I wrote recently about the experience for my wife and me so far during her pregnancy. We’ve been extremely lucky and haven’t had many complications.
Once Saffron got out of the first trimester, food started tasting good again and her nausea subsided. As we’ve gotten closer to her due date, we’ve been going to all our checkups and attended several classes offered by the hospital to get us ready for all the challenges ahead. All of it has been helpful, but I’m finding there is a ton of additional information out there worth knowing, too.
So here’s some current information related to pregnancy I found to be worthwhile.
Artificial sweeteners during pregnancy are linked to childhood obesity.
The problem with artificial sweeteners is that they’re an entirely new concept for our bodies. When we start to digest them, our body thinks they’re real sugar that can be converted into energy. The problem is they can’t, and the mixed signals can cause complications. The sticking point is some people don’t really have any negative side effects, while others do. That’s why the jury is still out on artificial sweeteners in a lot of ways.
However, I did find this recent study to be vitally important. We already know how important it is for pregnant women to properly take care of their bodies. Mom’s health affects baby’s health, but the specifics continue to evolve. Only 50 years ago, plenty of women smoked and drank without restriction for the entire pregnancy. Yes, plenty of those women had healthy babies who turned out just fine, but it still didn’t make what they were doing OK. The goal is always to reduce the risk of complications.
Basically, this study looked at women who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy, a growing problem across the country. It found that children born to women with gestational diabetes who drank at least one artificially sweetened beverage per day during pregnancy were more likely to be overweight or obese at age 7. Women who drank water instead of an artificially sweetened beverage had a significantly lower risk of having children who were obese at age 7.
Why? The researchers think it has to do with amniotic fluid. As the fluid increases, pregnant women have to increase their fluid intake to keep up. Many women, aware of the risk of excess sugar and calories, often opt for artificially sweetened beverages instead of a regular can of Coke. From the more than 91,000 women in Denmark who were involved in this study, women who drank at least one artificially sweetened beverage per day had children who were twice as likely to be obese at age 7. So when you’re pregnant and thirsty, it’s best to stick with water.
Is pregnancy about to be a pre-existing condition again?
I try to keep my health articles free of politics, but there have been serious concerns with the new health care bill currently being discussed by the Senate. Some people are worried that pregnancy is considered a pre-existing condition, but this article does explain that pregnancy isn’t specifically classified as one. So what’s really happening?
Before the Affordable Care Act, pregnancy was considered a pre-existing condition, and insurers frequently denied coverage because of it. However, under the new bill being considered, pregnancy is not technically considered a pre-existing condition. There are real health risks associated with pregnancy, though, and the new bill will allow insurers to raise rates because of those risks. The real sticking issue here is how much will they be able to raise rates? It’s good that people can’t simply be denied coverage, but if coverage ends up costing $100,000, most people may as well not have coverage since they can’t afford it, anyway.
I bring this up partly to speak to the young people out there who aren’t aware of what’s going on because it doesn’t currently affect them. If you’re 19, pregnancy is the last thing on your mind, but one day, this could affect your life in a big way.
Antibiotic use in early pregnancy may be linked to miscarriage.
The risk is small, but a recent study did find a link between antibiotic use in early pregnancy and an increased risk of miscarriage. Luckily, the most commonly used drugs (penicillin, cephalosporin) weren't associated with that increased risk. Sometimes, however, women are unable to use these drugs for various reasons. So I would say if you're in a situation where antibiotics are necessary for whatever reason, be aware of this information. Let your doctor know your legitimate concerns, and let him or her help you come up with a solution.
No link has been found between pregnancy after breast cancer and recurrence.
Finally, a bit of research with good news: Scientists studied 1,200 women who were breast cancer survivors to see if having a baby increased the risk of recurrence. What they found is those women who became pregnant afterward—even those with estrogen receptor-positive tumors—had no increased cancer recurrence or increased risk of death than those who did not become pregnant.
The women were followed for 10 years, and the sample size was certainly large enough to draw verifiable conclusions. So if you get breast cancer or you're already a breast cancer survivor, pregnancy can absolutely remain an option for you in the future. My hope is this puts at least one women out there at ease.
Jay McKenzie loves soccer, history and feeling great. He's on a quest to eat better and exercise more, and he wants to share his experiences along the way. You can email him at [email protected] with comments or questions. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.