Pregnant women’s wine intake could cause pancreatic problems in infants


A study has warned against use of Resveratrol supplements, which is a plant compound found in the skin of red grapes and in peanuts and berries, among other plants by pregnant women.

The study revealed that a widely available dietary supplement that had been considered safe – and that some claim provides anti-ageing and other health benefits – caused significant developmental abnormalities in the pancreas of offspring of pregnant monkeys who were given the supplement.

The supplement form of the compound has been available in pharmacies and health food stores for years, with claims that it has a wide range of health benefits.

The compound is thought to be an anti-oxidant and an anti-inflammatory, and some animal studies do confirm some benefits. All previous studies had found it to be safe in humans.

Researchers at Oregon Health and Science University’s Oregon National Primate Research Center and the University of Colorado-Denver were focusing on some of those potential benefits when they began studying the compound in monkeys.

The research indicated that resveratrol did provide some real benefits in the pregnant monkeys, including improved blood flow through the placenta to the fetus. Placental abnormalities contribute to many of the pregnancy complications and health issues with babies of obese women who eat an unhealthy Western diet.

But the researchers also found an effect that surprised them – resveratrol had a significantly negative effect on the development of the pancreas in the monkey fetus. The pancreas is critical for the body’s regulation of blood glucose.

The study has been published in the FASEB Journal.
Source: zee news

Yoga can ease stress for pregnant women


Practicing yoga during pregnancy can help you reap health benefits like stress reduction and a decrease in a woman’s fear of childbirth, according to researchers.

A new report from Manchester University researchers finds that it can ease stress and reduce women`s fear of childbirth by a third. In addition to its many other health benefits for pregnant women, including reduced cortisol levels, less difficult birth plus more full term and healthy weight neonates, pregnancy yoga is a low cost intervention too.

Yoga teacher Natasha Harding has two children that she delivered naturally using her skills in the art. “Yoga is a wonderful exercise to try during pregnancy, when you naturally want to take it a bit easier. It’s ideal to ease many of the ailments that women suffer from when they’re pregnant such as backache, sciatica and general aches and pains,” she said.

“By maintaining a regular yoga practice during pregnancy the positions will become second nature with the aim being that the woman can have a more active labour with less intervention.

“My second baby was born in 51 minutes. It was because of the fact I did yoga every single day and felt so strong during the birth,” he added.

Harding`s five favourite yoga poses to try every day while you’re expecting:

* Butterfly (Badha Konasana): This position allows the baby to move down into the pelvis and uses all the muscles that a woman draws upon in labour. The yoga guru BKS Iyengar claims if a woman practises this pose every day it will take the pain out of child-birth.

* Wide Legged Seated (Upivista Konasana): Stretching your legs in this position will encourage your hips to be more flexible which is clearly vital during labour. It’s a great position to do every day if possible and leaning forward will gently stretch the back too and towards the end encourage the baby into a good birth pose.

* Staff (Dandasana): Staff pose is wonderful to sit in and circle your ankles and legs each day which will help with any puffiness you may be experiencing. When you combine breathing work too. you’re helping to release your shoulders as well as creating much needed space in your abdomen and chest. It’s a good one to try if you’re getting heart burn.

* Cat (Marjariasana) with arm and leg lifts: Being on your hands and knees is wonderful for any pregnant women as it relieves symptoms of backache and encourages the baby into a good birth pose – our mums would have been told to wash the floors. By lifting the arm and leg you stabilise the pelvis which is vital during pregnancy.

* Down Dog – adapted for pregnancy (Adho Mukha Svanasana): A lot of women find their back aches a lot during pregnancy and Down Dog is a great stretch to try. When you’re pregnant though you shouldn’t do the full pose, so using the wall instead will give a similar stretch but it’s much safer.

Source: zee news

Baby heart-disease risk ‘shaped early in pregnancy’

A baby’s development in the womb in the first weeks of life is critical for future heart health, research suggests.

A link between poor growth in the first trimester and early risk factors for heart disease has been identified for the first time.

The study, in the British Medical Journal, adds to evidence that heart risk is set long before adulthood.

Pregnant women should think about their baby’s heart health as well as their own, the British Heart Foundation said.

The evidence comes from a study tracking the health, from early pregnancy onwards, of nearly 2,000 children born in the Dutch city of Rotterdam.

A team at the Erasmus University Medical School examined links between the child’s size at the first scan (10 to 13 weeks) and markers of future cardiovascular health at the age of six (central body fat, high blood pressure, high insulin levels and high cholesterol).

“Impaired first trimester foetal growth is associated with an adverse cardiovascular risk profile in school age children,” they reported in the British Medical Journal.

“Early foetal life may be a critical period for cardiovascular health in later life.”

Low birth weight is known to be linked to an increased risk of heart disease in later life. But the new research suggests not only birth weight but poor growth in the earliest phase of pregnancy may influence cardiovascular disease risk.

“These results suggest that the first trimester of pregnancy may be a critical period for development of offspring cardiovascular risk factors in later life,” study author Prof Vincent Jaddoe told BBC News.

“Therefore adverse maternal lifestyle habits influencing early foetal growth may have persistent consequences for their offspring, many decades later. ”

This was the first study showing this link and replication in other studies was needed, he added.

Critical stage
Amy Thompson, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said the first few months of pregnancy were a critical stage in a baby’s development.

“This study suggests that foetal growth within this time may influence their heart health later in life,” she said.

“However, as the researchers acknowledge themselves, further studies are needed to understand why this pattern exists and what it might mean for preventing heart disease.

“If you are pregnant, or planning a family, you should be thinking about your baby’s heart health as well as your own,” she added.

“If you smoke, speak to your GP or midwife about quitting, and keep a check on your blood pressure.

“Your midwife will also advise you on other ways you can make healthier choices during pregnancy.”

Source: BBC news

Large amounts of folic acid could lead to development of breast cancer

A scientist shown for the first time that folic acid supplements in doses 2.5 to five times the daily requirement “significantly promotes” the growth of existing pre-cancerous or cancerous cells in the mammary glands of rats.

Dr. Young-In Kim said that this is a critically important issue because breast cancer patients and survivors in North America are exposed to high levels of folic acid through folic acid fortification in food and widespread use of vitamin supplements after a cancer diagnosis.

The amount of folic acid consumed in North America has increased dramatically in the past 15 years. Women are routinely advised to take folic acid supplements before becoming pregnant and while pregnant to prevent neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida.

His research was published in the online journal PLOS ONE.

Source: healcon

4 reasons why pregnant women should consider the flu shot

With flu season in full swing, attention must be paid to pregnant women when it comes to this potentially dangerous virus.

Expectant mothers must be encouraged to get a flu shot – and if they notice flu-like symptoms, they need to seek medical help immediately.

The mortality and complications of the flu in pregnancy are enormous. And these complications are not only significant to the mother, but can also affect her baby by causing premature labor, premature delivery and even death.

There are four key issues that make the flu so problematic in pregnancy.

The first one is that pregnant women have more difficulty in fighting off infections – both viral and bacterial. The reason for this is that the immune system often is underperforming due to the hormonal changes in pregnancy, which can have effects similar to those seen in people on chronic steroid medications.

Once a severe infection develops, the chances the virus or bacteria can overrun the mother are proportionally higher.

The second point has to do with those pregnancy hormones themselves, in particular – progesterone. One of the effects of progesterone in pregnancy is that it creates capillary engorgement and swelling of the lining of the nose and oral pharynx. This predisposes a pregnant women to contract viruses and infuse them quickly into circulation.

Next, there are significant physical changes in the breathing system of a pregnant women. There’s an upward displacement of the diaphragm, which grows over time as the belly becomes bigger – and means the total lung capacity is decreased. What happens is the expiratory reserve volume and the residual volume of the lungs are decreased by 20 percent, so you have less air every time you take a breath.

Now, imagine having the flu and having your lungs full of mucous. With these changes, if the patient is lying down, the chest wall function makes it harder for her to breathe.

This brings me to my last point of significance. The need for oxygen is much greater in pregnant women than non-pregnant women. The reason there is an increased oxygen consumption is because you’re now breathing for two — literally.

Ultimately, the flu can infect a pregnant woman’s lungs, not only with the flu virus, but with a secondary infection – like bacterial pneumonia, making oxygen delivery to the mother and child more problematic – and could even lead to death.

If you are pregnant, and haven’t already gotten your flu shot, you should talk to your doctor about it right away.

Source: news.nom