All article introductions are those of Mark Hosker M.D. A.C.E.P. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact Mark at

Breast-feeding Rates Up Dramatically, CDC Reports

The Cell-free fetal DNA (cfDNA) test is a new noninvasive prenatal test for genetic screening. A screening tool in high-risk pregnancies, it can identify more than 90% of trisomies. However it is too early to say if it is a reliable screening test for early pregnancy. More research is needed.

A New Era in Noninvasive Prenatal Testing

This article discusses the increase in breast feeding rates and the duration of feeding over the past ten years. Besides the many benefits to their babies such as decreased ear infections, G.I. infections, diabetes and obesity, women who breast feed have a lowered risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

How anxiety is linked to the amount of stress your mother suffers during pregnancy

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh suggest that certain women who lack a protective enzyme in their womb, may affect their unborn children with their stress. Harmful stress hormones can then cross from mother to baby.

Cesarean Deliveries Level Off After 12-Year-Long Rise

This article looks at C-section rates, which have leveled off together with a trend to delay inductions. Whether or not this leveling off in rates that had been climbing for more than a decade will have an adverse effect on fetal and maternal outcomes is yet to be determined.

Stillbirth and other pregnancy complications: predicting who’s at risk

With 26,000 stillbirths in the USA alone every year and 4 million globally, stillbirth research around the world is a collaborative effort. This UK study (there are 4,000 annual stillbirths in the UK) focuses on whether there is a way to predict whether a baby is at risk if the mother notices decreased fetal movement. Two tests are being investigated using blood samples from the mother and ultrasound scans to check the placenta. Could there be a blood test to predict risk for an increase in stillbirth?

Cutting cord early ‘risk to babies’

A fairly new concept health care experts are considering is whether or not it’s better for babies to have their umbilical cords cut immediately after birth or to wait up to 5 minutes once pulsating ceases. Cutting the cord too early can put babies at a risk of iron deficiency. Moms will need to discuss their options with their health care teams to see which approach they suggest and why.

Pregnancy length ‘varies naturally by up to five weeks’

As a physician, father and grandfather, I find this article compelling. A recent study challenges the concept of the length of pregnancy at 40 weeks, suggesting that the duration of pregnancy can vary by as much as five weeks i.e. 35-40 weeks based on a woman’s last menstrual period (LMP), or 37-42 weeks cycle based on time of the conception.

Link found between stillbirth and sleeping position in pregnancy

Early research encourages moms to sleep on their left side as this sleeping position may decrease the rate of stillbirth. There is no evidence to the contrary so I think it is beneficial for moms to discuss this option with their health care team.

Coffee, wine, cheese: How much can pregnant women have?

It’s the age old debate. What’s safe to consume in pregnancy, what isn’t, how much and how often? Current research suggests that caffeine in moderation, up to 200 mg, appears to be safe and is probably safer later on in the pregnancy. Excessive alcohol consumption is proven to be dangerous during pregnancy. An occasional glass of wine in the last trimester is probably safe. However, the National Health Service (NHS) still advocates no alcohol consumption during pregnancy. As to food, moms are told to avoid unpasteurized milk and cheese, raw shellfish and cold preserved meats. It’s best for moms to discuss these issues with their health care team.

Study Finds Hospital Circumcision Rates Have Dropped: What Do You Think?

This article highlights the benefits of circumcision and discusses how circumcision rates have dropped despite its many benefits. The circumcised male has a decreased incidence of HIV infections, urinary tract infections (UTI) and penile cancers. This procedure is still recommended by the American Academy of Pediatricians.

‘Pregnant women should be encouraged to engage in regular exercise’: Working out improves mood and reduces fatigue

Exercise in pregnancy is good both for the mother and the baby. Pregnant women who exercise feel better both physically and emotionally. They experience less depression during and after their pregnancies. Their children are also healthier over the course of their lives.

Meditation, Mantras & Visualization

Exploring different ways of reducing stress is always a boon during pregnancy. Meditation is known for its relaxing healthy benefits. This article highlights various mediation techniques such as “Deep Belly Breath” Meditation, using Mantras, “Wave” Visualizations, “Blossoming Lotus” Visualization and Chanting and “Third Eye” Visualization Meditation that can be used in any trimester. You can also use these techniques during labor.