New developments in women’s healthcare n.2
NON-INVASIVE PRENATAL TESTING A REALITY
One of the many concerns an expectant mother has is that her baby may suffer from Down’s syndrome or Trisomy 21. Traditional diagnostic tests such as CVS or amniocentesis carry a risk of miscarriage, so screening tests (Nuchal test, combined test) are currently used to identify women who are at high risk of having a Down’s baby. It has been known for some time that a tiny amount of fetal blood is found in the mother’s blood, so the idea of being able to diagnose a Down’s baby with a blood test on the mother has been predicted for some time. It is now a reality. From 10 weeks gestation a blood test can predict with >99% accuracy whether or not your baby has Down’s syndrome. It would still be advisable to have a booking scan at 12 weeks gestation, as the blood test is only aimed at finding chromosomal problems. Further details can be found at http://www.ariosadx.com.
STRESS, ANTIBODIES AND SPERM COUNTS
Over the last thirty years we have witnessed a significant decline in cheap viagra canada the quality and quantity of sperm that men produce. A recent study suggests a man’s ability to produce sperm may depend on his ability to handle stress. http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282%2813%2900141-6/abstract. Men with higher levels of both short- and long-term stress and anxiety produced less semen and had lower sperm concentration and counts. Men with the highest anxiety levels were also more likely to have sperm that were deformed or less mobile. More bad news for men is that a chemical commonly released from food packaging can lower sperm quality. The authors found that high levels of the hormone disruptor Bisphenol A (BPA) led to decreased sperm concentrations and motility. Phthalates, chemicals used in making plastic bottles, have been known for some time to affect sperm counts http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12859026
Healthy living, alcohol in moderation and regular sex are the best ways to maintain a good sperm count.
AVOID SSRIs IN PREGNANCY
Prenatal exposure to serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI) antidepressants, e.g. Prozac, Citalopram, Sertraline has been associated with delays in early developmental milestones. A recent study in the journal Early Human Development has produced more evidence: Infants prenatally exposed to SRIs score significantly lower on the gross motor, social-emotional and adaptive behavior subscales of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (BSID), and this was not explained by underlying maternal depression. Wherever possible women should try and stop taking these medications prior to trying to conceive.