Maternal nut consumption during pregnancy linked to improvements in neurodevelopment in children

For the first time links have been observed between a nut-rich maternal diet during the first trimester of pregnancy and better outcomes after birth in cognitive function, attention capacity and long-term working memory.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily


Maternal Health Week: I Gave Stillbirth At 20 Weeks After Complaining For Weeks, Did I Receive Substandard Medical Care?

Source: Priska Neely / Priska Neely

Black Maternal Health week (April 11-17), founded and led by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance.

My stomach had been hurting all day but I could not possibly be going into labor — I was only at 20 weeks. My water had broken. I had explained these stomach pains to my doctor earlier that month, earlier that week, and even earlier that day. Each time I drove to Beverly Hills for my appointment, I was told I was fine. The bleeding? Just spotting, you’re fine. The cramps? They’re normal, you’re fine. My request to have tests done? “No need, you’re fine.”

Early in my pregnancy, I had begun to wonder if I was receiving substandard medical care. Could my doctor be dismissing me because I was an unmarried, pregnant Black women on Medi-Cal? I was convinced by medical staff that most of my concerns were just typical first-time mother over-worrying. I saw all the upper class Persian women get more attention and face-time with the doctor, while I was getting an average of 10 minutes each visit but I made justifications because I trusted my doctor and his expertise. If this was where many rich women were going for care, I figured I must be in good hands.

My water had definitely broken. When my now husband and I got to the nearest hospital, which was not where I was supposed to deliver, our parents were all there. We were told the baby’s lungs had not fully developed and he would not live outside of my womb. Still, I would have to push. I had to go through the labor and the delivery.

It was not until I delivered the baby, a boy who was stillborn, that I cried. I couldn’t stop screaming the words “no” and “please”. “No” was my disbelief. “Please” was my last appeal to God to change what just happened.

My nurse, an older Black woman, held my hand and treated me with so much care and compassion. My grief would not allow me to hold the baby but she held him for me and pressed him against my chest. I just put my hand on his very small body and held it there, unable to take him into my arms. Today, I wish I would have.

The loss of our first baby was devastating. Seven months later, we found out I was pregnant once again. This time, we switched medical providers.

By month five of my second pregnancy, I was having complications. My new medical staff was checking in with me so frequently that I almost got annoyed. They immediately put me on bedrest. Everyone made me feel like my pregnancy was their priority. It was one of the most difficult periods of my life but the level of care I received gave me hope. It also confirmed for me that although I had previously gone to one of the most coveted medical providers in one of the richest neighborhoods in Los Angeles for my care, I had received racially biased and subpar care.

Despite the excellent prenatal care I was receiving this time around, I spent two months in the hospital before having my son at 27 weeks — an experience that brought me back to the discrimination of my first delivery. I was ignored. I was overlooked. My life and the life of my child were both in danger.

This time, I was told that I couldn’t possibly be having contractions because they weren’t showing up on a monitor. I was feeling such extreme pain that I thought I was dying. After my nurse ignored several of my concerns, I physically grabbed her arms and pulled her down to me and demanded that she check between my legs because the baby was coming.

Alarms went off, nurses were running and a doctor jumped onto my bed and told me she had to stick her hand inside of me to keep my son’s umbilical cord inside. A nurse told me I needed to go under so they could get my baby out immediately. I had little time to think about any of this. I had to give consent although I was unsure and under informed. In seconds, I was unconscious.

I woke up an hour later with a scream. I was in so much pain. I opened my eyes to my mother who informed me that my son was born. “Is he perfect?” I asked. “So perfect.” she responded. Only two pounds and 12 ounces, but perfect.

Today, my son is a beautiful 6 year old who is becoming bilingual, loves dancing, sports and Black people. He has dressed as both Bobby Seale and Malcolm X for Halloween, and throws up the power fist for photos without prompt.

Now, after all of this drama, would you believe I went on to have another baby? Chile…But this time, I knew what my care should look like and that I wanted a full term, safe and happy pregnancy.

My mother had a friend named Rae Jones who ran an organization called Great Beginnings for Black Babies and it was from them that I received so much support and access to resources. I joined the Black Infant Health Program, a California statewide pregnancy education program for Black women, and learned more about my pregnancy and how to advocate for myself. I learned that Black women in America are 2 to 6 times more likely to die from complications of pregnancy and more than twice as likely to lose their babies than white women. My story was just one of many.

Though I did require another surgery to maintain my latest pregnancy, my daughter was born full term with no issues. I then devoted my life to ensuring that other Black women would never have to have three tries in order to get it right. We have so much work ahead of us but there are organizations around the country, most represented in an alliance called Black Mamas Matter, who are fighting to ensure that other Black women don’t experience what I did.

Black mamas, a safe and sacred pregnancy is your birthright and your legacy. Black women were successfully delivering babies back when hospitals wouldn’t even let us in. Connect to doulas and midwives who will assist in making sure your expectations and goals are met. There is a nationwide support system ready to love on you and the life you plan to bring forth. Despite the statistics, we can have the birth experiences that we deserve.


Life & Style – Black America Web


Maternal diet during pregnancy may modulate the risk of ADHD symptoms in children

A study suggest that the risk of a child developing symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be modulated by the mother’s diet during pregnancy. The research analyzed samples of umbilical cord plasma to quantify the levels of omega-6 and omega-3 that reach the fetus. The analysis showed a higher omega-6:omega-3 ratio to be associated with a higher risk of ADHD symptoms at seven years of age.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily


Maternal depression and natural disaster-related stress may affect infants’ temperament

A new study demonstrates that prenatal maternal depression has important consequences for infant temperament. Furthermore, the negative impact of prenatal maternal depression appeared to be magnified when pregnant women lived through Superstorm Sandy.
Infant and Preschool Learning News — ScienceDaily


Women in Kenya Want Access to Quality Maternal Health Care

what women want in kenya

In April 2018, hundreds of partners joined forces to launch What Women Want, a global campaign to hear directly from one million women and girls about their top request for quality reproductive and maternal healthcare services. Through an exclusive blog series, Ms. is sharing their demands and their stories. 

The What Women Want campaign aims to amplify women’s demands for quality reproductive and maternal health care around the world. Translated into more than 14 languages, the campaign strives to hear from women from all backgrounds, cultures and locations—and has partnered with over 300 global organizations that support and empower women with HIV, women with disabilities and health professionals in over 100 countries to make that possible.

Recently, What Women Want heard from thousands of women in Kenya about their top request for quality reproductive and maternal health care. Here’s what they have to say.

According to the Partnership for Maternal and Child Health, the maternal mortality rate in Kenya remains high, at 488 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. (For reference, the maternal mortality rate in the United States is 26.4 per 100,000 live births, which is still lacking when compared to peer nations.)

We know that nearly all maternal deaths are preventable. Significant disparities in maternal mortality rates tell us that programming efforts and advocacy work must be adjusted to reach women everywhere—not just in the world’s richest countries, and not just in major cities.

Accessibility to quality health care centers is a major issue that contributes to high maternal mortality rates in Kenya. Around half of Kenyan women are delivering in health care facilities, and only 44 percent are assisted by a skilled medical professional.

Since 1990, the global maternal death rate has decreased by 44 percent, and more women than ever are using maternal healthcare services—but much of this progress was achieved in high-income areas, leaving some countries with little or no improvement. Today, 99 percent of maternal deaths take place in developing countries—with just 13 countries accounting for two-thirds of these deaths.

Within countries with high maternal mortality rates, there are significant disparities in maternal mortality and maternal healthcare utilization. In Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the utilization of prenatal, delivery and postnatal care varies greatly with personal characteristics such as geographic region, race, income level, employment and marital status.

Progress is being made, and we should be encouraged by the monumental decreases in maternal mortality and increased access to reproductive health care, but it isn’t enoughWe need to strive for more.

We must listen to the voices of those who are too often left behind. When we can raise the voices of women in every part the world, we will be closer to a time in which every woman, everywhere, is empowered to speak out and closer to receiving quality, equitable maternal and reproductive health care.

Join the one million women mobilizing for global change by adding your voice at

Claire McGee is a sophomore at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio studying Public Health and Spanish. She spent this past summer as a Communications, Fundraising and Respectful Maternity Care Intern for the White Ribbon Alliance in Washington, D.C.

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