That rate is lower than in the ...

MONDAY, Feb. 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- As if preemies didn't face enough struggles, a new study finds they have more difficulty making friends, though things improve once they start school.

"Having friends, playing with them and being accepted is important for social support and personal well-being," said study leader Dieter Wolke. He's a psychology professor at the University of W...

MONDAY, Jan. 8, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- The United States has had the smallest decline in child death rates among wealthy nations over the past 50 years, despite spending more on health care per child than the other countries, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed child death rates from 1961 to 2010 in the United States and 19 other economically similar countries, including Canada,...

TUESDAY, Dec. 19, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Women with a relatively short cervix are at higher risk of preterm delivery, but new research shows that a cervical device may cut that risk substantially.

The Italian study included 300 women with a short cervix. Half of them used a small silicone ring called a cervical pessary, while the other half acted as a "control" group and did not use...

THURSDAY, Dec. 7, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- When parents bring a premature baby home from the hospital, it's the dads who feel the most stress, a new study finds.

"Dad goes from a situation where the baby and mom are cared for by experts in the hospital to having to simultaneously care for his baby, partner and work. He is supposed to be the 'rock' for his partner but the stress can re...

FRIDAY, Dec. 1, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- People who were born prematurely may have smaller-than-normal airways in adulthood, which can cause respiratory problems, researchers say.

Premature birth is associated with poorer heart and lung function, but the reasons why have not been fully understood.

In a new study, investigators compared adults who were born eight weeks or mor...

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 1, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- After nearly a decade of decline, the preterm birth rate in the United States has risen for the second year in a row, the March of Dimes reports.

And racial and ethnic disparities are driving the increase, the group added.

The premature birth rate rose from 9.63 percent in 2015 to 9.8 percent in 2016, and the number of preterm birt...

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Higher doses of vitamin D can improve the bone health of premature babies, new research suggests.

"We are hopeful that neonatologists will consider giving preterm infants 800 IUs [International Units]," said study author Dr. Ann Anderson Berry. She is medical director of the NICU Nebraska Medicine, the clinical partner of the University of ...

THURSDAY, Oct. 5, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers say they have identified three criteria that suggest an extremely premature infant has a low risk of developing sepsis, which might allow doctors to spare these babies early exposure to antibiotics.

Sepsis is an infection of the blood, and it's a serious, life-threatening condition.

But it isn't always easy to tell if th...

TUESDAY, Oct. 3, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- The same medication to prevent preterm birth can cost $200 -- or nearly $11,000, a new study finds.

Harvard Medical School researchers found that use of a brand name and prepackaging was associated with a 5,000 percent increase in the cost of the synthetic hormone progestin.

They said the average per-pregnancy cost of a compounded, ...

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 27, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Infants born early in a full-term pregnancy have a higher risk of poor heart-lung fitness later in life, a new study suggests.

The study included nearly 800 people in Northern Ireland who were born at full-term (37 to 42 weeks) and had their cardiorespiratory fitness assessed at ages 12, 15 and 22.

Those born at 37 to 38 weeks ha...

THURSDAY, Sept. 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Premature births cost U.S. employer-sponsored health plans billions of dollars a year, a new study claims.

About 1 in 10 infants in the country are born prematurely (less than 37 weeks gestation), putting them at increased risk for birth defects and long-term health problems.

Employer-sponsored health plans spent at least $6 billi...

TUESDAY, Sept. 12, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- During the nine months of pregnancy, many pregnant women have wondered -- would one or two glasses of wine really put my baby at risk?

And, unfortunately, researchers still don't know for sure. But a new review of several existing studies hints that small amounts of alcohol may slightly boost the risk of premature birth and low birth ...

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 6, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers say they've pinpointed gene areas linked with preterm birth -- and they said this could pave new ways to prevent the leading cause of death among children under age 5 worldwide.

The team looked at DNA and other data from more than 50,000 women from the United States and northern European countries. The researchers identified six...

FRIDAY, Sept. 1, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- By learning more about the immune system changes that occur during pregnancy, scientists hope they can someday predict if babies will be born prematurely.

"Pregnancy is a unique immunological state. We found that the timing of immune system changes follows a precise and predictable pattern in normal pregnancy," said study senior author Dr. Bri...

MONDAY, Aug. 28, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Race and ethnicity can make a difference in the quality of care a premature baby receives in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), a new study finds.

Top-quality hospitals in California tend to deliver better care to white babies compared with black or Hispanic newborns, researchers report.

In addition, black and Hispanic infants ar...

FRIDAY, Aug. 11, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- The early life of a very premature baby can be a hectic and stressful time for parents. But once the child is grown, parents are as satisfied with life as those whose babies were born at full term, new European research finds.

"Parents of very premature or very low birth-weight children did not differ in quality of life 27 years later compared...

TUESDAY, Aug. 8, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Sleep disorders during pregnancy may increase the risk of preterm birth, a new study finds.

The California research looked at 2,265 pregnant women who were diagnosed with a sleep disorder, such as insomnia or sleep apnea. They were compared to a control group of pregnant women without a sleep disorder diagnosis but with similar maternal risk f...

TUESDAY, July 11, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Preeclampsia, a serious pregnancy complication, continues to increase in the United States, exacting a significant economic toll, a new study shows.

The condition involves the sudden onset of high blood pressure and high levels of protein in the urine. It threatens both mothers and babies, and accounts for $2.2 billion in health care costs n...

FRIDAY, June 30, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Teen births in the United States dropped to a record low last year, falling 9 percent from 2015, U.S. health officials reported Friday.

The overall birth rate declined, too, dropping 1 percent between 2015 and 2016, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The total number of births in 2016 was 3...

MONDAY, June 12, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Parents of premature babies may find reassurance in a new study that says most will do just fine later in school.

"What excites me about this study is that it changes the focus for the clinician and families at the bedside from just focusing on the medical outcomes of the child to what the future educational outcomes might be for a child born...

TUESDAY, May 30, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Teen births continue to decline in the United States, with health officials reporting a 9 percent drop from 2013 to 2014.

Births to 15- to 19-year-olds fell to a historic low of 24 births per 1,000 women in 2014, said Sherry Murphy, a statistician at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics....

TUESDAY, April 25, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors should screen all pregnant women for preeclampsia, a serious complication tied to high blood pressure, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Expectant mothers should have their blood pressure checked throughout their pregnancy -- even if they have no signs or symptoms of preeclampsia, according to the task force's fi...

FRIDAY, April 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Signs in stores warning about the harms of drinking during pregnancy appear to work: New research shows boozing by mothers-to-be has declined 11 percent in states that require such postings.

Those states have also seen a drop in extremely premature births (less than 32 weeks' gestation) and very-low-birth-weight ba...

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