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Your Perfectly Pampered Pregnancy

Beauty, Health, and Lifestyle Advice for the Modern Mother-to-Be

Your Perfectly Pampered Pregnancy by Colette Bouchez
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The moment a pregnancy is announced, all eyes are on baby. But what about Mom? Not only is her body changing, everything about her lifestyle is turning upside down.

A revolutionary new kind of self-help guide, Your Perfectly Pampered Pregnancy puts Mom at center stage, with hundreds of tips on how to have the healthiest, most vibrant pregnancy possible.

Culling advice from top medical, beauty, and style sources worldwide , award-winning health reporter Colette Bouchez delivers sound medical advice as well as beauty and lifestyle tips to keep Mom happy and healthy, ensuring baby will be healthier and happier as well.

Highlights include:

*The five most common pregnancy complaints—and how to beat them
*The beauty, hair, and skin care products that are safe to use—and what to avoid
*How to choose maternity clothes without losing your sense of style
*Natural and relaxing ways to beat stress, overcome sleep problems, and handle pregnancy fears
*How to treat painful—and often embarrassing—pregnancy problems naturally and easily, and how to know when it’s time to seek a doctor’s help
*Advice on how to blend your career obligations with impending motherhood—and look and feel great while doing it!
*How to make pregnant sex the best sex of your life

Written in the caring, one-on-one tone of a best friend, Your Perfectly Pampered Pregnancy is a unique (and long overdue) addition to the booming baby category.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
Crown/Archetype; November 2008
ISBN 9780307493620
Read online, or download in secure EPUB
Title: Your Perfectly Pampered Pregnancy
Author: Colette Bouchez

Oh! My Aching Pregnancy

Solutions for Your Most Common Health Problems

Whether you've just discovered you're pregnant, or you've known for a while that baby is on the way, chances are you have already begun to notice changes in your body. The most obvious, of course, will be in your breasts and particularly your tummy, both of which will take on a totally new shape and feel. As your uterus stretches to make room for your growing baby, and your breasts begin developing the milk ducts that will nourish and feed your newborn, your pregnancy clearly begins to "show." The closer you get to your delivery date, the more your "state of grace" will become obvious, not only to you but to the world around you.

But long before that happens, there are a series of other changes that will take place as well. Most, if not all, will stem from the sudden increase in estrogen and progesterone--the hormones of pregnancy that began coursing through your body from almost the moment you conceived.

For most of you, these sometimes dramatic and definitely abrupt changes will affect the way you feel, both physically and emotionally, often right from the start of your pregnancy. Morning sickness, fatigue, mood swings--these are just some of the problems that may seem to rob you of at least some of the joy you initially felt when you learned you were pregnant.

As you go forward with your pregnancy, you may be focusing your attention on even more significant concerns, such as the risk of high blood pressure, preeclampsia, or high blood sugar--all real and frightening conditions that threaten not only your pregnancy but your personal health as well.

The important thing to remember, however, is that for the most part, nearly everything you will experience is a normal and natural part of your pregnancy. What's more, most of these problems will gently pass as you move from one trimester to the next. And while each one may get you down for a little while, with a little bit of knowledge and some generous self-care, you can not only quickly resolve many of the problems you will experience, but in some instances, even learn how to prevent some from occurring at all.

As a result, your journey into motherhood will begin with a new confidence--a state of mind that will not only help you to weather all the bumps in the road but to do so with infinitely more style and grace.

Before you begin to explore the various problems that might occur--and the solutions that can help--it's important to remember that no two pregnancies run on the exact same timetable. So, while many of the conditions mentioned in this chapter are rooted in specific trimesters, don't be alarmed if what you experience occurs earlier or later, lasts longer or stops sooner, or doesn't occur at all!

It's also important that you always check any new symptoms with your doctor, even if you're certain you know what's wrong. Chances are, whatever you experience will be a normal and predictable part of pregnancy. But only your doctor can know for certain--so don't skip getting his or her expert opinion on whatever problems come your way.

The Five Most Common Pregnancy Complaints and How to Fix Them


Ever since that day in the 1950s when a blossoming and pregnant Lucy Ricardo announced to the television world that she was "nauseous," morning sickness came bounding out of the closet and into our everyday pregnancy vocabulary. But perhaps the greatest misconception about this common pregnancy concern is that it occurs only in the morning. In truth, the nausea and vomiting that are the hallmarks of this condition can actually occur any time of the day or night. It is often prompted by the smell or taste of certain foods, and usually occurs within the first four to eight weeks of pregnancy. It has, however, been known to develop as soon as fourteen days after conception.

For some women, the symptoms can continue to build until about the fourteenth or even the sixteenth week, after which they rapidly disappear. For most, however, morning sickness gradually subsides so that by week thirteen or fourteen, you are feeling substantially better, with nearly all symptoms gone. In the meantime, the degree to which you experience morning sickness can range from mild queasiness to frequent vomiting or anything in between. Fatigue and headaches are also commonly part of the picture. The important thing to remember is that, in general, morning sickness is a common part of pregnancy and so long as it remains within the normal time frame, it's not considered harmful to you or baby.

Why Morning Sickness Occurs

While no one is certain exactly why morning sickness occurs, most experts believe that the pregnancy hormone hCG--short for human chorionic gonadotropin--plays a big role. Perhaps not coincidentally, levels of hCG are highest during the first trimester, when the risk of morning sickness is greatest. "Levels also soar in mothers of twins and triplets, which is also the group most likely to suffer the most severe morning sickness," says Dr. Steve Goldstein, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at New York University School of Medicine.

Studies show problems can also develop as a result of the quick rise in estrogen and progesterone that occurs in early pregnancy. As levels of these hormones climb, they can temporarily change the muscle contractions and relaxation patterns of your stomach and intestines, which further increases feelings of nausea.

A controversial new theory says morning sickness may be nature's way of protecting a pregnancy. Cornell researchers Samuel Flaxman and Paul Sherman report that the foods which most commonly trigger pregnancy nausea--meat, fish, and poultry--were once considered to carry the highest rate of foodborne pathogens--bacteria that could increase the risk of miscarriage. Nausea in the presence of these foods may have been nature's way of keeping mothers-to-be from eating potentially harmful foods, says Flaxman. Oddly enough, these researchers found that women who experienced the most nausea and vomiting during pregnancy are the least likely to suffer a miscarriage. A similar theory published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in May 2000 says that morning sickness may promote a healthy pregnancy by controlling the production of insulin and other hormones that could interfere with the growth of the placenta, the protective sac of fluids and nutrients that surrounds your baby in the womb.

So, while it may leave you feeling less than great, take comfort in knowing that morning sickness can be the sign of a healthy pregnancy. Of course, that doesn't mean you won't want to control symptoms or, if possible, make them disappear. To this end, experts from the Mayo Clinic, along with members of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, have devised a series of survival tips--advice that may help pull you through a few dreadful morning (or evening) moments. While some of these suggestions are based in common sense and well-worn pieces of advice, others may provide you with new and surprisingly practical options.

Surviving Morning Sickness:

One Dozen Things You Can Try Right Now

1.Identify Personal Nausea Triggers. While in the beginning it may seem as if everything makes you nauseous, in reality, most women respond to just a few external cues. In addition to the smell of meat, fish, and poultry, other common odor triggers include greasy, fatty foods, coffee, onions, garlic, and pungent spices. In a medical report published in the October 2000 issue of the journal Female Patient, researchers say even environmental factors can be a trigger, particularly cleaning or workplace chemicals, perfume, heat, humidity, noise, motion (like riding in an elevator or on a subway), or even a flickering computer screen. By identifying your nausea triggers, you can work on reducing exposure--which in turn can dramatically or even completely eliminate episodes of morning sickness.

2.Mommy Want a Cracker? Eat a dry, high-carbohydrate snack, such as crackers or toast, twenty to thirty minutes before you get out of bed in the morning, and avoid drinking any liquids, particularly water, during this time. Doing so can calm the queasies before they start and get your day off on the right foot.

3.Never Go to Bed Hungry. Since low blood sugar can sometimes trigger nausea, eat a high-protein snack, such as cheese or egg salad, before bedtime. Also avoid high-sugar snacks or simple carbohydrates late at night since they can cause a drop in blood sugar and precipitate morning nausea.

4.Limit Fluid Intake with Meals. Instead, drink between meals, and try tummy-soothing beverages like ginger tea, ginger ale, or decaffeinated black or green tea.

5.Switch Prenatal Vitamins or the Time You Take Them. The high iron content in most prenatal vitamins can leave you feeling nauseous much of the time. So, talk to your doctor about switching to a low-iron or even no-iron formula for the first trimester, when the risk of anemia, and your need for iron, is lowest. Sometimes just switching brands can also make a difference, even if the iron content stays the same. In addition, you can try taking your vitamins late in the day, and instead of swallowing the pills with water, try putting them in a spoonful of pudding or applesauce.

6.Try the BRATT Diet. Short for bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, and tea. Many experts say these foods may help calm a queasy stomach, reduce intestinal contractions, and help control vomiting.

7.Eat or Drink Anything Containing Ginger. It's not just an old wives' tale! Studies published in the April 2001 issue of the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology show that ginger really does control the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. In a survey conducted by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, some 52 percent of all obstetricians now recommend ginger for pregnancy patients. While natural ginger is best, as a tea or sprinkled over a dessert, you can also try drinking ginger ale or eating ginger snaps, or talk to your doctor about taking ginger capsules. If you don't like the taste or smell of ginger, try anything lemon flavored (hard candy, sorbet, lemonade) or peppermint gum or candy. Be aware, however, that peppermint may increase your risk of heartburn, so don't take it after a meal. For a quick fix away from home try Preggie Pops--all-natural lollipops in flavors like ginger, lavender, mint, and sour fruits, which studies show can help reduce nausea.

8.Massage Your Pressure Points. Putting pressure on what Chinese medicine experts call the P6 Nei Guan nerve located in the wrist can calm a queasy stomach almost immediately. You can stimulate this nerve, located on the underside of the arm about two inches above the wrist, with pressure from two fingers or the thumb of your opposite hand. You can also invest in an acupressure band--a bracelet worn around the wrist that continually stimulates the antinausea point. Sold in drugstores as a motion sickness treatment, or under the name Relief Bands, in one medical study, 70 percent of the pregnant women who wore these wristbands found immediate relief.

9.Turn Down the Lights--and the Stress. For many women, morning sickness fades in a dimly lit and quiet environment--which, not surprisingly, is often the hospital treatment for severe nausea. Turn lights low, crack a window for fresh air and circulation, and place a rolled towel at the base of your bedroom door to keep out any offensive odors from kitchen or bath. According to Dr. John Larsen, chairman of maternal-fetal medicine at George Washington University, stress can also make vomiting worse, so try to eliminate as much tension from your life as you can. In addition, remember that fatigue can encourage morning sickness, so don't overlook the power of a nap to reduce that nauseous feeling.

10.Rise and Shine . . . Slowly. When you do get up--whether in the morning or after a nap--do so slowly. Rising too quickly can throw off your equilibrium and contribute to the queasies.

11.Eat Often. Instead of three meals a day, opt for six smaller ones. If your nausea is particularly severe, Brigham and Women's Hospital dietician Miriam Erick advises you to eat whatever you can, whenever you can--calories in any form will sustain you until nausea passes.

12.Stick It to Morning Sickness. The treatment is acupuncture, a procedure that uses a series of needles painlessly placed just below the surface of the skin--in this case, just above the wrist--in order to stimulate nerve endings linked to nausea. Studies published in the American journal Birth in February 2002 found that just four weekly twenty-minute acupuncture treatments dramatically reduced nausea and vomiting in some 600 women. For many, relief was seen in just one treatment. These findings echoed an earlier study in 2000 that found acupuncture reduced nausea in more than half of the pregnant women in the group. One caveat: Make certain that you choose a licensed acupuncturist, and that he or she uses only disposable needles (to reduce the risk of infection). Also get the okay of your obstetrician or midwife before getting treatment.

The Smell of Success:

How Aromatherapy Can Help You

Although for most women smells and aromas can be a leading trigger for bouts of morning sickness, a few scents may actually help you to overcome your nausea. Based on principles of aromatherapy--that certain scents have the ability to trigger complex neurological reactions--the key here is to use essential oils that have been shown to calm areas of the brain linked to the nausea response. While many women find that certain scents can relieve their nauseous feelings, it's a good idea to take your first sniff when you aren't feeling queasy--just to make certain the oils don't irritate your sinuses or bring on any allergies. That said, here are a few classic recipes you can try.

Morning Sickness Remedy

To a bowl of water, add 3 drops of lavender oil and 1 drop of peppermint oil. Stir and inhale. You can also try a cool compress soaked in a lavender solution on your forehead or a warm lavender compress on your chest. For many women, a sniff of peppermint oil is all that's necessary to head off a bout of pregnancy nausea. For others, peppermint enhances the aromas of certain foods and actually increases nausea. But even if you find that peppermint does help you, never use a highly concentrated oil preparation, internally or externally, particularly during your first trimester. Some herbalists believe that because peppermint has a stimulating effect, it can, at least theoretically, stimulate uterine contractions and increase your risk of miscarriage. In addition, when taken on an empty stomach, even small concentrations of peppermint may increase your risk of heartburn and gastrointestinal distress during pregnancy.

Instant Antinausea Remedy

To combat any offensive odors you may encounter outside your home, aromatherapy expert Marlene Ericksen suggests dousing a hankie with a light peppermint/lavender blend and keeping it in a sealed plastic bag inside your handbag. At the first hint of nausea, hold the hankie over your nose and inhale once or twice.

From the Trade Paperback edition.