Chemotherapy During Pregnancy Does Not Risk The Child’s General Health

A recent study published by the The Lancet Oncology indicates that children of women who received chemotherapy during their pregnancy suffer no adverse effects, developing as well as children in the general population. The study was led by Dr Frédéric Amant, Multidisciplinary Breast Cancer Center, Leuven Cancer Institute, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. The researchers assessed 68 pregnancies of mothers who received an average of three to four cycles of chemotherapy - a total of 236 cycles. The average age of cancer diagnosis for the mothers was 18 weeks into pregnancy. The median gestation age of birth was at 36 weeks, with two thirds (47) of the women giving birth before 37 weeks. A total of 70 children were assessed, ranging from ages 1.5 to 18 years. They carried out a series of tests on the children to examine their overall health and development, including: Bayley or intelligence quotient tests, electrocardiography and echocardiography, and a questionnaire on general health and development. Children above the age of 5 were given more tests such as the Auditory Verbal Learning Test, audiometry, the Test of Everyday Attention for Children, and their parents were to complete a 'Child Behavior Checklist'. Neurocognitive outcomes were within normal ranges for children born at full term, children born preterm, however, had lower results, but the authors stress that this difference is found among the general population as well. The results of the tests indicated that the children's behavior, general health, heart dimensions/function, hearing, and growth were all equal to the average results of children in the general population. The authors said: "We show that children who were prenatally exposed to chemotherapy do as well as other...

Dieting During Pregnancy Is Safe And Helpful

A study in BMJ reports that the risk for serious complications, such as pre-eclampsia, diabetes and premature birth can be safely reduced even in overweight and obese pregnant women by following a healthy calorie controlled diet during pregnancy.  Over half of the UK's female population of reproductive ages is overweight or obese, and up to 40% of European and American women gain more than the recommended weight in pregnancy, which has been associated with numerous serious health problems. Health professionals believe that a woman's pregnancy is the perfect time to discuss weight management, given that pregnant women are generally more motivated to make changes that benefit both themselves and their baby. Research leader, Dr Shakila Thangaratinam from Queen Mary's University of London assessed the impact of diet, exercise, or both on weight gain during pregnancy and any adverse effects on the expectant mother and their unborn baby by analyzing data from over 7,000 women obtained from 44 randomized controlled trials. The team accounted for the study's designs and quality for minimum bias. They found that weight management interventions during pregnancy proved effective in reducing the mother's weight gain, and that diets achieved the largest average weight loss of almost 4 kg in comparison with only 0.7 kg for exercise and 1 kg for a combination of both, diet and exercise. They also discovered that diet was the most effective option in preventing pregnancy complications, including pre-eclampsia, diabetes, high blood pressure and premature birth, although the researchers highlight the fact that the overall evidence rating for these significant results was classed as 'low to very low'. However, the findings did prove that interventions are indeed safe...

Genetic Screening During Pregnancy Shows Promise

According to a study published inScience Translational Medicine, researchers at the University of Washington have successfully reconstructed the whole genome sequence of a human fetus by analyzing blood samples from the mother and saliva samples from the father. The researchers findings open up the possibility of assessing a fetus non-invasively for all single-gene disorders. Approximately 1% of newborns are born with disorders that are caused by a defect in a single gene. These "Mendelian" disorders include cystic fibrosis, Huntington's disease, and Tay-Sachs disease. In the future, the new non-invasive technique could help screen for these types of genetic mutations in the fetus without increasing the risk of miscarriage, said Jay Shendure and his team at the University of Washington. Shendure explained: "This work opens up the possibility that we will be able to scan the whole genome of the fetus for more than 3,000 single-gene disorders through a single, non-invasive test." At 18.5 weeks gestation, the researchers were able to map the whole genome of a fetus and then reconstructed it using DNA from the mother's blood plasma and saliva from the father. Although fetal DNA is found in the mother's blood plasma, it can be challenging to distinguish which genetic signature belongs to the fetus and which belongs to the mother. As a result the team used a new technique in order to identify blocks of haplotypes (genetic variation), that could be traced back to the mother's genome. The researchers were then able to use this information, together with data from the father's saliva sample, to determine which genomes the fetus inherited. The team then conducted a more intensive examination...

Top Tips To Minimize Morning Sickness

According to US and UK data from public health authorities, morning sicknessaffects over half of all pregnant mothers. It is generally related to an increase in estrogen levels, low blood sugar counts, and a greater susceptibility to some smells. More often, morning sickness will be present in the early hours of the morning and will ease up somewhat as the day goes on. Morning sickness is also known as nausea gravidarum, nausea, vomiting of pregnancy (emesis gravidarum), or pregnancy sickness. At times, morning sickness can be mild. However, the pregnant mother may at other times feel so nauseous that she will vomit. Even though morning sickness can be extremely unpleasant, it is hardly ever severe enough to cause metabolic derangement. In most cases, morning sickness settles down by the end of the first trimester. Morning sickness is more likely to occur during the first three months of a pregnancy. Here are a few tips you can put in to practice to minimize unpleasant morning sickness symptoms: Get plenty of rest.  You must ensure you get a good night´s sleep - wear a sleep mask, or even dark glasses, to block out as much light as possible. You might also consider a maternity body pillow that will properly help you support your back and stomach. Sometimes taking naps during the day may help. Avoid moving around straight after eating.   Get up slowly Don't be in a hurry to get out of bed when you wake up. Take your time.   Avoid some types of foods Avoid fatty and/or spicy foods. Avoid caffeine as well.   Food portion sizes - have small ones. It is important...
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