Medicine: Nature's Irony

One of the incidental effects of pregnancy is that it provides almost certain relief from common ulcers of the stomach and duodenum. In a study of 70,000 pregnant women, Detroit's Dr. David J. Sandweiss found only one case of active ulcers during gestation. Said one of his patients: "My husband tells me I ought to stay in the family way the whole time, and then my ulcer wouldn't bother me."

Though the effect has been known for 20 years or more, the cause is still a mystery. Best guess: a hormone does the trick. Hormone secretions are radically altered during pregnancy, with...

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