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Articles by Amy Kiefer, PhD

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About Amy

Amy Kiefer is a researcher by training, and earned her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. She currently lives in the Bay Area with her husband and three children where she writes about fertility, pregnancy, and breastfeeding. Check out her blog, expectingscience.com, for more great evidence-based pregnancy and parenting info.

GDM - gestational diabetes management during pregnancy

Stressful. That was the word that best captured Jessica’s diagnosis with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM). The 35-year-old’s first pregnancy had proceeded uneventfully until her glucose tolerance test. When, at 28 weeks, her test results came back positive. The positive result came on a Friday. She could not see her doctor until after the weekend. The […]

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stillbirth and preeclampsia

(*Trigger warning*: this story is about pregnancy loss.) When I recently reached out on social media to find women who had experienced preeclampsia, Kerry was one of the first to reply. A sharp, vivacious, and vibrant 36-year-old nurse practitioner, Kerry seems like the last person you’d imagine developing preeclampsia, a poorly understood pregnancy condition characterized […]

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Women carrying twins. Women who begin pregnancy with diabetes, or hypertension, or lupus. African-American women who become pregnant after age 35. What do these different groups of pregnant women have in common? The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) now considers them candidates for early aspirin therapy—a daily baby aspirin starting at the end […]

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what is preeclampsia

What is preeclampsia? Preeclampsia is one of the most common, serious disorders of pregnancy. It affects 2-8% of all pregnancies in the U.S, and typically begins with newly elevated blood pressure (readings above 140/90 on two or more occasions) sometime after 20 weeks of pregnancy. (Women who enter pregnancy with chronic high blood pressure can […]

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eating fish pregnancy shrimp high mercury fish

When you’re pregnant, it’s hard to escape the eat fish, don’t eat fish dilemma. On the one hand, pregnant women are told that fish–rich in iodine, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids, and other vital nutrients–is good for our babies’ rapidly growing brains. Recent studies have linked fish consumption during pregnancy with faster processing times and […]

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mercury in fish

Last month, the measles outbreak in Washington State prompted its governor to declare a state of emergency. Some parents have wised up and finally vaccinated their kids. But others have dug in, even gathering to protest universal vaccine policies. As a researcher who knows how thoroughly the autism-vaccine hypothesis has been debunked*, it’s hard to watch […]

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advanced maternal age

When a close friend was trying for a second child in her late 30s, her husband mentioned that all the mothers he saw at the playground seemed old enough to be grandmas. Naturally, she was stung… but not surprised. Her experience is all too familiar. Our society tends to view older-age parenting–well, really older motherhood–as […]

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stress and labor

A few years ago, while in that happy but anxious limbo of expecting my first baby, I dutifully read up on labor–its stages, birth plans, and the best ways to “achieve” a natural childbirth. On this last point—achieving a natural childbirth—a theme quickly emerged: My mental state was key. Without the proper level of mindfulness, […]

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geriatric pregnancy and advanced maternal age

Becoming pregnant after 35 comes with some derogatory labels: geriatric pregnancy, advanced maternal age, older mom (wait, what?!) It’s hard to escape the warnings about your pregnancy being at “high risk” for complications, such as birth defects, high blood pressure, and diabetes just because you passed a certain age bracket. But does your age actually […]

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exercise in pregnancy

Every day we hear more and more about the benefits of exercise in pregnancy for mom and baby. Most doctors recommends an average of 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day. But for some reason, there is still old and out-of-date advice floating around. Let's get to the bottom of this and clear up those myths once and for all.

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early labor

Roughly 2 out of 3 laboring women in the U.S. will get an epidural. As a highly effective form of pain relief during labor, it’s no wonder that the epidural is enormously popular. But along with the epidural, comes the controversy.  And at the heart of the controversy, the idea that epidurals raise the chances […]

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boosting-baby-microbiome

Your baby’s gut microbiome may shape her later health…   Here’s what you can do to give her the best start possible. Ah, the gut microbiome, that teeming collection of fungi, viruses and bacteria that lives inside our intestines. We hear so much about it nowadays, that you could almost believe a healthy gut was […]

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