Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

For the Week Ending May 14, 2017.

Mother’s Day Cards Get Real

Mushy-gushy Mother’s Day cards not really your thing? FridaBaby, the company that makes the “NoseFrida” SnotSucker, has released some branded Mother’s Day cards that highlight some of the down and dirtier aspects of motherhood. Especially snot sucking. See examples here.

This is important for you because even if you don’t hear it from your baby yet, these can help you express your timeless gratitude to your mom.

Pretty pictures of baby connectomes

The latest trend in neuroscience posits that the functions of individual neurons or even brain regions are not as important as the ways in which those neurons are connected to each other – each person’s “connectome”. MRI scans of forty newborns done in England provides a baseline assessment of brain development, and can be used to help understand what distinguished healthy brains from those with autism or cerebral palsy. Next, the research group hopes to look at brains of fetuses in utero. Read more here.

This is important for you because everyone can benefit from insights gleaned from this type of basic research.

Rice contains arsenic – even when marketed to babies

Inorganic arsenic occurs naturally in soil and especially in water. In large enough quantities, it is toxic. Rice absorbs more arsenic from the ground than other crops because of the way it is grown. Normally this is not really an issue, since rinsing the rice before cooking can eliminate it. But in Europe, many baby products made of rice, like rice cakes and rice cereal, have recently been found to contain dangerously high levels of arsenic. Read more here.

This is important for you because it is a good reminder that what we put in our (and our kids’) bodies is important, and we should try our best to monitor it. It is NOT, however, a reason to panic or remove the last speck of rice from your diet.

New Zika Diagnostic

Researchers at Colorado State University have modified a technique previously used to identify pneumonia and other diseases to detect Zika. It is quick and inexpensive and can tell whether a mosquito – or human blood – contains the virus. Read more here.

This is important for you because Zika remains a threat to fetuses in tropical climes, and may continue to be so for some time.

Expecting in Style

Storq makes mix-n-match maternity basics in Los Angeles; the New York Times Style section just endorsed them as “cool” Mother’s Day gifts. Read more here.

This is important for you because just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you don’t want to look good!

The most popular article on The Pulse this week was What Happens To Your Body The First 24 Hours After Giving Birth. It concludes: “Your body goes through a lot of changes immediately after birth and not all of them are pleasant. However, eventually they resolve.” Read the whole thing 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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