Let’s change how science overlooks women’s health

Angela Garbes Author of Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnance.

Delta had guest speaker Angela Garbes, journalist and novelist, to celebrate Women’s History Month for her book talk of “Like a Mother” in Tillie Lewis Theatre and then a book signing at the resource fair in Locke Lounge.

In her opening speech she makes it known she “resents having to have Women’s History Month… That we HAVE to have it.”

She doesn’t mean to discredit it, but to establish that women have to a have month to be remembered or acknowledged.

Garbes wondered how much information is available to pregnant mothers about pregnancy.

She found out there wasn’t a lot of research going into reproduction.

She started trying to find out information through Google then with nurses or doctors, but when that ended up failing she used her journalist mind to dig deeper into why there was no research of female reproduction.

“Science never valued female reproduction enough to study it… only in 1993 did medical research have to include women in studies,” said Garbes.

Garbes set out to question primary care about why women’s bodies were able to do certain things during pregnancy.

She discovered that there was a logical explanation between the societal idea of ‘breast is best’ which is women have an intraoral vacuum.

This means when the baby swaps spit during breastfeeding it goes back into the breast and the mother’s mammary gland decodes the information the spit has about the baby’s immune system and the mother’s body creates antibodies if the baby has pathogens that pass back through into the milk to the baby.

“Also known as the baby spit backwash,” said Garbes.

Another thing she learned is that the placenta is an organ that a women grows and all that it entails.

“If we understood how the placenta grows it could stop or learn how to stop cancer,” said Garbes.

There isn’t a lot of research about how the placenta functions because it is difficult to study and the information available isn’t given out to the public freely, women must find it themselves.

So why does this coincide with Women’s History Month?

Science hasn’t involved women in the way it is needed.

These scientific facts that Garbes is researching is considered ‘emerging science’ and what we know is less than what we should.

“What would happen if we just listened to women? Science is sometimes slow to what we already know,” said Garbes.