Hyperthermia (high body temperature ) has been shown to be capable of producing birth defects. The defects in the fetus vary with the amount of fever elevation and the stage of the fetus during exposure. Adverse effects include abortion, stillbirth, congenital malformations and embryonic resorption. Mental retardation, spina bifida, changes in muscle tome, and neurogenic arthrogryposis (limb defects) have occurred in association with hyperthermia in humans, while animal studies have demonstrated microcephaly (small brain), and clubfoot. Pregnant women should not be given fever treatment and should avoid hot tubs and sauna baths. (Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey, August, 1987,p. 512-513) Copyright1987 Phylis Austin
Archive for the ‘Pregnancy’ Category
Mothers who consume caffeine, whether in the form of coffee, tea, colas or various drugs, run the risk of delivering an infant with low birth weight. A study from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reveals that caffeine may cause growth retardation. (American Journal of Epidemiology 126(5)813-21, 1987) Copyright 1987 Phylis Austin
Infants born by cesarean section are apparently deprived of the catecholamine surge induced by vaginal birth. A study of 30 infants demonstrated less optimal neurological responses in those delivered by cesarean section. The authors feel that high catecholamine levels may be important in the infant’s neurological development in the first few days after birth. (Early Human Development 26:51-60, 1991) Copyright 1991 Phylis Austin
A study from the Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and the Perinatal Research Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health has revealed that women who eat a vegetarian diet have higher levels of 1,25-didyroxy-vitamin D than meat eaters. The researchers focused special attention on women who were breastfeeding their children. They feared that their diet was not adequate to provide sufficient vitamin D for their infants, as their diet was mostly whole grain cereals and vegetables. The women in this study generally avoided meats, eggs, and dairy products. Vitamin D is necessary for proper absorption of calcium and it was thought that these women, on what is considered a low calcium diet, may be unable to give their infants the recommended calcium. Furthermore, a vegetarian diet containing large amounts of grains may be high in phytate, which had until recently been thought to hinder calcium absorption. The researchers conclude that the body is able to adapt to varying dietary and physiologic conditions, making the necessary adjustment to provide adequate calcium levels.
(Obstetrics and Gynecology 70(6)870-874, December 1987)
Copyright 1987 Phylis A Austin)
Women who suffer asthma and utilize asthma medications during pregnancy are at increased risk of preterm labor. (Epidemiology 4(2)143-150, March 1993) Copyright 1993 Phylis Austin
Cancer risk for children of mothers who smoke during pregnancy may be 50 percent higher than for children of nonsmoking mothers. Risk for Wilms tumor, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and acute lymphocytic leukemia is approximately double in these children. (The Lancet 1:1350-1352, June 14, 1986) Copyright 1986 Phylis Austin
Folic acid in prenatal vitamin preparations may be unavailable for utilization. The six prescription prenatal vitamin preparations investigated did not release folic acid sufficiently to meet the United States Pharmacopoeial Convention standards. The researchers felt that other preparations not tested performed similarly. (Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association NS37:397-400, 1997) ED- Many are advocating the use of folic acid supplements during pregnancy to reduce birth defects. A vegetarian diet, however, provides a higher blood level of folic acid than most supplements, insuring the most favorable nutrient balance for pregnancy. Copyright Phylis Austin
Infants of mothers who smoked during pregnancy show higher rates of hyperactivity, shorter attention spans, and lower scores on reading and spelling tests than did children whose mothers did not smoke during the pregnancy. (Obstetrics and Gynecology 64(5)601-607, November 1984)
Copyright 1985 Phylis Austin
Mothers who use alcohol or smoke during their pregnancy or after the birth of their child, may be increasing their child’s risk of suffering febrile seizures (seizures which develop during a fever). Febrile seizures are most common between six months and five years of age, with the greatest incidence from six months to three years of age. It has been estimated that from two to five percent of children suffer at least one seizure before they reach the age of five years. A study from the Department of Epidemiology at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, at the University of Washington in Seattle, reveals that the use of alcohol by the mother during pregnancy and cigarette smoking both increased the risk of febrile seizures. (American Journal of Epidemiology 132:462-473, 1990) Copyright 1990 Phylis Austin
Pregnant women who consume more than two alcoholic beverages per day have about a 3-fold risk of early delivery. Women who smoke ten or more cigarettes daily are also more likely to deliver a preterm infant. Women in this Yale University study who delivered early were also likely to have consumed four or more cups of tea per day. (Early Human Development 7:239-250, 1982) Early delivery places an infant at a disadvantage, and sometimes initiates lifelong health problems.
Copyright 1982 Phylis Austin