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Memorable pregnancy stories of 2012

Posted by Lara Salahi  December 30, 2012 06:55 AM

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2012 is winding down fast, which means I can count the number of days on both hands that baby is scheduled to arrive. Of course, hardly anything goes as scheduled, but it's exciting nonetheless.

Besides personal anticipation of a new addition (and the start of Ultra Sound Pregnancy!) this year brought plenty more memorable pregnancy-related news.

Here's a recap of pregnancy research and news stories that made us excited, think, and sometimes even cringe.

Royal pregnancy

Yes, many women get pregnant, Duchess or not. It’s not the celebrity that caught our attention when the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton announced that she’s expecting. It’s the way we all found out. Her pregnancy shed light on hyperemesis gravidarum, a debilitating form of morning sickness that can adversely affect both the mother and the development of the baby. An estimated 60 to 70 percent of women can say they’ve experienced morning sickness, but only 20 percent have at it as severe, according to the American Pregnancy Association. A friend of mine made the analogy once that hyperemesis is to morning sickness what pneumonia is to a cold. You get the idea.

Alcohol during pregnancy okay?

Drinking alcohol has been one of the many things pregnant women should avoid, but scientific evidence on alcohol during pregnancy gives us no clear indication of how much, what kind, and at what stage of pregnancy drinking may be considered harmful. Some women admit drinking early in their pregnancy simply because they didn’t know they were pregnant. Some less conservative doctors don’t discourage moderate drinking during pregnancy. In fact, one of my doctor’s suggested I have a drink to “calm my nerves” when I had a little scare early on. I didn't. But could the confusion have some women throwing their hands up in the air? A survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in July suggests that, while the number has decreased since 2000, women still admit drinking during various stages of their pregnancy and may even think it’s okay. 1 in 13 percent of women reported drinking during their pregnancy, the survey of 14,000 pregnant women found. Nearly 1 in 5 who reported drinking said they went on at least one binge of having four or more drinks.

Surprise delivery

It was the TLC show, “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant,” meets the war in Afghanistan. News about the British soldier who gave birth while deployed to Afghanistan made me thankful I won’t be birthing in a war zone. Like most women who have ever been pregnant, the fact that she did not know she was even pregnant, made me think that by the time your body is ready to deliver (in this case, she was 34 weeks), how the heck could you not know you’re pregnant! Pregnancy is not just about a few more pounds, a little stomach ache, and a lot more fatigue.

Seeing double

It’s no myth that pregnancy can slightly change your eye sight, but this year may have had all of us -- pregnant or not -- seeing double. A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in January found that in 2009, 1 in every 30 babies born in the U.S. was a twin. The rate has nearly doubled since the 80s when the chance of having twins was 1 in 53. The sharp increase may be due to the increased use of fertility treatments, and also to the fact that women are waiting longer to have children, according to the report. Women in their 30s are more likely to have twins than those who are younger.

Redefining maternity leave

This year’s award for rogue mom-to-be goes to Yahoo’s new CEO Marissa Mayer. For better or worse, her appointment to CEO while six months pregnant followed by her two-week “maternity leave” after giving birth in October may have set a new bar for women. It’s also likely that making it look easy may have done a disservice to some of us working new moms and moms-to-be. Perhaps labor or even seeing her baby for the first time would have changed her mind, some of us thought. Guess not. Either way, you have to admire her follow-through. She told Fortune magazine in July (and perhaps her employers too), “my maternity leave will be a few weeks long and I’ll work throughout.” And that’s exactly what she did.

What pregnancy-related research or news story stuck out most in your mind this year?

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Lara Salahi is an award-winning multimedia journalist whose specialty is reporting health and medical stories. She has worked in local, network, and cable television, international print, and documentary film. She More »

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