Happy Easter! It's time for an Easter themed Midwife Motivation Monday. I hope you all had a fantastic Easter, whether you were working, studying, or having a well earned break.
Midwife Motivation Mondays are here to keep you excited about Midwifery whether you've had the best week in the world with two primips birthing direct OP babies in the pool on one shift (true story), or you've had a week containing a car park birth, cross managers, and sad abuse cases (true story also).
Midwife Diaries aims to make you happy and proud to be a midwife or midwife in the making, and arm you with cool and interesting information.
So, onto our Easter themed topic of: Ova (human eggs).
1. Do Ova have Yolks?
Ova do indeed have yolks! The yolk of ovum is also called ooplasm and the nucleus of the ova hangs out at the centre of it. It's very calorific as it's packed with granules of fat and albuminoid (proteinous) substances, along with cytoplasm (the watery stuff in cells).
The yolk is tiny and it's there to help the embryo along until it is around 10 days and gets the beginnings of an umbilical cord. Mmm, sounds delicious, happy Easter embryos!
2. Where does the word Ova come from?
It comes from the latin 'ovarium' which means 'egg'. However it also means 'nut' which is a bit surprising as the two foodstuffs are quite dissimilar.
I mean if you asked for a boiled egg and got a boiled nut it might be quite disappointing depending on what kind of lady you are.
3. How does epigenetics affect Ova and pregnancy?
'Epi' means 'above', so epigenetics means 'above genetics'. It's a biological phenomenon that causes genes to be switched on or off.
As you know, DNA tells your body everything, from instructions on what colour eyes you have to a command for your red blood cells to carry haemoglobin.
DNA will also tell your red blood cells not to use the DNA message for eye colour because having brown, green or blue blood would freak everyone out. That message, along with all the other non-applicable messages in the DNA are switched off in that cell.
But epigenetics means your DNA switches can be flicked on or off again....So for instance, if you have genetics which means you're likely to get type 2 diabetes, doing even a little bit of exercise has been shown to turn on helpful genes to do with glucose regulation (Ling et al 2008). By exercising you can change yourself on a genetic level and what's more those genetic changes can be passed on to your offspring!
Even thought processes have been hypothesised as having an effect on epigenetics. Stress, diet and hormonal changes can all cause epigenetic effects.
What does this mean for midwifery practice?
Epigenetics might have a big impact on the outlook and emotional wellbeing of clients who are having their baby through egg donation. I know a few of my clients have got a bit down about just being an 'incubator'. But this is simply not true!
Although a fetus developing from a donor egg will not have their DNA, their baby will be affected by their Mum's epigenetics.
And a baby's epigenetics is dependent on Mum's genes and everything else she does. Therefore the baby they are carrying through egg donation will be profoundly affected genetically by being carried by them. They would be an entirely different baby if they had been carried by anyone else.
Thier baby will also differ on a genetic level because of the impact of growing up in their particular family. What's more, these genetic changes will imprint on the child's DNA so when they go on to have children, they might well pass on family inherited epigenetic traits...