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Pregnancy Complications

Obesity, Poor Prenatal Care May Cause Stillbirths [New Study]

stillborn infant
No parent wants to hear the news that their baby has died in the womb, yet this is a sad reality for many couples in the United States. When your baby is stillborn, you go from happily anticipating your little one’s arrival to mourning his or her death.

Approximately 98 percent of stillbirths take place in poor or less affluent countries. Every year, 2.6 million stillborn infants are born in the world. In the United States, this statistic drops down to 27,000 stillbirths – but this is still a high number of stillborn babies.

As part of a series of research studies published online in The Lancet, a medical journal, scientists report that a leading cause of stillborn infants in the United States is obesity.

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Childhood Abuse, Poverty Tied to Low Birth Weight Babies

It’s hard to escape our pasts. Past trauma often leaves people fractured in some way, either physically or emotionally. And now there is a new study that childhood trauma can trickle down to the next generation.

According to new research, women who experienced abuse in childhood are at higher risk of giving birth to a low birth weight baby (a newborn that weighs less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces.)

In addition, women who faced poverty during childhood and substance abuse during their teenage years (as well as abusing drugs in pregnancy) are at increased risk of having low birth weight babies. [continue reading…]


Does IVF Raise Maternal Death Risk?

In a recent editorial in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), three British doctors are questioning whether IVF is linked to increasing the risk of maternal death – the death of a woman during pregnancy or within 42 days after delivery. The doctors include two obstetricians, Dr. Susan Bewley and Dr. Peter Braude, and one academic foundation trainee, Lin Foo.

In the United States, the rate of maternal death has been steadily increasing. According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics, there were 6.6 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1987, but by 2006, the maternal death rate was 13.3 deaths per 100,000 live births.

The British doctors report in the BMJ, maternal death rates have also been creeping up in the United Kingdom.

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Back-to-Back Pregnancies Linked to Autism

Planning to have babies close together in age? You may want to reconsider. A new study suggests that back-to-back pregnancies may increase the risk of autism.

According to new research published in Pediatrics, babies conceived within a year of an older sibling are more likely to be diagnosed with autism, compared to children born further apart. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that this study is the first to imply that closely spaced pregnancies may be an independent risk factor for autism.

Autism research has mostly focused on genetic factors and their link to autism, but researchers at Columbia University wanted to focus their attention on a less-studied area – the mother’s womb, and how the spacing between pregnancies may affect the womb environment and possibly affect the development of autism. [continue reading…]