IntroSems quarters and schedules subject to change--check back often. Visit Stanford Student Affairs for the latest updates on Academic Year 2021-22.
Demystifying Pregnancy: Physiology, Policy and Politics
Why should anyone planning a career in politics, engineering, business, economics, environmental studies, journalism, law or any non “health” related field learn about pregnancy? This unique course is designed to educate future leaders in diverse fields about the health of pregnant persons and their babies, and the issues that impact both. Students of all majors and genders are encouraged to join this class. Students will learn strategies for searching and evaluating health information. We will discuss behavioral, social, cultural and economic factors that affect maternal and fetal wellbeing, along with the impact of health disparities and disease prevention strategies. We will also examine current and future legal and environmental challenges impacting maternal fetal health. Material will include introductory basic science of maternal and fetal physiology, prenatal care, labor and birth, breastfeeding, assisted reproduction, surrogacy, teratogens, toxins and environmental change, genetics and epigenetics. We will touch on potentially controversial topics such as prenatal diagnostic testing, ethics, policies and laws affecting pregnancy, access to care, health disparities, homelessness and incarceration, domestic violence and reproductive coercion, teen pregnancy, LGBTQ pregnancy, the impacts of high BMI and eating disorders, substance abuse, problems related to employment, cultural beliefs, myths and misconceptions, and media misinformation.
Assessments will include in-class activities, short individual and group assignments, two midterms and a final group presentation. Students will be challenged to reflect deeply and think critically about these topics. This is meant to be an introductory course for non-health science related majors. There are no course prerequisites other than enthusiasm to learn and eagerness to participate!