The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
Read more »
Miraculous changes happen to your body in each trimester of your pregnancy —but each phase presents new challenges, too.
Aversions (and Cravings)
Being repelled by certain tastes and smells is common. “Your digestion is slowing down, so some formerly appealing foods become intolerable,” explains certified nurse-midwife Lisa Kane Low, Ph.D., R.N., a faculty member at the University of Michigan School of Medicine. Ignoring an aversion may only make you feel sicker, so don’t feel you have to eat something just because you think it’s good for you.
Midwives are being “rediscovered” by growing numbers of pregnant women today. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, in 2006 (the most recent figures available), they attended a record-busting 317,168 births—7.4 percent of all U.S. births; 96.7 percent of them took place in hospitals, 2 percent in birth centers and 1.3 percent in homes. To help you decide whether to go the midwife route, here are answers to some of the most common questions.
What advantages do midwives offer?
Many pregnant women fret too much about the wrong things, and pay too little attention to issues that can genuinely harm their pregnancy and baby. See how your concerns compare to other women’s, then learn whether or not your fears are well-founded and—the bottom line—what you can do to have a healthy and happy pregnancy.
Maybe you think sleep deprivation won't be an issue until after your baby is born. Hah! Depending on how pregnant you are, everything from "morning" sickness to scary dreams to restless leg can take their toll on your nightly shut-eye. Our trimester-by-trimester guide will help you get the rest you need now and even in the the "fourth trimester," when you'll face a brand-new sleep challenge: your baby!
As you know, folate, fiber and iron are essential nutrients for you and your growing baby. What you may not know is that you can get all three by eating chives. Or, how about adding figs to your diet to boost your calcium intake?
Walking is the one workout that suits pregnant women of all different fitness levels. It’s as gentle or as challenging as you need it to be. It requires no investment (all you really need is a good pair of shoes and a water bottle). Plus, you can do it nearly anywhere, anytime. Excuses like “I hate the gym” or “I’ve never exercised before” just won’t fly.
As a mom-to-be, you have some experience carrying around extra weight. Your expanding baby bump is proof of that. But you’ll soon be faced with the daily task of toting your growing newborn—and all her gear. To help prepare your body for the constant lifting and holding to come, now is the time to strengthen the muscles you’ll use most as a new mom.
Professional whitening is not recommended during pregnancy, and any over-the-counter products should also be avoided, says New York-based cosmetic and reconstructive dentist Elisa Mello, D.D.S. “The chemicals created during the procedure are caustic to cells, and we can’t know for certain what damage they may do to a developing baby,” she explains. To safely remove stains, make a paste of equal parts strawberries and baking soda and brush onto teeth. Let it sit for five minutes before rinsing.
Probably, but check with your doctor or another expert first. “The data suggest that the ingredients in the majority of cold medications are safe during pregnancy,” says Myla Moretti, M.Sc., president of the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS). “Still, people sometimes take the wrong medications or the wrong amount for their symptoms.”
Most women experience hair changes during pregnancy because estrogen levels are higher. “Increased estrogen during pregnancy extends the growth cycle of your hair so that fewer strands fall out, leaving hair fuller and thicker,” says trichologist Philip Kingsley, owner of the Philip Kingsley Clinic in New York. Additionally, when estrogen is high, androgen (the male hormone that causes oil production) is low, so hair feels drier. Hydrate your locks with a deep moisturizing conditioner twice a week.
According to the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists, the one small study done on its use during pregnancy did not find an increased risk of miscarriage or birth defects. Still, check with your doctor before taking it or any herb.