Items in AFP with MESH term: Pregnancy

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Benefits and Risks of Psychiatric Medications During Pregnancy - Article

ABSTRACT: Traditionally, psychiatric medications were withheld during pregnancy because of fear of teratogenic and other effects. The emergence of evidence of the safety of most commonly used psychiatric medications, the availability of this information in the form of online databases, and the documentation of the adverse effects of untreated maternal mental illness have all increased the comfort of physicians and patients with respect to the use of psychiatric medications during pregnancy. The tricyclic antidepressants and fluoxetine (Prozac) appear to be free of teratogenic effects, and emerging data support similar safety profiles for the other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. The mood stabilizers appear to be teratogenic. With the exception of the known risk for depression to worsen in the postpartum period, there is little consistent evidence of the effects of pregnancy on the natural history of mental illness. Decisions regarding the use of psychiatric medications should be individualized, and the most important factor is usually the patient's level of functioning in the past when she was not taking medications.


Epilepsy in Women - Article

ABSTRACT: Epilepsy in women raises special reproductive and general health concerns. Seizure frequency and severity may change at puberty, over the menstrual cycle, with pregnancy, and at menopause. Estrogen is known to increase the risk of seizures, while progesterone has an inhibitory effect. Many antiepileptic drugs induce liver enzymes and decrease oral contraceptive efficacy. Women with epilepsy also have lower fertility rates and are more likely to have anovulatory menstrual cycles, polycystic ovaries, and sexual dysfunction. Irregular menstrual cycles, hirsutism, acne, and obesity should prompt an evaluation for reproductive dysfunction. Children who are born to women with epilepsy are at greater risk of birth defects, in part related to maternal use of antiepileptic drugs. This risk is reduced by using a single antiepileptic drug at the lowest effective dose and by providing preconceptional folic acid supplementation. Breastfeeding is generally thought to be safe for women using antiepileptic medications.


Counseling Issues in Tubal Sterilization - Article

ABSTRACT: Female sterilization is the number one contraceptive choice among women in the United States. Counseling issues include ensuring that the woman understands the permanence of the procedure and knowing the factors that correlate with future regret. The clinician should be aware of the cumulative failure rate of the procedure, which is reported to be about 1.85 percent during a 10-year period. Complications of tubal sterilization include problems with anesthesia, hemorrhage, organ damage, and mortality. Some women who undergo tubal ligation may experience increased sexual satisfaction. While the procedure is commonly performed postpartum, it can be done readily, without relation to recent pregnancy, by laparoscopy or, when available, by minilaparotomy. Surgery should be timed immediately postpartum, or coincide with the first half of the woman's menstrual cycle or during a time period when the woman is using a reliable form of contraception.


Congenital Toxoplasmosis - Article

ABSTRACT: Approximately 85 percent of women of childbearing age in the United States are susceptible to acute infection with the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Transmission of T. gondii to the fetus can result in serious health problems, including mental retardation, seizures, blindness, and death. Some health problems may not become apparent until the second or third decade of life. An estimated 400 to 4,000 cases of congenital toxoplasmosis occur in the United States each year. Serologic tests are used to diagnose acute T. gondii infection in pregnant women. Because false-positive tests occur frequently, serologic diagnosis must be confirmed at a Toxoplasma reference laboratory before treatment with potentially toxic drugs is considered. In many instances, congenital toxoplasmosis can be prevented by educating pregnant women and other women of childbearing age about not ingesting raw or undercooked meat, using measures to avoid cross-contamination of other foods with raw or undercooked meat, and protecting themselves against exposure to cat litter or contaminated soil.


Methods for Cervical Ripening and Induction of Labor - Article

ABSTRACT: Induction of labor is common in obstetric practice. According to the most current studies, the rate varies from 9.5 to 33.7 percent of all pregnancies annually. In the absence of a ripe or favorable cervix, a successful vaginal birth is less likely. Therefore, cervical ripening or preparedness for induction should be assessed before a regimen is selected. Assessment is accomplished by calculating a Bishop score. When the Bishop score is less than 6, it is recommended that a cervical ripening agent be used before labor induction. Nonpharmacologic approaches to cervical ripening and labor induction have included herbal compounds, castor oil, hot baths, enemas, sexual intercourse, breast stimulation, acupuncture, acupressure, transcutaneous nerve stimulation, and mechanical and surgical modalities. Of these nonpharmacologic methods, only the mechanical and surgical methods have proven efficacy for cervical ripening or induction of labor. Pharmacologic agents available for cervical ripening and labor induction include prostaglandins, misoprostol, mifepristone, and relaxin. When the Bishop score is favorable, the preferred pharmacologic agent is oxytocin.


Over-the-Counter Medications in Pregnancy - Article

ABSTRACT: Pregnant women commonly use over-the-counter medications. Although most over-the-counter drugs have an excellent safety profile, some have unproven safety or are known to adversely affect the fetus. The safety profile of some medications may change according to the gestational age of the fetus. Because an estimated 10 percent or more of birth defects result from maternal drug exposure, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has assigned a risk category to each drug. Many drugs have not been evaluated in controlled trials and probably will not be because of ethical considerations. Of the commonly used over-the-counter medications, acetaminophen, chlorpheniramine, kaolin and pectin preparations, and most antacids have a good safety record. Other drugs, such as histamine H2-receptor blockers, pseudoephedrine, and atropine/diphenoxylate should be used with caution. If use of smoking cessation products is desired, the intermediate-release preparations minimize the amount of nicotine while maintaining efficacy. With all over-the-counter medications used during pregnancy, the benefit of the drug should outweigh the risk to the fetus.


Vaccinations in Pregnancy - Article

ABSTRACT: Adult immunization rates have fallen short of national goals partly because of misconceptions about the safety and benefits of current vaccines. The danger of these misconceptions is magnified during pregnancy, when concerned physicians are hesitant to administer vaccines and patients are reluctant to accept them. Routine vaccines that generally are safe to administer during pregnancy include diphtheria, tetanus, influenza, and hepatitis B. Other vaccines, such as meningococcal and rabies, may be considered. Vaccines that are contraindicated, because of the theoretic risk of fetal transmission, include measles, mumps, and rubella; varicella; and bacille Calmette-Guerin. A number of other vaccines have not yet been adequately studied; therefore, theoretic risks of vaccination must be weighed against the risks of the disease to mother and fetus. Inadvertent administration of any of these vaccinations, however, is not considered an indication for termination of the pregnancy.


Current Perspectives in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome - Article

ABSTRACT: Polycystic ovary syndrome has been viewed primarily as a gynecologic disorder requiring medical intervention to control irregular bleeding, relieve chronic anovulation, and facilitate pregnancy. A large body of evidence has demonstrated an association between insulin resistance and polycystic ovary syndrome. The former condition has an established link with long-term macrovascular diseases such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and atherosclerotic heart disease, consequences that also are observed in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. In addition, chronic anovulation predisposes women to endometrial hyperplasia and carcinoma. The purpose of this review is to examine the clinical course of this syndrome, which spans adolescence through menopause, and suggest a simple and cost-effective diagnostic evaluation to screen the large numbers of women who may be affected. Therapy, which should be individualized, should incorporate steroid hormones, antiandrogens, and insulin-sensitizing agents. Weight loss by way of reduced carbohydrate intake and gentle exercise is the most important intervention; this step alone can restore menstrual cyclicity and fertility, and provide long-term prevention against diabetes and heart disease. Treatment alternatives should be directed initially toward the most compelling symptom. Longitudinal care is of paramount importance to provide protection from long-term sequelae.


Pruritus - Article

ABSTRACT: Pruritus is a common manifestation of dermatologic diseases, including xerotic eczema, atopic dermatitis, and allergic contact dermatitis. Effective treatment of pruritus can prevent scratch-induced complications such as lichen simplex chronicus and impetigo. Patients, particularly elderly adults, with severe pruritus that does not respond to conservative therapy should be evaluated for an underlying systemic disease. Causes of systemic pruritus include uremia, cholestasis, polycythemia vera, Hodgkin's lymphoma, hyperthyroidism, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Skin scraping, biopsy, or culture may be indicated if skin lesions are present. Diagnostic testing is directed by the clinical evaluation and may include a complete blood count and measurement of thyroid-stimulating hormone, serum bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, serum creatinine, and blood urea nitrogen levels. Chest radiography and testing for HIV infection may be indicated in some patients. Management of nonspecific pruritus is directed mostly at preventing xerosis. Management of disease-specific pruritus has been established for certain systemic conditions, including uremia and cholestasis.


The Nature and Management of Labor Pain: Part II. Pharmacologic Pain Relief - Article

ABSTRACT: A group of family physicians, obstetricians, midwives, obstetric anesthesiologists, and childbirth educators attended an evidence-based symposium in 2001 on the nature and management of labor pain and discussed a series of systematic reviews that focused on methods of labor pain management. Parenteral opioids provide modest pain relief in labor, and little evidence supports the use of one agent over another. Epidural analgesia is used during labor in most large U.S. hospitals, and its use is rapidly increasing in small hospitals. Although epidural analgesia is the most effective form of pain relief, its use is associated with a longer labor, an increased incidence of maternal fever, and increased rates of operative vaginal delivery. The effect of epidural analgesia on rates of cesarean delivery is controversial. Nitrous oxide provides a modest analgesic effect, but it is used less often in the United States than in other developed nations. Paracervical block provides effective analgesia in the first stage of labor, but its use is limited by postblock bradycardia. Research is needed regarding which pain-relief options women would choose if they were offered a range of choices beyond epidural analgesia or parenteral opioids.


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