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Inducing labor at full term: What makes sense?

Published November 15, 2018

A large study of first-time mothers compared inducing labor with waiting for labor to begin. Under certain circumstances, it found inducing labor may be safer for some women. A pregnant woman considering induction should discuss the option with her doctors and providers.

The real link between breastfeeding and preventing obesity

Published October 16, 2018

Research into the connection between breastfeeding and obesity in children found that babies who got milk directly from the mother’s breast for the first three months of life had the lowest risk of becoming obese, because they are less likely to overfeed.

Predicting heart disease: The sex factor

Updated September 1, 2018

Several sex-specific issues may foretell a higher risk of cardiovascular problems in women and men.


 Image: © bowdenimages/Getty Images

You probably know the key health indicators that pose a danger to your heart, such as high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure. But many people are not aware of the sex-specific conditions that may serve as early warning signals for heart disease.

For women, these include problems that sometimes occur during pregnancy, as well as other diseases that are more prevalent in females (see "Female-focused cardiac risks"). For men, it's a relatively common problem that's less commonly discussed: erectile dysfunction.

Baby’s early arrival may hint at future heart problems for mom

Updated February 15, 2021

Preterm birth joins other pregnancy-related conditions as potential heart risk factors.


 Image: © metinkiyak/Getty Images

Preterm birth has long been known to bring health risks for the baby, but it may also bring risks for the mother. A study in the June issue of Hypertension shows that women who gave birth to a baby before 37 weeks of pregnancy were more likely to experience rising blood pressures later on compared to women who delivered closer to term. If they had this pattern, they were also more likely to show signs of coronary artery disease, which is associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

Because of the unique demands that pregnancy places on a woman's body, it may serve as a stress test for the female heart, says Dr. JoAnn E. Manson, the Michael and Lee Bell Professor of Women's Health at Harvard Medical School. In the May issue, we talked about how other pregnancy-related conditions — gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia (a type of pregnancy-induced high blood pressure), and other pregnancy-related hypertensive disorders — can raise a woman's risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Preterm birth should now join that list, says Dr. Manson.

Hidden risk factors that could put your heart in danger

Updated May 1, 2018

Pregnancy-related conditions in your past may predict heart disease in your future.

Even if your childbearing years are well behind you, conditions that you had during your pregnancy could influence your cardiovascular health today.

Women who had gestational diabetes (a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy) or pre-eclampsia (a pregnancy condition marked by high blood pressure and protein loss in the urine) are at higher risk for future cardiovascular problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke, says Dr. JoAnn E. Manson, chief of the division of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Michael and Lee Bell Professor of Women's Health at Harvard Medical School.

Inducing labor: A way to avoid a cesarean?

Published March 7, 2018

A study comparing the health of babies delivered by induced labor with those delivered when labor occurred spontaneously also found that the chance of cesarean delivery was lower among the women whose labor was induced.

Study finds weak link between birth control and breast cancer

Updated October 13, 2020

Overall risk is very small, and older women who used hormonal contraceptives many years ago aren't likely to have a higher risk.


 Image: © designer491/Getty Images

Hormonal birth control — whether it comes as pills, injections, a ring, an intrauterine device (IUD), or an implant — may raise your risk of breast cancer, according to a study published Dec. 7, 2017, in The New England Journal of Medicine.

If you're like many women who currently use one of these contraceptive methods, or if you used one for years in the past, should you be worried?

Access to safe, affordable birth control is a maternal health issue

Published January 18, 2018

When a pregnancy puts the life of the mother at risk, access to birth control is essential. As more women are experiencing medical complications from or with pregnancy or after giving birth, the issue is becoming even more important.

Using social media to help parents get vaccine questions answered

Published November 7, 2017

Doctors want their patients to have access to accurate and helpful health information, and today that means online. Researchers found that expectant mothers who used a website that provided information about vaccines were more likely to get their babies vaccinated.

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