Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

For the Week Ending March 21, 2021. 

More than 12,000 pregnant and recently pregnant women are already participating. Help us understand the impact of COVID-19 on pregnancy and babies. Be a part of it!

Click here to Register.

Baby brain organoids

Human stem cells can be induced to make “organoids” in the lab–structures similar to our organs that can serve as models to study how the real organs function when they are healthy and when they are diseased. Brain organoids had been thought to mimic only prenatal human brains. But recent work has shown that if they are given more time to develop–like about nine months–they can mimic brains even after birth. Hopefully, they will now be more relevant to study neurological disorders like schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. Read more here.

This is important for you because whether you find this creepy or miraculous, you must admit it’s amazing.

Babies with antibodies

A recently released preprint (a journal article that has not yet been peer reviewed) reports on the first known case of a baby born with antibodies against COVID-19. Her mother got vaccinated when she was 36 weeks pregnant. Although this is the first documented instance, it accords with what experts know about vaccines and had suspected would be the case. Read more here.

This is important for you because even though the results of Pfizer’s vaccine trial for pregnant women won’t be in for a while, evidence keeps accruing that you should get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated has no known risks, whereas getting COVID-19 has many.

Moderna baby trials

Moderna is starting to test their COVID-19 vaccine in babies as young as six months old! Listen here.

This is important for you because in a few years, a COVID-19 shot might be just one of the standard ones that all babies get instead of the hottest ticket in town.

Bollywood Moms

Bollywood movies are renowned for their big, bright, colorful dance numbers. They are not renowned for complex, nuanced, sympathetic portrayals of mothers, instead tending toward long-suffering types like that in the 1957 classic Mother India. But that is starting to change. Read more here.

This is important for you because more realistic depictions of mothers and motherhood onscreen can change people’s perceptions in real life.

The most important article on The Pulse this week was Rebozo Manteada: An Ancient but Useful Technique for Labor. 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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