Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

For the Week Ending May 10, 2020. 

COVID-19 and Pregnancy. Find the answers to your questions.

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Go to International Registry of Coronavirus Exposure in Pregnancy

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Dynamic Optimal Timing (DOT)

This app can help women keep track of when they ovulate, alerting them to the days of the month in which they are most fertile. But although it is marketed as such, it is not a reliable method of contraception. Read more here.

This is important for you because when you next need  birth control, the rhythm method is not especially accurate or effective.

Lactating can change a mom’s brain–IN MICE

Lactation is dependent on the hormone prolactin, which tells the mom’s body it is time to generate milk. New work in mice shows that the neurons that promote the production of prolactin (obviously) produce more when the mouse is lactating, but that the neuronal activity returns to normal when the pups are weaned. Read more here.

This is important for you because motherhood can change your mind, in quite a literal way. But some of the electrochemical changes, at least, may be reversible.

Where’s My Midwife?

The Big Push can help you find a midwife trained in out-of-hospital birth, who may still be covered by your health insurance even if they aren’t technically legal where you are. Find your midwife here.

This is important for you if you need to find a midwife.

More estrogen -> less bone growth

Women make more estrogen than men, so women’s bones fuse earlier than men’s. That’s why women tend to be shorter; not because men are sexually selected to be taller, since taller men get the girl. Or so argues Holly Dunsworth, an anthropologist who has spent her career debunking the “Obstetric Dilemma”–the idea that human babies are born “early”, i.e. relatively helpless and with relatively small brains, so they can fit through the birth canal. Read more here and here.

This is important for you because just because something is dogma, that doesn’t make it true. Dr. Dunsworth is upending canonical ideas in her field that spur sexist views. Go her!

The most popular article on The Pulse this week was A Pediatrician’s View of Vaccines and the COVID-19 Pandemic. 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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