TIME medicine

Tylenol During Pregnancy Could Harm Male Babies, Study Shows

It reduces testosterone production in the womb

Taking too much Tylenol during pregnancy could reduce testosterone levels in male babies, according to a new study.

The study, published in Science Translational Medicine, found that prolonged use of acetaminophen, the drug in Tylenol, by a pregnant mother reduced production of testosterone in her unborn son.

The study used mice that carried grafts of human tissue. After one day of exposure to the drug there was no effect on testosterone production, but after seven days the amount of testosterone was down by 45 percent.

Limited testosterone in the womb is related to increased risk of infertility, testicular cancer and undescended testicles.

“We would advise that pregnant women should follow current guidance that the painkiller be taken at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time,” said Rod Mitchell, one of the authors of the study from the University of Edinburgh.

Acetaminophen drugs like Tylenol or Panadol are the most common medicine for managing pain or fevers during pregnancy.

MONEY Careers

Elon Musk Denies Scolding New Parent for Missing Meeting

A new biography claims Elon Musk criticized an employee who missed a work event to witness the birth of his child. The man behind Tesla and SpaceX says it never happened.

TIME Healthcare

Most Americans Don’t Know the First Thing About Miscarriages

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Miscarriage is far more common than most people think, finds a new survey

A new survey reveals that many American men and women have vast misconceptions of miscarriages.

Despite the fact that miscarriage is the most common complication in pregnancy, the new survey published in Obstetrics & Gynecology reveals that most of the 1,000-plus people surveyed believed that miscarriage happened in 6% or fewer of pregnancies. The actual number is closer to 30% of pregnancies, says study author Dr. Zev Williams, director of the Program for Early and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System. “Most people think it’s an incredibly rare event, so when it happens to them they feel very isolated and they will look to themselves and think they must have done something wrong,” he says. Nearly one million miscarriages occur in the U.S. each year.

Twenty-two percent of the people surveyed said they thought lifestyle choices during pregnancy, like smoking or drinking, were the most common causes of miscarriages. All of the following suspected causes are incorrect, but 76% of the participants thought that a stressful event could cause a miscarriage; 64% thought lifting heavy objects could cause a miscarriage; 41% believed it could be caused by an STD; 22% thought past oral contraceptive use could be a cause; and 21% thought a pregnant woman could miscarry from getting into an argument.

A lot about miscarriages remains unknown, the authors say, but genetic problems are responsible for most.

“Patients who had been suffering from miscarriages would come in and I would explain to them that miscarriages were common, and this was a shocking revelation for them,” says Williams. “On top of that, when I would explain to them that there wasn’t anything that they did to cause a miscarriage, you would see this tremendous sense of relief come over them. I think invariably what happens in miscarriages is that patients sort of look back at the week leading up to the miscarriage, and women generally blame themselves for it.”

Many people who had a miscarriage felt a lot of guilt or shame, the results of the survey showed. Forty-seven percent of men and women who reported that they or their partner had experienced a miscarriage said they felt guilty, and 41% said they felt they had done something wrong. Forty-one percent reported feeling alone and 28% felt ashamed. Just under half of those individuals felt that they had been given adequate medical community support.

Williams says these misconceptions about miscarriage persist because people don’t talk about them. “I’ve taken care of siblings where each of them didn’t realize they were both suffering from recurrent miscarriages,” he says. “Because there is a degree of self blame and guilt, people don’t want to talk about it. The effect of that is people feel really isolated and alone when it happens to them.” When women who had miscarried had a friend who revealed that they too had a miscarriage, 46% of participants said they felt less alone.

It can feel less lonely, too, when celebrities disclose their own miscarriages, 28% of the women reported. The fact that a celebrity’s miscarriage can become a major news story speaks to how rare it is that someone shares their own experience, Williams says.

Initially, the survey was intended for the scientific community as a way to provide physicians with a better understanding of the mindset of their patients. But Williams says he thinks the general public will benefit the most since there is a clear need for greater awareness. He says he hopes it also spurs demand for more knowledge about the complication.

“I think there also needs to be a much bigger push for research in miscarriage,” says Williams. “We essentially are living with the same understandings that we had 50 years ago.”

TIME Research

Some Premature Babies Can Survive After Only 22 Weeks, Study Says

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Roughly 5,000 babies are born at 22 or 23 weeks in the U.S. each year

A new study has found that some premature babies can survive outside the womb with medical treatment as early as 22 weeks into pregnancy.

The study, published on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, raises questions about treatment practices for premature babies while also adding a new layer to the abortion debate.

Hospitals vary in how they approach treatment for babies born before 24 weeks, widely viewed to be the minimum age of viability, the New York Times reports. But the study, which analyzed almost 5,000 babies born at between 22 and 27 weeks, found that a small number of babies born at 22 weeks could survive with treatment, some with long-term impairment. Those that were not treated died.

Each year, roughly 5,000 babies are born at 22 or 23 weeks in the US, according to the Times.

[NYT]

TIME Family

Watch This Mom of 6 Boys Freak Out During Gender Reveal of Baby Number 7

'Freak out' is an understatement

Cher Lair of Apex, North Carolina, received a sweet surprise when she cut into the gender reveal cake for her seventh child.

After giving birth to six boys, the mom figured lucky baby number seven would be a male too, reports local ABC affiliate WTVD.

“Initially, on baby three and four I’m thinking ‘They’ll be a girl at some point. They can’t all be boys.’ But after four and five and six, You’re kinda thinking, yeah they can,” said Lair.

Or can they?

Surrounded by all of her sons, Lair cut into the gender reveal cake expecting a blue stripe denoting a boy, but was shocked to discover a pink girl stripe inside instead.

In footage from the big moment, Lair immediately starts screaming when she sees the slice and falls to floor in excitement.

Lair says she is eager to welcome the baby and experience the new parks of having a little lady in her life.

“We’re a boy house for sure,” the mom told WVTD. “I want to have that mommy-daughter thing, to take her to Cinderella, for pedicures and manicures, and shop for a prom dress. I’ve wanted that.” ”

This article originally appeared on People.com.

TIME Sex/Relationships

Teens Aren’t Using the Most Effective Birth Control

IUD birthcontrol
Photo Illustration by Mia Tramz for TIME; Corbis

A new CDC report reveals few teens use IUDs and implants

American teenagers are getting better at practicing safe sex, but a new federal report reveals very few teens are using the most effective forms of birth control.

In the new report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at 2005–2013 data from the Title X National Family Planning Program on teen contraceptive use and found that teen use of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC)—such as the intrauterine device (IUD) and the implant—are up but still very low. The numbers show that U.S. teen LARC use increased from under 1% in 2005 to 7% in 2013. Implants were used more than IUDs by women of all ages. The state with the highest use of LARC among its teens in 2013 was Colorado at 26%. All other states ranged from use of less than 1% to 20%.

Currently, teens are opting for methods like condoms and birth control pills, which while still good options, are less effective and more prone to incorrect or inconsistent use.

MORE: Why The Most Effective Form of Birth Control is the One No One Uses

The benefit of contraceptives like the IUD and implant are that they are low maintenance and highly effective. For example, the typical use failure rate of the IUD is 0.2% and for the implant it’s 0.05%. By comparison, the birth control pill and vaginal ring have a failure rate of 9% and condoms have a fail rate of 18%.

In 2012, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), considered an authority on reproductive health, concluded that IUDs and implants are safe and appropriate for adolescents and teens. In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) agreed and said it recommends LARC for adolescents.

“Long-acting reversible contraception is safe for teens, easy to use, and very effective,” said CDC principal deputy director Ileana Arias in a statement. “We need to remove barriers and increase awareness, access, and availability of long-acting reversible contraception such as IUDs and implants.”

CDC

According to the new CDC report, there are a variety of reasons why a young person may not opt for the IUD or implant. Many teens don’t know very much about them and they often think they are too young to use them. As TIME reported in June, some physicians may remember the IUDs of past, which caused severe problems for women and were discontinued. Modern-day IUDs are safe and appropriate but there are still misperceptions about the device that persist within the medical community. Many providers are also not properly trained on insertion or removal of the IUD and implant. However, a recent report showed that among female health care providers 42% use LARC, which is much higher than both the general population of teens and adult women.

Overall, the CDC report shows that American teens are waiting to have sex, and when they are sexually active, nearly 90% report using birth control. The teen pregnancy rate in the United States appears to be steadily dropping, though in 2013 over 273,000 babies were born to girls between ages 15 and 19. The CDC says encouraging young women to consider LARC is an important strategy for further reducing teen pregnancy.

TIME apps

4 Ways Tech Can Help You Get Pregnant

Rayen Luna Solar, 27,  33-week pregnant,
AFP—AFP/Getty Images Rayen Luna Solar, 27, 33-week pregnant, is seen by a midwife in a routine checkup, in Santiago, on July 13, 2012.

From wearable sensors to pregnancy-tracking apps

According to the most recent figures, the U.S. birth rate fell again in 2013, down 9% from the 2007 high. The big reason for this is that fewer women under 30 are getting pregnant. But, interestingly enough, there was actually an increase in births for women over 30.

Still, as many hopeful parents know, it isn’t always easy to bring a new life into the world. So from apps to wearables, here are four ways technology can help you get pregnant:

Track your cycle:

There’s an app for everything under the sun, so of course there’s more than a couple for monitoring your body. Glow Fertility Tracker, a free app for Android, Amazon, and iOS, can help women chart and track their fertility and periods, forecasting peak ovulation days to improve their chances of conception. With modes for women undergoing IVF or IUI, the app does everything from reminding you to get your prescriptions to integrating data with Apple Health.

Likewise, the free Ovia Fertility app, available for Android and iOS, can keep track of periods, ovulation, and a variety of other helpful statistics like blood pressure and basal body temperature. But in comparing the user’s data with more than 800,000 other users, the app is able to use its predictive engine to crank out ovulation dates it claims are accurate. According to Ovuline, which makes the app, Ovia’s users conceive up to three times faster than the national average.

Swab your spit:

As science marches on, there will probably be dozens of ways for us to know when peak baby-making time is. A new one is the FDA-cleared Knowhen Saliva Fertility Monitor. This $59 spittoon is to be used first thing in the morning, even before you brush your teeth. Just drop a gob of saliva into a lens, wait between five and 15 minutes for the spit to dry, drop the lens into a tube, and look through the tube at the lens to compare the dried spit with an accompanying chart.

The reason it works is that ovulating women have high levels of estrogen, which affects salt retention. Saltier saliva samples look more crystalline when viewed through Knowhen, which is actually a mini microscope, letting women better tell when they’re ready.

Keep your temperature in check:

Tracking your basal body temperature, or your body’s lowest temperature throughout the course of a day, is another popular way to see if you’re ready to conceive. But to record that number, you have to take your temperature right when you wake up and without moving much. Duo Fertility is an FDA-approved wearable sensor that measures your body’s vitals, making it easy to see what your temperature is first thing in the morning.

But it doesn’t come cheap (then again, neither do kids), costing $795 — well above a $9 thermometer, though Duo also gives you access to an online dashboard, automated reports for your doctor and other benefits. A similar but much cheaper product called Tempdrop is scheduled to come to market this spring. A wearable sensor that pairs with a smartphone app, this $69 device is worn when sleeping, collecting all the temperature information needed to forecast your ideal fertility days without needing to use a thermometer every morning.

Mind your bump:

Once the sperm and egg form an ovum, it’s time to keep track of how things are going. BabyBump is an excellent app for expectant mothers, explaining all the magic and science that’s going on inside them, every day. But more than just a pregnancy-tracking app, BabyBump is also a social network where parents from all over can consult each other on forums. On top of that, it’s full of great information regarding your baby’s ideal size and development.

TIME Pregnancy

Woman Gives Birth to 14-Pound Baby

Big Baby Florida
St. Joseph's Womens Hospital/AP Mother Maxxzandra Ford, father Ford Allen Denton, and Avery Denton, the 14.1-pound baby born at the hospital in Tampa on Jan. 29, 2015.

He's one of the largest babies ever to be born in Florida

Maxxzandra Ford thought she was pregnant with twins. Instead, when she gave birth last Thursday, just one baby came out. One, 14-pound baby.

Avery Ford, at 14.1 pounds, set the record for the heaviest baby born at St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital, and is one of the largest babies ever born in Florida, Fox 13 Tampa Bay reports.

“I was cussing up a storm,” Maxxandra said of the birth. “Yeah, it was bad.”

Maxxandra and Allen Denson, the baby’s father, already have two other children. But with the addition of big baby Avery, “I have a linebacker now instead of a fullback,” Allen says.

[Fox 13 Tampa Bay]

TIME Pregnancy

Kate Winslet on Losing Baby Weight: ‘I’d Rather Be Well-Fed and Happy’

Actress Kate Winslet attends the "A Little Chaos" premiere during the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 13, 2014.
Philip Cheung—Getty Images Actress Kate Winslet attends the "A Little Chaos" premiere during the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 13, 2014.

"I so didn't want to be one of those 'Oh, wow, she's back in shape after 12 weeks' women"

Kate Winslet isn’t looking for perfection in life – in fact, far from it.

In an interview with the U.K.’s Harper’s Bazaar, the Oscar-winning actress talks about raising her three children during emotionally difficult times.

“I think it’s very important to teach your children to struggle on some level,” Winslet, 39, says in the publication’s March cover story. “I wouldn’t change a thing. Even all the bad bits. It doesn’t matter how [bad] times have been, they all matter, because those things shape who you are.”

A busy mom to three children – daughter Mia, 14, from her first marriage to Jim Threapleton; son Joe, 11, from her second marriage to director Sam Mendes; and 15-month-old son Bear with her current husband, Ned RocknRoll – Winslet has neither the time nor inclination to indulge in body-conscious thoughts or post-baby diets.

“I so didn’t want to be one of those ‘Oh, wow, she’s back in shape after 12 weeks’ women,” said actress, now based in rural Sussex in the U.K. “When I read things like that, I just think, ‘Oh, for f—‘s sake, that’s actually impossible.'”

Winslet – who can be seen onscreen next month in Insurgent – is more likely to be found choosing new floor tiles and organizing a fundraiser for Mia’s school than she is dieting.

“I want to keep my health and my sanity and be well fed and happy,” she says. “My body will never go back to what it was and I wouldn’t expect it to after three babies.”

This article originally appeared on People.com.

TIME Family

How Workplaces Can Combat Pregnancy Discrimination

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Having a baby shouldn't put Americans' jobs at risk

As a mother of a young child today, I know much has changed for mothers in the workforce since my mother and her mother had children. But there’s one thread that ties our narratives together – a subject that’s too often fleeting in the broader discussion of working moms: the discrimination women experience during pregnancy, and after they return to work.

Every year, thousands of women file charges against employers for acts of pregnancy discrimination. In fact, charges of pregnancy discrimination filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) actually increased by 71 percent between 1992 and 2011.

What does pregnancy discrimination look like, exactly? It occurs when an employer treats a job applicant or an employee unfavorably due to her pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition. It could involve refusing to hire or promote a qualified individual because she is pregnant, firing a woman because she missed a few days of work to give birth, or forcing a pregnant employee to take unpaid leave. Sure, this behavior hurts pregnant women and their families, but it also hurts employers: In addition to breaking the law, these companies may be failing to retain some of their most highly qualified employees – losing out on their skills and productivity.

The bottom line is that women comprise a significant proportion of the nation’s talent pool, and when their contributions are constrained by patronizing and outmoded notions of what motherhood should look like (even well-intentioned ones), our workforce, our economy and our families suffer. At present, women serve as the sole or primary breadwinners in 40 percent of American households. In other words, women’s sustained participation in the labor force is critical to the economic security and stability of millions of individual families.

And yet, here we are in 2015, and some employers still view child-bearing and employment as mutually exclusive activities. Just last year, the EEOC announced a $30,000 settlement to a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit a woman brought against her former employer, Triple T Foods in Arkansas, which fired her the day she announced she was pregnant. This is only one example of the $3.5 million the EEOC recouped in damages for victims of pregnancy discrimination between 2011 and 2014.

We have a long way to go. But we’ve made progress in some ways. For example, just a generation ago, many women left the workplace when they became visibly pregnant. In the 1960s, almost half of women who worked during their first pregnancy left the workforce by the time they were about 6 months pregnant. Today, only about 12 percent do.

And we’re certainly better off than we were. In 1908, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Muller v. Oregon, upheld a state statute restricting the number of hours per day a female employee could work and thereby set a precedent for paternalistic laws intended to “protect” women from the hazards and indignities of the workplace. While the Court acknowledged that the statute treated workers differently on the basis of sex, it also found that that a woman’s “physical structure” and “maternal functions” justified such unequal treatment.

Although the precedent established in Muller had unraveled by the late twentieth century and its discriminatory assumptions are no longer formally codified in law, they still permeate the cultural expectations surrounding women—especially pregnant women—in the workplace. These expectations can affect women even before they enter the workplace. Pregnant women face discrimination at job interviews and face much greater discrimination than other workers with short-term disabilities who may need minimal accommodations. For example, in a survey funded by the W.K Kellogg Foundation, 69 percent of respondents who reported being denied a pregnancy-related accommodation felt that their employers had honored similar requests from coworkers with other limitations or disabilities.

Knowing that this culture exists can and often does discourage women from requesting accommodations from or disclosing her pregnancy to her supervisor. In the same survey, more than half of respondents reported needing scheduling accommodations for prenatal visits and the like, but more than a quarter reported failing to request such an accommodation. That’s a shame, because the truth is that employers should be able to accommodate these requests with minimal expense and inconvenience.

How do we ensure that women who work during pregnancy are treated equitably, and begin to break down this discriminatory culture? That requires a combination of more progressive employer policies coupled with a set of robust legal and regulatory protections. At the federal level, women are protected by laws like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), but there is more we can do.

In June, at the White House Summit on Working Families, President Obama called for federal legislation that supports pregnant workers. Some states like Delaware and Illinois have taken the lead and passed their own versions of the proposed federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

The EEOC has stepped up, too, releasing new enforcement guidance last year to clarify the applications of the PDA and the ADA, as they apply to pregnant workers. This guidance “requires that employers treat women affected by pregnancy or related medical conditions the same way they treat non-pregnant applicants or employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work.” This means that employers have to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers if they also make such accommodations for other employees who have a temporary disability. The EEOC’s notice also includes women who undergo fertility treatments, are nursing mothers, or are discriminated against based on stereotypes and assumptions about motherhood.

Outside of government, workplaces across the nation are already teeming with examples of managers and employees alike who are dismantling outdated assumptions about the needs and abilities of pregnant workers, as well as the responsibilities of the employers who hire them. Combining statutory and regulatory protections with voluntary actions by employers can amplify this groundswell of progress. From the classroom to the board room to the factory floor, we see daily evidence of the powerful alignment of workplace policy, statutory protections and individual determination in ensuring that women can, in fact, do and be just about anything.

Building a workplace culture that aligns with the demographic realities of today’s labor force allows employers not only to stay on the right side of the law, but, as a growing body of evidence suggests, shows that employers can still do well with their bottom line by treating all of their workers fairly. After all, support for pregnant workers doesn’t simply benefit this generation of workers; it’s an investment in generations to come.

Latifa Lyles is the Director of the Women’s Bureau at the Department of Labor. This piece was originally published in New America’s digital magazine, The Weekly Wonk. Sign up to get it delivered to your inbox each Thursday here, and follow @New America on Twitter.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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