Break the swell

preggers-at-pool

It starts with your feet. All of a sudden, they don’t fit into the shoes you wore comfortably last week. But then your hands and face start to feel puffy, too. Off comes the wedding ring that’s growing tighter by

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Childbirth 101

birth-class

Ideally, all pregnancy roads lead to the same destination: an uncomplicated birth and a healthy baby. But there are many paths through labor and delivery, each offering its own tools for overcoming the pain, anxiety and other hurdles you might

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Clamp down

newborn

You’ve been dreaming about this moment for the past nine months or longer—your little one is finally here! But after the hard work of delivery is done and before you bask in newborn bliss, there’s one more piece of the

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Special order

woman-eating

With the exception of occasionally indulging in cravings for foods like ice cream and pizza, most moms-to-be try to eat nutritiously throughout pregnancy. But a healthy diet means different things to different people. For Angela Liddon, mom-to-be in Ontario, Canada,

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I think I’ll have another!

second-preggers

When I became pregnant with my second child, I felt confident I’d be an old pro at baby-baking. I knew what I was in for when it came to morning sickness (ahem, all day sickness). I was familiar with the

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Decoding one-a-days

preggers-vitamins

If you are expecting, your healthcare provider has likely already stressed how important it is to take prenatal vitamins throughout your pregnancy. But reading labels at your local pharmacy is kind of like trying to understand a foreign language: You’ve

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Going the full 40

DueDate

You’ve been pregnant for what seems like forever. Heartburn haunts your days and nights, your feet are starting to resemble overstuffed sausages, your once roomy maternity duds are bursting at the seams, and sleep has long since abandoned you. What’s

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The no-guilt epidural

epidural2

Labor hurts. However, there is a way to avoid at least some of the pain associated with childbirth: the trusty epidural. It’s a pain relief method that is widely used here in the U.S.—in fact, it’s estimated that more than

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Capturing every moment

PN6-photocreditlLynseyStone

Kelly Pappas, mom of two in San Diego, has only a few memories from her first birth three years ago. She knows she labored alongside her loving husband in the hospital and that it was a peaceful experience overall. But

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The prenatal diet du jour

lentils-and-sablefish

There’s no question that what a woman eats during pregnancy can play a huge role in fostering the health of both mom and her tiny tadpole. And if you’re already making smart dietary choices by eating foods like salmon and

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Off your rocker

preggers-hormonal-new

Like any hopeful mom, I wanted to provide a natural and safe environment for my baby’s development. I had heard that some medications could cross the placenta and affect the baby, so I figured a complete detox would be a

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Care package

doulahelp

Over nine wild months of body changes and emotional highs and lows, expectant mamas don’t often feel in control of their pregnancies. But when it comes time to deliver, more and more women are taking back the reins and not

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Unconventional eats

choppingveggies

Pregnancy changes a gal in many ways, but one of the biggest adjustments typically happens in the kitchen. Suddenly, you’re very aware of what you’re eating, where that food came from and whether it’s a good choice for your growing

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The hol(istic) truth

acupuncture

“I just want to keep things natural” has become a familiar refrain amongst mamas-to-be. The idea is well and good, but suffering through nine months of nausea, backache and swelling sans medicine can quickly become miserable. Luckily, holistic treatments are

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Something’s fishy

salmon-steaks

Now that you’re eating for two, you’ve got to up the nutrient intake—and taking a prenatal vitamin is a good place to start. But in addition to one-a-days, healthcare providers often stress the importance of getting enough DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)

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Pregnancy problem solver

PregnancyProblemSolver
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Testing 1-2-3

syringe

In the past year alone, the market has exploded with new noninvasive screening options and technologies that can detect chromosomal abnormalities even before baby is born. Still, many women don’t look into all of the tests that are available—and the

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A cut above

scalpel

For the nine or so months between positive pregnancy test and due date, expectant moms have a lot of time to think and prepare. By the time delivery rolls around, many moms have their birth plan scripted down to the

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Maternal desires

pink-paper-people

“Are you hoping for a boy or a girl?” It’s a common question asked of moms-to-be, and we all know the standard response: “It doesn’t matter to me, as long as it’s healthy!” I said it myself a zillion times

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Nourish that noggin

womaneating-2

Looking to raise a little genius? Put down that cookie, and pick up some walnuts. It turns out, what you eat throughout pregnancy influences baby’s brain development, an amazing process that begins at just five weeks gestation and continues into

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Make the team

pregnancy-couple

Although Brian Weisner took prenatal classes with his wife, Sarah, before she went into labor last spring, he still felt nervous walking into the hospital to meet their son, Ethan. He tried to stay calm, but as a first-time parent,

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Look out below

surprisedwoman

When it comes to pregnancy, moms and their bodies take on a lot of changes. Some are thrilling, like sporting a baby bump. Some are less so, like the seemingly shrinking bladder. Then there are those you’d rather not discuss—with

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Made for this

pregbodychanges

To the uninitiated—heck, even to those who have done it before—the actual labor and delivery part of pregnancy seems downright impossible. (I have to fit what through where?) But as unmanageable as it seems, your body is designed to do

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Take it to the bank

momandbebe

Back in the fall of 2006, Tami and Matt Byrd of Rochester Hills, Michigan, were busy growing their family and frantically adjusting to their schedule as parents of two rambunctious boys. It was an eventful but exciting time for the

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Best in peace

preggersmeditation

How important is relaxation during pregnancy? Very! When you’re strained, you produce stress hormones. These hormones affect your physical and emotional well-being. And when you’re pregnant, hormones can cross the placenta and color baby’s experience as well. Studies suggest that

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The backed-up plan

kimchi

After I gave birth to my daughter, my mother-in-law brought me a six-pack of prune juice. Although I was hoping for a different kind of six-pack to celebrate the birth of my first child, I have to admit that my

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Mom down

sadwoman

When Joanna Goddard returned home two years ago after spending an idyllic Christmas vacation with her husband and then 8-month-old son, something felt off. She was suddenly anxious and exhausted but had trouble sleeping at night. “I’d always had baby

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Tour guide

deliveryroom

You may have visited your local hospital in the past—to see a relative, attend a scheduled appointment, or take a prenatal class—so you might already be familiar with the facility. But imagine how chaotic it would feel if you were

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Second showing

preggersandtoddler

A first pregnancy is a time filled with wonder and excitement. Your body is doing something it has never done before. Every experience, from the first fluttery kick to the first visual proof of life via sonogram, is incredible. Fast-forward

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To eat or not to eat?

donoteat

Historically, women have eaten during their labors to maintain strength through contractions and often difficult deliveries. A widely women-attended and supported event, childbirth often included a laboring mother, her midwife, and female members of the community who gathered together during

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Smarty pants

crazymom

Mommy brain: an air of absentmindedness and distraction that often plagues the minds of new moms. It begins in pregnancy, when the first hints of forgetfulness become apparent. Never mind the fact that you’re carrying and nurturing another life, barely

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Going VBAC

newbornbebe

Prior C-section mamas, listen up: We’ve rounded up answers to the most commonly asked questions about VBACs. (What’s a VBAC you ask? As it turns out, that’s the first thing we answer—keep reading!) What is a VBAC? VBAC stands for

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Leavin’ is easy

maternityleave

Pregnancy is one of the most exciting times of your life. But if you’re a working mama-to-be, there may be one cloud hanging over your head: talking to your boss about maternity leave. You know you’re going to have to

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Nutritional know-how

womanfridge

From caffeine to canned tuna, the list of foods moms-to-be should avoid is overwhelming. Self-proclaimed cheese lover Elizabeth Hurley, mother of a 1-year-old in Boston, was frustrated by the conflicting information she found: “I read no soft cheeses at all,

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Stand tall

backpain-webonly

According to Esther Dolowich, MPT, a physical therapist with Sutter Health’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, California, who specializes in women’s issues, the biggest mistake expectant moms make is letting their bellies lead them to an excessively swayed

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Love in an elevator

couplelegs

When I first became pregnant with my son, I had a very clear picture of how things were going to be. This experience had all the makings of success: planned pregnancy, happy marriage, financial stability. Not only was I going

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Delivery room dictionary

laborlingo

Labor and delivery: It’s a wild ride, a life-changing adventure, the ultimate event before you finally meet your baby. It’s also an experience chock-full of words and phrases you may not know or understand. But take heart! We’ve gathered the

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Worth the weight

preggersbody-1

When Ali Ginestra was expecting her second child, she found herself overcome with negative thoughts about her appearance. “I’ve always been overweight, but I’ve resolved my issues internally. I never get down on myself,” says Ginestra, a mom of three

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Quease-friendly cuisine

oatymeal

There are many things about pregnancy that are indescribably wonderful. However, a few aspects are simply no fun at all. One of the biggest annoyances is morning sickness. Actually, let’s just call it what it is: all day queasiness with

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In the zone

hypnobirth

Contrary to what you may initially envision, HypnoBirthing doesn’t require a swinging pocketwatch. The birth method does use hypnosis to help women have a pain-free labor experience, but by definition, hypnosis is actually a state of focused concentration where the

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Rest easy

sleepingpreggers

You’re likely anticipating a lack of sleep after baby’s debut, but you may be surprised to find your departure from dreamland happening even before your bundle arrives. There are several known and defined medical sleep disorders that plague pregnant women

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Beat the heat

Pregnancy isn’t without its fair share of discomforts any time of year, but toting a baby bump during the summer months can be especially problematic. Your higher-than-normal body temperature makes the steamy weather seem even hotter, and let’s be honest,

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How do you doula?

Labor and delivery is a lot like free-fall parachuting: You take classes to prepare, you file a detailed plan for the (blessed) event, and then you take the leap. Still, jumping into the hurtling wind with only your significant other

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10 ways pregnancy changes your life

Becoming a first-time expectant mom—of twins, no less—has certainly been an eye-opener for me. The realities of pregnancy have regularly caught me by surprise as my amount of responsibility skyrockets and level of energy plummets. The life I had lived

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Birth rite

birthworld

When my husband was offered a new job early in my second pregnancy, I had only one question: How much paternity leave did the company offer? I had a grand scheme for after our baby arrived, and I needed his

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Careful care

preggersdoctor

As an expectant mom, you know your body is going through a lot of changes, and you’re working hard to take care of it. You take vitamins, eat right, get plenty of sleep, and have familiarized yourself with your family’s

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American heart

Shannon-Miller-updated

At the 1996 Olympic games, Shannon Miller wowed the world when she became the most decorated gymnast in U.S. history. Now the gold medalist, cancer survivor, entrepreneur and mom is on a mission to inspire women to live their best

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Pointers from the pros

childbirth

Obstetricians, midwives, doulas … these men and women devote their careers to helping mothers welcome healthy babies into the world. And between professional training and ample hands-on experience, it’s safe to say they know a thing or two about labor

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Beyond organic

choppingveggies

Eating healthy is twice as important when you’re feeding two, but it’s easier said than done. Vegetables get boring fast when you need to snack constantly—especially when what you’re really craving is half a dozen chocolate donuts. But nutritional deficiencies

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The great fridge swap

Finding a medical professional or nutritionist who won’t extol the virtues of healthy eating during pregnancy is about as rare as finding a snowflake in the Sahara. And the choices you make for what to stock in your refrigerator can

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