Science is a process, according to a recent post in The Huffington Post, and it’s the science of making babies that’s being addressed. New scientific knowledge is the result of repeated experimentation that produces the same results enough times to confirm accuracy. On the agenda was the science of preconception, conception, pregnancy, and childbirth. From that agenda, these 8 “most interesting things” were identified about making babies in 2013.

  1. Lifestyle Matters, Especially Sleeping and Eating
    Sometimes tweaking a lifestyle to better promote conception is all a couple needs to speed up the process. Shift work at odd hours can disrupt a woman’s menstrual cycle enough to affect fertility. In vitro fertilization (IVF) sometimes works best when patients get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night. Eating a large breakfast but a small dinner may be enough to shift insulin levels in polycystic ovarian syndrome patients in a way that regulates ovulation.
  2. ART Produces More Babies at One Time
    The rate of twins, triplets, and more is higher in families using assisted reproductive technologies (ART) than in those who conceive spontaneously but not all ARTs produce the same risk of multiples. It’s easier these days to have one baby at a time using IVF than using other forms of ART.
  3. Miscarriage is Generally Misunderstood
    When a pregnancy ends spontaneously before the 20th week, miscarriage occurs. That happens in 15 percent to 20 percent of all pregnancies and it’s usually triggered by fetal chromosomal abnormalities although many people erroneously blame it on stress, physical exertion, and oral contraceptive use.
  4. Mom’s Exercise Boosts Baby’s Brain Power
    Moderate exercise 20 minutes a day three times a week helps expectant moms sleep better and feel better. It also encourages the baby’s brain to develop more rapidly in the womb which boosts its brain power once it’s born.
  5. Mom’s Junk Food Diet Births a Junk-Food Junkie
    Diets high in fat and sugar influence gene expression, making a baby genetically prone to favor the foods it experienced during gestation and breastfeeding. Kids prefer healthy foods when that’s what mom ate at these crucial stages of life.
  6. Not Every Woman Getting Pregnancy Intervention Wants It
    As many as 60 percent of American mothers consider childbirth a natural process and want medical intervention only if it’s medically necessary but as many as 25 percent get three or more labor and delivery interventions (drugs, labor induction, C-section, etc.). Twenty-five percent felt pressured by medical personnel to induce or have an epidural, as did 13 percent undergoing C-section deliveries.
  7. Moms Like Midwives
    Women who had midwives to turn to during pregnancy were happier than those relying entirely on doctors. They’re also less likely to deliver prematurely, have episiotomies, or get epidurals.
  8. Slow Down on Cutting the Cord
    Babies benefit when the umbilical cord isn’t severed until a minute or two after birth, not immediately as is so often done. A baby’s iron supply is boosted as long as six months if the cord is kept intact for just one minute after delivery.

Source: Pearson, Catherine. “8 Things We Learned in 2013 About Having Babies.” HuffPost Parents. The Huffington Post, Inc. Jan 19, 2014. Web. Jan 25, 2014.