Friday, August 6, 2010

After A Miscarriage...

Experiencing a miscarriage, particularly later in the pregnancy, can be emotionally devastating, but here is some interesting research from a British Medical Journal report, encouraging women who experience a miscarriage to get pregnant again quickly.

From the LA Times:

After a miscarriage, the time a woman should wait before trying for another pregnancy is controversial. Some practitioners believe that there should be no wait time; the World Health Organization encourages women to wait at least six months.

A study published online Thursday in the British Medical Journal reports that women who conceive within six months of their miscarriage have the best chance of having a healthy, successful pregnancy.

The study looked at data for more than 30,000 women who attended Scottish hospitals between 1981 and 2000. All of the women had had a miscarriage in their first pregnancy before getting pregnant again. The women were divided into five categories based on the interval between the miscarriage and subsequent pregnancy: less than six months, 6-12 months, 12-18 months, 18-24 months, and more than 24 months.

The scientists found that women who conceived again within six months were less likely to have a caesarean section, preterm delivery (defined as birth before 36 weeks) or an infant of low birth weight (less than 5.5 lbs), compared with women in the other categories.

They were 66% less likely to have a miscarriage than women who waited six to 12 months to conceive, 48% less likely to have an ectopic pregnancy (in which the pregnancy occurs outside of the womb), 43% less likely to terminate their pregnancy and 70% less likely to have a stillbirth.

The longer the interval between miscarriage and subsequent pregnancy, the greater the risks were seen to be.

The authors wrote in their paper that “women who conceive within six months of an initial miscarriage have the best outcomes and lowest complication rates in their subsequent pregnancy.” Perhaps, they suggested, this is because women who become pregnant soon after a miscarriage are more motivated to stick to health-related behavior to ensure the success of their next pregnancy.

Byron Russell

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pregnancy Weight And Childhood Obesity Linked

A report from RedOrbit. The importance of this study is the link between obesity late in life and weight at birth, meaning that excessive weight gain during pregnancy puts the child at higher risk of obesity (and associated health risks) later in life. This highlights the necessity of a healthy diet during pregnancy -- and before conception.

A new study funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health has discovered a link between the weight gain of pregnant mothers and the risk of obesity in their children.

In a population-based study, Dr. David S. Ludwig of Children's Hospital in Boston and Columbia University economics professor Janet Currie looked at all known births in the states of Michigan and New Jersey from 1989 through 2003.

According to their findings, which were published in the August 5 edition of The Lancet, expectant mothers who gained 50-pounds during their pregnancies were twice as likely to have a high birthweight infant as those who only gained 20.

For purposes of the study, high birthweight was defined as anything over 8 pounds, 13 ounces.

Furthermore, in their research, Ludwig and Currie "found that if the same woman gained roughly double the weight during one pregnancy compared with another, her baby was on average half a pound, or 200 grams, heavier than its sibling, a large difference for newborns," according Shirley S. Wang of the Wall Street Journal."

"The more weight the women gained, the higher the risk of having a high-birth-weight baby," Wang also noted in a Thursday article. "Women who gained more than 52 pounds, for instance, were 2.3 times as likely to have a high-birthweight baby as women who gained 18 to 22 pounds, within the recommended range of gain for overweight women."

"In view of the apparent association between birthweight and adult weight, obesity prevention efforts targeted at women during pregnancy might be beneficial for offspring," the researchers write in the 'Interpretation' section of their paper's summary.

"Research is urgently needed into how to help women of reproductive age attain and maintain a healthy weight before and during pregnancy," Dr. Neal Halfon and Dr. Michael Lu of the University of California's Center for Healthier Children Families Communities wrote in an article accompanying the research paper. "With a growing focus on preconceptional health, there is an opportunity to develop effective interventions to help women conceive at a healthier weight."

Byron Russell