Category: Signs of Pregnancy
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Q&A: My Pregnant Life
<p>A lot of changes occur when you're pregnant—your emotions, hormones, sex life, social life, and more. We tackle your top pregnant-life questions here.</p>

<p><b>Can I eat cold cuts while 22 weeks pregnant?</b></p>

<p><em>I'm 22 weeks pregnant, is it safe to eat an Italian hoagie or other cold cuts?</em></p>

<p>All deli meat, regardless of the type, should only be consumed if it is purchased at a deli counter. Meats packaged with or left in containers, vats, or bags of water can have an overgrowth of a bacteria called listeria which can be harmful to the fetus. Never eat deli meat that has not been properly stored.</p>

<p><em>Used with permission. © Meredith Corporation., All rights reserved. </em></p>
Q&A: Signs Of Pregnancy

From sore breasts to cramp, nausea and fatigue, your body may tell you you're pregnant before a home pregnancy test does. Here's how.

When do pregnancy symptoms start?

I am 6 weeks pregnant and all I feel is a little tired. Is it normal to not have many symptoms this far along?

Each pregnancy is different and some women never experience typical pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, constipation, and fatigue while others may experience one or several of these symptoms. You may feel differently with each pregnancy as well. Not having pregnancy symptoms is not a bad thing. ... You may consider yourself lucky if you are not feeling bad.

Used with permission. © Meredith Corporation., All rights reserved.

Pregnancy "Mommy Brain" Moments
<p>It's not only you! Foggy-headedness goes hand in hand with motherhood. Check out these frazzled moments of real-life moms and moms-to-be and relax -- you're so not alone.</p>

<p>"I would walk around with my toddler on my hip then panic because I couldn't find him."</p>
<p>-Katrina Harper</p>

<p>"I constantly walk out of the house thinking I've forgotten my keys only to realize they're in my hand."</p>
<p>-Lorraine Egan</p>

<p>"I forgot to put Parmesan in the chicken Parmesan."</p>
<p>-Angie Rinehart</p>

<p>"Last night I was going nuts trying to find my daughter's pacifier -- until my husband said, 'Maria, it's in the baby's mouth.'"</p>
<p>-Maria Estrada Parada</p>

<p>"I once spent 30 minutes frantically looking for my phone in my car. Then I realized I was using it as a flashlight."</p>
<p>-Jax Lee-Sawyer</p>

<p>"I got to work one day and looked down to discover I'd only shaved one of my legs!"</p>
<p>-Jen Nelson Lane</p>

<p>"My daughter gets home therapy and when her therapist leaves I sign a paper saying she was there. One day, when she handed me the pen and sign out sheet, I signed my first name and went blank. I had to ask her what my last name is!"</p>
<p>-Tiffany Tate Young</p>

<p>"I forgot it was summer vacation and woke my 4-year-old son up to get on the bus. I realized about an hour later the bus wasn't coming."</p>
<p>-Danyel Mier-Sanders</p>

<p>"One night my husband and I went to the store and on the way home I asked him, 'Why are you turning here?' He replied, 'Because this is our street.'"</p>
<p>-Nicole VandeBoom</p>

<p>"I would head out the door, start the car, and realize I had not put on my shoes. That was a weekly occurrence!"</p>
<p>-Jennifer Rohde</p>

<p>"The other day I was doing laundry. I put the clothes in the dryer but when I tried to turn it on, it wouldn't work. I checked to make sure it was plugged in, which it was, and was going to check the breaker, but when I turned to walk away my leg hit the dryer door. It wouldn't turn on because I never closed the door!"'</p>
<p>-Brandy Harper</p>

<p>"I'm constantly asking my husband something and then turning around and asking him again. He looks at me like I'm crazy and says, 'You just asked me that and I answered you.'"</p>
<p>-Amanda Thomas</p>

<p>"I once waited 45 minutes for the water to boil then realized the burner wasn't on."</p>
<p>-Karine Hoffman</p>

<p>"One morning before work, I opened the last can of ginger ale to calm my morning-sick stomach, went to the closet to get something out, then couldn't find the ginger ale anywhere. I left for work feeling sick and mad about the soda. Fast forward to the end of the day, I go into the closet and the can is sitting right in front of me."</p>
<p>-Caroline Snelson</p>

<p>"One night when I was 7 months pregnant, I went out to dinner with friends. It turned out the restaurant was cash only, so I waddled across the street to the ATM, inserted my card, and realized I had no idea what my PIN number was. I tried a bunch of different numbers but nothing worked. My friends had to front me the money!"</p>
<p>-Stephanie Wagle</p>

<p>"I'm a speech language pathologist and one day, at one of my clients' houses, I got out of my car, removed my toys for the client, and then proceeded to the front door, not realizing that my car was running and the keys were in the ignition. The mom of my client answered the door and asked me, 'Erin, do you realize that your car is still running?'"</p>
<p>-Erin Hays Stephens</p>

<p>"I was getting ready to leave the house with my son and I stuck his binky in my boyfriend's mouth!"</p>
<p>-Rebecca Jenkins</p>

<p>"I spent half an hour looking for my shoes then realized they were already on my feet."</p>
<p>-Melinda Baker</p>

<p>"I have walked around the house looking for my cell phone only to realize I was talking to someone on it the entire time."</p>
<p>-Chasity Barks</p>

<p>"I put my 11-month-old's formula in the coffee pot one morning."</p>
<p>-Amy Pratt-Hepler</p>

<p>"We were going on vacation with my 2-year-old and when we got to the airport, I realized I never put shoes on him -- and we hadn't brought any with us."</p>
<p>-Lindsay Miller Tomko</p>

<p>"I made French toast one morning and sprinkled it with powdered sugar. I thought it tasted a little funny and realized I had dusted it with flour, not powdered sugar."</p>
<p>-Jennifer Ambrose</p>

<p>"I woke up after a nap one day and asked my fiance, 'Where's Dwayne?' He just looked at me, puzzled. My fiance's name is Dwayne."</p>
<p>-Paige Corliss</p>

<p>"My husband and I went out to dinner one night when I was five months pregnant. While he was paying, I went to start the car -- and took off without him! I was two blocks away when he called me."</p>
<p>-Erin Buckaloo</p>

<p><em>Used with permission. © Meredith Corporation., All rights reserved.</em></p>
10 Home Pregnancy Tests—And How To Use Them
<p>Everything you need to know about how they work, the earliest you can try them, and how to make sure you're doing it right.</p>

<p><b>When to Test  </b></p>
<p>It's been a couple of weeks since you did the deed, and the suspense is killing you. Could you be pregnant? We know the box says you can test three to four days before your missed period -- but if you test too early, it may not be accurate, says Laurence Cole, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology and chief of women's health research at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. "You're more likely to get a false negative, where the test says you're not pregnant but you really are," he says.</p>

<p>Whenever you decide to test, here's how to get the best results: Test first thing in the morning, pop the stick in midstream, lay it flat, and give it a few minutes to work. If it's positive -- congrats, mama! If it's negative, try again in a few days if your period's still MIA. If you get a faint, is-that-what-I-think-it-is positive, chances are you are indeed pregnant, since false positives (where the test says you're pregnant, but you're really not) are very rare. Wait a day or two and test again.</p>

<p>Now, which test should you buy? We did the legwork for you. After poring through the instruction books and trying them out, here's how to use the most popular pregnancy tests on the market.</p>

<p><b>First Response Gold  </b></p>
<p>What it is: A new digital test. It may be more sensitive for early testing because it detects two types of hCG, hormones your body starts producing shortly after you've conceived.</p>

<p>When it says you can test: 4 days before your expected period</p>

<p>How to take it: Your wait time is 3 minutes. A clock lets you know the test is working until a "yes" or "no" appears. A question mark indicates an error, and there's a 1-800 number to call with questions.</p>

<p>What it costs: $21.10 for 2 tests</p>

<p><b>First Response Early Result  </b></p>
<p>What it is: A standard stick test that's been shown to be more sensitive than other brands. A 2005 University of New Mexico study found that of seven popular pregnancy tests, First Response tests were best in detecting early pregnancy.</p>

<p>When it says you can test: 4 days before your expected period</p>

<p>How to take it: Pee on the stick for 5 seconds (no more and no less), and then set it down for 3 minutes. Two lines (even if one is lighter) means your eggo is preggo; one line means it's not.</p>

<p>What it costs: $18.99 for 3 tests</p>

<p><b>Accu-Clear Early Pregnancy Test  </b></p>
<p>What it is: Standard stick test</p>

<p>When it says you can test: The day you expect your period</p>

<p>How to take it: A borderline-TMI illustration shows you exactly how to pee on the stick (um, thanks). The tip will turn pink, then you wait 3 minutes for the results. A line, even a light one, in the left test window means you're pregnant; the lack of a line means you're not. Bonus: An abbreviated version of the instructions is on the back side of the stick itself, and there's a key on the stick's plastic cap, since the last thing a nervous, possibly pregnant woman needs is a scramble to find the "What does this mean?"</p>

<p>What it costs: $15.75 for 2 tests</p>

<p><b>e.p.t. Certainty  </b></p>
<p>What it is: Digital test</p>

<p>When it says you can test: 4 days before your expected period</p>

<p>How to take it: It only takes 3 minutes to find out if that bun's in the oven, and you can't misread the results -- it says either "pregnant" or "not pregnant." An hourglass symbol means it's still processing. A book symbol appears to refer you to the instructions if you've somehow done it wrong.</p>

<p>What it costs: $21.99 for 2 tests </p>

<p><b>e.p.t. Pregnancy Test  </b></p>
<p>What it is: Standard stick test</p>

<p>When it says you can test: 4 days before your expected period</p>

<p>How to take it: After peeing on it, wait 3 minutes for a line to show up in the square control window. A plus sign (even a light one) means you're pregnant, a minus signs means you're not.</p>

<p>What it costs: $17.99 for 2 tests</p>

<p><b>Answer Quick & Simple Early Result Pregnancy Test  </b></p>
<p>What it is: Standard stick test</p>

<p>When it says you can test: 4 days before your expected period</p>

<p>How to take it: Do your thing and get results in 3 minutes. One line is negative, two lines (even if one is lighter than the other) means it's positive.</p>

<p>What it costs: $15.99 for 2 tests</p>

<p><b>Clearblue Easy  </b></p>
<p>What it is: Standard stick test</p>

<p>When it says you can test: 4 days before your expected period</p>

<p>How to take it: The tip of the test turns pink once you pee on it. Wait 2 minutes for the blue line in the control window to appear, then look for the plus sign (you're pg) or the minus sign (you're not). Don't worry if one of the lines of your plus sign is faint -- if it's there, congrats!</p>

<p>What it costs: $17.49 for 3 tests</p>

<p><b>Fact Plus One-Step Pregnancy Test  </b></p>
<p>What it is: Standard stick test</p>

<p>When it says you can test: 4 days before your expected period</p>

<p>How to take it: Remove the cap, pee on it for 5 seconds -- and only 5 seconds (the instructions make a big deal about how more or less time can skew the results) -- and then wait 2 minutes for the results. A plus sign (dark or light) means you're preg, a minus sign means you're not.</p>

<p>What it costs: $16.49 for 3 tests</p>

<p><b>CVS Digital Pregnancy Test  </b></p>
<p>What it is: A two-step digital test</p>

<p>When they say you can test: The day you expect your period</p>

<p>How to take it: After opening the test stick, pop it into the test holder, line up the purple arrows until it clicks into place, and then take the test. A flashing illustration of the test lets you know it's processing. After three minutes, either a "pregnant" or "not pregnant" reading will appear. A "see leaflet" message lets you know there's an error. Press the eject button to pop out the stick (and save for the baby book), and keep the plastic holder for another use.</p>

<p>What it costs: $13.79 for 2 tests </p>

<p><b>Other Drugstore Pregnancy Tests </b></p>
<p>What it is: Standard stick test</p>

<p>When it says you can test: 4 days before your expected period</p>

<p>How to take it: Psst! The generic-brand pregnancy tests on the shelves of your local Walgreens, Target, and Rite-Aid are made by the same manufacturer as Fact Plus -- you get the same technology for less $$. Results appear within 3 minutes, after you see the blue stripe in the control window. A plus sign -- even a faint one -- in the left result window means you're preg, a minus sign means you're not.</p>

<p>What it costs: Walgreens One-Step Pregnancy Test, $11.99 for 2 tests; Target Pregnancy Test, $9.99 for 3 tests; Rite Aid One-Step Pregnancy Test, $12.99 for 2 tests</p>

<p><em>Used with permission. © Meredith Corporation., All rights reserved. </em> </p>
Home Pregnancy Tests
<p>Faster, easier, and more widely available than ever.</p>
<p>from American Baby</p>
<p>If you suspect you're pregnant, chances are you're considering taking a home pregnancy test. And why not? They're readily available, easy to use, and can buy you peace of mind -- not to mention quick results!</p>
<p>But before you head to the pharmacy to buy a home testing kit, learn the answers to some basic home pregnancy test questions from the National Women's Health Information Center.</p>
<p><b>How soon after conception is a pregnancy test effective?</b></p>
<p>Pregnancy tests, which are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, have come a long way since the early to mid 1900s when toads, rats, and rabbits were actually used in testing. Today, over-the-counter home pregnancy kits provide privacy and fast results. They can detect pregnancy as soon as six days after conception or one day after a missed menstrual period. This is a major advantage in allowing women to seek the earliest prenatal care possible.</p>
<p><b>How do pregnancy tests work?</b></p>
<p>Pregnancy tests detect the presence of a hormone produced by pregnant women after conception, called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). In the 1970s, a method called ring or tube agglutination testing used a test tube containing prepackaged red blood cells to detect hCG in urine. If a ring showed at the bottom of the tube after addition of a urine sample, the test was positive. These tests are very sensitive to movement and human error so they're rarely used today.</p>
<p>The test kits you find in your drugstore today are much more sophisticated. Brands such as e.p.t. and First Response contain special antibodies that detect minute traces of hCG in urine. The antibodies are molecules coated with a substance that bonds to the pregnancy hormone if it's present. The tests are easy to use: A urine sample is combined with the antibodies in a special container and the test is timed. A color change indicates a positive or negative result.</p>
<p>Products such as Clearblue Easy use a testing method called "rapid assay delivery," which can give results in only three minutes and even inform the user if the test hasn't been done properly. This method combines a biochemical process with antibodies that detect hCG in a pen-shaped instrument.</p>
<p><b>How accurate are home pregnancy tests?</b></p>
<p>Although most manufacturers claim that home pregnancy tests are 99 percent accurate, inaccurate results may be more frequent due to improper usage, use of a product past its expiration date, exposure of the test to sunlight, and the presence of cancer in the user. It's very important to follow the package instructions exactly for results to be accurate.</p>
<p>Regardless of the brand used or result obtained, most manufacturers recommend repeating the process a few days later to confirm results, because levels of hCG following conception are so low. The strength of each test varies, and the test may not pick up the amount of hCG hormone present the first time you test.</p>
<p>You should definitely make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as you think you're pregnant. It's important to get prenatal care as early as possible, for your sake and for your baby's.</p>

<p><em>Used with permission. © Meredith Corporation., All rights reserved.</em></p>
Old Wives' Tales: Whether You'll Have A Boy Or A Girl
<p>Are you having a boy or a girl? These old wives' tales are a fun (but not scientific!) way to guess the sex of your baby.</p>
<p><b>Old Wives' Tales</b></p>
<p>Old wives' tales are little more than super-circulated rumors. Never proven to be true, they're sayings and adages that generations of women have passed down to one another regarding family health ("Eating carrots improves your vision"), safe parenting ("Wait an hour after eating before swimming"), and -- most popularly -- pregnancy. Whether you're trying to guess your own baby's gender or looking for shower games for a friend, read on for the top ways women have guessed: boy or girl?</p>
<p><b>Sleep Position</b></p> 
<p>Pay attention to which way you lay down in bed tonight. If you prefer sleeping on your left side, you'll have a boy. Right side? Your pregnant with a girl.</p>
<p><b>Upset Stomach</b></p> 
<p>Little girls aren't always sweet. Extreme nausea means you are having a daughter.</p>
<p><b>Soft or dry hands</b></p> 
<p>If your hands are dry during pregnancy, you are having a boy; soft -- expect a girl.</p>
<p><b>Food Cravings</b></p> 
<p>Your favorite pregnancy foods may tell you what sex the baby is. If you're craving citrus while pregnant, you're having a girl.</p>
<p><b>Adult Acne</b></p> 
<p>If altering hormones makes your skin break out, expect a girl.</p>
<p><b>Graceful or Clumsy Pregnancy</b></p> 
<p>If you feel as though you're gliding through they day, you'll have a girl. Stumbling? It's a boy.</p>
<p><b>Face Weight Gain</b></p> 
<p>If your face gets fuller, it means you're having a girl.</p>
<p><b>Sugar and Spice Food Cravings</b></p> 
<p>Craving salt during pregnancy? Potato chips, pretzels, and popcorn means a boy is on the way. Need a little something sweet? Ice cream, chocolate, and candy means you're having a girl.</p>
<p><b>Mood Changes</b></p> 
<p>If you're experiencing pregnant mood-swings, expect a baby girl to arrive soon.</p>
<p><b>High or Low Pregnant Belly</b></p> 
<p>If you're carrying the baby low on your stomach, expect a boy. If it's high, you're having a girl.</p>
<p><b>Baby Weight</b></p>
<p>If you're carrying baby in front, it's a boy. Is the baby weight spaced all around your middle? It's a girl.</p>
<p><b>Pendulum Test </b></p>
<p>Dangle a chain with a charm over your palm. If it swings back and forth: boy. In a circle: girl.</p>
<p><b>Model Your Hands</b></p> 
<p>"Show me your hands." If you would hold your hands palms up it's a girl. Down? You're having a boy.</p>
<p><b>Toddler Advice</b></p> 
<p>Get baby advice from a nephew or friend's little boy. If a toddler boy shows interest in your belly, you'll have a girl. If he ignores you, it's a boy.</p>
<p><b>Eat Garlic </b></p>
<p>Guess the baby's sex by eating garlic. If the smell seeps out of your pores it's a boy. If there's no scent it's a little girl.</p>
<p><b>Key to Pregnancy</b></p> 
<p>If you pick up a key by the round end, you're having a boy. If it's by the long end? A girl.</p>
<p><b>Even and Odd Numbers </b></p>
<p>If your age and year of conception are both even or odd, it's girl. One even, one odd means a boy.</p>
<p><b>Baby's Heartbeat </b></p>
<p>If the baby's heart beats more than 150 times per minute, you're pregnant with a girl. Less than 150, it's a boy.</p>
<p><b>Stress Test </b></p>
<p>A child tends to be of the same sex as the parent who is less stressed at the time of conception.</p>
<p><b>Dream Meanings </b></p>
<p>If you dream about having a girl while pregnant, you will wind up having a boy and vice versa.</p>
<p><b>Breast Size </b></p>
<p>If your right breast is larger than the left while pregnant, you are having a girl. If the left is larger, it's a baby boy.</p> 

<p><em>Used with permission. © Meredith Corporation., All rights reserved.</em></p>
Headaches During Pregnancy
<p>Learn the common culprits behind this painful problem, how you can prevent it, and when to call the doctor.</p>
<p>By Colleen Dowd from Parents Magazine</p>

<p>"Headaches are a common complaint in pregnancy," says Diane Christopher, M.D., an ob-gyn in Boulder, CO. Stress and dehydration are common triggers. Headaches can haunt you during your first trimester because of a surge in hormones and an increase in blood flow throughout your body, explains Giuseppe Ramunno, M.D., an ob-gyn at East Valley Women's Medical Group in Mesa, AZ. During your third trimester, headaches tend to be related to poor posture and tension from carrying extra weight. In rare cases, headaches can signal a serious underlying medical condition. Consult our guide to learn all the causes of headaches during pregnancy, ways to prevent them, and when to call the doctor.</p>
<p>Many of the things that can cause a headache when you're not pregnant can cause one when you're expecting. Common, benign culprits include:</p>
<p>•	Fluctuating hormones </p>
<p>•	Tight muscles in the head, neck, and back </p>
<p>•	Sinus congestion </p>
<p>•	Dehydration </p>
<p>•	Caffeine withdrawal </p>
<p>•	Low blood pressure </p>
<p>•	Migraine </p>
<p>•	Hunger </p>
<p>•	Stress</p>
<p>Occasionally, a headache can be a sign of a more serious medical problem, including:</p>
<p>•	Preeclampsia, a serious hypertensive disease </p>
<p>•	Sinusitis, which requires antibiotics</p>
<p>•	Neurological disease (very rare)</p>
<p><b>Treatment for Mild Headaches</b></p>
<p>Drink a tall glass of water and rest, Dr. Christopher recommends. If your headache persists, is severe, or is accompanied by any of the symptoms listed in the next section, call your doctor.</p>
<p><b>When to Call the Doctor</b></p>
<p>Call you doctor right away if you get a headache along with any of these symptoms:</p>
<p>•	Difficulty speaking, loss of movement, or numbness or tingling in your arms or legs</p>
<p>•	Sudden onset of severe pain</p>
<p>•	Pain in the right upper portion of the abdomen</p>
<p>•	Loss of control of urine or stool</p>
<p>•	New or worsening pain, or pain that's persistent</p>
<p>•	Changes in your vision </p>
<p>•	Sudden weight gain, and/or swelling in the hands and face</p>
<p>Help keep headaches away with these expert tips:</p>
<p>•	Pinpoint your headache triggers. Keep track of your meals and activities, as well as when a headache strikes, to help you learn how to modify headache-causing habits.</p>
<p>•	Exercise. Take a daily walk or do prenatal yoga, if permitted by your doctor.</p>
<p>•	Practice relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing, yoga, and visualization. </p>
<p>•	Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar on an even keel. </p>
<p>•	Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.</p>
<p>•	Follow a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at about the same time every day, even on weekends.</p>
<p>•	Maintain good posture to help prevent muscle tension.</p>

<p><em>Used with permission. © Meredith Corporation., All rights reserved. </em></p>
5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming A Mom
From Disney Baby

There is nothing that can really prepare you for the incredible, overwhelming and over-the-top feeling of becoming a mother. You can read every pregnancy book out there, listen to the advice of loved ones and experts, but once you have a child everything you thought you knew goes right out the window. After the birth of my third baby, I was the most relaxed and easy-going. I had already gone through the experience of giving birth twice and my parenting tactics had loosened up quite a bit. These are the 5 things I wish someone would have told me before becoming a mom.
14 Things to Do Before Baby Arrives
There's a lot to do before giving birth. Here's how to pace yourself and prepare for baby.
6 Strange Pregnancy Symptoms

<p>Everyone expects morning sickness and funny cravings during pregnancy, but there are plenty of other strange pregnancy symptoms you might not know about.</p>

<P>One night during her third trimester, Cheryl Freiburg, of Point Loma, California, woke up with numb, tingly hands. She recognized the feeling because she'd had mild carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms previously at work. But during pregnancy, her body had swelled as a result of fluid retention, putting major pressure on the nerves in her hands and wrists. "I had to wear braces at night and also at work."
Like Freiburg, many moms-to-be encounter problems that their friends and mother-in-law never dealt with or simply glossed over. Find out about some conditions you might experience.</P>

<p><B>Dental Distress</B>
You may discover that along with other parts of your body, your gums swell, thanks to changing levels of progesterone and estrogen, and increased blood flow. "A pregnant woman's gums can become engorged with blood, creating deep pockets with tender tissue, and bleed during brushing or flossing," explains Gildo Corradi, D.D.S., a dentist in New York City. If you notice significant bleeding, even when you aren't brushing, see your dentist. He'll check for gingivitis, inflammation of the gums, and periodontitis, a severe version that also affects surrounding ligaments and bone, and which is associated with a higher risk of preterm labor and low birthweight, as well as tooth loss, stroke, and other serious problems. Dr. Corradi recommends having your teeth cleaned at the dentist twice during pregnancy and practicing good oral hygiene at home. For periodontitis, your dentist may give you an antibacterial mouth rinse. Fortunately, dental issues tend to resolve quickly after delivery.</p>

<p><B>Nose Woes</b>
"Get ready for congestion, bloody noses, and snoring. Why? The inside of the lining of your nose also swells, thanks to hormones," says Laura Dean, M.D., an ob-gyn in Stillwater, Minnesota. "That swelling decreases the area for air circulation. Your nose can also be aggravated by dryness, which is worse in winter." You can relieve some of your discomfort by using nasal saline drops or a humidifier, or by spending a few minutes inhaling the steam in the shower. Thankfully, all these nasal issues will vanish after pregnancy.</P>

<p><b>Tummy Troubles</b>

The increase in progesterone slows down transit time of food from your stomach to your intestines, which can lead to constipation. Plus, prenatal vitamins cause your body to absorb more water, which can make it harder for stool to pass through the gastrointestinal tract. If you're backed up, alternate your prenatal vitamins with a vitamin without iron for a short time, says Dr. Dean, since the iron in the vitamins is especially constipating. Drink lots of fluids (water is best), and load up on fiber by eating lots of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. You can also try an over-the-counter fiber supplement like Metamucil, which holds water in your intestine and makes it easier for solids to pass. However, avoid laxatives, which stimulate bowel movements and may decrease hydration and affect nutritional absorption, warns Dr. Dean.</P>

<b><p>Vein Strain</b> 
Your growing baby requires a huge blood supply to deliver extra oxygen and nutrients. "By 20 weeks, your circulating blood volume will have increased by 50 percent," explains Dr. Dean. With all that pressure, it's common to de-velop spider and varicose veins in your legs and feet. There's no way to prevent them, but to decrease pain and swelling, elevate your legs when you can. For severe cases, wear support hose or even bandage-like wraps when you're out.
The other kind of strain -- those dreaded hemorrhoids -- involves swollen and protruding tissue around the anus. They're caused by increased pressure on the veins there, along with the added weight of your baby. (They can also be aggravated by constipation and straining in the bathroom.) Ease the inflammation and pain with cream, medicated pads, and warm baths. Post-baby, both issues should improve drastically but may not go away completely.</p>

<p><b>Skin Stuff</b> 
You have probably heard that pregnancy hormones can cause acne, sun sensitivity, and darkening of the skin (usually around the nipples, on the face, and in a strip down your belly called the linea nigra). But you may be a bit surprised to find that you suddenly have a bunch of skin tags -- tiny overgrowths of skin that typically occur in places where your skin rubs together or against clothing, such as your neckline, underarms, or around your breasts. Be sure to use sunscreen on your sensitive skin, and know that the skin issues will go away after pregnancy except for the pigmentation of your areolas (which likely won't ever lighten completely) and the tags, which your doctor can easily remove if they bother you.</p>

<b><p>Growing Feet </b>
Your feet and ankles might just be swollen now, but post-baby, some women find their feet have grown. "Before having kids, I was an 8.5 -- now I'm a 10," says Dr. Dean. Blame it on the hormone relaxin: It loosens ligaments in your pelvis to allow the baby to come out, but it may have a lasting effect on the joints in your feet, causing them to flatten and become wider and/or longer. The effect may be temporary though, so don't toss all your shoes just yet.</p>

<p><em>Used with permission. © Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.</em></p>
Your Pregnancy To-Do List
<p>Between preparing for baby and staying as healthy as possible, you have a lot to think about for the next nine months. Follow our week-by-week to-do lists to make it easy.</p>
<p>By Julie Knap</p>

<p>Week 1 </p>
<p>1. Start taking a prenatal vitamin if you haven't already.</p>
<p>2. Write down the date of your last period or two.</p>
<p>3. Figure out when you're ovulating.</p>
<p>4. With your partner, create a family health history, including any genetic or chromosomal disorders.</p>
<p>5. Quit smoking, and cut out any other bad health habits.</p>

<p>Week 2 </p>
<p>1. Reduce your caffeine intake.</p>
<p>2. Talk to your doctor about safe medications during pregnancy.</p>
<p>3. Eat a healthy, balanced diet.</p>
<p>4. Don't overdo it when you exercise.</p>

<p>Week 3 </p>
<p>1. Look for the early signs of pregnancy.</p>
<p>2. Buy an at-home pregnancy test.</p>
<p>3. Learn what foods you should avoid during pregnancy.</p>

<p>Week 4 </p>
<p>1. Take a pregnancy test if you've missed your period</p>
<p>2. Tell your partner the news!</p>
<p>3. Make an appointment to see your doctor to confirm your pregnancy.</p>
<p>4. Consider the alternative of a certified nurse-midwife.</p>

<p>Week 5 </p>
<p>1. Pick up a pregnancy book.</p>
<p>2. Download a pregnancy app to help you stay organized for the next 8 months.</p>
<p>3. Buy a journal or memory book to record your milestones, symptoms, and questions for the next nine months.</p>
<p>4. Sign up for your Due Date club or join an in-person pregnancy support group.</p>
<p>5. Be sure to drink lots of water.</p>
<p>6. Talk to your insurance company to find out which local doctors and hospitals are covered by your plan.</p>

<p>Week 6 </p>
<p>1. If you're ready, start sharing the good news with family members and close friends.</p>
<p>2. Make your partner the official kitty litter changer.</p>
<p>3. Experiment with morning sickness remedies.</p>
<p>4. Decide whether you like your doctor enough to stick with him or her through delivery. If not, start looking for a new one.</p>

<p>Week 7 </p>
<p>1. Schedule and prepare for your first prenatal visit, which should happen between 8 and 12 weeks.</p>
<p>2. Compile a list of questions for your doctor's appointment </p>
<p>3. Clear your beauty cabinet of any chemical-laden products like DEET-filled insect repellent.</p>
<p>4. Buy a belly band to extend the life of your pants.</p>

<p>Week 8 </p>
<p>1. Shop for a new bra, whether it's a maternity bra or just a bigger, softer style.</p>
<p>2. Make Kegel exercises a part of your daily routine.</p>
<p>3. Pick up antacids in preparation for pregnancy heartburn, along with other drugstore staples.</p>
<p>4. Make a dentist appointment.</p>
<p>5. Discuss recommended prenatal tests with your doctor.</p>

<p>Week 9 </p>
<p>1. Look at your household cleaners and swap in eco-friendly ones for any toxic ones.</p>
<p>2. Make a pre-baby to-do list of all the things you want accomplish or enjoy before the baby arrives.</p>
<p>3. Create a baby budget.</p>
<p>4. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.</p>
<p>5. Go for a walk, or do 30 minutes of another moderate exercise, and make it a part of your daily routine now.</p>

<p>Week 10 </p>
<p>1. Wash your hands frequently to avoid getting a cold or the flu.</p>
<p>2. Try natural remedies for indigestion.</p>
<p>3. Go shopping for maternity clothing.</p>
<p>4. Review your company's maternity leave policy.</p>
<p>5. If you're hoping for a V-BAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) but your doctor isn't on board, consider jumping ship for a practitioner who will consider it.</p>

<p>Week 11 </p>
<p>1. Moisturize your belly, hips and thighs daily to prevent itchy, dry skin as it stretches.</p>
<p>2. Avoid hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms, intense hot-weather workouts, super-hot baths, or anything else that could raise your body temperature above 102 degrees.</p>
<p>3. Get a first-trimester screening to help your practitioner decide what tests may be warranted.</p>
<p>4. If it's recommended by your doctor, get tested for chromosomal abnormalities through a nuchal translucency (NT) and chorionic villus sampling (CVS).</p>
<p>5. Listen to the baby's heartbeat with a Doppler at your doctor's appointment, if possible.</p>

<p>Week 12 </p>
<p>1. Plan a babymoon vacation.</p>
<p>2. Buy a body pillow for sleeping.</p>
<p>3. Be sure to stretch and warm up before exercise because your ligaments and joints are loosened up now.</p>
<p>4. Until you give birth, avoid any exercises that require you to lie flat on your back (crunches, Pilates, etc.).</p>
<p>5. If you're having multiples, your doctor will be able to spot the extra babies at your next ultrasound.</p>

<p>Week 13 </p>
<p>1. Begin thinking about baby names.</p>
<p>2. Start sleeping on your side.</p>
<p>3. Research pediatricians.</p>
<p>4. Eat smaller meals more frequently to stave off heartburn.</p>
<p>5. Consider borrowing previously worn maternity clothing from friends or family.</p>

<p>Week 14 </p>
<p>1. Tell your family and friends your good news if you haven't already.</p>
<p>2. Break the news to your boss, too.</p>
<p>3. Take advantage of your energy boost by checking things off your to-do list at home and at work.</p>
<p>4. Start taking weekly pictures of your beautiful belly.</p>

<p>Week 15 </p>
<p>1. Sign up for a prenatal yoga class.</p>
<p>2. Strengthen your abs with pelvic tilts.</p>
<p>3. Talk to you partner about finding out the sex of your baby.</p>
<p>4. Over 35? Schedule an amniocentesis if it's recommended.</p>
<p>5. As your doctor about the quad marker screen.</p>

<p>Week 16 </p>
<p>1. Be sure to get plenty of calcium now, from low-fat dairy foods or supplements.</p>
<p>2. Tour local birth centers.</p>
<p>3. Start your baby registry.</p>
<p>4. Ask your mother or grandmother about their birthing experiences.</p>

<p>Week 17 </p>
<p>1. Combat your forgetful "pregnancy brain" with lots of notes and reminders.</p>
<p>2. Treat yourself to a prenatal massage.</p>
<p>4. Sign up for a childbirth class.</p>
<p>5. Start a college fund for baby-to-be by opening a 529 account or a special savings account.</p>
<p>6. Pick up a saline spray or humidifier to alleviate congestion caused by pregnancy.</p>

<p>Week 18 </p>
<p>1. Consider signing up for infant CPR, prenatal breastfeeding, or newborn-care classes.</p>
<p>2. Check your desk chair to see if a more supportive one or a footstool could help with back pain.</p>
<p>3. Is it a boy or is it a girl? Find out if desired at your mid-pregnancy ultrasound.</p>

<p>Week 19 </p>
<p>1. Scan your pix from your ultrasound and share them via e-mail and Facebook.</p>
<p>2. Have a date night.</p>
<p>3. Research nursery furniture.</p>
<p>4. Considering a home birth? Research the pros and cons.</p>

<p>Week 20 </p>
<p>1. Talk to your other half about how you'll handle life after baby.</p>
<p>2. Make sure you have flats or sensible shoes -- not 3-inch heels -- to live in for the next four months.</p>
<p>3. Know the symptoms and risks of preeclampsia.</p>

<p>Week 21 </p>
<p>1. Research the pros and cons of breastfeeding. Decide what's best for you and your baby once you have all the facts.</p>
<p>2. Get organized and tackle pending projects around the house.</p>
<p>3. Buy a new maternity bra -- again.</p>

<p>Week 22 </p>
<p>1. Work with your gracious baby shower host to plan party logistics.</p>
<p>2. Now that you know the sex of the baby, take a second look at baby names.</p>
<p>3. Prevent varicose veins. Avoid crossing your legs and long periods of sitting or standing, which may result in blood pooled in the legs.</p>

<p>Week 23 </p>
<p>1. Go shopping for more maternity clothes.</p>
<p>2. As you think about the baby's first name, don't forget to consider what last name he will take.</p>
<p>3. Test your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.</p>

<p>Week 24 </p>
<p>1. Look into childcare options if you're planning to return to work.</p>
<p>2. Start planning the nursery.</p>
<p>3. Get tested for gestational diabetes.</p>

<p>Week 25 </p>
<p>1. Update or attain life and disability insurance, and add chosen guardianship to your will.</p>
<p>2. Write a birth plan.</p>
<p>3. Pre-register at your hospital or birthing center, if possible.</p>

<p>Week 26 </p>
<p>1. Interview potential pediatricians. Find out which local doctors are covered by your insurance and seek recommendations.</p>
<p>2. Do any last-minute travel. It's best to avoid travel once the third trimester hits.</p>
<p>3. Take the glucose-screening test.</p>

<p>Week 27 </p>
<p>1. Choose a color for the nursery.</p>
<p>2. Research cord blood banking.</p>
<p>3. Find a birth doula, if desired.</p>

<p>Week 28 </p>
<p>1. Start seeing your doctor or midwife every two weeks.</p>
<p>2. Update your retirement beneficiaries.</p>
<p>3. Babyproof your house.</p>
<p>4. Help your partner to feel the baby's kicks.</p>
<p>5. If your fingers are swollen, take your rings off and store them in a safe place until after delivery.</p>
<p>6. Depending on your and your partner's blood types, you may receive an injection of RhoGAM.</p>

<p>Week 29 </p>
<p>1. Enjoy your baby shower!</p>
<p>2. Start shopping for birth announcements and decide whether you'll choose paper or electronic ones.</p>
<p>3. If you live in an older home, ask your partner to test for lead-based paint in the nursery and remove it if necessary.</p>
<p>4. Eat a high-fiber diet to help prevent constipation and hemorrhoids.</p>

<p>Week 30 </p>
<p>1. Buy a car seat, stroller, and any other important baby gear that you didn't receive at your shower.</p>
<p>2. Count fetal kicks.</p>
<p>3. Pack your hospital bag and one for your partner.</p>
<p>4. Know the signs of premature labor.</p>
<p>5. Try exercises designed to help prepare your body for D-day.</p>

<p>Week 31 </p>
<p>1. Eat foods rich in iron.</p>
<p>2. If you plan to hire a baby nurse, start seeking recommendations.</p>
<p>3. Plan your maternity leave.</p>
<p>4. Prepare a baby first-aid and an emergency kit.</p>

<p>Week 32 </p>
<p>1. Plan care for your other children or your pets for when you go into labor.</p>
<p>2. Get a haircut.</p>
<p>3. Set up the baby's nursery.</p>
<p>4. Start seeing your doctor or midwife weekly through delivery.</p>

<p>Week 33 </p>
<p>1. Start reading about newborn care.</p>
<p>2. Clean out your car to make room for baby.</p>
<p>3. Install your car seat and visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Web site to locate an inspection station near you so you can be sure you did it correctly.</p>

<p>Week 34 </p>
<p>1. Call your insurance company to add your baby-to-be to your policy.</p>
<p>2. Get tested for Group B strep (GBS).</p>
<p>3. Buy any items you'll need for postpartum recovery.</p>
<p>4. Meet with several pediatricians to make your final choice.</p>

<p>Week 35 </p>
<p>1. Buy a baby book.</p>
<p>2. If you plan to try breastfeeding, get the number of a recommended lactation consultant or join a local La Leche League International group.</p>
<p>3. Review your baby registry to see what items you still need to purchase before baby's arrival.</p>

<p>Week 36 </p>
<p>1. Schedule a non-stress test if it's recommended.</p>
<p>2. Review your birth plan with your doctor, midwife, doula, or any others involved.</p>
<p>3. Sleep in, take naps and get as many extra Z's as you can.</p>
<p>4. Send thank-you notes for your shower gifts.</p>

<p>Week 37 </p>
<p>1. If you have other children, be sure to prepare them for their sibling's arrival.</p>
<p>2. Plan for your first few weeks with baby by cooking and freezing a few nights' or weeks' worth of dinners.</p>
<p>3. Stock up on diapers and formula.</p>
<p>4. Wash the baby clothes and bedding.</p>

<p>Week 38 </p>
<p>1. Tie up any loose ends with finances or medical insurance.</p>
<p>2. Make a list of who you want to contact when the baby arrives, including phone numbers and e-mail addresses.</p>
<p>3. Nail down your final choices for baby names.</p>

<p>Week 39 </p>
<p>1. Practice any relaxation or breathing techniques you've learned.</p>
<p>2. Wrap up at work and create a memo for your fill-in, just in case you go into labor before your due date.</p>
<p>3. Discuss with your partner the option of cutting the umbilical cord.</p>

<p>Week 40 </p>
<p>1. Be ready for your water to break, or for the mucus plug or bloody show.</p>
<p>2. Time your contractions.</p>
<p>3. Buy a few cold packs at the drugstore to use when the perineal cold packs from the hospital run out.</p>

<p>Week 41 </p>
<p>1. Enjoy those last few kicks and the amazing feeling of having your baby inside of you.</p>
<p>2. Do squats to help prepare your body for labor.</p>
<p>3. Take advantage of the extra time to rest.</p>

<p>Week 42</p> 
<p>1. Try a few tricks to bring on labor (or at least keep your mind off it) -- eat spicy foods, have sex, take a walk or stimulate your nipples.</p>
<p>2. Have the non-stress test again, or a contraction stress test.</p>
<p>3. Go to the hospital and get induced.</p>

<p><em>Used with permission. © Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. </em></p>
The Multiple Personalities of Pregnancy
<p>Get ready for a takeover -- of your mind and body -- by these 10 types.</p>

<p>I found out I was expecting for the first time on April 1. Because we'd only started trying that January, I thought it was a joke -- a classic April Fool's Day "Gotcha!" How I knew it was for real? A deep, driving hunger that only a bagel with butter could satisfy. Fast-forward two Aprils, and we had another baby on the way. This time I was excited -- and panicked -- over the thought of juggling two under 2. Ha! I can laugh now: A couple of years later, my husband and I were trying-but-not-really-trying when I found out I was pregnant again -- with identical triplets!</p>
<p>It dawned on me that you don't need to be pregnant with multiples to experience the multiple personalities of pregnancy (I remembered Hungry Hannah and Mood Swing Molly from my first go-rounds.). I'd like to introduce you to the gals I met over my preggo days. Perhaps you'll see your alter-ego on this list.</p>
<p>Hungry Hannah </p>
<p>Prides herself on keeping the cupboards -- and her growing tummy -- full. Fritos, frozen pizza, and root beer floats -- nothing is off-limits. She approaches the last months of pregnancy like the last days of disco. The world is her oyster, and she's not afraid to eat it. What she craves most are the forbidden fruits of pregnancy: sushi and soft cheese. She makes do with safe comfort foods: buttered bagels and pasta, served with a side of ice cream for good measure. And good girth!
</p><p>Mood Swing Molly 
</p><p>Has mixed emotions about pregnancy, the changes to her body, and the impending shifts in her life. One minute she feels blobby and the next just fabulous. Today she wants to paint the nursery yellow; tomorrow it must be green. She's on top of the world, then down in the dumps. Husbands, beware: She can go from "I love you" to "I hate you" while getting dressed for work. She would like you to take her out to dinner, but wait -- now she wants to eat Chinese food on the couch. In her fat pants.</p>
<p>Wendy the Worrywart </p>
<p>Spends her days (and sleepless nights) wondering what if...I was already pregnant that night I downed three margaritas? There was Listeria on the turkey sandwich I polished off for lunch? I can't get comfy snoozing on my left side? My water breaks at work? I don't make it to the hospital in time? There's something wrong with the baby? There's something wrong with me? I can't breastfeed? I can't change a diaper? We can't afford college? I turn out to be just like my mother?!</p>
<p>Psycho Sara </p>
<p>Typically shows up to organize the linen closet or the Tupperware drawer at 3 a.m. Takes nesting to a new extreme. Can fold bodysuits into handkerchief squares. Has been known to caulk the tub at midnight because "it had to be done!" Stockpiles gifts, just in case. Stockpiles groceries, just in case. Has amassed enough provisions that the dog has birthday presents for the next five years, and her canned goods could sustain a village through a nuclear attack. Caveat: She is prone to hormonal surges, known to be violent, and should be approached with caution.</p>
<p>Felicia the Forgetful </p>
<p>Can't remember where she parked the car. Occasionally leaves the house with the door open. Not unlocked. Wide open. Struggles on occasion to recall her address and phone number. Wrestles daily with remembering the names of neighbors, friends, and coworkers. Is suddenly challenged by second-grade math. Frequently finds herself in the basement wondering why she went down there in the first place. At the supermarket (for Hannah, of course) with an overflowing cart, she once realized that her wallet was at home. On the upside, the door was wide open, which simplified one step in retrieving it.</p>
<p>Clumsy Clara </p>
<p>Poor Clara. She finds getting around in her growing body more challenging than driving an oversize rental car. She has no sense of her own circumference and is perpetually bumping into things: kitchen counters, random furniture, even the occasional unsuspecting bystander. When that Buddha belly rounds the corner, anything can happen, and often does. Clara is prone to stumbling off curbs and down steps. She is a menace, especially when behind the wheel. This accident-prone mama should navigate the world slowly and carefully (both in and out of moving vehicles), preferably in a helmet and kneepads.</p>
<p>Sentimental Suzie </p>
<p>Some might call her a sap, but Suzie just loves a good cry. Her tear ducts well up several times a day at the most mundane provocation. A Hallmark commercial. Children playing at the park. A colleague's compliment. An elderly couple holding hands. Sunrise. Sunset. A perfect peach. She should avoid chick flicks at all costs.</p>
<p>Info-Seeking Ingrid 
</p><p>You know those weekly updates? Ingrid would like one daily. In fact, make it hourly. "What's going on in there?" is her eternal question in her unquenchable thirst for knowledge. She memorized What to Expect When Expecting and has loaded every baby app there is on her smartphone. Was that the flutter of a little foot she felt, or just gas? Ingrid will get to the bottom of it, most likely in one of the 20 new-mom chat rooms she's already joined.</p>
<p>Blissful Britney </p>
<p>This soulful mom-to-be has spent her life yearning for this very moment. She's bowled over by her body's achievements and is happy to share the wonder of it all with you, including: how alive and beautiful she feels with another being growing inside her. What a miracle it is to create a new life. How, when, and where she believes this new life was conceived. Brit just loves to broadcast what's on her mind and feels damn good about her body. She has no clue that her formerly sexy strut has turned into an uncomfortably awkward waddle. She was born to make babies and thinks pregnancy and skinny jeans go together very nicely, thank you very much.</p>
L<p>evelheaded Leslie</p>
<p>Tends to keep the rest of the ladies in check. She takes the ups and downs of pregnancy in stride. She's nervous about motherhood but confident in her marriage and herself. She doesn't exactly revel in her cankles, sore back, and sleepless nights, but finds comfort in knowing that it's temporary and at the end, she'll have a bundle of joy to call her own and a bond to last a lifetime.</p>

<p><em>By Kerry Lyons </em></p>
<p><em>Used with permission. © Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. </em></p>
13 Signs You May Be Pregnant
<p>Feel crampy or beyond exhausted? See the surprising clues that may indicate you're expecting -- before a pregnancy test would.
By Lauren Wiener<p>

<p>Wondering if you've got a baby on board? Pay close attention to your body. "The hormones released as soon as you conceive may start causing subtle changes even before they're detectable on a home pregnancy test," says Melissa Goist, MD, clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Ohio State University Medical Center. Unfortunately many, like sore breasts or bloating, also happen right before your period (a sure sign that you're not pregnant), so it's all a guessing game until you take a test. But if you spot a few of the following symptoms -- and your period is MIA -- it may be time to head to the drugstore or your ob-gyn:
<P><b>Sore Breasts </P></b>

<p>This is a very common complaint, says Goist. "Breast tissue is extremely hormone-sensitive," she explains. "When progesterone and hCG start flooding the body after the egg is fertilized, they increase your blood volume, which makes your breasts swell and feel heavier than usual."

<P><b>Cramps </b></P>

<p>You may feel crampy like you have or are about to get your period, but this discomfort is actually triggered by implantation -- when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall. Your uterus may be stretching a little now (hence the cramps) to prep for its massive expansion over the next nine months.

<p>"Many women mistake some light bleeding for a period, but as many as 25 percent will have some spotting during implantation," says Goist. If you notice that your "period" seems way shorter or different from usual, it may be time to take a pregnancy test.

<p>There's tired, and then there's this: If all you can think about at work is taking a nap or if you're too exhausted to keep up with everyday activities like hitting the gym, then it may be your body adjusting to its new mini inhabitant. "Even at this early stage of pregnancy -- within two weeks of conception -- your baby is starting to use up your calories, which can wipe out your energy stores pretty quickly," says Goist.
<P><b>Nipple Darkening </b></P>

<p>Are the boobs are looking a little different these days? Pregnancy hormones also affect the activity of melanocytes, or cells in the nipples responsible for their color. "Darker-complexioned women may not notice this until later in pregnancy -- say, around 10 weeks or so," says Goist.
<p><b>Nausea </b></p>

<p>While full-blown morning sickness -- which affects up to 85 percent of all preggos -- likely won't strike for a few more weeks, some women may experience more subtle motion sickness early on. "I've had patients tell me they'd suddenly get queasy from reading in the car or would feel sick during flights," says Goist.
<p><b>Bloating </b></p>

<p>Can't zip up those skinny jeans? Ramped-up levels of progesterone slow down your digestive track and may make your tummy feel puffier than usual. (This also happens during PMS, notes Goist, but bloating stops when your period arrives, causing progesterone levels to plummet.) If the bloating doesn't go away -- and your period never comes -- start watching for that stick to turn pink.
<p><b>Peeing More Often </b></p>

<p>Getting up for more bathroom breaks may be the result of your kidneys starting to kick into overdrive; they have to flush out fluid more efficiently during pregnancy. (Watch out for this one at the end of pregnancy too -- but then it's more due to your gigundo uterus pressing on your bladder.)
<p><b>Cravings </b></p>

<p>At this point, you're more likely jonesing for a jumbo bagel than pickles or Rocky Road. "Your overtired body may demand extra carbs now because they're easily metabolized, which helps keep energy levels up," says Goist.
<p><b>Headaches </b></p>

<p>Increasing blood volume may trigger frequent but mild tension headaches in the first few weeks of pregnancy, but these should let up as your body adjusts to elevated hormone levels.
<p><b>Constipation </b></p>

<p>The same hormones responsible for bloating are also behind your potty problems. Because your digestive track is slowing down now, says Goist, food may not pass through as quickly. This symptom will likely ramp up even more (sorry) as your pregnancy progresses.
<p><b>Mood Swings </b></p>

<p>"As levels of hCG hormones increase, you're feeling massive amounts of fatigue, which makes you more prone to moodiness," says Goist. Plus, um, that stellar combo of headaches, bloating, constipation and breast pain -- need we say more?
<p><b>Basal Body Temperature </b></p>

<p>Measuring BBT -- your oral temperature first thing in the morning -- is usually used to indicate when you're ovulating. It's typically about half a degree or more higher or so when an egg is released and remains elevated until you get your period. So if you're charting BBT and notice it hasn't decreased in more than two weeks, it may mean you've got a baby on the way. FYI: You'll need a special digital basal thermometer (try or to do this; it's more precise than normal fever-measuring thermometers.
<p><em>Used with permission. © Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. 
Are you Pregnant?
Jane Buckingham, Huggies Partner and Author of Modern Girl's Guide to Motherhood, introduces herself and gives tips on when to go to the doctor for a pregnancy test.
Dr. Bill and Martha Sears: 7 Tips for a Healthier Pregnancy

<p>Immediately after the excitement of seeing the pink line on the pregnancy test, comes the realization that how you live, eat and think can greatly influence the well-being of your growing baby inside.  The following are our top seven tips for staying healthy for you and your baby during your pregnancy. For more information on your most pressing questions as new parents, continue to check out HUGGIES® Mommy Answers.</p>

<p><b>1.	 GIVE YOURSELF AN “OIL CHANGE” </b>  </p>
<p>When you’re pregnant, your baby needs you to make a smart oil change.  For smarter baby brain growth, eat a right fat diet, not a low fat diet.  A growing baby’s brain is 60 percent fat and the smartest fats are those found in fish oil – omega-3 fats DHA and EPA.  Omega-3 fats are to the brain what calcium is to the bone.  </p>
<p>Mothers who eat sufficient fish oil supplements during their pregnancy are more likely to have babies that are less premature, have better vision and fewer allergies. Consult your doctor on how much fish oil you should be consuming. </p>

<p><b>2.  JUST EAT REAL FOODS </b></p>
<p>Try eating food that goes from sea, tree, or farm to your plate, and spends little time, if any, in a food-processing factory.  Remember, real food has a crave-control perk called a high-satiety factor, while fake food is less filling and has an addictive nature, prompting you to overbuy and overeat.  When you’re pregnant it’s important to select foods based on quality and “nutrient density” – the most nutrition in the smallest volume.  Our favorite super foods are wild salmon, nuts and greens. </p>
<p><b>3.  GRAZE THROUGHOUT THE DAY</b></p>
<p>A growing baby pressing on an already queasy tummy will change the way you eat: graze, sip, and dip.  Grazing on nutritious mini-meals throughout the day keeps your stomach satisfied and your blood sugar steady.   Follow our rule of two’s: </p>
<p>•	Eat twice as often</p>
<p>•	Eat half as much</p>
<p>•	Chew twice as long</p>
<p>•	Take twice the time to dine</p>
<p>You and your baby are growing together. The closer you are to your optimal weight gain, the healthier you and your baby are likely to be, and the less complicated your delivery is likely to be.  Obstetricians currently recommend that most women gain 25-35 pounds.  Whether you gain at the low end or high end of this range depends upon your individual body type and whether you were a lot overweight or underweight initially. Average weight gain in the first trimester for a woman of medium build should be four pounds (3-6 pounds).  </p>
<p>Weight gain during the next six months should average a pound a week.  But, gaining more than 4-5 pounds in one week could be an unhealthy sign.</p>  
<p><b>5.  MOVE!</b> </p>
<p>New studies confirm what pregnant women have long suspected: the more you move, the healthier you are. Active mothers reduce leg swellings, boost their immune systems and are prepared for an easier birth.  For the newly pregnant beginner, many obstetricians recommend exercising for 30 minutes three times a week, gradually increasing the duration and intensity.  Short, frequent, consistent exercise routines are healthier than sporadic bursts. You may find outdoor exercises, such as swimming or brisk walking in a park, to be much more mentally relaxing than a gym full of sweaty bodies and loud machines.  You’re training for one of the most body-challenging marathons of your life – childbirth, so the right exercise program for you is the one you enjoy and will stick to. </p>

<p><b>6.  STRESS LESS</b></p>
<p>Don’t worry, be pregnant! Unresolved stress can weaken baby’s already fragile immune system.  Research, though still in its infancy, suggests that persistently high levels of toxic thoughts can be toxic to a baby’s vulnerable and growing brain.  Learning to reduce stress now is good practice for maintaining serenity as a new mother.  Try listening to relaxing music, focusing on the big things, not small or renting a funny movie. </p>
<p><b>7.  SLEEP PEACEFULLY</b></p>
<p>As your pregnancy progresses and your little passenger starts taking up a lot more room, quality sleep becomes more of a challenge.  You get more tired and need more sleep, but the changes of pregnancy can keep you from enjoying a good night’s sleep.  To get a better night’s sleep: </p>

<p><b>Have a peaceful day.</b>  Keep stress to a minimum – a day filled with emotional ups and downs is likely to carry over into a fitful night.  </p>

<p><b>Enjoy some exercise. </b> The more you move during the day, the better you’re likely to sleep at night. </p>

<p><b>Eat smart for sleep.</b>  Your sleep can be highly affected, for better or worse, by what you eat.  Discover which foods help you sleep, and which ones keep you up.  </p>

<p><b>Enjoy an evening massage.  </b> Put your mate to work to help you relax mind and body with a back massage.  </p>

<p><b>Set the mood.</b>  Dim the lights and don’t use the computer or watch TV within an hour of going to bed. The sleeping position that is usually most comfortable is on your left side, supported by pillows between your knees, against your back, one or two supporting your head and neck, and one between the “bump” and mattress. </p>

<p><em>Dr. Bill and Martha Sears are the co-authors of over 40 books on parenting and health, including the bestselling The Baby Book, The Birth Book, and the upcoming The Healthy Pregnancy Book, due out September 2013.  With the experience of over 40 years in pediatric practice while raising 8 children, Dr. Bill and Martha stay busy as frequent guests on television and radio programs and speakers at conferences, as well as running their own parenting website, </em></p>
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