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Breast milk can give preemies' hearts a big boost, a groundbreaking study suggests.

"This study … adds to the already known benefits of breast milk for infants born prematurely," said study leader Dr. Afif El-Khuffash, a clinical professor of pediatrics at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) University of Medicine and Health Sciences in Dublin.

He said the findings off...

Mothers are known for drying their little ones' tears, sometimes with a hug, a song or a kiss on a scraped knee.

So, perhaps it isn't a surprise that new research shows the sounds of mom's voice provide comfort and even pain relief to the tiniest ones, premature babies.

Researchers from the University of Geneva in Switzerland found that not only did the sound of a mother talking o...

The health impact of wildfires is already huge, and new research suggests it might also raise a mom-to-be's risk for preterm birth, according to a new study.

Wildfire smoke contains high levels of PM 2.5, the deadliest type of pollution from particles so fine they can embed deep in the lungs and pass into the bloodstream.

"In the future, we expect to see more frequent and intense ex...

Babies born prematurely, even just a couple weeks early, may be at increased risk of autism, a large new study suggests.

It's long been known that autism, a developmental brain disorder, is more common among children who were born preterm -- before the 37th week of pregnancy.

Researchers said the new study, of more than 4 million people, gives a clearer breakdown of the risks associ...

In a sign that the pandemic may have spared pregnant women and their newborns, a new Canadian study suggests there was no increase in preterm births or stillbirths during the first year of the pandemic.

Some studies found preterm birth rates in countries such as the Netherlands, Ireland and the United States fell during the pandemic, while there were increases in stillbirths and variabili...

Extremely premature babies have a much higher risk of cerebral palsy and other neurological conditions than full-term infants, a large Israeli study affirms.

Cerebral palsy -- the name for a group of lifelong conditions that affect movement and coordination -- is the most common cause of severe childhood physical disability and motor impairment. It can also affect sensation, perception, t...

Women who use electronic cigarettes during pregnancy may be at heightened risk of having an underweight or preterm baby, a new study suggests.

The study of more than 79,000 U.S. mothers found that when women regularly used e-cigarettes late in pregnancy, their babies' risk of low birth weight rose.

Of women who "vaped" but did not smoke standard cigarettes, just under 11% had an und...

Postpartum depression strikes fathers of premature babies more often than previously thought, and it can linger longer in fathers than in mothers, a new study finds.

The researchers screened for depression in 431 parents of premature infants in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and identified depression symptoms in 33% of mothers and 17% of fathers.

After the babies were brough...

If you're planning to get pregnant or already "eating for two," sticking to a healthy diet may reduce the risk of several common pregnancy complications, researchers say.

The new study included nearly 1,900 women who completed diet questionnaires at eight to 13 weeks of pregnancy, along with estimates of what they ate in the previous three months.

At 16 to 22 weeks and 24 to 29 week...

In a finding that demonstrates the power of a mother's touch, new research shows that immediate and continuous skin-to-skin contact with mom reduces the risk of death for low-weight newborns in poorer nations.

"The idea of giving skin-to-skin contact immediately after delivery to very small, unstable babies has encountered quite strong resistance, but about 75% of deaths occur before the ...

Boys who weigh less than 2 pounds at birth don't age as well as their normal-weight peers, a long-term study finds.

Canadian researchers have followed a group of extremely low birth weight (ELBW) babies and their normal-weight counterparts since 1977.

When participants were in their early 30s, researchers compared the genes of 45 who were ELBW babies with those of 47 whose birth w...

Women who get pregnant within a year of having weight-loss surgery are more likely to have preterm and smaller-than-normal babies, a new study suggests.

Dutch researchers said their findings support current recommendations to avoid pregnancy for 12 to 24 months after weight-loss (bariatric) surgery.

"We should encourage women who wish to conceive after bariatric surgery to avoid pre...

Being born even slightly premature might still raise a child's risk of developmental problems, a new study finds.

Preemies often have developmental issues, but previous research has tended to focus on those born extremely preterm (22-26 weeks' gestation), so less is known about children born moderately and very preterm (27-34 weeks' gestation). Average full-term gestation time is 39-40 we...

A strong immune response to the virus that causes COVID-19 by the placenta may help explain why infected pregnant women face a higher risk of complications, such as preterm birth and preeclampsia, researchers say.

The Yale University team analyzed blood and placental tissue from 39 women at different stages of pregnancy.

They detected evidence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in two samples ...

The risk of mother-to-newborn transmission of COVID-19 is low, but the illness in pregnant women can trigger preterm birth, researchers say.

The new study looked at 255 babies born in Massachusetts last year to mothers with a recent positive test for COVID-19.

Only about 2% of the 88% of babies who were tested for COVID-19 had a positive result.

But worsening COVID-19 illness ...

Show your baby your love, and you'll get a kinder, gentler adult child as your reward, a new study suggests.

More than 20 years ago, researchers in Israel began studying the impact on newborns of time spent in physical contact with their mothers.

The investigators followed these infants, born in the mid- to late-1990s, for two decades.

Now, their latest results -- based on n...

THURSDAY, April 1, 2021 (HealthDayNews) -- The ripple effect of the COVID-19 scourge has led to more complications among pregnant women worldwide, including an increase in stillbirths, a new study says.

The research review also found higher rates of maternal deaths and depression in the first year of the pandemic.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on health care syst...

Kids born to moms who took a drug widely used to prevent miscarriages in the 1950s and 1960s may be twice as likely to develop cancer in adulthood.

The drug in question, hydroxyprogesterone caproate, also known as OHPC or 17-OHPC, is a man-made version of the hormone progesterone. It is no longer used to reduce the chances of miscarriage, but it's still prescribed to prevent preterm birth...

Even when women do their best to have a safe pregnancy, chemicals commonly found in the home could still raise their risk for premature delivery, a new study shows.

The chemicals -- called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) -- are used as flame retardants in items like furniture and carpets.

For the study, researchers analyzed blood samples from over 3,500 pregnant women, includ...

Being pregnant triggers a lot of feelings. For many, there is joy, expectation and sometimes a little nervousness about what's to come.

Yet not all pregnant women start this journey on the same footing, and for some, such as those who are facing eviction while pregnant, there's a tremendous amount of stress.

That prenatal stress is associated with lower infant birth weight, gestatio...

Researchers who recorded the most detailed images ever made of newborns' lungs as they took their first breaths say the breakthrough could improve treatment of breathing problems in babies.

"Respiratory problems are the most common reason we need to treat babies in intensive care," said researcher David Tingay of Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia.

"This n...

In this pandemic era, moms-to-be understandably worry about the risks COVID-19 might pose to their baby. A new study offers some answers.

Pregnant women with COVID-19 may be more likely to have a preterm birth. But they don't have an increased risk of stillbirth or baby death soon after birth, researchers found.

"The finding that COVID-19 infection does not increase the risk of stil...

Heart disease is likely to remain the world's leading cause of death for years to come, partially due to effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, an American Heart Association report predicts.

Heart disease deaths worldwide rose 17.1% over the past decade, with nearly 18.6 million people dying of heart disease in 2019. There were more than 523.2 million cases of heart disease in 2019 -- up 26.6%...

Exposure to metals may disrupt pregnant women's hormones and boost the odds of complications such as preeclampsia, preterm birth and low birth weight, according to a new study.

Metals such as nickel, arsenic, cobalt and lead have been associated with pregnancy complications, but it's been unclear why.

"A delicate hormonal balance orchestrates pregnancy from conception to delivery an...

Children born prematurely have a higher risk of hospitalization later on than those born at full term, a new study says.

Health problems are common in premature babies, though the risk falls as they grow up. But researchers said it has been unclear when the risk begins to drop or how it's affected by a child's gestational age at birth.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 1 mill...

Giving fewer needle sticks to premature newborns in the intensive care unit may improve growth of a key brain area, a new study suggests.

The thalamus relays sensory data from the body to the rest of the brain, where it registers as pain, touch or temperature.

For the study, researchers compared 86 premature infants who had a catheter placed in their central veins and cen...

There may be a slightly increased risk of autism for each week a child is born before or after 40 weeks of gestation, according to a new study.

Researchers are still trying to pinpoint the causes of autism, but both genetic and environmental factors are believed to play a role.

Some previous studies have suggested that being born before or after full term (40 weeks) may be a...

Mom's breast milk can be altered by antibiotics in ways that might harm an infant's health, according to a new study.

The Canadian researchers were particularly concerned with an increase in bacteria that can be harmful, namely a bacterium called Pseudomonas that can cause a serious intestinal infection called necrotizing enterocolitis in a preterm infant.

About 7%...

Exposure to iodine in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) may increase a baby's risk for loss of thyroid function, a new study suggests.

Iodine solutions are often used as disinfectants on the skin before surgical or other medical procedures. Iodine also is given internally for imaging procedures used in infants, researchers explained.

Investigators found higher blood l...

Over a lifetime, women who've had a preterm delivery have a higher risk of heart disease, new research suggests.

The findings point to the fact that doctors should include a woman's reproductive history in assessments of heart disease risk, according to the researchers.

"Preterm delivery should now be recognized as an independent risk factor for IHD [ischemic heart disease] ...

Here's more bad news associated with climate change: Pregnant women exposed to air pollution or heat waves face a greater risk of having a preterm or underweight baby, a new research review finds.

The review, of 68 studies from across the United States, found that the large majority arrived at the same conclusion: Babies were at greater risk when their mothers lived in areas with poor...

Pregnant women who live near active oil and gas wells may be at risk for having low birth weight infants, a new study suggests.

Researchers analyzed nearly 3 million births to Californians living within six miles of an oil or gas well between 2006 and 2015.

It was found that women living within less than a mile of a well were 40% more likely to have low birth weight in...

Skin-to-skin contact between parents and babies -- often called "kangaroo care" -- provides major benefits to preemies' hearts and brains, Australian researchers say.

They assessed 40 babies born about 10 weeks early with an average weight of 2.9 pounds. Normal birth weight is 6.6 pounds.

One hour a day of kangaroo care significantly improved blood flow to the newborns' brai...

Some pregnant women with COVID-19 do become severely ill, and the risk may be elevated for those who were obese or had conditions like asthma before pregnancy, a new study suggests.

As with all things COVID-19, researchers have had limited information on whether pregnancy puts women at any greater risk of severe illness -- or whether infection complicates pregnancy.

There is...

Even if their first pregnancy results in a full-term baby, women who had complications may be at increased risk of a preterm delivery next time around, researchers say.

Women who deliver full-term babies are generally considered to have a low risk of delivering before 37 weeks in later pregnancies. But it wasn't clear how pregnancy complications or poor outcomes at birth might affect ...

The makeup of bacteria in an expectant mother's vagina may help identify which women are most at risk of giving birth prematurely, a new study suggests.

It also found that pregnant women who deliver early are more likely to have a diverse community of vaginal bacteria.

The findings, based on more than 3,000 samples taken from more than 400 women, were recently published in the j...

Infants can become infected with the new coronavirus, but their bouts with COVID-19 appear to be milder than those of older folks and people with chronic health problems, experts say.

Doctors in China tracked nine babies infected with coronavirus that they apparently picked up from a sick family member, and none of the infants fell deathly ill, according to a report published online r...

Premature infants' immune systems develop at a rate similar to full-term infants, a new study finds.

British researchers tracked immune system development in babies born before 32 weeks, including identifying different immune cell populations and the types of bacteria present in stool samples.

All of the preemies' immune systems progressed similarly as they got older, regard...

The health of both mom and dad are key to a healthy pregnancy and birth, new research finds.

In the study of nearly 786,000 births, researchers found that dads who weren't in the best of health were more likely to have preterm and low birth weight infants who spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

"The study suggests that a father's health before conc...

A daily baby aspirin helped first-time mothers lower their chances of delivering too soon in a new clinical trial, though it's not clear the practice should become routine everywhere.

The trial, which was run in six lower-income countries, found that giving first-time mothers a daily low-dose aspirin reduced their risk of preterm birth by 11%. Their chances of a very early delive...

Low birth weight babies stand a better chance of surviving when their mothers hold them close throughout the day, a new study finds.

This technique is called kangaroo care because it mimics how kangaroos shield their babies in their pouch.

In women, it involves holding the newborn tightly to her body with the help of a scarf or harness, during the first month after birth, i...

Poorly controlled asthma during pregnancy puts mothers and their babies at increased risk for serious complications, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed more than 100,000 pregnancies in more than 58,000 women with asthma in Canada.

Compared to those whose asthma was well-controlled, women who had severe asthma symptoms during pregnancy were 17% more likely to have hi...

Rising temperatures might help trigger premature birth, a new study finds, suggesting that global warming could deliver more "preemie" babies.

Looking at 20 years of data on heat waves and birth timing across the United States, researchers "estimate that an average of 25,000 infants per year were born earlier as a result of heat exposure."

Taken another way, the research sug...

Squeezing the last drops of blood from the umbilical cord has been touted to help preterm babies get more of the nutrients they need, but it may be dangerous, a new study finds.

When umbilical cord blood is forced into the baby's abdomen, the pressure can cause tiny blood vessels in the brain to rupture. This is especially dangerous for the most preterm infants, the researchers said...

The gut microbiome of premature infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) may hinder their future growth, new research shows.

The study included 78 infants who weighed less than 3 pounds at birth. Their stool samples were tested weekly for their first six weeks in the NICU, and the results showed that all of the infants had an extremely abnormal gut microbiome, a condition call...

Having a premature baby can be frightening for parents, but new research delivers a calming finding: Many premature babies end up as healthy adults without major illnesses.

The study of more than 2.5 million children found that more than half of those born prematurely had no major medical concerns in adulthood.

"Preterm birth has been linked with higher long-term risks of s...

Physical and mental stress during pregnancy may influence the baby's sex, and physical stress may increase the risk of preterm birth, a new study suggests.

Researchers assessed 187 healthy pregnant women between 18 and 45 years of age. About 17% were mentally stressed, with high levels of depression, anxiety and perceived stress. Sixteen percent were physically stressed, with high...

Exposure to higher levels of air pollution in a second pregnancy than in a first may increase the risk of preterm birth, a new study says.

U.S. National Institutes of Health researchers analyzed data from more than 50,000 women who gave birth in 20 hospitals in Utah between 2002 and 2010, as well as data on airborne pollutants the women were exposed to during pregnancy.

For ...

Medical advances have enabled some babies who are born extremely early to survive, but they may need ongoing health care, including prolonged use of antibiotics.

Now, a new study finds long-term antibiotic treatment puts preterm infants at risk of developing multidrug-resistant gut bacteria, which could affect their health later in life.

This study looked at 32 very preterm...

Pregnant women with lower concentrations of the trace mineral manganese or higher amounts of the metal cadmium in their blood may be more likely to develop preeclampsia, according to a new study.

Preeclampsia is a leading contributor to illness and death for women during and immediately following pregnancy. There are very few ways to prevent the blood pressure-related condition, whic...