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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Since essential oils (the oils that give plants their distinctive smells) are the key ingredients in aromatherapy treatments and products, experts recommend not using them in the first trimester. Essential oils could cause uterine contractions or adversely affect your baby in his early developmental stages, explains Jill Edwards, N.D., an Oregon doctor of naturopathic medicine who specializes in prenatal care.
No. Botox hasn’t been tested for use during pregnancy, so we don’t know if it can harm a baby in utero, according to George Macones, M.D., chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. Botox is a class C drug, which means it should only be used during pregnancy if its benefits outweigh the potential for risk. A form of the toxin created by the Clostridium botulinum bacterium, Botox works by blocking the chemicals that otherwise signal a muscle to contract.
Our inability to see ourselves as sexy during pregnancy may be due to the combination of mood swings, nausea and the omnipresent photos of too-thin celebrities. However, being sexy isn’t about your body; it is a state of mind. What did you do before to feel sexy? Go dancing? Get a massage? You can still do those things. In terms of dressing your changing body, maternity clothes are far more sophisticated and flattering these days. As for your husband, we often make assumptions about what our partners are feeling. But unless you have a conversation, you may never know.
The current recommendation is that all women capable of becoming pregnant get 400 micrograms of folic acid daily from supplements or fortified foods in addition to their intake of folate from a varied diet to help prevent neural-tube defects, such as spina bifida. Once pregnancy is confirmed, the recommended intake for supplementation jumps to 600 micrograms. Most prenatal vitamins contain 800 to 1,000 micrograms, which will cover your folic acid needs.
Absolutely not. Not only are most asthma medications safe to continue during pregnancy, but stopping them greatly increases the chances that you’ll experience a flare-up, which is risky for you and your baby.
1. Enroll your dog in an obedience class so he’ll be on his best behavior when the baby comes home.
2. Avoid major renovations if you’re living in an older home with layers of paint or varnish that could release harmful lead dust. (This is true throughout your pregnancy.)
3. Nix hot tubs and saunas; high temperatures can affect your baby’s development during the early months.
4. Get a dental checkup (gum disease is linked to premature delivery), but skip the X-rays.
They call it “momnesia”: those times you put the milk in the cupboard instead of the refrigerator; or you walk into a room, only to forget why you’re there. But “mommy brain” is more than a punch line, says Shoshana Bennett, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in San Ramon, Calif., who specializes in prenatal and postpartum counseling. Experts say it’s a very real neurological issue resulting from powerful endocrine and brain chemistry changes. Fortunately, Bennett says, you can take steps to minimize the impact of mommy brain:
You’re not quite ready to divulge your happy news, but explaining away your exhaustion and frequent bathroom trips is getting tricky. Or you’re uncertain what sort of maternity leave you’re entitled to and, more importantly, how much of it is paid. These are just a few of the common scenarios you’ll need to tackle as you navigate the next nine months on the job. Our detailed guide will see you through.
The following is a summary of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ guidelines for exercising while pregnant:
1. In the absence of contraindications (see below), pregnant women are encouraged to engage in 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise a day on most, if not all, days of the week. (See “Don’t Exercise If ...” below.) As always, check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
Your first clue: Your menstrual period is late! (Dating a pregnancy actually starts from the first day of your last period, so by the time you miss your period you're considered four weeks pregnant.) You also may have swollen, tender breasts; up to 5 pounds of extra weight (much of it water); deep fatigue; mild to extreme nausea any time of the day or night (with or without vomiting); food cravings and aversions.
There are things nobody tells you: That your belly will itch so much it feels like the prickle is on the inside. That when traffic makes your husband an hour late, you'll have the phone in hand ready to call the police, absolutely positive that he's become a paraplegic in a five-car pileup. That your "morning" sickness will happen at night and last for more than six stomach-churning months, and your husband's breath will smell like rotting meat.
So, my boobs were sore. I felt a little... funny. But I didn't have my hopes up, since what had that gotten me so far? About $50 blown on home pregnancy tests and a feeling of defeat. But in a weird coincidence, I just happened to have my annual gyn exam--you know, an appointment I made about five months earlier--the day before I was supposed to get my period.
I was crying in the examining room.
The midwife looked concerned. "Has this happened to you before?" She meant the "faint line" on the pregnant test she'd just told me about.
I tried to wave away my tears with my hands. "No, no," I said. "I'm just emotional. But how can it be okay that I have a faint line? When I came here with my last pregnancy, the nurse said the line was nice and dark, and that it meant I was 'definitely pregnant.' So if the dark line was good, how can the faint line be fine, too?"