Checkup Smarts

Unlike some visits to a doctor’s office, a prenatal appointment is usually quick and pleasant. It is primarily designed for you and your health-care provider to receive updated information regarding you and your baby, listen to your baby’s heartbeat, and rule out any complications.To maximize the time you spend with your ob/gyn, take these suggestions from The Smart Mother’s Guide to a Better Pregnancy.• Make a list of your concerns and present them at the beginning of your …

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Good Eats!

By Lisa FieldsEating right during pregnancy can be daunting, especially when you have to master a restricted menu and battle morning sickness. Just ask Mara Palcisco of Loveland, OH.When she learned she was pregnant, the systems engineer happily gave up her Tuesday night wine-and-sushi dinners with the girls from work. But while Palcisco’s ob/gyn provided a list of forbidden foods, the doctor was vague about what she should eat. So Palcisco often doubted her choices. And during …

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Dress Rehearsal

By Heather Larson When Raelynn Glispin experienced contractions during the 36th week of her first pregnancy, they caught her by surprise; she wasn’t sure what they were. “When you’ve never had a contraction before, you aren’t positive if it’s Braxton Hicks or actual labor,” says Glispin, a mother of two in Oxford, MA. “With my second baby, I clearly knew the difference and wasn’t surprised.” Braxton Hicks, so named because an English doctor named John Braxton Hicks first …

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Go Ahead, Work Out!

By Sasha Brown-WorshamI found the postcard, written in 1945, in a dust-filled corner of my grandmother’s closet. It was a letter of encouragement—Bubby’s doctor urging my healthy, five months–pregnant grandmother to “keep your feet up, rest as much as possible.”In the 60 years since Bubby’s first pregnancy, that advice has gone from passé to downright absurd. More than ever, pregnant women in good health are encouraged to keep active during the full nine months, assured …

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Greener Pastures

By Linda ChildersThe color options for expectant moms used to be pretty simple: pink or blue. But many pregnant women, driven by concern for the health of their baby, themselves, and the planet, are now selecting a different shade: green.Pediatricians agree that pregnancy is a good time to adopt environmentally conscious habits because fetuses are more vulnerable to toxic substances. For example, 2005 study by the Environmental Working Group measured umbilical cord blood for …

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Banish That Blemish

You believed it back in high school: Chocolate and french fries cause zits. But one look at your pink and pimply skin now and you know the culprit is hormones, which run rampant in your body during adolescence and pregnancy, increasing the sebum your skin produces and thus creating a breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria.Unfortunately, the treatments teens rely on—Accutane, tetracycline—are off-limits to you now. And some doctors even recommend avoiding over-the-counter ingredients …

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Foot Work

By the time you get to your third trimester, you may not be able to see your feet, but you know they’re there—swollen and worn out. Luckily, it’s perfectly safe to get a pedicure; in fact, it may be your only solution, because you probably can’t reach your toes, either!Most salons will take a few precautions, avoiding the area between the ankle bone and heel during any massage, even though there’s no medical evidence that this causes contractions. “You should be really cautious …

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Have No Fear

By Meagan FrancisIt’s no wonder pregnancy makes some women nervous. Life is about to change in a huge way, and, in the meantime, there’s a baby growing inside whose well-being she feels utterly responsible for. And, of course, that child is going to have to come out somehow!Whether it’s the first baby or the fourth, a natural birth or a C-section, it’s absolutely normal to feel uneasy about giving birth. Fortunately, it’s possible to replace those nerves with calmer thoughts. …

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Productive and Pregnant

By Erin Gifford Pregnancy is a full-time job, which makes it tough when you’re also working an actual full-time job. Juggling meetings and deadlines with doctor’s visits and morning sickness is a struggle, but you can get through 40 weeks and still make the most of your 40 working hours. Here’s veteran advice for managing your work life as an expecting mom. Soothing Symptoms Many women work right up until their due date. Unfortunately, this often means dealing with fatigue and discomfort …

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Suprisingly Happy

By Jennifer L.W. FinkElizabeth Johnson’s fourth pregnancy was a complete surprise. Just a few months earlier, her physician had told her she was probably in perimenopause. Her youngest child was in first grade and she’d recently given away all her baby gear. So, when she found out she was pregnant, her first reaction was “borderline terror,” says the Lansing, MI, mom.Each year more than three million American women find themselves staring in surprise at a positive pregnancy …

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