When I was pregnant, I read four books on pregnancy and two on childbirth. I read no books on what my body would be like during the first year postpartum, because I had never heard of any. During that first year, many people are underinformed about their own bodies, even as they learn vast amounts about their babies. For this piece, I discussed health in the first postpartum year with two ob-gyns, a nurse, two physical therapists who specialize in treating postpartum bodies and two mothers. The experts stressed that you don’t have to live with pain, discomfort or leaking urine, and that your health is as important as your baby’s.
The vast majority of working parents can’t keep their babies with them while they’re working. This means that if they want to keep breastfeeding while they work, they have to pump breastmilk. I talked to three breastfeeding experts and two lactation consultants; as well as five parents who navigated the decision to pump breastmilk when they returned to work as restaurant managers, police, scientists, soldiers and consultants. In researching this article, I heard about women pumping in printer closets, in the back of Humvees, in bathrooms and while driving. The experts I consulted all said that the best approach is to know your rights, make a plan and communicate transparently with your employer. Both experts and parents agreed: above all, be kind to yourself.
So you’ve just found out you’re pregnant with multiples. It’s O.K. to freak out. It’s a lot to process. Katie Ring panicked when she found out she was pregnant with twins, even though she was not at all surprised. “It felt like too much,” she said. “I felt like I was going to lose my whole identity.” For this guide, I sifted through the science, consulted three obstetricians who specialize in multiples, interviewed a mom of twins, and compiled the information you need to know about being pregnant with multiples, without the scaremongering.
If you’re pregnant and you’ve previously had a cesarean section, you may have a decision to make: Do you try for a vaginal birth after cesarean (otherwise known as a V.B.A.C.) or schedule another cesarean? Deciding whether or not to try for a V.B.A.C. means reckoning with the details of your medical situation in the context of your values, according to the experts. “I think it’s important to know that V.B.A.C. is an option for most women, and their chances of success are actually quite high,” said Dr. Jeanne-Marie Guise, M.D. M.P.H., professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine.
Early pregnancy can feel unreal. How do you know the fetus is there when you can’t see it or feel it moving yet? So the first ultrasound picture can feel momentous: Finally, your whirring brain can be placated with direct proof. But other than the visual evidence that you’re not dreaming all this, you may not know what to expect from prenatal ultrasounds. We’re here to walk you through it. For this guide, I interviewed two obstetricians who specialize in ultrasounds — and a radiologist whose observation led to a diagnostic breakthrough — to find out what you need to know about prenatal ultrasounds.
Mice are a mainstay of biomedical research laboratories. But the rodents are poor models for studying women’s reproductive health, because they don’t menstruate. Now researchers at Monash University in Clayton, Australia, say that they have found a rodent that defies this conventional wisdom: the spiny mouse (Acomys cahirinus). If the finding holds up, the animal could one day be used to research women’s menstruation-related health conditions.