A study completed in 2012 has reported that although a low glycemic diet during pregnancy does have many health benefits, it has not been found to decrease the incidence of macrosomia.
Macrosomia is when a newborn has excessive birth weight. Fetal macrosomia occurs in the second pregnancy of about one third of women. A newborn’s birth weight is influenced by the mother’s age, ethnicity and previous deliveries of a large infant. There is also large evidence suggesting that there is a strong link between excessive weight gain during pregnancy and increased birth weight.
Presently there are one billion adults in the world’s population who are overweight. When a woman’s has a high maternal BMI there is a high chance she will give birth to a larger infant. However, it has also been observed that the weight a woman gains during pregnancy is independently related to the weight of the newborn on delivery. Therefore the study wanted to put women on a carbohydrate controlled diet and see did the weight they did/did not gain affect the birth weight of the infant. Their main reason for studying this cause and effect is that increased birth weights are associated with increased health risks in later life for children. One of these health risks is childhood obesity.
A trial was carried out, measuring the incidence of macrosomia in women on a low glycemic index diet versus those who did not diet.
A low glycemic diet is carried out by eating foods that have a low glycemic index. All carbohydrates increase blood sugar levels, but their effect varies. Carbohydrate effects on blood sugar are categorized according to the glucose response they induce; their glycemic index. Low glycemic foods have a low glucose response, and high glycemic foods have a high glucose response. People on a low glycemic diet try to eat more carbohydrates that have a low glycemic index.
The results of this study found that a low glycemic index diet did have some health benefits for mother and newborn, however it did little to decrease the incidence of macrosomia.
The benefits of a low glycemic index diet were shown in the lower incidence of induced labor and primary postpartum hemorrhage in the women who followed the lower glycemic index diet. The diet also had a positive effect on maternal weight gain as well as maternal glucose tolerance.
The growing problem of obesity needs an intervention, or rather a combination of interventions. Although this particular diet was not shown to be sufficient in preventing macrosomia in newborns, it does have other benefits for women during pregnancy.
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According to a University of California, Berkeley, study, stress can prevent successful conception. Although infertility can add to the list of a couple’s stresses, managing stress is of utmost importance, especially before spending money visiting a fertility specialist or on the cost of IVF.
The National Survey of Family Growth estimates that one in eight couples struggle with infertility. For about one fifth of these couples (20 percent), the cause of infertility is unknown.
The research team at UC Berkeley, found that stress increases levels of the stress hormones, glucocorticoids such as cortisol, that restrict the body’s main sex hormone, the gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH). This in effect suppresses male sperm count, female ovulation, and interest in sexual activity for both sexes.
The study was conducted on rats, and if results can be applied to humans, then fertility doctors may hold a key into explaining certain couple’s unexplained infertility. In humans, it is known that stress can lead to reduced sex drive, and now potentially reduced fertility. Even those couples undergoing infertility treatments are affected by stress, as it can prevent their effectiveness.
So couples dealing with unexplained infertility don’t need to visit the egg donor bank just yet. Rather, there are certain lifestyle choices they can make to manage stress. The following are some simple stress management practices that can improve a couple’s chances of successful pregnancy:
- Exercise regularly.
- Practice relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation.
- Eat a balanced and healthy diet.
- Make sure to get enough sleep and rest, as lack of sleep can aggravate stress.
- Talk to trusted person, either a friend, partner, or a psychologist.
- Avoid dependence on alcohol, sugar, or caffeine.
- Keep a positive attitude, and recognize the difference between things that can and cannot be controlled.
Although the UC Berkeley study was conducted on rats, their findings indicate that increased levels of stress inhibit fertility for both males and females. For that reason, many couples can work together on the above stress management practices to improve their chances of successful pregnancy.
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The consumption of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – common antidepressants – may negatively affect pregnancy. According to a recent study by researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, SSRIs may increase the risk of miscarriages, premature births, neonatal health complications, and neurobehavioral abnormalities, such as autism.
Antidepressants are prescribed to treat depression,anxiety disorders, and certain personality disorders. A common SSRI antidepressant known to most people is Prozac.
Prozac and other SSRIs can lessen the effects of depression and anxiety by affecting chemical messengers in the brain, called neurotransmitters, that communicate between brain cells.
The chemical messengers can then prevent the reabsorption of serotonin, which is known as the “feel good” hormone. Changing the balance of serotonin levels can then help brain cells send and receive chemical messages that can promote a better mood.
The study, published in the journal Human Reproduction, reviewed previous studies regarding of antidepressant use. Results from the review show that antidepressant usage has increased 400 percent over the past 20 years, in particular for women in their reproductive age (18-44). The researchers also found that SSRIs decreased pregnancy rates for women, and long-term SSRI use may be linked with premature birth, low birth weight, and neonatal behavioral disorders.
Although further research is required to confirm the findings, the researches recommend that extreme caution be used when prescribing SSRIs to both pregnant women and women within a reproductive age since there is some evidence of resulting pregnancy complications. Furthermore, there is no proven benefit that SSRIs are beneficial for pregnancy, so the risks of consumption outweigh any potential benefits.
According to the Center for Disease control, 1 out of 10 adults in the United States report depression.
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According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, approximately fifty percent of women over 40 have complications associated with fertility. However, it is becoming increasingly popular for women these days to get pregnant later in life – whether for work, relationship, or other personal reasons.
The chances of successful pregnancy decline naturally with age. After 40, the chances of successful pregnancy are approximately five percent, and after 45 many experts agree that it’s near impossible without a trip to an egg donor bank. The following are some reasons why pregnancy over 40 can be tough.
A woman’s egg supply decreases naturally as she ages. At puberty, a women generally has around 300,000 to 400,000 eggs. Each each, approximately 15,000 are lost. Low ovarian reserve is a common cause of female infertility, and there is a steep decline that occurs in egg supply when women are in their 40s. According to a study published in Fertility and Sterility, women who were 40 had a 25 percent chance of un-assisted pregnancy. The chances drop to 10 percent when women turn 43, and fall to approximately 2 percent by the age of 44. In addition to lower supply, the remaining eggs have a higher chance of chromosomal complications that could increase the risk for miscarriage and birth defects. In that same study, the miscarriage rate was 24 percent for women who were 40, 38 percent for women aged 43, and 54 percent for women who were 44.
Women in their 40s are more likely to develop health complications during pregnancy that can affect the outcome. High blood pressure and diabetes during pregnancy, as well as placental problems and birth complications, are common complications. In addition, older women have higher risks of delivering a low birth weight or premature baby, and stillbirth rates are higher. The chances of genetic complications in the baby increase as well. For example, the odds of birthing a baby with Down syndrome is one in 100 at age 40, and just five years later at 45 it’s one in 30.
Age of the partner
Although not all, many women over 40 have partners of similar age. For men, sperm quality worsens with age. Also, there is a higher rate of genetic defects for older men than there is for younger men. Research has found possible links between the age of a father and genetic complications including schizophrenia and Down syndrome.
Getting pregnant after 40 is not impossible, but chances of successful pregnancy vastly decrease as women ages. These and other reasons are why adopting embryos is so popular for older women, although pregnancy using their own eggs is still a possibility .
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