Study: Folate protects babies from high blood pressure

A new article published in the American Journal of Hypertension finds that babies born to mothers with cardiometabolic risk factors were less likely to develop high blood pressure if their mothers had higher levels of folate during pregnancy.

Since the late 1980s, the prevalence of childhood elevated blood pressure has increased in the United States, in particular among African Americans. Childhood high blood pressure can predict higher blood pressure later in life, and people with higher blood pressure are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular, metabolic and kidney disease and stroke.

In the study, researchers analyzed the data from 1,290 mother-child pairs, 67.8% of which were Black and 19.2% of which were Hispanic, recruited at birth and followed up to age 9 from 2003 to 2014 at the Boston Medical Center. Among children born to mothers with any of the risk factors, those whose mothers had folic acid levels above the median had 40% lower odds of elevated childhood systolic blood pressure.

“Our study adds further evidence on the early life origins of high blood pressure,” said Dr. Xiaobin Wang, the study’s senior corresponding author.

Talk to your doctor before starting on folate or any other supplements.

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Mildly low thyroid function OK during pregnancy, study finds

There appears to be no benefit to treating mildly low thyroid function during pregnancy, according to a study by a National Institutes of Health research network.

Markedly low thyroid function, called hypothyroidism, during pregnancy has long been associated with impaired fetal neurological development and increased risk for preterm birth and miscarriage. Similarly, some studies have indicated that even mildly low thyroid function could possibly affect a newborn’s cognitive development and increase the chances for pregnancy and birth complications.

Now, a large, long-term study has found no differences in cognitive functioning among children born to mothers with mildly low hypothyroidism who were treated with medication during pregnancy and children whose mothers were not treated for the condition. The study also found no differences between the groups in rates of preterm birth, stillbirth, miscarriage and gestational diabetes. Similarly, there were no differences in the results of developmental assessments between the two groups of children through age five.

“Our results do not support routine thyroid screening in pregnancy since treatment did not improve maternal or infant outcomes,” said author Uma Reddy, M.D., of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch, whose study appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study involved researchers at 15 centers in the network and more than 97,000 women.

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“The best thing that could have happened to us”

A patient of ours posted these comments recently about “Dr. Z” — Dr. William Ziegler—and our staff:

“Dr. Z and his staff were the best thing that could have happened to us. From the beginning Dr. Z was friendly and understanding when it came to our struggles and needs. He listened and made sure that we were comfortable with every step of the process and never pushed for anything we weren’t comfortable with. The process can be daunting, but him, his PA, nurse and staff all make it much easier. The hardest part was getting released from our office to our regular OB for the duration of the pregnancy. Such a wonderful group!”

Thanks for the kind words. You can read more reviews on our website page.

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Latest podcast: “Can Exercise Affect Fertility?”

Exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are important. However, for women trying to get pregnant, physical activity should be done in moderation. Excessive physical activity can inhibit ovulation and reduce production of progesterone, which are essential in becoming pregnant. Doctors recommend that women who are trying to become pregnant should not exercise more than five hours weekly.

In our latest podcast, Dr. William Ziegler discusses exercise and how it can affect a woman’s fertility and her ability to become pregnant. Listen to the podcast here.

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RSCNJ supports Endometriosis Awareness Month

Every March, the women’s health world joins forces to promote Endometriosis Awareness Month. Endometriosis is a progressive disease in which the endometrial tissue lining the inside of the uterus grows outside the uterus and attaches to other abdominal cavity organs such as the fallopian tubes or ovaries. Symptoms often include abnormal and painful menstrual bleeding, pain during or after sexual intercourse and infertility.

Endometriosis affects over 174 million women worldwide. There is no cure, and it can reoccur after treatment. Reproductive Science Center of New Jersey (RSCNJ) doctors can offer care to minimize pain and achieve pregnancy. Our physicians will determine the best treatment plan, which may include medication, surgery or both, for you.

You can learn more at our endometriosis web page. Also feel free to contact us onlinerequest an appointment or call us at any of our three locations.

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More great reviews from our patients

Our patients are our best advertising, and we’d like to share some recent thought about us.

“Had a wonderful experience with Dr. Ziegler, Hina, and the nursing staff. They were all professional, caring, and I would highly recommend this practice to anyone.”

“I was very nervous about this appointment, however the staff made me feel so comfortable and put my worries at ease.”

These two new reviews, and many more like them, can be found on our website. Please take a look.

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New fathers are also at risk of depression

A new study shows that, just as with mothers, expectant and new fathers are at increased risk for depression, especially those who are in poor health or have high levels of stress. “It is important to recognize and treat symptoms among fathers early and the first step in doing that is arguably increasing awareness,” said Lisa Underwood, lead researcher from the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

The researchers studied more than 3,500 men, who were interviewed while their partner was in the third trimester of her pregnancy and again nine months after the birth of their child. Depression symptoms were reported by 2.3 percent of the men during their partner’s pregnancy and by 4.3 percent of the men nine months after their child was born. Men who felt stressed or who were in relatively poor physical health were more prone to elevated depression symptoms, the findings showed.

The study was published online in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

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Weight gain after pregnancy may be due to being a busy mother

Having trouble losing that pregnancy weight? It might be due to the demands of being a new mother.

A study published recently in the journal Women’s Health Issues found that, by one or two years after birth, women who had children gained similar amounts of weight to those who did not give birth. But after that, women with children gained weight at a faster rate than women without kids.

Lead researcher Olga Yakusheva, an associate professor of nursing at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, said that, “Mothers tend to put the needs of their children first, so they might not be exercising or taking care of themselves. It might also be little things like finishing the food on their child’s plate or spending more time sitting with their kids reading or watching a movie.”

Researchers looked at the hospital records of more than 32,000 women who had delivered from one to four children in Wisconsin from 2006 through 2013. They looked at their weight patterns and calculated what those patterns would be if the women had not given birth. They discovered that, “1.94 pounds was the annual weight gain in our analysis of the women who had not given birth, and 2.89 [pounds] was the annual weight gain in women who had children,” she said. “But it doesn’t seem to be pregnancy-related as much as they gain weight faster [than childless women] after the baby is born,” she added, due to lifestyle changes related to parenthood.

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Raise knowledge during Endometriosis Awareness Month

Endometriosis is a disease in which tissue, similar to the lining of the uterus, grows in other areas of the body, mainly in the abdominal cavity. The tissue is linked to the woman’s hormonal cycle, but it remains within the body and causes adhesions (scar tissue), lesions and blood-filled cysts. Endometriosis is a leading cause of infertility in women.

Each year, Endometriosis Awareness Month aims to raise awareness about this hidden and often unrecognized condition. This year, help us raise awareness. Learn how you can help by clicking here.

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Low-dose aspirin may prevent recurrent miscarriage: Study

A study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism has found that taking a daily low-dose aspirin could help prevent a recurrence of miscarriage. The treatment appears to help boost live births in women with high levels of inflammation who previously lost a pregnancy, according to a research team from the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

The researcher team tracked more than 1,200 women, aged 18 to 40, with a prior pregnancy loss. They tested women’s blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a substance in the blood that indicates inflammation. The women were randomly assigned to receive either daily low-dose aspirin (81 milligrams) or a placebo.

Women with low or medium blood levels of CRP showed no significant difference in birth rates, but women in the high-CRP group did: the live-birth rate was 44 percent among women who only took the placebo, but 59 percent among those who took the daily aspirin.

Further research is needed to confirm the findings and to learn more about how inflammation affects getting pregnant and maintaining a pregnancy, the researchers said.

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