The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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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.
Maybe you think sleep deprivation won't be an issue until after your baby is born. Hah! Depending on how pregnant you are, everything from "morning" sickness to scary dreams to restless leg can take their toll on your nightly shut-eye. Our trimester-by-trimester guide will help you get the rest you need now and even in the the "fourth trimester," when you'll face a brand-new sleep challenge: your baby!
Walking is the one workout that suits pregnant women of all different fitness levels. It’s as gentle or as challenging as you need it to be. It requires no investment (all you really need is a good pair of shoes and a water bottle). Plus, you can do it nearly anywhere, anytime. Excuses like “I hate the gym” or “I’ve never exercised before” just won’t fly.
As your baby bump grows and grows with your pregnancy, we're sure this question is going to cross your mind: Should I continue wearing my seat belt. In short: Yes, always!
An estimated 800 fetuses die each year in the United States when their mothers are involved in vehicle accidents, according to federal statistics. That's eight times as many babies and children up to age 4 who are killed in crashes.
Experts agree that both hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone) and hyperthyroidism (too much hormone) are a threat to pregnancy. However, they differ in whether all pregnant women should be screened for these disorders. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says you don’t need to be tested unless you have symptoms or a history of thyroid disease. Others argue that because screening is relatively inexpensive and simple—and has such a potentially profound effect—all pregnant women should be screened.
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), or high blood sugar during pregnancy, used to be relatively rare, occurring in about 3 percent to 4 percent of pregnancies. But in recent years, the rate has doubled— now, up to 6 percent to 8 percent of moms-to-be are diagnosed with this prenatal complication. And new recommendations lowering the cutoff point for diagnosis may lead to an even more dramatic increase.
We can’t Google our way through childbirth (yet), but we can study it online. Childbirth education covers anatomy, the birth process and pain management, and many people consider traditional classes, taken with other couples, a valuable pregnancy ritual. Others find them inconvenient and intimidating, preferring online courses. Here’s a snapshot: