Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

For the Week Ending January 21, 2018.

Inflammation isn’t all bad

The reason why an embryo implanting into the uterine wall looks a lot like the immune system’s inflammatory response is because – it is a lot like it. Genetic studies from other placental mammals with long gestation periods indicate that this inflammation is actually an important part of implantation, and that mammals have evolved to temper it so that it does not harm the fetus. Read more here.

This is important for you because if you need to take anti-inflammatory drugs for some reason, talk to your doctor about potential risks.

I am yours, you are mine, we are what we are

Mother and fetus exchange biological material, and fetal cells hang around in the mother’s body for decades after birth. That means that every woman is a cellular chimaera, with her body comprised of not only her own cells but those of each of her children and her own mother. It is not clear what function, if any, these cells play in the mother’s body, but scientists speculate that they may be protective, perhaps accounting for women’s longer life spans compared to men’s. Read more here.

This is important for you because it is kind of beautiful to think about your child still being a part of you, even after he is born.

Serena Williams continues to crush it

After a pretty harrowing medical ordeal following the birth of two-month-old Olympia, the tennis champ seems to be relishing every aspect of motherhood. But don’t be lulled. “Maybe this goes without saying,” she told Vogue, “but it needs to be said in a powerful way: I absolutely want more Grand Slams.” Read more here.

This is important for you because what could be more inspiring than a champion like her who is also a mom?

Fresh or frozen?

Turns out, it doesn’t really matter. Fresh embryos are just as viable as the more traditionally used frozen ones for in vitro fertilization. Read more here.

This is important for you because if this decision has been impacting your plans in any way, don’t let it.

The most popular article on The Pulse this week was Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). In this mood disorder the new mother’s thoughts and life are completely overtaken by anxieties about her baby. It is treatable, so if you think you or someone you know might be grappling with it, help is available. 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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