Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

For the Week Ending January 28, 2018.

Watch the new vlog “Joey’s Baby Diaries” sponsored by Pregistry. It is hilarious! You will also learn one or two things about how pregnancy feels!


You are not your DNA

Did you get a DNA sequence as a holiday gift, and very surprising results? If so you are not alone, and don’t worry. The different companies sequencing people’s DNA to determine their origins use different algorithms to analyze the data, and often generate different results – which are only approximations anyway. If you really want to know where you came from: aske your parents. Read more here and here.

This is important for you because if your want your child to know your family’s heritage – make sure to tell her about it!

Nature plus nurture

You don’t pass on all of your genes to your children. Half come from your partner; but even the half that come from you don’t contain all of your genetic material. Rather, each chromosome you pass on to your child is a unique amalgam comprised of some of the DNA you got from each of your parents, with some not included. A new analysis claims that even a parent’s genes that a child doesn’t inherit can impact the child. The authors who found this call it genetic nurture. The genes that the parent has but the child doesn’t get can affect the environment shared by the parents and the child, and this environment then affects the child. Read more here.

This is important for you because remember – the genetic and environmental factors shaping your child are VERY complex and VERY intertangled.

Junk DNA no more

Scientists have long been perplexed by DNA sequences that do not contain instructions for making proteins – DNA’s primary function – yet are conserved across many species, indicating that they must be important. So perplexed that it was once nicknamed “junk DNA.” But new work demonstrates that it is important in the subtleties of brain development. Read more here.

This is important for you because everything you pass on to your baby may be important – even if it is not immediately apparent how!

Nursing may protect you from diabetes

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that the longer you breastfeed your babies, the more you can diminish your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes later in life. The study followed mothers for twenty-five years after they gave birth, keeping track of how long they breastfed and if and when they developed diabetes. The researchers did not look for, or speculate about, a causal mechanism. Read more here.

This is important for you because if you can do it, breastfeeding is great for you as well as your baby.

So up-Lyfting

Lyft has just instituted an expanded, egalitarian, paid parental leave policy – primarily at the behest of one mom. The organization that helped her, PL+US (Paid Leave for the United States), helped Walmart revamp its leave policy and has its sights set on achieving the same end at Starbucks. Read more here.

This is important for you because if your company does not have an adequate parental leave policy, this can provide a model for how you can craft one.

The most popular article on The Pulse this week was Ectopia Cordis: Causes, Complications, and Treatment. Ectopia Cordis, when the baby is born with the heart outside of the chest, is usually fatal but is exceedingly rare. Its cause it not known. 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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