from the world's big
While many people don't think its all that bad, a new study suggests you should lay off while expecting.
- A new study suggests that smoking weed during pregnancy reduces birth weight and gestational age.
- The study follows on the heels of several others suggesting that marijuana has a variety of negative side effects.
- Despite this, many people still consider marijuana to be harmless.
What happens when you smoke for two<p>The study worked with 5628 pregnant women in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and the United Kingdom who were also part of a separate study investigating the relationship between marijuana use and pregnancy complications. These women had their demographic information, lifestyle characteristics, and medical history collected by a midwife.</p><p> All participants were asked if they ever smoked marijuana and, if so, if had they smoked it at any point during their pregnancy. Those who did smoke were further asked how many times a week they partook. Similar questions were asked for alcohol and tobacco usage. The midwives also recorded socio-economic data, noted if the test subject had used other illicit drugs during their pregnancy, and administered tests checking for depression and anxiety. After the test subjects gave birth, the midwives recorded infants' size and weight. </p><p> The babies born to women who smoked past the 15-week point in their pregnancies had lower birth weights, head size, body length, and lower gestational age. The reductions were comparable to the known effects of an expecting mother smoking nine cigarettes a day. These effects were more dramatic for children born to mothers who smoked more frequently. The risk of infant death and the rate of severe infant morbidity increased with the frequency of smoking as well. </p><p>Women who stopped smoking before the 15<sup>th</sup> week gave birth to babies with similar measurements to those born to women who did not smoke. </p><p> The evidence behind these findings remained even after factoring for tobacco and alcohol usage. While those lower on the socio-economic scale were more likely to continue smoking during pregnancy than others, their lower social standing was found to have no direct relation to birth outcomes.</p><p>The study was not without limitations. The number of women who reported continuing to smoke throughout their pregnancy was comparatively low, though not so small as to reduce the validity of the findings.</p><p>The researchers only looked at the number of times a person smoked and not at the potency of the marijuana or how it was consumed. They also looked at the effects of taking other illicit substances, but the number of women taking them was low enough to make serious investigation impossible during this study. </p><p>Perhaps most importantly, the study did not investigate what mechanism is at work. It could be simple carbon monoxide production by the act of smoking cutting down on oxygen that is getting to the fetus, as with tobacco smoking. Or it could be that the chemicals in marijuana were affecting the <a href="https://theconversation.com/using-cannabis-during-pregnancy-could-be-bad-news-for-your-baby-new-research-140443" target="_blank">fetus</a>. This is an area where further research is needed.</p>
So, what does this mean for me?<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="uOrxqasD" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="5fb1fc085ecf9ca63355b4e0bc632e25"> <div id="botr_uOrxqasD_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/uOrxqasD-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/uOrxqasD-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/uOrxqasD-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>The first take away here is that you shouldn't smoke weed while pregnant. The second is that it might not be too late to stop.</p><p>Previous studies have suggested that a lower gestational age at birth is associated with lower <a href="https://fn.bmj.com/content/102/5/F409" target="_blank">literacy later in life</a> and that children in families with lower social standing start behind their wealthier peers in literacy <a href="https://www.apa.org/pi/ses/resources/publications/factsheet-education.pdf" target="_blank">tests</a>. The finding here that lower-income women are more likely to smoke during pregnancy suggests that their children may be subject to particular difficulties.</p><p>The study is yet <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/02/200204094730.htm" target="_blank">another</a> one suggesting that marijuana isn't as harmless as many people suppose. The drug is known to cause memory trouble, anxiety, and increase the risk of psychotic symptoms. Previous studies similar to this one already hinted at the effects of smoking on the newly born. This one didn't break new ground so much as remove hidden variables in previous experiments on the same subject. <br> <br> Despite this, up to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28252456/" target="_blank">third of women think marijuana can't harm a gestating fetus</a>, and the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5550346/" target="_blank">popular conception of the drug</a> has yet to incorporate notions of its <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_(drug)#Adverse_effects" target="_blank">various adverse side effects.</a><u></u></p><p>Perhaps the take away for those who are not or cannot become pregnant is that marijuana isn't completely harmless and should be interacted with as such. <u></u></p>
According to researchers at Washington State University, the answer is yes.
- Washington State University researchers found that exercising while pregnant might reduce the risk of obesity in children.
- The study, conducted on mice, also discovered that offspring of fit mothers have better metabolic health.
- Infant mice whose mothers exercised had higher levels of brown adipose tissue, aka brown fat.
5 Best Pregnancy Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises - Ask Doctor Jo<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fdd36ec1093139eb911d2f0d5f11c4c5"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/S3xXurLpfDk?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Du and Son's study might be the first to display the possible benefits of exercising while pregnant. Previous research has linked maternal obesity to infants. This study shows the benefits of exercise, one of which is better glucose tolerance, meaning children have a reduced likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. Son <a href="https://news.wsu.edu/2020/04/17/exercise-pregnancy-reduces-obesity-among-offspring/" target="_blank">says</a>,</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"These findings suggest that physical activity during pregnancy for fit women is critical for a newborn's metabolic health. We think this research could ultimately help address obesity in the United States and other countries."</p><p>Still, myths perpetuate regarding the efficacy of exercising while pregnant. <a href="https://www.glamour.com/story/enough-with-the-myths-about-exercise-during-pregnancy" target="_blank">According to</a> NYU OB-GYN, Jennifer Aquino, as long as women stay hydrated while working out, they are unlikely to experience ill effects. Overheating is a major concern, however. Avoid exercise in hot environments. Eating a snack before working out is also a good idea. </p><p>The <a href="https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/exercise-during-pregnancy" target="_blank">current guidelines</a> for exercising while pregnant are similar to everyone else: 150 minutes of moderate level fitness, split between cardiovascular and strength training. Pregnant women generally want to choose low impact options, such as swimming and indoor cycling. Of course, every woman's approach should be tailored to meet their needs and pre-pregnancy fitness levels. </p>
Alysia Montano runs in the Women"s 800 Meter opening round during Day 1 of the 2017 USA Track & Field Championships at Hornet Stadium on June 22, 2017 in Sacramento, California.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images<p>As a general guideline, my advice as a fitness instructor (who has taught hundreds of pregnant women over the last 16 years) has been to keep up their regimen as best they can, provided they are healthy enough to do so and with modifications. I don't advise learning anything new during this time as that could increase their risk for injury. If an expecting mother does want to engage in new exercise routines, medical professionals advicse slow adoption. </p><p>Again, anecdotally, I've seen a range of responses. Some women choose to scale back their routines or even stop working out if adverse reactions begin (usually causing them to take bed rest). I've also seen one instructor friend teach kickboxing and perform handstands while nine months pregnant. I even had a woman in her fortieth week take my class to try to "get the baby out already." (He was born the next day, though I take no credit for that.) </p><p>It should not surprise anyone that healthier mothers have healthier babies. We are well aware of the genetic consequences of our parents that we pass to our offspring. We also know well the behavioral imprints our forebears leave on us. A guy named Freud wrote a few books about that. Of course, parental behavior affects our development in every capacity, fitness levels included. Thanks to this team in Washington, we have proof.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a>. His next book is</em> "Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy." </p>
Is it ethical to use a dead man's sperm to become pregnant?
- Many parts of the world are suffering from a shortage of sperm donors due to the high bar for acceptance and varying laws regarding donor anonymity.
- A recent article suggested that, as a solution, we should consider allowing men to opt-in to posthumous sperm donation, much like men and women do for organ donation.
- It's technically feasible, but how would we navigate the complex ethical and legal issues surrounding such a proposal?
A legal and ethical quandary?<p>As it turns out, this idea isn't all that new. The first posthumous sperm retrieval occurred in 1980 after a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0015028216451472?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">30-year-old man</a> suffered a fatal brain injury in a car accident. His family requested that his sperm be preserved, which was done through surgery soon after he had been declared dead.</p><p>There have been numerous postmortem sperm retrievals since then, but they've always existed in a legal grey area. For instance, in 1997, a UK man named Stephen Blood caught meningitis, collapsed into a coma, and died soon after. His wife, Diane Blood, had requested that doctors extract two samples of semen from Mr. Blood. </p><p>However, the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority had <a href="https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/29/12/2615/628043" target="_blank">forbidden</a> Mrs. Blood from using those samples to become pregnant, as Mr. Blood had passed away prior to giving written consent to the procedure. In the UK posthumous sperm donation is illegal without written consent. After an appeal, Mrs. Blood was permitted to seek fertility treatment outside of the UK and later gave birth to a son.</p><p>Other countries, such as France, Germany, and Taiwan, have a full ban on posthumous fertilization. At the same time, countries like the U.S. and Belgium have no legislation on the subject whatsoever. Given the complex legal, ethical, and medical nature of posthumous fertilization, this range of legislative response is not unexpected. For example, is it ethical to collect sperm from an individual who never wanted to procreate in a country where the young population is dwindling and sperm donors are in short supply? Such is the case in <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/articles/overviewoftheukpopulation/august2019" target="_blank">many parts</a> of the UK Is it reasonable to collect sperm from donors who have died and who are, by extension, more likely to be older and with less healthy sperm? Is the offspring of a deceased sperm donor considered to be the donor's legal heir? </p><p>These and other issues muddy the waters for countries when crafting policies around posthumous sperm donation. However, the authors of the recent <em>Journal of Medical Ethics</em> article argue that allowing for this procedure is at the very least ethically permissible and likely beneficial for society at large. </p><p>"The ability to reproduce matters to people and donated sperm enables many people to fulfill their reproductive desires," write the authors. "It is both feasible and morally permissible for men to volunteer their sperm to be donated to strangers after death in order to ensure sufficient quantities of sperm with desired qualities."</p>
A new study in Human Reproduction says men have to keep moving.
- A new study, published in Human Reproduction, found that exercise helps increase sperm motility.
- 746 healthy young men were studied over a six-month period; the more exercise they got, the better their sperm.
- Globally, sperm counts have gone down by over 50 percent over the last half-century.
Sex, Explained S1 | Main Trailer<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2089a3e23534d7859d28ae00c3224efc"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/VT-dwsOUv5s?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Previously, studies were inconclusive connecting exercise and sperm health. The China-based researchers (some with ties to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Indiana University Bloomington in the States) write that many of those studies recruited less than 100 men. For this study, 746 healthy young men joined in for a six-month investigation. Thousands of sperm samples were analyzed.</p><p>To impregnate a woman, three important factors were considered: sperm concentration, sperm morphology, and motility. To increase chances of procreation, there needs to be a lot of swimmers, successful sperm have to have the right shape and size, and they have to know how to swim. (As explained in the Netflix show, strength and speed are not necessarily relevant factors, but they need to know how to navigate the terrain.)</p><p>Though duration and type of exercise were not determined, one thing is clear: men who exercised more exhibit better sperm. Those who exercised the most had the best sperm motility, while those who exercised least showed the worst results. Count and morphology were not affected by exercise.</p>
Willian of Chelsea in action during a gym training session at Chelsea Training Ground on October 15, 2019 in Cobham, England.
Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images<p><a href="https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-health-fitness-sperm/physical-activity-linked-to-sperm-quality-idUKKBN1YZ1CG?rpc=401&&utm_source=reddit.com" target="_blank">Previous research</a> suggests that excessive exercise can have the opposite effect, however: too much working out can be bad for reproductive fitness. For both men and women, stress levels also affect reproductive capabilities. Ironically, being tired from a sedentary lifestyle produces similar outcomes as exercising to exhaustion.</p><p>That said, the consequences of not exercising are far more dangerous. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, inflammation, and even sex drive are all affected when you're not regularly moving your body. The researchers recommend moderate exercise to achieve optimal results. </p><p>They also note that global trends in obesity make research like this important. Reproductive fitness is an essential quality in every species. There might be more than enough humans at the moment—from an evolutionary perspective, we've done quite well—but no future is guaranteed. Survival comes down to strong sperm and healthy eggs. </p><p>Women, as mentioned, have taken the brunt of the blame for far too long. The science is clear: men are half the problem. Time for us to step up our game and own the consequences. </p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a>. His next book is </em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy.</p>
A harrowing new report by the CDC should serve as a wake-up call.
- STD rates have risen every year since 2013, with 2017 showing the largest increase.
- Syphilis passed from mothers to babies is causing easily preventable infant deaths.
- STDs are easy to cure so far — the key is getting regularly tested.
Gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis<p>The statistics are sobering in the period from 2017 to 2018 alone. The CDC reports:</p> <ul> <li>Gonorrhea cases have increased 5%, to more than 580,000 cases. This is the highest number of infections reported since 1991.</li> <li>Chlamydia has set a new record, more than 1.7 million cases, an increase of 3% throughout 2017.</li> <li>There were 115,000 cases of syphilis. The STD is most infectious during its primary and secondary stages, and these increased by 14% to 35,000 cases. During 2017, syphilis in newborns rose to 1,300 cases, an increase of 40%. Underscoring its source is that syphilis among women of child-bearing age went up by almost an identical amount, 36%.</li> </ul> <p>Gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis, the most common sexually transmitted infections, can be cured with antibiotics (for now). Left untreated, the STDs can lead to transmission to other people, as well as "adverse health outcomes such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and increased HIV risk," says the CDC.</p><p>And of course, there's the congenital syphilis killing babies. Most states in the U.S. have reported cases, though 70% of them are concentrated in just five states: Texas, California, Florida, Arizona, and Louisiana.</p><p>The heartbreaking loss of newborn life is easily avoidable. Gail Bolan of the CDC says, "There are tools available to prevent every case of congenital syphilis. Testing is simple and can help women to protect their babies from syphilis — a preventable disease that can have irreversible consequences."</p><p>It's for this reason the CDC recommends that all women get tested the first time they visit their healthcare provider upon becoming pregnant, and — if they live in high-risk areas — they should get tested a second time at the start of their third trimester and again before delivery. This advice applies even to expectant mothers who aren't currently sexually active. In addition to being transmissible through genital, oral, and anal sex, there are <a href="https://www.hivplusmag.com/wellness/2016/8/24/yes-you-can-get-sexually-transmitted-infection-without-having-sex" target="_blank">plenty of other ways</a> to quietly pick up an STD infection.</p><p>There's good reason not to put off getting an STD and STI checkup. Gonorrhea is one of the worrying bacteria becoming <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/2018/press-release-2018-std-prevention-conference.html" target="_blank">increasingly resistant</a> to antibiotics, according to both the <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/std/stats18/figures/31.htm" target="_blank">CDC</a> and the <a href="https://www.popsci.com/antibiotic-resistant-gonorrhea-getting-worse/" target="_blank">World Health Organization</a>, who report that it currently afflicts about 78 million people worldwide each year. According to the WHO's Teodora Wi, "The bacteria that cause gonorrhea are particularly smart. Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them."</p><a href="https://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/images/2018/std/std-infographic-complete.jpg" ><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjAxMzk3OC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMzEzNDg5MH0.e5FKQAsj1dQ4ePvc5IovpMG9ve4-Nf21WlhhIOwcNsI/img.jpg?width=980" id="0d4d9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="99b196c36f8ccca00d3eab59e589eed6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /></a>
Image source: CDC
Why are STD rates on the rise<p>The CDC cites three likely reasons:</p> <ul> <li><em>Drug use, poverty, stigma, and unstable housing, which can reduce access to STD prevention and care</em></li> <li><em>Decreased condom use among vulnerable groups, including young people and gay and bisexual men</em></li> <li><em>Cuts to STD programs at the state and local level — in recent years, more than half of local programs have experienced budget cuts, resulting in clinic closures, reduced screening, staff loss, and reduced patient follow-up and linkage to care services</em></li> </ul> <p>The subtext of the CDC's third bullet point about local programs being cut is that there's a compelling statistical <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6806a4.htm?s_cid=mm6806a4_w" target="_blank">intersection</a> between the increase in drug use — particularly meth — and heterosexual syphilis. The CDC proposes new collaborations between STD control programs and substance-use disorder services providers — not cutting back such programs as seen recently.</p><p>Finally, the stigma attached to having an STD or STI is real, and many would simply prefer to assume they don't have one. This is despite the <a href="http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/stdsstis/statistics/" target="_blank">estimate</a> that among sexually active people, some 80% will have an STI (with STDs being a subset of these) at some point in their lives. Since many of these infections, especially STIs, present no symptoms, it's easy to opt out of testing.</p><p>This is obviously a bad idea. It's much smarter to get tested regularly and, if necessary, treated. Encourage your partners and friends to get tested — without making fun — and be forthcoming and honest if you have an infection. Use condoms religiously, and when your healthcare provider inquires about your activities, be honest.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjAxMzk4MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NjE1Nzk2Nn0.aNO_juWC7eiHw9FeIbDm9FzpbeZFuGlFCoZfMXQSD4s/img.jpg?width=980" id="0e1c1" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="040584d269d8e02c06c28877e222311d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
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