This Week in Health: Midwives get high marks

Exclusive care from a midwife was found to benefit the birthing process. Credit: Metro File Photo
Exclusive care from a midwife was found to benefit the birthing process.
Credit: Metro Archive

One-on-one prenatal care from a midwife suggests healthier birth

Location: U.K.

Study subjects: 16,242 women

Results: Researchers at King’s College in London found that mothers who received continued care throughout pregnancy and birth from a small group of midwives were less likely to give birth pre-term and required fewer interventions during labor than when care was shared between different obstetricians, GPs and midwives.

Significance: The researchers concluded that all women should be offered midwife-led continuity of care unless they have serious medical or obstetric complications. “Women should be encouraged to ask for this option,” said lead researcher Jane Sandall of the Division of Women’s Health at King’s College.

CA-125 blood test promises better screening for early stage ovarian cancer

Location: U.S.

Study subjects: 4,000 women

Results: The CA-125 blood test was found to be 99.9 percent accurate in detecting ovarian cancer at the earliest, most treatable and curable stage, according to a study published in the American Cancer Society’s Cancer magazine. CA-125 is the protein long thought to predict ovarian cancer recurrence, and researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center now think that it could be a screening tool for detecting early stages of the disease.

Significance: A larger study of 200,000 women, with results forthcoming in 2015, is expected to provide definitive data: “The results from our study are not practice-changing at this time; however, our findings suggest that using a longitudinal (or change over time) screening strategy may be beneficial in post-menopausal women with an average risk of developing ovarian cancer,” says Dr. Karen Lu, professor and chair of Gynecologic Oncology and the study’s corresponding author.


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