Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

For the week ending on February 26, 2017.

pregnancy-lactation-weekly-digest-02262017Tiniest babies are faring better

The survival rates of babies born extremely early – between only 22 and 24 weeks of gestation – increased slightly during the first decade of this century, as did their chances of avoiding neurological problems. This is most likely due to better prenatal and neonatal care, especially since the increases were noted primarily in hospitals staffed by specialists. Read more here.
This is important for you because if you are at risk of delivering extremely early, do not abandon hope.

pregnancy-lactation-weekly-digest-02262017Herpes linked to autism

Autism has been becoming increasingly more common in the developed world, but the causes and reasons for this recent prevalence remain unknown. A new study that went looking for links between maternal infections and autism found that women infected with herpes in early pregnancy, or who experienced a flare up of a latent herpes infection during this time, had twice the risk of bearing a baby with autism. The authors of the study speculate that it is the mother’s immune response to the infection, rather than the infection itself, that harms the fetus’ neural development. Read more here.
This is important for you because while having sex when pregnant means you don’t have to worry about getting pregnant, it is not risk free. Be careful, as always.

pregnancy-lactation-weekly-digest-02262017Certain homeopathic teething remedies may be dangerous

Homeopathy relies on the premise that a potent ingredient can still be active even if diluted almost infinitely. In the case of certain teething capsules and gels, however, the potent ingredient used – a toxin – was not diluted enough for infants, causing seizures and even death in some who were given the product. Read more here.
This is important for you because it is essential to bear in mind that just because a product is labeled “natural” that doesn’t make it safe.

pregnancy-lactation-weekly-digest-02262017Neonatal sepsis risk calculator allows a cut in antibiotic use

The flagrant overuse of antibiotics since their discovery in the middle of last century has led to dangerous levels of antibiotic resistance. One way to slow the development of this resistance is to curb our use of antibiotics when they are not warranted. A new online method assesses which newborns are truly at risk of developing dangerous infections, so only they get treated with antibiotics; babies that don’t need the drugs don’t get them. Read more here.
This is important for you because while you want to make sure your baby gets the drugs she needs, it is equally important to make sure she doesn’t get drugs she doesn’t.

pregnancy-lactation-weekly-digest-02262017Listeria may be responsible for some miscarriages

Listeria, a pathogen that can infiltrate cured meats and cause food poisoning, is known to cause problems if women are infected with it late in their pregnancies. Now, it has been found to induce miscarriages in women (and monkeys) if they are infected early in their pregnancy. Read more here.
This is important for you because guidelines about what is safe to eat during pregnancy can change; make sure you heed them.


The most popular article on The Pulse this week was How and When Should I Take My Baby’s Temperature? The short answer is: if his forehead or core feels warm, and with a digital thermometer under his arm. 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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