News and updates about pregnancy, health and medicine.

Florida Governor Ramps Up Mosquito Fight To Stay Ahead Of Zika

Feb 8, 2016

Florida is one of several U.S. states now reporting a few isolated cases of people infected with the Zika virus. In response, Florida's Gov. Rick Scott has declared a public health emergency in five counties in hopes of getting ahead of the virus's spread.

So far, just 12 cases of the mosquito-borne illness have been reported to health authorities in Florida, all of them among travelers who contracted the disease outside the U.S. But Scott figures it's only a matter of time before the virus starts showing up among mosquitoes in some regions of the state, too.

young woman and man drinking
Paul Holloway via Flickr

The CDC's announcement that women of childbearing age who are not using contraception should completely avoid alcohol raised eyebrows and tempers in the  media and online Thursday. 

Atlantic health reporters Olga Khazan and Julie Beck break down the CDC's advice, look at the research behind it, and offer the CDC some advice of their own. 

About half, (yes, half!) of pregnancies are unplanned. With that in mind, the CDC is advising women of childbearing age to completely abstain from drinking, unless they're using birth control. As USA Today reports, the government wants to stop women from risking fetal alcohol syndrome by drinking when they don't yet know they're pregnant.

Wanda Filer, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians told USA Today she hopes the report will make women stop and think, but it's a bit of a tough sell:

Combined Effects Of Maternal Obesity, Diabetes ‘Substantially’ Raise Autism Risks

Feb 1, 2016

While the incidence of autism spectrum disorder has increased in recent years, what’s behind it remains relatively mysterious and even controversial. But a major study could shed new light on some of the maternal health factors that may increase children’s risk of developing the condition.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder marked by difficulties with communication and social interaction as well as repetitive or obsessive behaviors. The range and severity of symptoms can vary widely.

Depression Screening Recommended For All Pregnant Women, New Mothers

Jan 28, 2016

Pregnant women and new mothers need more attention when it comes to screening for depression, according to recommendations issued Tuesday by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

That came as part of the panel's recommendation that all adults should be screened, in a situation where they can be provided treatment or get a referral if they are clinically depressed.

Harold Maduro / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

If you ate cereal this morning, chances are you got the recommended daily allowance of folic acid.

Most U.S. cereals have 100 percent of the daily value, which protects against serious spinal cord abnormalties that can develop before a woman even knows she's pregnant.

The FDA requires folic acid be added to enriched bread, flour, cornmeal, rice, pasta and other grain products, but not the corn masa tortillas are commonly made with.

Fact Check: How Does Planned Parenthood Spend That Government Money?

Aug 13, 2015

Jeb Bush is again in damage-control mode, this time over an offhand remark he made about Planned Parenthood. He said at an event hosted by the Southern Baptist Convention that Planned Parenthood should be defunded, and he highlighted that he did so as governor of Florida.

He then added as an aside, "I'm not sure we need half-a-billion dollars for women's health issues" — a statement Hillary Clinton and other Democrats pounced on, portraying it as a gaffe that reveals that Bush doesn't care about women's health. He has since said he "misspoke."

While studying to become a paralegal and working as a temp, Symphonie Dawson kept feeling sick. She found out it was because she was pregnant.

Living with her mom and two siblings near Dallas, Dawson, then 23, worried about what to expect during pregnancy and what giving birth would be like. She also didn't know how she would juggle having a baby with being in school.

"Remember the last time you had sex? Were you drinking? Alcohol use during pregnancy can cause lifelong problems for the child."

That's part of the warning on a poster in the women's bathroom at the Peanut Farm bar in Anchorage. It depicts the silhouette of a pregnant woman guzzling straight from a bottle. And it's affixed to a pregnancy test dispenser hanging on the wall.

An Odd Ball Leads To Shorter Labor, Fewer C-Sections

Mar 13, 2015
peanut-shaped exercise ball
Isokenetics, Inc.

Christina Tussey is a clinical nurse specialist at Banner - University Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona.  She and her colleagues know a woman in labor needs to change positions – sitting, standing and walking-- to help progress delivery. She compares the process to removing a ring from a finger. “You don’t just take it off; you twist it around your knuckle to help it slide off” she says.