The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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It was heartburn that got me in the end. I could take the swelling, the back pain, the constant trips to the bathroom, the itchy skin, the fatigue, the sweating, the sleeplessness, and even the psychological shock of seeing the scale tip 200 pounds.
Parents who have a board-certified pediatrician to care for their infant can be assured that the doctor has been deemed competent and up-to-date about developments in the field. But two studies from Michigan found that parents can't assume a pediatrician recommended by their hospital or health plan has been certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. The studies showed that 78 percent of U.S. hospitals don't require board certification to grant privileges to pediatricians, and only 41 percent of health plans require the certification.
• Eat just 300 calories more per day Even though your appetite is noticeably increasing, your daily calorie intake should go up just a little during the second and third trimesters. (Note: Your total gain should be 25 to 35 pounds if you're of normal weight.)
• Give in to some cravings But try to eat healthfully overall by choosing nutrient-rich foods like low-fat dairy, legumes, poultry, lean meats and fish.
• If you "run hot," eat cold foods Chilled fruit, frozen yogurt, and cold, cooked wild salmon are good choices.
The urge to go frequently is a common side effect of pregnancy, but for most moms, restroom visits dwindle after delivery. Dutch researchers found that as early as the 12th week of pregnancy, pressure from the growing uterus, an increase in urine production and changing capacity caused an overactive bladder in nearly half the women they studied. By the 36th week, nearly 15 percent also noticed urine leakage. But by three months postpartum, nearly 90 percent reported no bladder issues, and only 3.5 percent had leakage.
Most expectant moms spring for new undies: not sexy ones, but "granny panties." They not only accommodate a growing belly, they're good "tossaways," too. With all the things going on (and coming out!) down below during pregnancy, that comes in handy. Although what Erin Connor's* husband termed "baby batter"—increased vaginal discharge—occurs in almost all pregnancies, many women don't expect it. "I obsessed over it," says the Miller Place, N.Y., mother of two. "I would analyze the discharge and convince myself something was horribly wrong."
Despite how foreign they can look on your body, stretch marks (or striae) are a normal part of pregnancy: Half of all moms-to-be can expect to find these rippled stripes on their skin.
What's the cause?
"Stretch marks are an odd entity," says dermatologist Alan Rosenbach, M.D., a clinical assistant professor at Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California in Los Angeles. "Considering how common they are, we don't know much about their cause, though some suspect the reasons are at least partly hormonal."