Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

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For the Week Ending July 5, 2020. 

Were you tested for COVID-19 during Pregnancy or at birth?

If you were, complete Pregistry’s survey and help other women who are pregnant or contemplating becoming pregnant.

A collaboration of Pregistry and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Click here to Register.

Circe

This nymph from Book 10 of The Odyssey is best known and remembered for turning Odysseus’ sailors into swine. But Madeline Miller gave her tale a feminist spin in her 2018 novel, soon to be released as an eight episode series on HBO Max. The experience of motherhood changes her perspective and helps her deal with the challenges that come her way–just as often happens with us mortal women. Read more here

This is important for you because motherhood is hard. Even if you’re divine.

&Mother

The Olympic runner Alysia Montaño had a great deal from her sponsor, Nike–until she got pregnant, when the company cut her loose. When she publicized her plight in The New York Times, other professional athletes started coming forth with similar stories. Now, she has founded the nonprofit &Mother to ensure that other professional women– starting with, but not limited to, athletes–don’t lose their jobs because they chose to have a baby. Read more here (and buy jewelry to support them here).

This is important for you because these women are losing their jobs and their livelihoods when they need them most, just because they are choosing to have babies–all while their sponsorship companies are running Superbowl ads touting how feminist they are. Not fair.

Dr. Megan Koch

Dr. Megan Koch, an immunologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, was just named a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. This prestigious award means that she’ll receive an additional $300,000 to further her studies on how antibodies in breast milk impact a baby’s microbiome and long term health (in mice). She hopes to identify which antibodies are important and figure out how they work. Read more here.

This is important for you because understanding how breast milk affects babies, in addition to being fascinating, can produce healthier formula for mothers and babies who need it.

Preemies for the long term

Babies who are born early are fragile; babies who are born really early are really fragile. Modern medical advances can keep these babies alive, but this is a pretty recent development. One long-term study tracked the health and well-being of babies who were born before 28 weeks of gestation and are now in their twenties. It is finding that many of these babies have chronic health conditions, but are for the most part ok. Read more here.

This is important for you because if you bring home a very premature miracle baby, be aware that her birth experience might have lasting implications for her health.

The most popular article on The Pulse this week was Blood Clotting in Pregnancy and COVID-19. 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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