Friday, May 29, 2009

Low vitamin D tied to infection during pregnancy

Pregnant women who are deficient in vitamin D may be at increased risk for developing bacterial vaginosis, a vaginal infection that may have harmful effects on the pregnancy, according to a report in The Journal of Nutrition.

Bacterial vaginosis is caused by an imbalance of the bacteria normally found in a woman's vagina, which is upset by an overgrowth of bacteria not usually present. It is the most common vaginal infection in women of child-bearing age. Symptoms include discharge, odor, pain, itching and burning.

When present during pregnancy, bacterial vaginosis is known to increase the chances of preterm delivery.

Dr. Lisa M. Bodnar from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Pennsylvania, and colleagues examined the association between vitamin D status and bacterial vaginosis in the first trimester of pregnancy in 469 women.

The team found that 41 percent of the women had bacterial vaginosis, and 52 percent had low levels of vitamin D. Further analysis showed that vitamin D levels were lower in women with bacterial vaginosis than in those without the infection.

The researchers found that low vitamin D levels were linked to bacterial vaginosis in black women, but not in white women. However, this may simply be because relatively few white women were included in the study.

"Our findings suggest that vitamin D deficiency is associated with bacterial vaginosis at less than 16 weeks of pregnancy," the authors conclude. If the findings are confirmed in other studies, they add, vitamin D deficiency may partially account for the racial differences seen in rates of bacterial vaginosis and in other pregnancy complications.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

New pregnancy guidelines bad news for obese women

Obese women can safely gain just a small amount of weight when pregnant, but doctors need to do more to help women stay slim before they get pregnant, U.S. policy advisers said on Thursday.

Women who are obese should gain about 11 to 20 pounds (5 to 9 kg) while pregnant, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council panel said in new guidelines.

"It had become clear that heavier women could gain less weight and still deliver an infant of good size," the report said.

With two-thirds of the population overweight or obese, the panel said, it is clear that new pregnancy guidelines must be geared toward heavier women. "In our population today, more women of reproductive age are severely obese (8 percent) than are underweight (3 percent) and their short- and long-term health has become a concern, in addition to the size of the infant at birth," the report reads.

Women of healthy weight or who are slightly overweight can gain the standard recommended amounts, said Kathleen Rasmussen, professor of nutrition at Cornell University in New York, who chaired the committee that wrote the report.

Healthy women of normal body mass index or BMI -- a measure of height to weight -- should gain 25 to 35 pounds (11 to 16 kg) during pregnancy, the same as recommended when the guidelines were last updated in 1990.

Overweight women should gain 15 to 25 pounds (6.8 to 11 kg). BMI is accepted globally as a good measure of whether someone is overweight. A 5-foot-6-inch woman weighing between 115 and 154 pounds (52 and 70 kg) has a normal BMI, according to an online calculator at

Women who gain too much weight while pregnant not only risk keeping that weight after they have the baby, but also have higher rates of some pregnancy complications, including high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.

"Preeclampsia is about twice as prevalent among overweight, and about three times as prevalent among obese women, as it is among normal weight women," the report said. This dangerous condition can kill a pregnant woman. The World Health Organization estimates it kills 500,000 babies a year globally.

Overweight and obese women may also endanger the baby by trying to diet while pregnant. "About half of reproductive-aged American women are trying to lose weight, and another one-third of pregnant women may be attempting to maintain their weight," the report reads. "The prevalence of attempted weight loss during pregnancy doubled in the past 20 years."

But, the report said, there is little research into the long-term consequences of gaining too much weight while pregnant and recommended that more such studies be done.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Shannon Miller Expecting First Child, a Boy

Shannon is having a son. “It’s a boy!!!!,” she tweeted yesterday. “We just found out and are so excited.”

Originally posted April 27th: Is there a future balance beamer in the oven? Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller and her husband John Falconetti are expecting their first child together, the mama-to-be announced to viewers during an appearance on Oklahoma’s Channel 4 news. Revealing that her due date is November 5th, Shannon shares that her parents are simply “over the moon” with the upcoming arrival.

Giving birth will be one more accomplishment to add to the 32-year-old’s long list of life’s achievements: As the most decorated gymnast in U.S. history, Shannon is the proud owner of seven Olympic and nine World Championship medals.

Perhaps best known for her performance in the individual all-around in the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona, Shannon went on to win the gold medal for her balance beam routine at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, as well as receiving a team gold as part of the Magnificent Seven.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Gibson confirms partner pregnancy

Actor Mel Gibson has confirmed rumours that he is expecting a child with his Russian girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva.

"This is true," the 53-year-old star told US chat show host Jay Leno on the Monday edition of The Tonight Show. "We're gonna have a child."

Last month Gibson's wife Robyn filed for divorce after 28 years of marriage citing irreconcilable differences.

The actor was subsequently seen at a Hollywood premiere with Grigorieva, a 39-year-old musician, on his arm.

Pressed by Leno, Gibson described the situation as "unfortunate" and that Robyn, with whom he has seven children, was "an admirable woman".

"Our marriage ended three years ago and we've been separated ever since then," he is quoted as saying.

"When it's all said and done, I did a pretty good hatchet job on my marriage myself," he added.

"I'm to blame. If you're inclined to judge, put it here."

Remarking that the child he is currently expecting would be his eighth, the star jokingly referred to himself as "Octo-Mel" - a play on so-called "Octo-Mom" Nadya Suleman.