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Why Are Painkillers Dangerous For Pregnant Women?

A nurse recently asked a very important question that bears repeating: What effect does long-term use of pain pills have on pregnant women? She was concerned because of the increase in number of pregnant women who are taking pain pills on a long term basis based on previous surgeries, accidents or a history of chronic pain.

The most common “pain pills” prescribed are opiates which effectively eliminate or reduce pain but have a great tendency to be abused. Opioids are natural and synthetic type drugs that have the characteristics of morphine. It can only be obtained with a prescription and unfortunately physicians contribute to the problem of dependency and abuse through their lack of scrutiny regarding patient requests. My present home state of Florida has the unsavory distinction of being known as the country’s largest pill mill and it was reported that 80 percent of opiates were not dispensed by pharmacists but by physicians who dispense them from their offices. Consequently, the Florida legislators now prohibit physicians from dispensing opiates in their offices with rare exceptions.

Why are opiates or pain killers dangerous for pregnant women? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway*

Research Shows That A Pregnant Woman’s Diet Might Influence Baby’s Palate

Attention, pregnant women!  The foods you eat now might influence your babies’ palates after they are born.  New research published in the journal Pediatrics, shows that the fetus actually drinks amniotic fluid in the womb.  The amniotic fluid is flavored by the foods the mother has recently eaten and flavors can be transmitted to the amniotic fluid and mother’s milk.

It makes sense that as the baby is developing, memories are being created by a sense of taste.  Could what a mother eats influence food preferences and odor preferences for life?  Researchers fed babies cereal flavored with carrot juice vs. water.  They showed that babies who experienced daily carrots in amniotic fluid or mother’s milk ate more carrot-flavored cereal and made less negative faces when eating it.

Julie Mennella studies taste in infants at the Monell Chemical Senses Center (Philadelphia) and she says Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

Managing Labor Pain Without The Use Of Drugs

No one likes pain, least of all pregnant women. Although obstetricians do a great job providing prenatal care and childbirth deliveries, there is always room for improvement regarding patient education.

The management of labor pain is usually delegated to the Anesthesia Department within a hospital or an ambulatory center. The goal of anesthesia is to eliminate physical pain and any suffering that might be a result of pain. However pain and suffering may not always be about cause and effect. To quote the literature, “Although pain and suffering often occur together, one may suffer without pain or have pain without suffering.” Some women want to eliminate pain and others view it as a normal process. However, to the well initiated, it is well known that women who are in pain and “suffering” do not progress as quickly in labor as those who are pain free. For those pregnant moms who would prefer not to have “drugs” here are some options however, please keep in mind that information regarding the safety and effectiveness of these methods is “scientifically” limited, meaning the subjects involved in medical studies to prove whether these methods work or not are small. Having said that, listed below are some of the most popular ways to reduce pain without drugs, however, please consult your physician or healthcare provider prior to using them. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway*

Pregnancy Can Cause Some Serious Skin Changes

When we think of skin changes in pregnancy, what immediately comes to mind are stretch marks or Striae Gravidarum . Stretch marks occur because of a breakdown of collagen, a substance that holds the skin together and is responsible for its stretching. Teen pregnant patients are more at risk for having stretch marks. Why is that important? Because, according to medical literature, stretch marks can increase the risk of having lacerations (or tears) during birth.

Another fairly common skin condition during pregnant is called Pruritus gravidarum or generalized itching during pregnancy without the presence of a rash. Approximately 14% of pregnant women are affected by this condition and it is associated with twin pregnancies, fertility treatments and diabetes. As stated in my previous blog, itching during pregnancy should not be ignored, especially in the third trimester because it could signify a condition called Cholestasis of Pregnancy that involves an increase in bile or liver enzymes. This condition is also associated with preterm labor.

Hormonal changes of pregnancy that involve estrogen or progesterone can produce Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway*

The Story Of One Medical Professional’s Lack Of Compassion

It affected me.  Not just it, but the fact that it didn’t seem to affect my colleague.

I was a lowly fourth year medical student, delivering babies for all I was worth. Looking back, I realize I enjoyed it. The whole ‘joy of a baby coming into the world’ really gave me joy that a baby was coming into the world. Call me sentimental but I saw each birth as beautiful. Somehow I could look past the meconeum and the amniotic fluid and the episiotomies and see what was actually going on. It was a happy time for the mother (mostly). It was the beginning of hopes and dreams. It was a new start for the baby (obviously) and for the mother, and in a sense, each new birth may have signified a potential new start for me.
She was excited about her new baby, but there was a cloud over her entire admission. The reason she had come in to the hospital was because she hadn’t felt the baby kicking for the last 24 hours and she was worried. Quite soon we were worried, too. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at other things amanzi*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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