Reproduction and Contraception

Vitamin B3 supplements can prevent miscarriages, birth defects: study

Scientists from the Victor Chang Institute in Sydney investigated why some women have multiple miscarriages and why some babies are born with heart, kidney and spinal defects.

They found a major cause was a deficiency of a vital molecule known as NAD, which is important for normal development of organs.

Lead researcher Professor Sally Dunwoodie said it was the first time NAD been associated with miscarriages and birth defects.

"We have discovered a whole new cause of birth defects and a way to treat it as well," she said.

Can you get pregnant during a pregnancy?

The technical term for this is superfetation. In humans, it's possible, but it's very uncommon.

Two thousand years ago, that great Greek thinker Aristotle wondered about this very topic, specifically as regards the hare.

Aristotle noticed that when a hare gave birth, quite often the offspring in a single litter would fall into two distinct classes: there would be a bunch of full-sized robust baby hares, and another bunch of scrawny frail baby hares.

Pregnancy weight gain a health concern

But increasingly, there is a new concern.

It is estimated about half of Australian women are entering pregnancy overweight or obese, with many putting on excessive weight while pregnant.

Jane Raymond, manager of Maternity and Newborn in NSW Health, said weight gain tends to be cumulative and lasting during child-bearing years..

"Pregnancy now is called an independent risk factor for obesity," Ms Raymond said.

Increasingly, research is linking a pregnant mum's weight to the health of her child.