Trying to get pregnant? Make sure you know the bottom line on baby-making—what you don't understand can affect your bub-to-be's health.
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While you may think of high blood pressure as a problem for your parents or grandparents, many pregnant women experience blood-vessel problems that force the heart to work harder to pump blood to the placenta and maternal organs. In fact, up to 30 percent of first-time pregnancies are affected by hypertension, preeclampsia (high blood pressure plus protein in the urine) or eclampsia (high blood pressure, protein in the urine and seizures).
Thalia is 36 weeks pregnant and for the last few weeks, she’s been measuring large for dates. Her doctor sent her for an ultrasound, which revealed she has more amniotic fluid than some mothers do. A normal range of fluid at this stage of pregnancy is measured as between 5 and 25 centimeters or about 800-1000 mL.
These days, it’s more common for moms-to-be to be breathing deeply into a downward dog in prenatal yoga class than taking it easy at home with their feet up. But an estimated 20 percent of expectant mothers are still put on bed rest during their pregnancies, despite evidence that it may do more harm than good.
"The ladies I met online while on bed rest were like virtual nurses!”
Located in your neck, the thyroid gland produces hormones that affect metabolism, breathing, heart and nervous system functions, body temperature and more. During your pregnancy, your baby is entirely dependent on receiving thyroid hormone—which plays a large role in fetal brain and nervous system development—from you for the first trimester.
It’s not pretty, but it is very important and serves as grist for lore and ritual the world over: Some cultures bury it, some consider it the baby’s sibling, some even eat it. Not only is the placenta the trading post between the mother’s and the baby’s blood supply, at around week 12 it takes over the production of hormones needed to sustain the pregnancy. And recent research found that its structure may even determine the length of a pregnancy.
Although the placenta usually functions flawlessly, occasionally a problem arises: