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Pregnant? To drink or not to drink?
June 18th, 2013
12:36 PM ET

Pregnant? To drink or not to drink?

Don't drink while you're pregnant, not even in moderation. It's wisdom that major medical groups such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have repeatedly emphasized. But researchers are still looking into the specific effects of different quantities of maternal drinking on children.

A new study in BMJ  is the latest to look at whether moderate drinking during pregnancy is associated with adverse effects on children. The researcher's measure for detrimental fetal neurodevelopment - children's ability to do various balance tasks at age 10.

Researchers found that mothers who drank between three and seven glasses of alcohol a week during pregnancy did not, on average, have children who had balance problems at age 10, and there were even some observed benefits. However, these are associations, not a proof that alcohol causes any outcomes.

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FDA warns pregnant women about epilepsy drug
May 6th, 2013
05:46 PM ET

FDA warns pregnant women about epilepsy drug

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning pregnant women to stay away from migraine medicine containing valproate. The agency says the drug can lead to decreased IQ scores in children whose mothers took the medication during pregnancy.

Valproate sodium (Depacon), valproic acid (Depakene and Stavzor), and divalproex sodium (Depakote, Depakote CP and Depakote ER) are among the valproate products the FDA says pregnant women should never use. That includes their generic versions.

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Fewer moms having C-sections before 39 weeks
Research indicates that delivery should not be scheduled before 39 weeks of gestation, the CDC says.
April 10th, 2013
03:53 PM ET

Fewer moms having C-sections before 39 weeks

Moms can be convinced to change their minds about having their babies before they are at full term, according to a study released this week in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

For years, medical groups have been encouraging moms to wait until their baby has remained in utero for 39 weeks. At the same time, the number of women choosing to induce labor or have an elective cesarean section for nonmedical reasons has been rising.

Just last month, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reiterated its recommendations, encouraging moms to avoid early elective deliveries. FULL POST


Women experience OCD, anxiety after childbirth
March 4th, 2013
03:01 PM ET

Women experience OCD, anxiety after childbirth

Women may experience more symptoms of anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder following childbirth than previously thought, according to two studies published today.

One study, published in the March/April issue of The Journal of Reproductive Medicine, found postpartum is a high-risk time for women to develop these symptoms. More than 400 study participants completed screening tests for anxiety, depression and OCD at 2 weeks. At 6 months, 329 of the women completed the survey again. (The women in the study did not receive a clinical diagnosis by a psychologist.)

"Postpartum women may experience obsessive compulsive symptoms at much higher rates than at other times in their lives," said senior study author Dr. Dana Gossett, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

OCD is a sub-type of depression. In this study, researchers found the most common symptoms were being concerned about dirt or germs, and checking behaviors for fear of harming the baby. While it's not unusual for new mothers to be concerned that they are doing everything with their new baby correctly, the real question, Gossett said, is how it's affecting the mother's daily life.
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Study finds link between BPA and asthma
BPA can be found on the inside of the food cans that line supermarket shelves.
March 1st, 2013
07:51 AM ET

Study finds link between BPA and asthma

The list of products containing bisphenol A is pretty long: it coats the inside of the food cans; it can be found in certain plastic containers; it is sometimes found on cash register receipts.

And the list of maladies linked to the chemical is growing longer.

The latest study, by researchers at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health, suggests a possible connection between BPA detected in urine samples of children and later problems with breathing.
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A woman's choice
February 14th, 2013
03:46 PM ET

New contraception data: by the numbers

Happy National Condom Day! If you're not thrilled with the abundance of pink paper hearts surrounding your desk, this campaign for safe sex offers a different reason to celebrate February 14.

Fittingly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released two reports Thursday on contraception use in the United States. The reports summarize data from the National Survey of Family Growth.

One, "Use of Emergency Contraception Among Women Aged 15-44," is the first ever published on emergency contraception by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

Here are some of the most interesting highlights from that report:
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Folic acid in pregnancy may help lower autism risk
February 12th, 2013
04:03 PM ET

Folic acid in pregnancy may help lower autism risk

Taking folic acid before pregnancy, and through the first several weeks of pregnancy, may help reduce the risk of autism for those children, according to a new study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Researchers in Norway looked at data from 85,000 pregnancies, and found that women who took the supplement four weeks before pregnancy, and through the eighth week of pregnancy, were 39% less likely to have children with autism.

The Norwegian study is the largest to date on the benefits of folic acid for autism prevention, and marks one of the first tangible things a woman can do to reduce her risk of giving birth to a child with the disorder. FULL POST


Flu vaccine poses no risk to unborn
January 16th, 2013
05:01 PM ET

Flu vaccine poses no risk to unborn

Fears and misconceptions often surround the flu vaccine: Does it really work? Will it make me sick? Could it hurt my baby?

Researchers from Norway say the last question was a big concern during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic; anecdotal reports of fetal deaths caused many pregnant women to avoid getting vaccinated despite health officials’ pleas.

To determine the accuracy of these reports, the Norwegian researchers analyzed data from more than 100,000 pregnancies during the 2009-2010 flu season. Their results were published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.
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Oxygen deprivation in utero linked to ADHD
New research shows a potential link between ADHD and decreased oxygen in utero or at the time of birth.
December 10th, 2012
04:29 PM ET

Oxygen deprivation in utero linked to ADHD

A study published in this week’s Pediatrics finds that infants who experienced oxygen deprivation in utero are at an increased risk of developing attention-deficit (hyperactivity) disorder in childhood.

Prenatal exposure to oxygen deprivation conditions, known as ischemic-hypoxic conditions, can result from birth asphyxia, neonatal respiratory distress syndrome and preeclampsia.

Researchers went through the medical records of nearly 82,000 children between the ages of 5 and 11 and found that children who had experienced those conditions were 16% more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD later in childhood. FULL POST


New prenatal genetic test gives parents more answers
A new genetic test can identify potential developmental delays in a fetus or determine why a pregnancy failed, researchers say.
December 6th, 2012
04:41 PM ET

New prenatal genetic test gives parents more answers

New applications of a genetic test could help parents learn more about the genetics of their unborn children.

Three studies released Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine highlight the use of microarray testing as the latest technology in chromosome analysis.  Researchers suggest using this test to identify potential intellectual disabilities, developmental delays, autism and congenital abnormalities as well as determining why a pregnancy failed.

During pregnancy a number of tests are suggested by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists based on the mother's age, medical history or ethnic or family background, along with results of other tests. Chromosomal microarray analysis is a genetic test that finds small amounts of genetic material that traditional testing such as karyotyping cannot detect.

The genetic material is obtained during a regular amniocentesis (where small amounts of amniotic fluid and cells are taken from the sac surrounding the fetus and tested during the second trimester of pregnancy) or another commonly used test called CVS, or chorionic villus sampling (where a small amount of cells is taken from the placenta during the first trimester).  FULL POST


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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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