Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

For the Week Ending July 21, 2019. 

Breast is Best…

“In other primate species, only pregnant or lactating females have bosoms. The animals stay flat-chested for the rest of their lives. In humans, pubescent girls accumulate fat around their milk glands, which stays for life and seems to hold sex appeal in every culture. Those permanent, alluring mounds of fat on women’s chests are indeed an evolutionary anomaly, begging for an explanation.” Read more here.

This is important for you because regardless of why human women always have breasts – they are intended to feed babies.

…And has been for a long long time

Fossilized teeth from an extinct species that is an ancient ancestor of modern humans indicated that they breastfed for up to a year. Apes have a longer breastfeeding period, marking this species as closer to us. Read more here. Read more here.

This is important for you because if you can, breastfeeding your baby is the healthiest option for both of you.

Pot while pregnant

A new, large study done in Ontario and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that smoking up when pregnant can lead to “an increased risk of premature birth, an increased risk of the infant being small for his or her gestational age, and an increased risk of transfer to the NICU.” Read more here.

This is important for you because we don’t have a lot of data yet on how smoking pot when pregnant can affect the fetus – or its development after it is born. Every new study, especially large ones like this, can help clarify this still muddy issue.

“Implicit bias harms women”

“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists acknowledges that racial bias within the health care system is contributing to the disproportionate number of pregnancy-related deaths among women of color. Providers spend less time with black patients, ignore their symptoms, dismiss their complaints, and undertreat their pain.” And that’s partially why they die at elevated rates. Read more here.

This is important for you because it is important. Women need health care and health insurance throughout their lives, but especially when they are giving or have just given birth. 

The most popular article on The Pulse this week was Why Does My Baby Move More at Night in the Womb? 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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