Items in AFP with MESH term: Pregnancy Complications

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Practical Selection of Antiemetics - Article

ABSTRACT: An understanding of the pathophysiology of nausea and the mechanisms of antiemetics can help family physicians improve the cost-effectiveness and efficacy of therapy. Nausea and vomiting are mediated primarily by visceral stimulation through dopamine and serotonin, by vestibular and central nervous system causes through histamine and acetylcholine, and by chemoreceptor trigger zone stimulation through dopamine and serotonin. Treatment is directed at these pathways. Antihistamines and anticholinergic agents are most effective in patients with nausea resulting from vestibular and central nervous system causes. Dopamine antagonists block dopamine in the intestines and chemoreceptor trigger zone; indications for these agents are similar to those for serotonin antagonists. Serotonin antagonists block serotonin in the intestines and chemoreceptor trigger zone, and are most effective for treating gastrointestinal irritation and postoperative nausea and vomiting. Complementary and alternative therapies, such as ginger, acupressure, and vitamin B6, have variable effectiveness in the treatment of pregnancy-induced nausea.


Subclinical Thyroid Disease - Article

ABSTRACT: Subclinical thyroid dysfunction is defined as an abnormal serum thyroid-stimulating hormone level (reference range: 0.45 to 4.50 microU per mL) and free thyroxine and triiodothyronine levels within their reference ranges. The management of subclinical thyroid dysfunction is controversial. The prevalence of subclinical hypothyroidism is about 4 to 8.5 percent, and may be as high as 20 percent in women older than 60 years. Subclinical hyperthyroidism is found in approximately 2 percent of the population. Most national organizations recommend against routine screening of asymptomatic patients, but screening is recommended for high-risk populations. There is good evidence that subclinical hypothyroidism is associated with progression to overt disease. Patients with a serum thyroid-stimulating hormone level greater than 10 microU per mL have a higher incidence of elevated serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations; however, evidence is lacking for other associations. There is insufficient evidence that treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism is beneficial. A serum thyroid-stimulating hormone level of less than 0.1 microU per mL is associated with progression to overt hyperthyroidism, atrial fibrillation, reduced bone mineral density, and cardiac dysfunction. There is little evidence that early treatment alters the clinical course.


Management of Pregnancy Beyond 40 Weeks' Gestation - Article

ABSTRACT: A post-term or prolonged pregnancy is one that reaches 42 weeks' gestation; approximately 5 to 10 percent of pregnancies are post-term. Studies have shown a reduction in the number of pregnancies considered post-term when early ultrasound dating is performed. Maternal and fetal risks increase with gestational age, but the management of otherwise low-risk prolonged pregnancies is controversial. Antenatal surveillance with fetal kick counts, nonstress testing, amniotic fluid index measurement, and biophysical profiles is used, although no data show that monitoring improves outcomes. Studies show a reduction in the rate of cesarean deliveries and possibly in neonatal mortality with a policy of routine labor induction at 41 weeks' gestation.


Common Skin Conditions During Pregnancy - Article

ABSTRACT: Common skin conditions during pregnancy generally can be separated into three categories: hormone-related, preexisting, and pregnancy-specific. Normal hormone changes during pregnancy may cause benign skin conditions including striae gravidarum (stretch marks); hyperpigmentation (e.g., melasma); and hair, nail, and vascular changes. Preexisting skin conditions (e.g., atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, fungal infections, cutaneous tumors) may change during pregnancy. Pregnancy-specific skin conditions include pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy, prurigo of pregnancy, intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, pemphigoid gestationis, impetigo herpetiformis, and pruritic folliculitis of pregnancy. Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy are the most common of these disorders. Most skin conditions resolve postpartum and only require symptomatic treatment. However, there are specific treatments for some conditions (e.g., melasma, intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, impetigo herpetiformis, pruritic folliculitis of pregnancy). Antepartum surveillance is recommended for patients with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, impetigo herpetiformis, and pemphigoid gestationis.


Late Pregnancy Bleeding - Article

ABSTRACT: Effective management of vaginal bleeding in late pregnancy requires recognition of potentially serious conditions, including placenta previa, placental abruption, and vasa previa. Placenta previa is commonly diagnosed on routine ultrasonography before 20 weeks' gestation, but in nearly 90 percent of patients it ultimately resolves. Women who have asymptomatic previa can continue normal activities, with repeat ultrasonographic evaluation at 28 weeks. Persistent previa in the third trimester mandates pelvic rest and hospitalization if significant bleeding occurs. Placental abruption is the most common cause of serious vaginal bleeding, occurring in 1 percent of pregnancies. Management of abruption may require rapid operative delivery to prevent neonatal morbidity and mortality. Vasa previa is rare but can result in fetal exsanguination with rupture of membranes. Significant vaginal bleeding from any cause is managed with rapid assessment of maternal and fetal status, fluid resuscitation, replacement of blood products when necessary, and an appropriately timed delivery.


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