Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

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For the Week Ending August 13, 2017.

Diabetes risk and weight gain

Obesity increases one’s risk of developing diabetes, and pregnancy is not a free pass to put on weight indiscriminately. Women who did not lose the weight from one pregnancy were just found to be at an increased risk of gestational diabetes during their next pregnancy. Read more here.

This is important for you because it is hard to drop that weight – but it is important to maintain your health.

Preemies should be grounded

All of the sophisticated medical equipment required to keep preemies safe in the NICU creates electromagnetic fields which may affect the babies’ later health and neuronal development. Electrically grounding them, simply by running an electrode from the incubator to the ground, may help. Read more here.

This is important for you because if you have a premature baby you probably have a lot to worry about – but this may be a low-tech way to help maintain your child’s health later.

Genetic fertility tests

The Fertilome test looks at forty-none of a woman’s genes that have been associated with fertility issues to try to help her determine her future reproductive strategy. The problem is, the expensive test – that is being marketed directly to young women – mainly identifies only miniscule increases in risk, so doesn’t really help in a decision about what next steps should be. Read more here.

This is important for you because if you are considering a genetic test, ask yourself what you will do with the information and how it will help you.

Preventing sepsis

Sepsis is a complication of infection that can be lethal, especially in infants. A new study has just demonstrated that a one dollar symbiotic – a combination of a probiotic, which is a helpful strain of bacteria, and a prebiotic, which is a sugar that that bacteria needs to thrive, can save these babies’ lives. Read the press release here.

This is important for you because it is another potent reminder of how powerful microbes can be – for good and ill.

The most popular article on The Pulse this week was Why Doesn’t the Mother’s Immune System Reject the Fetus? The short answer is – it is not yet really known. But it seems that the fetus may act to suppress the mother’s immune system. Read it here.

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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