Feeling frenzied all the time can take a toll on your fertility. Here’s how you can chillax and boost your odds of baby-making success.
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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.
It’s one of life’s ironies: Getting off the couch for a little exercise can actually make you feel more relaxed. Plus, exercise can help reverse the sag in your energy level that can happen during pregnancy, and research shows that moderate exercise throughout those nine months can help you avoid excessive weight gain, lessen your risk for pregnancy complications and may even help you have an easier delivery.
As long as your feta is made from pasteurized milk, feel free to eat as many Greek salads as you like. The concern is a condition called listeriosis, a bacterial infection that’s typically contracted through eating certain foods, including unpasteurized milk and cheeses, says Kelly Jackson, M.P.H., an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Every week I receive very similar emails from different women all over the world. They all ask the same question about pinkish-brown discharge during the first trimester. Very often, they notice the discharge the day after they’ve had sex. Each one of these emails is tinged with worry about what that discharge means and fear that it might mean miscarriage. The last few emails came from women in England, Alabama, San Francisco and Saudi Arabia, which just lets you know how u
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.
Amniotic fluid: It’s at once mundane and poetic, a humble liquid that protects and nourishes your baby. It also helps maintain a constant temperature; promotes growth and development of the fetus’s lungs, gastrointestinal system, muscles and bones; and prevents compression of the umbilical cord. Some studies even suggest that it transmits odors and flavors from your diet, helping to influence your baby’s future taste preferences.
Eight years ago when I had my first son, I initially met with an OB-GYN recommended to me by a friend. I adored him—as well as his partners: a dynamic team of certified nurse-midwives. After learning that midwives tend to spend a lot of time with patients, have relatively few patients who require Cesarean sections and also encourage medication-free deliveries, I decided to have a midwife from the practice deliver my baby.
When I ordered shrimp rolls at a tapas bar 12 weeks into my pregnancy, one of my friends reacted as if I’d ordered a double martini. “You can’t have shrimp when you’re pregnant!” she insisted. When I asked her why not, all she could offer was, “Well, I’m not sure, but I know you can’t.” Turns out, she was mistaken (phew! I ordered the shrimp anyway), a common phenomenon when it comes to prenatal nutrition.
The U.S. birthrate has been declining since 2007, and experts blame the economy. Short of forgoing having children, the trick in these tough times is to get thriftier, says Carol Sakala, Ph.D., director of programs for the nonprofit advocacy group Childbirth Connection, who adds that wiser spending doesn't have to mean shoddy care.
During pregnancy, many of the changes you’re going through are visible—your growing breasts and belly are the most obvious. Others, like a powerful urge to “nest,” you can’t see but can certainly feel. A great number of these changes are due to hormones, powerful chemicals that affect your mind, your body and your pregnancy. Here’s a guide to some of the most important players.
In a lot of ways, pregnancy is like standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon. On one hand, it’s the most breathtaking and majestic thing you’ve ever experienced. On the other, it’s a long way to the bottom—and you can’t help but feel a little anxious about taking a wrong step. Chances are everything will be just fine, and you should take comfort in the fact that statistics are in your favor. So we do want you to embrace the beautiful experience of pregnancy, but we also want you—as your child’s biological suit of armor—to do a few things that can help improve those odds.