Bringing a child into the world comes with many challenges, including major health considerations. Learn about fertility methods and how pregnant women should take care of themselves.
Instead of contractions, they're called surges. And don't call it labor, it's birthing. When the discomfort of childbirth kicks in, it's pressure -- not pain.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced new guidelines in Washington Monday requiring health insurance plans beginning on or after August 1, 2012 to cover several women's preventive services, including birth control and voluntary sterilization.
As part of the Catholic wedding vows they took four years ago, Melissa and Jacob Arnold promised to be "open to children."
Women who gain weight after giving birth for the first time dramatically increase their risk of developing pregnancy-related diabetes during their second pregnancy, a new study suggests.
When she found the lump in her breast, Jessica Denton had known she was pregnant with her first child for just a few days.
As I knelt on the bedroom floor, on the phone with 911, I didn't understand what was happening at first. I thought something had gone wrong -- or at least that the paramedics would have plenty of time to arrive.
As one of the nation's leading fertility experts, Dr. Jamie Grifo is barraged with phone calls requesting advice. He thought he'd heard it all until a few weeks ago when callers started asking him a completely new question.
As if deciding how to handle an unplanned pregnancy wasn't stressful enough, several studies in recent years have suggested that young women who have an abortion may be at increased risk of mental health problems afterward.
On Thursday, December 2, as Aneka sat at home nine months pregnant, the phone rang.
When Leidy Sanchez and her husband, Carlos Reyes, went to the hospital last week to deliver their baby, a nurse got her a gown, hooked her up to a fetal monitor and asked an unexpected question: Would they like to donate cells from their baby's umbilical cord blood to a public bank?
Women who take fish-oil supplements during pregnancy are just as likely to experience postpartum depression as those who don't, and their babies' minds don't appear to develop more quickly, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Brendan Harley beat cancer once as an infant, then faced leukemia as a teen. He survived, but the illnesses left him infertile and feeling guilty.
The number of women dying in pregnancy and childbirth has dropped by a third in the past two decades, according to a report out Wednesday from four world bodies including Unicef and the World Health Organization.
Are they one of your success stories?" I asked, pointing behind Dr. H. to a large silver-framed photo of two fat-cheeked babies, identical twins. Dr. H. was my fertility doctor, and this was our first appointment.
Erin Riley immersed herself in warm bathwater, tilted her head against the tub and dozed in and out of sleep between contractions.
When women have a miscarriage, one of the first questions they often ask is how long they should wait before getting pregnant again. A new study suggests that the sooner they start trying, the better.
Five years ago Molly and Zachery Gray were in the midst of a dark, lonely spiral. It began with Molly's first miscarriage.
As recently as 10 years ago, doctors advised women with bipolar disorder not to have children. While that thinking is now dated, bipolar women often face tough decisions about how to handle their medication during pregnancy.
This month, actress Kelly Preston announced that she was pregnant at the age of 47, prompting TV talk show discussions about the marvels of modern medicine that allowed Preston and her husband, actor John Travolta, to have a baby so late in life.
Merely 10 weeks after losing her newborn, Katie Van Tornhout learned she was pregnant again.
Matthew and his wife were excited about the birth of their daughter in January 2008, and the proud father took a month off of work to spend time with his spouse and child.
Sweating, sore and somewhat humiliated, Christina Jones ran and pushed the stroller with her screaming baby Claudia past Lane Bryant.
Fifty years ago, women obtained a new level of control over their reproductive systems. The introduction of the birth control pill meant they could have sex without getting pregnant, decide how far apart to have their children and they could even decide when -- or whether -- to have a monthly period.
Pregnant women could -- and probably should -- consume 10 times more vitamin D than experts currently recommend, according to a new study.
Ask anyone who's tried it: Sustaining a marriage or long-term relationship is hard. More than 40 percent of first marriages and nearly 70 percent of first live-in relationships fail to reach the 15-year mark, statistics show.
The health care reform legislation that President Obama signed recently isn't only about insurance coverage -- there's also a renewal of $50 million per year for five years for abstinence-focused education.
Six weeks after Robyn Roark gave birth to her first child, her doctor told her that she could start having sex again. She started crying.
Deaths from pregnancy and childbirth in the United States have doubled in the past 20 years, a development that a human rights group called "scandalous and disgraceful" Friday.
It's shocking, but it's true: Being a woman who's more than 20 pounds overweight may actually hike your risk of getting poor medical treatment. In fact, weighing too much can have surprising -- and devastating -- health repercussions beyond the usual diabetes and heart-health concerns you've heard about for years.
When Lydia Newscomb bought her Rottweiler, Reggie, five years ago, she knew she eventually wanted to have a baby. "I thought he'd protect the family," she says.
The nightmare began around 12:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
Seven months into her pregnancy with her fourth child, Joy Szabo's obstetrician gave her some news she didn't want to hear: Because she'd had a previous Caesarean section, the hospital where she planned to deliver was insisting she have another one.
Most sexually active unmarried young adults believe pregnancy should be planned, but about half do not use contraception regularly, according to a study published Tuesday.
I was six months pregnant when a smiling stranger on a bus asked where I was delivering. Within minutes, this woman was sharing intimate details of her own birthing experience -- the water breaking, the contractions that failed to get closer together, and the way her doctor deftly sewed up the four-inch incision from her Caesarean section. "I'm telling you, this guy was good," she said. "Next time, I'm just scheduling my C-section. None of this pushing stuff."
Shortly before last Mother's Day, 28-year-old Lauren Meehan-Machos broke down in front of her startled husband. "This is more than I can handle," she sobbed.
Nancy Brizendine's slow-paced life in California's Antelope Valley has become something of a slick race track.
My son is not a hugger. He's almost 2 years old, and I can count on one hand the times he's squeezed his chubby arms around my neck (they all involve my husband running the vacuum). I'm okay with this because on the rare occasion when I do get a hug, I get very emotional. I imagine most moms experience these my-heart-might-burst moments when a seconds-long embrace makes them feel like the luckiest person in the world. But for me, it's a little different. A little sweeter. And I am a lot luckier. See, I wasn't supposed to have a baby. I'm a cancer patient. Seven years ago I was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), a slow-moving form of blood cancer. I'm in remission, thanks to a medication I take every day that states right smack on the bottle: Do not get pregnant while taking this drug. But I did. Then I stopped my lifesaving medication and endured nine long months of what-ifs: What if the brief exposure to the drug affects the baby? What if my cancer comes back? What if I leave my child motherless? I took a big risk, but it paid off even bigger. Now I want to do it again.
Three years ago, Anne Willis mentioned to the man she was dating that she didn't know about her fertility, since she had undergone cancer treatment as a teenager. His response --"Oh, so you don't know if you're going be able to have kids?" -- was off-putting.
Jeff Szabo was by his wife's side when she gave birth to their son Gabriel seven years ago, and he was right there holding Joy's hand when their younger sons Michael and Daniel were born, too.
Mary Peterson of Des Moines, Washington, doesn't believe the vaccine for the novel H1N1 flu has been studied enough to get it for herself and her daughters, who are 1 and 3 years old.
More than one in 10 women develops depression during pregnancy. Now, a new study suggests that women who are treated with antidepressants are more likely to give birth early or to have newborns that need to spend time in a neonatal intensive care unit.
AWOL tampons, gas, losing your breakfast on the doc? To prove that you are so not alone when it comes to mortifying health mishaps, Health readers shared some of their stories with us. And our own medical editor, Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, weighs in on when you really do need to talk to your doctor about an embarrassing episode or symptom.
What makes a woman want to have sex? Is it physical attraction? Love? Loneliness? Jealousy? Boredom? Painful menstrual cramps?
Women who develop a mild case of gestational diabetes during pregnancy tend to have fewer complications and healthier babies if the diabetes is treated, according to the first large-scale randomized trial in the U.S. to address whether such treatment leads to health benefits for mother and child.
On a cold morning in February, 10 days after undergoing in vitro fertilization, Carolyn Savage lay in bed at her Ohio home waiting for the results of her pregnancy test.
For the past several months, Amy Wolf has been glued to the television, intently watching for information on how best to prepare for H1N1 flu.
By the time she was in her 40s, Andrea Cinnamond was afraid she'd never be a mother. Then came the day in 2005 her daughter was born through in vitro fertilization, followed two years later by twin sons. Today, Kaitlin, Jack, and Aidan bounce around like Ping-Pong balls through their Boston, Massachusetts, home.
For generations the residents of Sao Pedro, Brazil and neighboring Candido Godoi have known their isolated hamlet in southern Brazil was special.
Women with a family history of breast cancer may have a new weapon against the disease: breast-feeding. In a new study of more than 60,000 women, nursing a baby for at least three months cut the risk of breast cancer in half for those who had a family history of the disease.
First came naming babies after movie stars. Then there were copycats of celebrity outfits, Academy Award dresses and even nose jobs. Now, the celebrity chase is getting genetic.
When Holly Betten, 28, came home from the hospital after a rough delivery, she had one day to adjust to her new life as a mom before her husband went back to working 12-hour days as a computer-software architect.
Fallen out of love with your birth control? Maybe you're put off by the side effects -- cramps from hell, unpredictable bleeding. Or maybe remembering to pop a pill just isn't your strong suit. Problem is, going without isn't a good choice, even as you get older: Nearly 40 percent of pregnancies among women in their 40s, for instance, are unplanned.
Your period comes at the same time every month ... except when it doesn't. Suddenly, without warning, you're early or late, or your flow is heavy, light, or nonexistent (and you know you're not pregnant!). You and millions of women understandably wonder, Is this normal or is something terribly wrong?
Expecting moms can determine whether they're carrying a boy or a girl as early as 10 weeks after conception, according to makers of an over-the-counter gender prediction test.
Diana Adam, 35, and her husband wanted to have a second child this year. The timing just seemed right. She had a job as a software engineer at a big market research company near San Francisco, California, and it had good benefits -- including paid maternity leave. He was looking for a faculty position after finishing his Ph.D. in sociology but had a steady job as a lecturer at a state university. Their first child, a boy, was three.
A couple of months into our relationship, my future wife mentioned that her doctor once predicted a slight possibility that she might not be able to have children.
Twins? Triplets? Octuplets? Sounds like a lot of stress to handle more than one baby at once.
Doctors don't have to tell 18-year-old "Rose" (who doesn't want to reveal her real name) the importance of using a condom every time she has sex.
The average cost of medical care for a premature or low birth-weight baby for its first year of life is about $49,000, according to a new report from the March of Dimes Foundation.
Dr. Jane Miller remembers the first -- and the last -- time she implanted four embryos into a patient getting in-vitro fertilization.
As more details of the mother who gave birth to octuplets come to light, ethicists are debating the moral quandaries involved.
Children who are born more than three months premature have double the expected rate of autism at age two as full-term children, according to a study published Wednesday in the Journal of Pediatrics.
After the birth of octuplets this week, some doctors are questioning the ethics and medical practice that contribute to extreme multiple births.
"Sometimes you can forget about the preciousness of life," hospital spokesman Allen Poston thumbed onto his Blackberry after peering into an operating room where a team of 15 doctors and medical staff separated conjoined twins in six hours in surgery.
When mothers-to-be and their doctors schedule repeat elective Caesarean sections before the 39th week of pregnancy, the baby is up to twice as likely to experience serious respiratory problems and other complications, according to a study published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine.
In early October, Starla Darling was just days away from giving birth to her second child. The 27-year-old mother from Polk, Ohio, had a well-paying job with good health insurance at the Archway Cookie plant in nearby Ashland.
Some research suggests that the risk of leg and lung blood clots may be higher for women who use the birth-control patch instead of the pill. The Food and Drug Administration said it updated the label on the Ortho Evra birth-control patch in January 2008 to reflect the results of one study that found women using the patch faced twice the risk of clots, compared with women on the pill. But a second study found no difference in risk between the two forms of birth control.
A CDC data analysis from 2000-2004 shows nearly three-quarters of new mothers are breastfeeding their babies. But federal officials say they're quitting too soon, and using infant formula too often. The survey shows that less than a third of new moms are feeding their babies exclusively breast milk at three months after birth. At six months, just 11 percent are feeding only breast milk. Infant formula doesn't do the same job of protecting babies against diseases or childhood obesity.
Research suggests that women who take folic acid supplements for at least one year before they become pregnant can cut their risk of having a premature baby by half. Researchers at the January 2008 meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine unveiled a study that suggests taking folic acid supplements for at least one year reduced early premature delivery rates by 50 percent to 70 percent, regardless of age, race or other factors. Of particular note is the drop in very early premature births. Those babies are at the greatest risk of complications such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation, chronic lung disease and blindness.
A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that infants born as a result of assisted reproductive technology, or ART -- such as in vitro fertilization and the use of donor eggs -- are two to four times more likely to be born with certain types of birth defects than infants conceived naturally. But, the study's lead author says, the overall risk is still relatively low.
Depressed moms-to-be are more likely than nondepressed women to have a preterm birth, and the worse their mood, the greater their risk, says a new study published in Human Reproduction. In fact, women in the study who were severely depressed during early pregnancy more than doubled their risk of giving birth to premature babies.
Rob Sandler comforted his infant son as he lifted him out of the crib, cooing in his ear while he walked to the living room.
Rob Sandler comforted his infant son as he lifted him out of the crib, cooing in his ear while he walked to the living room.