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.
Read more »
"The ladies I met online while on bed rest were like virtual nurses!”
New findings published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology suggest that women who develop preeclampsia have lower blood levels of vitamin D than healthy moms-to-be, Reuters reports. Most experts recommend a vitamin D blood level of at least 42 nanograms per milliliter for overall good health.
Vigorous exercise can lower a woman’s risk of developing pregnancy-induced hypertension, or preeclampsia, a complication that affects up to 8 percent of pregnancies. But a new study suggests an even simpler tactic: stretching.
Six weeks into her second pregnancy, Kim Schuler Heinrichs thought all was lost. After learning she was pregnant, Schuler, now a mother of three in Allentown, Pa., started bleeding and cramping. "My husband and I were sure we were losing the baby," she says, "but soon the doctor found a heartbeat." A trouble-free seven months later, Schuler gave birth to a healthy girl.
Eating well during pregnancy needn't mean giving up your favorite candy. A Yale study found that expectant moms who ate chocolate five or more times a week had a lower risk for preeclampsia than those who ate it less than once a week. Dark chocolate, in particular, contains a substance thought to have cardiovascular benefits that help prevent preeclampsia.
Low levels of vitamin D may put women at risk for preeclampsia, a dangerous pregnancy complication. Researchers found that women with preeclampsia were more likely to have had low blood levels of the vitamin in early pregnancy. Vitamin D is found in fortified milk and cereals; certain types of fish, such as tuna, sardines and salmon; and supplements. It is also made by the body when exposed to sunlight.
Lean women who took a multivitamin or prenatal vitamin at least weekly before becoming pregnant and in the first three months of pregnancy reduced their preeclampsia risk by a dramatic 71 percent, according to University of Pittsburgh researchers. No such association was found in women who were overweight before pregnancy. Scientists don't know why heavier women who took the same vitamins remained disposed to the condition. Symptoms of preeclampsia, which affects up to 8 percent of pregnancies, include swelling, sudden weight gain, headaches and vision changes.
Most pregnancies are perfectly healthy, and moms-to-be glide through them with nothing more severe than a few bouts of nausea and the occasional backache. However, some women do develop more serious health problems that can threaten their own and their baby's well-being, sometimes even their lives. Don't worry—life-threatening complications are extremely rare. But it's important to know what signs and symptoms to look out for.
Here are some common pregnancy problems, along with information on their causes and treatments.