The Frightening Link between Discrimination and Pregnancy Complications


Published: December 21, 2017

RH Weekly News Roundup – 22 December 2017

The Frightening Link between Discrimination and Pregnancy Complications

 FFor decades, researchers in the United States have been attempting to figure out why black women in the country have double the infant mortality rate as white women – and why surviving babies often battle low birth weights. In the 1980s, it was thought that poverty and lower education levels were the root causes, as statistically, African American women are more likely to fall into these categories. But, even middle-income, educated women were experiencing higher rates of pregnancy complications.

New thinking, evolving from research published in 2004 in the American Journal of Public Health which shows a connection between a mother’s experience of racism and preterm birth. Discrimination faced daily causes extreme, and continued, stress – and stress complicates pregnancy. Going into pregnancy with pre-existing stress can make it difficult from beginning to end. Whether its racism, sexism, classism, or any other form of discrimination, it’s important to recognise the stress and deal with it to keep yourself healthy – during pregnancy and every other day of your life.


Healthcare Workers Sue Government over Mismanaged Money

Two Sierra Leonean healthcare workers have taken their government to court to sue for violation of their right to life and health during the Ebola crisis. The government in question is in the dock at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) court in Abuja, and the plaintiffs are recognised by renowned human rights lawyers.

The charges include the misappropriation of funds by those directly responsible for channeling the international aid received to fight the epidemic. In such a way, the government neglected to make use of the full use of the money needed to fight Ebola and therefore jeopardised their lives and those of their fellow countrymen and women. This case could set an interesting precedent for healthcare worker rights in West Africa – though the judgments delivered by the court are usually ignored by the government’s party to this body.


Sex and Urinary Tract Infections

If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI) as half of all women do, you know just how uncomfortable it can be. And, if you’re a frequent sufferer, you probably go out of your way to avoid one. Either way, you should know that vaginal sex makes it more likely that you’ll experience one as the thrusting can push bacteria up through your urinary tract. That’s one of the reasons you may have been told to urinate after sex – so you can avoid a UTI.

Okay, but those bacteria are already present in the area, so you’re not exactly wrong if you think using the toilet first may be the better idea. It turns out that there isn’t a lot of research on it either way, but there are a couple of experts suggesting that using the toilet beforehand isn’t nearly as useful as after – and that if you suffer from recurring UTIs, you should attempt to go both before and after sex. (You should also consult your doctor about other causes and treatments.) So, now you know.



These Mistakes Will Ruin Your Healthy Diet

As we draw nearer to the New Year, many women (and men) are planning to give their weight loss strategies a fresh start. And, targeting a healthy weight is certainly a good goal to have, but according to experts at Harvard Health, there are a lot of mistakes you should know before getting into a new, healthier way of life. These pitfalls are very common, but recognising them beforehand will make it that much easier to stick to your goals.

For a start, it’s not a good idea to be too restrictive; you should never say that you’ll never allow yourself a particular food again (unless you have a medical condition to support that decision) otherwise, you’ll just find yourself craving it continually. They also suggest keeping healthy foods within reach – and not having unhealthy ones in the house. Eating late at night and avoiding healthy fats, sugars, and carbs (such as found in fruits and nuts) are other no-nos. But, perhaps the most critical mistake is the failure to keep a food diary that makes you accountable for what you consume. So, if you haven’t yet, it’s time to take a look at a food tracker app that will see you sailing through your New Year’s health goals.


Health Ambassadors Discuss African Challenges

Across the African continent, healthcare is a continual concern. Within lower-income countries, development requires more resources than governments are able to accommodate – from housing and healthcare to education and police forces. Each element is critical, but lack of funding makes it difficult to balance priorities.

However, there are those that refuse to let healthcare fall to the bottom of the agenda – and won’t remain silent, even as the holiday season hits full swing. Graça Machel (the only women to have been the First Lady of two different African nations) has urged governments to follow African examples where a focus on health has created ripple benefits. At the same time, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa, has called for funding that comes without external agendas, so experts can determine the best strategies without trying to balance external demands. It’s certainly something to think about as we move into a new year.

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