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Acute morning sickness: What is it
The Duchess of Cambridge at an event Sunday at St. Andrew's School in Pangbourne, England.
December 3rd, 2012
03:10 PM ET

Acute morning sickness: What is it

Whenever there's a royal wedding, waiting for the news that a royal heir is on the way is always the next step.  Less than two years after Britain's Prince William wed his bride Catherine Middleton, word of a royal pregnancy was eagerly anticipated.  Now we know Catherine is having a baby.

But the world didn't find out in the form of a photo revealing a conspicuous baby bump.  Rather, the news broke when Buckingham Palace announced Monday the Duchess of Cambridge has been "admitted ... to King Edward VII Hospital in Central London with hyperemesis gravidarum," - which means excessive vomiting during pregnancy.

As most mothers can attest, feeling nauseated during pregnancy is not unusual, so why is the duchess hospitalized?

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Pediatricians: Prescribe teens emergency contraception before they need it
November 26th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Pediatricians: Prescribe teens emergency contraception before they need it

The American Academy of Pediatrics is fighting back against teen pregnancy with revised recommendations on emergency contraception. The organization is encouraging physicians to talk about medications like Plan B and Next Choice in their discussions with their adolescent patients - both boys and girls - on safe sex.

The United States has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy among developed countries.  Nearly 80% of teen pregnancies are unplanned, a result of contraception failure or nonuse, according to the AAP.

The use of emergency contraception has been around since the 1970s, when doctors often advised patients to double up on their regular birth control pills in a method called "Yuzpe." Since then several products have been approved for use by prescription and over-the-counter. Yet lead author Dr. Cora Beurner said there are still many people who don’t know about emergency contraception or have unfounded fears about using it.
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New draft recommendations issued for HIV testing
A woman takes a home test to detect HIV. A task force of experts has expanded its recommendations for who should be tested.
November 19th, 2012
05:03 PM ET

New draft recommendations issued for HIV testing

Teens and adults aged 15 to 65, as well as all pregnant women, should be tested for HIV according to new draft recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

The new recommendations include pregnant women who show up at a hospital in labor but don't know their HIV status, and younger adolescents and older adults who are at increased risk of HIV.

In 2005, the task force recommended screening for all adolescents and adults at increased risk and all pregnant women. No recommendations were made regarding routine testing in that same population who were not at an increased risk.

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Antidepressants during pregnancy can be tricky
October 31st, 2012
11:53 AM ET

Antidepressants during pregnancy can be tricky

For years, pregnant women who suffer from depression have been told it's safer for them and their unborn child to continue taking antidepressants during pregnancy.

Now a new study is challenging that advice, suggesting the opposite is true and advocating against most women taking these drugs. If the depression is severe, however, the benefits might outweigh the risks, so it's best to check with your psychiatrist or physician.

Experts say about 13% of women take an antidepressant at some point during their pregnancy. Many drugs are called SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Taking these medicines while pregnant, however, may raise safety concerns, according to a review of existing research published Wednesday in the journal Human Reproduction. FULL POST


Whooping cough vaccine recommended for all pregnant women
October 24th, 2012
03:26 PM ET

Whooping cough vaccine recommended for all pregnant women

A federal advisory committee is recommending all pregnant women be immunized for pertussis or whooping cough.

The Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention met Wednesday and voted 14 to 0, with one abstention, to recommend health care providers begin immunizations programs for Tdap.  This is a vaccine that provides protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough).

The committee says the vaccine should be administered during each pregnancy in the late second or third trimester (27 to 36 weeks gestation), regardless of whether the patient has had Tdap in the past. If that's not possible, the mother should receive the vaccine immediately after childbirth or before leaving the hospital or birthing center.  Jennifer Liang, a member of the ACIP pertussis vaccine working group, told the committee the vaccine is very safe in all trimesters and could be given at any time during pregnancy.

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Free contraception may prevent abortions
Researchers say the IUD, a form of contraception that can last up to 10 years, is more effective than short-term options.
October 4th, 2012
07:51 PM ET

Free contraception may prevent abortions

Contraception includes condoms and birth control pills, but there are other, longer-term methods that are effective and reversible: Intrauterine devices and implants.

A new study in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology set out to see what would happen if these methods were given out at no cost. The study incorporated more than 9,000 girls and women at risk for unintended pregnancy.

Researchers found that teen births within the group of women who were part of this program was 6.3 per 1,000, which is much lower than the national rate of 34.1 per 1,000.

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Pregnant and just start snoring? You may have hypertension
September 26th, 2012
12:24 PM ET

Pregnant and just start snoring? You may have hypertension

If you're pregnant and you (or your other half) notice you've started to snore, you might want to talk to your doctor.  You could be at greater risk of getting high blood pressure and preeclampsia, according to a new study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Preeclampsia, left untreated, can be life-threatening to the mother and unborn child.  It usually starts after the fifth month of pregnancy and causes a pregnant woman's blood pressure to go up and the presence of protein in the mother's urine.  This can significantly affect the placenta and the mother's liver, kidney and brain.

Preeclampsia can cause seizures and is the second leading cause of death in pregnant women in the United States. It's also a leading cause of fetal complications including premature birth, low birth weight and stillbirth.  There is no cure short of delivering the baby.

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Overheard: Surrogacy is not the same as incest
The ultrasound at 8 weeks shows the Luciches' twins, which Tiffany Burke is carrying.
September 11th, 2012
11:14 AM ET

Overheard: Surrogacy is not the same as incest

We received an enormous response to the story “Carrying these babies for my brother.” The article detailed how Tiffany Burke decided to become a surrogate mother for her brother James Lucich and his wife Natalie.

Tiffany is pregnant with twin boys, who are the children of her brother and his wife. The Luciches have one child already, Hunter. Burke and her husband have two of their own children, as well. The families plan to film a documentary about their journey.

Some readers were confused by the situation, calling it “incest.” That is not an accurate assessment. Firstly, James did not directly impregnate his sister. Secondly, although the twins are growing inside Burke, Natalie Lucich is the biological mother. The fetuses developed from embryos implanted in Burke, made from the combination of Natalie’s egg and James’s sperm.
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5 million babies born so far, thanks to IVF
July 2nd, 2012
03:29 PM ET

5 million babies born so far, thanks to IVF

When Louise Brown was born in 1978, she became the first baby conceived outside the womb, often referred to as a "test-tube" baby. 

Now, 34 years later, fertility experts estimate that 5 million children around the world have been the result of their parents using assisted reproductive technologies.  

The International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies, an independent, international non-profit organization that collects and disseminates world data, presented their estimates of successful births resulting from IVF and ICSI treatments at the 28th annual meeting of ESHRE, the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, on Sunday.
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'Love for Alyssa': Examining arthrogryposis
July 2nd, 2012
07:35 AM ET

'Love for Alyssa': Examining arthrogryposis

Arthrogryposis has presented many challenges to Alyssa Jadyn Hagstrom. At just 8 years old, the condition has left her with no use of her legs and arms, and limited use of her fingers.

Alyssa is the subject of photographer Jennifer Kaczmarek’s exhibition called “Love for Alyssa,” which aims to use photography, video and an online blog to raise funds for Alyssa’s and others’ medical needs. The project has put a spotlight on the little-known condition.

Arthrogryposis causes limited range of motion in children’s joints and affects one in 3,000 infants, according to Donald Bae, an orthopedic surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital.
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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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