Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

For the Week Ending December 17, 2017.

Dads are people too

New legislation in New York City will ensure that all new public bathrooms – men’s and women’s alike – will have changing tables. The Council Member who initiated the new law doesn’t even have kids! New York is the first major US city to institute such a reform, although Barack Obama made sure that all federal buildings had changing tables in all bathrooms. Read more here.

This is important for you because if you ever send your baby out with a male caregiver (in NYC), you can be confident that he will now have a place to change her.

Contraception and cancer: it’s complicated

Hormonal methods of birth control, including the pill and some IUDs, seem to decrease the risk of cervical and endometrial cancers but may increase the risk of breast cancer. But any affect they have on cancer risk is quite small, and the health and socioeconomic benefits they have in preventing unwanted pregnancies is huge. Read more here.

This is important for you because you might want to go on birth control after your baby is born, and because insurance coverage for contraception is at risk. Discuss your options and concerns with your doctor.

Sugar and asthma

There is tons of evidence that sugar, no matter what you call it – high fructose corn syrup, honey, agave extract – is bad for you at any stage of life. Consuming too much while pregnant is associated with an increased risk of asthma in your baby. The cause for this association is not yet known. Read more here.

This is important for you because although it is ok to gain weight and indulge your cravings while pregnant, it is never ok to eat too many sweets.

Smog reduces birth weight

A new study in London indicates that air pollution can impact babies in utero, diminishing birth weights in a population. Low birth weight is a risk factor for health problems later in life, like diabetes and heart trouble. Read more here.

This is important for you because Trump is actively dismantling the EPA and promoting coal as an energy source.

Maybe opt for oatmeal?

Rice cereal is often a baby’s first food, since rice contains no allergens. Rice does, however, have high levels of arsenic, which is toxic. Arsenic is an element found naturally in the Earth’s crust; it accumulates in rice because it dissolves in water and rice, unlike most other crops, is grown in water. Baby cereals made from other grains, like quinoa, buckwheat, oats, barley, or wheat have lower arsenic levels. Read more here.

This is important for you because while not a reason to panic, it is a good reminder to expose your baby (and anyone else you may be feeding) to a wide variety of foods.

The most popular article on The Pulse this week was 5 Common Skin Conditions of Pregnancy. It contains explanations of, and tips for dealing with all of them: stretch marks, hyperpigmentation, skin tags, acne, and itchy bumps. 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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