One in ten women report having had sex against their will

woman lying down

This is the stark headline of the latest British National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (NATSAL). It’s the first time this regular ten-year survey, now in its third cycle, has looked at non-volitional sex. They also report a huge range of data about the prevalence of sexual activities and attitudes.  So the Lifestyle Elf [read the full story…]

Passive smoking increases the risk of bacterial meningitis in children

NICE’s Eyes on Evidence newsletter reports on a meta-analysis of observational studies looking at the incidence of bacterial meningococcal disease in relation to exposure to passive smoking. Bacterial meningitis is rare, which makes it hard to study.  There are only 2 to 6 cases per 100,000 people in the UK every year, with a mortality [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…]

Cochrane review finds inhaled pain relief may benefit women in labour but can have side effects

I’m ending the week with another blog for all you expectant mums out there and this time I’m looking at a subject all of you will be interested in – pain relief (analgesia) during labour, and specifically inhaled analgesia. Inhaled analgesia, such as nitrous oxide and some flurane derivatives, can be very useful in labour, [read the full story…]

Does keeping mums and newborns together promote breastfeeding?

What effect does allowing mums and their newborns to stay together 24 hours a day, or separating them for periods of time, have on breastfeeding? The practice of rooming-in, as keeping mothers and infants together has been termed, is recommended in the WHO/UNICEF’s Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. On Monday I looked at another of the recommendations, on [read the full story…]

Cochrane review finds pacifier use has little effect on breastfeeding by motivated mums

Ask people whether its a good idea to give a baby a dummy or pacifier and you may hear some strong opinions, both for and against. For new mums, its another thing to make a choice about. For breastfeeding infants, their use is somewhat controversial. It has been suggested that babies may develop a preference for the artificial [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…]