February 2013

Taking medicine during pregnancy may be risky

More than 90 percent of women use at least one medicine during pregnancy, after all, you can still get a cold while pregnant or you may have a chronic disease that requires medication. Unfortunately, many drug  studies have not included pregnant women and thus we may not have all the data we need to know if they are safe to take during pregnancy.   About half of women ages 18 to 44 years old use the internet to determine if they can take their medicines during pregnancy.

Vitamin D, prenatal health, and obesity

Women who are obese at the start of their pregnancy may be passing on insufficient levels of vitamin D to their babies, according to a new Northwestern Medicine® study.   The study found that babies born to lean mothers had a third higher amount of vitamin D compared to babies born to obese moms.

Vitamin D is fat-soluble, and previous studies have found that people who are obese tend to have lower levels of the vitamin in their blood. In this study, both obese and lean mothers had very similar levels of vitamin D at the end of their pregnancies, yet obese women transferred less vitamin D to their offspring compared to lean women.

Cervical Cancer Screening Guidelines

According to recent studies, many women are receiving unnecessary Pap tests, or smears, to screen for cervical cancer, while others are not receiving the appropriate tests. The guidelines for how often women should receive Pap tests were recently changed. Previously, physicians typically administered Pap tests to women 3 years after they became sexually active, or when they turned 21. After that, women were advised to receive a Pap test once every one or two years.

New Report on Interpersonal and Sexual Violence by Sexual Orientation

The majority of women who reported experiencing sexual violence, regardless of their sexual orientation, reported that they were victimized by male perpetrators.
Nearly half of female bisexual victims (48.2 percent) and more than one-quarter of female heterosexual victims (28.3 percent) experienced their first rape between the ages of 11 and 17 years.

Bisexual women (61.1%) reported a significantly higher lifetime prevalence of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner when compared to both lesbian (43.8%) and heterosexual women (35.0%).