Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

For the Week Ending March 18, 2018.

Is it a boy or a girl?

In 1970, 7% of gynecologists were women. Now 59% are, and only about 17% of current OB-GYN residents are men. It is entirely legal for patients to choose a doctor based on race or sex, but male medical students and doctors feel excluded. Outside of OB-GYN, however, fewer than a third of doctors are women; and for the decades when almost all doctors were male, they never seemed to have an issue with the gender imbalance. Read more here.

This is important for you because do you have a gender preference for your OB-GYN? How about your other doctors? Do you think this is discriminatory?

Public Library of Science

It can be prohibitively expensive for researchers to publish in prestigious academic journals and to access the material within them, but their careers depend on these publications. The nonprofit Public Library of Science journals aims to relieve this stranglehold by publishing high quality research in an open access format. This year on International Women’s Day they highlighted some recent research published in partnership with the Maternal Health Task Force on obesity and depression in pregnant women. Read more here.

This is important for you because our brightest scientific minds are prioritizing maternal and reproductive health.

The Nation’s Most Restrictive Abortion Law

Mississippi just made it harder for women to get abortions. The state – the most stringent in the union – used to prohibit abortions after twenty weeks of gestation; now it prohibits them after only fifteen weeks. Even in cases of rape and incest. Mississippi only has one abortion clinic, which has threatened to sue. Read more here.

This is important for you because Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant tweeted: “I want Mississippi to be the safest place in America for an unborn child.” If only he felt the same about populations that have already been born.

Induce Labor to… Avoid a C-section?

The ARRIVE trial studied over 6,000 women to compare the health of their first babies when labor is induced to those born when labor occurred spontaneously at 39 weeks. Overall they were comparable. But one surprising result was that when labor was induced, the chance of cesarean delivery was 3% lower than in women who went into labor on their own. Read more here.

This is important for you because it is sometimes medically necessary to induce labor – but that doesn’t mean that a C-section is then a given.

The most popular articles on The Pulse this week were Can You Prevent Infections During Pregnancy and What You Need to Know about Group B Strep (GBS) in Pregnancy – maybe flu season has people preoccupied with infectious diseases. Read them here and here, respectively.

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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