Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest


Is it a boy or a girl? Cognitive neuroscientist Gina Rippon has just written a book that busts apart the notion, and the countless studies claiming, that male and female brains are different in any meaningful way. It’s called The Gendered Brain, and it maintains that women and men – and boys and girls – think and act in stereotypically gendered patterns not because their brains tell them to, but because society does. Read more here. Of course, not everyone agrees; read a divergent view here.

This is important for you because your baby’s brain can develop along infinite paths now; the less she is hindered by bias, the freer she’ll be.

“Sesquizygotic twins”

Very, very rarely – there are only two known instances – twins grow that are neither identical nor fraternal, but in between (sesqui means one and a half.) These twins shared a placenta – indicating that they split from one fertilized egg, and are identical – but one’s a boy and one’s a girl, so they are clearly NOT identical. Read more here.

This is important for you because whoa.


The economist Emily Oster already wrote a book tackling decision making while pregnant, arguing that conventional wisdom was largely nonsense. Now, she has written Cribsheet to debunk decision making as a new parent – in which she argues much the same thing. Read more here.

This is important for you because economics is the science of decision making; as an economist and mom of two, Oster’s advice is sure to be invaluable.

Sharing is not necessarily caring

Just like posting your sonogram online has become a rite of passage for moms, googling themselves has become a rite of passage for kids. And not all kids like what they see – pictures and anecdotes about them posted by their parents, creating an online persona for them before they even have a real life persona – and without their consent. Read more here.

This is important for you because think about the pictures you post of your child online – they might not appreciate them in a few years.

The most popular article on The Pulse this week was Why Unnecessary Antibiotics are Bad for Your Baby. In short, they can induce autoimmune disorders in the baby and create antibiotic resistant pathogens. 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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