Infection During Pre / Post-Pregnancy Stage Like Influenza, Pneumonia, Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Have Stronger Effect on Babies Health Even Leukemia
No doubt about it, pregnancy is often one of the most thrilling and most worrisome times in a woman's life. Of course, when you're pregnant, what you don't put into your body (or expose it to) can be almost as important as what you do. The official, scary-sounding word for something that may cause birth defects or harm to a fetus is teratogen, and can include drugs, medications, infections, chemicals, etc.
Prenatal care refers to the medical care recommended for women before and during pregnancy. The aim of good prenatal care is to detect any potential problems early, to prevent them if possible (through recommendations on adequate nutrition, exercise, vitamin intake etc), and to direct the woman to appropriate specialists, hospitals, etc. if necessary. The availability of routine prenatal care has played a part in reducing maternal death rates and miscarriages as well as birth defects, low birth weight, and other preventable infant problems in the developed world.
Ideally, prenatal care should start before you get pregnant. If you're planning a pregnancy, see your health care provider for a complete checkup. He or she can do routine testing to make sure you're in good health and that you don't have any illnesses or other conditions that could affect your pregnancy. If you've been experiencing any unusual symptoms, this is a good time to report them.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 4 million American women give birth every year. Nearly one third of them will have some kind of pregnancy-related complication. Those who don't get adequate prenatal care run the risk that such complications will go undetected or won't be dealt with soon enough. That, in turn, can lead to potentially serious consequences for both the mother and her baby.
A mother who contracts influenza, pneumonia, or a sexually transmitted disease around the time of pregnancy appears to be at increased risk of having a child that will develop leukemia, new research shows.
The bone marrow controls the production of normal cells. In patients with leukemia the production process breaks down and the bone marrow starts producing large numbers of abnormal cells of only one cell type, usually one of the white cells. These abnormal, immature cells then flood the blood stream and lymph system and may invade vital organs such as the brain, testes, ovaries, or skin. In rare cases, acute myeloid leukemia tumor cells appear as a solid tumor called an isolated granulocytic sarcoma or chloroma.
In leukemia, your bone marrow produces a large number of abnormal white blood cells. They look different from normal blood cells and don't function properly. The bone marrow controls the production of normal cells. In patients with leukemia the production process breaks down and the bone marrow starts producing large numbers of abnormal cells of only one cell type, usually one of the white cells. These abnormal, immature cells then flood the blood stream and lymph system and may invade vital organs such as the brain, testes, ovaries, or skin. In rare cases, acute myeloid leukemia tumor cells appear as a solid tumor called an isolated granulocytic sarcoma or chloroma.
Eventually, they block production of normal white blood cells, impairing your ability to fight off infection. Leukemia cells also crowd out other types of blood cells produced by the bone marrow, including red blood cells, which carry oxygen to tissues throughout your body, and platelets, which help form blood clots.
As leukemia progresses, the cancer interferes with the body's production of other types of blood cells, including red blood cells and platelets. This results in anemia (low numbers of red cells) and bleeding problems, in addition to the increased risk of infection caused by white cell abnormalities.
These observations "suggest that maternal infection might contribute to the develop of childhood leukemia, which has been postulated to have an infectious origin," Dr. Marilyn L. Kwan, from the Division of Research at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California told Reuters Health.
As reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology, Kwan and her colleagues studied 365 children diagnosed with childhood leukemia and 460 similar children without cancer. Data on maternal illnesses and drug use from before pregnancy through breastfeeding were obtained by interview with the mother.
The investigators found that a maternal history of influenza or pneumonia that occurred between 3 months before conception through the end of breastfeeding raised the risk of leukemia in the child as much as 89 percent.
A maternal history of sexually transmitted disease, such as herpes or chlamydia, had an even stronger effect on the risk of childhood leukemia, increasing the odds by more than sixfold.
By contrast, women who used iron supplements around the time of pregnancy had a decreased of having a child with leukemia.
"Overall, these results emphasize the importance of maintaining good health while pregnant, which has always been an overarching policy promoted by (doctors) in order to have a smooth pregnancy and healthy baby," Kwan concluded.
You should be particularly mindful of a handful of things during your pregnancy, some of which are more harmful than others. Your doctor (or other health care provider) will likely talk to you about — or give you information on — which should be avoided altogether, dramatically reduced, and/or carefully considered during pregnancy.