I often get emails from pregnant women, their partners or family members asking some variation of this question: “Do I need to worry about this?” Sometimes “this” is first trimester discharge, or low abdominal cramping, or second trimester spotting.
I was listening recently to an episode of Fresh Air on NPR in which the show's host, Terry Gross, interviewed journalist Elisabeth Rosenthal on the high price of healthcare, and in which the two women spent quite a lot of time discussing US childbirth costs.
Genetic testing made headlines last week when Angelina Jolie announced her double mastectomies. Knowing she carried a gene that dramatically increased her odds for developing cancer, she chose to remove both breasts preventatively. Would she definitely have gotten cancer if she hadn’t had surgery? No. Does her surgery guarantee she won’t get it? No. What does this have to do with pregnancy? Plenty.
In just four more weeks, I’ll already be halfway through my pregnancy. I can’t believe it. I mentioned in an earlier blog that time seemed to be going pretty slowly, and in a way, it still feels that way (waiting for the belly to pop!). But realistically, it is going by just as fast as everyone said it would.
A healthy baby is every expectant mom’s No. 1 priority. The good news? Most babies are born healthy. But a small amount (about 2 percent to 4 percent) are affected by some kind of a serious birth defect. There are a number of tests that can check on your baby’s health when you’re pregnant: Screening tests give parents-to-be an idea of the likelihood that their baby has certain kinds of problems, one such test has been in the news lately.
After learning that you’re pregnant, your main agenda is simple: Tell your partner and celebrate! But once the happy news sinks in, the next steps can seem overwhelming. To help simplify the situation, we asked Akua Afriyie-Gray, M.D., an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Loyola Medical Center, for the most important moves a pregnant woman should make.
Located in your neck, the thyroid gland produces hormones that affect metabolism, breathing, heart and nervous system functions, body temperature and more. During your pregnancy, your baby is entirely dependent on receiving thyroid hormone—which plays a large role in fetal brain and nervous system development—from you for the first trimester.
A couple in Portland, OR just won a wrongful birth lawsuit because their genetic testing was flawed and they delivered a daughter (now 4-years-old) with Down’s syndrome. Mom was just shy of 35-years-old when she got pregnant so they opted for genetic testing. When test results determined their fetus was normal they continued with their pregnancy and delivered a healthy newborn baby girl. Healthy, that is, exc
Last spring, as the tsunami-damaged reactors at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant began leaking radioactive particles, that nation’s pregnant women ran for the hills—or at least for faraway cities like Osaka. Moms-to-be in the U.S. are safely distant from fallout or food contamination, but what about X-rays and their high-energy ionizing radiation that damages DNA? Or the low-energy microwave radiation from cellphones and Wi-Fi? Here are some guidelines for a safer pregnancy:
Radiation is kind of like the boogey-man. You can’t see it. You don’t know when it’s going to get you, but you know it’s there and it’s scary…really scary. Ever since the earthquake hit Japan, people have been terrified that excess radiation could damage their health. The silver lining of our current radiation fear is that it’s brought people into an international conversation about how much radiation is too much. The answer: We don’t exactly know. We do know, however, that we don’t want to be exposed to any more of it than absolutely necessary. Why not?
Prenatal testing can be a multi-edged sword. Usually, test results are reassuring, which puts expectant parents’ minds at ease. But some people argue that because birth defects are rare, these tests in most cases cause undue stress; others argue that they allow people to create “designer” children. Then there are the parents who discover very real, sometimes dire, problems with their babies and face the decision of whether to keep or terminate a pregnancy.