Chocolates may reduce pregnancy complications

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Chocolates may reduce pregnancy complications

Indulging in chocolate during pregnancy could help ward off preeclampsia. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is rich in theobromine, which stimulates the heart, relaxes smooth muscle and dilates blood vessels, and has been used to treat chest pain, high blood pressure, and hardening of the arteries, noted researchers from Yale University, US in Epidemiology. Preeclampsia, in which blood pressure spikes during pregnancy while excess protein is released into the urine, has many features in common with heart disease. Women who consumed the most chocolate and those whose infants had the highest concentration of theobromine in their cord blood, were found to be the least likely to develop preeclampsia.

ZERO TO 20

Electromagnetic fields affect infant heart rate

The electromagnetic fields generated by incubators influence the heart rate variability in newborns, suggesting that such fields are capable of altering autonomic nervous system activity. The long-term impact of electromagnetic field exposure is unclear, but it could have implications for preterm infants who often spend weeks in incubators, noted researchers from Italy in the Fetal and Neonatal Edition of the Archives of Disease in Childhood. Heart rate variability refers to the normal alterations in heart rate that occur under resting conditions, and in other circumstances, in healthy individuals. Reduced heart rate variability is therefore a sign of some cardiac abnormality.

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Late-pregnancy depression predicts more woe

Helping women who suffer from depression during pregnancy could reduce their risk of remaining depressed after giving birth and, in turn, reduce the level of stress they experience in early parenthood, Australian researchers reported in BMC Psychiatry. The strongest predictor of whether or not a woman would have postnatal depression was whether she was depressed shortly before giving birth, also known as the antenatal period, reported researchers from Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital Austin Health in Heidelberg Heights and University of Melbourne. Postnatal depression was, in turn, the only significant risk factor for high levels of parenting stress. The researchers identified seven significant risk factors for antenatal depression, with the strongest being antenatal anxiety, low self esteem and low levels of social support.

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