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Birth Defect Studies

Folic Acid Drops Birth Defect Risk By 35%

March 4th, 2015

News about the benefits of folic acid have been confirmed by medical journals and clinical studies for years, but just how much does it help with a baby’s development? Earlier this month, USA Today reported that there has been a 35 percent decrease in the number of babies born with spina bifida due to the fortification of grains with folic acid. Flour has been fortified with B vitamins since the late ’90s, but recent reports reinforce its significance.

Pregnant mother and child eat healthy foodFolic acid is essential as part of baby’s growth in the early stages of pregnancy. Women who do not receive enough of the vitamin have an increased risk of having a baby born with neural tube defects. It has long been recommended that a woman include it in her diet if she is pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant. Read the rest of this entry »

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How the Oil Industry Is Affecting Birth Development

January 5th, 2015

pregnant A recent article in U.S. News & World Report takes a look at the world of hydrofracking and how it might be affecting pregnant women and their babies. Fracking, the term commonly used for hydraulic fracturing, is a process used in the oil and gas development industry. A study has linked it to potential dangers in women during pregnancy, including:

  • Infertility
  • Miscarriage
  • Impaired fetal development
  • Low birth weight

Fracking uses large amounts of water, sand and chemicals to crack open oil and gas deposits, which are then brought to the surface. However, the potential exposure to toxic chemicals and radioactive materials involved with fracking has raised alarm about the risk of certain birth defects and chronic conditions in children. Read the rest of this entry »

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Studies Raises Questions About Alcohol Consumption Early in Pregnancy

December 4th, 2014

pregnancy drinkingIt has always been a given that women should refrain from drinking alcohol during pregnancy. But many women often unknowingly consume alcohol before realizing they are pregnant. A recent report from Yale University reveals that this consumption of low to moderate alcohol is not linked to an increased risk of specific birth conditions and growth deficiencies commonly associated with fetal alcohol syndrome.

Researchers investigated the effects of low levels of alcohol — one drink per week, on average — in over 4,000 women and infants. They examined neonatal results, including rates of:

  • Jaundice
  • Congenital malformations
  • Admission to a neonatal intensive care unit

The study showed that the 30% of women who drank low to moderate amounts of alcohol early on in their pregnancy had a reduced likelihood of low birth weight, small head circumference and short birth length.  Read the rest of this entry »

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UC Davis Researchers Use Chicken Genetics to Shed Light on Craniofacial Defects

September 8th, 2014

Researchers from the University of California, Davis have made new discoveries within chicken genome sequences that points to where abnormalities such as craniofacial defects begin both in not only birds, but humans as well.

iStock_000015884943_MediumCraniofacial defects are present at birth, affecting the function and structure of a baby’s head and face. There are several birth defects that fall into this specific category, including:

The research has focused on a gene mutation named talpid which has been linked with several congenital abnormalities, such as cleft lip or palate. This mutation is related to the malfunctioning of a cell’s cilia, which play a vital role in development, and results in physical abnormalities. Read the rest of this entry »

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Leading a Healthy Lifestyle for the Benefit of Your Baby

May 16th, 2014

A healthy weight pre-pregnancy and normal weight gain during pregnancy is important to keep an eye on for several reasons, including helping to lower the risk of developing gestational diabetes.Running

Dr. Denice Feig, an endocrinologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto who heads the Diabetes in Pregnancy Program, advises that pre-conception planning, improved sugar control during pregnancy and placing women in high-risk obstetrical care are all advanced measures that can be taken to reduce the chance of birth defects related to diabetes during pregnancy.

A recently published study in Diabetes Care states that a higher number of women are developing diabetes during and prior to pregnancy. This raises the risk of their babies being born with birth defects such as congenital heart disease.

The study was performed between 1996 and 2010, and it found that both gestational and pre-gestational diabetes doubled among Ontario women participating in the study. The significant spike in the number of women diagnosed with diabetes was surprising to researchers. Read the rest of this entry »

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New Heart Super Glue Is Promising Better Future for Heart Repairs

January 28th, 2014

177321940An interesting new treatment is on the horizon for a common congenital heart defect that tragically puts a baby’s life at risk. Atrial or ventricular septal defects, often called ASD and VSD, are holes in the heart which can gravely impair the organ’s ability to function. Currently, the approach to repair this involves highly invasive surgeries. A team of researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital, however, has come up with an adhesive that can withstand the conditions of the body and the highly dynamic action of the heart. It is essentially life-saving super glue. Read the rest of this entry »

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Research Links Air Pollution and Heart Defects

January 6th, 2014

The very air that we breathe may be responsible for some congenital heart defects suffered by newborns. A study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2013 revealed that high concentrations of certain pollutants are correlated with higher rates of heart defects. Read the rest of this entry »

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Options for Decreasing Anti-Seizure Dosage

August 29th, 2013

Many women with epilepsy face a wrenching decision. They want to have children, but epilepsy drugs have long been associated with birth defects such as cleft palate, atrial septal defect, spinda bifida and more. A study published in the September 2013 issue of Neurology may just give those women a little bit of hope.

Researchers at The Royal Melbourne Hospital have detected a decrease in the incidence of spinda bifida and hypospadias when dosage of the epilepsy drug known as valporate is decreased during the first trimester of pregnancy. This means that the huge increase in the risk of having a child with spina bifida faced by women who rely on the anti-seizure medication can be moderated. Lower doses of the drug — which is sold under the brand name Depakote, among others — can help control seizures while reducing the risk of having a child with spina bifida. Read the rest of this entry »

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Could Your Cold Medicine Put Your Unborn Child at Risk?

July 31st, 2013

A little head cold could not possibly put your baby at risk, right?

Wrong. It might if you take nasal decongestants to help with cold symptoms. A new study reports that mothers who take nasal decongestants during their first trimester are more likely to give birth to children with birth defects of the heart, digestive tract and ear. Read the rest of this entry »

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Yet Another Study Links Anti-Depressants to Birth Defects

July 8th, 2013

A study published this month in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry has once again reinforced that the taking anti-depressants during pregnancy increases the risk of having a child with birth defects. The study looked at 115 studies and found that Paxil and Prozac are associated with major birth defects. Paxil, in particular, was implicated in congenital heart defects.
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