Friday, December 15th 2017

Season 2 Episode 18: Until the baby can walk

Excerpt: Dr. Claudia Valeggia of Yale University joins me for a wonderful conversation about biological and cultural variation in the experience of the postpartum period.

Summary: I was so pleased to welcome Dr. Valeggia to PERIOD Podcast! Her research program takes a biocultural approach, that is, the interplay between biological and cultural variables takes a central role in her work to understand how and why women’s bodies vary the way they do. She works with indigenous populations in northern Argentina, her country of origin.

Our conversation ranged from what it’s like to work with the Qom, the indigenous population that is the focus of her work, to her early publications on the concept of “lactational amenorrhea” (which she describes very well in the episode). We also discussed some of the different ways cultures handle the postpartum period. Many non-US cultures recognize the postpartum period as a time of change and healing. Today’s title refers to one practice where men are not supposed to resume sex with their wives until the baby can walk. This is a practice that helps with birth spacing, and also recognizes the work of an early postpartum, breastfeeding mother, not to mention the ways in which her body (and likely mind) need to heal from the experience.

Dr. Valeggia in the field, with Estefania, a Qom girl.

Thanks to Ellebox for sponsoring season 2 of PERIOD. Use coupon code “periodpodcast” or this link to get 50% off your order.

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