Thursday, 13 June 2013

Obese Women More Likely To Give Birth Prematurely

Pregnant women who are obese or overweight are more likely to have premature babies according to a new Swedish Study which analysed more than 1.5 million births.

This follows on from a previous American study that showed a 30% increased risk of pre-term births. (Pre-term is defined as babies born before 37 weeks).

The children of these pre-term births can also suffer serious health problems as a result of early birth. Pre-term birth is one of the leading causes of serious infant illness and death.

The researchers found that the higher the BMI, the higher the risk of pre-term birth.
Other studies have suggested that women who spontaneously deliver pre-term have been found to have high levels of Cytokines which are released into the blood stream as part of the body’s immune response. Obese and overweight women are more likely to suffer from inflammation which carries an increased risk of urine infections and vaginal infections. 

These infections raise the risk of pre-term birth.

Does this research mean it is now acceptable for a pregnant women to diet? Surely having  a healthy diet that results in a weight loss throughout their pregnancy is safer than the risk they carry when they are over weight?  

Slimming world is now working with the RCM, they want to make their message clear, they are not encouraging weight loss or dieting, instead they say they are supporting women to have a healthy diet whilst pregnant. This, I feel, is a little confusing. 

How will that work? Will Slimming World not be giving any affirmations to the pregnant woman on how well she is doing/looking because she just so happens to be losing weight? A healthy diet will almost always result in weightloss, whether you're pregnant or not. 

They must know that. Come on, they are after all called SLIMMING world. 

I do however believe what they are doing is a step in the right direction. RCM magazine predicted that 18.5% of pregnant women in 2012 were obese. Something has got to change. Our bodies were designed to carry one or two babies alone, not on top of the weight of 6 others. 

Asides from a healthy diet, is it safe for pregnant women to exercise? Should heavily pregnant women be seen at the gym? Obviously this would raise concerns on correct training. During the later stages of pregnancy you have to be careful of high impact on the body, over stretching etc. Gentle exercise is okay. 

It is a woman's right to chose what she will (or won't) do throughout her pregnancy. After all it is her body and her baby. I just believe that perhaps, women need to be made aware of the risks they are taking. 

Nurture Antenatal x

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Pregnant Boys

Chicago's Department of health have come up with a new campaign against unwanted teen pregnancy. They have used images of teenage BOYS rather than girls.

These images are shocking and thought provoking. Brian told news daily "“The point was to
get people’s attention and get conversation started about teen pregnancy and teen births, and how they really affect a community,” *
These edited photographs of pubescent boys with little bumps are a little on the disturbing side, but do they work?

Teenage boys/girls may be naive enough to not put on a condom, but surely they are not stupid enough to see these and believe that boys can ACTUALLY get pregnant? For this reason, I am unsure it would stop teenagers having unprotected sex. 

On the other hand, they remind us that it is not only the female that is effected by unwanted pregnancy. Boys have to take responsibility for their unborn too. This may frighten them into wearing a condom. 

May be the posters aren't shocking enough. Would a video of a teenage boy giving birth be a  step to far perhaps? 

I believe teenage boys AND girls (same goes for men and women) both need to be responsible for practicing safe sex. 

Do you think this is something that we should adopt in England? 

Remember : No glove, no love.

Nurture Antenatal x

Monday, 10 June 2013

Developmental Programming

Moderately obese women impact birth weights and diabetes risk of their Grandchildren.

A new study by The University of Edinburgh carried out in mice, has suggested that health issues such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes could skip a whole generation and land with the next. This means that obese mothers will produce children who are not affected by their poor diet in terms of these diseases, but the genetic marker will appear in the next generation. (Now's the time to look at your Grandparents and perhaps try and make amends!) This transferred effect is known as developmental programming. 

Current health projects are aimed at the immediate family, but this new research suggests that all generations are set to continue the trend unless the current generation addresses these issues now. In terms of a poor health epidemic, these results could play an important part in the health of generations of the future and not just today.

The reason why the first generation is protected are unclear but researchers suggest it may be down to specific foods eaten during pregnancy. We already know that getting the right Nutrition in pregnancy is essential for the blueprint of health in later life.  

Current rates of obesity are the highest ever and associated health problems include breast cancer, colon cancer and stroke. 

So for the sake of your Grandchildren, (as well as your baby's development) start getting a healthier diet! 

Nurture Antenatal x

(Moderate obesity is defined as a Body Mass Index between 30 and 34.9. This definition, in my eyes, is a load of codswallop, but I will save that for another day

Friday, 7 June 2013

Down Syndrome testing

Did you know? Roughly 750 babies are born with down syndrome through the UK each year.

 Downs syndrome is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21. This occurs purely by chance.

Women can have an optional blood test at 14 weeks 2 days to 20 weeks to decipher their chances of having a baby with downs syndrome. Once they're given an estimate, such as 1 in 100 or 1 in 600 chance that the 

Women are then given the option for more tests. 

They can either have a Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) involves testing a small sample of the placenta, or an amniocentesis test, which analyses the amniotic fluid around the baby. These tests are risky and have have a 1 in 100 rate in miscarriage


Prof Kypros Nicolaides, who is the leading researcher has developed a new, safer and more accurate way of testing. This will enable women to know whether they have a 99% chance, or less than one in 10,000 that their baby has Down's syndrome, which is remarkable.

This now gives women more choice in regards to their unborn baby. The next steps to take are undoubtedly in the hands of the mother.

Unfortunately, these tests cost £400 a pop. Due to the expense the NHS are not covering this test as of yet for all women. Prof Nicolaides is running a prospective study over the next two years withing the NHS with over 20,000 women. 

This test is available privately, but hopefully with time the cost will fall and it will become available on the NHS. 

Nurture Antenatal x

For any questions on this topic please email our midwives on

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Making Headlines

Royal Collage of Obstetricians and Gynecology released a new paper on chemical exposure during pregnancy and the risks. 

"Chemical exposures during pregnancy: Dealing with potential, but unproven, risks to child health, raises awareness of the current issues surrounding chemical exposure during pregnancy and offers advice for women to make informed decisions that will predispose their baby to have the best possible health."  (

This story has had a great deal of media exposure. Many writing that women are  bombarded with too much information. On one hand it often appears ever changing, you can't do this, you can't do that, don't eat this but now you can eat that etc etc . It can be very complicated and confusing. On the other hand, if we have new research then, surely it should be shared with mothers-to-be?

The RCOG have asked women to take a 'saftey first' approach. They recommend pregnant women to- 

Always eat fresh food when you can so to avoid canned/plastic contained food, as well as less use of personal care products and over the counter medicine.  Also to keep away from paint fumes and pesticides.

It may seem a little over the top for some and it could also fuel worry for others. The best thing to do is to try and minimize your contact with chemicals and take the advice where ever possible.

Also-  Eating fresh food is always a good idea, especially in regards to the baby's health. (Check out our post on healthy eating). 

If you have any questions/worries please email our midwives at

Nurture Antenatal x

If you'd like to see the full RCOG report here is a link -

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Myths surrounding Breastfeeding

Time to bust some myths. 

Pumping your breast milk is an indicator of how much milk you produce. Nope. Truth is, a baby that can breastfeed properly can get out more milk than the pump. Stress levels and other factors can change the flow. Pumping breast milk only indicates how much you can pump. 

Breastfeeding can be an inconvenience for the mother.  Not true. Well, at least this one shouldn't be true. You are able to breastfeed your baby anywhere. It can be liberating. Not having to worry about sterilising bottles and heating up formula. What you have in your breast is perfect for your little one. 

You need to wash your breast/nipples before every feed. False! Yes you need to sterilise your bottle as it can be a breeding ground for bacteria. But your nipples and breast milk help build up the right immune system for your baby. No need to wash before every feed. 

Many women don't produce enough milk. False. If anything many women produce enough milk to feed their whole neighborhood! Usually if the baby isn't gaining enough weight it's because the baby isn't latching on correctly not because their isn't enough milk. It is very important mothers are helped from day one by their midwives. (Here is a link to our website for more info- (

Modern formula is just as food as breast milk. Nope. False. Superficially they are similar but formula milk does not contain enzymes, hormones or anti-bodies. There is also a lot more to breast feeding than it's ingredients. 

Breast feeding will make your boobs sag. No, no, no! It is usually just the typical aging process that is to blame. Although research has shown that the expansion and deflation of the milk ducts are likely to be the cause- NOT breastfeeding. Plus, the benefits of feeding your baby your milk surely outweighs the appearance of you breasts. 

Happy Breastfeeding!

Nurture Antenatal x

Once again, if you're worried about breastfeeding please email our midwives at for advice. 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Breast feeding. For your baby.

Breast milk is wonderful stuff. 

Not only is is great for you as the mother, the baby benefits a great deal too.

It can help reduce the risk of - 

• respiratory infections
• gastro-intestinal infection
• necrotising enterocolitis (tissue death in the bowels)
• urinary tract infections
• ear infections
• allergic disease (eczema and wheezing)
• insulin-dependent diabetes 
• sudden infant death syndrome
• childhood leukaemia.
With all these benficial factors, deciding whether to breast feed or not should be relatively easy. But for those of you who are struggling to breastfeed there are of course alternatives. Please ask your midwife for extra advice or email one of our midwives at info@nurtureantenatal if you have any questions. 

Tomorrow we will be discussing the myths surrounding breastfeeding. 

Nurture Antenatal x