The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
Read more »
Amniotic fluid: It’s at once mundane and poetic, a humble liquid that protects and nourishes your baby.
It also helps maintain a constant temperature; promotes growth and development of the fetus’s lungs, gastrointestinal system, muscles and bones; and prevents compression of the umbilical cord.
Some studies even suggest that it transmits odors and flavors from your diet, helping to influence your baby’s future taste preferences.
Last spring, as the tsunami-damaged reactors at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant began leaking radioactive particles, that nation’s pregnant women ran for the hills—or at least for faraway cities like Osaka. Moms-to-be in the U.S. are safely distant from fallout or food contamination, but what about X-rays and their high-energy ionizing radiation that damages DNA? Or the low-energy microwave radiation from cellphones and Wi-Fi? Here are some guidelines for a safer pregnancy:
Sometimes, a little white lie can be a beautiful thing. Just say, “I have no idea! We decided to wait and be surprised.”
That will take care of the nosy neighbors, but now let’s talk about you. Even if your brain is telling you that the most important thing is that the baby is healthy, it’s perfectly natural to feel a twinge of disappointment that the Joanna of your dreams is turning out to be a Jason instead (or vice versa).
A friend offers you the car seat her son has outgrown. Should you accept it?
Probably not, unless the seat is almost new and you are certain it has never been in an accident or subject to a recall.
“Do you like the espresso diaper bag with the tangerine piping or the black bag with the copper trim? And what do you think of the inflatable breastfeeding pillow compared with the foam one?” During my pregnancy, I got emails like this every day—from my husband, Paul. In charge of our baby registry, he spent hours online researching the merits of audio versus video baby monitors. I found the world of baby paraphernalia daunting, but Paul transferred his passion for sports gear to an obsession with baby stuff.
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.
You are what you eat. That’s old news. So is the fact that your diet during pregnancy affects your newborn’s health. But the new news is that what you eat in the next nine months can impact your baby’s health, as well as your own, for decades to come. Here are 10 easy nutrition rules that will benefit you both.
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.