Since essential oils (the oils that give plants their distinctive smells) are the key ingredients in aromatherapy treatments and products, experts recommend not using them in the first trimester. Essential oils could cause uterine contractions or adversely affect your baby in his early developmental stages, explains Jill Edwards, N.D., an Oregon doctor of naturopathic medicine who specializes in prenatal care.
Limit your list. Use constraint so gift givers aren’t burdened with exhaustive printouts, and be sure to list both expensive and inexpensive items. Find out what you really need, too: “Study baby-product books and get honest feedback from experienced parents first,” advises Kate Ward, editor of TheBump.com.
Read the fine print. Determine each store’s privacy and gift-return policies. Web purchases may have to be returned by mail.
You wouldn’t dream of running a marathon without training first. Such an intense athletic event requires mental, physical and emotional preparation. The same is true for childbirth: Knowing what can happen during labor and delivery—and your options for pain relief—can alleviate your fears and boost your confidence. “Knowledge is power,” says Sheri Bayles, R.N., a certified Lamaze instructor who taught childbirth classes at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City for more than 20 years.
1. Enroll your dog in an obedience class so he’ll be on his best behavior when the baby comes home.
2. Avoid major renovations if you’re living in an older home with layers of paint or varnish that could release harmful lead dust. (This is true throughout your pregnancy.)
3. Nix hot tubs and saunas; high temperatures can affect your baby’s development during the early months.
4. Get a dental checkup (gum disease is linked to premature delivery), but skip the X-rays.
They call it “momnesia”: those times you put the milk in the cupboard instead of the refrigerator; or you walk into a room, only to forget why you’re there. But “mommy brain” is more than a punch line, says Shoshana Bennett, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in San Ramon, Calif., who specializes in prenatal and postpartum counseling. Experts say it’s a very real neurological issue resulting from powerful endocrine and brain chemistry changes. Fortunately, Bennett says, you can take steps to minimize the impact of mommy brain:
Almost certainly. “To my knowledge, there have been no human studies on the safety of using tooth-whitening products in pregnancy,” says Christina Chambers, Ph.D., MPH, an associate professor in the departments of pediatrics and family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego. “However, we don’t have any reason to think they would pose a risk to the developing fetus.”
I was e-chatting with Sarah, a colleague of mine who works for CARE. I’m preparing to go the National CARE Convention in Washington DC next week, where I’ll be moderating a panel discussion on global maternal health issues. We had a laundry list of details to discuss. All we really wanted to talk about though was “doulas.”
The following is a summary of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ guidelines for exercising while pregnant:
1. In the absence of contraindications (see below), pregnant women are encouraged to engage in 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise a day on most, if not all, days of the week. (See “Don’t Exercise If ...” below.) As always, check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
Julie wrote with a special concern. She went to her 20-week ultrasound and got some worrisome news: her umbilical cord only has two vessels. Her placenta is very close to her cervix and her doctor said it had a "lip." Since Julie's writing me for information, it makes me wonder just how much her doctor explained when he dropped a worry-bomb on her.
It's a good week to answer questions. I'll try to tackle a few. Amber wrote wondering when she should expect to start looking pregnant and when to go to the doctor. The doctor part is easy to answer. Call for an appointment as soon as you take a home-pregnancy test. They may have you come in right away if you have any medical conditions they're concerned about or, they may schedule for what they guess will be your 6-8th week of pregnancy. According to the March of Dimes, this is what you can expect for your prenatal schedule of appointments:
It goes with the territory: When you’re pregnant, you can’t help but worry about the health of your baby. Fortunately, there are a host of prenatal tests that can help ease your fears and make even a healthy pregnancy less stressful. Following is a rundown of the tests you’re most likely to undergo; see the chart at right for detailed information.
Wouldn’t it be great if someone you trust volunteered to be on hand — even sleep on your couch — in case you went into labor in the middle of the night? What if that same person offered to walk in the woods with you in the last weeks of your pregnancy or adjusted her vacation plans to be with you during your baby’s birth?
My doula (pronounced doo-lah), Sue Ann Higgens, did all this and more when I was expecting my first child.