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Women’s Health

The WHO alcohol-pregnancy warning for childbearing women overlooks men, as usual



The World Health Organization recommends that “women of childbearing age” be a focus of alcohol prevention efforts whether or not they know they are pregnant. The proposal was included in an early draft of the Organization’s Global Plan of Action on Alcohol, which argued that anti-alcohol campaigns should target women specifically because of the risks alcohol poses to a fetus’ health. Yes, even a fictional, non-existent fetus.

The burden, at least scientifically, doesn’t just lie with the women who choose to drink. But it does in the minds of WHO officials.

The recommendation was immediately rejected after its publication on June 15. “It is extremely worrying to see the World Health Organization jeopardizing the hard-won rights of women by trying to control their bodies and decisions in this way,” Clare Murphy, CEO of the UK pregnancy counseling service, said in a statement. Others shared pictures of their wine glasses and alcoholic beverages on Twitter. As one woman remarked, “I plan to have an alcoholic drink tonight for the fourth night in a row. I don’t usually do that, but as a woman of childbearing age I feel it is my duty. “

Although WHO responded to the outcry by stressing that it “does not recommend all women an age at which they could get pregnant,” it continued that “it is trying to raise awareness of the grave consequences that it is having caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy, even if the pregnancy is not yet known. “

However, men who drink can also harm fetuses – known or unknown – but they are not mentioned in WHO guidelines. Unintentional as it may be, the message implied is that parenting is a woman’s inevitable purpose rather than a life choice; that our needs come second to the needs of a newborn baby and a family we may or may not have; and that women still do not enjoy the same physical autonomy as the men who can get us pregnant.

An April study of over 520,000 couples found a 35 percent increase in the risk of birth defects if a father drank alcohol regularly up to six months before conception. As the researchers wrote in JAMA, “Our results suggest that future fathers should be encouraged to change their alcohol consumption before conception to reduce fetal risk,” and found that this “significantly increases the risk of birth defects” .

The burden, at least scientifically, doesn’t just lie with the women who choose to drink. However, it does so in the minds of WHO officials, who continue to put all the burden – and guilt – of childbirth on women by highlighting their behavior.

Not only are there similar scientific findings or questions about the effects of fathers’ alcohol consumption on the fetus as that of mothers, there is also much less awareness about it. If WHO really wanted to stimulate thought about the link between alcohol and births, this would be an important point to highlight.

Alcohol can also negatively affect sperm and eggs, but how much publicity and messaging is devoted to the male side of the equation? A 2014 study of 1,221 men ages 18-28 found that even “modest habitual alcohol consumption” had “adverse effects on semen quality” and was linked to changes in men’s testosterone levels. And 15 cross-sectional studies of over 16,000 men in 2016 found that “Alcohol intake has an adverse effect on semen volume,” although it was found that daily alcohol users experienced a greater change in semen health than casual drinkers or those who abstain, suggesting this “Moderate consumption”, which is not done every day, could be safe.

“It’s hard to say because there are certainly other factors that contribute to egg and sperm health,” Dr. Jennifer Butt, an obstetrician and gynecologist practicing in New York City. “So I think it’s difficult to really attribute it to that one habit – drinking. Similar to women, light to moderate drinking is unlikely to affect sperm health. “

Less difficult to determine is how this proposed directive – like rules and regulations aimed at restricting access to birth control, abortion, and other family planning services that affirm a pregnant person’s innate autonomy – women trying to be pregnant and becoming mothers It will hurt just as much as it puts those who don’t.

“Our culture is fantastic at punishing women simply for making choices,” said Dr. Pooja Lakshmin, a state-certified psychiatrist who specializes in women’s psychiatry and perinatal psychiatry. “A devastating effect of these messages – whether it is about alcohol, medication or exercise – is that they lead women to question themselves even more and to internalize misogyny.”

This self-doubt can be most intense when it comes to pregnancy. This country already has a deep misconception about what causes miscarriage and infertility – for example, chromosomal abnormalities cause at least 60 percent of miscarriages, but a 2015 study of 1,084 adults found that 75 percent of participants believed a miscarriage was the result a stressful one, while 64 percent accused a woman of lifting something heavy and 22 percent thought it was the result of lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking.

While studies have shown that alcohol can increase the risk of miscarriage, infections, hormonal irregularities, problems with contraceptive implants, and increased caffeine consumption can also increase the risk of miscarriage. However, the WHO has not yet issued a statement on the harm that overcaffeinated, potentially pregnant women can do to fetuses.

“When someone is faced with a miscarriage or infertility, it feels almost natural to reflect on yourself and see what might have ‘gone wrong’,” noted Butt. But she warned, “There really are a variety of factors and sometimes there may or may not be an explanation.” However, treating any woman who drinks as a potential incubator that could harm a fetus, possibly existing or non-existent, without including her male sexual partners in the conversation, means blaming women for a reproductive outcome that was not in a live birth.

And “women of childbearing age” are not pre-pregnancy women. We are women. Women who want to get pregnant but can’t get pregnant, or get pregnant and unable to carry that pregnancy to term, or simply don’t want to get pregnant, are not failures to experience the consequences of their actions. They are simply women who experience a variety of reproductive outcomes, all of which are common and often unpredictable.

“One of the central psychological questions that arises in pregnancy and motherhood is, ‘Can I satisfy my own needs when I am responsible for the needs of another person?'” Said Lakshmin. Men should ask this question too.

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Women’s Health

Covid-19: Your questions about pregnancy, fertility and women’s health answered by medical experts



The Covid-19 vaccines are now available to everyone aged 18 and over, including pregnant women. No matter what stage you are in your pregnancy, if you are breastfeeding or planning to have children in the future, you can get vaccinated and protect yourself from serious illnesses.

It is an especially important time to think about getting the vaccine as some of the strictest Covid-19 safety measures – like wearing a mask and social distancing – are no longer legally enforced and people can choose to continue taking them or not not precautions.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG) has recommended that unvaccinated or partially vaccinated pregnant women should take steps to avoid COVID-19 infection by continuing to practice social distancing, especially in the third trimester.

If you haven’t received your vaccination yet, you may have some questions about whether the vaccine could affect your pregnancy or your baby.

Here six medical experts answer some of the most common questions about Covid vaccination, pregnancy, fertility and women’s health.

Yes it is safe to have the vaccine if you are breastfeeding. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have recommended that the Covid vaccines can be taken while breastfeeding. Like everyone aged 18 and over, breastfeeding women can also book their Covid vaccination.

Dr. Kiran Rahim

When should I be vaccinated against Covid during my pregnancy?

You can get vaccinated at any stage of your pregnancy. There is no reason to postpone vaccination because you are pregnant.

Dr. Kiran Rahim

What are the advantages of a Covid vaccination during pregnancy?

The vaccine will help protect you and your baby from getting Covid-19 infection. Although it is very rare for pregnant women to get seriously ill with Covid-19, it may be more likely later in pregnancy. When this happens, there is a slim chance your baby will be born prematurely, which can affect his or her long-term health.

Dr. Henna Anwar

Why has the recommendation changed as to whether pregnant women should receive the Covid vaccines?

Robust real-world data from the United States shows that around 120,000 pregnant women were vaccinated primarily with mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna and no safety concerns were raised. For this reason the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) has updated its guidelines.

Dr. Chintal Patel

Which Covid vaccination should I get if I am pregnant?

If you are pregnant, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) has recommended that you should choose between two vaccines – Pfizer and Moderna. These guidelines are based on data from the United States showing that around 120,000 pregnant women were vaccinated primarily with mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna and no safety concerns were raised.

Dr. Koyes Ahmed

How long should I between the Covid vaccination and other vaccinations during pregnancy, e.g. B. the flu shot, wait?

To keep you and your baby safe, it’s important that you get all of the vaccines you need during pregnancy, including whooping cough and the winter flu shot. These vaccines are safe to co-administer with COVID-19 vaccines, but you can separate the vaccinations by at least 7 days to avoid confusion about common side effects.

Dr. Nighat Arif

Could the Covid vaccine side effects affect my baby’s development or health?

The Covid vaccines do not contain any ingredients known to be harmful to pregnant women or babies. None of the Covid vaccines given in the UK are live vaccines so they cannot infect you or your baby with the virus and which are considered safe during pregnancy.

Dr. Koyes Ahmed

Could the Covid vaccination affect my fertility?

Claims that the Covid vaccination could affect fertility are not supported by any data. During the clinical trials, a number of women accidentally became pregnant – a similar number in the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups.

There is evidence from other vaccines – like the flu vaccine, which is a non-live vaccine like the COVID vaccine – that they are perfectly safe and will not harm fertility. The theory that immunity to the spike protein could lead to fertility problems is not supported by evidence. Most people who become infected with COVID-19 develop antibodies to the spike and there is no evidence of fertility problems after getting Covid-19.

Dr. Nighat Arif

Can I get the Covid vaccine if I am undergoing IVF treatment?

Yes you can. The British Fertility Society says you can allow a few days to pass between your Covid vaccination and some fertility treatment procedures (such as egg collection and embryo transfer in IVF) as some people may experience minor side effects in the few days after vaccination, as any symptoms can be attributed to the vaccine or the method of treatment.

You can speak to your medical team for personalized advice.

Dr. Pavan My

If you have any further questions about the Covid-19 vaccination, ask your family doctor, midwife or health care professional.

For more information and to book your vaccination, visit

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Women’s Health

Exactly What Simone Biles Eats in a Day to Stay Fit, Fueled, and Olympics-Ready



“Hearst Magazines and Verizon Media may earn commissions or income on some articles through the links below.”

As a gold medalist at the Tokyo Olympics, Simone Biles pretty much lives in the gym, so she needs to energize her body. In addition, she eats a diet rich in protein and fiber, as well as plenty of fruit and vegetables. However, it is important that she does not limit herself or count calories.

“I’m not following anything,” she recently told Women’s Health. “I eat what is good for me and try not to overeat or stuff myself because I am always in the gym.” The 24-year-old gymnastics master has seen how restrictive eating has some of her peers under control, which is why she gave her Doing best to take care of it.

“Especially for gymnasts [tracking] can lead to health and eating problems, so I just eat what I can and should, ”she explained.

This often includes take-out because she loves to try new restaurants (hence her recent partnership with Uber Eats) and of course, some high-protein staples for breakfast and lunch. Read on for a glimpse into daily diet.

She doesn’t always have breakfast.

But when she does, it’s usually something quick and simple like oatmeal or fruit. “I wake up so early before a workout, at seven, so sometimes I have a quick bite and sometimes I don’t,” she told Women’s Health.

Fortunately, she doesn’t mind getting up so early. “I’ve always been a morning person,” she explained. She doesn’t even reach for coffee to start the day (which alone deserves a gold medal). Instead, she keeps water close by all morning.

When hunger inevitably strikes, it’s protein shake time. “I love having a Core Power Protein Shake after a workout,” she says. “I usually drink half after the first workout and half after the second workout. One of my favorite flavors right now is vanilla. It’s always changing, but it’s vanilla right now. “

The weekends, however, are a whole different story. “On the weekends, I eat protein waffles with chocolate chips, eggs, or even bake cinnamon rolls,” she said. “Because I may not have to be in the gym, I can actually take the time to make breakfast.”

The story goes on

Lunch is all about protein and fiber.

After all, she needs to supplement all those morning calories burned. If she makes lunch at home, she will eat pasta, chicken, or salmon and vegetables. She told Women’s Health that she loves asparagus, broccoli, carrots, corn, green beans, and peas, but potatoes are her all-time favorite. “I love potatoes in all shapes and sizes,” she says.

Because she is so busy, she often orders takeout before going back to the gym. “I feel like it’s easier to use because I can come home, take a shower, and use the app to order what I want with one click,” she said.

She has a variety of favorite snacks.

She doesn’t go for her often simply because she’s too busy to remember. But when she feels like an extra bite, bile usually has fruit; Grapes, strawberries and bananas are the go-tos.

She also likes the occasional banana bread muffins, popcorn, or pretzels dipped in Nutella. “It all depends on how I feel,” she said. She told Well + Good that she also loves plantain chips because they are tasty and easy to use.

There is one food she doesn’t like.

Bile really isn’t a picky eater, she’ll have pretty much anything – unless it contains coconuts. “For some reason, I don’t particularly like this taste,” she told Women’s Health. “But everything else, I’m pretty good.”

Nothing is off the table at dinner.

“When I feel like a slightly less healthy meal, I eat pizza or fettuccine alfredo with chicken,” she says. “I really like home restaurants in the area because I feel closer to them. I am not picky. I will try every new restaurant. “

But pizza is her all-time favorite. Her Instagram bio calls her a “pizza connoisseur,” and in 2016 she told ABC News that no matter how a contest goes, she always indulges in a slice afterwards. “It doesn’t matter if I don’t win self-gold, I eat pizza after every meeting,” she said. “Pepperoni Pizza.”

She rarely has a sweet tooth and enjoys cocktails on the weekend.

“I need to be in the dessert mood and that usually happens more often when I’m out of town,” Biles told Women’s Health. “I’m looking for biscuits or ice cream or both on Uber Eats.”

When cravings arise at home, she either eats strawberries with whipped cream or bakes what she calls S’mores cookies. “I put a graham cracker on the bottom, marshmallows and chocolate on top, and then I wrap it in cookie dough and bake it,” she explained.

She also has an occasional alcoholic drink on the weekends and often chooses a glass of wine or margarita. But even then, she keeps a constant bedtime. “My target time is as early as 10.30pm,” she said. “I’m usually in bed by 9:30 pm, so I sleep first.”

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Women’s Health

Nonprofit Impact Fund’s Next Move: A For-Profit Spinoff



In 2009, Eva Yazhari co-founded the Beyond Capital Fund, a not-for-profit impact fund designed to help companies serving clients at the bottom of the pyramid in emerging markets. But this charitable status limited the fund’s ability to expand. With this in mind, she founded a for-profit spin-off called Beyond Capital Ventures last year, which also focuses on India and Africa. It is about to make its first investments.

Eva Yazhari

Kori dyer

Like the first fund, the new one invests in companies where, according to Yazahari, “the impact is embedded in the business model, with the ability to scale”. It focuses on health care, financial inclusion, and agriculture.


Yazhari worked on Wall Street for about five years. But after the financial crisis, she decided to do something more meaningful that matched her passion for social justice. She already had deep family ties to Africa; her grandfather had moved with his family and opened a clinic in rural Tanzania in the 1960s. In 2009 she co-founded the Beyond Capital Fund with a focus on India and Eastern Arica, particularly Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. She set it up as what she calls an evergreen non-profit fund that invests early in startups with financial and social impact; when profits from investments were paid back, they were reinvested in new business.

Since then the fund has made 14 investments; To date, there have been three exits from ophthalmology, hygiene and agriculture companies, with what Yazhari describes as “strong top quartile venture returns and impacts.”

Seed and Series A

Then, in early 2020, just before the pandemic broke out, she decided to create a for-profit fund. That’s because, according to Yazhari, the nonprofit model stifled growth. That said, the original fund couldn’t grow past the single digit million with a pilot portfolio of about $ 1 million. “Philanthropy has limits, donors often have very specific sectors or geographic focus, others are not willing to get involved with grants under a million US dollars,” she says. With that in mind, she worked for 19 months to raise a second fund with the goal of reaching $ 30 million.

Unlike the first fund, this one will target more broadly defined, low-income and underserved markets, in areas such as lack of access to health care for women or creating ways for smallholders to get their produce off the farm to market and better prices to achieve, emphasize. “We found these areas to be enormous in terms of the opportunities they offer investors,” says Yazhari. Investments will be made in the same countries as before, with the exception of Tanzania, as government regulations there make equity investments more costly and difficult, according to Yazhari.

Another difference: the new fund will include both seed and Series A rounds, so Beyond Capital can follow with later money. That means bigger check sizes – the investment was around $ 50,000 and will now be $ 250,000 to $ 700,000 for seed funding and $ 400,000 to $ 1.1 million for Series A – and the ability to become a major investor being. Financing is planned for 21 companies, 15 of which are in the seed phase. About 70% of this is likely to receive Series A funding as well. Companies are selected from over 100 venues such as accelerator and business plan competitions.

A share for founders

The overall approach should be cooperative. “It’s not that, we give you money and you have to do what we say,” she says. One important element: Founders will receive a 5% to 10% stake in fund profits when they reach the Series A stage, which Yazhari calls “just endeavors”. Because the profit-oriented status offers a larger pool of capital that can be allocated to the founders.

Most importantly, investing in founders that Yazhari calls “conscious leaders,” that is, those who focus on the full range of stakeholders. “You are the key to impact investing,” she says.

The first investments will be announced shortly. Also, some companies from the first fund could get extra money from the second.

As a possible example, Yazhari cites women’s health startup Kasha, based in Kenya and Rwanda, which provides access to products ranging from contraceptives to soaps and lotions. Kasha also employs local women to sell their products and make a sustainable living. The charitable fund contributed $ 60,000 in a seed round in 2018; Kasha raised what Yazhari calls the “appropriate” Series A.

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