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Epilepsy drug lamotrigine use in pregnancy: fewer doctor visits ahead?

For women with epilepsy, controlling health-threatening seizures is especially important during a pregnancy.

Taking the right dose of medicine can be key… and challenging.

As a baby grows, a pregnant woman’s body weight must also grow to support her baby. Consequently, a pregnant woman may require more medication to keep seizures at bay than she did pre-pregnancy. Pregnant women with epilepsy regularly visit the doctor to have blood drawn and adjust their antiepilepsy medicine dosage.

Now, new data analyses from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and Harvard Medical School find one fifth of pregnant women may someday be able to control seizures with fewer visits to the doctor.

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When science takes a U-turn: the peanut allergy edition

So…if you thought pregnancy + peanut butter = a child with a nut allergy, it turns out the math doesn’t quite add up. New research now suggests pregnant women who eat peanuts or tree nuts are actually less likely to give birth to children with nut allergies than women who avoid eating peanuts or tree nuts.

If it feels like another tree of conventional wisdom just fell in the internet’s dark forest of health information, we know. But scientific data can be hard to debate.

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U of M researcher: More women use alternative methods to induce labor

Women across America are frequently turning to nonmedical and alternative methods to induce labor and manage their pain during the childbirth process according to new research from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

The latest analysis is the first such study to review the use of both medical and nonmedical care during labor among women giving birth across the United States. Previously, clinicians and public health officials had little insight into the scope of use of alternative methods of labor induction and pain management; nor was the extent to which nonmedical methods are used in conjunction with medical means previously documented.

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U of M Expert Perspective: U.S. pregnancy rates fall to 12-year low

In 2009 U.S. pregnancy rates fell to their lowest point in 12 years according to a new report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.

The latest figures put the U.S. pregnancy rate at 102.1 pregnancies per every 1,000 woman in 2009, falling just above the year 1997 when the rate was 101.6 per every 1,000 women. Interestingly, rates declined for women aged 30 and younger, including U.S. teenagers across all ethnic groups. The only group to see rise in pregnancy rates was in women over the age of 30.

According to University of Minnesota Physicians OB/GYN Carrie Ann Terrell, M.D., the rates seem to reflect the country’s approach to fertility.

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In the News: U of M doctor discusses women having babies later in life

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one fifth of women wait until they’re 35 or older to have their first child.

Mark Damario, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist at the Reproductive Medicine Center (RMC) said waiting until 35 isn’t problematic in terms of fertility, but waiting any longer can be.

“At age 37, 38 we begin to see some hormonal indicators on a lot of patients that their fertility may be a little bit lower,” said Damario. “The chance for miscarriage also starts to increase.”

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A Royal Birth – Prince William in the delivery room

Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine (Kate) Middelton, the Duchess of Cambridge, had a baby boy earlier this week – George Alexander Louis. You heard it here first, folks!

Much like his father before him, Prince William was in the delivery room with Kate for the birth of their child.

But while Princes William and Prince Charles joined their wives in the delivery room, that hasn’t always been the case within the royal family. When Prince Charles was born, his father, Prince Philip, was not in the delivery room with Queen Elizabeth II (then Princess Elizabeth).

Interestingly, this not-in-the-delivery-room trend was not just for royals. Decades ago, few women had a spouse in the room with them during delivery. (Think, cigars and scotch in the waiting room for the men while the women did most of the heavy lifting, er, pushing.)

So just how did this trend shift?

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