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Health News Results - 466

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...

MONDAY, June 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Women, beware: Sleeping with a light on or the TV going in your bedroom could make you put on weight.

That's the finding of new research published in JAMA Internal Medicine. While the study doesn't prove that sleeping with a light on causes weight gain, it suggests the two may be linked, the researchers said.

"Turning off the...

SUNDAY, June 2, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- More American women under age 65 have been diagnosed sooner and treated earlier for ovarian cancer since the Affordable Care Act went into effect in 2010, new research shows.

And, more women received treatment within 30 days of diagnosis, improving their survival odds, the researchers said.

For the study, t...

FRIDAY, May 31, 2019 (American Heart Association News) -- Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in the U.S., and women make up nearly 60% of all stroke deaths.

Why?

In part, experts say, women may have symptoms subtle enough to be missed or brushed off in the daily juggle of work-life balance. That can lead to delays in getting time-sensitive, lifesaving treatm...

THURSDAY, May 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Brittle bones are often seen as a woman's health issue, but low bone mass may be more common among middle-aged men than generally thought, a small study suggests.

The research, of 173 adults aged 35 to 50, found that men and women were equally likely to have low bone mass in the hip. It was found in 28% of men and 26% of women.

...

WEDNESDAY, May 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Many people with activity trackers strive for 10,000 steps a day. But does it really take nearly five miles daily to make a difference in longevity?

Maybe not, says new research.

The study looked at nearly 17,000 older women -- average age 72. It found that women reduced their risk of dying by 41% when they got just 4,400 ste...

MONDAY, May 28, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Women who suffer a cardiac arrest in public are less likely than men to get resuscitation help from bystanders, and more likely to die, new research shows.

For the study, scientists analyzed data on more than 5,700 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests that occurred in a province of the Netherlands between 2006 and 2012. Women accounted for 28% o...

TUESDAY, May 28, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- There's been a steep uptick in aggressive uterine cancers among American women, especially black women, since 2000, a new study shows.

It also found that black women with these aggressive cancers have lower survival rates than other women.

Researchers at the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) analyzed data on uterine cancer among 3...

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...

WEDNESDAY, May 22, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- If you're taking a test, you might want to check the thermostat first.

Room temperature -- a frequent front in the battle of the sexes -- makes a difference in how men and women score on math and verbal tests, new research says.

Specifically, women scored higher when the temperature was warmer. Men did better when the room was coo...

WEDNESDAY, May 22, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Women with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) appear to have a harder time than men with the progressive lung disorder, a new study suggests.

Smoking is its leading cause, and while women report smoking less than men, those with COPD have more trouble breathing, more frequent flare-ups and a poorer quality of life, researchers foun...

WEDNESDAY, May 22, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Some people with sleep apnea have an increased risk of cancer, and the odds may be higher for women than men, researchers say.

"Recent studies have shown that low blood oxygen levels during the night and disrupted sleep, which are both common in [obstructive sleep apnea], may play an important role in the biology of different types of cancer...

MONDAY, May 20, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Urinary tract infections are one of the indignities many women face as they age. One reason why is because their bladder walls can be invaded by several species of bacteria, a new study finds.

Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are among the most common type of bacterial infections in women, accounting for nearly 25% of all infections. UTI ...

MONDAY, May 20, 2019 (American Heart Association News) -- Even with supportive spouses, many women still find themselves helping the kids with homework and cleaning up household messes, often while scrambling to make dinner after a 10-hour workday filled with deadlines and challenging colleagues.

All that stress could put women at higher risk than men for having a stroke or developin...

FRIDAY, May 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Day-to-day struggles prevent many American women with HIV from taking medicines to suppress the AIDS-causing virus, a new study shows.

"Survival is a priority over putting a pill in your mouth for a number of our participants, and that is the public health challenge we must address," said study first author Dr. Seble Kassaye, an associate profe...

THURSDAY, May 16, 2019 (American Heart Association News) -- Men are more likely than women to develop unstable plaques in their neck arteries, a dangerous condition that can lead to strokes, according to new research that also identified a helpful warning sign for rupture-prone plaques in women.

The preliminary study, presented Thursday at the American Heart Association's Vascular Di...

TUESDAY, May 14, 2019 (American Heart Association News) -- Diabetes can be a risk factor for heart disease – but for women, the condition can lead to worse outcomes than for men.

The statistics are striking: Compared to their male counterparts, women with diabetes have a twofold increased risk of heart disease. They're also more likely to have heart attacks earlier – and ...

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) -- If you're an older woman who smokes, quitting may bring a health benefit you haven't considered: A new study suggests it lowers your risk of bladder cancer.

The largest decline in risk was in the first 10 years after quitting, with a modest but steady decline in following years.

Bladder cancer is fairly rare -- about 4.6% of new c...

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...

FRIDAY, May 3, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- The largest organization representing U.S. breast surgeons is issuing new screening guidelines, advising women at average risk to begin annual mammograms at age 40.

Those guidelines differ from advisories from the influential U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), which moved first mammogram screening from 40 to 50 years of age, as well a...

FRIDAY, May 3, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- A severe and potentially disabling form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) affects up to 5% of women of childbearing age, an expert says.

Like PMS, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) may cause bloating, breast tenderness, fatigue and changes in sleep and eating habits. In PMDD, at least one of these symptoms also occurs: sadness or hopelessn...

THURSDAY, May 2, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- An easy-to-use, noninvasive device can detect early signs of the cancer complication known as lymphedema, a new study reports.

Lymphedema is the buildup of fluid in the body's tissues when a part of the lymph system is damaged, as can happen in cancer care, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The fluid causes swelli...

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...

WEDNESDAY, May 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common cause of infertility and type 2 diabetes, but little is known about its origins. Now, new research suggests a gene involved in male hormone production plays a big role in the disorder's development.

"We're starting to make headway on what causes PCOS [polycystic ovary syndrome]. It's very frustrating for...

WEDNESDAY, May 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Facial moisturizers are a mainstay against the march of time, smoothing over wrinkles and keeping dry skin supple. But new research shows that women pay a much higher price for that anti-aging weapon than men do.

In the study, dermatologists from Massachusetts General Hospital checked the prices for 110 facial moisturizers from three leading ...

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...

MONDAY, April 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- New research shows that snoring is not the sole domain of men.

"We found that although no difference in snoring intensity was found between genders, women tend to underreport the fact that they snore and to underestimate the loudness of their snoring," said lead investigator Dr. Nimrod Maimon. He is head of internal medicine at Soroka Univers...

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...

FRIDAY, April 26, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Too many women with heart disease aren't heeding exercise guidelines, and that could translate into even more health problems down the road, new research suggests.

"Physical activity is a known, cost-effective prevention strategy for women with and without cardiovascular disease, and our study shows worsening health and financial trends over ...

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 ...

THURSDAY, April 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Antibiotics can be lifesaving, but using them over a long period might raise the odds of heart disease and stroke in older women, a new study suggests.

Researchers tracked the health of nearly 36,500 U.S. women over an average follow-up of nearly eight years. During that time, more than a thousand developed heart disease.

The stu...

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...

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...

TUESDAY, April 23, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- A type of cervical cancer that's less sensitive to Pap testing is increasing among white women in the United States, new research shows.

An overall decline in cervical cancer rates in recent decades has been driven by decreases in squamous cell carcinomas. Most of the rest of cervical cancer cases are adenocarcinomas, which are less likely t...

WEDNESDAY, April 17, 2019 (American Heart Association News) -- Physical fitness is good for the heart, brain and overall health. But a specific type called cardiorespiratory fitness may help predict the odds of having a heart attack, especially for women, new research shows.

Higher cardiorespiratory fitness translated to lower heart attack risk, with women appearing to benefit the mo...

TUESDAY, April 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Here's bad news for some women in the military: An increased risk of minor birth defects was found among U.S. female veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf War.

Researchers examined data on minor and major birth defects among 788 children born to 522 Gulf War-era female and male veterans who were and were not deployed during the war. Women accounted f...

TUESDAY, April 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday announced a ban on the sale of all pelvic mesh products.

The surgical mesh is typically used to repair pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and incontinence, but reported side effects have included permanent incontinence, severe discomfort and an inability to have sex.

"In order for these mes...

FRIDAY, April 12, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- A drug touted as a "female Viagra" can cause severe low blood pressure and fainting when used with alcohol, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns.

As a result, the agency has ordered the drug's maker Sprout Pharmaceuticals to make a safety labeling change to Addyi (flibanserin).

The boxed warning, contraindication, warnings an...

WEDNESDAY, April 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Despite years of being told that the lower your LDL cholesterol the better, is it possible that levels that are too low might harm you?

Yes, say researchers who now report that women who have excessively low LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels may face a higher risk for a bleeding stroke.

The finding runs counter to government guidel...

MONDAY, April 8, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- A group representing U.S. family doctors issued updated mammography guidelines Monday, adding to an ongoing debate over how early and how often women should be screened.

The American College of Physicians (ACP) now recommends a mammogram every other year for women ages 50 to 74 who are at average risk for breast cancer and have no symptoms.

MONDAY, April 8, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Scotland is already seeing a payoff for vaccinating adolescent girls for human papillomavirus (HPV).

Since the vaccine became routine about a decade ago, cervical cancer cases in young Scottish women have plummeted, a new study reports.

HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. Vaccination protects against HPV t...

FRIDAY, April 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Older black American women are much less likely to be treated for heart attack and heart disease than white and Hispanic women, researchers say.

"Our study shows that black women still receive less recommended therapy for heart attacks and coronary heart disease than white women, and that improving these racial disparities is still needed," sa...

WEDNESDAY, April 3, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- The protection that birth control pills offer against ovarian cancer is strongest with the most aggressive forms of the disease, a new study says.

For several years, researchers have noted that women who have used oral contraceptives are less likely to develop ovarian cancer. This study took a closer look at that link.

Researchers...

TUESDAY, April 2, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- A new study may help resolve a longstanding debate around the impact of surgery for a common form of advanced breast cancer.

The study found that mastectomy may indeed boost the chances of survival for women with stage 4 (advanced) HER2-positive breast cancer.

Twenty to 30% of all newly diagnosed stage 4 breast cancer cases are ...

MONDAY, April 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- For pregnant women, a C-section carries a higher risk of severe complications than a vaginal delivery, particularly after age 35, a new study finds.

The researchers said that cesarean deliveries appear to cause an overall 80% increased risk of severe maternal complications when compared with vaginal delivery.

For women 35 or old...

WEDNESDAY, March 27, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- There's good news for women battling a particularly difficult form of advanced breast cancer.

In a new study of patients with so-called "hormone receptor-positive" breast cancer that's spread beyond the breast, women who received a combo of two anti-estrogen drugs right away lived many months more than those who got just one drug, the rese...

WEDNESDAY, March 27, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- A new study suggests that the fewer menstrual periods a woman has in her lifetime, the higher her risk of dementia -- though the reasons, for now, are unclear.

The study was based on close to 16,000 women. It found that those who started having periods at age 16 or later were more likely to develop dementia than women who started menstruat...

TUESDAY, March 26, 2019 (American Heart Association News) -- Stressful life events were linked to higher incidents of heart attack, stroke and other types of cardiovascular disease in black women, according to new research that also looked at whether a person's resilience could help ward off the impact of stress.

The study did not find a connection between resilience and cardiovascu...

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Wellness Library Results - 210

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 ...

As the Girl Scouts motto goes: Be prepared. The better supplied you are before your baby gets here, the smoother your transition to parenthood will be. What follows is a handy checklist so you can make sure you've got the right stuff in time for your new arrival. Infant car seat You won't be able to leave the hospital without an infant car seat. In fact, if you don't have one, the hospital may loa...

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...

Why am I losing my hair? Anybody with hair on their head will lose a bit every day. A woman with healthy hair could easily lose 150 hairs a day. Normally, other hairs grow back to take their place. But if you're noticing that your hair is getting thinner, you're losing hair faster than you're replacing it. Just like men, many women have inherited a tendency toward thinning hair as they grow older...

What's a Pap test? A Pap test -- named for its inventor, George Papanicolaou -- is a medical test that can detect a potential case of cervical cancer before it even starts. The test is undoubtedly a life saver. By some estimates, widespread use of the Pap test has cut cervical cancer deaths by 70 percent. What happens during a Pap test? The test is very simple. You will lie back on a table with y...

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...

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...

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 ...

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