Saturday February 24, 2018

Vitamin D supplementation for Pregnant Women should be Tailor-made, suggests Research

The skin naturally produces vitamin D after exposure to sunlight but people also obtain smaller amounts of the vitamin through foods, such as milk fortified with vitamin D

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Pregnant woman. Flickr
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London, October 28, 2016: Pregnant women respond differently to vitamin D supplementation depending on their individual attributes, thus the supplement levels should be tailored according to individual risk factors, suggests a research.

Vitamin D is a hormone that helps the body to absorb calcium. It plays a crucial role in bone and muscle health.

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The skin naturally produces vitamin D after exposure to sunlight but people also obtain smaller amounts of the vitamin through foods, such as milk fortified with vitamin D.

The findings showed that women who delivered in the summer season, who gained less weight during pregnancy and who had higher vitamin D levels early in pregnancy tended to have higher levels of vitamin D in the blood than their counterparts.

On the other hand, vitamin D supplements were found less effective at raising the levels of the vitamin in pregnant women who delivered their babies in the winter season, have low levels of vitamin D early in pregnancy or gain more weight during pregnancy.

Women who consistently took the supplement also had higher levels of vitamin D than participants who did not, the researchers said.

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“Our study findings suggest that in order to optimise vitamin D concentrations through pregnancy, the supplemental dose given may need to be tailored to a woman’s individual circumstances, such as the anticipated season of delivery,” said Nicholas Harvey, Professor at University of Southampton in Britain.

Evidence suggests vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy can harm maternal health, foetal development and the child’s long-term skeletal health.

“It is important for pregnant women to have sufficient levels of vitamin D for the health of their baby,” Harvey added.

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For the study, the team recruited and randomised more than 800 pregnant women to take either 1,000 units (25 micrograms) of vitamin D every day or a matched placebo capsule from 14 week’s gestation until delivery of the baby.

Analysis showed that participants who received the vitamin D supplement achieved different levels of vitamin D in the blood, even though they received the same dose.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. (IANS)

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Lia, the Pregnancy Test You Can Flush

Born out of research conducted during their graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Lia’s creators say it’s the first flushable and biodegradable pregnancy test developed

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In addition to being better for the environment, a flushable test has major implications for women’s privacy.
In addition to being better for the environment, a flushable test has major implications for women’s privacy. Wikimedia Commons
  • Lia works like traditional, over-the-counter pregnancy tests, detecting the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in urine
  • Lia breaks down like toilet paper and can be flushed in a standard-flow sewer or septic systems
  •  Lia will be available in the third quarter of 2018 and sell for between $7 and $8, comparable to pregnancy tests currently on the market

NEW YORK: Bethany Edwards and her co-workers spend a lot of time with pregnancy tests.

“We all peed on a lot of different things,” Edwards says, laughing. “So that’s been fun and interesting.”

Edwards is the co-founder and CEO of Lia Diagnostics. Together with co-founder Anna Simpson, Edwards and her team have created a new-and-improved pregnancy test called Lia.

Lia works like traditional, over-the-counter pregnancy tests, detecting the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in urine.

But unlike traditional tests, Lia is made of paper instead of plastic and is 100 percent biodegradable in 12 weeks, its creators say.

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“We’re really bringing together a solution that is better for women but also better for the planet,” Edwards said.

Flushable, biodegradable

Born out of research conducted during their graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Lia’s creators say it’s the first flushable and biodegradable pregnancy test developed. The product recently obtained clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Lia breaks down like toilet paper and can be flushed in a standard-flow sewer or septic systems.

The safety of domestic violence victims can also be potentially threatened by the discovery of a disposed of the test. Wikimedia Commons
The safety of domestic violence victims can also be potentially threatened by the discovery of a disposed of the test. Wikimedia Commons

Creating a paper test that could hold up long enough to test urine samples but eventually disintegrate after flushing was a major challenge.

“We really had to develop our own coatings, proprietary coatings, to allow the paper and the materials that we’re using to hold up in use but also be able to break down quickly after you’re done,” Edwards said.

“It’s kind of a very counterintuitive sort of thing,” she added. “You want something that has rigidity and structure, but then after you’re done with it, doesn’t, and is able to become flimsy and separate in water.”

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Edwards demonstrated by wetting a Lia prototype under a faucet. In the section that tests urine samples, the water was absorbed, while along the outer edge, a water droplet remained intact.

The test eventually soaked up even more water, becoming pliable enough for its two paper layers to easily separate. Lia’s paper layers are crimped and held together by force, not glue, which helps it dissolve. Users can speed up the breakdown process by tearing the test in half, at notches near the centre.

In addition to being better for the environment, a flushable test has major implications for women’s privacy.

“We know that there’s sometimes fear around getting and obtaining a pregnancy test,” Edwards said. “Those extra efforts or having to ask somebody, the judgment in that is sometimes enough to have somebody not take a pregnancy test as soon as they should.”

“Lots of women tell their stories about hiding pregnancy tests in trash, trash cans, taking them in public restrooms, wrapping them in tinfoil and hiding them in other garbage cans. I mean, some extreme stories,” she added.

Lia breaks down like toilet paper and can be flushed in a standard-flow sewer or septic systems.
Lia breaks down like toilet paper and can be flushed in a standard-flow sewer or septic systems. Wikimedia Commons

Privacy concerns

Dr Meera Shah, a physician based in New York and a fellow at Physicians for Reproductive Health, spoke of teenage patients whose privacy was compromised when their parents discovered pregnancy tests in the trash. The safety of domestic violence victims can also be potentially threatened by the discovery of a disposed of the test.

“I’ve had patients tell me that their partners found their pregnancy test in the trash can, and that put them at risk for further abuse at home,” Shah said.

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“I think that a discreet pregnancy test can empower women and empower people to be able to take a test without worrying about outside interference,” she said. “That has the potential to further engage them with the reproductive health care that they need after that.”

Cost factor

“Often times I hear that pregnancy tests can be expensive,” Shah said. “I tend to work with lower-income patients, patients who have poorer access to reproductive health care services, and so I think the cost can be a barrier.”

Lia will be available in the third quarter of 2018 and sell for between $7 and $8, comparable to pregnancy tests currently on the market. (VOA)