Trying to get pregnant? Make sure you know the bottom line on baby-making—what you don't understand can affect your bub-to-be's health.
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Lisa McKinney figured that she was the perfect candidate for a trouble-free pregnancy. “I was so healthy. I went hiking, ate right, gave up coffee. I was enrolled in a prenatal fitness class. I took water aerobics. And still I got it,” she says.
It was preeclampsia, a mysterious and serious complication of pregnancy as old as history and still not well understood, despite major new studies to try to figure out its cause and to find ways to prevent it.
Yes. Periodontal disease is a chronic gum infection that is associated with preterm delivery. Researchers hypothesize that the infection may raise levels of prostaglandin and cytokine, both of which may contribute to an increase in uterine contractions. A study reported in the Journal of Periodontology, led by Marjorie K. Jeffcoat, D.M.D., dean of the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, found that scaling and root planing, a nonsurgical procedure, resulted in a large decrease in preterm births for pregnant patients with periodontal disease.
Gestational diabetes simply means an elevated blood sugar during pregnancy. But the risks involved are anything but simple—they're very serious for both mom-to-be and baby. The good news is that woman can take steps to reduce the risks of this dangerous prenatal condition. The rate of gestational diabetes has almost doubled—now affecting about 4 percent of all pregnant women in the U.S, The New York Times reports.
By the age of 43, Jamie Rhein of Columbus, Ohio, thought it was unlikely she'd have a baby. "I had never gotten pregnant," says Rhein, whose adopted daughter was then 9. "My husband and I had been going our merry way with unprotected sex for years." But when Rhein started craving Whopper Jrs., she knew something was up. At an age when many women were parenting teens, she was preparing for a newborn. "I went from shock to being pleased with the idea," says Rhein, now 49.
Over the past century, childbirth has become safer for mothers and babies in the United States. From 1900 to 1999, the risk of a baby dying during birth or in the first year of life plummeted from 1 in 10 to less than 1 in 100. The risk of a mother dying from pregnancy-related complications or childbirth decreased even more dramatically, from 850 deaths to less than 8 in every 100,000 births.
A pregnancy achieved through assisted reproductive technology, which includes in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI), is not necessarily considered high risk. Yet a woman who conceives via either technique may have one or more pre-existing conditions, such as "advanced maternal age" or a history of miscarriage, that make it appropriate for her to see a perinatologist--a physician who specializes in the treatment of a mother and her fetus when either is at risk for complications.
Most pregnancies are perfectly healthy, and moms-to-be glide through them with nothing more severe than a few bouts of nausea and the occasional backache. However, some women do develop more serious health problems that can threaten their own and their baby's well-being, sometimes even their lives. Don't worry—life-threatening complications are extremely rare. But it's important to know what signs and symptoms to look out for.
Here are some common pregnancy problems, along with information on their causes and treatments.
Pregnancy is one of the most exciting times in a woman's life, and for most of us, the challenges are comparatively minor: a few months of morning sickness, some bouts of hormone-fueled emotional upheaval. But what happens if the unthinkable occurs and you're hit with a truly life-changing event while you're expecting your baby?