Smoking when pregnant may harm your child’s brain: evidence from MRI scans

Smoking in pregnancy

There is an abundance of observational evidence that smoking during pregnancy is harmful to the unborn child. Previous studies have seen an association between prenatal smoking and a range of behavioural and psychiatric problems in childhood and beyond.  A new cohort study used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the brains of children whose mothers [read the full story…]

Is morning or evening induction of labour safer?

So it’s been 40 long weeks, your due date is here and you’re ready to pop! Your birth plan was written weeks ago, your bag is packed and you’re on high alert waiting excitedly for that first important twinge. The bad news is you may still be waiting up to two weeks later!  In the [read the full story…]

Perineal massage cuts risk of needing stitches after giving birth

woman cuddling her new baby

Listen up all you pregnant women out there, for I have good news for you today. Unless you are about to give birth any day now, that is, in which case best of luck with that! When I was pregnant, more than a decade ago, it was all yoga and perineal massage in my bit [read the full story…]

Department of Health’s new Start4Life pack to help mums-to-be stop smoking

Smoking in pregnancy

Smoking in pregnancy increases the risk of serious health problems, including lower birth weight, pre-term birth, problems with the placenta and even death of the baby. It is also one of the few risk factors that can be changed. The Department of Health has published a report about women’s smoking status at time of delivery, [read the full story…]

Antenatal exercise helps reduce weight gain in pregnant overweight or obese women

When I think back to my younger elf, I can see it now; the moment I found out I was pregnant. Flopping down onto the nearest toadstool and hanging up my running shoes, “Yay! I can eat what I like, when I like. All. The. Time.” That was wishful thinking! Weight gain during pregnancy is [read the full story…]

Exercise for preventing gestational diabetes: review finds not enough evidence to guide practice

Here at Lifestyle Elf HQ, several new pieces of research relating to pregnancy have come my way. Last week I looked at the new Cochrane review on iron supplements for pregnant women; coming up are two reviews on exercise in pregnancy. The first is another new Cochrane review, which set out to assess the effects of [read the full story…]

Less is more according to a new review on iron supplementation in pregnancy

Today I’ve got together with my friend the Women’s Elf, who plans to move into the woodland in the not too distant future. We were both interested to see a new Cochrane review on the benefits and harms of intermittent iron in pregnancy, published today in the Cochrane Library, which suggests that taking iron supplements [read the full story…]

Can nicotine patches help pregnant women stop smoking?

Smoking in pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirth and low birthweight. In Glasgow, where one in four pregnant women smoke, researchers have begun recruiting pregnant smokers to a trial to explore whether financial incentives help them to stop. Meanwhile, a large randomised controlled trial, conducted by researchers at the UK Centre for Tobacco [read the full story…]

Chief Medical Officer highlights dangers of Vitamin D deficiency

If you think rickets is a thing of the past, think again. A condition caused by lack of vitamin D, affecting growing bones, rickets was widespread in 19th century Britain amongst the urban poor but died out in the early part of the last century. It is now appearing again, with several hundred cases of [read the full story…]