Lauren M. Philips M.D. -  Obstetrician & Gynecologist

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Novel test detects potentially harmful chemicals in breast milk
Source:
Medical News Today

While it is clear that "breast is best" when it comes to infant feeding, there are concerns that breastfeeding may expose babies to certain toxins in breast milk. Now, researchers have developed a new test that detects whether breast milk contains parabens or bisphenol A.

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Brain wiring explains why weight loss is more challenging for women
Source:
Medical News Today

Trying to lose weight can be a challenge at the best of times, but this challenge may be even harder if you're female. According to a new study, women's brains may be wired in a way that makes them less likely than men to shed the pounds.

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To prevent infection after C-section, chlorhexidine better than iodine
Source:
Medical Xpress

Women undergo more cesarean sections each year in the United States than any other major surgery, with the procedure carrying a significant rate of infection at the incision site.

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Experts say pregnant women, new moms should have depression screenings
Source:
Medical Xpress

They are considered bundles of joy. Still, from novices with newborns to veteran pros of motherhood, all pregnant women are susceptible to the not-so-joyous issues associated with postpartum depression, such as anxiety and sadness, which are unhealthy for both baby and mother.

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Reduced anxiety and depression for women participating in women-only cardiac rehab programs
Source:
Medical News Today

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for women globally. Women who have an acute coronary heart event may be more likely to die or to suffer complications during the initial recovery period than men, but are less likely to make use of cardiac rehabilitation programs.

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Discovery may lead to better egg screening and IVF outcomes
Source:
Medical Xpress

Experts in in-vitro fertilization (IVF) from UC San Francisco have discovered a pattern of protein secretion during egg maturation that they say has the possibility of leading to a new, non-invasive test to evaluate the fitness of eggs before they are fertilized in the clinic.

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Breastfeeding saves lives, boosts economies in rich and poor countries
Source:
Medical News Today

The decision not to breastfeed harms the long-term health, nutrition and development of children - and the health of women - around the world, conclude leading experts in a new series of papers on breastfeeding published in The Lancet. They also detail how this loss of opportunity damages the global economy.

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Breast, ovarian cancer risks vary by BRCA mutation location, type
Source:
Healio

The risks for breast and ovarian cancers varied based on the type and location of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, according to the results of an observational study.

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Laparoscopic hysterectomy with morcellation may be safer than abdominal procedure, new study indicates
Source:
Science Daily

A study has compared the relative risks of laparoscopic hysterectomy (with morcellation) with abdominal surgery for hysterectomy in premenopausal women undergoing surgery for presumed uterine fibroids. Examining short- and long-term complications, quality of life, and overall mortality, they found that abdominal surgery carries a higher risk of complications, decreased quality of life, and death.

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Use of LARC increased among sexually active teens
Source:
Healio

Among teenagers aged 15 to 19 years, the use of intrauterine devices and implants has increased 15-fold since 2005, but still remains low, despite being the most effective form of birth control, according to a recent report from the CDC.

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Contraceptive microchip: could it revolutionize global birth control?
Source:
Medical News Today

MicroCHIPS, an IT start-up company with links to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is developing a radical new contraceptive - a tiny microchip implanted under the skin that can be operated wirelessly by remote control.

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Longevity in women likely indicated by reproduction later in life
Source:
Medical News Today

Women who are able to naturally have children later in life tend to live longer and the genetic variants that allow them to do so might also facilitate exceptionally long life spans.

A Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) study published in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society, says women who are able to have children after the age of 33 have a greater chance of living longer than women who had their last child before the age of 30.

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Vitamin D and the nursing mother
Source:
ScienceDaily

The not-often-discussed issue of Vitamin D deficiency in nursing mothers is discussed by an expert, and how it can affect the infants in their care. An "adequate" intake for nursing mothers is not the 400 IU/d the IOM recommends, but is instead in the range of 5,000-6,000 IU/d, taken daily. If they get that much, they will meet not only their own needs, but their infant's as well.

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Non-invasive urine test could be used to predict premature birth, delivery of small babies
Source:
ScienceDaily

Testing for the presence of specific molecules present in the urine of pregnant women can give an indication in early pregnancy of whether a baby will be born premature or the fetus will suffer poor growth, according to research. Identifying these conditions early in pregnancy could potentially help reduce complications and manage any difficulties, although more work is needed before the findings can be translated to clinical settings.

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Are routine pelvic exams 'more harm than good' for healthy women?
Source:
Medical News Today

The pelvic exam is a standard part of women's gynecologic checkup, but a new review by the American College of Physicians shows that for healthy women it is likely doing more harm than good, causing the doctors' group to issue a new guideline that advises against it.

"Routine pelvic examination has not been shown to benefit asymptomatic, average risk, non-pregnant women. It rarely detects important disease and does not reduce mortality and is associated with discomfort for many women, false positive and negative examinations, and extra cost."

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Early predictor for preeclampsia found by researchers
Source:
ScienceDaily

Preeclampsia is a cardiovascular disorder generally occurring late in pregnancy and often resulting in an early delivery, creating immediate and potentially lifelong risks to both mother and baby.

University of Iowa researchers have discovered a biomarker that could give expecting mothers and their doctors the first simple blood test to reliably predict that a pregnant woman may develop preeclampsia, at least as early as 6 weeks into the pregnancy.

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Link shown between inflammation in maternal blood, schizophrenia in offspring
Source:
ScienceDaily

Maternal inflammation as indicated by the presence in maternal blood of early gestational C-reactive protein -- an established inflammatory biomarker -- appears to be associated with greater risk for schizophrenia in offspring, according to researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University Medical Center, and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. The study, "Elevated Maternal C-Reactive Protein and Increased Risk of Schizophrenia in a National Birth Cohort," is published online in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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Bothered by hot flashes? Acupuncture might be the answer, analysis suggests
Source:
ScienceDaily

A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials indicates that acupuncture can affect the severity and frequency of hot flashes for women in natural menopause.

In the 2,500+ years that have passed since acupuncture was first used by the ancient Chinese, it has been used to treat a number of physical, mental and emotional conditions including nausea and vomiting, stroke rehabilitation, headaches, menstrual cramps, asthma, carpal tunnel, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis, to name just a few.

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C-section in first birth linked to higher risk of future stillbirth, ectopic pregnancy
Source:
Medical News Today

A new study published in PLOS Medicine finds that women who undergo a cesarean section with their first child may have a small, but significant increased risk of a subsequent stillbirth or ectopic pregnancy.

The research team, including Prof. Louise Kenny of University College Cork in Ireland, says their findings may have important implications for expectant mothers and health care professionals worldwide.

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Bacteria found in bladders of healthy women differ from those in women with incontinence
Source:
ScienceDaily

Bacteria found in the bladders of healthy women differ from bacteria in women with a common form of incontinence, according to researchers. Approximately 15 percent of women suffer from UUI and yet an estimated 40 -- 50 percent do not respond to conventional treatments. One possible explanation for the lack of response to medication may be the bacteria present in these women. "These findings may have strong implications for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of women with this form of incontinence," said a co-investigator.

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Slim down for the health of it and possibly reduce your hot flashes in the process
Source:
ScienceDaily

Now women have yet one more incentive to lose weight as a new study has shown evidence that behavioral weight loss can help manage menopausal hot flashes. For purposes of the pilot clinical trial, hot flashes were assessed before and after intervention via physiologic monitoring, diary and questionnaire. The study confirmed a significant correlation between weight loss and hot flashes. Furthermore, the degree of weight loss correlated with the degree of reduction in hot flashes.

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Global toolkit to diagnose menopause
Source:
ScienceDaily

A free and simple toolkit for GPs could revolutionise menopause diagnosis and treatment.

Created at Monash University, the world's first toolkit is designed for GPs to use with women from the age of 40. Thought to be the first of its kind, researchers say the toolkit has the potential to help manage menopausal conditions for women globally.

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Many medicines safe during breastfeeding: committee
Source:
Reuters

Many medications can be used safely by women who are breastfeeding and the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh most harms related to babies' exposure, a panel of pediatricians said today.

"It's hard to make a blanket recommendation on what drugs are fine for the mother, because it's going to depend on multiple factors," Sachs, from the Pediatric and Maternal Health Team in the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, told Reuters Health. Sachs said properties of the drug itself, whether it's being used on a long- or short-term basis and the age and health of the infant all affect how safe it is to use medication while breastfeeding. "It's always a risk-benefit decision." The risk of exposure to any drug for babies needs to be weighed against the drug's importance for the mother as well as the benefits of breastfeeding, researchers noted.

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Quitting smoking in pregnancy tied to benefit for baby
Source:
Reuters

Women who quit smoking immediately before or after becoming pregnant gain more weight during and after pregnancy - but their babies are less likely to be born small than those born to smokers, a new study suggests.

"The big thing to get out of this study is that quitting early in pregnancy is as helpful in respect to the birth weight of your baby as never having smoked while you were pregnant," Dr. Amber Samuel, a maternal-fetal medicine expert at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, said.

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Exercise may cut endometrial cancer risk for heavy women
Source:
Reuters

Overweight and obese women who get plenty of exercise may have a lower risk of endometrial cancer than if they were sedentary, according to new research.

Heavier women who reported at least three hours a week of strenuous recreational physical activity at the beginning of the study had a 24 percent lower risk of developing endometrial cancer over the next dozen years compared to women who got less than half an hour of vigorous exercise each week, the researchers found. But the same relationship was not seen for normal-weight women.

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Meal Timing Can Significantly Improve Fertility in Women With Polycystic Ovaries
Source:
Science Daily

Now Prof. Daniela Jakubowicz of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Diabetes Unit at Wolfson Medical Center has found a natural way to help women of normal weight who suffer from PCOS manage their glucose and insulin levels to improve overall fertility. And she says it's all in the timing.

The goal of her maintenance meal plan, based on the body's 24 hour metabolic cycle, is not weight loss but insulin management. Women with PCOS who increased their calorie intake at breakfast, including high protein and carbohydrate content, and reduced their calorie intake through the rest of the day, saw a reduction in insulin resistance. This led to lower levels of testosterone and dramatic increase in the ovulation frequency -- measures that have a direct impact on fertility, notes Prof. Jakubowicz.

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New Hope for Women Suffering from Recurrent Miscarriage
Source:
Science Daily

A team of researchers, led by the University of Warwick, have published new data that could prove vital for advances in care for women who suffer from recurrent miscarriage.

Led by Professor Jan Brosens of Warwick Medical School, the team found that elevated uterine NK cells in the lining of the womb indicate deficient production of steroids. Deficient steroid production in turn leads to reduced formation of fats and vitamins that are essential for pregnancy nutrition.

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Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea Infections Linked to Pregnancy Complications
Source:
Science Daily

Becoming infected with chlamydia or gonorrhoea in the lead-up to, or during, pregnancy, increases the risk of complications, such as stillbirth or unplanned premature birth, indicates research published online in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Among the 354,217 women who had had their first child between 1999 and 2008, 3658 (1%) had had at least one notifiable chlamydia infection before the birth. And most (81%) of these had been diagnosed before the estimated date of conception. Just 196 (0.6%) had been diagnosed with gonorrhoea before the birth, with most diagnoses (just under 85%) made before the estimated conception date.

Half of those diagnosed with gonorrhoea had also previously been infected with chlamydia.
In all, 4% of the women had an unplanned premature birth; 12% had babies who were small for dates; and 0.6% (2234) of the babies were stillborn.

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New Test to Predict Women at Risk of Pregnancy Complications?
Source:
Science Daily

Researchers from The University of Manchester and Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Trust have identified proteins in the blood that could be used to predict whether a woman in her first pregnancy is at increased risk of developing pre-eclampsia.

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Pre-Pregnancy Hormone Testing May Indicate Gestational Diabetes Risk
Source:
Science Daily

Overweight women with low levels of the hormone adiponectin prior to pregnancy are nearly seven times more likely to develop gestational diabetes, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published today in the journal Diabetes Care. Adiponectin protects against insulin resistance, inflammation and heart disease.

Researchers found that normal-weight women with low levels of adiponectin were 3.5 times more likely to develop gestational diabetes than their normal-weight peers with normal levels of the hormone. Additionally, overweight women with high levels of adiponectin were 1.7 times as likely to develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, while those with the lowest levels were 6.8 times more likely.

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Pregnancy possible for many after childhood cancer
Source:
Reuters

Despite research indicating that women who had cancer as girls have difficulty getting pregnant, a new study suggests that most can conceive, though it might take longer than usual.

Historically, childhood cancer survivors have been counseled that they may be unable to get pregnant because cancer-fighting chemotherapy and radiation can damage their ovaries, but nearly two-thirds of the infertile survivors eventually did get pregnant.

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Labor induction may not raise cesarean risk for all
Source:
Reuters

It has been thought that inducing labor in a woman whose pregnancy has lasted too long, but whose water hasn't broken, could result in the need for a C-section. While doctors and health officials battle rising cesarean section rates, a fresh look at past research suggests that induction of labor may not be contributing to the problem.

But in a review of 37 studies on labor induction, researchers found that it actually decreased the risk of having a C-section.

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Slim Women Have Higher Endometriosis Risk Than Obese Women
Source:
Medical News Today

Slim women have a higher risk of developing endometriosis than women who are morbidly obese, according to a new major study.

The research was published in the journal Human Reproduction and showed that morbidly obese females (BMI greater than 40 kg/m2) have a 39% lower risk of endometriosis than females with a current BMI in the low normal range (8.5 to 22.4 kg/m2).

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Tdap vaccine during pregnancy bests 'postpartum cocooning' approach
Source:
Ob.Gyn. News

Vaccinating pregnant women to protect their newborns from pertussis appears to avert more cases of the disease, hospitalizations, and deaths than does vaccinating mothers immediately postpartum, according to a report published online May 27 in Pediatrics.

In a decision-analysis modeling study, vaccination during pregnancy also was found to be more cost-effective than "postpartum cocooning" – a strategy of vaccinating close family contacts, ideally before the infant’s birth, and vaccinating the mother immediately postpartum, said Dr. Andrew Terranella and his associates at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Low Prenatal Iodine May Affect Child's Brain Development
Source:
MedlinePlus

Mild to moderate iodine deficiency during pregnancy may have a negative long-term impact on children's brain development, British researchers report.

Low levels of the so-called "trace element" in an expectant mother's diet appear to put her child at risk of poorer verbal and reading skills during the preteen years, the study authors found. Pregnant women can boost their iodine levels by eating enough dairy products and seafood, the researchers suggested.

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Common Mental Health Problems In Women May Be Related To Their Monthly Menstrual Cycle
Source:
Medical News Today

Women at a particular stage in their monthly menstrual cycle may be more vulnerable to some of the psychological side-effects associated with stressful experiences, according to a study from UCL.

The results suggest a monthly window of opportunity that could potentially be targeted in efforts to prevent common mental health problems developing in women. The research is the first to show a potential link between psychological vulnerability and the timing of a biological cycle, in this case ovulation.

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Hormone Replacement Therapy - Updated Recommendations, At Last!
Source:
Medical News Today

In order to provide much-needed clarity on the role of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), its benefits and risks, Women's Health Concern and the British Menopause Society released their latest guidelines on Friday. The new guidelines have also been published in the journal Menopause International.

As people are living longer and will probably continue to do so, R&D on HRT should focus on maximizing benefits and minimizing risks and side effects. "This will optimize quality of life and facilitate the primary prevention of long-term conditions which create a personal, social and economic burden."

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Non-invasive first trimester blood test reliably detects Down's syndrome
Source:
EurekAlert!

New research has found that routine screening using a non-invasive test that analyzes fetal DNA in a pregnant woman's blood can accurately detect Down's syndrome and other genetic fetal abnormalities in the first trimester. Published early online in Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology, the results suggest that the test is superior to currently available screening strategies and could reshape standards in prenatal testing.

Current screening for Down's syndrome, or trisomy 21, and other trisomy conditions includes a combined test done between the 11th and 13th weeks of pregnancy, which involves an ultrasound screen and a hormonal analysis of the pregnant woman's blood. Only chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis can definitely detect or rule out fetal genetic abnormalities, but these are invasive to the pregnancy and carry a risk of miscarriage.

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Genetic Predictors of Postpartum Depression Uncovered
Source:
ScienceDaily

Johns Hopkins researchers say they have discovered specific chemical alterations in two genes that, when present during pregnancy, reliably predict whether a woman will develop postpartum depression.

The epigenetic modifications, which alter the way genes function without changing the underlying DNA sequence, can apparently be detected in the blood of pregnant women during any trimester, potentially providing a simple way to foretell depression in the weeks after giving birth, and an opportunity to intervene before symptoms become debilitating.

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Flu in Pregnancy May Quadruple Child's Risk for Bipolar Disorder
Source:
ScienceDaily

Pregnant mothers' exposure to the flu was associated with a nearly fourfold increased risk that their child would develop bipolar disorder in adulthood, in a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. The findings add to mounting evidence of possible shared underlying causes and illness processes with schizophrenia, which some studies have also linked to prenatal exposure to influenza.

"Prospective mothers should take common sense preventive measures, such as getting flu shots prior to and in the early stages of pregnancy and avoiding contact with people who are symptomatic," said Alan Brown, M.D., M.P.H, of Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute, a grantee of the NIH's National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). "In spite of public health recommendations, only a relatively small fraction of such women get immunized. The weight of evidence now suggests that benefits of the vaccine likely outweigh any possible risk to the mother or newborn."

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