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.
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.
Week 1: If you haven't started already, you should be taking a prenatal multivitamin with folic acid daily (bump it up to 600 micrograms folic acid once you know for sure you're pregnant).
Week 2: You should be eating the healthiest diet possible for the next nine months. For some simple guidelines, check out "Tell Me What to Eat"
Q: Is mineral makeup safe?
A: Mineral makeup is a good choice during pregnancy, when skin may react unexpectedly, says Joanna Schlip, a Los Angeles makeup artist. That's because it doesn't contain ingredients that can irritate skin, such as fragrance or preservatives. Mineral makeup also contains titanium and zinc, which act as a natural SPF to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays.
Q: Now that I'm pregnant, should I switch to organic skin-care products?
You may think the healthy pregnancy to-do list is like a potato-chip craving: never-ending. But it's not. Aside from eating well and exercising—two topics that are so important we've covered them elsewhere in this issue—there are only about five things you really need to do to increase your chance of having an enjoyable pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Screening tests and birth defects
"We did the triple screen, which yielded funny results, so we worried about heart defects until week 18, when an ultrasound showed that everything was fine."
— Megan Keim, Vancouver, Wash., mother of Patrick, 11 months
What is a Kegel?
Your pelvic-floor muscles act as a sling for the bladder, uterus and rectum. One of the most important long-term health recommendations for healing and recovering after birth is to do Kegel exercises. Kegels help keep your pelvic-floor muscles strong during pregnancy, help get them back in shape after delivery and possibly prevent urinary incontinence.