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May 3, 2006, 0:19 AM CT

Incarcerated Women More Likely To Use Birth Control Pills

Incarcerated Women More Likely To Use Birth Control Pills
Women who are incarcerated are much more likely to start using birth control when it is offered to them in prison than through community health services after their release, as per a research studyby scientists at Rhode Island Hospital and Brown Medical School. The results are published in the recent issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

The study is significant because incarcerated women who are released into the community are at high risk for unplanned pregnancies, as well as medical complications to the mother and baby from alcohol and drug use.

"Women are accessing birth control services when they're made available in correctional institutions, and we should be making those services available throughout the country," says lead author Jennifer Clarke, MD, MPH, an internist at Rhode Island Hospital and the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RI DOC), and an assistant professor of medicine at Brown Medical School. "If we want to help empower women in their recovery from drugs and alcohol, for example, we need to give them the tools so they can plan their pregnancy during a time when they're more stable".

The study found that women overall were 14 times more likely to start using birth control when it was offered in prison. Thirty-nine percent of incarcerated women started birth control when it was offered before their release, while only 4 percent took advantage of free birth control offered at a community health center after their release.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

April 26, 2006, 7:38 PM CT

Mothers' Drinking Shrinks Fetal Brain

Mothers' Drinking Shrinks Fetal Brain
Routine ultrasounds show that heavy drinkers who continue to imbibe after learning they are pregnant may carry fetuses with reduced skull and brain growth compared to those of abstainers or quitters, says a new study.

Eventhough the alcohol-exposed babies' growth remained within normal range, the findings reveal effects of drinking on the developing human brain. The study will appear in the recent issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

"What this tells us is that the earlier you abstain in a pregnancy, the better the outcome," said lead author Nancy Handmaker, a University of New Mexico clinical psychology expert with expertise in maternal-fetal health.

Alcohol use during pregnancy is a leading preventable cause of birth defects and developmental disabilities in the United States, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder -- which includes a range of cognitive, emotional and behavioral problems -- may be present in as a number of as one of every 100 births.

The study authors obtained routine ultrasound data from 167 pregnant women who had reported a history of hazardous drinking before pregnancy. Of these, 97 were classified as heavy drinkers. The study compared the fetal growth measures among drinkers who quit after learning of their impending motherhood to those among women who continued to drink.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

April 25, 2006, 7:58 PM CT

In Utero Exposure To Urban Air Pollutants

In Utero Exposure To Urban Air Pollutants
Prenatal exposure to air pollutants in New York City can adversely affect child development, as per the results of a study released recently by the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health (CCCEH) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Prior studies have shown that the same air pollutants can reduce fetal growth (both weight and head circumference at birth), but this study, which examined a group of the same children at three years of age, is the first to reveal that those pollutants can also affect cognitive development during childhood.

The study will be published online Monday, April 24, 2006, and can be accessed at the following URL:

Investigators at the Center studied a sample of 183 three-year-old children of non-smoking African-American and Dominican women residing in the neighborhoods of Washington Heights, Central Harlem, and the South Bronx. They found that exposure during pregnancy to combustion-related urban air pollutants known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were linked to significantly lower scores on mental development tests and more than double the risk of developmental delay at age three. Such delay in cognitive development is indicative of greater risk for performance deficits in language, reading, and math in the early school years.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source

April 18, 2006, 11:03 PM CT

Care Of Women During Pregnancy And Labor

Care Of Women During Pregnancy And Labor
The recent issue of Journal of Obstetric Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing is challenging nurses who care for pregnant and laboring women to reconsider family centered maternity care.

In four articles in the Clinical Issues section of the journal, guest editor Merry-K Moos, brings together experts who explore new innovations in caring for pregnant women and their families to improve the birthing experience for not only the mother, but also the healthcare provider and the institution. ".....these articles were written to promote reflection on current efforts to alter the care dynamics for pregnant women in this country" writes guest editor Moos. "I am hopeful that they will stimulate you to examine the current and potential energy in your practice setting to encourage family-centered maternity care".

In the first article Prenatal Care: Limitations and Opportunities, Moos, explores the limitations of the way pregnant women are currently cared for and presents three promising alternatives to the dominant medical model: the comprehensive prenatal care approach illustrated by a number of publicly funded prenatal clinics; the prenatal empowerment model as exemplified by midwifery care; and the prenatal group model as illustrated by Centering Pregnancy.

The second article, Zohar Massey, Sharon Schindler Rising, and Jeannette Ickovics take a closer look at the model of Centering Pregnancy. In Centering Pregnancy: Relationship-Centered Care the authors explain the philosophy behind this innovation of prenatal care provided in a group setting which is changing the fundamental nature of how health care professionals and women interact during gestation. It is suggested that in group prenatal care, women come together for support and empowerment, with positive effects on babies and families.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source

April 17, 2006, 12:33 AM CT

Alcohol Use During Pregnancy Affects Newborns

Alcohol Use During Pregnancy Affects Newborns
Babies born to women hospitalized for alcohol-related reasons during pregnancy are smaller, have lower Apgar scores and are more likely to be admitted to a special care unit, a large Australian study finds.

These women have a higher number of prior pregnancies, smoke more heavily and are less likely to be privately insured, as per the study in the recent issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

"To reduce alcohol consumption by pregnant women, there needs to be a government-society approach to the issue, rather than simply regarding it as a health problem," said lead researcher Lucy Burns, Ph.D., of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre in Sydney.

Burns' team studied 416,834 admissions of pregnant women from 1998 through 2002 and found that 342 women had at least one alcohol-related diagnosis at admission. Their babies had lower Apgar scores - which rate appearance, pulse, responsiveness, muscle activity and breathing - than the other newborns at five minutes after birth.

In addition, 30 percent of the babies in the alcohol group had low birth weight compared with 10 percent in the non-alcohol group. Sixteen percent were born prematurely, compared with 6 percent in the non-alcohol group.

Deliveries in the alcohol group were more likely to be induced due to intrauterine growth retardation and premature rupture of membranes. Of babies in the alcohol group, 29 percent were delivered by Caesarean section for fetal distress compared with 14 percent for the other babies, and they were 1.6 times more likely to be transferred to the special care unit.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source

April 10, 2006, 8:13 PM CT

Hormone Therapy May Increase Risk Of Blood Clots

Hormone Therapy May Increase Risk Of Blood Clots
Estrogen treatment may increase the risk of venous thrombosis, the formation of blood clots in the veins, among postmenopausal women who have had their uterus removed, as per a research studyin the April 10 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Venous thromboembolism (VT), which includes the conditions deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot in a deep vein) and pulmonary embolism (a blood clot that travels to the lungs), affects about one adult per 1,000 years of life, as per background information in the article. Scientists suspect that hormone treatment may increase a woman's risk of developing VT. The largest study analyzing the relationship between hormone treatment and VT is the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), which included two large clinical trials. One WHI trial examined the effects of estrogen plus progestin and found that this combination of hormones appeared to increase the risk of VT.

J. David Curb, M.D., University of Hawaii and Pacific Health Research Institute, Honolulu, and his colleagues analyzed data from the other WHI trial, in which the effect of estrogen alone was studied in 10,739 women aged 50 to 79 years. The participants were randomly assigned to take either combined equine estrogens (a mix of several estrogens) or placebo. They were followed for an average of 7.1 years, during which 197 women developed VT, including 144 with deep vein thrombosis, 91 with pulmonary embolism and 38 with both.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

April 10, 2006, 8:10 PM CT

Hormone Use Linked To Increased Breast Cancer Risk

Hormone Use Linked To Increased Breast Cancer Risk
Hormone treatment appears to be associated with increased risk of breast cancer among black women, with a stronger link for leaner women, as per a research studyin the April 10 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Prior research has suggested that the long-term use of female hormone treatment is associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer, as per background information in the article. However, most of the women in the largest studies have been white, and few studies have looked at the risks specifically in black women.

Lynn Rosenberg, Sc.D., of Slone Epidemiology Center, Boston University, and his colleagues examined the association in 23,191 women age 40 years or older who were part of the Black Women's Health Study, conducted by researchers at Boston University and Howard University, Washington, D.C. The participants filled out an initial questionnaire about medical history, menopausal status and hormone use when they enrolled in the study in 1995. Follow-up questionnaires that also included questions about the development of breast cancer were completed every two years through the year 2003. The women's body mass index (BMI) was calculated by dividing their weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

April 4, 2006, 10:45 PM CT

Benefits And Harms Of Cesarean Deliveries

Benefits And Harms Of Cesarean Deliveries
Soon-to-be mothers and their clinicians need to thoughtfully consider the positive and negative outcomes, for both mothers and babies, of cesarean delivery on maternal request, as per a new report by scientists at the RTI International-University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (RTI-UNC) Evidence-based Practice Center. Cesarean delivery on maternal request is a procedure done when no factors, for either the mother or the infant, make it medically necessary, and the number of such procedures, like cesarean deliveries generally, appears to be increasing.

The report finds no major differences in results between a first-time cesarean delivery at the mother's request and a planned vaginal delivery. The authors caution, however, that the evidence is too weak to warrant a firm conclusion that absolutely no differences exist between the cesarean and the vaginal options. For example, available data often does not distinguish between cesarean deliveries done at the request of the mother and other planned cesareans performed for factors such as breech presentation.

The report, funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), provides for the first time a comprehensive framework through which health-care professionals and their patients can better understand the tradeoffs in potential benefits and risks between planned cesarean delivery and planned vaginal delivery. Key maternal outcomes studied include bleeding, infection, surgical complications, urinary incontinence and length of hospital stay. Important neonatal outcomes include breathing problems and birth trauma.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source

April 4, 2006, 9:53 PM CT

Daughters Of Indian Immigrants Giving Birth To Small Babies

Daughters Of Indian Immigrants Giving Birth To Small Babies
U.S.-born Asian-Indian women are more likely than their Mexican-American peers to deliver low birth weight infants, despite having fewer risk factors, say scientists at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and Stanford's School of Medicine. The finding confirms prior research that showed a similar pattern in more recent immigrants, and suggests that physicians should consider their patients' ethnic backgrounds when planning their care.

"Now we see that the daughters of foreign-born women have similar issues," said Packard Children's neonatologist Ashima Madan, MD, "and that the indicators we have traditionally used to predict pregnancy outcomes - maternal educational level and age, and access to early prenatal care, for example - aren't reliable for every population." Madan is the lead author of the research, would be reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Pediatrics.

Scientists call the previously identified differences in pregnancy outcomes between Indian and Mexican immigrants the "dual paradox." That's because Mexican women giving birth in the United States are more likely than women from India to have healthy-sized newborns, even though they are less likely to have completed high school or to have initiated prenatal care during the first trimester of their pregnancy. In contrast, newborns of Indian immigrants, most of whom have completed college and begun prenatal care early, are more likely to deliver a low birth weight infant.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source

March 27, 2006, 11:44 PM CT

In Utero Arsenic Exposure Can Lead To Lung Disease

In Utero Arsenic Exposure Can Lead To Lung Disease
Children who are exposed to high levels of arsenic in their drinking water are seven to 12 times more likely to die of lung cancer and other lung diseases in young adulthood, a new study by University of California, Berkeley, and Chilean scientists suggests.

The risk of dying due to bronchiectasis, commonly a rare lung disease, is 46 times higher than normal if the child's mother also drank the arsenic-contaminated water while pregnant, as per the study. These findings provide some of the first human evidence that fetal or early childhood exposure to any toxic substance can result in markedly increased disease rates in adults.

"The extraordinary risk we found for in utero and early childhood exposure is a new scientific finding," says the study's lead author, Allan Smith, professor of epidemiology at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health. "I sometimes ponder the improbability that drinking water with concentrations of arsenic less than one-thousandth of a gram per liter could do this, and believe that I've got to be wrong. But our years of working with arsenic exposure in India and Chile tie in with this study perfectly".

The paper will appear in the July print issue of Environmental Health Perspectives and will be posted on its Web site today, Monday, March 27.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source

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Did you know?
The addition of testosterone to hormone therapy in women after menopause enhances their sexual function. However, it may also reduce HDL cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol) in women, according to a systematic review of current evidence."If the reduction in HDL had been associated with an increase in triglycerides [fatty acids] or LDL cholesterol it would be of great concern," said Dr. Susan Davis, professor of medicine at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, and study co-author "However, as an isolated finding the significance is difficult to interpret." She added, "Testosterone has not been found to alter other coronary heart disease risk factors.". Archives of obgyn news blog

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