pregnancy

A study published Monday suggests that fluoride consumed by pregnant women can decrease the IQ of their children. No single study provides definitive answers, but the latest research on this controversial topic will no doubt stir debate.

Fluoride protects teeth from decay, so public health officials celebrate what has been accomplished by putting it in many water supplies. But Christine Till, an associate professor of psychology at York University in Toronto, also wondered about potential downsides.

I had always imagined going through pregnancy surrounded by family and friends. But when I found out I was pregnant, my husband, Alex Gourse, and I had just moved from San Francisco to Chicago. I knew almost no one.

I ended up finding a community where I least expected it: at a medical office.

Hands holding the pregnant belly of an African-American woman.
ANNA CAROLINA VIEIRA SANTOS / FLICKR

A new report shows that in Florida - one of 14 states that did not expand Medicaid - the uninsured rate for women of childbearing age is more than twice as high as the average for Medicaid expansion states. 

It wasn't hard for Shara Watkins to get pregnant. It was hard for her to stay pregnant.

In 2016, she was devastated by two miscarriages. With the help of several medications, she successfully carried a child last year.

Shara and her husband, Robert, were elated when she reached her second trimester, the phase when the highest risk of miscarriage subsides.

Unfortunately the San Mateo, Calif., couple's struggles continued.

Brittney Crystal was just over 25 weeks pregnant when her water broke.

It was her second pregnancy — the first had been rough, and the baby came early.

To try to avoid a second premature birth, Dr. Joy-Sarah Vink, an obstetrician and co-director of the Preterm Birth Prevention Center at Columbia University Medical Center, arranged for Crystal to be transported by ambulance from her local Connecticut hospital to New York City, where Vink could direct her care.

Doctors can and should do more to prevent depression among pregnant women and new mothers by referring them to counseling. That's the recommendation of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an influential panel of clinicians and researchers that makes recommendations for patient care.

Melody Lynch-Kimery had a fairly routine pregnancy. But when she got to the hospital for delivery, she says, things quickly turned frightening.

After an emergency cesarean section, Lynch-Kimery hemorrhaged; she heard later she'd lost about half the blood in her body.

"I just kept thinking 'I'm not going to die. I'm not going to die. I'm not going to let you let me die,' " she says.

After that traumatic experience, Lynch-Kimery spent a week in the hospital. She went home with her newborn daughter, Sawyer, thinking her delivery complications were resolved.

Jenna Neikirk was nearing the end of her first pregnancy when her blood pressure shot up to dangerous levels.

"I started feeling splotchy and hot, just kind of uncomfortable, so I took my blood pressure at work and it was 160 over 120," she says. Neikirk's a physical therapist in Atlanta and knew that level was alarmingly high.

She left work and walked over to her obstetrician's office, which was in the same medical complex.

A new Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report is drawing attention to a more than doubling of the number of cases of congenital syphilis nationwide, 918 cases in 2017 compared to 362 in 2013.

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A former aerial dancer at Walt Disney World has sued the resort alleging gender discrimination, saying she was fired after she became pregnant with twins and went on an 11-month leave.

Peter Haden / WLRN

Spit in a tube. Drop it in the mail.

In a few weeks, a genetic counselor calls you up with your results.

JScreen is a non-profit public health initiative dedicated to preventing Jewish genetic diseases. It is based at Emory University in Atlanta. For $149, the test will tell you if you are a carrier for more than 200 genetic diseases.

Public opinion on abortion rights is often framed as a binary choice between two political positions, but a closer look at new polling data from Gallup reveals more nuance.

While a majority of Americans support legalized abortion in early pregnancy, most oppose it in the later stages, according to the survey.

Samantha Blackwell was working her way through a master's degree at Cleveland State University when she found out she was pregnant.

"I was 25, in really good health. I had been an athlete all my life. I threw shot put for my college, so I was in my prime," she says with a laugh.

Though it wasn't planned, Blackwell's pregnancy was embraced by her large and loving family and her boyfriend, who would soon become her husband. Her labor was quick, and she gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

When Allison Matthews was pregnant with her first child four years ago, her obstetrics clinic scheduled frequent appointments to make sure everything was proceeding normally.

"I was taking time off work and it wasn't doing a lot for me," says Matthews, who was considered at low risk for complications like pregnancy-related high blood pressure, also known as preeclampsia. "I kind of felt like I was almost doing it more for the clinic's benefit than for myself."

Update 1:40 p.m.: Florida budget chiefs have agreed on a proposed spending plan. It's still unclear how Healthy Start Coalitions fared. This is a developing story.

If Florida Senate leaders get their way, a statewide network of prenatal care providers will see an approximately 30 percent funding cut.

WMFE

A Florida firefighter who is seven months pregnant is being told by her bosses that she will have to carry out her regular duties until she gives birth.

Four months after having her second baby, Jessica Porten started feeling really irritable. Little things would annoy her, like her glider chair.

"It had started to squeak," she says. "And so when I'm sitting there rocking the baby and it's squeaking, I would just get so angry at that stupid chair."

House Panel Backs Plan For New Birth Options

Jan 17, 2018
Florida Legislature
Florida House of Representatives

Women with low-risk pregnancies would not have to deliver at hospitals to get epidurals or to have cesarean sections, under legislation overwhelmingly approved by a House panel Tuesday despite safety concerns raised by Florida hospitals.

Editor's note: This story contains language that may be offensive.

In February 2009, Samantha Pierce became pregnant with twins. It was a time when things were going really well in her life.

She and her husband had recently gotten married. They had good jobs.

"I was a kick-ass community organizer," says Pierce, who is African-American and lives in Cleveland. She worked for a nonprofit that fought against predatory lending. The organization was growing, and Pierce had been promoted to management.

With only one committee hearing, a bill seeking to regulate Florida’s pregnancy crisis centers is now heading to the House floor. But, pro-choice advocates are not happy about a provision that directs the state to only contract with providers that “promote and support childbirth.”

Earlier this year, when Emily Chodos was about 25 weeks into her pregnancy, she woke up one night feeling horrible.

"My hands were tremoring, my heart racing, " recalls Chodos, who lives near New Haven, Conn. She couldn't take a deep breath. "I'd never felt so out of control of my body."

She ended up paging her obstetrician's office at 4 a.m., and one of the midwives in the practice, after listening to her symptoms, said, "It sounds like you're having a panic attack."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are updating their guidance for pregnant women regarding the Zika virus. The new information means asymptomatic pregnant women don't have to get the commonly used IgM test. The announcement comes as public health officials are increasingly worried about the risk of false positives. 

Planning to have a baby in the Miami metro area? You’d better do it fast.

A study released Thursday says that of the 50 largest U.S. cities, Miami is the fourth most likely to face a shortage of obstetricians and gynecologists in the coming years.

Analysts say the number of OB/GYNs -- doctors who deliver babies and treat women of all ages -- isn’t growing fast enough to keep up with the growing U.S. population. That’s because many OB/GYNs are approaching retirement age, but not so many med students are entering the field to replace them.

designer491 / Getty Images

The Zika virus may not seem as big a threat as last summer but don't let your guard down — especially if you're pregnant or trying to be.

The first few months after having a baby is usually referred to as the “fourth trimester,” and while it’s a time of tremendous growth for baby, it’s a time when moms undergo a steep learning curve.  To help provide support during that time, Lee Health has introduced a new, bi-weekly program for new moms called the “Fourth Trimester Club”.

As a neonatal intensive care nurse, Lauren Bloomstein had been taking care of other people's babies for years. Finally, at 33, she was expecting one of her own. The prospect of becoming a mother made her giddy, her husband, Larry, recalled recently— "the happiest and most alive I'd ever seen her."

Since the mid-1800s, laughing gas been used for pain relief, but these days it's usually associated with a visit to the dentist.

In the early 20th century, women used laughing gas to ease the pain of labor, but its use declined in favor of more potent analgesia. Now a small band of midwives is helping to revive its use in the U.S.

One hospital in Rhode Island, South County Hospital in South Kingstown, has just added nitrous oxide, the formal name for laughing gas, to its menu of pain relief options for labor.

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The Healthy Start Coalition of Hillsborough County will hold a Zika forum Friday in Tampa to address concerns about pregnancy.

Zika infection is linked to microcephaly, a birth defect that causes infants to be born with small heads.

Jane Murphy, the executive director of the Healthy Start Coalition of Hillsborough County, said the forum will educate both the public and health care workers.

Late last fall, Dr. Christine Curry was at a faculty meeting with her colleagues when the conversation turned to new reports linking the Zika virus to a surge in microcephaly in infants in Brazil.

"I think it's fair to say that most obstetricians had never heard of this virus a year ago," said Curry, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Jackson Memorial Hospital.

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