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The impact of drought on human pregnancy and health and contraceptive pills

According to research conducted at the Université du Québec in Montreal, the use of oral contraceptive pills containing synthetic hormones may impair the areas of a woman’s brain responsible for regulating fear. Women taking combined contraceptive pills had thinner ventromedial prefrontal cortex than men. This area of the brain is associated with emotional responses, decision-making, and self-control.

A Dutch woman may experience, on average, about 450 periods in her life (which gives a total of over eight years spent menstruating). However, in populations with higher pregnancies, such as the Malian Dogon, women may have around 100 periods in their lifetime. Scientists suggest that this jump in the number of periods in women’s lives is happening in developed economies because less time is spent there on pregnancy and breastfeeding, both of which suppress menstruation. Moreover, girls have their first period earlier than in previous generations.

Drought seriously affects the health and lives of pregnant Angolese women. Angola is struggling with the worst climate crisis in 40 years – in the south of the country, a cyclical drought has been ongoing since 2012, causing severe food shortages. Drought challenges are making it difficult for pregnant women to access hospitals, and traditional births are still preferred in some parts of the country. To get to medical facilities or find water, you must cover distances of up to several dozen kilometres on foot.

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