Moms everywhere can stop feeling guilty for going back to work after giving birth. While countless blogs and so-called parenting experts have long speculated on the damage moms do to their kids by returning to the office, the latest study -- funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) on maternal employment and child socio-emotional behaviour in the UK -- says that's hogwash.
Using data from the UK Millennium Cohort Study, researchers found the children of working mothers suffered "no significant detrimental effects on a child's social or emotional development" during their early years. But the big picture is more complex than that.
Though the ideal scenario for both boys and girls was to have both parents working from home, girls were found to have more behavioural difficulties at age five when the father was the main breadwinner. Boys, conversely, had more issues when the mother was the main breadwinner than in dual-income households.
Perhaps not surprisingly, both boys and girls experienced more behavioural problems when raised by a single parent, or when both parents were unemployed.
"Mothers who work are more likely to have higher educational qualifications, live in a higher income household, and have a lower likelihood of being depressed than mothers who are not in paid work," said lead researcher of the study, Dr Anne McMunn. "These factors explain the higher levels of behavioural difficulties for boys of non-working mothers, but the same was not true for girls."
So much for mom's career harming her children. McMunn claims she "did not see any evidence [of this] on child behaviour of mothers working during the child's first year of life."
Cue mass sighs of relief.
Ever wonder if that little girl of yours, who prefers to wrestle than wear frilly dresses, will grow up to be a lesbian? One new study thinks so.
Researchers from the Queen Mary University in London maintain that both sexual orientation and gender conforming traits are genetically prescribed, not learned, behaviours. In other words, like Gaga says: they were born this way.
The study claims that while there are “consistent differences in the psychological characteristics of boys and girls,” some boys naturally like to play house and some girls prefer to rough house. Researchers claim about one third of “gender nonconformity” in girls was a precursor to them becoming lesbians later in life.
“We found that there is a connection between these mental traits and how sexual orientation develops," said Dr. Qazi Rahman, co-author of the study. "One idea is that there is an association between these psychological traits and sexual orientation because they all develop under common biological drivers; like the development of brain regions under the influence of genes and sex hormones.”
This study seems to suggest, as many have long suspected, that sexual preference is hard-wired in the brain at birth. Boys and girls will obviously be gay or straight regardless of which toys they choose to play with, and whether we dress them in blue or pink.
Trying to get pregnant? Then cut the cappuccino. A recent study in the British Journal of Pharmacology has found that caffeine inhibits Fallopian tube 'muscles' from carrying eggs from a woman's ovaries to her womb.
By studying mice, professor of physiology and cell biology at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, Sean Ward discovered that caffeine slows down the contractions of muscles that help push eggs into a woman's uterus.
"As well as potentially helping women who are finding it difficult to get pregnant, a better understanding of the way Fallopian tubes work will help doctors treat pelvic inflammation and sexually-transmitted disease more successfully," said Ward.
Not only will this breakthrough discovery prove beneficial to women struggling to fall pregnant, it will also help doctors understand other, potentially life-threatening conditions, such as ectopic pregnancies, in which embryos get stuck and start developing inside a woman's fallopian tube.