Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

For the Week Ending November 5, 2017.

More Preemies is Not Good…

A new analysis done by the March of Dimes shows that rates of preterm birth in the US went up for the second year in a row, following almost decade of decline. This is alarming, because prematurity is linked to the death of infants as well as health problems that can plague them their entire lives. The increase has been seen primarily in minority women, and is thought to be due to institutional racism – like their diminished access to healthcare and lower socioeconomic status – and not to any biological factors. Read more here.

This is important for you because the fact that rates of preterm births in some parts of the US rival those in undeveloped countries is an alarming, and telling, statement on the state of our country.

…But Fewer Cesareans Might Be

In 2015 the California Health Care Foundation pledged up to $5 million to combat C-section overuse in the state, which hovers at around a third of all births (as it does for most of the US). They have tried to educate pregnant women, discourage insurance providers for paying doctors more for C-sections than vaginal births, more closely monitor doctors, and provide doctors with more rigorous guidelines on when precisely C-sections are medically warranted. But it seems to be too soon to see any big results. Read more here.

This is important for you because C-sections, while common, can have severe ramifications for you and your baby. IF it is not medically necessary, it should not be undertaken cavalierly.

Breastfeed to Bond

In addition to all of the health benefits it confers on you and your baby, breastfeeding can also make you more sensitive to your baby’s needs – even after she is no longer a baby. Read more here.

This is important for you because if it is feasible, breastfeeding is a great way to help you tune in to your baby’s needs, even long after she is weaned.

It Begins

As promised, President Trump has used his power to limit women’s access to birth control. Notre Dame, a Catholic University, is the first to take advantages of the new government regulations to stop covering birth control for its students, faculty, and staff. They will now risk unwanted pregnancies, or have to pay out of pocket to prevent them. Read more here.

This is important for you because it may be an unfortunate harbinger of things to come. After giving birth you might want birth control – and you might need to advocate for it.

The most popular article on The Pulse this week was Confinement After Birth in Chinese Medicine. For a month after giving birth, women are advised to stay indoors and eat only certain “warming” foods. While Westerners might scoff and assume the practice is superstitious and chauvinist, it actually allows the new mother to focus solely on bonding with her new baby and brings the rest of the extended family together by making it their responsibility to take care of the mother and the household chores. 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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