Lifestyle ‘link to miscarriage risk’


A pregnant woman

The lifestyles of 91,427 pregnant women in Denmark were analysed for the study
  • More than a quarter of first-time miscarriages could be prevented by making a combination of lifestyle changes, research in Denmark suggests.

Researchers said lifting more than 20kg (44lbs) each day during pregnancy and being obese or underweight increased the risk of miscarriage.

Women beyond their early 30s, who drank alcohol and worked night shifts during pregnancy were also more likely to miscarry, they said.

The study analysed 91,427 women.

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Twenty kilograms is the size of a large holiday suitcase. Most of us would only lift that very occasionally”

Caroline OvertonRoyal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

In the UK, more than one in seven pregnancies ends in miscarriage.

‘Subject for prevention’

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen, which carried out the work, said only by reducing all of the risk factors could they be prevented.

The paper was published in the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Anne-Marie Nybo Andersen, senior researcher at the University of Copenhagen, said: “The main message from the paper is that miscarriages are a subject for prevention.”

Ms Nybo Andersen said the paper was significant as it showed the relative importance of different lifestyle factors in causing miscarriage, rather than more specific factors, such as certain pharmaceutical drugs.

As the findings were from the health perspective of a population, they could apply to lots of people – from individual couples to people in charge of maternity policies, work place regulations and supporting students who get pregnant, she said.

She added: “Everybody, young men and women, as well as those who have political responsibilities should bear in mind that postponing pregnancy to the mid-30s implies a seriously increased risk of miscarriage.”

Healthy-pregnancy advice

Pregnancies included in the Danish National Birth Cohort between 1996 and 2002 were analysed for the study. Researchers found 3.5% of the women miscarried.

They looked for links between the miscarriages and lifestyle by collecting data through computer-assisted telephone interviews.

Caroline Overton, spokesperson at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “This is a very interesting study in terms of the very large population size.”

She said it confirmed much of the advice currently given out in the UK to promote healthy pregnancy, such as not drinking, but questioned how applicable the study would be to British women.

On the subject of the findings, Ms Overton added: “Twenty kilograms is the size of a large holiday suitcase. Most of us would only lift that very occasionally.”

Women wanting to conceive should also eat a balanced diet, make sure they are not “too skinny”, or overweight, cut out smoking and ask their partners to follow suit, she said.

Exercise most effective lifestyle choice for preventing dementia, researchers say.


  
Taking regular exercise is the most effective single lifestyle choice people can make to reduce their risk of dementia, according to one of the most extensive studies yet into people’s long-term health outcomes.
The 35-year investigation, carried out by researchers at Cardiff University, found that consistently following just four out of five key behaviours could reduce dementia risk by 60 per cent, while also cutting the chance of heart disease and stroke by 70 per cent.

Of the five behaviours – exercise, not smoking, having a low bodyweight, a healthy diet and low alcohol intake – exercise was found to be the most effective at improving long-term physical and mental health.

Although the five factors will be familiar to almost everyone, researchers said they were “really amazed” by quite how beneficial they had proved to be.

“What the research shows is that following a healthy lifestyle confers surprisingly large benefits to health,” said principle investigator Professor Peter Elwood of Cardiff University’s School of Medicine. “Healthy behaviours have a far more beneficial effect than any medical treatment or preventative procedure.”

The study, the longest of its kind to probe the influence of environmental factors in chronic disease, followed the health outcomes of 2,235 Caerphilly men. It is published today in the journal PLOS One.

Professor Elwood said that, unfortunately, the evidence from the study was that very few men actually follow the kind of healthy lifestyle that can prove so beneficial, and that, while smoking rates had gone down since the study began, the number of people living completely healthily had remained unchanged.

On Wednesday the UK will host the first ever G8 Dementia Summit, with health ministers meeting to discuss a global strategy to combat the disease. Dementia rates are set to treble worldwide to 135 million by 2050, with enormous societal and economic costs.

Dr Doug Brown, director of research and development at the Alzheimer’s Society said: “We have known for some time that what is good for your heart is also good for your head, and this study provides more evidence to show that healthy living could significantly reduce the chances of developing dementia.”

Nurse reveals the top 5 regrets people make on their deathbed.


For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality..

stihl-deathbed-scene

I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Manydeveloped illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way,you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again. When you are on your deathbed, what  others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying..

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happine