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STUDY: College Isn’t the Main Reason Women Delay Starting a Family


Achieving higher education may not be the main reason why women in the UK delay pregnancy, demographers have discovered. Family background appears particularly relevant to explain the link between the age women first give birth and their level of education.

Since the end of the Second World War, the average age of first-time mothers has increased both in Europe and the US. In England and Wales, it now stands at 30.3 years old, according to the latest data released by the Office for National Statistics.

In parallel, the number of years that women spend in school and university has also increased. A number of studies have suggested that there is a causal link between this and their postponement of pregnancy. However, the research published in the journal Demography, now suggests that the effects of education may not be as large as expected.

With an innovative study design, looking both at education enrolment and fertility trends in the general population as well as female identical twins, they attempt to untangle the effects of genes, family background and education on fertility behaviours.

“Together with mortality and migration, fertility is a crucial factor to understand what shapes our social structure and how a society is going to fare in the future. Age at first birth is the main determinant of how many children women have, and so it is very important for demographers to understand what influences it and if education enrolment is involved, how significant a part it plays”, study author Felix Tropf, from the University of Oxford, told IBTimes UK.

Extra year in school, six months older mothers

The researchers analysed the fertility histories of 2,752 identical female twins from a large twin register set up in 1992 in the UK. This approach is interesting because twins share genes and similar family backgrounds, so this isolates the effects of potentially different levels of education.

Analysing the data, the scientists estimated that for every extra year of educational enrolment after the age of 12, a woman delayed motherhood by an average half a year. However, their model also suggests that family background – from socio-economic environment to genes – better explained why women delayed pregnancy. Education alone is estimated to contribute to only 1.5 months of the total six-month delay.

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Study: NYC Babies Born After 9/11 Preterm & Low Weight

A new study states that women who delivered in New York after exposure to 9/11 had increased risks for low birth weight and preterm delivery.

The study was retrospective and looked at  deliveries after September 11, 2001, up to the end of 2010, who had exposure to 9/11.

Subjects were identified through the World Trade Center Health Registry and included women who were engaged in rescue or recovery work, witness to an event, living or working in area.

Researchers examined information on birth certificates to identify low birth weight, preterm delivery, and small for gestational age.

Read the entire study here.

Study: Coffee Intake before Pregnancy Increases Miscarriage Risk


A new study published online in Fertility and Sterility claims that a woman is more likely to miscarry if she and her partner consumed more than two caffeinated drinks daily during the weeks before conception. The study also reports that women who drank more than two caffeinated beverages daily during the first seven weeks of pregnancy were also at higher risk to miscarry.

The National Health Institutes of Health and Ohio State University, Columbus research team investigated the lifestyle habits of 344 couples, including their cigarette use, caffeine consumption and multivitamin intake. They observed these participants weeks before conception until seven months into the pregnancy.

“Our findings provide useful information for couples who are planning a pregnancy and who would like to minimize their risk of early pregnancy loss,”asserts study author Germaine Buck Louis, the director of the Division of Intramural Population Health Research at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Twenty-eight percent or 98 of the pregnancies miscarried. The team found that caffeinated beverage consumption was associated with a hazard ratio of 1.74 increased miscarriage risk for females and 1.73 increased risk for males.

“Our findings also indicate that the male partner matters, too,” Buck Louis added. “Male preconception consumption of caffeinated beverages was just as strongly associated with pregnancy loss as females.”

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STUDY: Excessive weight gain During Pregnancy Could Lead to Lifelong Obesity

Gaining excessive weight during pregnancy can lead to obesity issues throughout life for women who are already at risk, according to a new study.

Researchers found that putting on too much weight while pregnant can cause excess body fat and pounds that remain, as reported by AJMC.

Columbia University researchers evaluated about 300 women, all of whom were African-American or Dominican, between the years of 1998 and 2013. The study group was at risk of becoming obese due to socioeconomic factors and unhealthy dietary patterns, according to the authors.

The participants had an average body mass index (BMI) of 25.6 prior to being pregnant, just slightly above the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention guidelines for being overweight. Five percent of participants were underweight, 53 percent were at a healthy weight, 20 percent were overweight, and 22 percent were obese.

The study suggests that 64 percent of these women put on more weight than the 15 to 20 pounds recommended by health officials. The women were then monitored for seven years after giving birth.

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STUDY: High Blood Sugar in Pregnancy leads to Heart Defects in Baby

Pregnant women with high blood-sugar levels – even if it is below the cutoff for diabetes – are more likely to have babies with congenital heart defects, says a new study.

“We already knew that women with diabetes were at significantly increased risk for having children with congenital heart disease,” said the study’s lead author James Priest, postdoctoral scholar in pediatric cardiology at Stanford University School of Medicine in California, US.

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STUDY: Sex Boosts Immunity which Increases Chances to Conceive

study more sex increases immunity

Not that you really need it, but here’s another reason to have sex: It’s great for your immune system. According to new research, frequent coitus triggers the body’s natural defenses in positive ways and may jumpstart physiological changes that boost a woman’s chance for conceiving.

The results of the study were published Tuesday in two papers, one in the journal Fertility and Sterility and another in the journal Physiology and Behavior. The papers suggest that having sex during points of infertility in a woman’s cycle could still help improve her chance of conceiving.


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Study: Parents who Hover Impede their Kid’s Fitness



Parents, if you want your kids to get more exercise, you’d be wise to get out of their way.

In a new study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers sought to observe how kids play in parks. Their overarching goal was to help park designers create public spaces that would better entice kids to run around and exercise. But along the way, the authors discovered something else: the single biggest barrier to children’s physical activity had less to do with park design itself and more to do with the hovering presence of a parent.

Children whose parents hung around monitoring them closely were only about half as likely to engage in high levels of physical activity as kids whose parents granted more freedom, the researchers found.

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STUDY: First pregnancy weight gain impacts second baby 

A woman’s weight during her first pregnancy may affect the health of a second baby, even if everything went well the first time around, a new study has found.

It is already well established that a mother’s weight can increase the risk of complications during pregnancy. For example, if a woman is overweight or obese, this increases her risk of developing gestational diabetes.

According to US researchers, many women are not a healthy weight when they first become pregnant. They may be overweight or underweight, although more often, they are overweight.

The study found that complications may occur during a second pregnancy even if none occurred during the first pregnancy, and even if the mother is a normal weight the second time around.

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In Which States Are Women Paid the Most and the Least?


Women’s salaries continue to rise though they remain below the median pay that men  receive.  Two recent studies analyzed the best and worst states in the United States for Working women.

The District of Columbia, Maryland and Massachusetts were the top three states in a study study analyzed by The Institute for Women’s Policy Research. The researches looked specifically at pay, women’s leadership roles, labor force participation, and the gender pay gap.

Minnesota, Massachusetts and Vermont took the top three spots for being family-friendly to working moms, having a high percentage of voter participation and access to healthcare, according to WalletHub‘s analysis. Its study ranked the top best 15 states and 15 worst states based on professional opportunities available and quality of life for women.

Despite the high salaries women still only make 78 cents for every dollar earned by a man. And even though women make up more than half of the labor force, they make up 62 percent of all minimum and sub-minimum wage workers.

Here are the top 5 in The Institute for Women’s Policy Research listing:

Here are the top five, along with the median pay for women with full-time jobs:

  1. District of Columbia $60,000
  2. Maryland 49,800
  3. Massachusetts 48,500
  4. New Jersey 48,000
  5. Connecticut 46,000

And here are the bottom five:

  1. Arkansas $30,000
  2. Mississippi 30,000
  3. Louisiana 32,000
  4. Idaho 30,000
  5. West Virginia 30,300


Study: Obese moms produce babies that will struggle with weight entire life 



Do obese mothers automatically produce obese children with metabolic disease?

According to a study being presented today at the American Diabetes Association’s 75th Scientific Sessions, the in utero environment can indeed cultivate a child’s cells to accumulate extra fat.

Researchers say that environment also can produce metabolism differences that can lead to insulin resistance.

Other studies have shown that obesity during pregnancy is a risk factor for increased infant adiposity at birth. Severely overweight women also pass on an increased risk that their children will become obese and have metabolic disease later in life.

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