With mothers and medical providers clamoring for answers about postpartum depression, scientists are beginning a major effort to understand the genetic underpinnings of mood disorders that afflict millions of women during and after pregnancy.
Women with high scores will be asked if they’d like to submit a DNA sample to researchers at UNC. If users agree, they will be mailed an oral kit. Researchers assured the Times that even though personal information like name and address are required, that data will be encrypted in order to preserve privacy.
Curled up in bed reading a new novel about Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf called Vanessa and Her Sister, I came to a section about Bell’s pregnancy in which she is instructed by her doctor to wear a corset and drink champagne. In the middle of navigating my own pregnancy, I laughed out loud. Indeed just like all the scenes of drinking, smoking pregnant women on Mad Men, this fictional advice—based on the author’s historical research—indicates how much the medical establishment’s guidelines for pregnant women shifts with the sands of time.
The FitBit Activity Tracker—that bracelet thing that makes your parents feel like they’re participating in Modernity—captures all kinds of real-time data related to your health, which can add up to some unsettling insights into your general disposition (for example, it knows when you’ve been dumped).
There’s a good idea buried in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent bungled message about alcohol and pregnancy: Women are typically pregnant for at least a few weeks before they know it. So if you’re trying to get pregnant, you may want to start thinking about your alcohol intake now.
There seems to be a lot of anecdotal evidence being thrown around like “my wife drank like a fish right before we found out she was pregnant and my kid’s fine.”
Yeah… that’s all well and good. However, your kid doesn’t have to be drooling on themselves to have a neurological deficiency. Just playing devil’s advocate, maybe your kid could have been more intelligent or you haven’t figured out some deficiency. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know, but the CDC seems to think it could be harmful.
Over the years, studies have shown music listened to during pregnancy may have a positive effect on babies after they are born. Some believe that auditory fetal learning can later help with a child’s memory skills and brain development. A recent study from Barcelona gynecology clinic Institut Marquès has found that fetuses can detect sound as early as 16 weeks.
A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that women who take antidepressants during the mid-to-late stages of their pregnancy experience an 87% increased risk of having a child diagnosed with autism. Here’s what the study actually found and why there’s no immediate cause for alarm.
Women with Factor V have a substantially increased risk of clotting while pregnant or on estrogen-containing birth control pills (including hormone replacement)
I’ve got a call into my hematologist because I was told that I did not have any of the known hereditary things that they tested for. That was ~10 years ago, but I’m am anxious to hear if something was missed – maybe someone forgot to run the test? Whatever the reason, it’d be a comfort to know if I have Factor V. Without any knowledge, all I can do is treat the symptoms. Which can be too late.
About That INR Level…
My father beat me for “highest INR level” – his was 5.3 at one point. I think mine was 4.1? At first glance it’s funny, but there’s a serious risk of “spontaneous” bleeding. He learnt what I’ve always said in previous posts about the vitamin K content of various foods: A “low” rating depends on the amount. The vitamin K content adds up (it’s cumulative) in proportion to the amount of that food you eat. He loves ginger apparently. I do too, but I don’t like constant INR testing…
Musing on Medical Alerts
We also discussed means of communicating health issues in the event that we aren’t able to communicate them to strangers. There’s no standardization for things like medical alert bracelets, which would automatically be removed by hospital staff because of constriction/compression risk. That’s assuming the bracelet/etc survives whatever happened to require that. I’d looked into tattoos, and settled on temporary tattoos. Nothing is perfect – my temp tattoo would list information in English, and could be destroyed (even partially). But on the upper chest, two at the clavicle (either side of the neck) would be visible when clothing is removed. You can buy custom temp tattoos online, in bulk…
As marijuana is legalized in more states, questions about its safety and the health consequences of cannabis use are becoming mainstream. A new study published in PNAS finds that use of cannabis by pregnant women can have implications for the neural development of her child and that some of the consequences continue into adulthood, So, like alcohol, another recreational drug that is legal in the US, marijuana is likely best avoided by pregnant women.
…This study isn’t conclusive about effects in humans; it was done in mice, and it used a regular dose that may not reflect human use habits. But at a bare minimum, these findings suggest we should be avoiding recreational cannabis use during pregnancy. Perhaps someday soon legal marijuana will come with a “do not consume while pregnant” warning, just like alcohol does.
There are many reasons a pregnant woman would want to know if it is safe to consume marijuana during pregnancy that aren’t just her being stupid selfish person wanting to get high and not caring about the baby. During the first trimester, marijuana can help with the often debilitating nausea. In the third trimester, it can help with the pain and discomfort especially when trying to sleep. Marijuana can also help with anxiety throughout pregnancy. We should not just dismiss the potential benefits of marijuana offhand because frat boys like to do bong rips and watch silly movies on Tuesday nights. There are legitimate medical benefits and studying if there are lasting harmful effects could provide relief to pregnant women.