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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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.
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.
Week 4 Four weeks from the start of your last period, a positive test shows you're pregnant.
Week 5 Measured from crown of head to rump, your baby is about 0.4 inch long—the size of a green pea.
Week 8 The baby is about 1 inch long—the size of a large olive. His features are already distinctly human.
Week 10 Your doctor will probably want to see you between eight and 10 weeks for your first appointment. That's when you'll get to view the heartbeat via ultrasound.
Many women experience vivid dreams during pregnancy, and no wonder—they're dealing with huge changes in their physical, emotional and spiritual selves, says Raina Manuel-Paris, Ph.D., author of The Mother-to-Be's Dream Book (Warner Books). Here are some common themes by trimester:
First Trimester: Women tend to dream about their past: childhood experiences, ex-boyfriends and parents. These dreams are a subconscious way of coming to terms with their new identity and letting go of the old.
Make sure nothing appears glossy or new, says Norm Wogan
of Norm Wogan Design in Los Angeles, who recently created
an aviation-themed nursery for the infant son of Extra co-host Dayna Devon. He used such treasures as a World War II-era propeller, faux hot-air balloon (above the crib), old-fashioned airplane seat belts (for curtain tiebacks) and vintage pilot goggles. An artist decorated the nursery with murals:
Perhaps. While "morning sickness" is most common in the first trimester, it can happen anytime during pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins may intensify your symptoms; if you suspect this is the case, try taking yours before going to bed to allow you to sleep through the discomfort. Using antacids also can be helpful, as can "grazing" on several small, healthy meals throughout the day. Additional vitamin B6 seems to curb nausea for some women; talk to your doctor about taking a supplement.