Stillbirths rise dramatically during pandemic; How genes govern height; And can immunity affect fertility?

Your newsletter on reproductive health.

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Here’s what we’re covering in today’s newsletter:

  • Can immunity affect fertility?

  • Emerging data links disrupted pregnancy services to an increase in stillbirths

  • What irregular periods mean

  • James Corden’s sister Ruth on being told she was too “old and fat” to have a baby at 35

  • How genes govern height


What’s New

Campaign groups say that Biden’s win will bring sweeping changes to women’s reproductive rights globally, starting with overturning a U.S. policy banning government-funded aid groups from mentioning abortion.

A slew of studies from around the world has reported a disturbing trend: since the coronavirus pandemic started, there has been a significant rise in the proportion of pregnancies ending in stillbirths, in which babies die in the womb. Researchers say that in some countries, pregnant women have received less care than they need because of lockdown restrictions and disruptions to health care. As a result, complications that can lead to stillbirths were probably missed, they say.

A black doctor has died after giving birth, with the tragedy highlighting racial disparities in pregnancy outcomes. Dr. Chaniece Wallace, a pediatric chief resident at Indiana University School of Medicine, died after developing pre-eclampsia the day her daughter was delivered prematurely via C-section. 

Men’s reproductive health startup, Bastion Health, gets $2.2M investment to bring men’s reproductive health ecosystem, testing to life.

Our friends at Mirza are looking for beta testers for their new tool that enables soon-to-be parents to plan for various financial & lifestyle scenarios, helping them make better informed decisions - sign up here!


From The Experts

  • Can immunity affect fertility? How to support your immune system for a successful pregnancy, with Dr. Gillian Lockwood. Annabelle Spranklen / Glamour

  • Can your mental health affect your vagina? Alice Broster / Forbes

  • What irregular periods mean – and why you should monitor them, according to a doctor. Susan Devaney / British Vogue

  • What Black women can do to advocate for themselves to avoid biases at the doctor, with OBGYN Dr. Jessica Shepherd. Adrianna Hopkins / ABC7


From The Patients

  • “Freezing my eggs has given me some peace of mind.” With Covid restrictions making it increasingly tricky to meet a new partner, this year has seen a surge in women looking to freeze their eggs. Melissa, 35, is one of them. Melissa Twigg / Grazia

  • “What I’m doing will be frowned upon”: for many single Indian women, starting a family alone is still taboo. Vee, 35, tells her story. Deborah Linton / British Vogue

  • Why Chrissy Teigen’s new tattoo is so important. Sarah Midkiff / Refinery29

  • Hilary Swank is suing a union health plan after being denied coverage for ovarian cyst treatment. Claire Gillespie / Health.com

  • James Corden’s sister Ruth shares her devastation at being told she was ‘too old and fat’ to have a baby at 35 by doctor. Ruth Corden / Grazia

  • “Leaving the land of romantic fantasy: why I chose to be a single mum.” Single women using donor sperm to have children are one of the fastest-growing segments of the assisted reproduction business. One new mum charts a journey she never thought she’d have to take. Alexandra Collier / Sydney Morning Herald


Science & Ethics

  • Taking vitamin D during pregnancy is linked with higher child IQ, according to a new study based on data from Seattle Children's Hospital. Tim Sandle / Digital Journal

  • Real life ethics: “I was in the pro-life movement. But then, widowed with 6 kids, I prepared for an abortion.” Shannon Dingle / USA Today

  • Male infertility linked to higher mortality risk: Infertile men, especially those who were azoospermic, were at an increased risk for mortality compared with fertile men, according to an analysis of United States claims data published in Urology. Janel Miller / Healio

  • ‘Landmark’ study resolves a major mystery of how genes govern human height. Jocelyn Kaiser / ScienceMag.com

Thought for the day

When I was a student at Cambridge I remember an anthropology professor holding up a picture of a bone with 28 incisions carved in it. 'This is often considered to be man’s first attempt at a calendar' she explained. She paused as we dutifully wrote this down. ‘My question to you is this – what man needs to mark 28 days? I would suggest to you that this is woman’s first attempt at a calendar.’ It was a moment that changed my life. In that second I stopped to question almost everything I had been taught about the past. How often had I overlooked women’s contributions?” [Sandi Toksvig]

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Written by ELANZA Wellness. All things reproductive health, healthtech and patient experience. You can find us elsewhere on Twitter and Instagram.