Blog Posts by Being Pregnant

  • 5 Survival Strategies for a Pregnant Thanksgiving

    Rounding into the thirteenth week of pregnancy, I sat crammed in the back of a Subaru clutching my little bag of dry snacks and a bottle of seltzer. A chill crept in from the edges of the car window. It was Thanksgiving Day 2003 and I was heading upstate for the big family feast.

    On most Thanksgivings I would either host or bake and bring at least two pies, a couple of sides and a heavy pot of stuffing. This year I had a farmer's market pumpkin pie carefully lodged in the trunk. I couldn't imagine eating turkey, and my stomach turned at the thought of warbling cranberry sauce in a bowl. How was I going to make it through the day?

    More on Babble: 8 Health Tips for Pregnant Travelers

    Since that Thanksgiving, I have been through many holidays in various states of pregnancy, nursing and even labor (my second was due on Christmas Day). And I've learned a little bit about how to manage these traditions without being too much of a whiner or Bah Humbugger.

    Since we're all

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  • Can Clamping the Umbilical Cord Too Soon Be Harmful? 5 Reasons to Wait

    In the UK, as in the US, standard medical procedure is to clamp the umbilical cord immediately after the baby is born. A medical expert in the UK has come out against this policy, calling for change. According to Dr. David Hutchon, a retired consultant obstetrician from Memorial Hospital in Darlington, clamping the cord so quickly may put the baby at higher risk for iron deficiency, anemia, and blood loss which can, in extreme circumstances, lead to shock and possibly death.These concerns were published in a paper in the British Medical Journal, in which he also criticizes the British hospital system for dismissing advice from the World Health Organization and International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology, both of which recommend waiting before cutting the cord.

    I remember hearing something about this idea before my son's birth and then planning to ask my doctor to wait before clamping the cord. But when the time came, everything happened so fast. The baby was born; the cord was clamped. Those risks sound frightening. But is this really something to worry about?

    More on Babble: Multiple C-Sections Leave Women at Risk for Life-Threatening Complications

    I remember hearing something about this idea before my son's birth and planning to ask my doctor to wait before clamping the cord. But when the time came everything happened so fast. The baby was born, the cord was clamped. Those risks sound frightening. But is this really something to worry about?

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  • Find the Baby Book to Fit Your Personality

    Registering for baby gifts isn't as fun as it initially seems. The choices! The contradictory opinions! The complete cluelessness! While you can usually find advice on what works, what doesn't and what you absolutely need, there's one item that is universally hard to decide on: the baby book.

    More on Babble: Nine Survival Strategies for a Pregnant Thanksgiving

    Because, really, this is a future gift for your child. An heirloom to be passed down and admired, which he or she will probably keep forever. You also have to remember that it will symbolize your baby's infancy in a way, holding all of the memories and milestones that you'll refer back to and admire. So while you want the safest pair of nail clippers and the most effective breast pump, you really just need to love your baby book - and love is a hard thing to pinpoint.

    So in an effort to help you on your search, we compiled our favorite baby books for different types of moms:

    For the non-traditional mom:


    One of the most

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  • Will Childbirth Collapse Your Pelvic Floor?

    Yikes. An Australian study suggests that as many as 1 in 5 women will need surgery for pelvic organ prolapse at some point in their lives. A pelvic organ prolapse happens when the pelvic floor muscles have been weakened and the organs- the uterus, bladder or rectum- can slip down and protrude into the vagina.

    The severity of organ prolapse varies. Exercise and weight loss help strengthen those muscles to keep organs in place. Pessaries-small devices that are inserted into the vagina- can also help. In more severe cases, surgery is necessary.

    More on Babble: The Link Between Cesareans and Respiratory Distress

    There are lots of factors that make prolapse more likely: obesity, smoking, chronic constipation, constant heavy lifting, genes and, according to the Reuters coverage of this study, vaginal birth: "Pregnancy and particularly vaginal birth are prime risk factors for pelvic organ prolapse as well."

    But I don't think it's actually true that vaginal births lead to more prolapses. Or, I think the category of "vaginal" birth needs to be broken down a bit more for us to get an accurate picture of what's going on.

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  • 3 Really Good Reasons to Stay Home During Early Labor

    In the movies, the water breaks, everyone flips out and the next thing you know mom's being raced down a hospital corridor on a gurney. But in real life, especially for a first labor, this is very, very rarely the case. Still, expecting women and partners are often shocked to learn that they will be sent home if they "rush" into the hospital at the first contraction or even when the water breaks.

    In the absence of any particular concerns-like a preexisting maternal health condition that might require close monitoring-women can do a lot of laboring at home.

    The idea of mom being in actual real labor at home, unsupervised by medical personnel, can be a bit disconcerting to those of us raised with The Emergency Birth narrative pummeled into our heads. Partners in particular can feel a bit out of their depth and eager to get a professional on board. I completely understand that feeling.

    More on Babble: Does Acupuncture Help Induce Labor?

    But there are logical, evidence-based reasons for staying home until active labor has really kicked in.

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  • 5 Things You Can Do to Treat Pregnancy Acne

    Acne in pregnancy is not uncommon. Hormone changes affect the skin at all times in life, pregnancy is no exception. Women can find their skin clears up, some even glow. But others shine… with red pimples and oily skin. Acne can be most troublesome in the first trimester, but it can linger throughout pregnancy, too.

    If you find that you're breaking out during pregnancy-and especially if you never have before-you'll be ushered into the world of dodgy acne remedies. People with pimples are desperate; trust me I've had my fair share. And we'll buy into to any infomercial or advertorial going. But when you're pregnant a lot of acne medications and over-the-counter "cures" are either off limits or untested.

    More on Babble: Why Olive Oil Is a Pregnant Woman's Best Friend

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  • Newsflash: Birth Is Not Like the Movies


    Has anyone seen the preview for Laboring Under An Illusion, a documentary (available at Amazon) showing how representations of birth in the media tend to freak us out rather than prepare us for what labor is really all about? I came across this preview when reading a fascinating profile of the film-maker, Michelle L'Esperance, who is also a midwife. She made the film to help dismantle some of the myths around childbirth and steer women back to the idea that this is just our bodies doing what they do.

    I have been thinking about this a lot lately. It's amazing what images of births in movies have done to us. Some of them are pretty good- most convey the idea that this is an important event and that parents are nervous, which is mostly true in real life. But movies rely on drama, and so does television, even so-called "reality" television. The narratives tend to follow an emergency-to-relief trajectory. Women are often rushed down hallways on gurneys like car-accident victims.

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  • 5 Ways to Ease Pregnancy Swelling

    Puffy, swollen feet can be one of the more annoying side effects of late pregnancy. The swelling, officially known as edema, is the result of the increased water production and retention. Pregnancy weight gain puts pressure on the vena cava, affecting blood flow, which in turn affects swelling in the lower body.

    Swelling can be a huge drag anytime, but as the weather gets colder, it actually presents some logistical problems: namely, how to fit your feet into shoes when they're magnified to twice their normal girth. I know some pregnant women who have resorted to flip flops in frigid temperatures, some who relied on an Ugg-like boot solution. There's also the option of going up a size. Or several… I was wearing my husband's shoes for a while the second time around.

    More on Babble: 8 Tips for Easy Traveling When You're Expecting

    Fashion concerns aside, swelling is rarely a cause for worry.(The exceptions: Swelling is sudden and/or severe, affects the eyes or face. These types of swelling can be a sign of pre-eclampsia which requires immediate medical attention. Swelling is one sided or uneven. This could be a sign of a blood clot in the leg, also a medical emergency.) But swelling is a cause for complaining, and there are things you can do to improve the situation.

    More on Babble: Pregnancy Exercises So Easy You Can Do Them at Home

    Here are 10 ways you can soothe your swollen feet in pregnancy:

    1. Get someone to rub your feet. A new study shows that foot massage helped 80% of pregnant women with edema. The other 20% were just really, really relaxed about it.

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  • Pregorexia: Why She's Not Eating for Two

    "I did not experience the freedom to eat for two; rather, I experienced the restriction of starving for two," writes Maggie Baumann in her disturbing, frank account of experiencing eating disorders during her two pregnancies. Her first pregnancy triggered a strong compulsion to stay small, but during her second one the exercise and low-calorie diet became obsessive and life-threatening.

    She delivered her low birth weight daughter after gaining 18 pounds. At 5 feet 8 inches, she weighed a 135 lbs at delivery. Her daughter was born healthy but later developed neurological problems that have been attributed to her mother's anorexic pregnancy or "pregorexia."

    More on Babble: 5 Ways Pregnancy is Good Practice for Motherhood

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  • Practice Makes Perfect: 3 Ways Pregnancy Helps You Be a Better Parent

    Pregnancy has its good and bad points, the most obvious benefit being the end result (you know, the baby). Some women hate being pregnant, some women love being pregnant, most find it a mixed bag. But as hard as some of the hard parts can be, there may be a silver lining. (In addition to the baby.) The challenging parts of pregnancy might actually serve a purpose: helping you get ready to become a parent.

    Here are five not-always-so-fun things about being pregnant that can actually help you to be a better parent once your baby is born.

    1. Interrupted Sleep

    Sleep problems in pregnancy are really common. Wakefulness can be hormonal (pregnant woman have sleep cycles that are more easily interrupted), psychological (there's plenty to worry about) or physical (no shortage of discomforts to wake you up in the night). One theory is that this less-sound sleep is a way of training the body to deal with middle of the night feedings and frequent wakings of early parenthood.

    More on Babble: 10 Tips for Better Sleep During Pregnancy

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