Preterm birth, prolonged labor influenced by progesterone balance

New research by the National Institutes of Health found that unbalanced progesterone signals may cause some pregnant women to experience preterm labor or prolonged labor. The study in mice — published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — provides novel insights for developing treatments.

Exposure to Vitamin D in the Womb Might Minimize Risk of High Blood Pressure for Children Born to Mothers with Preeclampsia

Children appear to be at greater risk of having high blood pressure when their mothers had the high blood pressure condition called preeclampsia during pregnancy—but this adverse association may be reduced or even eliminated for children who were exposed to higher levels of vitamin D in the womb.

More than medicine: pain-relief drug delivers choices for mothers in labour

Choice and control are important factors for ensuring a positive childbirth experience, yet until recently, little was known about the impact of alternative administrations of fentanyl – one of the pain relief drugs used during labour– on both mother and baby.

RNA Molecules in Maternal Blood May Predict Pregnancies at Risk for Preeclampsia

UC San Diego researchers have identified small molecules in the blood of asymptomatic pregnant women that may predict risk for preeclampsia, responsible for a significant proportion of maternal and neonatal deaths, low birth weight and is a primary cause of premature birth.

Ultrasound Techniques Give Warning Signs of Preterm Births

Ultrasound can be used to examine cervix tissue and improve diagnostics, which is essential for predicting preterm births, and ultrasound data is used to compare two techniques for evaluating changes in cervical tissue throughout pregnancy. Researchers are looking at ultrasonic attenuation coefficients that can help scientists characterize cervical changes throughout pregnancy and in preparation for birth before other symptoms, such as contractions or dilation, occur. They will discuss their work at the 178th ASA Meeting.