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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The road ahead

ontheroad

Your entire body is changing during the days between conception and delivery, and it certainly won’t go unnoticed. You’ll undoubtedly see your midsection expanding, but you’ll also experience a wide variety of other symptoms that let you know you’re successfully creating

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Treatable, beatable

043013bb-feature

The cells cord blood is rich in are called hematopoietic stem cells, or HSCs. These cells are responsible for forming all the other types of blood cells in your body. As a result, they can be used to treat over

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Special delivery: C-section 101

csection

Nine months of waiting requires patience enough for most moms-to-be, but mamas who have caesarean births need to save up just a little more emotional fortitude for the impending recovery period. Whether your C-section is scheduled in advance or ends

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Superfoods

superfoods

The old wives’ tale of eating for two doesn’t apply to today’s expectant moms. “Moms need to eat good food throughout their pregnancy to nourish their bodies, as they are growing a human,” says Mary Seger, PhD, nurse practicioner at

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Chill out

sorbet

When the mercury rises, an ice-cold refreshment is just the thing an expectant mama needs. From decadent ice creams and silky frozen yogurts to icy granitas and creamy smoothies, keeping your cool can be delicious. All you need is an

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Get packin’

getpackin

On paper • Insurance card and hospital or birthing center admission paperwork • Photo ID • Several copies of your birth plan (both a detailed and a condensed version, just in case the staff is skimming it in a hurry)   Go

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Smart snacks

2cereal

You’ve heard it before: Eating small amounts of healthy foods throughout the day rather than indulging in three whopping meals is the way to go. It keeps your belly full, which provides your wee one with a steady flow of nutrients—and

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Not your grandmama’s pregnancy

grammawpreg2

The [arguably] good old days If you found yourself expecting a baby in the 19th century, you might view your condition with limited enthusiasm. Of course, you would hope for a healthy child and a happy future, but precedent would

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Dermatological drama

beautyskincare

Pregnancy is a beautiful experience, but as your body changes inside and out to accommodate baby, your skin may bear the ugly brunt of it. There are all kinds of epidermal issues affecting the expectant crowd, but with these tips,

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Crunch time

SARAHsalmon

If pregnancy exhaustion has taken its toll on your dinner routine (read: You’re eating takeout more often than not because you can’t muster the energy to make a meal) you’ll be relieved to hear a proper supper need not require

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The postdelivery party favor

placentaparty2

The ultimate multitasker The placenta is a pancake-shaped organ that grows alongside your developing baby from the moment of conception. Connected by the umbilical cord, this complex piece of biological equipment is filled with small blood vessels that act as

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Babe’s anatomy

ultrasound

My husband always said that when it came time for babies, he’d want to save the big son vs. daughter surprise for delivery day. A planner by nature and a romantic at heart, I could’ve swayed either way. But by

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Getting stronger

yogapreggers

You use the drive-thru pharmacy to pick up your prenatal vitamins. You rely on an app to organize your weekly grocery list. You stream movies from the comfort of your sofa. Making things easy and convenient is your M.O., and

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Why we nest

birdandnest

“All new mothers have a nesting instinct, even human mothers who haven’t any idea how to build a nest. While human mothers are waiting for their babies to be born, their nesting instinct causes them to do the silliest things,

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Hit me with your best shot

amnio

For many moms-to-be, pregnancy is one of the most memorable and exciting times in their lives, but for others it can be a period of great confusion and fear. A significant part of that worry can stem from the fact

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Pot o’ good

carrots

Looking to boost your prenatal diet but haven’t a clue where to start? You’re not alone. When my doctor asked at my first prenatal appointment how my diet was going, I didn’t want to reveal the truth—doughnut for breakfast, burger

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Natural high

natural-burth

When Kavita Daswani, mom of two in Los Angeles, went into labor with her first child, she thought she was prepared for natural birth. She wanted a home birth, attended by a midwife, a doula and her acupuncturist. She had

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Easy as pie

pizza6
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So many questions, so little time

olderpreg_yourspirit.0213

Am I too old to have another baby? Do I have the patience to do it all over again? How will a baby change the dynamic of my blended family? Will I regret not having another child in a few

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Knockin’ boots

goodhealth_couple.0213

Bringing a bump into the boudoir can bring a slew of unexpected concerns to the minds of even the most seasoned vixens. If you’re feeling jittery about jumping in the sack, it’s time to calm your worries, find your hot

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Healthy mentality

ohmfingers

If you find yourself consuming an extra side of anxiety with that tasty pickle-and-peanut-butter sandwich (did we say balanced diet?), take note: Pregnancy is a prime time to begin meditating. Habitual meditation can ward off any worry you may have

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All the single mommies

singlemomsopenshot-1

Just as pop stars take their own unique paths to stardom, moms-to-be often travel varied roads on their journey toward solo parenthood. For some, loudly ticking biological clocks lead to sperm donor catalogs and fertility clinics. For others, spur-of-the-moment one-night

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