The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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Pregnancy brings with it many things, some joyous and some…not. For about 1 in 160 expectant moms (less than 1 percent), one of the unfortunate side effects can be a rash with a mean itch known as PUPPPs, or pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy.
These days, it’s more common for moms-to-be to be breathing deeply into a downward dog in prenatal yoga class than taking it easy at home with their feet up. But an estimated 20 percent of expectant mothers are still put on bed rest during their pregnancies, despite evidence that it may do more harm than good.
Beth’s sister is pregnant with twins and wants a vaginal birth. Beth says, “It seems like an uphill battle” because she has to labor in an operating room and have an epidural right from the start of labor. Beth wants to know if delivering twins is riskier than delivering a single baby, if twins are more fragile and if all this OR the epidural business is really necessary.
“During my second pregnancy, I knew what to expect and what kind of mother I wanted to strive to be.” Vera M. Hourani, Glendale, Calif.
In the past, most women who were pregnant with twins were advised to gain 35 pounds to 45 pounds, regardless of their prepregnancy size. But more recent guidelines from the Institute of Medicine are individualized to give twins a greater chance to be born healthy to a healthy mother.
"The newer weight-gain guidelines are tailored to your prepregnancy body mass index [BMI]," says Susanne Tout, R.D., L.D., IBCLC, clinical program coordinator and dietitian at the Texas Children's Hospital Fetal Center Program for Multiples in Houston.
While many doctors and women feel that bed rest can't do any harm and might do some good during certain high-risk pregnancies, a recent review of research suggests otherwise. Often-overlooked side effects include muscle atrophy, cardiovascular deconditioning, potential bone loss and depression, says study author Judith A. Maloni, Ph.D., R.N., a professor of nursing at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
The twin birth rate in the United States is close to 1 in 31, a nearly 40 percent increase since the early 1980s.
That’s because there are growing numbers of older moms (hormonal changes are believed to be responsible for the release of more than one egg at ovulation) and more successful fertility treatments.
Fit Pregnancy has always viewed Sean Daneshmand, M.D., a high-risk OB-GYN in San Diego, as our own personal hero. An advisory board member to the magazine, he puts in countless hours reviewing articles and guiding us in topics that need attention.
We're not alone, apparently, in our appreciation for this amazing doctor: He's been named a CNN Hero for his work in establishing Miracle Babies, a nationwide nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to families with babies in a neonatal intensive care unit.
Twin births have increased 70 percent in the past three decades. Here, three moms of multiples share their pregnancy and birth experiences.
“I was excited, but I knew that increased risk came with carrying more than one baby.”
Jennifer Busk, Chicago