Archives for September 2017

Preparing for Labor: Ideal Birth Position

Preparing for Labor: Ideal Birth PositionAs the end of your pregnancy nears, your baby is packing her bags (so to speak) and getting ready to travel to this wonderful place called ‘the world.” Most babies instinctively know how to position themselves for the journey but some didn’t get the memo about ideal birth position.

In your last weeks before your baby’s due date, your OB will help you begin preparing for labor. One of the steps will be to check to see if your baby is progressing toward the ideal birth position, known as anterior position, in which her head is down and facing your back.

Approximately one-third of babies are in the occipital posterior position where her head is down but facing your stomach. In many instances babies naturally turn to the ideal birth position during labor, but a c-section is necessary if your baby does not turn around.

About one in every 25 babies is breech, which is when her feet or bottom are facing down toward the birth canal ready to come out first. Research indicates that breech births have the best outcomes if done by c-section. If your OB finds your baby is breech during your last few weeks of pregnancy, she will likely suggest an external cephalic version that entails putting pressure on your abdomen to try to get your baby to turn around. Although it doesn’t seem very technical, it works in up to 50% of breech cases.

If your baby is still not in the ideal birth position and the clock is ticking towards her due date, try these exercises to entice her to reposition:

Rock your Hips: Sitting on an exercise or birthing ball, rock your hips back and force, forwards and backwards, and in figure eights.

Kneel with Support: Kneel on the floor leaning over a cushion that will support and not crush your belly. Sway your hips every once in awhile.

Walk Around: Walking helps loosen ligaments that connect to your uterus and pelvis. This may create the space your baby needs to get into the ideal birth position.

Swim Laps: Swimming is a wonderful pregnancy exercise (weightless belly anyone?) and the scissor kick motion naturally flutters your hips to help your baby reposition.

Sit Backwards: Sit backwards straddling a chair and lean forward holding onto the back of the chair.

All Fours: Crawl around on all fours (yes, like a dog) and then every once in awhile are your back upwards (yes, like a cat).

Do Squats: If you can handle it this late into pregnancy, do squats to help open your hips. Hold each for 15-20 seconds. Make sure you have perfect squat form so you don’t hurt yourself.

Be sure to ask your OB before trying any exercises to get your baby into the ideal birth position. And remember, every birth is special and beautiful, even if it wasn’t the one you envisioned.

Sources: Parents and Tommys

 

Exploring Nature with your Baby: Part 2

Exploring Nature with your Baby: Part 2Exploring nature with your baby is one of the best activities you can do together. It’s fun for the whole family and boosts your child’s worldliness, sensory experiences and brain development. As we examined yesterday the benefits of exploring nature with your baby range from enhancing her mood and improving social skills, to broadening her sensory experiences and knowledge of all nature has to offer.

Many parents feel that because their baby is not walking, they cannot fully experience nature. This misconception leads to lots of stroller sitting outdoors. Some strollering is fine, but keeping your little one cooped up prevents her from reaping all of the benefits of exploring nature.

Check out these exciting activities for exploring nature with your baby:

Backyard Explorers: You can begin nature play with your baby as a newborn. Start by doing at least one tummy time session a day outdoors, weather permitting. As your baby grows and is able to sit, crawl and eventually walk, your exploration can take on new meaning. Think about all that your baby can see when she’s laying, sitting or crawling in the grass at ground level. Get right down there with her to view the world from her perspective. Encourage touching grass and leaves, pointing to insects and rocks, scratching dirt and sand, smelling flowers, listening to birds, and feeling the breeze. Identify what your baby is experiencing to help her connect words to objects and sensations.

Remember, being barefoot is excellent for young crawlers and walkers. It not only helps with sensory input and balance, your baby can also absorb minerals from the earth by being barefoot. If you’re worried about your baby’s knees getting scraped up by crawling outdoors, buy baby knee pads that will protect her skin.

Experience the Weather: If you think outdoor play is only for beautiful sunny days, think again! Let your little one feel the soft sprinkle of raindrops on her skin or crunch around in thick snow. Go out during a windy day to let the wind whoosh your hair. Take note of cloudiness vs. sunshine, humidity vs. dryness. While these may seem very abstract, your baby can sense these changes in the weather.

Experience the Seasons: When you dress appropriately, you can play outdoors in any season. Celebrate what’s new and exciting about each season. Plant a garden in the spring. Swim in a lake in the summer. Roll around in leaves in the fall. Build with snow in the winter. Mark the changing of seasons indoors as well with calendars, decorations and seasonal traditions.

Collect Nature: You may have noticed that your little one enjoys picking up objects and putting them into a container. This is super helpful when it’s clean-up time (assuming she doesn’t spill them out again) and it can be a fun nature activity. Provide a pail or box and let your little explorer collect objects such as sticks, rocks, leaves and pinecones. When she’s done, pour some water into the pail and let her mix up her nature stew.

Splash and Spray: Water is a huge part of nature and many babies find it delightful. Swimming in lakes, pools or the ocean, is always fun, or simply fill a plastic bin with water and give your little one some cups, spoons and balls to splash around. Spraygrounds are also quite popular in the summer.

Favorites Outside: Sometimes bringing favorite toys such as building blocks, paints, books and puzzles outside can be fun. With nature as your setting, it sheds new inspiration on these favorites.

Take a Walk: Exploring nature with your baby by walking or hiking can be enjoyable and bonding. Try wearing your baby in a carrier that allows her to face out. She can stay close to you and you can experience nature together. Be sure to narrate your walk, point out plant and animal life and take a moment to listen to the sounds of nature. At an enclosed park, let your little one guide the way if she’s walking. You may want to have a stroller or carrier on hand for the way back because she could venture farther than her legs can carry her back.

Sources: The Go-To Mom, Educatall, She Knows and Scholastic

 

Exploring Nature with your Baby: Part 1

Have you ever noticed how being outdoors brightens your baby’s mood. Even when the weather is less-than-desirable, there’s something magnificent about the connection humans have to nature and your baby is keenly aware of it from the get-go. Exploring nature with your baby can be an eye-opening, brain-boosting, calming and scintillating experience for your little one.

Today we’re talking about the benefits of exploring nature with your baby and tomorrow we’ll get into some of the best outdoor activities for your baby.

Exploring Nature with your Baby: Part 1The Benefits of Exploring Nature with your Baby

Babies thrive on sensory and play-based learning. Nature is both of these things to the extreme. In fact at times you may feel your baby is overwhelmed by nature but you can break it down into “baby bites” to help your little one get the most out of it.

Nature connects your baby to the world in a way that nothing else can. Perhaps it is our evolutionary pull that creates this powerful bond. And it has a bunch of fantastic benefits.

Mood Booster: If you’ve ever taken your fussy baby outdoors and she immediately changes her tune, you’ll know the true power of nature. It has the unique ability to turn frowns upside down and elicit cheerful moods. And that’s not only the case for beautiful sunshiny days. Even rainy, windy, cold or snowy days can give your baby a mood adjustment if you play it right.

Sensory Stimulus: Think about all the colors, shapes, textures, sounds, temperatures and elements your baby can feel in nature. Sure, you probably have a ton of toys that offer great sensory experiences too but nothing can compare to the stimulus of nature. Tickly grass under your baby’s feed, soft sand running through her hands, rough bark she can peel from a tree, brightly colored leaves she can crunch, noisy birds she can hear, squishy earthworms she can hold, crisp wind that cools her and hot sun that warms her. These and many others are irreplaceable sensations found in nature.

Exploring Nature with your Baby: Part 1Endless Possibilities: We all want our children to think big and dream big and nature can support these ideals. Nature is vast. The sky’s the limit, and the earth is the depth. Being indoors presents boundaries you cannot avoid but nature allows your child the feeling of true freedom. Especially when you have a safe space to explore, your baby can experience a little independence under your supervision. Exploring nature with your baby near mountains, plains, lakes, waterfalls or beaches creates an even greater sense of endless possibilities.

Animals in Action: Of course one of the greatest wonders in nature is observing animals in action. Your baby is probably really great at noticing animals such as bids in flight, squirrels scampering up trees and insects crawling nearby. She may be fascinated and want to touch, or she may prefer watching from afar. Either way, a baby’s innate sense of curiosity and interest in nature’s creatures is a fantastic way of exploring nature with your baby.

Social and Behavioral Lessons: As your baby grows into a toddler and beyond, outdoor play can help you adjust behavior problems and teach important lessons such as sharing and social responsibility.

Nature’s Classroom: Nature opens the door to many fascinating discussions you can have with your baby. You may feel you’re running out of things to talk about indoors but step outside and you have an entirely new well to research. From weather, planets and rainbows, to how plants grow and the water cycle, you can introduce new words and concepts to your baby. Sure, she may be years away from understanding them but it’s never to early to start the conversation.

Sources: The Go-To Mom, Educatall, She Knows and Scholastic

Breastfeeding Success Story: Kay from Lorain County WIC

Breastfeeding Success Story: Kay from Lorain County WIC“I was 16 years old when I had my first baby and breastfed her until I returned to school.  Now that I am 20 years old I knew from the moment I found out I was pregnant that I was going to breastfeed my son!

The WIC Breastfeeding Peer Helper Jessica has been a great support to me when I come to my WIC appointments.  I find that breastfeeding is easier to do, healthier for both myself and my baby, and I would definitely support another mom in her efforts to breastfeed.

The bra I received during Breastfeeding Awareness Month from Leading Lady through the WIC Program was a great surprise and very much appreciated!”

Kay from Lorain County WIC

Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Finding the Balance

Watching the numbers go up on the scale during pregnancy can be hard to bear for some moms-to-be, especially if they seem to fly by faster than you thought possible. For other moms, gaining enough weight to support their babies is a struggle.

Finding the balance for appropriate weight gain during pregnancy is harder than expected according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study reviewed statistics from 23 previous studies regarding weight gain during pregnancy. The results showed that nearly half of women gained more weight than recommended and approximately one quarter of women gained less weight during pregnancy than recommended.

Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Finding the BalanceRecommended Weight Gain During Pregnancy

The typical recommendation for weight gain during pregnancy is 25 to 35 pounds for women at a relatively healthy pre-pregnancy weight. Some women who are underweight prior to pregnancy may be advised to gain more weight and some women who are overweight prior to pregnancy may be advised to gain less. Moms who are carrying multiples will need to gain more weight as well.

The saying “eating for two” does not hold true and moms-to-be are urged to eat regularly during their first trimester, according to the CDC. Then expectant mothers should eat approximately 340 extra calories in the second trimester and 450 extra calories in the third trimester.

Risk of Too Much Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Excessive weight gain during pregnancy is not healthy for moms or babies. Moms who gain too much weight during their 40 or so weeks of pregnancy are likely to have oversized babies and more likely to require cesarean sections rather than vaginal births. Additionally, it puts the baby at increased risk of obesity later in life.

Of course there are also health risks involved for mothers who are overweight postpartum. It’s difficult to lose baby weight while taking care of a newborn and being overweight or obese may contribute to diabetes, heart disease and other health conditions or diseases.

Breastfeeding is one way to support your baby’s best nutritional health because it provides the exact set of nutrients your baby needs to thrive. Studies show breastfed babies are less likely to be obese in childhood and adulthood. Also, breastfeeding burns up to 500 calories a day and can help you slowly lose some baby weight.

Risk of Too Little Weight Gain During Pregnancy

On the flip side, babies born to moms who gained too little weight during pregnancy were up to 70% more likely to be born prematurely and underweight. Premature birth does not allow babies to continue to develop in the safe environment of the womb and can lead to many struggles as your baby tries to catch up on development while also surviving outside of the protection of a mother’s uterus. It may lead to birth defects, abnormalities or social, behavioral or cognitive differences in the future.

Often women who experience extreme pregnancy nausea and vomiting are among those who do not gain an adequate amount of weight during pregnancy. Also, being stressed or not prioritizing a mom’s own health can lead to too little weight gain during pregnancy.

Breastfeeding is also the best way to support a premature or underweight baby. The first breast milk a mother produces, colostrum, is rich in antibodies to help babies survive. As a mother’s breast milk matures, it becomes fattier and denser in calories to help babies grow bigger and stronger.

Sources: BabyCenter and LA Times

New Mom Resume: Part 2

New Mom Resume: Part 2After taking time off to raise children, many moms feel discouraged about their prospects of re-entering the workforce. We all know that being a mom is the hardest job in the world, but making employers see that, despite the smell or spit-up on your clothes and mac-n-cheese in your hair, you’re still highly qualified. In fact, being a mom may give us new perspective and renewed value in the workplace. Your new mom resume should reflect your skills and relevant experiences professionally and honestly.

Yesterday we discussed what NOT to put on your new mom resume, such as cute job titles with descriptions of your motherly duties, and what NOT TO FORGET to put on your new mom resume, including charitable work, freelance projects, volunteering, continued education and professional development. Today we’re offering advice on how to organize your new mom resume and other ways to use motherhood as an asset as you look for employment.

Organizing Your New Mom Resume

Most experts believe that a combination format resume is appropriate for new moms re-entering the workforce. This balances your career goals summary, qualifications, skills, work experience and education in a blended resume. It takes the focus off of the gap that would be highly noticeable if you used a traditional chronological resume format. It also doesn’t look like you’re hiding anything by not listing your employment dates at all, which would be a red flag to potential employers.

A combination new mom resume may begin with a brief summary of your career goals and then list out your core qualifications and skills related to the type of job you are seeking. Next it would list your related activities (the projects you may have done during your time off work) and your previous employment, including dates. Finally, list your education. There is not one right way to create a resume so play around with the format to ensure your strengths shine through.

Looking for Employment as a New Mom

There is no denying that your life has changed since you had children. Own the new woman that you are now that you’ve added mother to your life’s resume. That means being honest with potential employers about your time out of the workforce to raise your children, which can be briefly explained in a cover letter and in interviews. It is respectable to explain why there is an employment gap, how you kept yourself relevant in your field and how you can add value to a company. Ultimately, if the employer is only willing to hire someone who currently holds a position, you won’t be any worse off for this truthful approach.

Perhaps equally as important as your resume is using your new mom networking skills to find employment. Reach out to people you know and follow leads to make connections that could lead you to the perfect position for you. Never turn down a meet-and-greet opportunity or informational interview that could spark new ideas of where to seek employment. It only takes one magic connection to land your dream job.

Also, when you meet with people face-to-face, you may have a natural opportunity to intertwine the “mom-genuity” you’ve gained through motherhood into the conversation. This shows that being a mom is an asset to what you can bring to the workplace and one that can and should be valued by employers.

Sources: SheKnows, Monster, AdWeek, The Muse and Resume Genius

New Mom Resume: Part 1

Returning to work after taking some time off to focus on family feels daunting for many moms. Besides the obvious employment gap in your resume, you may feel your parenting skills put you behind those who have been steadily working in a professional environment. But many moms are in the same position and your new mom resume can truly highlight your strengths without being a deficit to your hireability.

What NOT to Put on Your New Mom Resume

Stop for a moment to consider the skills you have gained as a new mom. You can multi-task like no one’s business (such as breastfeeding while making dinner while reading to your preschooler while negotiating a lower rate on your cable bill, for example), your ability to build partnerships and networking skills are through the roof (as evidenced by the gaggle of New Mom Resume: Part 1new mom friends you have made), you are highly productive on little sleep (you’re sustaining an entire human life on milk that you yourself have made) and you are a terrific problem solver (like new and exciting methods of distraction or rigging child-proofing measures in an otherwise adult-centric home).

While the skills you have mastered as a new mom are beyond impressive, your new mom resume must reflect what you can contribute to the workplace in a professional way. It’s tempting to add these cute entries to your new mom resume – one organization, Mother New York, even created an “employer” called The Pregnancy Pause to help moms account for time out of the workforce – but your potential employers may not find it quite so adorable. The last thing you want is not to be taken seriously.

The only time when the “labors of love” of motherhood may be appropriate to list on your resume is if they are directly related to the position you are seeking, such as being a nanny, house manager, day care provider or teacher.

Focus Your Roles in Motherhood into Resume Boosters

Laundry, cooking, cleaning and breastfeeding may not be among the activities you should list on your resume but volunteer projects, charity work and freelance assignments are. All of the work you’ve done in your community – whether that’s through a religious organization, school or other group – can speak to your organizational, inter-personal, multi-tasking, problem-solving and results-oriented mentality. It also shows you’re a go-getter and passionate about goals that affect you and your community.

Examples may include being a committee chair at your child’s school, organizing a fundraiser and sharing the resulting money raised, joining a community task force, being a weekly volunteer at a local non-profit, holding a board position within your religious group, or blogging for a community website.

Also include any continuing education and professional development you may have completed during your time out of the workplace. This shows dedication to your field and a desire to advance your skills even without current employment. It will prove you are keeping up with industry trends, new strategies and technology that make you relevant to an employer.

Tomorrow we’ll talk more about organizing your new mom resume and other ways to highlight your talents to seek employment. See you then!

Sources: SheKnows, Monster, AdWeek, The Muse and Resume Genius

 

 

U.S. Birth Rate Reaches a Historic Low

U.S. Birth Rate Reaches a Historic LowOver the past few years the birth rate across the country has been on the decline. Now data shows the U.S. birth rate reaches a historic low leaving some experts to believe we may have a national emergency if the trend continues. Others, however, claim that this is the natural ebb and flow of the human population and the numbers will rise again soon enough.

This information comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2016 population data and has been analyzed by the National Center for Health Statistics. Overall the nation’s birthrate in 2016 was 1.87 percent, which equates to 62 births per 1,000 women between 15 and 44. That’s down 1 percent from the previous year. The average replacement rate for the U.S. is 2.1 percent.

The records show a decline in younger mothers and an increase in older mothers. Here’s an overview of the findings:

Teens: Teen motherhood is on the decline and changed most drastically – 9 percent – since 2015. Teen moms have slowly decreased by 67 percent since 1991. This is great news!

Women 20-24: Four percent decline since 2015

Women 25-29: Two percent decline since 2015

Women 30-34: One percent increase since 2015

Women 35-39: Two percent increase since 2015, the highest rate since 1962

Women 40-44: Four percent increase since 2015

Women 45-49: 0.9 percent increase since 2015

Why the potential national emergency? Some experts claim that without a significant young population, there will not be enough people in the U.S. to support the aging community both logistically and financially. But others say the birth rate will rise again and elderly care will not be an issue, at least not from a population standpoint.

Further analysis showed that more than 28 percent of white babies, nearly 70 percent of black babies and more than 50 percent of Hispanic babies are born to unmarried parents.

Preterm birth, defined by babies born prior to 37 weeks of gestation, increased by approximately .20 percent since 2015. Hispanic babies have the highest percent of preterm births and Asian babies have the lowest, in the U.S.

Cesarean births were on a slight decline from 32 percent in 2015 to 31.9 percent in 2016.

Sources: BabyCenter, New York Times and Washington Post

 

 

 

Pregnancy Myths: Part 2

It’s hard to get through your 40 or so weeks of pregnancy without hearing pregnancy myths. While they are fun to consider, there is little truth to most of these tall tales and their widespread retelling can lead to some confusion for moms-to-be.

We’re debunking pregnancy myths to keep you on a path to health and truth during your pregnancy.

Pregnancy Myths: Part 2Pregnancy Myth #8: You Should Limit Your Physical Activity

Unless your physician indicates otherwise, exercise during pregnancy is highly recommended. Your body is going through a ton of changes and you can help your heart and blood circulation keep up with the challenge by working out. Plus, exercise is good for stress relief, helps stretch and loosen muscles and joints that are being used differently during pregnancy, and can prepare you for labor and delivery.

You may, however, need to adjust your workout routines to be more appropriate, especially as you progress through pregnancy. Any activity where you may be more likely to lose our balance or fall, such as biking, horseback riding or mountain hiking, is not a great choice at this time. Stick to walking, swimming, prenatal yoga and the likes to elevate your heart rate and stay safe during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Myth #9: You Can Predict Your Baby’s Gender With a Game

Have you heard the one where you dangle your wedding ring from a strand of your husband’s hair over your belly to determine your baby’s gender? You know, if it spins it’s a girl and if it swings it’s a boy. NOT TRUE! Like we said yesterday, your baby’s sex is determined at conception and there’s not a game in the world that can change that.

Pregnancy Myth #10: Don’t Eat Any Seafood

Actually, you SHOULD eat two or three weekly servings of fish rich in essential fatty acids during pregnancy as long as they are low in mercury. Great options include salmon, tilapia, canned tuna, shrimp and cod. Seafood that is high in mercury can be toxic to your baby’s developing nervous system so avoid seafood such as tilefish, swordfish, shark and mackerel. Also, never eat raw or undercooked seafood. That means it’s best to skip the sushi or sashimi for awhile.

Pregnancy Myth #11: You Should Not Fly

The radiation you experience from an airplane, x-ray machines and other aviation equipment is minimal. It would take many times the level acquired from flying to do any harm to your baby.

Many parents use the time before their baby arrives to take a vacation. Some airlines have restrictions on flying in the last month of pregnancy so you may need a doctor’s note if you plan to fly in your third trimester. Be sure to hydrate during flight and walk around to help maintain good blood circulation.

Pregnancy Myth #12: Morning Sickness is Only in the Morning and Ends After the 1st Trimester

Unfortunately some women experience morning sickness around the clock and throughout their entire pregnancy. Morning sickness is more likely in the morning since your body has been fasting overnight and nausea tends to peak when your body needs nourishment and blood sugar levels are lower. But this could happen at other points during the day as well and sometimes even eating doesn’t subdue morning sickness.

The majority of women experience less nausea and vomiting after the first trimester when pregnancy hormones change and your body gets used to being pregnant. Again, this isn’t the case for everyone and some moms are queasy throughout pregnancy. Ginger, lemon and mint can be helpful to reduce symptoms of morning sickness.

Pregnancy Myth #13: Avoid Sex

Sex is not off limits during pregnancy, ladies! In fact, some women feel heightened sexual pleasure during pregnancy, thanks to all that extra estrogen. Sex may help you relax and feel closer to your partner as you experience the ups and downs of becoming a new parent. Unless your doctor says otherwise, indulge and enjoy!

Pregnancy Myth #14: You Will Crave Your Favorite Foods

Pregnancy hormones change the way you experience food. Your favorite foods and foods you never liked before may taste different now. Therefore, you may not overdo it on chocolate even if that’s your favorite treat. And you may actually enjoy kale more during pregnancy than ever before. It’s a good reason to rediscover new, healthy foods.

Also, if you’re waiting for the urge for pickles and ice cream, it may never come. While that’s an infamous pregnancy combination, it isn’t a craving for all moms-to-be.

Sources: WebMD, The Bump, Tommys, CNN, Parenting and Babble

 

 

Pregnancy Myths: Part 1

Pregnancy Myths: Part 1When it comes to pregnancy and babies, everyone seems to have an opinion. Unfortunately, not all the unsolicited advice you get will be accurate, much less something you really want to heed anyways. Pregnancy myths are as common as morning sickness and swollen feet for moms-to-be. This week we’re debunking some of the major pregnancy myths so you can get to the bottom of what really matters in a healthy pregnancy.

Pregnancy Myth #1: You’re Eating for Two

You may feel a bit hungrier than usual but you actually don’t need much more food to sustain yourself and your growing baby. About 200 to 300 extra calories should do it. Many moms-to-be find it easier to graze on small meals throughout the day. This can curb pregnancy nausea and help keep your blood sugar levels stable.

As you progress throughout your pregnancy you may even find eating large meals difficult because your baby is compressing your stomach making it not able to hold very much at one time.

Overeating during pregnancy can lead to an excessive weight gain and a host of health problems for you and your baby during and after pregnancy. Physicians recommend a weight gain between 25-35 pounds for most women during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Myth #2: You Can’t Take Any Medications

There are plenty of OTC medications that are safe during pregnancy including certain pain relievers, antacids, cough medications and allergy decongestants. Check with your doctor to make sure you select something safe for you and your baby. You may be able to continue taking pre-existing prescription medications or may be prescribed a new baby-safe medication during pregnancy to relieve symptoms. If you were taking something that is not safe now that you’re pregnant, your doctor may be able to prescribe an alternative drug.

Also, pregnant women should get a flu shot for the protection of herself and her baby. The flu shot for expectant moms does not contain the live virus and is completely safe and recommended for moms-to-be.

Pregnancy Myth #3: Heartburn Means Your Baby Will Be Hairy

The old wives’ tale about heartburn and your baby’s likelihood for excessive hair is not exactly what it’s cracked up to be, although there may be some truth to it. Plenty of moms with heartburn give birth to bald babies, but sometimes the pregnancy hormones causing heartburn are the same that stimulate hair growth for babies. So, if your heartburn is indeed from your hormones and not the hot tamales you ate last night, your baby may be hairy…or he may not.

Pregnancy Myth #4: You Can’t Drink Coffee

Studies show that caffeine in moderation is completely acceptable during pregnancy. Previous research indicated caffeine may lead to preterm birth or low birth weight but this myth has been debunked. In fact, eating chocolate – a food with natural caffeine – is healthy during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Myth #5: Don’t Dye Your Hair

There is no evidence that the small amount of chemicals used to dye hair will affect your baby. It would take many times that level of toxins to do any harm to your baby and it certainly would have affected you long before your little one. If you need to touch up your roots or have a hankering for an entirely new hair color before your baby arrives, go for it.

Pregnancy Myth #6: You Should Always Feel Happy During Pregnancy

Sure, you’re excited, optimistic and eager to start a new life with your bundle of joy, but you may also be anxious, scared and stressed at the same time. Pregnancy hormones can leave you with a mixed range of emotions that are often confusing when you believe you’re supposed to just be thrilled about your baby all the time. Especially when pregnancy symptoms are at their worst, feeling happy isn’t always on your agenda.

Don’t feel guilty, these are normal feelings. Try to find a balance between everything you need to maintain in your life and supporting your physical and emotional needs at this critical time. Also, lean on your partner, friends and family to help you work through some of your feelings.

Pregnancy Myth #7: Carrying Low, Carrying Wide and Dark Nipples can Determine Your Baby’s Gender

All of these things may happen to you, but it isn’t an indication of the gender of your baby. Whether you find out your baby’s gender in advance of birth or not, your baby’s sex is determined at conception. Nothing that you do, say or believe is going to change that.

The way you carry your baby has much to do with your body type, your baby’s position in the womb, and your stomach muscles. If you have a shorter torso, your belly may protrude outward more because you have less “built-in” space for your baby. Stronger abdominal muscles tend to help moms-to-be hold babies higher. With each pregnancy your muscles may become more elastic and cause you to carry lower.

The darkening of your nipples is actually a wonderful way your body prepares for breastfeeding. It occurs due to hormones and some experts believe it is to help your baby, who has poor vision at birth, more easily find your nipples for breastfeeding.

If you’re shocked by these pregnancy myths, stick around for the second half of our series tomorrow!

Sources: WebMD, The Bump, Tommys, CNN, Parenting and Babble