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.
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 un