Pregnancy Pregnancy Health

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    Pregnancy is full of surprises. You're putting away your groceries or stooping down to pet someone's dog, and then boom: you've got a nosebleed, and it's a gusher. You scramble for a Kleenex but still end up looking like the latest casualty from some slasher film. It's not only inconvenient and embarrassing, but you start thinking, Geez, I haven't had a bloody nose since I was 5 years old. Something must be wrong with me or my baby.

    Hold that thought. It turns out you probably have nothing to worry about.

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    Ah, Spanx: Where would women be without these miracle undergarments that squeeze and shape flab into a more flattering silhouette? Plus, now it has a line of maternity wear so that even pregnant ladies can look fabulous. Still, though, moms-to-be might wonder whether wearing tight underclothes could be bad for their unborn baby: After all, it's cramped enough in there, and now you're constricting things further. Baby could be getting mighty uncomfortable ... or come out with a cone head.

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    While most pregnant women know they have to be careful not to take many medications without consulting a doctor first, herbal supplements may seem harmless: after all, they're just little ol' herbs, right? Not necessarily. "A woman needs to be careful about taking herbal supplements pregnancy," says Jenny Jaque, MD, an OB/GYN at the online health magazine Health Goes Female. "Regardless of them being 'natural,' some herbal supplements can lead to harmful effects on the pregnancy and growing fetus."

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    Few sensations in a pregnant mom's life are as thrilling as feeling her unborn baby kick, roll, or otherwise bop around inside her body. Fetal movement generally begins at around 18 to 22 weeks, and it's considered a sign that a baby is likely in good health.

    But a mom who is used to her baby moving frequently can be in for a big shock when suddenly baby just isn't moving around as much as she's used to. Before you start worrying, know this: an ebb and flow in movement by your unborn baby is normal and usually nothing to worry about.

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    I had a perfect pregnancy. I gained less than 20 pounds. My baby passed all the pre-natal tests with flying colors. I exercised often, ate well, got plenty of sleep, drank lots of water, and loved the feeling of my baby boy rolling around in my belly. I had but a fleeting moment of morning sickness and had no indigestion and very little discomfort up until the very last days.

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    Here's a newsflash: moms can't win. No matter what parenting style you adhere to, what you choose to name your child, or where you decide to live, it seems like each and every decision just makes you look like a bad parent. And here's further proof! A new study, completed by Bristol University in Australia, just revealed that one single night of binge drinking while pregnant can basically ruin your kid for life.

    According to researchers who tracked over 4,000 participants over a decade, even one night of heavy drinking (which is defined as having four or more drinks) can make children more hyper and lead to a poorer academic performance. And it seems to include that one drunken night a week after sperm met egg. So basically, you're already a bad parent even before you find out you're pregnant.

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    More and more women are turning to birth coaches, and with good reason. Some studies show using a doula reduces the length of labor, pain levels, and C-section rates up to 50 percent. "Many mothers refer to them as the women who have made their birthing experience a 'dreamy' one," says Giuditta Tornetta, a birth coach at JoyinBirthing.com.

    A doula will give you the emotional support and information that most OB/GYNs -- and stressed-out husbands -- can't provide. "Basically a doula is there to help the mom get the birth she wants," says Stephanie Heintzeler, a doula at TheNewYorkDoula.com. But as with choosing your doctor, midwife, and pediatrician, it's important to choose a doula that's right for you.

    Here's how ...

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    What would you do if you woke up one morning, peered in the mirror, and saw that your face was covered in dark splotches that couldn't be washed off? Don't freak out yet! If you're pregnant, there's actually a name for this surprising side effect: "mask of pregnancy," better known in the medical community as melasma or chloasma.

    Now the good news: it's absolutely normal ... and very common.

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    When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I think I was most excited for my feeding frenzy. I’d be able to eat whatever I wanted without worrying about getting fat. Or rather, when I did get fat, I’d have a pretty good excuse for it.

    I dreamed of nights filled with mint chocolate chip ice cream, days of chips and dip, dinners of thick juicy steaks and lots and lots of mashed potatoes. I’d start out eating for three, just in case I had twins in there. And once I found out for sure I didn’t, maybe I’d cut down just a wee bit.

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    Before you've even given birth, chances are you've seen your baby plenty of times. All those scheduled pregnancy ultrasounds gave you a chance to catch a sneak peek of that little nugget long before the due date. And sometimes, you might get to see something incredible. Just take one dad who found his baby giving a thumbs up in the sonogram.

    This is not a joke. And you have to see the actual shot dear old Dad uploaded to Reddit to believe it. Take a look at the one-of-a-kind pic:

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