Category Archives: research

Breastfeeding mothers and the mama bear effect: new study in Psychological Science

A new study published in the  September issue of the journal Psychological Science, tested whether human mothers who lactate react in similar ways to other lactacting mammals — that is that they can be more aggressive in protecting their offspring.  Three cohorts were tested– breastfeeding mothers, mothers who formula feed and women who are not mothers.  Breastfeeding mothers were the most aggressive (the agression was not to protect their infants per se but the researchers posit that the increased aggressiveness serves a biological purpose to protect offspring in the event that they are threatened)  In addition , breastfeeding mothers also had the lowest blood pressures…  So there is a biological basis for the mother bear instinct after all! And breastfeeding not only is protective and beneficial for babies but has added health benefits for mom!

For more information about the study, go to


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Northern Quebec Inuit Communities Transitioning to Birth Closer to Home

I lived for 6 months in Puvirnituq, Quebec and am happy to learn that more and more mothers and children are able to stay in their communities to give birth.  When I lived there there was a birthing centre at the hospital in Puvirnituq and there were two midwives who worked with the hospital physicians. Since then 3 other birthing centres have been opened in Inukjuak,  Salluit and Kuujjuq.   The initiative to bring birth closer to home has received world wide recognition fro the health promoting practices.  And women are no longer being forced to choose their culture over their health care.  (It was standard practice for many years to evacuate pregnant women in their last month of pregnancy to a southern hospital).  The pregnant women were often socially isolated and without family or social support.

Read this article for more in-depth anaylysis of the health outcomes , the cultural benefits and why this is a model that is being promoted.

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Filed under culture and birth, pregnancy, research