Items in AFP with MESH term: Pregnancy

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Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy - Article

ABSTRACT: Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, commonly known as 'morning sickness,' affects approximately 80 percent of pregnant women. Although several theories have been proposed, the exact cause remains unclear. Recent research has implicated Helicobacter pylori as one possible cause. Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy is generally a mild, self-limited condition that may be controlled with conservative measures. A small percentage of pregnant women have a more profound course, with the most severe form being hyperemesis gravidarum. Unlike morning sickness, hyperemesis gravidarum may have negative implications for maternal and fetal health. Physicians should carefully evaluate patients with nonresolving or worsening symptoms to rule out the most common pregnancy-related and nonpregnancy-related causes of severe vomiting. Once pathologic causes have been ruled out, treatment is individualized. Initial treatment should be conservative and should involve dietary changes, emotional support, and perhaps alternative therapy such as ginger or acupressure. Women with more complicated nausea and vomiting of pregnancy also may need pharmacologic therapy. Several medications, including pyridoxine and doxylamine, have been shown to be safe and effective treatments. Pregnant women who have severe vomiting may require hospitalization, orally or intravenously administered corticosteroid therapy, and total parenteral nutrition.


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.


Preconception Health Care - Article

ABSTRACT: Appropriate preconception health care improves pregnancy outcomes. When started at least one month before conception, folic acid supplements can prevent neural tube defects. Targeted genetic screening and counseling should be offered on the basis of age, ethnic background, or family history. Before conception, women should be screened for human immunodeficiency virus and syphilis infection and begin treatment to prevent the transmission of disease to the fetus. Immunizations against hepatitis B, rubella, and varicella should be completed, if needed. Women should be counseled on ways to prevent infection with toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus, and parvovirus B19. Environmental toxins such as cigarette smoke, alcohol, and street drugs, and chemicals such as solvents and pesticides should be avoided. In women with diabetes, it is important to optimize disease control through intensive management before pregnancy. Medications for hypertension, epilepsy, thromboembolism, depression, and anxiety should be reviewed and changed, if necessary, before the patient becomes pregnant. Counseling about exercise, obesity, nutritional deficiencies, and the overuse of vitamins A and D is beneficial. Physicians may also choose to discuss occupational and financial issues related to pregnancy and to screen patients for domestic violence.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Repair of Obstetric Perineal Lacerations - Article

ABSTRACT: Family physicians who deliver babies must frequently repair perineal lacerations after episiotomy or spontaneous obstetric tears. Effective repair requires a knowledge of perineal anatomy and surgical technique. Perineal lacerations are classified according to their depth. Sequelae of obstetric lacerations include chronic perineal pain, dyspareunia, urinary incontinence, and fecal incontinence. With lacerations involving the anal sphincter complex, particular attention must be given to anatomy and surgical technique because of the high incidence of poor functional outcomes after repair. An overlapping technique to repair the external anal sphincter, rather than the traditional end-to-end technique, is being investigated to determine if it might decrease the incidence of anal incontinence. Minimizing the use of episiotomy and forceps deliveries can decrease the occurrence of severe perineal lacerations.


Management of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus - Article

ABSTRACT: Gestational diabetes mellitus is a common but controversial disorder. While no large randomized controlled trials show that screening for and treating gestational diabetes affect perinatal outcomes, multiple studies have documented an increase in adverse pregnancy outcomes in patients with the disorder. Data on perinatal mortality, however, are inconsistent. In some prospective studies, treatment of gestational diabetes has resulted in a decrease in shoulder dystocia (a frequently discussed perinatal outcome), but cesarean delivery has not been shown to reduce perinatal morbidity. Patients diagnosed with gestational diabetes should monitor their blood glucose levels, exercise, and undergo nutrition counseling for the purpose of maintaining normoglycemia. The commonly accepted treatment goal is to maintain a fasting capillary blood glucose level of less than 95 to 105 mg per dL (5.3 to 5.8 mmol per L); the ambiguity (i.e., the range) is due to imperfect data. The postprandial treatment goal should be a capillary blood glucose level of less than 140 mg per dL (7.8 mmol per L) at one hour and less than 120 mg per dL (6.7 mmol per L) at two hours. Patients not meeting these goals with dietary changes alone should begin insulin therapy. In patients with well-controlled diabetes, there is no need to pursue delivery before 40 weeks of gestation. In patients who require insulin or have other comorbid conditions, it is appropriate to begin antenatal screening with nonstress tests and an amniotic fluid index at 32 weeks of gestation.


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