Author Archives: Amy Kiefer

About Amy Kiefer

I am a research scientist and mother of two. I was born in Chicago, but for the past 10 years I have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area with my software engineer husband (a cliché, I know). I love digging into the scientific literature and summarizing research findings. In this blog, I try to present an unbiased and sane take on research topics of interest to soon-to-be and new parents.

A quick update and where to check out some of my latest writing elsewhere on the web

As you may have noticed, it has been a while since I have posted on this blog. Rest assured, I have a ton of great content in the works. But what has been keeping me too busy to post and … Continue reading

Posted in Miscellaneous | 3 Comments

Whooping Cough is Making a Comeback–Here’s What You Need to Know

Whooping cough is making a comeback in the U.S. Nearly 50,000 whooping cough cases were reported in 2014. Whooping cough has caused nearly 300 deaths since 2000. The 2016-2017 winter is shaping up to be another bad year, and California, where I … Continue reading

Posted in Infant Health | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

What I’ve Been Doing the Last Few Weeks

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on this blog, so I wanted to give my readers a bit of an update on what I’ve been up to these past couple of months. Mostly I’ve been away because of some good news: … Continue reading

Posted in Miscellaneous | 6 Comments

The Middlemiss Study Tells Us Nothing About Sleep Training, Cry-It-Out, or Infant Stress

Last week, I wrote a post about sleep training and stress, in which I argued that everything we know about stress suggests that sleep training is not harmful. In response, many people objected that sleep trained babies continue to experience elevated cortisol and significant distress, even … Continue reading

Posted in Sleep | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Critics of Cry-It-Out Fundamentally Misunderstand How Stress Affects the Brain

Because whether or not to sleep train can be such a fraught decision for new parents, I wanted to share my sleep training story, and to explain why, given everything we know about stress, the argument that sleep training causes long-term … Continue reading

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged , , , , , , | 54 Comments

Morning Sickness & Miscarriage: How Much Does Nausea Lower Your Risk?

For most women, the first trimester is undeniably rough. After briefly reveling in being newly pregnant (two lines!), you start to feel sick as a dog, all day long. About 70-80% of pregnant women experience nausea during their first trimester, and about 50% also experience vomiting. Not that it … Continue reading

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Light Drinking During Pregnancy: 7 Things You Need to Know

Last week, the CDC ignited a firestorm of criticism by stating that women should “stop drinking alcohol if they are trying to get pregnant or could get pregnant”, and–because an estimated 50% of pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned–any woman … Continue reading

Posted in Pregnancy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

No, C-sections Are Not “Best With a Little Labor”

Children born by C-sections have about 20% higher odds of obesity, asthma, allergies, and Type 1 Diabetes, according several large research reviews. But are children born by scheduled C-sections especially at risk for health problems, as a recent New York Times piece claims? “the data … Continue reading

Posted in Labor | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Threatened Miscarriage, a Subchorionic Hematoma, and How United Airlines (Nearly) Ate My Baby

Three years ago, sitting with my 15-month-old son and my husband during a long layover, on our way back home from Norway, I felt a sudden gush of warm blood. So much for my miracle pregnancy, I thought. I was only six … Continue reading

Posted in Miscarriage, Miscellaneous | Tagged , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Folic Acid During Early Pregnancy May Lower the Risk of Autism

We all know that taking folic acid before and during early pregnancy helps prevent neural tube defects like spina bifida and anencephaly. But I for one was surprised to learn that taking folic acid may also help prevent autism.

Posted in Pregnancy | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments