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Health News Results - 278

TUESDAY, June 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Red blood cell donations from women who have been pregnant won't cause fatal reactions in patients who get the blood, a new study finds.

Earlier studies have suggested that women who have been pregnant shouldn't give blood, because antibodies that develop during pregnancy could cause a potentially deadly complication in recipients of their b...

TUESDAY, June 11, 2019 (American Heart Association News) -- Taking good care of your health, especially your heart, is important during pregnancy. But preconception care – the care you get before becoming pregnant – can be just as critical for both mom and baby.

"There are demands that get placed on the heart during pregnancy," said Dr. Maria Sophocles, an OB-GYN and medical...

THURSDAY, May 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Breastfeeding moms with healthy eating habits have slimmer infants, who could then be protected from obesity later, researchers say.

Rapid weight gain and fat accumulation during an infant's first six months of life is a risk factor for obesity later on, they explained.

"A baby who is shooting up through the percentiles in weight-fo...

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...

TUESDAY, May 14, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly half of infections among women who undergo an assisted vaginal birth could be prevented by giving them a dose of antibiotics soon after delivery, a new study contends.

The preventive use of antibiotics in these cases could prevent about 5,000 infections in new mothers every year in the United States alone, and many more worldwide, the r...

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...

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...

WEDNESDAY, May 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- In vitro fertilization (IVF) is widely used in the United States to help infertile couples have children. But there are a number of things people should know when considering it, an infertility specialist says.

"Many factors … can affect the success of an IVF cycle, but many people view IVF as their safety net that ensures they can hav...

MONDAY, April 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Are many women who smoke switching to e-cigarettes during pregnancy?

That's the suggestion from a new study that finds close to 4% of pregnant American women are vaping, and the rate of e-cigarette use is actually higher among pregnant women than women who aren't pregnant.

The researchers also found that e-cigarette use in pregn...

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...

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 ...

TUESDAY, April 23, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Many American women feel less welcome at work once they become pregnant, a new study finds.

On the other hand, expectant and new fathers often get a career boost.

"We found that pregnant women experienced decreased career encouragement in the workplace only after they disclosed they were pregnant," said study author Samantha Pausti...

THURSDAY, April 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- For transgender teens and young adults, deciding whether to freeze their sperm or eggs in case they want children later on is a complex decision.

A transgender person is one whose gender at birth does not match the gender they identify with. In the past, trangender adults would transition with surgery and hormones. Now, new medical directio...

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...

MONDAY, April 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Children born to mothers who used marijuana during pregnancy may be at increased risk for psychosis, according to a new study.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis analyzed data from an ongoing nationwide study of child health and brain development.

The analysis included nearly 4,400 children born to about 3,800 mothers...

FRIDAY, March 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Eating for two takes on added significance with a new study suggesting that a mother's diet during pregnancy could affect her child's risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Spanish researchers found a link between levels of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in umbilical cord blood and ADHD at age 7.

The fatty acids p...

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...

SUNDAY, March 24, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- When couples experience recurrent pregnancy loss, it's natural for them to want to know why. Now, a new study suggests that sperm DNA damage could be a factor.

Recurrent pregnancy loss is defined as the consecutive loss of three or more pregnancies before 20 weeks' gestation. It affects up to 2 percent of couples a...

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.

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...

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...

WEDNESDAY, March 20, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Postpartum depression is a common and often devastating condition for new mothers, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved the first drug to help combat it.

The drug, Zulesso (brexanolone), is delivered via intravenous infusion.

"Postpartum depression is a serious condition that, when severe, can be life-thr...

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...

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...

TUESDAY, March 12, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Women who get pregnant when using certain contraceptives might have their genes to blame, a new study suggests.

A gene variant that breaks down hormones in birth control could be the culprit, researchers reported.

"When a woman says she got pregnant while on birth control, the assumption was always that it was somehow her fault," s...

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...

THURSDAY, March 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- A new study challenges the long-held belief that multiple sclerosis (MS) can flare up right after pregnancy in women with the relapsing-remitting form of the disease.

In that type of MS, symptoms arise, then go into periods of remission.

"These results are exciting, as MS is more common among women of childbearing age than in any o...

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...

THURSDAY, Feb. 28, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- They are among the rarest types of human beings -- so-called "semi-identical" twins.

Now, doctors in Australia say they've identified the world's second known set of these twins, born from an egg fertilized by two sperm.

Semi-identical twins (sesquizygotic) are classed as a third type of twin, in addition to identical and fraternal...

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 27, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Something as simple as taking prenatal vitamins during the first month of pregnancy might lower the odds of having a second child with autism.

As researchers explain in a new report, once one child has been diagnosed with autism, any subsequent children face a higher risk of having the developmental disorder.

But the study found t...

FRIDAY, Feb. 22, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Obese young children may have less risk for high blood pressure if their mother took the omega-3 fatty acid DHA -- found in fish oil -- during pregnancy, new research suggests.

The findings could be important since rising numbers of American children are obese and experiencing hikes in blood pressure.

That could have long-term conseq...

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...

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 20, 2019 (American Heart Association News) -- Serena Williams and Beyoncé are at the top of their professions. Williams is one of the best tennis players, and arguably athletes, of all time. Beyoncé is a singer who sells out arenas within hours.

But last year, they shared similar stories: Each experienced life-threatening complications in their pregnanci...

TUESDAY, Feb. 19, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- A new study throws serious doubt on the safety of using a common yeast infection treatment during pregnancy.

Fluconazole (Diflucan) is a prescribed pill used to treat yeast infections. However, Canadian research now suggests its use greatly raises a pregnant woman's odd for miscarriage, as well as the odds that her baby will have a heart defe...

TUESDAY, Feb. 19, 2019 (American Heart Association News) -- More collaboration between cardiologists and obstetricians could help curb the nation's soaring death rate among pregnant women, according to a new report urging more team-based care for these vulnerable mothers.

Pregnant women in the United States have a higher risk of dying than women in any other industrialized country. T...

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 13, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- In the race to conception, the female body is set up to separate weak sperm from strong, researchers report.

A woman's reproductive system presents a veritable obstacle course that stress-tests sperm, making sure that only the strongest swimmers have a chance of reaching a woman's egg, according to a new study.

Narrow gate-like p...

FRIDAY, Feb. 8, 2019 (American Heart Association News) -- The risk of a type of stroke that causes bleeding in the brain is higher among women during pregnancy and in the weeks following delivery, new research finds.

While studies have shown that women have an increased risk for stroke-causing blood clots during pregnancy and the postpartum period, researchers wanted to know if the s...

FRIDAY, Feb. 8, 2019 (American Heart Association News) -- As a medical malpractice lawyer, Diana Mauro is no stranger to stress.

Her job in the New York area consists of long hours and challenging cases. Some days, she would stay at the office until 9 p.m.

Like many people, she exercised to reduce tension and stay fit. In late 2016, she decided to get in better shape, so ...

MONDAY, Feb. 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Women who've had fertility treatments -- especially in vitro fertilization -- may be at higher risk for serious pregnancy complications, a new study suggests.

Still, it's not clear if the treatments cause the hike in risk, and the benefits of IVF far outweigh any obstetric dangers, the study's Canadian authors said.

"It is important t...

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.

...

TUESDAY, Jan. 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Areas of the United States with high unemployment and few mental health services have higher rates of newborns who were exposed to opioids in the womb, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data on 6.3 million births between 2009 and 2015 in 580 counties in Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, Tennessee and...

TUESDAY, Jan. 15, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Today's teens are better at using birth control when they first become sexually active, but many unexpected pregnancies still occur, new research finds.

Teens who didn't use birth control during their first month of sexual activity faced nearly a fourfold increase in the risk of an unwanted pregnancy within three months, the study found.

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...

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...

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 2, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Avoiding certain foods during pregnancy does not reduce your child's risk of food allergies, a new analysis shows.

For the study, researchers examined data from a 2005 to 2007 survey of 4,900 pregnant women who were part of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.

Nearly 3 percent of...

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...

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...

MONDAY, Dec. 17, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Here's some straight talk about the value of "the talk."

Fathers who talk with their teenage sons about condom use can help prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancies, researchers say.

Condoms are the only contraceptive method that can prevent pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted infections, ...

TUESDAY, Dec. 4, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- The world's first baby born to a woman who had a uterus transplant from a deceased donor shows that such transplants can be successful, Brazilian doctors say.

The 6-pound baby girl was delivered by C-section to an unidentified young woman who had been born without a uterus.

The birth shows that pregnancies involving a uterus from a ...

TUESDAY, Dec. 4, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Ever since the Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid in some states, more women have received health care before pregnancy, a new study finds.

The number of women who had Medicaid in the month before pregnancy rose from 31 percent to 36 percent in states that opted out of Medicaid expansion, but increased from 43 percent to 57 percent in state...

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Wellness Library Results - 177

Soon into your pregnancy, don't be surprised if you feel foggy-brained and forgetful. You may find yourself misplacing your purse, forgetting to return phone calls, or going off to fetch something only to discover you've forgotten what you are looking for. At work, you may catch yourself daydreaming through meetings or staring out the window rather than completing that report. Whatever form your a...

Even though every delivery is different, each woman's labor usually comes with predictable stages that you can read about in any reliable pregnancy book. It's after the baby's born that many women are surprised by how they feel. After you've delivered your baby, you'll have some residual aches and pains -- perhaps some that your friends and relatives might not have talked about. Here's what you ca...

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...

Now that you're pregnant and eating for two, you probably wonder a bit about your diet and whether you're getting the nutrients you need. And if you suffer occasional bouts of nausea or morning sickness, your diet is even more of a concern. Here are some of the most common questions about nutritional needs during pregnancy. How much weight should I gain during pregnancy? Every woman is different...

The bond between parents and babies is one of the strongest forces in nature. Romances come and go, but once you've fallen for your baby, you're hooked for life. Jen Harrington of South Riding, Virginia, felt the rush the instant she looked at her new son. People had warned her that she was about to fall in love as never before, but she didn't know what they meant until Joshua came along. "It was ...

With his 2-year-old upstairs taking a nap, Tim Anderson* seized the chance to do some yard work. A few moments later, he was bewildered to find the toddler lying on the lawn, crying inconsolably. That's odd, he thought: How did he get downstairs so fast? Then, to his horror, he noticed a window screen lying beside his son. Alone in his room, the enterprising tot had managed to push out the screen ...

It's a tough call, but no one would dispute that back pain ranks in the Top 10 list of a pregnant woman's gripes. According to the North American Spine Society, at least half of all women experience back pain at some point in pregnancy. An aching back is usually caused by your shifting center of gravity. The weight of your baby puts strain on your lower back, but it also may simply be the result ...

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...

If you're having a normal, healthy pregnancy, you may want to add some low-intensity strength training and daily exercise to your regimen. Pregnancy isn't the time to take up new or strenuous sports, but with your health provider's okay, you can begin strengthening the muscles in your upper and lower body -- you're going to need them! During pregnancy, the extra weight in your belly and your brea...

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...

Not too long ago, pregnant women didn't have many options when it came to choosing a place to give birth. It was just assumed that they would end up at the nearest hospital, whether they felt comfortable there or not. But today's moms-to-be have more possibilities than ever. They can find a hospital with the doctors and services that they prefer, they can opt to have a baby at home with the help...

Before you reach your third trimester, you should be thinking about registering for a childbirth education class. Like most prospective parents, you're probably apprehensive about labor, delivery, and your first days with your new baby. The courses are an excellent way to prepare yourself and your partner for childbirth -- psychologically, emotionally, and practically. If you possibly can, attend...

A birth plan is simply a document that outlines the kind of birth experience you wish to have. Creating one will help you talk with your physician or midwife about your baby's birth. Perhaps some of your requests can't be granted due to hospital policy, but at least you can start the discussion with hospital staff and see if your physician can work out some compromises. There are three important...

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...

Early in your pregnancy, usually at your first prenatal visit, your practitioner will do certain standard blood tests to learn basic information about your body, check for specific conditions, or spot any potential health problems. Here's what your blood test may reveal: Blood type and antibody screen First of all, a blood test will disclose your blood type if you don't know it already. Each of th...

It's one of the first things that everyone asks a pregnant woman: Is it a boy or a girl? Throughout history, many parents didn't want to wait until the actual birth to find out. They'd wave crystals over the mother or consult the stars. They'd hang a ring over the mother's tummy or measure the baby's heart rate -- and have at least a 50/50 chance of guessing correctly. Now, of course, there are mu...

Expectant parents can be forgiven if they panic when they hear the word "bonding." Library shelves and Web sites are devoted to the importance of bonding with a newborn and the trauma that may result when it doesn't take place. Many parents now fear that if they don't bond immediately, their children may be scarred for life. No wonder the issue has wrought so much stress. Studies in the last two d...

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...

How does breastfeeding help me? No food is more perfect for babies than breast milk. Breast milk contains all the nutrients that a newborn needs -- to date some 100 "ingredients" have been identified in breast milk that cannot be duplicated in formula. In fact, the benefits of breastfeeding are so well established that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommends that women breastfeed t...

Everyone thinks that breastfeeding comes naturally. But for infants born prematurely or who are ill at birth, that often isn't the case. Some babies, even healthy ones, just plain struggle with the mechanics of suckling, becoming more frantic by the hour as their anxious moms try desperately to feed them. That's why it's good to learn as much about breastfeeding as you can before the baby gets her...

Breast milk is the perfect food for babies. It contains all the nutrients your baby needs in just the right balance, and it passes along the natural antibodies you've acquired, too, so your little one's immune system gets off to a good start. But it can also contain some unwelcome added ingredients if you're taking medicine for a cold or other ailment. Usually these medicines aren't passed along ...

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...

I've heard drinking coffee can make it harder to get pregnant. Is that true? You may have heard that even moderate amounts of caffeine can delay conception. The truth is, no one is really sure. One often-cited study from the 1990s found that women who had the equivalent of three cups of coffee a day lowered their likelihood of conceiving by as much as 27 percent. But researchers at Harvard Medica...

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...

If you're preparing for an international adoption, you're probably knee-deep in paperwork, waiting to be matched, or scheduling a flight for China, Russia, India, or another country to meet your new son or daughter for the first time. With all the excitement, medical tests for your child after you return home may be the last thing on your mind. But once you get home, it should be high on your li...

Greg Bellisime gets envious comments when he talks about the five weeks he took off after the birth of his daughter, Beatrice. Even after his time off, he returned to work only three days a week, saving most of his week to care for his wife and daughter. Bellisime, a 35-year-old inventory manager for Patagonia outdoor clothing company in Ventura, California, wanted to make sure his wife was recupe...

Have you ever heard your dad talk about the day you were born? He may be able to describe the weather or the big story on the television news. Chances are, though, he can't talk about your actual birth. Back then, fathers were often barred from the delivery room. While your mother was pushing, your dad was probably in another room, worrying and looking at his watch. When you talk to your kids, the...

Josh Kraft and his wife originally planned to have their first baby in a hospital. But as the months went by, the idea seemed less and less appealing. "My wife wanted to control things," Kraft says. "She didn't want a doctor saying, 'Well, it's 5:30 on a Friday, let's move this thing along.'" Eventually, they decided to have the baby at home, where they could be in charge -- at least until the bab...

If you find that you're not immediately overwhelmed with love with your newborn, don't worry. Like any other emotional relationship, developing a connection with your child can take time. Similarly, as with any other relationship, this one will have its own unique rhythms and pace of development. The timing will depend upon you and your baby; your experience of childbirth and your life circumstanc...

During 42 hours of painful labor, Julie McNitt of Amherst, New York, had two constant companions: Her husband and a professional labor assistant called a "doula." And if she ever has another child, both of them will be invited back. Her husband earned points by sticking around despite a bad case of "deer in the headlights" syndrome. Her doula, Cindy Whittaker, simply helped her survive. "Because ...

Pregnancy is a time of many changes not only for your body, but also for your mind. Your mood can swing from sunny to dark, and you'll probably start worrying more than usual. And no matter how much you're looking forward to your baby's arrival, you just might find yourself feeling depressed. By some estimates, depression strikes one in five women during pregnancy. If you're feeling down during ...

Those colored lines on home tests aren't the only signs of early pregnancy. Many women start noticing changes in their bodies very soon after they conceive. If pregnancy is a possibility for you, you should watch out for the early symptoms. The sooner you realize you might be pregnant, the sooner you can take a pregnancy test to make sure. Keep in mind, however, that your body's early pregnancy w...

It doesn't just happen in the movies: Sometimes babies really are born in taxis or on trains -- even in the hospital parking lot. Rapid labor is most common in women who have given birth quickly in the past, have given birth several times before, or have previously gone into labor prematurely. But you never know when you may be called upon to assist in an emergency birth. The first rule of thumb? ...

Putting on extra weight isn't usually a winning strategy for good health. But now that you're pregnant, you need to keep the needle on your scale moving in the right direction. No matter what type of body you have now, it needs to get bigger. How much weight should I gain? According to the March of Dimes, a woman who started pregnancy at a normal weight should expect to gain about 25 to 35 pound...

What is an episiotomy? An episiotomy is a surgical cut to widen the vaginal opening during delivery. Doctors sometimes make an incision in the perineum -- the area between the vagina and the anus -- to help the baby come out. Your doctor will likely numb the area with a local anesthetic before making the cut and suture the incision after the baby is born. When is an episiotomy necessary? T...

There are a dozen good reasons to exercise during pregnancy. Lowering your risk of developing gestational diabetes and high blood pressure, and keeping your body fit so you can endure the challenges of labor and childbirth are just two of them. Still, you do have some special considerations, and you should discuss your exercise regimen with your health-care provider. Here are some issues to consi...

What are Braxton-Hicks contractions? Known as false labor, Braxton-Hicks contractions may be the first contractions you feel during pregnancy. They can start anywhere from the 20th week on. If you put a hand on your abdomen during a contraction, you can sometimes feel your abdominal muscles tighten and release, becoming hard, then softening again. This is different from feeling the baby move, w...

Within a span of six cruel years, Leta Stachura lost her mother, father, father-in-law, and grandmother -- and then her husband of almost 34 years. Without the Family and Medical Leave Act, she says, she would have lost her job with Federal Express and her sanity as well. "My husband died at home with me. The only thing left standing after this was me and my job. I needed it for financial suppor...

In many ways, Josh Kraft of Billings, Montana, had perfect training for fatherhood. As the oldest of nine children, he was already an expert baby wrangler who knew his way around a diaper. But when Kraft and his wife started talking about having kids of their own, a few doubts and fears started to creep in. Was he really ready? Was his wife ready? How could they afford a child? In the end, the des...

Every birth is a miracle -- even though the miracle happens all over the world, every moment, every day. Just think: Each squirming little bundle starts out as two microscopic cells. Within a few weeks, an embryo grows to the size of a grain of rice. By that time, it has also grown a brain, a heart, and, yes, a tail. In just a few short months, the heart gets stronger, the brain gets smarter, and ...

The reason you hear so much about folic acid and pregnancy is because this B vitamin protects against a group of serious birth defects. However, if you're like most women, you don't get enough folic acid (officially known as B9) from your diet alone. For this reason, doctors often recommend that women who are pregnant or trying to conceive take prenatal vitamins containing folic acid. What's the...

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...

What are hemorrhoids? Hemorrhoids, sometimes called piles, are inflamed or swollen veins (think varicose veins) either on the outside of the anus or inside it. They are often painless, but they may bleed, hurt, or itch when irritated. Sometimes hemorrhoids can become inflamed and engorged with blood, causing them to become quite painful. Occasionally, a blood clot can form in a hemorrhoid, making...

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...

Carrie Hook had her first two babies in a Minneapolis hospital, where she was surrounded by obstetricians, nurses, and cutting-edge technology. When she had her third baby, she was surrounded by a midwife, a house contractor (her husband, Joe), and a tarp to protect the living room carpet. Home births aren't for everyone. But if Hook ever has another baby, she knows exactly where she wants to be...

Long before you take your new baby home, you need to think about a crucial issue: Who will take care of her at times when parents are otherwise occupied? Whether you're staying at home or quickly going back to work, you can make sure your baby spends all day, every day, in a safe, nurturing environment. Many factors will influence your choice, including cost, convenience, and, most of all, your ba...

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