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Entries in Pregnancy (146)

Thursday
Nov152012

Ireland Probes Death of Miscarrying Woman Seeking Abortion

PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A 31-year-old woman is dead after doctors in Ireland reportedly refused to give her an abortion as she languished in pain from an ongoing miscarriage.

Even as medically necessary abortions remain a contentious topic on this side of the Atlantic, doctors in the United States said the death was preventable.

"I don't do abortions, I'll tell you right now. ... But I'd have to tell the mother, 'Your baby doesn't have a chance and to save your life, I have to do this,'" said Dr. John Coppes, the medical director at Austin Medical Center-Mayo Health System in Minnesota.

Savita Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant when she arrived at University Hospital Galway in Ireland, complaining of back pain, her husband told the Irish Times.  Doctors told Halappanavar she was miscarrying.

A day into her hospital stay, Halappanavar asked doctors to terminate the pregnancy because she was in "agony," her water had broken and she was shivering and vomiting.  However, they said they couldn't perform the operation if a fetal heartbeat was present because Ireland is a "Catholic country," Halappanavar's husband, told the Irish Times.

Abortion is illegal in Ireland unless a woman's life is in danger if she continues her pregnancy.

In the United States, a Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, made abortion safe and legal in 1973, but the abortion debate has continued to find its way into political discussions, with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney declaring himself a "pro-life president" in October after telling an Iowa newspaper he would not legislate on abortion if he won.

During a debate last month, Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., said medical advances have eliminated the need to perform abortions to save ailing mothers' lives.  He quickly backtracked on the statements.

At the Galway University Hospital, Halappanavar's fetal heartbeat stopped nearly three days after she arrived on Oct. 21.  Doctors evacuated Halappanavar's uterus, but she died of septicemia, or blood poisoning, on Oct. 28, according the Irish Times, which cited the autopsy report.

The Galway Roscommon University Hospitals Group confirmed Halappanavar was a pregnant patient who died in its care.  It released a statement extending its sympathies to Halappanavar's husband and explaining that it would be reviewing the "unexpected death" as per the national incident management policy of Ireland's public health care provider, called Health Service Executive, or HSE.

"The process of incident review seeks to ascertain the facts relating to the incident, draw conclusions and make recommendations in relation to any steps that may need to be taken to prevent a similar incident occurring again," HSE said in a statement, adding that it will seek an external obstetrician to join its team of investigators.

Coppes, who has never met Halappanavar, said that when a woman's water, or amniotic sac, breaks during early pregnancy, she is at risk for infection because the barrier between the baby and the outside world is broken.  The fetus' environment is also no longer sterile, putting it at risk for "horrible malformations."

Coppes said the fact that Halappanavar's husband reported she was ill and vomiting suggested a serious infection had set in, and it's possible that it spread to her blood, resulting in the septicemia that killed her.

When an infection occurs in a pregnant woman's uterus, Dr. Kimberly Gecsi, an obstetrician at University Hospitals in Cleveland, said the only way to treat it is to terminate the pregnancy.

"Antibiotics are part of the process, but once an infection develops inside the uterus, antibiotics alone aren't going to treat the infection," Gecsi said.  "The infection will continue until the products of pregnancy are removed, either by natural procedure or with surgical procedure."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov122012

Flu During Pregnancy Linked to Autism, Survey Says

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Mothers who reported having the flu during pregnancy were at least twice as likely to have a child with autism as those who did not report having the flu, according to new survey results from a Danish study.

While the study does not suggest that high fever -- or flu -- causes autism, many experts said the correlation reinforces recommendations that all pregnant women should get the flu shot.

The study by researchers in Denmark and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at nearly 97,000 children ages 8 to 14 who were born in Denmark between 1997 and 2003, only 1 percent of whom were diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.  The researchers interviewed the mothers during their pregnancy and after delivery about any infections and high fevers they'd experienced while pregnant, as well as whether they had used antibiotics.

Although the study was not designed to ask about cases of the flu, mothers who reported having the flu during their pregnancy were two times more likely to have a child with autism, according to the study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.  Those whose fever persisted for a week or more before their third trimester were three times more likely to have a child on the autism spectrum, the study found.

While the flu shot may prevent many cases of influenza, the findings did not suggest that getting the flu shot would have prevented the development of autism.

"While it is very important to get an influenza shot during pregnancy, women who get the flu this winter should not worry that they have put their child at an increased risk of developing autism," said Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News' chief health and medical editor.

The interview with the mothers included more than 200 questions that sought information about many different types of infections during pregnancy.

"We consider this study to be exploratory," said Dr. Colleen Boyle, director of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.  Boyle was not involved in the study.

The study also found that some mothers who reported taking one type of antibiotics called macrolides, more commonly known by names like azithromycin or erythromycin, had only a slight increase in risk.

Studies in animals have shown that the baby's brain is affected when a female's immune response is triggered during pregnancy, such as fighting an infection.  These initial findings suggest a mother's immune system may play some role in a baby's development, though not nearly as strong as the association found in animal studies, according to some experts.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct172012

Fighting the 'Mom-Shell' Image: New Moms Struggle to Embrace Post-Baby Body

Beyonce performing in Atlantic City, a little less than 4 months after giving birth. Kevin Mazur/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- There is a new breed of mother on the playground.

Just weeks after giving birth, women dubbed "mom-shells," a hybrid of mommies and bombshells, are flaunting their post-baby bodies with skinny jeans and six-inch heels -- an image perpetuated by Hollywood. From Gwyneth Paltrow to Beyonce, celebrity moms have posed in glossy body-after-baby spreads.

Janice Min, the former editor of Us Weekly, says she helped create a celebrity culture of baby bumps with those spreads. Now, she says, those picture-perfect women have "infected our minds" so that "real" moms think they too have to look bodacious after childbirth.

"This crazy shift happened where suddenly it was cool to be pregnant and show off your body after you have the baby," she said. "That was a way for all these actresses to suddenly communicate to the world, 'I'm sexy, I'm still employable, and you want to be like me.'"

But not everyone can look like Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen shortly after childbirth.

"Gisele is a freak of nature," Min said. "These celebrities, a lot of them are just genetic aberrations."

Now there is a populist backlash. Alison Tate, a stay-at-home mom, had just given birth to her fourth child when she did something many women do every day: She resisted having a picture taken with her son at a birthday party because she said she knew she wouldn't like the way she looked.

"After I've had all my children, I felt like I had blown up like a balloon," she said. "It wasn't even a normal kind of being overweight. It's a deflated tire kind of being overweight. You can't fit into normal clothes right away. I felt dumpy, doubt-y, frustrated."

Tate had many reasons to be confident. She had an Ivy League education, she was happily married with four beautiful kids, but she still felt embarrassed by her body after giving birth. So she wrote a blog about the picture experience, and suddenly that moment became a movement.

Tate's website, "Mom Stays in the Picture," started a viral rallying cry and thousands of women submitted their own pictures, even if they didn't look their best.

"You're not looking at whether the mom is overweight, or did her hair, or did her makeup," Tate said. "All you see are moms and their kids, and all the love that are in those photos."

Tate said being a mom-shell is not what motherhood is all about.

"Our kids do not care what we look like," she said. "They only see their mother, and I just think that what women need to do is remember that. You don't ruin their pictures, you complete them."

Perhaps surprisingly, Janice Min can empathize. She too gave birth six months ago, to her third child, and said she also struggled when she saw herself in the mirror.

"It's sort of horrifying," she said. "Afterwards when the bump is gone, you're just kind of a fat lady, and it's really harsh."

Min's self-doubt helped inspire her to write a book called How to Look Hot in a Minivan, to reassure "real" moms that even starlets have a hard time living up to the Hollywood standard.

"We would have quotes from women saying, 'I cried, I work out so hard that I cry,' or, you know, 'I don't eat, I'm always hungry,' you know, crazy things that celebrities do," she said. "That at least puts a reality check on it. But Hollywood is fantasy and we have a hard time, at least when it comes to this area, of separating fantasy from reality because it's so personal for so many women."

In her book, Min shares what she learned about how the celebrities do it. Many famous women will wear a statement necklace, for instance, to draw the eye away from their figures.

"Motherhood and weight are the two most loaded issues for women ever," she said. "And so when you put those two together, it's like moths to the light, but it's also like kerosene to the fire, and women get really obsessed."

When Jessica Simpson battled with weight gain after having her daughter Maxwell, she turned to celebrity fitness trainer Harley Pasternak, who first helped Simpson fit into her Daisy Dukes. In fact, getting her body back has turned into a sponsored event, with her every move watched by her 5.7 million Twitter followers.

But Pasternak said the key to losing the baby weight for any new mom is lots of walking, not a personal trainer. He said women should not feel bad about not bouncing back to their pre-baby figures.

"I've never weighed a client," he said. "I would be upset at someone for not taking care of their health, because as a mom you're setting an example for your child."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct102012

Tori Spelling Reveals Pregnancy Complications, Health Crisis

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Tori Spelling gave birth to Finn Davey McDermott six weeks ago and he appears to be the picture of health, but the actress says she nearly lost her life during the pregnancy.

In an interview with Us Weekly magazine, the 39-year-old mother of four revealed just how risky her fourth pregnancy really was.

Twenty weeks into the pregnancy, Spelling woke up one day to find blood dripping down her legs, the magazine reports in its new issue.

Spelling was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital, where she learned she had a condition called placenta previa, in which the placenta covers the opening of the cervix.  The condition most likely resulted in part from the C-sections she had with her three other children -- Liam Aaron, 5, Stella Doreen, 4, and Hattie Margaret, 10 months -- all with her husband, actor Dean McDermott.

Another possible reason for the complication could have been the timing of Finn’s conception.  She got pregnant with him just one month after Hattie was born.

“The greater number of pregnancies a woman carries, the higher likelihood that she will have a placenta previa,” Dr. David Finke, a Beverly Hills-based ob-gyn who did not treat Spelling, told ABC News.

The problems put Spelling at risk for substantial bleeding, which could have forced doctors to terminate the pregnancy and remove her uterus to save her life.

“It was surreal,” Spelling told the magazine.  “I just remember thinking, ‘I can’t leave three children behind.’”

Doctors ordered bed rest for four months.  After nine intense bleeding episodes, Finn was born via C-section on Aug. 30, 37 weeks into the pregnancy.

While Finn was healthy, Spelling’s own health troubles weren’t over.  Three weeks after Finn’s birth, Spelling’s surgical scar ruptured.  She had emergency surgery and remained hospitalized for two weeks.

She’s now at home, getting better and resting with her four children.

Spelling said she survived her experiences by envisioning herself “holding a healthy baby.  That was the goal.”

The reality-TV star told Us Weekly that, while she loves being pregnant, she is most likely now finished having kids.

“Having one prior placenta previa is not a contra-indication of having subsequent pregnancies, but it does increase the likelihood that it could happen again,” Dr. Finke said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct092012

Study Links Prenatal Mercury Exposure to ADHD Symptoms

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- A new study highlights the difficulty pregnant women face while eating for two, finding that more mercury exposure leads to a higher incidence of ADHD symptoms, while more fish consumption -- the main source of mercury exposure -- leads to a decreased risk.

"How much fish you eat is not equivalent to how much mercury you are exposed to," said study author Dr. Susan Korrick of Brigham and Women's Hospital.  "I think the public health conclusion that I would come to is that one can benefit from fish consumption, but it's important to try to consume fish that are low in mercury."

Researchers at Brigham and Women's tested more than 400 women for mercury about 10 days after they gave birth between 1993 and 1998, and asked them to fill out a survey about their fish consumption.  They measured the mercury in samples of the mothers' hair.  When the children were eight, researchers tested their cognitive abilities with a parent questionnaire and other tests, searching for symptoms of ADHD.  (It is important to note that these children were not diagnosed with clinical ADHD, but only exhibited some of the symptoms.)

Symptoms of ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, include inattention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Researchers say cutting fish out of the prenatal diet to avoid mercury exposure entirely is a bad idea, and pregnant women should look for fish that are low in mercury, such as salmon.

"It's elegantly showing the paradoxical paradigm that it's both good for you and bad for you," said Christina Chambers of the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists' Collaborative Research Center in San Diego, who read the study but was not involved in it.  Teratology is the study of abnormalities in physical development.

"They're finding the kids are slightly above average in the number of symptoms," Richard Gallegher, a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU Langone, said of the children born to mothers with higher mercury levels in their hair samples.  "They [the ADHD symptoms] can certainly impact how well kids are tending to things in school."

Researchers at Brigham and Women's also learned that pregnant women who ate more than two 6-ounce servings of fish a week were less likely to have children with these symptoms.  This is actually more than the Federal Food and Drug Administration recommends, which is only 12 ounces of fish a week.

Because the fish consumption survey was originally designed to look at organic chlorine contaminants, the fish were grouped by how much chlorine they were likely to contain -- not how much mercury they had, Korrick said.  As a result, the study could not name which fish increased ADHD symptoms and which did not.

Fish high in mercury include shark, swordfish and fresh tuna, Korrick said.  Fish with lower mercury levels -- which are also rich in healthy fats -- include salmon, rainbow trout and herring.  A third group, which has different health benefits but still is low in mercury, includes cod, shrimp and haddock.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct042012

Maternal Hypertension Linked to Lower IQ

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- High blood pressure during pregnancy can cause low birth weight and early delivery, and a new study suggests it may have lasting effects on the baby's brain.

The Finnish study of nearly 400 men found that those born to hypertensive mothers scored an average of four points lower on cognitive tests later in life.

"Hypertensive disorders in pregnancy predict lower cognitive ability and greater cognitive decline over decades in the adult offspring," the authors wrote in their study, published Thursday in the journal Neurology.

One in 13 pregnant women has high blood pressure, according to the National Institutes of Health.  And while most of them will have healthy babies, hypertension can lead to preeclampsia -- the leading cause of fetal complications.

"It's a fairly serious problem and one we often have to manage in the field of high-risk obstetrics," said Dr. David Hackney of UH Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio.  "If a woman develops preeclampsia, the treatment is to deliver the baby.  But obviously you don't want to do that if it's too early."

Previous studies have linked preterm birth and low birth weight to low IQ in adulthood.  But the new study suggests high blood pressure may be the earlier instigator.

"Our results may also offer mechanistic insight into why short length of gestation and small body size at birth are linked with lower cognitive ability, as hypertensive disorders are among the key reasons for prematurity and intrauterine growth restriction," the authors wrote, adding that the "propensity toward lower cognitive ability has its origins in the prenatal period, when the majority of the development of brain structure and function occurs."

Although hypertension during pregnancy can be managed with certain drugs, Hackney said women of childbearing age should eat healthy and stay active to lower their risk.

"It's important to remain healthy through early life and maximize health prior to becoming pregnant," he said.

The National Institutes of Health also recommends limiting salt intake, maintaining a healthy body weight and getting good prenatal medical care.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep102012

Rabbis Urge Single, Orthodox Women to Freeze Eggs at 38

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Rebecca, an Orthodox Jew from California, was two weeks away from her marriage to the son of a respected rabbi when medication she was taking for migraines triggered a debilitating stroke.

She fell to the floor of the emergency room where she was working as a manager and broke her neck, suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries. When her fiance saw the extent of her disability, he called off the wedding.

"We did everything the Orthodox way," she said of their three-month engagement after being matched by family members. "I was in the hospital on my wedding day and they got out the wheelchair, and he was so frightened he backed off."

Now 38 and walking again, Rebecca is single, but her Orthodox faith implores her to find a husband and build a family. So she sought spiritual guidance from three or four rabbis and has decided -- with their blessing -- to have her eggs frozen for the future, when she hopes she will marry and start a family.

Doctors in the United States who are familiar with "halacha" -- or Jewish religious law -- say they are seeing more Orthodox patients who have been sent by their rabbis to freeze their eggs before their fertility wanes.

Orthodox Jews include a number of different sects worldwide, including the large Hasidic communities in New York City, which all place an importance on raising families.

"I couldn't think of a life without children because of our religion," said Rebecca, who did not want to share her name for privacy reasons. "That's the biggest mitzvah [commandment]. To bear kids and to bring them up the right way and to teach them the Torah is a woman's obligation."

Reproductive technology has perfected freezing techniques so that pregnancy rates are about the same as using fresh eggs when in vitro fertilization methods are used.

Rebecca is prepared to spend $7,000 to $10,000 per cycle to freeze her eggs with fertility specialists who can provide religious supervision.

"Most rabbis are strongly recommending this, and most should," said Dr. Sherman Silber, director of the Infertility Center of St. Louis, whose practice caters to Orthodox Jews. "'Be fruitful and multiply' is considered the first commandment."

The procedure helps make these single women more marriageable in the eyes of their communities, according to Silber.

"In truth, however, most orthodox women marry much earlier than this, often at age 20," he said. "So it is an uncommon event, but an important one for them."

About five percent of Silber's patients are Orthodox and his practice is supervised by top halachic authorities in Judaism from Jerusalem.

He recommends egg freezing "for all women who do not anticipate having a baby soon," he said. "Aging of the eggs is the critical and most important reason for the current infertility epidemic worldwide. And I would suggest well before age 38 to do that."

"We do everything we can to follow Orthodox halacha in all of our IVF practice," said Silber. "The patient can get her shots on Friday night before shabbos, and she can get her shots on Saturday night after shabbos. This is never a scheduling or dosage problem."

Rabbis also give special approval in rare cases when egg pick-up must be over the Sabbath, according to Silber, "as life trumps all other mitzvahs," including getting approval for a non-Jewish doctor.

In Israel the procedure is covered by the government. Some rabbis recommend every single woman over age 32 freeze her eggs as an insurance policy against infertility.

More women delay pregnancy for careers, but by their mid-30s their fertility dramatically drops and miscarriage rates rise. Harvesting a woman's eggs literally freezes them in time.

The first "frozen egg" baby was born in 1986, but success rates were so low that it was considered experimental. Unlike sperm, which had been successfully frozen for years, unfertilized eggs contain a lot of water and slow freezing causes ice crystals to form, destroying cell structure. But a specialized fast-freezing technique called vitrification changed all that.

Dr. Jamie Grifo, program director of the NYU Fertility Center in New York City, has done 1,100 frozen egg cycles since 2005, and recommends the earlier the eggs are harvested the better.

"Ideally, the best results are under 35, optimally in their early 30s," he said.

In his studies of live birth rates from 2003 to 2009, the pregnancy rate among 30-year-olds is 61 percent, but at age 44 it drops to five percent.

Grifo is also able to cater to Orthodox patients and has a rabbinical observer in his labs to oversee labeling and storing of eggs.

In accordance with halacha, eggs must be placed in new Petri dishes, even if they have been sterilized.

Rebecca is now in counseling with Rabbi Gideon Weitzman of Jerusalem, who is director of the Puah Institute, which for 20 years has been a "central authority" on infertility procedures performed in accordance with Jewish law.

"There is a very, very huge interface through the millennia between Judaism and medicine and technology," he said. "We've learned to go hand in hand with science."

Weitzman said freezing the eggs of single women is a real "boon" for Orthodox women who are taught at a young age that marriage and children are important.

"We get calls on this question every single week, if not every single day," he said.

Most of the time, women who freeze their eggs do not end up using them after they have found a husband and conceive the usual way.

Jewish law is "permissive" on destruction of unused eggs or embryos.

"Everybody agrees life in a Petri dish isn't life," said Weitzman.

Rebecca, who is of Moroccan Jewish descent, did not grow up in a religious family, but became modern orthodox when she was 27. She observes Shabbat (the Sabbath), prays each morning and dresses modestly in skirts below the knee -- except at the hospital, where she wore scrubs to work.

After his initial hesitation, her fiance later asked her to marry once again, but she refused.

"That wasn't an option for me after the way he behaved in my recovery," she said. "I wanted someone to be there for me the Orthodox way -- to be there for you regardless, someone who is more nurturing."

She wears a neck collar and has multiple therapies for her brain injury, which makes her processing slower.

"As an OR manager and director, I was, all the time, very active," she said. "But now, it's sometimes hard to read a book. I get fatigued easily."

She has been told she can never do nursing again. But with a helping husband, she said being a mother one day is possible.

"I know that I have a long road to recovery and my self-esteem went down," she said of her broken engagement.

Still, she eventually wants to go back to dating and find a husband.

"I feel hopeful," she said. "I am a very positive person. Thank God, I never got depressed and my religion has helped me a lot."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep052012

Jessica Simpson: My ‘Body Is Not Bouncing Back Like a Supermodel’

ABC/RANDY HOLMES(NEW YORK) -- During pregnancy, Jessica Simpson told USA Today, she was “constantly hungry” and had a “big appetite.” Her go-to indulgence was macaroni and cheese.

“I let myself indulge in everything I wanted because it was the first time I was ever pregnant, and I wanted to enjoy it,” the singer turned fashion designer said. “I wanted to be happy and eat what I wanted.”

But since giving birth to her daughter, Maxwell Drew, May 1, the weight hasn’t come off as quickly as she would have liked.

“I didn’t realize [the weight] didn’t all come off with the baby,” Simpson said.

The singer shocked fans when she posed nude, and pregnant, on the cover of Elle magazine in April. The 5-foot-4 star weighed 170 pounds at the time, she told USA Today.

Simpson will unveil her weight loss on the Sept. 10 premiere of Katie Couric’s new talk show, Katie. She’ll also appear in Weight Watchers ads beginning next week. The pounds are coming off quickly, she said, adding, "I’ve lost weight every single week.”

“I’m 10 pounds away from my pre-baby size,” Simpson told Us Weekly.

To lose the weight, Simpson is following Weight Watchers’ PointsPlus program which assigns points to foods. At first, she was eating foods that totaled 34 points a day but has since dropped to 28 points. She also has Weight Watchers meetings at home with her mom and close friends.

Along with the PointsPlus program, Simpson said she is eating less but not depriving herself. She hasn’t eaten macaroni and cheese since starting Weight Watchers but she struggles to stay away from M&Ms.

“I’m a woman who wants her chocolate,” Simpson said. “I allot myself a fun-size [bag] M&Ms. I eat one of those, and my craving is satisfied. I don’t need the whole bag of M&Ms.”

Simpson is doing 60 minutes of cardio a day. Her fiance, former NFL tight end Eric Johnson, goes on long walks with her and their daughter, Maxwell.

“My boobs are way too big to run at this point. I’m just walking,” she said. She also does simple toning exercises with a trainer four to five times a week.

“Her waist is going in, and her thighs are getting smaller,” Simpson’s celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak told Us Weekly.

Simpson has been keeping her fans up to date on her weight loss via her Twitter account.

“Just bought all the girls in my @weightwatchers group pedometers to track their steps. 10,000 steps a day = 5 miles! Let’s step it up!” she tweeted July 19.

Simpson insists that any woman can drop the pregnancy pounds and get in shape, just like her.

“I’m not a supermodel. My body is not bouncing back like a supermodel,” she told USA Today. “I’m just your everyday woman who is trying to feel good and be healthy for her daughter, her fiancé and herself.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep042012

Mother of 12 Gives Birth to Quintuplets

Hemera/Thinkstock(VICTORIA, Australia) -- A mother of 12 added not one but four children to her brood Tuesday in Australia.

The 48-year-old woman from Melbourne gave birth to two boys and three girls via Caesarean section. A fifth infant, a daughter, however, died in the womb.

The babies, who were reportedly conceived naturally, were born 13 weeks premature.

A team of 30 medical specialists participated in the delivery at Monash Medical Centre. The hospital said the surviving babies were born healthy.

“Mum is doing well,” a hospital spokesman told the Australian Associated Press.

The family did not want to be identified, but the AAP said that the quints were the first set to be born in Victoria in 30 years.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep042012

Twin Study Shows Moisturizing, Breast Feeding Stall Breast Aging

James Woodson/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Breast feeding, daily moisturizing and hormone replacement therapy can make a woman's breasts appear more beautiful, but smoking, drinking alcohol and having multiple pregnancies can take an aesthetic toll, according to researchers.

A study of identical twins published Tuesday in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, titled "Determinants of Breast Appearance and Aging in Twins," shows environmental factors play a key role in how a woman's breasts age.

Other factors like higher body mass index (BMI) and larger bra and cup sizes also contribute to accelerated breast aging, according to the study.

An estimated 316,848 women had breast augmentations and 127,054 had breast lifts performed in 2011, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Now, women can identify lifestyle behaviors that can slow the aging process to avoid surgical intervention, according to the study, which was funded by a grant from the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation.

For the last three years, plastic surgeon Hooman T. Soltanian of University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio, studied 161 pairs of twins.

"It's very rare that both twins have been through the same exact environmental factors throughout life," he said.  "The idea was that they have the same [breasts] from a genetic standpoint.  If we see a difference, it's more likely to be environmental factors."

Soltanian collected data from consenting women between the ages of 25 and 74 at the annual Twins Days Festival in Twinsberg, Ohio.  The average age of the study's participants was 45.5 years old.

"The twins come from all over the country for a weekend to have fun and celebrate," he said.  "We have been using that opportunity to study their breasts.  It's not a longitudinal study, but a cross-sectional study."

The study had two parts.  First, each set of twins was given a questionnaire on lifestyle habits, such as smoking, drinking, number of pregnancies, use of a bra, stress at work, sports, hormone replacement therapy, moisturizing and exposure to the sun.  Each twin answered independently.

Then, photos of the twins' breasts were taken "in a secluded area by professionals."  Those photos were "subjectively evaluated by independent reviewers."

Soltanian acknowledged there is "no objective measurement" for what makes a breast "beautiful."  But researchers looked for skin tone, droopiness, shape and areola size.

Moisturizing seemed an "obvious" advantage on a breast's appearance, showing fewer wrinkles, according to Soltanian.  

Those who received hormone replacement therapy after menopause had more attractive breast shape, size, projection, areolar shape and areolar size.

The study seemed to refute myths about the negative effects of nursing a baby, findings that even surprised Soltanian.  Even though the size and shape of the areola had suffered, the skin quality was better in women who breast fed.

"All these twins did not breast-feed without being pregnant and pregnancy has a negative effect on breast appearance," he said.  "My explanation is that women who breast fed have a different hormonal milieu -- sort of like internal hormone replacement.  So even though those were disadvantages, they gained some benefit."

Soltanian, who does reconstructive surgeries for women after breast cancer, said this twin research could be expanded to longitudinal studies that look for environmental influences when one twin has cancer and the other doesn't.

As for the study's importance, he said, "It's obvious to me that breast appearance and breast health as a whole are a major part of female health."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio