The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that all pregnant women be offered a diagnostic, or level-3, ultrasound, and I heartily agree. This is the gold standard not only for confirming the age of your fetus, but also for evaluating its health--whether or not you want to know its gender. The optimum timing for a diagnostic ultrasound is 20 weeks, at which time the size and anatomy of the fetus can be well-visualized.
From the description of the precautions you took--wearing gloves and painting in a well-ventilated room--your baby is likely to be just fine. Although no studies specifically confirm this, experts believe that a pregnant woman's limited exposure to household or hobbyist paint (particularly acrylic paint--which, along with tempera or watercolor, is recommended over oil-based paint) shouldn't be a problem. My greater concern relative to paint is twofold:
Many women experience changes in their sex drive during pregnancy--increased and decreased libidos are both common. That said, take a look at any circumstances, past or present, that may be putting a damper on your desire. For instance, have you experienced any vaginal bleeding or been at risk for preterm labor? Did intercourse during your last pregnancy initiate contractions? Or how about the fact that this time around, you are the mother of a young child and are likely exhausted?
Experiencing a food craving during pregnancy often indicates that a woman is deficient in an essential nutrient. The classic "pickles and ice cream" craving is likely the result of a need for additional calcium, and perhaps a secondary need to satisfy the salty and sour taste buds. The nutrient most women lack is iron, and your craving for spinach--an iron-rich vegetable--certainly fits the bill. The cream in creamed spinach also may be soothing to a queasy stomach. As long as your craving is not an unhealthy one, pretty much any food is OK in moderation.
Pilates is a wonderful activity that you can continue throughout pregnancy with some modification. It offers gentle muscle strengthening while improving balance, which can be a real benefit as your body's shape and size evolves.
Yes. You are describing round-ligament pain, which commonly begins around the fourth or fifth month of pregnancy as ligaments stretch to support your increasingly heavy uterus. Many women report a sharp or crampy pain on either side of the abdomen midway between the hip and the bellybutton when getting out of bed, standing up from a seated position or just at random times. The pain usually subsides in a matter of minutes and is nothing to worry about.
One of the most common reasons for decreased interest in sex on the part of either a pregnant woman or father-to-be is fear that intercourse will hurt the baby. I'm always happy to reassure my patients that with rare exceptions, a couple can enjoy sex throughout pregnancy. Natural lubrication should not be a problem, and orgasms are perfectly safe.
Hormones can affect your sex drive, too. Pregnancy triggers constant high levels of estrogen and progesterone, both of which suppress the production of testosterone, a vital hormone where libido is concerned.
Two factors contribute to constipation in pregnancy. The first is the body's increased production of progesterone, which relaxes not only the smooth muscle of the uterine wall but also of the intestinal wall and stomach, thereby making digestion sluggish. The second is the body's tendency to become underhydrated as it adjusts to an increasing blood volume. To help prevent constipation, drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Also exercise daily and eat more vegetables and dried fruits.
The weight of your uterus increases throughout pregnancy, so if you were to spend time lying flat on your back, that extra weight might compress the vena cava, the large blood vessel that runs along your spine and carries blood to the heart. Compression of this vein may cause you to become dizzy, lightheaded, nauseated or sweaty, and it may briefly reduce blood flow to your baby.
First, do not get a tattoo while you're pregnant (on your belly or anywhere else). "There's a risk of infection or an allergic reaction to the ink," says Kenneth Beer, M.D., a clinical instructor in dermatology at the University of Miami. If you already have a tattoo, don't think about getting it removed until after your pregnancy--undergoing laser removal when you are pregnant is unsafe.
These growths, commonly called skin tags, are normal. They usually pop up in places where clothing rubs against your skin, like under the arms and beneath your bra and underwear. "During pregnancy, increased estrogen levels stimulate overgrowth of normal skin," explains dermatologist David E. Bank, M.D. "Skin tags are completely harmless and often disappear after pregnancy." If they don't, your doctor can perform a simple laser procedure to remove them. You can't do much to treat them while you're expecting, however.
Experiencing a food craving during pregnancy often indicates that a woman is deficient in an essential nutrient. For instance, the classic "pickles and ice cream" craving is likely the result of a need for calcium, and perhaps also emerges to satisfy pregnancy-induced sweet and sour cravings. The nutrient most women lack is iron, and spinach is an iron-rich vegetable. Plus, the cream may soothe a queasy stomach. Rest assured that as long as your craving is not an unhealthy one, nearly any food is OK in moderation. But do be sure to take a daily prenatal vitamin as well.
They say that an apple doesn't fall from the tree. Well, when it comes to the gender of children, it seems this old saying rings true for men who want to know whether they're more likely to father boys or girls—just check your family tree, The New York Times reports. A British study released in December found that some men carry a gene that predisposes them to fathering more boys, more girls or equal numbers of each.