2016-07-12T09:19:45+00:00The Philippines is the only Asia-Pacific country where the rate of teen pregnancies rose over the last two decades and the slow decline of its overall fertility rate may deprive the country of the faster economic growth expected in places that have more working-age people than younger and older dependents, the U.N. Population Fund said Thursday. Girls aged 15 to 19 make up 10 percent of the country’s population of 100 million and one out of 10 of them have already given birth, UNFPA country representative Klaus Beck said. That fertility rate in that age group is 57 births for every 1,000 girls as of 2013 _ higher than rates found by surveys every five years from 1998. He emphasized the urgency of fully implementing a reproductive health law, investing in quality education and health services for teenage girls, and increasing jobs for youth.
2016-02-24T10:21:20+00:00A new study supports the theory that the detrimental effects of low-level exposure to mercury may be outweighed by the beneficial effects of fish consumption. The study finds little evidence of harm in infants whose mothers had low fish consumption and low mercury exposure. In fact, infants of mothers with higher mercury exposure during pregnancy and who consumed more fish had better attention and needed less special handling during a newborn exam. This likely was due to the beneficial nutritional effects of fish consumption, according to the researchers. “The better neurobehavioral performance observed in infants with higher mercury biomarkers should not be interpreted as a beneficial effect of mercury exposure, which is clearly neurotoxic,” says Kim Yolton, PhD, a researcher at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and senior author of the study. “It likely reflects the benefits of polyunsaturated fatty acid intake that also comes from fish and has been shown to benefit attention, memory, and other areas of development in children. In our study, mercury exposure was very low, primarily due to consumption of fish low in mercury, so the detrimental effects might have been outweighed by the beneficial effects of fish nutrition.”
2015-09-29T18:02:09+00:00Researchers at LSTM, working with colleagues of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Kenya and USA, and from the Kenya Medical Research Institution have found that a new drug may be more effective at preventing malaria in pregnant woman, especially where there is resistance to the current treatments. LSTM’s Professor Feiko ter Kuile Researchers at LSTM, working with colleagues of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Kenya and USA, and from the Kenya Medical Research Institution have found that a new drug may be more effective at preventing malaria in pregnant woman, especially where there is resistance to the current treatments. LSTM’s Professor Feiko ter Kuile, who heads the Malaria in Pregnancy (MiP) Consortium, was senior author on the study which has been published today in the journal The Lancet. The study evaluated the efficacy and safety of two alternative strategies in comparison to the standard treatment recommended for the prevention of malaria in 1546 HIV-negative pregnant women in western Kenya.
2015-09-16T16:08:38+00:00The use of antidepressants during pregnancy has no long term neurodevelopmental or behavioural effects on the child, however they may be associated with an increased risk of postpartum haemorrhage, suggests the findings from three studies published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG). Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health problems during pregnancy, with around 12% of women in the UK experiencing depression at some point during pregnancy and the postnatal period. The use of antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to treat depression during pregnancy has become increasingly common, however, it is unclear whether any increased risk to the fetus, and health problems for the woman or baby, can be attributed directly to these drugs or may be caused by other factors. The research published today examines the effects SSRI use on the health of both the mother and the long term development of the child. A study from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health looked at the effects of prenatal exposure to SSRIs on motor skill development at 3 years old in 51,404 children from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. In this cohort 159 mothers reported a prolonged use of SSRIs during pregnancy. Their children had a slight delay in the development of fine and gross motor skills compared to children unexposed during pregnancy. However, the authors of this paper acknowledge that the numbers are so small, no change in clinical practice is warranted.
2015-08-31T22:48:54+00:00Better maternal diet in the year prior to conception was associated with lower risk of serious congenital heart defects, according to the results of a large retrospective case-control analysis using data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. In adjusted analyses, Lorenzo D. Botto, MD, of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and colleagues found a reduced risk of all conotruncal defects (aOR 0.76, 95% CI 0.64 to 0.91), as well as a 37% reduced risk in tetralogy of Fallot (aOR 0.63, CI 0.49 to 0.80) associated with the highest quartile of Diet Quality Index for pregnancy (DQI-P). The authors also observed diet quality was associated with a slightly lower risk of overall septal defects (aOR 0.86, 95% CI 0.75 to 1.00), including atrial septal defects (aOR 0.77, 95% CI 0.63 to 0.94). They published their results in Archives of Disease in Childhood: Fetal and Neonatal Edition.
2015-06-18T16:16:50+00:00National Institutes of Health (NIH) researchers and their colleagues have developed a “placenta-on-a-chip” to study the inner workings of the human placenta and its role in pregnancy. The device was designed to imitate, on a micro-level, the structure and function of the placenta and model the transfer of nutrients from mother to fetus. This prototype is one of the latest in a series of organ-on-a-chip technologies developed to accelerate biomedical advances. The study, published online in the Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, was conducted by an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the University of Pennsylvania, Wayne State University/Detroit Medical Center, Seoul National University and Asan Medical Center in South Korea. “We believe that this technology may be used to address questions that are difficult to answer with current placenta model systems and help enable research on pregnancy and its complications,” said Roberto Romero, M.D., chief of the NICHD’s Perinatology Research Branch and one of the study authors.
2015-06-15T17:36:18+00:00The stress and worry of giving birth prematurely does not adversely affect a mother’s parenting behaviour, according to researchers at the University of Warwick. Preterm children often require special care in the neonatal period including incubator care or assistance with breathing. Previous research has suggested that this stress, separation and an increased tendency for depression may impair a mother’s parenting behaviour and adversely affect preterm childrens’ long term development. However, a new paper from the University of Warwick shows that mothers of preterm children, despite the early stress they experienced, were as sensitive and responsive in interactions with their children as mothers of children born at term. In the study, which has just been published in Pediatrics, two researchers from the University of Warwick’s Department of Psychology analysed all studies that had observed mother-child interactions with preterm children compared to children born at term in the first eight years of life. In total they analysed 3,905 children and their mothers from 34 different studies.
2015-06-09T16:07:20+00:00Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Harvard University researchers have developed a technique that measures the correlation between air temperature and birth weight. They evaluated the relationship between birth outcomes (focusing on birth weight) and ambient air temperature during pregnancy in Massachusetts between 2000 and 2008. “We found that exposure to high air temperature during pregnancy increases the risk of lower birth weight and can cause preterm birth,” according to Dr. Itai Kloog, a senior lecturer in BGU’s Department of Geography and Environmental Development. “An increase of 8.5 °C in the last trimester of average exposure was associated with a 17g decrease in birth weight of babies born full term after adjusting for other potential risk factors.” The paper, “Using Satellite-Based Spatiotemporal Resolved Air Temperature Exposure to Study the Association between Ambient Air Temperature and Birth Outcomes in Massachusetts” was recently published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal.
2015-06-05T16:06:37+00:00When a woman becomes pregnant or is planning a pregnancy, one of her first decisions is where she will deliver her baby. With options ranging from birthing centers to small community hospitals to regional health networks to academic medical centers, the decision can be confusing. The question, especially for a woman with a low-risk pregnancy, is “What is the likelihood that something could go wrong?” Research on this topic has been published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. The research was conducted by Valery A. Danilack, MPH, PhD, postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Women & Infants Hospital and the Brown University School of Public Health; Anthony Nunes, MS, PhD, of Optum Epidemiology in Waltham, MA; and senior author Maureen G. Phipps, MD, MPH, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, executive chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Care New England Health System, Chair and Chace-Joukowsky Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and assistant dean for teaching and research in women’s health at the Alpert Medical School, and professor of epidemiology at the Brown University School of Public Health.
2015-05-14T21:44:26+00:00Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and Leiden University in the Netherlands found that children whose mothers were malnourished at famine levels during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy had changes in DNA methylation known to suppress genes involved in growth, development, and metabolism documented at age 59. This is the first study to look at prenatal nutrition and genome-wide DNA patterns in adults exposed to severe under-nutrition at different periods of gestation. Findings are published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. The study evaluated how famine exposure - defined as 900 calories daily or less - during the Dutch Hunger Winter of 1944-1945 affected genome-wide DNA methylation levels. The researchers also studied the impact of short-term exposure, pre-conception and post-conception. The study used blood samples of 422 individuals exposed to the famine at any time during gestation and 463 controls without prenatal famine exposure. The authors examined individuals born between February 1945 and March 1946 whose mothers were exposed to the famine during or immediately preceding pregnancy, individuals conceived between March and May 1945 at the time of extreme famine, and controls born in the same institutions whose mothers did not experience famine while pregnant as well as sibling controls who were also not exposed to famine in pregnancy.