Folic acid in pregnancy lowers autism risk in baby

Folic acid supplements early in pregnancy may reduce child’s risk of autism by 40 percent — Large study in Norway finds early timing of folic acid supplements is critical – Prenatal folic acid supplements appear to reduce the risk for autistic spectrum disorders. It is estimated that about 1 in 88 children in the U.S. have been identified with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Preterm birth can be prevented – Lancet

Preterm birth can be prevented with a few proven treatments, Lancet article say – Lowering preterm birth rates by an average of 5 percent across 39 high-resource countries, including the United States, by 2015 would prevent prematurity for 58,000 babies a year. In the Lancet, the expert group says prevention of preterm birth could save billions in economic costs.

Pregnancy related infections caused by four treatable conditions

Most pregnancy-related infections are caused by four treatable conditions – In low-and-middle income countries, pregnancy-related infections are a major cause of maternal death, can also be fatal to unborn and newborn babies, and are mostly caused by four types of conditions that are treatable and preventable, according to a review by US researchers published in this week’s PLOS Medicine.

High blood pressure in pregnancy may affect child’s IQ

Mom’s high blood pressure in pregnancy could affect child’s IQ in old age – New research suggests that a mother’s high blood pressure during pregnancy may have an effect on her child’s thinking skills all the way into old age. The study is published in the Neurology.

Low birth weight may increase heart disease and kidney disease risk

Low birth weight may increase risk for cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and diabetes — New research in The FASEB Journal suggests that poor high blood pressure management during pregnancy may have negative long-term health consequences for offspring – Being underweight at birth may have consequences above and beyond the known short-term effects says a research report. The report shows that rats with a low birth weight have an increased long-term risk for developing cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and diabetes.

Low cost antenatal ultrasound imaging possible now

Low cost design makes ultrasound imaging affordable to the world – An ultra-low cost scanner that can be plugged into any computer or laptop to reveal vital information about the unborn child has been developed by engineers at Newcastle University, UK.

Premature and low birth weight babies born after 3 or more abortions

Increased risk of prematurity and low birth weight in babies born after 3 or more abortions – Women who have had three or more abortions have a higher risk of some adverse birth outcomes, such as delivering a baby prematurely and with a low birth weight, revealed by researchers in one of the largest studies to look at the effect of induced abortions on a subsequent first birth.

Misoprostol not effective in women during labor

No evidence that drug used for preventing life-threatening bleeding in women during labor works — Rethinking WHO guidance: review of evidence for misoprostol use in the prevention of postpartum haemorrhage – There is insufficient evidence for the effectiveness of a drug that is being used increasingly to prevent life-threatening bleeding in women after giving birth in community settings in low income countries.

PEPFAR HIV AIDS programs and maternal health services

PEPFAR HIV/AIDS programs linked to uptick in babies born at health facilities in sub-saharan Africa – While HIV programs provide lifesaving care and treatment to millions of people in lower-income countries, there have been concerns that as these programs expand, they divert investments from other health priorities such as maternal health. Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health assessed the effect of HIV programs supported by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) on access to maternal health care in sub-Saharan Africa for women who are not infected with HIV.

H1N1 flu shot during pregnancy shows unexpected benefits to the baby

Flu shot during pregnancy shows unexpected benefits in large study – Getting a flu shot during pregnancy provides unanticipated benefits to the baby. A new study showed that H1N1 vaccination during the pandemic was associated with a significantly reduced risk of stillbirth, preterm birth and extremely small babies at birth.