International Prenatal Infection Prevention Month, pregnancy, bipolar disorder, PCOS, and thyroid disease

By: Bel Marra Health | Health News | Saturday, February 20, 2016 - 10:00 AM

As February is declared the International Prenatal Infection Prevention Month, this health news overview is dedicated to healthy pregnancy recommendations, along with medical conditions all expecting mothers should be aware of, like bipolar disorder, PCOS, and thyroid disease. The main goal of the Prenatal Infection Prevention Month is to promote the common effort of reducing the mother-to-child transmission of HIV and other infections. Thanks to the related research in this field, the infection transmission rates in the U.S. have dropped to less than one percent, though the similar success in poorer regions of the world is yet to be achieved.

It is equally important to be on the look-out for other conditions that pose threat to pregnant women – urinary tract infections, group B streptococcus, toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus, rubella, fifth’s disease, to name a few. Common hygiene rules, though simple and well-known, are still very effective in reducing the risk of contracting an infection during pregnancy. Wash your hands with soap and water frequently, especially after using the washroom, changing diapers, handling raw products, and interacting with young kids, pets, or sick people. Clean surfaces with soap or disinfectant. Avoid sharing utensils, food, and toothbrushes. Carefully adhere to the food preparation instructions. Avoid pre-washed fruit and vegetables and unpasteurized dairy products.

Flu in pregnancy can increase risk of bipolar disorder in child

flu-in-pregnancy-risk-of-bipolar-disorder-childExperiencing the flu during pregnancy can increase the risk of bipolar disorder in the child. A study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that pregnant women who had the flu had a four times higher risk of having children with bipolar disorder, compared to women who did not contract the flu during pregnancy. The findings contribute to other studies that reveal similarities between schizophrenia and flu during pregnancy.

Lead researcher Alan Brown said, “Prospective mothers should take common sense preventive measures, such as getting flu shots prior to and in the early stages of pregnancy, and avoiding contact with people who are symptomatic. In spite of public health recommendations, only a relatively small fraction of such women get immunized. The weight of evidence now suggests that benefits of the vaccine likely outweigh any possible risk to the mother or newborn.” Continue reading…

Autism risk in children increased with antidepressants taken during pregnancy

Autism risk in children antidepressants during pregnancyResearchers have found an increased autism risk in children when the mother has taken antidepressants – specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – within the last two trimesters of pregnancy.

Antidepressants are used to treat depression, and autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental syndrome involving altered communication, language and social interaction.

Researchers explored data of pregnancies and children in Quebec, Canada between 1998 and 2009. The authors identified 1,054 children with autism from 145,456 births. Age of onset for autism was roughly 4.6 years old, and there were four times as many boys with autism than girls. Continue reading…

High blood pressure in pregnancy linked to family risk

High-blood-pressure-pregnancyPregnancy can cause changes to your health, like morning sickness, for example. If a pregnant woman has high blood pressure, new research suggests this can contribute to deteriorated health in the future. Additionally, researchers have uncovered that siblings of pregnant women with high blood pressure also develop degenerated health down the road. Brothers, in particular, are at higher risk for heart disease.

Although the findings suggest women with high blood pressure while pregnant can experience health complications later in life, they did not determine the cause and effect of the association. Continue reading…

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) in women linked to ADHD, increases risk of autism in child

polycystic-ovarian-syndrome-women-linked-adhdPolycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) in women is linked to ADHD and an increased risk of autism in children. A study examined the link between ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and PCOS.

The researchers found that the women with PCOS had higher Adult ADHD Self-Report scores and Wender-Utah Rating Scale scores. Furthermore, ADHD rates were higher in the PCOS women, compared to the control women. There were no significant differences between either group in current or childhood inattention scores. The researchers also did not find a correlation between ADHD symptoms and serum hormone levels.

An alternative study found that children born to mothers with PCOS are at a higher risk of developing autism, compared to those born to mothers without PCOS. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by a range of neurodevelopmental disorders that can impair language, social interaction, and repetitive behaviors. The exact underlying cause of autism is still unclear, but much evidence supports that it may be a result of exposure to certain sex hormones early on in life. These hormones are known as androgens and are commonly associated with male-typical characteristics. Continue reading…

Thyroid disease can have significant effects on fertility, pregnancy, suggests a new review

Thyroid-disease-fertility-pregnancyResearch has found that thyroid disease can have significant implications on fertility and pregnancy, and women experiencing reproductive health issues should be screened for thyroid problems.

Thyroid hormones help control the metabolism, and these same hormones also play a role in growth and development, in particular, brain development. Therefore, changes in the thyroid can contribute to problems in regard to reproduction, prior, during, and after conception. Continue reading…


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