Catherine wrote wondering if it's OK to take a medication her doctor prescribed while she's breastfeeding, even though the label says, "not safe to take when breastfeeding." Michelle wants to know if it's OK to workout on her back if she feels fine ("not dizzy or anything"), even though she's read it's "not safe to lie on her back during pregnancy." Both are wondering, when do you absolutely need to follow the rules and when can you bend them? If the label says, "Not OK" but your doctor says "OK" what advice do you follow?
I got another sad email this week from a grandmother. Kristen's daughter is pregnant with her second baby. The first, I'm very sad to report, died at birth. Kristen says the baby was born very underweight (only 4 pounds) but not premature. There was a lot of meconium and the placenta was very small. Kristen's daughter has hypothyroidism but took excellent care of her health throughout her pregnancy. Still, tragedy hit hard. Now that she's expecting her second baby, it's impossible not to feel anxious about losing another baby.
Glenda wrote this week about her granddaughter. At 27 weeks pregnant, she sprung a small leak, had contractions and went to the hospital. The hospital staff confirmed that she was trickling a small amount of amniotic fluid. They also told her that the amniotic membranes might seal back up and with pelvic rest (no sex, tampons or sticking anything else anywhere near the cervix), everything might be all right. Glenda had never heard that amniotic membranes could leak then repair themselves and wonders if this is accurate information. She's mighty worried about her granddaughter. I'll bet.
Julie wrote with a special concern. She went to her 20-week ultrasound and got some worrisome news: her umbilical cord only has two vessels. Her placenta is very close to her cervix and her doctor said it had a "lip." Since Julie's writing me for information, it makes me wonder just how much her doctor explained when he dropped a worry-bomb on her.
Most pregnant women assume their babies will arrive right around their due date, give or take a week or so. Although that’s usually the case, a growing number of babies are being born prematurely, at fewer than 37 weeks gestation. Between 1981 and 2001, there was a 27 percent increase, to about 476,000 births per year. Currently, premature births in the United States account for 1 of every 8 births, according to the CDC.
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?