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Many women are unhappy with the state of U.S. maternal health care, but a major new poll finds most Americans don’t understand how badly the nation lags behind other wealthy countries in this area.

Only about 2 in 5 (42%) women currently pregnant or ever pregnant strongly felt they had access to the best possible medical care while pregnant, down significantly from 50% in 2022, accordin...

Maternal mortality rates in the United States continue to exceed those in other wealthy nations, with most women dying during pregnancy and childbirth in ways that were preventable, a new report shows.

In 2022, U.S. women had a death rate from complications of pregnancy and childbirth of 22 deaths per 100,000 live births, researchers found.

That's a rate more than double and sometim...

Newer epilepsy drugs taken while pregnant won’t affect the creative thinking of children, an effect that had been observed in older medications, a new study reports.

Researchers found no difference in creativity scores at age 4 between kids of mothers with epilepsy and those ...

Women who get an epidural during delivery appear to have a marked reduction in serious complications the first few weeks after giving birth, a new study shows.

A painkilling epidural can reduce risk by 35% in women for complications like heart attack, ...

Louisiana has become the first state to pass a law that designates abortion pills as dangerous controlled substances.

Once Gov. Jeff Landry signs the bill into law, as he is expected to do, possession of the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol ...

Most young breast cancer survivors can go on to have children despite the effects of their lifesaving treatment, a new study shows.

About 73% of breast cancer survivors attempting to conceive achieved a pregnancy and 65% had a live birth, researchers report.

Those who opted for ...

Fetal exposure to fluoride from a mom-to-be's drinking water might raise the odds for physical and mental health issues in toddlers, new research suggests.

The study, which was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, wasn't designed to prove cause-and-effect. However, researchers believe the findings are worth investigating further.

“This is the first U.S.-based study ...

The nation’s top pediatrics group has reversed its decades-old position on HIV-positive mothers breastfeeding their infants.

The American Academy of Pediatrics now says it’s generally safe for moms with HIV to breastfeed or provide breast milk to babies if their infection is properly controlle...

Fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other methods don't boost the odds for tumor recurrence in young women who've survived breast cancer and carry the BRCA cancer genes, a reassuring, new report finds.

The issue had been in question because breast tissue can be sensitive to hormones and many assisted reproductive techniques (ARTs) involve a temporary boost...

Women treated for infertility were twice as likely as those who conceived naturally to be hospitalized with heart disease within a year of delivery, recent research shows.

They are particularly likely to land in the hospital with dangerously high blood press...

While some states have moved to severely curb women's access to abortion, including abortion pills, over 8,000 women living in those states are getting the pills by mail each month from states without such restrictions.

That's according to new data from a #WeCount survey conduc...

Women who smoke during pregnancy run a higher risk of their kids becoming overweight or obese, and researchers now think they know one reason why.

Children born of moms who smoked while expecting tend to have gut bacteria that is significantly different from that of kids whose moms didn’t light up, scientists reported recently in the journal

  • Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter
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  • May 14, 2024
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  • Smoking cigarettes while pregnant has long been known to harm the fetus, but new research shows things get even worse when marijuana is in the mix.

    The study by a team at Oregon Health & Science University (OSHU) in Portland involved more than 3 million p...

    New mothers who like to smoke marijuana might wind up exposing their babies to THC through their own breast milk, a new study says.

    THC, the intoxicating compound in cannabis, dissolves in the fats contained in human milk, researchers found.

    Mother’s milk produced by weed users always had detectable amounts of THC, even when the mothers had abstained for 12 hours,

  • Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter
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  • May 9, 2024
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  • The number of American women who died at or soon after childbirth declined significantly in 2022, the latest government data shows, but the rate is still higher than pre-pandemic levels.

    The report from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics found that, in 2022, 817 women died within 42 days of the end of a pregnancy "from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its...

    As the battle over abortion continues to rage in the courts and American politics, a new report estimates that one in every four U.S. women will undergo the procedure during their lifetime.

    The study was issued by the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization focused on sexual and reproductive health that supports access to abortion. 

    Researchers there surv...

    The short post-pandemic uptick in U.S. births may be over, with 2023 numbers showing a decline in births.

    According to provisional data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just under 3.6 million babies were born in America in 2023, about 76,000 fewer than the year before.

    It's also the lowest number of births recorded in the United States since 1979.

    De...

    Prescription opioids taken during pregnancy are not associated with a substantial increase in risk of developmental disorders like ADHD in children, a new study has found.

    “A slightly increased risk of neuropsychiatric disorders was found, but this should not be considered clinically meaningful” becaus...

    The percentage of married American women under the age of 50 who are infertile rose between 2011 and 2019, new government statistics show.

    Data from the National Survey of Family Growth show that "the percentage of married women ages 15-49 who were infertile rose from 2011-2015 (6.7%) to 2015-2019 (8.7%)," according to researchers.

    There was a slight rise in

  • Ernie Mundell HealthDay Reporter
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  • April 24, 2024
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  • Active military service appears to increase a woman’s risk of having a low birthweight baby, a new review finds.

    Nearly two-thirds of studies (63%) conclude that women on active service could be at higher risk of having a baby with low birth weight, researchers reported April 22 in the journal BMJ Milit...

    All expecting mothers should get a blood test for syphilis three times during pregnancy, new guidance issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends.

    The practice advisory calls on doctors to test for syphilis at a pregnant woma...

    Women who smoke and become pregnant may worry that the weight gain that comes with quitting might bring its own harms to themselves or their baby.

    However, a new study confirms the health benefits of quitting smoking still far exceed any weight-linked concerns.

    Weight gain can occur once...

    The placenta could be one reason why some women develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, a new study finds.

    A deficit in the way the placenta expresses the gene for a hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) appears linked to insulin resistance during pregnancy, researchers reported April 16 in the journal ...

    Women who experience common complications during a pregnancy could face heightened odds for early death for decades to come, new research shows.

    In the largest such study to date, "women who experienced any of five major adverse pregnancy outcomes had increased mortality risks that remained elevated more than 40 years later," said a team led by

  • Ernie Mundell HealthDay Reporter
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  • April 16, 2024
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  • There's no evidence that acetaminophen use during pregnancy increases the risk of childhood autism, ADHD or intellectual disability, the largest study to date on the subject has concluded.

    The analysis of more than 2.4 million children born in Sweden included siblings not exposed to the drug before birth, ...

    Pregnancy transforms women's bodies in many obvious ways, but new research suggests it may also accelerate aging.

    Women who had been pregnant appeared to be biologically older than women who had never carried a child, the genetic analysis revealed.

    Further, more pregnancies meant more aging.

    “Our findings suggest that pregnancy speeds up biological aging, and that these effe...

    Childbirth is a harrowing ordeal, and it's being made worse by mistreatment from health care providers during labor, a new study says.

    More than one in every eight women are mistreated during childbirth, researchers found.

    Most commonly, women's requests for help during

  • Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter
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  • April 4, 2024
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  • Massive racial disparities exist in the treatment of pregnancy-related mood disorders in the United States, a new study shows.

    White women suffering from depression or anxiety during or after pregnancy are nearly twice as likely receive treatment as women of color are, ...

    In two separate rulings on Monday, the Florida Supreme Court backed that state's abortion ban while also allo...

    Expecting or new mothers are much more likely these days to be diagnosed with anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, new research shows.

    However, more women are also getting treated for these problems rather than roughing it out, researchers report in A...

    Following oral arguments presented on Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court looked poised to rebuff a legal challenge to women's access to the abortion pill.

    Mifepristone is part of a two-drug regimen now used for the 

  • Robin Foster HealthDay Reporter
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  • March 27, 2024
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  • As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments Tuesday in a case that could determine nationwide access to the abortion pill, a new study finds requests for the medication made outside the traditional health care system surged after Roe v. Wade was overturned.

    There were about 26,000 more self-managed medication abortions than expected, based on trends before the ruling, researchers...

    A common antiseizure drug used to treat epilepsy, migraines and bipolar disorder does not appear to increase the risk of autism for kids exposed to it in the womb, a new study says.

    Topiramate does not contribute to any ri...

    People with autoimmune disorders such as lupus, type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis tend to have fewer children, and women with this class of illnesses often have higher risks for complications of pregnancy, new research shows.

    Researchers in Finland compared pregnancy and childbirth outcomes for the roughly 8% of Finnish adults who have some form of autoimmune disorder to people wit...

    Following the historic reversal of Roe v. Wade in June of 2022, the number of abortions in the United States has risen to more than a million per year, with medication abortions representing nearly two-thirds of those cases.

    The numbers come from a new report...

    Teen pregnancy can change the trajectory of one's life, but now a new study suggests it could also shorten that life.

    Canadian researchers report that women who were pregnant as teenagers were more likely to die before they reached the age of 31.

    “The younger the person was when they became pregnant, the greater their risk was of premature death,” study first author

    For years, U.S. health officials have been sounding the alarm over a steady rise in pregnancy-related deaths among American women, with numbers that appeared to far outstrip those of other wealthy nations.

    However, the statistics behind those trends could be flawed, researchers report in a new study.

    Their detailed reanalysis of government data from 2002 through 2021 found that -- ...

    A woman's risk of intentional death by firearm rises during and shortly after pregnancy, new research shows.

    About 1 in 6 intentional firearm-related deaths in women of childbearing age occurred during pregnancy or within a year of childbirth, the study found.

    Dr. Naima Joseph, of the Boston Medical Center...

    A vaginal ring that emits the antiviral dapivirine has passed safety trials and could shield vulnerable women against HIV infection during pregnancy, a new trial shows.

    "We now have data on the ring's safety during all stages of pregnancy,” said study leader Dr. Felix Mhlanga, a senior lecture...

    The first over-the-counter birth control pill will soon be available in U.S. stores and online, the drug's maker plans to announce Monday.

    Sold as Opill, the medication was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last May. Once it is officially for sale, a one-month supply will...

    Children exposed to anesthesia in the womb when their pregnant mom has surgery are more likely to suffer from behavioral issues later, a new study finds.

    Exposure to general anesthesia before birth was associated with a 31% increased risk of diagnosis with a behavioral disorder as a child, researchers reported Feb. 29 in the

  • Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter
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  • March 4, 2024
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  • CVS and Walgreens announced Friday that they will start dispensing the abortion pill mifepristone this month.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has certified the nation's two largest pharmacy chains to dispense mifepristone, and they plan to make the medication available first in states where abortion is legal.

    The chains will not dispense the medication by mail, they told news ...

    The historic overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022 has not had any significant effect on the number of abortions performed each month in the United States, new data shows.

    The #WeCount report tracks abortion rates across the country for the nonprofit Society of Family Planning, a group promoting research on abortion and contraception.

    Babies born to mothers who experience profound grief during pregnancy may be vulnerable to heart failure much later in life, new research suggests.

    "If future studies support our findings, the implementation of early screening for risk factors such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes in children born to mothers who experienced bereavement, as well as the adoption of preventive measures,...

    Surging temperatures caused by climate change could lead to more premature births worldwide, a new study reports.

    Researchers found a strong association between exposure to extreme heat during the third trimester of pregnancy and the risk of premature delivery.

    “High night-time temperatures can disrupt circadian rhythms and potentially influence blood pressure, which may be an iss...

    Data from dozens of studies supports the notion that mental health crises are a big factor behind rising rates of maternal deaths during and around pregnancy in the United States.

    “We need to bring this to the attention of the public and policymakers to demand action to address the mental health crisis that is contributing to the demise of mothers in America," said

  • Ernie Mundell HealthDay Reporter
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  • February 26, 2024
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  • Microscopic bits of plastic have been found lodged in tissues in much of the human body, and new research shows they are also infiltrating the placenta.

    All samples of placental tissue take from 62 women were shown to contain microplastics, a team at the Uni...

    A third of trans masculine people who have undergone testosterone therapy and have stopped menstruating are still ovulating, a new study suggests.

    That means they remain at risk for an unwanted pregnancy, despite the absence of periods, Dutch researchers concluded.

    It's not clear why ovulation ceases for some transgender people under these circumstances, and why it may continue for ...

    Mercury levels in tuna haven't changed since 1971, despite efforts to reduce emissions of the toxic metal into the environment, researchers report.

    Their analysis of nearly 3,000 tuna samples caught in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans between 1971 and 2022 revealed stable mercury concentrations in tuna during those five decades.

    The research team specifically looked at the tr...

    More than two dozen toddlers and at least 128 pregnant women received RSV vaccines they should not have gotten, U.S. health officials say.

    The mixup, reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, follows approval this winter of two vaccines against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The virus is p...