Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

For the Week Ending July 16, 2017.

Complications in pregnancy increase the risk of heart disease

Women who have complications in pregnancy and childbirth are more likely to develop heart disease later in life. Researchers are not sure if the complications cause the subsequent heart trouble or just provide evidence of an extant problem, but urge women and their doctors to be aware of the connection. Read more here.

This is important for you because if you have a risky pregnancy, know that it can affect your heart health later on.

Zika virus and vaccine

The zika virus poses the gravest danger to fetuses, so any vaccine developed should be safe for them. Multiple zika vaccines are in development, but probably not all of them will meet this criterion. Vaccine safety has not traditionally been evaluated in pregnant women; perhaps a silver lining of the zika epidemic is that the specific medical needs of pregnant women will now be taken into account in drug development and clinical testing. Read more here.

This is important for you because, especially if you plan on more pregnancies in the near future, a safe zika vaccine could be very valuable.

Social visual engagement is impaired in autistic infants

“Social visual engagement” is the way that babies learn about the world – by looking at it. There is a genetic component that influences how much babies look at faces and mouths – the major ways that they glean information about social interactions – and babies with autistic spectrum disorders look at these regions less. Read more here.

This is important for you because you should remember that your baby is watching, and learning from, everything you do!

Slightly less “in vitro” In Vitro Fertilization

Some people who object to in vitro fertilization, like Catholics, have a problem with the “in vitro” part – that the fertilization takes place outside of the body. A new technology circumvents this problem by incubating eggs and sperm together and allowing for fertilization to still occur in vivo – in the body. Instead of mixing the egg and sperm cells in a plastic incubator, the cells are mixed and allowed to interact in a device that is then implanted into a woman’s vagina. Read more here.

This is important for you because if you are considering IVF, this might provide a less expensive, more “natural” option.

The most popular article on The Pulse this week was Leaking Urine? Here’s How to Retrain Your Post-Baby Body. It can be summed up in three words: Kegels, Kegels, Kegels. Read it here.

This is important for you because, trust me. After you give birth it will be important for you.

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.

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