Pregnancy later in life, after the age of 35, is becoming increasingly common. Women are delaying childbearing for a variety of personal and professional reasons. However, are there health implications in delaying pregnancy?
As women age, it can become more of a challenge to conceive and maintain a healthy pregnancy. Fertility begins to decrease during the ages of 32 and 37, with a more rapid decline after 37.1
Women are born with a certain amount of eggs. As they age, the quantity and quality of eggs begin to decline, particularly during the third decade of life.1,2
While it becomes harder to conceive with increasing age, there are also a number of risks occurring with pregnancy that can affect the health of both the mother and baby. In this article, we will examine these risks, as well as look at a number of tips for having a healthy baby later in life.
Becoming pregnant over the age of 35 can increase the risk of pregnancy complications for both mother and baby. As women age, the risk of them developing high blood pressure (hypertension) or diabetes (including gestational diabetes) either before or during pregnancy increases. These conditions can have a negative effect on pregnancy.1,2
You may think that knowing when you are in labor is obvious, but for many women, it may not be so simple.
At times, women may experience symptoms of false labor, including Braxton Hicks contractions (also known as practice contractions) which, although similar to real contractions, are not labor.
Determining what is real labor and false can be accomplished by clocking contractions, timing how long each contraction lasts for and how long it takes from the start of one contraction to the next.
If you are having Braxton Hicks contractions, they will be irregular and go away in time. They may resolve with walking, lying down or through other changes in activity, but true contractions and labor will not resolve and will increase in intensity.
This MNT Knowledge Center article will look at the three stages of labor and how you can tell that labor is about to begin. The article will also examine rapid and prolonged labor, when to go to a hospital and what forms of pain relief are available during labor.
The disease toxoplasmosis is caused by an infection with a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. In the US alone, more than 60 million people may harbor the infection.
Toxoplasmosis often causes flu-like symptoms, although it can lead to more serious complications such as encephalitis and developmental impairments.
Pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of developing serious health complications with toxoplasmosis.
You will also see introductions at the end of some sections to any recent developments that have been covered by MNT‘s news stories. Also look out for links to information about related conditions.
Most mothers will agree that the last thing on their mind after having a baby is sex. However, this is not often the case with their partner! On the other hand, some women may be ready to resume sexual intercourse shortly after having a baby. But when is the right time to resume sexual intercourse?
In general, it is recommended that sexual intercourse is avoided for the first 4-6 weeks following a vaginal or cesarean (C-section) delivery; however, it is important to speak with your health care provider before resuming sex.
Most often, especially in cases of a C-section, perineal tear or episiotomy, it is recommended to wait until after you are seen for your 6-week postpartum visit for the green light from a health care provider to resume sexual activity. Continue reading
In the US, around 1% of all pregnancies are affected by stillbirth, and around 24,000 babies are stillborn every year.
While the causes of many stillbirths are unclear, birth defects, genetic problems, issues with the placenta or umbilical cord and certain medical conditions in the mother can play a role.
Expectant mothers who are over the age of 35, smoke during pregnancy, obese, have experienced a previous pregnancy loss or who have had multiple pregnancies are also at greater risk for stillbirth. Continue reading
Source: Mayo Clinic News Network
You’ve waited nine months, and your new baby finally has arrived. But a few weeks later, instead of feeling joy and contentment, you experience anxiety, sadness, episodes of crying and guilt. You may be suffering from postpartum depression. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 1 out of every 10 women will have some degree of postpartum depression, which is different from and more severe than the “baby blues.”
In this Mayo Clinic Minute, reporter Vivien Williams talks to family medicine specialist Dr. Summer Allen about ways to handle postpartum depression.
Most often, the labor and birth process is uncomplicated. However, there are times in which complications arise that may require immediate attention. Complications can occur during any part of the labor process.
Common complications of labor include:1-3
In this Medical News Today Knowledge Center article, we examine each of the above 10 complications of labor, including some information on how they can be caused, treated or prevented.
Labor may be described as prolonged or having failed to progress when it lasts for an abnormally long period of time. For first time mothers, failure to progress is described as labor lasting over 20 hours, whereas in mothers who have previously given birth, it is described as labor lasting more than 14 hours.4
Prolonged labor can occur in any phase of labor; however, it is most concerning during the active phase.4 Continue reading
Previous studies have shown that alcohol use and related disorders pose a significant threat to global health. Exposure to moderate amounts of alcohol in utero or during early life puts humans at greater risk for alcohol abuse in adolescence and adulthood.
Factors affecting teen drinking habits are varied and complex. They include the desire to engage in risk-taking and rebellious behavior, as well as the wish to impress and to sustain popularity among peers. Continue reading
The study, led by Kim Yolton, PhD, from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio, is published in the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology.
According to the researchers, previous studies examining the effect of low-level gestational mercury exposure from fish intake on neurobehavioral outcomes of newborns have been limited. Continue reading
Source: What Is Microcephaly?
Microcephaly is a rare nervous system disorder that causes a baby’s head to be small and not fully developed. The child’s brain stops growing as it should. This can happen while the baby is still in the mother’s womb or within the first few years of birth.
How Does a Baby Get Microcephaly?
Your doctor may not be able to tell you why this happened to your baby. In most cases, the exact cause is unknown.
It can be brought on by:
A problem with your genes (congenital microcephaly)
Something in your environment (acquired microcephaly)
Congenital microcephaly is passed down through families. It’s caused by defects in genes linked to early brain development. Microcephaly is often seen in children with Down syndrome and genetic disorders.
Acquired microcephaly means the child’s brain came into contact with something that harmed its growth and development. Continue reading
All U.S. adults, including pregnant and postpartum women, should be screened for depression by their family doctor, the nation’s leading preventive medicine panel recommends.
Further, doctors need to follow through and get treatment for anyone who tests positive for depression, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force concluded in an update of its depression screening guidelines. Continue reading
ASCOLI PICENO, Italy — After Benedetta, 35, found out 11 weeks into her pregnancy that the baby she wanted “with all myself” had extremely serious genetic problems, she made a painful decision, and asked her longtime gynecologist for an abortion.
Her doctor’s refusal — she said she was a conscientious objector to Italy’s law that makes abortion legal up to 90 days — set off a desperate scramble to find a doctor who would help her. Continue reading
Zika virus is transmitted by the same Aedes mosquito that spreads dengue and chikungunya. Typically, it causes mild illness and a rash, but reports from Brazil suggest it may be causing birth defects in newborn babies of women who have had Zika.
The virus is native to parts of Africa and Asia, but it is now spreading locally outside of its native regions in people who have not traveled abroad. There is no vaccine or antiviral treatment for the virus.
In a research letter in The Lancet, a team of experts who track the spread of infectious diseases says:
“The presence of Aedes mosquitoes across Latin America, coupled with suitable climatic conditions, have triggered a Zika virus epidemic in Brazil, currently estimated at 440,000-1,300,000 cases.” Continue reading
The ends of chromosomes are capped and protected by molecules called telomeres. Telomeres have been likened to the “plastic tips of shoelaces,” and are repeating units of DNA at the ends of chromosomes. Continue reading
This was the finding of a study led by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD, and published in the journal Environmental Research.
The researchers suggest further investigation may well reveal similar findings about prenatal exposure to other toxins – including less obvious ones such as chemicals in plastics or contaminants in drinking water. Continue reading
More than two-thirds of pregnant women in the U.S. either gain too much or too little weight during pregnancy, according to a study in MMWR.
Using data from birth certificates and the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System for full-term singletons born in 2012 or 2013, researchers calculated mothers’ prepregnancy body mass index and weight gained during pregnancy.
The Institute of Medicine recommends a gain of 28 to 40 pounds during pregnancy for underweight women, 25 to 35 pounds for normal-weight women, 15 to 25 pounds for overweight women, and 11 to 20 pounds for obese women. Based on these recommendations, weight gained was considered appropriate in 32% of pregnancies, inadequate in 20%, and excessive in 48%. Women who were overweight or obese before pregnancy had the highest prevalence of excessive gain, whereas those who were underweight before pregnancy had the highest prevalence of inadequate gain.
The authors recommend interventions to promote appropriate weight gain, including calculating BMI at first prenatal visit and counseling on diet and physical activity.
The ethics of running clinical trials on pregnant women where the control group is considered likely to have a negative health impact are, understandably, not considered ethical.
As such, information regarding the amount of physical effort a pregnant woman should undertake during pregnancy is sparse. Continue reading
My obstetrician said, “We have to be cautious until the end of the first trimester — until it’s ‘glued in.’ ”
There was a chapter in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” ominously titled “When Things Go Wrong.” I was avoiding reading that section, yet I knew — even though nobody really talked about miscarriage, the way people never used to discuss cancer. Continue reading
Researchers from the University of Utah and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) suggest that taking just 81 mg of aspirin daily may boost a woman’s likelihood of conception by reducing systemic inflammation, improving the environment in which an embryo grows.
Aspirin is a salicylate drug commonly used to reduce fever, inflammation and relieve minor aches and pains. It is also increasingly used as an anti-platelet medication to reduce the likelihood of heart attack and stroke among individuals at high risk. Continue reading
The test, called MitoGrade, works by measuring the levels of abnormal mitochondrial DNA present in embryos, allowing doctors to determine which embryos are most viable for a successful pregnancy.
Mitochondria are structures found within cells that are responsible for generating the energy cells need to function. Each mitochondrion contains small amounts of DNA, known as mitochondrial DNA. Continue reading
“There is no known absolutely safe quantity, frequency, type, or timing of alcohol consumption during pregnancy,” according to a new clinical report on fetal alcohol syndrome from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Get the full article on NEJM website here.
There’s more reason to be jealous of summer babies than all those birthday parties by the pool: They may be healthier adults, according to a new study. University of Cambridge scientists surveyed roughly 500,000 Britons aged 40 to 69 for their birth dates, height, weight, and the age at which females had their first period, reports the Times, per the Australian. People born in June, July, and August were heavier at birth and about 1/8 of an inch taller in adulthood than those born in December, January, and February, while women born in summer had their first menstrual cycle weeks after those born in winter; like heavier birth weight, later puberty tends to positively impact health in later life, per a press release. Continue reading
Use of second-generation antipsychotic medications during the first trimester of pregnancy does not significantly raise the chance of fetal malformations, according to the findings of a new study from the American Journal of Psychiatry. Continue reading
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