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Defending life from the moment of conception

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9 in 10 pregnant women suffering from stress

31 August 2007

A survey by a British baby charity has shown that 88% of women feel stressed during pregnancy. Depression caused by worry over supposedly taboo subjects can affect an unborn child as early as 17 weeks into the pregnancy, according to a number of studies by the Tommy's charity. Researchers from King's College, London, also said that depression in pregnancy was a major cause of premature birth, infant death and childhood illness. [PA on Channel 4, 29 August] Further surveys by Tommy's have shown that one in 50 pregnant women develops eating disorders caused by the stress of pregnancy. Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are apparently associated with low birth weight and premature birth. [Telegraph, 30 August]

Elderly people are continuing to go hungry in British hospitals, according to the Age Concern charity. Since last year, Age Concern has been running a campaign called Hungry to be Heard to improve patients' nutrition after a report found that six out of 10 elderly people were at risk of becoming malnourished, or more ill, in hospital. During the campaign, Mr Ivan Lewis MP, the care services minister, made a commitment to launch an action plan on nutritional care earlier this year. Age Concern said that the NHS had made a good start but emphasised that some old people were still not being fed appropriately. Mr Gordon Lishman, director general, said: "There is still much more to be done. We welcome the commitment by ministers, hospitals and health professionals to improve the situation, but we need to see this translated into every ward in every hospital." [View London, 29 August]

A European Union committee has recommended that pregnant women should consume more docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a type of omega-3. DHA, which can be found primarily in oily fish, can be beneficial during pregnancy, where studies show higher birth weights and lower risks of premature birth, and after birth, where it has been linked to enhanced brain and eye development. [PharmiWeb, 29 August]

A Wisconsin woman who was dismissed from a Catholic school for undergoing IVF treatment in May last year has decided to drop her charges of discrimination. Xavier High School dismissed Mrs Kelly Romenesko after her decision to have IVF treatment clashed with their policy that teachers must adhere to Catholic teaching in their personal as well as their professional lives. Mrs Romenesko claimed at the time that she was unaware that IVF contravened church teaching. [LifeSite, 29 August]

An American university was forced to cancel an address by a pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia activist after readers of a Catholic weblog petitioned the university's director. Creighton University of Omaha, Nebraska, was overwhelmed by the negative response that greeted the news that Ms Ann Lamott was to address the 2007 Center for Health Policy & Ethics lecture for women. Mr Jeff Baker wrote on his weblog: "We are, after all, talking about a woman who unrepentantly brags of the termination of her own unborn child and the occasion she mixed poison in her friend's apple sauce." [LifeSite, 29 August]

Pictures of unborn children could appear on cigarette packets in Britain to emphasise that smoking can harm babies in the womb. 15 images have been chosen by the government for use on packets following market research, public consultation and a vote on the most effective warnings of the dangers of smoking. [PA on Pendle Today, 29 August]

How a mother holds her baby could indicate stress that may lead to post-natal depression, according to a British study. Researchers from Durham University found that new mothers who cradle their babies on the right side of their body were more likely to be experiencing unusual levels of stress. The findings showed that the majority of mothers preferred to hold the child to their left, regardless of whether they were left- or right-handed. Dr Nadja Reissland, a senior lecturer in psychology, who led the research, said: "The way [new mothers] interact with their child is usually the best indicator of their inner mental state." [Guardian, 29 August]

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