Women's Health Base

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Posts Tagged ‘pregnancy’

Women should have babies before 35

Posted by hannahflynn on June 16, 2009

The Daily Mail has been the first to report the recent findings of a report by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists which has highlighted the difficulty many women face reproducing after the age of 35.

The study claims the optimum age to have children is between the ages of 20 and 35. One of the most likely reasons for this is the risk of preeclampsia which increases in frequency in pregnancy women under the age of 20 and over the age of 40.

Since the story was published earlier today on the Mail’s website, comments have been predictably split. Though, it is Jillie in London who almost hits the nail on the head:

Outrageous advise ( if you can call it that) responsible people might want to be financially secure, or have a partner/husband on the scene when they start a family, to scare and badger women into having children before 35 is unforgivable, or is this a ploy by the government to ensure that there are enough young bloods to provide pensions in the years to come?”

The issue of social responsibility to reproduce or not reproduce has become increasingly antagonistic, particularly since the Optimum Population Trust launched their Stop at Two Pledge. However, this has never been an issue in Scandinavia.

Norway in particular, is responsible for launching social policy which enables women to reproduce during the optimum time period without loss of finances and therefor loss of taxes paid. Many of the Nordic countries, unlike many other developed Western countries have an increasing birth rate. It is believed that this is due to the implementation of policy including extended parental leave, subsidises child care and economic support packages for families.

Interestingly a study published in Demographic Research in 2004, showed longer maternity leave with better pay had a positive impact on the number of women reproducing in their twenties and thirties, suggesting policy can have a significant effect on when women chose to have children.


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Ethnic minorities suffer more complications during pregnancy

Posted by hannahflynn on March 7, 2009

Researchers can not agree on the causes of the finding that black Afro-Caribbean and Pakistani women suffer more complications during pregnancy than their white British peers.

Non-white women in the UK are 50 percent more likely to suffer from serious complications including eclampsia, pulmonary embolism and hysterectomy, it was reported in the British Medical Journal*. This  reflects findings in the US, Australia and the Netherlands

However, using ethnicity to group women in a study was branded a blunt instrument by Professor Wendy Pollock from the University of Melbourne in her editorial. She blames the use of ethnicity as a marker for the unresolved outcome of the study. It is unclear if the findings are due to differences in socio-economic status, or genetic predisposition to medical conditions which may affect pregnancy.

Reasons put forward for the findings include the fact that women in ethnic minority groups discover their pregnancies later and therefore access care later.

Women from these groups also report feeling they were not being treated with respect or spoken to in a way they understood.

*BMJ-British Medical Journal (2009, March 3). UK Black Women Have Double The Risk Of Pregnancy Complications.

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Tories say mixed-sex wards must go

Posted by hannahflynn on January 9, 2009

Mixed-sex wards have failed to be phased out following the Government’s election promise to remove them, claim the Conservative party.

The Tories have promised to introduce individual rooms for expectant mothers in NHS hospitals.

They claim hospitals are failing to provide single-sex washing and toilet facilities on their wards, though this is a requirement. They also suggest that not providing separate toilet facilities nullifies any single-sex wards.

This is following an FOI request showing 15 percent of hospitals still used at least one single-sex open plan ward.

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Drinking during pregnancy:subtle effects must not be ignored

Posted by hannahflynn on December 27, 2008

There are worries that a study showing the increased cognitive ability of children born to women who drank moderately during pregnancy was not reported accurately in the British media.

The Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Study Group, a subgroup of the Research Society on Alcoholism, are concerned that reports of the study failed to highlight the recognised effect higher socioeconomic class has on both moderate drinking and increased cognitive ability. They suggest that class alone is responsible for improvement in post-natal neurodevelopment.

They have retaliated with a statement entitled ‘Light drinking will not make your baby smarter’.

American science aggregator, Science Daily reports the group are concerned some media outlets reported the beneficial effects of light drinking during pregnancy, ignoring previous literature on the subtle but adverse effects of light drinking during pregnancy.

Further Reading:

Sobering news for pregnant women

The odd drink in pregnancy won’t harm baby

Light drinking in pregnancy a risk for behavioural problems and cognitive deficits at 3 years of age?

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Pop the Champagne Corks – 9 Months Early

Posted by hannahflynn on November 11, 2008

Good news for women wishing to sample the Chardonnay without being shot down by the PC-pregnancy brigade, drinking in pregnancy is now good for you!

After a report a few years ago claimed it was impossible to measure the minimum amount of alcohol that could cause Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, many countries recommended tee-total pregnancies.

The health scare saw the introduction of warnings on alcoholic drinks that told women to avoid alcohol if pregnant or even just trying to conceive.

Women who drank 2 units a week (one glass of wine) during pregnancy were found in the latest research to be calmer during pregnancy and had children that did better in cognitive tests.

There is some concern that the results are slightly skewed by the strong correlation between light drinking in pregnancy and social class, but Fred Brooksteing, Professor of Statistics at Washington University said, “We have no evidence that it (light drinking) does anything and it probably makes women feel better”

Yvonne Kelly who ran the lab at UCl that worked on the paper said the most beneficial effect of light drinking durring pregnancy was the calming effect it had on mothers-to-be, making pregnancies less stressful.

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