Finally, one morning I pulled on my jeans and they wouldn’t zip. I didn’t even wait for my husband to come home from work. I raced to the mall (wearing his sweats) and there it was: the maternity outfit of my dreams. Navy blue stretch pants, complete with elastic waist. Blue and white striped sailor-style shirt, size “Tent.”

“Probably not until almost halfway through the pregnancy,” he answered. I went home feeling, both literally and figuratively, deflated. I started making regular trips to the mall. Every payday, I would coax my husband into yet another trip to the baby section of my favorite department store under the guise of stocking up on baby basics.

I guess I could say it was my Aunt Caroline’s fault, if I had to lay blame somewhere. She was, after all, the first woman I consciously observed as her body went through the changes of pregnancy. I was 5 at the time, and with each visit her swelling abdomen filled me with wonder and caused me to marvel at the potential I suddenly realized my own body held.

What to Avoid Alcohol – STOP Avoid alcoholic beverages during pregnancy. Alcohol use has been linked with fetal alcohol syndrome. Fetal alcohol syndrome is marked by physical and mental retardation of the baby. Caffeine – CAUTION

Planning to have a baby? Congratulations! You do not need to start eating for two before your pregnancy, but thinking for two now is wise. Careful attention to diet in the months preceding conception may lessen the risk of birth defects in your baby, according to many researchers. Quiz – Are you eating right for two?

A Second Scare It took Troutman about two weeks to recover from her surgery. Most uncomfortable, she said, was the drainage tube stitched under her arm for 10 days — an irritating reminder that she, indeed, had cancer. “I hated seeing that tube hanging out of me,” she said. “It was just too bizarre.”

Timing can mean everything. Cindy Troutman believes timing meant the difference between surviving her battle with breast cancer and becoming a memory for her three young children. Troutman’s gynecologist had wanted her to have a baseline mammogram at age 35.

Many women assume that nature provides its own birth control by suppressing ovulation while a woman is breastfeeding . This is true to some extent: In the early months of breastfeeding, when the baby relies on breastmilk for the majority or all of its sustenance, a woman will not typically ovulate.

This week was pretty stress filled. My 14-month-old is teething. He does not deal with that very well, so consequentially I’ve had a few sleepless nights this week. I’ve been too exhausted to exercise like I should.

Getting Started. Before you consider any exercise program during your pregnancy, it is important that you discuss this with your doctor and get a medical clearance to begin. As per the 1994, American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology guidelines, a woman who has never exercised before can start to exercise during her pregnancy. This is safe according to Dr. Clapp, an expert in Pregnancy Fitness. It would be advisable to seek the help of a fitness professional to design a safe and effective training program.