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March 23, 2010 | By Meredith Cohn
Aiming to cut down on the high number of premature births across the nation, a new program will offer words of advice for pregnant women in a place that will be hard to miss: on their cellphones. The free text messages will be sent every week and will include information about such things as seeing the doctor, avoiding alcohol and cigarettes, and eating properly. Although it's just rolling out, the program — called text4baby — already has more than 18,000 women signed up for what's expected to be the largest nationwide health initiative using mobile phones.
July 9, 2013 | By Melissa Healy
In a finding likely to reignite debate over proposed new limits on abortion, British researchers have found that years ago, women who terminated a pregnancy increased their risk of giving birth prematurely in subsequent pregnancies, but that with modern procedures the danger has all but vanished. The researchers suggest the shift is the result of a growing use of oral medication to induce or aid in abortion, and a decline in surgical abortions that may injure a woman's cervix. The study looked at 732,719 first births by women in Scotland between 1980 and 2008 and found that during the early 1980s, women who'd had one abortion or more had a higher rate of preterm births during later pregnancies.
February 10, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
Folate is a valuable nutrient, especially for pregnant women. Studies show adequate intake of folate -- or folic acid -- just before pregnancy and during pregnancy can significantly reduce the risk of spinal cord defects. However, a new study shows one thing folate apparently can't do: lower the risk of preterm birth. Researchers have long wondered if the amount of folate in the diet would have an impact on preterm birth. One previous study suggested that it might help. Preterm birth is a big problem in the United States, with about 12% of babies born too early.
February 28, 2010 | By Georgia Garvey and Dan Simmons
Bill and Marcia Stlaske's first pangs of fear coincided with her labor pains. Stlaske, 31, had given birth to two healthy sons, both delivered somewhat early. But their third, Tyler, was on the way nearly a month before his January due date. Doctors tried to stave off delivery but found Stlaske's amniotic fluid too low. "They said they had to take him early," said Marcia Stlaske, a second-grade teacher from Crystal Lake, Ill. "It was terrifying." Not long ago, Tyler's birth on Dec. 30 at 36 weeks' gestation would have been considered skirting the edge of prematurity, defined as being born before 37 weeks.
An experimental test has identified certain pregnant women in danger of pre-term delivery--a discovery that researchers hope might eventually help reduce the stubbornly high rate of premature births in the United States. The test, being developed in California, appears to offer the first reliable method of predicting which women are at high risk for pre-term delivery--without having to rely on such fallible predictors as a woman's obstetrical history and overt symptoms. "The test . . .
June 30, 2007 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
The drug most commonly used to delay preterm labor in women has more -- and more serious -- side effects than alternatives, without being any more effective, Stanford researchers reported Friday. The drug may even harm infants, they concluded. Although labor generally cannot be stopped completely, physicians try to delay it for at least 48 hours to allow transfer of the mother to a specialized hospital and to maximize the effectiveness of steroids used to help the fetus' lungs mature.
December 1, 2008 | Valerie Ulene, Ulene is a board-certified specialist in preventive medicine.
Last month, the U.S. received a set of grades from the March of Dimes, the nation's leading organization committed to preventing preterm births, that were nothing short of horrible. The report card on premature births compared preterm birth rates with national objectives. Overall, the nation received a D. Not a single state merited an A, and only one, Vermont, earned a B. Eighteen states and Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., received an F, and California squeaked by with a C.
Tokos Medical Corp. said it received federal approval Thursday to begin marketing a device for detecting pre-term labor in pregnant women with a history of premature births. The device, which is manufactured by Physiologic Diagnostic Service, a small Atlanta firm that Tokos acquired 10 days ago for $31.4 million, is the first of its kind in the nation to receive pre-marketing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
March 28, 2005 | Hilary MacGregor, Times Staff Writer
Many women are already familiar with the negative effect pregnancy can have on the mouth -- the swollen and bloody gums caused by hormonal changes. As it turns out, the mouth may, in turn, have a negative effect on pregnancy. A study has found that certain bacteria from the mouth, specifically, those that cause root caries and some kinds of gum disease, may be related to early deliveries and low birth weight. "This is a preventable thing," said Dr. Ananda P.
May 29, 2008 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
The number of preterm births in the United States grew by more than a third between 1996 and 2004, and Cesarean sections accounted for the vast majority of the increase, researchers said this week. Most of the upsurge involved what physicians call late-preterm babies, those born after 34 to 36 weeks of gestation rather than the normal full term of 38 to 42 weeks.
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