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Health Talk Recommends: Assessing the ACA’s impact on pregnant inmates

Pregnancy can be hard in the best of circumstances. For a pregnant inmate, incarceration opens up a whole new set of challenges faced only by expectant mothers behind bars.

To coincide with the March issue of Health Affairs, which focuses on issues related to incarceration and health, University of Minnesota researchers Katy Kozhimannil, Ph.D. of the School of Public Health and Rebecca Shlafer, Ph.D. of the Medical School wrote about what the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will mean for the 6-10 percent of female prisoners who are pregnant during their incarceration.

“Currently, pregnant inmates have increased rates of complicated and preterm deliveries, and mothers and their babies have more risk factors and worse birth outcomes than similar women who are not incarcerated,” said Kozhimannil.

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Game Changer: Bernard Harlow

Bernard Harlow is one of the nation’s leaders in female reproductive health research, looking closely at the relationship between psychiatric disorders and reproductive function. His work is making a big impact in Twin Cities communities and has led to the largest NIH grant of its kind in his subject field.

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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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Thinking differently about measuring quality and improving the use of cesarean delivery

Over the past couple of years, there has been increased media attention to a couple of trends. First, there has been a recognition in the fields of public health and maternal and child health that the rapidly increasing rates of cesarean delivery were concerning. The rate of cesareans hit an all-time high of nearly 33% in 2009, and a number of high profile efforts – including the federal Healthy People 2020 goals – set goals for reversing this trending and reducing rates of both primary and repeat cesareans.

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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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