Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

For the Week Ending June 21, 2020. 

Climate change and Black mothers

Climate change is bad for babies and mothers. A new long term study has just confirmed that high temperatures and pollution, like those found around industrial plants, cause an increase in premature and underweight babies and even stillbirths. Minority communities often live around these factories and disproportionately bear the brunt of their negative effects–on top of their already being increasingly more likely to die from pregnancy related complications. Read more here

This is important for you because air pollution is bad for everyone; it makes people more susceptible to respiratory ills–like COVID-19.

Midwife-led birthing centers

The New York State Department of Health will allow midwife-led birthing centers in New York for the first time. This directive to diversify birthing site options and support patient choice was one of the six key recommendations of the COVID-19 Maternity Task Force launched in April. Read more here.

This is important for you because it’s amazing that someone in government is listening to, and responding to, womens’ needs and requests..

Bonobo moms

Worst blind date ever: bonobo moms not only introduce their sons to nubile young females, they actually watch them mate. And chase off other male suitors. Not their daughters, though; they have to fend for themselves. Read more here.

This is important for you because if you thought you had mother-in-law trouble, just be grateful she’s human.


Researchers funded by the NIH and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation have initiated a trial in seven low and middle income countries to see if a single dose of the antibiotic azithromycin during labor can reduce death from sepsis in birthing mothers and newborns. A previous study indicated that azithromycin given during labor can reduce infections, but did not proceed long enough to see if the treatment reduced maternal or natal deaths. Read more here.

This is important for you because preventable and treatable infections still account for about 10% of maternal deaths and 16% of neonatal deaths worldwide, primarily in lower income countries.

The most popular article on The Pulse this week was Smoking Risks in Pregnancy and for COVID-19. 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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