Trying to get pregnant? Make sure you know the bottom line on baby-making—what you don't understand can affect your bub-to-be's health.
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Indirectly, perhaps. Research suggests that birth outcomes can be influenced by whether a woman's pregnancy was wanted, unwanted or "mis-timed" or if she simply felt ambivalent about it. Women with unwanted pregnancies were more likely to deliver preterm, and ambivalence increased the odds of having a preterm or low-birth-weight baby. Women whose pregnancies were wanted but "mis-timed" were less likely to have a low-birth-weight baby. Expectant women should seek the emotional care and support they need, advises study author Anshu Mohllajee, M.P.H., of the Harvard School of Public Health.
It's best to discuss this with your doctor. Here's why: In the first trimester, the fetus is well protected within the uterus, which in turn is safely tucked behind the pelvic bones. As such, if you were to suffer a hard fall or a blow to the abdomen from an errant ski, your baby would very likely be protected. However, after 13 weeks, the uterus begins to expand beyond the pelvis; this could put your baby at risk if you were to take a fall or get hit in the belly.
Reflexology is a form of massage practiced on areas of the hands and feet. The idea behind the practice is that pressing specific energy points can stimulate organs and help boost energy flow. Opinions vary on whether reflexology is helpful during pregnancy. "As far as I know, there is no potential pregnancy benefit or risk," says Peter Bernstein, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and women's health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center in New York.
It's possible. Researchers have found evidence that prenatal use of at least one antidepressant--Paxil--increases the risk of congenital heart malformation. Other studies have found associations between late-pregnancy use of antidepressants and short-term complications in newborns, including jitteriness and respiratory distress. But not treating a mother's severe depression can also harm the fetus.
Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by a parasite that can be transmitted to humans through contact with feces of an infected cat, though it is more commonly acquired through eating raw or undercooked infected meat. If a woman were to become infected during pregnancy, she could pass the parasite on to her fetus; risks include fever, rash, vision and hearing loss, mental retardation and miscarriage. If, on the other hand, she were to contract toxoplasmosis before pregnancy, she would develop immunity and not be at risk of developing the disease again or infecting her fetus.
Spina bifida is a condition in which the neural tube--the embryonic tissue that becomes the brain and spinal cord--does not close properly. The condition can range from mild, with little or no impairment at birth, to very serious, causing severe disability or, sadly, death.
Morning sickness can be miserable, but it may serve the valuable purpose of keeping your diet as healthy as possible for your growing baby.
A recent British study is the latest to contend that how much nausea a pregnant woman experiences may depend on how nutritiously she eats. University of Liverpool scientists analyzed 56 studies on morning sickness and found that symptoms were linked to higher intake of sugars, sweeteners, alcohol, caffeine and meat and to lower consumption of cereals.
The more you read, watch and hear about pregnancy, the more confused and overwhelmed you're likely to become. We're here to help, with expert advice on the only 10 things you really need to do to have a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Most expectant moms spring for new undies: not sexy ones, but "granny panties." They not only accommodate a growing belly, they're good "tossaways," too. With all the things going on (and coming out!) down below during pregnancy, that comes in handy. Although what Erin Connor's* husband termed "baby batter"—increased vaginal discharge—occurs in almost all pregnancies, many women don't expect it. "I obsessed over it," says the Miller Place, N.Y., mother of two. "I would analyze the discharge and convince myself something was horribly wrong."