Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

For the Week Ending February 25, 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!


Every baby is special…

…Even those that don’t confer special powers on their mothers while in utero. Supernatural pregnancy is a trope of science fiction and fantasy, but it can also be found in mythology, theology, and even history. It is generally used to convey that the coming baby will grow up to be so powerful, he can already exert power in the womb. It is similar to the more familiar supernatural conception idea and achieves the same end. Read more here.

This is important for you because – well, presumably it isn’t really relevant. But interesting anyway.

Preeclampsia Biomarkers Identified

Preeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure, swelling of the hands and feet, and excess protein in the urine. It usually appears after twenty weeks of pregnancy, and can be dangerous for both mother and baby. But if caught early, it can be treated with aspirin. A new study done at Tel Aviv University has just identified biomarkers in a mother’s blood that can be used to diagnose preeclampsia during the first trimester, so treatment can begin before trouble arises. Read more here.

This is important for you because although a blood test for preeclampsia is not available yet, such noninvasive monitoring of biomarkers should aid diagnoses of this and other conditions in the future.

First Transgender Mom Breastfeeds

A transgender woman in New York was able to nurse the baby that her partner bore. Her doctors gave her anti-nausea medication known to increase milk production that is approved in the UK and Canada but not here. She was able to produce enough milk to provide sole nourishment for her baby for six weeks, despite not having given birth – and being born male. Read more here.

This is important for you because regardless of if this speaks to your personal situation or not, it is certainly testament to the fact that moms can – and will – do anything to care for our kids.

It’s Dangerous to be a Newborn – in the US

According to UNICEF, babies born in the US are only marginally more likely to survive their first month than babies in Ukraine or Sri Lanka. Infant mortality rates are usually tightly linked to poverty and low education, but clearly that is not the whole story. Read more here.

This is important for you because infant mortality is a real issue, not only in the developing world but here as well. Most of these deaths (80%!) are preventable.

The most popular article on The Pulse this week was Your Newborn Baby’s Discharge From The Nursery. Most babies in the US are monitored in the hospital for at least twenty-four hours, during which time they must demonstrate that they can eat, poop, get examined by a pediatrician, and generally have blood drawn to screen for certain diseases. Then, if al is well, you can take home your little bundle of joy. 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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