Pregnancy questions you're too afraid to ask—plus a giveaway!

By Published On: May 4th, 2011

Written by: P&N May 04 2011 Our Read It recommendation […]

Written by: P&N

Our Read It recommendation from this month's P&N magazine is The Pregnancy Test:150 Important, Embarrasing, and Slightly Neurotic Questions by Melissa Heckscher and Emily Sikking, MD. It's a great reference for all the personal and potentially uncomfortable queries you might have but are too embarrassed to ask. Here's an example of some of the queries answered:

Q:What could happen if Idrink alcohol before knowing I'm pregnant?

A: Probably nothing, but lay off the booze.

According to the March of Dimes, a baby's brain and other organs begin developing about the fifth week of pregnancy (a week after your missed period and around a week after a home pregnancy test would show a positive result). As long as you put down that mojito before this crucial period, everything will likely be fine. Even if you consume some alcohol after this time, the odds are in your favor that your baby would be OK.

But now that you're pregnant, it's best to practice teetotalism. Although an occasional sip of wine probably won't adversely affect your baby, some studies have linked even a moderate amount of alcohol use to miscarriages. Heavy drinking may lead to fetal alcohol syndrome, a condition that can cause flattened facial features and lifelong learning disabilities.

The more you drink, the greater the risk. Experts say risks to the fetus are highest with binge drinking (consuming so much liquor that you black out) and for those women who consume seven or more drinks per week.

Q: True or false:You can become pregnant while you're already pregnant.

A: True. This phenomenon, called superfetation, occurs when a woman ovulates twice in a given menstrual cycle. It differs from twin pregnancies, which are the result of two eggs being released at one time.

Superfetation is so rare that only 10 cases have ever been documented. Among them are British couple Amelia Spence and George Herrity, who in 2007 conceived two girls three weeks apart. According to newspaper reports, the first baby weighed 6 pounds, 11 ounces after 32 weeks in the womb; the second weighed 4 pounds, 13 ounces after 29 weeks in the womb. More recently, in 2009 Arkansas couple Todd and Julia Grovenburg conceived two babies—a boy and a girl—two and a half weeks apart.

Q:Why do my nipples sometimes feel like they're burning?

A:More blood is flowing to the breasts, which makes them more sensitive.

As with so many symptoms of pregnancy, you can blame your hormones for this one. Increased levels of estrogen and progesterone send more blood to the breasts, making them sensitive to the touch. Consequently, burning, itching, tender and throbbing nipples are all common pregnancy complaints.

You'll also notice that your breasts are growing and your areolae are darkening. These are all good signs that your body is readying itself to be a mom.

You can take acetaminophen (Tylenol) if the burning really bothers you. Also, wear a comfortable bra (cotton is best) or go braless, since clothes rubbing against your breasts may aggravate the pain. Keeping your surroundings warm may also help because the burning sensation may intensify when your nipples harden or get cold.

Q: Does my baby feel anything in utero when Ihave sex?

A: Yes, the baby may be rocked to sleep by the movement.

It's impossible to say for sure what a baby feels while his mother is engaging in sex because nobody's ever done studies to find out. Yet there's a good chance he feels something—but not much. All the movements you make are buffered by a bubble of amniotic fluid, so even if things get really raucous, your baby won't feel much of the action. The steady rhythm of your movements may even rock him to sleep, which is why many pregnant women say they feel less movement from their babies after sex.

Some experts also believe sex may give unborn babies a postcoital dose of the feel-good hormone oxytocin, which is released after orgasm. See that? It feels good for everyone.

If you're itching to read more, you're in luck!Leave a comment below telling us your craziest pregnancy ponderings and you could receive a copy of the book!Five lucky ladies will win!