Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

For the Week Ending November 10, 2019.

Go camping

Is it cruel to instill in your kids a love of the outdoors even as we are destroying it for them? After some struggle, this mom concluded that yes. Yes it is. Read more here.

This is important for you because being outdoors is good for you and your baby. And if you instill that love early, maybe your little one will grow up with the desire and ability to help save the planet.

De novo mutations

Your baby’s DNA comes from you and your partner, who each got it from your two parents, who got theirs from their two parents… but not all of it. Some of your baby’s DNA, like everyone’s, is new – generated by mutations that spontaneously occur in eggs, sperm cells, and in the early embryo. How many new mutations occur depends on the family. Read more here.

This is important for you because family does not determine destiny, for you or your child. Everyone is unique.

Lead toxicity

High levels of lead in pregnant women can cause babies to be small or brain damaged; new research suggests that lead can also cause babies to be obese. Folic acid supplements can help. Read more here.

This is important for you because if you are concerned that you have been exposed to toxic levels of lead, talk to your doctor to have your levels tested. And take folic acid supplements, which you should be doing anyway to prevent neural tube defects.

Biological Weathering

The problem with microaggressions is that they are cumulative; and when enough of them pile up, their effects are not quite so micro. This is hardly news, but it is so difficult, stressful, and traumatic to be black in this country right now that constantly weathering all of the strain can be fatal – especially for new mothers. SELF magazine explored the topic as part of their ongoing series on black maternal mortality. Read more here.

This is important for you because “If you’re black and pregnant, educate yourself about the conditions and complications you’re more likely to face. The onus should not be on black people to save ourselves from maternal mortality and other poor health outcomes, …, but advocating for yourself is necessary sometimes.” 

The most popular article on The Pulse this week was The Untold Truth About Pacifiers. 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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