Pregnancy

The fourth trimester: What you should know

The three trimesters of pregnancy are well known. But what happens to women in the 12 weeks after birth: the fourth trimester? During this critical time, women often get far less support and healthcare than they need. Fortunately, attitudes are changing.

Hyperemesis: (Way) beyond morning sickness

Huma Farid, MD

Contributor

During early months of pregnancy, many women experience nausea and vomiting (morning sickness). A small percentage struggle with persistent, severe nausea and vomiting, a condition called hyperemesis. Certain treatments –– or time –– sometimes help.

Microbiome: The first 1,000 days

Allan Walker, MD

Contributor

From the time of conception until the second year of life, appropriate bacteria colonization of the digestive tract affects long-term health and plays a role in whether a person will be healthy or will develop a chronic disease.

Preventing depression in pregnancy: New guidelines

First-ever recommendations from US Preventive Services Task Force aim to help women who experience depression during pregnancy or after childbirth.

The new exercise guidelines: Any changes for you?

Lauren Elson, MD

Contributor

What do the new government guidelines for exercise and physical activity mean for you? It depends on your age and ability, but overall, move more, sit less.

Inducing labor at full term: What makes sense?

Toni Golen, MD

Contributor

A large study of first-time mothers compared inducing labor with waiting for labor to begin. Under certain circumstances, it found inducing labor may be safer for some women. A pregnant woman considering induction should discuss the option with her doctors and providers.

Dark patches on the face may be melasma

The skin condition melasma is associated with pregnancy because it can be triggered by hormones, but women who are not pregnant can also have it (as can men). The most significant causes of melasma are hormone fluctuation and sun exposure.

A soaring maternal mortality rate: What does it mean for you?

Since 1990, the maternal mortality rate in the United States, while still relatively low, has risen by 50%. Meanwhile, many other women experience pregnancy-related conditions that cause serious injury, and thousands more struggle with illnesses and a lack of support.

Preterm birth and heart disease risk for mom

A study found that women who delivered a baby before the 37th week of their pregnancy were more likely to have their blood pressure rise later, but preterm birth or other pregnancy complication does not mean that future cardiovascular disease is a given.

Fertility and diet: Is there a connection?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Research continues to explore the connection between fertility and diet. There is some evidence that what you eat can help increase your chances of getting pregnant, but right now the specific advice is simple. If you’re trying to conceive, eat a basic healthy diet, take prenatal vitamins, and talk with your doctor for preconception advice.