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Spotlight on Prenatal Genetic Testing

According to a recent NPR article, the amount of prenatal genetic testing available to expectant parents has increased enormously over the last decade (1). Furthermore, the genetic testing industry is expected to continue growing by nearly 30% over the five years ahead (1). What are genetic tests used for? Prenatal genetic testing is used to…

Cost-effectiveness of betamethasone therapy for women at risk of delivering a premature baby (between 34 and 36 weeks)

Premature babies often have numerous health problems, and require extensive, costly treatments (1). Their underdeveloped organs and general fragility make them especially susceptible to birth injuries, infections, and other neonatal complications. In the United States, 70% of premature births occur between weeks 34 and 36 of pregnancy, or the “late preterm period” (2) These infants…

Researchers identify pregnancy conditions that increase the risk of neonatal hypoxia

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a type of newborn brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation during or around the time of birth, has been linked to a variety of pregnancy conditions. Inna Skarga-Bandurova and colleagues in the Ukraine recently published a study on risk factors for chronic fetal hypoxia (i.e. long-term oxygen deprivation). They analyzed data from…

Stillbirths and Medical Malpractice: A Legal “Gap”

Introduction Worldwide, there are about 2.6 million stillbirths each year (1), 24,000 of which occur in the U.S. (2). Our rate of stillbirth is higher than that of many other developed nations. For example, it is more than double the rate in Iceland (3). This regional variation in stillbirths demonstrates that many of these deaths…

Leaking Amniotic Fluid and Birth Injuries

If amniotic fluid begins leaking during pregnancy, this may increase the baby’s risk of experiencing a birth injury. Some women find it difficult to determine if they are really leaking amniotic fluid or another substance (such as urine or vaginal discharge), so it is important to consult a doctor if there is any uncertainty. Read…

Obstetrical Care for Women with Disabilities

“When I found out I was pregnant, I was overjoyed, but also apprehensive,” writes Erin E. Andrews, in an article for the American Psychological Association (1). She goes on to explain: “I am a congenital triple amputee who uses a power wheelchair for mobility. I was less concerned about the effects of my disability, and…

Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are some of the most common infections (1). Although anyone can get a UTI, women are more susceptible because they have shorter urethras, which makes it easier for bacteria to ascend into the bladder. At least 60% of women experience a lower urinary tract infection (involving the urethra and bladder) during…

Pregnancy Vocab 101: Terms Your Doctor’s Using, And What They Mean in Plain English

During their education, doctors learn “medical jargon.” This refers to words and phrases that are useful when communicating with other medical professionals but may be very confusing to patients. The best doctors are careful not to overwhelm their patients with medical jargon, and instead try to use simple language when explaining things (unless the patient…

How Eating Disorders Should Influence OB-GYN Care: ACOG’s New Committee Opinion

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recently published a committee opinion discussing necessary precautions for patients who may have eating disorders. Eating disorders encompass a wide range of conditions in which a person has abnormal feeding habits; often, eating disorders affect physical health in addition to mental and emotional well-being. Some of the…