The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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They say nature gives you nine months, but between filling out your registry and decorating the nursery, who has time to think about what you’ll need to care for yourself postpartum? Plus, with so much information out there (some of those checklists are REALLY long) it’s hard to know what you’ll actually need — and what’s a waste of money.
Getting sick when you’re pregnant can be scary enough without having to stress about whether popping pills that might ease your symptoms will harm your growing baby.
Let’s get real: When you’re pregnant in the dead of winter, controlling your weight is no piece of cake, although you’d probably like to eat one—and then another. We share our favorite recipes for comfort foods with a lighter twist to give you more energy and protect your and your developing baby’s health.
Fortified foods like vitamin D-enriched milk or calcium-added orange juice seem like an easy way to get the nutrients you need. But are they the best way to nourish you and your baby? The answer depends on the nutrient as well as the food it’s fortifying. “Adding nutrients can encourage people to look at a food as having a health halo when in reality it may be full of sodium, unhealthy fats or added sugars,” says Lisa Young, Ph.D., R.D., an adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University. Plus, too much of certain nutrients could cause unwanted side effects.
Everyone is fussing over your new baby, but you need some TLC, too—especially in your tender nether regions. Amy Murtha, M.D., of Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C., offers these post-delivery self-care tips:
Taking pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help; so may the following:
* Apply ice packs to reduce inflammation and swelling.
* Sit in a tub filled with a few inches of warm water.
* Use refrigerated Tucks pads and/or anesthetic sprays containing a numbing agent such as benzocaine.
Some pregnancy annoyances are discussed in polite company. Morning sickness, check. Swollen ankles, check. But irregularity? It’s pretty much in the closet. Heartburn, constipation and indigestion are not uncommon, though, thanks to the hormone progesterone, which relaxes your stomach muscles, slowing digestion.
Feeling exhausted, moody and anxious is all part of having a newborn, right? Maybe not, says Maureen Groer, Ph.D., a professor of nursing at University of South Florida College in Tampa and author of a study on postpartum thyroiditis (PPT). This inflammation of the thyroid gland is diagnosed after pregnancy in 5 percent to 10 percent of U.S. women, but Groer believes it’s far more common. “Many women ignore the symptoms because they think it’s a normal part of being a new mom,” she says. To help detect PPT, Groer recommends that all new moms do the following:
Here's one of those questions everyone wants answered but so few are brave enough to ask. Because it's a rather sensitive subject, I'm not including my reader's name but honey, thank you for this one. She's seven months along and has, in her words: piles. Yep, those are hemorrhoids. They are oh-so-common during pregnancy and delivery and oh-so-uncomfortable.
Constipation is a common problem for pregnant women, but one remedy may be a nondigestible type of fiber naturally found in fruit and vegetables. Japanese scientists saw improvement in 29 moms-to-be who were given supplements of xylooligosaccharides (XOS). "XOS is a type of fiber that our bodies cannot digest, but it turns out to be food for a type of 'friendly' bacteria in our gut," says American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Melinda Johnson, R.D.