To Your Health
Pregnancy News to Know Now
New findings on cravings, birthing and breastfeeding for soon-to-be mommies
If you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, there are new research findings to think about as you navigate these next few months. Below, the pregnancy news to know now.
Put down that chocolate bar. Bad news for pregnancy cravings. It’s long been known that caffeine can cause pregnancy complications, but new research suggests that even small amounts can contribute to low birth weight.
The study, published in England last November, showed that the caffeine could come from any source: tea, coffee, cola, chocolate. The risk of having a lower birth weight baby increased by 50 percent for women consuming 200-299 mg of caffeine a day, compared to women who took in less than 100 mg a day. (A cup of coffee has up to 120 mg; black tea has 45 mg; Coke or Pepsi 34 or 38 mg; an ounce of dark chocolate has 20 mg, milk chocolate only 6.)
Pick up that landline. Children born to women who use cellphones frequently while pregnant were 54 percent more likely to be hyperactive, according to a study published in Epidemiology.
For a speedy birth, get moving. A review published in April that analyzed 21 studies found that women who sat, stood or walked spent an hour less in the first stage of labor, on average, than women who lay down. Bonus points: They were less likely to require epidural anesthesia.
If you have pre-eclampsia, beware of strokes. This pregnancy complication, which affects about 300,000 women each year in the U.S., causes high blood pressure and blood-vessel leakage. But only recently has it been understood that women who had pre-eclampsia are at double the risk of having a heart attack or stroke later on (it’s thought not that pre-eclampsia raises your risk, but rather that women at high risk of cardiovascular disease are more likely to suffer pre-eclampsia). If you’re among them, be vigilant about being screened for cardiac risk factors: cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and blood pressure.
Don’t schedule an early birth for convenience sake. Let that baby grow as long as possible. In a study published in April in Pediatrics, researchers found that babies born as close as three weeks to their due date were more likely to have disabilities or developmental delays in kindergarten.
Do breast-feed. We’ve long known the benefits in nutrition and immunity for babies. New research suggests long-term benefits for mom. A study in the May issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, found that women who had breast-fed more than a year (one or more babies) had a 20 percent lower risk of diabetes, 12 percent lower risk of hypertension, 19 percent lower risk of high cholesterol, and 9 percent less likely to have a stroke by midlife. Other studies have shown breast-feeding reduces the mother’s risk for type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and ovarian cancer.
Have a girl, not a boy. Only kidding, but it’s interesting to note that at least three studies have shown that male babies have a slightly higher risk of birth complications, including failure to descend in the birth canal, premature birth and Caesarean births. Scientists don’t know the cause but speculate that bigger head size and higher levels of male hormones may be factors.
Read more about staying healthy during pregnancy: Swine Flu and Pregnancy Q&A…