Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

For the Week Ending July 29, 2018. 

Maternal brain

The maternal brain undergoes dramatic structural and biochemical changes, largely a result of the new hormones it is bathing in. These changes enable new mothers to bond with and protect their babies. Despite the magnitude of the effect, this neural makeover is not something that OB-GYNs usually discus with their patients. Read more here.

This is important for you because you are not imagining it; you are more worried, anxious, and in love than you were before giving birth. You’re supposed to be. But if these feelings overwhelm you and/or impede your functioning, please seek help.

Heart health

The rates of women who are pregnant, in labor, or postpartum who have heart attacks is on the rise. This may be because these women are older than women in their situations used to be, or because obesity and diabetes are on the rise. Read more here.

This is important for you because you need to keep that heart healthy! Don’t smoke, eat well, and get some exercise.

If they can do it here, they can do it anywhere.

New York has pledged to eliminate the abysmal disparity between black and white maternal mortality rates within five years. “New York City is making women’s health care priority number one,” First Lady Chirlane McCray said in a statement to Blavity. “No mother in this great city, of world-class health providers, should ever worry about the quality of care she’ll receive when building her family, before, during or after childbirth.” Read more here.

This is important for you because structural racism is literally deadly for black moms. Concrete plans like this are required to fix it.

In utero gene therapy – in mice

Gene therapy – replacing a faulty gene with the normal version – has long been a promise for genetic disorders but has only recently been approved. For some diseases, treating fetuses with gene therapy might be technically more feasible than treating babies after they’re born, and can be used to combat diseases that strike during embryonic development. The procedure has already been performed successfully in mice. Read more here.

This is important for you because hopefully it isn’t, but is interesting nonetheless.

The most popular article on The Pulse this week was How To Massage Your Baby: A Step-By-Step Routine For A Happy Healthy Baby. Because a happy baby means a happy mommy. 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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