Pregnancy used to be measured by natural time, beyond the control of people or technology. One of the few times in modern life that couldn’t be tampered with, pregnancy demanded that a rushed populace listen to nature. But now women can schedule the birth of a child rather than wait for nature to determine when labor begins, so it shouldn’t be surprising that celebrities have popularized the notion of elective Cesarean section.
Q: I’ve felt so tired during my pregnancy that even getting up for work every day is becoming difficult. Are there any safe, natural ways to boost my energy?
Many women who whole-heartedly want to be mothers dread the prospect of having to actually deliver a baby. In fact, while just about every woman feels some anxiety about giving birth, 6 percent to 10 percent of pregnant women suffer intense fear. This can manifest itself in such symptoms as nightmares, heart palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath, a racing pulse and difficulty concentrating.
It’s reader-question week! Let’s talk about sex, sciatica and smoking.
I know, sex first, right? Wrong, if I wrote about that first, you might not read to the end.
If you think delivering that gorgeous baby means an automatic return to your former mental self, think again. “Pregnancy brain” is real, and it can affect your postpartum brain as well. Example: Half of new moms still felt super sleepy 18 weeks after giving birth, according to a recent study published in PLOS One. Here’s what to expect:
It’s a good idea to discuss circumcision—the surgical removal of the foreskin that covers the tip of the penis—with your obstetrician or pediatrician during your pregnancy. Families may have strong feelings, but medically there’s no wrong choice, says Andrew Satin, M.D., a professor of gynecology and obstetrics at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. “Mostly I see parents deciding based on cultural tradition and whether daddy is circumcised or not,” he says.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are tips for preparing your dog for the youngest pack member from two experts: Cesar Millan, star of the National Geographic Channel’s The Dog Whisperer and author of 2009’s How to Raise the Perfect Dog; and Victoria Stilwell, host of Animal Planet’s It’s Me or the Dog and author of the book of the same name.
“After my emergency Cesarean section, I was shell-shocked that I wasn’t pregnant anymore.” Jennifer O’Brien, East Greenbush, N.Y.
Yes. At 16 weeks gestation, your body starts to produce colostrum; this is the earliest form of breast milk, and it’s brimming with anti-infective properties to protect your baby right from birth. Some women do leak small amounts during pregnancy, but that’s no problem. “There’s not a finite amount of colostrum,” Wight explains. “Your body will continue to produce it after your baby is born.”
Nope. Not only is it unnecessary, but, as mentioned above, doing so may trigger preterm labor. Plus, as Neifert notes: “Nipple tissue is not callus-forming tissue, so you can’t really toughen them; you might even damage the sensitive skin and make breastfeeding uncomfortable.” If you want to feel like you’re doing something to prepare, use ultra-pure medical grade lanolin on your nipples to keep the skin supple.
Yes—but not until close to delivery. “I usually recommend waiting until the last month of pregnancy to use breast shells— plastic dome-shaped devices that are worn over the nipples to help draw them out,” Neifert says. “The concern is that wearing shells may stimulate the nipples, which in turn can cause uterine contractions that could trigger preterm labor.” If you do opt to use breast shells, be sure to work with a lactation consultant. Using a breast pump is also highly effective—but you must wait until after delivery.
Common wisdom used to be that breasts of any size are capable of producing ample milk. But new research shows that, while that’s mostly true, certain breasts may have problems—particularly if they don’t expand much during pregnancy, as ample growth typically indicates that the milk ducts are multiplying and growing.
“Nosebleeds are a frequent occurrence among expectant women but are typically not something to worry about,” says San Diego OBGYN Suzanne Merrill-Nach, M.D. “We usually chalk them up to simply being an annoyance of pregnancy.