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High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy Tied to Future Heart Risks

FRIDAY, Nov. 15, 2019 — Pregnancy-related high blood pressure puts women at higher risk of heart disease later on, new research suggests.

In the study, researchers analyzed an average of seven years of follow-up data on more than 220,000 women in the United Kingdom. Those who had gestational high blood pressure or preeclampsia in at least one pregnancy had stiffer arteries, and two to five times the rate of chronic high blood pressure later on, the findings showed.

These women were more likely to develop heart problems, including coronary artery disease, heart failure and valve disease, according to the report published online Nov. 11 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Up to half the risk was driven by chronic high blood pressure, the investigators found. That “implies that treating high blood pressure may be especially important in this population,” said study lead author Dr. Michael Honigberg. He’s a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Future research could assess new ways of treating high blood pressure (“hypertension”) or simply treating it more aggressively in women who have had it at least once during pregnancy, Honigberg suggested.

“Research over the past decade has shown there are sex-specific risk factors for cardiovascular disease among women,” Honigberg said in a hospital news release. “But there were still some significant gaps in our understanding of those risks, and one gap is whether the elevated risk persists long-term after a hypertensive pregnancy, or whether other women ‘catch up’ as cardiovascular risk increases with age in the population overall.”

Doctors are still figuring out how to predict and prevent high blood pressure problems during pregnancy, he noted. “But what we can do is look ahead and try to mitigate the risk of these women developing cardiovascular disease later in life,” Honigberg said.

That includes heart-healthy lifestyle changes such as exercise, eating a healthy diet, not smoking and controlling weight. Some women may also benefit from medication, he explained.

“You’d be shocked at how few physicians who aren’t obstetrician/gynecologists — including cardiologists — ask their female patients if they’ve had a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy,” Honigberg said. “This research really underscores the importance of clinicians asking about this history, and of women sharing it.”

More information

The U.S. Office on Women’s Health has more about heart disease.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: November 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Ask a Stoner: Do Dabs Carry the Same Risks as Vaping?

Dear Stoner: Is the wax and shatter sold at dispensaries made of the same stuff in vapes? I’m worried that dabbing will get me sick.
Jimmy D.

Dear Jimmy: It can be, but in this case that’s probably not a bad thing. There are THC vaping cartridges filled only with cannabis oil, whether it’s purified distillate, live resin or CO2-extracted oil. Most extractors slightly heat the concentrate to make it thinner for combustion, but it’s essentially the same stuff that you’re dabbing. And none of those products have yet been linked to vaping-related illnesses.

Dean Ween's Honey Pot Lounge is open and ready for dabbing.

Dean Ween’s Honey Pot Lounge is open and ready for dabbing.

Jacqueline Collins

The vast majority of hospital visits and deaths related to vaping have been linked to black-market products, which have been found to contain potentially harmful chemical additives and traces of pesticides. However, some of the vaping illnesses have been connected to additives in products sold in legal, regulated cannabis markets. Those additives are used to make hash more combustible for vaping, though, and aren’t used in the production of the hash you’re dabbing.

Still, just because there’s no vape liquid doesn’t mean the concentrate itself is necessarily safe, as hash extracted from moldy or pesticide-laden cannabis is even more toxic than the plants themselves.

Send questions to marijuana@westword.com.


Toke of the Town

Shaving ‘Down There’ Won’t Raise STD Risks: Study

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 4, 2019 — Women who shave or wax their pubic hair aren’t more likely to get chlamydia or gonorrhea, according to new research that challenges studies suggesting that so-called extreme grooming increases the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

The study included 214 women who visited an on-campus location at Ohio State University (OSU) for STD testing.

The women completed a questionnaire about their sexual and grooming behaviors. Nearly all (98%) said they had done some grooming, and between 18% and 54% were extreme groomers, meaning they removed all pubic hair at least weekly during the past year, or at least six times in the past month.

About 10% tested positive for an STD, but there was no association between extreme grooming and the risk of chlamydia or gonorrhea, according to the study published Sept. 4 in the journal PLOS One.

Unlike other studies, this one relied on laboratory-confirmed STD diagnoses, the OSU researchers noted.

“Previous research asked participants if they’d ever had a sexually transmitted infection, but didn’t measure whether they had one at the time of survey. That makes connecting any current grooming habits to STDs difficult,” lead author Jamie Luster said in a university news release. Luster is a former graduate student in public health at Ohio State.

This research also accounted for other factors associated with STD risk, including sexual frequency, income, race and age, noted Maria Gallo, associate professor of epidemiology and Luster’s adviser on the study.

“Particularly concerning is that previous work didn’t adjust for sexual frequency. It could be that women who were having more sex with more people — and were therefore more likely to contract infections — were more likely to be grooming,” Gallo said in the news release.

The study finding wasn’t a surprise because there’s no obvious biological reason to believe that shaving or waxing pubic hair would increase the risk of chlamydia or gonorrhea, said Luster, who is now a researcher at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

About 2.86 million new cases of chlamydia and 820,000 of gonorrhea occur in the United States each year, many in teens and young adults, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

To protect against STDs, the CDC recommends sexually active people stay in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an STD-free partner and use latex condoms consistently and properly.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on STD prevention.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: September 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

For NFL Players, Career Length, Role Affect Future Health Risks: Study

FRIDAY, Aug. 30, 2019 — Pro football players who had long careers at key positions are more likely to have concussion-related problems such as confusion, memory loss, depression and anxiety, a new study finds.

In a survey of nearly 3,500 former NFL players (average age 53), 1 in 8 (12%) reported serious cognitive problems. That compares to about 2% of the general U.S. population.

Age didn’t appear to be a factor. Former players younger than 52 had a rate (13%) of problems similar to that of other ex-players.

Even those 45 and younger had an increased risk. In fact, 30% of those 45 and younger who suffered the most serious concussions had severe problems with thinking and mental health, the study found.

Those who played 10 or more seasons were twice as likely to have severe problems than those who played just one season (12.6% versus 5.8%). The risk rose with each season played, and every five seasons of play was associated with a nearly 20% increase in risk.

Kickers, punters and quarterbacks had the fewest concussion symptoms per season, followed by wide receivers, defensive backs, linemen and tight ends. Running backs, linebackers and special teams players had the most.

The risk of serious problems was twice as high among former players with the most concussion symptoms (15%) than in those with the fewest (6%).

Those with the most concussions also had sharply higher rates of depression and anxiety (25% and 27%, respectively) than those with the fewest concussions (15% and 16%).

Compared to former players with the fewest concussion symptoms, those with a mid-range number of symptoms had a 75% higher risk of cognitive problems and a 40% higher risk of depression and anxiety.

About 1 in 4 former players reported anxiety (26%) or depression (24%), and nearly 1 in 5 (18%) reported both.

Career length was also associated with depression risk, with a 9% increase for every five seasons played. The number of seasons played was not linked with increased risk of anxiety.

Unlike previous studies, the Harvard University researchers did not find a link between starting football at a young age and problems with thinking and memory in adulthood.

The study — published Aug. 30 in The American Journal of Sports Medicine — was supported by the National Football League Players Association. It is part of Harvard’s ongoing Football Players Health Study.

“Our findings confirm what some have suspected — a consistently and persistently elevated risk for men who play longer and who play in certain positions,” said lead investigator Andrea Roberts, a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“Our results underscore the importance of preventing concussions, vigilant monitoring of those who suffer them and finding new ways to mitigate the damage from head injury,” she added in a university news release.

Ross Zafonte, head of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School, is principal investigator on the Football Players Health Study.

“Clearly, not everyone who sustains a concussion is destined for cognitive trouble,” he said in the news release, “But the results of the research highlight just how critical it is to continue to find ways to prevent head injuries from occurring in the first place because of the many downstream and long-lasting effects on physical, cognitive and mental health.”

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on concussion.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: August 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Heartburn Drugs Again Tied to Fatal Risks

THURSDAY, June 6, 2019 — People who use common heartburn drugs for months to years may face heightened risks of dying from heart disease, kidney failure or stomach cancer, a new study suggests.

The study included more than 200,000 U.S. veterans. It’s the latest to raise concerns over drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). They include prescription and over-the-counter drugs like Prilosec (omeprazole), Prevacid (lansoprazole) and Nexium (esomeprazole). And they rank among the top-selling medications in the United States.

Research in recent years has linked prolonged PPI use to increased risks of various diseases and premature death.

These latest findings point to the specific causes of death tied to the drugs, said lead researcher Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly.

He stressed that the excess risks were relatively small. For example, over 10 years, 13% of PPI users died of a cardiovascular condition, including heart disease or stroke. That compared with just over 11% of people who used H2 blockers, another class of heartburn drug.

When the researchers weighed other factors — such as patients’ age and chronic health conditions — PPI use was tied to a roughly 18% higher risk of cardiovascular death.

However, based on patients’ medical records, many of those with PPI prescriptions had no documented need for one.

“That’s unsettling,” said Al-Aly, an assistant professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

“It suggests a lot of people were using a PPI without actually needing one,” he said. “They could be taking a risk without deriving any benefit.”

But an expert not involved in the study said it’s unclear whether PPIs, themselves, are responsible for the higher death rates.

Dr. Lawrence Kim is a member of the American Gastroenterological Association’s governing board. He said the current study, like others before it, is “observational” — that is, it used medical records to track patients’ outcomes.

Those types of studies cannot prove cause and effect, Kim said. There may be other explanations for the higher risks seen among PPI users.

In 2017, Kim said, the gastroenterological association published a review of the research into the issue.

“The report concluded that the evidence supporting all of these risks was low- to very-low quality,” he said. “Therefore, there’s insufficient evidence to conclude that these adverse outcomes are likely to be an effect of the PPI therapy.”

PPIs work by blocking the enzyme system that creates stomach acid. They are commonly prescribed for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), where stomach acid chronically escapes into the esophagus (the tube connecting the mouth and stomach).

Many people with GERD can take a PPI for just a short time, Al-Aly said. That allows damaged tissue in the esophagus to heal. Then patients can switch to a different treatment, like an H2 blocker. Those medications include drugs such as Tagamet (cimetidine), Pepcid (famotidine) and Zantac (ranitidine).

“Most people don’t need to be on a PPI for months or years,” Al-Aly said.

In this study, the risks linked to PPIs rose with prolonged use. The odds of death over 10 years were 63% to 71% higher among patients who’d used the drugs for at least a year, versus those who’d used them for a few months.

However, some GERD patients do need long-term PPI treatment, Al-Aly and Kim said. That includes people with recurrent stomach ulcers or Barrett’s esophagus — serious damage to the esophageal lining that can raise the risk of cancer.

Before you start a PPI, Al-Aly said, be sure you actually need one. The drugs are available over the counter, but they should not be used for more than a couple weeks without talking to a doctor, he said.

If you’ve used a PPI for a long time, Kim said, talk to your doctor about whether you need to continue.

According to the study, more than 15 million Americans have PPI prescriptions. And millions more buy them over the counter without a doctor’s knowledge.

The findings were published recently in the journal BMJ. The veterans in the study — mostly older men — started on a PPI or H2 blocker between 2002 and 2004.

Over the next 10 years, 38% of PPI users died, as did nearly 36% of those on H2 blockers.

If PPIs contribute to deaths, it’s unclear why. According to Al-Aly, lab research has hinted the drugs may cause dysfunction in the lining of the blood vessels, or disrupt the gut’s immune function and normal bacterial makeup.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more on treating GERD.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: June 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

LED Blue Light Poses Eye, Sleep Risks: Report

May 17, 2019 — The blue light in LED lighting used in many consumer products may harm your sleep and pose a risk to your eyes, a new report warns.

Specifically, there is new evidence that this type of light can disturb biological and sleep rhythms and damage the eye‘s retina, according to the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety.

Products with LEDs that produce blue light include the newest flashlights, car headlights and some toys, CNN reported.

The maximum limit on short-term exposure to blue light should be reduced, only low-risk LED devices should be available to consumers, and the luminosity of car headlights should be reduced, the French agency recommended.

It also said that eye protection provided by “anti-blue light” screens, filters and sunglasses varies, and there is no proof that those help preserve sleep rhythms, CNN reported.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

Study: Low-Dose Aspirin’s Risks Outweigh Benefits

By Amy Norton

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, May 14, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Let’s say you’re one of the millions of older adults who takes a low-dose aspirin religiously, in the belief that it will guard against heart disease and heart attacks.

Now, a new review suggests your risk of a brain bleed outweighs any heart benefit that a daily aspirin might bring you.

Researchers said the findings support a recent change to guidelines on low-dose aspirin: The blood thinner should now be reserved for people at high risk of heart attack or stroke.

Others can skip it.

The change was issued in March by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA). The groups said that while the bleeding risk with aspirin has always been known, it now appears the risk is not worth it for most people.

Instead, the average person should focus on controlling their blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and not smoking.

“All of those things are more important than taking low-dose aspirin in preventing future heart attacks and strokes,” said Dr. Meng Lee, one of the authors of the new report.

“Our findings do support the latest change to the ACC/AHA guidelines,” said Lee, of Chang Gung University College of Medicine, in Taiwan.

For the study, the investigators pooled the results from 13 clinical trials testing low-dose aspirin in older adults with no history of heart problems or stroke. On average, aspirin raised the risk of bleeding in or around the brain by 37%, the findings showed.

The risk was still small: The researchers estimate that a daily aspirin would cause an additional two brain bleeds for every 1,000 people.

But for people at lower risk of heart attack or stroke, that’s a chance they probably should not take, according to the new guidelines.

And, based on two trials, people of Asian ethnicity might be at particular risk of brain bleeding. Patients in those studies saw their risk rise by 84%.

It’s not clear why, according to Lee — but other studies have found the same pattern.

Continued

The latest finding was published online May 13 in JAMA Neurology.

If it has long been known that aspirin carries a bleeding risk, why is the advice changing now?

Research in recent years has shown that the balance of risks versus benefits has changed, explained Dr. Eugene Yang, a member of the ACC’s Prevention Section and Leadership Council.

Earlier studies did suggest that the bleeding risks with aspirin were generally outweighed by its ability to curb the odds of a first-time heart attack and stroke.

But things are different today, Yang explained. People are smoking less and there have been improvements in controlling high blood pressure and cholesterol. That means for lower-risk people, the heart benefit of aspirin has diminished — making the bleeding risk more of a concern.

Yang stressed, however, that the guideline change applies only to people without “overt” cardiovascular disease. For people with a history of heart attack or stroke, or significant narrowing in the arteries supplying the heart, brain or legs, the advice stays the same.

“In those cases, you’re trying to prevent further complications,” said Yang, who is also a clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Washington, in Seattle.

In addition, he pointed out, aspirin is not an absolute “no” for preventing first-time complications, either.

The guidelines say people over age 70 should avoid aspirin if they do not have overt cardiovascular disease. But it may still be considered for certain people ages 40 to 70 who are at heightened risk of cardiovascular complications.

“It’s not a simple, black-and-white decision,” Yang said.

If you are currently taking aspirin and wondering if you should stop, talk to your doctor first, Yang advised.

“There could be other reasons it was prescribed, such as lowering the risk of colon cancer or to prevent blood clots,” he said.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Meng Lee, M.D., Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Puzi, Taiwan; Eugene Yang, M.D., M.S., member, Prevention Section and Leadership Council, American College of Cardiology, and clinical associate professor, medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle; May 13, 2019,JAMA Neurology, online

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

Long Antibiotic Use May Raise Women’s Heart Risks

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, April 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Antibiotics can be lifesaving, but using them over a long period might raise the odds of heart disease and stroke in older women, a new study suggests.

Researchers tracked the health of nearly 36,500 U.S. women over an average follow-up of nearly eight years. During that time, more than a thousand developed heart disease.

The study found that women aged 60 and older who used antibiotics for two months or longer were 32% percent more likely to develop heart disease than those who did not use antibiotics.

Women aged 40 to 59 who took antibiotics for longer than two months had a 28% higher risk than those who did not take the drugs, said a team led by Lu Qi. He directs the Tulane University Obesity Research Center in New Orleans.

Said another way, the results mean that for older women who take antibiotics for two months or more, 6 per 1,000 would go on to develop heart disease, compared with 3 in 1,000 among those who did not take the drugs.

There was no increased risk of heart disease among women aged 20 to 39 who took antibiotics, according to the study published April 24 in the European Heart Journal.

“This is an observational study and so it cannot show that antibiotics cause heart disease and stroke, only that there is a link between them,” Qi said in a journal news release. “It’s possible that women who reported more antibiotic use might be sicker in other ways that we were unable to measure, or there may be other factors that could affect the results that we have not been able take account of.”

However, the researchers did take into account other factors, including age, race, sex, diet and lifestyle, reasons for antibiotic use, overweight or obesity, other diseases and medication use.

The most common reasons for antibiotic use among women in the study were respiratory infections, urinary tract infections and dental problems.

So what could be the link between antibiotics and heart risk?

Continued

One possible reason could lie in the fact that antibiotics do alter the balance of gut microbes, destroying good bacteria and increasing the proportion of viruses, bacteria or other microbes that can cause disease, Qi suggested.

“Antibiotic use is the most critical factor in altering the balance of microorganisms in the gut,” he said, and “previous studies have shown a link between alterations in the microbiotic environment of the gut and inflammation and narrowing of the blood vessels, stroke and heart disease.”

Study first author Yoriko Heianza is a research fellow at Tulane University. She noted that, as the women in the study aged, “they were more likely to need more antibiotics, and sometimes for longer periods of time, which suggests a cumulative effect may be the reason for the stronger link in older age between antibiotic use and cardiovascular disease.”

According to Qi, the take-home message from the new study is that “antibiotics should be used only when they are absolutely needed. Considering the potentially cumulative adverse effects, the shorter time of antibiotic use, the better.”

Dr. Eugenia Gianos directs Women’s Heart Health at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She wasn’t involved in the new research, but said the findings are “interesting and warrant further analysis.”

Gianos agreed that the study couldn’t prove cause and effect. “It is very possible that patients who require antibiotics for an infection have a worse underlying infectious or inflammatory process, and that the systemic effects of these diseases are what cause cardiovascular disease,” she reasoned.

But the interplay between antibiotics, the gut’s “microbiome” and the cardiovascular system could be important as well, Gianos said.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES Eugenia Gianos, M.D., director, Women’s Heart Health, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City:European Heart Journal, news release, April 24, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

Secondhand Smoke Can Raise Fetal Heart Risks

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

SUNDAY, March 24, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Fathers-to-be who expose their pregnant partners to secondhand smoke put their babies at risk of heart defects, researchers warn.

For the new study, investigators in China reviewed 125 studies that included a total of nearly 9 million prospective parents and more than 137,000 babies with congenital heart defects.

All types of parental smoking were linked to an increased risk of these birth defects, the analysis found. Compared to no smoking exposure, the increased risk was 124 percent for women exposed to secondhand smoke while pregnant, 74 percent for men smoking, and 25 percent for women smoking.

“Fathers are a large source of secondhand smoke for pregnant women, which appears to be even more harmful to unborn children than women smoking themselves,” said study author Jiabi Qin of Central South University in Changsha, China.

“Fathers-to-be should quit smoking,” Qin said in a news release from the European Society of Cardiology.

The overall risk with all types of parental smoking was greater when the analysis was restricted to Asian groups, the study authors noted.

Women’s exposure to secondhand smoke was dangerous throughout pregnancy — and even before, according to the report. While those who smoked before getting pregnant had no added risk, those who smoked during pregnancy were more apt to give birth to a child with a heart defect.

Specifically, smoking while pregnant was associated with a 27 percent higher risk for the newborn to have a hole in the wall between the heart’s upper chambers (atrial septal defect), and a 43 percent higher risk of an abnormality in which the smooth flow of blood through the heart is blocked (right ventricular outflow tract obstruction).

Congenital heart defects are the leading cause of stillbirth. These birth defects also affect eight in 1,000 babies born worldwide. Though treatments have improved, the effects last a lifetime.

Qin said women should stop smoking before trying to conceive and should avoid smokers, too. Employers can help by ensuring workplaces are smoke-free.

“Doctors and primary health care professionals need to do more to publicize and educate prospective parents about the potential hazards of smoking for their unborn child,” Qin concluded.

The study was published March 24 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCE:European Society of Cardiology, news release, March 24, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

Waiting to Get Pregnant? Know the Risks

pregnant woman talking to doctor

Today, more first-time moms are in their 30s and 40s, compared with the average age decades ago. But with later pregnancies come extra risks. Once you reach your mid-30s, the odds of premature birth, low birth weight, miscarriage, and birth defects rise. Older moms are also more likely to have pregnancy complications such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Should these risks make women reconsider waiting to get pregnant? Not necessarily. “I just think you need to put more thought into it,” says Leah Lamale-Smith, MD, a perinatologist and assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences in the UCSD Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine in San Diego.

Getting pregnant is more difficult as you age, as infertility becomes an issue more. In your 20s, you have a 25% to 30% chance of conceiving each month. In your 30s, your odds are about 20%. By your 40s, your chances drop to just 5% in any given cycle.

You’re born with all the eggs you’ll have. They not only get depleted over the years, but their quality drops. “Your eggs age with you, so they’re more likely to have errors,” Lamale-Smith says. Errors in chromosomes lead to disorders like Down syndrome, which can happen at any age but are more common in mothers older than 35. Also, hormonal changes after age 35 can trigger the release of more than one egg at the same time during ovulation, raising your chance of having twins or other multiples.

Thirty-five isn’t the magic cut-off point for pregnancy, but it is the age when your risks become worth considering. “It’s not that the risk shoots up, but every year, it gets slightly harder to get pregnant and it gets slightly more dangerous,” Lamale-Smith says. She suggests creating a “reproductive life plan.” Think about how many children you want to have — and when you want to have them. Then you can plan ahead, which could include freezing your eggs if you’re not ready or you don’t have a partner.

Before you start trying, see your obstetrician/gynecologist for a checkup to make sure you’re healthy. Go over your personal and family health history, and discuss shots and screening tests you’ll need.

Waiting to get pregnant does have its upsides — including a more solid financial footing and greater life experience to fall back on. Yet it can be hard on your body, especially if you’re not in great shape to start. “Most older women do very well and have wonderful pregnancies,” Lamale-Smith says. “But you want to plan so you’re as healthy as possible.”

Continued

Ask Your Doctor

How can I make it more likely to have a healthy pregnancy? Before you start trying, lose any extra weight and get chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure under control. Take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid to prevent neural tube birth defects.

What extra tests will I need? Consider carrier screening tests for inherited conditions, like cystic fibrosis and spinal muscular atrophy, and DNA testing for genetic conditions like Down syndrome. You may also need chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis if your baby has a higher risk of birth defects.

Should I see a specialist? See a genetic counselor if conditions like thalassemia or cystic fibrosis run in your family. If you have a severe chronic disease, consider visiting a high-risk pregnancy specialist.

How long should I try to conceive? If you’re older than 35 and you’ve been trying to get pregnant for 6 months or more with no luck, see a fertility specialist.

WebMD Magazine – Feature Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on November 29, 2018

Sources

SOURCES:

CDC: “First Births to Older Women Continue to Rise.”

March of Dimes: “Pregnancy After Age 35.”

Leah Lamale-Smith, MD, perinatologist; assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences, UCSD Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

Better Health Channel: “Age and fertility.”

Mayo Clinic: “Down Syndrome: Symptoms & causes.”

Mayo Clinic: “Pregnancy after 35: Healthy moms, healthy babies.”

March of Dimes: “Prenatal Tests.”

© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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