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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Pregnancy is a time when you need advice and information from your doctor, and you’ll likely get it if you ask enough questions. But prenatal checkups can fly by so fast that you forget to ask. Or you may be too flustered to understand the answers.
“Many little things can get in the way of a woman communicating effectively with her obstetrician,” says Stephanie Teal, M.D., an OB-GYN at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. In fact, even the most self-confident expectant mom can use a few pointers on how to talk with her doc.
Pregnancy stresses the limits of our endurance. It takes us to emotional heights — and depths. It changes our values as well as our shapes. But too often, we focus on the inconveniences and aches of pregnancy. Instead, it should — and can — be a time filled with good health, motivation, contemplation, re-evaluation and just plain fun. Here are 25 ways to enjoy the opportunities pregnancy provides so you can really savor this special time in your life.
From the minute you have a positive pregnancy test, you’re counting the days until you meet your baby. All the while, there’s a lot happening behind the scenes. This timeline will provide you with a week-by-week look at what’s going on with you and your baby, as well as reminders about what you can do at every stage to have the healthiest pregnancy possible.
First things first
When it comes to a baby’s growth in utero, we like the Goldilocks principle: Not too big, not too little, but just right. Neither end of the weight spectrum is optimal when it comes to development of the brain and body, and having a baby that’s either too heavy or too light is associated with many problems, both during pregnancy and beyond.
We’ve been getting some interesting emails and Facebook comments lately with a similar theme. Take this one, for example:
hi! im 7months pregnant. its my first pregnancy, im worried i havnt been visitn d doctor of the clinic. what can i do 2make my baby a healthy baby? and what are the consequences of not seeing the doctor? please i need help.
Or this one:
I'm still on da run en having ground since i was preggy! wat's da matter of taking care of a baby coz i really don't have a good check-up.
Ask several women what they think is the ideal age for pregnancy, and you’ll get wildly different answers. Those who give birth in their early 20s benefit from seemingly boundless energy and über-resilient bodies; the 30-something new mom is grateful to have established herself in her career before taking maternity leave; the woman in her early 40s delivers with a strong sense of self and few qualms about being able to afford diapers.
When it comes to pregnancy counsel, female family members, pregnant friends and even experienced moms don’t always know best. Yet many expectant women are more apt to listen to those sources than they are to follow medical advice, a 2010 study published in the Journal of Health Psychology found.
Inevitably someone will tell you (wrongly) that if you're carrying low you're having a boy, and vice versa. Here are some actual facts about baby bumps:
For many women, the instant exultation that a positive pregnancy test evokes is slowly replaced with a nagging fear: What if something goes wrong? What if I lose the baby? While a certain number of pregnancies do, sadly, end in miscarriage, it’s reassuring to know that the majority of pregnancies result in healthy babies. And even if a woman does suffer a loss, she’s very likely to have a healthy pregnancy in the future.
The ritual of making and drinking tea has been practiced for thousands of years, and for good reason. Tea contains polyphenols to protect your heart, antioxidants that may lower your risk of cancer and other nutrients that boost your immune system. When you’re expecting, the benefits get even better. A comforting cup may ease morning sickness, and even make for a shorter labor. However, some teas are potentially dangerous during pregnancy and should be avoided.
As a mom-to-be, you want to protect your baby from harm at all costs. Cut out alcohol? No problem. Stay away from raw fish? You bet. But safeguarding your baby isn’t all about what you “can’t” have or “shouldn’t” do. In the case of birth defects, it’s crucial that you add a key nutrient to your diet: folate.
Early in her pregnancy, Deborah Johnson (not her real name) started having on-and-off light bleeding. “At first I was really freaked out,” she recalls. “My immediate reaction was, ‘Oh, this can’t be good.’ ”
She called her doctor, who was concerned but calm. “She said she was going to play it safe by giving me progesterone, but that if the baby wasn’t meant to be, no amount of progesterone was going to make a difference,” Johnson says. Though the spotting continued throughout her entire first trimester, Johnson gave birth to a healthy baby boy six months later.