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Getting Ready for a New Baby—Safely

Getting Ready for a New Baby—Safely

Getting ready for a new baby can be challenging, especially if you’re planning a move—here’s what you need to know.

In the film Away We Go, a young couple played by Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski are expecting their first child. When they learn his parents (their only support system) are moving thousands of miles away, the pair sets off on an ambitious cross-country trip to find a new place to live.

That’s an exaggerated version of a reality that many new parents face: Expanding their family means they need a new home. But not so fast—research looked at birth records of 30,000 women who had moved during the first trimester and found it was associated with a 37-percent higher risk for low birthweight and 42 percent heightened risk of premature birth compared with pregnant moms who didn’t move during this period. The study does not, however, explain why moving can be detrimental.

We have a pretty good idea: The first trimester is when your rapidly-developing fetus is most vulnerable to the negative effects of physical and psychological stress. Also, moving often demands redecorating (so does staying put) and that can lead to exposure to environmental toxins. So, put off moving—and painting and decorating—until at least the fourteenth week of pregnancy.

  • If you do move, get help with packing; leave heavy lifting to others. And throughout your pregnancy, remember to de-stress with doc-okayed exercise, meditation and plenty of sleep. (Plus, kick back and read the YOU DOCS book, YOU: Having a BABY.)
  • Redecorating? Use water-based paints in a well-ventilated room or let someone else do it.
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