Feeling frenzied all the time can take a toll on your fertility. Here’s how you can chillax and boost your odds of baby-making success.
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During pregnancy, many of the changes you’re going through are visible—your growing breasts and belly are the most obvious. Others, like a powerful urge to “nest,” you can’t see but can certainly feel. A great number of these changes are due to hormones, powerful chemicals that affect your mind, your body and your pregnancy. Here’s a guide to some of the most important players.
That ruffled swim cap can stay in grandma’s closet because this water exercise program is anything but old-fashioned. “This is for a person who wants a more challenging aqua workout,” says trainer and fitness educator Sara Kooperman, who developed her nationally known Water in Motion program that incorporates yoga, Pilates and dance moves after she injured her back in a skiing accident.
As if being pregnant isn’t enough of a reason to celebrate, here’s another: You’re expected—and encouraged—to eat! Experts agree you need more calories, more often, as a mom-to-be. While it’s recommended that the average woman take in 2,000 calories each day, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), expectant moms need roughly 340 extra calories a day in the second trimester and 450 extra calories in the third trimester.
A tense neck, sore back, twinges in your hips, throbbing feet—when you’re pregnant, aches and pains are just part of the deal, right? Not necessarily. “These problems may be the norm in our population today, but that wasn’t always the case,” says Katy Bowman, M.S., a biomechanist in Ventura, Calif., and creator of the Aligned and Well DVD series. “Pregnant women today suffer more than they did 100 years ago.”
Most of the bacteria we encounter do no harm. Many do quite a bit of good. But moms-to-be are often certain that all bacteria are out to get them, thanks to a few bad players like Listeria monocytogenes, sometimes found in unpasteurized soft cheeses, and Salmonella, a potential hazard when meat and eggs are undercooked.
To be on the safe side, most doctors advise against coloring your hair, especially in the first trimester. Dye can be absorbed into the scalp, explains dermatologist Jeannette Graf, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Instead, try henna or chemical-free dyes. As for highlights, precision application that avoids the scalp makes them safe as well.
Tucked inside you like a walnut in its shell and cushioned by amniotic fluid, your baby seems safe and secure. Sure, the outside world is filled with environmental threats, but isn’t it the job of the placenta to filter out substances that can harm the fetus? Well, yes—but. While the placenta does a crackerjack job of screening most infectious agents—rubella and HIV are notable exceptions—it’s permeable to most pollutants, including pesticides, PCBs, perchlorate, bisphenol A (BPA), lead and mercury.
You may be hungrier than ever, but nausea, indigestion and the need to control your calorie intake can make it tough to get the nutrition you and your baby need. Our expert advice and satisfying recipes will help you overcome the challenges each trimester poses.
When Traci Miller was pregnant, the 32-year-old commercial property manager from Mountville, Pa., dreamed that she drove away with her baby still in the car seat on top of her car.
Prenatal testing can be a multi-edged sword. Usually, test results are reassuring, which puts expectant parents’ minds at ease. But some people argue that because birth defects are rare, these tests in most cases cause undue stress; others argue that they allow people to create “designer” children. Then there are the parents who discover very real, sometimes dire, problems with their babies and face the decision of whether to keep or terminate a pregnancy.
Some women envision their birth-day as a time to invite anyone who is close and dear to them into the birthing room—mother, sisters, partner/husband, children, in-laws, next-door neighbor—and yet other moms feel most comfortable with only their husband/partner in the room. Ultimately, there is no one right way, but rather, the way that is best for you.
It happens around week 14 or so. The fatigue and morning sickness that may have marred your first trimester begin to subside. Perhaps for the first time in months, you feel healthy, sexy and energetic. Your moods start to smooth out and get even better when you feel your baby’s first fluttery kicks. You’ve left the stormy ocean behind and entered calm waters. Now, here’s everything you need to know to really sail through most women’s favorite time of pregnancy: weeks 14–28.