Some people dread the change of seasons. Shorter, darker days mean fatigue, oversleeping, too many carbs, and having a general sense of malaise: a pattern known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Seasonal affective disorder is depression that occurs during late fall and winter months, as darkness occurs earlier in the day.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical commonly found in mass-produced plastics. Recently, there is rising concern over whether or not BPA found in plastic may lead to untoward effects. Due to the prevalence of plastic in our daily lives, this issue is of major impact. As of right now, no one can say for sure.

Results of a new study have just been released regarding breastfeeding and its confirmed protective effect against infections. This is very exciting and up-to-date news.

Initiation of breastfeeding as early as possible is beneficial for the mother and the child, (short-term and long-term); this view is now commonly accepted and commonly practiced. Skin-to-skin contact (SSC) is certainly not a new concept but is not widely known. This is unfortunate since the practice of SSC early after birth and during breastfeeding is highly beneficial.

Although it is currently thought that nipple piercing for the most part does not affect milk supply in a breastfeeding woman, there are case reports that show that trauma caused by nipple piercing can lead to blocked ducts. Researchers have also found that attachment problems can arise and cause difficulties in women wanting to breastfeed. (1)

Myasthenia Gravis is an autoimmune neuromuscular disorder that can cause weakness and fatigability. It is caused by antibodies that block the acetylcholine receptors at the post-synaptic junction. Its treatment consists mostly of cholinesterase inhibitors and immunosuppresants.

Dental care is extremely important during pregnancy. Pregnant women have elevated levels of estrogen and progesterone. These hormones cause the gums to be more sensitive to the bacteria that is found in plaque and can lead to a condition known as “pregnancy gingivitis”. Some of the symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen, and bleeding gums.

Woman getting ultrasound

Although most radiological procedures do not increase the risk of congenital malformations during pregnancy, any procedure that is not essential during pregnancy should be delayed until after delivery. Radiological procedures may be classified into two types: (1) diagnostic, and (2) therapeutic.

Spilled Cocaine

Cocaine is a local anesthetic as well as a CNS stimulant. It can either be inhaled or in the case of crack, smoked. Use of cocaine during pregnancy is associated with premature birth, IUGR, placental abruption, and low birth weight. (1) Other organ systems that can be affected by cocaine use in pregnancy include the brain, eyes, heart, GI tract, and lungs to name a few.

Studies show that the use of hair products during pregnancy does not increase the risk of adverse fetal effects compared with the general population. (1) It is estimated that having hair treatments 3 to 4 times during pregnancy is pretty safe due to minimal systemic absorption. (1) However, the safety of these products comes with limited exposure. (2)

Although malaria is not endemic to the US, many US travelers are affected by this illness when traveling to places such as sub-Saharan Africa and Central and South America. Malaria has been shown to cause maternal anemia, premature birth, and low birth weight in affected infants.

Rubella, also known as the German Measles, is a viral illness. If the infection occurs during pregnancy, it can result in what is known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). Women in their first trimester of pregnancy are at greatest risk of developing a viremia and congenital birth defects from this illness.

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About the InfantRisk Center Team

Dr. Thomas Hale

Thomas Hale, Ph.D., R.Ph., is a professor of pediatrics and associate dean of research at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and acting executive director of the InfantRisk Center.

Hale is considered one of the foremost expert in the field of perinatal pharmacology and the use of medications by pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.

The vision of the InfantRisk Center is to create a new body of drug information concerning the safety of medications and their use during pregnancy and lactation. Additionally, the center will expand, enhance and disseminate knowledge regarding the use of medications and other environmental chemicals by pregnant and breastfeeding women worldwide.


Dr. Teresa Baker


Dr. Baker graduated from the University of Texas Southwestern and completed her residency training at Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas, TX. She is Board Certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Dr. Baker has a combined private and academic OB/GYN practice with the University Physicians at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in Amarillo. She is interested in teen pregnancy, postpartum depression, and promoting preventive medicine for the women of the Texas Panhandle, as well as Resident and Student education and serves as the Residency Director.

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