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Syphilis Rates Among Pregnant Women Have Tripled, CDC Data Shows

Maternal syphilis rates have tripled in recent years, putting thousands of newborns at risk for infection, a new U.S. government report shows.

Left untreated, syphilis can damage the heart and brain and cause blindness, deafness and paralysis. When transmitted during pregnancy, it can cause miscarriage, lifelong medical issues and infant death.

In the new

  • Robin Foster HealthDay Reporter
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  • February 13, 2024
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  • Postpartum Depression Pill Now Available to Women, Drug Maker Says

    The first postpartum depression pill approved for use in the United States is now available to women who need it, the drug's makers announced Thursday.

    Sold under the name Zurzuvae, the medication can quickly ease severe postpartum depression and help women regain their emotional equilibrium following childbirth.

    The medication, which is now stocked in specialty pharmacies, can also...

    New Syndrome May Be Affecting Babies Exposed to Fentanyl

    Doctors report they are seeing what they think is a new syndrome in babies who are exposed to fentanyl while in the womb.

    All of the infants have cleft palates and unusually small heads, and all were born to mothers who said they'd used fentanyl and other drugs while pregnant.

    Six babies were first` identified at Nemours Children's Health in Wilmington, Del., two in California and o...

    High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy  Tied to Long-Term Heart Trouble for Hispanic Women

    Hispanic women who experience spikes in blood pressure while pregnant may also face higher heart risks years later, new research shows.

    These "hypertensive disorders of pregnancy" (HDP) -- conditions such as preeclampsia, eclampsia and gestational hypertension -- may even have a greater role to play in certain heart risks than regular high blood pressure, the researchers noted.

    “...

    Two Uteruses, Two Babies: One Woman's Story

    THURSDAY, Nov. 16, 2023 (Healthday News) -- The chances of a woman having two uteruses are rare, but the odds of becoming pregnant at the same time in each uterus are even more rare.

    But one Alabama woman is experiencing just that.

    Kelsey Hatcher was born with two uteruses, each with its own cervix -- known medically as uterine didelphys. She is expecting two baby girls, one in each...

    Cannabis Use During Pregnancy Ups Risk of Premature Birth, Low Birth Weight Babies

    THURSDAY, Nov. 16, 2023 (Healthday News) -- Using cannabis during pregnancy may not be as benign as some think, with a new review showing it raises the risk for both premature and low birth weight newborns.

    In turn, that raised the chances of these infants winding up in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for special care.

    There was reassuring news in the analysis, published Nov. ...

    Waiting to Clamp Umbilical Cord May Save Preemies' Lives

    The timing of a simple, standard part of childbirth could mean the difference between life and death for premature babies, a pair of new evidence reviews have concluded.

    Preemies whose umbilical cords are clamped 30 seconds to two minutes after birth are less likely to die before leaving the hospital, compared to those whose cords are immediately clamped, researchers report in the Nov. 14...

    Air Pollution Exposure Before Birth May Harm Reproductive Development: Study

    Air pollution could be harming the development of children, reaching into the womb to alter their healthy growth, a new study reports.

    Researchers say certain air pollutants appear to negatively alter a specific measure of prenatal exposure to hormones.

    “These findings suggest air pollution may interfere with normal hormone activity during critical periods of prenatal and early in...

    U.S. Infant Mortality Rate Climbs for First Time in 20 Years

    Following nearly two decades of decline, U.S. infant death rates edged up by 3% in 2022, new provisional government numbers reveal.

    “This was the first year we saw statistically significant increased rates of infant mortality in about 20 years,” said study author Danielle Ely, a statistician at the U.S. National Center f...

    Car Exhaust Could Harm a Woman's Pregnancy

    Air pollution from heavy traffic may be driving pregnancy complications and health concerns for infants.

    Researchers who matched more than 60,000 birth records with air-monitoring data found that pregnant patients living in an urban area with elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide had higher rates of preterm birth.

    This included delivery before 28 weeks, according to

  • Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter
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  • October 16, 2023
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  • Birth Defects More Common in Babies Born to Moms Who've Had Cancer

    Teens and young adult women who survive cancer appear to have higher odds of delivering babies with birth defects, according to a new study.

    Knowing this, young women making decisions about pregnancy and prenatal care should receive appropriate counseling and surveillance, said study lead author Caitlin Murphy.

    “Concerns ...

    Coffee Won't Raise Preemie Birth Risk, But Smoking Certainly Will: Study

    Smoking during pregnancy is a significant risk factor for premature births, but drinking coffee is not, new research suggests.

    Women who smoked during pregnancy were 2.6 times more likely to give birth prematurely compared to nonsmokers, a risk that was double that of previous estimates, the University of Cambridge scientists found.

    “We've known for a long time that smoking during...

    Job Loss Within Couples Ups Odds for Miscarriage, Stillbirth

    A new study suggests there may be a link between job loss and miscarriage or stillbirth.

    The risk of miscarriage or stillbirth doubled after a pregnant woman or her partner lost a job, European researchers found. Their study was published Sept. 28 in the journal Human Reproduction

    RSV Vaccine Given in Pregnancy to Help Shield Newborns Receives Full U.S. Approval

    Women may soon have a vaccine they can take during a pregnancy to help protect their newborn from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

    Following approval one month ago by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday also approved the shot, called Abrysvo. That marks the last hurdle needed for the vaccine to become widely available.

    �...

    Substance Abuse Greatly Raises Odds of Heart Attack, Stroke During Pregnancy

    Substance abuse and pregnancy may be a dangerous combination.

    New research finds that pregnant women with a history of substance abuse had a dramatically increased risk of death from heart attack and stroke during childbirth compared to women with no drug history.

    “This telling research shows that substance use during pregnancy doubled cardiovascular events and maternal mortality ...

    Web Searches for 'Self-Managed Abortion' Rose After Dobbs Decision

    When some U.S. states made abortion illegal after the Supreme Court overturned the longstanding Roe v Wade in June 2022, women in those areas increased their searches for self-managed abortions.

    To come to that conclusion, researchers from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) analyzed Google search results regarding self-abortion.

    “We found an increased number of searches in...

    Global Warming Could Make Pregnancies More Dangerous

    Global warming has been linked to higher rates of asthma, heart disease and other health concerns. Now, new research suggests that rising temperatures across the planet may place pregnant women at greater risk for severe pregnancy-related illnesses, especially in their third trimester.

    And this is likely to get worse in the near future, said study author

  • Denise Mann HealthDay Reporter
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  • September 8, 2023
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  • Were You a Big Baby at Birth? Your Infant May Be Also, Study Finds

    If you were a big baby -- or your spouse or partner was -- your baby has a good chance of being big, too.

    New research shows parents who were large babies are more likely to give birth to a large baby.

    Knowing this has the potential to improve prenatal care and interventions by identifying which pregnancies have higher risk of labor and delivery complications.

    To study this, r...

    Common Plastics Chemical Could Harm Boys' Development

    Phthalates are commonly used in plastics, and researchers have now tied them to developmental issues in toddler boys who were exposed to the chemical in the womb.

    The new study links the chemicals to emotional and behavioral development issues in 2-year-old boys ...

    Antidepressants for Postpartum Depression Could Mean Better Mental Health for Kids, Too

    If you are a new mom struggling with postpartum depression, taking antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may also bear benefits for your child's development.

    That's according to new research that found the medications were associated with improvements in a child's behavior up to five years after birth.

    Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, ...

    1 in 5 U.S. Women Say They've Been Mistreated During Maternity Care

    From receiving no response to cries for help to being verbally abused, 1 in 5 U.S. mothers say they were mistreated by a health care professional during pregnancy and delivery.

    Rates of mistreatment during maternity care were higher among Black, Hispanic and multiracial women, according to a survey of more than 2,400 new moms published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventio...

    FDA Approves RSV Vaccine for Pregnant Women to Help Shield Newborns

    Women may soon have a vaccine they can take during a pregnancy to help protect their newborn from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), following U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of the shot, called Abrysvo, on Monday

    The vaccine is designed to be given to pregnant women between 32 and 36 weeks of pregnancy as a way to protect infants from birth through 6 months from the sometimes ...

    Rate of Preterm Births Is Higher for Black Americans

    Black women have significantly more preterm births than white women do, and though almost a third of these extra cases can be explained by heart issues and social factors, the rest remain a mystery.

    However, targeting those known factors could improve birth outcomes, a new study suggests. Social determinants of health include factors such as income, education, insurance and access to care...

    Spotting Heart Defects While Baby Still in Womb Is Crucial, Study Shows

    Diagnosis of congenital heart defects while a baby is still in the womb offers opportunities for earlier corrective surgery. And that can mean better outcomes for an infant's neurodevelopmental and physical health, new research shows.

    “For infants with critical disease especially, getting surge...

    Steroids That Can Save Preemie Babies May Have Health Downsides

    Steroids are often unnecessarily prescribed to pregnant women thought to be at risk of preterm birth, a new evidence review contends.

    As a result, millions of babies are needlessly exposed to long-term health problems associated with steroid use in gestation, such as increased risk of infection and delayed brain development, researchers say.

    Steroids can't prevent preterm birth, but...

    Maternity Care 'Deserts' Common Throughout America, Report Finds

    More U.S. women are living in areas with little or no maternity care, raising concern about their ability to have a healthy pregnancy and birth.

    New research from the March of Dimes shows a 4% drop in birthing hospitals throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, and decreased access to maternity care in 369 counties since 2018.

    More than 32 million women lack access to reproducti...

    Low-Fiber Diet During Pregnancy May Harm Baby's Brain

    Too little fiber in Mom's diet during pregnancy may slow a baby's mental development, Japanese research suggests.

    Animal studies have found that a low-fiber diet during pregnancy slows brain nerve function in offspring. The new study, published July 27 in the journal

    Less Than Two-Thirds of High-Risk Women Get Heart Screening After Having a Baby

    Many women are not being counseled about heart disease after giving birth, a new study finds.

    Only 60% of at-risk women said they were advised about heart health at their postpartum checkup, researchers say.

    About 90% of U.S. women have a doctor visit during what is referred to as the "fourth trimester."

    "We need to find ways to take advantage of this prime opportunity when w...

    During Pregnancy, the Less Caffeine the Better: Expert

    When it comes to pregnancy and caffeinated drinks, less is best, says an expert, warning women to avoid energy drinks in particular.

    “Energy drinks contain varying amounts of caffeine, so check nutrition labels to understand how much caffeine and other ingredients they contain,” Dr. David Nel...

    Hepatitis C Rates Soar Among Pregnant Women

    In the two decades since the opioid epidemic took off, the addiction crisis has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

    Now, new research points to another grim outgrowth of the crisis on American health: a skyrocketing risk in pregnant women for hepatitis infection (HCV).

    That's because the main risk factor for contracting hepatitis C — a liver infection spread b...

    Dad's Mental Illness Raises Risk of Premature Birth

    It's not only a mother's mental health that is tied to the risk for preterm birth — the father's matters, too.

    New research found that the risk of premature birth was higher for infants whose mothers or fathers had a psychiatric diagnosis than for those whose parents did not.

    Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden analyzed data on all live births to Nordic parents in ...

    COVID Infection in Women Having Ovary Stimulation Lowered Chances for Pregnancy

    Testing positive for a COVID-19 infection during a particular phase of fertility treatment could reduce the odds for a successful pregnancy, a new study says.

    That phase of treatment is called controlled ovarian stimulation — a technique used to induce ovulation during in vitro fertilization (IVF).

    Researchers led by

  • Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter
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  • July 14, 2023
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  • Higher Maternal Death Rates Among Black Women Tied to Racism, Sexism, UN Says

    Black women are more likely to die during or soon after childbirth due to systemic racism and sexism in the medical system, not genetics or lifestyle, according to the United Nations.

    A U.N. agency, the United Nations Population Fund, released a

  • Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter
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  • July 13, 2023
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  • Preeclampsia in Pregnancy Puts Black Women at Higher Risk for Stroke

    While preeclampsia and stroke during pregnancy are far more common in Black women in the United States, almost all study of links between these two conditions has been done on white women.

    In a new study, researchers worked to better understand the risks.

    This included examining 25 years of data involving 59,000 participants in the Black Women's Health Study.

    The researchers f...

    Monkey Study Suggests Hazards of Marijuana Use During Pregnancy

    Marijuana use during pregnancy may impact the baby's brain development and long-term health, according to new research with monkeys.

    THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) -- the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis -- altered the placental and fetal epigenome in monkeys who were given THC edibles, researchers say. These modifications can cause changes that aff...

    IVF Success: Season Eggs Are Collected Could Make a Difference

    Sunny summer days may improve the odds for successful in vitro fertilization (IVF), a new study suggests.

    For women undergoing IVF, the season in which her eggs are retrieved could affect the success of embryo transplantation and her chance of delivering a live baby, researchers reported July 5 in the journal

  • Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter
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  • July 7, 2023
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  • FDA Approves First Blood Test to Predict Preeclampsia in Pregnant Women

    A new blood test approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration can predict imminent preeclampsia, helping pregnant women who are at risk of this severe and sometimes deadly form of high blood pressure.

    The test can identify with 96% accuracy which women with sometimes-vague symptoms will develop preeclampsia within the following two weeks, The New York Times reported this wee...

    U.S. Maternal Mortality Rates Have More Than Doubled in Two Decades

    The number of pregnant and postpartum women who die in the United States has more than doubled in two decades, hitting particular racial groups especially hard.

    New research found sharp increases in maternal death rates between 1999 and 2019, especially among Black, American Indian and Alaskan Native women. Those who live in the South, the Mountain States and the Midwest were also at grea...

    Tori Bowie's Death Highlights Race Gap in Maternal Death Rates

    Having a baby in the United States continues to be a risky proposition, particularly for Black women, according to a pair of new reports.

    The number of U.S. deliveries that resulted in severe, potentially life-threatening complications for the mother increased between 2008 and 2021, according to a new analysis led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

    Further, ...

    1 in 5 Women Who've Had a Child Via IVF Will Later Conceive Naturally

    Shema Tariq, a sexual health doctor based in London, was diagnosed with low ovarian reserve and told that her chances of conceiving without in vitro fertilization (IVF) were nearly nil.

    "It took six rounds of IVF to conceive our son, who was born in 2018," she recalled. "My GP briefly mentioned contraception to me after he was born, but we both laughed and agreed that it wasn't relevant....

    Stray Cats Shed Toxoplasmosis Parasites in Cities, Especially in Warm Weather

    Wild and feral cats appear to release more toxoplasmosis parasites in places densely populated with people, new research suggests.

    These cats also "shed" more when the temperature is warmer, a significant finding given climate change, according to the report published online June 21 in PLOS ONE.

    Policymakers could help protect humans from this illness by better managing th...

    What to Do When Tough-to-Treat Lymphoma Strikes During Pregnancy

    Not a lot is known about how physicians should handle cases in which a pregnant woman is diagnosed with relapsed/refractory lymphoma.

    A new study may provide some perspective.

    Though uncommon, this issue is still experienced by about one in 4,000 women, according to background notes with the study published June 1 in

  • Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter
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  • June 2, 2023
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  • Rate of Pregnant U.S. Women Who Have Diabetes Keeps Rising

    The number of American women who have diabetes when they become pregnant has increased dramatically over five years, health officials reported Wednesday.

    Between 2016 and 2021, the rate of pregnancy among diabetic women has risen 27%, from about 9 per 1,000 births to 11 per 1,000 births, according to the re...

    Pregnancy Complications Linked to Higher Stroke Risk for Women

    Women who've had certain pregnancy complications have significantly higher odds for a stroke than women with uncomplicated pregnancies, new research shows.

    Moreover, these strokes may occur at a relatively early age, according to investigators at the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

    Also, compared to women with a single uncomplicated pregnancy, w...

    American Women Need More Maternity Leave, Access to Pregnancy Care: Poll

    Pregnancy is a difficult and potentially dangerous time in a woman's life, and U.S. women say they aren't getting the support they need while they're expecting, a new HealthDay/Harris Poll has found.

    Nearly 2 in 5 women who are pregnant or have ever been pregnant (37%) say they have experienced barriers to getting needed care.

    Worse, women in their prime childbearing years (18 to 34...

    COVID Pandemic May Have Heightened Women's Fears Around Pregnancy

    Many American women fear childbirth, and the COVID-19 pandemic did not calm those feelings, new research shows.

    "Our results showed really high rates of childbirth fear in our sample," said Zaneta Thayer, co-author of a new study and an associate professor of anthropology at Dartmouth College in Hanov...

    Marijuana Can Affect Fetal Development, Even If Used Early in Pregnancy

    As recreational marijuana use rises, some dispensaries are recommending it as a remedy for morning sickness, but new research warns that using it during pregnancy may significantly affect fetal growth.

    While fetal exposure to cannabis in early pregnancy can reduce birth weight, those effects can become more severe if use continues throughout the pregnancy, according to researchers at Cen...

    Pregnancy May Be Riskier for Women With Lupus

    Pregnant women with lupus face potential complications, including a greater risk of premature birth, according to a new U.S. study.

    A 10-year audit of hospital records found that these women have more than twice the risk of giving birth to a baby who is premature or growth-restricted. The audit also found that blood transfusions are nearly four times more likely for moms-to-be with lupus,...

    Depression Around Pregnancy Could Raise Women's Heart Risks

    Depression during pregnancy may be linked to heart disease as soon as two years later, new research suggests.

    This is true even when patients don't have high blood pressure during pregnancy, the research team reports April 19 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

    “We need to use pregnancy as a window to future health,” said lead study author

  • Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter
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  • April 19, 2023
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  • Kids Whose Moms Took HIV Meds While Pregnant May Be at Higher Risk for Developmental Delays

    Children whose mothers took antiretroviral medication for HIV while pregnant may have higher risks for developmental delays at age 5, according to new research.

    Nonetheless, researchers said it's important for women with HIV to take antiretroviral therapy during pregnancy to prevent HIV transmission to their fetus. Women who have HIV and know it should start on antiretroviral therapy in c...