Subscribe to Our Weekly Emails for Expectant Parents

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital September 20, 2016

Our new personalized e-newsletters are each timed to your week of pregnancy and your baby’s first months.

Pregnancy is an exciting time and a very special experience in the life of every family. At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, we provide many resources to help you have the healthiest pregnancy possible.

We offer two personalized e-newsletters – one on pregnancy and childbirth and another on breastfeeding – each timed to your week of pregnancy and your baby’s first months.

You can read your weekly e-newsletter on your smart phone, tablet, or computer. The e-newsletters are also available in multiple languages.

Subscribe today to our free e-newsletters or visit www.brighamandwomens.org/baby  to learn about other pregnancy resources. Your partner, family members, and friends can also subscribe to this service and share this exciting time with you.

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Understanding the Risks of Antidepressant Use during Pregnancy

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 20, 2015

New research suggests that antidepressant use in late pregnancy doesn’t significantly increase risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborns.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 13 percent of pregnant women and new mothers may experience depression. Antidepressant medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are an effective treatment for depression. However, their use during late pregnancy has raised concerns, due to questions about the health impact on newborns.

A 2006 study suggested that the use of antidepressants in late pregnancy (after 20 weeks) may increase the risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). PPHN is a condition that typically occurs in term or near-term infants and presents within hours of birth. It can lead to severe respiratory failure requiring intubation and mechanical ventilation.

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Alternative Treatments for Infertility

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 15, 2015

Studies show that acupuncture has a placebo effect in improving pregnancy rates during IVF cycles.

Authors: Elena Yanushpolsky, MD, is an infertility specialist with the Center for Infertility and Reproductive Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). Dr. Yanushpolsky is also the Director of the BWH’s Center for Infertility and Reproductive Surgery at South Shore Hospital in South Weymouth.

When conventional fertility treatments do not result in successful pregnancies, couples suffering from infertility often search for alternative or complementary treatment options. Before considering these complementary treatments, it’s essential that patients have a good understanding of the associated risks and benefits, and overall effectiveness, much as they would with conventional therapies.

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Healthy Pregnancy Tips

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital September 18, 2013

BWH obstetrician Audra Meadows, MD, MPH

Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) obstetrician Audra Meadows, MD, MPH, thinks that birth outcomes in our community could be much better. That’s why she spends much of her time advising women on optimizing their health before, during, and after pregnancy, to prevent low birth weight and other problems.

Here are some tips from Dr. Meadows to help women improve their chances of having a healthy baby.

Eat right

Eating right is particularly important for pregnant women. Your baby needs healthy food, not sugar and fat. Eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, calcium-rich foods, and foods low in saturated fat.

Get your vitamins

Get plenty of folic acid and calcium. You can get these and other necessary vitamins and minerals from food and a standard multivitamin. Spinach, oranges, broccoli, and kidney beans are rich in folic acid. Milk, yogurt, and spinach are packed with calcium. A daily prenatal multivitamin, however, can help ensure you get the right amount. Ask your doctor about taking a daily prenatal vitamin.

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Women’s Sleep Across a Lifetime

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital July 25, 2013

There are things that women of all ages can do to get a good night's sleep.

Today’s post is written by Dr. Sandra Horowitz, a neurologist who specializes in sleep disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Women lead busy lives: we work, have babies, raise families, and take care of our sick and elderly family members. Juggling these numerous roles, combined with hormonal changes due to menarche, menopause, and pregnancy, as well as other health conditions, can affect a woman’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.  Despite these challenges, there are things women of all ages can do to get a good night’s sleep.

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When to See a Fertility Specialist

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 23, 2013

Dr. Elena Yanushpolsky

Today’s post was written by Dr. Elena Yanushpolsky. Dr. Yanushpolsky is an infertility specialist with the Center for Infertility and Reproductive Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and the Director of the BWH Center for Infertility and Reproductive Surgery at South Shore Hospital in South Weymouth. She discusses when its time to see a fertility specialist.

As a couple, you’ve been trying to conceive for several months without success. Should you keep trying or should you consult a fertility specialist? The correct answer is that it depends. Here are some things that can help you determine how soon to see a specialist:

  • Getting Ready:  It’s important for both partners to have a general health evaluation with a primary care doctor before seeking fertility evaluation and treatments. Many illnesses can have an impact on a couple’s fertility.

I also recommend that my patients maximize their chances for conception by using urine ovulation predictor kits which can be purchased over the counter. Other ovulation detection methods, such as basal body temperature measurements and cervical mucous evaluations can be used, though they are less precise than urine ovulation predictor kits.

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Pregnancy and Depression: Planning is Key

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital December 20, 2012

Dr. Laura Miller specializes in helping women with depression who are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant.

An estimated one in ten adults in the United States is impacted by depression. While depression is a condition that is widely treatable, addressing depression during pregnancy can be more complicated. The key, psychiatrists say, is planning ahead.

“Managing depression during pregnancy is similar to managing a heart condition or other chronic illness,” says Dr. Laura Miller, Director of the Women’s Mental Health Service at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital (BWFH). “Planning ahead, prior to conception, is really important.”

As part of pre-conception planning, psychiatrists can help women with a history of depression or other psychiatric disorders to identify risk factors that may increase their symptoms. “Hormonal fluctuations and changes in nutrition, exercise, and sleep can all contribute to depression during and after pregnancy,” says Dr. Miller. “We develop strategies, including behavioral therapies and lifestyle changes, to reduce these risks where possible.”

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Mercury Exposure and Fish Consumption During Pregnancy: A Link to ADHD?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital December 6, 2012

Which fish should pregnant women avoid eating?

With attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) on the rise, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) are on the path to discovering potential exposure or lifestyle factors that increase the risk of ADHD-related behavior. A new study points to a potential role for low levels of mercury exposure by women during pregnancy.

ADHD affects approximately 8-12 percent of children worldwide, yet its causes are not well understood. Now, a study led by BWH’s Susan Korrick, MD, MPH, and Sharon Sagiv, PhD, MPH, formerly of BWH and now at Boston University School of Public Health, links low-level prenatal mercury exposure with a greater risk of ADHD-related behaviors.

Conversely, the study also finds that eating fish during pregnancy can help to reduce the risk of ADHD-related behaviors in children.  This duality is possible because many types of fish have low levels of mercury, so it is possible for a pregnant woman to eat nutritionally beneficial fish without being exposed to too much mercury.

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