pregnancy

You, the one trying to get pregnant, put down the Big Mac and pick up fruit it could save you up to a month of effort – a least according to a study in Human Reproduction. It seems that the preconception maternal diet has been understudied despite an association between “healthier foods or dietary patterns” and fertility.

5598 women participated in a prospective study in Commonwealth countries and their dietary habits, one month before conception, were recollected at the 14th to 16th week of their pregnancies along with the usual demographic information. Time to pregnancy (TTP) in months, was based on the question “duration of sex without contraception before conception with the father of baby.” 94% conceived without medical assistance in a median time of 2...

As exciting as the latest scientific research can seem, it can be hard to discern its true relevance. This context and significance often gets lost in translation when in transit from lab bench to journal article to the public domain. From there, the information takes on a life of its own like a bad game of telephone. Today, just calling something a “study” and a large one at that is enough to elicit knee-jerk tacit acceptance of assumed credibility and validity. Such will likely be the case with a newly published BMJ piece on maternal prenatal caffeine intake and being overweight in childhood.

But, putting research into context requires a lot more unpacking – the boring reality is sometimes it is worthwhile,...

Another underwater birth, another near-fatal consequence. This time the imperiled, septic newborn endured unnecessary multi-organ failure that necessitated a two-month hospitalization in the intensive care unit (ICU).

The case of this infant was published yesterday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ). To appreciate the life-threatening clinical picture and need for aggressive intervention, I have highlighted some essential facts of the patient’s course (obtained and abridged from this CMAJ link):

  • Infant born at home in hot tub that was pre-filled for 3 days prior to delivery.
  • On day of life #8 when first evaluated for...

Bespoke condoms hit the market. With all that can be custom-made these days, why not them? Hoping to tackle the rampant fit and feel complaints of many men, Global Protection Corp. is marketing myONE Perfect Fit as an alternative to standard size condoms.  

But, will they actually reverse the declining trend in consistent use or disrupt the space as others have tried and failed to do? Boasting “10 LENGTHS. 9 WIDTHS. 60 SIZES,” myONE doubles down on men’s needs writing on their website: “Standard condoms can sometimes feel too tight, too loose, too short, too long. Sound familiar? That's because most condoms were the same size. Until now.”

Discussions around...

The other night, I had dinner with one of my best childhood friends who became an OB/GYN. She has three amazing children and was pregnant with her fourth.

Trigger warning: She ordered a glass of wine. And drank it.

I warned her that there was a lunatic on Twitter with a master's degree in photojournalism who pretends to be a science journalist that would be publicly mommy-shaming her into submission. She shrugged. A little bit of alcohol isn't going to hurt.

Of course, she's right. But when it comes to alcohol, the United States is incredibly puritanical. Our society has promoted the view that even a single drop of alcohol is harmful to developing babies. However, the totality of evidence does...

Most moms will tell you that the first and last months of pregnancy are the hardest. The first eight to 12 weeks can certainly present some debilitating symptoms: morning sickness and nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, and fatigue so strong it sentences you to the couch for days.

Challenging, no doubt. But all very survivable. Until the ninth month — when you reach the end of your rope. 

By the last month of pregnancy, you've gained anywhere between 25-35 pounds (or more, let's be honest).  Your baby is literally the size of a watermelon. And not even a watermelon you can eat, which makes you mad because you want to eat everything in sight, hungry or not. 

Sleep deprivation

Perhaps the thing you need most in the weeks leading up to...

Sadly, a woman’s tragic story-- recently all over the news-- plays out in the real world more often than people may realize. The devastating tale of Carrie DeKlyen who just died after succumbing to brain cancer, which was discovered after becoming pregnant and declining certain treatments to protect her unborn baby, ends with more misfortune. The baby she continued to carry beyond her own lost consciousness, who was born prematurely as a result, has also died.

Due to crippling, intolerable headaches with vomiting, Mrs. DeKlyen got evaluated...

At my last two OB appointments (34 and 36 weeks along) I was told that I am measuring 1- to 2cm smaller for gestational age. 

"You're petite, so it's not surprising," reassured my doctor. "But let's do an ultrasound next week to look at baby's growth."

Next week? That feels like an eternity! As an expectant mother, waiting a week to confirm if everything is OK can certainly be anxiety-filled. So here's a bit of clarity on what it all means.

Gestational age — the age of the baby — is typically calculated from the first day of the mother's last menstrual period. Since the exact date of conception isn't always known, the most accurate gestational age and due date is calculated between the 8th and 18th weeks of pregnancy, using an ultrasound...

Mothers have always been put upon culturally when it comes to how kids turn out. The physical costs of gestation are literally borne by mothers while fathers are basically done at conception, so moms have all of that on their shoulders. (1) And then there are the psychological aspects.

Given the importance of women in creating the next generation, everyone felt they had a say in telling expectant moms what to do. We once advised pregnant mothers not only to abstain from participating in sports but even abstain from watching sports. The excitement would be too much for the baby, women were told. Doctors also told women not to put their arms over their heads or the umbilical cord might get wrapped around the baby's neck. In the 1800's women bought...

The King County Health Department, which serves mostly the city of Seattle and its suburbs, has recently earned a reputation for being driven by politics rather than by evidence-based medicine or common sense.

Last month, the county decided that crisis pregnancy centers that don't perform abortions aren't "real healthcare." According to its website, Care Net -- a crisis pregnancy center in the Puget Sound region -- performs pregnancy tests, STD screens, and ultrasounds and provides prenatal education. Because such crisis centers are often faith-based, what they don't do is perform or encourage abortions.

That's anathema to Seattle, a city whose residents and politicians have little use for religion or...