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Ralph Teller

Preterm Birth Risk Factors - Marijuana Use, Hypertension, Low Body Mass Index, Fertility Hormone Treatment
by Ralph Teller


Lifestyle Changes Several Months before Conception and During Pregnancy Significantly reduce Preterm Birth Risks!

A child's health can be impacted by a women's lifestyle prior to conception.

A recent study has highlighted several environmental risk fasters associated with preterm births (PTB) that are within the control of the mother. Women intending to conceive can make certain lifestyle changes several months before conception to significantly reduce preterm birth risks. Why is this important? Preterm births can significantly impact infant health and infant mortality. Preterm births is birth before 37 weeks' gestation.

Marijuana Use. Marijuana (cannabis) use, through its active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in the months prior to conception doubles preterm birth risks! Two separate recent study have also linked (i) marijuana use with loss of brain volume and (ii) early age marijuana use with psychosis and Schizophrenia symptoms. See Early Cannabis Use Linked to Schizophrenia Symptoms. This study has some scientists concerned about the impact of marijuana use by a mother during pregnancy or during the months prior to conception on the fetal brain.

Mild Hypertension. Mild Hypertension can increase preterm birth risk ten fold. There are several natural ways to help reduce hypertension including reducing intake of heavily processed foods, especially processed foods high in salt (sodium). Proper rest and good regular sleep can reduce hypertension. See Tips to Good Natural Sleep. A slower more relaxed breathing rhythm can also play an important role in reducing hypertension. See How Our Breathing Rhythm Impacts Good Health.

Diabetes. Diabetes can increase preterm birth risk eight fold. Type 2 Diabetes is mostly caused by environmental factors under t he conrol of the mother. A women intending to conceive can make lifestyle changes that will lower the risk of becoming pre Type 2 Diabetic or developing Type 2 Diabetes. See Natural Ways to Help Prevent and Treat Type 2 Diabetes.

Preterm Birth Risk Factors Percent Increase in Risk
Marijuana Use 100%
Body Mass Index Under 20 200%
Hormone Fertility Treatment 400%
Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes 800%
Mild Hypertension 1000%

The principal investigator of this study is Gustaaf A. Dekker, MD, PhD, with the University of Adelaide, in South Australia and his study was published in the July 2012 issue of PLoS One.

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Articles on Preterm Birth Risk Factors

PublicationMarijuana Use Linked to Increased Risk for Preterm Birth, Emma Hitt, PhD, Medscape

PublicationRisk Factors for Preterm Birth in an International Prospective, PLoSOne

PublicationImpact of cannabis use on thalamic volume in people at familial high risk of schizophrenia, Killian A. Welch, MD, MRCPsych, British Journal of Psychiatry

PublicationEarly cannabis use and Schizotypal Personality Disorder Symptoms from adolescence to middle adulthood, DeidreM. Anglin, Cheryl M. Corcoran, Alan S. Brown, Henian Chen, Quenesha Lighty, Judith S. Brook, Patricia R. Cohen, Schizophrenia Research

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