Photo: Courtesy of LionsgateLeslie Goldman, SELF magazine
Whether kids are way, waaay in the future or you're baby-crazy now, a SELF survey shows you're getting mixed messages when it comes to pregnancy. For the real deal, read on.
1. How many extra calories do you really get to chow down when you're "eating for two"?
C: More than half the readers self surveyed got this wrong. Alas, pregnancy is not a feeding frenzy. In fact, you'll need only a couple of smart snacks a day, like an apple with 2 tablespoons of almond butter, for 300 extra calories total, says Ashley Koff, R.D., of Los Angeles.
2. What's the real limit on coffee?
A: There's no limit if it's decaf.
B: Have less than 2 cups a day.
C: You get zip-not even decaf.
B: Thirty-five percent thought it's all or nothing, but in truth it's a sliding scale: Zero caffeine is safest, up to 200 milligrams a day is OK, but more can increase miscarriage risk, says Amanda Williams Calhoun, M.D., an ob/gyn with Kaiser Permanente Northern California. So a Tall Starbucks coffee is off-limits at 260 mg, but at-home drip (95 mg/cup) and decaf (2 mg/cup) are safe. Don't forget to factor in tea, cola and chocolate, too!
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3. How long should you wait after a miscarriage to try again?
A: Six months
B: Two to three months
C: No need to wait
C: Seventy percent said you have to hold off-but medically, there's no need. Women who conceive within 6 months of miscarrying have better odds of a healthy baby than those who wait 6 to 12 months, a study in the British Medical Journal suggests. And P.S.: Your overall chance of miscarrying is probably 15 to 20 percent. If you do, don't panic; most postmiscarriage pregnancies stick.
4. Can you use antidepressants?
B: Fifty-six percent believe no, but that's not always the case. For some moms-to-be with severe depression, an Rx may deliver crucial relief, says Nada Stotland, M.D., professor of psychiatry at Rush Medical College. The drugs studied the longest, Zoloft and Prozac, aren't proven to cause birth defects. When you're ready, your ob/gyn and psychiatrist can craft a plan that helps keep you happy and your future bundle healthy.
5. Is it OK to color your hair?
B: After the first trimester
C: Before the third trimester
B: Most of you got it wrong-a quarter thought you couldn't dye in the third trimester; a third said not at all. After week 12, it's fine! There's no proof haircolor is harmful, but Dr. Calhoun says to play it safe by waiting until the fetus's major organs have formed. Then feel free to hit the salon-and look gorge in the delivery room.
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Mom-to-Be Yeas and Nays
GO FOR IT, BABY!
Sex: It won't cause a miscarriage or poke the baby's eyes out. In fact, increased blood flow to your nether parts may make this action your best yet.
Working out: Thirty minutes of daily exercise can increase energy and reduce backaches and bloating. Research also shows tots born to moms who hit the gym while pregnant have a healthier heart than other infants do.
Flying: Docs say not to fly after week 36 only because you don't want to deliver on a plane, not because of any health risk. Ask your M.D., but you can probably book a babymoon without fear. (Beg for an exit-row seat.)
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SORRY, BUT NO DEAL
Drinking: Yeah, we know they do it in Europe. But The March of Dimes warns there's no evidence any alcohol is safe for your babe; even a small amount could lead to birth defects such as behavioral problems. So really, why risk it?
Scooping the litter box: Oddly, cat feces contain an infectious parasite called Toxoplasma gondii that could cause a preterm birth. (Kitties themselves are fine: You've got the go-ahead to snuggle.)
Sushi: Cucumber and tempura-shrimp rolls? Fine. But raw fish might contain bacteria that can cause stillbirth. Sayonara, sashimi.
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