Pregnancy

Positive pregnancy test? What’s next?

I might be pregnant, what’s next?

Experiencing early signs of pregnancy or testing positive on a home pregnancy test means it is time to consult with a physician.

Early signs that you might be pregnant include spotting, vaginal discharge, cramps, breast changes (sensitivity, soreness, and color changes), and missing your period. Of course, noting the last time you had sex without using contraception properly can also help indicate whether or not you might be pregnant. When these signs occur, most women opt to use a home pregnancy test before starting care with an OB/GYN MD or certified nurse midwife. Pregnancy tests are easy to use and readily available for purchase over the counter at drug stores.

What to do following a Positive Pregnancy Test

If you think you are experiencing any early signs of pregnancy or have tested positive on a home pregnancy test, it is important to consult a physician in order to establish care with a medical professional as early as possible. Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group offers pregnancy test visits by appointment. At your appointment, our providers will confirm the positive pregnancy with a urine pregnancy test in our office. Once we have confirmed the positive result, we will establish your care regimen and will help you plan your health maintenance throughout your pregnancy.

If your in-office pregnancy result comes back negative but you are still experiencing symptoms, we will help you schedule another appointment if needed in order to provide treatment and advice moving forward.

What to expect at your first visit:

  • A thorough physical exam and review of your medical history.
  • An ultrasound to confirm your due date (when to expect you will go into labor).
  • Blood work and standard cultures for Chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • A pap smear, unless you’ve had one recently.
  • Arrangement to consult with a specialist (if certain risk factors are present).
  • A request to see your old medical records (if needed).

Our experienced team of physicians, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners deliver comprehensive, compassionate preconception, pregnancy, and post-partum care to our patients and their families in a comfortable environment close to home.

Malaria drug may prevent Zika virus from infecting fetus

Studying pregnant mice, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that Zika virus manipulates the body's normal barrier to infection, and that hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug related to chloroquine, interferes with this process, protecting the fetus from viral infection.Zika virus infects the fetus by manipulating the body’s normal barrier to infection, according to a new study of pregnant mice. Moreover, the study showed that a drug that interferes with this process protects the fetus from viral infection. That drug is already approved for use in pregnant women for other medical purposes.
Devastating consequences of Zika virus infection are suffered in the womb, where the virus can cause brain damage and sometimes death.

Studying pregnant mice, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have learned that the Zika virus infects the fetus by manipulating the body’s normal barrier to infection. Moreover, they showed that a malaria drug that interferes with this process protects the fetus from viral infection. That drug already is approved for use in pregnant women for other medical purposes.

“We found that the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine effectively blocks viral transmission to the fetus,” said senior author Indira Mysorekar, PhD, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and of pathology and immunology. “This drug already is used in pregnant women to treat malaria, and we suggest that it warrants evaluation in primates and women to diminish the risks of Zika infection and disease in developing fetuses.”

The findings are published July 10 in The Journal of Experimental Medicine.

In late 2015, doctors in Brazil began to notice a surge in the number of babies born with microcephaly, or unusually small heads, an indicator of neurological damage. The epidemic soon was linked to the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which was spreading through the tropical parts of the Americas. Doctors advised pregnant women to avoid mosquito bites by wearing bug spray and long-sleeved clothing, but had little other advice to offer. There were, and still are, no drugs or vaccines approved for use in pregnant women to protect them or their fetuses from Zika infection.

The developing fetus is uniquely vulnerable to damage from infection, so the body mobilizes robust defenses to keep microbes from ever reaching the fetus in the first place. The placenta is the last line of defense. Mysorekar and others have shown that a process known as autophagy — the cellular waste-disposal pathway by which cells grind up debris, unwanted organelles and invading microbes — is an important part of the formidable placental barrier to infection. However, previous studies by Mysorekar and others have shown that Zika not only can invade the placenta, but multiply there.

To learn more about how Zika breaches the placenta, Mysorekar, postdoctoral fellow Bin Cao, PhD, and colleagues infected human placental cells with Zika virus. They found that exposure to the virus activated genes related to autophagy.

However, when the researchers treated the cells with drugs to ramp up the autophagy pathway, the number of cells infected with Zika virus increased. Drugs that suppressed autophagy resulted in fewer placental cells infected with Zika virus. In other words, the virus multiplied and spread more effectively when the researchers dialed up the barrier response, and performed more sluggishly when they dialed it down. The virus seemed to be doing a form of microbial martial arts, turning the body’s weapons to its own advantage.

Mysorekar and colleagues verified these findings using mice whose autophagy response was hobbled by low levels of a key autophagy protein. They infected two groups of pregnant mice with Zika: one in which the autophagy process was disrupted and the other in which it worked normally.

Five days after infection, the mothers with a weak autophagy response had about the same amount of virus in their bloodstreams as the mice with a normal response. However, in mice with a weak autophagy response, the researchers found 10 times fewer viruses in the placenta and the heads of the fetuses and less damage to the placentas.

“It appears that Zika virus takes advantage of the autophagy process in the placenta to promote its survival and infection of placental cells,” Cao said.

Since hydroxychloroquine suppresses the autophagy response, the researchers questioned whether it also could protect fetuses against Zika.

To find out, they repeated the mouse experiment using only mice with a normal autophagy response. Female mice at day nine of pregnancy were infected with Zika and then dosed with hydroxychloroquine or placebo every day for the next five days.

Following treatment, the researchers found significantly less virus in the fetuses and placentas from the mice that had received hydroxychloroquine. In addition, these placentas showed less damage and the fetuses regained normal growth. Both the untreated and the treated mothers had about the same amount of Zika virus in their bloodstreams, indicating that hydroxychloroquine was able to protect fetuses even when the virus was circulating through the mother.

Although hydroxychloroquine has been used safely in pregnant women for short periods of time, the researchers caution that further studies are needed before it can be used in pregnant women to fend off Zika. Pregnant women living in areas where Zika circulates may need to take the drug for the duration of their pregnancies, and the safety of hydroxychloroquine for long-term use is unknown.

“We would urge caution but nevertheless feel our study provides new avenues for feasible therapeutic interventions,” said Mysorekar, who is also co-director of the university’s Center for Reproductive Health Sciences. “Our study suggests that an autophagy-based therapeutic intervention against Zika may be warranted in pregnant women infected with Zika virus.”

The Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group strives to better the lives of all women with a holistic approach to women’s health. Call for an appointment today: (707) 579-1102. Visit our website: www.womensobgynmed.com


Story Source:

Materials provided by Washington University School of Medicine. Original written by Tamara Bhandari. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Indira Mysorekar et al. Inhibition of autophagy limits vertical transmission of Zika virus in pregnant mice. The Journal of Experimental Medicine, July 2017 DOI: 10.1084/jem.20170957

Read this article on ScienceDaily: Washington University School of Medicine. “Malaria drug protects fetuses from Zika infection: Treatment prevents virus from crossing placenta to infect fetus, mouse study shows.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 July 2017. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170710091702.htm.

Good outcomes for older women who give birth at home or in a birth center

Women with some characteristics commonly thought to increase pregnancy risks — being over age 35; being overweight; and in some cases, having a vaginal birth after a cesarean section — tend to have good outcomes when they give birth at home or in a birth center, a new assessment has found.

However, women with some other risk factors, a breech baby and some other cases of vaginal birth after cesarean or VBAC, may face an increased risk of poor outcomes for themselves or their babies, researchers at Oregon State University have found. The study is believed to be the first to examine these risks and the outcomes. About 2 percent of all births in the U.S., and about 4 percent in Oregon, occur at home or in a birth center, rather than in a hospital setting. Generally, women who are considered “low-risk” are good candidates for home or birth center births, also referred to as community births, if they are attended by a midwife or other trained provider and timely access to a hospital is available.

However, there is little agreement among health providers on what should be considered low- or high-risk, and some women choose to have a community birth despite potential risks, said Marit Bovbjerg, a clinical assistant professor of epidemiology at Oregon State University and lead author of the study.

Medical ethics and the tenets of maternal autonomy dictate that women be allowed to decide where and how they wish to give birth. That’s why it’s important to have as much information as possible about potential risks, said Bovbjerg, who works in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU.

There are also risks associated with hospital births, such as increased interventions, which means there aren’t always clear answers when it comes to determining the best and safest place to give birth, said Melissa Cheyney, a medical anthropologist and associate professor in OSU’s College of Liberal Arts.

The goal of the research was to better understand the outcomes for women and babies with some of the most common pregnancy risk factors, to see how those risk factors affected outcomes.

“There’s a middle or gray area, in terms of risk, where the risk associated with community birth is only slightly elevated relative to a completely low-risk sample,” Cheyney said. “We’re trying to get more information about births that fall in that middle zone so that clinicians and pregnant women can have the best evidence available when deciding where to give birth.”

The findings were published recently in the journal Birth. Other co-authors are Jennifer Brown of University of California, Davis; and Kim J. Cox and Lawrence Leeman of the University of New Mexico. Using birth outcome data collected by the Midwives Alliance of North America Statistics Project, commonly referred to as MANA Stats, the researchers analyzed more than 47,000 midwife-attended community births.

They looked specifically at the independent contributions to birth outcomes of 10 common risk factors: primiparity, or giving birth for the first time; advanced maternal age, or mother over age 35; obesity; gestational diabetes; preeclampsia; post-term pregnancy, or more than 42 weeks gestation; twins; breech presentation; history of both cesarean and vaginal birth; and history of only cesarean birth.

The last two groups are both considered VBACs and hospital policies and state regulations for midwifery practice usually make no distinction between the two types. However, the researchers found a clear distinction between the two groups in terms of community birth outcomes.

Women who delivered vaginally after a previous cesarean and also had a history of previous vaginal birth had better outcomes even than those women giving birth for the first time. On the other hand, women who had never given birth to a child vaginally had an increased risk of poor outcomes in community birth settings.

“That finding suggests that current policies that universally discourage VBAC should be revisited, as the evidence does not support them,” Bovbjerg said. “Women who in the past have successfully delivered vaginally seem to do just fine the next time around, even if they have also had a previous C-section. That’s really important because some medical groups totally oppose VBACs, even in hospital settings, and many hospitals don’t offer the option of a VBAC at all.”

Researchers also found that women whose babies were in breech position had the highest rate of adverse outcome when giving birth at home or in a birth center.

There was only a slight increase in poor outcomes for women over age 35, or women who were overweight or obese, compared to those without those risk factors. In some categories, there were not enough births in the data set to properly evaluate a risk’s impact, such as with gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.

“As is appropriate, women who face high complication risks such as preeclampsia tend to plan for and choose a hospital birth, rather than a community birth,” Bovbjerg said. “But even for these women, it’s important to remember that they can choose a community birth if their faith, culture or other considerations dictate that is the best choice for them.”

The researchers emphasized that the new information about risks and outcomes can serve as an important tool in decision-making for families making very personal choices about where to give birth. “These findings help us to put information and evidence, rather than fear, at the center of discussions around informed, shared decision-making between expectant families and their health care providers,” Cheyney said.

Researchers next plan to examine how the healthcare culture and standards of care in different locations within the U.S. affect outcomes of home and birthing center deliveries.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Oregon State University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marit L. Bovbjerg, Melissa Cheyney, Jennifer Brown, Kim J. Cox, Lawrence Leeman. Perspectives on risk: Assessment of risk profiles and outcomes among women planning community birth in the United States. Birth, 2017; DOI: 10.1111/birt.12288

Read this article on Science Daily: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170413154439.htm.

Mother’s folic acid intake during pregnancy may decrease hypertension risk in children

Avocado – rich in folic acid.

A new article published in the American Journal of Hypertension finds that babies born to mothers with cardiometabolic risk factors were less likely to develop high blood pressure if their mothers had higher levels of folate during pregnancy.

Since the late 1980s, the prevalence of childhood elevated blood pressure has increased in the United States, in particular among African Americans. From a life course perspective, childhood high blood pressure can predict higher blood pressure values later in life, and people with higher blood pressure are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular, metabolic and kidney disease and stroke. Research has also shown that maternal cardiometabolic risk factors during pregnancy — including hypertensive disorders, diabetes, and obesity — are associated with higher offspring blood pressure.

Because controlling hypertension and cardiovascular disease in adults is difficult and expensive, identifying early-life factors for the prevention of high blood pressure may be an important and cost effective public health strategy.

There is growing evidence that maternal nutrition during pregnancy, through its impact on the fetal intrauterine environment, may influence offspring cardiometabolic health. Folate, which is involved in nucleic acid synthesis, gene expression, and cellular growth, is particularly important.

In young adults, higher folic acid intake has been associated with a lower incidence of hypertension later in life. Citrus juices and dark green vegetables are good sources of folic acid. However, the role of maternal folate levels, alone or in combination with maternal cardiometabolic risk factors on child blood pressure has not been examined in a prospective birth cohort.

In the current study, researchers analyzed the data from a prospective U.S. urban birth cohort, enriched by low-income racial and ethnic minorities at high risk for elevated BP, to examine whether maternal folic acid levels and cardiometabolic risk factors individually and jointly affect offspring blood pressure.

Researchers included 1290 mother-child pairs, 67.8% of which were Black and 19.2% of which were Hispanic, recruited at birth and followed prospectively up to age 9 years from 2003 to 2014 at the Boston Medical Center. Of the mothers, 38.2% had one or more cardiometabolic risk factors; 14.6% had hypertensive disorders, 11.1% had diabetes, and 25.1% had pre-pregnancy obesity. A total of 28.7% of children had elevated systolic blood pressure at age 3-9 years. Children with higher systolic blood pressure were more likely to have mothers with pre-pregnancy obesity, hypertensive disorders, and diabetes. Children with elevated systolic blood pressure were also more likely to have lower birth weight, lower gestational age, and higher BMI.

The study findings suggest that higher levels of maternal folic acid may help counteract the adverse associations of maternal cardiometabolic risk factors with child systolic blood pressure, although maternal folic acid levels alone were not associated with child systolic blood pressure. Among children born to mothers with any of the cardiometabolic risk factors, those whose mothers had folic acid levels above the median had 40% lower odds of elevated childhood systolic blood pressure. These associations did not differ appreciably in analyses restricted to African Americans, and they were not explained by gestational age, size at birth, child postnatal folate levels or breastfeeding.

“Our study adds further evidence on the early life origins of high blood pressure,” said Dr. Xiaobin Wang, the study’s senior corresponding author. “Our findings raise the possibility that early risk assessment and intervention before conception and during pregnancy may lead to new ways to prevent high blood pressure and its consequences across lifespan and generations.”


Story Source:

Materials provided by Oxford University Press USA. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hongjian Wang, Noel T. Mueller, Jianping Li, Ninglin Sun, Yong Huo, Fazheng Ren, Xiaobin Wang. Association of Maternal Plasma Folate and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Pregnancy with Elevated Blood Pressure of Offspring in Childhood. American Journal of Hypertension, 2017; DOI: 10.1093/ajh/hpx003

Cite This Page:

Oxford University Press USA. “High folic acid level in pregnancy may decrease high blood pressure in children.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 March 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170308081047.htm>.

Researchers find Vitamin B3 beneficial for pregnant women to treat preeclampsia, prevent strokes

Vitamin B3 nicotinamide may help treat pregnant women who suffer from preeclampsia by preventing strokes and in some cases, even stimulating the growth of their fetus, research indicates.

Scientists in Japan and the US have found that vitamin B3 nicotinamide may help treat pregnant women who suffer from preeclampsia by preventing strokes and in some cases, even stimulating the growth of their fetus.

Up to 8% of pregnant women suffer from preeclampsia, a deadly disease characterized by high blood pressure, blood vessel damage, high levels of protein in the urine and fluid retention that causes swelling in the legs and feet. In some cases, preeclampsia is also believed to restrict a fetus’ growth.

Blood pressure-lowering drugs do not improve blood vessel damage. In fact, they reduce blood supply to the babies, which could lead to fetal death.

Until now, the only treatment for preeclampsia-affected pregnant women has been delivery of the baby. Now, researchers at Tohoku University, in collaboration with US scientists, have found that nicotinamide — also referred to as Vitamin B3 — relieves preeclampsia in mouse models. Moreover, they have also discovered that nicotinamide can even improve fetal growth in mothers with preeclampsia.

“We had previously shown that endothelin, a strong vessel narrowing hormone, worsens preeclampsia. But inhibiting the hormone is harmful to the babies,” says Associate Professor Nobuyuki Takahashi of Tohoku University’s Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, who co-led the study.

“In contrast, nicotinamide is generally safe to mothers and babies, corrects the blood vessel narrowing effect of endothelin, and reduces stress to the babies. Accordingly, we evaluated the effects of nicotinamide using two mouse models of preeclampsia caused by different mechanisms.”

The researchers concluded that nicotinamide is the first safe drug that lowers blood pressure, reduces urine protein and alleviates blood vessel damage in preeclampsia-affected mice. The researchers went on to show that in many cases, nicotinamide also prevents miscarriage, prolongs pregnancy period and improves the growth of the babies in mice with preeclampsia.

“Nicotinamide merits evaluation for preventing and treating preeclampsia in humans,” says Oliver Smithies, a Weatherspoon Eminent Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Smithies is a Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, and co-leader of this study.

The research team hopes that if the treatment works in humans, nicotinamide could help treat preeclampsia and prevent fetal growth restriction associated with the disease in pregnant women.

Journal Reference:

  1. Feng Li, Tomofumi Fushima, Gen Oyanagi, H. W. Davin Townley-Tilson, Emiko Sato, Hironobu Nakada, Yuji Oe, John R. Hagaman, Jennifer Wilder, Manyu Li, Akiyo Sekimoto, Daisuke Saigusa, Hiroshi Sato, Sadayoshi Ito, J. Charles Jennette, Nobuyo Maeda, S. Ananth Karumanchi, Oliver Smithies, Nobuyuki Takahashi. Nicotinamide benefits both mothers and pups in two contrasting mouse models of preeclampsia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2016; 113 (47): 13450 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1614947113

Read this article on Science daily:  “Potential treatment for pregnant women who suffer from preeclampsia found in a vitamin.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 December 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161219100556.htm>.

The Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group of Santa Rosa focuses on Gestational Diabetes for National Diabetes Month

Dr. Lela Emad shares insight into gestational diabetes and what pregnant women need to consider when it comes to diabetes to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

November is National Diabetes Month and is observed every year to bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans. As part of this year’s theme Managing Diabetes – It’s Not Easy, But It’s Worth It the Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group is focusing on Gestational diabetes, a form of glucose intolerance that is diagnosed during pregnancy.

Nationally, about seven to 14 percent of all pregnant women develop gestational diabetes. And, according to the California Diabetes and Pregnancy Program, ethnic groups such as African American, Asian American, East Indian, Latina/Hispanic and Native American are more vulnerable to developing gestational diabetes, as are women who are overweight or have type 2 diabetes in the family.

“Diabetic women have more risk for complications both during and after pregnancy,” explains Dr. Emad. “It is important for pregnant women who know they have diabetes to manage symptoms, and for all women either pregnant or considering pregnancy to get checked for diabetes to avoid any potential complications.”

Gestational diabetes also increases the risk that the mother and the baby may develop type 2 diabetes later in life. Additional complications to pregnant women due to diabetes can include:

  • high blood pressure
  • eye disease
  • kidney disease
  • too much weight gain
  • severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)

Babies can also be at risk for complications including; high birth weight, birth defects, delivery complications and jaundice. Diabetes can lead to higher rates of miscarriage and stillbirth, so it is very important to manage symptoms early in the pregnancy under the care of a healthcare provider. Ongoing treatment is necessary to bring maternal blood glucose to normal levels and to help avoid any potential complications for the baby.

Managing Diabetes

Following a well-balanced, healthy diet is an important component to a healthy pregnancy and for women with diabetes, diet plays an especially important role. Not eating properly can cause glucose levels to fluctuate from too high or too low, which can result in some fairly serious symptoms. Glucose levels can be controlled with a combination of eating right, exercising and taking medications as directed by a health care provider. Check-ups may also need to be scheduled more frequently.

Hypoglycemia

Pregnant women with a history of diabetes, or who have developed gestational diabetes, are more likely to experience low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia) and it usually occurs when skipping a meal, or when altering eating routines. Hypoglycemia can also manifest following vigorous exercise. Typical symptoms include; dizziness, sudden hunger, sweating, feeling shaky or general weakness.

 Exercise

Adopting and maintaining an exercise routine will help to support normal glucose levels. Exercise also helps to control weight; improves energy levels, aids sleep, and reduces symptoms including; backaches, constipation and bloating.

Medications During Pregnancy

Insulin dosages for women with pre-existing diabetes will usually increase during pregnant. Insulin is considered safe to use during pregnancy and does not cause birth defects.

Diabetes, Labor and Delivery

If problems with the pregnancy arise, labor may be induced prior to the due date. During labor, glucose levels are closely monitored. Occasionally insulin through an intravenous (IV) line may be required during labor.

Diabetes and Breastfeeding

Whether or not diabetes is a factor, experts highly recommend breastfeeding as it provides the baby the best means of nutrition and it is good for the mother as well. Breastfeeding can help reduce extra weight gained during pregnancy. It is also hailed by researchers for helping to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.

“Working with a specialist to manage blood sugar before and during pregnancy can be a life saver,” says Dr. Emad. “It an important measure to take to decrease the risk of complications, and to provide the best outcomes for both mother and baby.”

About the Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group

When thinking about having a baby, The Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group of providers encourages women to begin making healthy lifestyle changes one full year prior to trying to get pregnant. This process improves the chances of becoming pregnant soon after beginning to try, and prepares a woman’s body to provide the best environment for her infant.

For women who may be considering having a baby it’s important to schedule an appointment with a physician or certified nurse midwife to receive expert guidance from the start. The Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group strives to better the lives of all women with a holistic approach to women’s health. Visit our website to learn more or call 707-579-1102 to schedule an appointment.

A Mother’s High-fat and Sugar Diet Now Thought to Affect Generations

Dr. Lela Emad of the Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group shares some insight into a recent study pertaining to maternal nutrition and how a mother’s poor diet may predispose children to obesity

A new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis points to the likelihood that a mother’s high-fat, high-sugar diet can impact not just immediate offspring with genetic abnormalities and chronic health conditions, but as many as three generations into the future.

According to results of this research, regardless of whether offspring of an overweight mother opt to consume healthy diets themselves – their lifetime heath will be affected with potentials for obesity-related conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. The unique factor in this study revealed that even before becoming pregnant, a woman’s lifelong obesity can cause health issues for future generations. Researchers say that this study should serve as a wake-up call for U.S. women of child-bearing age as more than two-thirds are currently overweight or obese.

“Findings such as these help to point out that eating a healthy diet every day as well as during pregnancy is one of the best things women can do for themselves and their baby,” says Dr. Lela Emad of Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group in Santa Rosa, California.

When Eating for Two is Too Much

The amount of weight a woman should gain during pregnancy depends on what her body mass index (BMI) was before becoming pregnant. As a general rule, pregnant women need to consume more protein and calcium, take appropriate vitamins and mineral supplements (folic acid and iron in particular), and consume more calories.

But eating better doesn’t necessarily mean over-eating. Women who start off at a healthy weight need to consume only about 340 extra calories a day during the second trimester and about 450 extra calories per day during the third trimester. Women who are underweight or overweight at the beginning of pregnancy require some adjustment to the average, depending on individual weight gain goals. Consulting with an OB/GYN healthcare provider is the best way to determine projections for healthy weight gain during pregnancy.

“Obviously, the food a mother consumes while pregnant is the baby’s main source of nutrition. And by making healthy lifelong food choices combined with an eye toward eating nutritiously during pregnancy a woman can have a positive impact on her baby’s health as well as potentially; her grandchildren’s children,” points out Dr. Emad.

Women who are overweight or obese before pregnancy are also expected to gain a certain amount of weight during pregnancy, but according to recent studies – women who are obese can safely gain less weight than the guidelines recommend. A healthcare provider will determine what’s best for each case and will also help manage weight throughout pregnancy.

Overweight Mothers Are at Risk

In addition to affecting the health of a baby, women who are overweight before pregnancy are also at an increased risk of developing various pregnancy complications, including gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pregnant women who are obese are more susceptible to complications including preeclampsia, GDM, stillbirth and cesarean delivery. CDC research shows that obesity during pregnancy is associated with an increase in the need for healthcare services, and can result in longer hospital stays for delivery. But the good news is; overweight women who lose weight before pregnancy are much more likely to have healthier pregnancies.

According to Dr. Emad, when women are thinking about having a baby it is best to begin making healthy lifestyle changes at least one full year prior to trying to get pregnant. This process improves the chances of becoming pregnant sooner and prepares a woman’s body to provide the best environment for her infant – nutrition, exercise and a healthy weight are all key factors in planning ahead. “Eating nutritiously is a good choice for any woman to make, but particularly important for a woman who is considering having a baby – one that can potentially impact the health of her family for generations to come,” says Dr. Emad.

About Women’s OBGYN Medical Group

The provider team of expert OB/GYN physicians, certified nurse midwives, family nurse practitioners, and medical assistants provides unmatched care to patients in our region. As women proudly serving women, we understand the needs and expectations of our patients. For more information, call (707) 579-1102 or visit our website.

Why Some Women Are More Likely To Have Twins Than Others

Twins tend to run in families, and now researchers have identified two genes that make women more likely to conceive nonidentical twins. Both genes are related to the production and processing of the hormone that helps oocytes (egg cells) mature.

“There’s an enormous interest in twins, and in why some women have twins while others don’t,” study co-author Dorret Boomsma, a biological psychologist at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, said in a statement. “The question is very simple, and our research shows for the first time that we can identify genetic variants that contribute to this likelihood.”

Odds of twins

There are two ways that a woman may conceive twins. In one case, her ovaries release two eggs at the time of ovulation, and both are fertilized and become embryos; this results in fraternal, or nonidentical, twins. In contrast, identical twins are conceived when one embryo splits into two early in its development. Read the full story ….

 

Considering Pregnancy? Men’s pre-conception caffeine consumption may play a role in miscarriages …

For women, drinking more than two caffeinated drinks daily before getting pregnant was associated with a 74 percent higher risk of a miscarriage, according to the study published today (March 24) in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

But women’s caffeine consumption wasn’t the only factor: Among couples in which the male partner drank more than two caffeinated beverages daily before conception, there was a 73 percent higher risk of a miscarriage, according to the study.

“Our findings indicate that the male partner matters, too,” Germaine Buck Louis, the director of Intramural Population Health Research at the National Institute of Child Health and Development and lead author on the study, said in a statement. “Male pre-conception consumption of caffeinated beverages was just as strongly associated with pregnancy loss as females’,” Buck Louis said. Read the full story …

The Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group of Santa Rosa shares the latest facts about Zika Virus

The OB/GYN Medical Group gives an overview of the Zika virus, what women should consider before becoming pregnant and what pregnant women who may have been exposed to the virus should do.

get the facts about zika virus, pregnancy in the U.S.Under normal circumstances, an expectant mother intent on delivering a healthy baby might be warned by her OB/GYN to adopt a heathier diet, stay fit and avoid alcohol. Today every woman either thinking of conceiving or currently pregnant is no doubt tuned into a brand new danger associated with childbearing, namely – the Zika virus.
Nothing induces fear in the heart of a pregnant woman quite like a threat to their unborn baby. By all reports Zika virus is at once invisible, nearly indictable and insidious. But, is there really anything about this virus to concern women in the U.S.? Is it all hype or are there precautions that can be taken? The Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group offers some answers.

What is Zika Virus?

According to the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) Zika virus disease is caused by a virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. Prevailing symptoms of infection include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis. In healthy people the symptoms are generally mild and last for about a week. People infected with Zika normally recover quickly and rarely get so sick that they require medical care or hospitalization. Symptoms are so mild in most people, in fact that they might not realize they have been infected or suspect that their symptoms stem from a mosquito bite. Following infection, immunity to the disease results.

Zika Virus and Pregnancy

The real concern with Zika happens when a pregnant woman is infected. So far, the primary way for a pregnant women become infected has been through an encounter with an infected mosquito. It is now also known that Zika virus can be spread by a man to his sex partners and when a pregnant woman has become infected she can then pass Zika virus to her child either during pregnancy or at delivery. Health officials have recently begun to suspect that infection in pregnancy can also lead to an increased rate of miscarriages.

The results can be devastating for both the mother and the child, as there is increasing evidence that Zika infections leads to microcephaly, a birth defect that causes the baby’s head to be severely underdeveloped. Microcephaly also causes the baby’s brain to be smaller and therefore the child is unlikely to developed normally.

So far, experts contend that no local mosquito-borne Zika virus disease cases have occurred in U.S. although there have been a number of travel-related cases. With 80 percent of all cases going undiagnosed (due to the mild nature of the infection) the number of travelers returning to the U.S. who have encountered the virus will only continue to rise. The CDC says that the most disturbing outbreaks may have recently begun in Brazil, but now they are occurring in countries all over the world, particularly those with wetter, warmer climates. At this point, there’s no telling where the virus will spread to, but the list of countries for pregnant women to avoid currently include; Barbados, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, Guyana, Cape Verde, and Samoa.
What is the risk of becoming infected in the U.S.?

The National Science Foundation has just released a map of the States more likely to encounter Zika virus. Although still a projection of what may become a possibility, the research team ran two computer models to determine the potential risk in the mainland United States. According to that map the lower southern and eastern portion of the U.S. where temperatures are mildest are the most at risk. And the risk will continue to rise as temperature go up and the hot summer months get closer.

Protecting Against Zika

The CDC advises pregnant women to delay or avoid travel to any known area where Zika virus is spreading. And if avoiding travel is not an option, they recommend discussing with a healthcare provider prior to departure, and to strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites while traveling. At this point, pregnant women with male partners living in or traveled to a known Zika virus area should take precautions by using condoms or avoid having sex during pregnancy.

Women are also advised to talk to a healthcare provider if they have recently returned from an area known to have a problem with Zika, regardless of whether or not they have been sick. If Zika virus infection is suspected, the patient can be tested by a healthcare provider for the virus. If tests confirm infection, ultrasounds can be employed to monitor the fetus’ development, and an OB/GYN practitioner should closely follow the case. CDC also recommends that an infectious disease specialist with expertise in pregnancy management become involved.

About Women’s OBGYN Medical Group

The provider team of expert OB/GYN physicians, certified nurse midwives, family nurse practitioners, and medical assistants provides unmatched care to patients in our region. As women proudly serving women, we understand the needs and expectations of our patients. For more information, visit our website or call (707) 579-1102. We urge you to contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians if you have any concerns about your pregnancy and/or the Zika virus.
More info: Miscarriages … of American women with Zika Virus http://www.statnews.com/2016/02/10/zika-american-women-miscarriages/