Suprisingly Happy

By Jennifer L.W. Fink Elizabeth 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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Bust A Bad Vice

By Vanessa Geneva Ahern From that surreal moment when you see two pink lines confirming you’re pregnant, you feel a flush of excitement and, at the same time, one stunning realization: “The party’s over!” No more Sunday mimosas, Starbucks mochas, smoke breaks, and working ’til all hours. Welcome to pregnancy, the ideal time to bust a bad habit or two that you’ve been neglecting to face. Here are five vices to quit now for your health—and your baby’s. Chain smoking, …

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Growing Pains?

By Gina Roberts-Grey Jessica Rosenberg, a mother of two from Santa Clara, CA, suffered from extreme back pain when she was pregnant with her first child. “One morning when I was about seven months pregnant, I bent forward to pick up a shirt and couldn’t straighten up,” Rosenberg says. Her pain was so severe that she had to crawl to the phone to call for help. “I spent the next three days on the couch while my back healed enough to move around again.” Rosenberg’s experience …

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Yoga For Relief

By Wini Linguvic Photographed by Mark Madeo Yoga is a wonderful resource when you’re expecting. It has many benefits, including relief from common aches and pains of pregnancy as well as stress reduction. Yoga also provides an increased connection between your body and your breath that will assist you throughout pregnancy, labor and delivery, and motherhood. By practicing prenatal yoga, you can broaden your awareness of your changing body and your growing baby. Even a few minutes a …

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Information Overload

By Meagan Francis In the Internet age, knowing everything—and I do mean everything—about pregnancy and parenting often seems just a mouse click away. Not only can you order every book in print without ever leaving your desk, but you can also read countless articles and blogs warning you about scary pregnancy-related symptoms and birth emergencies. Sure, knowledge is power, but after a while, too much knowledge can become overwhelming. And it may not be all that helpful: After all, …

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Get Your Diet Right

By Jodi Helmer Kate Hanley of Brooklyn, NY, knew that pregnancy and weight gain go hand-in-hand, so it came as no surprise when she gained 30 pounds before giving birth to her daughter, Lillian. Still, Hanley admits, “I was nervous about gaining tons of weight when I was pregnant. I made sure that the extra calories I consumed were fairly healthy and I tried not to let being pregnant be an excuse to eat whatever I wanted—but when I was really jonesing for a cookie, I definitely …

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Be Summer Smart

By Kyla Steinkraus Summer is the time for relaxing pursuits like lounging poolside and sipping margaritas—virgin, of course!—but it also poses some unique risks to pregnant women. Before you hit the beach or pack that picnic basket, refresh your summer smarts with these basic guidelines. Keep your cool. Hot weather becomes more than just a comfort issue when you’re pregnant. “Significantly elevated body temperatures have been linked to birth defects and miscarriage, especially in the …

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You’re Covered

There’s no denying the importance of sunscreen. But your sun-sensitive pregnant skin makes daily use even more crucial. And you want to cover all exposed areas—face, neck, hands, arms. “There’s a lot of incidental sun exposure during the day,” says Beth Lange, Ph.D., senior director at the Coppertone Solar Research Center. “If you go out for lunch and you’re walking around outside, you want to reapply.” Because pregnancy increases the chance of melasma, a darkening of the …

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Varicose veins are mainly a hereditary condition, but doctors actually see them two to four times more frequently in women than in men. The reason? Pregnancy. Your growing uterus, along with weight gain and fluid retention, all put extra pressure on the vein walls, which can accelerate vein damage. Wearing compression or support hose controls leg swelling and stops blood from pooling in your leg veins. “If you have a family history of varicose veins, I would recommend hose because your …

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Value-Added Snacks

By LuAnn Womach Are you craving foods you never imagined you’d like this much, or never liked before? You’re not alone. Research says that 19 percent of pregnant women crave the sour taste of citrus, while another 20 percent frequently want sweets of some kind. Instead of indulging in empty extra calories, satisfy your taste buds with these nutritious solutions to your cravings. • If you’re sweet on sweets, fresh fruits supply needed vitamins and minerals, and you can drizzle …

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