Frequently Asked Questions About Pregnancy


Safety and Misc.

Can my car's seatbelt harm my unborn baby?

Definitely continue to buckle up throughout your pregnancy. The lap belt should fit snugly under your belly bulge, and the shoulder belt should be positioned between your breasts. Don't worry about your belt putting pressure on your baby. The baby is well protected by amniotic fluid and layers of tissue, muscle, and fat. It's much more dangerous to you and your child to go beltless and risk being injured in an accident.

Will coloring my hair hurt my baby?

To date, there is no conclusive evidence that hair color use in pregnancy is dangerous. If you are concerned over a possible risk, you may opt for a vegetable-based or temporary color treatment until your baby is born. Some experts also recommend holding off on all chemical hair treatments during the first trimester.

What are my chances of having twins?

Your chances of "twinning" are actually not bad-about 1 in 90 births result in twins. If fraternal twins run in your family, your odds are slightly higher. The number of twins and multiple births has skyrocketed over the past several decades, and the incidence of higher order multiples-which include triplets, quadruplets, or more-grew a whopping 404 percent between 1980 and 1997, but has experienced a slow but steady decline since 1999. Twins are more common then ever, however, with 119,648 twin births occurring in 2000.

The Centers for Disease Control attributes approximately two-thirds of all U.S. higher order multiples to the use of fertility treatments, also known as assisted reproductive technology (ART). Over 37 percent of all successful pregnancies from ART result in a multiple fraternal birth.

National statistics also reveal that more women are waiting until their thirties and forties to have children, and the increasing twin rate may reflect that reality. Women over 35, especially those who have had a previous multiple birth, have an increased chance of having multiples.

You will have fraternal twins if two separate eggs are fertilized by two separate sperm. Three times more common than identical twins, and based on heredity, these fraternal fetuses have their own placentas, may even be different sexes, and may not look more like each other than ordinary brothers and sisters in the same family.

When a single fertilized egg separates into two distinct halves, identical twins are the result. These unborn babies share the same placenta, are always the same sex, and will have the same genetic makeup and similar physical characteristics.

Carrying two or more babies will put a lot more stress on your body, and your doctor is going to monitor you much more closely than if you were expecting one baby. Early detection of the babies using ultrasounds and by taking blood tests to measure your hormone levels will help keep you on track.

What is umbilical cord banking?

The umbilical cord blood contains stem cells, those blank slate cells from which all organs and tissues are built. Cord blood collected immediately after birth is placed in a collection kit and flown to a facility where it is cryogenically frozen and "banked" for later use if needed. The theory behind cord banking is that if your child ever develops a disease or condition requiring stem-cell treatment, the cord blood can be thawed and used for her treatment. If it matches certain biological markers, cord blood can be used to treat other family members as well. However, banking is cost- prohibitive for many and requires an annual storage fee for as long as you would like the cord blood frozen.


excerpted from:

From Everything Pregnancy Organizer Copyright © 2007, F+W Publications, Inc. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Publications Company. All rights reserved.

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