New facts about pregnancy

Pregnancy is such a routine and frequent fact of life, you’d think we’d know everything there is to know about gestating by now. Despite all the hype about the dangers of a mother’s stress to her fetus, recent research suggests that the opposite might be true.
In one study, developmental psychologist Janet DiPietro and colleagues found that when mothers reported higher levels of stress and anxiety during pregnancy, their babies were born with faster auditory nerve signals -- a marker of neurological development.
Pregnant moms get used to frequent pokes, kicks, hiccups and somersaults, but their passengers are a lot more active than they even know.
But, according to new research, the baby’s gender can affect the health of the mother, DiPietro said. Many women avoid caffeine during their pregnancies, and pregnant women are often greeted with scowls at the espresso bar, but there’s really no need to vilify coffee just because a baby is on board.

The other slightly complicated explanation starts with the known link between nausea early in pregnancy and a lower risk of miscarriage. Eager to meet their babies and tired of being enormously pregnant, moms try all sorts of tricks to get labor started.
Yet scientists continue to learn new details about what happens to both mothers and babies in the months leading up to labor and delivery. When women experience the normal levels of worry that come from juggling work, life, family and pregnancy, their babies actually get a developmental boost. When women carry boys, they are more likely to have trouble remembering things during pregnancy. Either way, pregnant women would do well to stop stressing so much about being so stressed out.

So, women who are able to tolerate tons of coffee early in their pregnancies probably have relatively settled tummies -- suggesting that there might be some other reason for the miscarriages besides the coffee. Near full-term, fetuses even scrunch and stretch their mouths and noses into the same facial expressions that newborns make.

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