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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In this era of prenatal Pilates videos and Oh Baby! toning classes, most women know that exercise during pregnancy is safe. Yet when it comes to the particulars—Is it OK to work my abs? Do I have to quit running? Should I keep my heart rate low?—myths and misconceptions that hold women back persist. “There’s still a lot of fear out there that stops pregnant women from exercising,” says Sara Haley, a prenatal fitness trainer and workout-DVD star based in Santa Monica, Calif.
You are what you eat. That’s old news. So is the fact that your diet during pregnancy affects your newborn’s health. But the new news is that what you eat in the next nine months can impact your baby’s health, as well as your own, for decades to come. Here are 10 easy nutrition rules that will benefit you both.
Three decades ago, maternal-fetal medicine specialist Yvonne Thornton, M.D., was determinedly shedding the 67 pounds she gained during her first pregnancy when she found out she was expecting another baby. Thornton vowed not to let that derail her healthy eating habits again. “There was a strong dictum back then that no matter what you weighed, you should gain 26 to 35 pounds during pregnancy or risk fetal death,” says Thornton, now an OB-GYN professor at New York Medical College.
According to Lori Wolfe, M.S., a certified genetic counselor and director of the Texas Teratogen Information Service, there’s more risk to you from not using sunscreen than to your fetus by using it. “Pregnant women are understandably worried about harming their baby by using any number of products, but sun protection is not one they should be concerned about,” Wolfe says. “Studies have not shown a risk to the fetus when its mother uses any type of sunscreen or sunblock.”
Fibromyalgia itself does not pose a risk to an expecting mom or her fetus. The medications taken to manage it may, however, which is why experts recommend that women who have it review their meds with
an obstetrician before conceiving.
Yes, it is safe to use vibrators during a healthy, low-risk pregnancy. Just make sure you keep your vibrator clean. After every use, wash the surface with warm water and a gentle soap.
For some women, swollen and very tender breasts are the first clues they’re pregnant: Right from the start, they’re preparing for their job of producing milk. Here, Heather Weldon, M.D., an OB-GYN in Vancouver, Wash., answers some of the most common questions about your mammaries during pregnancy.
Q: How and when will my breasts change?
Even women who don’t normally suffer from allergies often experience stuffiness or other typical symptoms at any time of year when they’re pregnant. Surprisingly, though, you may find your seasonal allergies lessening or even disappearing while you’re expecting. This is because a woman’s immune system becomes less reactive during pregnancy, in part so that her body doesn’t reject the growing fetus. If you do develop your typical symptoms, however, these steps can help:
To be on the safe side, most doctors advise against coloring your hair, especially in the first trimester. Dye can be absorbed into the scalp, explains dermatologist Jeannette Graf, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Instead, try henna or chemical-free dyes. As for highlights, precision application that avoids the scalp makes them safe as well.
I have psoriasis, and for 20 years my scalp has been so crusty and flaky that a shake of my head can create a snow-globe effect. But when I was pregnant, an amazing thing happened: My flakes vanished. I stopped getting treatments at the dermatologist’s office and started wearing black sweaters, just because I could.
You may be hungrier than ever, but nausea, indigestion and the need to control your calorie intake can make it tough to get the nutrition you and your baby need. Our expert advice and satisfying recipes will help you overcome the challenges each trimester poses.