The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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What makes it great: Seattle has the most lactation consultants (measured per 1,000 live births) of any city in our survey—enough that a new mom could probably have a different one for each breast if she wanted. There also are more doulas than almost anywhere else, and more moms in Seattle initiate breastfeeding (91 percent). What’s more, the city received the best score in our health-risk category (see “Maternal and Infant Health Risk”).
7} Omaha, Neb.
What makes it great: Big cities on the left and right coasts don’t have a monopoly on great hospitals: Omaha is home to Methodist Hospital, designated one of 50 Baby-Friendly Hospitals in the United States for having met UNICEF/World Health Organization (WHO) standards for supporting breastfeeding. Omaha also is among the top three cities for pedestrian safety. And maternal mortality is very low.
8} Charlotte, N.C.
What makes it great: Charlotte moms will find plenty of breastfeeding support: The city ranked very high in access to lactation consultants and breastfeeding-support stores. Charlotte also is more affordable than most places, and it received high scores for family-friendly employers and accessible day-care centers. State laws require March of Dimes-recommended screenings of newborns for eight of nine treatable disorders.
9} Colorado Springs, Colo.
What makes it great: This active-outdoor mecca is bursting with outside-exercise opportunities. Not that you’ll see an eight-months-pregnant rock climber navigating a 5.11 pitch, or a new mom strapping her 6-week-old onto the back of a mountain bike and tackling some gnarly singletrack (we hope). Despite its reputation for extreme sports, Colorado Springs has plenty of benign exercise options—for example, it has more trails and stroller-friendly pathways than any city in our survey. And when you’re ready to return to your career as a professional snowboarder, you’ll find plentiful licensed day-care centers, plus state laws that require extensive background checks for day-care workers.