SMART LIVING: Saving new moms and their babies

Doctors are working to reverse a disturbing pregnancy trend in the United States.
Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 3:42 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2023 at 6:50 PM CST
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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (IVANHOE NEWSWIRE) - Doctors are working to reverse a disturbing pregnancy trend in the United States.

A new national study of women between the ages of 18 and 44 shows that pregnancy complications are up by 16% in four years.

“We’re seeing more complications because more and more women are having issues with high blood pressure, with diabetes, with obesity,” said Dr. Sean Daneshmand, a perinatologist at Scripps Clinic. “The time when you can make the most amount of impact on a pregnancy is during the preconception period.”

An emerging field of study called epigenetics looks at how a woman’s environment and behavior can impact her pregnancy and the baby after birth.

“One of the things that I always tell patients is when you have no control over your DNA, what you are in control of is your environment,” said Daneshmand.

Getting enough sleep, exercising every day, focusing on nutrition, and managing stress can impact your child’s entire life.

A recent study published in the journal Jama Pediatrics suggests that a mother’s anxiety from conception through the baby’s first year of life can cause deficits in cognitive, language, and motor development.

“These children are at an increased risk for not only psychosocial issues, but also organic diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer,” said Daneshmand.

At Scripps, they’ve created one of the first high-risk pregnancy teams, with a complex care coordinator to help with nutrition, overall health, and mental well-being. A key component is making sure moms are doing emotionally well in the fourth trimester after the baby is born.

“The future of America relies on our women. If you take care of women, we’re going to have that mom translate that to her family, to our community, and eventually, that’s how you’re going to live your best life,” said Daneshmand.

The high-risk pregnancy teams at Scripps also work with community organizations and charities to help expectant moms.

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