Pregnancy is supposed to be one of the happiest times of a woman’s life, but for many women this is a time of confusion, fear, sadness, stress and even depression. According to some medical scholars, nearly, one in 10 women suffers from depression during or immediately after pregnancy. Sharon Phelan, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, stated that depression is overlooked because it is assumed that pregnancy protects women from depression and that postpartum depression is within a woman’s control. Researchers in 55th annual clinical meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in San Diego asserted that treatment of depression among pregnant women not only improved their depression, but also improved the women’s ability to care for their children. What is depression during pregnancy? Depression during pregnancy, or antepartum depression, is a mood disorder just like clinical depression. Mood disorders are biological illnesses that involve changes in brain chemistry. During pregnancy hormone changes can affect brain chemicals, which are directly related to depression and anxiety. These can be exacerbated by difficult life situations, which can result in depression during pregnancy. Antidepressants in pregnancy If you are taking an antidepressant and find that you are pregnant, do not stop taking your medication without first talking to your health provider. Call her/him as soon as you discover that you are expecting. It may be unhealthy to stop taking an antidepressant suddenly. Stay positive The initial demands on a new mother are exciting and tremendous. Feeling better takes time. You will feel like yourself again and better able to handle the everyday pressures as well as the demands of pregnancy and motherhood. Be realistic about the demands and expectations you make on yourself. Image Read
With the rate of premature baby-births in the United States growing alarmingly, researchers got into tracking the reasons for the growth. Besides, fertility treatments and multiple pregnancies, scientists discovered another astounding factor hugely responsible for the increase in early births — pesticides and nitrates! A study found that an increased use of pesticides and nitrates in surface water peaks preterm birth rates, which is considerably low when their concentrations are the lowest. Thanks to Paul Winchester, M.D., professor of clinical pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine for getting into this "ignored" root leading to increase in premature births in the United States. It has been found that irrespective of maternal age, race, education, marital status, alcohol or cigarette use, or whether the mother was an urban, suburban or rural resident, the rate of ‘pre-maturity’ is highest from May to June i.e. 11.91 percent, and the lowest from August to September, i.e. 10.79 percent. And, this eventually tallies with the pesticide and nitrate levels in surface water. This is found by the U.S. Geological Survey. Dr Winchester, who is also director of Newborn Intensive Care Services at St. Francis Hospital in Indianapolis said, A growing body of evidence suggests that the consequence of prenatal exposure to pesticides and nitrates as well as to other environmental contaminants is detrimental to many outcomes of pregnancy. As a neonatologist, I am seeing a growing number of birth defects, and preterm births, and I think we need to face up to environmental causes. Preterm births in the United States vary month to month in a recurrent and seasonal manner. Pesticides and nitrates similarly vary seasonally in surface water throughout the U.S. Nitrates and pesticides can disrupt endocrine hormones and nitric oxide pathways in the developing fetus. This finding reveals the magnitude of what our environmental hazards can leave for our future generations. So, act now or face the shocking consequences reflected directly on our progenies. Photo: smh.com.au
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy should be completely avoided. This is because alcohol passes through the placenta and can cause very serious birth defects in the growing fetus, like stunted growth, low birth weight, and even brain damage. This disorder is known as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Permanent damage to the central nervous system is one of the main effects of FAS. Due, to the damage to the growing brain cells the child may be born with a variety of cognitive and functional disabilities, including impulsive behavior, attention deficit, and poor memory. Exposure to alcohol in the pre-natal stage may even be responsible for secondary disabilities like drug addiction and trouble with the law. Until now official guidance in the UK has been that it is completely safe for pregnant women to drink up to two large glasses of wine per week (up to four units). But, this does not make you risk free, it just reduces the risk. So, the best thing to do is completely avoid alcohol for the entire pregnancy, after all, it is better to be safe than to be sorry, isn’t it? Do you know that in the US alone, fetal alcohol exposure is one of the leading causes of mental retardation? The prevalence rate of FAS is estimated to be between 0.2 and 2.0 cases per 1,000 live births. Approximately $800,000 is the lifetime medical and social costs of each child with FAS. So, if you really care for the health of your unborn child, say no to alcohol and avoid the risk of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Even though a vaginal delivery is the most common way to give birth, a Caesarean section is often advised and performed in certain situations. If you wish to have a Caesarean section without a medical reason, you should discuss this with your obstetrician. You don’t have an automatic right to demand a Caesarean if it’s considered not to be in your best interests medically. What happens during a Caesarean? An incision of about 20cm is made across the lower abdomen. The baby is delivered through the skin after the womb is opened. The womb is easily opened and it takes only a few minutes for the baby to be born. After the placenta (afterbirth) is delivered, the obstetrician closes the incision. Dissolving stitches or staples are used to close the skin. From beginning to end, an uncomplicated Caesarean will take between 20 and 30 minutes. A major surgery The surgery is relatively safe for mother and baby. Still, it is major surgery and carries risks. It also takes longer to recover from a C-section than from vaginal birth. After healing, the incision may leave a weak spot in the wall of the uterus. This could cause problems with an attempted vaginal birth later. However, more than half of women who have a C-section can give vaginal birth later. What about after the Caesarean? 1. The pain is typically worst on the first day after surgery, and then it begins to subside. 2. Vaginal discharge is normal. 3. Drink plenty of water each day – between eight and 10 glasses. 4. Avoid lifting heavy objects and climbing stairs. 5. Don’t drive until you can wear a seat belt comfortably. 6. Call your doctor if the incision site becomes red and swollen. Image Read
Believe it or get aghast by it, but it’s true! And the record was made in the year 1939, in the month of May…one day after Mothers’ Day! A peak of shocking news even today, it says that we have a 5-year-old enlisted to be the youngest mother ever. Now, here I see a wide-awestruck-mouth. Lina Medina is the girl who became the youngest mother in recorded medical history. She gave birth to a baby boy when she herself was just five. Lina, the Peruvian child, delivered a 5-pound, 8-ounce son through caesarean section even though her petite pelvis made it unfeasible for the baby to traverse the birth tube. A comprehensive report confirmed Medina’s early sexual maturity. The girl faced her first menstrual cycle at the very early age of eight months and her family witnessed her almost fuller breasts when she was four. Such state is known as precocious puberty in medical terms. The lot at that time didn’t believe the uncommon news but the doctor’s reports and X-Ray photograph forced them to change their opinions. The photograph verified her pregnancy as well as the level of her sexual growth. Lina’s baby was healthy, later named Gerardo. Although his mother’s proper identity was exposed to him when he was ten, he was nurtured normally. But he expired from a bone-marrow disease when he was just forty. The person behind Lina’s pregnancy is behind the viel till date. Her father was handcuffed on suspicion of rape but was set free later for lack of sufficient proof. Lina is still alive and still wonders who it could have been! Image Source – neatorama, content Via – wired
According to a recent study, abortions among pregnant teenagers are reaching alarming proportions. Ever since the Labour came to power in the U.K., the number of teenage abortions has increased by a staggering 2,500 each year. Do you know that the U.S. holds the dubious distinction of the highest teenage abortion rate in the developed world? Unlike the developing world, teenage pregnancy in developed countries is usually outside of marriage, and may carry a social stigma in some communities and cultures. There are numerous reasons for the rise in teenage pregnancies. A casual attitude to sex, inadequate sex education, peer pressure, and last but not the least the sexualized content present in the media are some of the factors responsible for the rise in teenage pregnancies. According to a spokesperson for the anti-abortion charity Alive and Kicking, these figures are the result of the modern attitude to sexuality – that sex is just a recreational activity. Not only does adolescent parenthood cause devastating effects on families, studies have shown that the children born to teenage mothers are more prone to abuse, neglect, and malnutrition. As per the World Health Organization, the risk of death following pregnancy is twice as much for women in the age group of 15 to 19 years, than, for those between the ages of 20 and 24. Before it is too late, we need to find workable solutions to end this high rate of abortions among the teen mothers. If we don’t, then, not only will we compromise our national productivity but we would also not be able to use up the tax payers money more effectively. Image Via: dailymail, parentingteens
Why there’s so much of hullabaloo over donating eggs? It’s completely a choice made by women themselves. One ethicist is of the view that eggs have become ‘commoditized.’ Well, when there is no hassle in donating organs like kidney, eyes, heart and so on then I don’t see there should have any kind of problem in donating eggs. Previously, the technique of storing eggs was employed by women undergoing cancer treatment. But then, time has witnessed that many women prefer to freeze their eggs because they don’t want to hamper their career growth by taking the responsibilities of children. Young women like, Samantha Carolan, are offering eggs to infertile couple for a sum of money. She has already done it twice and is on a move of doing it again, well, the reason given by her is that, she has to pay off some student loans. Although, it’s a matter of immense satisfaction for the donors to help the needy couple but the price of the ‘eggs’ are skyrocketing and on the other hand, the whole issue has raised condemnation from some quarters of society. Recent survey has postulated that a center paid $15,000 as compensation for donors. Advertisements could be seen hovering around the educational campuses especially universities and targeting the young women to donate eggs in lieu of money. Ethicists and some women’s health advocates worry that lucrative payments are enticing young women with credit-card debt and steep tuition bills to sell eggs without seriously evaluating the risks. However, proponents of compensation say if payments are lowered or eliminated, the supply of eggs will dwindle or dry up. Some scholars have are of the view that possible threat which is involved in ‘donation’ has not been verified lucidly. Although the consensus among most reproductive endocrinologists is that extraction is safe, yet, five deaths have been reported in Britain. Process of egg extraction: Even on the part of the woman, it is not an easy job. For some, it can be the most painful experience. First, a woman has to take medications to stop her menstrual cycle and then daily hormone injections for several weeks to stimulate her ovaries to produce a crop of mature eggs at once. Side effects: The drugs may cause bloating, weight gain, moodiness and irritability, and there is a risk of a rare condition called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome that can cause life-threatening complications, blood clots and kidney failure. Bottom line It is the long-term risks, both physical and psychological, that are harder to assess. Questions have been raised about whether extraction may jeopardize the donor’s fertility, and critics worry about the potential psychological harm to a donor of eggs as a young woman who later finds that she is unable to have children. Read
In past, the government was not in favor of creating human-animal embryos and hence, it had decided to delay its decision on giving its verdict, which means that it did not rule out research in future. And so, the scientists are hopeful that the authorities may re-consider the ban, especially for research purposes. Dr Stephen Minger, director of Stem Cell Biology Laboratory, King’s College London, said, We are optimistic the government will have listened to all the evidence from the science and technology select committee, and from the scientists themselves, and will err on the side of reason by allowing the science to be regulated not legislated. Scientists hope that the research will lead to treatments and cures for conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, motor neuron disease, diabetes and heart failure. The move regarding the so called ban was promoted in an official governmental report, last year. The bill, would stand for warding off the option of considering the need for a father when deciding for treatment in fertility clinics. This means clinics will no longer be able to deny treatment to lesbians and single mothers out of hand. Putting forth the White Paper, Health Minister Caroline Flint said, The current law, which has served us well, is in need of revision. Technology has changed, and so have attitudes. Along with the said proposal, the Paper also suggests: 1. Same sex couples, who would go for IVF treatment, must be acknowledged as parents. 2. Couples must be barred who would prefer one sex over the other for ‘family balancing’. 3. Screening embryos for serious medical reasons must be allowed. 4. Statutory storage period for embryos must be extended from five to 10 years. 5. Regulation of internet sperm services. I feel, the government, must give a green signal to the ongoing debate, especially if it’s able to cure certain motor neuron diseases. Even if it is banned, the people working behind the scene would not stop doing the research or it could also be anticipated that such kind of research would be carried on in the neighboring country where there is no such ban on the issue. Read
True, it’s uneasy and irritating to experience morning sickness or nausea, especially for a pregnant woman. But, like the pleasure of suffering the pains and uneasiness of pregnancy for nine long months, you can now have enough reasons to extract a ‘feel-good-factor’ from this nausea. It is recently found that this ‘suffering’ – if you call it as, after finding out what it indicates — from pregnancy-related nausea can assure of the fact that you have a lowered breast cancer risk. Yes, nausea during pregnancy is linked with a 30 per cent reduced chance of developing the disease later in life in comparison to mothers-to-be who sailed through nine nausea-free months, according to the new research. A hormone– human chorionic gonadotropin — made in the placenta and affects foetal development, is found to be able to potentially protect a woman against cancer. Presenting the findings last week at the annual meeting of the Society for Epidemiologic Research in Boston, Massachusetts, study leader David Jaworowicz Jr, a Buffalo doctoral candidate said, Although the exact mechanism responsible for causing nausea and vomiting during pregnancy has yet to be pinpointed, it likely is a result of changing levels of ovarian and placental hormone production, which may include higher circulating levels of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin. In-vitro studies have shown that this hormone possesses several activities that have potential protective effects against cancer cells. So, though nausea during those hard pregnancy days is not welcome, it is sure to assure you of breast cancer-free life in later years.
A major study has revealed that intake of aspirin during pregnancy may ward off the occurrence of fatal condition called pre-eclampsia. Preeclampsia is a complex disorder that affects 3 to 8 percent of pregnant women. A woman is diagnosed with preeclampsia if she has high blood pressure and protein in her urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Findings are based on the study of more than 32,000 women; data collaborated by the scholars in Sydney. It concluded that cases of pre-eclampsia, which is caused by a defect in the placenta, dropped by 10% on daily consumption of aspirin. Risks of preeclampsia: Preeclampsia can prevent the placenta from getting enough blood. If the placenta doesn’t get enough blood, your baby gets less air and food. And this can cause low birth weight and other problems for the baby. Signs and symptoms: 1. Severe headaches 2. Changes in vision, including temporary loss of vision, blurred vision or light sensitivity 3. Upper abdominal pain, usually under the ribs on the right side 4. Nausea or vomiting 5. Dizziness 6. Decreased urine output 7. Sudden weight gain, typically more than 2 pounds a week Concerns remain US experts James Roberts and Janet Catov, from the University of Pittsburgh, said that while some women were so obviously at high risk that aspirin was justified, it was harder to balance whether the potential harm caused by aspirin was a price worth paying in pregnancies where pre-eclampsia was less likely. Under no circumstances should pregnant women self-medicate with aspirin. While this study suggests that aspirin can have benefits to women at high risk, yet, the decision to use aspirin should only be made in consultation with your doctor. Read