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Chemo In Pregnancy Doesn’t Affect Child Development

Study: Chemo in Pregnancy Doesn’t Affect Child Development

Getting a positive diagnosis of cancer during a pregnancy can be especially devastating for women. First, the news of cancer itself is difficult for many to accept. Add to the revelation the reality that an unborn baby might be impacted and the news can be exceptionally difficult to bear. A new study, however, is showing that it can be possible to treat a mother for cancer while maintaining a healthy pregnancy in the process.

To arrive at these findings, researchers in Europe studied the effects of chemotherapy administered during pregnancy and the impacts it had on early child development. Researchers found at the 36-month mark, children born to mothers who underwent chemo had no major developmental issues. They also found no serious concerns with cognitive or cardiac development.

The findings, researchers say, indicate that it is safe to treat a mother for cancer during pregnancy. At present, termination of the pregnancy may sometimes be recommended to enable doctors to treat cancer unfettered. This, the study shows, may not always be necessary.

The study group involved 96 children who were exposed to chemo during their mothers’ pregnancies. While many of these children were born slightly premature, no major issues were detected. Researchers believe the placenta helped protect the children from the chemo drugs and noted that all chemo cycles were administered after the first trimester of pregnancy to avoid the most vulnerable first 10 weeks of gestational age.

Women who are diagnosed with cancer while pregnant or who become pregnant after diagnosis are urged to discuss all options with their healthcare providers. It may, as the study concluded, be possible to treat the disease without causing issues in early child development. The best recommendation, however, will hinge on the unique case each woman presents. That means an individualized approach to pregnancy and the fight of cancer must be taken.

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