Quiz: True or False: All The Ways A Girl Can Get Pregnant
We all know the saying that hindsight is 20/20. Well, hindsight can be as little as nine months for medical research teams that study the links between premature birth rates and maternal stress. It’s long been codified in the medical community that acute stress in pregnant women leads to premature births. The rate of premature births has then been used to study certain populations of women.
An established medical journal, JAMA Network Open, published a study that shows in the nine months since Trump’s presidential election in November 2016, an increase of 3.2 percent to 3.6 percent premature births occurred in the Latina population.
Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Alison Gemmill authored the study. Gemmill explicitly wrote that “because mothers and children are particularly vulnerable to psychosocial stress, our findings suggest that political campaigns, rhetoric, and policies can contribute to increased levels of preterm birth.”
Science is science for a reason. The study showed a strong correlation between the election and the premature births, and that’s the first step to determine causality. Another study will be needed in order to determine whether the election directly caused premature births in Latina mothers.
The conclusions are much more significant given that the data pool is so expansive. Those babies included had been listed on their birth certificate to have a mother who identified as Hispanic. The babies were considered premature if they were born before 37 weeks’ gestation.
According to Gemmill, boys are statistically more “vulnerable” to maternal stress. This data point is a clue that “provides further support that the election could be viewed as a population stressor.” The study shows that 11 percent of births to boys were premature and 9.6 percent of births to girls were premature among Latina mothers. Compared to the rest of the population, 10.2 percent of boys were born prematurely while 9.3 percent of girls were born prematurely.
That’s 2,337 babies who will grow up with the impacts of being born premature–babies with weakened immunity and underdeveloped systems.
Researchers would have liked to compare the data between U.S.-born Latina women and immigrant Latina women. That would be important to know because immigrant women have lower rates of preterm births.
“We think there are very few alternative explanations for these results. One possible explanation could be if there was a sudden change in the composition of Latina women giving birth around the time of the election,” Gemmill said. “A drop in the number of foreign-born women among all Latina women giving birth immediately after the election could have contributed to observed increases in preterm birth.”
Another associate professor of epidemiology at Emory’s University’s Rollins School of Public Health, Michael Kramer, chimed in. Kramer says that Latina women are statistically more resilient “than we might expect given socioeconomic status.” That’s why it’s so surprising to see a “meaningful jump in preterm birth.”
Gemmill says it’s “an important and unique illustration of the relationship between hostile immigration climate and health.” We need to know what is going on for Latina women.
Krieger is a professor of social epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. She participated in a study that saw a 0.3 percent jump in preterm births in New York City alone, with the most significant increase seen in Latina women.
“Yes, there is an old adage: ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me,'” she said. “Actually divisive political rhetoric that is dehumanizing and that induces fear does cause harm. It causes bodily harm and it’s a harm that can be transmitted from one generation to the next.”
There comes a time in a young woman’s life when she has to venture out into the world and experience everything out there that the world has to offer. And yes, “everything” includes sex. And while sex is a totally natural and expected step in a young woman’s coming-of-age journey, the Latinx community often holds notoriously conservative views about when it’s “okay” for a young woman to have sex for the first time.
This conservative attitude towards woman and sex is nowhere more prominent than it is in the minds of Latinx mothers. Many Latinx moms, especially from older generations, have been trained to believe that a young woman’s worth is tied to her virginity and that it’s a sin to have sex out of wedlock. This attitude makes it hard for girls to talk to their parents about sex, which means a large portion of the Latina population is uneducated about STIs, unwanted pregnancy, contraception, and how being sexually active can impact your emotions. Because of the shame surrounding extramarital sex in the Latinx community, many young women hide the fact that they’ve been having sex from their mothers in order to avoid conflict or avoid being shamed.
That’s why Fierce by mitú took to our Instagram page to ask our followers how their madres reacted when they found out their daughters were no longer virgins. We also wanted to know if our followers decided to keep their virginity statuses to themselves.
Check out the answers below!
“My mom found out I was having sex when I was 23 years old and she found my birth control (cringe!). This is a pretty common story I share with a lot of my friends but the way my mom found out was pretty mortifying. My novio, who I have been dating since I was 14 and who she has known for as many years, was over at the house. Because my mom has always been very nosey and a helicopter mom I would give him my birth control for safe keeping (For so many reasons Don’t DO THIS!!) Anyway. The birth control fell out of his bag and my mom flipped out. Any other scenario, had I hid it in a closet or sock drawer she would have found out sooner but I probably could have convinced her it was just for acne.” – Veronica, Chicago
“I kind of had to fess up to my mom because I was moving in with my boyfriend. She’d been asking me since we started dating if I was using protection over and over again and I was too embarrassed to even say that we were having sex. I finally just told her that I was moving in with him and I think she got the deal.” Kathryn, Los Angeles
“I told my mom years after, but she swears she knew the night I came home that it happened. I’m like c’mon, Mom. No way did you know. But, you know how they are–they know EVERYTHING.” – Laney, San Bernadino
“My mom cried so so hard and then instantly got mad at me and gave me the silent treatment. She also claimed she “knew” that I wasn’t anymore anyhow ’cause I “started talking back”. But, I was 21 at that point!” – Yvette
“To [my mom] I’m still [a virgin] ’till I’m married….Nahhh I think she probably suspects I’m not by now”. – Connie, Southern California
“I’m 30 years old and still haven’t told my mom. At this point she’s gotta suspect I’m not [a virgin]. But at least I waited until I was 19!” Anna, Chicago
“Literally my current situation, lol. I want to tell her but, I’m afraid of her reaction. I don’t think she’ll be mad, but I really would hate for her to cry about it. Send help!” Darlene, Riverside
“I keep it to myself, but I’m pretty sure she knows me better. 😉 ” – Belle, Puerto Rico
“She never asked and I never told her… but for what it’s worth, I waited till I was at least 18.” Tania, Los Angeles
“She said: ‘Why didnt [you] wait ’till marriage like [I] told over and over again?’. So, I said: “Who said I’ll ever get married?” Lizet, Bakersfield, CA
glam_.dps / Instagram
“I had skipped school to lose my virginity to my high school boyfriend. We had planned it out so that I would play sick and he would skip school and do it when my parents were out of the house. They boy work long hours so we figured we had some time. The actual act went well, but literally just as we finished we heard my front door open. No snuggling. We both jumped up to hide. I’ve always thought it took maybe 30 steps to get from my front door to my room, my mom took five. My boyfriend ducked out of the bathroom and somehow my mom got to the front of the house to confront him. I mean he had no shirt on and was pulling him his pants. She knew. She knew so much she cried.” Ana, Austin, TX