Thursday, March 22, 2001

Scary pregnancy stories

It's been one of those weeks in health news that makes me feel a lot better about infertility. Pregnancy is looking downright dangerous.

First came a bulletin from InteliHealth revealing that pre-eclampsia is on the rise. You know pre-eclampsia -- it's that condition the mother had in that memorable episode of "ER" in which Dr. Greene tries and tries to save the patient and everything goes wrong and she dies. Yikes.

The condition only occurs in 5 percent of pregnancies, but the rate rose by a third in the '90s. It's suspected that part of the reason for that is the increase in older women having babies. "Older" in this context means over 35, which is pretty depressing right there.

Speaking of older women having babies, HealthScout reports on a study that reveals that ... well, I'll let them say it: "Older moms are more likely to give birth to boys with deformed penises." Yikes, again. How much better for us geriatric over-35s to adopt than to risk something like that.

And speaking of pre-eclampsia, although it's long been supposed that women who had experienced pre-eclampsia during a pregnancy could pass the susceptibility to their daughters, YahooHealth now reports on a study that says that men whose own birth was complicated by the potentially fatal condition are twice as likely to see it come around again when their own children are born. Note that, of course, the men here do not get the condition; the women who bear their children do. They're carriers. Perhaps this is a good question for women to ask on the first or second date: "Oh, by the way, did your mother have pre-eclampsia when you were born?" Honey, cut your risks.

It also might be good to ask if he has any homicidal feelings when he sees pregnant women, because Reuters reports that murder is the leading cause of death for pregnant women. Not complications, not the stress of childbirth, but murder. A study of deaths in Maryland found that 20% of deceased pregnant women were murdered, while only 12% of non-pregnant women met the same fate.

Certainly, pregnancy is a joyous and wonderful time of blessings and miracles -- but I don't read news stories about that. Hey, if non-adoptive parents only want to read bad stories about adoption, I'm happy to retaliate.

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