Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

For the week ending on February 12, 2017

Preemie? Could mean heart trouble – for you

Giving birth early – before 37 weeks of gestation – could be a warning of heart problems for the mother. A study shows that women who gave birth early were found to have an elevated risk of stroke or heart attacks later in life, regardless of their health pre-pregnancy. Read more here.

This is important for you because, if you have a premature baby, you may want to take measures to protect your heart health.

Protect prenatal and infant care

The Affordable Care Act –  aka Obamacare – expanded prenatal and maternity medical coverage. As it is being repealed and its replacement is still being worked out, doctors are concerned that this coverage may become more limited. Read more and write to your government representatives to make sure you maintain your health coverage here.

This is important for you because health care is expensive but essential while pregnant. Make sure you are covered.

Immigration raids – like most forms of stress – are bad for babies

Latina mothers were 24% more likely to bear babies with low birth weight in the months following a surprise Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid on a meat processing plant in Postville, Iowa, in 2008. This was true even for Latina mothers who were not in danger of deportation, indicating that a stressor placed on even a segment of a particular group can affect the health and well-being of the group as a whole. Read more here.

This is important for you because recent immigration and other policies may be stressful for a wide range of people; try to remain calm to take the best care of yourself and your baby

Get home sooner

Thirty women who downloaded an app a month before their scheduled C-section got to leave the hospital a full day earlier than expected. The app tracked their medical appointments before the birth and helped them manage pain afterward. Read more here.

This is important for you because, if you are having a scheduled C-section, this can help you be discharged from the hospital quicker – to take care of older kids or just get back to real life.

Red Twizzlers should still be ok

No alcohol. No caffeine. No sushi, or deli, or… licorice? That’s right. A study in Finland suggests that pregnant women should not consume excessive amounts (more than 250g) of licorice, although the precise safe threshold was not determined. Licorice contains glycyrrhizin, a compound already known to raise blood pressure and shorten pregnancies. This new work showed that it also has cognitive impacts on the unborn fetus. But in Scandinavia they take their licorice pretty seriously – they’re not talking about that sweet strawberry flavored stuff we consume in the US. Read more here.

This is important for you because, if you really really love – or crave – black licorice, you might want to think twice before overindulging. If you don’t, it’s not.

The most popular article on The Pulse this week was Benefits of Using a Nursing Pillow. In short, it is good for your back and can help your baby latch on, helping to alleviate reflux later. Read it here.

This is important for you because nursing can be difficult and frustrating, especially at first, and this is an inexpensive, low tech tool that can really help.

Diana Gitig
Dr. Diana Gitig has a Ph.D. in cell biology and genetics from Cornell University, and has been writing about issues in biology – from molecular biology to cancer to immunology to neuroscience to nutrition to agriculture - for the past fifteen years. She has three teenaged children.

Leave a Reply