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Pregnancy Health in the News

by Jane Wangersky | August 30th, 2013 | Pregnancy

ultrasoundThe things “everyone knows” about pregnancy health are constantly changing, or it least that’s what it looks like if you keep up with the news. This week has been busy that way.

Say what you like about Emily Oster, the economist who crunched the numbers and decided it was okay for pregnant women to go on drinking their morning coffee and even a couple of glasses of wine a week — she’s given us one more tip to pass on about making your ultrasound a better experience. Drinking two liters of water before the test, instead of just one, can raise the level of your amniotic fluid. And yes, that’s good, especially if you want to avoid an induction.

Speaking of ultrasounds, Australia’s Sunday Telegraph asks if they’re harmful to the baby and reports: “In theory, yes . . . In practice, there is no proof” of this. Although ultrasounds are capable of heating body tissue, such as the brain, enough to affect their development, there’s no evidence that it’s ever happened. Still, it’s better to keep ultrasounds to a minimum and conduct them as quickly as possible. If you want exact numbers, maybe Emily Oster’s book, Expecting Better, can help you.

The Telegraph also reports that “the womb evolved as a dull, unstimulating place specifically to let baby develop unhindered” — in other words, there’s no benefit to reading or playing music to your unborn child. One less thing to do while you’re pregnant; unfortunately one of the more fun things.

(Try taking the pregnancy myth quiz that goes with the article. I scored 100%, in case anyone out there is wondering about my qualifications to write these articles.)

Here’s a statistic for you: Pregnant women typically spend 75% of their days sitting down, says an Iowa State University study. Even if they get up and exercise half an hour a day, that’s still pretty sedentary. Exercising is not only good for your baby (by keeping down excessive weight gain in yourself), but can also make pregnancy easier by both giving you more energy and helping you sleep — not to mention cutting down back pain. So try doing as much as you’re comfortable with.

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