Category: Pregnancy Health Interview Study News
Although potential risks to a developing fetus remain largely unknown, doctors are prescribing opioid painkillers to pregnant women in startling numbers. A recent study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology shows a staggering 23 percent of 1.1 million pregnant women enrolled in Medicaid nationally filled an opioid, or narcotic, prescription in 2007—up from 18.5 percent in 2000. That is the largest usage rate of opioid prescriptions among pregnant women to date.
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A new study has found “reassuring” evidence that H1N1 flu vaccine is safe during pregnancy. The national study was launched shortly after the H1N1 outbreak in 2009 and was led by Boston University and UC San Diego in collaboration with the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology.
Researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Boston University, in collaboration with the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), have found evidence of the H1N1 influenza vaccine’s safety during pregnancy. The national study, which was launched shortly after the H1N1 influenza outbreak of 2009, is summarized in two companion papers published online on September 19 in the journal Vaccine.
Women taking prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin, Vicodin and Percocet early in pregnancy are twice as likely to give birth to babies with devastating neural tube defects such as spina bifida, a new study suggests.
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A woman’s use of decongestant medications in the first trimester of pregnancy may raise her child’s risk of certain rare birth defects, according to a small study. Some types of over-the-counter decongestants, including the popular phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine, were individually linked to rare, specific birth defects of the digestive tract, ear, and heart.
Allen A. Mitchell, MD, a professor of public health (epidemiology) and professor of pediatrics at the Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine, recently received the Godfrey P. Oakley, Jr., Award at the annual meeting of the National Birth Defects Prevention Network. Mitchell, who is also the director of Boston University’s Slone Epidemiology Center , was recognized for his significant lifetime contributions to the field of birth defects.
The thalidomide disaster of the early 1960s left thousands of babies with deformed limbs because their mothers innocently took a sleeping pill thought to be safe during pregnancy. In its well-publicized wake, countless pregnant women avoided all medications, fearing that any drug they took could jeopardize their babies’ development.
Researchers from Boston University’s Slone Epidemiology Center, in collaboration with Harvard School of Public Health, have found numerous prescription and over-the-counter drugs and supplements use certain chemicals called phthalates as inactive ingredients in their products.
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Pregnant women today know that using tobacco and drinking alcohol is risky to their fetus, and a majority of them avoid these substances. But researchers at BU’s Slone Epidemiology Center have found that an increasing number of pregnant women are taking both over-the-counter and prescription drugs.
Safety in numbers
When the thalidomide tragedy of the 1960s revolutionized the drug regulatory system in the United States and elsewhere, the only group that did not benefit from the new safety net was the same group devastated by thalidomide’s destructive effects: pregnant women and their babies.
Location is everything
African American women who live in low income neighborhoods have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than do African Americans who live in more advantaged neighborhoods — even if they have high educational levels themselves.
A new national study could give pregnant women more information about which medications are safe to take and which ones could harm their developing babies, and Boston University’s School of Medicine is playing a key role in the research.