From men carrying babies to dispensing pregnancy tests in bar restrooms to prevent women from indulging during pregnancy, it's a crazy world out there.
Doctors tell pregnant women to relax, eat healthily, and get plenty of (safe) exercise while they are with child, but what does that mean to a pregnant mom when that advice keeps changing?
The news can be a scary thing for anyone, but pregnant women and new mothers have a lot to worry about before the birth. So add in picking up the newspaper or scrolling through their Facebook feed to some of the crazy stories that are making headlines this year, and the world seems like a much bigger, scarier place for the mom-to-be.
No longer does she have to only worry about getting the nursery set up and keeping herself from crying during commercials with babies and furry animals, but she has to worry about the endless amount of ever-changing medical advice and news stories that are funneled out each day. And with the news at the touch of our fingertips with our cell phones these days, it's harder to just shut out these shocking stories and just focus on growing a human being.
Here are 15 Headlines From 2018 That Will Make Every Woman Question Pregnancy...
15 Men Can Get Pregnant Now, Too?
More and more people are coming out as trans - meaning they identify with a gender that is different than the one they were assigned with at birth. For one man, Jason Barker, who was born a female, this was such the case.
Although he identified as a male, Jason still wanted to start a family of his own.
And luckily for him, he had all the necessary anatomy to get pregnant. When his partner, Tracey, couldn't conceive with Jason's eggs, Jason decided that he would try to conceive. He had already previously removed his breasts, opting to keep his ovaries, and delayed an appointment to discuss getting a hysterectomy.
Although more people are becoming accepting of the trans population, there are plenty of other people who are not as accepting, especially when it comes to stories like Jason's where a transgender man delivers a baby.
14 Find Out You're Pregnant At An Unconventional Place
In a bar restroom, you can usually find some dispensers on the wall for pads, tampons, and some extra miscellaneous items depending on the bar. But in recent news, it appears that there will be some non-traditional items in dispensers for purchasing. Like pregnancy tests. Because there's no better place to take one of these life-changing tests than a bar bathroom...
It seems that the first bar restroom dispensing pregnancy tests were placed in Minnesota bars, but quickly extended to bars in Alaska. The thought behind offering these tests in restrooms is to stop pregnant women from consuming alcohol, which can lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in infants.
Furthermore, babies exposed to alcohol while in the womb (from just 18-28 days into the pregnancy) tend to show signs of violent behavior, and can statistically lead to incidents like violence in schools.
13 Women Still Puff During Pregnancy
You would think with how much flack the whole smoking-while-pregnant thing has gotten in the last decade, that pregnant women would know better than to keep doing it! But, apparently, that isn't the case.
1 in 14 women still smokes during pregnancy.
Although they are fully aware of the risks their filter-tipped buddies have on their unborn baby. According to the article by Pulse Headlines, the study performed by the Centers for Disease Control found that the highest prevalence was in West Virginia, and the lowest number of women smoking during their pregnancy was in California.
Smoking while pregnant can cause low birth weights, early births, increased chances for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), increased chances of cleft lip/palate, and can even cause the mother-to-be to miscarry.
There aren't any good outcomes from smoking while pregnant (at least none that could possibly outweigh any of the serious side effects it causes), so it's pretty alarming that women still see pregnancy as an opportunity to smoke!
12 Never Ending Morning Sickness
Kate Middleton brought a lot of media attention to the rare medical condition, Hyperemesis gravidarum, which according to American Pregnancy is a condition characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and electrolyte disturbance. Kate suffered from the condition with all three pregnancies now, and it landed her in the hospital with her first pregnancy due to its severity.
According to an article on BBC, "Hyperemesis gravidarum: the mum whose morning sickness has never done away", there's one Cornwall mom named Caitlin Dean whose hyperemesis gravidarum didn't end after her pregnancy. She suffered through HG with each of her three pregnancies (just like the Duchess of Cambridge) and now suffers from triggered bouts of nausea. If she even looks at a toilet for too long, or her toothpaste foams too much, she finds herself ready to hurl.
HG is scary enough without a mom-to-be reading this scary article about being forever nauseous!
11 Diseases With No Vaccines
Move over Zika and Ebola - Lassus Fever is here!
This disease, originating in Nigeria and mainly occurring in West Africa has a 22% fatality rate in Nigeria, which makes this another scary threat to pregnant women. According to the article on BBC, 80% percent of women that contract the disease in the later stages of their pregnancies face the strong possibility of losing their unborn child or even their own lives.
While this disease can mimic the symptoms of the super scary Ebola disease, including bleeding through the nostrils, it can also display no symptoms at all.
This makes it fairly difficult to diagnose, and in the case of pregnant women, difficult to treat.
While this might not be a threat to pregnant moms unless they are in Nigeria, that case quickly changed for the Ebola virus, and it remains plausible for the same scenario to happen with Lassus.
10 The Link Between Race And Maternal Health
This article discusses the difficulty that African American mothers have in accessing healthcare. According to the publishing website Stat News, 'On average, black women with higher incomes and college educations have worse health than white women who have not graduated from high school'.
So being a pregnant African American woman seems to have more risks due to the lack of health care and presence of racism than women of other races. The author, Wrenetha A. Julion, states that while African-American mothers may have had some other health problems prior to their pregnancies that contributed to the fatalities, the amount of racism that is faced by today's black women has a significant toll on their health.
Ms. Julion further states, 'From my perspective, it sometimes feels that being a poor, black mother is akin to a diagnosis that increases the risk of dying during pregnancy or soon after giving birth'.
For black mothers, it truly is scary to acknowledge that just by the color of your skin you may lack the proper access to tools and care you need prior to your pregnancy, throughout your pregnancy, and through the postpartum period where mothers are still losing their lives.
9 Baby Brain Is A Real Thing
Baby brain has long been a symptom that most people have chalked up to be akin to a wives tale.
Forgot your keys? Oops, baby brain!
Forgot when your OB appointment was? Ugh, baby brain!
Because pregnant moms have so much on their mind with their new arrival coming, and their lives being turned upside down preparing to become a mother, it's understandable that some things will fall by the waist side.
But that so-called baby brain is totally real! It isn't in your head, mama.
According to Boston's CBS Local News, a new analysis comprised of 20 studies of more than 1200 women (both pregnant and non-pregnant) in Australia found that 'the memory, general cognitive functioning, and executive functioning were reduced in the pregnant women'.
The good news is that your baby brain shouldn't be significant enough to affect your job performance should you still be working!
8 Soda Decreases Chances Of Getting Pregnant
According to the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH), drinking even one sugary beverage per day can decrease your chances of conceiving. Even after taking into account the other factors that affect reproductive health (such as obesity, smoking, alcohol and caffeine intake, and overall diet quality), the link between consumption of sugary soda drinks and reduced fertility was too great to ignore.
According to the article on Science Daily, approximately 15% of couples in North America suffer from infertility. For couples who are trying to become pregnant but also have an intense liking for soda, that might be a big issue when trying to conceive.
Luckily, soda isn't as hard to quit as smoking or other vices, so if you happen to be trying to conceive, simply try to lay off the soda for a while to increase your chances!
7 The One Safe Pain Reliever During Pregnancy Might Not Be Okay Now
If you've ever fallen pregnant before, you'll know that one of the only safe medications to take during pregnancy is Tylenol (acetaminophen). But medicine is a constantly evolving field with new information surging in all the time thanks to advancements in technology and science.
According to Medical News Daily, 65-70% of pregnant women utilize Tylenol in the United States.
In recent years of study, there's been mounting evidence of a link between the use of Acetaminophen during pregnancy and the development of ADHD in the child. Although, this risk only seems to have significance when the expectant mother takes the medication for at least seven days in a row.
There is also some evidence of reduced fertility over generations in female rodents that were administered Acetaminophen.
Always, always, always talk to your doctor before taking any medication while you are pregnant!
6 What To Eat While Pregnant
There has always been a list of foods pregnant women needed to stay away from in previous years to ensure the healthiest of pregnancies, but now that list is growing to the point of absurdity.
Not only are cold deli meats and spicy tuna rolls off limits, now, according to Bloomberg, rice is said to contain arsenic (which can affect the baby's growth and birth weight), boxes of macaroni and cheese mix were found to contain harmful phthalates that can greatly affect testosterone production in boy babies, and consumption of soda by an expectant mother can lead to child obesity and asthma in children.
According to the Bloomberg article, experts suggested not completely cutting out the affected foods from your diet, but instead to greatly limit the amount consumed. Or, if you are offered something else other than that food, they suggest selecting the safe-for-now food over the questionable one.
5 Alarming Number Of Fatalities In Texas
Although the maternal fatality rate is declining worldwide, for some reason it isn't declining in the United States. And for every 100,000 births in Texas, 32.5 mothers (where is that .5 coming from?!) pass away.
According to an article in Time, "Why Are So Many Mothers Dying In Texas?", the state of Texas' maternal death rate has increased by 87% in recent years. The study suggests that the risk for women over the age of 40 was much higher (at 27x the rate for women 39 and younger).
There are plenty of other factors that affect the mother's health during pregnancy and childbirth as well, although this study hasn't identified which factor makes the state of Texas such a risk for pregnant mothers.
So if you are a pregnant mother-to-be living in Texas, this article is sure to raise some alarms! You should take into account that the women at the highest risk for maternal loss of life (age 40 and older) are already considered to be higher risk pregnancies due to their age.
4 Being Plus Size, And The Toll It Has On Newborns
According to ABC.net.au, it's estimated that almost half of pregnant women in Australia will be starting off their pregnancy obese or overweight. Some health risks that women face (in any country) when they are overweight or classified as obese include:
- Large gestational size in comparison to age (foetal macrosomia)
- Gestational diabetes
To avoid these scary side effects, women who are classified as overweight or obese are encouraged to lose weight before becoming pregnant to ensure a healthier pregnancy for both mom and baby.
If you are overweight and are finding that losing weight is difficult, articles like these can make conception really daunting. Always talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your weight to find the best options for you and your journey towards conceiving.
3 Required Mental Health Screenings Soon To Be Implemented
With the number of women who are suffering from postpartum depression and anxiety after the births of their children, it's understandable why health practitioners would want to screen their patients during pregnancy.
According to NHS.uk,
1 in 4 expectant women have mental health issues prior to the birth of their child, and 1 in 6 of all adults have mental health issues 'at any given time'.
To screen women for any possible unknown mental health problems, health practitioners will be asking their pregnant patients two questions, also known as the 'Whooley Questions':
- During the past month, have you often been bothered by feeling down, depressed or hopeless?
- During the past month, have you often been bothered by having little interest or pleasure in doing things?
If either of these questions receive a 'yes' answer, then more questions will be asked in an effort to identify and possibly diagnose an underlying mental health problem so they can be treated properly.
2 Practicing 'Extra-Curriculars' While Pregnant
Fifty Shades Of Grey has had a HUGE impact on the love lives of nations by introducing the practice of BDSM (Bondage, Domination, Sadism, and Masochism) into mainstream culture. And this question of whether it's safe to practice BDSM while pregnant (though seemingly redundant in nature) was raised in response to the latest Fifty Shades movie, Fifty Shades Freed, where pregnant Ana participates in BDSM.
Long story short, it isn't unsafe to the mother or the fetus, as long as there isn't any trauma to the mother-to-be's abdomen, and she doesn't risk the chance of falling onto or being hit on the stomach.
According to Dr. Maureen Wheilhan, 'Much of BDSM is the perception of power or submissiveness'.
We guess while not everyone has a 'Red Room', if you did and you became pregnant, you're safe to do the deed however you like as long as you spare the tummy.
1 The Risk Of Flu During Pregnancy
According to an incredibly sad CBS Local news story in San Jose, California, Maria Paniagua contracted the flu at 7 months pregnant and ended up losing her sweet baby girl in utero.
Maria did not get the flu shot while she was pregnant, and became very ill while working two jobs to provide for her four other children and mother who lived with her in an apartment.
After developing pneumonia as well, doctors made the decision to put Maria into a medically induced coma to aid her breathing.
Her daughter, named Dulce Estrella ('sweet star') was born the next day, stillborn. While the mother is recovering in the hospital, we can all say that this is truly one of our worst nightmares as mothers.
Doctors recommend receiving the flu vaccine while you are pregnant to help aid or prevent scenarios like Maria's - the shot can even help newborns several months after birth.
References: The Guardian, Minnesota.CBSlocal.com, Pulseheadlines.com, American Pregnancy, BBC.co.uk, Stat News, Boston.CBSlocal.com, Science Daily, Medical News Today, Bloomberg.com, ABC.net.au, NHS.uk, Refinery29.com, SanFrancisco.CBSlocal.com