Young Pregnant Women More Likely To Be Depressed Than Their Mothers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rebecca Pearson, PhD Lecturer in Psychiatric Epidemiology Centre for Academic Mental Health School of Social & Community Medicine University of Bristol

Dr. Pearson

Rebecca Pearson, PhD
Lecturer in Psychiatric Epidemiology
Centre for Academic Mental Health
School of Social & Community Medicine
University of Bristol

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: We know depression and anxiety are common in young women and during pregnancy when there are also implications for the developing child.

It is therefore important to investigate whether symptoms are rising given the pressures of modern life.

We found that compared to their mothers generation in the 1990s young pregnancy women today are more likely to be depressed. This was driven largely by symptoms of anxiety and feeling overwhelmed rather than feeling down.  Continue reading

TDAP Vaccine During Pregnancy Protects Infants Against Whooping Cough

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sylvia Becker-Dreps, MD MPH Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine Associate Director, Office of International Activities (Latin America Focus) Director, UNC Program in Nicaragua University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7595

Dr. Becker-Dreps

Sylvia Becker-Dreps, MD MPH
Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine
Associate Director, Office of International Activities (Latin America Focus)
Director, UNC Program in Nicaragua
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7595

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

 Response: Pertussis (or whooping cough) is a respiratory infection caused by bacteria. It has been becoming more common in the US over the past two decades. Infants are more likely to be hospitalized and die of the disease. They are especially vulnerable in the first months of life because they have not yet had time to complete the DTaP vaccine series themselves. (Currently, infants receive 3 doses of DTaP at 2,4, and 6 months of age.) Immunizing mothers allows the mothers to pass antibodies against pertussis through the placenta and provide passive immunity to infants early in life. In early 2013, the CDC recommended that pregnant women receive a Tdap vaccine in every pregnancy. That recommendation was based on studies of the immune response to the vaccine, not real cases of pertussis.

Our study examined clinical cases of pertussis in over 675,000 infants throughout the US. We found that in the first six months of life, infants of vaccinated mothers (those that received Tdap during pregnancy) had 75% less pertussis hospitalizations and 50% less pertussis cases overall.  Continue reading

Hypertension Disorders in Pregnancy Associated With Increase in ASD and ADHD in Offspring

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Blood Pressure” by Bernard Goldbach is licensed under CC BY 2.0Ali Khashan, PhD
Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology
School of Public Health & INFANT Centre
University College Cork
Cork, Ireland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There is some evidence to suggest an increased likelihood of neurodevelopmental disorders in relation to hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, however consensus is lacking. Considering hypertensive disorders in pregnancy are among the most common prenatal complication, we decided to synthesise the published literature on this topic by conducting a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis.

Our main findings suggest that hypertensive disorders in pregnancy are associated with about 30% increase in the likelihood of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and ADHD in the offspring, compared to offspring not exposed to hypertensive disorders in pregnancy. Continue reading

ADHD More Common if Grandmother Used DES During Pregnancy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Marianthi-Anna Kioumourtzoglou ScD Assistant Professor Environmental Health Sciences Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University 

Dr. Kioumourtzoglou

Marianthi-Anna Kioumourtzoglou ScD
Assistant Professor
Environmental Health Sciences
Mailman School of Public Health
Columbia University 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders, like attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been increasing. One of the hypothesized risk factors for increased risk for neurodevelopmental disorders is a class of chemicals known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). These chemicals are known to interfere with the endocrine system, i.e. the system that uses hormones to control and coordinate metabolism, reproduction and development. Several high production volume chemicals, ubiquitously present in commercial products, are known or suspected endocrine disruptors. Because of their widespread use in consumer products, the population-wide exposure to known and suspected EDCs is very high.

Recently, there has been increased attention in the potential effects of EDCs on neurodevelopment that span multiple generations. Animal studies have provided evidence that exposure to EDCs, such as phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA), alter the behavior and social interactions in mice in three to five generations after exposure. However, evidence of such multi-generational impacts of EDC exposure on neurodevelopment in humans is unavailable, likely because of the lack of detailed information on exposures and outcomes across generations.

For this study we leveraged information from a nationwide cohort, the Nurses’ Health Study II (NHSII), to investigate the potential link between exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES) and third generation ADHD, i.e. ADHD among the grandchildren of the women who used DES while pregnant. DES is a very potent endocrine disruptor that was prescribed between 1938 and 1971 to pregnant women thought to prevent pregnancy complications. In the United States, between 5 and 10 million women are estimated to have used DES, although the exact number is not known. DES was banned in 1971, when was linked to vaginal adenocarcinomas (a rare cancer of the reproductive system) in the daughters of the women who had used it during pregnancy. Since then, DES has been also linked to multiple other reproductive outcomes in DES daughters, as well as with some reproductive outcomes in the grandchildren of the women who used it, such as hypospadias and delated menstrual regularization. However, to our knowledge, no study to date has evaluated the association between DES, or any other EDC, and multigenerational neurodevelopment.

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No Link Found Between Autism and Maternal Fish Ingested During Pregnancy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Fish” by Dhruvaraj S is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr Caroline M Taylor
Wellcome Trust Research Fellow
Centre for Child and Adolescent Health
Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol
Oakfield House, Oakfield Grove, Bristol

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Mercury is a toxic metal that is widespread in the environment. In pregnancy, mercury in the mother’ bloodstream is transferred through the placenta to the fetus, where is can affect development of the nervous system. Mercury from vaccines has been the focus of attention particularly in regard to a link with autism in children. However, the amount of mercury used in the vaccines is small in comparison with mercury from the diet and atmospheric pollution, and in the EU at least, childhood vaccines no longer contain this preservative. The fear that mercury is linked to autism has persisted, despite increasing evidence that this is not the case.

The aim of our study was to look at mercury from the diet rather than vaccines – specifically from fish – in pregnant women. We measured the women’s mercury levels in their blood and asked them about how much fish they ate. We then followed up their children for 9 years and recorded how many of them had autism diagnosed within that time. We also measured how many of them had autist traits by measuring their social and communication difficulties.  The data were part of the Children of the 90s study (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children – ALSPAC), which is based in Bristol, UK.

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ADHD More Common in Grandchildren of Women Who Used DES During Pregnancy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Marianthi-Anna Kioumourtzoglou ScD Assistant Professor Environmental Health Sciences Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University 

MarianthiAnna Kioumourtzoglou ScD
Assistant Professor
Environmental Health Sciences
Mailman School of Public Health
Columbia University 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders, like attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been increasing. One of the hypothesized risk factors for increased risk for neurodevelopmental disorders is a class of chemicals known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). These chemicals are known to interfere with the endocrine system, i.e. the system that uses hormones to control and coordinate metabolism, reproduction and development. Several high production volume chemicals, ubiquitously present in commercial products, are known or suspected endocrine disruptors. Because of their widespread use in consumer products, the population-wide exposure to known and suspected EDCs is very high.

Recently, there has been increased attention in the potential effects of EDCs on neurodevelopment that span multiple generations. Animal studies have provided evidence that exposure to EDCs, such as phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA), alter the behavior and social interactions in mice in three to five generations after exposure. However, evidence of such multi-generational impacts of EDC exposure on neurodevelopment in humans is unavailable, likely because of the lack of detailed information on exposures and outcomes across generations.

For this study we leveraged information from a nationwide cohort, the Nurses’ Health Study II (NHSII), to investigate the potential link between exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES) and third generation ADHD, i.e. ADHD among the grandchildren of the women who used DES while pregnant. DES is a very potent endocrine disruptor that was prescribed between 1938 and 1971 to pregnant women thought to prevent pregnancy complications. In the United States, between 5 and 10 million women are estimated to have used DES, although the exact number is not known. DES was banned in 1971, when was linked to vaginal adenocarcinomas (a rare cancer of the reproductive system) in the daughters of the women who had used it during pregnancy. Since then, DES has been also linked to multiple other reproductive outcomes in DES daughters, as well as with some reproductive outcomes in the grandchildren of the women who used it, such as hypospadias and delated menstrual regularization. However, to our knowledge, no study to date has evaluated the association between DES, or any other EDC, and multigenerational neurodevelopment. Continue reading

Does Acupuncture Increase Live Births For Women Undergoing IVF?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Acupuncture Needle” by Acid Pix is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Caroline Smith, PhD
Professor Clinical Research
Western Sydney University Research Theme Champion Health and Wellbeing

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Despite technological improvements to IVF the success of IVF treatment remains low. Consequently, new drugs, laboratory techniques and other treatments need to be developed and rigorously tested to explore their effects on producing healthy babies for women undergoing IVF.  In 2002, the first randomised controlled trial of acupuncture administered a specific form of IVF acupuncture at the time of embryo transfer.

The results indicated the chance of achieving a pregnancy from acupuncture was twice that to women undergoing IVF treatment alone. From mid 2000s many women have started to use adjunctive treatments such as acupuncture whilst undergoing IVF.  We conducted and reported on a  pilot study in 2006 which produced results suggesting a benefit. It is important that these findings were rigorously examined in a larger trial.

Findings are presented from our trial presented in JAMA. Our study of over 800 Australian and New Zealand women undergoing acupuncture treatment during their IVF (in vitro fertilization) cycle has failed to confirm significant difference in live birth rates.

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Is It Safe to Have a Vaginal Birth after Cesarean Section?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Childbirth” by DAVID Swift is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Dr. Carmen Young
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
University of Alberta

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: For women who have had a single previous cesarean section, the optimal mode of delivery in a subsequent pregnancy is controversial. This is because there are risks and benefits to attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean section (VBAC) or having an elective repeat cesarean section. Attempted VBAC is associated with a higher risk of uterine rupture and other maternal and infant complications. Repeat cesarean sections are associated with an increased risk of surgical complications and placental complications in subsequent pregnancies. Furthermore, it is difficult to predict which patients will have a successful VBAC.

This study is unique in that it uses recent Canadian data, allowing assessment of the impact of contemporary obstetrical care on maternal and neonatal outcomes in Canada.

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Diet Soda and Excess Sugar During Pregnancy May Depress Child’s Cognition

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Soda” by Jannes Pockele is licensed under CC BY 2.0Juliana F. W. Cohen, ScM, ScD

Department of Health Sciences
Merrimack College
North Andover MA 01845.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Sugar consumption among Americans is above recommended limits and this excess intake may have important health implications.

This study examined the associations of pregnancy and offspring sugar consumption, as well as sugar-sweetened beverages, other beverages (diet soda, juice), and fruit consumption with child cognition.

This study found that when pregnant women or their children consumed greater quantities of sugar, as well as when women consumed diet soda during pregnancy, this was associated with poorer childhood cognition.  However, children’s fruit consumption was associated with higher cognitive scores.

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Prenatal Exposure to SSRIs May Be Linked to Changes in Infant Brain Development

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jiook Cha, PhD Assistant Professor Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry  Columbia University Medical Center  New York, NY 10032

Dr. Jiook Cha

Jiook Cha, PhD
Assistant Professor
Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Columbia University Medical Center
New York, NY 10032

MedicalResearch.com: What did we already know about the connection between maternal SSRI use during pregnancy and infant brain development, and how do the current study findings add to our understanding? What’s new/surprising here and why does it matter for mothers and babies?

Response: Prior studies have shown mixed results in terms of the associations between maternal SRI use during pregnancy and offspring’s brain and cognitive development. Neurobiological studies with animal models suggest that SSRI use perturbs serotonin signaling and that this has important effects on cognitive development (a study conducted an author of this paper, Jay Gingrich, MD, PhD: Ansorge et al., 2004, Science). The human literature has been more mixed in terms of the associations of prenatal exposure to SSRI with brain and cognitive development.

In our study, we used neonatal brain imaging because this is a direct, non-invasive method to test associations between SSRI use and brain development at an early developmental stage, limiting the effects of the post-natal environment. In our study, we had two different control groups, that is, a non-depressed SSRI-free group (healthy controls), and depressed but SSRI-free (SSRI controls) group. Also, in our study we used rigorous imaging analytics that significantly improve the quantitative nature of MR-derived signals from the brain structure using two of the nation’s fastest supercomputers (Argonne National Laboratory and Texas Advanced Computing Center) and allows robust reconstruction of brain’s grey and white matter structure in the infants’ brains.

We report a significant association of prenatal exposure to SSRI with a volume increases within many brain areas, including the amygdala and insula cortex, and an increase in white matter connection strength between the amygdala and insular cortex. We were surprised by the magnitude of the effects (or the statistical effect size), compared with other brain imaging studies in psychiatry with children or adults’ brains. Importantly, it should be noted that our estimates of brain structure are still experimental and for research-purpose only. This means that our data need to be replicated and rigorously tested against confounders in order to make a firm conclusion. While our study suggests a “potential” association between prenatal exposure to SSRI and a change in fetal or infant brain development, we still need more research. 

tracts_in_the_brain

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Two Genes Linked to Severe Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Marlena Fejzo, PhD Aassociate researche David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA.

Dr. Fejzo

Marlena Fejzo, PhD
Aassociate researche
David Geffen School of Medicine
UCLA. 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Most women experience some nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, and the worst 2% are diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum which is associated with poor maternal and fetal outcomes. I had HG in 2 pregnancies. In my second pregnancy my HG was so severe that I could not move without vomiting and did not keep any food or water down for 10 weeks. I was put on a feeding tube, but ultimately lost the baby in the second trimester. I am a medical scientist by training so I looked into what was known about HG. At the time, very little was known, so I decided to study it. I partnered with the Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation (HER) and we did a survey on family history of .Hyperemesis Gravidarum that provided evidence to support a role for genes. I collected saliva samples from HG patients and their unaffected acquaintances to do a DNA study. Then I partnered with the personal genetics company, 23andMe to do a genome scan and validation study, which identified 2 genes, GDF15 and IGFBP7, linked to HG.

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Zika Birth Defects More Severe When Mothers Infected During First Trimester

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

This image depicts a posterior view of a patient’s back, captured in a clinical setting, upon presenting with this blotchy rash. After a diagnostic work-up, it was determined that the rash had been caused by the Zika virus. Note: Not all patients with Zika get a rash CDC image

This image depicts a posterior view of a patient’s back, captured in a clinical setting, upon presenting with this blotchy rash. After a diagnostic work-up, it was determined that the rash had been caused by the Zika virus.
Note: Not all patients with Zika get a rash
CDC image

Professor Bruno Hoen, M.D., Ph.D
Dept of Infectious Diseases, Dermatology, and Internal Medicine
University Medical Center of Guadeloupe 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Zika virus (ZIKV) infection during pregnancy has been identified only recently to cause severe birth defects, including microcephaly, other brain defects, and the congenital Zika syndrome. However, the magnitude of this risk was not clearly defined, with discrepancies between observational data from Brazil and the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry. We implemented a cohort study of pregnant women who have been exposed to ZIKV throughout the outbreak that hit the Caribbean in 2016.
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Can Probiotics and Fish Oil Supplements During Pregnancy Reduce Childhood Allergies?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Robert Boyle, 
Reader in Paediatric Allergy
Department of Medicine
Imperial College London

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Diet in early life may influence whether or not an infant develops allergies or autoimmune disease. We undertook a project for the UK Food Standards Agency to evaluate the evidence for this.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? 

Response: We found that a probiotic supplement during the last 2-4 weeks of pregnancy and during breastfeeding may reduce an infant’s chances of developing eczema; and that omega-3 fatty acid supplements taken from the middle of pregnancy (20 weeks gestation) through the first few months of breastfeeding may reduce an infant’s chances of developing food allergy. We also found links between longer duration of breastfeeding and improved infant health, but for most other variations in diet during pregnancy or infancy we did not find evidence for a link with allergies or autoimmune disease.

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Pregnancy in Type 1 Diabetes: Glucose Control Can Reduce Fetal Overgrowth

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rachel McGrath BSc (Hons), PhD Senior Research Fellow - Department of Endocrinology, RNSH Clinical Senior Lecturer - Northern Clinical School University of Sydney

Dr. Rachel McGrath

Rachel McGrath BSc (Hons), PhD
Senior Research Fellow – Department of Endocrinology, RNSH
Clinical Senior Lecturer – Northern Clinical School
University of Sydney 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Women with type 1 diabetes are significantly more likely to experience complications during pregnancy and to have infants with high birth weights. This can result in adverse outcomes at the time of delivery for both mother and baby, and can also predispose infants to obesity and chronic disease in later life.

The relationship between maternal blood glucose levels and foetal growth in type 1 diabetes in pregnancy has not been completely elucidated. Thus, we examined the association between maternal glycaemic control and foetal growth by examining serial ultrasound measurements and also by determining the relationship between HbA1c (a measure of circulating glucose exposure over a three month time period) and infant birth weight.

We found that maternal glucose levels were directly related to foetal abdominal circumference in the late second and third trimesters and also to birth weight. We also confirmed the results of previous studies to show that the optimal HbA1c during pregnancy to reduce the likelihood of large-for-gestational-age neonates is < 6%.  Continue reading

Doxylamine-Pyridoxine May Not Be Effective For Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Navindra Persaud MD, MSc, BA, BSc Department of Family and Community Medicine and  Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute St Michael’s Hospital Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Persaud

Navindra Persaud MD, MSc, BA, BSc
Department of Family and Community Medicine and
Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
St Michael’s Hospital
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: I used to prescribe doxylamine-pyridoxine for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. I was taught to prescribe it. The medication was recommended as the first line medication for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. When I looked carefully at the clinical practice guidelines that recommended this medication, they did not cite supporting studies. So I tried to find the basis for the recommendations. It was surprisingly difficult to obtain information about this commonly prescribed drug.

The medication seems to be ineffective based on the results of this trial.

I was also surprised that important information about the trial was hidden until now. Although some results were published in 2010, the earlier reports did not mention the fact that a difference of 3 points on the 13-point symptom scale was prespecified as the minimal important difference (or the smallest difference that a patient would deem as important).

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Program Improves Sleep For Mothers Hospitalized For Delivery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Now I’m having contractions.” by Remus Pereni is licensed under CC BY 2.0Kathryn A. Lee, RN, CBSM, PhD
Department of Family Health Care Nursing
University of California at San Francisco
San Francisco, California 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Sleep deprivation can adversely affect health and wellbeing in any patient population.

In pregnancy, adverse outcomes may include preterm birth, longer labor, cesarean birth, and depression.

We found that women with high-risk pregnancies were sleep deprived even prior to hospitalization. Our sample averaged 29 weeks gestation, and half reported getting only between 5 and 6.5 hours of sleep at home before hospital admission. Our sleep hygiene intervention strategies gave them more control over the environment in their hospital room, and they self-reported significantly better sleep than controls. Interestingly, both groups increased their sleep time to almost 7 hours at night, on average, in the hospital before they were discharged home.

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Increased Prenatal Care Linked To State Medicaid Expansion

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Laura Wherry credit: UCLA Health

Dr. Laura Wherry
credit: UCLA Health

Laura R. Wherry, Ph.D.
Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Los Angeles, CA 90024 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: All states provide Medicaid coverage to pregnant women, but many low-income women do not qualify for the program when they are not pregnant. However, state decisions to expand Medicaid coverage to low-income parents and adults allow low-income women to have Medicaid coverage prior to, and between, their pregnancies. Increased health insurance coverage for low-income women during these non-pregnancy periods may help improve their preconception health and their planning of pregnancies, ultimately leading to healthier pregnancies and infants.

This study examines how state expansions in Medicaid coverage for low-income parents before the Affordable Care Act affected the health insurance status of mothers prior to additional pregnancies (i.e. their pre-pregnancy health insurance status). I also examine whether there are changes in pregnancy intention (i.e. whether the pregnancy was mistimed or unwanted), as better access to pre-pregnancy insurance coverage could increase contraception utilization and improve the planning of pregnancies.

Finally, I examine whether there were changes in insurance coverage during pregnancy and in the utilization of prenatal care, since women who have pre-pregnancy insurance coverage may experience fewer barriers to establishing care during their pregnancies.

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Lack of Folic Acid Supplements During Pregnancy Linked With Increased Autism Risk in Children Exposed to Seizure Drugs In Utero

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Marte Bjørk, MD PhD Department of Clinical Medicine University of Bergen, Department of Neurology Haukeland University Hospital Bergen, Norway

Dr. Marte Bjørk

Dr. Marte Bjørk, MD PhD
Department of Clinical Medicine
University of Bergen,
Department of Neurology
Haukeland University Hospital
Bergen, Norway

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In utero antiepileptic drug exposure are associated with neurodevelopmental problems in the child. We looked into if maternal folate during pregnancy could reduce the risk of autistic traits in children of women in need of antiepileptic drugs in pregnancy. The rationale for the hypothesis that folate could be beneficial, was that many antiepileptic drugs interact with folate metabolism. Folic acid supplement use is also associated with slightly reduced risk of autism in children of women from the general population.

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Cervical Pessaries May Reduce Risk of Some Preterm Births

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Gabriele Saccone, MD
Department of Neuroscience
Reproductive Sciences and Dentistry
School of Medicine
University of Naples Federico II
Naples, Italy

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Preterm birth is a major cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality. About 15 million infants were born too soon every year, causing 1.1 million deaths. The cervical pessary is a silicone device that has been studied to prevent preterm birth. However, the efficacy of this device in preventing preterm birth is still subject of debate.

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Small Increased Risk of Cardiac Birth Defects With ADHD Drug During Pregnancy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Krista F. Huybrechts, M.S., Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School Epidemiologist in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Boston, MA 02120

Dr. Krista Huybrechts

Krista F. Huybrechts, MS PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02120  

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In recent years, use of stimulant medications in adults, including women of reproductive age, has increased substantially.

However, data regarding the safety of stimulant medications in early pregnancy are sparse and conflicting.  For example, two recent cohort studies failed to detect an association between use of methylphenidate in early pregnancy and overall or cardiac malformations, while another found an 81% increased risk of cardiac malformations, although the estimate was imprecise.

Given the rapidly increasing use of stimulant medications during pregnancy and among women of reproductive age who may become pregnant inadvertently, there is an urgent need to better understand their safety.

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Common Air Pollutants Associated With Increased Risk of Pregnancy Loss

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Cairo Air Pollution with smog - Pyramids1” by Nina Hale is licensed under CC BY 2.0Pauline Mendola, PhD

Investigator
Epidemiology Branch
Division of Intramural Population Health Research
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH
Bethesda, MD  20892

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We compared ambient air pollution levels at the residences of couples who were trying to get pregnant and estimated the risk of pregnancy loss associated with common pollutants. No prior studies have been done in the United States and most studies are retrospective, looking back in time, and asking couples to report on their reproductive outcomes. Without detailed prospective follow-up, early pregnancy losses that occur before entry into care (i.e., before women are aware that they are pregnant) are often missed. In contrast, we studied 501 couples in the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE) study who were enrolled before pregnancy and followed until they became pregnant or tried for 12 months without a pregnancy. Using this prospective data, we found that both ozone and fine particles (PM2.5) were associated with a 12-13% increased risk of early pregnancy loss.

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Increased Risk of Pregnancy Complications With Both Above and Below Normal BMI

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
 <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/kit4na/8570833723">“Pregnancy”</a> by <i> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/people/kit4na/">Tatiana Vdb</a> </i> is licensed under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0"> CC BY 2.0</a>Sarka Lisonkova, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
University of British Columbia.
Children’s and Women’s Health Centre
Vancouver, BC Canada 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We know that high BMI is associated with adverse birth outcomes for baby, including stillbirth, neonatal death, and others illnesses. However, less was known about the association with serious maternal morbidity.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI is important not only for baby’s health, but also for maternal health. The risk of majority of severe maternal complications, for example acute cardiac or pulmonary problems, increases with BMI above normal values. On the other side, women with BMI below-normal values also have increased risk of some complications, for instance, excessive bleeding before or after delivery that requires transfusion. However, maternal death​ or life-threatening complications are very rare, so the chance of experiencing such event is very low even for women who are obese.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Adopting a healthy lifestyle and reaching normal BMI before pregnancy is the best strategy for healthy pregnancy and optimal childbirth. For women who are underweight, overweight, or obese and already pregnant, it is important to strive for optimal weight-gain during pregnancy and good prenatal care. Modern obstetric care can prevent most severe maternal and infant morbidity by careful monitoring of maternal blood pressure and glucose level during pregnancy, and by timely obstetric interventions when maternal or baby conditions worsen. 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: The epidemic of obesity in the industrialized countries is alarming. US data show that about 50% of pregnant women are now overweight or obese. Even though maternal death and severe morbidity are very rare, we will see more of these serious adverse events in the future if the trend in obesity continues. This will also put more strain on obstetric services and increase the need for obstetric interventions. High-risk mothers need to be closely monitored during pregnancy and deliver in higher-level hospitals with appropriate resources,  including, for example, availability of maternal-fetal medicine specialist and an intensive care unit.

No disclosures

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Lisonkova S, Muraca GM, Potts J, Liauw J, Chan W, Skoll A, Lim KI. Association Between Prepregnancy Body Mass Index and Severe Maternal Morbidity. JAMA. 2017;318(18):1777–1786. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.16191

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Improved DNA Analysis Reduces False Positive Prenatal DNA Testing For Trisomy Conditions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Sir Nicholas Wald FRCP FRS Professor of Preventive Medicine Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry Queen Mary University of London London

Prof. Wald

Professor Sir Nicholas Wald FRCP FRS
Professor of Preventive Medicine
Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine
Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
Queen Mary University of London
London

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Prenatal screening for Down’s syndrome (trisomy 21), Edwards syndrome (trisomy 18) and Patau syndrome (trisomy 13) by maternal plasma DNA analysis has an improved screening performance compared with conventional screening but is too expensive to be performed routinely and has a technical failure rate.

The aim of the study was to take advantage of the improved screening performance of the DNA analysis in conjunction with the existing methods thereby providing a seamless testing interface between the “old” and the “new” methods that would detect a larger proportion of affected pregnancies with a much lower false-positive rate, at a much reduced cost compared with universal DNA testing and with no failed tests. The novel approach was to conduct a conventional screening test using a screening cut-off level that identifies about 10% of women with the highest risks of having an affected pregnancy (much higher than in conventional screening) and then to perform a DNA test using a portion of the original blood sample collected for the conventional test. Progressing to the DNA test was automatic for these high risk women without their having to be recalled for counseling and a fresh blood sample (ie as a reflex response hence the term “reflex DNA screening”).

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Pesticide Residues On Fruits & Vegetables Associated With Increased Risk of Pregnancy Loss

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

“Pesticide spraying” by jetsandzeppelins is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“Pesticide spraying” by jetsandzeppelins

Yu-Han Chiu, M.D., M.P.H., Sc.D
Department of Nutrition
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response:  Animal experiments suggest that ingestion of pesticide mixtures at environmentally relevant concentrations decreases the number of live-born pups. However, it is unclear whether intake of pesticide residues has any adverse effects in humans, especially for susceptible populations such as pregnant women and their fetuses. Therefore, in this study we examined the association of preconception intake of pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables with pregnancy outcomes among 325 women undergoing assisted reproduction.

We found that intake of high pesticide residue fruits and vegetables were associated with higher risks of pregnancy loss, while low pesticide residue fruit and vegetable intake was associated with lower risks of early pregnancy loss. These data suggest dietary pesticide exposure within the range of typical human exposure may be associated with adverse reproductive consequences

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Study Finds No Increased Recurrence Risk in Breast Cancer Survivors Who Become Pregnant

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hatem A. Azim Jr, MD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, American University of Beirut (AUB) Beirut, Lebanon 

Dr. Azim

Hatem A. Azim Jr, MD, PhD
Adjunct Assistant Professor, American University of Beirut (AUB)
Beirut, Lebanon 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This study aimed at evaluating the safety of pregnancy after breast cancer particularly in patient with history of ER+ breast cancer; a subset in which safety of future pregnancy is always put into question by oncologists and obstetricians.

This study included more than 300 pregnant women and 800 non-pregnant breast cancer patients who acted as a comparator group The results show that after more than 7 years after pregnancy, women who became pregnant did not have an increased risk of recurrence compared to those who did not become pregnant irrespective of ER status. There was no impact of breastfeeding, abortion or time of pregnancy on patient outcome.

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